Derrick Shelby

NFL Contract Details: Scandrick, Shelby, Latimer, Wynn

Let’s take a look at the most recent new contracts around the NFL:

  • Orlando Scandrick, CB (Redskins): Two years, $6.85MM. $1MM guaranteed. $1MM signing bonus (Twitter link via John Keim of ESPN.com).
  • Derrick Shelby, DE (Falcons): One year, $3.25MM. $2MM guaranteed (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com).
  • Cody Latimer, WR (Giants): One year, $2.5MM. $2.47MM guaranteed (Twitter link via Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com).
  • Marshall Newhouse, T (Bills): One year, $1.5MM. $500K guaranteed. $500K signing bonus. $250K available via playing time incentive (Twitter link via Mike Rodak of ESPN.com).
  • Kerry Wynn, DE (Giants): One year, $1.25MM. $500K guaranteed (Twitter link via Raanan).
  • L.P. Ladouceur, LS (Cowboys): One year, $1.015MM. $630K guaranteed. $90K signing bonus. Minimum salary benefit (Twitter link via Todd Archer of ESPN.com).

Falcons Re-Sign Derrick Shelby

The Falcons have re-signed defensive end Derrick Shelby, according to agent David Canter (on Twitter). He returns on a one-year deal. 

The Falcons released Shelby earlier this month in a move that saved them $3.25MM against the cap with $2.5MM left in dead money. He’s back with the team less than three weeks later, but on a cheaper deal.

Shelby was a starter right out of the gate in Dan Quinn’s defense after signing a four-year, $18MM contract with Atlanta in 2016. However, his first season with the Falcons was cut short by injury. last year, he appeared in all 16 games with 14 starts and managed just one sack while also playing on the interior.

The Falcons’ defensive front hasn’t changed much in Shelby’s 19 days away from the team. Atlanta lost Adrian Clayborn to the Patriots and Dontari Poe to the Panthers in free agency, but they have yet to add any new defensive linemen.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Seahawks, Browns On DE Derrick Shelby’s Visit Schedule

Derrick Shelby sought a Falcons release last week in order to get a head start on free agency, and the veteran defensive end is now gauging the market.

Shelby met with the Seahawks on Thursday and plans to head to Cleveland for a Browns summit before free agency begins, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

The Falcons released Shelby late last week after he’d started 14 games last season. However, the 29-year-old edge defender has only registered one sack over the past two seasons (22 games). Pro Football Focus graded Shelby as one of the better run defenders among 4-3 ends, however, and the Seahawks and Browns could be eyeing him as a rotational pass-rushing option.

The Seahawks traded Michael Bennett on Wednesday to deplete their defensive end corps, and the Browns don’t have a surefire starter opposite Myles Garrett. Although, Carl Nassib graded as a better run-stopper than Shelby did in 2017.

Money will be no object for Cleveland, but the seventh-year player — PFR’s No. 12 edge defender free agent — is not expected to command an especially lucrative contract.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Top 2018 Free Agents By Position: Defense

NFL free agency will get underway on Wednesday, March 14th, and while the list of free agents will change between now and then, we do have some idea of who will be available when free agency kicks off. The frenzy is right around the corner and it’s time for us to break down the outlook for each position. After looking at offense on Monday, we’ll tackle defense and special teams today.

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each defensive position. These rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts – or the amount of guaranteed money – that each player is expected to land in free agency. These are simply the players we like the most at each position, with both short- and long-term value taken into account.

Restricted and exclusive-rights free agents, as well as players who received the franchise tag, aren’t listed here, since the roadblocks in place to hinder another team from actually acquiring most of those players prevent them from being true free agents.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some free agents than you are, so feel free to weigh in below in our comments section to let us know which players we’ve got wrong.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by defensive position for 2018:

Edge defender:

  1. Julius Peppers
  2. William Hayes
  3. Trent Murphy
  4. Pernell McPhee
  5. Aaron Lynch
  6. Alex Okafor
  7. Adrian Clayborn
  8. Kony Ealy
  9. Connor Barwin
  10. Jeremiah Attaochu
  11. Junior Galette
  12. Derrick Shelby
  13. Barkevious Mingo
  14. Kareem Martin
  15. Erik Walden

As a positional group, pass rushers comprise interesting market on the defensive side of the ball. It’s not often that a list of best available players is topped by a 38-year-old, but Peppers is the top free agent edge defender after the Cowboys and Lions deployed the franchise tag on Demarcus Lawrence and Ezekiel Ansah, respectively. As with quarterbacks, NFL clubs are extremely reluctant to allow pass rushers to hit the open market, so top-tier options are rarely ever truly “available.” Peppers, for his part, hasn’t even declared whether he’ll return in 2018, but indications are that he’ll suit up for a 17th campaign after posting 11 sacks last year.

Alongside Peppers, other veterans populate the edge market, and while William Hayes may not be a household name, he’ll be a contributor for whichever team signs him. A stout run defender, Hayes is also capable of generating pressure despite managing only one sack in 2017. The Dolphins used Hayes on only 271 defensive snaps a season ago, and have since replaced him by acquiring fellow defensive end Robert Quinn from the Rams. Now that he’s entering his age-33 season, Hayes should come cheap, but will almost assuredly outplay his contract.

Nearly every other available pass rusher has some sort of flaw which will likely limit his market next week. Trent Murphy is only 27 years old and put up nine sacks in 2016, but he missed the entirety of the 2017 campaign with injury. Pernell McPhee, Alex Okafor, Junior Galette, and Derrick Shelby have also been plagued by health questions in recent seasons. And Adrian Clayborn famously registered the majority of his 2017 sacks (and 20% of his career sack total) in one game against overwhelmed Cowboys backup Chaz Green.

The two names that I keep coming back to are Aaron Lynch (49ers) and Jeremiah Attaochu (Chargers). Yes, Lynch has been suspended for substance abuse, struggled with his weight, and was reportedly in danger of being waived prior to last season. He’s also extremely young (he won’t turn 25 years old until Thursday) and ranked fifth in the league with 34 pass pressures as recently as 2015. Attaochu, a 25-year-old former second-round pick, also has youth on his side, and while he hasn’t quite flashed as much as Lynch, he’s also been buried on LA’s depth chart for much of his career.

Interior defensive line:

  1. Sheldon Richardson
  2. Dontari Poe
  3. Muhammad Wilkerson
  4. Star Lotulelei
  5. DaQuan Jones
  6. Beau Allen
  7. Denico Autry
  8. Justin Ellis
  9. Tom Johnson
  10. Bennie Logan
  11. Chris Baker
  12. Kyle Williams
  13. Dominique Easley
  14. Haloti Ngata
  15. Jay Bromley

Interior rushers are getting more respect in today’s NFL, but that still hasn’t translated to them being paid on the level of edge defenders — the 2018 franchise tag for defensive tackles, for example, is roughly $3MM cheaper than the tender for edge rushers. While the 2018 crop of interior defenders boasts some impressive top-end talent, none of the available players figure to earn a double-digit annual salary. Sheldon Richardson may have the best chance to do so, but Seattle determined he wasn’t worth a one-year cost of $13.939MM, so is any other club going to pay him $10MM per year? I’d guess he comes in closer to $9MM annually, which would still place him among the 25 highest-paid defensive tackles.

Dontari Poe will be an intriguing free agent case after setting for a one-year deal last offseason, but the most interesting battle among defensive tackles will take place Star Lotulelei and Muhammad Wilkerson, and I’m curious to see which player earns more on the open market. Both are former first-round picks, and it’s difficult to argue Wilkerson hasn’t been the more productive player — or, at least, reached higher highs — than Lotulelei. Wilkerson also won’t affect his next team’s compensatory pick formula given that he was released, but his off-field issues, which include a reported lack of effort and problems with coaches, could limit his appeal.

While Beau Allen and Denico Autry are potentially candidates to be overpaid based on their youth, there are bargains to be had at defensive tackle. Tom Johnson is 33 but he’s offered consistent pressure from the interior for years — his last contract was for three years and $7MM, so he shouldn’t cost much this time around. Haloti Ngata was injured in 2017 but plans to continue his career, and he can still stop the run. And Dominique Easley was outstanding as a 3-4 end in 2016 before missing last season with a torn ACL, meaning the former first-round pick could be a value play for any number of teams.Read more

Falcons Cut DE Derrick Shelby

The Falcons have released defensive end Derrick Shelby, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Shelby’s representatives requested the release so that he could get a jump start this weekend and “do a deal this weekend,” Rapoport adds. "<strong

Shelby, 29 in early March, left the Dolphins to sign with the Falcons in free agency last offseason. The veteran put himself on the map in 2016 when he took over for Cameron Wake following his injury and performed well in eight starts.

Shelby was a starter right out of the gate in Dan Quinn’s defense, but he did not bowl anyone over with his play. Shelby totaled 30 tackles on the year with one sack and graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 51 ranked edge defender.

Shelby, who also saw time on the interior in 2017, was under a four-year, $18MM contract with Atlanta with $7.5MM in guarantees. The Falcons will save $3.25MM against the cap by releasing him, but they’ll also be on the hook for $2.5MM in dead money.

The Falcons also released tight end Levine Toilolo on Friday and more cuts could be coming down the pike. The Falcons entered Friday with less than $11.5MM in cap space, putting them near the bottom of the NFL.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Falcons To Place Derrick Shelby On IR

The Falcons are placing Derrick Shelby on IR with a torn Achilles, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. The defensive end has been dealing with a calf injury that is apparently more serious than initially thought. Derrick Shelby (vertical)

Shelby, 27, left the Dolphins to sign with the Falcons in free agency this past offseason. Shelby, who took over for Cameron Wake after his injury, started eight games and performed well. PFF rated the former UDFA as its No. 23 overall edge-rusher despite Shelby starting just one game in his previous three seasons. Fellow Miami defector Olivier Vernon got all the headlines, but the Falcons were nonetheless excited about what Shelby could do this year.

In a related move, the Falcons are promoting rookie safety Sharrod Neasman from the practice squad to the 53-man roster, as Alex Marvez of NFL.com tweets.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins Notes: Morris, Shelby, Moore, Jordan

The Dolphins expressed interest in free agent running back Alfred Morris before he signed with the Cowboys, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Miami, of course, signed Broncos restricted free agent C.J. Anderson to a four-year, $18MM offer sheet, only to see Denver eventually match the deal. The club has also eyed free agent options such as James Starks and Chris Johnson, and is now said to be exploring the trade market as its search for a back continues.

Let’s take a look at a few more items out of South Beach…

  • Morris wasn’t the only free agent whom the Dolphins initially targeted, per Jackson, who reports that Miami also showed interest in cornerback Patrick Robinson before he joined the Colts. Additionally, the Dolphins might have more strongly gone after fellow corner Josh Robinson had they known they’d have cap space available once Denver matched the offer to Anderson.
  • Among their own free agents, Miami reportedly did not contact defensive end Derrick Shelby “for months,” according to Jackson, before calling him at the last minute to ask if he’d accept $3MM. Shelby ultimately signed a $21MM deal with the Falcons.
  • Like Shelby, quarterback Matt Moore received the cold shoulder from the Dolphins as the club met with Brandon Weeden and, per Jackson, showed interest in Luke McCown before he re-signed with the Saints. Moore eventually re-signed with Miami after being endorsed by head coach Adam Gase, reports Jackson.
  • The Dolphins weren’t fans of this year’s class of free agent corners, which explains why they didn’t target any of the top-rated players on the board at that position.
  • Miami does still need secondary help, however, and as Jackson explains in a separate article, the Dolphins are studying the top cornerbacks available in the draft.
  • Jackson believes that former third overall pick Dion Jordan would make the Dolphins’ roster if he’s reinstated from his yearlong suspension.

NFC Contract Details: Ayers, Shelby, Perry

Here are a few of the latest contract details from around the NFC on recently agreed-upon and signed deals. All links are courtesy of Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle unless otherwise indicated…

NFC South:

  • Robert Ayers, DE (Buccaneers): Three years, $19.5MM. $10.5MM guaranteed. $2.5MM roster bonus due on March 16. $2MM roster bonus due on fifth day of 2017 league year. $1MM roster bonus due on fifth day of 2018 league year. $550K annually in sacks incentives (Twitter links).
  • Derrick Shelby, DE (Falcons): Four years, $18MM. $7.5MM guaranteed. $5MM signing bonus. Annual $1MM base escalator from 2017 to 2019 (Twitter links).
  • Matt Schaub, QB (Falcons): One year, $1.75MM. $500K signing bonus. Up to $1MM in playing-time and 53-man roster incentives (Twitter link).

NFC East:

  • Tress Way, P (Washington): Five years, $7.8MM. $2.35MM guaranteed. $1.25MM signing bonus. Up to $400K in annual escalators from 2017 to 2020 (Twitter link via Master Tesfatsion of the Washington Post).
  • Nigel Bradham, LB (Eagles): Two years, $7MM. $4.5MM guaranteed. $1.5MM signing bonus. $500K base escalator for 2017 (Twitter link).
  • Kyle WIlber, LB (Cowboys): Two years, $3.25MM. $1MM signing bonus. $1MM playing-time incentive (Twitter link).
  • Logan Paulsen, TE (Washington): One year, minimum salary benefit. $35K signing bonus. $45K bonus for being on 53-man roster for first game (Twitter link).

NFC North:

  • Nick Perry, OLB (Packers): One year, $5MM. $1.5MM signing bonus. $2.3MM base salary. Up to $1MM in per-game active roster bonuses. $200K workout bonus. Up to $250K in incentives (Twitter links via Wilson and Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com).
  • Marcus Sherels, CB (Vikings): Two years, $4MM. $1.5MM guaranteed. $500K roster bonus due on March 16. $100K in annual punt return average incentives. $50K annual Pro Bowl incentive (Twitter links).
  • Rafael Bush, S (Lions): One year, $2.4MM. $250K signing bonus. $250K in per-game roster bonuses. Up to $900K in playing-time bonuses (Twitter link via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press).
  • Don Muhlbach, LS (Lions): One year, minimum salary benefit. $80K signing bonus (Twitter link).

NFC West:

  • Jermaine Gresham, TE (Cardinals): One year, $3.5MM. $3MM guaranteed. $500K in per-game active roster bonuses. $500K in incentives for stats, playing time (Twitter link).

Falcons Sign Derrick Shelby

THURSDAY, 8:44am: The Falcons have officially signed Shelby, the team confirmed today (via Twitter).

WEDNESDAY, 7:27pm: The Dolphins featured two defensive ends that received top-25 grades from Pro Football Focus last season. Both will suit up for other teams next season, the second such defection coming in the form of Derrick Shelby‘s decision to sign with the Falcons, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter).

Atlanta’s adding Shelby on a four-year, $18MM deal that could be worth as much as $21MM and contains $7.5MM in guaranteed money. The contract contains a $5MM signing bonus, according to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com (on Twitter).

Shelby joins Olivier Vernon as four-year Dolphins who received significant raises by signing with other teams today, with Vernon’s mammoth pact with the Giants overshadowing Shelby’s.

But Shelby, who took over for Cameron Wake in Miami’s lineup once the veteran defensive end was lost for the season, started eight games and performed well. PFF rated the former UDFA as its No. 23 overall edge-rusher despite Shelby starting just one game in his previous three seasons.

Shelby recorded 3.5 sacks after registering 5.5 in 2013-14 as a backup. The Falcons finished last in the league, accruing just 19 sacks as a team last season.

Cameron Wake, Dolphins Discussing Extension

FRIDAY, 10:17am: According to Albert Breer of the NFL Network (via Twitter), Wake and the Dolphins are hoping for resolution on his contract situation next week, which would give the team time to turn its attention to Vernon before the franchise-tag deadline.

THURSDAY, 8:23am: The Dolphins have engaged in contract talks with veteran defensive end Cameron Wake about a possible extension, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). According to Rapoport, Miami is exploring the possibility of getting something done with Wake before the new league year begins, which could give the team increased flexibility to retain defensive end Olivier Vernon.Cameron Wake

Wake, who turned 34 last month, was his usual productive self during the first half of the 2015 season, racking up seven sacks in seven games for the Dolphins, and forcing four fumbles. However, a torn Achilles, sustained in late October, sidelined him for the rest of the year, and has him on the mend as the ’16 league year approaches.

Wake is currently due a base salary of $8.275MM, plus a workout bonus of $125K, in 2016, the final year of his contract. If the Dolphins were to cut him, they could clear that $8.4MM from their books, leaving just $1.4MM in dead money on the cap. Since Miami seems to want to keep Wake on its roster, and a new deal would give him some guaranteed money up front, there’s motivation for both sides to work something out.

If the Dolphins do agree to an extension with Wake, it likely wouldn’t add more than a couple new years to his deal, given his age. It would also almost certainly reduce his $9.8MM cap number for 2016, which would free up some space for the club as it tackles other offseason business. Frankly though, if the Dolphins hope to use their franchise tag on Vernon or spend big on another player, releasing Wake and restructuring Ndamukong Suh‘s contract would make the most sense — those two moves would create upwards of $25MM in cap savings for the club.

If the Dolphins do extend Wake, it may signal the end of Derrick Shelby‘s time in Miami. Re-signing both Vernon and Shelby would be most plausible for the Dolphins if they move on from Wake, but as long as the veteran still in the mix, it might make sense for the club to focus on re-signing one of its two free agent defensive ends. Miami will have until March 1st to use its franchise tag, and until March 9th to work out extensions to avoid having its free agents reach the open market.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.