Justin Britt

Extra Points: Browns, Colts, Giants, Britt

Had the Browns been able to land Alex Smith, they would have strongly considered trading out of the No. 1 spot. The Browns tried to give the Chiefs one of their three second-round picks for the quarterback, and had Kansas City not chosen Washington’s offer, the Browns would have “aggressively shopped” their top pick, per Matt Miller of Bleacher Report. This would have been an interesting strategy given what’s transpired over the past two drafts in Cleveland, with the currently woeful franchise passing on Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson, but the Browns do have the No. 4 pick as well. That could be used on a quarterback, and Miller hears the team is still considering trading down from one of its two top-five spots (but not both). The Browns have been connected to four quarterbacks at No. 1, with newly hired consultant Scot McCloughan being a staunch Baker Mayfield proponent.

Here’s more from the draft and a look at some Western-division franchises:

  • Neither the Giants nor the Colts are committed to staying at Nos. 2 and 3 in the draft. Both picks are for sale, Miller notes. The likely scenario coming out of last season was a Giants quarterback pick, since they have not held a top-five choice in 14 years, but new management has come out with effusive Eli Manning praise. The Giants trading out of a possible franchise-quarterback spot would be interesting given Manning’s age and their rare opportunity atop a draft. The Colts would make more sense as a trade-down team, with numerous needs after a season that saw them rank 31st on offense and 30th on defense. Andrew Luck‘s murky timeline notwithstanding, Indianapolis is not a threat to take a first-round quarterback and could well leverage other teams who are interested in doing so.
  • Miller did not mention the Broncos as a trade-down candidate from No. 5, but what happens in March will determine how they operate. If Kirk Cousins is set on establishing a new NFL salary threshold, the Broncos may need to do more than trade or cut Aqib Talib to clear sufficient funding. While the Broncos would have $37MM-plus in cap space after jettisoning Talib, Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post writes they might also consider putting Emmanuel Sanders on the block. Soon to be 31 and coming off his worst season as a Bronco, one limited by an ankle injury, Sanders stands to count $10.9MM against the Broncos’ 2018 cap. Sanders’ age and 2017 season aside, the franchise has experienced rampant trouble finding wideouts since its successful 2014 Sanders signing and Cousins choosing the Broncos would likely be partially because of their veteran core. A Sanders departure would deplete that setup.
  • Justin Britt‘s Seahawks extension contains a $5MM option bonus that is expected to be picked up, Brady Henderson of ESPN.com notes. Britt signed a three-year, $27MM extension last year. The Seahawks not picking up this bonus, however, would only void the final year of the contract (2020) and shift the money to a different year. If the option is not picked up, the $5MM from 2020 would be added to Britt’s 2018 base salary, thus increasing it from $2.75MM to $7.75MM, per Henderson. Additionally, Britt’s $2.75MM ’18 base became fully guaranteed on Friday.
  • The NFL is going to look into the matter of Reuben Foster‘s arrest, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Police responded to a disturbance call made at 9:15am Sunday, Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reports. The 49ers linebacker was released from jail at around 8:35pm CT on $75K bail, per Barrows. He was booked on charges of domestic violence and possession of an assault rifle, Barrows reports.

Extra Points: Bortles, Kap, Rosen, Browns

Blake Bortles has struggled so much this summer that the Jaguars may have to consider benching the quarterback in order to avoid a catastrophic injury that would guarantee his fifth-year option for 2018, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk opines (Twitter link). Such an injury for Bortles this season would leave the Jags on the hook for upward of $19MM a year from now, which even a healthy version of the 2014 third overall pick hasn’t been worth during his three seasons in the NFL. Keeping Bortles away from the field to prevent any chance of the option triggering wouldn’t be a first in the league – the Redskins did it with Robert Griffin III in 2015.

Meanwhile, in light of Bortles’ second straight lackluster performance of the preseason on Thursday, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports tweets that the Jaguars should bring free agent signal-caller Colin Kaepernick in to take the starting job. While Kaepernick’s social activism makes him a tough sell for many teams’ decision makers and fans, he at least possesses a superior on-field resume to both Bortles and backup Chad Henne.

More from around the game:

  • The NFL may soon have another Kaepernick on its hands in UCLA passer Josh Rosen, a scout told Matt Miller of Bleacher Report. Rosen, a junior, could end up as a first-round pick in next year’s draft, though his outspoken views might cause him to slide down the board, Miller notes. To cite one example, Rosen has openly derided President Donald Trump, who happened to appoint Jets owner Woody Johnson as an ambassador to the United Kingdom. The QB-deficient Jets figure to end up with a high pick in next year’s draft, which could make for an intriguing situation if Rosen draws their interest. UCLA head coach Jim Mora Jr. discussed his unique prospect as a guest Thursday on PFT Live, saying: “I’m never going to stifle his opinions. I just want to make sure he’s aware when he does say things publicly there are going to be ramifications.”
  • There’s a chance the Browns will have to open the season without one of their top players, Danny Shelton. The nose tackle suffered a knee injury that will sideline him for three to six weeks, Field Yates of ESPN reports (on Twitter). Shelton, the 12th pick in 2015, was a full-time starter for Cleveland in each of his first two seasons and posted a breakout 2016, ranking 15th in performance among Pro Football Focus’ 125 qualified interior D-linemen. He also piled up 59 tackles, 23 more than he amassed in 2015, and the first 1.5 sacks of his career.
  • Justin Britt‘s three-year, $27MM extension with the Seahawks includes $15MM in injury guarantees and $5MM fully guaranteed at signing, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Seahawks Sign Justin Britt To Extension

The Seahawks and center Justin Britt have agreed to a three-year extension worth more than $9MM per year, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Britt, a second-round pick in the 2014 draft, was slated for free agency after the 2017 season. The team has confirmed the deal via press release. "<strong

[RELATED: Seahawks Sign CB Tramaine Brock]

The new deal marks a significant pay bump for Britt, who will carry a cap number under $1.1MM this year. Britt’s extension won’t kick in until 2018, but the yearly average would tie him for third in the NFL with Alex Mack of the Falcons if it were starting immediately. Only Cowboys center Travis Frederick ($9.4MM) and Brandon Linder ($10.3MM) have higher AAVs. He’ll now be among the league’s highest-paid players at the position with the ability to cash in again at the age of 29.

Britt has been a starter for the Seahawks in each of his three seasons, but he has been moved around the offensive line quite a bit. He played mostly right tackle in 2014 and shifted to left guard in 2015 before settling in at center last year.

The 6’6″ lineman graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 11 center in the NFL last season, putting him ahead of notable names like Maurkice Pouncey, Max Unger, and Jason Kelce.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

OL Rumors: Tunsil, Decker, Seahawks

Despite being selected at No. 13 overall, Laremy Tunsil is slotted at a foreign position to him. The Dolphins are currently planning to station the Ole Miss left tackle at left guard, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports.

A three-year starter with the Rebels exclusively at left tackle, Tunsil told media (including Jackson) he has never played guard but expressed willingness to line up anywhere on the Fins’ front. Branden Albert and Ja’Wuan James remain as the Dolphins’ tackles, leaving Tunsil to join Billy Turner on Miami’s first unit at guard. With Albert, James and Mike Pouncey in the fold, guard has been a troublesome spot for the Dolphins recently.

Pro Football Focus graded the Dolphins as the league’s No. 31 line, ahead of only the injury-ravaged Chargers, with former starting guard Dallas Thomas receiving the site’s worst marks among its starters. PFF graded Miami as the league’s worst run-blocking line last season.

Here’s more on Tunsil and the latest from the respective offensive fronts around the league.

  • New offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen categorized Tunsil as the best lineman in the draft and was stunned he fell to Miami’s draft slot. “The further he dropped, I started feeling myself get a little knot in my stomach. I’m going, ‘Ah, don’t get your hopes up. You know better than to do that. There’s five places to go,'” Christensen told media, including Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald. “And even when it was one spot away, I was going, ‘Somebody is trading up. Do not let yourself get your hopes up. You’ve done this before. It’s no fun. You’ll be disappointed.’ When it did happen, I couldn’t believe it did happen.”
  • Although some expected the Lions to place Taylor Decker at right tackle considering 2012 first-rounder Riley Reiff has started on the left side for the past three seasons, the Ohio State blocker will begin his Detroit tenure at left tackle, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. Jim Caldwell did not specify the team’s plans for its first-rounder, but Decker lined up at that position during Saturday’s minicamp workout. Decker started 28 games at left tackle for the Buckeyes during the 2014-15 seasons but played right tackle as a sophomore. Birkett writes that Reiff’s future in Detroit could be tied to Decker’s ability to handle left tackle. Set to play this season on his fifth-year option, Reiff will be a free agent in 2017. Beyond Reiff, the Lions employ Michael Ola and 2015 seventh-rounder Corey Robinson. However, the team signed Geoff Schwartz to a modest accord in the offseason, and although he’s coming off two injury-prone seasons with the Giants, Schwartz has been a quality player at guard and right tackle when healthy. He may make the most sense to play right tackle if Detroit deems Decker its left tackle.
  • The Seahawks are planning to slide Justin Britt from guard to center, Tom Cable told media — including Liz Mathews of 710 ESPN (Twitter link). Primarily a left tackle in college at Missouri, Britt will have now moved from right tackle to guard to center in his three seasons in the league if this transition sticks. Britt rated as PFF’s seventh-worst full-time guard last season.
  • Seattle’s staff plans to begin Germain Ifedi‘s career at right guard, with the Texas A&M tackle’s next spot potentially being right tackle, according to an Associated Press report. The Raiders’ starting right guard for all 16 games last season, J’Marcus Webb is expected to return to tackle, where he began his NFL career with the Bears.

NFC Camp Notes: Seahawks, Lyerla, Eagles

Now that OTAs and minicamps are behind us, writers from around the league are looking ahead to training camp, anticipating roster battles, and wondering if anything we saw in the past few weeks of workouts will translate into the regular season. Here are some such notes from the NFC:

  • Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times writes that the Seahawks‘ most heated position battle will be at right tackle, where Michael Bowie and Justin Britt appear to have equal footing heading into training camp.
  • Tyler Dunne of the Journal Sentinel lists 10 Packers storylines to watch before training camp, including JC Tretter‘s hold on the center position and how the team will replace Jermichael Finley. Perhaps undrafted tight end Colt Lyerla, who Dunne also lists as a player to watch this summer, could be part of that solution.
  • Bob Ford of the Philadelphia Inquirer, like most writers, notes that reports from OTAs and minicamps are typically full of optimism. But trouble always lurks beneath that hopeful veneer, and for the Eagles, that trouble comes in the form of depth along the offensive line and the wide receiver corps. Then there is the question of whether the team’s projected starters in the defensive backfield are good enough to compete on a weekly basis.
  • On the more optimistic side of the coin, Rich Tandler of RealRedskins.com points to five reasons for Redskins fans to feel hopeful heading into training camp, including what promises to be a more productive pass rush.
  • Matt Bowen of The Chicago Tribune liked a lot of what he saw from the Bears‘ defensive unit this spring, including the promise displayed by Brock Vereen and Shea McClellin.

West Notes: Tebow, Thomas, 49ers, Seahawks

Tim Tebow still has hopes of returning to the NFL someday, even as he continues his television work with the new SEC Network, writes Mike Organ of the Tennessean. Tebow, who lead the Broncos to the playoffs in 2012, spent one season with the Jets before attending training camp with the Patriots in 2013. “I’m training every day and feel like I’m the best that I’ve ever been,” said Tebow. “I still love it, love playing, talking about it, and I’m just excited about whatever the future holds. Who knows what could happen? But I’m excited about it, though.”

More notes from the West divisions:

  • Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas is looking at a huge payday, says Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post. Thomas, an unrestricted free agent following the upcoming season, could be in line for a contract close to that of Larry Fitzgerald, who earns over $16MM annually and received $27MM in guarantees.
  • Raiders safety Charles Woodson might have retired had the Oakland not re-signed him in March, but that doesn’t mean that 2014 will be the veteran’s final NFL season, tweets ESPN.com’s Paul Gutierrez. Woodson, 37, graded out as the league’s 28th-best safety in 2014 per Pro Football Focus (subscription required), excelling more in coverage than in run defense.
  • Sio Moore will likely play more weak-side linebacker for the Raiders next season, says Scott Bair of CSNBayArea.com (via Twitter). Moore spent most of 2013 on the strong side, but Oakland’s first-round pick, Khalil Mack, will move into the SAM position.
  • Chargers offensive lineman Jeromey Clary, already recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, recently underwent hip surgery, leaving his training camp availability in question, according to Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego.
  • The 49ers, along with the Ravens and Packers, are masters of the compensatory pick system, and Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com thinks that San Francisco could be in line for additional picks in the sixth and seventh rounds, citing the losses of Donte Whitner and Tarell Brown.
  • Seahawks linebacker Bruce Irvin had hip surgery today, according to Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times (Twitter link). While Condotta notes “there is not real prognosis yet,” Irvin himself chimes in on Twitter, saying that he will return by training camp.
  • Several lesser-known players are getting opportunities for the Seahawks, as defensive lineman Jordan Hill is receiving some playing time in nickel packages (filling the void left by Clinton McDonald), and rookie offensive lineman Justin Britt is manning right tackle while Michael Bowie deals with a minor injury, per Jayson Jenks of the Seattle Times.

Seahawks Sign Justin Britt

Second-round offensive tackle Justin Britt has signed his four-year rookie contract with the Seahawks, according to Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times (via Twitter). With Paul Richardson and Cassius Marsh also locked up, Seattle has now secured its top three draftees, and six of nine total picks.

The final player selected in the second round, Britt should receive a signing bonus worth about $834K, according to Jason Fitzgerald’s figures at OverTheCap.com. In total, Britt’s contract will have a base value in the neighborhood of $3.457MM for the first four years of his career.

Paul McQuistan and Breno Giacomini each logged more than 550 snaps at one of the two tackle positions for the Seahawks in 2013, and departed via free agency this offseason. So while Britt may not become an immediate starter in Seattle, he could end up seeing plenty of playing time in his rookie year, given the team’s need for depth at left and right tackle.

Pete Carroll Discusses Seahawks’ Rookies

Head coach Pete Carroll was very impressed with the incoming Seahawks’ rookie class after the team’s three-day mini-camp. According to Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times, Carroll spoke highly of both the draft picks and UDFA players that participated in the camp. Carroll spoke about several rookies in particular, so let’s check in on the highlights:

  • Carroll envisions fourth-round draft pick Cassius Marsh perhaps eventually stepping into a role similar to the one currently being performed by the recently re-signed Michael Bennett.
  • Justin Britt will compete immediately with Michael Bowie to become the team’s swingman on the offensive line.
  • Second-rounder Paul Richardson, a wide receiver out of Colorado, suffered from a sore shoulder in Friday’s practice, but that the injury was only day-to-day.
  • Carroll also loved what he saw from fullback Kiero Small, a seventh-round pick from Arkansas. He said that the back had a “really good accelerator,” and that “he can catch the ball really well.”