Jacoby Brissett

Restructured Contract Details: Flacco, Solder, Panthers

With the majority of the NFL beginning their 2019 campaigns tomorrow, a number of teams have slightly tweaked contracts in an effort to open some extra cap space. We’ve compiled some of the notable restructured contracts from this morning, along with some details on some recently-completed deals.

  •  The Broncos converted $17MM of Joe Flacco‘s base salary into a signing bonus, reports NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (via Twitter). The front office also added a pair of voidable years to the contract, thus opening around $13.6MM in 2019 cap space. The veteran quarterback is still on the books for $20.25MM in 2020 and $24.25MM in 2021.
  • The Giants made a similar move with offensive tackle Nate Solder, according to Pelissero (on Twitter). The front office converted $7.5MM of the veteran’s base salary to a fully-guaranteed roster bonus, opening up $5MM in cap space. Solder will still earn the same amount of money over the next two years ($13MM in 2019, $14MM in 2020).
  • One more from Pelissero (via Twitter): the Panthers restructured the contracts of defensive tackle Kawann Short and offensive lineman Trai Turner, opening $13MM in cap space. While the team could use that open money for extensions, Joe Person of The Athletic tweets that the transaction is “more about taking cap space into next year.” Linebacker Shaq Thompson and cornerback James Bradberry are impending free agents, while running back Christian McCaffrey and quarterback Cam Newton could be eyeing lucrative extensions.
  • The Rams converted $2.25MM of punter Johnny Hekker‘s base salary into a bonus, reports ESPN’s Field Yates (via Twitter). The move opens up around $1.69MM in cap space, allowing the team is better accommodate the recent extensions for quarterback Jared Goff and tight end Tyler Higbee.
  • Center Mike Pouncey‘s one-year, $9MM extension with the Chargers will guarantee him $5MM in new money, tweets ESPN’s Dan Graziano (via Twitter). The guarantees include a $2.5MM signing bonus and $2.5MM guaranteed salary in 2020 (the full base salary is $6MM). The veteran’s cap number is now $10MM in 2019 and $7.75MM in 2020.
  • Jacoby Brissett‘s two-year, $30MM extension with the Colts includes an $11MM signing bonus, reports Ben Volin of the Boston Globe (on Twitter). The quarterback has a $2MM salary for 2019, $2MM in per-game roster bonuses (for both years), and a $7MM roster bonus that’s guaranteed in March. As Volin notes, the 26-year-old will likely earn around $13MM to $15MM this season before renegotiating next offseason.
  • Josh Doctson‘s deal with the Vikings is for one year at the league minimum of $720K, reports Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune (via Twitter). The deal includes no guaranteed money. Following the signing of the wideout and punter Britton Colquitt, Minnesota is now sitting with around $1.17MM in cap space.

AFC South Notes: Tunsil, Brissett, Jack

New Texans starting left tackle Laremy Tunsil is wasting no time getting acclimated to his new team. Coach Bill O’Brien said the former first-round pick is putting in “double time” with regard to getting up to speed with Houston’s communication on packages, as Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle relays.

“Laremy has been in here all day working with Mike, working with a couple of guys, some of the veteran guys, Nick Martin, guys like that,” the coach said. “Look, at the end of the day, that’s going to be a challenge early on here because he just got here.

“But I think that he’s played a lot of football and maybe what somebody calls an apple, we call an orange. It’s just different terms, but it’s the same blocking assignment.”

Here’s more from the AFC South:

  • Jacoby Brissett, who recently signed a new two-year, $30MM extension, told Mike Chappell of CBS4 in Indianapolis that he negotiated the contract himself. “I don’t like people to BS on my behalf. I try to say it for myself. . . . all you can be is honest,” the Colts new starting quarterback said. “I did my rookie contract, too, so I kind of had the gist of it.’’
  • The details on Myles Jacks new contract are in. The deal pays the linebacker $26.06MM in guarantees, as Pro Football Talk details. That figure is second in the league among inside linebackers (C.J. Mosley).
  • Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline envisions Dion Lewis being heavily involved in the Titan’s offense. Lewis has three years remaining on the four-year, $19.8MM deal he inked during the 2018 offseason.

Colts Give Jacoby Brissett Two-Year Deal

In the wake of Andrew Luck‘s sudden retirement, the Colts are locking up his former backup. Indianapolis is giving Jacoby Brissett a two-year extension worth $30MM, a source told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link).

Rapoport used the term extension, but Stephen Holder of The Athletic clarified in a tweet that it’s actually a two-year deal that will take the place of his current contract. That means Brissett only has one new year on his deal, and he’ll be under contract through the 2020 season not the 2021 season like some initially thought. Ben Volin of the Boston Globe originally tweeted that a deal was close. Per Rapoport, Brissett will get $20MM guaranteed at signing. It’s a big show of confidence from the Colts in their new starter just before the regular season kicks off. Brissett had been set to earn around $2MM in the final year of his rookie deal before this.

The North Carolina State product only attempted four passes last year, but he was the team’s starter for virtually the entire 2017 season when Luck was sidelined with a shoulder injury. That year he racked up 3,098 yards and 13 touchdowns while tossing seven interceptions. He averaged 6.6 yards per attempt and while the numbers weren’t anything to write home about, it was somewhat impressive given the circumstances. Brissett had been traded from the Patriots just before the start of the season, and then suddenly thrust into the starting role.

This time around he’s been practicing with the first-team for months, and he already has a full year in Frank Reich’s system under his belt. He’s got a better coaching staff, and a much better offensive line protecting him, so he should be able to improve on his 2017 results. In the end, the extension could end up working out well for both sides.

Brissett gets some security and a boatload of cash now, and the team ends up getting a huge discount if he shows well. If Brissett were to have a good season and establish himself as a starter, he would’ve gotten far more than this on the open market. Indy also gets to show that they’re all-in with Brissett, and avoid any doubt once regular season action kicks off.

The Colts signed Brian Hoyer to a three-year deal earlier today, but he clearly won’t be a threat to Brissett’s job with this type of commitment. Brissett has come a long way, as he was reportedly about to be cut by New England before Indianapolis traded for him. The Colts considered trading Brissett last summer when Luck made his return, and they’re surely glad they didn’t pull the trigger. The 91st pick of the 2016 draft will kick off his season against the Chargers on Sunday.

Andrew Luck’s Week 1 Availability “Really In Question”

Colts head coach Frank Reich prefers to make a decision on his Week 1 starting quarterback following his club’s third preseason game, and it may not be Andrew Luck who’s under center. Unless Luck makes a “miraculous recovery,” backup Jacoby Brissett us likely to start for Indianapolis in its season opener, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (Twitter link).

Additionally, Garafolo reports the Colts “finally” feel as though they have a handle on the exact nature of Luck’s injury. Rather than just a calf or just an ankle issue, it seems as though Luck is dealing with an ailment that’s been caused by “accumulation over time.” What exactly that means for his recovery is unclear, but Indianapolis is now confident it can help its star quarterback heal.

Luck originally underwent an MRI on his calf in March that revealed a strain, but began to experience ankle trouble in May. Another test Monday revealed Luck could be dealing with some sort of high-ankle issue, though it’s not evident if he’s been diagnosed with a dreaded high-ankle sprain. At the moment, it doesn’t appear Luck is experiencing any Achilles trouble.

Luck won’t play during the preseason, and his absence will give Brissett even more time to prepare for the regular season. Brissett, of course, was the Colts’ full-time starter in 2017 when Luck st out the year with a shoulder injury. In 15 starts, Brissett completed 58.8% of his passes for 3,098 yards, 13 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. Among the 29 quarterbacks with at least 300 attempts that season, Brissett finished 22nd in adjusted net yards per attempt.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Reich Lobbies Against Jacoby Brissett Trade

Add Frank Reich to the list of Colts decision-makers that do not want Jacoby Brissett to be traded. One of the NFL’s top backups, Brissett is entering a contract year and may be an interesting trade chip for the contending team.

But in 2018, Jim Irsay said they would not trade their backup quarterback for a first-round pick. The Seahawks’ offer of a second-rounder was reportedly insufficient, though a report this year indicated the Colts may be softening their stanceChris Ballard said in January that Brissett was a future NFL starter. Despite Brissett’s potential 2020 free agency defection, Reich wants to keep Andrew Luck‘s backup.

I tell Chris all the time, ‘Please don’t let him go. I don’t care what anybody offers him. Don’t let him go,'” Reich said, via Kevin Bowen of 1070TheFan.com. “I love Jacoby. The problem is now I’ve gotten to know Jacoby and, at some point, I hope that it works out for Jacoby. But not now.”

Reich is in a unique position to understand Brissett’s status, having spent most of his career as a backup quarterback. Last season, the Colts understandably needed more insurance than many teams because of Luck having missed all of 2017. But Luck started all 16 games and looks to have recovered from the shoulder malady that threw his career off axis. A former Patriots third-rounder, Brissett ended his 2017 starter season with the No. 29 QBR figure and threw for just 13 touchdown passes in 16 games. But the former North Carolina State prospect has generated some intrigue around the league.

It’s impossible for me to have a higher opinion of Jacoby than I do,” Reich said. “I said it last year; I think he’s a top-20 quarterback. I still say that. After watching him for a year, this guy’s really good.”

As of now, some future Hall of Fame quarterbacks stand to be 2020 free agents. But the prospect of Tom Brady, Drew Brees or Philip Rivers leaving their current teams seems incredibly remote. Ditto for Dak Prescott. The true market may include the likes of Teddy Bridgewater, Case Keenum and Ryan Tannehill, with the situations of Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota (both set to play on fifth-year options) being ones to monitor. Brissett may factor into this mix, but to have a chance to start again, he will obviously have to prepare to leave Indianapolis.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

South Notes: Brissett, Colts, Falcons, Saints, Bucs

When Andrew Luck missed the entire 2017 season, Jacoby Brissett ended up becoming the Colts’ starter after they acquired him from New England, and he filled in admirably. He’s remained in Indianapolis since then, despite trade rumors swirling ever since. Colts GM Chris Ballard said in January that the team viewed Brissett as a starter in the league, and that they’d have to be blown away to trade him.

We now have more details on their thinking, as sources at the combine told Tony Pauline of Draftanalyst.com that the Colts “would demand a second-round choice ” for Brissett. Pauline further explained their process, writing that if Brissett walks in free agency after this season the Colts think “they would likely receive a compensatory third-round pick based on the contract he’s likely to sign; hence the second-round price tag.” This could all just be posturing to elicit better offers for Brissett, but it definitely seems like the team is high on him.

Here’s more from the league’s southern divisions:

  • The Falcons have repeatedly expressed confidence that they’d be able to get a new deal done with Julio Jones, but there’s “not much going on” between the two sides, a source told Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Jones is locked into a contract that is one of the best bargains in the NFL, and isn’t happy about it. He briefly held out last offseason before the team sweetened his deal with some incentives to draw him back. As McClure points out, GM Thomas Dimitroff has said the team is optimistic against getting a deal done, but there’s apparently been no progress. Jones could hold out again this summer, and it’ll be something to keep an eye on.
  • There were some rumors online that the Buccaneers could be shopping linebacker Lavonte David at the combine, but those apparently are false. Multiple sources told Jenna Laine of ESPN.com that David “is going nowhere.” David is still only 29 and received very good marks from Pro Football Focus last year, so it makes sense that the Bucs would want to keep him in the fold as they rebuild their porous defense.
  • The Saints are hiring former NFL linebacker Michael Wilhoite to their coaching staff, according to Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com. Wilhoite will be a special teams assistant in New Orleans. Wilhoite played six seasons in the NFL from ’12-17, spending time with the 49ers and Seahawks.

Colts Rumors: Doyle, Geathers, Brissett

The Colts will likely be without tight end Jack Doyle for the bulk of the offseason, GM Chris Ballard told reporters on Wednesday. Doyle, of course, missed significant time in the 2018 season thanks to a hip injury and finished out the year on IR thanks to a kidney injury that required surgery.

In six games last year, Doyle caught 26 passes for 245 yards and two touchdowns. Meanwhile, Eric Ebron picked up the slack with 66 grabs for 750 yards and 13 touchdowns. The Colts hope to have both players in the mix in two tight end sets, but if Doyle misses time, they have a deep TE unit to draw from including the recently re-signed Ross Travis and former basketball player Mo Alie-Cox.

Here’s more from Indy:

  • The Colts want to re-sign safety Clayton Geathers, GM Chris Ballard says (Twitter link via Mike Chappell of FOX 59). Geathers, 27 in June, amassed 89 tackles and three passes defensed as the Colts’ starting strong safety. However, he missed four games and earned a so-so 67.4 score from Pro Football Focus, positioning him as just the 51st best overall safety in the NFL.
  • Geathers, cornerback Pierre Desir, and wide receiver Dontrelle Inman will be allowed to test the market in March, even though there is interest in bringing each player back, Stephen Holder of the Indy Star (on Twitter) hears. Holder adds that safety Matthias Farley will likely be tendered and should return to the squad in 2019.
  • The Colts are still exploring backup quarterbacks and those conversations almost led them to signing Calgary Stampeders QB Bo Levi Mitchell recently, Holder hears (Twitter link). Still, Holder does not expect those conversations to have any direct impact on Jacoby Brissett‘s status for the coming year. The Colts say they’re not shopping Brissett, but if they do, they should find a decent market for his services.

Colts GM On Possible Jacoby Brissett Trade

The Colts have a potential trade chip in backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett. However, they also value him highly and aren’t inclined to trade him for cheap. 

I think he’s a starter in the league,” GM Chris Ballard said (via Joel A. Erickson of the Indianapolis Star). “It would take somebody doing something that would blow me away, and it has to be the right thing for the kid, too. I’m not just sending him anywhere.”

Last year’s free agent QB crop was uniquely strong, but this year’s group doesn’t offer nearly as many viable options. Between Brissett’s 2017 performance and the dearth of quality signal callers out there, Brissett could fetch a high price if he’s dangled to other teams.

The Colts went just 4-12 without Andrew Luck under center in 2017, but Brissett did well from an individual perspective. He completed 58.8% of his throws that year for 3,098 yards with 13 touchdowns against seven interceptions. Those aren’t MVP numbers, but he was playing behind a porous offensive line that allowed him to be sacked 52 times.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2019 Proven Performance Escalators

According to the NFL’s contractual bargaining agreement, players drafted in rounds three though seven are entitled to raises during the fourth year of their respective rookie contracts. The pay bumps are tied to playing time — a player must have played in 35% of his team’s offensive or defensive snaps in two of his first three seasons, or averaged 35% playing time cumulatively during that period.

If one of these thresholds is met, the player’s salary is elevated to the level of that year’s lowest restricted free agent tender — that figure should be around $2MM in 2019. Players selected in the first or second round, undrafted free agents, and kickers/punters are ineligible for the proven performance escalator.

Here are the players who will see their salary rise in 2019 courtesy of the proven performance escalator:

Bears: RB Jordan Howard, LB Nick Kwiatkoski

Bengals: LB Nick Vigil

Broncos: G Connor McGovern, S Will Parks, S Justin Simmons

Browns: S Derrick Kindred, LB Joe Schobert

Buccaneers: G Caleb Benenoch, DE Carl Nassib, CB Ryan Smith

Chargers: LB Jatavis Brown

Chiefs: CB Kendall Fuller, WR Tyreek Hill, S Eric Murray, WR Demarcus Robinson

Colts: QB Jacoby Brissett, T Joe Haeg

Cowboys: CB Anthony Brown, DT Maliek Collins, QB Dak Prescott

Dolphins: RB Kenyan Drake

Eagles: CB Jalen Mills, T Halapoulivaati Vaitai

Falcons: LB De’Vondre Campbell, TE Austin Hooper, G Wes Schweitzer

Jaguars: DE Yannick Ngakoue

Jets: LB Jordan Jenkins, CB Rashard Robinson, T Brandon Shell

Lions: C Graham Glasgow

Packers: LB Kyler Fackrell, DE Dean Lowry, LB Blake Martinez, LB Antonio Morrison

Patriots: G Joe Thuney, LB Elandon Roberts

Rams: G Austin Blythe, TE Tyler Higbee

Ravens: DE Matt Judon, OL Alex Lewis, CB Tavon Young

Saints: DT David Onyemata

Steelers: DT Javon Hargrave

Texans: DT D.J. Reader

Titans: S Kevin Byard, WR Tajae Sharpe

OverTheCap.com was essential in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. 

Extra Points: Brissett, Hackenberg, Cowboys, Seahawks, Bears

We heard yesterday that the Colts‘ had rejected the Seahawks offer of a second-round pick for quarterback Jacoby Brissett. However, Colts general manager Chris Ballard is saying the front office never talked trade with Seattle. The executive told ESPN’s Booger McFarland that the two sides had never discussed a trade for the 24-year-old (via Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com).

We learned back in March that the Colts had rejected a pair of trade offers for Brissett, who they acquired from the Patriots last year. Colts owner Jim Irsay recently said that his club wouldn’t trade Brissett for a first-round pick, so it sounds like the organization is content with the quarterback as their potential longterm backup to Andrew Luck. Brissett was solid as a starter last season, compiling 3,098 yards, 13 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. He also rushed for an additional 260 yards and four scores.

Let’s take a look at some more notes from around the NFL…

  • After being released by the Raiders and before joining the Eagles, we had heard quarterback Christian Hackenberg had worked out with the Patriots. Well, it sounds like another team expressed interest in the former second-rounder, as Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets that Hackenberg had worked out for the Texans. Houston’s interest in the quarterback could indicate that the team isn’t happy with the current backups to Deshaun Watson, a grouping that includes Brandon Weeden and Joe Webb.
  • The Cowboys added one safety today when they signed Dominick Sanders. However, it sounds like the team is still seeking some reinforcement at the position, as Calvin Watkins of The Athletic tweets that the team will audition Jeron Johnson tomorrow. The former undrafted free agent out of Boise State has managed to appear in 64 games since entering the league in 2011, but he’s only appeared in four games over the past two years. His best season came in 2015 with the Redskins, when he compiled 27 tackles.
  • While the Cowboys continue to seek safety help, there apparently hasn’t been any progress with the Seahawks in regards to an Earl Thomas trade. Watkins tweets that “nothing new is happening” with Seattle, meaning there may not be an end in sight when it comes to the ongoing Thomas saga. The veteran Pro Bowler has sat out the first part of the preseason, and he’s requested a new contract or a trade.
  • The Bears announced (via Twitter) that cornerback Deiondre’ Hall has been suspended for the first game of the upcoming season for violating the NFL’s Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. The 2016 fourth-rounder has appeared in 10 games through two seasons with Chicago, collecting nine tackles, three passes defended, and one interception. He was already on the roster bubble for the Bears, and his suspension might improve Doran Grant or Jonathon Mincy‘s chances of making the roster.