Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

East Notes: Beckham, S. Jones, Patriots

The Giants and star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. are far apart in extension talks, and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk believes Beckham should stage a holdout. After all, if Beckham reports for training camp — as he said he will do — but does not get the deal he’s looking for, then he would essentially be foreclosed from holding out. As Florio notes, a player who reports and then leaves subjects himself to a “five-day letter,” in which a team advises such player that, if he does not return within five days, he will be put on the reserve/left squad list, thereby tolling his contract for a full year. And, if Beckham reports but does not practice with the team until he gets a new deal, he could be subject to fines and suspension for conduct detrimental to the team.

As such, Florio believes Beckham’s only chance to get the contract he deserves this year is to hold out and put a little pressure on the Giants, which none of his other alternatives would do. Beckham, though, appears to be sensitive to the stigma associated with holdouts, so this will remain a fascinating case to monitor.

Now for more from the league’s east divisions:

  • Matt Lombardo of NJ.com names the secondary as perhaps the biggest weakness on the Giants‘ roster, though he says UDFA cornerback Grant Haley — who reportedly received a whopping $100K in guaranteed money from Big Blue — could be a solid slot corner in his rookie season. Lombardo also says the team could reunite with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, which grows more likely the longer DRC lingers on the open market.
  • Eagles cornerback Sidney Jones had a strong offseason, but as Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com observes, Jones spent the last three practices of the spring on the sideline with soreness in his lower body. Philadelphia has said that soreness is wholly unrelated to the Achilles injury that forced Jones to miss almost all of his rookie season, but Shorr-Parks says the fact that the Washington product was forced to miss the most important practices of the spring with a vague injury is noteworthy. The team needs Jones to live up to his collegiate potential, which would have a positive trickle-down effect on the rest of a secondary that needs to replace Patrick Robinson (as of now, Shorr-Parks says, Jalen Mills is the favorite to serve as the Eagles’ nickel corner, a role that Robinson filled so admirably last year).
  • Free agent WR Eric Decker indicated earlier this week that the Patriots would be a good fit for him, and while no team — including the Patriots – has publicly expressed interest in Decker in nearly three months, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com says New England could be interested once it has had the opportunity to fully evaluate its receiving corps in training camp.
  • One potentially key member of the Patriots‘ receiving corps, Malcolm Mitchell, is unsure if he will be ready for the start of training camp. Per Stephen Hewitt of the Boston Herald, Mitchell — who missed all of the 2017 campaign with a knee injury after a promising rookie season — simply said “we’ll see” when asked if he would be ready to go when camp opens next month. New England would love to have a healthy Mitchell, especially in light of Julian Edelman‘s impending four-game suspension.
  • Reiss says that Patriots‘ UDFA punter Corey Bojorquez is a legitimate threat to incumbent Ryan Allen.

The Best Remaining NFL Free Agents

There are still plenty of impact free agents left on the board, including some big names. Here’s a look at some of the high-profile veterans that are still looking for work in advance of training camp: 

Kaepernick probably stands as the most talented quarterback left on the open market, but his ongoing collusion case against the NFL complicated matters. It seems unlikely that he’ll land anywhere between now and the start of the season, but friend and former teammate Eric Reid probably has a better chance of signing somewhere, despite being in a similar boat. Recently, the duo was spotted working out together in California.

It seems like just yesterday that Murray was the league’s most fearsome running back. Unfortunately, Murray’s age has caught up to him to some extent and he was overshadowed last year in Tennessee by the younger Derrick HenryThe Titans dropped Murray in March and he has not found a new NFL home despite meeting with the LionsSeahawks, and Dolphins since his release. Recently, the Saints tried to include Murray in their cattle call for running backs, but he declined the invite.

Peterson has lobbied the Texans, Saints, Packers, Panthers, Dolphins, and Rams to sign him, but we have yet to hear of any reciprocated interest from those clubs. It’s possible that Murray and Peterson won’t sign unless a running back injury opens up an opportunity for them. Teams could also steer clear of Peterson altogether given his desire for a starring role despite his lack of star performance over the last two years.

Bryant is the biggest name on this list, but we shouldn’t expect to see him sign anywhere until July. There have been conflicting reports on his market, but the latest word indicates that he is receiving interest, despite concerns about his demeanor in the locker room.

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NFC Notes: Bradford, Cardinals, Breeland, Rodgers-Cromartie, Giants

Sam Bradford‘s tenure as the Cardinals’ unquestioned starting quarterback didn’t last long. Just a month after signing a one-year $20MM deal with an option for a second year, the Cardinals selected Josh Rosen 10th overall. The move suggested that the Cardinals don’t view Bradford as their longterm answer, and see him more as a bridge quarterback/stopgap option.

If Bradford plays well though, it will be hard for the Cardinals to turn to Rosen and Bradford has certainly shown he’s capable of playing at a high level when he’s able to stay healthy. Bradford’s health may end up being the determining factor for when Rosen sees the field, and Bradford is apparently now beginning to ramp up his on-field work according to Mike Jurecki (Twitter link).

Jurecki reports that Bradford “will be able to participate more in the mandatory minicamp” this week and that as long as Bradford is healthy he thinks he’ll be the week one starter, noting that Bradford’s “accuracy has been impressive during workouts.”

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • Free agent Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has made it clear he still wants to play, and told reporters at Landon Collins‘ charity softball game that he “knows where he will sign before training camp”, according to Paul Schwartz of the NY Post (Twitter link). Rodgers-Cromartie said he didn’t want to do OTAs anywhere and told the assembled Giants writers that “Y’all might see me again.” Schwartz added in a follow-up tweet that he thought Rodgers-Cromartie was referring to playing against the Giants this upcoming season, perhaps for a division rival.
  • Despite a recent report that the Cardinals wanted to re-evaluate cornerback Bashaud Breeland in a “few weeks”, Jurecki tweets that “as of today, he’s not on the radar” for the Cardinals. Breeland agreed to a three-year, $24MM deal with the Panthers earlier this offseason, but the deal was nullified due to a foot injury Breeland suffered.
  • In case you missed it, Odell Beckham Jr.’s ankle may be what is causing the Giants to move slowly on an extension for their star wide receiver.

The Best Remaining NFL Free Agents

The biggest names in this year’s free agent class such as Kirk Cousins, Sammy Watkins, Allen Robinson, and Trumaine Johnson have long been spoken for, but plenty of notable players remain on the board here in June. With a hat tip to James Palmer of NFL.com (on Twitter), here’s a look at some high-profile veterans who are still seeking work this summer: 

Of course, Kaepernick’s situation is more complicated than the rest. Lately, the only updates we’ve heard regarding Kaepernick have been tied to his pending collusion case against the NFL. Former teammate Reid is certainly closer to the NFL radar after an April meeting with the Bengals, but he also believes teams are shying away from him due to his participation in anthem protests. Reid filed a grievance of his own against the NFL in May and has been spotted working out with Kaepernick.

Unfortunately for Murray and Peterson, filing a grievance for age bias against running backs is not an option. The Titans kicked Murray to the curb in March and he has not found a new NFL home despite meeting with the Lions, Seahawks, and Dolphins since his release. Peterson has lobbied the Texans, Saints, Packers, Panthers, Dolphins, and Rams to sign him, but we have yet to hear of any reciprocated interest from those clubs. Given Peterson’s reluctance to be on the lower end of a timeshare in New Orleans last year, one has to imagine that Peterson will not be a real consideration for teams unless a starter gets injured in camp. Murray could be a more attractive option for teams. Although he averaged just 3.6 yards per tote with the Titans last year, he contributed in the passing game with 39 receptions.

Bryant says he has no regrets about turning down a three-year, $21MM offer from the Ravens, but right now it looks like he blew his opportunity at a solid free agent deal. Reportedly, many teams are unwilling to consider him for even the league minimum, so it seems unlikely that he’ll find the lucrative one-year contract he’s seeking. On the plus side, his former employer says multiple teams have checked in on him.

Things have been eerily quiet for Maclin after he was displaced by the Ravens, though the Eagles and Cowboys considered him internally in the spring. We also haven’t heard a peep about Decker since his spring meetings with the Raiders and Ravens. Both players are roughly in the same boat – they were 1,000-yard receivers in 2015, but they are on the wrong side of 30 and haven’t done much on the field in the last two years. Still, both profile as low-risk/high-reward signings.

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DRC Hopes To Continue Playing

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is still without a team, but he hopes to continue his NFL career. The former Giants cornerback also says that he has drawn interest from clubs, though we haven’t heard much about DRC since the Redskins and Saints kicked the tires on him in March. 

I’m good, ya dig? Yeah [I’m going to] play,” DRC told ESPN.com’s Josina Anderson (on Twitter). “Teams told me to wait ’til training camp. I can sign, but I will wait. No rush.”

Last year, Rodgers-Cromartie turned in what was arguably the worst season of his career to date. He also clashed with Giants coaches, which probably isn’t helping his market. He was handed an indefinite suspension after an argument with then-head coach Ben McAdoo in 2017, though he wound up missing only one game after a quick reinstatement.

Rodgers-Cromartie earned a 77.2 overall score from Pro Football Focus last year, which was his lowest since 2012. He graded out the No. 58 cornerback in the league, which indicates he’s on the fringe of starter value.

It’s not clear which teams have reached out to DRC, but the Broncos were not interested in a reunion at the time of his release in March.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Redskins To Sign Orlando Scandrick

Orlando Scandrick‘s free agency stay did not last long, and he’ll be seeing his longtime employer twice next season. The Redskins and a the recently released cornerback agreed to terms on Monday, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets.

Washington authorized a two-year deal with Scandrick, whom Dallas cut over the weekend after 10 seasons. The contract carries a max value of $10MM. This comes after Scandrick spent the previous two days visiting the Redskins.

The Redskins also looked into recent Giants cut Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, per John Keim of ESPN.com (on Twitter), but learned that 10-year veteran’s asking price was too high.

The Cowboys made Scandrick a March cut, which was a long-rumored move. Despite the cornerback already having 10 years of NFL experience, 2018 will only be his age-31 season. He functioned as Dallas’ primary slot corner for many years, and after the Redskins included ascending slot stopper Kendall Fuller in their trade for Alex Smith, Scandrick may be set to fill that role.

A 2008 fifth-round pick, Scandrick played a key role on the past several Cowboys defenses. He started 11 games in 2017. He’ll join a Redskins team that lost Fuller and may well see Bashaud Breeland defect as well. Breeland was set to sign with the Panthers, but a non-football injury scuttled that deal to leave him in free agency for the time being.

With only Josh Norman previously locked in as a key contributor, the Redskins were thin at cornerback. They drafted Fabian Moreau in last year’s third round and could address the position further in the upcoming draft. However, the Cowboys making the decision to cut their longest-tenured defender changed the Redskins’ plans at this position.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: DRC, Redskins, Maxwell

Free agent cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie says he’s in no rush to make a decision in free agency. Right now, he’s hoping to make a decision “in April sometime” (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Josina Anderson).

Rodgers-Cromartie visited with the Redskins and had a meeting scheduled with the Saints, but it seems that New Orleans lost interest after signing fellow corner Patrick Robinson. The Redskins could still use an addition to their cornerback group, but it’s possible that their offer was not to DRC’s liking. Or, perhaps no offer was made.

Before he was released by the Giants, DRC reportedly agreed to play safety in 2018. That could be a solution for him if his market continues to stall.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • As teams try to hold onto their own players, two to watch: The Redskins are working to keep outside linebacker Junior Galette and the Seahawks are doing the same with cornerback Byron Maxwell, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). We had Galette ranked as a top-12 edge rusher heading into free agency. Maxwell did not make the top 15 at his position due to his decline in performance and the depth of this year’s CB crop.
  • Linebacker Demario Davis says the Jets didn’t make him an offer before he signed with the Saints. “The shocking thing was the Jets didn’t make me an offer, so that made my decision easy because all I had to do was look at the contenders,” Davis said (via Rod Walker of The Advocate). “It would have been something to weigh. The hardest decision isn’t where to go, but deciding if you want to go or stay. So I didn’t have to make that decision so that was the peaceful thing about it. I was able to just weight my options objectively.” Things worked out just fine for Davis as he signed a three-year, $24MM deal with New Orleans.
  • The Dolphins have been talking with agent Drew Rosenhaus about re-signing offensive tackle Sam Young, Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald tweets. If retained, Young would return as Miami’s third offensive tackle.

Latest On CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie may have found his next home. After meeting with the Redskins, DRC says he’s “not taking anymore visits,” according to Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (on Twitter).

Initially, the cornerback was slated to meet with the Saints after his meeting with the Redskins. His change in plans could indicate that a deal with D.C. is in the works.

Last year, Rodgers-Cromartie turned in what was arguably the worst season of his career to date. His clashing with Giants coaches also didn’t help matters. He was suspended indefinitely after an argument with then-head coach Ben McAdoo and wound up missing one game.

Rodgers-Cromartie had a 77.2 overall score from Pro Football Focus last season, which was his lowest since 2012. He graded out the No. 58 cornerback in the league, which would indicate he’s on the fringe of starter value.

The Redskins could use DRC, particularly after dealing slot corner Kendall Fuller to the Chiefs in the Alex Smith trade. They’ll also be losing Bashaud Breeland, who agreed to a three-year deal with the Panthers on Tuesday. They still have Josh Norman and Quinton Dunbar atop their depth chart at cornerback.

The Saints have already added to their secondary this offseason, signing former Panthers safety Kurt Coleman to a three-year, $16.35MM deal. Fellow safety Kenny Vaccaro is an unrestricted free agent.

The Giants had hoped to move Rodgers-Cromartie to safety and asked him to take a pay cut before eventually releasing him. Rodgers-Cromartie was due to make $6.48MM with the Giants next season with a cap hit of $8.5MM.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie To Visit Redskins, Saints

Free agent defensive back Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie will meet with the Redskins today, and is scheduled to visit the Saints next, according to Ian Rapoport of NFLcom (Twitter link).

Last year, Rodgers-Cromartie earned a 77.2 overall score from Pro Football Focus, his lowest showing since 2012. He graded out as the 58th ranked cornerback in the NFL, portraying him as someone who is on the fringe of starter quality. His on-field performance was the least of his issues, however.

Rodgers-Cromartie clashed with former coach Ben McAdoo last week – apparently, on four separate occasions – before being suspended “indefinitely” for conduct detrimental to the team. He was brought back after just one game, but his outbursts were an indicator of a much deeper problem in the Giants’ locker room.

In both Washington and New Orleans, Rodgers-Cromartie would offer immediate improvement in the slot. The Redskins, notably, dealt their slot corner — Kendall Fuller — when acquiring quarterback Alex Smith earlier this year.

Saints Interested In Malcolm Butler

Once again, the Saints have interest in acquiring cornerback Malcolm Butler. New Orleans is eyeing the Patriots free agent as well as Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, according to Dianna Russini of ESPN.com (on Twitter). 

The Patriots and Saints discussed a trade last offseason that would have sent Butler to New Orleans, but talks fell apart when the two sides could not agree to the level of draft compensation. After a down year, the Saints now have an opportunity to sign Butler to a cheaper deal and they won’t have to give up draft picks to do it, save for the impact the signing would have on their compensatory formula. Butler ranked just 51st amongst Pro Football Focus’ qualified corners last season and was virtually a healthy scratch in the Super Bowl.

The Giants released Rodgers-Cromartie over the weekend after he rejected a pay cut. DRC was scheduled to make $6.48MM in 2018, a figure that he can likely come close to on the open market. A reunion with the Broncos appeared to make some sense for Rodgers-Cromartie, but Denver does not have interest. Josh Katzenstein of the Times-Picayune tweets that the cornerback does have a connection to the organization, as senior defensive assistant Peter Giunta was the Giants cornerbacks coach back in 2014.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.