Demario Davis

East Rumors: Giants, Jets, Bills, Flores

Here’s the latest out of the East divisions, with six of these teams early in their offseasons and two preparing for divisional-round games while grappling with possible coaching staff defections.

  • A Josh McDaniels/Giants union is at least a possibility, with Dave Gettleman and Co. interviewing the Patriots’ OC this week. But ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano does not foresee this hire happening, viewing McDaniels as likely to end up elsewhere and noting both he and the Giants might not be each other’s first choices (Twitter links). McDaniels has met with the Giants, Colts and Bears. Graziano speculates (via Twitter) the Colts are the likely frontrunners.
  • Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Demario Davis look to be in the Jets‘ plans prior to free agency opening. The team has held discussions with Seferian-Jenkins about a re-up, Newsday’s Calvin Watkins notes, and wants to retain Davis. A Jet in five of his six NFL seasons, the soon-to-be 29-year-old linebacker could be in line for a significant pay bump come March after finishing the season as the NFL’s No. 8 linebacker, per Pro Football Focus. Davis, whom Watkins notes wouldn’t mind testing the market, took a pay cut prior to the 2017 season and earned just $900K in base salary. ASJ changed representation going into his UFA year. He caught a career-high 50 passes and gave the Jets a viable tight end weapon for the first time in years.
  • The Jaguars making the playoffs will slightly alter their trade for Marcell Dareus. The Bills received a conditional 2018 sixth-round pick for Dareus in the parties’ October trade, but now that the Jags ventured to the postseason, that pick will become a fifth-rounder, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.
  • Should Matt Patricia be hired as Lions HC as expected, the Patriots will likely promote linebackers coach Brian Flores to defensive coordinator, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com writes. Flores drew interest as a DC candidate last year, per Reiss, and was mentioned in a 49ers search that ended with Robert Saleh getting the job. The 36-year-old Flores, who interviewed for the Cardinals’ HC job on Saturday, has been with the Patriots since 2004 and has been a position coach since 2012.
  • The Giants have not hired a GM that didn’t have ties to the team since George Young in 1979, and Tom Rock of Newsday notes Kevin Abrams may be in line to succeed Dave Gettleman down the line. The newly hired general manager is 66 years old and kept the 46-year-old Abrams on as assistant GM while firing another Giants GM interviewee in Marc Ross. Abrams has been the Giants’ assistant GM for the past 16 seasons, serving in this post now through three GMs’ tenures. The longtime exec has been sitting in on the franchise’s HC interviews this time as well.

Browns Rumors: Jackson, Haslam, Haden

Hue Jackson did not want to confirm a report that he and ousted executive VP Sashi Brown weren’t on speaking terms, but Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com reports the two had clashed on numerous occasions — and certain players were at the root of this friction. Carson Wentz, Marvin Jones, A.J. McCarron and Jimmy Garoppolo induced disagreements between the Browns’ power structure, as previously reported, but Cabot adds Jackson and Brown were at odds about the likes of Joe Haden, Demario Davis and Jeremy Maclin.

Jackson wanted the Browns to sign Maclin, Cabot reports. They were loosely connected to the UFA wideout, but the Ravens, Bills and Eagles were well ahead of them. Jackson presumably wanted Haden to remain in Cleveland, but the Browns released him. Davis was also shipped back to the Jets and has enjoyed a productive season. Cabot also notes Jackson and Gregg Williams received pushback from some members of the front office in the Myles Garrett-vs.-Mitch Trubisky argument that transpired in April, with the coaches’ side winning out and Garrett being the pick.

Here’s the latest on a busy day in Cleveland.

  • Jimmy Haslam made this move Thursday in order to not fall behind on the GM carousel, Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com reports, adding the owner saw the Giants taking an early lead by landing their former GM Ernie Accorsi to lead a search to replace Jerry Reese. Ownership was “adamant” not to fall behind in this pursuit, per Grossi. Matt Miller of Bleacher Report said during a radio appearance on 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland the early Brown firing was to get an early start on a John Dorsey push (Twitter link). The Browns do not have to wait until season’s end to interview Dorsey like they would an active exec, and Miller reports many believe he will be Cleveland’s next GM. Dorsey steered the Chiefs to three playoff berths in four seasons after taking over following a 2-14 season.
  • Haslam was tinkering with the idea to make in-season changes for the past couple of weeks, Albert Breer of SI.com reports, noting the owner was considering bringing in a football voice to complement Brown rather than replace him. But after research, the owner decided to fire Brown and begin a search for his replacement.
  • Both Breer and Grossi confirm the Thursday-afternoon report the Browns are going after Dorsey. Grossi reports Dorsey has been “endorsed heartily” by at least one of the football execs with whom Haslam’s already consulted. Breer notes a Dorsey/Jackson arrangement makes more sense than Brown/Jackson, with the ex-Chiefs GM’s scouting background aligning more with Jackson’s admitted old-school approach to football development. That, and not necessarily his impressive work in Kansas City, made him a key name to watch in Cleveland, Breer notes.
  • A Dorsey hire could well mean a more prominent role for ex-Colts GM Ryan Grigson, Grossi writes. Grigson’s currently working as a senior personnel exec, with an emphasis on scouting. Dorsey and Grigson’s friendship and mutual respect would stand to lead to a better title for the since-fired Indianapolis decision-maker.
  • The Browns’ decision to part with Brown and not Jackson could lead to an increased interest in Josh Rosen. Miller notes. Jackson likes the UCLA quarterback as a prospect, with a source informing the draft-based reporter Rosen is “Jackson’s guy.” Rosen seems more certain to declare for the 2018 draft than Sam Darnold at this juncture.

Latest On Colin Kaepernick, NFL Protests

One of the centerpieces of Colin Kaepernick‘s collusion grievance against the NFL will be President Donald Trump’s tweets and comments regarding his and other players’ racial inequality-themed protests and those words’ possible influence on owners, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports. La Canfora adds Kaepernick’s case will involve the numerous times the president has attempted to exert influence on owners regarding this matter, one that the quarterback is charging has him unemployed while numerous passers of lesser pedigrees are on teams’ rosters. Arguing certain inferior players are rostered while Kaepernick isn’t may not be enough to satisfy the CBA’s “burden of proof” element, so it appears Kaepernick’s side is taking a different approach.

Trump’s tweeted about having conversations with owners about protesting players and has discussed publicly his sway over them regarding this recent movement, and La Canfora writes Kaepernick’s lawyers could argue this has created a climate in which “numerous owners have colluded” to keep the quarterback from having a chance to sign as a free agent. Trump recently tweeted about speaking with Jerry Jones in late September regarding this issue, and the Cowboys owner made comments about the team benching protesting players in early October. Jones spoke about Trump discussing the game-day manual regarding anthem protocols as well, per La Canfora.

Kaepernick became a free agent in March by opting out of his 49ers contract, but San Francisco GM John Lynch said the team would have released him had he not done so.

Here’s the latest surrounding the Kaepernick grievance and the protest discussions that came out of the league meetings this week.

  • Other owners wish Jones would refrain from making bold pronouncements like his anthem directive in an effort to preserve the goodwill fostered between them and the players this week, Charles Robinson of Yahoo.com reports, adding the owners would like the NFL to stay off Trump’s political agenda. Jones could be an outlier among owners who have expressed optimism about talks with the players on social activism, Robinson writes. The Cowboys owner did not make further remarks about this issue after the owners’ meetings. Considering Jones speaks with the media often, this issue will come up again soon.
  • Michael Bennett said an early step toward further discussions with owners about social issues would be making sure Kaepernick signs with a team. “I think before we even negotiate anything about whether we sit, whether we stand [during the national anthem], it should be a negotiation about opening up the doors for Colin Kaepernick and giving him an opportunity again,” the Seahawks defensive end said, via Brady Henderson of ESPN.com. “Because I feel like through everything, that’s been lost.”
  • However, other players may not see a Kaepernick job as an automatic end to the protests. One anonymous member of the NFL players coalition, assembled this year to help with criminal justice reform in these players’ respective communities, told Ed Werder (Twitter link) a Kaepernick signing won’t just stop the protests. The same player told Werder (Twitter link) the quarterback “continues to isolate himself from [the coalition]” with this grievance.
  • The Jets player reps at this week’s owners’ meetings, Kelvin Beachum and Demario Davis, declined to answer questions about them. Davis did compose a statement, however. “I will say that the talks were very productive,” the linebacker said, via Daniel Popper of the New York Daily News. “It’s encouraging to me as an athlete to see so many athletes and owners so concerned about our country and pushing in the right direction. We have a tremendous platform in the NFL, and to whom much is given, much is required. And that’s why we simply can’t just play football.”
  • Jaguars owner Shad Khan said Trump’s failure to buy an NFL team has led to this crusade against the league. “This is a very personal issue with him,” Khan said (via Jarrett Bell of USA Today). “… He’s been elected president, where maybe a great goal he had in life to own an NFL team is not very likely. So to make it tougher, or to hurt the league, it’s very calculated.” Trump attempted to buy the Bills in 2014, but Terry Pegula wound up acquiring the franchise.

Jets LB Demario Davis Accepts Pay Cut

Linebacker Demario Davis accepted a pay cut upon being traded to the Jets earlier this month, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Rich Cimini of ESPN.com reported in early June that New York was likely to reduce Davis’ salary after re-acquiring him.Demario Davis (Vertical)

Davis, 28, had been due a base salary of $3.7MM for the upcoming season, but none of that total was guaranteed. Now, Davis will earn a $100K signing bonus, a $900K base salary, and can bring in an additional $1.225MM via incentives. All told, Davis’ new salary cap charge is $2.225MM, meaning Gang Green has shaved $1.475MM off its 2017 cap.

A full-time starter for the Jets from 2013-15, Davis spent the 2016 campaign with the Browns. In 15 starts, Davis racked up 99 tackles, two sacks, and graded as the league’s No. 59 linebacker among 87 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus. Dealt back to the Jets in exchange for safety Calvin Pryor, Davis figures to start next to Darron Lee now that veteran ‘backer David Harris has been released.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets Likely To Ask Demario Davis For Paycut

The Jets re-acquired linebacker Demario Davis last week in a trade that sent safety Calvin Pryor to the Browns, but unless Davis accepts a reduction on his $3.7MM base salary, he isn’t likely to make New York’s final roster, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.com."<strong

None of Davis’ 2017 salary, so the Jets could cut him without incurring any dead money on their salary cap. As Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap wrote last week, the trade was odd on its face: given that Pryor is due a salary of roughly $1.6MM for the upcoming season, New York is essentially paying $2.1MM in order to rid itself of Pryor.

If the Jets do opt to release Davis, the club would be in the same position it would have been in had they simply cut Pryor. Because none of Davis’ money would accelerate onto their cap, the only remnants of the trade on the Jets’ book would be Pryor’s ~$1.1MM in dead money. That total would have remained on New York’s cap whether it traded or waived Pryor.

Davis, 28, is an strange fit for a Jets club that already employs veteran David Harris and 2016 first-round pick Darron Lee at linebacker, but New York is familiar with Davis given that he played for Gang Green from 2012-15. While Davis could conceivably serve as a backup and a special teams player (he played on a quarter of the Jets’ ST snaps during his last season with the team), he isn’t likely to do so on a $3.7MM salary.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

North Notes: Steelers, Davis, Stafford, Pack

Despite Alejandro Villanueva continuing to attend Steelers OTAs, the left tackle and the team are still not on the same page regarding his contract, Bob Labriola of Steelers.com notes. Using a situation one-time Pittsburgh ERFA Willie Parker found himself in several years ago as a comparison, the Steelers writer advocates that Villanueva take what the team is offering to get some more money upfront. As an ERFA, Villanueva can make just $540K this season on the tender he hasn’t signed. But as a two-year starter for the Steelers, the former Army Ranger is obviously worth more than that. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk argues Villanueva should not accept a Steelers lowball offer and withhold his services this summer until the team submits a viable proposal. Nothing’s come out on what kind of deal the team has offered. The sides have talked since at least February on this pact, so this has reached impasse status.

Villanueva is a rare 28-year-old ERFA, and under the terms of his initial NFL contract, the would-be third-year starter won’t be able to become an unrestricted free agent until he’s 30 in 2019. Labriola notes Parker signed a three-year, $13.6MM deal to stay in Pittsburgh in the summer of 2006. As the going rate for linemen continues to rise as teams’ ability to develop them out of college becomes more difficult, Villanueva would have considerable value on the market. But his current circumstances could force him to make a decision soon.

Here’s the latest coming out of the North divisions.

  • The common view around the league, per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, is the Lions will make Matthew Stafford the league’s highest-paid quarterback by summer’s end. One NFL source said last month Stafford will wait for Derek Carr to sign his extension first and work off of that, and Birkett noting Stafford’s better body of work compared to the younger Carr puts him in a position to wait and command more money.
  • Demario Davis did not have the speed the Browns wanted at their linebacker position, Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer notes. The Browns traded their incumbent No. 1 middle linebacker to the Jets in exchange for Calvin Pryor. Davis is returning to the Jets and their 3-4 scheme. Cleveland is pivoting back to a 4-3 after hiring Gregg Williams, and while the Browns installed Davis as their primary middle ‘backer and moved 2016 breakout performer Christian Kirksey to the weak side, the team plans to use Kirksey and Jamie Collins in its nickel sets. As for the starting middle linebacker in the base alignment, the Browns may first turn to Tank Carder for now, per Pluto. Carder has been with the Browns for six years but has worked as a backup throughout that time.
  • We heard earlier the Browns are considering using a 4-2-5 nickel-type look more frequently to help Jabrill Peppers — often a linebacker at Michigan — and Pluto notes the team does plan to bring a large dose of nickel sets this season. While the league has already gravitated toward passing-down sub-packages as offenses have spread out more in recent years, the Browns would seem to have personnel that fits better with this alignment. Especially after the team signed Jason McCourty to join Joe Haden and Jamar Taylor.
  • Punter Jake Schum cleared waivers and will be transferred back to the Packers‘ IR list, according to the Associated Press. The Packers cut Schum earlier this week after he served as the punter last season in all 19 Green Bay games. It’s unclear what injury Schum sustained. UDFA Justin Vogel is the only punter on the team’s roster, but the Packers didn’t acquire Schum until August after using a waiver claim on him.

Jets Trade Safety Calvin Pryor To Browns

The Jets are trading former first-round pick Calvin Pryor to the Browns, sources tell Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). In return, the Jets are getting linebacker Demario Davis, a player who spent multiple seasons as a starter in New York before leaving for Cleveland in free agency. The Browns have since confirmed the trade via press release."<strong

Calvin is a young, experienced safety that has upside,” said Browns Executive Vice President of Football Operations Sashi Brown. “We are pleased to be able to add him to our defensive back room and just like every player we acquire, we expect him to come in with a hard-working mindset ready to compete. DeMario is a guy that we developed the utmost respect for in his time with our team, not only as a professional but also as a person. We appreciate all he did for our organization in his time in Cleveland.”

Nicknamed the “Louisville Slugger,” Pryor was drafted by the old regime with the hope that his hard-hitting style would elevate the team’s secondary. Unfortunately, he has not been able to produce in his three NFL seasons and the new regime didn’t have much use for him after drafting LSU’s Jamal Adams No. 6 overall and Florida’s Marcus Maye in the second round. The Jets couldn’t find a trade partner for Pryor prior to the 2017 draft, but they have struck a deal today with Cleveland.

Pryor would probably like to start at strong safety for the Browns, but that job might already belong to first round pick Jabrill Peppers. Still, there’s no reason why he can’t find work as a key reserve. Although he doesn’t fit the Jets plans, the advanced metrics are higher on him than you might think. In his first two NFL seasons, Pro Football Focus had Pryor ranked as a top-50 safety in the NFL. Last year, he took a slight step back, but he still earned a better score than Derrick Kindred and Ibraheim Campbell, two safeties who are hoping to stick on the Browns’ 53-man roster.

Davis saw part-time action in his rookie season after being selected in the third round of the 2012 draft by the Jets, but started every game for the team from 2012-2015. In 2015, his final year with the Jets, he totaled 89 tackles to go along with a pair of sacks and a fumble recovery. Davis inked a two-year, $8MM deal with the Browns in March 2016 and he’s now headed back to New York to complete the final year of that pact. He’ll make a $3.7MM salary this year, though it is completely non-guaranteed.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Contract Details: Okung, Penn, Pacman

Here are several of the latest contract details on deals which were agreed upon or signed within the last week. All links are courtesy of Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle unless otherwise indicated.

AFC West:

  • Russell Okung, T (Broncos): Five years, $53MM. No guaranteed money. Option after year one. $2MM base salary, $1MM workout bonus, and $2MM Week 1 roster bonus for 2016. Up to $3MM in incentives available in 2016 ($1.5MM for 80% of snaps, $3MM for 90% of snaps). Option must be exercised between fifth day after Super Bowl and first day of 2017 league year. If option is exercised, $2MM salary for 2017 and $9.5MM salary for 2018 become fully guaranteed, and an $8MM roster bonus is paid out (links via Pro Football Talk, ESPN’s Josina Anderson, Tom Pelissero of USA Today, and Wilson)
  • Donald Penn, T (Raiders): Two years, $11.9MM, $5.5MM guaranteed. $2MM roster bonus due 20th day of 2016 league year. $300K in annual weigh bonuses (six weigh-ins worth $50K each). Up to $750K in annual playing-time, Pro Bowl, and playoff incentives (Twitter links).
  • Andre Holmes, WR (Raiders): One year, $2MM. $750K guaranteed. $500K signing bonus. $250K of $1.25MM base salary guaranteed. $250K workout bonus. Up to $1MM in catch, yardage incentives (Twitter links).

AFC North:

  • Adam Jones, CB (Bengals): Three years, $22MM. $6MM guaranteed. $2MM signing bonus. $4MM roster bonus due March 18. $500K in annual per-game active roster bonuses. $500K playing-time escalator for 2017. $750K playing-time escalator for 2018. $200K punt return average incentive for 2018. 2018 option to be exercised by last day of 2017 league year. (Twitter links).
  • Demario Davis, LB (Browns): Two years, $8MM. $4.1MM guaranteed. $2MM signing bonus. Annual $100K workout bonus (Twitter link).
  • Ryan Harris, T (Steelers): Two years, $3.9MM. $675K signing bonus (Twitter link).
  • Pat Sims, DT (Bengals): Two years, $2.3MM. $250K guaranteed roster bonus due March 18. $200K in annual playing-time incentives. $200K playing-time escalator for 2017 (Twitter links via Wilson and Pelissero).

AFC East:

  • Andre Branch, DE (Dolphins): One year, $2.75MM. $2.5MM guaranteed base salary. $250K in per-game active roster bonuses. Up to $250K in incentives (Twitter link).
  • Nate Ebner, S (Patriots): Two years, $2.4MM. $500K guaranteed. $125K in annual per-game roster bonuses. $250K first-day camp reporting bonus. Up to $500K in playing-time, Pro Bowl incentives (Twitter links via Wilson and Mike Reiss of ESPN.com).
  • Frank Kearse, DT (Patriots): One year, minimum salary benefit. $30K signing bonus. $30K first-day camp reporting bonus. $20K in per-game active roster bonuses (Twitter link).
  • Robert Blanton, S (Bills): One year, minimum salary benefit. $80K signing bonus (Twitter link via Pelissero).

AFC South:

  • Antwon Blake, CB (Titans): One year, $1.5MM. $200K signing bonus. Up to $750K in playing-time incentives (Twitter link).

Browns Sign Demario Davis

10:57am: The Browns have officially confirmed their deal with Davis.

8:46am: The Browns and Davis have agreed to terms, Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal confirms (via Twitter).

8:26am: The Browns are expected to sign linebacker Demario Davis, a source tells Brian Costello of the New York Post (Twitter link). We had heard on Tuesday that Davis was in Cleveland paying a visit to the team.Sep 27, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets inside linebacker Demario Davis (56) comes away with a fumble recovery during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the New York Jets 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Steven Ryan-USA TODAY Sports

Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News confirms (via Twitter) that the two sides are working on finalizing an agreement. According to Mehta (via Twitter), Davis is expected to sign a two-year deal worth $8MM. Newsday’s Kimberley Martin adds (via Twitter) that it will include $4MM guaranteed.

Davis, 27, saw part-time action in his rookie season after being selected in the third round of the 2012 draft by the Jets, but started every game for the team since that year. In 2015, he totaled 89 tackles to go along with a pair of sacks and a fumble recovery.

Although Davis has been leaned on heavily by the Jets in recent years, Pro Football Focus suggested last month that it might not make sense for New York to re-sign him this offseason, pointing out that he had “struggled in all phases of the game, especially tackling the ball carrier.” The Jets will still have a hole to fill at inside linebacker beside David Harris though, with Erin Henderson also no longer under contract.

As for the Browns, with Karlos Dansby penciled in at one inside linebacker spot in Cleveland, Davis looks to be the favorite to take over the other one, assuming he gets a deal finalized, then beats out Christian Kirksey and others this summer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Free Agency Rumors: D. Davis, Browns, Steelers

Free agent linebacker Demario Davis is in Cleveland visiting the Browns, according to Newsday’s Kimberley A. Martin, who tweets that Davis has also drawn interest from other clubs. Davis, 27, has spent the first four years of his NFL career with the Jets, starting every game for the team since the start of the 2013 season.

Here are a few more free agency notes and rumors from around the NFL:

  • Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link) hears from sources that safety Eric Weddle turned down larger offers from two other teams to join the Ravens. Cole adds that Baltimore assistant general manager Eric DeCosta spoke to Weddle and his representatives for 90 minutes on the phone, addressing questions and issues that the veteran free agent had about Baltimore and the Ravens.
  • The Steelers like nose tackle Steve McLendon and want to re-sign him, but they’re resistant to paying big money to a player who only sees the field for about 25-30% of the club’s defensive snaps, writes Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com. According to Fowler, Pittsburgh is willing to enhance Dan McCullers‘ role if the team loses McLendon, who recently paid a visit to the Jets.
  • Before he agreed to a new deal with the Vikings, cornerback Marcus Sherels received an offer from the Jets and was prepared to visit with the Panthers, tweets Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. The Buccaneers also had interest in Sherels.