Jermon Bushrod is retiring, according to Jane Slater of NFL.com (on Twitter). The offensive lineman will sign a one-day contract with the Saints and make a formal announcement on Thursday during the Saints’ final preseason game.
Bushrod, the Saints’ starting left tackle in Super Bowl XLIV, met with the Panthers back in March, but his plans have changed for one reason or another. Prior to his retirement, Bushrod was one of less than 20 players from the 2007 draft to still be active in the NFL.
After starting his career with the Saints, Bushrod spent time with the Bears and Dolphins before returning to New Orleans in 2018. He made six starts and 11 total appearances last season, filling in at left tackle for the injured Terron Armstead. Pro Football Focus assigned Bushrod sub-par grades, ranking him as the league’s No. 59 tackle among 80 qualifiers.
The Panthers hosted free agent offensive lineman Jermon Bushrod on Friday, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link). While he left without a contract, Bushrod isn’t off the table for Carolina, tweets Joe Person of The Athletic.
Bushrod, 34, is one of 18 players from the 2007 draft still active in the NFL. After starting his career with the Saints, Bushrod spent time with the Bears and Dolphins before returning to New Orleans in 2018. He made six starts and 11 total appearances last season, filling in at left tackle for the injured Terron Armstead. Pro Football Focus assigned Bushrod sub-par grades, ranking him as the league’s No. 59 tackle among 80 qualifiers.
Carolina has made several changes to its offensive line this week, adding free agent center Matt Paradis and re-signing right tackle Daryl Williams while releasing left tackle Matt Kalil. With Taylor Moton scheduled to replace Kalil on the blindside and Trai Turner installed at right guard, the only roles for Bushrod would be at left guard or as a reserve.
A Pro Bowler with the Saints in 2011 and 2012, Bushrod spent the past five seasons with the Bears and Dolphins. He re-signed with the Saints on a one-year deal. However, the 34-year-old blocker missed two practices this week due to non-injury reasons, per Underhill.
It’s possible the Saints could bring back Bushrod, but for now, the 12th-year veteran is unattached. The Saints re-signed Michael Ola and Josh LeRibeus this week, though, perhaps signalling they’re OK with younger players working as second-stringers up front. Bushrod started 10 games for the Dolphins last season and has 122 career starts.
Affiliated with the Saints since midway through last season, Williams will join Alvin Kamara and Mike Gillislee as New Orleans’ Week 1 backs. Williams has not played in a game since doing so as a rookie for the 2016 Bills. The Saints signed Gillislee earlier this week after sorting through a few Mark Ingram-replacement options this offseason.
Let’s take a look at the details from the latest contracts signed in the NFL, with all links going to Twitter unless otherwise noted:
A.J. McCarron, QB (Bills): Two years, $10MM. $3MM in 2018, $7MM in 2019. $1.1MM of ’19 salary guaranteed for injury. 2019 salary fully guaranteed on Day 5 of 2019 league year. Bills would incur $2MM dead-money charge by cutting McCarron after one season (via Mike Rodak of ESPN.com).
DaQuan Jones, DE (Titans): Three years, $21MM, $14MM fully guaranteed at signing. $6MM base salary for 2019 fully guaranteed (per Caplan).
Virgil Green, TE (Chargers): Three years, $8.6MM, $5.9MM fully guaranteed, which covers the first two years of this deal (per Adam Caplan of ESPN.com, on Twitter).
Cody Davis, S (Jaguars): Two years, $5MM, $2.5MM fully guaranteed. Deal contains option bonus due 22 days before the start of the 2019 league year (via Caplan).
The Saints are signing Jermon Bushrod, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). Bushrod, a fourth-round pick of New Orleans in 2007, returns back to where it all began.
Bushrod spent the first six seasons of his career with the Saints. Four of those campaigns were spent as the team’s starting left tackle and he earned Pro Bowl nods for his 2011 and 2012 seasons with New Orleans.
Bushrod left in free agency in 2013 to sign a five-year, $35MM free agent deal with the Bears which, at the time, was considerable cash for a tackle. Three years later, the contract was cut short and the Dolphins picked him up to serve as their starting guard.
Bushrod will likely fill the void created by Senio Kelemete‘s departure. Kelemete, who signed a three-year, $12MM deal with the Texans, moved between tackle and guard for the Saints and appeared in 47 games over the past three seasons with 22 starts, including 17 in the past two seasons.
The move means that Thomas and Bushrod will not be able to suit up for the team’s final two games against the Chiefs and Bills. This could also mean that the two players have played their final snaps for the Dolphins. Thomas is under contract with a $6.6MM cap number next year, but the team can get out of the entire obligation by releasing him. Bushrod, meanwhile, is eligible for unrestricted free agency in March.
This year, Thomas had 41 catches for 388 yards and three touchdowns. It has been widely assumed that he’ll be released outright, but Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald recently suggested that Thomas could instead return at a reduced salary. Recent comments by coach Adam Gase also indicate that Thomas could have a future with the team.
“I see it different than it seems everyone else does,” Gase said. “He’s done everything I’ve asked him to do. I wish there’s been situations we’ve called plays for him and haven’t been able to get the ball to him either by coverage or the ball didn’t go there for whatever reason. When we’ve asked him to do things in the running game he’s given me max effort. He’s been there every day for us in practice and at games.”
Miami entered the offseason hoping to land two affordable guards, and it now has after agreeing to deals with both Bushrod and Ted Larsen. The club reportedly only viewed the 32-year-old Bushrod as a fallback option as of Tuesday, but he’ll nonetheless return to the Dolphins for a second season. Although Bushrod started all 16 of the Dolphins’ games last season, Pro Football Focus graded him as one of the four worst guards in the NFL.
Bushrod, who divided the first nine years of his career between New Orleans and Chicago, has 112 starts, five 16-start seasons and 124 appearances on his resume. He’s slated to spend his 11th season on a Miami line consisting of him and Larsen at the guard spots, Mike Pouncey at center and Laremy Tunsil and Ja’Wuan James at the tackle positions.
The Texans had no intention of bringing quarterback Brock Osweiler back in 2017, as Peter King of TheMMQB.com writes. Talks between Houston and Cleveland began at the scouting combine, per King, and the two sides ultimately agreed on a deal that sent Osweiler (and his contract), a 2018 second-round pick, and a 2017 sixth-round pick to the Browns in exchange for a 2017 fourth-round pick. While the trade may work out for both clubs, it’s fair to wonder if Houston would have simply released Osweiler if no such proposal was created.
Here’s more from the AFC:
Defensive end Howard Jones is visiting with the Jets on Friday, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com tweets. Tampa Bay did not tender him as an exclusive rights free agent, making him an unrestricted free agent earlier this month. Jones had five sacks in five starts in 2015 before suffering a torn ACL in 2016. He is not yet fully healthy, but doctors believe he might be able to get full clearance before training camp, per Laine.
Dolphins linebacker Koa Misi will likely either be released or have his salary reduced, according to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. The 30-year-old Misi is expected to be fully recovered from a serious neck injury time in time for the 2017 season, but he’s due a $4.175MM base salary next year. Given that Misi only played in three games in 2016 and isn’t guaranteed a starting job going forward, that’s an untenable figure.
Meanwhile, free agent guard Jermon Bushrod wants to re-sign with the Dolphins, but the club only views him as a fallback option, reports Salguero. Miami is reportedly “re-assessing the market” at the moment, and doesn’t feel the need to make hurried signings, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald details. Still, the Dolphins need to bring in at least one more guard after agreeing to terms with Ted Larsen, and the team is in fact discussing Bushrod, per Jackson. Bushrod, 32, graded out as a bottom-four guard in 2016, according to Pro Football Focus.
The 26-year-old Harmon hasn’t been a full-time player in New England, where he only started four of 16 appearances there last season (and 12 of 63 since his career began in 2013) and partook in 48.6 percent of defensive snaps. The same has been true for Wilcox in Dallas, where he started 38 of 58 appearances from 2013-16. Only four of his starts (13 games) came last year, though his performance did rank an above-average 27th among Pro Football Focus’ 89 qualified safeties (Harmon was 54th). If the Dolphins want to add Wilcox, it appears they’ll have to compete with another Florida-based franchise, the Buccaneers, for his services.
Miami agreed to re-sign defensive end Andre Branch to a big-money deal Thursday, but that might not be the last time it addresses the position this offseason. The team would like to add two more ends, though it has so far passed on top available names like Calais Campbell and Jabaal Sheard, per Jackson. The Dolphins have reached out to a less notable player, the Cardinals’ Alex Okafor, who’s coming off a 15-appearance, 3.5-sack season. Okafor, 26, didn’t start a game last year, but he did line up with Arizona’s No. 1 defense 12 times in 2014, when he posted a career-high eight sacks, and 13 times in 2015.
Along with Okafor, the Dolphins have fellow D-linemen – tackles Terrell McClain and Lawrence Guy – on their radar, Jackson writes. The Dolphins are at least the fourth team eyeing McClain, a 28-year-old who spent the previous three seasons in Dallas and is coming off the most productive showing of his career. McClain tallied personal bests in appearances and starts (15 apiece), tackles (39), sacks (2.5) and forced fumbles (two) in 2016.
The 26-year-old Guy, meanwhile, played the majority of the past three seasons in Baltimore, where he picked up a career-high 10 starts across 16 appearances in 2016. In 484 snaps, Guy only registered one sack – down from a personal-best 4.5 in 2015 – though his performance did rank an impressive 38th among PFF’s 127 qualified interior defensive linemen.
Shifting to the offensive side of the ball, Miami wants “two reasonably priced guards” and hasn’t ruled out re-signing Jermon Bushrod, relays Jackson. After playing with the Saints and Bears from 2007-15, Bushrod signed a cheap pact ($1.5MM) with Miami last offseason and proceeded to start all of its games this past year. PFF pegged him as one of the four worst guards in the league, however.