Jimmy Graham

Seahawks Willing To Trade Jimmy Graham?

Texans LT Duane Brown is expected to suit up for Houston for the first time this season as the club takes on the Seahawks in Seattle today. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, though, today might be Brown’s last day in a Texans uniform.

Jimmy Graham

Per Rapoport (Twitter links), the Seahawks are continuing their attempts to acquire a veteran left tackle, and Seattle and Houston have engaged in talks involving Brown. Brown, of course, has held out all season to express his dissatisfaction over his current contract, and he has only reported to the team in order to accrue a year of service time; if he missed any more game action, he would not receive any credit for the 2017 season and would remain under club control for two more years instead of being eligible for free agency at the end of the 2018 campaign.

Seattle, though, is pretty strapped for cap space, and as Rapoport points out, if the Seahawks were to trade for a left tackle like Brown — they are also interested in the Bills’ Cordy Glenn and the Colts’ Anthony Castonzo — they would need to cut or trade other players to remain under the salary cap. One player who could be moved is TE Jimmy Graham, who is earning $7.9MM in base salary this year and who is counting for $10MM against the cap. Rapoport says Seattle would be willing to move Graham if such a move would allow them to acquire a left tackle.

However, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll strong denied that Graham would be available before Tuesday’s deadline, calling any reports to that effect “total bull—-“, as Michael Silver of NFL.com tweets. Similarly, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (Twitter link) has been told Seattle has no plans to trade Graham.

Graham, 30, is averaging a career-low 9.6 yards per catch through six games this season, which comes on the heels of an excellent 2016 season, his best in Seattle. The Seahawks continue to believe Graham is a critical part of the offense, but they feel acquiring a quality left tackle is more important.

For what it’s worth, Rapoport says it is unlikely that the Seahawks and Texans agree to a one-for-one swap involving Brown and Graham, but it could be a possibility (Twitter link). Houston, however, is probably more interested in acquiring draft capital than a 30-year-old tight end on an expiring contract.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Notes: Hawks, 49ers, Chiefs, Broncos

Jimmy Graham isn’t a lock to be ready when the Seahawks face the Titans on Sunday after going down with an ankle injury, head coach Pete Carroll told reporters, including Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times (Twitter link). Seattle has scored only 21 points through two games, and Graham has contributed to that offensive ineptitude by posting just four catches for nine total yards. If Graham is out next week, the Seahawks will turn to Luke Willson and Nick Vannett at tight end.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two West divisions, with a focus on injury news:

  • The 49ers will be without safety Eric Reid on Thursday night as he recovers from a PCL injury, and the 25-year-old defensive back will likely miss additional games, head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters, including Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee (Twitter links). Luckily, Reid won’t require surgery on his injury knee, limiting the period of his absence. Reid, who’s playing in his contract season, missed six games in 2016 following a biceps tear.
  • Center Mitch Morse suffered a foot sprain during Sunday’s Chiefs game, but an MRI revealed that he won’t require surgery, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Nevertheless, Morse will be sidelined for a “few weeks” as he recovers, per Rapoport. Morse, 25, has started 33 contests in two-plus years with Kansas City, but the club will now be forced to turn to other options. Zach Fulton took over at the pivot yesterday, while recent trade acquisition Cameron Erving could also be a candidate for snaps. The Chiefs face the Chargers, Redskins, Texans, and Steelers over the next month.
  • The Broncos are breathing a sigh of relief — after initially fearing rookie left tackle Garett Bolles broke his foot on Sunday, Denver learned that Bolles has only a bone bruise, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Bolles is now considered week-to-week, which almost assuredly means he’ll be sidelined for the Broncos’ Week 3 contest against the Bills. Both Donald Stephenson and Allen Barbre played left tackle in Bolles’ absence yesterday, and both will likely be options for Denver going forward.

NFC Rumors: Bucs, Glennon, Graham

Buccaneers GM Jason Licht expects quarterback Mike Glennon to test the open market, but the door is not closed to a return, as Alex Marvez of the Sporting News tweets. Licht added that the team offered Glennon a contract extension “quite a while ago.”

In a weak crop of free agent quarterbacks, Glennon stands as one of the best available options. Glennon hasn’t seen the field much since the Bucs drafted Jameis Winston in 2015, but talent evaluators are still bullish on the 6’7″ signal caller. The 27-year-old could wind up as someone’s starter in 2017. At worst, he should command a handsome payday as a backup.

With tons of news coming out of the Combine today, here’s a look at all things NFC:

  • General manager John Schneider says there is no question that Jimmy Graham will be part of Seahawks next season, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times tweets. The Seahawks could have opened up $10MM in spending room with no dead money by releasing the tight end.
  • Bears GM Ryan Pace used the term “fluid” describe Jay Cutler’s situation and said keeping him is an option (Twitter link via Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times). Personally, I don’t think the Bears will seriously entertain another season with Cutler.
  • The Buccaneers are not expected to aggressively pursue Adrian Peterson at this point, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. Things can change, but the team still has “loose plans” for Doug Martin, Fowler adds.
  • The Cardinals are scheduled to meet with Calais Campbell’s agent this week in Indy, Dan Graziano of ESPN.com tweets. Campbell is slated to be an unrestricted free agent March 9 and Arizona has at least some interest in finding out what it would cost to bring him back. I have Campbell ranked as the most talented edge defender on the market this year, so I would not be surprised to see the Cardinals get outbid for him.
  • Cardinals coach Bruce Arians says the team would like to have Chris Johnson back next year (Twitter link via Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com). Last month, we ranked Johnson as one of the 15 best running backs in free agency.
  • Arians says the Cardinals wants to re-sign cornerback Marcus Cooper, but his price be too high (Twitter link via Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com). When asked about Cooper and other potential defensive losses, Arians said, “hopefully we’re prepared.”
  • Cardinals coach Bruce Arians hopes the team will retain center A.Q. Shipley (Twitter link via Weinfuss).

NFC Notes: Romo, Elliott, Seahawks, Graham

Quarterback Tony Romo could ask for his release this offseason, and the Cowboys should grant it, writes Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. If that were to happen, Romo would be able to pick his next employer (perhaps Denver) and negotiate a good deal for himself, and that team wouldn’t weaken itself by giving up a draft pick(s) for the soon-to-be 37-year-old. On the other hand, Florio notes that the Cowboys have the right to seek compensation for Romo via trade, though he points out that the club could otherwise designate Dak Prescott‘s backup as a post-June 1 cut and save $14MM in cap space in 2017.

Speaking on 105.3 The Fan on Tuesday, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones wasn’t willing to elaborate on what he’ll do with Romo in the coming months. “We’ve got a lot to think about here, but that’s in the future,” he said (via Todd Archer of ESPN.com). Jones did opine, though, that Romo has enough left in the tank to lead a team to a Super Bowl.

More from Dallas and another NFC city:

  • Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is unhappy with the pace of the NFL’s investigation into domestic abuse claims against him, he said after the team’s divisional-round loss to Green Bay on Sunday. “I do want closure,” Elliott told reporters, including Archer. “I would rather it not drag on this long. If there was something to find, which there’s not, they would’ve found it by now. The police did a very thorough investigation. I will tell you this — it just seems like they’re dragging their feet right now. Who knows, man? I’m just ready for it to end.” The league has been investigating Elliott since July, and it reportedly regarded him as “Public Enemy No. 1” as of November. That didn’t seem to affect Elliott on the field, as the rookie easily led the league in ground yards (1,631) and finished third in rushing touchdowns (15).
  • Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll revealed Monday that cornerback Richard Sherman played this season with a “significant” MCL injury. Sherman’s knee problem wasn’t disclosed during the year via the injury report, however, and now the NFL is “looking into” the situation, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. While Seattle was clearly in violation of league policy, its unclear what type of punishment the franchise could face. Last September, of course, the league took a fifth-round pick and a week of OTAs away from the Seahawks for 2017 after they violated its rules regarding contact practices in the offseason.
  • The Seahawks would open up $10MM in spending room and incur no dead money by releasing tight end Jimmy Graham, but they’re likely to keep him for the last year of his contract, per Sheil Kapadia of ESPN.com. An extension is even a possibility after what Carroll called “a terrific year” for the longtime Saint. “We’re always looking at all of those,” Carroll stated Monday. “We know how that’s going, and those conversations come up when we can get to them. I’m glad you reminded us, but (general manager) John [Schneider] is on that.” Graham bounced back from a subpar 2015 campaign, one that ended early because of a torn patellar tendon, to finish second on the Seahawks in receptions (65), targets (95), yards (923) and touchdowns (six).

NFC Notes: Seahawks, Eagles, Redskins

The Seahawks are making an effort to extend contract-year wide receiver Doug Baldwin, head coach Pete Carroll said Thursday (via Jayson Jenks of The Seattle Times). “The intent is to get him signed and secured for a good while. So we’ll see if we can get that done,” said Carroll, who added that the two sides are “meeting on it right now, so we’re working at it.” It stands to reason that Baldwin – coming off a career season that saw him total personal bests in nearly all major categories – could look for a deal along the lines of the extensions the Jaguars’ Allen Hurns and the Chargers’ Keenan Allen signed earlier this month. Hurns and Allen agreed to four-year pacts worth upward of $40MM apiece, including over $20MM in guarantees each.

More from Seattle and two other NFC cities:

  • Since last season ended, the Eagles have focused more on their long-term future than immediately trying to improve on their 7-9 output in 2015, writes Bob Ford of the Philadelphia Inquirer. As a result, owner Jeffrey Lurie and the front office are ready to accept another lean year, according to Ford. That wouldn’t be an optimal outcome, but Ford opines that patience is in order for the Eagles’ fan base. “We knew that we had to get a little uncomfortable for this season and next season, really, to build something that hopefully lasts and gives us a chance at being a really good team again for a long period of time,” executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman said. Roseman made a slew of future-minded moves during the offseason – including trading up in the draft to select quarterback Carson Wentz second overall and doling out extensions to several cornerstone players.
  • In other Seahawks news, Carroll stated Thursday that he expects tight end Jimmy Graham and running back Thomas Rawls to be ready for the regular season. “They would have to incur some issues that we can’t foresee right now for that not to happen,” he told the team’s website. Graham suffered a torn patellar tendon in Week 12 after posting disappointing numbers (48 catches, two touchdowns), while Rawls’ stellar rookie year ended in Week 14 on account of a broken ankle. With Marshawn Lynch having retired, the Seahawks are counting on Rawls to once again look the part of a star back. The former undrafted free agent from Central Michigan rushed for 830 yards on a tremendous 5.6 per-carry average and combined for five touchdowns in 2015.
  • After tearing his Achilles last August and missing the entire 2015 season, Redskins linebacker Junior Galette is on track to return for the start of training camp. “I’m definitely going to be out there with them. I just can’t overcompensate like I did last year,” Galette told Mike Jones of the Washington Post, implying that he came back too soon from a torn pectoral muscle and set himself up for the Achilles injury. Galette, a double-digit-sack defender for the Saints in both 2013 and ’14, re-signed with the Redskins on an inexpensive one-year deal during the winter.

NFC West Notes: Cardinals, 49ers, Graham

The Cardinals will have a handful of key contributors eligible for free agency this offseason, and if you ask the players on the roster which of those free-agents-to-be is the most important to re-sign, you won’t necessarily get the same answer. While one Cardinals player suggested to Zach Buchanan of the Arizona Republic that locking up safety Rashad Johnson should be the team’s top priority, another gave his vote to an offensive tackle.

Bobby [Massie],” the player said. “I thought he had a great year. Whether he stays here or whether he doesn’t, he’s going to get paid a lot of money.”

As we wait to see how the Cardinals approach their offseason, let’s check in on a few more items from out of the NFC West….

  • The Cardinals may have a few notable players eligible for free agency, but head coach Bruce Arians remains excited about how the roster looks for 2016, writes Kyle Odegard of AZCardinals.com. “Looking at the team that’s coming back versus where we were this time last year, very few holes to fill,” Arians said. “[GM] Steve [Keim]’s already off starting to do it and this offseason already has begun.”
  • While Chip Kelly should have the final say on who the 49ers‘ starting quarterback will be in 2016, team management would like to see Colin Kaepernick get another opportunity, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link). Cole indicates that the 49ers front office views Kaepernick’s $11.9MM base salary as reasonable for a starting quarterback, and believes he has the potential to bounce back under Kelly.
  • Kelly didn’t use a fullback during his three seasons as the head coach in Philadelphia. What does that mean for 49ers fullback Bruce Miller? Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com examines the issue, suggesting it’s not a lock that Miller will be looking for a new home this offseason.
  • Following up on John Schneider‘s comments about the Seahawks planning to bring back tight end Jimmy Graham next season, Sheil Kapadia of ESPN.com breaks down why it makes sense to take the GM at his word.

Seahawks GM: Marshawn Lynch May Retire

Marshawn Lynch‘s future in Seattle is up in the air after an injury-plagued 2015 season, with Lynch owed a sizable salary and Thomas Rawls having emerged as a viable alternative. Appearing today on 710 ESPN Seattle, Seahawks general manager John Schneider was asked about Lynch’s future and said that he’s under the impression the veteran back is “leaning towards retirement” (Twitter links via Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times).Marshawn Lynch

If Lynch is seriously considering retirement, it certainly wouldn’t be the first time we’ve heard that. A quick glance through PFR’s archives on the Seahawks running back turns up at least two separate stories from 2014 that explore the possibility of retirement. Lynch was also believed to be mulling retiring before signing a new deal with the team last March.

Of course, there are some key differences between Lynch’s situation now and then. During his first four years in Seattle, all Pro Bowl seasons, Lynch never ran for less than 1,200 yards or 11 touchdowns. In 2015, he was limited to 417 yards and three TDs in his seven games, and was barely used in Seattle’s playoff loss last weekend, as the team quickly fell behind 31-0.

Lynch is currently set to earn a base salary of $9MM in 2016, with an overall cap hit of $11.5MM. That’s a significant price to pay for a running back who turns 30 this spring, and who is coming off health issues. Rawls, as an undrafted rookie, averaged an eye-popping 5.6 yards per carry this season, en route to a team-leading 830 rushing yards, so if Seattle decides to move on from Lynch – or vice versa – the team will have a player capable of stepping into the starting role.

As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk observes (via Twitter), Lynch would owe the Seahawks $5MM in signing bonus money if he retires this offseason, so it may be in his best interest to force the club to cut him instead. Releasing Lynch would create at least $6.5MM in cap savings for Seattle, or even more than that if the team were to designate him as a post-June 1.

If past contract negotiations are any indication, Lynch is unlikely to make a quick decision, and the Seahawks won’t be under any real pressure to make a call on the running back until March, so I expect it’ll be some time before we get any resolution one way or the other on this situation.

While Lynch’s future with the Seahawks is up in the air, Schneider said today that tight end Jimmy Graham will definitely be back with the team next season, per Condotta.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jason Fitzgerald on Kaepernick, Free Agency, Rams

Jason Fitzgerald of OvertheCap.com answered a variety of questions on Twitter last night. The conversation focused on the upcoming offseason, and the writer did his best to make some early predictions. We’ve compiled the best of them, which you can find below…

  • Fitzgerald is convinced that the 49ers will be able to trade quarterback Colin Kaepernick. With a maximum $14.3MM cap hit (due to the $1MM savings if the team decides to deactivate him), the writer believes the Eagles could be a good fit for the embattled star.
  • Among the big-name players who could switch teams in free agency are (according to Fitzgerald) Alex Mack, Matt Forte, Russell Okung, Prince Amukamara, and Lamar Miller.
  • On the flip, Fitzgerald could imagine several big names being cut loose by their current teams, including Jamaal Charles, Jimmy Graham and DeMarcus Ware.
  • One of Trumaine Johnson and Janoris Jenkins will be back with the Rams next year, with Fitzgerald predicting an $8MM contract for Jenkins and $6MM for Johnson.
  • Assuming Marshawn Lynch‘s tenure in Seattle is over, Fitzgerald could envision the Patriots pursuing the running back. However, the writer is uncertain whether New England would have much interest.

NFC Notes: Hester, Hawley, Graham

Falcons returner Devin Hester was activated from the IR-DTR yesterday, and the 33-year-old is set to return to the field for the first time this season. After having dealt with a turf-toe injury for the past three months, Hester acknowledged how good it feels to be back.

“It was a long process of rehabbing,” he told D. Orlando Ledbetter of MyAJC.com. “It’s was hard work getting up every morning and going in for treatment. If feels great to back in the locker room, in the huddle and out of the field with the teammates that I have.”

While Hester is generally regarded as the best returner of all time, veteran Eric Weems has filled in admirably this season. The 30-year-old has returned 15 kicks for 403 yards, and he’s fielded another 19 punts for 221 yards.

Let’s check out some other assorted notes from around the NFC…

  • Joe Hawley‘s two-year contract with the Buccaneers called for four $250K bonuses based on playing time, TampaBay.com’s Greg Auman passes along. Considering he’s already played 94-percent of the team’s snaps in 2015, the 27-year-old is in good position to practically double his $1.25MM salary.
  • Hawley was released by the Falcons days before the season opener. Despite returning from a torn ACL, Buccaneerss offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter knew the veteran could help his offensive line. “When Joe became available, I went to Coach (Lovie Smith) and went to Jason (Licht, general manager), and said, ‘Look, we have a chance to get this guy,’ “ Koetter told Auman. ” ‘He may not be quite healthy yet, but he is going to get better.’ I know what kind of player Joe is.”
  • Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said surgery on Jimmy Graham‘s torn patellar tendon went as planned. ““[E]verything, as the doctors would report, it went really well,” he said on Friday (via Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com). “He was uncomfortable, I know, the next couple of days. He was fighting through it to get back, started getting back. Looking forward to his return and his spirits are looking ahead and all that. It was a difficult surgery for him.” 

Jimmy Graham Out For Season With Patellar Tendon Injury

The Seahawks stayed in the thick of the NFC playoff hunt with a 39-30 win over the Steelers on Sunday, but the victory comes with bad news. Tight end Jimmy Graham suffered a patellar tendon injury during the game and will undergo season-ending surgery, according to head coach Pete Carroll (Twitter link via the team). The recovery timeline will be six to nine months, per Dr. David Chao of SiriusXM (Twitter link).

Prior to departing in the fourth quarter, Graham was having one of his best games of 2015 with four receptions for 75 yards. He had to be carted off the field with an air cast on his right leg after landing awkwardly on an incomplete pass in Pittsburgh’s end zone.

Graham finishes the season, his first in Seattle, with 48 catches for 605 yards and two touchdowns. Considering what Seattle gave up for Graham in the offseason – center Max Unger and a first-round pick – it was a disappointing campaign for the three-time Pro Bowler. The ex-Saint came to the Seahawks fresh off four straight seasons of at least 85 catches and 880-plus yards, also racking up a prolific 46 touchdowns during that span.

While Graham’s production tailed off this season, he’s still a big loss for quarterback Russell Wilson and the 6-5 Seahawks – who will continue fighting for their playoff lives over the final five weeks. Graham is currently second on the Seahawks in both receptions and yards, trailing only wideout Doug Baldwin. The team’s second-most productive tight end, Luke Wilson, has just 12 catches this year.