Here’s the latest from the workout circuit. Links to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter account, unless otherwise noted.
- C Jake Eldrenkamp (visit), WR Chad Hansen, WR Blake Jackson, WR Korey Robertson, WR Damore’ea Stringfellow (link)
Kansas City Chiefs
- DE Will Clarke, DT Winston Craig, T Antonio Garcia, DE Alec James, T Dieugot Joseph, DT Lewis Neal, T Corey Robinson, DT DeShawn Williams (link)
New York Jets
- WR J.J. Jones, S Charlie Miller, RB Donnel Pumphrey, C Jon Toth, T Toby Weathersby, RB Ralph Webb (link)
- LB B.J. Bello, S Ibraheim Campbell, DT Winston Craig (visit), CB Dexter McDougle, CB Quinten Rollins (Twitter links via Balzer and Sirius XM Radio’s Adam Caplan)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four NFC East teams. Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline yesterday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters, claiming players off waivers or signing guys who clear waivers. Those transactions for the Cowboys, Giants, Eagles, and Redskins are noted below.
Additionally, as of 12:00pm CT today, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads. You can check out our glossary entry on practice squads to brush up on those changes, as well as all the other guidelines that govern the 10-man units, whose players practice with the team but aren’t eligible to suit up on Sundays.
Here are Sunday’s NFC East transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day:
- WR Dres Anderson
- OT Jake Campos
- RB Jordan Chunn
- RB Darius Jackson
- WR Lance Lenoir
- CB Donovan Olumba
- LB Kyle Queiro
- DE Charles Tapper
New York Giants
- WR Kaelin Clay
- DL Mario Edwards
- DB Antonio Hamilton
- DB Michael Jordan
- DB Kamrin Moore
- C Spencer Pulley
- LB Avery Moss
- LB Calvin Munson
- WR Alonzo Russell
- WR Jawill Davis
- TE Garrett Dickerson
- DB Grant Haley
- RB Jhurell Pressley
- T Victor Salako
- LB Joe Walker
- RB Josh Adams
- CB Chandon Sullivan
- CB De’Vante Bausby
- DT Winston Craig
- LB Asantay Brown
- DE Joe Ostman
- C Jon Toth
- WR Greg Ward Jr.
- WR Rashard Davis
- TE Billy Brown
Bills fans are anxiously looking forward to the inevitable ascension of Josh Allen, and Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News takes a look at the team’s quarterback competition with training camp fast approaching. A.J. McCarron and Nathan Peterman know that, if either of them start the season under center — and McCarron is generally seen as the favorite to open the year as the starting signal-caller — they would just be keeping the seat warm for Allen. Carucci notes that Allen’s natural talent was on full display throughout spring practices, and he adds that all three competitors have developed a friendship during their time together. The Buffalo News scribe examines each player’s case to start on Week 1, and he notably does not rule out any possibility at this juncture.
Now let’s take a look at a few more notes from the league’s east divisions:
- Former Patriots receiver Brandin Cooks just inked a massive extension with the Rams, and Mike Reiss of ESPN.com says New England had a pretty good idea that Cooks, who was scheduled for unrestricted free agency at the end of the 2018 season, was going to get that kind of money given the robust state of the wide receiver market. However, the Patriots just did not value him that highly and were approaching this year as though it would be Cooks’ last in Foxborough. So, when presented with the opportunity to get a first-round pick for him this offseason, New England pounced.
- Earlier today, the Patriots signed No. 31 overall pick Sony Michel.
- Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com takes a look at 10 Giants who are in danger of being cut because of their salaries, the status of their position groups, or some combination thereof. Dunleavy’s list is headlined by guard John Jerry and defensive end Kerry Wynn.
- Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman has made more trades than any other general manager since 2010, per Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com, who believes that Roseman will make more trades in the coming weeks. Shorr-Parks puts a potential return on each player on the roster, and he notes that Roseman would likely be open to moving Nick Foles and Brandon Graham, though it would take at least a first-round pick to acquire Foles and a third-rounder to land Graham.
- In a separate piece, Shorr-Parks offers his take on the locks, longshots, and bubble players on the Eagles‘ roster as it currently stands. As Shorr-Parks has indicated previously, Ronald Darby is another trade candidate if De’vante Bausby continues to play well in training camp.
Let’s take a look at the most recent new contracts and restructures around the NFL:
- Jordy Nelson, WR (Raiders): Two years, $14.2MM. $13MM guaranteed (Twitter link via Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com).
- Mike Glennon, QB (Cardinals): Two-year, $8MM deal contains void years in 2020 and 2021. $4MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com).
- Spencer Long, C (Jets): Four years, $27.5MM. $6MM guaranteed (link via Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap).
- Jaron Brown, WR (Seahawks): Two years, $5.5MM. $2.75MM guaranteed. $1.95MM signing bonus. $750K available annually via receptions, yards, and touchdowns incentives (Twitter link via Brady Henderson of ESPN.com).
- Christian Jones, LB (Lions): Two years, $6.35MM. $2.8MM guaranteed. $1.75MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com).
- Kyle Wilber, LB (Raiders): Two years, $2.75MM. $1.4MM guaranteed (Twitter link via Adam Caplan of SiriusXM).
- Billy Turner, OL (Broncos): One year, $2MM. $750K guaranteed. $500K signing bonus (Twitter link via Mike Klis of 9News).
- Richie Incognito, G (Bills): 2018 base salary reduced from $6.325MM to $3.65MM. Earned $1MM bonus. Bills created $1.675MM in cap space (Twitter link via Yates).
- John Jerry, G (Giants): 2019 contract season eliminated. 2018 base salary reduced from $3.05MM to $1.075MM, $525K of which is guaranteed. $400K roster bonus added and paid on 3/21. Per-game roster bonuses increased from $250K to $500K (all Twitter links via Dan Duggan of NJ.com). Giants created $525K in cap space.
Duron Harmon wasn’t connected to many teams during his first instance as an NFL free agent. Part of that may have stemmed from the fifth-year safety’s desire to stay with the Patriots. Although he’s only started 12 games in four years, Harmon received lower-end starter money from the defending Super Bowl champions.
“Coming back to New England, that’s ultimately what I wanted to do. I love it here,” Harmon said via Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald. “In the end, just coming back here really wasn’t a hard decision. It was something that I ultimately wanted to do.”
Part of that reasoning was a confidence the Bill Belichick– and Matt Patricia-led defense would deploy him best. He played as a nickel defender for most of last season, joining Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung in those looks. His $4.25MM AAV is tied for 35th in the league among safeties. The Dolphins emerged as a possible contender for Harmon’s second contract, but no indication came that Harmon turned down more money from another team.
“That’s one of the reasons why I wanted to come back, they know how to use me,” Harmon said, per Howe. “They know how to really get the best out of me and I want to continue to grow being a part of this defense.”
Here’s more from the East divisions.
- Brandon Marshall‘s Giants cap charges will be $4.5MM in 2017 and $6.5MM in 2018, Dan Duggan of NJ.com reports. The 12th-year wide receiver will make a fully guaranteed $3MM this season. Marshall is due a nonguaranteed $5MM for 2018, which will be his age-34 season.
- New York’s John Jerry re-up will see the veteran guard stand to earn a $925K fully guaranteed base salary in 2017 and have a ’17 cap hit of $1.75MM, per Duggan. Jerry will count $4.125MM against the 2018 cap, although only $925K of that is guaranteed — and that guarantee is for injury only. If Jerry is still on the Giants in 2019, he’ll have a $3.05MM base and a $4.125MM cap charge.
- Rhett Ellison‘s four-year Giants pact has the tight end’s cap charges at $2.25MM (2017), $3.75MM (2018), $5.75MM (2019) and $6.25MM (2020), according to Duggan. Ellison’s $975K base salary this season is fully guaranteed, as is $2.025MM of his $2.475MM base salary for 2018.
- New Bills kicker Steven Hauschka called the Seahawks’ decision to release him and replace him with Blair Walsh an “interesting” one. “I thought it was interesting that direction that they would go in,” Hauschka said, per Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News. “But I’m not really concerned about that anymore because my job’s just to go out there and kick and that really doesn’t have anything to do with me now. But, yeah, it was definitely an interesting move.” Hauschka will make $2.6MM from the Bills this season ($1.6MM base/$1MM signing bonus) after collecting $2.7MM from the Seahawks in 2016. Walsh will earn an $800K base and a $300K roster bonus in Seattle.
- The Jets‘ decision not to pursue Colin Kaepernick is probably about more than just his quarterbacking acumen, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com writes. We heard earlier today the Jets were not the team that nearly signed the 29-year-old passer, and Cimini connects the dots between owner Woody Johnson — a Republican fundraiser and recently nominated to become ambassador to Great Britain — and the likely media frenzy that would occur if Kaepernick played in New York as reasonable issues that are standing in the way of the Jets pushing to add the ex-49ers QB. The Jets have been connected to both Jay Cutler and Josh McCown.
The Giants are not done spending money on the offensive line. Today, they agreed to terms with offensive lineman John Jerry on a three-year deal worth $10MM, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The pact includes $4.25MM guaranteed.
The Giants signed former Chargers offensive lineman D.J. Fluker to a deal over the weekend. Now, Jerry will return to a unit that has lost Marshall Newhouse to the Raiders. Veteran Will Beatty reportedly is not expected to return.
Jerry, 30, started all 16 games for the Giants last season, lining up at right guard. It seems likely that he’ll reprise that role in 2017. The rest of the line, however, remains in flux. It’s not clear where left tackle Ereck Flowers will play and Fluker is not guaranteed a starting job. The only offensive lineman who have secured starting roles, reportedly, are Justin Pugh and Weston Richburg.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Fluker, who agreed to a pact worth roughly $3MM, is likely to remain at guard rather than shift back to tackle (where he began his career). But Fluker is not guaranteed a starting job, nor is any other Giants offensive lineman outside of Justin Pugh and Weston Richburg, according to Raanan. New York is still considering where to play incumbent left tackle Ereck Flowers, leaving the rest of the line in flux.
Free agent guard John Jerry could return to Big Blue, as Raanan reports the “door is not believed to be closed” on a potential reunion. Jerry, 30, started all 16 games for the Giants last season, lining up at right guard. Elsewhere among internal free agents, New York has already seen Marshall Newhouse sign with Oakland, while Will Beatty is not expected to return, per Raanan.
As PFR’s list of the Top 2017 Offensive Free Agents shows, starting options remain unsigned on the open market. At tackle, Ryan Clady, Austin Pasztor, and Andre Smith are still on the board, while T.J. Lang, Jahri Evans, and Tim Lelito are up for grabs on the interior.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
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
- Mike Glennon
- Nick Foles
- Ryan Fitzpatrick
- Colin Kaepernick
- Josh McCown
- Case Keenum
- Matt McGloin
- Mark Sanchez
- Ryan Mallett
- Christian Ponder
- Blaine Gabbert
- Geno Smith
- EJ Manuel
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.
- Eddie Lacy
- Adrian Peterson
- LeGarrette Blount
- Latavius Murray
- Jamaal Charles
- Darren McFadden
- Jacquizz Rodgers
- Rex Burkhead
- Rashad Jennings
- Danny Woodhead
- Tim Hightower
- DeAngelo Williams
- Andre Ellington
- Chris Johnson
- Christine Michael
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.
The Giants have been heavily connected to Adrian Peterson ever since his option was officially declined by the Vikings. It turns out, they might not be a player for No. 28. The Giants aren’t in the running for Peterson, according to multiple sources who spoke with Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com.
Last year, the Giants went on a free agent spending spree that saw them add three high-priced players to the defense. This time around, it could be a much quieter March. In addition to Peterson being unlikely, Raanan hears the Giants are not expected to go after a high-end left tackle, guard, middle linebacker, or wide receiver. All of those positions are needs for the G-Men, but they won’t be satisfied with the best players at each spot.
This spring might not be as exciting as the last one, but the Giants are still willing to loosen up the purse strings to lock down their own top free agents. They are working hard to re-sign defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins and to extend Jason Pierre-Paul after his franchise tag. There have also “been talks” about new deals for free agents like linebacker Keenan Robinson, guard John Jerry, backup quarterback Josh Johnson, and cornerback Coty Sensabaugh, Raanan writes.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.