James Develin

AFC East Notes: Patriots, Floyd, Jets, Bills

Now that the Patriots have acquired wide receiver Brandin Cooks from the Saints, fellow pass-catcher Michael Floyd may not be on New England’s radar, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. Heading into the offseason, the Patriots reportedly expressed interest in re-signing Floyd, and Floyd himself indicated he’d like to return to the team. But given that he’s pleaded guilty to DUI, Floyd can’t leave the state of Arizona until this summer. By that point, the Patriots (and other clubs) will likely have moved on.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • Although he didn’t see the field during his rookie campaign, Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg is expected to get a chance to play in 2017, as Rich Cimini of ESPN.com writes. New York’s front office may not view Hackenberg as anything more than long-term backup even after selecting him the second round of last year’s draft, but given that Gang Green doesn’t figure to compete next season, the club might do well to see what it has in Hackenberg. Newly-signed veteran Josh McCown has struggled to stay healthy in recent seasons, so Hackenberg (and/or fellow quarterback Bryce Petty) may be forced into duty.
  • Even if Doug Whaley is forced out as the Bills‘ general manager, Panthers director of player personnel Don Gregory is not expected to be a candidate for the position in Buffalo, Vic Carrucci of the Buffalo News tweets. Last week, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com tossed out Gregory’s name in relation to a possible Bills vacancy, but the CBS scribe was likely speculating rather than reporting. On paper, Gregory could make sense for the Buffalo position given his ties to Bills head coach Sean McDermott, who was the Panthers’ defensive coordinator from 2011-16.
  • Under the terms of his new two-year contract, Patriots fullback James Develin can earn $100K for playing 20% of New England’s offensive snaps, and another $100K for playing in 30% of the club’s snaps, per Ben Volin of the Boston Globe. Develin played in 31.3% of New England’s offensive snaps in 2016.

Contract Details: Gholston, Colquitt, Doyle, Davis

Updates on the contracts signed over the past couple of days, mostly via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle…

  • Buccaneers defensive end William Gholston‘s contract includes $13.5MM in guaranteed money, as well as a guaranteed base salary of $3MM for the 2017 season (via Twitter). The 25-year-old’s $6.5MM 2018 salary becomes fully guaranteed on the fifth day of the 2017 league year.
  • Defensive tackle Khyri Thornton‘s deal with the Lions is worth $3.3MM with a $325K bonus (Twitter). Thornton will make $700K in 2017, followed by a $1.325MM salary in 2018. He can earn another $12.5K via annual per game active roster bonus, as well as $225K via a weight bonus.
  • Punter Britton Colquitt‘s new deal with the Browns is worth $11.2MM and $4.5MM guaranteed (via Twitter). The former fourth-rounder will earn $1.65MM in 2017, followed by salaries of $2.55MM (2018), $2.7MM (2019), and $2.8M (2020).
  • Colts tight end Jack Doyle will earn $18.9MM on his next contract (via Twitter). Doyle will earn a guaranteed $1MM next season, followed by a $3.5MM salary in 2018 (guaranteed fifth day of league year) and $5.15MM salary in 2019. The tight end will also earn a $6.5MM roster bonus on March 10th.
  • Fullback James Develin earned a $2.45MM contract from the Patriots along with a $300K signing bonus, reports Wilson (Twitter). Develin will earn $800K each year, with a guaranteed $200K base salary for 2017. He can earn another $12.5K via a per-game active annual roster bonus.
  • ESPN’s Adam Caplan tweets that tight end Vernon Davis will receive $15MM ($7.5MM guaranteed) from the Redskins. The veteran will make $6MM in the first year of the three-year deal.
  • Punter Shane Lechler‘s new deal with the Texans is for one-year and $2MM ($1MM guaranteed), reports Caplan (via Twitter).

Patriots Re-Sign James Develin

The Patriots reached an agreement with one of their UFAs on Monday, securing a commitment from fullback James Develin, Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reports (on Twitter). It’s a two-year deal for the sixth-year contributor, per Howe. The pact is worth up to $2.85MM and comes with a $300K signing bonus, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. It also features $500K in guarantees, tweets Ben Volin of the Boston Globe.

The sides made progress in coming to an agreement on Friday, Howe reports. Develin’s played his entire career in New England, helping the Patriots on special teams and offense. He has just 13 career receptions and seven career carries but played on 31.3 percent of the Patriots’ offensive plays last season and just more than 33 percent of their special teams sequences.

Entering the week with nearly $62MM in cap space, the Patriots have several other free agents that are higher-profile players — Martellus Bennett, Dont’a Hightower, LeGarrette Blount, Jabaal Sheard, etc. — but they locked down one who has delivered three 16-game seasons and one that won’t end up costing much to keep.

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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AFC Notes: Steelers, Patriots, Chiefs

The Steelers are heavy into negotiations with running back Le’Veon Bell on a long-term deal, Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL.com hears (on Twitter). She adds that there is a very good chance the deal will set the market for running backs. Among rushers with multiyear contracts, the Bills’ LeSean McCoy paces the NFL in total value ($40.05MM) and annual average ($8.01MM), while the Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott is atop the league in guarantees (~$25MM). Thanks to his designation as the Steelers’ franchise player, Bell is currently slated to lead all backs in salary next season ($12.12MM).

More on Pittsburgh and two other AFC franchises:

  • On another note relevant to the Steelers’ offense, the club has expressed interest in soon-to-be free agent quarterback Mike Glennon, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (Twitter link). It’s fair to say Glennon won’t end up in Pittsburgh, though, unless Ben Roethlisberger decides to retire by the opening of free agency. Glennon’s current team, Tampa Bay, has tried to keep him at $8MM per year, but he’ll get more money and a chance to start on the market.
  • Impending free agent fullback James Develin is likely to re-sign with the Patriots in the coming days, tweets CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora. A member of the Pats since 2012, Develin hasn’t touched the ball much in his career (13 receptions, seven carries), but he has registered three straight 16-game seasons and won two Super Bowls. He took part in 33.7 percent of the Patriots’ special teams snaps and 31.3 percent of their offensive plays in 2016.
  • Chiefs guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif‘s new deal includes a $10MM signing bonus and $14MM fully guaranteed at signing, per Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

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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AFC Contract Details: Osweiler, Ivory, Iloka

Here are the latest updates on many recently agreed-upon or signed contracts from around the AFC:

AFC West:

  • Brandon Mebane, DT (Chargers): Three years, $13.5MM. $5.5MM guaranteed. $3MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle).
  • Jaye Howard, DT (Chiefs): Two years, $10MM. $8.26MM guaranteed. $5MM bonus. $3.27MM guaranteed at signing for injury. Pro Bowl escalator worth up to $2MM $12,500 per-game active roster bonuses worth up to $200K in 2016. $15,625 per-game active roster bonuses worth up to $250K in 2017 (Twitter links via Wilson).
  • Dwight Lowery, S (Chargers): Three years, $7.2MM. $1.5MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Frank Zombo, LB (Chiefs): Three years, $3.6MM. $500K signing bonus. Roster bonus of $100K in 2016 and $150K the next two seasons (Twitter link via Wilson).

AFC South:

  • Brock Osweiler, QB (Texans): Four years, $72MM. $37MM fully guaranteed in first two years – $21MM in 2016 ($12MM signing bonus, $5MM roster bonus, $4MM salary), $16MM in 2017. The remaining $35MM is non-guaranteed, including $18MM salary in 2018 and $13MM in 2019. Deal includes a $4MM roster bonus due March 2019 (all Twitter links courtesy of USA Today’s Tom Pelissero).
  • Chris Ivory, RB (Jaguars): Five years, $32MM. $10MM guaranteed. $5MM bonus (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Jeff Allen, G (Texans): Four years, $28MM. $12MM guaranteed. $5MM signing bonus. $3MM roster bonus due this month. Annual per-game roster bonus worth $31,250 (Twitter links via Wilson).
  • Brad Nortman, P (Jaguars): Four years, $8.8MM. $1.65MM guaranteed. $650K roster bonus in 2016 (Twitter link via Wilson).

AFC North:

AFC East:

  • Richie Incognito, G (Bills): Three years, $15.75MM. $3.45MM signing bonus. $2MM base salary in 2016 is fully guaranteed. $100K workout bonuses in each season (link via Mike Rodak of ESPN.com).
  • Isa Abdul-Quddus, S (Dolphins): Three years, $12.75MM. $2.5MM signing bonus. $6MM in guarantees (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • James Develin, FB (Patriots): One year, $750K. $150K playing time incentives. $50K signing bonus. $25K workout bonus (Twitter link via Wilson).

RFA Tender Signings & Decisions: 3/7/16

When teams assign first- or second-round tenders to their restricted free agents, or when those RFAs accept the tender, we’ll devote full news stories to those moves. For news concerning everyone else getting the lower tenders, we’ll round it up in the space below, with the latest updates added to the top of the list throughout the day….

  • Fullback James Develin announced that he is returning to the Patriots on a one-year deal, as Mike Reiss of ESPN.com tweets. The Patriots did not plan to tender Develin an offer at $1.6MM, so the two sides worked out a reduced one-year pact (link).
  • Defensive tackle Stefan Charles will not be tendered an offer by the Bills, per John Kryk of The Toronto Sun (on Twitter). Defensive tackle Corbin Bryant, wide receiver Chris Hogan, and tackle Jordan Mills were tendered offers, however. There could be some teams interested in Hogan, Tyler Dunne of The Buffalo News tweets, and that low tender might not ward of interested clubs.
  • Washington has tendered a qualifying offer to restricted free agent Duke Ihenacho, a source tells John Keim of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
  • Fullback Jorvorskie Lane will not be getting a tender from the Buccaneers, Greg Auman of The Tampa Bay Times tweets.
  • The Panthers will not tender defensive end Frank Alexander an offer or re-sign him, a source tells Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer (on Twitter). Alexander must sit out until November thanks to his third drug suspension.

AFC East Notes: Cromartie, Develin, Pouncey

Before they released cornerback Antonio Cromartie on Monday, the Jets did not ask him to take a pay cut, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News (Twitter link). Cromartie had been set to earn an $8MM base salary for 2016, but none of it was guaranteed, and there was no prorated signing bonus money on the cornerback’s deal, so the Jets cleared the entire $8MM cap hit from their books.

The fact that the Jets didn’t ask Cromartie to come back at a reduced price – combined with his farewell Instagram post on Monday – suggests that the team probably doesn’t have any interest in re-signing him now that he has hit free agency.

Here’s more on how the Jets may replace Cromartie, along with a couple more items from out of the AFC East:

  • Former undrafted free agent Marcus Williams deserves the first crack at taking over for Cromartie, says Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. In Cimini’s view, promoting an in-house option or using a mid-round pick on a cornerback makes more sense than diving into the free agent market, since the $8MM the team saved on Cromartie could be used elsewhere.
  • Fullback James Develin is a part of the Patriots‘ free agent plans and they want him back, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com writes. Now, they have to figure out how to accomplish that. Develin a restricted free agent and the Pats could tender him at the lowest level, which would be $1.6MM. That salary would make him the sixth-highest paid fullback in the NFL (as of this writing).
  • Dolphins center Mike Pouncey revealed that he recently underwent surgery, as Adam H. Beasley of the Miami Herald writes. Pouncey suffered what was believed to be a minor foot injury in the Dolphins’ Week 15 loss to the Chargers, but it’s not immediately clear if he went under the knife to fix that foot. That injury cost Pouncey the final two games of the ’15 season and kept him from playing in the Pro Bowl.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Patriots Claim DaVaris Daniels Off Waivers

The Patriots announced several roster moves to get down to the 75-man limit today, including one addition to the roster. Here’s the full list:

Claimed off waivers:

  • DaVaris Daniels, WR (waived by Vikings)

Waived:

  • Chris Barker, G
  • D.J. Lynch, LB

Placed on IR:

  • James Develin, FB
  • Darryl Roberts, CB

PUP list:

  • Dane Fletcher, LB
  • Chris Jones, DT