Golden Tate

NFC East Notes: Redskins, Cowboys, Giants

It’s unclear if Colt McCoy ever had a realistic chance to serve as the Redskins‘ starting quarterback in 2019, but his continued recovery from a broken leg has deprived him of even getting the opportunity. McCoy won’t play in Washington’s second preseason game after experiencing leg soreness, head coach Jay Gruden told reporters (link via Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk). Additionally, McCoy has no timeline for a possible return, meaning he’s certainly a candidate to miss regular season time. Trade acquisition Case Keenum looks like the favorite to start for the Redskins, with 2019 first-round pick Dwayne Haskins likely to act as Keenum’s backup, at least to open the year.

Here’s more from the NFC East:

NFC East

  • The Cowboys have a quandary on their hands: how to pay Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, and Amari Cooper? Prescott, for his part, is reportedly targeting Russell Wilson‘s $35MM yearly salary, but none of Dallas’ trifecta has set a deadline for negotiations with the club’s front office. Vice president of player personnel Will McClay admits fitting all three on the Cowboys’ books could prove difficult, but says the club is in a good position. “It makes it challenging, but it’s a good challenge because we follow the recipe that we’ve used to get these young players,” McClay told Jon Machota of The Athletic. “Now we have to figure out if we can pay them because they are good enough. It’s just to keep that thing going and trying to find young talent.”
  • After getting handed a four-game suspension for taking what he claims were fertility drugs, Giants wideout Golden Tate is considering a lawsuit against the doctor who originally prescribed the drugs, as Williams writes in a separate piece. Tate, who self-reported his violation after realizing the active ingredient in the medication was on the NFL’s banned substance list, will lose salary and signing bonus, while his 2020 guarantees are also expected to void. The veteran pass-catcher appealed his ban but was formally denied earlier this week.
  • Tate will be forced to give back some of his salary and signing bonus as a result of his suspension, and the annual average of his contract will be reduced commensurately. While that reduction could theoretically affect the compensatory pick the Eagles will receive in exchange for losing Tate as a free agent, Jimmy Kempski of the Philly Voice explains while Philadelphia is unlikely to be altered.

Giants’ Golden Tate Loses Appeal

Golden Tate fought the law and the law won. On Tuesday, the NFL denied the Giants wide receiver’s appeal, per a press release. 

Tate was hit with a four-game ban for violating the league’s Performance Enhancing Substance policy in late July. Soon after, Tate pushed back and denied any wrongdoing.

“This past April, during the off-season, my wife and I decided to see a specialist for fertility planning,” Tate said in a statement. “I started the treatment prescribed to me and just days later I discovered it contained an ingredient that is on the league’s banned substance list. I immediately discontinued use, I reported the situation to the Independent Administrator of the NFL Policy on Performance-Enhancing Substances, and I spoke with my coaches and general manager. I did all of this well before a failed test was even confirmed.”

Now that the suspension has been upheld, Tate will lose around $1.75MM in 2019 money. Perhaps more importantly, the receiver will forfeit his $7.975MM in 2020 guarantees. Tate signed a four-year, $37MM deal with the Giants this past winter, but he’s already lost at least a chunk of that cash thanks to the suspension.

Following Tate’s suspension and the season-ending injury to Corey Coleman, the Giants’ current WR depth chart is headlined by Sterling ShepardCody LatimerBennie FowlerRussell Shepard and Darius Slayton. In positive news, Shepard’s thumb injury is not as serious as once believed and should be ready for the team’s season opener against the Cowboys on Sept. 8.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Notes: Cowboys, Morris, Giants, Eagles

After signing Alfred Morris earlier this week, Cowboys executive Stephen Jones admitted his club likely wouldn’t have brought in an established running back if Ezekiel Elliott were not holding out. “We were going to look at something no matter what but probably not as much,” Jones said, via Clarence Hill of the Star Telegram. “Every time you are missing a guy you need to have a guy in here and it made sense for us to get a guy we were comfortable with.” Morris, who served as Elliott’s backup in 2016 and 2017, says he’s been given no assurances that he’ll stick on Dallas’ roster if/when Elliott returns to the team.

Here’s more from the NFC East:

NFC East Notes: Golden Tate, Redskins, Cowboys

On Saturday, Giants wide receiver Golden Tate was suspended for four games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. Though the veteran is appealing the suspension, don’t expect him to win that appeal, NJ.com’s Ryan Dunleavy writes.

After the suspension was doled out, Tate took to Twitter to say the test stemmed from a fertility treatment and he and the Giants are confident in the facts coming out. Citing former NFL doctor David J. Chao, Dunleavy expects the suspension to remain.

“Appreciate the story but if this is the basis for appeal, suspension will be upheld under current CBA. Like admitting you went over the speed limit because your speedometer broken. Still means a ticket,” Chao said [Twitter link].

Dunleavy went on to compare the case to that of defensive end Robert Mathis, who was suspended in 2014 for using the fertility drug, Clomid. He also cited the NFL does not typically reduce suspension lengths upon appeal.

With the suspension to Tate adds insult to several injuries for the Giants, who lost Sterling Shepard and Corey Coleman to injuries earlier in the week.

Here’s more from around the NFC East:

  • Cowboys defensive end Demarcus Lawrence held off on shoulder surgery until after he inked his new deal this offseason. The star pass-rusher is targeting the season opener vs. the Giants for when he will get back on the field,” Pro Football Talk’s Charean Williams writes. “I’m not saying I’m going to overload my workload for the season opener or what they want to do with me or have me off the PUP list by the season opener, but hopefully be ready by the season opener.”
  • Staying in Dallas, linebacker Sean Lee is playing teams in training camp, the first time playing with the unit since his second season in the league, Williams writes“I am just trying to help anyway I can,” Lee said Sunday. “I like being on the field. I want to try to make an impact. You can make a lot of plays on special teams, hopefully plays that can change a game. Having an impact anyway I can, that’s my goal.” With the emergence of Leighton Vander Esch in 2018, Lee is also moving to strongside linebacker in 2019.
  • Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said receiver Trey Quinn has the slot-receiver role locked up, ESPN’s John Keim tweets. This was long expected as Quinn has received rave reviews and the lack of depth at the spot on the roster.

Reactions, Notes On Golden Tate’s Suspension

Shortly after the news broke that Giants wide receiver Golden Tate was set to be suspended for four games, the veteran took to Twitter to offer an explanation.

“This past April, during the off-season, my wife and I decided to see a specialist for fertility planning. I started the treatment prescribed to me and just days later I discovered it contained an ingredient that is on the league’s banned substance list. I immediately discontinued use, I reported the situation to the Independent Administrator of the NFL Policy on Performance-Enhancing Substances, and I spoke with my coaches and general manager. I did all of this well before a failed test was even confirmed.

Per NFL protocol, an initial suspension was imminent, but myself and the Giants organization are confident in the facts, and eagerly await my appeal to put this behind us.

During the entirety of my 10 year career I have taken great pride in playing this game the right way, have been an ambassador for the NFL and have never had any issue with the league’s policy. The treatment this past April had no effect on the upcoming season, and I did not, and could not have undergone this treatment in April for any competitive advantage. I deeply appreciate the support from the New York Giants Organization, and will continue to hold the highest level of character and integrity, while being a leader in the locker room.

In respect to the team and my teammates I won’t be speaking on this again until after the appeal. I’m focusing on football, and will not let this be a distraction.”

Tate surely sounds confident in his argument, and we heard earlier that the receiver had high hopes for the appeals process.

Let’s check out some more notes and reactions following Tate’s ban:

  • Speaking of the appeal, the meeting is set to take place in early August, tweets ESPN’s Adam Schefter. That means the team will have some clarity on Tate’s availability for the start of the regular season.
  • If the suspension is upheld, Tate would lose around $1.75MM in 2019 money, tweets Mike Garafolo of NFL Network. Perhaps more importantly, the receiver would forfeit his $7.975MM in 2020 guarantees. Tate signed a four-year, $37MM deal with the Giants this past winter.
  • Last offseason, the Giants signed defensive end Josh Mauro with the understanding that he was facing a four-game suspension. That wasn’t the case this time around, as Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com tweets that the Giants only learned of the impending suspension after inking Tate in March (which makes sense considering the timeline detailed in Tate’s tweet).
  • We learned earlier today that the Giants would be hosting a workout for free agent wideouts, and it sounds like a signing is pending. Head coach Pat Shurmur said the team would likely be added a receiver at some point today (via NFL.com’s Adam Maya). Following Tate’s suspension and injuries to Sterling Shepard and Corey Coleman, the Giants current depth chart consists of of Cody LatimerBennieFowlerRussell Shepard and Darius Slayton.

Giants WR Golden Tate Suspended 4 Games

The Giants are down another receiver. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (via Twitter) that wideout Golden Tate has been suspended four games for violating the NFL’s Performance Enhancing Substance policy. Schefter notes that the veteran will appeal the suspension and “believes he has a legitimate case.”

It’s been a tough week for Giants receivers. Former Browns first-rounder Corey Coleman tore his ACL yesterday, ending his season early. Meanwhile, top wideout Sterling Shepard will be out for the foreseeable future after fracturing his thumb. The Giants are still rostering the likes of Cody Latimer, Bennie Fowler, Russell Shepard and Darius Slayton, but the team will surely be looking for some reinforcement.

In fact, Greg Joyce and Jared Schwartz of the New York Post write that the Giants are set to host a workout for free agent receivers this weekend. That initial grouping of players included rookie Flynn Nagel and veteran Kelvin Benjamin, although ESPN’s Jordan Raanan tweets that Benjamin wasn’t among those auditioning this morning.

The Giants signed Tate to (partly) replace the production of traded wideout Odell Beckham Jr.. Between the Lions and Eagles, Tate hauled in 74 passes for 795 yards and four touchdowns in 2018. It was the first time he failed to crack 800 yards since the 2012 season. In New York, he’ll likely be one of Eli Manning‘s preferred targets alongside Shepard, tight end Evan Engram, and running back Saquon Barkley.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Contract Details: Foles, Tate, Crowder, Desir

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

Giants To Sign WR Golden Tate

The Giants have agreed to sign former Eagles wide receiver Golden Tate, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Tate will receive a four-year, $37.5MM contract with $23MM fully guaranteed, according to Schefter. 

Tate entered the offseason as one of the top available wide receivers, but many others agreed to deals during the legal tampering period. Alas, Tate has a home, although he’s a bit late in signing during Day 2 of the official free agency period.

The Patriots and Steelers, two teams who explored acquiring Tate from the Lions before last year’s trade deadline, were also said to be considering him. Instead, the Odell Beckham-less Giants have swooped him up in an effort to revamp their receivers group.

Between the Lions and Eagles, Tate caught 74 passes for 795 yards and four touchdowns in 2018. It was the first time he failed to crack 800 yards since the 2012 season, his first year as a starter.

A 1,000 yard receiver as recently as 2017, Tate could be in line for big numbers once again. His ceiling is obviously lower than OBJ’s, but he can help move the chains in New York. Going forward, Eli Manning will rely on Tate, Sterling Shepard, tight end Evan Engram, and running back Saquon Barkley to keep the offense moving.

Tate’s deal carries an average annual value of $9.375MM, putting him just outside of the Top 25 at the position. His AAV is roughly half of OBJ, who leads all receivers at $18MM/year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots, Steelers Interested in Golden Tate

The Steelers and Patriots are both looking for receivers, and they might have their sights set on the same big name. Pittsburgh and New England both have interest in free agent Golden Tate, as reported by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

The Steelers were reportedly in on Tyrell Williams before he signed with the Raiders, and recently added Donte Moncrief while re-signing Eli Rogers. The Patriots are also sniffing around the available wideouts, bringing in Bruce Ellington and Maurice Harris for visits. The Steelers, of course, are looking to replace Antonio Brown while New England faces some uncertainty with their pass-catchers as well.

It’s anyone’s guess if Josh Gordon will be able to play next season, and Rob Gronkowski‘s status is still very much up in the air. Tate split his time between Detroit and Philadelphia last year after a trade deadline deal sent him from the Lions to the Eagles. He didn’t have a terrible season by any means, but he didn’t fit in quite as well as the Eagles had hoped after he joined the team.

In total, he caught 74 passes for 795 yards and four touchdowns. It was the first time he failed to crack 800 yards since the 2012 season, his first year as a starter. The ex-Seahawk is still only 30, and is one of the biggest names still on the market. The fact that he’s available after the first wave of free agency could suggest he isn’t getting the type of offers that he wants.

The Lions traded him because they didn’t want to pay him, and he’s surely seeking a massive pay day. A 1,000 yard receiver as recently as 2017, Tate would be a big addition for either team. He wouldn’t quite replace Brown, but he’d form an enviable one/two duo with JuJu Smith-Schuster in Pittsburgh.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

La Canfora’s Latest: Mathieu, Ravens, Bucs

While the Texans are attempting to retain Tyrann Mathieu, both the Ravens and Buccaneers have “serious interest” in the veteran defensive back, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com. Baltimore just released fellow safety Eric Weddle on Tuesday, while Tampa Bay has been in need of secondary help for years. Mathieu inked a one-year, $7MM deal with Houston last year, but he’s expected to receive a significant raise on his next contract. Per La Canfora, Mathieu should be able to collect $24MM over the first two years of a new deal.

Here’s more from JLC:

  • Overall, the safety market is not expected to be as depressed as it was a year ago, when Mathieu, Eric Reid, Kenny Vaccaro, Tre Boston, and others were forced to settle for one-year pacts. Earl Thomas will set the market and is asking for $13MM annually, per La Canfora. Meanwhile, former Giants safety Landon Collins — now on the market after New York declined to franchise him — will likely come in below Thomas, and Bears defender Adrian Amos is searching for $9-10MM per year.
  • While there aren’t any clear-cut, No. 1 wideouts available this offseason, slot receivers are aplenty, and they should get paid, says JLC. Golden Tate is looking for $13MM per season, while Adam Humphries may be targeting $10MM annually and has already been deemed too expensive to return to the Buccaneers. Cole Beasley could also get $10MM per year, while John Brown wants $8-9MM per season.
  • Offensive tackle Daryl Williams is expected to reach the open market, and La Canfora reports Williams’ price has already “soared” above where the Panthers are comfortable paying. Both the Bills and Giants are expected to target Williams, and both connections make sense. Buffalo employs former Carolina staffer Brandon Beane as its general manager, while ex-Panthers GM Dave Gettleman is in charge in New York.
  • The Raiders have already been mentioned as a potential suitor for Chargers receiver Tyrell Williams, and the Colts could also join the fray, per La Canfora. Williams is expected to earn more than $12MM per year on his new deal.