Demarcus Robinson

Eagles Eyeing Demarcus Robinson

After letting some of their regulars walk in free agency last year, the Chiefs have more auxiliary performers set to hit the market in March. A historic payment to Patrick Mahomes and a possible Chris Jones franchise tag will force the Super Bowl champions to prioritize come free agency.

Kendall Fuller, Emmanuel Ogbah, Bashaud Breeland and Demarcus Robinson are among Kansas City’s notable non-Jones UFAs. Robinson appears to have a suitor with a greater receiver need than the Chiefs, who still have Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins and Mecole Hardman under contract.

The Eagles are interested in the four-year veteran wideout, Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes. They brought Robinson in for one of their 2016 pre-draft visits, but the Florida prospect went to the Chiefs in that year’s fourth round. Considering the Chiefs’ front-burner issues, Robinson’s second contract looks likely to come from another team.

During Hill’s injury-related absence early in the season, Robinson became a key Mahomes target. Although the 25-year-old receiver caught 32 passes for a career-high 449 yards, he delivered his most notable audition during a six-reception, 172-yard, two-touchdown day in Oakland. During Mahomes’ two years as the Chiefs’ starter, Robinson totaled 54 catches and eight touchdowns.

After injuries to DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor, the Eagles deployed a skeleton-crew receiving corps during the season’s stretch run. Both Jackson and Jeffery are likely to return, thanks to big 2020 guarantees. Agholor will probably depart, per McLane. The Eagles figure to be targeting wideouts in the draft as well, but it appears they will consider Robinson on a mid-level pact. Doug Pederson was already in Philadelphia by the time Robinson arrived in Kansas City, but bringing in a longtime Andy Reid weapon would be a logical fit for the ex-Chiefs OC.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2019 Proven Performance Escalators

According to the NFL’s contractual bargaining agreement, players drafted in rounds three though seven are entitled to raises during the fourth year of their respective rookie contracts. The pay bumps are tied to playing time — a player must have played in 35% of his team’s offensive or defensive snaps in two of his first three seasons, or averaged 35% playing time cumulatively during that period.

If one of these thresholds is met, the player’s salary is elevated to the level of that year’s lowest restricted free agent tender — that figure should be around $2MM in 2019. Players selected in the first or second round, undrafted free agents, and kickers/punters are ineligible for the proven performance escalator.

Here are the players who will see their salary rise in 2019 courtesy of the proven performance escalator:

Bears: RB Jordan Howard, LB Nick Kwiatkoski

Bengals: LB Nick Vigil

Broncos: G Connor McGovern, S Will Parks, S Justin Simmons

Browns: S Derrick Kindred, LB Joe Schobert

Buccaneers: G Caleb Benenoch, DE Carl Nassib, CB Ryan Smith

Chargers: LB Jatavis Brown

Chiefs: CB Kendall Fuller, WR Tyreek Hill, S Eric Murray, WR Demarcus Robinson

Colts: QB Jacoby Brissett, T Joe Haeg

Cowboys: CB Anthony Brown, DT Maliek Collins, QB Dak Prescott

Dolphins: RB Kenyan Drake

Eagles: CB Jalen Mills, T Halapoulivaati Vaitai

Falcons: LB De’Vondre Campbell, TE Austin Hooper, G Wes Schweitzer

Jaguars: DE Yannick Ngakoue

Jets: LB Jordan Jenkins, CB Rashard Robinson, T Brandon Shell

Lions: C Graham Glasgow

Packers: LB Kyler Fackrell, DE Dean Lowry, LB Blake Martinez, LB Antonio Morrison

Patriots: G Joe Thuney, LB Elandon Roberts

Rams: G Austin Blythe, TE Tyler Higbee

Ravens: DE Matt Judon, OL Alex Lewis, CB Tavon Young

Saints: DT David Onyemata

Steelers: DT Javon Hargrave

Texans: DT D.J. Reader

Titans: S Kevin Byard, WR Tajae Sharpe

OverTheCap.com was essential in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. 

AFC Rumors: Maclin, Ravens, Chiefs, Jets

Free agent wide receiver Jeremy Maclin just wrapped up a two-day trip to Buffalo, and his visit with the Ravens is also likely to span a pair of days, according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter links). The Ravens “want” Maclin, notes Zrebiec, and Josina Anderson of ESPN adds (via Twitter) that they’re “very interested.” But Zrebiec cautions that the Ravens aren’t the only team vying for Maclin, suggesting they’ll face competition from Buffalo and others if they enter negotiations with the 29-year-old.

More from Baltimore and two other AFC cities:

  • Even though the Ravens have lost two of their top pass catchers from last season in retired receiver Steve Smith and just-released tight end Dennis Pitta, they’ll “significantly” improve their aerial attack by adding Maclin or soon-to-be former Jet Eric Decker, opines Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com. It’s “critical” the Ravens pick up one of the two, argues Hensley, given that they lost out on the likes of Brandon Marshall and Pierre Garcon earlier this offseason. Now, with the extra cap space they’ve gotten this week by releasing Pitta and cornerback Kyle Arrington, they could be in position to give a much-needed boost to their receiving corps.
  • The Jets have spent the offseason throwing veterans overboard, with Decker and linebacker David Harris being the latest to go, and have seemingly put themselves in position to land the first overall pick in next year’s draft. One league executive seems to believe they’re a shoo-in to finish 32nd this year, telling Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com, “I think the Jets might have the worst roster I’ve seen in a decade” (Twitter link).
  • Maclin’s release could leave a void in the Chiefs’ receiving corps, but head coach Andy Reid seems content with the team’s current options, writes Adam Teicher of ESPN.com. “I’ve got a ton of trust in the young guys that they’ll step up and do a good job for us,” Reid said. “We’ve got enough talent here to do whatever we need to do. I don’t worry about that.” One beneficiary of Maclin’s exit could be second-year man Demarcus Robinson, a fourth-round pick in 2016 who only played five offensive snaps as a rookie. Despite his lack of experience, Robinson has impressed Reid this offseason. “He’s the young one that’s come up here a little bit and had a pretty good offseason,” Reid commented. “We’ll see how he does once we get going in the preseason.

Chiefs Sign Six Draft Picks, Seven UDFAs

The Chiefs have officially locked up the majority of their nine-player draft class, having signed six selections to contracts, the team announced. Along with the previously reported Chris Jones (second-round pick), the Chiefs inked the followers players to deals:

The Chiefs traded out of the first round this year, making third-round defensive back Keivarae Russell their most significant unsigned draft pick as of now. The team also officially signed seven undrafted free agents, including three cornerbacks:

Additionally, Kansas City waived Lithuanian-born linebacker Tautvydas Kieras, per a team announcement (Twitter link).

West Rumors: Rams, Kaepernick, Broncos

The Rams know who they’ll be selecting to kick off the 2016 NFL draft on Thursday night, but they won’t let that player know until it’s time to submit the card at No. 1, as Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk writes.

“We’ll get in touch with the player just before putting the card in,” said Rams head coach Jeff Fisher, whose team will pick either Cal quarterback Jared Goff or North Dakota State signal-caller Carson Wentz. “There’s only a few things better in life than this phone call, these phone calls that are going to take place Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It’s a great opportunity and we don’t want to deny our pick the opportunity to experience that.”

As we wait for the team to confirm which quarterback will become the new face of the franchise in Los Angeles, let’s round up some other Tuesday updates from out of the West divisions…

  • 49ers general manager Trent Baalke continues to leave the door open for a possible Colin Kaepernick trade, but Mike Klis of 9News (Twitter link) hears the Broncos are unlikely to make a move for Kaepernick before or during the draft. While it’s not out of the question, there have been “zero talks” recently, according to Klis.
  • For the second consecutive year, pre-draft trade rumors are swirling around Cardinals wide receiver Michael Floyd, who says he’s not worried about that talk at all. “I go into work, put my work in, watch film with my teammates and go about my day,” Floyd said of the trade speculation, per Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com.
  • Former Alabama edge defender Xzavier Dickson is working out today for the Seahawks, a source tells Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Dickson was selected in the seventh round of the 2015 draft by the Patriots, but didn’t earn a spot on the team’s regular-season roster.
  • Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter link) adds the Chiefs to the list of teams that hosted Florida wide receiver Demarcus Robinson for a pre-draft visit.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Draft Updates: Dahl, Ogbah, C. Jones, DeBord

As Greg Gabriel of 670 The Score tweets, Wednesday is the last day NFL teams can bring prospects in for official visits. Beginning on Thursday, clubs can still meet or work out players, but it has to happen at the player’s school or home, rather than the team’s facility.

Still, there’s no shortage of updates today on workouts and/or visits conducted recently by prospects and teams. Here are several of those updates:

  • Rand Getlin of the NFL Network (Twitter link) adds the Falcons, Lions, and Titans to the long list of teams that either worked out Washington State offensive lineman Joe Dahl or hosted him for a visit. Earlier this month, a report indicated that 10 other teams had interest in Dahl, with many of those clubs planning visits or workouts.
  • Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post writes that the Titans and Bengals were among the teams that hosted Oklahoma State defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah for pre-draft visits.
  • The Bengals, Ravens, and Seahawks are among the clubs that have hosted Mississippi State defensive lineman Chris Jones for pre-draft visits, tweets Rand Getlin.
  • The list of clubs that Eastern Washington offensive lineman Clay DeBord has worked out for or visited includes the 49ers, Lions, Jets, Falcons, Buccaneers, Titans, and Cardinals, tweets Rand Getlin.
  • Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press provides a couple updates on local prospects, tweeting that Michigan State defensive lineman Lawrence Thomas has worked out for the Lions, Patriots, Falcons, and Titans, and adding (via Twitter) that Central Michigan tight end Ben McCord has previously visited the Dolphins. McCord is participating in the Lions’ local workout day, while Thomas isn’t.
  • North Carolina Central defensive back Ryan Smith is making his last pre-draft visit today to Los Angeles to meet with the Rams, a source tells Aaron Wilson.
  • Florida wide receiver Demarcus Robinson visited the Jets today, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News (Twitter link), who suggests keeping an eye on Robinson late in the draft.

AFC Draft Updates: Lynch, Broncos, Bengals

A previous report had indicated the Broncos were expected to bring in Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch this week, and Troy Renck of the Denver Post confirms (via Twitter) that visit is taking place on Tuesday. The Broncos, of course, continue to consider all their options at QB in the wake of Peyton Manning‘s retirement and Brock Osweiler‘s departure.

  • UCLA guard Alex Redmond, who is drawing plenty of attention leading up to the draft, visited the Bengals on Monday, per Gil Brandt of NFL.com (Twitter link).
  • Florida wide receiver Demarcus Robinson is paying a visit to the Raiders on Tuesday, tweets Mike Kaye of First Coast News.
  • Houston offensive lineman Alex Cooper also visited the Raiders on Tuesday, as Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle writes. Cooper participated in Houston’s local prospect workout on Saturday. Cooper started every game for UH at three different positions (left tackle, right tackle, and right guard) and served as a team captain.
  • The Colts are working out William & Mary middle linebacker Luke Rhodes, according to a source who spoke with Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle (on Twitter).
  • Purdue offensive lineman David Hedelin is drawing interest from the Chiefs, Lions, Falcons, Broncos, Patriots, Washington, and Dolphins, Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle tweets.

NFC Rumors: Cowboys, Giants, Lions

The latest out of the NFC:

  • Defensive end Jason Jones is still in play for the Cowboys, a source tells David Moore of the Dallas Morning News (on Twitter). However, the deal would have to be similar to the one-year, $1.1MM deal that Jack Crawford agreed to with Dallas on Monday.
  • Former Dolphins linebacker Kelvin Sheppard visited the Giants on Monday, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
  • The Giants brought in offensive linemen Ben Ijalana and Byron Stingily for a visit on Monday, as Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports tweets.
  • The Lions‘ pre-draft visits are underway, and the team looked at offensive line prospects on Monday, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, who tweets that tackles Jerald Hawkins (LSU), Shon Coleman (Auburn), Caleb Benenoch (UCLA), and Jason Spriggs (Indiana) are meeting with the Lions.
  • Bowling Green center-guard Alex Huettel worked out for the Lions, a source tells Wilson (on Twitter).
  • Ohio State safety Vonn Bell has (or has had) meetings, workouts, or visits with the Cardinals and Vikings as well as the Jaguars, as Rand Getlin of NFL.com tweets.
  • The Saints conducted private workout for Cal wide receiver Darius Powe on Monday, a source tells Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle (on Twitter). Powe didn’t have any drops, according to a source, and drew praise from New Orleans brass.
  • The Eagles are hosting Florida wide receiver DeMarcus Robinson on a visit, a source tells Geoff Mosher of 97.5 The Fanatic (on Twitter).

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Draft Rumors: Hogan, Conklin, Robinson, Ragland

Around this time of year, teams start to get a sense of which quarterbacks can vault up the draft boards, Tony Pauline writes for PhiladelphiaEagles.com. Right now, the scouting community believes that guy is Stanford’s Kevin Hogan. Hogan has impressed with his arm strength and pass velocity and Pauline hears that teams might be pleasantly surprised by his improved wind-up at the Combine.

While we wait to see where Hogan might land, let’s take a look at some more of Pauline’s draft buzz:

  • Tackle Jack Conklin is universally graded as a first-round pick, but not everyone in the league is certain he can handle the left tackle position at the next level. Still, the Michigan State product is expected to interview well and he could find himself in the top half of the first round.
  • The stock of Florida wide receiver Demarcus Robinson will hinge greatly on his interviews, Pauline writes. Talent-wise, Robinson looks like a top-15 prospect, but his checkered past is giving teams pause. If he can make a strong impression on teams, however, he can be a second-day pick.
  • Alabama linebacker Reggie Ragland, who tipped the scales at 259 pounds at the Senior Bowl, is expected to be much lighter at the Combine.
  • Several league decision-makers rate teammate T.J. Green as the top safety from the Clemson program rather than Jayron Kearse. Green is a solid athlete who lined up at safety, wide receiver and also played special teams for the Tigers.

Extra Points: Texans, Browns, Prospects

Some assorted notes from around the NFL and NCAA…

  • B.J. Danielscontract with the Texans is worth $660K over two seasons, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter). The quarterback will earn $60K this season and $600K in 2016.
  • Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer expects Browns center Alex Mack to explore free agency this offseason, and the writer believes the veteran will receive some interest from other clubs. Due to the disappointment of first-round pick Cameron Erving, Pluto still thinks Cleveland could spend to keep their Pro Bowl lineman.
  • The Florida Gators will have a number of talented players to replace heading into 2016. Coach Jim McElwain confirmed underclassmen running back Kelvin Taylor, receiver Demarcus Robinson, and defensive end Alex McCalister will all enter the NFL Draft. All this is in addition to cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III, who is expected to be a top-10 pick this offseason.
  • Maryland defensive end Quinton Jefferson has also declared his intentions to enter the NFL Draft, according to the Baltimore Sun. He made the announcement via his Twitter account. He joins his opposite bookend Yannick Ngakoue in leaving the Terrapins early for the pros.

Rob DiRe contributed to this post.