Jalen Mills

East Notes: Williams, Mills, Flowers

Trent Williams has been one of the most-discussed players in the NFL for about a year now, and it presently does not sound like the Redskins are close to trading their disgruntled left tackle. One of the more overlooked talking points, however, is what happens if a trade is not completed?

We recently heard that the team does not plan to release Williams, which means he would remain under contract with the Redskins through 2020. And holding out wouldn’t earn him any leverage with the Redskins or with a team interested in trading for him, so as Albert Breer of SI.com writes, Williams would have no choice but to play for Washington next season. He clearly does not want that to happen, but at this point, his clearest path to a lucrative new deal may be to stick it out for one more season with the ‘Skins and prove he is still a top-tier LT.

Let’s round up a few more items from the league’s east divisions:

  • CB Kendall Fuller is back with the Redskins on a four-year deal, and he tells John Keim of ESPN.com that a number of factors brought him back to D.C. The Baltimore native played his collegiate ball at Virginia Tech and was drafted by the Redskins in 2016, so Washington is home for him. He also cited new head coach Ron Rivera and Rivera’s reputation for developing CBs as a draw, along with the defensive staff as a whole. Fuller indicated that he does not know if he will play primarily in the slot or outside the numbers (Twitter links).
  • The Eagles brought back Jalen Mills on a one-year, $4MM pact, and the club plans on transitioning him from cornerback to safety in the wake of Malcolm Jenkins‘ departure. Mills says that Philadelphia was the only team that wanted to move him to safety (Twitter link via Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94 WIP), but obviously that switch was agreeable to the 2016 seventh-rounder. It’s fair to wonder, however, exactly how much interest Mills was generating as a CB on the open market.
  • Ereck Flowers couldn’t hack it as an offensive tackle in the NFL, but he has reinvented himself as a guard and parlayed a strong showing at LG with Washington in 2019 into a surprising three-year, $30MM contract with the Dolphins last month. This will not come as much of a surprise, but Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald says Miami intends to have Flowers line up at guard, though his experience at tackle made him attractive to head coach Brian Flores, who clearly targeted FAs with positional versatility.
  • The Bills opted against giving WR/KR Isaiah McKenzie an RFA tender, but they did re-sign him to a one-year pact just the same. McKenzie told Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News that he did have other free agent offers, but despite the fact that he is unlikely to see more playing time with the Bills in 2020 than he did in 2019, his preference was to return to Buffalo (Twitter link).

Contract Details: Brees, Mariota, Apple

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

AFC

  • Marcus Mariota, QB (Raiders): Two years, $17.6MM $7.5MM guaranteed. $2.4MM in incentives available in 2020 (60% snaps). $1.5MM in playtime and win incentives. $10MM in similar incentives available in 2021. $2MM in playoff/Super Bowl wins each year. $12MM 2021 salary escalator (Twitter link via Mike Garafolo of NFL.com).
  • Eli Apple, QB (Raiders): One year, $6MM. Fully guaranteed. $500K available via incentives (Twitter link via Garafolo.
  • Pierre Desir, CB (Jets): One year, ~$3.75MM. Max value of $5.5MM via incentives (Twitter link via Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News).
  • Chad Henne, QB (Chiefs): Two years, $3.25MM. $2MM guaranteed. Max value of $7.25MM (Twitter link via Tom Pelissero of NFL.com).
  • Nelson Agholor, WR (Raiders): One year, veteran salary benefit. $887K guaranteed. $137K signing bonus (Twitter link via Pelissero).

NFC

  • Drew Brees, QB (Saints): Four years, $100MM. $25MM guaranteed. Void years used in 2022-23. Brees receives no-trade clause and no franchise/transition tag can be used after 2021 (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle).
  • Jalen Mills, DB (Eagles): One, $4MM. Up to $1MM available via incentives (Twitter link via Adam Caplan of SiriusXM NFL Radio).
  • Thomas Davis, LB (Redskins): One year, $3.5MM. $250K available via incentives (Twitter link via Pelissero).
  • Shon Coleman, T (49ers): One year, $2.2MM. $1.37MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Miles Killebrew, S (Lions): One year, $2MM. $1.137MM guaranteed (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Jayron Kearse, S (Lions): One year, $2MM. Up to $1.25MM available via incentives (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Pharoh Cooper, WR (Panthers): One year, $1.21MM. $300K signing bonus (Twitter link via Wilson).

Eagles To Re-Sign CB Jalen Mills

Linked to big-name cornerbacks, the Eagles have yet to land one. But they are bringing back one of their own. Jalen Mills agreed to a one-year deal to stay in Philadelphia, Josina Anderson of ESPN.com tweets

Mills will earn up to $5MM in 2020, per NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo (on Twitter). The Eagles gave Ronald Darby a one-year, $5MM prove-it deal in 2019. Mills has been with the team longer, arriving as a seventh-round pick in 2016.

Anderson also notes a position change is in store for Mills. The Eagles are moving him to safety. This comes with Rodney McLeod in free agency and Malcolm Jenkins‘ place on the team uncertain. Mills has also shown himself to be a proven tackler at cornerback, compiling more than 60 tackles as a rookie and in 2017. Injuries limited him in 2018 and ’19, but he returned midway through last season and enticed the Eagles to retain him.

With his new pact, Mills can afford as many dress shirts, or snazzy vests, as he wants.

Eagles To Pursue CBs In Free Agency

The Eagles are expected to “go hard” after cornerbacks in free agency, Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network hears. Philadelphia is projected to have around $44MM in cap space, and the club plans to use a big chunk of that on a CB or two.

The Broncos’ Chris Harris and the Cowboys’ Byron Jones are two of the biggest names being thrown around, and assuming they do not re-up with their current clubs, they will hit free agency with a good shot at a top-of-the-market deal (i.e. $15MM+ per year with upwards of $45MM in full guarantees). However, the Eagles will leave no stone unturned in their efforts to upgrade their CB corps, per Pauline.

Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby are also eligible for free agency, and it’s unclear if the Eagles will bring back either player. They may explore a multiyear deal with Mills, who played decently after returning from injury in Week 7, but it would not be a surprise to see them part ways with Darby. Plus, as Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94WIP.com writes, Philadelphia does not consider Rasul Douglas or Sidney Jones starter material, and both are trade candidates.

As such, there will clearly be room for several cornerbacks on the Eagles’ 2020 roster. In 2019, the team finished in the middle of the pack in terms of pass defense efficiency, per Football Outsiders, and in passing yards allowed per game, so an upgrade is in order. Of course, they did their best to swing a trade for a quality CB (including Harris) at this year’s trade deadline, but they ultimately did not want to part with the type of draft capital that such a trade would have required.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles Notes: Johnson, Ajayi, Mills

Let’s take a quick look at a few items from the City of Brotherly Love:

  • Eagles starting RT Lane Johnson is in the concussion protocol, as Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. Johnson suffered a head injury during Sunday’s loss to the Patriots, and while he tried to play through it, the injury worsened and he was ultimately forced to exit (Twitter link via McLane).
  • The Eagles can ill afford to lose Johnson, arguably the best right tackle in football, as they fight for the NFC East title. But if they are without Johnson for any period of time, they could turn to rookie Andre Dillard rather than veteran Halapoulivaati Vaitai, as McLane tweets.
  • Jay Ajayi finally found an NFL home for 2019 when he signed with the Eagles on Friday. Interestingly, the deal includes a right of first refusal for 2020, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. So if it wants, Philadelphia can match any offer Ajayi receives on the open market, which could be significant if the team lets Jordan Howard walk in free agency.
  • Cornerback Jalen Mills is eligible for free agency this offseason, and while he is not perfect, he has been very good since returning from injury in Week 7, and McLane says Mills may be playing his way into a second contract with the Eagles (Twitter link).
  • Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94WIP.com believes the Eagles need to completely overhaul their WR corps this offseason, and he offers a few names the club could target in free agency and the draft. He also says the Eagles could find a trade partner for Alshon Jeffery and/or DeSean Jackson, though obviously the returns on either player would be minimal.

Eagles Activate CB Jalen Mills

Jalen Mills is back. The Eagles announced that they’ve activated the cornerback off the PUP list. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets that Mills will play tomorrow night against the Cowboys.

The former seventh-round was incredibly productive during his first two years in the league, compiling 125 tackles, 21 passes defended, and three interceptions. He was having another standout campaign in 2018 before suffering a foot injury that limited him to only eight games. The injury lingered into the 2019 campaign, and the Eagles were forced to place the defensive back on the PUP prior to the regular season.

Mills will immediately be forced to play a big role for the Eagles with cornerback Ronald Darby (hamstring) questionable for Sunday’s game. Cornerback Avonte Maddox has also been ruled out for tomorrow. Mills might have to handle the majority of the team’s snaps at corner, something the 25-year-old isn’t nervous about.

“Just go out there and do my job,” Mills said (via Erin McCarthy and Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Inquirer). “I’m not trying to be a superhero. I’m not trying to make any kind of amazing plays. Whatever [defensive coordinator Jim] Schwartz calls, line up and do my job, compete like my teammates and coaches know I can.”

“It’s always the mindset, to play the entire game. I think I am [able].”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Players Returning From IR/PUP

Now that we’re approaching the midway point of the regular season, players on various injury lists are now able to begin to return to practice and, eventually, return to game action. Here’s the list of players coming back to practice this week while on injured reserve or physically unable to perform list, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets:

Players on the PUP list are only required to miss six weeks of the regular season, so every player listed above with the exception of Sternberger could technically be activated this weekend. Sternberger has officially been designated as one of Green Bay’s IR/return players, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Because he was originally placed on IR, Sternberger — a third-round rookie — will be absent for at least two more weeks.

Eagles’ Jalen Mills Set For Return

The Eagles have opened the 21-day practicing window for Jalen Mills, according to head coach Doug Pederson. This means that Mills may return to the 53-man roster off of the PUP list within the next three weeks. 

[RELATED: Connor Barwin Announces Retirement]

Per league rules, the Eagles can put Mills on the active roster at any point between now and then. If he is not activated, he’ll be barred from playing for the rest of this season.

The Eagles haven’t seen Mills in a while – his last appearance came in Week 8 of the 2018 campaign. Since then, he’s been dealing with a serious foot injury. Before all of that, he notched 167 tackles and three interceptions across three seasons with Philly.

Depending on how things go from here, Mills could return this Sunday against the Cowboys, the following week against the Bills, or on Nov. 3 vs. the Bears.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Rumors: Redskins, Mills, Giants

The Redskins’ Jay Gruden-to-Bill Callahan power transfer led to the team making an in-season hire. In elevating assistant offensive line coach Phil Rauscher to Callahan’s former post, Washington hired Aaron Stamn as an offensive assistant. Stamn worked as an assistant at Liberty University, serving as the Division I-FBS program’s OC from 2012-15. He finished his tenure as the program’s assistant offensive line coach in 2018, and it’s likely he will assume a similar responsibility in Washington. Rauscher was part of the 2015 Broncos’ Super Bowl-winning staff, serving as an offensive assistant. He’s in his second Redskins season.

Here’s the latest from the NFC East:

  • A starter during the Eagles‘ Super Bowl season, Jalen Mills has yet to begin a pivotal season of work. The former seventh-round pick resides on Philadelphia’s PUP list and has not played in nearly a year. Interestingly, the contract-year cornerback said he suffered neither an Achilles tear nor a Lisfranc injury, instead informing the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane he’s endured a severe foot sprain. Mills said he is “close” to returning. He cannot practice until next week, but the Eagles do not immediately have to activate him once he’s eligible to come off the PUP list.
  • Down both Saquon Barkley and Wayne Gallman tonight, the Giants will work out running back Akeem Hunt on Friday, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. Hunt began his career as a Giants UDFA in 2015 but is known for his contributions as a Chiefs and Texans backup from 2015-17. Gallman is in concussion protocol, and Barkley appears on the doorstep of returning. Barring another setback, it’s likely Barkley is back for Week 7.
  • The Redskins auditioned several players this week. Wide receivers Simmie Cobbs, Reggie Davis, J’Mon Moore and Jester Weah tried out for the now-Callahan-led team, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets. Quarterback Amir Hall did as well. Moore was a Packers fourth-round pick just last year. Hall was a decorated quarterback at Division II Bowie State (Md.).

Eagles Reach 53-Man Limit

The Eagles have gotten down to 53, making some notable cuts to get there. The team released guard/center Stefen Wisniewski, who they re-signed to a $1.5MM deal back in May. He had gotten $150K guaranteed, so Philly will eat that. Wisniewski had started at least six games in each of the past three seasons for the Eagles.

To help thin out their crowded running backs room, they got rid of a few well-known names. They waived Josh Adams, who rushed for 511 yards for them last year, as well as 2017 fourth-round pick Donnel Pumphrey, who has battled injuries ever since entering the league. They also cut Wendell Smallwood, who had 364 yards rushing and three touchdowns and another 230 yards and two touchdowns through the air last year.

Offensive tackle Brett Toth also failed to make the team. Toth only recently got permission from the Army to join the NFL, and he signed with the Eagles only a couple weeks ago. He seems like a prime candidate for a practice squad spot.

Aside from that, and other announced moves, the Eagles made the following roster moves over the weekend to reach the 53-player limit:

Waived:

T Riley Mayfield

G Sua Opeta

TE Joshua Perkins

RB Boston Scott

DT Aziz Shittu (injured)

QB Clayton Thorson

WR Greg Ward

Released the following players:

Reserve/PUP

CB Jalen Mills