Jakeem Grant

Dolphins Notes: Clowney, Grant, Alonso

The Dolphins believe they are the favorites to land Texans star Jadeveon Clowney, but Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com believes that Miami would have to increase Clowney’s tag number (currently just under $16MM) to something in the $20MM+ range to land the former No. 1 overall pick (Twitter link). Fitzgerald suggests that the Dolphins may not be interested in giving Clowney the long-term deal he wants and could be looking to trade a second-round pick for Clowney this year and flipping him for a first-rounder next year.

Let’s take a quick swing around South Beach:

  • Wide receiver Jakeem Grant‘s extension was reported as a four-year, $24MM pact, but NFL Insider Adam Caplan says the base value is actually $19.7MM (Twitter link). The total value could increase to $24MM with Pro Bowl incentives. The contract includes $7.5MM in guaranteed money, only $3.72MM of which is fully guaranteed.
  • The Dolphins are said to be shopping linebacker Kiko Alonso, though rival teams expect him to be cut. Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes that head coach Brian Flores was non-committal when asked about the status of Alonso and tight end Dwayne Allen, both of whom have battled injuries this summer. Alonso returned to practice on a limited basis Sunday, and while Jackson says Miami could very well keep him around in 2019, it would not be surprising if both Alonso and Allen were released.
  • More from Jackson, who suggests that edge rusher Nate Orchard is on the roster bubble. Though Flores didn’t elaborate, he said “this will be a big week” for Orchard. It sounds as if one of last year’s “Hard Knocks” stars could find his way onto the 53-man roster with a strong performance in Miami’s last preseason game.
  • The Dolphins’ QB competition between Josh Rosen and Ryan Fitzpatrick remains open.

Dolphins To Sign Jakeem Grant To Extension

The Dolphins have agreed to a four-year contract extension with wide receiver Jakeem Grant, a source tells Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald (Twitter link). The deal will keep Grant under club control through 2023.

The fresh deal will be worth up to $24MM, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). That means Grant will make just $6MM per year, despite having only 34 career catches for 471 yards across three seasons.

Grant is, at best, the No. 4 wide receiver on Miami’s depth chart at the moment, but most of his value comes from his return ability. The 2016 sixth-rounder has returned 59 punts and 58 kickoffs over his first three years in the league, and he took a punt and a kickoff to the house last year. The 16.3 yards-per-return he provided across 14 punt returns in 2018 is a stellar mark, as was his 29.7 yards-per return average on kickoffs.

The Texas Tech product is diminutive, checking in at 5-7, 171. But he is shifty and quick, and those skills do allow him to be an occasional threat in the passing game as well. He has two receiving touchdowns in each of the past two seasons, with a 65-yard strike in 2017 and a 52-yard score in 2018.

Grant had been battling a hamstring injury that kept him sidelined over the past several weeks, but he returned to practice Monday, and the Dolphins apparently believe he is back to full health. His rookie contract expires at the end of the 2019 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Bell, Bills, Flores

The Bell has rung. As Rich Cimini of ESPN.com tweets, Le’Veon Bell has arrived at the Jets‘ facility in advance of tomorrow’s mandatory minicamp. There was never a chance that Bell would fail to show up for minicamp, but given the drama that has followed him from Pittsburgh to New York, it’s still noteworthy, if for no other reason than to see how he will interact with new head coach Adam Gase.

Now for several more items from the AFC East:

  • Speaking at Jim Kelly‘s annual charity golf tournament this morning, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said he believes that a new stadium is essential to the stability of a franchise (via Matthew Fairburn of The Athletic). With respect to the Bills specifically, Goodell made it very clear that team ownership will need to address the club’s stadium situation at some point in the near future to keep the Bills in Buffalo. Goodell has made similar remarks in the past, but the article — which includes more of Goodell’s comments — are well worth a read for Bills fans, as it also details the unique challenges that ownership faces in meeting Goodell’s demands.
  • Brian Flores is making a strong first impression with the Dolphins, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes. A number of players are less than keen on the old-school mentality and the demanding nature of the new coaching staff, but others are enjoying it, and Flores himself has drawn rave reviews. Players have lauded the rookie head coach both publicly and privately, which is a bit more meaningful for Flores than it might be for another HC. The Dolphins are in full rebuild mode, so Flores will be judged not necessarily on wins and losses — at least not for a year or two — but on how his players respond to him and compete for him.
  • In the same piece linked above, Jackson notes that the Dolphins are taking a wait-and-see approach with several players entering the final years of their contracts like RB Kenyan Drake and WR Jakeem Grant.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/28/18

Today’s minor moves:

Green Bay Packers

Miami Dolphins

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Dolphins WR Jakeem Grant Done For Season

Dolphins wideout Jakeem Grant will be placed on injured reserve after suffering an Achilles injury in Week 10, according to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald.

Grant didn’t suffer a ruptured Achilles, which would have required him to undergo a comprehensive operation that could have knocked him out for 10-12 months, per Salguero. Instead, Grant underwent a separate, less-invasive procedure which should allow him to return for 2019 training camp.

Grant, 26, took on a larger role in Week 8 due to injuries on the Dolphins’ receiver depth chart, managing eight targets while Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson were sidelined. Stills is now back in the fold, but Wilson has since been placed on injured reserve. Miami still has other options at the receiver position, however, including Danny Amendola, DeVante Parker, Leonte Carroo, and the recently-signed Brice Butler.

While Grant wasn’t a key player on offense, his loss will be strongly felt on special teams, where Grant was Miami’s No. 1 kick and punt returner. Grant had managed 16.3 yards per punt and 29.7 yards per return this season, both of which are among the best figures in the NFL. Additionally, Football Outsiders ranks the Dolphins’ punt return unit as the league’s second-most efficient, while the club is fourth in FO’s kick return metrics.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins Notes: Draft, Drake, Grant, Derby

The Dolphins lost another game in Week 16 and now sit on the brink of getting a top 10 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. However, the best players in this class do not line up very well with the needs of the organization, opines Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

Jackson proclaims that if Miami loses to a playoff contending Bills team this coming Sunday, the team won’t necessarily have a clear player they are targeting in that range of the draft. According to Jackson, the team’s two biggest needs are linebacker and tight end, but no prospect is available at those positions who would warrant that type of draft slot.

Jackson notes that the team could potentially go with Texas offensive tackle Connor Williams should the front office move on from right tackle Ja’Wuan James, but that’s far from a certainty. LSU pass rusher Arden Key could also be useful weapon on the defensive side of the ball, but there’s not a true need in that area either. Jackson speculates that Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith could be a fit if he can help increase his stock with a successful draft preparation process.

Finally, the writer also throws cold water on the idea of replacing Ryan Tannehill because of the Dolphins substantial financial investment in him, even though he will be returning from a knee injury he suffered this past training camp . It would seem that while the Dolphins have been losing enough to move up the draft board, trading down may be the best option because of the lack of a fit in the upper portion of the draft.

Here’s more notes on the Dolphins from Jackson’s column:

  • Even after trading Jay Ajayi, running back does not seem like a major area of need for the Dolphins entering the offseason. Second-year tailback Kenyan Drake has shined with Ajayi gone and Damien Williams recovering from injury. He played all but three snaps in the team’s loss to the Chiefs in Week 16 and ranks fourth among all running backs with 369 yards after contact. The 23-year-old has averaged over 4.5 yards per carry over his last four contests, and has made a difference in the passing game as well. With his productive late season performance, he seems primed to enter 2018 as the Dolphins surefire number one back.
  • Wide receiver Jakeem Grant often gets lost in the shuffle behind the likes of Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills and DeVante Parker. However, the second-year wideout managed to catch four balls for over 100 yards in last Sunday’s matchup. He’s only played in 10.4% of the team’s snaps this season, which makes sense because of the Dolphins deep receiving corps. But, Landry is set to hit the open market this offseason, so Grant could be auditioning for a bigger role in 2018 should the team’s star wideout move on.
  • Grant wasn’t the only little used player to get increased reps in Week 16. Miami saw two new faces get a lot of action vs. the Chiefs as well. Tight end A.J. Derby, whom the team claimed from the Broncos, was targeted five times. Although, he only managed one catch in the contest. Cornerback Torry McTyer played in 61 of the defense’s 83 snaps before he was taken out of the game due to injury. McTyer was signed by the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent last offseason and could be in-line for a further audition in Week 17 should he be heathy enough to play. Miami needs more tight ends and defensive backs for next season, so Derby and McTyer could get another shot to impress in the team’s regular season finale this weekend.

 

East Notes: Butler, Grant, Redskins

Malcolm Butler reported to the Patriots earlier this week to participate in voluntary workouts, but as Ryan Hannble of WEEI.com writes, that does not mean he is happy to be back in New England. Butler has been displeased since the club signed Stephon Gilmore to a five-year, $65MM deal this offseason, and while the Saints were apparently willing to pony up big bucks for Butler, they were unwilling to also part with their No. 11 overall draft pick for his services. But with Gilmore set to assume the No. 1 cornerback role in New England, Butler may be shifted to the slot, which could decrease his value when he hits unrestricted free agency next year. Hannable says that the situation is worth monitoring because if Butler isn’t playing the way he wants, and if that creates a locker room distraction, the Pats could still trade him, just as they traded Jamie Collins last year.

Now for more from the league’s east divisions:

  • Jakeem Grant, who worked almost exclusively as a return man for the Dolphins last year, is being asked to learn the outside receiver positions this offseason, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes. Grant played only 19 offensive snaps last season, and he dropped the only pass thrown his way, but offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen believes his explosiveness will translate well to offense.
  • There are a few ways the Redskins go could about re-organizing their front office, which John Keim of ESPN.com helpfully summarizes in his latest mailbag. Keim believes the club will really start working on the issue over the next week or so, which will include interviewing potential GM candidates.
  • Nate Gerry was a safety during his collegiate career at Nebraska, but as Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes, the Eagles plan to convert Gerry, whom they selected in the fifth round of this year’s draft, to linebacker. Gerry will have a chance to compete for immediate playing time in an unsettled linebacker unit.
  • We learned yesterday that Giants wide receiver Brandon Marshall plans to hang up the cleats after his two-year deal with Big Blue expires at the end of the 2018 season (as long as he has a Super Bowl ring by then).

Draft Pick Signings: Bucs, Dolphins, Bengals, Jags

Checking in on the latest rookie signings from around the NFL…

  • Fullback Dan Vitale signed his deal with the Buccaneers, GM Jason Licht tweets. Selected in the sixth round (No. 197 overall) and with the Bucs’ final pick, Vitale made his mark as a ball-carrier in the passing game. The Northwestern blocking back accumulated 135 receptions for 1,427 receiving yards with the Wildcats from 2012-15. He only received six carries in college.
  • The Dolphins signed sixth-round selections Jakeem Grant and Jordan Lucas, Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald reports (on Twitter). Miami traded up to No. 186 to take Grant, one of the best slot receivers in the draft despite standing 5-foot-7, and took Lucas — a defensive back from Penn State who’s seen time at both corner and safety with the Nittany Lions — at No. 204.
  • The Bengals made their first draft pick signing of the year by agreeing to terms with wide receiver Cody Core, whom they chose in the sixth round (No. 199 overall), Coley Harvey of ESPN.com tweets. Core’s deal will be for approximately $2.4MM and including a $127K signing bonus, Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.
  • The Jaguars have signed defensive end Jonathan Woodard, reports John Oehser of Jaguars.com (via Twitter). The seventh-round pick owns the career sack record (30.5) at Central Arkansas. Woodard was one of three defensive ends to be selected by the Jaguars, joining Yannick Ngakoue (Maryland) and Tyrone Holmes (Montana).

Ben Levine contributed to this post.

Dolphins Reacquire No. 186 Pick From Vikings

The Dolphins’ infatuations with multiple receivers caused the No. 186 pick to be exchanged twice in two days.

Miami reacquired the sixth-round selection from Minnesota in order to take elusive Texas Tech slot receiver Jakeem Grant, doing so a day after sending it to the Vikings on Friday night in trading up to take Rutgers target Leonte Carroo at No. 86.

The Dolphins sent a seventh-round pick — No. 227 — to the Vikings in order to move up again to take a wideout, Ben Goessling of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). The Vikings then re-traded the Dolphins’ No. 196 choice with the Eagles to No. 188.

A 5-foot-7 target who led Division I-FBS in yards after catch in 2015, Grant broke out for a 1,268-yard, 10-touchdown season for the spread-reliant Red Raiders as a senior. At 168 pounds, Grant profiles as a player who can help the Dolphins out as a return man as well. He and Carroo add to a receiving corps that lost Rishard Matthews and, to a lesser extent, Greg Jennings, in the offseason but returns Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills.

NFC Notes: Fitzgerald, Cards, Falcons, Bears

Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is entering the final year of his contract with the team, but he says he hasn’t given much thought to his future beyond 2016, as Adam Green of ArizonaSports.com details.

“When I committed to doing two more years, I’m focused on two, and after the season — hopefully it’s in February — I’ll sit down with my family and think about it, what I want to do moving forward,” said the longtime Cardinals wideout during an appearance on Arizona Sports 98.7FM. “But it’s been a great run and I really enjoy being in this community and playing for this organization.”

Although it seems unlikely that Fitzgerald would contemplate retirement in the near future if he keeps performing at the level that he did in 2015, he suggested that his future will likely be linked to the Cardinals’ quarterback situation.

A lot of is tied to (Cardinals quarterback) Carson (Palmer),” Fitzgerald said. “Carson’s playing at a high level. I don’t want to go through any other quarterback situations. It’s been great to have the stability that we have now with the big fella, he’s been playing light’s out.”

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • The Falcons have yet to officially exercise the fifth-year option for cornerback Desmond Trufant, but that’s essentially a formality, writes Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com. The Pro Bowl corner intends to remain in Atlanta “for a long time,” as he tells McClure. Trufant is one of more than 20 players whose teams haven’t yet announced decisions on their options for 2017, as our tracker shows.
  • The Cardinals, the Bears, and Washington were among the teams to host Western Kentucky QB Brandon Doughty for pre-draft visits, according to Rand Getlin of the NFL Network (via Twitter). Doughty also participated in the Dolphins’ local workout day earlier this month.
  • After meeting with Miami earlier this week, Texas Tech wide receiver Jakeem Grant visited the Cardinals on Tuesday and is making his final visit today to Chicago to meet with the Bears, tweets Rand Getlin.
  • Iowa State wide receiver Quenton Bundrage privately worked out for the Buccaneers, a league source tells Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post. Bundrage tore his ACL in 2014, but bounced back in 2015 to catch 41 balls for 548 yards and four touchdowns.