Pro Football RumorsPro Football Rumors https://www.profootballrumors.com NFL Rumors: Trades, Free Agency, Draft Mon, 08 Mar 2021 03:57:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.12 Kyle Rudolph Interested In Joining Patriots https://www.profootballrumors.com/2021/03/kyle-rudolph-interested-in-joining-patriots https://www.profootballrumors.com/2021/03/kyle-rudolph-interested-in-joining-patriots#comments Mon, 08 Mar 2021 03:53:33 +0000 https://www.profootballrumors.com/?p=205232 Kyle Rudolph was only released by the Vikings this week, but he isn’t wasting any time in thinking about where he wants to play next. Immediately after his release we heard he’d be excited about joining Cleveland, and now we’ve got another team on his list.

Rudolph is also interested in playing for the Patriots, a source told Doug Kyed of NESN.com. It hasn’t been reported on yet, but there are some reasons to believe the interest might be mutual. New England sniffed around a Rudolph trade a couple of years ago when the tight end was having contract issues in Minnesota, although obviously nothing materialized.

Tight end is also a big need for Bill Belichick on paper, as the team got virtually nothing from the position in 2020. Ryan Izzo led the team’s tight ends with 13 catches for 199 yards and no touchdowns. No matter what you think of Rudolph, he’d be a massive upgrade.

As a veteran who got cut, Rudolph doesn’t have to wait for the start of free agency and can sign wherever he wants immediately. He’s 31 now and coming off a down year, but has two Pro Bowls under his belt and has proven he can be a reliable option.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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Ryan Fitzpatrick Leaning Toward Retirement? https://www.profootballrumors.com/2021/03/ryan-fitzpatrick-leaning-toward-retirement-broncos-had-contact https://www.profootballrumors.com/2021/03/ryan-fitzpatrick-leaning-toward-retirement-broncos-had-contact#comments Mon, 08 Mar 2021 02:11:17 +0000 https://www.profootballrumors.com/?p=205209 As recently as the beginning of February, Ryan Fitzpatrick sounded like he had every intention of playing in 2021, but that might no longer be the case.

“For me, personally, I have to take every offseason and reassess. These last two years have really re-lit that fire under me. I still want to play, and I enjoy being out there playing,” Fitz said at the time. Now however, it “looks like he’s going to retire,” veteran NFL reporter John Clayton writes for 104.3 The Fan Denver. Clayton writes that the Broncos had “some contact” with Fitzpatrick, but “it looks like he’s going to be out of the mix.”

Perhaps Fitzpatrick has decided that if he can’t find a starting gig, he’ll hang up his cleats. In Denver he’d be veteran competition for Drew Lock, and it’s possible Fitz has no interest in another situation like last year, when he was used to push Tua Tagovailoa with the Dolphins. This news is also more confirmation that the Broncos are in fact serious about Lock not being handed the starting job.

If it really is the end of the line for FitzMagic, it’d wrap up an incredible NFL journey. The 250th pick of the 2005 draft has defied all odds, sticking in the league for 16 seasons while playing for eight different teams.

The 38-year-old has started 146 games in the league, an achievement nobody ever could’ve seen coming for the Harvard product. We should know more about his future soon with the start of free agency right around the corner.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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Lions Having Trade Talks About QB Chase Daniel https://www.profootballrumors.com/2021/03/lions-having-trade-talks-about-qb-chase-daniel https://www.profootballrumors.com/2021/03/lions-having-trade-talks-about-qb-chase-daniel#comments Mon, 08 Mar 2021 01:01:01 +0000 https://www.profootballrumors.com/?p=205210 The Lions already made the big blockbuster trade of this offseason by swapping Matthew Stafford for Jared Goff and picks, and they apparently might not be done dealing quarterbacks.

Detroit has had trade discussions with teams about backup Chase Daniel, sources told Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). We’ve heard trade rumors about tons of quarterbacks in what should be an unusually busy cycle for signal-caller movement, but this is a new one.

Daniel of course has never actually produced much on the field, but teams are continuously enamored with him as a veteran backup. He only has five career starts under his belt, and just three since the 2014 season. The most recent of those came in a 2019 spot start with Chicago. The Missouri product spent time with the Saints, Chiefs, and Eagles prior to joining Chicago.

He then signed a surprisingly lucrative three-year, $13.05MM deal with the Lions last offseason. If the Lions do trade him it won’t be for anything more than a late-round pick, but it’s interesting that teams are talking. It could be squads with a recently drafted quarterback making calls, as Schefter notes that Daniel “has been considered an ideal mentor for young QBs” around the league.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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Latest On Browns’ Receivers https://www.profootballrumors.com/2021/03/latest-on-browns-receivers https://www.profootballrumors.com/2021/03/latest-on-browns-receivers#comments Sun, 07 Mar 2021 23:25:05 +0000 https://www.profootballrumors.com/?p=205202 The Browns are coming off their most successful season in decades, but they’ve got very important questions to figure out this offseason. One of the most pressing questions is what’s going to happen in their receivers room.

Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. both have big cap hits for 2021, and there was a report back in November after Beckham tore his ACL that some believed he had played his final down as a Brown. GM Andrew Berry tried to squash that when he recently said Beckham was still very much in the team’s plans moving forward, and head coach Kevin Stefanski echoed that sentiment this week. “I think we can, yeah,” Stefanski said to Keyshawn Johnson on ESPN Radio when asked whether the team can fit Landry and Beckham’s salaries for 2021, via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com.

Interestingly, Kay Cabot writes that Cleveland “would likely listen to offers for Beckham this offseason,” but that “there’s not expected to be much of a market” for him given his contract and the knee injury he’s coming off of. She notes the team could get out of Landry’s deal with only $3MM in dead cap, but doesn’t think they have any plans to cut him.

Stefanski spoke very highly of Beckham’s efforts to get his knee right, saying “he attacks rehab like I’ve never seen people do it.” Thankfully everything seems to be going well with his recovery and he should be all systems go for 2021.

The Browns also have a third key receiver flying more under the radar, Rashard Higgins. Kay Cabot writes that the impending free agent will receive a contract offer whenever the cap is set, but that if he receives an offer in the $6MM annually range that Spotrac.com estimates him at, it’ll likely be “more than the Browns are willing to pay.”

“If he can get that on the open market, he’ll likely be gone,” she writes. Higgins caught 37 passes for 599 yards and four touchdowns last year. As of right now, it looks like Landry and Beckham are strong favorites to be back catching passes from Baker Mayfield next year, although that seemingly could change if a team steps up with trade interest in Beckham. Higgins’ status is more up in the air, and it appears to be trending toward him heading elsewhere.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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PFR Poll: Will Saints’ Drew Brees Retire? https://www.profootballrumors.com/2021/03/pfr-poll-will-saints-drew-brees-retire https://www.profootballrumors.com/2021/03/pfr-poll-will-saints-drew-brees-retire#comments Sun, 07 Mar 2021 21:49:26 +0000 https://www.profootballrumors.com/?p=205196 In the midst of the playoffs, it was widely reported that Drew Brees would retire after the season. Now, we’re in March, and Brees has yet to make any sort of announcement. 

Of course, Brees has nothing left to prove. The 42-year-old can walk away with one of the most illustrious careers in the history of the sport. He currently has the most yards in league history, and more touchdowns than anyone not named Tom Brady. He even has his post-retirement career lined up after signing a deal with NBC Sports last April.

Brees has missed significant time with health issues in each of the past two seasons and he’d be leaving the Saints in a pretty okay place, provided that they can re-sign Jameis Winston. The Saints also have Taysom Hill on the roster with hope that he can be the answer under center in the long run. So, what’s the hold up?

Over the past few weeks, many have speculated that Brees could be having second thoughts about retiring. The longer this goes on, the more chatter picks up about the Super Bowl XLIV champ actually playing in 2021 on the (effectively) final year of his contract.

At this point, do you expect Brees to retire? Cast your vote below (link for app users) and let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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Contract Notes: Harrison, Hyde https://www.profootballrumors.com/2021/03/contract-notes-harrison-hyde https://www.profootballrumors.com/2021/03/contract-notes-harrison-hyde#respond Sun, 07 Mar 2021 18:37:29 +0000 https://www.profootballrumors.com/?p=205185 Here are the details on several recently-signed contracts:

As previously reported, Hyde’s extension will be added on to the one year he had remaining on his previous contract, keeping him under club control through 2023. Altogether, he is playing under a three-year, $24.4MM deal (excluding incentives).

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Dolphins Expected To Acquire RB1 In Offseason https://www.profootballrumors.com/2021/03/dolphins-expected-to-acquire-rb1-in-offseason https://www.profootballrumors.com/2021/03/dolphins-expected-to-acquire-rb1-in-offseason#comments Sun, 07 Mar 2021 18:15:22 +0000 https://www.profootballrumors.com/?p=205182 Whether it happens via the draft or free agency, Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com expects the Dolphins to acquire a feature running back this offseason. The club is currently rostering 2019 seventh-rounder Myles Gaskin and 2020 UDFA Salvon Ahmed, and while both were useful players last season, Wolfe views them more as complementary pieces than anything else.

We learned last month that there is mutual interest between the Dolphins and Packers RB Aaron Jones, but right now, it appears as if Green Bay might put the franchise tag on Jones. That would leave the Cardinals’ Kenyan Drake and the Seahawks’ Chris Carson as arguably the top RBs eligible for unrestricted free agency, and of those two, Drake — whom Miami traded to Arizona in 2019 — seems more likely to leave his current club.

However, the Dolphins have a number of needs, including at wide receiver — Wolfe expects the team to add at least one starting-caliber wideout — and major free agent deals for RBs have often been regrettable investments. A one-year flier on a player like Marlon Mack could make sense, but otherwise, the ‘Fins may look to the draft for their RB1.

Although a trade for Deshaun Watson would probably empty out a good chunk of the Dolphins’ premium draft capital in 2021, the team currently boasts four top-50 selections, including No. 3 and No. 18 overall, and that second first-rounder might be ticketed for Alabama RB Najee Harris. Harris was a force on the ground and through the air for the Crimson Tide, and UNC’s Javonte Williams is a similarly appealing option who could be had in the second round.

If the Dolphins don’t trade for Watson, the need to upgrade their skill position talent around Tua Tagovailoa becomes even more pronounced. While the club is not as flush with cap space this year as it was last year, it has enough cash and certainly enough draft capital to add several significant pieces to the offensive side of the ball.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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Chargers LB Denzel Perryman To Test Market https://www.profootballrumors.com/2021/03/chargers-lb-denzel-perryman-to-test-market https://www.profootballrumors.com/2021/03/chargers-lb-denzel-perryman-to-test-market#comments Sun, 07 Mar 2021 17:21:02 +0000 https://www.profootballrumors.com/?p=205179 Chargers linebacker Denzel Perryman will hit the open market. The 28-year-old has not ruled out a return to the Bolts, but he will first look to see what other clubs have to offer, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (Twitter link).

LA’s fortunes have been undermined by injuries in recent seasons, and Perryman has certainly dealt with his fair share of health problems. He appeared in only seven games in 2017, only nine the following year, and has never played in more than 14. Even in his injury-marred campaigns, though, he generally operated as a starter. But in 2020, he was utilized in more of a rotational role, starting a career-low six contests.

Despite that, 2020 may have been one of his best seasons. He scored a terrific 83.3 overall grade from Pro Football Focus — which would have been fifth-best in the entire league if he had met PFF’s snap minimum — and he demonstrated a marked improvement in his coverage abilities. Long lauded for his hard hitting and run-stuffing prowess, Perryman was more of a complete player last season, which certainly won’t hurt his value.

However, his injury history and the reduced salary cap are both working against him, and those factors could force him to accept a modest one-year pact, as many “middle class” free agents are expected to do in 2021. And with the Chargers also rostering younger players like Kenneth Murray, Drue Tranquill, and Kyzir White, Perryman may feel that a one-year deal on a club that will utilize him in a more prominent role will give him a better chance to make hay in 2022.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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WFT Unlikely To Re-Sign Reuben Foster https://www.profootballrumors.com/2021/03/wft-unlikely-to-re-sign-reuben-foster https://www.profootballrumors.com/2021/03/wft-unlikely-to-re-sign-reuben-foster#comments Sun, 07 Mar 2021 16:49:42 +0000 https://www.profootballrumors.com/?p=205172 It does not appear that Reuben Foster will ever suit up for the Washington Football Team. WFT’s prior regime claimed Foster off waivers from the 49ers in November 2018 — a controversial decision at the time, given that he had been arrested twice in a matter of months, with the second arrest stemming from a domestic abuse allegation — and he landed on the commissioner’s exempt list shortly after he was claimed. That precluded him from playing for the rest of the 2018 campaign.

He was reinstated in the spring of 2019, but in his first practice with Washington, Foster suffered a torn ACL, LCL, and MCL. He also dealt with nerve damage that left him without feeling in his toes for several months. Last April, WFT made the no-brainer decision to decline his fifth-year option for 2021 — which would have been guaranteed for injury — and though Foster was activated from the PUP list in August 2020, it was clear that he was not anywhere close to his old self. As such, he was shut down again and spent all of 2020 on IR.

Despite all of that, there has been some chatter that Foster could be an integral part of the team’s LB corps in 2021. But as JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington writes, that appears highly unlikely.

Foster is still young enough to be a high-level performer from an age standpoint, as he will turn just 27 next month. Still, he has not played in a game since October 2018 and has not yet been able to overcome his serious leg injuries, so it would be unwise for any club to expect too much of him at this point. Because WFT declined his fifth-year option, he is eligible for unrestricted free agency and will almost certainly need to settle for a minimum contract.

Although there is nothing stopping Washington from being the team to give Foster such a deal, Finlay does not expect that to happen. Instead, Finlay believes the team will seek LB upgrades in the draft and free agency.

OLB Cole Holcomb performed reasonably well in his second pro season, and MLB Jon Bostic is under contract at a reasonable rate in 2021, but Kevin Pierre-Louis is a free agent, and the cupboard is mostly bare beyond that. Washington’s linebackers played better down the stretch in 2020 following head coach Ron Rivera‘s comments that he needed to see more from the group, but some reinforcements are clearly in order.

Rivera has had no problems cutting ties with players brought in prior to his arrival, and Foster, who in 2017 looked primed to become one of the league’s very best LBs, does not appear to be in Rivera’s plans.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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Vikings Want To Retain RB Mike Boone https://www.profootballrumors.com/2021/03/vikings-want-to-retain-rb-mike-boone https://www.profootballrumors.com/2021/03/vikings-want-to-retain-rb-mike-boone#comments Sun, 07 Mar 2021 15:51:52 +0000 https://www.profootballrumors.com/?p=205164 With Dalvin Cook, Alexander Mattison, and Mike Boone, the Vikings have boasted an enviable RB depth chart over the past several seasons. In order to keep that trio together, however, Minnesota will need to make a decision on Boone, a restricted free agent.

As Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports, the club wants to retain Boone (Twitter link). The question, though, is if the Vikings want to hand him an RFA tender or if they want to non-tender him and hope they can re-sign him to a less expensive contract.

An RFA tender at the original-round level — the only realistic tender for Boone — would cost Minnesota $2.133MM, though it would give the team the right of first refusal if another club signed Boone to an offer sheet. If the Vikings declined to match the offer sheet, they would not receive any draft pick compensation.

A $2.133MM salary for a young and talented insurance policy doesn’t seem like much of a commitment, but the Vikes are still over the 2021 cap at the moment, so they need to cut costs wherever they can. GM Rick Spielman may feel that another team would not offer Boone more than $2.133MM if he were to be non-tendered, and he may be right. Although Boone has flashed during his three professional seasons, he has not had many opportunities.

The Cincinnati product has just 71 career carries to his name, and he had only 11 totes in 2020. He does boast a 5.3 YPC average over that small sample size, and there is reason to believe he would perform well in a larger role, but he probably shouldn’t bank on a significant raise over the $750K he pocketed last year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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Eagles To Restructure Brandon Graham, Lane Johnson Contracts https://www.profootballrumors.com/2021/03/eagles-to-restructure-brandon-graham-lane-johnson-contracts https://www.profootballrumors.com/2021/03/eagles-to-restructure-brandon-graham-lane-johnson-contracts#comments Sun, 07 Mar 2021 15:13:07 +0000 https://www.profootballrumors.com/?p=205161 The Eagles recently created some much-needed cap space by handing a new deal to center Jason Kelce and restructuring the contract of cornerback Darius Slay. Of course, the club still has plenty of work to do to get under the reduced 2021 salary cap, so the expectation is that right tackle Lane Johnson and defensive end Brandon Graham will soon see their deals reworked as well.

In fact, Geoff Mosher of InsideTheBirds.com says that Johnson has already agreed to a restructure, though if that’s true, we don’t yet have any details. Mosher confirms that the Eagles will address Graham’s contract situation, and speculatively, that could mean an extension as opposed to a restructure.

As Mosher observes, these contractual machinations are nothing new for the Eagles, but the difference this year is that executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman has been forced to rework the deals of players who are on the wrong side of 30 as opposed to younger talent. So if those players should experience a sudden decline or suffer a major injury, it will be more difficult for Philadelphia to get out from under their contracts (see, e.g., Alshon Jeffery). But most expect the salary cap to spike in 2022, and Roseman, like many execs around the league, is banking on that becoming a reality as they navigate this year’s cap crunch.

Johnson, who will turn 31 in May, just agreed to a restructure at the start of the 2020 campaign, and his cap number for 2021 sits just shy of $18MM. He played in just seven games last year due to a painful ankle injury, but he earned Pro Bowl bids in each of the prior three seasons. Graham, meanwhile, has played in at least 15 games in each of the past nine seasons, and he is coming off his first career Pro Bowl nomination. The soon-to-be 33-year-old edge defender also has a 2021 cap number just under $18MM.

Kelce’s new deal does indeed include dummy years, according to Mosher. That allows the Eagles to spread out his $9MM in guarantees, but player and team would need to agree to yet another restructure if Kelce — who has previously flirted with retirement — wants to return to the field in 2022.

In other Eagles news, the club is moving defensive end Genard Avery to linebacker, as Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk passes along. Philadelphia acquired Avery in a trade with the Browns in October 2019, but the 2018 fifth-rounder has seen limited defensive reps over the past several seasons. At just 250 pounds, Avery may have been miscast as a DE, and he will have a chance to remake himself as he enters the final year of his rookie contract.

He compiled 40 tackles and 4.5 sacks as a first-year pro in Cleveland in 2018 but totaled just 18 tackles and two sacks over the following two years.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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The NFL’s Post-June 1 Cuts, Explained https://www.profootballrumors.com/2021/03/the-nfls-post-june-1-cuts-explained-4 https://www.profootballrumors.com/2021/03/the-nfls-post-june-1-cuts-explained-4#respond Sun, 07 Mar 2021 02:00:17 +0000 https://www.profootballrumors.com/?p=205145 NFL teams will often use contract bonuses as a way to spread out a cap hit that might otherwise be exorbitant. For example, if a player’s four-year deal includes a $8MM signing bonus, that money can be paid immediately but spread out over four years for cap purposes. This way, the cap charge for the bonus amounts to $2MM per year for cap purposes, rather than $8MM in year one.

There’s an obvious benefit to kicking the can down the road, but it can also hurt teams if they want to terminate that deal. If the club in the above scenario wanted to release the player in the second year of his contract, it would still have to account for that remaining prorated bonus money. Rather than counting on the cap as $2MM per year for two seasons, that dead money “accelerates,” and applies to the cap for the league year in which the player is released. In other words, the remaining $4MM in prorated bonus money immediately counts against the cap.

Although these rules apply to many cuts, a different set of rules is in place for players released after June 1. In that case, a team can spread the cap hit across two seasons rather than one — for the current season, the prorated bonus figure stays at its original amount, with the remaining bonus balance accelerating onto the following season. Referring again to the above scenario, that means the player would count against the cap for $2MM in the league year in which he was cut, with the remaining $4MM applying to the following league year.

The guidelines for pre-June 1 and post-June 1 cuts are fairly straightforward, but things become a little more complicated when we take into account that teams are allowed to designate up to two players as post-June 1 cuts even if those players are released before June. Last offseason, we players like Trey Burton (Bears), Desmond Trufant (Falcons), Trumaine Johnson (Jets), and Todd Gurley (Rams) designated as post-June 1 cuts well before the actual date.

In the case of Johnson, the Jets were initially slated to pay him $11MM in base salary. Under typical circumstances, the release would have left Gang Green with a $12MM dead money obligation for 2020. However, through the post-June 1 designation, they unlocked $11MM in cap space with just $4MM in dead money. This year, they’ll wrangle with the remaining $8MM charge.

Of course, teams won’t always opt for the dead money deferral. For example, the Panthers just recently terminated Kawann Short’s contract, which left $11MM lingering on the cap. Rather than spreading it out, the Panthers chose to take it all on the current cap for a cleaner long-term slate. And, even if the team doesn’t use that cap space for summer free agents, it can come in handy for signing draft picks.

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This Date In Transactions History: Peyton Manning Retires From NFL https://www.profootballrumors.com/2021/03/this-date-in-transactions-history-peyton-manning-retires-from-nfl https://www.profootballrumors.com/2021/03/this-date-in-transactions-history-peyton-manning-retires-from-nfl#comments Sun, 07 Mar 2021 02:00:16 +0000 https://www.profootballrumors.com/?p=205143 Prepare to feel old, because it’s been five years since Peyton Manning‘s retirement. In 2016, the quarterback left the game as a two-time Super Bowl champion, the NFL’s all-time leader in total wins, and one of the sport’s greatest quarterbacks of all time.

Manning spent the first 14 seasons of his remarkable career with the Colts. Then, came his neck surgery in 2011, followed by spinal fusion surgery. He’d miss out on the entire ’11 campaign, snapping his streak of 208 consecutive regular season starts. After months of rehab, Manning said he could barely throw a football ten yards. Many feared that he was finished at this point, but Manning disagreed. Ditto for the Broncos, who were happy to furnish him with a lavish contract in 2012.

The Broncos backstopped Manning by drafting Brock Osweiler in the second round of the 2012 draft, but it’d be a while before he took the reins. Instead, Manning went on to enjoy a four-year stint in Denver. He completed 66.5% of his passes for 17,112 yards and 140 touchdowns against 53 interceptions. Along the way, he picked up three of Pro Bowl nods, two First-Team All-Pro selections, yet another MVP award, and yet another Super Bowl ring.

When all was said and done, Manning set new watermarks for total wins by a QB (200), passing yards (71,940), and passing touchdowns (539). He also set the record for most single-season TD tosses (55; 2013). All in all, the No. 1 overall pick of the 1998 draft managed 14 Pro Bowl bids, seven First-Team All-Pro selections, and five MVP trophies. Needless to say, he could have called it quits in 2011 and still walked away as one of the NFL’s GOATs. That’s doubly true when considering his lifetime earnings of $250MM+ — not counting his piles of endorsement checks. Still, Manning wanted to go out on his terms, and he did just that.

Manning wasn’t at his personal best in his final season, but he was good enough while teamed with the league’s most feared defense. A few weeks after hoisting the Lombardi Trophy, Manning closed the book on his Hall of Fame career.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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Bucs, Tom Brady Discussing New Contract https://www.profootballrumors.com/2021/03/buccaneers-tom-brady-discussing-new-contract https://www.profootballrumors.com/2021/03/buccaneers-tom-brady-discussing-new-contract#comments Sat, 06 Mar 2021 22:48:45 +0000 https://www.profootballrumors.com/?p=205120 With Tom Brady recently moving the goal posts on his long-established play-until-he’s-45 target, the Buccaneers are discussing a new deal with their quarterback. And the sides are making progress, according to veteran NFL reporter Josina Anderson (on Twitter).

Brady is on Tampa Bay’s books at $28.4MM in 2021. An extension would be a way to reduce that number and help the Super Bowl champions retain some of their high-profile free agents. GM Jason Licht said last month a Brady extension was on the radar.

Coming off a rather successful age-43 season, Brady has said he is open to playing past age 45 now. (Brady will turn 44 in August.) His two-year, $50MM contract runs through 2021.

The Bucs have $11MM in cap space and can only retain one of their marquee free agents with the franchise tag. Chris Godwin and Shaquil Barrett are Tampa Bay’s tag candidates, and the team also has Lavonte David, Rob Gronkowski, Antonio Brown, Ndamukong Suh and Leonard Fournette looming as free agents-to-be. Free agency opens March 17, but the legal tampering period begins two days earlier.

The Bucs have said they want to keep everyone in this group, and some of these cogs have indicated they would like to return. While Brady’s presence and the Bucs’ status as defending champions stands to be a draw for veterans during a year in which many could be available — due to the likely reduced salary cap — the aforementioned contingent played a significant part in Tampa Bay claiming its second Super Bowl title. Losing a few from the group would sting.

Although Brady did not make the Pro Bowl, he climbed back into the top 10 in QBR (seventh) after a spotty 2019 season in New England. The future Hall of Fame quarterback bounced back from a three-INT second half in the NFC championship game, throwing three TD passes in the first half of Super Bowl LV. He will miss much of the Bucs’ offseason program due to knee surgery and may be out until June. However, Brady having spent a year in Bruce Arians‘ offense figures to make this offseason less important than last year’s for the 21-year veteran.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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NFC West Notes: Seahawks, Watt, 49ers https://www.profootballrumors.com/2021/03/nfc-west-notes-wilson-seahawks-griffin-cardinals-watt-49ers-brown https://www.profootballrumors.com/2021/03/nfc-west-notes-wilson-seahawks-griffin-cardinals-watt-49ers-brown#comments Sat, 06 Mar 2021 22:45:36 +0000 https://www.profootballrumors.com/?p=205131 Following a season in which the Seahawks failed to reach the NFC championship game for a sixth straight year, Russell Wilson set about communicating his goals for what he views as the second half of his career with his camp. Those goals center around returning the Seahawks to a Super Bowl-caliber team. Wilson then brought those to Pete Carroll, per Albert Breer of SI.com, who notes the perennial Pro Bowl passer communicated he wants more say regarding the direction of the team.

Wilson also mentioned to Carroll he would like the Seahawks to make a genuine investment in a high-end offensive lineman, Breer adds. The Seahawks did trade for Pro Bowl left tackle Duane Brown in 2018, but he will turn 36 this year and is signed only through 2021. And they have not otherwise made big moves on their offensive front in recent years. Beyond guard Damien Lewis, the Seahawks could certainly use more help up front. One of Wilson’s goals — a new offensive philosophy — has come to pass, with Breer adding Wilson was “fully on board” with new OC Shane Waldron.

For what it’s worth, the 32-year-old quarterback does not expect to be traded. But he has, as you may have heard, revealed a destination list. And the Bears are taking that quite seriously. Here is the latest from the NFC West:

  • The Seahawks have a few of their defensive contributors on track for free agency. One of those UFAs-to-be, Shaquill Griffin, is not certain he will return to Seattle. “I would love to be back in Seattle, but I know there’s a business aspect behind it,” Griffin said during an appearance on the NFL Network’s Good Morning Football (via OregonLive.com). “But that organization knows I love it over there — the fans and coaches know how much I love Seattle. But at the end of the day, I know it’s strictly business.” This puts him in a similar position to K.J. Wright, who wants to stay but not on a hometown discount. The Seahawks have less than $5MM in cap space, so the franchise will need to create a bit more cap room going into free agency.
  • In order to preserve some cap space in a year in which the cap is expected to decline for only the second time ever, the Cardinals structured J.J. Watt‘s contract unusually. Watt’s two-year, $28MM deal ($31MM max value, via incentives) will only count $4.9MM on Arizona’s 2021 cap sheet, per OverTheCap. The Cards have tacked on three void years to prorate Watt’s signing bonus. Those years will void in 2023, creating $7.2MM in dead money, CBS Sports’ Joel Corry tweets. With the cap expected to go up again starting in 2022, it is not surprising to see the Cardinals opt to preserve cap space this year and worry about additional charges down the line. They still hold $12MM-plus in cap room; that sits in NFL’s top half.
  • Even though Trent Williams has expressed interest in staying in San Francisco, the 49ers are unlikely to keep the decorated left tackle off the market. Williams cannot be tagged. Were Williams to depart, the 49ers would have a major void up front. They should not be considered a destination for disgruntled Ravens tackle Orlando Brown, per Matt Barrows of The Athletic, who notes Brown’s 345-pound frame and mobility issues make him a poor fit for Kyle Shanahan‘s scheme (subscription required). The Ravens are listening to offers on Brown, who wants to play left tackle.
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