Devontae Booker

West Notes: Broncos, Seahawks, 49ers

The Broncos have fallen quite a ways from their Super Bowl 50 win about two years ago. The team’s biggest question mark is obviously at quarterback, but there are a number of questions that John Elway and company will have to answer over the course of the offseason, explains Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post.

Jhabvala mentions that the Broncos wide receiver position could really change over the next few months depending on how the front office approaches some of the playmakers that could enter free agency. The big name she mentions is Demaryius Thomas who could test the open market should Denver decline his $4MM option. He’s controllable for non-guaranteed salaries for the next two seasons, but the team could save some money or re-negotiate a new contract before a decision has to be made about that option. In addition to Thomas, Cody Latimer is an unrestricted free agent, Bennie Fowler is a restricted free agent and Emmanuel Sanders is a controllable veteran that could hit the trade block if the team rather invest in Thomas long-term.

Jhabvala also focuses on veteran cornerback Aqib Talib. She notes how he’ll turn 32 in February and is set to make $11MM in 2018. Although, the Broncos would only be responsible for $1MM if he were to be released. With Chris Harris and Bradley Roby under contract as well, it’s unlikely the team would hold onto all three for next season.

The article finally keys in on Denver’s starting running back, C.J. Anderson. Anderson is paid well for his position as he’ll make $4.4MM next season. However, his last two years of his original four-year deal that he signed in 2016 are non-guaranteed, so there is definitely significant money to be saved should the team move onto the likes of Devontae Booker, De’Angelo Henderson or potentially a another running back that they draft in April.

Here’s more from the NFL’s West divisions:

  • Denver has to deal with an off-the-field problem at receiver as well. Their 2017 third-round draft pick, Carlos Henderson, was arrested this afternoon for possession of marijuana, per Brad Cesak of NBC6News (Twitter link). The 23-year-old was placed on the injured reserve with a thumb injury in the preseason, but could face league discipline for his most recent incident. This would be his first offense, but it’s not encouraging for a Broncos team potentially looking for steady contributors on that side of the ball.
  • The news that Pete Carroll would be replacing Darrell Bevell with Brian Schottenheimer as Seattle’s next offensive coordinator was met with some skepticism across the football world. However, Seahawks backup quarterback Austin Davis thinks that the change will bring some positivity to the team’s offense in 2018, reports Brady Henderson of ESPN.com. Schottenheimer coached Davis for three seasons while the two were in St. Louis. “We were very creative in St. Louis,” Davis told 710 ESPN Seattle. “We threw a lot of things at the defense, whether it was drop-back, whether it was play-action, whether it was quarterback movement, we had it all. And we were a really good screen team. If there was one thing I could pick out from last year, we couldn’t run screens.” The Seahawks offense was carried by Russell Wilson last season and is in need of a new identity as the team looks to get back into the postseason.
  • 49ers promising rookie linebacker Reuben Foster recently got in trouble with the law for having possession of marijuana, which is likely to effect his paycheck in the years to come. The 2017 first-round pick had about $2.5MM in guaranteed money from 2018-2020, but that will probably be voided because of specific wording in his contract, according to Joel Corry of CBS Sports (Twitter link). Corry explained that Foster had a clause in his contract that if he were to be fined for a violation of the NFL’s drug policy, that money would lose its guaranteed status. The former Alabama defender fell down the draft board a bit last year because of some personality issues, and his immaturity has now clearly cost him in terms of his wallet.
  • Current 49ers starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo made some extra cash after the Patriots beat the Titans to advance to the AFC Championship, according to Corry in another tweet. Corry reports that Garoppolo received an extra $51k in playoff money for the victory because he was with New England for at least eight games this past regular season.

West Notes: Peterson, Booker, Bowman

Adrian Peterson is the Cardinals‘ latest David Johnson replacement solution, but interestingly, a potential Peterson-to-Arizona path was discussed two years ago. The running back’s agent, Ben Dogra, contacted Cardinals GM Steve Keim during the first round of the 2015 draft and told Peterson to work friend Larry Fitzgerald about a possible trade to Arizona, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com reports. Peterson was then a disgruntled Vikings employee, lobbying for more guaranteed money — which he eventually received. But the Cardinals drafted Johnson a night later in the third round, and the Vikings ended up redoing Peterson’s contract. Peterson went on to lead the NFL in rushing with 1,485 yards that season en route to his fifth All-Pro first team appearance. The Cardinals then went with Chris Johnson before David Johnson took over late in that 13-3 campaign.

Peterson said earlier this week upon being traded to the Cards he did want a change of scenery from a Saints setup that wasn’t working for him but added he didn’t request a trade. The 32-year-old back is now Arizona’s starter, and the future Hall of Famer will be tasked with turning around a Cardinals rushing attack that’s been by far the worst in the league.

Here’s the latest from some Western-division teams.

  • On the subject of what-if trades, it appears a rumor emerged involving the Cowboys being linked to Broncos running back Devontae Booker is unfounded. Both the Denver Post’s Nicki Jhabvala and 9News’ Mike Klis shot down this talk (Twitter links), Jhabvala going as far as saying a deal involving the second-year back is “not even a remote possibility.” Although the Broncos have C.J. Anderson and Jamaal Charles healthy, both have extensive injury histories. Booker does as well but is controlled through 2019 on a rookie deal.
  • At least two teams were “seriously interested” in a NaVorro Bowman trade, Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reports. But the 49ers, due to his longevity and impact with the team, allowed the 29-year-old linebacker to veto a deal. John Lynch confirmed one team did want Bowman, only the eighth-year ‘backer didn’t want to play for the unnamed franchise. Barrows adds the four-time All-Pro became frustrated by being subbed out during multiple series per game.
  • Branden Albert worked out for the Seahawks this week and was still in the Seattle area as of Friday, but finances may be holding up a deal. While no terms have been reported about a potential Albert/Hawks agreement, the Seahawks may be attempting to save a week’s worth of salary by not signing Albert until the start of next week, Brady Henderson of ESPN.com writes. The Seahawks are off this week. Albert was also scheduled to work out for the Giants, who are having similar offensive line issues, but has yet to do so.

AFC Notes: Eifert, Edelman, Charles

Let’s take a quick swing around the AFC as the early afternoon slate of games gets underway:

  • Bengals TE Tyler Eifert‘s most recent injury has further clouded his free agent case, as Paul Dehner, Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes. Eifert, who is in a contract year, is again experiencing back problems, and it is uncertain when he will return to the field. As Dehner observes, the Notre Dame product is in something of a catch-22. He either suits up at less than full health, which could hurt his performance and therefore his next contract, or he could wait until he is 100% healthy but not be on the field at all, thereby reinforcing his injury-prone reputation. Dehner says the franchise tag could still be in play for Cincinnati, as it would come at a relative bargain ($9-10MM) considering Eifert’s ability, but even a one-year deal at that value might be too much for the Bengals to stomach in light of Eifert’s health concerns. He may ultimately have to settle for a one-year “prove-it” deal to reestablish his value in 2018.
  • Julian Edelman underwent surgery to repair his torn right ACL within the past week, as Mike Reiss of ESPN.com writes. Reiss adds that everything went according to plan for the Patriots wideout, who expects to return at full strength in 2018.
  • Jamaal Charles had his best game with the Broncos last week, rushing nine times for 56 yards and a score, and his surprising success, along with the imminent return of Devontae Booker, have created a good problem for the Broncos, as Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post writes. Denver OC Mike McCoy said all three of his top backs — C.J. Anderson, Charles, and Booker — will get their fair share of reps, and there will not be a set number of carries for any of them.
  • Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link) says Ravens RB Alex Collins will get an increased workload in the team’s contest against the Steelers today. Collins, who was promoted off Baltimore’s taxi squad several weeks ago, has looked like the most explosive back on the roster in his limited reps, so he will get an opportunity to show what he can do in a more featured role.

AFC Notes: Jags, Luck, Fins, Broncos

The Jaguars’ questionable offseason decision to pick up quarterback Blake Bortles‘ fifth-year option for 2018 isn’t the first time they’ve exercised “tunnel vision” with a young player, Bill Barnwell of ESPN.com observes. For instance, Barnwell regards the Jags’ call last summer to extend wide receiver Allen Hurns on a four-year, $40.7MM pact as unnecessary, as he was due to make just $600K in 2016 and would have been controllable for a $3.9MM first-round tender as a restricted free agent this season. Hurns went on to post disappointing production last year (35 catches on 76 targets, 477 yards, three touchdowns in 11 games) and is no longer one of the Jaguars’ top two receivers. Barnwell also opines that the five-year, $51.7MM extension the Jaguars handed center Brandon Linder in July isn’t any more appealing than the deal they gave Hurns.

As for Bortles, who’s behind uninspiring veteran Chad Henne in the team’s QB derby and could be on the outs if he loses the battle, the Jaguars should have made an effort to find another signal-caller in the offseason if they weren’t entirely sold on him, Barnwell opines. However, instead of courting the likes of Tony Romo, Jay Cutler or Brian Hoyer, among others, they just re-signed Henne. Now, with pickings under center looking especially slim, Barnwell suggests the Jaguars pursue Brock Osweiler if the Browns move on from him.

More from the AFC:

  • The odds of Colts quarterback Andrew Luck missing the team’s season opener against the Rams on Sept. 10 continue to increase, Mike Wells of ESPN.com writes. Luck, who underwent right shoulder surgery in January, remains on the active/physically unable to perform list with fewer than 10 practices left until Week 1. Head coach Chuck Pagano said Tuesday that there “no timetable” for Luck to return, leaving the team with the less-than-stellar Scott Tolzien as its No. 1 option under center as long as its prized starter is on the shelf.
  • The presence of wide receiver DeVante Parker is among the reasons the Dolphins haven’t gotten serious about a long-term extension for fellow wideout Jarvis Landry, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. More progress from Parker in 2017, the third season of his career, could mitigate the damage of Landry’s departure. Landry is due to become a free agent after the season, meaning he could exit, though the Dolphins may just place the franchise tag on the slot dynamo if they’re wary of committing to him for the long haul. Parker is under club control for up to three more seasons, depending on whether the Dolphins exercise the 2015 first-round pick’s fifth-year option for 2019, and is coming off a sophomore campaign in which he racked up 56 receptions, 744 yards and four touchdowns.
  • Broncos running back Devontae Booker‘s wrist injury will keep him out for the first two to three weeks of the regular season, head coach Vance Joseph told reporters, including Nick Kosmider of the Denver Post, on Thursday. The team doesn’t believe that’s a long enough absence to justify placing Booker on the reserve/PUP list and losing him for the first six games of the season, so he’ll occupy a spot on the Broncos’ 53-man roster while he’s continuing to recover. That decision could affect their other backs, of course, as C.J. Anderson and Booker may be the only locks at the position. Jamaal Charles is the biggest name in their backfield, and the longtime Chief/recent injury case will see his first preseason action Saturday. Onetime 1,000-yard rusher Stevan Ridley, fourth-year man Juwan Thompson and sixth-round rookie De’Angelo Henderson are also vying for roles.

Broncos Work Out Stevan Ridley

Running back Stevan Ridley worked out for the Broncos on Thursday, Nicki Jhabvala of The Denver Post tweets. The audition comes in the wake of news that Devontae Booker will need minor surgery on his wrist. Stevan Ridley (vertical)

Booker was unknowingly lifting weights with the injury for weeks and wound up aggravating it in training, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). . He is said to be facing a 6-8 week recovery after surgery and although the Broncos expect to have him in the lineup for Week 1, they may want to have their bases covered by adding someone like Ridley.

Ridley was hampered by injuries in 2016 and bounced around the league a bit, but it has been said that he’s now mostly healthy. His only other known audition of the offseason came when he worked out for the Jets in May.

We’re now years removed from Ridley’s 1,ooo+ yard campaign with the Patriots in 2012. It remains to be seen what he can offer in 2017.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Draft Pick Signings: Jags, Texans, Jets, Bills

The 2016 NFL draft wrapped up less than two weeks ago, and already nearly 70% of the players selected in the draft have signed their rookie contracts. We have a few more draftees to add to that list, so let’s dive in and round up the latest updates on draft pick signings…

  • No. 36 overall pick Myles Jack has formally signed his rookie contract with the Jaguars, the team announced today. Jack, who was initially viewed as a potential top-10 pick, will be in line for a rookie deal worth $6.334MM, with a $2.807MM signing bonus, according to Over the Cap.
  • The Texans have wrapped up their deal with second-round center Nick Martin, tweets John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. Martin figures to step in for former center Ben Jones, who departed Houston for the division-rival Titans in free agency.
  • The Jets announced today that they’ve officially signed third-round outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins, as Randy Lange of NewYorkJets.com details. That leaves first-round linebacker Darron Lee as the only Gang Green draft pick who remains unsigned.
  • The Bills continue to work backwards through their draftees — after signing their two sixth-round picks, the Bills have now locked up fifth-round running back Jonathan Williams, according to the team’s website.
  • The Broncos now have two more draft picks under contract, signing third-round safety Justin Simmons and fourth-round running back Devontae Booker to their four-year rookie deals, per Troy Renck of the Denver Post (Twitter link).

AFC Draft Updates: Ravens, Lynch, Texans

The final visit for Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch will take place in Baltimore, according to agent Leigh Steinberg, who tweets that Lynch will meet with the Ravens on Wednesday. Holding the No. 6 overall pick, the Ravens seem like an improbable first-round suitor for Lynch, so perhaps the team is just doing its due diligence in case it trades down in the first round or Lynch slips to round two.

Here are more draft updates from out of the AFC:

  • The Texans hosted Louisiana Tech quarterback Jeff Driskel for a visit this week, and are also hosting Eastern Michigan running back Darius Jackson today, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. Houston fortified its offensive backfield by signing Brock Osweiler and Lamar Miller in free agency, but could still be eyeing additional depth.
  • We heard yesterday that Virginia Tech cornerback Kendall Fuller had a Monday visit with the Jets and a Wednesday visit in Carolina this week. Aaron Wilson fills in the gap in Fuller’s schedule, tweeting that the young corner is meeting today with the Titans.
  • The schedule for Oklahoma State defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah includes a pre-draft visit with the Chargers this Wednesday, writes Aaron Wilson in a piece for the Chronicle. Wilson reported yesterday that Ogbah was also visiting Carolina and Atlanta this week, though he doesn’t include the Panthers in his list of Ogbah’s visits in his latest piece.
  • Texas A&M cornerback Brandon Williams has been busy during the pre-draft visit, making five visits and taking part in 14 private workouts, according to Aaron Wilson, who tweets that Williams is meeting with the Steelers today. Utah running back Devontae Booker and Michigan safety Jarrod Wilson are also in Pittsburgh to visit the Steelers, Wilson adds (via Twitter).

Draft Rumors: Jack, Dolphins, Saints

Myles Jack told SiriusXM NFL Radio (Twitter link) that he has only worked out for the Dolphins and Saints so far. The UCLA linebacker, widely considered to be one of the top talents in the 2016 draft, is pegged to go No. 2 overall to the Browns in PFR’s (v. 1.0) mock draft. The Saints (No. 12 overall) and the Dolphins (No. 13 overall) may have to move up in the draft order if they want to land the athletic prospect.

Here’s the latest NFL draft news:

  • LSU linebacker Deion Jones has already visited the Saints, Ravens, and Jets, according to Rand Getlin of NFL.com (on Twitter). Jones is now set to visit the Eagles and Colts this week. He also had solo workouts with the 49ers, Dolphins, Titans, Lions, Falcons, and Panthers (link).
  • Louisiana Tech defensive tackle Vernon Butler visited the Seahawks on Monday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). After that, he has the Lions on Tuesday, the Buccaneers on Wednesday, and the Bills on Thursday.
  • Utah running back Devontae Booker will visit with the Dolphins on Tuesday and also with the Patriots later in the week, Rapoport tweets.
  • Baylor wide receiver Jay Lee has visits lined up with the Ravens, Browns, and Seahawks plus private workouts for the Patriots, Cowboys, Lions, Seahawks, and Jaguars, Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle tweets.
  • San Diego State offensive tackle Darrell Greene visited the Vikings and Chargers and he’ll have private workouts with the Texans, Browns, Eagles, Colts, and 49ers, Wilson tweets.

AFC Draft Updates: Bills, Lynch, Jags, Broncos

Most NFL teams have at least one representative in attendance at the pro day for Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch on Wednesday, but the Bills got a closer look at the young signal-caller on Tuesday night, according to Sal Paolantonio of ESPN, who reports that Buffalo took Lynch out for dinner (Twitter link via Mike Rodak).

The Bills have a quarterback they like in Tyrod Taylor, but Taylor has just one year remaining on his contract with the team, and an extension is not believed to be close, so it will be interesting to see if Buffalo nabs a QB early in this year’s draft. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman is in Memphis to check out Lynch.

Let’s round up a few more draft updates from across the AFC…

Miller’s Latest: Glennon, Hackenberg, Doctson

While the Buccaneers have floated the idea of acquiring a first-round pick for quarterback Mike Glennon, Matt Miller of Bleacher Report hears the Tampa Bay would accept a third-rounder if it were from a team picking relatively high. That conflicts with a recent report by Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com which said the Bucs turned down a second-round pick for its backup quarterback. Of course, La Canfora’s report didn’t given any sense of a timetable, so Tampa’s view of Glennon’s market could have changed since it rejected a second-rounder. Glennon is generating the most trade interest of any signal-caller outside of Colin Kaepernick, per Miller.

Here’s more from Miller’s latest column, with a heavy focus on the NFL draft…

  • Some around the NFL don’t expect Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg to have any chance at being a first-round pick now that the Texans have signed Brock Osweiler, according to Miller. Houston head coach Bill O’Brien tutored Hackenberg at Penn State, but now Hackenberg looks to be a second- or third-round pick.
  • Instead of focusing on quarterback, the Texans could now look to find help at either wide receiver or defensive tackle early in the draft, the clubs’ scouts told Miller.
  • Ole Miss defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche‘s character concerns have caused some teams to take him off their draft boards, and one NFC West general manager sounds like he’s employed by one of them. “Take Nkemdiche out of your mock drafts,” the GM said, per Miller. “No one is that stupid.”
  • After releasing Mike Wallace earlier this week, the Vikings are expected to target receivers early in the draft, and one player to keep an eye on could be Josh Doctson of TCU, per Miller, as a team source tells the Bleacher Report scribe that Minnesota has a high grade on Horned Frog pass-catcher.
  • Linebacker Reggie Ragland struggled during his Pro Day, and could now possibly fall to the second round. One scout told Miller that the Alabama product looked “slow, sluggish, and heavy” during his workout.
  • Another Alabama defender — defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson — is viewed as a two-down run-stopper, and therefore might fall out of the first round.
  • Oklahoma cornerback Zack Sanchez is earning good reports from NFL scouts, says Miller, and he’s moved up enough draft boards that he could now be a late first-round pick.
  • Some teams are wary of running back Devontae Booker because the Utah product has undergone two surgeries to clean up a torn meniscus.