Ereck Flowers

East Notes: Williams, Mills, Flowers

Trent Williams has been one of the most-discussed players in the NFL for about a year now, and it presently does not sound like the Redskins are close to trading their disgruntled left tackle. One of the more overlooked talking points, however, is what happens if a trade is not completed?

We recently heard that the team does not plan to release Williams, which means he would remain under contract with the Redskins through 2020. And holding out wouldn’t earn him any leverage with the Redskins or with a team interested in trading for him, so as Albert Breer of SI.com writes, Williams would have no choice but to play for Washington next season. He clearly does not want that to happen, but at this point, his clearest path to a lucrative new deal may be to stick it out for one more season with the ‘Skins and prove he is still a top-tier LT.

Let’s round up a few more items from the league’s east divisions:

  • CB Kendall Fuller is back with the Redskins on a four-year deal, and he tells John Keim of ESPN.com that a number of factors brought him back to D.C. The Baltimore native played his collegiate ball at Virginia Tech and was drafted by the Redskins in 2016, so Washington is home for him. He also cited new head coach Ron Rivera and Rivera’s reputation for developing CBs as a draw, along with the defensive staff as a whole. Fuller indicated that he does not know if he will play primarily in the slot or outside the numbers (Twitter links).
  • The Eagles brought back Jalen Mills on a one-year, $4MM pact, and the club plans on transitioning him from cornerback to safety in the wake of Malcolm Jenkins‘ departure. Mills says that Philadelphia was the only team that wanted to move him to safety (Twitter link via Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94 WIP), but obviously that switch was agreeable to the 2016 seventh-rounder. It’s fair to wonder, however, exactly how much interest Mills was generating as a CB on the open market.
  • Ereck Flowers couldn’t hack it as an offensive tackle in the NFL, but he has reinvented himself as a guard and parlayed a strong showing at LG with Washington in 2019 into a surprising three-year, $30MM contract with the Dolphins last month. This will not come as much of a surprise, but Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald says Miami intends to have Flowers line up at guard, though his experience at tackle made him attractive to head coach Brian Flores, who clearly targeted FAs with positional versatility.
  • The Bills opted against giving WR/KR Isaiah McKenzie an RFA tender, but they did re-sign him to a one-year pact just the same. McKenzie told Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News that he did have other free agent offers, but despite the fact that he is unlikely to see more playing time with the Bills in 2020 than he did in 2019, his preference was to return to Buffalo (Twitter link).

Dolphins To Sign Ereck Flowers To $30MM Deal

The Dolphins have agreed to sign Ereck Flowers, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). Once finalized, it’ll be a three-year deal worth $30MM with $19.5MM fully guaranteed.

Flowers, who floundered in his early years with the Giants, was not expected to find free agent riches at the outset of the offseason. However, the dearth of quality offensive line help around the league bolstered his market tremendously. Lately, we’ve heard rumors that Flowers could fetch $10MM/year on his next deal. That was indeed the case, and the Dolphins will be the team to pay out that contract.

Last year, Flowers earned $3.25MM with the Redskins. Playing at guard, Flowers started in all 16 games and surprised many with his performance. After the Redskins locked down Brandon Scherff and the Patriots took Joe Thuney off of the market with a surprise franchise tag, Flowers was looking better than ever to teams in need of interior help.

The deal brings the Miami native and former Hurricane back to his old stomping grounds. Meanwhile, the Dolphins get a talented lineman who – in theory – could offer support at multiple positions.

Redskins Want Ereck Flowers Back

Ereck Flowers has had a bumpy journey in the pros, but it looks like he might’ve found a permanent home. The Redskins want to bring back the impending free agent, new head coach Ron Rivera told Larry Michael on Redskins Nation, via JP Finlay of NBC Sports.

We heard recently that the ‘Skins were planning on franchise-tagging right guard Brandon Scherff, and Rivera confirmed that he wants both of the guards back. The Giants drafted Flowers ninth overall back in 2015, and it wasn’t long before he was labeled a bust. After starting at least 15 games in each of his first three seasons with very poor results at both tackle positions, Flowers was released midway through his fourth.

He latched on with the Jaguars and started seven games with them in 2018, again struggling mightily. Then he signed a one-year deal with Washington last offseason, and the team moved him to guard during training camp. He thrived in the new position, and started all 16 games.

As for what it will take to re-sign Flowers, Finlay writes that it will probably be more than double the $3.25MM he earned last season. Rivera seemed to be pretty confident about a deal getting worked out and the state of his offensive line, saying “once we get that situation figured out, we will have four of the five (starters) that we know what’s going to happen” with. The one question mark in that scenario, of course, would be left tackle Trent Williams, who was recently given permission to pursue a trade.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Notes: Williams, Cowboys, Giants

Trent Williams continues to hold out from Redskins camp, but the team is standing firm on the trade front. Despite acquiring Donald Penn, the Redskins have told teams they have no plans to trade Williams, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Teams continue to inquire about the 10th-year left tackle’s availability, but thus far, Washington has resisted. Williams, 31, is upset with the organization because of his contract and its handling of a health scare of his. Some around the league believe the Patriots will make a play for the seven-time Pro Bowler, but nothing is moving on this front yet. This may be an attempt for Washington to drive up the price, but for now, Williams remains a Redskins employee.

As for Washington’s left tackle situation, Penn and 2018 third-rounder Geron Christian are battling for the spot, Albert Breer of SI.com tweets. Ereck Flowers is back at guard but may be behind fourth-round rookie Wes Martin.

Here is the latest from the NFC East:

  • Deandre Baker will miss time for the Giants because of a knee sprain, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com notes (video link). However, the first-round pick’s ACL did not sustain damage, and the Giants appear to expect him back soon. Baker will likely be asked to start in his first season, with Big Blue’s cornerback corps rather thin.
  • The Cowboys gave fourth-round pick Tony Pollard just four carries in their preseason opener, but Jerry Jones may be using that to send a message to holdout Ezekiel Elliott. “He looks confident out there. We know he’s inordinately understanding what it is he does and what he can do,” Jones said, via ESPN.com’s Todd Archer. “We’ve seen him do it. We know he’s capable, if he really needs to, carry the whole load.” Pollard gained 16 yards against the 49ers. While Dak Prescott‘s negotiations have been talking points in the past two days, not much has emerged on the Elliott front. Jones said (via Jon Machota of The Athletic, on Twitter) nothing has changed regarding Dallas’ extension candidates.
  • Third-year Cowboys defensive end Taco Charlton addressed his current situation, which may not involve a full-time starting role. The 2017 first-round pick has just four career sacks and said he was not asked to rush quarterbacks as much as he did as a rookie. He mentioned discussing his NFL future with his agent recently (via Machota, subscription required). “We know my value and everything like that, so everything is good,” Charlton said. “I’m here right now working hard with this team. I will show up every day to work hard, healthy, hurt, whatever may be. Shoulder hurt, I still show up every day to work hard.” The Cowboys have DeMarcus Lawrence recovering from surgery, Robert Quinn out two games with a suspension and Randy Gregory once again banned. The defending NFC East champs will need Charlton, especially early.
  • On another NFC East defensive line, the Eagles saw their 2017 first-round pick return to 11-on-11 drills. Derek Barnett participated in team work for the first time in camp, Dave Zangaro of NBC Sports Philadelphia notes. Barnett spent the offseason recovering from a shoulder injury that sent him to IR in October. The Eagles traded Michael Bennett and lost Chris Long to retirement, pointing to a big role for Barnett.
  • The Giants lost another wide receiver for the season. Recent addition Amba Etta-Tawo tore one of his Achilles’ tendons, per NJ.com’s Matt Lombardo. In his second camp with the Giants, the Syracuse alum has yet to play in a regular-season game. Big Blue is down Sterling Shepard and Corey Coleman and will be without Golden Tate for the season’s first four games.

Donald Penn To Visit Redskins

Not much has transpired on the Donald Penn front since the Raiders released him. Trent Williams‘ holdout looks to have changed that. The Redskins will host the former Raiders and Buccaneers tackle on a visit, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Penn will work out for the team, John Keim of ESPN.com tweets.

The Raiders cut Penn more than four months ago, and other than some interest from the Texans, the 36-year-old blocker has experienced a quiet free agency stay. Washington, though, may be ready to move on bringing in a Williams replacement/stopgap. It could also be an attempt to bring the holdout back into the fold.

Washington expressed interest in Penn during his 2014 free agency, Mike Jones of USA Today tweets. Redskins president Bruce Allen was with the Bucs when they drafted Penn.

Penn profiles as a far more proven player than Ereck Flowers, who slid over to left tackle during Washington’s minicamp. Flowers has struggled at tackle throughout his career, and although the Redskins were planning to try him at guard, it looks like they will keep him on the edge for the time being, Jay Gruden said (via Les Carpenter of the Washington Post, on Twitter).

The Raiders deployed Penn as their left tackle starter for four seasons, then moved him to the right side for what turned out to be a short stay. An early-season injury shelved Penn for most of the 2018 season. Prior to that, he had started 174 of a possible 176 regular-season games since entering the league in 2007.

While the Williams situation is unique, based on the 10th-year tackle being at odds with the Redskins because of their handling of an injury, Penn has been through multiple holdouts in recent years. It’s interesting another standout’s absence could create an opportunity for Penn.

It makes sense for the Redskins to protect themselves at left tackle, but Penn coming in would point to the team considering a Williams trade. The Redskins can begin fining their nine-year left-edge blocker, who also wants a new contract, for camp absences. Williams’ contract demand also comes after he has missed extensive time in recent seasons. Regardless, Washington’s left tackle spot remains in flux. Penn’s involvement complicates this situation further.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Release Candidate: Redskins OL Ereck Flowers

With little in the way of options at the tackle position, are the Redskins really in a position to release a former first-round pick who just celebrated his 25th birthday? The short answer is no, but it’s still possible that Ereck Flowers could wind up out of work between now and September. 

The film on Flowers is not inspiring – he failed to protect Eli Manning in New York despite being given three full seasons as the team’s starter. When things fizzled with the Giants, Flowers reunited with Tom Coughlin in Jacksonville and didn’t exactly set the world on fire in his seven games as the team’s starting tackle.

With a need at guard, the Redskins inked Flowers to a one-year, $3.2MM deal to help shore up the interior. Later, their plans for Flowers were interrupted when Trent Williams pushed for a relocation, forcing Flowers to take reps at tackle in practice.

To recap: The Redskins are thin on the offensive line, Flowers is guaranteed $1.5MM for the year, and they may need someone other than Williams to hold down the most important spot on the front five. Still, Flowers hasn’t inspired much confidence since leaving the University of Miami and the left guard spot that he was supposed to fill could be occupied by fourth-round rookie Wes Martin.

Flowers could turn things around in training camp and show the Redskins that he is deserving of a major role up front. Or, if Flowers continues his so-so spring play, he could wind up on the chopping block. If Flowers doesn’t cut the mustard, the Redskins may release him to save $1.7MM and look to the trade market for veteran help.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Rumors: Flowers, Jets, Caserio

Given several chances at left tackle with the Giants, Ereck Flowers may be set to receive another NFC East starting opportunity. This one will come with the Redskins, who as of now plan to use the former top-10 pick as a starter. Offensive line coach Bill Callahan said, via Les Carpenter of the Washington Post, Flowers is pegged to start opposite Brandon Scherff at left guard. Flowers, who started 48 games at tackle with the Giants and seven with the Jaguars from 2015-18 before moving to guard in Washington, lined up back at tackle during parts of Redskins minicamp because of Trent Williams‘ absence. While the first-round bust did not fare well in the public portion of the workouts, Washington remains optimistic. The Redskins drafted fourth-round guard Wes Martin (Indiana) but appear to have him set to develop behind Scherff and Flowers.

I see a lot of potential when we’ve moved tackles inside,” Callahan said, via Carpenter. “I think it gives us size, it gives us power. He’s long; he’s square. Obviously, he can play in the short area, so those are things we kind of identified during free agency that we liked, and we are trying to fit him into that mode. So it’s been a work in progress, we got a long ways to go yet, but he’s made a nice transition.”

Shifting first to the AFC, here is the latest from some of the NFL’s Eastern Time Zone-stationed franchises:

  • Colts VP of player personnel Rex Hogan becoming the Jets’ assistant GM may nix the franchise pairing two of its GM candidates in the front office. Bears exec Champ Kelly was linked to the Jets, but Rich Cimini of ESPN.com notes (Twitter link) the recent New York GM interviewee was the favorite for the job Hogan received. With Chad Alexander coming aboard as the Jets’ player personnel director and Phil Savage having also accepted a Jets job, the Jets are running out of prominent titles. This could keep Kelly in Chicago.
  • Hogan was still under contract with the Colts, Albert Breer of SI.com tweets, but Chris Ballard gave permission to allow for one of his top lieutenants to leave. Although Hogan and Ed Dodds were hired together, Cimini notes (on Twitter) Hogan served as the Colts’ No. 3 man in their decision-making hierarchy and will move to No. 2 with the Jets. This could put Hogan, who obviously helped the Colts in their rapid rebuild, on the GM radar in the near future.
  • Moving to a far more contentious process, Nick Caserio remains with the Patriots as their player personnel director. But with Caserio preparing to leave in 2020 — perhaps to become the Texans’ GM — Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk wonders how much input Bill Belichick‘s right-hand man will have over the next several months. Caserio’s contract runs through the 2020 draft, per Florio, but will Belichick clue in a potentially departing exec on the inner workings of his plans? In a draft when the Patriots could be (again) targeting a Tom Brady successor, the uncertainty around Caserio may force the Pats to turn to other execs during that research process.

NFC East Notes: Eagles, Foles, Manning

For a minute there, the Eagles considered tagging quarterback Nick Foles. This week, owner Jeff Lurie confirmed what had been widely rumored – the tag was considered only to stop Foles from potentially leaving for the rival Giants or Redskins (Twitter link via Mike Garafolo of NFL.com). However, when it became apparent to the Redskins that Foles would be leaving the conference altogether by signing with the Jaguars, the Eagles opted against the move.

Foles was beloved in Philadelphia, but holding on to him as Carson Wentz‘s backup would have been an expensive proposition. Instead, the Eagles allowed him to fly away while putting their limited cap space into other areas.

Here’s more from the NFC East:

  • As the Giants evaluate their future at the quarterback position, they have not ruled out the possibility that Eli Manning could be their QB in 2020, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY hears. If the Giants do not draft a QB at No. 6 or No. 17 overall or trade for Cardinals QB Josh Rosen, this could be the most likely outcome. From there, the Giants would kick the can down the road into 2020, when they would (finally) select Manning’s heir.
  • The Cowboys‘ one-year deal with safety George Iloka is a minimum salary benefit contract that will count for just $735K against the cap, as Todd Archer of ESPN.com tweets. He’ll earn a $930K base salary with just $210K of that amount being guaranteed. The longtime Bengals starter is just the latest one-year addition in Dallas, joining fellow vets Randall Cobb, Kerry Hyder, Christian Covington, Cameron Fleming, Tavon Austin, and Jason Witten on deals that expire after the 2019 season.
  • The Redskins will move former Giants first-round pick Ereck Flowers from tackle to guard, as John Keim of ESPN.com tweets. They don’t expect there to be much of a learning curve, however. “With his strength and his size and his ability to move I think it will be a natural easy fit,” head coach Jay Gruden said. “[When] we drafted Brandon I remember they came out in the same class and rated right next to each other. Ereck was more a tackle and Brandon projected more of a guard. Both are athletic big and can move. It will be an easy transition.”

Contract Details: Nsekhe, Anderson, Dorsett

Let’s take a look at the details of a few recently-signed NFL contracts:

Redskins Sign Ereck Flowers

The Redskins have signed free agent offensive tackle Ereck Flowers, per Pro Football Talk (on Twitter). Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets that it will be a one-year, $4MM pact.

Washington hosted the fifth-year pro yesterday, and the club elected to pull the trigger today. Flowers, of course, was selected by the division-rival Giants in the first round of the 2015 draft, but he never lived up to his pedigree. New York cut him last October and he subsequently caught on with the Jaguars, starting seven games at left tackle for Jacksonville.

His tenure with the Giants was marred by penalties and a matador-like approach to pass blocking, and even after Big Blue switched Flowers from left tackle to right tackle, they did not see an uptick in performance. But his improved play with the Jags caught the Redskins’ eye, and John Keim of ESPN.com says the club plans to to slide Flowers inside to guard.

However, he will also serve as a swing tackle and insurance policy for left tackle Trent Williams and right tackle Morgan Moses, while 2018 third-rounder Geron Christian — whom the team prefers at swing tackle — recovers froma torn MCL.

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.