Jermaine Gresham

NFC West Notes: Cards, Bettcher, Seahawks

While the Cardinals will interview incumbent defensive coordinator James Bettcher as they seek to replace head coach Bruce Arians, offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin is unlikely to be granted a meeting, according to Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic (Twitter link). Unlike Bettcher, Goodwin has actually interviewed for other NFL vacancies in the past, as he met with the Buccaneers, Bills, Jaguars, and Rams since 2016. Bettcher, meanwhile, will meet with Arizona’s decision-makers on Wednesday, per Josh Weinfuss of

Here’s more from the NFC West:

  • Veteran defensive lineman Michael Bennett said he is committed to continuing his career in 2018 and hopes he’ll remain with the Seahawks, tweets Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. Bennett, 32, is signed for three more years at affordable rates, and Seattle would only create ~$2MM by releasing him this offseason. Additionally, Bennett graded as the No. 38 edge defender among 108 qualifiers a season ago, per Pro Football Focus, meaning he’s more than worth his salary. Seattle may be without Cliff Avril (retirement) and Sheldon Richardson (free agency) in 2018, making Bennett’s presence all the more crucial.
  • The Seahawks have already begun exploring kicker upgrades, and former Jaguar Jason Myers is among the options on Seattle’s radar, per Condotta (Twitter link). Given that the Seahawks are narrowing in on street free agents (players who were cut before the 2017 regular season concluded), their options are certainly limited. But Myers, who was released by Jacksonville in October, could represent improvement over incumbent Blair Walsh, who missed eight field goals last year. Myers, meanwhile, owns a career field goal percentage of 81%.
  • Tight end Jermaine Gresham suffered a torn Achilles in the Cardinals‘ regular season finale, according to Darren Urban of (Twitter link). Given the timeline of Gresham’s injury, he may not be ready to start the 2018 campaign. But Arizona would incur $2MM in dead money by releasing Gresham, who inked a four-year extension last spring. Gresham, 29, managed only 33 receptions and 322 yards last year, his third consecutive season with fewer than 400 yards receiving.

Contract Details: Jones, Gresham, Church

Let’s take a look at the details of some recently-signed contracts:

Cardinals Re-Sign TE Jermaine Gresham

The Cardinals and tight end Jermaine Gresham have reached agreement on a four-year deal, the team announced.’s Mike Garafolo reports (via Twitter) that the veteran “doubled up” his $3.5MM salary from last season. Gresham is the first notable tight end to come off the market during the legal tampering period. Jermaine Gresham (vertical)

On my most recent rankings of this year’s free agent tight ends, I listed Gresham as the ninth-best TE available, behind Martellus Bennett, Jared Cook, Jack Doyle, Vernon Davis, Luke Willson, Dion Sims, Anthony Fasano, and Jacob Tamme. The 28-year-old (29 in June) had 37 catches and 391 yards last year, but he doesn’t offer much in the way of blocking.

The Cardinals still have a number of notable free agents to address, including Calais Campbell, Tony Jefferson, and linebacker Kevin Minter.

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


  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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Top 2017 NFL Free Agents By Position: Offense


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:


  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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Extra Points: McGloin, Boldin, Gresham

Let’s take a look at some assorted NFL notes as we wrap up this Monday night…

  • Raiders quarterback Matt McGloin, an impending free agent, said that he is seeking a place where he will get “a chance to compete for a starting role,” Josh Dubow of the Associated Press tweets. The 27-year-old has nine career starts under his belt, and he’s connected on 58-percent of his career passes for 1,868 yards, 11 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions.
  • It sounds like Lions wide receiver Anquan Boldin is leaning towards a return in 2017. “I haven’t sat down with my family yet, but there’s still a passion that runs in me for football,” he said (via Nate Atkins of Boldin, 36, caught 67 passes for 584 yards and a team-leading eight touchdowns in 2016.
  • Tight end Jermaine Gresham may have taken less money last offseason to stay with the Cardinals, but Kent Somers of says we shouldn’t expect a repeat this time around. The 28-year-old impending free agent is probably eying his final chance to get paid, and he posted a solid statline of 37 receptions, 391 yards, and two touchdowns in 2016. Somers notes that the organization would like to re-sign the veteran tight end.
  • Farhan Lalji of TSN reports (via Twitter) that the Calgary Stampeders of the CFL have released outside linebacker Frank Beltre, allowing him to sign with the Jets. It was reported this weekend that the 26-year-old had signed with New York.
  • One of the more intriguing names featured on today’s reserve/futures contract signings was cornerback Mitchell White, who signed with the Eagles. The defensive back was a standout in the CFL, leading the Ottawa Redblacks to the Grey Cup. Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets that the Michigan State product also worked out for the Texans, Bears, and Bengals. As Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets, this is the second straight season the Eagles have added a CFL cornerback, as they inked Aaron Grymes to a contract last year.

NFC Notes: Panthers, Bears, Eagles, Cards

Multiple concussions have felled superstar Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly this season, though the 25-year-old unsurprisingly told media Wednesday that he isn’t mulling retirement. “I’m holding off that retirement word for a little ways down the road,” he said (via Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk). “It’s something you appreciate everybody concerned with how you’re doing, but whenever my opportunity comes back I’ll be back out there.” Kuechly has recovered from the concussion that he suffered Nov. 17, but the Panthers haven’t cleared him to return to action. Considering they’re 6-8 and all but out of playoff contention, it would behoove the defending NFC champions to keep Kuechly out until next season.

More from the NFC:

  • The Bears designated cornerback Kyle Fuller to return from injured reserve last month, but it turns out they won’t activate him, as Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune writes. There’s now a belief within the organization – including from defensive coordinator Vic Fangio – that Fuller wasn’t eager to come back this season from August knee surgery, per Biggs. Head coach John Fox addressed that, saying, “That’s hard to measure. Looking inside people is not real easy.” The likelihood now is that Fuller – a 2014 first-round pick – has played his final game with the organization, suggests Biggs, who notes that the Bears would take a late-round choice for him. Fuller, who appeared in all 32 games (30 starts) in his first two years and racked up six interceptions, is under contract next season for a relative pittance ($1.74MM-plus). He’s also controllable for 2018 by way of a fifth-year option, but it’s likely his employer – whether it’s the Bears or another team – will decline to exercise it by next spring’s deadline.
  • After Eagles left tackle Jason Peters earned his ninth Pro Bowl selection Tuesday, head coach Doug Pederson spoke out against the idea that the soon-to-be 35-year-old could be an offseason cap casualty. “I love him,’’ Pederson said (per Paul Domowitch of “I want him on the team. I don’t want him to go anywhere. I want him to be an Eagle for the rest of his career. Once we get through these next two games, we’ll address all of that.” Notably, Howie Roseman – not Pederson – has final say when it comes to the Eagles’ roster. Further, releasing Peters in order to avail the left tackle position for well-compensated right tackle Lane Johnson would free up $9.2MM in cap space against $2MM in dead money next year. Moving on from Peters would also significantly weaken the Eagles’ line, though, evidenced by his ninth-place ranking among 79 qualifying tackles at Pro Football Focus.
  • The Cardinals have an impressive class of 2017 free agents on the horizon, and general manager Steve Keim says he’s already touched base with the agents for many of those players, a list that includes Chandler Jones, Calais Campbell, Tony Jefferson, Andre Ellington, and Jermaine Gresham, among others. “One thing public does not generally know, we have spoken to many agents regarding players whose contracts expire after the season and some whose contracts do not expire after the season that we’d just like to try to extend,” Keim told Darren Urban of “There are several players we’d like to have back, but it takes two sides.”
  • The Packers worked out former Aggies punter Taylor Symmank on Wednesday, according to a source who spoke with Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle (on Twitter).
  • The 49ers plan to sign former Texas kicker Nick Rose to a reserve-future deal in the the offseason, tweets Wilson.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Jermaine Gresham Took Less To Re-Sign With Cards?

Jermaine Gresham could have earned more money on the free agent market this spring, but the veteran tight end preferred to re-sign with the Cardinals in order to contend for a Super Bowl, as he explains to Bob McManaman of Per Gresham, the Jets, Bears, and a third unnamed club all expressed interest in him earlier this year, and he was apparently offered a four-year, $23MM deal that contained $12MM guaranteed.

Dec 27, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals tight end Jermaine Gresham (84) against the Green Bay Packers at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

“[M]y agent tried talking me out of it,” said Gresham. “But I think he felt that my happiness is more important. He saw my vision and he sid[ed] with me all the way to the end… I feel like I didn’t necessarily put my best foot forward last year and, hopefully, I’ll be able to significantly improve upon that and, hopefully, help make things even better than it was last year.”

Obviously, we can’t know the exact structure of any other deals that were apparently offered to Gresham, but if he was actually presented with $12MM guaranteed, it’s hard to imagine that re-signed with Arizona, who committed just $3MM in guaranteed money. Gresham, 28 this week, wasn’t especially effective in 2015, catching just 18 passes for 223 yards — while he graded out as an excellent run-blocker, he was overmatched in the passing game, according to Pro Football Focus.

All of which is to say that Gresham probably should have cashed out while he had the chance, as the proposed deal mentioned would have been one of the best contracts signed by a tight end this offseason. Only Coby Fleener, who signed a five-year pact with the Saints, would have come out ahead in either annual average value of guarantees.

Chicago was clearly interested in securing another tight end, as in addition to this reported wooing of Gresham, the club signed the Saints’ Josh Hill to a restricted free agent offer sheet, which New Orleans ultimately matched, and re-signed veteran Zach Miller. New York, on the other hand, did hardly anything at the tight end position this offseason, opting to simply re-sign journeyman Kellen Davis.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

FA Rumors: RGIII, Browns, Rams, Falcons

Will Robert Griffin III ultimately sign with the Browns after visiting Cleveland last week? According to Jay Glazer of FOX Sports (via Twitter), the prevailing feeling at the owners’ meetings in Boca Raton is that the Browns will indeed be able to get something done with RGIII. There’s no agreement in place yet, but Tony Grossi of tweets that there’s a possibility of a deal by the end of the week.

As we wait to see if the two sides can strike a deal, let’s round up a few other items related to free agency, including another one on Griffin…

  • Asked about the possibility of pursuing RGIII, Rams head coach Jeff Fisher acknowledged that it’s something his team may have to consider (video link via However, it didn’t sound like there was much urgency on that front for Fisher and the Rams, who have plenty of confidence in Case Keenum as their starter.
  • Falcons head coach Dan Quinn confirmed this morning that his club remains in negotiations with free agent linebacker Philip Wheeler, who may end up returning, tweets D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  • Asked today about the possibility of bringing back defensive end Greg Hardy, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said that Dallas is “focused on some other guys right now,” per Todd Archer of (Twitter link).
  • Although there hasn’t been much movement on the Chad Greenway front so far, the veteran linebacker remains confident that he’ll be able to work out a new deal with the Vikings, as Ben Goessling of writes. While Greenway’s first choice is to remain in Minnesota, he did acknowledge that he has received some inquiries from other teams, but he’s not in a rush to make a decision.
  • Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians said he was “shocked” that both Chris Johnson and Jermaine Gresham accepted less money to re-sign in Arizona, adding that there was no special sales pitch for either player (Twitter links via Peter Schrager of FOX Sports).

NFC Contract Details: Ayers, Shelby, Perry

Here are a few of the latest contract details from around the NFC on recently agreed-upon and signed deals. All links are courtesy of Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle unless otherwise indicated…

NFC South:

  • Robert Ayers, DE (Buccaneers): Three years, $19.5MM. $10.5MM guaranteed. $2.5MM roster bonus due on March 16. $2MM roster bonus due on fifth day of 2017 league year. $1MM roster bonus due on fifth day of 2018 league year. $550K annually in sacks incentives (Twitter links).
  • Derrick Shelby, DE (Falcons): Four years, $18MM. $7.5MM guaranteed. $5MM signing bonus. Annual $1MM base escalator from 2017 to 2019 (Twitter links).
  • Matt Schaub, QB (Falcons): One year, $1.75MM. $500K signing bonus. Up to $1MM in playing-time and 53-man roster incentives (Twitter link).

NFC East:

  • Tress Way, P (Washington): Five years, $7.8MM. $2.35MM guaranteed. $1.25MM signing bonus. Up to $400K in annual escalators from 2017 to 2020 (Twitter link via Master Tesfatsion of the Washington Post).
  • Nigel Bradham, LB (Eagles): Two years, $7MM. $4.5MM guaranteed. $1.5MM signing bonus. $500K base escalator for 2017 (Twitter link).
  • Kyle WIlber, LB (Cowboys): Two years, $3.25MM. $1MM signing bonus. $1MM playing-time incentive (Twitter link).
  • Logan Paulsen, TE (Washington): One year, minimum salary benefit. $35K signing bonus. $45K bonus for being on 53-man roster for first game (Twitter link).

NFC North:

  • Nick Perry, OLB (Packers): One year, $5MM. $1.5MM signing bonus. $2.3MM base salary. Up to $1MM in per-game active roster bonuses. $200K workout bonus. Up to $250K in incentives (Twitter links via Wilson and Rob Demovsky of
  • Marcus Sherels, CB (Vikings): Two years, $4MM. $1.5MM guaranteed. $500K roster bonus due on March 16. $100K in annual punt return average incentives. $50K annual Pro Bowl incentive (Twitter links).
  • Rafael Bush, S (Lions): One year, $2.4MM. $250K signing bonus. $250K in per-game roster bonuses. Up to $900K in playing-time bonuses (Twitter link via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press).
  • Don Muhlbach, LS (Lions): One year, minimum salary benefit. $80K signing bonus (Twitter link).

NFC West:

  • Jermaine Gresham, TE (Cardinals): One year, $3.5MM. $3MM guaranteed. $500K in per-game active roster bonuses. $500K in incentives for stats, playing time (Twitter link).