Josh Bynes

Cardinals Sign LB Josh Bynes

The Cardinals have made several roster moves this morning, according to Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com (via Twitter). The team has signed linebackers Josh Bynes and Terence Waugh, released wideout Larry Clark, and waived/injured linebacker Gabe Martin.

Josh Bynes (Vertical)Bynes is the most experienced name on the list, as the veteran linebacker has appeared in 64 games (28 starts) since entering the league in 2011. The former undrafted free agent out of Auburn played the past three seasons in Detroit, including a 2015 campaign where he compiled career-highs in tackles (54), passes defended (five), and forced fumbles (one). The 27-year-old ranked 15th in PFR’s free agent positional rankings.

Waugh, an undrafted free agent out of Kent State, played 38 games during his four-year collegiate career. Over his final two seasons, the linebacker/defensive end averaged 36 tackles and 13.5 sacks per year. Waugh and Bynes will join a crowded linebackers corps that already includes seven backup candidates to starters Markus GoldenDeone BucannonKarlos Dansby, and Chandler Jones.

Martin, a 2015 undrafted free agent out of Bowling Green, appeared in eight games for the Cardinals last season, compiling four tackles. The linebacker had suffered through an Achilles injury during the first few days of training camp. Clark signed with the organization following rookie minicamp, with the undrafted free agent out of Colorado State-Pueblo impressing scouts with his size.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Top 2017 Free Agents By Position 3.0: Defense

The initial wave of NFL free agency is now complete, and while many of the league’s top available players are now off the board, there are still plenty of quality options still on the open market.

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 2017:

Edge defender:

  1. Dwight Freeney
  2. Elvis Dumervil
  3. Chris Long
  4. Mario Williams
  5. Connor Barwin
  6. Paul Kruger
  7. Trent Cole
  8. Erik Walden
  9. Jason Jones
  10. Darryl Tapp
  11. Devin Taylor
  12. Eugene Sims
  13. Howard Jones
  14. Wallace Gilberry
  15. Sam Acho

The pass rushing market has been completely depleted during the first week of free agency, as 14 of our original top 15 edge players have now been franchised, signed, or, in the case of DeMarcus Ware, retired. As such, a 37-year-old with 15 NFL seasons under his belt is now the best pass rusher on the market. Dwight Freeney played on roughly a third of the Falcons’ defensive snaps in 2016, and posted three sacks and 18 hurries. Capable of playing in either a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme, Freeney can still help out a club on the cheap.Dwight Freeney (Vertical)

Three players on this list — Elvis Dumervil, Connor Barwin, and Eugene Sims — were released by their respective clubs last week, meaning they won’t count against the compensatory formula if and when they’re signed. Dumervil, now 33, was hampered by injuries last season but still earned strong pass-rushing marks from Pro Football Focus. Barwin, meanwhile, wasn’t a good fit in Jim Schwartz‘s 4-3 defense, but he should flourish if he signs with a team running a 3-4 look. So far, he’s met with the Bengals (who use a 4-3) and Rams (3-4).

Chris Long has already indicated he won’t be returning to the Patriots, indicating he wants to join a roster where he’ll earn more playing time. Erik Walden, too, won’t re-sign with his 2016 club (the Colts), but he has taken a visit with the division rival Titans. Further down the list, Howard Jones has also met with at least one club, as he was hosted by the Jets on Tuesday. Jones, 27, is recovering from a torn ACL, but did post five sacks in five starts last season.

Interior defensive line:

  1. Johnathan Hankins
  2. Dontari Poe
  3. Jared Odrick
  4. Vance Walker
  5. Sen’Derrick Marks
  6. Ricky Jean-Francois
  7. Roy Miller
  8. Al Woods
  9. Tony McDaniel
  10. Cullen Jenkins
  11. Frostee Rucker
  12. Cam Thomas
  13. John Jenkins
  14. Tyson Jackson
  15. Tyson Alualu

Although top-flight players such as Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams have already been signed, the crop of interior defenders remains strong at the top. The buzz around Johnathan Hankins has been virtually non-existent, as the only club that’s been even tangentially linked to the 25-year-old is the Redskins. He’s one of the youngest free agents on the market, and therefore is probably looking for a massive payday. But the lack of interest around Hankins may be an indication that he’s simply asking for too much money.Johnathan Hankins (Vertical)

The same issue could be surrounding Dontari Poe, although he’s not wanting for meetings around the league. He’s visited with the Colts, Falcons, Jaguars, and Dolphins, while the 49ers and Raiders also reportedly have some level of interest. Clubs may have concerns about Poe’s lingering back issues, and he might have to accept a one-year deal in order to prove he’s healthy and willing to provide full effort.

The remaining defensive interior players are mostly over-30 veterans, with names such as Tony McDaniel, Cullen Jenkins, Frostee Rucker, and Tyson Jackson still looking for new deals. While most of these guys can still play, they may have to wait awhile — possibly into the summer — before signing on with their next club. Jared Odrick (Patriots) and Vance Walker (Bears) have both taken visits, but the most intriguing lineman here may be Sen’Derrick Marks, who offers a good amount of pass rush from the interior.

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Lions Re-Sign LB Josh Bynes

The Lions didn’t waste any time in finding a new linebacker after trading Kyle Van Noy to the Patriots, as the club announce that they’ve re-signed veteran Josh Bynes. Bynes had been on the free agent market since being waived from Detroit’s injured reserve list earlier this year."<strong

[RELATED: Detroit Lions Depth Chart]

Bynes, 27, started 11 games for the Lions in 2015, racking up 54 tackles and five passes defensed. All told, Bynes has appeared in more than 50 games during his career with Detroit (and before that, Baltimore), acting mostly as a reserve and special teams option. He’ll join a Lions linebacking unit that boasts Tahir Whitehead and Armonty Bryant, and help cover for the absence of DeAndre Levy.

PFR reported last month that Bynes had reached a four-week injury settlement with the Lions. Under the NFL’s rules, a player must wait the duration of the settlement plus an additional three weeks before re-signing with the club that cut him. That period of time has now passed, so Bynes was free to rejoin Detroit.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Spiller, Vikings, Ajayi, Bynes

Former Saints running back C.J. Spiller told ESPN.com’s Josina Anderson that he was surprised by his release earlier today, but he insisted that he was leaving the organization on good terms.

“This organization really believed in me during free agency,” Spiller told Anderson (via Zac Jackson of ProFootballTalk.com). “They gave me another opportunity when my contract was up in Buffalo. I have nothing but good relationships that I have built here. It’s a first class organization that gives the players everything they need to be successful. So, I definitely don’t have any hard feelings.

“Now, I’m just going to wait for the next right opportunity. I still have a lot of football left in me. I’m pretty sure in the ext day or so, me and my agent will start getting in to it.”

Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFL…

  • Following the release of Spiller, the Saints now have $40MM of dead money on their 2016 salary cap, tweets ESPN’s Field Yates. Meanwhile, Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com notes that Spiller’s contract included offset language, so the team “will get credit for the first $1.6 million he earns in 2016 salary elsewhere.”
  • Vikings coach Mike Zimmer acknowledged that quarterback Shaun Hill did well during Sunday’s win over the Titans, but he added (via Vikings.com) that the team is taking the quarterback situation “one week at a time.” It’s uncertain if the coaching staff is leaning towards Hill or Sam Bradford for this weekend’s game against the Packers.
  • After being inactive for the Dolphins‘ first game of the season, running back Jay Ajayi may have an opportunity to redeem himself. Coach Adam Gase said the second-year player is starting with a clean slate heading into the second week of the season. “We’re back to basically [where] he’s back in meetings, he’s back in the building,” Gase said (via ESPN.com’s James Walker). “We left him back. That was my decision and we’ve cleaned that up. We’ll move past that and basically this is a new day for him today.”
  • Linebacker Josh Bynes‘ injury settlement with the Lions is for four weeks, a source tells PFR (Twitter link). As such, Bynes wouldn’t be able to re-sign with Detroit until late October, given that he’s required to sit out for the duration of the settlement plus an additional three weeks. Those stipulations only apply to a potential reunion with the Lions, as Bynes an sign with another club at any time.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/10/16

Here are today’s minor moves:

  • The Seahawks have removed linebacker Eric Pinkins from their injured reserve list with an injury settlement, reports Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times (Twitter link). Pinkins, 25, appeared in six games for Seattle last season.
  • The Seahawks have also made a swap on their practice squad, signing wide receiver Antwan Goodley and cutting offensive tackle Takoby Cofield, tweets Condotta.
  • The Buccaneers have cut linebacker Micah Awe from their practice squad, reports Jenna Laine of ESPN.com. Awe’s removal opens a spot for fullback Dan Vitale, who was added to the taxi squad yesterday.

Earlier updates:

  • The Raiders waived defensive end James Cowser off their IR list with an injury settlement, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter).
  • The Buccaneers promoted linebacker Josh Keyes to their 53-man roster, Roy Cummings of FanRag Sports reports (on Twitter). Keyes played in seven games last season for the Bucs. To make room for Keyes, the Bucs waived tight end Alan Cross, per Cummings (Twitter link).
  • Although he enjoyed a productive preseason, Dezman Moses saw the Chiefs cut him to make room for Eric Berry, Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star reports (on Twitter). Moses spent the past three seasons with the Chiefs, serving as a backup outside linebacker and playing in 26 games for the franchise. Moses made four sacks for the Packers as a rookie but has been used mostly in a special teams capacity with the Chiefs.
  • The Lions released linebacker Josh Bynes from their IR list, Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com tweets.

Sunday NFL Transactions: NFC North

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four NFC North 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 Bears, Lions, Packers, and Vikings 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 North transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day. All links go to Twitter unless otherwise noted:

Chicago Bears

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Minnesota Vikings

Lions To Re-Sign Josh Bynes

4:26pm: It’s a two-year deal, according to Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com.

4:05pm: Josh Bynes has agreed to a new deal with the Lions, according to agent Chad Speck (on Twitter).

Bynes, a restricted free agent, was not tendered an offer by the Lions. Nonetheless, the Lions informed Bynes that they’d still like to re-sign him and they’ve presumably struck a deal at a rate closer to the minimum salary. Bynes, 25, appeared in 26 games for the Ravens from 2011 through 2014 and made nine starts along the way. He began the season on the Ravens’ taxi squad, but the Lions signed him to their active roster in late September.

In total, Bynes recorded 79 tackles and five pass deflections for Baltimore. Last season in Detroit, Bynes recorded 23 total tackles, one fumble recovery, one pass deflection, and one interception across 13 games.

Lions Notes: RFAs, Suh, Jones, Prater, Mathis

The Lions have four free agents who are set to be either restricted or exclusive rights FAs this offseason, and general manager Martin Mayhew addressed the club’s plans for all four players today in a conversation with Detroit reporters. According to Mayhew, the Lions will tender RFA defensive end George Johnson a contract, but won’t tender offers to Kellen Moore and Josh Bynes, though the team would like to re-sign Moore at a lesser rate. As for the lone ERFA on the roster, Mayhew said that Jeremy Ross will return to the club for 2015 (Twitter links via Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com).

Here are a few more Lions-related tidbits:

  • A league source told Rand Getlin of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link) that the Lions are optimistic that they’ll be able to keep defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh in Detroit. Of course, that has been the club’s public stance for some time now, but it sounds like the team is privately confident as well.
  • Defensive end Jason Jones, who will count for nearly $4MM against the cap in 2015, will return to the Lions and his contract won’t be adjusted, according to Mayhew (Twitter link via Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com).
  • Mayhew is meeting with the agent for prospective free agent Matt Prater tonight in Indianapolis and hopes to figure something out, as he believes Prater can be a Pro Bowl kicker (Twitter link via Twentyman).
  • The general manager added that he hopes to bring back cornerback Rashean Mathis for the 2015 season, and praised Mathis’ “position versatility” (Twitter link via Twentyman).

NFC Notes: AP, Bynes, McCown, 49ers, Eagles

The Vikings announced today that they’ve promoted Kevin Warren to chiefs operating officer of the franchise, and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk wondered this morning if that could mean the end of Adrian Peterson‘s time in Minnesota. After all, when Peterson said during the 2014 season that someone in the organization was working against him, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the running back was referring to Warren.

However, on a conference call this afternoon, Warren told reporters, including Ben Goessling of ESPN.com (all Twitter links), that he’d welcome back Peterson with open arms. Although Warren didn’t deny Schefter’s report, he did say, “I can tell you my feelings about Adrian are very positive. I hope he finishes his career here in Minnesota.”

As Goessling observes in his latest ESPN.com article on Peterson, the tone from the Vikings’ front office when discussing the running back seems to have shifted. Whether that signals an increased willingness from the Vikings to bring back the former MVP, or perhaps a desire to improve their trade leverage, things should get interesting as his reinstatement nears, writes Goessling.

Here’s more from across the NFC:

  • Linebacker Josh Bynes, who had been eligible for restricted free agency, won’t receive a contract tender from the Lions, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. Nonetheless, the Lions have informed Bynes that they’d still like to re-sign him, presumably at a rate closer to the minimum salary. The 25-year-old will have a chance to speak to other suitors next month.
  • There’s no truth to rumors that Josh McCown could’ve remained with the Buccaneers if he had been willing to accept a pay cut, according to the quarterback (link via Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune). McCown also indicated that at least a half-dozen teams have already expressed interest in signing him (Twitter link via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times).
  • The 49ers have key free agents in Frank Gore, Michael Crabtree, and Mike Iupati, but the franchise tag isn’t a viable option to keep any of those three players, writes Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com. I reached the same conclusion last weekend when I looked at the NFC West’s franchise tag candidates.
  • Examining the inside linebacker position for the Eagles, Sheil Kapadia of PhillyMag.com says he thinks the team should try to extend Mychal Kendricks this offseason. Kapadia also admits he has “no clue” which direction the Eagles will go with DeMeco Ryans, who is generally productive when healthy, but has a pricey cap hit ($6.9MM) that includes no guaranteed money.

Lions Sign Josh Bynes

TUESDAY, 4:11pm: The Lions have officially signed Bynes, tweets Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com.

MONDAY, 8:00pm: Inside linebacker Josh Bynes is expected to sign with the Lions’ active roster off of the Ravens’ practice squad, sources tell Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun (on Twitter). Bynes will give Detroit additional linebacker depth after losing Stephen Tulloch to a torn ACL.

Bynes, 25, appeared in 26 games for the Ravens from 2011 through 2014 and made nine starts along the way. In total, Bynes recorded 79 tackles and five pass deflections for Baltimore. The Ravens cut Bynes from their active roster on September 2nd to make room for cornerback Derek Cox, but quickly re-signed him to their taxi squad. As our own Luke Adams detailed earlier this month, Bynes was one of just eleven NFL practice squad players to earn more than the minimum. Bynes had a $15K deal with the Ravens, making him the second-highest paid p-squad player of 2014.