Derek Wolfe

Ravens, DE Derek Wolfe Agree To Deal

Hours after the Broncos agreed to re-sign Shelby Harris, their longest-tenured defensive lineman will head elsewhere. Derek Wolfe agreed to terms with the Ravens on a one-year deal worth up to $6MM, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

The deal will guarantee Wolfe $3MM, Troy Renck of Denver7 tweets. Wolfe said, via Renck, the Broncos did not make an offer to bring him back.

The Ravens were thought to have finalized an agreement with Michael Brockers, but after it turned out the sides could not close that deal, Baltimore will pivot to another veteran interior rusher.

Wolfe, 29, said for months his preference was to return to Denver, where he played eight seasons. But the Broncos traded for Pro Bowler Jurrell Casey and opted to re-sign Harris after his market underwhelmed. The Ravens have swooped in and will add Wolfe to a defensive line that includes Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams.

While Wolfe was productive in Vic Fangio‘s scheme — registering career-high seven sacks in just 12 games — and was a starter for the Broncos’ dominant Super Bowl-winning defense in 2015, he has dealt with injuries throughout his career. The former second-round pick was not able to play in Super Bowl XLVIII due to a scary neck injury sustained earlier in 2013 and encountered more neck trouble in 2017. His 2019 season ended early because of an elbow injury.

The Ravens expressed interest in Ndamukong Suh, but he returned to the Buccaneers. Instead, Baltimore will add Wolfe on a team-friendlier contract. Wolfe signed a four-year, $36.75MM Broncos extension in early 2016 and played out that contract. With the Broncos, he totaled 33 sacks. Working with talented edge rushers throughout his career, the interior rusher registered at least five sacks in four seasons.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Broncos, Bryce Callahan Agree To Restructure

The Broncos and cornerback Bryce Callahan have agreed to a paycut/restructure, per Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network (via Twitter). Callahan is now scheduled to earn $5MM in 2020 and can earn another $2MM in playing time incentives. The move will free up $1.8MM in cap space for 2020.

Denver signed Callahan last March with the hope that his strong play as a slot CB with the Bears would carry over to Mile High. But Callahan suffered a broken foot towards the end of his tenure in Chicago, and he re-aggravated the injury during his first training camp with the Broncos. He ultimately underwent stem cell treatment on the foot and missed the entire 2019 campaign.

Still, the Broncos will likely be relying on Callahan to start in 2020. The club traded for A.J. Bouye earlier this month but saw Chris Harris depart in free agency, so Callahan will be a key part of a remade secondary. Denver is also reportedly interested in adding another CB via free agency or the draft.

In other Broncos news, Troy Renck of Denver7 reports that the team has shown no interest in retaining free agent DE Derek Wolfe, who is still in search of a new team.

Broncos Notes: Harrises, Wolfe, OL, RBs

The Broncos both traded for A.J. Bouye (and a $13MM salary) and used their franchise tag on Justin Simmons, signaling Chris Harris‘ time in Denver was almost certainly up. The four-time Pro Bowler said during an NFL Network appearance the door is “pretty much” closed on a 10th Broncos season (Twitter link via The Athletic’s Nicki Jhabvala). The decorated cornerback is expected to have at least 10 teams pursuing him, Troy Renck of Denver7 tweets. The Browns, Cardinals, Chargers, Chiefs, Cowboys, Jets, Lions, Raiders, Seahawks and Texans are expected to have “strong” interest in signing the 30-year-old defender, Renck adds. This list interestingly omits the Eagles, who have been linked to Harris at multiple junctures over the past five months.

Although Harris is arguably the best slot cornerback in NFL history, his consistent usage as a boundary player as well will likely push his market near the current corner standard of $15MM per year. He turned down the Broncos’ three-year, $36MM proposal before the trade deadline.

Here is the latest out of Denver:

  • Denver’s Week 1 starting defensive line consisted of Derek Wolfe, Shelby Harris and Adam Gotsis. All three are poised to hit the market, with Gotsis doing so after being benched early in the season. Shelby Harris would prefer to stay in Denver but has acknowledged, at 28, this is his lone chance at a big payday. The Colts are among the teams interested in the late-blooming D-lineman, Renck notes.
  • On the Wolfe subject, the eight-year veteran has been the most vocal about returning to Denver. His agent’s Combine meeting with the Broncos led him to believe he will hit the market. “[The Broncos] talked to my agent at the Combine. … It looks like they’re going to let me hit free agency, see what the market is,” Wolfe said during an interview with KOA Radio (via DNVR Sports’ Andrew Mason, on Twitter). “… It’s a nice way of saying, ‘We like you; we love you, but not for that kind of money.” The Broncos may bring back Wolfe or Shelby Harris, but not both. The team drafted Dre’Mont Jones in Round 3 last year, so it may be covered at one of its defensive end spots. Wolfe, 29, said during an interview with Sirius XM Radio (audio link) he is eyeing two to four more seasons.
  • The Broncos’ interest in a running back stems not necessarily from their current regime’s desire to replace Phillip Lindsay but to complement him, per Renck, who adds the team is expected to add a bigger back in either free agency or the draft. Royce Freeman has underwhelmed in that role over the past two seasons.
  • The Broncos plan to pursue a guard on the market, Renck notes (on Twitter). They declined Ronald Leary‘s 2020 option, so a replacement will be needed. They also may try to add a swing tackle and are likely to draft a tackle, which makes sense given left tackle Garett Bolles‘ struggles.
  • Elijah Wilkinson was supposed to work as a Broncos swing man in 2019, but Ja’Wuan James‘ near-season-long absence thrust Wilkinson into Denver’s right tackle spot. He spent time as a first-string guard in 2018 and stands to factor into the Broncos’ 2020 plans at one of those two positions. The team is expected to use a priority tender on Wilkinson, per Renck. This will likely mean a second-round tender. That will cost more than $3MM.

Extra Points: Broncos, XFL, Vikings, Hawks

Derek Wolfe has made it clear for months he would like to return to the Broncos, but the eight-year veteran does not want to take a pay cut to do so, Mike Klis of 9News notes. Both Wolfe and Shelby Harris are free agents, and Klis adds the Broncos will not bring back both players. It will be an either/or setup, or the Broncos will let both walk and essentially remake their defensive line. Both were starters over the past three seasons. Wolfe has been a Denver starter since his 2012 rookie slate and joins Chris Harris in being first-stringers from the team’s Super Bowl champion defense set to hit the market. Shelby Harris, 28, joined the Broncos in 2017, after being out of football in 2016, and will be in demand on the market. The Broncos met with Wolfe’s agent at the Combine.

Denver extended Wolfe, now 29, on a four-year, $36.75MM deal in January 2016. With John Elway indicating defensive line doubles as this free agent class’ deepest position, it is certainly possible the team moves on from Wolfe rather than give him a third contract — north of that $9MM-per-year rate — as he enters his 30s.

Here is the latest from around the league:

  • Vikings tight end David Morgan missed all of last season because of a knee injury, and Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press notes his contract will toll to 2020. Morgan’s contract was set to expire after the 2019 season, making him a first-time free agent this year. But after spending last season on Minnesota’s PUP list, Morgan will again be tethered to the Vikings this year. The rate will depend on the CBA. If the players reject the owners’ proposal, Morgan will make $735K again. If the CBA is ratified this week, Morgan’s salary would spike to $825K. A sixth-round pick in 2016, Morgan has 16 receptions for 135 yards and a touchdown in his three seasons with the Vikings.
  • One of the XFL’s top players has drawn interest from the Seahawks. Seattle scouts were on hand at Saturday’s Seattle Dragons-Houston Roughnecks game, with Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk noting they were looking into Roughnecks quarterback Phillip Walker. The former NFL practice squad passer has Houston as the XFL’s lone unbeaten, at 5-0. His last NFL connection came in a Buccaneers workout in September 2019. Walker, 24, bounced on and off the Colts’ practice squad in 2018. The Seahawks used Geno Smith as Russell Wilson‘s backup last year; he is now a free agent. XFLers cannot sign NFL deals until the XFL season ends in April.
  • Speaking of the XFL, their kickoff setup has drawn some notable praise. Packers president Mark Murphy is a fan of the league’s kickoffs and its post-touchdown format, Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com tweets. The XFL placing 10 members of the kickoff and kick-return teams five yards across from each other naturally stands to reduce high-speed collisions the NFL has sought to minimize for years. The XFL replaced extra-point kicks with one-, two- or three-point conversions — from the 2-, 5- and 10-yard lines — in its second go-round.

AFC West Notes: C. Jones, Broncos, C. Harris

The Chiefs will hit star DT Chris Jones with the franchise tag, and Jones is none too happy about it. “It’s like a mix of emotions,” Jones said in a recent interview with Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd (h/t Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk). “Because you figure, you know, after four years, you do everything the right way, within the team way, you try to stay under the line, out of trouble, and be a good citizen for a team and for the city, you expect to be rewarded….It’s like, ‘Man, what else you want me to do?'”

Jones isn’t exactly the first player to express frustration with the tag, and Cowherd, as is his custom, did his best to wrangle noteworthy soundbites out of the 2019 Pro Bowler. But Jones will almost surely get the contract he’s looking for, either with the Chiefs or another club after a tag-and-trade. For what it’s worth, Florio does not believe KC will let Jones get away.

Now for more from the AFC West:

  • The Broncos made a splash today by acquiring CB A.J. Bouye from the Jaguars, which has furthered the belief that Chris Harris will leave in free agency. Indeed, Mike Klis of 9News believes that, unless Harris’ market falls dramatically, he will be suiting up elsewhere in 2020 (Twitter link). A team source acknowledged that Bouye’s presence makes it less likely Harris will be back, but the source did not close the door on the possibility (Twitter link via Klis).
  • After all, the Broncos still need another veteran CB, though Troy Renck of Denver7 believes the club will target a mid-range FA and draft a corner (Twitter link).
  • Another free agent the Broncos could have a tough time retaining is safety Will Parks. Renck reports in a full-length piece that Parks, lauded for his energy and versatility, has attracted significant interest from as many as 10 teams. However, the club has had positive dialogue with DE Derek Wolfe, per Renck. Wolfe has made it clear that he wants to remain in Denver.
  • The Raiders are one of the teams interested in Harris, and they also have their eye on one of the market’s other top CBs, Byron Jones.

Broncos Rumors: Miller, Wolfe, Harris

Set for their third straight losing season for the first time since 1970-72, the Broncos did see their best player make the Pro Bowl on Tuesday. But Von Miller‘s postgame comments Sunday left some uncertainty about his future in Denver.

I don’t really even know what to say. I don’t know how we got to this point. I don’t know why we [are losing] like this. It’s tough,” Miller said, via USA Today’s Lorenzo Reyes. “I’m 30 years old and going out there with whatever issues I’m dealing with and still coming up so short. It’s tough playing nine years with Chris Harris and dealing with these last couple of ones, especially with the type of standard that we had when I came into the league. We went to the playoffs five years straight.

“I know I’m getting ahead of myself, and I’m talking about more than just a game, but this is tough. I’m really lost for words.”

Miller said Tuesday he does not want to leave the Broncos “at all” but was expressing frustration about the situation the team resides, per Troy Renck of Denver7. The Broncos won at least 12 games in each of Peyton Manning‘s four seasons but have failed to win 10 in a season since. Miller has two seasons remaining on his six-year, $114.5MM contract; they are option years at $17.5MM apiece. The Broncos have until the final day of the 2019 and ’20 league years to pick up those respective options.

Here is the latest out of Denver:

  • Derek Wolfe has made progress since an elbow dislocation ended his season. The eighth-year defensive end did not require surgery, via Renck. While John Elway said he plans to keep Simmons in Denver, Wolfe told Renck no contract discussions have occurred between his camp and the Broncos. One of four Super Bowl 50 starters left with the Broncos, Wolfe would like to stay in Denver on a third contract. The Broncos have Wolfe, Chris Harris, Justin Simmons and Shelby Harris as free agents-to-be.
  • Chris Harris has said he plans to test the market, which he did not do on what would have been his first free agency go-round four years ago, but would like to stay with the Broncos. There’s a “very good chance” Harris and the Broncos work something out to keep him in Denver, Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post writes. Though the 30-year-old defender has endured an up-and-down season, in being the rare cornerback to travel with No. 1 wideouts, the four-time Pro Bowler remains Denver’s top corner. No known discussions have occurred between Harris and the Broncos since his summer pay raise, but some support exists in the building to extend the ninth-year player.
  • Kareem Jackson will not return for the Broncos until 2020. The best of the team’s high-priced free agent haul received a two-game suspension Tuesday.

Derek Wolfe Hopes To Stay With Broncos

Derek Wolfe is done for the year with a dislocated left elbow, but he hopes that he’s not yet done with the Broncos. The veteran says he hopes to return to the team in 2020, as Mike Klis of 9News writes.

I know. I’d hate for that to be my last game as a Bronco,” Wolfe said. “That would break my heart.”

Wolfe, 30 in February, is in the final season of a four-year, $36.7MM contract. He made $9MM this season and it’s unclear if the Broncos would have him back at a similar rate. For what it’s worth, head coach Vic Fangio was asked if he wanted Wolfe back and he replied, “Sure.”

Before the injury, Wolfe notched two sacks against the Chargers, giving him a new single-season best of seven sacks. That’s the kind of production the Broncos could use even after their offseason revamp, but they have many tough decisions to make when it comes to their free agents.

They’re expected to make a strong push for at least one pending free agent in safety Justin Simmons, Klis hears. Simmons, still only 26, has started in all 12 of his games this year and currently ranks as Pro Football Focus’ No. 2 safety in the NFL.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Broncos’ Derek Wolfe Done For Season

1:09pm: Wolfe will indeed miss the rest of the season. The Broncos are placing him on IR, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter).

8:15am: Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe might not be on the field for the final stretch of the season. After the Broncos topped the Chargers 23-30 on Sunday, the veteran told reporters that he’s likely done for the year after suffering an elbow injury. 

It doesn’t look good,” Wolfe said (via Mike Klis of 9News).

Wolfe went on to say that he’s likely dealing with a dislocation, which would certainly rule him out the rest of the way. It’s unfortunate, especially since Wolfe has been playing well as of late. In the win over the Bolts, Wolfe registered two sacks, giving him seven sacks on the year – his highest season total ever.

At 4-8, the Broncos have a lot of work ahead of them this offseason. But Wolfe, who has been one of their most reliable defensive players in recent years, figures to still be a part of the plan in 2020. He’ll be eligible for free agency in March, however, after the conclusion of the four-year, $36.7MM deal he inked in 2016.

Wolfe has earned nearly $33MM since entering the league as a second-round pick of the Broncos in 2012. He’ll turn 30 in February, so a new contract with Denver could allow him to retire as a member of the Broncos.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Broncos Notes: Free Agents, Simmons, McManus

Broncos Hall of Fame quarterback turned president of football operations John Elway has not needed to break the bank retaining the team’s free agents over the past few years. Ryan O’Halloran of The Denver Post opines that this offseason may force Denver to change that approach. O’Halloran looks at every Bronco set for free agency and analyzes whether the team should try to resign them.

Veterans Chris Harris and Derek Wolfe highlight a crop that includes multiple starters and a number of main rotational pieces. At just 3-8, Denver has a lot of holes to fill, but they will have over $70MM in cap space to target more outside talent and retain the internal players they want to keep.

Here’s more from the franchise in the Mile High City:

  • Regardless of how Denver handles the rest of their free-agent crop, the Broncos need to retain safety Justin Simmons, opines Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post. While the team obviously hopes to return to contention as soon as possible, the team has to wonder whether players like Harris and Wolfe will still be playing at a good enough level by the time they turn it around. Just 26 years old, Simmons fits for the franchise regardless of how long it takes them to rebuild.
  • While it had little impact on the outcome of the Broncos 20-3 loss on Sunday against the Bills, kicker Brandon McManus told reporters postgame that the weather conditions in Buffalo resulted in the most difficult kick of his career, according to Ryan O’Halloran of The Denver Post. With seventeen mile per hour winds at kickoff, McManus managed to make a 45-yard field goal kicking against the win, accounting for the teams only points. However, his two kickoffs against the win failed to reach the Bills ten-yard line.

Trade Rumors: Hopkins, Slay, Hooper

The trade deadline is two days away, so there are plenty of rumors to pass along. Of course, many of those rumors center around this year’s non-contenders, but Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports says that two such teams — the Redskins and Bengals — continue to rebuff inquiries concerning veterans who should be available. Rival GMs have grown increasingly frustrated with Washington and Cincinnati, and La Canfora says opposing clubs have become resigned to the fact that they are not going to be able to swing a deal with those obstinate franchises. That means that a number of big names — Trent Williams, Ryan Kerrigan, A.J. Green, and Carlos Dunlap, to name a few — are looking more and more likely to stay put.

Now for more trade rumors from around the league, starting with another nugget out of Cincinnati:

  • Michael Lombardi of The Athletic agrees that the Bengals are likely to stand pat at the deadline for the most part, but he does believe the club will move tight end Tyler Eifert.
  • Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins is decidedly not on the trading block, but teams have still called Houston to ask about the star wideout, as Jay Glazer of FOX Sports tweets. That obviously sounds like clubs doing their due diligence more than anything else, and Glazer acknowledges that it would take an awful lot for the Texans to move Hopkins.
  • The Lions have received calls on CB Darius Slay, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. It would take a big offer to pry Slay from Detroit, but in the wake of Slay’s comments earlier this week, maybe the Lions will be more inclined to move him.
  • RB-needy teams have called the Seahawks to inquire on Rashaad Penny, as Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network reports (video link). Penny is not on the block, per se, but the 2018 first-rounder is drawing interest. In the same video, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network says Chargers RB Melvin Gordon could also be on the move.
  • Schefter reports that the 49ers have received calls on backup QB C.J. Beathard, whom Schefter suggests could be on the move.
  • The Falcons have fielded calls on DT Tyeler Davison, per Lombardi, but Atlanta has told other teams Davison will not be moved. The team is also going to hang on to TE Austin Hooper, as Schefter tweets.
  • The Giants are likely to cut Nate Solder after the season, so Lombardi believes Big Blue should go ahead and trade him now (though HC Pat Shurmur, whose job could be in jeopardy, would likely resist such a move). The Browns continue to be in the market for OT help, as Schefter writes, and the Patriots may also be interested in a reunion with Solder. Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com says Solder was not a viable option for Cleveland as of the middle of last week, but that could change in the next couple of days.
  • Janoris Jenkins is another member of the Giants who could be on the move, and while he is likely open to joining a contender, he just wants New York to be transparent with their plans for him, as Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post writes. That sentiment was also expressed by former Giants like Landon Collins and Odell Beckham Jr., who both felt as though Shurmur and GM Dave Gettleman were not straightforward with them. Dunleavy names the Chiefs as a potential landing spot for Jenkins.
  • Interest remains heavy on Broncos vets Chris Harris Jr. and Derek Wolfe, as La Canfora writes. Denver is open to moving Harris and Wolfe, and rival GMs expect the Broncos to make those trades happen.