Jurrell Casey

South Notes: Falcons, Jones, Titans, Casey

Everyone is waiting to see whether Julio Jones will show up for Falcons training camp, but fans received an encouraging sign this week when Jones arrived at Matt Ryan‘s offseason passing camp (Twitter link via team). Jones has stayed away from the team this offseason in hopes of reworking his contract and it’s not clear if he’ll join his teammates on July 26 in Georgia.

Jones is underpaid for what he does, but he has three years to go on his deal and the Falcons aren’t under any real pressure to revise his deal. His yearly average of $14.25MM once seemed like a lot, but it’s now good for eighth among wide receivers. Jones could, in theory, improve his leverage by continuing to skip team activities, but he’ll have to pay substantial fines.

Here’s more from the South divisions:

  • Titans defensive end Jurrell Casey says he’ll stay on the field and protest during the national anthem, while accepting any fines levied against him under the terms of the new anthem policy. “I’m going to take a fine this year, why not?” said Casey (via CNN). “I’m going to protest during the flag. That’s what I’m going to say now.” Casey, 28, inked a four-year, $60.4MM extension with the Titans in 2017, so he can probably afford to pay some fines. It remains to be seen whether other players will follow suit.
  • Linebacker Darius Leonard is the only unsigned rookie left in the Colts‘ draft class yet to sign his contract, but that might not be the case for long. The Colts still expect to have a deal done by the time rookies report on Sunday, a source tells Stephen Holder of the Indy Star (on Twitter).

Contract Details: Griffen, Casey, Kelly

This week, two defensive linemen signed landmark extensions with their franchises. Here’s how their contracts are structured.

  • Everson Griffen‘s four-year, $58MM Vikings extension included $18.8MM fully guaranteed at signing, and that will pay out over the next two years, Andrew Krammer of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. Griffen’s 2017 cap number rises to $8.6MM, and in 2018, that figure comes in at $11.6MM. The 29-year-old defensive end’s cap figures from 2019-22 are as follows: $11.9MM in ’19, $13.9MM (’20), $14.4MM (’21) and $15.5MM (’22). Griffen received a $2MM signing bonus. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports Griffen’s $3.9MM base salary for 2018 is guaranteed for injury at signing and becomes fully guaranteed on the third day of the next league year. His $10.9MM base in ’19 becomes fully guaranteed on Day 3 of the 2019 league year. After ’19, though, the guarantees are partial. $4.3MM of Griffen’s 2020 base ($12.9MM) is guaranteed for injury only at signing. Griffen has no guarantees attached to the 2021 or ’22 seasons, leading Florio to tab this a two-year deal with extra injury protection in the following two seasons.
  • Jurrell Casey‘s four-year, $60.4MM Titans re-up contains $22MM fully guaranteed at signing, Florio reports. Over the next two years, the interior defender will make $25.2MM — $11.27MM of which will be new money, per Florio. Most of Casey’s 2017 wages come through bonuses; he will earn $1.4MM in base salary. In 2018 and ’19, Casey will earn $10.6MM base salaries. The 2018 base is over $4MM more than he was set to earn under the terms of the initial Titans extension he signed in 2014. That rises to $11.25MM in 2020 and climbs to $11.68MM in ’21. By 2022, which would be Casey’s age-31 season, the two-time Pro Bowler is set to earn $13.25MM.
  • The Titans agreed to extend offensive lineman Dennis Kelly as well. It’s a two-year deal worth $3.05MM, with $400K guaranteed, per Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The swing backup will earn base salaries of $775K (2017), $1.1MM (’18) and $1.35MM (’19), per Terry McCormick of TitansInsider (via Twitter).

Titans Extend Jurrell Casey

The Titans and defensive lineman Jurrell Casey have agreed to a whopper of an extension – a four-year, $60.4MM deal – according to Adam Schefter of ESPN (Twitter link). The contract includes $40MM in guarantees and, per Paul Kuharsky (on Twitter), will run through the 2022 season.

Jurrell Casey

This is the second large contract Casey has signed with the Titans, who used a third-round pick on him in 2011. The ex-USC standout previously inked a four-year, $36MM extension with $13MM guaranteed back in 2014. There were still two years left on that pact, but given that Casey has continued to serve as a stalwart since then, the Titans elected to lock up the two-time Pro Bowler for the foreseeable future.

The 27-year-old Casey has started in 92 of 94 appearances during his six NFL seasons, and is coming off his fourth straight campaign with at least five sacks. He also tallied 44 tackles last year and finished 10th in overall performance among Pro Football Focus’ 125 qualified interior defensive linemen. He ranked in a similar vicinity to several defensive stars who have recently inked big deals, including Calais Campbell, Kawann Short, Fletcher Cox, Damon Harrison and Mike Daniels. Among those players, Casey’s deal is closest to the four-year, $60MM pact ($30MM guaranteed) that the Jaguars gave Campbell in free agency this year.

Casey led all Titans defensive linemen in snaps last season (724) and will continue to act as the unit’s centerpiece in 2017 and beyond. He joins cornerbacks Logan Ryan and Adoree Jackson, safety Jonathan Cyprien, linebacker Wesley Woodyard and nose tackle Sylvester Williams as Titans defensive starters who are under team control for at least the next three years.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Notable 2017 Pro Bowl Incentives/Escalators

The NFL announced the 2017 Pro Bowl rosters earlier tonight, and aside from determining which players will spend a week in Orlando early next year, the rosters also dictate several important bonuses and/or contract escalators for individual players. Former NFL agent and current CBSSports.com contributor Joel Corry has rounded up the notable incentives earned tonight, and we’ll pass those along below. As Corry notes (Twitter links), only first ballot Pro Bowlers who actually participate in the game (unless injured or playing in the Super Bowl) can earn bonuses, which are typically paid out by the end of March.

Here are the notable Pro Bowl bonuses and escalators that were preliminarily netted this evening (all links to Corry’s Twitter):

Incentives

  • Raiders G Kelechi Osemele, $300K (link): Under general manager Reggie McKenzie, the Raiders have employed what is often referred to as an “all cash” salary cap management system, wherein prorated signing bonuses are rarely used while base salary guarantees, roster bonuses, and — as evidenced by the number of Oakland players on this list — incentive clauses are heavily employed. Osemele, the league’s highest-paid interior offensive lineman, is signed through 2020 with cap charges north of $10MM in each season.
  • Colts P Pat McAfee, $250K (link): McAfee, who signed a five-year extension with the Colts in 2014, ranks third in the NFL in net punting average at 42.8 yards. The Indy special teams unit ranks fourth in the league in DVOA, while McAfee himself has been worth four points of field position on punts, third-best in the AFC.
  • Raiders S Reggie Nelson, $250K (link): Nelson sat on the free agent market until April, but has rewarded the Raiders for signing him by earning his second consecutive Pro Bowl season. The 33-year-old Nelson, who’s posted four interceptions after leading the NFL with eight picks in 2015, is in the middle of a two-year, $8.5MM deal.
  • Raiders T Donald Penn, $200K (link): Penn is the definition of stability, as the veteran left tackle hasn’t missed a game since becoming a starter during his rookie season in 2007. Penn signed a two-year, $11.9MM contract with the Raiders this spring, and is set to count $6.1MM against Oakland’s cap in 2017.
  • Raiders C Rodney Hudson, $100K (link): The third member of the Raiders’ offensive line to earn a Pro Bowl bonus, Hudson is the fourth-highest paid center in the league, earning $8.9MM annually. The No. 4 center in the NFL this year according to Pro Football Focus, Hudson is signed through the 2019 campaign.
  • Titans RB DeMarco Murray, $100K (link): After a putrid season in Philadelphia during which he barely topped 700 yards rushing, Murray has rebounded since being traded to the Titans, and is currently second in the league with 1.224 yards on the ground. He’s scored nine rushing touchdowns, and has added three more scores thorugh the air.

Escalators

  • Browns T Joe Thomas, $1.5MM 2017 roster bonus escalator (link): Thomas is due a roster bonus on the fifth day of the league year, and that bonus’ value has now increased from $1MM to $2.5MM. That bonus could factor in (in a minimal way) to any trade talks the Browns might have with other clubs, but Cleveland head coach Hue Jackson has been adamant that the Browns won’t deal Thomas.
  • Titans LB Brian Orakpo, $200K 2017 base salary escalator (link): Orakpo’s 2017 base salary will increase to $5.95MM after he was selected to the Pro Bowl and played in more than 65% of the Titans’ defensive snaps. Orakpo, who has posted 11 sacks during his second season with Tennessee, is signed through 2018.
  • Titans DT Jurrell Casey, $100K 2017 base salary escalator (link): Casey, 27, is arguably one of the more underpaid defenders in the league, as he’s due only $36MM from 2014-2018. His 2017 base salary will now increase to $5.9MM in 2017, and he’s also due a $200K roster bonus next spring.

AFC South Notes: Jaguars, Murray, Titans, Luck

The Jaguars seemingly have five wide receivers locked into roster spots, according to Ryan O’Halloran of Jacksonville.comAllen Robinson, Allen Hurns, Rashad Greene, Marqise Lee, and Bryan Walters.

That means there could be seven wideouts competing for a single roster spot. The group includes Arrelious Benn, Tony Washington, Rasheed Bailey, Rashad Lawrence, Jamal Robinson, Shaq Evans and Shane Wynn.

If one of those players was going to emerge, O’Halloran points to Benn. The former second-round pick was set to earn a roster spot last season before breaking his collarbone.

“He’s a big, strong, physical guy,” receivers coach Jerry Sullivan told O’Halloran. “He should be a top-notch special teams guy and be a dependable guy who can come in and be a relief pitcher.”

Let’s take a look at some other notes from the AFC South…

Titans Sign Jurrell Casey To Extension

FRIDAY, 5:22pm: According to Brian McIntyre (via Twitter), Casey’s new deal includes $13MM in fully guaranteed money — a $10.6MM signing bonus and $2.4MM in base-salary money.

WEDNESDAY, 4:35pm: The Titans and Jurrell Casey have agreed to a contract extension that will keep the defensive lineman in Tennessee beyond the coming year, according to agent Drew Rosenhaus, who tweeted a photo of Casey signing the deal. Per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk (via Twitter), it’s a four-year extension worth $36MM, with $20.5MM in guarantees. However, it’s not clear how much of that $20.5MM is fully guaranteed.Jurrell Casey

“We are excited to come to an agreement on an extension with Jurrell,” said Titans GM Ruston Webster in a press release confirming the deal. “This is something Jurrell has earned not only with his play on the field but his work ethic as well. We appreciate Jurrell’s professionalism through this process and look forward to many good years to come.”

Casey, 24, is coming off a breakout season in which he compiled 10.5 sacks and 55 tackles, ranking fourth among 69 qualified defensive tackles, per Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics (subscription required). Casey’s pass-rushing grades placed him behind only Gerald McCoy and Ndamukong Suh as an interior rusher, as he racked up 54 quarterback pressures for the season.

Not coincidentally, Suh and McCoy are the league’s top two highest-paid defensive tackles by per-year salary, so the Titans did well to lock up their star lineman for less than $10MM per year. Suh and McCoy are making average annual salaries of $12.9MM and $11MM respectively on their current pacts.

2014 was set to be the final year of Casey’s rookie contract, which paid him $1.431MM for the coming season. Based on the reported numbers on his extension, Casey should now be locked up through the 2018 season, and he should become Tennessee’s highest-paid player by annual salary, at $9MM per year. Jason McCourty‘s $8.6MM average per-year salary had previous been the top figure on the Titans’ books.

Locking up Casey had been a priority for the Titans this summer, with reports dating back to early June suggesting extension talks were underway between the two sides. Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean reported yesterday that Rosenhaus was in Tennessee to negotiate a deal for Casey in person, which was viewed as a positive sign. It appears as if Rosenhaus and the Titans were able to put the finishing touches on the new deal during that face-to-face meeting.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Titans Make Cuts, Will Work Out Feely

The Titans have made four transactions in order to reduce their roster count from 79 players to 75, per Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com (Twitter links). Here are the four players no longer on the team’s active roster:

In addition to making that series of roster moves, the Titans are also eyeing kicker Jay Feely, who was recently released by the Cardinals, tweets Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean. Feely, who joined the Cards in 2010, kicked for the team for the last three years of Ken Whisenhunt’s tenure in Arizona, so the current Titans head coach is familiar with the veteran. According to Wyatt, the club will host Feely for a workout.

The Titans also may be ramping up extension talks for defensive lineman Jurrell Casey. As Wyatt writes, agent Drew Rosenhaus is in Nashville today to discuss a new deal for his client, so while an agreement may not be imminent, a face-to-face meeting seems to be a step in the right direction. Per Wyatt, the two sides have been in contact about an extension for Casey since first broaching the topic earlier in the summer.

Extra Points: Texans, Casey, Browns, Chargers

Let’s check in on a few Thursday odds and ends from around the NFL….

  • James Palmer of CSN Houston (Twitter link) continues to hear that talks between Andre Johnson and the Texans are moving in the right direction, though he’s not sure if they’ll be productive enough to ensure that the receiver reports for training camp tomorrow.
  • According to Titans general manager Ruston Webster, negotiations on a contract extension for Jurrell Casey are ongoing, and the GM expects the two sides to reach an agreement (Twitter link via Jonathan Hutton of 104.5 The Zone).
  • Browns head coach Mike Pettine confirmed to Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com that if the Browns had kept the No. 4 overall pick in this year’s draft, they would have used it to draft Sammy Watkins, which GM Ray Farmer hinted at back in May.
  • Field Yates of ESPNBoston.com (Twitter link) has the breakdown on Danny Woodhead‘s new contract with the Chargers, which is worth $7.25MM, including a $3MM signing bonus.
  • In an interesting piece for CBSSports.com, former agent Joel Corry explains the process of holding out, including the penalties incurred by the player, the leverage in a given situation, and how often a holdout is successful.
  • Bill Barnwell counted down the 50 NFL players with the most trade value in a two-part feature for Grantland. Actually, make that 49 players and one head coach.

AFC Notes: Watt, Glenn, Gordon

Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, who will make approximately $3.6MM this year, should be in line for a four-year deal worth nearly $58MM in the opinion of Jason Fitzgerald at OverTheCap.com. Fitzgerald supplements his proposed contract with a thorough evaluation of all the factors involved.

Here’s some AFC news and notes:

  • With the waiving of Brennan Williams, the Texans will get nothing out of two 2013 third-round picks, notes Brian T. Smith in the Houston Chronicle.
  • Bills fans hoping for encouraging news about Cordy Glenn didn’t get any on Monday, as head coach Doug Marrone merely told the media he’s not allowed to go into specifics about the illness keeping his starting left tackle on the Active/Non-Football Illness list. “It’s a medical condition,” Marrone told WGR 550’s Joe Buscaglia. “I’m preparing to go on as if he’s not playing, which he’s not. I’m just waiting for the doctors, and I can’t speak about the condition because it’s something that happened outside of football.”
  • A disciplinary hearing looms for Browns receiver Josh Gordon, and the team does not seem intent on releasing the troubled receiver at this time, writes ESPN’s Pat McManamon.
  • The Titans defensive line is previewed by the Tennessean’s John Glennon, who tabbed defensive lineman Jurrell Casey as the unit’s “offseason star”: “After racking up a career-best 10.5 sacks at defensive tackle in the 4-3, Casey certainly could have been upset about the shift to a 3-4 defensive end – especially in a contract year. But he seems genuinely enthusiastic about the new scheme and new defensive coordinator Ray Horton.” Meanwhile, Jim Wyatt, Glennon’s Tennessean colleague, tweets that the team and Casey are in negotiations for a new deal.
  • Patriots second-year linebacker Jamie Collins “clearly added muscle mass as he prepared for 2014, though he wouldn’t admit how much, and he looks much more the part of an NFL linebacker,” reports Boston.com’s Jeff Howe.

Extra Points: Titans, Jags, Graham, Broncos

The Titans have a number of veterans that are coming to the end of their contracts after 2014, and Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean gives his opinion of who the Titans should work to extend and who they should wait until after next season to decide on. Wyatt wants the team to extend Jurrell Casey and Brett Kern sooner rather than later, but asks the team to show patience with some of their other veteran players.

Here are a few other stories from around the NFL:

  • The Jaguars‘ pass rush is set to be much improved in 2014, and Ryan O’Halloran of Jacksonville.com is absolutely buying into they hype. His reasoning for believing in this unit is simple. The pass rush can’t get any worse, and the key additions should be able to make a difference immediately. Although Dekoda Watson only had three sacks in 60 games for the Buccaneers, the Jaguars believe he has unique pass-rushing skills, and Chris Clemons will be able to provide some pressure as well. While Red Bryant is not known as a sack artist, his contributions in the running game will put the team in better shape on passing downs, another area where they struggled recently.
  • While there has not been a lot of positivity surrounding Saints‘ tight end Jimmy Graham since losing his grievance regarding his franchise tag, Drew Brees hasn’t forgotten Graham’s value to the league, writes Julie Boudwin of NOLA.com.Jimmy Graham has revolutionized the position,” said Brees. “He’s a guy who is so talented at so many things you know and obviously he’s a big part of our offense and I hope that they’re able to reach a long-term agreement here sooner than later. At the end of the day, this is part of the process and I think we all understand that.”
  • The Broncos had the best offense in the NFL by a wide margin in 2013, and the only pieces not returning this season are receiver Eric Decker who signed with the Jets, and tailback Knowshon Moreno who is now with the Dolphins. Even still, Sayre Bedinger of PredominantlyOrange.com has highlighted five dark horse candidates to impact the offense in 2014. His top five are tight ends Virgil Green and Gerell Robinson, rookie wideout Cody Latimer, and running backs Ronnie Hillman and C.J. Anderson.