Ernie Sims

Cardinals Release Ernie Sims

The Cardinals have cut linebacker Ernie Sims, per Darren Urban of (Twitter link). Arizona added Sims a little over two months ago on a minimum salary benefit contract (with $10K guaranteed), but as Urban notes, he was unlikely the usurp the cadre of LB talent ahead of him on the depth chart.

Sims, 29, was selected ninth overall in 2006 by the Lions, and has since spent time with the Eagles, Colts, and Cowboys. In 12 games (six starts) for the Dallas last season, Sims contributed 42 tackles and a forced fumble. However, his Pro Football Focus grades were significantly below average, due in large part to subpar run defense (subscription required). Sims should be able to find a new home, as several teams have suffered devastating injuries at the linebacker position (with the Falcons, Bills, and Cowboys among them).

Veteran Larry Foote and second-year player Kevin Minter are the favorites to start at inside linebacker in Arizona, and with Lorenzo Alexander and Kenny Demens acting as backups, there simply wasn’t room for Sims. The Cardinals’ roster count now sits at 88, so they might make a few moves in the coming days to fill out their club.

Luke Adams contributed to the post.

NFC Links: Saints, Cowboys, Cardinals, Rams

Saints tight end Ben Watson was keeping tabs on the franchise tag situation regarding his team and the player he backs up, Jimmy Graham. However, the 33-year-old is confident that both sides will be able to move on and told’s Mike Triplett that heated moments accompany any contract negotiation…

“I’m very confident that it’ll be resolved the right way and guys can move forward. Obviously it’s always tough when you go through litigation with somebody, and it can probably get heated. And I’m sure there are emotions on both sides. But that is the business side of the game.

“And it’s unfortunate that it came to that and that it was so public. But I really think – I know, I don’t think – I know that Jimmy loves New Orleans and I know that he loves our team and the organization and he loves playing here. And we love him, everybody wants him here, coaches included. So when it comes down to contract situations, that’s just a necessary evil…not even evil, but just a necessary progression of getting a player here.”

Let’s check some more NFC notes…

Birkett On Lions’ Roster

The Lions are still working to sign star defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to an extension, and by doing so the team will gain some immediate cap relief, reports Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (via Twitter). He also notes that the team was in a similar situation when they freed up $3MM after signing quarterback Matthew Stafford last offseason.

Here are some other notes from Birkett from around the Lions (all links via Twitter):

Cardinals Sign Ernie Sims

WEDNESDAY, 11:47am: Sims’ one-year deal is a minimum salary benefit pact, with $10K in per-game roster bonuses, reports Tom Pelissero of USA Today (via Twitter). It’ll count for $580K against Arizona’s cap.

TUESDAY, 12:57pm: In the wake of Daryl Washington‘s season-long suspension, the Cardinals have moved quickly to shore up their linebacking corps. According to Darren Urban of (via Twitter), the team has signed veteran linebacker Ernie Sims to a contract. Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic adds (via Twitter) that it’ll be a one-year pact.

For much of his NFL career, which includes stints with the Lions, Eagles, Colts, and Cowboys, Sims has been an outside linebacker, but he spent some time playing on the inside during his last two seasons in Dallas. The 29-year-old, who visited the Cardinals last week, likely won’t be tasked with assuming Washington’s starting role, but will compete for playing time and should provide some depth at the inside linebacker position.

With Washington expected to miss the entire 2014 season and Karlos Dansby having departed in free agency, Kevin Minter appears likely to slip into one of the two starting ILB spots in Arizona’s 3-4 scheme. Free agent signee Larry Foote may have the inside track on the other spot.

In 12 games (six starts) for the Cowboys last season, Sims contributed 42 tackles and a forced fumble. However, his Pro Football Focus grades were significantly below average, due in large part to subpar run defense (subscription required).

Cowboys Notes: Lee, Bryant, Sims

In the wake of the reported sale of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion, the NFL world has been abuzz with speculation about what its marquee franchises may be worth. For now, only the Bills are available, but what might a team like the Cowboys be worth? Well, it’s a moot point, according to the team’s executive VP Stephen Jones (link via Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News).

“All I can tell you is it doesn’t matter what’s the number, Jerry’s not selling,” Stephen said on 1310 AM in Dallas, referring to his father and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. “Only he can make that decision. It’s kind of fruitless to even discuss it.”

We can speculate all we want, and it should just be a matter of time before we get an idea of what the Bills will sell for, but it doesn’t sound like we’ll find out the Cowboys’ open-market value anytime soon. Here’s more out of Dallas:

  • In addition to being a serious blow to the Cowboys’ defense, Sean Lee‘s injury is a reminder that huge contracts for players like Tony Romo, Brandon Carr, and Morris Claiborne could end up haunting the club, says Rainer Sabin of the Dallas Morning News. As Sabin writes, the club hasn’t been shy about committing big money to injury-prone players, and it may end up backfiring in some cases.
  • Dez Bryant is one of the next Cowboys in line for a big extension, and Kevin Sherrington of the Dallas Morning News says he’d be hesitant about paying Bryant like a top-five NFL receiver, though he expects the team to do it. Asked today during his aforementioned radio appearance if the Cowboys will extend Bryant before or during the 2014 season, Stephen Jones acknowledged that it’s “a real possibility,” per Machota.
  • Former Cowboys linebacker Ernie Sims met with the Cardinals this week, and said on SiriusXM NFL Radio today that Arizona wasn’t ready to make a decision on him at the time, though he expects to hear back by Monday or Tuesday (audio link). Asked about the possibility of a return to Dallas, Sims said the team hasn’t reached out to him yet, which didn’t surprise him — although the veteran linebacker knows the system very well and has a “great relationship” with defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, Sims recognizes the Cowboys are trying to get younger at linebacker.

NFC West Notes: Washington, Sims, Baldwin

After being arrested and charged with aggravated assault as a result of an altercation with the mother of his child, Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington is facing a season-long suspension, according to Mike Jurecki of Fox Sports (Twitter links). The reported suspension is lengthier than had been expected, but considering the nature of the incident, and the fact that Washington was previously suspended for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, it’s hard to argue that the punishment is too severe.

I’d expect an appeal from Washington, but it’s still a huge blow for the Cardinals, who figure to be without the former Pro Bowl linebacker for a good chunk of the season. As Arizona considers how to replace Washington’s production, let’s check in on a few other items from out of the NFC West….

  • One potential replacement on the Cardinals‘ depth chart could be free agent linebacker Ernie Sims, who visited the team this week, according to Josh Weinfuss of Sims, who spent the last two seasons with the Cowboys, has experience as both an outside and inside linebacker.
  • Joel Corry of passes along the year-by-year breakdown on Doug Baldwin‘s new contract, tweeting that the deal includes a $4.8MM signing bonus, a fully guaranteed $1.4MM salary for 2014, a $2.3MM 2015 salary guaranteed for injury only, and a $4MM salary for 2016. In a second tweet, Corry adds that there are also $2.3MM worth of incentives for 2015 and 2016, and the lowest thresholds to reach those incentives are 55 receptions, 1,000 receiving yards, and nine touchdowns. The cap hits for the next three years for Baldwin and the Seahawks will be $3MM, $3.9MM, and $5.6MM, for an average of about $4.333MM per season.
  • Appearing on KNBR’s Murph and Mac Show, 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh acknowledged that Alex Boone and Vernon Davis are absent from the team’s offseason workouts due to contract issues. However, he declined to go into any real detail, as Matt Maiocco of notes. “If they want to talk about it publicly, and they think it’s beneficial to talk about it publicly, then they’ll choose to do that,” Harbaugh said. “Certainly, you could have Vernon or Alex on the show and ask them or talk to their agent, if they think that’s something that’s beneficial. I choose to not do it.”

FA Rumors: Monroe, Ward, Dolphins, Hester

We’ve already passed along one round of free agent rumors this afternoon, but with the 2014 FA period just a few days away from officially getting underway, there will be plenty more items to track in the near future. In fact, we’ve already got another handful of updates to run through:

  • Left tackle Eugene Monroe and the Ravens remain far apart in talks on a new contract, reports Matt Zenitz of the Carroll County Times. It’s still possible that the two sides could work out an agreement, but it appears unlikely to happen before Monroe becomes eligible to hit the open market and negotiate with other clubs, says Zenitz. Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter link) also hears that the sides are still far apart, though he says there were no new negotiations today, meaning things haven’t gotten any worse.
  • The agent of Browns safety T.J. Ward has released a statement about his free agent client to the Akron Beacon Journal, as Nate Ulrich details. It reads, in part: “With the passing of the franchise/transition tag deadline, we remain open to further discussions with the Browns in working towards a long-term deal and look forward to that possibility. However, if things don’t work out in Cleveland, we likewise look forward to the opportunity that can coincide with becoming an unrestricted free agent.”
  • To the surprise of the players’ agents, the Dolphins have yet to make contract offers to free-agent-to-be defensive tackles Randy Starks and Paul Soliai, reports Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.
  • It looks like Ernie Sims won’t return to the Cowboys, according to’s Calvin Watkins, who says the team wants to get younger at its backup linebacker spots (Twitter link).
  • The Raiders have tendered contracts to five of their exclusive rights free agents, according to Tom Pelissero of USA Today (Twitter link). Offensive linemen Matt McCants is eligible for the minimum salary for players with one year of NFL experience ($495K), while linebacker Kaelin Burnett, running backs Jamize Olawale and Jeremy Stewart, and cornerback Brandian Ross are eligible for the two-year minimum ($570K). All five players have to accept the tenders if they want to play in the NFL next season.
  • The Buccaneers aren’t expected to tender a contract to restricted free agent tight end Kyle Adams, tweets Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times. The team would still have the option of trying to re-sign Adams for less than the RFA tender amount.
  • The Bears are making no attempts to sign Devin Hester, meaning the return specialist appears likely to leave Chicago this offseason, tweets Ian Rapoport of
  • When the Redskins released Adam Carriker today, I wrote that the defensive end would likely have to sign with another team if he hopes to return to the field in 2014, and John Keim of confirms as much (via Twitter). A source tells Keim that Washington won’t re-sign Carriker at a lower price.
  • The Giants have tendered contracts to Spencer Paysinger ($1.431M) and Dallas Reynolds ($570K) while the Browns tendered Craig Robertson ($570K), according to Tom Pelissero of USA Today (on Twitter).


NFC East Notes: Cowboys, Giants, Hall

While Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said yesterday that a decision needs to be made on DeMarcus Ware, he took it a bit further on today’s SportsCenter. As Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News writes, Jones is certainly not guaranteeing that Ware will return:

“There’s no question when you are where we are on the cap… and you have a defensive player that’s your highest paid defensive player, and he hasn’t been on the field much the last two years, that has to be considered,” Jones said. “You can’t have it all.”

As the Cowboys figure out what to do with Ware and his huge cap hit, let’s see what else is happening around the NFC East…