Dontari Poe

NFC Rumors: Pryor, Eagles, Ward, Trubisky

Terrelle Pryor already confessed his camp might have misjudged the market when he ended up signing a one-year deal with the Redskins. The wideout’s back in a contract year but said Wednesday other teams presented multiyear offers.

A lot of teams … I got four or five offers from four or five teams for four or five-year deals for a lot of money, but it wasn’t where I thought I needed to be,” Pryor said, via Matt Lombardo of NJ.com. “At the end of the day, I wanted to really show I can do it, dominate at it again, and really just set myself up to have a home for four or five years, that way I can sign somewhere for four or five years instead of always moving around.”

Evidently hoping this one-year agreement can be a pathway to more lucrative long-term proposals, the 28-year-old Pryor also revealed he was negotiating with the Eagles prior to his Redskins pact. Pryor said he “believed” the Eagles were one of the teams pursuing him before something “in house” changed. This could allude to Alshon Jeffery signing a one-year deal on the same day Pryor agreed to his Washington contract. The Eagles were connected to just about every UFA wideout of note this offseason, and Pryor’s comments back up a March report of five teams being interested in signing him.

Here’s the latest from the NFC as 15 of its teams make preparations for their Week 1 games.

  • The one NFC franchise that won’t play this weekend has a new safety that now has an extra week to acclimate to Mike Smith‘s system, and details of T.J. Ward‘s contract continue to emerge. Ward will earn $3MM guaranteed on his one-year deal with the Buccaneers, tweets Mike Klis of 9News. The veteran safety’s contract has a base value of $3.875MM, and offers the chance for an extra $1MM via incentives. Ward, of course, signed with Tampa Bay less than 24 hours after being released by Denver, a move that led the Buccaneers to trade fellow defensive back J.J. Wilcox to the Steelers.
  • While this is not exactly a surprise, Mitch Trubisky will ascend to second on the Bears‘ depth chart for Chicago’s Week 1 tilt. The rookie quarterback usurped Mark Sanchez and will back up Mike Glennon on Sunday, John Fox said (via Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune, on Twitter). Of this rookie class, only DeShone Kizer will receive an opening day start. Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, C.J. Beathard and Nathan Peterman join Trubisky in being second-stringers entering their first NFL seasons.
  • Dontari Poe‘s latest weight check-in, which is today, will secure the Falcons defensive tackle $125K, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Poe earned the $125K by coming in under 330 pounds in late July. The pre-regular-season weight ceiling remains the same.
  • No offset language existed in Alex Boone‘s Vikings contract, Joel Corry of CBS Sports notes (on Twitter), so Minnesota will be stuck with $3.5MM in dead money on this year’s cap. Terms of Boone’s Cardinals deal are not yet disclosed, but it won’t go toward helping the Vikings offset dead money remaining on the four-year, $26.8MM contract they authorized for Boone last year.

Dallas Robinson contributed to this report.

Falcons Rumors: Freeman, Ryan, Poe

The latest from Atlanta:

  • Devonta Freeman‘s agent left town after meeting with Falcons brass over the past couple days, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com hears (on Twitter). Meanwhile, the team isn’t putting a deadline on a deal. The Falcons had hoped to hammer something out by the time training camp started, but it sounds like completing an extension will take longer than anticipated. Recently, Le’Veon Bell rejected the Steelers’ offer of a five-year deal with a $12MM average annual value, $30MM in the first two years of the deal, and $42MM over the first three seasons. Freeman’s camp may be using the framework of that proposal as a baseline for talks.
  • There have yet to be substantive talks between the Falcons and quarterback Matt Ryan, Pelissero tweets. The Falcons will likely wait until after the season to talk contract with Matty Ice, Pelissero adds. Ryan is signed through 2018 and is slated to carry cap charges in excess of $21MM in each of the next two seasons. The league’s reigning MVP is probably willing to wait for Matthew Stafford to sign a big money extension of his own with the Lions before getting serious about next deal.
  • Falcons nose tackle Dontari Poe weighed in below 330 pounds today, giving the free agent addition his $125K make-weight bonus, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Many expected Poe to sign a lucrative multi-year deal, but he wound up settling for a one-year deal as teams felt unsure about his conditioning.

NFC Notes: Maclin, Revis, Newton

We learned earlier today that the Eagles, not the Bills, were the runners-up for Jeremy Maclin‘s services, which came as something of a surprise given last week’s report that Philadelphia did not have interest in reuniting with Maclin. Per Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter links), Eagles head coach Doug Pederson claims he was not being coy when he said the team was not considering Maclin, but that the Eagles did not reach out to Maclin until the weekend, when they contacted him to gauge interest. However, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets the Eagles never really got into a bidding war with the Ravens, who ultimately signed Maclin and who apparently gave him “solid money” to come to Baltimore.

Now for more from the NFC:

  • Cowboys WR Dez Bryant tweeted free agent corner Darrelle Revis yesterday and told him to consider signing with the Cowboys, leading some to speculate that the club could be interested in relocating Revis Island to Texas, despite earlier reports to the contrary. Nonetheless, Clarence Hill, Jr. of the Star-Telegram, citing a team source, tweets that there is “nothing going on with Revis.”
  • We heard earlier today that Eddie Lacy passed his weigh-in with the Seahawks, which netted him a $55K bonus, but he was not the league’s biggest loser this week. As Todd Archer of ESPN.com writes, Cowboys offensive lineman Byron Bell picked up $150K by weighing in at less than 320 pounds on Monday, and he can earn another $300K if he meets his weight requirements at the start of training camp and the first week of the regular season. And, per ESPN’s Field Yates (via Twitter), if Falcons NT Dontari Poe weighs 340 pounds or less tomorrow, he earns $125K.
  • Panthers QB Cam Newton will not throw at this week’s minicamp, but the quarterback is still on schedule with his recovery and is expected to be ready for training camp, as Edward Lewis of NFL.com writes.
  • The Saints may be shopping Travaris Cadet, but Josh Katzenstein of the Times-Picayune does not believe they can realistically expect to get any takers, so the team will probably be forced to release him.
  • We learned earlier tonight that Rams DT Aaron Donald could miss this week’s mandatory minicamp as he continues to push for a long-term deal.

NFC Notes: Poe, Romo, Eagles, Lynch

Dontari Poe is excited about the opportunity he has with the Falcons, but the defensive tackle understand that he needs to be in shape if he wants to be productive. Talking to ESPN.com’s Vaughn McClure, Poe said head coach Dan Quinn echoed that sentiment.

“He just told me he wanted me to come in and play fast and be aggressive,” Poe said, “so around 330 is where I’ll play at most of the year. I feel like that will be a comfortable weight for me, too.”

Poe acknowledged that he’s currently at 340 pounds, so he doesn’t have much more to lose to reach his goal. Meanwhile, Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com reports that Poe has a $500K weight bonus attached to his contract, so there’s added incentive to slim down.

If the 26-year-old isn’t overweight during the season, he should see an improvement as a pass rusher. After collecting 10.5 sacks between 2013 and 2014, Poe only compiled 2.5 sacks between 2015 and 2016.

Let’s take a look at some other notes from around the NFC…

  • Following news that the Cowboys were planning on releasing quarterback Tony Romo, reports indicated that the organization would instead try to trade the veteran. Florio wonders if the change of heart could be attributed to owner Jerry Jones‘ unwillingness to let Romo go to the Texans. The two teams aren’t technically rivals, but Florio believes the Cowboys owner doesn’t want to share viewers with another Texas team. Furthermore, if the Texans establish themselves as one of the best teams in the NFL with Romo, plenty of pundits will question the Cowboys’ logic to just cut bate with the quarterback. Ultimately, Florio believes that Jones is waiting for an offer to materialize at the upcoming league meetings.
  • The Eagles hosted running back Leonard Fournette yesterday, but Mark Eckel of NJ.com notes that the LSU product is expected to be taken prior to Philly’s first-round pick (No.14 overall). Therefore, the writer wonders if general manager Howie Roseman may have a trade up his sleeve. There’s certainly precedent, as the Eagles surrendered five picks and three players to move up to the second-slot in last year’s draft. Eckel believes Philly could find a trade partner in the Titans, who have the fifth-overall pick.
  • If Marshawn Lynch decides to unretire, ESPN.com’s Sheil Kapadia believes the Seahawks will be forced to release the running back. Lynch would have a $9MM cap hit in 2017, which would drastically cut into their nearly $15MM in remaining cap space. The team could look to trade Lynch, but it’s uncertain whether any teams would give up anything of worth for the veteran. Plus, by opting for that route, Seattle could end up being stuck with the running back, who would join an already-crowded depth chart. The Raiders have been rumored to be eyeing the five-time Pro Bowler.

FA Rumors: Butler, Poe, Z. Brown, Raiders

Restricted free agent cornerback Malcolm Butler didn’t emerge from his Saints visit on Thursday with a deal, but the meeting “went well,” a source told Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). As of now, there remains motivation on both sides to hammer out an agreement, Rapoport adds. PFR’s Zach Links laid out a few potential scenarios earlier this week involving Butler, who would surely net the Patriots a quality return in a trade.

More free agency-related news:

  • The offer that defensive tackle Dontari Poe accepted from the Falcons on Thursday was worth less than the Jaguars’ proposal, reports ESPN’s Josina Anderson (Twitter link). Before taking a one-year, $8MM deal (plus incentives) with the reigning NFC champions, Poe turned down the Jags’ fully guaranteed $9MM (and incentives). Head coach Dan Quinn was key in talking Poe into joining the Falcons, relays Anderson.
  • It doesn’t appear that linebacker Zach Brown‘s powwow with the Raiders will lead to a deal, as a source told ESPN’s Adam Caplan that it “looks like a no-go right now” (Twitter link). Although Brown had a stellar 2016 with Buffalo and currently ranks as PFR’s top available linebacker, the market for his services has been tepid.
  • Wide receiver Andre Holmes met with the Bills on Thursday, one day after there were reports that he had signed with them, per Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (via Twitter). It turns out the Bills offered Holmes a three-year, $4.5MM accord, which the NFLPA accidentally documented as a done deal.
  • Linebacker Dekoda Watson visited the Seahawks on Thursday, tweets ESPN’s Field Yates. The 29-year-old Watson is a journeyman who has played for five teams, including the Broncos last season. He served as an integral special teams cog in Denver, which would like to re-sign him.

Falcons To Sign Dontari Poe

One of the best free agents left on the board is now spoken for. The Falcons have signed defensive tackle Dontari Poe, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). It’s a one-year, $8MM deal but he can make up to $10MM through incentives. Dontari Poe (Vertical)

Scott Pioli, the Falcons’ assistant GM, drafted Poe in Kansas City. Now, they’ll be reunited in Atlanta where Poe projects to start next to Grady Jarrett in the Falcons’ 4-3 set. Adrian Clayborn and Brooks Reed are the starters on the bookends.

Poe was making the free agent rounds this week and also had interest from the Dolphins, Jaguars, Colts, and other clubs. Reportedly, some teams were wary of signing Poe to a multi-year pact because of his ongoing back problems. Today’s agreement gives Poe a decent one-year deal but he’ll have to prove himself all over again if he wants to cash in next year. Initially, it seemed like Poe was in play for this type of average annual value on a five-year deal.

Apparently, Poe preferred a one-year deal over taking a long-term contract that would have given him a weaker AAV. The Colts were willing to give him multiple years, but that offer was apparently not to his liking. The Chiefs exited the bidding when they signed former Eagles defensive tackle Bennie Logan to a free agent deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

FA Rumors: Poe, Seahawks, Steelers, Jaguars

Now that free agent defensive tackle Dontari Poe has concluded his visits with the Dolphins, he’ll head home to consider offers, tweets Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com. Poe has met with the Colts, Falcons, and Jaguars in addition to Miami, and will presumably sign with one of the clubs. Poe is PFR’s No. 2 free agent interior defender on the market, just behind Johnathan Hankins.

Here’s more from the free agent period:

  • Although Adrian Peterson visited the Seahawks earlier this week, he never entered into negotiations with the club, reports Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com. Seattle was eyeing a younger back, and it found one in former Packer Eddie Lacy, whom the team signed to a one-year deal on Tuesday. Through six days of free agency, the key story around Peterson has been the number of clubs who aren’t interested in the ex-Vikings RB, who turns 32 next week. The Texans, Patriots, Raiders have all indicated they they’re not in contact with future Hall of Famer.
  • The Seahawks may have not been all that interested in Peterson, but the club might have a different opinion on free agent linebacker Michael Wilhoite, whom they will host on a visit, tweets NFL reporter Howard Balzer. Wilhoite, 30, was a full-time starter for the 49ers from 2014-15, but only started six games last year (despite appearing in all 16 contests). In that time, Wilhoite put up 46 tackles, a half-sack, and a forced fumble.
  • While the Steelers has “mild interest” in re-signing linebacker Jarvis Jones, the club never made a real effort to retain the former first-round pick before he inked a one-year deal with the Cardinals on Monday, per Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com. Jones, 27, never lived up to his draft billing, but did provide solid run defense over 35 starts in Pittsburgh. The Steelers will now roll with Arthur Moats and Anthony Chickillo behind James Harrison and Bud Dupree on the edge.
  • Tight end Chris Gragg visited the Jaguars but did not agree to a contract, as Gragg himself announced (Twitter link). Jacksonville head coach Doug Marrone was in Buffalo when Gragg was made a seventh-round pick in 2013, so he should have some level of familiarity with the 26-year-old. Gragg missed the entire 2016 campaign with a torn ACL.

Top 2017 Free Agents By Position 3.0: Defense

The initial wave of NFL free agency is now complete, and while many of the league’s top available players are now off the board, there are still plenty of quality options still on the open market.

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 2017:

Edge defender:

  1. Dwight Freeney
  2. Elvis Dumervil
  3. Chris Long
  4. Mario Williams
  5. Connor Barwin
  6. Paul Kruger
  7. Trent Cole
  8. Erik Walden
  9. Jason Jones
  10. Darryl Tapp
  11. Devin Taylor
  12. Eugene Sims
  13. Howard Jones
  14. Wallace Gilberry
  15. Sam Acho

The pass rushing market has been completely depleted during the first week of free agency, as 14 of our original top 15 edge players have now been franchised, signed, or, in the case of DeMarcus Ware, retired. As such, a 37-year-old with 15 NFL seasons under his belt is now the best pass rusher on the market. Dwight Freeney played on roughly a third of the Falcons’ defensive snaps in 2016, and posted three sacks and 18 hurries. Capable of playing in either a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme, Freeney can still help out a club on the cheap.Dwight Freeney (Vertical)

Three players on this list — Elvis Dumervil, Connor Barwin, and Eugene Sims — were released by their respective clubs last week, meaning they won’t count against the compensatory formula if and when they’re signed. Dumervil, now 33, was hampered by injuries last season but still earned strong pass-rushing marks from Pro Football Focus. Barwin, meanwhile, wasn’t a good fit in Jim Schwartz‘s 4-3 defense, but he should flourish if he signs with a team running a 3-4 look. So far, he’s met with the Bengals (who use a 4-3) and Rams (3-4).

Chris Long has already indicated he won’t be returning to the Patriots, indicating he wants to join a roster where he’ll earn more playing time. Erik Walden, too, won’t re-sign with his 2016 club (the Colts), but he has taken a visit with the division rival Titans. Further down the list, Howard Jones has also met with at least one club, as he was hosted by the Jets on Tuesday. Jones, 27, is recovering from a torn ACL, but did post five sacks in five starts last season.

Interior defensive line:

  1. Johnathan Hankins
  2. Dontari Poe
  3. Jared Odrick
  4. Vance Walker
  5. Sen’Derrick Marks
  6. Ricky Jean-Francois
  7. Roy Miller
  8. Al Woods
  9. Tony McDaniel
  10. Cullen Jenkins
  11. Frostee Rucker
  12. Cam Thomas
  13. John Jenkins
  14. Tyson Jackson
  15. Tyson Alualu

Although top-flight players such as Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams have already been signed, the crop of interior defenders remains strong at the top. The buzz around Johnathan Hankins has been virtually non-existent, as the only club that’s been even tangentially linked to the 25-year-old is the Redskins. He’s one of the youngest free agents on the market, and therefore is probably looking for a massive payday. But the lack of interest around Hankins may be an indication that he’s simply asking for too much money.Johnathan Hankins (Vertical)

The same issue could be surrounding Dontari Poe, although he’s not wanting for meetings around the league. He’s visited with the Colts, Falcons, Jaguars, and Dolphins, while the 49ers and Raiders also reportedly have some level of interest. Clubs may have concerns about Poe’s lingering back issues, and he might have to accept a one-year deal in order to prove he’s healthy and willing to provide full effort.

The remaining defensive interior players are mostly over-30 veterans, with names such as Tony McDaniel, Cullen Jenkins, Frostee Rucker, and Tyson Jackson still looking for new deals. While most of these guys can still play, they may have to wait awhile — possibly into the summer — before signing on with their next club. Jared Odrick (Patriots) and Vance Walker (Bears) have both taken visits, but the most intriguing lineman here may be Sen’Derrick Marks, who offers a good amount of pass rush from the interior.

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Dontari Poe To Visit Dolphins

Defensive tackle Dontari Poe is scheduled to travel to Miami tonight for a visit the Dolphins, Josina Anderson of ESPN.com tweets. He has not left Georgia yet, however, so one has to wonder if he could possibly reach agreement with the Falcons before the Fins get face time with him. Dontari Poe

Poe visited the Colts on Sunday and the meeting reportedly went well. After that, it was on to the Jaguars and Falcons, Poe is huddling up with the Jaguars. The 26-year-old has also garnered interest from the Raiders, and 49ers.

The market has been slow to develop for Poe. The Colts, supposedly, are open to a long-term deal, but he might prefer a one-year pact that would allow him to restore his value and try the open market in 2018. Word is that teams are concerned about Poe’s back issues. He’s still waiting for real traction with his suitors, but he shouldn’t feel too bad as fellow top defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins also remains on the board.

In the Dolphins’ 4-3 set, Poe could form a menacing interior duo with Ndamukong Suh while Jordan Phillips serves as the top reserve DT. The Dolphins project to start Andre Branch and Cameron Wake on the ends with the newly-acquired William Hayes in rotation.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Falcons To Meet With Dontari Poe

The Falcons are set to meet with Dontari Poe in the next 24 hours, according to Falcons PR staff member Kelsey Conway (on Twitter). The Falcons have been said to have interest in the free agent defensive tackle. Now, it seems, things are getting a little more serious. Dontari Poe (Vertical)

Poe visited the Colts on Sunday and although he did not leave with a deal, the meeting reportedly went well. Today, Poe is huddling up with the Jaguars. The 26-year-old has also garnered interest from the Dolphins, Raiders, and 49ers. The Colts were are open to a long-term deal for Po, but he might prefer a one-year pact that would allow him to rebuild his value before trying the market again next year. Clubs reportedly are concerned about Poe’s lingering back issues. If he can have a strong 2017 and stay healthy, he could be among next year’s top free agent earners.

The Falcons are looking to revamp the defensive line this offseason. Poe, who ranked as PFR’s No. 4 free agent interior defender heading into March 9, would slot in at defensive tackle next to Grady Jarrett and Ra’Shede Hageman. Hageman and Jarrett improved in 2016, but Atlanta’s front four still ranked in the bottom half of the league last year in adjusted line yards allowed and adjusted sack rate.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.