Schwartz, 30, spent last summer on the Lions’ offseason roster after signing a one-year, minimum salary benefit deal with Detroit. Expected to serve as a reserve at several positions along the line, Schwartz was waived at the end of August. As he writes in his retirement piece, Schwartz fully expected to land another contract after parting ways with the Lions, but after weeks passed with no contact from interested clubs, Schwartz realized his career was likely over.
Nevertheless, Schwartz’s seven-year NFL run can’t be considered anything other than a success, especially given that Schwartz entered the league as seventh-round pick and suffered a devastating hip injury soon after becoming an established starter. After bouncing around with the Panthers and Vikings, Schwartz played his best ball with the Chiefs in 2013, grading as one of the best guards in the NFL.
After parlaying his seven-game starter stint in Kansas City into a four-year deal with the Giants, Schwartz dealt with injury once again, managing to play in only 13 games over two seasons thanks to ankle, toe, and leg issues. Having struggled to stay on the field, Schwartz was released by New York last February.
The Lions will release Geoff Schwartz today, as Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press tweets. Schwartz is healthy but the team’s logjam on the offensive line left him on the outside. By releasing Schwartz today, the Lions are giving the veteran a little bit of a head start on finding his next job.
Schwartz, 29, signed a four-year contract with the Giants in March 2014, but injuries limited him to just 13 games over two seasons for New York. This offseason, he inked a one-year deal with Detroit. His Lions deal marked his fifth team in nine NFL seasons, though he never got to suit up for them in a regular season game. Schwartz has also had stops in Carolina, Minnesota, and Kansas City since entering the league as a seventh-round pick in 2008.
After trading for guard Brandon Thomason Sunday, there was no room left for Schwartz. The Lions are now decidedly younger on the O-Line than they were one year ago.
FRIDAY, 8:12am: Schwartz’s one-year deal with the Lions is a minimum salary benefit contract, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, who tweets that the veteran lineman received an $80K signing bonus and had $120K of his base salary guaranteed.
7:52am: The Lions will add some depth to their offensive line, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, who reports (via Twitter) that the team has agreed to terms with free agent lineman Geoff Schwartz. Per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter), it will be a one-year deal for Schwartz in Detroit.
Schwartz, 29, signed a four-year contract with the Giants in March 2014, but has been plagued by injuries since then, appearing in 13 games over the last two seasons for New York. He started 11 games for the Giants in 2015, but his season was cut short when he fractured a bone in his left leg in late November, forcing the team to place him on injured reserve. The Giants cut Schwartz earlier in the offseason.
Since becoming a free agent, Schwartz has received interest from multiple teams, paying a visit to the Steelers and nearly visiting the Cardinals as well — that meeting in Arizona was scuttled after the club signed Evan Mathis. In joining the Lions, Schwartz will be playing for fifth team in nine NFL seasons — he has also had stops in Carolina, Minnesota, and Kansas City since entering the league as a seventh-round pick in 2008.
It remains to be seen what role Schwartz will have for the Lions, but guard is his primary position, and if he’s healthy, he should certainly rank among the team’s top five offensive linemen, making a starting job a real possibility. Larry Warford and Laken Tomlinson were Detroit’s starters at guard a year ago, but neither player is elite, so Schwartz should push them for playing time, and could also get a look at right tackle.
Although there has been some speculation that he’ll play at right tackle, new Lions lineman Geoff Schwartz isn’t sure what his position will be, as Alex Marvez of FOX Sports tweets.
Schwartz, 29, signed a one-year deal with Detroit earlier this week as he looks to restore his value. The veteran inked a four-year contract with the Giants in March 2014, but he has appeared in only 13 games over the last two seasons thanks to injuries. If Schwartz can stay healthy for a full year, he could prove to be an excellent pickup. Even though he only played in 11 games for the Giants in 2015, Pro Football Focus rated him as the league’s 20th-best guard last season.
Here’s more from around the league:
The Falcons will work out former TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin on April 12th, as D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets.
Geoff Schwartz‘s next stop on his free agent tour will be in Detroit, with the Lions hosting the eighth-year lineman, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports (on Twitter).
This will be Schwartz’s second visit with the Lions. He did so in 2012 before signing with the Vikings, per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (via Twitter). Schwartz will visit the Lions’ facilities on Wednesday, Birkett tweets.
Having already visited the Cardinals and Steelers, Schwartz continues to survey the market for a fifth team. Recently released from the Giants, Schwartz has proven to be an effective performer when healthy. The 29-year-old guard/tackle hasn’t been able to stay on the field the past two years, however, with his stay in New York limited to just 13 games in two seasons.
The Lions don’t have an immediate opening at guard, with Larry Warford and 2015 first-rounder Laken Tomlinson occupying those slots. Of course, the Steelers didn’t have a guard vacancy either. Detroit could use more help at tackle.
Here’s the latest coming out of the NFC.
John Fox acknowledged to media (including Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com) the Bears are in need of a swing lineman and will look to sign one during the latter stages of free agency. Second- and third-year players with limited experience pack the Bears’ tackle depth chart, but Fox clearly seeks someone with more seasoning. Chicago cut Jermon Bushrod in February before he signed with the Dolphins. Khalif Barnes, Jake Long and Nate Chandler are some of the players who could fit here that remain on the market. Dickerson also mentions Will Beatty in this group. Beatty remains in search of a job after the Giants cut the former well-paid left tackle starter along with Schwartz. But Beatty would profile more as a left tackle starter, with the Bears not exactly having an untouchable cog there in Charles Leno.
The Panthers still need a defensive tackle, a safety, and a nickel back, ESPN.com’s David Newton writes. Carolina is still having dialogue with free agent defensive tackle Kyle Love, but the team could also use a high draft pick to solidify the position, Newton notes.
The Buccaneers remain in the mix for kick-return man Kyle Williams, although the Broncos and Jets are also involved in the pursuit, Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times (on Twitter) reports. Williams played for new Bucs coach Dirk Koetter at Arizona State. A former 49ers return man whose NFC championship fumbles identify him to most of the football landscape, Williams missed last season with an Achilles injury after signing with the Broncos. A return to Denver would be tricky given the Broncos’ limited cap space and having re-signed receiver/returner Jordan Norwood last week.
Los Angeles will have decisions to make regarding fifth-year options for Tavon Austin and Alec Ogletree soon, and Jeff Fisher told media (including Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com) discussions are underway and the Rams would like to keep the duo around for a long time. Fisher previously acknowledged Ogletree’s option would probably be picked up, but with Austin being a top-10 pick and costing transition tag-type money ($12.27MM), Wagoner writes an extension would be a more prudent approach to retaining Austin than putting the gadget wideout on the Rams’ books for that amount in 2017.
It has already been an eventful day in the AFC North, where the Browns have officially signedRobert Griffin III to a two-year contract and ex-Browns linebacker Karlos Dansby is paying a visit to the division-rival Bengals. Those aren’t the only items of note worth passing along from out of the division today though, so let’s dive in and round up the latest…
Veteran free agent guard Geoff Schwartz is visiting the Steelers today, tweets Josina Anderson of ESPN.com. Pittsburgh currently has a strong trio of Ramon Foster, Maurkice Pouncey, and David DeCastro penciled in for its three interior line spots, so it’s not clear what sort of role the Steelers would have in mind for Schwartz if he signs with them.
Newly-signed Browns quarterback RGIII told reporters, including Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal (Twitter link), that it wouldn’t bother him “at all” if Cleveland drafts a QB early, adding that he’d “take the guy under my wing.” One potential target for the Browns is North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz, and Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com notes (via Twitter) that HueJackson, Pep Hamilton, and Andrew Berry were all at Wentz’s pro day on Thursday.
The Steelers had a noteworthy contingent at the University of Houston’s pro day, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (allTwitterlinks), who reports that GM Kevin Colbert and head coach Mike Tomlin were in attendance. Pittsburgh is believed to be eyeing cornerback WilliamJackson III, who had a dinner meeting on Wednesday night with Colbert and Tomlin, according to Wilson.
Asked about the possibility of extending head coach Marvin Lewis‘ contract beyond the 2016 season, Bengals owner Mike Brown was somewhat noncommittal. “He’s going to be our coach this year. That’s in the bank,” Brown said, per Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “Where it goes, we’ll see how it plays out.” Of course, that doesn’t mean Lewis’ job is in jeopardy by any means, but if he doesn’t get a new deal in the coming months, it’s a situation worth watching.
3:15pm: Mathis’ one-year deal with the Cardinals, which can max out at $6,000,069, features a $2MM signing bonus, a $1MM guaranteed base salary, up to $1MM in per-game active roster bonuses, writes Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com, citing colleague Adam Caplan.
2:26pm: It didn’t take the Patriots long to find their replacement for defensive end Chandler Jones, as they struck a deal with Chris Long. Now, the other team involved in the Jones trade has found a replacement of its own. According to Albert Breer of the NFL Network (via Twitter), Evan Mathis has agreed to one-year, $6MM deal with the Cardinals, who had a vacancy on their offensive line after sending Jonathan Cooper to New England.
We heard on Tuesday that the Cardinals had offered Mathis a two-year deal, but Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets that the veteran guard will earn more money by signing for one year.
It’s unlikely that the Cardinals had been offering less than $6MM for two years, so McLane presumably means that Mathis will make more money in 2016, with the opportunity to potentially sign a new deal a year from now. Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports clarifies (via Twitter) that $6MM is the max value of Mathis’ new deal.
Despite the fact that he’s now 34 years old, Mathis continued to perform at a high level in 2015, serving as a key cog on the offensive line for the Super Bowl champion Broncos. Pro Football Focus ranked him third overall among guards in 2015, assigning him the best run-blocking grade of anyone at the position.
In the wake of Denver’s Super Bowl win, Mathis contemplated retirement, but he recently resumed working out with an eye toward continuing his career, tweets Troy Renck of the Denver Post. According to Renck, the Broncos weren’t looking to re-sign Mathis. Meanwhile, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com notes (via Twitter) that Mathis owns a gym in Arizona, so his workouts figure to take place there going forward.
In Arizona, Mathis will join an offensive line that features another highly-touted guard, Mike Iupati. Jared Veldheer and D.J. Humphries are currently penciled in as the starting tackles, while there may be a handful of contenders for the center spot — Cooper had been expected to shift over from guard to compete for that job.
The Cardinals had been scheduled to bring in veteran guard Geoff Schwartz for a visit on Thursday, but with Mathis now in the mix, it seems Arizona is no longer a potential landing spot for Schwartz. “Well things change quickly in this league,” Schwartz tweeted after the Mathis news broke. “Staying put for now.”
Schwartz, 29, started 11 games for the Giants in 2015, but his seasons was cut short when he fractured a bone in his left leg in late November, forcing the team to place him on injured reserve. While Schwartz and Beason didn’t provide the Giants with much value over the last two years, he was effective for other teams earlier in his career. Schwartz started 26 total games for the Panthers and Chiefs prior to his time in New York.
With five days left until pending free agents can sign with new teams, and just three days until 2016’s legal tampering period begins, the Dolphins continue to work on re-signing running back Lamar Miller, writes Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. However, according to Jackson, $5MM seems to be a tipping point of sorts in those negotiations.
The question, according to Jackson is whether the Dolphins will concede to paying Miller more than $5MM annually, or if he would settle for $5MM (or slightly less) per year. If the two sides can’t find a middle ground, it seems reasonable to assume that the 24-year-old will see if there’s another team out there next week willing to go higher than $5MM.
Here are a few more Dolphins notes and rumors, via Jackson:
The Dolphins have made it clear that they’ll be looking to upgrade the guard position this offseason, making it one of their top three priorities, along with defensive end and cornerback. Jackson suggests the team will try to add at least one veteran guard, and perhaps two, in free agency.
While the Dolphins would love to sign Kelechi Osemele, he may end up being out of the club’s price range. Alex Boone and Geoff Schwartz appear to be more realistic targets, according to Jackson, who writes that both players would have interest in Miami. A team source tells Jackson that the Dolphins “held an exploratory conversation” regarding Schwartz and is interested in him, but wants to take a look at some other options as well.
Even though they’d like to bring him back, the Dolphins have told people there’s a good chance that wide receiver Rishard Matthews will get a bigger offer in free agency than what they can comfortably put on the table.
MARCH 1: The Giants have officially cut Schwartz, reports Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter).
FEBRUARY 17: The Giants have officially released Beatty, adding that he failed his physical, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Beatty is recovering from rotator cuff surgery.
FEBRUARY 10, 1:55pm: The Giants have officially announced Beason’s retirement, and confirmed the release of Schwartz and Beatty. Beason said that he wanted to continue playing, but after consulting with numerous doctors, those experts unanimously recommending that he retire because of his injured knee.
11:04am: Beason could end up announcing his retirement, tweets Graziano. As noted below, a report last month suggested the veteran linebacker was considering retirement due to ongoing injury issues. It probably makes sense for Beason to wait until after the Giants cut him though, to ensure there’s no risk of losing a portion of his signing bonus.
10:53am: In addition to releasing Schwartz and Beason, the Giants are also cutting veteran tackle Will Beatty, tweets Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports. Like his two teammates, Beatty has had to deal with health problems as of late — he missed the entire 2015 campaign due to pectoral and rotator cuff injuries.
Releasing Beatty will leave $5MM in dead money on the Giants’ 2015 cap, but the move will also clear $4.175MM in space. Overall, the three cuts will create more than $12.2MM in cap savings for GM JerryReese and the Giants.
10:37am: The Giants are releasing a veteran player on either side of the ball, according to Dan Graziano of ESPN.com (Twitterlinks), who reports that the team is parting ways with offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz and linebacker Jon Beason.
Both Schwartz and Beason signed contracts with the Giants in March of 2014, with Schwartz inking a four-year pact while Beason agreed to a three-year deal. Since then, injuries have plagued both players, with Schwartz appearing in 13 games over the last two seasons for New York, while Beason has played in just nine.
Schwartz, 29, started 11 games for the Giants in 2015, but his seasons was cut short when he fractured a bone in his left leg in late November, forcing the team to place him on injured reserve. By releasing him, the Giants will avoid paying him $3.925MM annual salaries this year and next year, taking on a hit of about $1.917MM in dead money for 2016. The move creates nearly $3MM in cap savings for the club, while Schwartz – like his brother Mitchell Schwartz – could be on the lookout for a new home.
As for Beason, according to Over the Cap, he would have been owed a $1MM roster bonus if he were still on the Giants’ roster on the fifth day of the 2016 league year. Instead, the Giants’ will clear that bonus, $1.2MM in per-game roster bonuses, a $100K workout bonus, and his $2.8MM base salary from their cap, creating a total of $5.1MM in cap savings.
While Schwartz and Beason didn’t provide the Giants with much value over the last two years, both players were effective for other teams earlier in their careers. Schwartz started 26 total games for the Panthers and Chiefs, and Beason was even more impressive, earning three Pro Bowl nods during his years in Carolina.
If the two veterans show they’re healthy heading into 2016, they could be intriguing buy-low candidates. However, that depends on whether they both want to continue their careers. A report last month indicated that Beason was considering retirement.