Eddie Royal

Extra Points: Gordon, Cowboys, Ansah

Suspended Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon is currently without an agent, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Joby Branion terminated their relationship “a couple weeks ago,” a source told Florio. Branion succeeded Drew Rosenhaus, who parted ways with Gordon several months back, as Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com notes (on Twitter). Branion had been working to help get Gordon reinstated, a bid the NFL denied Thursday. The league’s decision came on the heels of a recent conversation between Gordon and commissioner Roger Goodell, per Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole, who adds that Gordon is working out in Gainesville, Fla., and seems to be in good shape physically (Twitter links).

More from around the league:

  • Before the Cowboys chose Michigan defensive Taco Charlton with the 28th pick in the draft, they spoke with the Ravens about trading up to No. 16 for Missouri DE Charles Harris, reports Charean Williams of the Star Telegram. However, the teams’ discussions died when the Ravens’ target, Alabama cornerback Marlon Humphrey, was still on the board for their pick. Harris ended up going 22nd overall to the Dolphins.
  • The Cardinals released Daryl Washington on Thursday, but the linebacker told Mike Jurecki he’d have wanted to stay with the team had it been willing to pay him a salary higher than the league minimum (Twitter link). Understandably, Arizona wasn’t interested in making any kind of a real investment in Washington, who hasn’t played a down since 2013 because of repeated violations of the NFL’s substance abuse policy. The league reinstated Washington last month.
  • Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah says that he will ask Ndamukong Suh for advice on contract talks, as Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press writes. “I haven’t talked to him about it yet, but I will,” Ansah said. The Lions are hoping to lock Ansah down with a contract extension, despite a down year in 2016.
  • Wide receiver Eddie Royal, whom the Bears released Thursday, is still recovering from the turf toe that ended his 2016 campaign early, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. While Royal is making progress from December surgery, he’s not ready to return to the field, per Rapoport.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Bears Release WR Eddie Royal

The Bears announced that they have released wide receiver Eddie Royal. In related news, the team has also waived offensive lineman Cornelius Edison, fullback Paul Lasike, and defensive lineman Will Sutton"<strong

[RELATED: Bears Willing To Trade TE Zach Miller?]

Royal, 31 later this month, was an expected cap casualty after the March signing of Kendall Wright. The veteran had one year remaining on his contract, but his $5MM salary was completely non-guaranteed. Royal underwent surgery in late December to fix his turf toe issue and the fact that his release was formalized today could be an indication that he is able to pass a physical and suit up for a team.

Royal appeared in nine games last season for the Bears until he was placed on IR. In his injury-shortened season, he hauled in 33 catches for 369 yards and two touchdowns. The receiver first made a name for himself in Denver where he caught passes from Jay Cutler in the 2008 season. Now, both men are out of Chicago.

The Bears are projected to have Cameron Meredith, Wright, Kevin White, and Markus Wheaton as their top four receivers this year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bears Sign Kendall Wright

Kendall Wright will attempt to re-establish his value in a new locale in 2017. The former first-round Titans pick will join the Bears on a one-year deal worth up to $4MM, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). The team confirmed the move (via Twitter).

Kendall Wright (Vertical)

Wright will join Markus Wheaton in trekking to Chicago from the AFC on what will be a revamped Bears receiving corps, one that lost Alshon Jeffery.

After being marginalized in what became a run-based attack in Tennessee, Wright knew he would not be back for a sixth Titans season shortly after his fifth concluded. He was a healthy scratch in Tennessee’s regular-season finale and did not surpass 500 receiving yards in either of his final two Titans slates.

But the 27-year-old Wright, who’s played much of his career in the slot, has a 1,000-plus-yard receiving season to his credit. He finished the 2013 campaign with 94 receptions, 1,079 yards and two touchdowns. He added six touchdowns in 2014, a season that featured 715 yards for Wright, but one that doubled as his last as the Titans’ clear-cut No. 1 wide receiver. After going for more than 2,300 yards in his first three seasons with Jake Locker as the primary distributor, Wright totaled just 824 in his last two Titans seasons.

Wright likely had a backer in a high-ranking place on the Bears’ coaching staff, with former Titans OC Dowell Loggains now the Chicago OC. Loggains was Tennessee’s OC from 2012-13.

With the signing, the Bears are expected to release Eddie Royal, as Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune writes. Royal, who will turn 31 in May, has one year remaining on his contract, but the $5MM that he is due in 2017 contains no guarantees, so Chicago can clear the full $5MM from its salary cap by cutting him. Per Biggs, Royal’s contract will likely be terminated when he can pass a physical after undergoing surgery in late December to repair a turf toe issue.

Bears Place Eddie Royal On IR

Eddie Royal‘s offseason has started about two weeks early. The wide receiver is being placed on injured reserve with a toe injury, coach John Fox told reporters (including Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune, via Twitter). Eddie Royal (vertical)

Royal, 30, appeared in nine games this season for the Bears and had 33 catches for 369 yards and two touchdowns. It is possible that he has played his last game in Chicago. The Bears can save $5MM in 2017 and incur no dead money by cutting the veteran. Royal first made a name for himself in Denver where he caught passes from Jay Cutler in the 2008 season. Now, the duo may exit Chicago together as the Bears look to rebuild.

Royal is the second wide receiver to go down for Chicago in recent days. Over the weekend, Marquess Wilson was placed on IR with a foot fracture.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Colts, Raiders, Cards, Bears

Colts owner Jim Irsay unexpectedly awarded four-year contract extensions to general manager Ryan Grigson and head coach Chuck Pagano last winter. Now, in the midst of a second straight disappointing season, Irsay gave somewhat flimsy votes of confidence to the pair Wednesday. “Honestly, at the end of every season, we sit down and review where we’re at,” he told Tom Pelissero of USA Today. “I don’t have any anticipation of change. There’s no plan of that. We’ll evaluate everything. I will.” On the possibility of the 6-7 Colts missing the postseason, Irsay commented, “This is the first time in almost 20 years we (wouldn’t have) made the playoffs in back-to-back years. That’s extremely disappointing.” Despite their sub-.500 record, the Colts remain in contention in the weak AFC South, though they’re going to have to leapfrog both the Texans and Titans over the season’s final three weeks to win the division. Indianapolis dropped its two matchups against the Texans this year, including a 22-17 loss last Sunday, but swept the Titans.

More from around the NFL:

  • Commissioner Roger Goodell acknowledged his recent meeting with the Raiders’ Aldon Smith on Wednesday, but there’s still no word on when or if the league will reinstate the suspended linebacker. “It was good for me to hear from him personally. But when we get to that decision, we’ll certainly announce it,” said Goodell (via Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com). Smith hasn’t played since the league issued him a one-year ban in November 2015 for a substance abuse violation. The 27-year-old should’ve been back in action by now, then, and the fact that he isn’t indicates he hasn’t met all the substance program’s requirements, tweets Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area Newspaper Group.
  • Cardinals players were “shocked” and in “disbelief” after receiver Michael Floyd‘s release on Wednesday, defensive back Tyrann Mathieu told Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com. Floyd was a popular figure in the locker room, notes Weinfuss, and quarterback Carson Palmer called him a “close friend” and “leader.” The club moved on from Floyd, an impending free agent, shortly after he was charged with his second DUI in the past five years.
  • Bears receiver Eddie Royal is likely to end up a cap casualty in the offseason, writes Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. By moving on from Royal, who has one year left on his contract, the Bears would save $5MM and incur no dead money in 2017. The 30-year-old Royal has hauled in 33 catches for 369 yards and two touchdowns in nine games this season, his second in Chicago.

Bears To Sign Eddie Royal

THURSDAY, 12:17pm: Royal’s three-year deal with the Bears is worth $15MM, with $10MM in fully guaranteed money, says Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune (Twitter links).

WEDNESDAY, 11:35pm: It’s a three-year deal, according to Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun (via Twitter).

9:25pm: Eddie Royal will apparently be teaming up with former teammate Jay Cutler, as Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego reports (via Twitter) that the former Chargers wideout will sign with the Bears.

Royal caught 62 balls for 778 receiving yards with the Chargers last season and both marks were his best since his rookie season with the Broncos in 2008. The 28-year-old (29 in May), put himself on the map with his tremendous rookie performance in 2008 and became a focal point of the Bolts’ offense over the last two seasons. While the stats have come and gone for Royal since 2013 (no wide receiver really sees consistent targets in Philip Rivers‘ offense), he has proven himself to be a reliable option.

Royal, who caught balls from Cutler in Denver earlier in his career, isn’t exactly an ideal candidate to replace Brandon Marshall, who was traded to the Jets earlier this week. However, the Bears are rebuilding a wide receiving corps that doesn’t feature a ton of talent behind Alshon Jeffery, so signing a slot receiver like Royal is a solid add for Chicago.

AFC West Rumors: Freeney, Royal, Broncos

The latest from the AFC West..

  • Chargers GM Tom Telesco spoke to Dwight Freeney days ago and informed him that the team won’t be pursuing another contract with him, Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego tweets. “I wish him all the luck. I really do.
  • Meanwhile, Telesco said that the “door is still open” for Eddie Royal to return to the Chargers, Gehlken tweets. So far, there has been nothing official between the wide receiver and the Bears, though there have been rumblings of a connection there. In San Diego last season, Royal caught 62 balls for 778 receiving yards. Both marks were his best since his rookie season with the Broncos in 2008.
  • Broncos GM John Elway says the team is still looking at safeties and improving the offensive line in the second wave of free agency, Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com tweets.
  • The Broncos, who are high on tight ends, will talk with Jacob Tamme today in hopes of retaining him, Troy Renck of the Denver Post tweets. Of course, Denver seems pretty set at the tight end position in the wake of yesterday’s signing of Owen Daniels.
  • Elway went on to say that the Broncos are still trying to re-sign defensive tackle Mitch Unrein, Legwold tweets.

Bears Interested In Eddie Royal

While free agents flew off the board today, there was confusion surrounding the contract status of Eddie Royal. Multiple reports (via Twitter) suggested the veteran wideout had agreed to terms, or was close to a deal, with the Bears, but those reports were just as quickly shot down (Twitter link).

However, according to Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune (Twitter link) and Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com, Royal is at least paying a visit to Chicago, even if he hasn’t agreed to a deal with the team yet. According to Dickerson, several other potential suitors have expressed interest in Royal, but the Bears are the “clear frontrunner” to sign him.

Royal, who caught balls from Jay Cutler in Denver earlier in his career, isn’t exactly an ideal candidate to replace Brandon Marshall, who was officially traded to the Jets today. But the Bears are rebuilding a wide receiving corps that doesn’t feature a ton of talent behind Alshon Jeffery, so adding a slot receiver like Royal is also a priority for the club.

In San Diego last season, Royal caught 62 balls for 778 receiving yards. Both marks were his best since his rookie season with the Broncos in 2008.

FA Links: Forsett, Royal, Melton, Cameron

The latest free agent rumors on Day 1 …

  • Justin Forsett will be Ravens‘ the primary backfield target after they cleared some cap room, Baltimore Sun reporter Aaron Wilson said via Twitter. The runner’s also drawn interest from the Falcons, Colts and Washington. The Colts’ signing Frank Gore today should limit their interest, however.
  • Contrary to earlier reports, there is no agreement in place or visit scheduled between Eddie Royal and the Bears, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Michael Gehlken on Twitter.
  • The Bucs set up three more visits, with the team set to bring in Henry Melton, Stefen Wisniewski and Bruce Carter, Sports Talk Florida’s Jenna Laine reports.
  • The Browns remain interested in bringing Jordan Cameron back to be their tight end, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports on Twitter. But ex-Bengals veteran Jermaine Gresham‘s drawn interest from the eastern Ohio team as well. Despite not having a season like Cameron’s 80-catch, 917-yard 2013 on his resume, Gresham’s made two Pro Bowls. But he saw his yards per reception drop drastically to 7.4 last season.
  • Leonard Hankerson will visit the Falcons tonight, Yahoo! Sports’ Rand Getlin tweets. Missing all but one game in 2014 to injury, Hankerson played for current Falcons OC Kyle Shanahan with Washington.
  • Despite cutting Shelley Smith earlier today, the Dolphins aren’t dismissing the chance at bringing him back at a reduced cost, the Miami Herald’s Adam Beasley notes via Twitter. The Dolphins like backup tackle Billy Turner, however.
  • The Cardinals will host center A.Q. Shipley, ESPN’s Adam Caplan said on Twitter. The Colts did not tender Shipley, their starting center in 2012 and 2014, a contract offer, sending him to the market.

NFC Mailbags: Rams, Panthers, Lions, Packers

We took a look at ESPN.com’s AFC mailbags earlier this morning. Let’s now shift focus to the NFC…

  • Nick Wagoner says the Rams would like to re-sign tight end Lance Kendricks, but the writer wonders if the rumored $4MM annual salary the player is seeking is too pricey.
  • The Panthers need a speedy wideout to pair with Kelvin Benjamin, and David Newton suggests free agents Eddie Royal, Ted Ginn Jr. and Michael Crabtree, although he warns that the former 49ers receiver may not be a “Dave Gettleman guy.”
  • With Cam Newton‘s contract situation being a priority in Carolina, Newton says the Panthers likely won’t make any progress on an extension for Luke Kuechly until next season.
  • The Lions releasing Reggie Bush is not an indication that they’ll draft a running back early, says Michael Rothstein. The team still has Joique Bell and Theo Riddick, so there doesn’t need to be any panic from the organization to replace the former second-overall pick. With the said, Rothstein still believes the team will select a running back, albeit much later in the draft.
  • Dan Graziano believes Bush would be the type of running back the Giants would be looking to acquire. However, the writer says that the team wasn’t among the organizations that displayed initial interest in the veteran.
  • Rob Demovsky says the Packers could keep both Tramon Williams and Davon House, but he notes that it’s unlikely for both players to remain on the roster. After all, the team is looking to expand Casey Hayward‘s role, meaning one of the two defensive backs would be on the outside looking in.
  • John Keim opines that Washington needs to improve their tight end depth. The writer says the team can’t rely on Jordan Reed, and he adds that Logan Paulsen is most productive as a blocker. Keim points to former Eagles tight end James Casey, noting that Washington has already shown interest in the 30-year-old.