Jacquizz Rodgers

Buccaneers Re-Sign Jacquizz Rodgers

The Buccaneers have re-signed running back Jacquizz Rodgers, the team announced on Twitter. It’s a two-year, $3.3MM deal, tweets Adam Schefter of ESPN.com.

The 27-year-old’s first season in Tampa was one of the best of his career. Rodgers established career-highs in multiple categories, compiling 560 yards and two touchdowns on 129 attempts (good for a 4.3 yards per carry average). The running back also collected another 13 receptions for 98 yards.

The Buccaneers are currently rostering four running backs on their roster: Rodgers, Charles Sims, Peyton Barber, and Russell Hansbrough. Former first-rounder Doug Martin is a free agent.

PFR ranked Rodgers as the seventh-best free agent running back, slotting in behind Darren McFadden and ahead of Rex Burkhead.

Buccaneers Likely To Keep Jacquizz Rodgers

Barring any surprises, running back Jacquizz Rodgers is expected to be back with the Buccaneers, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com hears (Twitter link).

Jacquizz Rodgers (Vertical)The 27-year-old had a breakout campaign during his first season in Tampa, establishing career-highs in multiple categories. Rodgers ultimately ran for 560 yards and two touchdowns on 129 attempts, good for a 4.3 yards per carry average. The running back also collected another 13 receptions for 98 yards.

Prior to his 2015 season with the Bears, Rodgers spent four years with the Falcons, where he earned a reputation as a pass-catching back.

After finishing the 2016 season with four different starters at the position, the Buccaneers currently have four running backs on their roster: Rodgers, Charles Sims, Peyton Barber, and Russell Hansbrough. Former first-rounder Doug Martin is a free agent.

We recently ranked Rodgers as one of the ten best running backs available in free agency.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Top 2017 Free Agents By Position 2.0: Offense

NFL free agency is right around the corner! The legal tampering period starts on Tuesday and free agency officially starts on Thursday. The list of available free agents will change between now and then as players re-sign with teams or get cut loose, but we have a pretty good idea of who will be available right now. After looking at the top defensive players, we now shift our attention to the other side of the ball.

Here are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each position. The rankings aren’t determined by earning power, they are simply the players we like the most at each position, with a combination of short- and long-term value taken into account. You won’t find restricted free agents or franchise tagged guys here since they are unlikely to go leave their current clubs.

Player evaluation is always subjective, so we encourage you to make your voices heard in the comments section in cases where you disagree with us.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by offensive position for 2017:

Updated 3-7-2017, 2:55pm CT

Quarterback:

  1. Mike Glennon
  2. Nick Foles
  3. Brian Hoyer (story)
  4. Ryan Fitzpatrick
  5. Colin Kaepernick
  6. Josh McCown
  7. Case Keenum
  8. Matt McGloin
  9. Mark Sanchez
  10. Ryan Mallett
  11. Christian Ponder
  12. Blaine Gabbert
  13. Geno Smith
  14. Matt Schaub (story)
  15. EJ Manuel

Honorable mention: Ryan Nassib, Landry JonesShaun Hill Mike Glennon (vertical)

Colin Kaepernick’s agents have (wisely) let everyone know that their client will stand for the National Anthem in 2017. That may seem like a minor point, but teams say they would have automatically removed him from consideration if he continued his attention-grabbing protest. He grabbed headlines for his actions on the sidelines last year, but he actually turned in an OK season. From a football standpoint, Kaepernick would make sense for a lot of teams as a QB2 with upside.

Interestingly, this list includes three quarterbacks who couldn’t cut it as the Jets’ starter and three rejects from the 49ers. They say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure and all six of those players (Ryan Fitzpatrick, Kaepernick, Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith, Christian Ponder, Blaine Gabbert) come with varying degrees of potential and proven effectiveness. Smith, somehow, could reportedly be retained by the Jets and installed as the starter in 2017.

Ryan Nassib is just outside of the top 15 here with EJ Manuel getting the final spot. Despite positive word about his play in practice, Nassib is unproven and the Giants’ apparent lack of interest in re-signing him says a lot. It’s also possible that he might not be 100% after ending the 2016 season on IR with an elbow injury. Manuel, for all his warts, has shown potential in small bursts.

Running back:

  1. Eddie Lacy
  2. Adrian Peterson
  3. LeGarrette Blount
  4. Latavius Murray
  5. Jamaal Charles
  6. Darren McFadden
  7. Jacquizz Rodgers
  8. Rex Burkhead
  9. Rashad Jennings
  10. Danny Woodhead
  11. Tim Hightower
  12. DeAngelo Williams
  13. Andre Ellington
  14. Chris Johnson
  15. Christine Michael

Honorable mention: Robert Turbin, Travaris Cadet, Benny Cunningham, Lance Dunbar, Bobby Rainey, Brandon BoldenDenard Robinson, James Starks

Adrian Peterson (vertical)As expected, the Vikings have cut Adrian Peterson loose and he is expected to garner interest from contending clubs this week. Some might peg Peterson as the most talented running back in this year’s free agent class, but it all comes down to how you weigh his age and injury history. Peterson has shocked the football world in the past with an incredible comeback, but I’m a little skeptical of his ability to do it again in his age-32 season. Eddie Lacy, who has injury question marks of his own, takes the top spot at the position.

The Patriots believe they won’t be able to match the offers that come in LeGarrette Blount‘s direction. Latavius Murray could circle back to the Raiders, but he won’t be agreeing to a deal with them before free agency opens on Thursday.

Jamaal Charles has the most impressive resume of anyone on this list, with the exception of Peterson. However, no one knows exactly what he can do after playing eight games in the last two years. He’ll turn 31 in December and that’s usually not an indicator of success for running backs.

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NFC South Notes: Bucs, Falcons, Panthers

The Buccaneers and impending free agent wide receiver Vincent Jackson have discussed a potential return, but the 34-year-old could retire, writes Jenna Laine of ESPN.com. “We did have conversations with Vincent,” general manager Jason Licht said Wednesday. “I have the utmost respect for him. Everybody in the organization does. In my mind, in head coach Dirk [Koetter’s] mind, in the owners’ minds, he’ll be a Buc for life. So whatever happens happens, but we’ll always want Vincent to be around the organization.”

Jackson has been with the Buccaneers since 2012, and he started 16 games in each of his first three seasons as a member of the club, but he has endured back-to-back knee injury-shortened campaigns. The six-time 1,000-yard man has combined for just 15 appearances since 2015.

Regardless of whether the Buccaneers re-sign Jackson, they’re going to target “playmakers” this offseason, Licht revealed. Entering free agency, only three teams have more cap space than the Bucs.

More from the NFC South:

  • Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff said wide receiver Taylor Gabriel and guard Ben Garland will be tendered as RFAs (Twitter link via Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com). He did not specify what level, however. Gabriel was the far bigger contributor of the two last year, when he averaged 16.5 yards per catch on 35 receptions and combined for seven touchdowns through the air and on the ground. Garland appeared in all 16 of the Falcons’ regular-season games, but he didn’t start any.
  • Dimitroff also announced that the Falcons will let defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux become an unrestricted free agent after 12 years together, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. Conversely, the Falcons are trying to re-sign fullback Patrick DiMarco (Twitter link). Babineaux, 35, has totaled 185 appearances, 133 starts, 27 sacks and 10 forced fumbles in Atlanta, which selected him in the second round of the 2005 draft. He’s coming off the eighth 16-game season of his career, in which he picked up six starts and 22 tackles. DiMarco, a four-year Falcon, has three 16-appearance seasons in a row under his belt. He made eight starts in 2016.
  • Panthers GM Dave Gettleman told reporters on Wednesday that tackle Michael Oher is still in the league’s concussion protocol. This means the Panthers could be in the market for a starting left tackle. Oher has been dealing with a brain injury since September and only played in three games last year as a result. The eight-year veteran is under contract through 2019.
  • Reserve defensive end Darryl Tapp made it clear Wednesday that he wants to re-sign with the Saints, relays Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com. Tapp’s agent and the Saints have engaged in discussions about a new deal. The 32-year-old journeyman just finished his first season in New Orleans, where he started in two of 16 appearances.
  • As of last month, the Buccaneers hadn’t held contract talks with soon-to-be free agent running back Jacquizz Rodgers. However, the team would “love to have” him back, Licht stated (via Kevin Patra of NFL.com). Rodgers, 27, put up 560 yards on 129 rushes (4.3 per carry) and scored two touchdowns last season.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Top 2017 NFL Free Agents By Position: Offense

[UPDATE: CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST EDITION OF THE TOP 2017 NFL FREE AGENTS BY POSITION]

NFL free agency will get underway on Thursday, March 9th, and while the list of free agents will change between now and then, we do have some idea of who will be available when free agency kicks off. The frenzy is right around the corner and it’s time for us to break down the outlook for each position. We’ll start today on offense, before getting to defense and special teams later this week.

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each offensive position. The rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts that each player is expected to land in free agency, they are simply the players we like the most at each position, with both short- and long-term value taken into account. Restricted and exclusive-rights free agents are not listed here since they are unlikely to actually reach the open market.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some guys than you are, so we encourage you to make your voice heard in our comments section to let us know which free agents we’ve got wrong.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by offensive position for 2017:

Quarterback:

  1. Kirk Cousins
  2. Mike Glennon
  3. Nick Foles
  4. Brian Hoyer
  5. Ryan Fitzpatrick
  6. Case Keenum
  7. Matt McGloin
  8. Mark Sanchez
  9. Geno Smith
  10. Ryan Mallett
  11. Josh McCown
  12. Christian Ponder
  13. Blaine Gabbert
  14. Matt Schaub
  15. Ryan Nassib

Honorable mention: Shaun Hill

As of this writing, Kirk Cousins is far and away the best potential free agent quarterback in this year’s crop. By the time March gets here, we’re fully expecting Cousins to be spoken for. Ultimately, the Redskins could franchise tag him, work out a long-term deal with him, or swing some type of trade that nets them a massive haul of talent and picks. That will leave a crop of retread quarterbacks that would probably best serve as transitional options for QB-needy teams. Kirk Cousins

Mike Glennon hasn’t done much in his 18 career starts, but talent evaluators are still in love with his size and potential. The 6’7″ quarterback will get more money this spring than you might expect, particularly since there are no surefire QBs in this year’s draft.

Teams looking for stopgap QBs will find a plethora of experienced, though perhaps uninspiring, signal callers. Nick Foles, Brian Hoyer, and Ryan Fitzpatrick all have their best football behind them, but they could hold down the fort for a team in 2017 and maybe even find some success if the defense is strong enough. Of course, the ideal role for those guys would probably be as a backup to a better, younger quarterback.

Running back:

  1. Le’Veon Bell
  2. Eddie Lacy
  3. LeGarrette Blount
  4. Latavius Murray
  5. Darren McFadden
  6. Jacquizz Rodgers
  7. Rashad Jennings
  8. Danny Woodhead
  9. Rex Burkhead
  10. Tim Hightower
  11. DeAngelo Williams
  12. Andre Ellington
  13. Chris Johnson
  14. Christine Michael
  15. Robert Turbin

Consider Le’Veon Bell‘s name written in Etch-A-Sketch, because he is very unlikely to get near the open market. That could leave Eddie Lacy as the best tailback available in March. Lacy has struggled with weight issues in recent years and he lost much of the 2016 season to injury. Still, he is a bruising back that could nicely complement a quicker ball carrier. Before he was shut down for the year, Lacy was averaging 5.07 yards per carry in five games for Green Bay.

LeGarrette Blount (vertical)In the last two years, LeGarrette Blount seems to have put his off-the-field troubles behind him. Whether that’s a sign of his maturity or a product of the Patriots’ culture remains to be seen. Teams can ignore his past indiscretions, but they will be wary of his age. Blount turns 31 in December.

Latavius Murray has shown glimpses of being a special running back, but he has been inconsistent and his 4.0 yards-per-carry average of the last two years isn’t overly impressive. Darren McFadden ran for more than 1,000 yards in 2015, but 2016 was pretty much a lost year for him. Jacquizz Rodgers seemed to break out last year, but he wound up succumbing to the same injury bug that took down a host of other Buccaneers running backs. Speaking of injuries, Rashad Jennings was initially brought to the Giants to be a workhorse back, but two of his three years in New York were marred by ailments. Everyone in this tier has the potential to make a difference, but none should be counted on as anyone’s main guy in 2017.

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Buccaneers May Retain RB Doug Martin

After running back Doug Martin was suspended four games for PED usage at the tail end of last season, the general thought was that Martin wasn’t long for the Buccaneers roster. However, Tampa Bay intends to “play the Martin situation out” and see where things stand in a few months, according to Roy Cummings of FanRag Sports.Doug Martin (vertical)

[RELATED: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Depth Chart]

Part of the reason for the Buccaneers’ stance on Martin is contractual — because Martin was suspended, his previously guaranteed $7MM base salary for the 2017 campaign is no longer guaranteed. Additionally, Martin is banned until Week 3 of next season, so Tampa doesn’t have to make a call on Martin until nearly a month into the season.

At that point, the Bucs will be able to more fully assess their needs and options at the running back position, and decide if retaining Martin is worth the risk. One player who could fill the void in Tampa Bay’s backfield is Jacquizz Rodgers, who rushed for 560 yards in his first season with the Buccaneers. Rodgers is a pending free agent, however, and though he appears to be a priority for Tampa, the club has not started a dialogue regarding a new deal, per Cummings.

Because the Buccaneers rarely use large prorated signing bonuses, they can release Martin without any dead money accruing on their salary cap. If he is cut, the 28-year-old Martin — who averaged only 2.9 yards per carry last season — would join a free agent running back class that includes Le’Veon Bell, Latavius Murray, LeGarrette Blount, and Eddie Lacy

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Jags, 49ers, Cousins, Bucs, Cards

The Jaguars announced that they’ve hired former CFL head coach Scott Milanovich as their new quarterbacks coach. Milanovich, who played in the NFL with the Buccaneers from 1996-99, has been coaching in Canada since 2003. After serving in a variety of offensive roles for the Montreal Alouettes from 2007-11, Milanovich took over the Toronto Argonauts in 2012, winning the Grey Cup in his first season as head coach and posting a 43-47 record overall.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Soon-to-be 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan tried to trade for Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins while he was Cleveland’s offensive coordinator in 2014, and also favored Cousins over Robert Griffin III when the trio was in Washington, according to Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com. With Shanahan likely headed to San Francisco, he could theoretically pursue Cousins if the price is right (and Washington is willing to let him go).
  • Although the Buccaneers have started dialogue with a good deal of their pending free agents, general manger Jason Licht is clearly targeting a few key players for re-signing, as Scott Reynolds of PewterReport.com and Roy Cummings of FloridaFootballInsiders.com detail in separate articles. Defensive end William Gholston and running back Jacquizz Rodgers appear to be “priorities” for Tampa Bay, while the club also wants to keep quarterback Ryan Griffin given that fellow backup QB Mike Glennon is expected to leave via free agency.
  • Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie was the driving force behind his club’s refusal to allow quarterbacks coach John DeFillipo interview for the Jets’ offensive coordinator vacancy, and Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes that Lurie did so in order to keep Philadelphia’s staff together for the benefit of Carson Wentz. Additionally, Lurie is reportedly willing to spend what cap space the Eagles have this offseason in order to secure more offensive weapons for his second-year quarterback.
  • The Cardinals did not renew the contract of running back coach Stump Mitchell, meaning it was the club’s choice to part ways, tweets Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com. Mitchell, who joined Arizona in 2013, is now free to pursue other opportunities, as Mitchell’s agent last year told PFR’s Zach Links he was open to doing.

Buccaneers Re-Sign RB Mike James

The Buccaneers have engineered a reunion with running back Mike James, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (Twitter link), who reports that Tampa has re-signed James after waiving him with an injury settlement earlier this year.Mike James (Vertical)

[RELATED: Buccaneers Waive Johnthan Banks]

Tampa is looking for backfield depth after Jacquizz Rodgers went down on Sunday against the Raiders — Rodgers has a sprained foot, as Jenna Laine of ESPN.com (Twitter link) reported earlier today, and won’t be playing on Thursday night. The Bucs are already down to their third running back in Rodgers, as starter Doug Martin is still battling an injury and Charles Sims is on injured reserve.

James, 25, managed 79 carries with Tampa from 2013-14, but missed the entire 2015 campaign due to injury. He didn’t make the Buccaneers’ 53-man roster this year, and was ultimately waived with a settlement. That settlement was for four weeks, as Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times tweeted earlier this year, meaning James only recently became eligible to re-sign with Tampa Bay.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Buccaneers To Sign Jacquizz Rodgers

The Buccaneers will sign running back Jacquizz Rodgers to a one-year deal today, according to Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link). Rodgers auditioned for Tampa Bay last week. Jacquizz Rodgers (Vertical)

Rodgers, 26, is typically regarded as a strong pass protector (and therefore a solid third down back), and could provide some depth behind Doug Martin and Charles Sims. Rodgers also offers familiarity with Tampa head coach Dirk Koetter thanks to his time in Atlanta.

Rodgers totaled 41 yards on 14 carries for Chicago last season. He spent 2014 in Atlanta and rushed for over 1,100 yards and five touchdowns. In March, he re-signed with the Bears but he did not make the cut when the team trimmed down to 53.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Buccaneers Work Out Jacquizz Rodgers

The Buccaneers worked out a handful of players today, including veteran running back Jacquizz Rodgers, according to Jenna Laine and Field Yates of ESPN.com. Tampa Bay also worked former collegiate QB Blake Sims (as a running back) and running back Antone Smith, per the ESPN scribes. Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com (Twitter link) reports that the Bucs looked at former Bengals linebacker P.J. Dawson, while Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter links) says Tampa auditioned receivers DeAndrew White and Mekale McKay.Jacquizz Rodgers (Vertical)

[RELATED: Buccaneers Sign Cecil Shorts]

Rodgers, 26, is typically regarded as a strong pass protector (and therefore a solid third down back), and could provide some depth behind Doug Martin and Charles Sims, and act as an upgrade on Mike James. Fellow running back Smith could also help in that regard, but he’s four years older than Rodgers. Both, however, offer familiarity with Tampa head coach Dirk Koetter, as each played in Koetter’s Falcons offense.

Dawson, a third-round pick in the 2015 draft, was surprisingly waived by Cincinnati over the weekend, and recent reports have indicated that Bengals coaches found him to be unreliable on the field. Still, he offers talent, and like the two running backs, Dawson has ties to the Buccaneers’ coaching staff. New Tampa Bay defensive line coach Jay Hayes coached the same position group in Cincinnati, and though he didn’t directly oversee Dawson, Hayes can likely vouch for TCU alum’s ability.

The trio of McKay, Sims, and White, meanwhile, has never taken a snap in the NFL. White originally signed with the 49ers as an undrafted free agent earlier this year, but was waived over the weekend.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.