Jeremiah Attaochu

Jets Sign DE Jeremiah Attaochu

A day after bringing him in for a visit, the Jets are signing defensive end Jeremiah Attaochu, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link).

The Jets have been looking for pass-rushing help all offseason, and finally found someone they felt good about. After losing out on the Khalil Mack sweepstakes, they settled for Attaochu, recently released by the 49ers.

Attaochu signed a one-year deal with San Francisco back in March, but apparently didn’t show enough to stick. While he never lived up to his draft status and has struggled with injuries at various points, he’s shown he can be a fairly productive pass-rusher when given the chance.

Back in 2015, he started 12 games for the Chargers and notched six sacks, a career high. Given the state of the Jets’ current edge rushers, it wouldn’t be surprising if Attaochu ends up playing a role right away in New York.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets Bring In DE Jeremiah Attaochu For Visit

The Jets brought in former Chargers and 49ers defensive end Jeremiah Attaochu for a visit, according to Field Yates of ESPN (Twitter link).

Attaochu, who was released by the 49ers yesterday during final cuts, was a second round pick by the Chargers back in 2014. The Jets have made clear all offseason that they aren’t satisfied with their current group of pass-rushers, so it makes sense they’d look to some recently released veterans for help.

Attaochu signed a one-year deal with San Francisco back in March, but apparently didn’t show enough to stick. While he never lived up to his draft status and has struggled with injuries at various points, he’s shown he can be a fairly productive pass-rusher when given the chance.

Back in 2015, he started 12 games for the Chargers and notched six sacks, a career high. Given the state of the Jets’ current edge rushers, it wouldn’t be surprising if Attaochu lands in New York.

49ers Cut 21 Players, Reach 53-Man Max

The 49ers have reached the 53-man roster maximum after releasing 21 players on Saturday afternoon. Here’s the full rundown:

The following players have been released:

In addition to those cuts, the Niners also have a few extra spots on their initial 53-man roster thanks to suspensions for wide receiver Victor Bolden and linebacker Reuben Foster. They’ll also be without defensive lineman Kentavius Street as he sits on the NFI list.

49ers Sign LB Jeremiah Attaochu

The 49ers have signed linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu, reports NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter). It’s a one-year deal worth up to $5.125MM, with $2.5MM fully guaranteed.

The 25-year-old had spent his entire four-year career with the Chargers organization after being selected in the second-round of the 2014 draft. The Georgia Tech product didn’t necessarily live up to expectations due his tenure, and missed 24 total games.

Attaochu was limited to only four games in 2017, compiling seven tackles. His best season came in 2015, when he finished with 55 tackles and six sacks. He still made his way onto PFR’s free agent positional rankings, as he was listed 10th among edge defenders.

Top 2018 Free Agents By Position: Defense

NFL free agency will get underway on Wednesday, March 14th, 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. After looking at offense on Monday, we’ll tackle defense and special teams today.

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 players who received the franchise tag, 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 2018:

Edge defender:

  1. Julius Peppers
  2. William Hayes
  3. Trent Murphy
  4. Pernell McPhee
  5. Aaron Lynch
  6. Alex Okafor
  7. Adrian Clayborn
  8. Kony Ealy
  9. Connor Barwin
  10. Jeremiah Attaochu
  11. Junior Galette
  12. Derrick Shelby
  13. Barkevious Mingo
  14. Kareem Martin
  15. Erik Walden

As a positional group, pass rushers comprise interesting market on the defensive side of the ball. It’s not often that a list of best available players is topped by a 38-year-old, but Peppers is the top free agent edge defender after the Cowboys and Lions deployed the franchise tag on Demarcus Lawrence and Ezekiel Ansah, respectively. As with quarterbacks, NFL clubs are extremely reluctant to allow pass rushers to hit the open market, so top-tier options are rarely ever truly “available.” Peppers, for his part, hasn’t even declared whether he’ll return in 2018, but indications are that he’ll suit up for a 17th campaign after posting 11 sacks last year.

Alongside Peppers, other veterans populate the edge market, and while William Hayes may not be a household name, he’ll be a contributor for whichever team signs him. A stout run defender, Hayes is also capable of generating pressure despite managing only one sack in 2017. The Dolphins used Hayes on only 271 defensive snaps a season ago, and have since replaced him by acquiring fellow defensive end Robert Quinn from the Rams. Now that he’s entering his age-33 season, Hayes should come cheap, but will almost assuredly outplay his contract.

Nearly every other available pass rusher has some sort of flaw which will likely limit his market next week. Trent Murphy is only 27 years old and put up nine sacks in 2016, but he missed the entirety of the 2017 campaign with injury. Pernell McPhee, Alex Okafor, Junior Galette, and Derrick Shelby have also been plagued by health questions in recent seasons. And Adrian Clayborn famously registered the majority of his 2017 sacks (and 20% of his career sack total) in one game against overwhelmed Cowboys backup Chaz Green.

The two names that I keep coming back to are Aaron Lynch (49ers) and Jeremiah Attaochu (Chargers). Yes, Lynch has been suspended for substance abuse, struggled with his weight, and was reportedly in danger of being waived prior to last season. He’s also extremely young (he won’t turn 25 years old until Thursday) and ranked fifth in the league with 34 pass pressures as recently as 2015. Attaochu, a 25-year-old former second-round pick, also has youth on his side, and while he hasn’t quite flashed as much as Lynch, he’s also been buried on LA’s depth chart for much of his career.

Interior defensive line:

  1. Sheldon Richardson
  2. Dontari Poe
  3. Muhammad Wilkerson
  4. Star Lotulelei
  5. DaQuan Jones
  6. Beau Allen
  7. Denico Autry
  8. Justin Ellis
  9. Tom Johnson
  10. Bennie Logan
  11. Chris Baker
  12. Kyle Williams
  13. Dominique Easley
  14. Haloti Ngata
  15. Jay Bromley

Interior rushers are getting more respect in today’s NFL, but that still hasn’t translated to them being paid on the level of edge defenders — the 2018 franchise tag for defensive tackles, for example, is roughly $3MM cheaper than the tender for edge rushers. While the 2018 crop of interior defenders boasts some impressive top-end talent, none of the available players figure to earn a double-digit annual salary. Sheldon Richardson may have the best chance to do so, but Seattle determined he wasn’t worth a one-year cost of $13.939MM, so is any other club going to pay him $10MM per year? I’d guess he comes in closer to $9MM annually, which would still place him among the 25 highest-paid defensive tackles.

Dontari Poe will be an intriguing free agent case after setting for a one-year deal last offseason, but the most interesting battle among defensive tackles will take place Star Lotulelei and Muhammad Wilkerson, and I’m curious to see which player earns more on the open market. Both are former first-round picks, and it’s difficult to argue Wilkerson hasn’t been the more productive player — or, at least, reached higher highs — than Lotulelei. Wilkerson also won’t affect his next team’s compensatory pick formula given that he was released, but his off-field issues, which include a reported lack of effort and problems with coaches, could limit his appeal.

While Beau Allen and Denico Autry are potentially candidates to be overpaid based on their youth, there are bargains to be had at defensive tackle. Tom Johnson is 33 but he’s offered consistent pressure from the interior for years — his last contract was for three years and $7MM, so he shouldn’t cost much this time around. Haloti Ngata was injured in 2017 but plans to continue his career, and he can still stop the run. And Dominique Easley was outstanding as a 3-4 end in 2016 before missing last season with a torn ACL, meaning the former first-round pick could be a value play for any number of teams.Read more

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/3/16

Here are today’s minor moves.

  • Jerry Attaochu underwent surgery this week, and the Chargers made the customary move of placing the third-year pass-rusher on IR. Nose tackle Ryan Carrethers will take Attaochu’s roster spot, Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports (on Twitter). A former fifth-round Chargers pick in 2014, Carrethers already has 20 games of NFL experience — three starts — on which to draw after his latest promotion from the practice squad.
  • Demetri Goodson‘s third NFL season will conclude after the Packers placed the cornerback on IR and signed fellow corner Makinton Dorleant off their practice squad, Michael Cohen of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports (on Twitter). Goodson played in six games for the Packers this year and started three for a team that’s struggled to keep its cornerbacks healthy. A rookie UDFA, Dorleant has not played in an NFL game yet. He’ll likely contribute on special teams, per Cohen.
  • The Bills have promoted tight end Gerald Christian from the practice squad, reports Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News (via Twitter). Starter Charles Clay missed the team’s flight to Oakland due to the birth of his child, so Christian, the Mr. Irrelevent from the 2015 draft, will provide some depth at tight end. To make room on the roster, the team released kickoff specialist Jordan Gay.
  • The Chiefs have promoted defensive tackle T.J. Barnes to the active roster, reports Terez A. Paylor of The Kansas City Star (via Twitter). If Dontari Poe is unable to play, Barnes could slide into the backup nose tackle role behind Jarvis Jenkins.
  • The Giants have signed linebacker Deontae Skinner to the active roster and waived center Shane McDermott, reports James Kratch of NJ.com (via Twitter). This is a flip-flop from the maneuver the Giants made last weekend, indicating some improved health for their offensive front.

Chargers Lose Jerry Attaochu For Season

Another Chargers season largely defined by injuries saw another player set to venture toward IR. Jerry Attaochu broke his foot in the Bolts’ victory over the Texans and will miss the rest of the season, Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

The third-year outside linebacker broke his right foot when it was caught in the turf at NRG Stadium during San Diego’s 21-13 road win. He joins a sizable contingent of Chargers who have been ruled out for the season. It’s the ninth game during which an injury sufficient enough for a Charger to be declared done for 2016 occurred.

Keenan Allen, Danny Woodhead, Jason Verrett, Manti Te’o, Dexter McCluster and Brandon Mebane highlight this list, which makes for the second straight year of rampant injuries for the Chargers, who have battled to a 5-6 record despite the throng of unavailable key talent.

Attaochu did not build on a successful 2015 campaign, though, and already missed three games with a high-ankle sprain. The former second-round pick notched six sacks last season but came up with only two this fall. The Georgia Tech product served as a near-full-time starter for the ’15 Bolts, breaking with the first unit in 12 games. This season, Kyle Emanuel usurped him in the lineup, relegating Attaochu to an off-the-bench role save for one game. Attaochu’s recorded just two sacks and saw action in just 178 snaps.

Emanuel profiles as a run-stopper and does not have a sack this season. Fourth-year player Tourek Williams figures to see more work as a result of this latest setback.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Attaochu, Bowman, Bridgewater

Earlier today, Rory Parks gave us a roundup of some notes from some early Sunday NFL news, including an update on Chris Borland‘s post-NFL life, Marcus Mariota’s potential holdout, and a couple of notes on the Saints, Browns, and Broncos.

Now, for anyone who was too busy watching the USA defeat Japan 5-2 in the World Cup, here are a couple more pieces of NFL news that trickled across the landscape this evening:

  • Second-year pass rusher Jeremiah Attaochu only had two sacks in limited snaps as a rookie, but is focused on improving that number in 2015, writes Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com. He writes that Attaochu trained in combine-related drills for much of last offseason, but is focused on football-specific drills and getting reps in practice to prepare him for an increased role with the Chargers this year.
  • The Dolphins signed Zackary Bowman this offseason to compete for the starting cornerback job across from Brent Grimes, but right now the leader for that spot is Jamar Taylor, writes James Walker of ESPN. Bowman hasn’t stood out in minicamps, and Walker writes he has about a 50 percent chance of making the final roster, depending on how many cornerbacks the team keeps on the depth chart.
  • The Vikings are excited about Teddy Bridgewater and how he got stronger as the season went on in 2014, especially offensive coordinator Norv Turner, writes Tom Pelissero of USA Today in his offseason report. With Adrian Peterson, Kyle Rudolph, Matt Kalil, and Brandon Fusco all back healthy on available, and Mike Wallace added to the fold, Bridgewater is ready to break out as leader of the offense.
  • Detroit Lions’ beat writer Dave Birkett addressed a number of issues on a Q&A with Ste Hoare of TheRouteTree.com. Birkett believes that Ameer Abdullah will begin the season as a complement to Joique Bell in the role Reggie Bush filled, but expects him to eventually emerge as the feature back. He also addresses the concern that first-round pick Laken Tomlinson’s interest in the medical field could leave him to an early retirement in the vain of Borland, but Birkett does not believe the team is worried and writes that the Lions encourage his interests off-the-field.

Chargers To Sign Jeremiah Attaochu

The Chargers have agreed to terms with second-round pick Jeremiah Attaochu, a league source tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk (via Twitter). The outside linebacker out of Georgia Tech was taken with the 18th pick in the second-round.

The Chargers were high on the OLB and knew that he wouldn’t fall to them with the 25th pick in the second round (57th overall), so they sent the Dolphins their fourth-round pick to move up seven slots. Attaochu is a true 3-4 outside linebacker and has been praised for his high motor. He made a quick impact from the very beginning at Georgia Tech, registering 23 tackles, 4.0 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks in a reserve role as a true freshman. He steadily improved each season, and as a senior, dominated by recording 45 tackles, 16 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks.

NFC Draft Notes: Falcons, Lions, Eagles

To kick off the day, we rounded up a handful of draft-related items out of the AFC. Now let’s shift our attention to the NFC and check out the latest….

  • We heard earlier in the week that Jake Matthews has a visit scheduled next week with the Falcons, but before that happens, Atlanta is sending a contingent to Auburn to meet with the draft’s other top offensive tackle, Greg Robinson, according to Alex Marvez of Fox Sports (via Twitter).
  • Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post passes along word of a pair of tight ends visiting or working out for NFC teams. According to Wilson, Iowa’s C.J. Fiedorowicz, who was previously visited the Jets and Buccaneers, is visiting the Lions today, while Cincinnati’s Blake Annen recently had a private workout for the Eagles.
  • Cal linebacker Khairi Fortt, who met with the Ravens earlier in April, is visiting the Seahawks today, tweets Rich Cirminiello of CampusInsiders.com.
  • Chris Russell of ESPN 980 reports (via Twitter) that the Redskins are bringing in Georgia tech outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu for a visit this week. Attaochu indicated last month that Washington was one of the teams showing the most interest in him.
  • The 49ers hosted Cumberlands running back Terrance Cobb for a pre-draft visit, writes Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee.
  • Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times takes a look at Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees, who is scheduled to visit the Bears on Friday.