Johnathan Joseph

Contract Details: Jets, Charlton, Gipson

Some assorted contract details to pass along:

  • Tashaun Gipson, S (Bears): One year. Deal is worth $1.05MM, including $550K in guaranteed money. Via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle on Twitter.
  • Johnathan Joseph, CB (Titans): One year. Deal is worth $2MM, including $1.5MM guaranteed. Additional $500K in “reachable incentives” and another $750K in standard incentives. Contract worth a maximum of $3.25MM. Via Tom Pelissero of on Twitter and Mike Garafolo of NFL Network on Twitter.
  • Frank Gore, RB (Jets): One year. Deal is worth $1.05MM, including $200K guaranteed. Cap charge of $750K. Via Pelissero on Twitter and ESPN’s Rich Cimini on Twitter.
  • Jordan Jenkins, LB (Jets): One-year. Deal is worth $3.75MM. $3.25MM in guaranteed money, including $1.75MM signing bonus and $1.5MM base salary. $500K in roster bonuses, $250K in “likely to be earned” incentives. Via Cimini on Twitter.
  • Taco Charlton, DE (Chiefs): One year. Deal is worth $825K. Via Pelissero on Twitter.
  • Devontae Booker, RB (Raiders): Signed. One year deal worth veteran salary benefit ($887.5K cap charge). Includes $50K signing bonus. Via ESPN’s Field Yates on Twitter.

Titans To Sign CB Johnathan Joseph

Johnathan Joseph has reached an agreement that puts him on track to play a 15th NFL season. The Titans are signing the veteran cornerback, per Dianna Russini of (on Twitter).

The 36-year-old corner agreed to a one-year Titans deal Wednesday, Mike Garafolo of tweets. This marks the first free agency news involving the longtime Texans defender this offseason. As of now, Joseph is the oldest corner to agree to a 2020 contract.

With Tramon Williams a free agent after spending 2019 back in Green Bay, Joseph is the oldest active NFL corner by three years. He spent the past nine seasons with Houston and his first five in Cincinnati. Joseph will join Malcolm Butler, Adoree’ Jackson and second-round pick Kristian Fulton as Tennessee’s top corners. This points to Logan Ryan signing elsewhere. A three-year Titans contributor, Ryan remains a free agent.

Joseph played his lowest percentage of Houston’s defensive snaps last season, dropping to 58% after being a full-time player during his first eight seasons with the franchise. Joseph has started 186 games and played in 200 since being a 2006 Bengals first-rounder. He has nine playoff starts. Last season, he logged 13 passes defensed, made 52 tackles and intercepted a pass.

Should Joseph play with the Titans this year, he will join only Williams and Terence Newman as corners to see action in age-36 seasons since 2012. Among active players, Joseph’s 31 interceptions sit behind only Richard Sherman‘s 35.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans Will Allow CB Johnathan Joseph To Hit Free Agency

The Texans will allow veteran CB Johnathan Joseph to reach free agency, per a team announcement. The announcement noted that the two sides mutually agreed to this course of action.

Joseph, a 2006 first-round pick of the Bengals, spent the first five years of his career with Cincinnati before signing a five-year, $48.75MM with the Texans prior to the 2011 season (a transaction that today’s announcement said was possibly the most celebrated free agent signing in franchise history). Joseph earned a Pro Bowl nod in both of his first two seasons in Houston, and he went on to appear in 133 games (128 starts) with the team.

After the expiration of the five-year contract, Joseph signed two two-year deals to remain with the Texans. In 2018, he turned in one of the better seasons of his career, notching 58 tackles, two interceptions, and a touchdown en route to a top-10 ranking in Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics. That performance led Houston to reward Joseph with a raise, but he was not nearly as effective in 2019.

Nonetheless, even cornerbacks on the back nine of their careers can still attract plenty of attention on the open market, especially those with track records like Joseph’s. And Mark Berman of Fox 26 hears that Joseph, 35, could still return to the Texans after he has seen what other teams have to offer (Twitter link).

But in the meantime, Houston will search for an upgrade. The Texans were interested in trading for Broncos CB Chris Harris prior to the 2019 deadline, and Troy Renck of Denver7 says the team is again showing strong interest in Harris — who is now eligible for free agency — this offseason (Twitter link).

In a career that has spanned exactly 200 regular season contests, Joseph has accumulated 755 tackles, 194 passes defensed, and a healthy seven pick-sixes. He has earned over $80MM between the Bengals and Texans.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans Give Raise To CB Johnathan Joseph

The Texans gave cornerback Johnathan Joseph a raise, as Field Yates of tweets. In the revised deal, Joseph received a $1.5MM signing bonus and a base salary bump from $2.9MM to $4MM. Meanwhile, his per game roster bonuses were reduced from $1MM to $500K total. 

[RELATED: Latest On Texans’ RB Situation]

It’s a solid reward for a veteran player who has outperformed the two-year, $10MM deal he signed prior to the 2018 season. Joseph has pretty much been a starter throughout his career, but last year he graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 10 ranked cornerback in the NFL, though his check put him in the middle of the pack at his position.

Joseph finished out 2018 with 58 tackles, two interceptions, and a touchdown. At the age of 35, Joseph now has 30 career picks, seven scores, and 175 total starts to his credit.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Johnathan Joseph Expected To Miss 2-3 Weeks

On the same night they lost receiver Will Fuller to a season-ending injury, it sounds like the Texans also lost a top cornerback for several weeks. Mark Berman of Fox26 in Houston reports (via Twitter) that Johnathan Joseph suffered a high ankle sprain and a MCL sprain during Thursday’s win over the Dolphins. The injury will sideline him for two to three weeks.

The Texans’ cornerback corps have been decimated by injuries. Kayvon Webster, Kevin Johnson, and Jermaine Kelly are currently sitting on the injured reserve, while Aaron Colvin is expected to be out for the next few weeks as he recovers from an ankle injury. With Shareece Wright sitting out Thursday’s game, the Texans rolled with three healthy cornerbacks: Joseph, AJ Moore, and Johnson Bademosi.

While Joseph’s absence is exasperated by the team’s injury woes, the 34-year-old would be especially missed in the Texans’ secondary. The veteran was having a resurgent season in Houston, compiling 34 tackles, one pick-six, and eight passes defended in eight games (eight starts). Pro Football Focus has Joseph ranked 12th among 112 eligible cornerbacks.

Fortunately for the Texans, they may not need to add another cornerback. The team can always turn to safety Kareem Jackson for snaps at the position. Plus, since there are nine days between their Week 8 and Week 9 contests (plus a bye in Week 10), Joseph could end up missing only a single game.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Foster, Joseph, Mack

Good news for Steelers fans. Left guard Ramon Foster, who was carted off the practice field yesterday, hyperextended his knee but did not suffer any ligament damage and will not require surgery, as Aditi Kinkhabwala of the NFL Network reports (via Twitter). Kinkhabwala adds that Foster will miss four to five weeks but is expected to be ready for Week 1.

Now let’s get to more notes from around the AFC:

  • Browns owner Jimmy Haslam expressed unwavering support of head coach Hue Jackson during Haslam’s traditional training camp address yesterday. Per Tony Grossi of ESPN 850 WKNR, Haslam said, “I think we will see the real Hue Jackson (this year). He has good quarterbacks, he has some skill players, he has veteran offensive line – now, we have to figure out left tackle – and three really good backs and a good defense. I think this will be the first opportunity Hue will have to do what we know he can do as head coach and as a leader. We are excited to see it.” That certainly sounds to some, like Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, that Jackson is getting a clean slate, which is quite surprising for a head coach who has compiled a 1-31 record over his two seasons with the club. But Grossi suggests that the Haslams could also be subtly putting Jackson on notice that he is out of excuses.
  • Johnathan Joseph, who signed a two-year, $10MM deal to remain with the Texans this offseason, does not plan on calling it quits anytime soon, as Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle writes. The 34-year-old Joseph is entering the 13th year of his career, but he remains a starting cornerback and stills loves the game and the camaraderie it engenders. Joseph said, “as long as I’m healthy and I’m fine, I’m going to go out there and compete and contribute to the team. I’ll never play this game just to be playing and out there taking checks and stuff like that. So, if I’m able to be out there playing winning football, I’ll always play.”
  • We learned several days ago that Raiders star defensive end Khalil Mack, who is staying away from the team in an effort to land a new contract, has not spoken with head coach Jon Gruden since Gruden was hired in January. That report sent some of Raiders Nation into panic mode, but as Jerry McDonald of the Mercury News opines, there is no cause for alarm. He says Gruden is right to stay out of the negotiations, which is the domain of GM Reggie McKenzie and ownership, and that there should be no issues between Mack and Gruden when the contract situation does get resolved. McKenzie, meanwhile had no updates to offer on the negotiations.
  • In other Raiders news, Paul Gutierrez of reports that rookie Kolton Miller will be given every chance to win the starting LT job from Donald Penn, who is currently on the PUP list.
  • Embattled Bills DE Shaq Lawson could be on his way out of Buffalo, but DC Leslie Frazier isn’t casting him aside just yet. Frazier said Lawson’s best football is ahead of him, and that he is much too young to say that 2018 is a make-or-break year (via Joe Buscaglia of WKBW on Twitter). However, as Mike Rodak of tweets, Frazier also refers to Trent Murphy as the team’s starting left end, which is further evidence that Lawson has ground to make up if he wants to remain a Bill.

Extra Points: Seahawks, Nelson, Browns

The Raiders are in the mix to sign Jordy Nelson, but it’s not a done deal just yet. Ian Rapoport of (on Twitter) cautions not to count out the Seahawks in the Nelson chase, given John Schneider‘s history with the wide receiver.

In 2008, the Packers traded back with the Jets in the second round in order to select Nelson. Schneider was a big reason for that deal as he advocated for Nelson in the war room. Now, Schneider is at the helm in Seattle with a very real chance at signing the veteran.

The Saints, reportedly, are also pushing to sign Nelson.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Browns GM John Dorsey said he released cornerback Jason McCourty because he wasn’t sure he’d make the roster and, given his veteran status, wanted to give him a chance to catch on with another team (Twitter link via’s Pat McManamon). McCourty had a solid bounce back year with the Browns, so it’s surprising to hear that Dorsey wasn’t sure if McCourty would quality for the 53-man roster. In any event, he figures to have a ripe market.
  • Meanwhile, Browns coach Hue Jackson confirmed that Tyrod Taylor is the Browns starting quarterback for 2018. “He’s going to be the starting quarterback. There is no competition,” Jackson said (Twitter link via’s James Palmer). The Browns hold the No. 1 and No. 4 overall picks in this year’s draft and one of those selections will almost certainly be used on a QB. Whoever that rookie is, apparently, will be learning from the bench at the outset.
  • The Raiders were a close second for Johnathan Joseph before he agreed to re-sign with the Texans, according to Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle (on Twitter). Joseph re-upped with Houston on Thursday with a two-year deal.
  • The Eagles and Giants are showing interest in Bears free agent punter Pat O’Donnell, Adam Schefter of tweets.

Texans Re-Sign CB Johnathan Joseph

The Texans have agreed to re-sign cornerback Johnathan Joseph, according to Ian Rapoport of (on Twitter). It’s a two-year deal worth $10MM with $3.9MM guaranteed, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (on Twitter). 

Joseph, one of our top 15 ranked cornerbacks before the start of free agency, didn’t appear to take any other visits this week. His representatives likely spoke with other teams, but ultimately, he has opted to return to the Texans for his eighth season in Houston.

Joseph has pretty much been a starter throughout his career, dating back to his entry into the league as a first-round pick of the Bengals in 2006. In 2018, it’s not a lock that he’ll start for the Texans. Houston has been flirting with a number of free agent corners, so another signing could theoretically push Joseph down the depth chart. We know for sure that free agent pickup Aaron Colvin will hold down at least one starting job. The other starting gig could be filled by Joseph, Kareem Jackson, or perhaps another outside addition.

Last year, Joseph started all 16 games for the Texans and managed two interceptions. He rated as just Pro Football Focus’ No. 62 corner out of 121 full-time players at the position, but simultaneously ranked 21st in Football Outsiders’ success rate, meaning he was excellent at stopping wideouts short of the sticks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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

FA Notes: Burkhead, Seahawks, Broncos

Free agent running back Rex Burkhead is expected to see a “competitive market” for his services and it’s not a lock that he re-signs with the Patriots, according to Doug Kyed of NESN. Burkhead, 27, inked a one-year deal with New England last offseason and went on to produce 518 yards from scrimmage in 10 games. Viable in both the running and passing game, Burkhead ranked seventh in receiving DVOA in 2017, meaning he was highly effective on a per-play basis. The Patriots, of course, have another free agent running back in Dion Lewis, who is expected to draw interest from six-to-seven teams on the open market.

Here’s more from the free agent front:

  • The Texans and cornerback Johnathan Joseph have mutual interest in a return, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. Joseph, 33, has spent the past seven seasons in Houston after beginning his career in Cincinnati. Last year, Joseph started all 16 games for the Texans and managed two interceptions. Even more impressive, Joseph ranked 21st in Football Outsiders’ success rate, meaning he was excellent at stopping wideouts short of the sticks. If he does re-sign with Houston, Joseph will need to accept less than the $7.3MM annual salary he earned under his previous contract, per Wilson, who adds Joseph would also likely see a reduced role in the Texans’ secondary.
  • With Kam Chancellor‘s status for the 2018 season in doubt, the Seahawks have discussed moving cornerback DeShawn Shead to safety, reports Brady Henderson of Shead is a free agent, so Seattle would have to re-sign him if it wants him to play safety, but the club clearly has interest in retaining him. A 15-game starter as recently as 2015, Shead tore his ACL in January 2016 and took awhile to recover. Two surgeries later, Shead is hitting the free agent market after appearing in only two contests a season ago. Fellow reserve defensive back Bradley McDougald is also a pending free agent, so the Seahawks will need to work to retain their secondary depth this offseason.
  • Although the Broncos would prefer to re-sign linebacker Todd Davis, they will likely allow him to gauge his value on the open market, general manager John Elway told reporters, including Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post (Twitter link). The Broncos plan to meet with the representatives for both Davis and fellow linebacker Corey Nelson on Saturday, per Jhabala. Davis, for his part, has started 29 games for Denver over the past two seasons. Now 25 years old, Davis graded as the No. 34 linebacker among 87 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus.