Jonathan Dwyer

Brandon Spikes, Other FAs Suspended

Veteran linebacker Brandon Spikes has been suspended for the first four games of the 2015 regular season, according to Field Yates of (Twitter link). This news won’t hurt a particular team, since Spikes is currently a free agent, having been cut by the Patriots earlier in the year.

Spikes is serving a year of probation after pleading guilty in a hit-and-run crash. Police determined that the 28-year-old was speeding and driving negligently when he crashed his Maybach sedan into an SUV back in June. After the crash, Spikes fled the scene, a crime which calls for up to two years in jail. However, the free agent linebacker was able to avoid prison time due to the minor nature of the injuries to the three people in the crash.

Spikes wasn’t the only free agent who received a suspension from the NFL. The following players have also been suspended, according to Yates (Twitter link):

  • G Rodney Austin (six weeks)
  • LB Jermaine Cunningham (six weeks)
  • RB Jonathan Dwyer (three weeks)
  • WR Mike Williams (three weeks)

FA Notes: Crabtree, Parker, Dwyer

Through the first three days of free agency, we’ve seen boatloads of money handed out by front offices. According to the NFL Players Association (on Twitter), there were 85 contracts filed to the NFLPA during the first 72 hours of free agency. The value of those contracts was worth more than $1.3B dollars, including close to $590MM in guaranteed money.

As the majority of the free agent class seeks their next contract, let’s take a look at notes surrounding some notable players…

  • Washington has interest in wideout Michael Crabtree, tweets’s John Keim. The writer notes that the Chargers appear to be a “stronger possibility.”
  • The Ravens have been seeking consistency at the safety position since the retirement of Ed Reed, and Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun says free agent Ron Parker could be the team’s answer. The 27-year-old, who spent the past two seasons with the Chiefs, has received interest from the Bears and Buccaneers. Keim notes that Kansas City is also interested in retaining the former undrafted free agent.
  • According to Fox Sports’ Alex Marvez (on Twitter), the NFL has indicated that free agent running back Jonathan Dwyer is free to sign with any team. However, discipline is “pending” following Dwyer pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct.

NFC West Notes: Dwyer, Seahawks, 49ers

After pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct, Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer has been sentenced to 18 months of probation and community service, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. Dwyer had been charged back in September after an alleged domestic violence incident, prompting the Cards to place him on their reserve/non-football illness list, citing concerns about his mental health. Although his legal case has concluded, Dwyer’s NFL future remains murky, as he could face a suspension, and isn’t under contract for the 2015 season.

Here’s more from around the NFC West:

  • Former NFL player agent Joel Corry of takes an in-depth look at what a new contract for Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson would look like, concluding from his data that an extension averaging around $24MM per year with about $65MM in guarantees would make sense. Corry’s whole piece is definitely worth reading for a thorough explanation of how he arrived at those figures.
  • Seahawks GM John Schneider indicated earlier this week that he hopes to retain cornerback Byron Maxwell for 2015 and beyond, but Maxwell said today that he intends to “look at every option for me and my family,” per Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Daily News (via Twitter). One potential suitor for Maxwell could be the SaintsMike Triplett of identifies the cornerback as a player worth watching for New Orleans.
  • According to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link), the 49ers players he has spoken to aren’t impressed with the team’s hiring of Geep Chryst as offensive coordinator, viewing the move as a byproduct of management’s desire to pinch pennies.
  • Speaking of 49ers management, Matt Maiocco of spoke to general manager Trent Baalke about the team’s “three-year plan” when it comes to managing the roster and the salary cap.
  • David Hunn of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has an update on the next step in the city of St. Louis’ efforts to build a new downtown NFL stadium for the Rams.

Extra Points: Suh, Rice, Dwyer, Cardinals

In the face of reports over the weekend indicating that Ndamukong Suh wants out of Detroit, the Lions are refusing to talk about it, writes Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “I’m not going to even go there,” coach Jim Caldwell said. “And the big thing is, I do think that we just played a heck of a football game and I think that’s what’s important. These guys played well, did a great job and we just hope we continue to get them better, got a big one next week.” ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Sunday that Suh and the Lions “are preparing” to part ways after the season and that the Pro Bowl defensive tackle is intrigued by the idea of playing in the New York market. More from around the NFL..

  • The NFLPA has informed player reps in a memo that the NFL has agreed to bring in a neutral arbitrator for the Ray Rice appeal, according to Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (on Twitter). The two sides have traded names on who that arbitrator should be, but there’s no final choice yet. The NFLPA is hoping that this will set a precedent for future cases.
  • Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer has been formally charged with assaulting his wife during two arguments in July, according to The Associated Press. Of course, the day after his arrest, Arizona placed Dwyer on the reserve/non-football illness list, meaning he can’t play for the team again this season.
  • Cardinals defensive lineman Tommy Kelly told Darren Urban of that he saw the writing on the wall at the end of his stint with the Patriots. “I saw the situation and I realized I probably wouldn’t be there,” Kelly said. “I couldn’t take busting my tail every day getting to a game and them taking me out of the game for someone who I know isn’t better than me, because he’s a cheaper option. Are we worried about money here? Or are we worried about winning?

Teams To Better Evaluate Player Conduct

The player conduct policy getting some exercise these past few weeks, with the domestic violence cases dominating the news. The cases of Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, Jonathan Dwyer, and Greg Hardy all resulted in the players making headlines and missing games.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell attempted to address this in his press conference on Friday, but was undermined when the report by Don Van Natta Jr. and Kevin Van Valkenburg of ESPN was published.

Still, the best way for teams to avoid the embarrassment that the Ravens, Vikings, Cardinals, and Panthers are now deservingly subject to is to do a better job in selecting and guiding players in the organization, writes Albert Breer of Of course, if it was easy to pick out the future criminals and troublemakers, teams would be doing so already.

“I don’t think you’ll find an NFL team that has not put an emphasis on character, and gathering the background to understand the full picture of a player,” one AFC personnel executive told Breer. “You may have risk guys. You’re gonna measure risk to a degree. But you’re also gonna have values and principles that, in some cases, will be unwavering. … I just don’t think there’s a blanket response (in how this will change things).”

Breer writes that we will not see whether this peak in incidents will influence how teams will change their approach until the calendar draws closer to the draft and free agency. It isn’t simply a question of when teams will start becoming more cautious, but if their decisions will be effected altogether.

“I’ll be honest, it will not change anything we do,” a veteran general manager said. “I hate to say it, but it’s not like we’re saying, ‘OK, from now on, we can’t have domestic violence.’ I think the players come into the league, they’re younger, and we have to develop them from boys to men. And so we spend a lot of energy here doing that.”

The process of bringing players into the organization will be equally important as the guidance they are able to provide for those players. With young men anywhere, the NFL included, a system of developing them into mature members of society needs to continue after college.

Even still, no matter how hard the teams try to bring in high character players, it is impossible to be perfect while building a team.

“You really don’t know,” an NFC executive said. “You really, really don’t know. You gotta do your homework, but there’s no telling exactly what you’re getting.”

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is not playing this Saturday because of an off the field transgression that resulted in his suspension for the game against Clemson. Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report uses the Winston case as an example of the the effect the last two weeks in the NFL will have on player evaluations.

Winston won the Heisman Trophy last year for the national champion winning Seminoles, and as the reigning best player in college football, Winston and Florida State entered this weekend as the top ranked team in the country. Despite that, the most recent incident has caused many to drop Winston on their draft boards.

Freeman notes that draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN dropped Winston from third on his board down to the 25th best player available. His colleague Bill Polian, who formerly was the general manager of the Bills teams that made it to four consecutive Super Bowls and the Peyton Manning era Colts, was asked whether he would take Winston and replied “I don’t know.”

Freeman believes players like Winston will be used as a test case for the changing demeanor amongst NFL decision makers. It is unknown if the best player in college football will be drafted in the first round. There is a chance both Hardy and Rice are free agents this offseason, assuming they are not suspended. Peterson and Dwyer both could also be looking for new teams, depending on what the Vikings and Cardinals ultimately decide to do with them once their situations play out.

In time, it will be more clear whether player conduct becomes a more vital part of the evaluation process during the draft and free agency, and if that changes the climate of the NFL.

Cardinals Sign Parmele; Dwyer To NFI List

1:55pm: Though they have the option not to, the Cardinals will pay Dwyer while he’s on the NFI list, according to Rapoport (via Twitter).

1:49pm: After deactivating him yesterday, the Cardinals have now removed Jonathan Dwyer from their 53-man roster, placing him on the reserve/non-football illness list, according to Adam Schefter of (via Twitter). Per Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic (Twitter link), the designation, which gives the team the option of not paying the running back, was made because there’s concern regarding Dwyer’s mental health. The police report of a domestic incident involving Dwyer and his family contains references to suicide, as Somers notes.

The Cardinals have replaced Dwyer on their roster with free agent running back Jalen Parmele, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. The former Raven and Jaguar was with the Cardinals during the preseason, but was a casualty when the team cuts its roster down to 53 players for the regular season.

In a related move, the Cardinals have also made a change to their practice squad, signing former Colts running back Kerwynn Williams to replace running back Chris Rainey, tweets Darren Urban of As Ian Rapoport of observes (via Twitter), Rainey also has a history of domestic violence.

Cardinals Deactivate Jonathan Dwyer

Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer was arrested earlier tonight for involvement in a domestic dispute and the Cardinals wasted little time in taking action. The club announced that they have deactivated the 25-year-old.

We became aware of these allegations this afternoon when notified by Phoenix police and are cooperating fully. Given the serious nature of the allegations we have taken the immediate step to deactivate Jonathan from all team activities. We will continue to closely monitor this as it develops and evaluate additional information as it becomes available,” the statement read, according to Craig Morgan of FOX Sports (on Twitter).

The early facts of the case, as you might imagine, are rather ugly. The Phoenix police department confirmed to Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (via Twitter links) that the charges stemmed from two incidents in July involving two victims – a 27-year-old female and an 18-month-old child. Police say Dwyer has admitted to the incidents taking place but has denied the physical assaults.

NFC Contract Details: Hatcher, Jennings, Cards

Jason Hatcher told reporters today that the Redskins blew away the competition with their pitch and offer to him, and Tom Pelissero of USA Today brings us the specifics of Hatcher’s deal (via Twitter). The four-year, $27.5MM deal includes $10.5MM in guaranteed money, made up of a $9MM signing bonus and a $1.5MM guaranteed base salary in 2014.

Here are more details on contracts signed for players by NFC teams this week:

  • While Rashad Jennings‘ four-year deal with the Giants can apparently max out around $14MM, it only has a base value of $10MM, tweets Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News.
  • Matt Shaughnessy‘s two-year contract with the Cardinals includes a $1.4MM signing bonus, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter). Pelissero tweets that there’s a “trigger” of sorts including in the deal, in the form of a $500K roster bonus due next March.
  • Jonathan Dwyer‘s one-year deal with the Cardinals is a minimum salary benefit contract. Wilson tweets that the base salary of $730K is non-guaranteed, while Dwyer also got a $65K signing bonus.
  • Meanwhile, another Cardinals signee, Ted Larsen, gets two years and $2.6MM, with a $470K, tweets Pelissero. The deal also features per-game roster bonuses and additional escalators, as Pelissero explains.
  • The Vikings‘ one-year pact with Derek Cox doesn’t include any guarantees, according to Pelissero (via Twitter). It features a $730K base salary, a $50K workout bonus, and $220K in potential playing time incentives, meaning it can max out at $1MM.
  • Domenik Hixon‘s one-year contract with the Bears is worth the minimum salary ($730K), but the receiver can earn up to $100K in roster bonus money, tweets Jeff Dickerson of Dickerson adds (via Twitter) that M.D. Jennings has a similar deal, though the safety’s minimum salary is $645K.
  • Ramon Humber received a minimum salary benefit deal from the Saints, with a $65K signing bonus and $300K in overall guaranteed money, tweets Wilson.

Cardinals Sign Dwyer, Larsen, Benard

The Cardinals made a couple of signings of Wednesday evening, inking running back Jonathan Dwyer to a one-year deal and offensive lineman Ted Larsen to a two-year deal. The team also re-signed linebacker Marcus Benard to a one-year deal. Darren Urban of reported all of the signings (via Twitter).

The Cardinals add depth at running back with Dwyer after Rashard Mendenhall announced his retirement earlier this week. The 24-year-old had his best year in 2012 with the Steelers, running for 623 yards and two scores while also catching 18 balls for 106 yards. The former sixth-rounder was cut prior to the first game in 2013, but re-signed after LaRod Stephens-Howling went down with an injury. He went on to run for 197 yards on 49 carries. Dwyers reunites with Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians, who was Dwyer’s offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh from 2010-2011. Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review said the Steelers had no interest in bringing Dwyer back (via Twitter).

Larsen, 26, was drafted in the sixth-round by the Patriots in 2010. He played with the team as a guard during the preseason, but was waived by the team in September. The Buccaneers claimed the rookie, who went on to play 60 games for the team over four years. Larsen has played both guard and center during his career.

After not playing during the 2012 season, Benard caught on with the Cardinals last year. He appeared in 12 games with the team, compiling 17 tackles and 2.5 sacks. The 28-year-old had his best season with the Browns in 2010, when he had 7.5 sacks.