Jameel McClain

Giants To Cut Jameel McClain

The Giants are planning to release Jameel McClain, according to Patricia Traina of Bleacher Report (on Twitter).

Despite registering a career-high 75 tackles last season in starting 14 games, McClain is now apparently expendable, with the Giants confident Jon Beason will be ready for the season, per Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News (Twitter link).

The Giants can save $3.1MM by cutting McClain, who was due to make $3.4MM in his eighth season.

Mark Herzlich and Uani Unga are also going to make the 53-man roster, Vacchiano notes.

The 30-year-old McClain served as key insurance for the oft-injured Beason and has started for five seasons now, the previous four with the Ravens from 2010-13 after coming into the league as an undrafted free agent.

East Notes: Mariota, Jets, Dolphins, Giants

Oregon standout Marcus Mariota says that he would embrace the opportunity to play for the Jets, writes Steve Serby of the New York Post. “It’d be a great experience,” Mariota said. “I haven’t put much thought into it yet. I obviously haven’t decided if I’m gonna leave or go yet. I’m gonna take the time after the season to decide that, but it’d be a blessing. “If the Jets want me there, I’d love to be there, and I’d play my heart out for them.” More from the AFC and NFC East..

  • The Dolphins will probably have to decide between defensive tackles Jared Odrick and Randy Starks in 2015, tweets Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald. Miami could use the franchise tag on Odrick but they’ll probably have to let Starks walk.
  • Giants LB Jameel McClain is getting an MRI on his knee as we speak, but right now the belief is that it’s not a serious injury, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.
  • The 2014 receiver class looks to be the deepest and best in recent memory and the Jets completely missed out, writes ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini. Eighteen of the 20 receivers selected in the first four rounds have at least one reception this season. The only two who don’t were picked by the Jets: Jalen Saunders (since released) and Shaquille Evans. The Jets didn’t have a crack at Mike Evans, Sammy Watkins, or Odell Beckham Jr., but there was plenty of talent on the board including Eagles receiver Jordan Matthews and Dolphins standout Jarvis Landry.
  • Eagles safety Earl Wolff had surgery on his right knee, writes Phil Sheridan of ESPN.com. Wolff was placed on season-ending injured reserve last week.

East Notes: Kiwanuka, Johnson, Redskins, ‘Fins

In his annual exercise naming the most overrated and underrated player on each team, Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com highlighted Mathias Kiwanuka as the Giant who isn’t living up to expectations. The advanced metrics bear that out — the 31-year-old Kiwanuka, who might be living off his first-round pedigree at this point, graded as the third-worst 4-3 defensive end in the NFL last season per Pro Football Focus (subscription required). The Giants apparently also noticed a degradation of eight-year veteran’s skills — they required him to take a pay cut in March.

More from New York and the league’s two East divisions:

  • With Jon Beason likely to miss some regular season action with a foot injury, Jameel McClain is poised to take over at middle linebacker for the Giants, writes Dan Graziano of ESPN.com in his latest mailbag. In that scenario, 2011 sixth-rounder Jacquian Williams would become the starter at weakside linebacker.
  • For a rookie playing in a complicated offense, Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson didn’t perform all that poorly in 2013. But, as he tells Sheil Kapadia of PhillyMag.com, Johnson wants to show marked improvement next season. “I’m trying to be a dominant player. I know I have the ability,” said the 24-year-old. “It’s just a matter of being consistent with it because there’s times where I showed flashes of being a really good player, and then there’s other times where I didn’t. So I’m just trying to be more consistent this year.”
  • In a discussion examining potential 2014 breakout Redskins, Rich Tandler and Tarik El-Bashir of CSNWashington.com spotlighted running back Roy Helu and tight end Niles Paul, deducing that a pass-happy, Jay Gruden-led offense will lead to plenty of offensive production to go around.
  • Center Ted Larsen is hoping to break camp with the Dolphins following Mike Pouncey‘s injury, and is just one of several Miami undrafted rookies to watch for in 2014, according to James Walker of ESPN.com.
  • The Dolphins have officially begun renovations on Sun Life Stadium, the team announced on Twitter. The refurbishment is expected to include (via Fox Sports Florida) all new seating, concourse and concession upgrades, and new video screens, and will conclude before the 2016 season.

Contract Details: Peppers, Cook, McClain

While Julius Peppers‘ three-year deal with the Packers was reported as being worth $30MM over three years, the base value is actually just $26MM, though that could increase if the veteran hits certain escalators, says Tom Pelissero of USA Today (Twitter links). With a $7.5MM signing bonus and a $1MM base salary in 2014, the cap hit in the first year will be just $3.5MM. The deal also includes base salaries of $8.5MM in 2015 and $7MM in 2016, with $1MM in workout and roster bonuses in each of those seasons.

Let’s round up a few more contract details from around the league….

  • Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com provides the financial details on the contracts signed by cornerback Chris Cook and kicker Phil Dawson with the 49ers. Cook’s pact is a minimum salary benefit deal with no guaranteed money, according to Maiocco.
  • Jameel McClain‘s two-year deal with the Giants has a base value of $4.5M, with escalators that can push up to $6M, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter). Wilson says the contract includes a $600K signing bonus, base salaries of $1.375M (2014) and $1.75M (2015), and a $400K roster bonus in ’15.
  • The Rams‘ new deal with Jo-Lonn Dunbar is a two-year, $2.05MM contract, but could be voided after year one in certain scenarios, as Wilson explains in a pair of tweets.
  • The new five-year contract Zach Strief and the Saints agreed to today includes a first-year base salary of just $900K, meaning Strief’s 2014 cap hit is $2MM, tweets Mike Triplett of ESPN.com.
  • Frank Zombo‘s new contract with the Chiefs is a two-year deal, reports Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star (via Twitter).
  • The three-year deal between the Giants and Jon Beason has a base value of $16.8MM, with a $4.4MM signing bonus and $6MM in overall guaranteed money, tweets Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News.

Giants, Jameel McClain Agree To Deal

FRIDAY, 4:48pm: McClain’s deal with the Giants is for two years and $4.1MM, with the potential to max out at $5.6MM via incentives, according to Pelissero, who provides extensive details in a pair of tweets.

THURSDAY, 9:44pm: Linebacker Jameel McClain has agreed to a deal with the Giants, reports Tom Pelissero of USA Today Sports (via Twitter).

The 28-year-old McClain has played his entire career with the Ravens, spending the last four years as a starter at various positions in the linebacker group. He announced his signing with the Giants (via Twitter), paying respect to Baltimore in the process.

He will be joining a group of linebackers that includes Jon Beason and (most likely) Spencer Paysinger. McClain’s versatility should help him fit in, even as he adjusts to the 4-3 defense employed by the Giants, as opposed to the 3-4 consistently run by the Ravens. McClain has missed nine games in the past two seasons, but hopes to provide stability for a Giants team that has not had a steady group of linebackers in recent memory.

Titans Rumors: FA Visits, Hatcher, Woodley

Several of the Titans’ early free agent visits have been reported already, but Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean now provides a specific schedule for the first few. According to Wyatt (Twitter links), defensive lineman Al Woods and running back Anthony Dixon will be in town today, while the team will host defensive lineman Antonio Smith and linebacker Wesley Woodyard on Thursday, assuming neither player has agreed to sign with another club by then.

Here’s more from Wyatt:

AFC Rumors: McCluster, Titans, Steelers, Jets

A league source tells Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star that wide receiver and return man Dexter McCluster won’t be returning to the Chiefs. McCluster has four or five suitors and will likely sign Tuesday night, says Paylor, and Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com also hears that the free-agent-to-be will be “snapped up quickly.” Here’s more from around the AFC:

  • In addition to Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby, other players on the Titans‘ radar include Ravens inside linebacker Jameel McClain and Broncos defensive end/outside linebacker Shaun Phillips, tweets Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean.
  • Red Bryant says he received interest from the Packers, Chiefs, and Redskins signing with the Jaguars, tweets Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union. Bryant signed a four-year deal with Jacksonville that could pay him up to $17MM but guarantees him just $5.25MM.
  • The Steelers are working to see if Ike Taylor will take a pay cut, tweets La Canfora. If Taylor is unwilling to do so, I imagine Pittsburgh will release him soon.
  • Chiefs inside linebacker Akeem Jordan is drawing interest from six teams and has a visit set up with one AFC club for Thursday, reports Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (at the National Football Post).
  • The Jets are high on Matt Schaub, and figure to target him in free agency if he’s released by the Texans, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Free Agency Notes: Vikings, Johnson, Gerhart

With more than $40MM in cap room available, Vikings GM Rick Spielman and his staff will be busy adding talent to their roster once free agency officially opens at 3:00pm Tuesday. In addition to cornerback Alterraun Verner, Minnesota has also called to express interest in former Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson, tweets ESPN.com reporter Ben Goessling. Following up on that tweet was ESPN NFL Insider Adam Caplan, who tweeted that at least six teams should be involved for Johnson’s services.

More free agency notes from Minnesota and elsewhere around the league…

NFC North Notes: Vikings, Kuhn, Lions

With Matt Cassel and Josh Freeman eligible for free agency, Vikings GM Rick Spielman told ESPN Radio’s Colin Cowherd today that he would like to draft a young quarterback and also sign a QB in free agency, writes Master Tesfatsion of the Star Tribune.

“We’re looking defense, I can tell you that,” Spielman said. “We have to improve on the defensive side of the ball. The QB scenario will work itself out. We don’t play any games next week. We’re not going to force the issue…. We’ll be able to find a young quarterback in this draft, because there’s enough depth. But we’re also going to have to look at one in free agency as well.”

Here’s more on the Vikings and their NFC rivals:

  • Cassel is one free agent quarterback the Vikings will consider, and head coach Mike Zimmer told reporters today, including Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, that he hopes the team can bring Cassel back for 2014.
  • Free agent linebacker Jameel McClain will visit with the Vikings next, says Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (via Twitter). McClain has already met with the Bills and Giants since being released by the Ravens.
  • Fan favorite John Kuhn won’t sign a new contract with the Packers before Tuesday, and will reach the open market, a source tells Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. According to Demovsky’s source, the Packers and their longtime fullback intend to keep in touch, so there’s still a chance Kuhn could return to Green Bay.
  • In order to draft Sammy Watkins, the Lions would almost certainly have to move up from No. 10, but Detroit is showing “a ton of interest” in the Clemson wide receiver, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).

FA Rumors: Talib, Allen, Carroll, McClain

While one prospective free agent cornerback, Brent Grimes, re-upped with his team earlier this week, we probably shouldn’t expect Aqib Talib and the Patriots to reach an agreement before Talib hits the open market, says Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald. Howe hears from a source that Talib “wants to be paid as a top-of-the-market corner” in free agency, meaning he’s unlikely to accept any offer from the Pats before he sees what else is out there. New England has made the veteran cornerback a priority since the team’s season ended, but it looks like the Pats will have to compete with other suitors if they want to bring Talib back for 2014.

Here’s more on this year’s free agent class:

  • Appearing on SiriusXM NFL Radio, Jared Allen said that when he hits free agency, he’ll be looking for a good organization with a chance to win – as well as a fair contract – and expects to be very involved in the process. The longtime Viking didn’t sound bullish on the idea of joining the Raiders, suggesting that Oakland has a lot of things to “correct” and may not be looking for a veteran defensive end (all Twitter links).
  • The Vikings are “expected to take a strong look” at cornerback Nolan Carroll if and when he becomes available, a source tells Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. We heard last week that the Dolphins have interest in bringing back Carroll, who anticipates testing the open market.
  • Jack Bechta, the agent for linebacker Pat Angerer, tells Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star that the Colts will let his client hit the open market next week without attempting to re-sign him. Angerer’s looming departure helps explain the club’s interest in signing free agent linebacker D’Qwell Jackson.
  • After visiting with the Bills today, free agent linebacker Jameel McClain will move on to meet with the Giants, tweets Joe Buscaglia of WGR550. According to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter link), the Bills and Giants are two of the five teams interested in McClain.
  • The Redskins continue talking to linebacker Perry Riley but aren’t particularly close to reaching an agreement, reports Mark Maske of the Washington Post.
  • Seth Walder of the New York Daily News expects the Jets to add a quarterback in free agency, and identifies Josh McCown, Michael Vick, and Tarvaris Jackson as a few potential targets for the club.
  • According to head coach John Harbaugh, the Ravens have “aggressive” offers out to all the pending free agents they want to keep (Twitter link via Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun).
  • Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press takes a look at some free agent options for the Lions as the team hunts for a slot receiver to replace Nate Burleson.