Jarvis Jones

Cardinals Down To 53

The Cardinals announced their full slate of cuts to get to 53:

Wright was a standout at the University of Arizona. As a sophomore for the Wildcats, Wright was an absolute monster as he tallied 163 tackles, 29 tackles for loss, 14 sacks, and six forced fumbles. Unfortunately, he was slowed by injuries in 2015 and he wound up as a seventh-round pick of the Browns. The Cardinals were happy to scoop him up in December, but he has been pushed out in favor of veteran Josh Bynes and others.

Also of note – fourth-round guard Dorian Johnson has been cut. Johnson struggled in camp and the Cardinals were not willing to use a roster spot on him. I would speculate that he could be a taxi squad candidate.

Latest On Deone Bucannon’s Recovery

More than two months following his ankle surgery, the Cardinals have placed linebacker Deone Bucannon on the physically unable to perform list, according to AZCardinals.com’s Darren Urban (via Twitter). The team has also placed linebacker Jarvis Jones on the active non-football-injury list.

Deone Bucannon (vertical)The Bucannon news isn’t particularly surprising, although the team was reportedly hoping that the linebacker would avoid the PUP and be healthy by early September.

“Deone is close,” coach Bruce Arians told AZCardinals.com. “He’s getting there. I think he’s a little bit ahead of schedule. We have our fingers crossed. The first game is his due date, so to speak. Hopefully we’ll have him ready to play.”

“I want to start the season,” Bucannon added. “I’m not here to rush anything and I’m not going to put a timetable on it, but at the same time, I want to get out there as quickly as I possibly can. But get out there at 100 percent so I can do the best for the team and not be a liability.”

Following two years at strong safety, the versatile defender spent most of his time at linebacker last season, compiling 89 tackles and one fumble recovery in 13 games. Following his solid campaign, the organization picked up the former first rounder’s fifth-year option, keeping him in Arizona through the 2018 season.

Meanwhile, Jones joined the organization on a one-year deal earlier this offseason. After having lost both Alex Okafor and Calais Campbell this offseason, Jones was supposed to provide some depth, especially at pass rusher. Of course, the 2013 first-round pick only has six sacks through four NFL seasons, but he did set several career-highs in 2016, including tackles (43) and forced fumbles (two).

Roster Resource currently has Chandler JonesKarlos DansbyMarkus Golden, and Bucannon listed at the team’s starting linebackers. If the team is eyeing a true inside linebacker to replace Bucannon in the lineup, they could opt for either Zaviar Gooden or Scooby Wright. Otherwise, they could consider the assortment of outside linebackers on the roster, including first-rounder Haason Reddick. Assuming Jones returns relatively soon, he’ll presumably be competing with Kareem MartinGabe Martin, and Alani Fua for second-team reps.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Contract Details: Murray, Williams, Jones

The latest contract details from around the NFL:

  • We learned earlier this week that Latavius Murray‘s new contract with the Vikings could be voided after one season, making the running back a free agent again in 2018. Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com notes that the player essentially has another team option for the third season of the contract. Therefore, Murray’s spot on the Vikings roster will presumably be reevaluated every offseason.
  • Nose tackle Sylvester Williamsdeal with the Titans is worth $17.5MM over three years, reports ESPN.com’s Paul Kuharsky. The deal includes a $3MM signing bonus. In 2017, Williams is due a $2MM base salary and a $2MM roster bonus (which was paid last Monday), and his base salaries will eventually increase to $5MM (2018) and $5.5MM (2019). $2.5MM of his 2018 is now guaranteed for injury.
  • Linebacker Jarvis Jones‘ one-year contract with the Cardinals includes a $1MM base salary, reports Mike Jurecki of FoxSports910 in Arizona (via Twitter). The former first-rounder, who finished last season with a career-high 42 tackles, can earn additional money via incentives.

FA Rumors: Poe, Seahawks, Steelers, Jaguars

Now that free agent defensive tackle Dontari Poe has concluded his visits with the Dolphins, he’ll head home to consider offers, tweets Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com. Poe has met with the Colts, Falcons, and Jaguars in addition to Miami, and will presumably sign with one of the clubs. Poe is PFR’s No. 2 free agent interior defender on the market, just behind Johnathan Hankins.

Here’s more from the free agent period:

  • Although Adrian Peterson visited the Seahawks earlier this week, he never entered into negotiations with the club, reports Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com. Seattle was eyeing a younger back, and it found one in former Packer Eddie Lacy, whom the team signed to a one-year deal on Tuesday. Through six days of free agency, the key story around Peterson has been the number of clubs who aren’t interested in the ex-Vikings RB, who turns 32 next week. The Texans, Patriots, Raiders have all indicated they they’re not in contact with future Hall of Famer.
  • The Seahawks may have not been all that interested in Peterson, but the club might have a different opinion on free agent linebacker Michael Wilhoite, whom they will host on a visit, tweets NFL reporter Howard Balzer. Wilhoite, 30, was a full-time starter for the 49ers from 2014-15, but only started six games last year (despite appearing in all 16 contests). In that time, Wilhoite put up 46 tackles, a half-sack, and a forced fumble.
  • While the Steelers has “mild interest” in re-signing linebacker Jarvis Jones, the club never made a real effort to retain the former first-round pick before he inked a one-year deal with the Cardinals on Monday, per Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com. Jones, 27, never lived up to his draft billing, but did provide solid run defense over 35 starts in Pittsburgh. The Steelers will now roll with Arthur Moats and Anthony Chickillo behind James Harrison and Bud Dupree on the edge.
  • Tight end Chris Gragg visited the Jaguars but did not agree to a contract, as Gragg himself announced (Twitter link). Jacksonville head coach Doug Marrone was in Buffalo when Gragg was made a seventh-round pick in 2013, so he should have some level of familiarity with the 26-year-old. Gragg missed the entire 2016 campaign with a torn ACL.

Cardinals Sign Jarvis Jones

The Cardinals have signed linebacker Jarvis Jones to a one-year deal, the club announced today. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported earlier today (Twitter link) that Jones was expected to sign with Arizona.Jarvis Jones (vertical)

Jones joins the Cardinals hours after the team lost outside linebacker Alex Okafor to the Saints. Having already seen veteran defender Calais Campbell sign with the Jaguars, Arizona is now seeking to rebuild an edge rush that ranked third in adjusted sack rate in 2016. Chandler Jones (no relation to Jarvis) has already been extended on a hefty contract, and now Jarvis Jones will add another element to the pass rush.

Selected 13th overall in 2013, Jones has only posted six sacks in four NFL seasons. He recorded a career-high 43 tackles in 2016, however, and started nine games for the Steelers, playing on slightly less than half of the club’s defensive snaps. While he’s not a pure pass rusher, Jones is still a solid run defender, and graded as Pro Football Focus‘ No. 49 edge player last year in large part due to his stoutness against opposing rushing attacks.

The Rams were hoping to meet with Jones, but Arizona did not let him leave without a deal. The Rams were said to be “very intrigued” by the fifth-year pass-rusher.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC West Rumors: Lang, Ware, 49ers, Rams

T.J. Lang saw the Lions change his mind at the last minute and possibly changing the fortunes of the team that beat Detroit in the wild-card round. The ninth-year guard was “99 percent” sure he was going to sign with the Seahawks after the sides’ Saturday summit. But the Lions improved their offer and ended up signing the Michigan native to a three-year, $28.5MM deal.

I didn’t know Detroit was coming back with a counter-offer,” Lang said in an interview with 97.1-FM (via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press). “When I left Seattle I was about 99 percent sure I was flying back there to sign a contract and Detroit stepped up and things changed pretty quick.”

Lang’s former team did not offer him as much as the Lions did. The Packers proposed a three-year deal worth $21.5MM. While the Lions pact includes $19MM in guarantees, the Packers’ offer housed just $6.5MM guaranteed. Opining on the Packers’ usual free agency-phobic tendencies, Lang said Green Bay’s offer made this decision easier.

I think just throughout the years they were able to get some guys back in town because they used the whole, we’re good, we’re competitive, we compete for championships every year. Do you want to play with the best quarterback in the NFL-type thing, you’re going to have to take a little less money, and I think it just kind of wore some guys out the last couple years and watching guys leave,” Lang said during the radio interview.

Here’s more from the NFC West.

  • DeMarcus Ware‘s Rams visit did include discussions with Wade Phillips and new HC Sean McVay, Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.com reports. But he adds the sides did not get into serious talks about the now-retired pass-rusher joining the Rams.
  • UFA tackle Byron Bell visited the 49ers this weekend, ESPN.com’s Field Yates tweets. He did not play during the 2016 after dislocating his ankle on the first day of Titans OTAs last summer. Bell proved versatile for the 2015 Titans, however, starting 16 games but at three different spots — eight at right tackle, seven at left guard and one at left tackle. The 28-year-old Bell has been a career-long starter, serving as the Panthers’ primary left tackle from 2011-14.
  • Kyle Juszczyk received an even better offer than the fullback-record deal (four years, $21MM) he signed with the 49ers, Peter King of TheMMQB.com reports. The fifth-year fullback’s agent told King one team would have paid Juszczyk more than what the 49ers offered. The Bills, Browns, Eagles and Jets were also in on this competition.
  • The SeahawksJared Cook visit will create questions regarding Jimmy Graham‘s long-term spot with the team, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times notes. Graham is already 30, having turned 25 during his rookie year. However, Cook is less than six months younger. Graham will be a UFA in 2018, and the Seahawks have potential third contracts for Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor to consider. Both have observed other safeties surpass their second Seattle contracts in terms of value in recent years. Pete Carroll said at the Combine there is no reason to doubt Graham’s status on the 2017 Seahawks. He will count $10MM against Seattle’s cap this year.
  • Jarvis JonesRams visit will occur Tuesday, per Gonzalez. The Rams signed their most recent visitor, cornerback Kayvon Webster, on Monday night.

Jarvis Jones To Visit Rams

After meeting with the Cardinals today, UFA linebacker Jarvis Jones will pay a visit to Los Angeles to meet with the Rams, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports (on Twitter).

The Rams are “very intrigued” by the fifth-year pass-rusher, La Canfora notes. Jones played for four seasons in the Steelers’ 3-4 and would be an obvious fit for a Rams team transitioning to such an alignment under new DC Wade Phillips.

Jones was believed to have a healthy market at free agency’s outset but is now one of the notable edge defenders unsigned as the player-movement period ventures to second-wave performers. A former first-round pick, Jones did not live up to his draft status, and Pittsburgh didn’t pick up his fifth-year option. But the Rams don’t possess a ton of depth behind now-outside linebacker Robert Quinn at that position. The team brought the now-retired DeMarcus Ware in for a visit recently.

The former Georgia edge player registered just six sacks in four seasons. He made a career-high 43 tackles in 2016, starting nine games for a Steelers team loaded with former first-round linebackers. Two of those players could be gone, with Jones trekking to NFC West locales and Lawrence Timmons signing with the Dolphins.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Free Agency Rumors: Steelers, Cards, Bills

The latest free agent news:

  • Cornerback Davon House will visit with the Steelers on Monday, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). House was let go by Jacksonville earlier this month. Green Bay reportedly reached out to him about a reunion, but we haven’t heard much on that front in recent days.
  • Steelers free agent linebacker Jarvis Jones is visiting today with the Cardinals, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The Steelers remain interested, however, and the two sides are still in discussions. We had Jones ranked as one of the fifteen best edge defenders heading into the opening of free agency last week. The former first-round pick hasn’t justified his high selection in the draft, but he has been pretty solid against the run.
  • The Bills are holding free agent visits with former Green Bay linebacker Jayrone Elliott and former Bolts wide receiver Jeremy Butler, according to a team announcement. Both players were non-tendered by their respective former clubs. Butler appeared in four games last season and caught two passes for eleven yards. In eleven games with Green Bay last year, Elliott had one sack and 12 total tackles.
  • The Broncos have interest in Saints free agent defensive end Kasim Edebali, Troy Renck of Denver7 tweets. Edebali could provide depth and special teams experience for Denver. He was non-tendered by New Orleans last week.
  • Cardinals free agent outside linebacker Alex Okafor is visiting the Saints today, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Okafor played through a painful torn bicep injury last season.

Top 2017 Free Agents By Position 2.0: Defense

NFL free agency gets underway on Thursday 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. Here is our updated outlook for each defensive and special teams position.

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each defensive position. These rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts – or the amount of guaranteed money – that each player is expected to land in free agency. These 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, as well as franchised players aren’t listed here, since the roadblocks in place to hinder another team from actually acquiring most of those players prevent them from being true free agents.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some free agents than you are, so feel free to weigh in below in our comments section to let us know which players we’ve got wrong.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by defensive position for this offseason:

Edge defender:

  1. Nick Perry
  2. Jabaal Sheard
  3. John Simon
  4. DeMarcus Ware
  5. Lorenzo Alexander
  6. Andre Branch
  7. Julius Peppers
  8. Charles Johnson
  9. Datone Jones
  10. Dwight Freeney
  11. Chris Long
  12. Mario Williams
  13. Paul Kruger
  14. Courtney Upshaw
  15. Jarvis Jones

Now that Chandler Jones, Melvin Ingram, and Jason Pierre-Paul have all been assigned the franchise tag, Nick Perry stands as the top edge defender on the free agent market, and is now in a position to cash in. The Packers opted against the franchise tender for the 26-year-old Perry, so he’ll hit the open market following a career year which saw him post 11 sacks."<strong

The rest of this year’s crop of free agent pass rushers is a blend of young defenders searching for their first payday and veterans on the hunt for one last contract. Among players with youth still on their side, Datone Jones figures to interest clubs thanks to his versatility, as he can vacillate between end and linebacker, while fellow former first-round pick Jarvis Jones is solid against the run. John Simon has been overlooked while playing alongside the likes of J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, and Whitney Mercilus but could represent a hidden gem, while the Dolphins are reportedly prioritizing Andre Branch.

After managing nine sacks over the first nine years of his NFL tenure, Lorenzo Alexander busted out with 12.5 quarterback takedowns in 2016, and now could be looking for a double-digit annual salary. Charles Johnson, meanwhile, looks like a good bet to return to the Panthers, but DeMarcus Ware could be something of a wild card — after missing 11 games in the past two seasons, does the 34-year-old have enough left in the tank? The same could be asked of Dwight Freeney, who at age-37 posted three sacks in a rotational role for the Falcons.

Interior defensive line:

  1. Calais Campbell
  2. Johnathan Hankins
  3. Brandon Williams
  4. Dontari Poe
  5. Chris Baker
  6. Bennie Logan
  7. Nick Fairley
  8. Alan Branch
  9. Jared Odrick
  10. Karl Klug
  11. Terrell McClain
  12. Lawrence Guy
  13. Stacy McGee
  14. Stephen Paea
  15. Sylvester Williams
    Honorable mention: Paul Soliai

Calais Campbell is the best overall player among interior defenders, and though he’s entering his age-31 season and may not cost as much as Johnathan Hankins, Brandon Williams, and Dontari Poe, Campbell will still be highly-sought after as he searches for his last substantial payday Campbell’s agent met with the Cardinals last week, but other speculative fits for the veteran defender include the Broncos, Raiders, Ravens, Colts, and Titans."<strong

Hankins is only 24 years old, and though the Giants are trying to retain him along with the rest of their defensive core, the 6’3″, 320-pound mauler should represent an attractive option to a number of clubs this offseason. Williams, too, offers a massive presence on the inside, while Poe could intrigue clubs based on his first-round pedigree and athleticism (though his play hasn’t always matched his potential). The Redskins’ Chris Baker is a solid, well-rounded defensive tackle, and could constitute a consolation prize for teams that miss out on their top targets.

The rest of the class offers an interesting mix of nose tackles (Bennie Logan), interior pass rushers (Nick Fairley, Karl Klug), and run stoppers (Alan Branch), so clubs hoping to bolster their defensive line should find no shortage of options. Jared Odrick recently hit free agency after being released by the Jaguars, while Terrell McClain, Lawrence Guy, and Stacy McGee could be underrated finds for the right team. McClain, for what it’s worth, has already been linked to the Falcons.

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Steelers’ FAs Likely To Test Market

While the Steelers have prevented running back Le’Veon Bell from reaching free agency, it doesn’t appear they’ll be able to keep their other unsigned players from hitting the open market. The club isn’t close to re-signing any of its free agents-to-be as March 9 approaches, two sources told Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Lawrence Timmons (vertical)

The Steelers’ list of unrestricted players includes linebackers Lawrence Timmons and Jarvis Jones, running back DeAngelo Williams, quarterback Landry Jones and wide receiver Markus Wheaton, among others. Pittsburgh began talks with Timmons in February, but it will be a challenge to stop the productive defender and careerlong Steeler from heading elsewhere for his 11th NFL season.

“Would you like to have him stay? Absolutely,” general manager Kevin Colbert said in regards to Timmons last month. “Does it all fit? We can make it work, but at what cost? He’s never been a free agent. I’d like to see him finish his career here and he would too.” 

Although Jarvis Jones has disappointed since going in the first round of the 2013 draft, having totaled only six sacks in 50 appearances, he’s likely to encounter a favorable market, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).

As is the case with Timmons, Colbert has indicated he’d like to have Landry Jones stick around, though it might behoove the four-year veteran to look for a clearer path to playing time someplace else. Jones appeared in a combined 15 games the past two seasons, but barring retirement, Ben Roethlisberger is entrenched as the Steelers’ starting signal-caller.

As for Bell, the Steelers aren’t in any rush to start talks on a long-term deal with the franchise-tagged running back, per Dulac. That runs contrary to a Thursday report from NFL.com’s Aditi Kinkhabwala, who relayed that the two sides are “heavy into negotiations.” The Steelers have until July 15 to lock up Bell.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.