David Onyemata

Extra Points: Chiefs, Bengals, Saints, Rams

The Chiefs will interview Seahawks executive Scott Fitterer for their general manager position either today or early Wednesday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Fitterer, Seattle’s co-director of player personnel, is one of six candidates linked to the Kansas City vacancy (a total that includes the Vikings’ George Paton, who declined an interview). Earlier this year, Fitterer was an initial candidate for the 49ers’ GM job, but ultimately was not asked back for a second interview. Another candidate for the Chiefs gig — Tennessee staffer Ryan Cowden — will meet with Kansas City tomorrow, as Rapoport indicated earlier today.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • The Bengals told current Broncos cornerback Bradley Roby that he’d be their pick at No. 24 in the 2014 draft, but that changed after Roby was charged with OVI, as Roby explains to Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post. Cincinnati instead chose Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard, a choice that — at least through three seasons — was clearly the incorrect choice. While Roby has played well as Denver’s third corner after being selected 31st overall in ’14, Dennard has struggled to get on the field in the Queen City. A fitting conclusion to the tale? Vance Joseph, now the Broncos head coach, was the Bengals defensive backs coach in 2014 who promised Roby he wouldn’t fall past pick No. 24.
  • Although Saints coaches are high on second-year defensive tackle David Onyemata, it’s unlikely he’ll be able to fill the hole vacated by the loss of veteran Nick Fairley, as Mike Triplett of ESPN.com writes. New Orleans placed Fairley on the non-football injury list Monday after doctors ruled a heart condition wouldn’t allow him to play in 2017. Onyemata, a fourt-round pick last year out of Manitoba, played on slightly more than a third of the Saints’ defensive snaps during his rookie campaign and posted 18 total tackles. Earlier today, I ran down a list of external options New Orleans could consider to help replace Fairley’s production.
  • Connor Barwin is not only playing a 3-4 scheme once again, but will see his second go-round under the tutelage of new Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, per Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times. Barwin, who signed a one-year, $3.5MM with Los Angeles this spring, struggled in Philadelphia’s 4-3 defense last season (bottom-10 edge defender, per Pro Football Focus), but he’s excited about the shift back to a 3-4. “There’s certain things I can do and I can take advantage of that you can’t necessarily do being down in an even front every single play,” said Barwin. “This is really where I want to be playing, the system I want to be in and where I’m going to have the most success.”

Draft Signings: Dolphins, Raiders, Saints

We’ll keep track of today’s draft signings here:

  • A second-round pick who is expected to play a key role for a Dolphins cornerback corps that lost most of its starters from 2015, Xavien Howard has signed his rookie deal, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reports. He’s the fifth player in Miami’s eight-man draft class to sign. For Baylor last season, Howard snared five interceptions and broke up 15 passes en route to All-Big 12 acclaim. He’ll vie to join Byron Maxwell as the Fins’ starting corners.
  • The Saints have now wrapped up their draft class’ contracts after signing fourth-round defensive lineman David Onyemata, according to the team’s website. The first University of Manitoba player to be drafted, the Nigeria native finished with 9.5 sacks in 37 games with the Bison. A 300-pound lineman who was selected No. 120 overall, Onyemata won the J.P. Metras Trophy, which is given to the best down lineman in Canadian Interuniversity Sport football.
  • The Raiders announced the signing of second-round defensive lineman Jihad Ward. Ward, selected with the No. 44 overall pick, played for Illinois over the last two seasons. In his time for the Fighting Illini, Ward started all 25 games, totaling 104 tackles, 4.5 sacks, three passes defensed, three forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries. The 6’6″, 295-pound athlete climbed up draft boards in the weeks leading up to the draft, leading to his mid-second-round selection.

NFC Notes: Brees, Goff, Pettigrew, Giants

For most of the offseason, NFL observers have assumed that the Saints and Drew Brees will negotiate an extension that locks up the quarterback beyond the 2016 season and frees up some cap room for the team. However, agent Tom Condon said during an appearance on The Rich Eisen Show that the Saints seem to be satisfied with Brees at his current cap number, per Joel A. Erickson of The Advocate.

According to Over the Cap’s data, New Orleans currently has less than $2MM in cap room, and that appears to be without factoring in the team’s draft picks. There are ways that the Saints could lock up all their picks and get through the 2016 season without reworking Brees’ deal, but it would almost certainly require adjusting another contract or two.

Brees, who is entering the final year of his deal, currently has a $30MM cap charge, with only one other player on the Saints’ books for a number larger than $6.35MM in 2016 — Jairus Byrd has a $10.9MM cap hit, which could be reduced via a restructure, if necessary.

As we wait to see whether New Orleans is serious about standing pat on Brees, here’s more from around the NFC:

  • Defensive lineman David Onyemata has been drafted for the second time in two weeks, writes Christopher Dabe of NOLA.com. After being selected in the fourth round of the NFL draft by the Saints, Onyemata came off the board in the fourth round of the CFL draft as well, snatched by the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Of course, Onyemata went 120th overall in the NFL draft, as opposed to 35th in the CFL draft, and he would have gone higher in the CFL draft had the Saints not selected him last month — he was viewed as the No. 1 Canadian prospect for 2016, but the Roughriders won’t get him as he long as he remains with New Orleans.
  • The Rams don’t want to rush No. 1 pick Jared Goff into anything, but as Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com writes, there’s a good chance the former Cal quarterback will be under center for the team sooner rather than later — perhaps even by Week 1.
  • Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew, who suffered a torn ACL near the end of the 2015 season, said on Tuesday night that he expects to be ready to go for the start of training camp in July, tweets Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com.
  • When the Giants waived wide receiver Ben Edwards earlier this week, the team did so with an injury designation. As Jordan Raanan of NJ.com explains, the injury Edwards suffered was a torn ACL. Since the wideout went unclaimed he’ll revert to IR — Big Blue can either keep him there for the 2016 season, or negotiate an injury settlement if he has a chance to return before the end of the year.

Draft Updates: Cowboys, Tunsil, Pats, Jets, Saints

The Cowboys’ later-round selections have featured some interesting near-misses. Dallas has been linked to multiple players it did not end up selecting, including new Browns edge-rusher Emmanuel Ogbah, whom Cleveland chose in Round 2. The team also eyed Clemson defensive end Kevin Dodd, Tony Pauline of WalterFootball.com reports.

Even its own pick brought uncertainty after a report surfaced Friday that the team nearly unloaded its second-round pick to the Bears before taking Notre Dame injured star Jaylon Smith. Perhaps these pass-rushers going off the board contributed to the urge to wanting to trade down.

We heard Friday night the Cowboys are not going to re-sign Greg Hardy. This, coupled with the looming suspensions of Demarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory have left the team thin at defensive end despite signing former Eagles edge presence Cedric Thornton in free agency. It took Dallas until the fourth round to address this spot, when it took Charles Tapper from Oklahoma.

Here’s the latest from the draft.

  • The Saints traded up for the 120th pick, but according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter), they didn’t get their selection in on time. This allowed the Vikings to jump the Saints, with Minnesota selecting offensive lineman Willie Beavers. New Orleans presumably still got their target in defensive tackle David Onyemata.
  • The Dolphins believe it was the former financial advisor of rookie Laremy Tunsil who released the incriminating gas mask video, tweets Andrew Abrasion of The Palm Beach Post. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the video caused Tunsil to drop from the sixth overall pick to No. 13.
  • Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan told Dom Cosentino of NJ.com that the team isn’t working to acquire another quarterback, including Nick Foles (Twitter link).
  • Pauline also notes the Patriots‘ collection of second- or third-round quarterback choices in the Tom Brady era could have included Wisconsin passer Joel Stave instead of the player they actually selected, Jacoby Brissett, in the third round. While neither was considered a top prospect, Brissett was mentioned as a mid- or late-round pick before the lesser-regarded Stave — a 6-foot-5 former Badger, who remains on the board. Stave threw for just 11 TDs last season for the run-oriented Badgers.
  • The Steelers are considering a trade to get into the fifth round, Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review tweets.

Ben Levine contributed to this report

Saints Acquire 120th Pick From Washington

The Saints have found a way into the fourth round, as Mike Jones of The Washington Post reports (via Twitter) that the team has acquired the 120th pick from Washington. Jones reports that Washington will receive pick No. 152 and a 2017 fifth-rounder in return. The Saints will use the pick on University of Manitoba (Canada) defensive tackle David Onyemata.

Hailing from Nigeria, Onyemata was considered a fifth- or sixth-round pick by NFL.com. The 6-4, 300-pound lineman finished this past season with 50 tackles, five sacks, and 7.5 tackles for a loss. His performance earned him the J.P. Metras Trophy for the best down lineman in CIS. These are especially impressive accolades when you consider that Onyemata started playing football in 2011.