Eric Ebron

NFC Notes: Clayborn, 49ers, Lions

Falcons defensive lineman Adrian Clayborn was prepared to hang up the cleats last offseason, as D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. Clayborn suffered a torn biceps in Atlanta’s playoff win over the Seahawks in January, which marked the third time that he had endured a season-ending injury, and he was ready to retire rather than risk more pain and frustration. However, his fiancee (now wife) convinced him to give it another shot, and Atlanta is reaping the benefits. In addition to his otherworldly (and perhaps cathartic) six-sack performance against Dallas last week, Clayborn has rated as the 10th-best edge defender in the league (out of 110 qualifiers) per Pro Football Focus. He will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, and he could be on the verge of a very nice payday.

Now for more from the NFC:

  • 2017 was always going to be a rebuilding year for the 49ers, and Cam Inman of the Mercury News offers his thoughts as to each current player’s future with the club. He suggests, for instance, that the team may prefer to let oft-injured Jimmie Ward test a soft free agent market but may want to re-sign fellow free agent-t0-be Daniel Kilgore.
  • Kyle Meinke of says he would not be surprised if the Lions simply cut Eric Ebron this offseason. While Ebron is due an $8MM salary under the fifth-year option of his rookie contract, that salary is guaranteed for injury only, so Detroit could move on from him with no penalty (assuming, of course, he does not get hurt in the meantime). Theoretically, the two sides could attempt to work out some alternate arrangement — after all, Ebron would not get close to $8MM on the open market — but given that Ebron seemed anxious for a fresh start when his name was bandied about at the trade deadline, it sounds as if Ebron may be playing his last games as Lion.
  • In the same piece, Meinke says it is hard to imagine Lions head coach Jim Caldwell getting the axe after the season, even if the team fails to qualify for the playoffs. However, Meinke predicts that Detroit will let impending free agent center Travis Swanson, who has performed poorly this season, hit the open market while sliding Graham Glasgow from guard to center.
  • Ty Montgomery‘s re-aggravated rib injury is more painful than the original injury that he suffered earlier in the year, as ESPN’s Josina Anderson tweets. Anderson said the Packers running back, who will miss today’s contest against the Ravens, will try to practice later this week with the hopes of suiting up for Green Bay’s Week 12 game against Pittsburgh, but it does not sound particularly promising right now.
  • Mike Pettine, who is currently serving as a consultant with the Seahawks, would be one of Matt Nagy‘s top choices for defensive coordinator if Nagy lands a head coaching job this offseason, as Michael Lombardi of The Ringer tweets. Pettine served as the Browns’ head coach from 2014-15, and he was previously a defensive coordinator for the Jets and Bills. Nagy currently works as the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator and is expected to be one of the hottest head coaching candidates in 2018.

Trade Rumors: Megatron, Bryant, Staley

We heard earlier today that the Seahawks are still trying to trade for a veteran left tackle, and they are willing to part with TE Jimmy Graham in order to facilitate such a deal. With the league’s trade deadline just two days away, let’s take a look at more trade rumors from around the league:

  • Two teams have called the Lions to discuss acquiring the rights to retired WR Calvin Johnson, according to Adam Schefter of, and Detroit told those clubs to go ahead and reach out to the future Hall-of-Famer. However, Johnson has been noncommittal at best, so it does not seem as if he will change his decision to remain retired, which he reiterated just two months ago.
  • We learned yesterday that the Lions are shopping TE Eric Ebron, and according to Ian Rapoport of, Detroit is receiving inquiries from multiple teams about Ebron. Per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter link), Ebron has admitted that he could be dealt.
  • The Steelers are ignoring Martavis Bryant‘s trade request and plan to continue ignoring it, according to Albert Breer of, which makes it sound as if Pittsburgh is going to try and make things work with its disgruntled but talented wideout. However, that has not stopped contending teams from inquiring on Bryant, according to Rapoport (video link), who suggests that the Steelers are willing to at least listen to offers. The Patriots are one potential landing spot, as they discussed trading for Bryant prior to the draft.
  • The Eagles are another club looking for offensive line help at the deadline, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, who names the 49ers‘ Joe Staley as one possibility. Indeed, La Canfora writes in a separate pice that the 49ers are open to trading veterans like Staley, Carlos Hyde, and Eric Reid, but other teams say that the new regime in San Francisco values such players more highly than the market dictates, thereby making a deal unlikely.
  • Despite the fact that the Bills have jumped out to a surprisingly strong start, La Canfora says the team is still willing to move some of its veteran pieces. However, it has already been reported that Cordy Glenn and Anquan Boldin are available, and La Canfora does not add any other names to the list of Bills who could be on the move.
  • Per Schefter (via Twitter), the Colts are receiving inquiries on CB Vontae Davis, and they have been in talks with at least two clubs about the Illinois product.
  • John Reid of the Florida Times-Union says the Jaguars could look to trade RB T.J. Yeldon, but it is unclear whether there has been any movement on that front.
  • Because of the playing time that Chris Smith has received with the Bengals this season, the Jaguars will get a 2018 seventh-round pick from Cincinnati per the conditions of the trade the two clubs completed in April, as Mike Kaye of First Coast News tweets.

NFC Notes: Lions, Bucs, Cowboys, Seahawks

Tight end Eric Ebron is the biggest name being floated around by the Lions with the trade deadline looming, according to Kyle Meinke of General manager Bob Quinn has been aggressive since assuming the job nearly two years ago, and even pulled off a midseason deal in 2016 when he traded Kyle Van Noy to the Patriots, Meinke notes. A first-round pick out of North Carolina in 2014, the athletic tight end was expected by many to have a breakout campaign following a career year in 2016 but that has not been the case. Ebron has tallied more than two catches in a game just once this season but still possesses freakish physical traits that could lead a team to take a shot on the fourth-year pass catcher. Ebron is signed through 2018 and is due to earn $8.25MM next season.

Here’s more from the NFC:

  • Jameis Winston reinjured his shoulder against the Bills in Week 7, Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter confirmed in an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio (Twitter link). “[Jameis] was doing better, he played very well, especially in the second half against Buffalo,” Koetter said. “We did have that one sack-fumble in the first half, and he did kind of reinjure it, and so that’s what led to him not throwing on Wednesday or Thursday this week.” Despite missing two days of practice, Winston took all reps on Friday and will start vs. Carolina in Week 8.
  • The Cowboys are not looking to move any of their receivers, team vice president Stephen Jones said in a radio interview with 105.3 The Fan (Twitter link). Jones added the team has not specifically been asked about Cole Beasley‘s availability in a trade. After posting a career-high 75 catches in 2016, Beasley has hauled in just 16 grabs in the team’s first six games this season. It also doesn’t bode well for the slot receiver’s future in Dallas that the team drafted Ryan Switzer, a near carbon copy of Beasley, in the 2017 NFL Draft. Beasley is signed through 2018 and is due to make $3.25MM next season.
  • The Seahawks are paying Dion Jordan $7.2K and Malik McDowell $5K per week while the two are on the NFI list, tweets Joel Corry of CBS Sports. Though a team doesn’t have to pay a player on the NFI list since the injury occurred away from the field, Seattle was able to come to terms with the two defenders. Jordan returned to practice this week, so the team has three weeks to activate him to the 53-man roster or he will not be eligible to play again this season. McDowell is still out indefinitely.

Lions, Eric Ebron Have Talked Extension

Less than a month ago, the Lions were unsure if they were going to exercise tight end Eric Ebron‘s 2018 option. Detroit did indeed pick up the option, though, and now it apparently has interest in keeping Ebron in the fold beyond the next two seasons. General manager Bob Quinn has opened contract extension talks with Ebron, reports Kyle Meinke of

Eric Ebron

“Let’s just say Bob (Quinn) is my guy, and we talk often, and, you know, we have things in place,” Ebron said earlier this week. “We’ve had our own talks, and he’s looking for some things from me, and hopefully I can just give him what he’s looking for.”

Based on Ebron’s statement, it doesn’t seem as if an extension is imminent, and it doesn’t need to be considering his contract status. For now, Ebron is set to rake in $3.9MM in 2017 and could make $8.5MM in 2018 under the option, though it’s guaranteed for injury only (and the Lions could attempt to reduce that number with a new deal). As such, Detroit will have the ability to cut ties with Ebron after the season if he’s healthy. Notably, Ebron hasn’t posted a 16-game season since the Lions selected him 10th overall in the 2014 draft. And when on the field, the former North Carolina Tar Heel hasn’t necessarily produced commensurate to his draft slot, having hauled in 133 receptions and seven touchdowns in 40 games.

Most recently, Ebron set career highs in catches (61), yards (711) and starts (13) in 2016, but he also finished with the most drops among tight ends (seven) and only hauled in one score. From a statistical standpoint, it helped Ebron’s cause last year that he was the Lions’ only worthwhile pass-catching tight end. That could change going forward, however, with the addition of fourth-rounder Michael Roberts, who broke out at Toledo last season with 45 receptions and an eyebrow-raising 16 TDs.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions Pick Up Eric Ebron’s Option

The Lions have exercised Eric Ebron‘s option for the 2018 season, according to a team announcement. As shown in PFR’s Fifth-Year Option Tracker, Ebron is now scheduled to earn $5.194MM in ’18. Eric Ebron (vertical)

[RELATED: 2018 Fifth-Year Option Decision Tracker]

Detroit took its time making the call on the tight end and it wasn’t a given that he would get the additional season tacked on to his contract. Since entering the league in 2014, Ebron has struggled with drops (he had seven in 2016) and hasn’t quite lived up to the expectations set for him when he was selected No. 10 overall.

On the bright side, Ebron has been steadily improving as a receiver. The 24-year-old went from 25 catches as a rookie to 47 in 2015 to 61 in 2016. Last season, only nine tight ends had more receptions than Ebron. The Lions are hoping that he can take yet another step forward in 2017 while losing the Roberto Duran act.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions Mulling Eric Ebron’s Fifth-Year Option

The Lions will have to make a decision on tight end Eric Ebron‘s fifth-year option by May 3, but their front office has “talked very little about” it, general manager Bob Quinn said Thursday to reporters, including Kyle Meinke of Quinn added that team brass is undecided on Ebron’s option and will “spend the next two weeks discussing” it.

Eric Ebron

Exercising Ebron’s option would give the Lions control over him in 2018 for around $8.5MM, which would be guaranteed for injury only. But Ebron could become superfluous to the Lions beyond the upcoming season if they spend a high pick in this year’s draft on a tight end, which Meinke notes is a possibility. Ebron himself was a high pick not long ago, in 2014, when the Lions selected the ex-North Carolina standout 10th overall.

The 24-year-old Ebron has been fairly prolific during his career, having progressed from 25 catches as a rookie to 47 in 2015 to 61 last season. Only nine tight ends finished 2016 with more receptions than Ebron, who also posted a career-high yards-per-catch average (11.7) and logged a personal-best 13 starts. However, he finished last among TEs in drops (seven) and caught just one touchdown (four fewer than his 2015 total).

Ebron will make $3.9MM in 2017, potentially his final season in Detroit.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC North Notes: Munnerlyn, Lions, Hyde

Captain Munnerlyn will be 29 before the 2017 season begins, but the veteran slot cornerback does not have a medium-length contract on his mind. The Vikings free agent is seeking a long-term pact and a raise.

I’m looking for a four- or five-year deal; just somewhere I can finish my career at, and go from there,” Munnerlyn said, via Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “I don’t want a one- or two-year deal. I definitely don’t want to do that. I want to get something longer, so I can settle in and see if I want to make [Minnesota] my home.

Munnerlyn finished a three-year, $12.2MM Vikings deal and received more slot reps than almost any corner in football during that span. Using the cap’s increase to $167MM behind the reasoning, Munnerlyn is targeting a raise from the $4.2MM base salary he earned in 2016. Two of his agents were scheduled to meet with Vikings executive vice president Rob Brzezinski on Friday. Munnerlyn joins the likes of A.J. Bouye, Stephon Gilmore, Morris Claiborne and others on the cornerback market.

Here’s more from the NFC North on Combine Saturday.

  • The Lions are open to discussing an extension with Eric Ebron, but Bob Quinn said (via Kyle Meinke of that conversation won’t occur for months. Detroit has Ebron’s fifth-year option decision due in early May. Ebron is due $3.9MM in 2017, and Meinke notes Quinn’s recent comments on the tight end suggest he is genuinely interested in keeping him in the Motor City long-term. Ebron could see a bigger role in ’17 if the Lions don’t bring back Anquan Boldin. The 23-year-old tight end set career highs in receptions (61) and yards (711) last season despite playing in just 13 games.
  • Recipient of an extension that hasn’t benefited the Lions, DeAndre Levy has yet to be approached about a pay cut or restructure, Michael Rothstein of notes. This course of action may be coming this offseason after Levy’s last two years of work — just 21 tackles and six games played since signing that four-year, $33.74MM extension — but it hasn’t yet. And Quinn expects Levy to return in 2017, although that decision isn’t final yet. As a result of Levy’s injury issues, linebacker is a glaring need for the Lions going into free agency.
  • Packers contract negotiator Russ Ball met with Micah Hyde‘s agent on Friday at the Combine,’s Rob Demovsky reports. ESPN confirmed Ball met with the agents of Packers UFAs Eddie Lacy, Jared Cook, T.J. Lang and J.C. Tretter. However, Lang has already said he won’t sign before free agency commences. Green Bay isn’t likely to retain Tretter, either. Hyde said he would love to stay in Green Bay, identifying it as the best place for him, but hasn’t heard much from the team this offseason about a reunion.

Eric Ebron To Play On Sunday?

Lions tight end Eric Ebron is expected to start practicing this week, a source tells Adam Caplan of (on Twitter). If he doesn’t suffer any setbacks, he’ll play on Sunday against the Texans. Eric Ebron (vertical)

Ebron has been dealing with knee and ankle injuries which have hampered him throughout the season. After playing in the Lions’ first four games, Ebron was shut down to avoid further damage. In those four weeks of action, Ebron caught 18 of 25 targets for 210 yards and one touchdown.

The former first-round pick had 47 receptions for 537 yards and five touchdowns in 2015, which were all career highs. This year, with Calvin Johnson out of the picture, Detroit was banking on Ebron taking on an even larger role. Once he’s healthy, we’re expecting to see Matthew Stafford throw plenty of passes in his direction.

Right now, free agent pickup Marvin Jones stands as the team’s leading receiver with 33 catches for 623 yards and four touchdowns. He’s also averaging an eye-popping 18.9 yards per catch. Jones may see less targets with Ebron on the field, but the tight end’s presence should also ease the defensive pressure on him.

The Lions are 4-3 heading into Sunday’s game at Houston.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions TE Eric Ebron To Miss Several Weeks

Lions tight end Eric Ebron is expected to miss “a couple weeks” as he continues to deal with knee and ankle injuries, a source tells Adam Caplan of (Twitter link).Eric Ebron (Vertical)

[RELATED: Justin Forsett To Visit Lions]

Earlier this year, Ebron gave a scare to Lions fans everywhere when he was carted off the field after suffering an injury. The early fear was that Ebron tore his Achilles, but it was apparently just an ankle injury of a lesser variety.

Ebron finished last season with 47 receptions for 537 yards and five touchdowns, all career highs for the former first-round pick expected to play a larger role for a Lions offense without Calvin Johnson this season. In four games this year, Ebron has soaked up 18 of 25 targets for 210 yards and one touchdown.

With Ebron sidelined, Detroit will lean on Khari Lee, Cole Wick, and the recently-signed Clay Harbor at the tight end spot.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC North Notes: Bears, Jeffery, Lions, Ansah

The latest on the NFC North’s two 1-3 clubs:

  • Bears receiver Kevin White‘s injury troubles could make it more difficult for the club to let fellow wideout Alshon Jeffery leave as a free agent after the season, Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times observes. White, whom the Bears chose seventh overall in the 2015 draft, missed all of last season with a tibial stress fracture and is now on injured reserve after suffering a high ankle sprain and a fractured fibula in Week 4. Jeffery, meanwhile, is raking in $14.6MM as Chicago’s franchise player after it was unable to reach a long-term deal with him in the offseason. The Bears will once again have the option of tagging Jeffery after this season, or they could either reach a long-term pact with the fifth-year standout or allow him to hit the open market. Jason Cole of Bleacher Report said in July that one reason the Bears drafted White was so they could avoid signing Jeffery to a lucrative contract, but the former’s inability to stay on the field might put a wrench in that plan.
  • The Lions are unlikely to have either defensive end Ziggy Ansah or tight end Eric Ebron against 3-0 Philadelphia on Sunday, reports ESPN’s Adam Caplan (via Michael Rothstein). Ansah has missed the majority of the season since succumbing to a high ankle sprain early in Week 2, thus depriving Detroit of its best pass rusher. Ebron, who banged up his knee and ankle in the Lions’ 17-14 loss in Chicago last Sunday, has played through multiple injuries this season. The 23-year-old has been productive, though, as he ranks third on the Lions in receptions (18) and second in yards (210).
  • Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan is progressing well since going down with a thumb injury in Week 2 and has a chance to return Sunday against the Colts, he said after practicing Thursday with a cast on his right hand (via Jeff Dickerson of “I led the SEC two years in a row in tackles at Kentucky with a cast on [to protect a wrist injury], so I’m pretty familiar [with playing with one],” the former Bronco stated. “I’m not very limited with the cast. It’s specially made, but I’m just trying to do everything I can to be out there with my teammates come Sunday.” Trevathan is among several key Bears who have missed this time this year, which has contributed to their poor start.