Jonathan Babineaux

NFC Rumors: 49ers, Rams, Donald

49ers GM John Lynch won’t rule out approaching another team about a quarterback trade.

We’re not closing the door on any options,” Lynch admitted (via ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Facebook). “We have the number 2 pick and that’s a valuable asset. Fortunately for Kyle (Shanahan) and I, we weren’t part of that 2-14 season. And so now we get to walk in and the good side of that is we have the number 2 pick, and I think that opens a lot of doors for people to try to talk to us about that pick, as well. Or we can sit back and get a really talented player right there, so we’re excited about that.”

Of course, the 49ers have been heavily connected to Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins. However, they’d have to give up a ton to pry him away in addition to giving him a lucrative new extension. The latest word is that the Niners are unwilling to go that far to get a QB.

Here’s more from the NFC as news continues to pour in from the combine:

  • 49ers GM John Lynch says that he would have released Colin Kaepernick had he not opted out (Twitter link via SiriusXM).
  • Rams GM Les Snead says extension talks for defensive tackle Aaron Donald are “definitely coming (Twitter link via Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.com). Donald, the former No. 13 overall pick in the 2014 draft, is under contract through 2017 at a $3.225MM cap figure. Last year, he graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 1 interior defender with a stellar 95.6 grade. A new deal for Donald will likely reset the market for defensive tackles.
  • Rams GM Les Snead isn’t ruling out the possibility of working out a long-term deal with Trumaine Johnson before the July 15 deadline, but they’ll revisit those discussions after OTAs, Gonzalez tweets. That’s because the Rams want to wait until they have a better feel for whether Johnson is a good fit under new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.
  • The Falcons are moving on from defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux but it is believed the 35-year-old will continue playing elsewhere, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com tweets. Babineaux, he notes, has connections to coaches around he league. It sounds like the veteran doesn’t plan on retirement, but in a league that is getting progressively younger, it’s not a given that he’ll find work.
  • Discussions about a potential extension for Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro aren’t expected until later this summer, Nick Underhill of The Advocate tweets.

NFC South Notes: Bucs, Falcons, Panthers

The Buccaneers and impending free agent wide receiver Vincent Jackson have discussed a potential return, but the 34-year-old could retire, writes Jenna Laine of ESPN.com. “We did have conversations with Vincent,” general manager Jason Licht said Wednesday. “I have the utmost respect for him. Everybody in the organization does. In my mind, in head coach Dirk [Koetter’s] mind, in the owners’ minds, he’ll be a Buc for life. So whatever happens happens, but we’ll always want Vincent to be around the organization.”

Jackson has been with the Buccaneers since 2012, and he started 16 games in each of his first three seasons as a member of the club, but he has endured back-to-back knee injury-shortened campaigns. The six-time 1,000-yard man has combined for just 15 appearances since 2015.

Regardless of whether the Buccaneers re-sign Jackson, they’re going to target “playmakers” this offseason, Licht revealed. Entering free agency, only three teams have more cap space than the Bucs.

More from the NFC South:

  • Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff said wide receiver Taylor Gabriel and guard Ben Garland will be tendered as RFAs (Twitter link via Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com). He did not specify what level, however. Gabriel was the far bigger contributor of the two last year, when he averaged 16.5 yards per catch on 35 receptions and combined for seven touchdowns through the air and on the ground. Garland appeared in all 16 of the Falcons’ regular-season games, but he didn’t start any.
  • Dimitroff also announced that the Falcons will let defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux become an unrestricted free agent after 12 years together, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. Conversely, the Falcons are trying to re-sign fullback Patrick DiMarco (Twitter link). Babineaux, 35, has totaled 185 appearances, 133 starts, 27 sacks and 10 forced fumbles in Atlanta, which selected him in the second round of the 2005 draft. He’s coming off the eighth 16-game season of his career, in which he picked up six starts and 22 tackles. DiMarco, a four-year Falcon, has three 16-appearance seasons in a row under his belt. He made eight starts in 2016.
  • Panthers GM Dave Gettleman told reporters on Wednesday that tackle Michael Oher is still in the league’s concussion protocol. This means the Panthers could be in the market for a starting left tackle. Oher has been dealing with a brain injury since September and only played in three games last year as a result. The eight-year veteran is under contract through 2019.
  • Reserve defensive end Darryl Tapp made it clear Wednesday that he wants to re-sign with the Saints, relays Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com. Tapp’s agent and the Saints have engaged in discussions about a new deal. The 32-year-old journeyman just finished his first season in New Orleans, where he started in two of 16 appearances.
  • As of last month, the Buccaneers hadn’t held contract talks with soon-to-be free agent running back Jacquizz Rodgers. However, the team would “love to have” him back, Licht stated (via Kevin Patra of NFL.com). Rodgers, 27, put up 560 yards on 129 rushes (4.3 per carry) and scored two touchdowns last season.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Falcons Expected To Remake Defensive Line

Having already fired defensive coordinator Richard Smith and defensive line coach Bryan Cox, the Falcons are expected to use free agency and the draft in order to bolster their defensive line, according to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com.Courtney Upshaw (Vertical)

[RELATED: Top 3 Offseason Needs — Atlanta Falcons]

Free agent defensive lineman Earl Mitchell is expected to meet with Atlanta on Thursday and Friday, and if signed would be the first step in the Falcons’ remaking of their front four. Courtney Upshaw, who signed a one-year pact with Atlanta last spring, is expected to re-signed, as the the Falcons value his ability to play both linebacker and defensive end, per McClure. Fourth-year defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman, meanwhile, has “won over” Atlanta’s coaching staff and figures to see his role increase going forward, while free agent tackle Terrell McClain is a “name to keep an eye on” for the Falcons this offseason, reports McClure.

Change up front also means several defenders could be leaving, and veteran tackle Jonathan Babineaux could be among them, as the Falcons could choose to part ways with the unrestricted free agent even if he opts not to retire. Tyson Jackson, too, could be gone, as McClure writes the 30-year-old is expected to be released or asked to accept a cut to his $3.5MM base salary.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

South Notes: Jaguars, Babineaux, Colts

The Jaguars became the first NFL team of the offseason to officially part ways with its defensive coordinator today, announcing that Bob Babich won’t return in 2016. With Babich no longer in the picture, Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union has seven suggestions for potential replacements, including former head coaches Jim Schwartz and Mike Smith.

As we wait to see which direction Jacksonville goes for its DC opening, let’s check in on a few more items out of the NFL’s South divisions….

  • An elite free safety would be a welcome addition to the Jaguars‘ defense, but GM David Caldwell suggested today that finding one could be even harder than finding a franchise quarterback, as John Oehser of Jaguars.com tweets.
  • Falcons veteran defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux, who just completed his eleventh season, says that he still has more football left in him, as Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com writes. “Maybe one to two [years left]. My goal always was to get to 12 and decide if I wanted to continue or retire then. I know I have a few more years left in me,” he said. Babineaux is signed through next season.
  • The Colts have late-season additions Josh Freeman and Ryan Lindley signed through the 2016 season, so they plan on bringing back both quarterbacks in the offseason and evaluating them, tweets Mike Chappell of CBS4.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Falcons, Babineaux Agree To Three-Year Deal

12:47pm: Babineaux’s new three-year contract includes $4MM in guaranteed money for the coming season, and is worth $9MM overall, says Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter).

12:28pm: The Falcons and Jonathan Babineaux have agreed to a new three-year deal, tweets Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. Earlier today, Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter link) reported that the two sides were nearing agreement.

The 32-year-old has been in talks with Atlanta for several weeks and it now appears that they will keep him out of the free agent pool with a brand new deal. Babs was one of many Falcons unrestricted free agents this year and among the team’s higher priorities. Atlanta freed up extra space to re-sign Babineaux and others by convincing cornerback Asante Samuel to restructure his deal and provide the team with ~$4MM in savings. It was rumored that the team would also try and get defensive end Osi Umenyiora, set to earn $3.5MM in 2014, to take a pay cut, but that no longer appears to be the case.

Statistically, this was a less productive season for Babs than previous campaigns as he registered one sack and 28 tackles.

Falcons, Babineaux Nearing Three-Year Deal

The Falcons and Jonathan Babineaux are closing in on a three-year deal, sources tell Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (on Twitter). The 32-year-old has been in talks with Atlanta for several weeks and it now appears that they will keep him out of the free agent pool with a brand new deal.

Babs was one of many Falcons unrestricted free agents this year and among the team’s higher priorities. Atlanta freed up extra space to re-sign Babineaux and others by convincing cornerback Asante Samuel to restructure his deal and provide the team with ~$4MM in savings. It was rumored that the team would also try and get defensive end Osi Umenyiora, set to earn $3.5MM in 2014, to take a pay cut, but that no longer appears to be the case.

Statistically, this was a less productive season for Babs than previous campaigns as he registered one sack and 28 tackles.

South Rumors: Pollard, Texans, Buccaneers

The Titans re-signed Bernard Pollard this afternoon and a couple interesting notes have trickled out since. According to Terry McCormick of TitanInsider.com (via Twitter), Pollard did not use his agent and worked out the new deal himself. General manager Ruston Webster told Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean (via Twitter) that “getting this deal done today helps our overall plan for this offseason…. We still have work ahead of us trying to retain some of our other players, but we are glad to be able to get this one done.” Among the team’s other free agents are cornerback Alterraun Verner and receiver Kenny Britt.

Some more whispers from the teams down south…