Karlos Dansby

Extra Points: Pats, Ravens, Lockett, Dansby

If a Malcolm Butler trade is going to occur, it will likely take place this week and come down to whether the Saints are ready to surrender their No. 32 overall pick or submit a proposal of a package involving their second-rounder (No. 42), Mike Reiss of ESPN.com notes. Butler signed his $3.91MM RFA tender earlier this week to pave the way for a trade and Saints/Patriots talks continue, but it’s uncertain if the Saints want to unload a high draft pick and pay the 27-year-old Butler like a top-tier cornerback. Reiss gets the feeling the Patriots won’t have an issue with Butler playing on the RFA tender this season, as they would be able to fetch a compensatory pick after the season if/when Butler departs as a UFA in that scenario.

Here’s the latest from New England and the rest of the league as we enter draft week.

  • Aaron Hernandez‘s death closed all cases against him and could open the door to more issues between the NFL and NFLPA regarding the former Patriots tight end’s salary. The league and NFLPA agreed to table any grievance-related discussions until all criminal prosecution of Hernandez concluded, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. That having happened reopens those unresolved issues. Hernandez’s side was demanding $3.25MM in unpaid money from his 2012 signing bonus, and the NFLPA filed a grievance for the former tight end’s 2013 and 2014 guaranteed salaries (in addition to a 2014 guaranteed workout bonus). The NFL and the Patriots’ grievance sought repayment of all money given to Hernandez prior to the 2012 contract extension.
  • While initial reports indicated Ravens offensive lineman James Hurst had signed his restricted free agent tender, that doesn’t appear to be the case, tweets salary cap guru Ian Whetstone. Instead, Hurst looks to have agreed to a reduced one-year contract, similar to Baltimore RFA wide receiver Michael Campanaro. Under the terms of his original-round RFA tender, Hurst would have earned $1.797MM in 2017. But he will now will presumably take in a lesser total. Hurst, 25, started three games for the Ravens last season and played on roughly a quarter of the club’s offensive snaps.
  • Tyler Lockett expects to be ready for training camp, but the rehabbing Seahawks wideout has an uncertain timetable until then, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times reports. Lockett broke the tibia and fibula in his right leg in Week 16 of last year and had surgery on Christmas Eve. Lockett told media, including Condotta, he’s aiming to be ready by camp but is viewing any earlier participation as a bonus.
  • The Cardinals did not view Karlos Dansby as a backup plan despite his age, contacting the 14th-year linebacker in the opening minutes of free agency, Kent Somers of AZCentral.com reports. Signed to a one-year, $2MM deal, the 35-year-old Dansby is expected to take Kevin Minter‘s place alongside Deone Bucannon at inside linebacker. The Cards allowed Minter to walk, and he signed a one-year, $4MM deal with the Bengals.
  • Two personnel men surveyed by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Bob McGinn regarding the 2017 draft said Ryan Ramczyk would profile as a second-round pick if this were a more traditional year for offensive line prospects. But with the prognosis grim for this year’s class, the Wisconsin blocker likely will vault into the first round. An AFC team’s staffer said this class of linemen was the worst he’s seen in 10 years.

Dallas Robinson contributed to this report.

Contract Details: Hoyer, Newman, Dansby

Let’s take a look at the details of a few recently-signed contracts:

  • Karlos Dansby, LB (Cardinals): One year, $2MM. $700K guaranteed. $250K available via incentives (Twitter link via Tom Pelissero of USA Today).
  • Vlad Ducasse, OL (Bills): Three years, $3.5MM. $250K guaranteed. $250K signing bonus. Playing time incentives available (link via Mike Rodak of ESPN.com).
  • Brian Hoyer, QB (49ers): Two years, $12MM. $9.85MM guaranteed. $4MM signing bonus. $1.5MM available via incentives (20 touchdowns, 2,500 passing yards, Pro Bowl) in 2017. $5MM available via incentives (same thresholds) in 2018 (links via Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk and Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com).
  • Bennie Logan, DT (Chiefs): One year, $8MM. $7.68MM guaranteed. $1MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star).
  • Alex Okafor, LB/DE (Saints): One year, $2MM. $1MM guaranteed. $1MM signing bonus. $1MM available in sack and playtime incentives (Twitter link via Nick Underhill of the Advocate).
  • Terence Newman, CB (Vikings): One year, $3.25MM. $1.5MM guaranteed. $500K signing bonus (Twitter link via Matt Vensel of the Minneapolis Star Tribune).

Cardinals To Sign Karlos Dansby

The Cardinals have agreed to sign linebacker Karlos Dansby for a third stint with the team, tweets Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com. It’s a one-year deal for the veteran, according to Darren Urban of the Cardinals website (via Twitter).

Karlos Dansby

Dansby entered the NFL in 2004 as a second-round pick of the Cardinals, with whom he played through 2009 before a three-year stay in Miami. The ex-Auburn star then returned to the Cardinals in 2013, but his second tenure with the club only lasted one season. He has since suited up with Cleveland and Cincinnati.

Despite his age (35), Dansby has remained productive. In 2016, his 13th season, he totaled 16 appearances for the seventh time, though he turned in a career-low seven starts. Dansby nonetheless surpassed the 100-tackle mark for the seventh time and ranked a middle-of-the-road 46th in performance among Pro Football Focus’ 87 qualified linebackers.

Dansby is the second over-30 defender who has agreed to sign with the Cardinals on free agency’s first day, joining safety Antoine Bethea. The two will try to bolster a ‘D’ that has suffered notable losses in lineman Calais Campbell (Jaguars) and safety Tony Jefferson (Ravens) since the league year began.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Top 2017 Free Agents By Position 2.0: Defense

NFL free agency gets underway on Thursday and while the list of free agents will change between now and then, we do have some idea of who will be available when free agency kicks off. Here is our updated outlook for each defensive and special teams position.

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 franchised players 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 this offseason:

Edge defender:

  1. Nick Perry
  2. Jabaal Sheard
  3. John Simon
  4. DeMarcus Ware
  5. Lorenzo Alexander
  6. Andre Branch
  7. Julius Peppers
  8. Charles Johnson
  9. Datone Jones
  10. Dwight Freeney
  11. Chris Long
  12. Mario Williams
  13. Paul Kruger
  14. Courtney Upshaw
  15. Jarvis Jones

Now that Chandler Jones, Melvin Ingram, and Jason Pierre-Paul have all been assigned the franchise tag, Nick Perry stands as the top edge defender on the free agent market, and is now in a position to cash in. The Packers opted against the franchise tender for the 26-year-old Perry, so he’ll hit the open market following a career year which saw him post 11 sacks."<strong

The rest of this year’s crop of free agent pass rushers is a blend of young defenders searching for their first payday and veterans on the hunt for one last contract. Among players with youth still on their side, Datone Jones figures to interest clubs thanks to his versatility, as he can vacillate between end and linebacker, while fellow former first-round pick Jarvis Jones is solid against the run. John Simon has been overlooked while playing alongside the likes of J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, and Whitney Mercilus but could represent a hidden gem, while the Dolphins are reportedly prioritizing Andre Branch.

After managing nine sacks over the first nine years of his NFL tenure, Lorenzo Alexander busted out with 12.5 quarterback takedowns in 2016, and now could be looking for a double-digit annual salary. Charles Johnson, meanwhile, looks like a good bet to return to the Panthers, but DeMarcus Ware could be something of a wild card — after missing 11 games in the past two seasons, does the 34-year-old have enough left in the tank? The same could be asked of Dwight Freeney, who at age-37 posted three sacks in a rotational role for the Falcons.

Interior defensive line:

  1. Calais Campbell
  2. Johnathan Hankins
  3. Brandon Williams
  4. Dontari Poe
  5. Chris Baker
  6. Bennie Logan
  7. Nick Fairley
  8. Alan Branch
  9. Jared Odrick
  10. Karl Klug
  11. Terrell McClain
  12. Lawrence Guy
  13. Stacy McGee
  14. Stephen Paea
  15. Sylvester Williams
    Honorable mention: Paul Soliai

Calais Campbell is the best overall player among interior defenders, and though he’s entering his age-31 season and may not cost as much as Johnathan Hankins, Brandon Williams, and Dontari Poe, Campbell will still be highly-sought after as he searches for his last substantial payday Campbell’s agent met with the Cardinals last week, but other speculative fits for the veteran defender include the Broncos, Raiders, Ravens, Colts, and Titans."<strong

Hankins is only 24 years old, and though the Giants are trying to retain him along with the rest of their defensive core, the 6’3″, 320-pound mauler should represent an attractive option to a number of clubs this offseason. Williams, too, offers a massive presence on the inside, while Poe could intrigue clubs based on his first-round pedigree and athleticism (though his play hasn’t always matched his potential). The Redskins’ Chris Baker is a solid, well-rounded defensive tackle, and could constitute a consolation prize for teams that miss out on their top targets.

The rest of the class offers an interesting mix of nose tackles (Bennie Logan), interior pass rushers (Nick Fairley, Karl Klug), and run stoppers (Alan Branch), so clubs hoping to bolster their defensive line should find no shortage of options. Jared Odrick recently hit free agency after being released by the Jaguars, while Terrell McClain, Lawrence Guy, and Stacy McGee could be underrated finds for the right team. McClain, for what it’s worth, has already been linked to the Falcons.

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Top 2017 Free Agents By Position: Defense

NFL free agency will get underway on Thursday, March 9th, and while the list of free agents will change between now and then, we do have some idea of who will be available when free agency kicks off. The frenzy is right around the corner and it’s time for us to break down the outlook for each position. After looking at offense, we’ll tackle defense and special teams today.

[RELATED: Top 2017 NFL Free Agents By Position: Offense]

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. Chandler Jones
  2. Melvin Ingram
  3. Jason Pierre-Paul
  4. Nick Perry
  5. Jabaal Sheard
  6. James Harrison
  7. John Simon
  8. DeMarcus Ware
  9. Lorenzo Alexander
  10. Andre Branch
  11. Julius Peppers
  12. Charles Johnson
  13. Datone Jones
  14. Mario Addison
  15. Dwight Freeney

The Cardinals have already made it abundantly clear that Chandler Jones will see the franchise tag this offseason, and Melvin Ingram and Jason Pierre-Paul are also candidates to be tagged by the Chargers and Giants, respectively. If the latter two are able to hit the open market unfettered, however, they both figure to break the bank. Ingram, Pro Football Focus’ No. 6 edge defender, could be a fit for both 3-4 and 4-3 schemes, while JPP will be looking for a long-term commitment after signing consecutive one-year deals.Chandler Jones (vertical)

The rest of this year’s crop of free agent pass rushers is a blend of young defenders searching for their first payday and veterans on the hunt for one last contract. Among the players with youth still on their side, Packers edge defenders Nick Perry and Datone Jones figure to interest different clubs, as Perry is a better match for a 3-4 defense while Jones needs to restart his career as a 4-3 defensive end. John Simon has been overlooked while playing alongside the likes of J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, and Whitney Mercilus but could represent a hidden gem, while the Dolphins are reportedly prioritizing Andre Branch.

After managing nine sacks over the first nine years of his NFL tenure, Lorenzo Alexander busted out with 12.5 quarterback takedowns in 2016, and now could be looking for a double-digit annual salary. James Harrison and Charles Johnson, meanwhile, look like good bets to return to Steelers and Panthers, respectively, but DeMarcus Ware could be something of a wild card — after missing 11 games in the past two seasons, does the 34-year-old have enough left in the tank? The same could be asked of Dwight Freeney, who at age-37 posted three sacks in a rotational role for the Falcons.

Interior defensive line:

  1. Kawann Short
  2. Calais Campbell
  3. Johnathan Hankins
  4. Brandon Williams
  5. Dontari Poe
  6. Chris Baker
  7. Bennie Logan
  8. Nick Fairley
  9. Alan Branch
  10. Jared Odrick
  11. Karl Klug
  12. Terrell McClain
  13. Lawrence Guy
  14. Earl Mitchell
  15. Stacy McGee

Unlike the edge defender market, the 2017 cadre of interior defensive lineman shouldn’t be overly affected by the franchise tender. Head coach Ron Rivera recently confessed the Panthers will “probably” have to use the tag on Kawann Short, but the rest of the defensive tackles listed here should be able to hit the open market. Of the remaining defenders, Campbell is the best overall player, but given that he’s entering his age-31 season, he may not cost as much as Johnathan Hankins, Brandon Williams, and Dontari Poe.Johnathan Hankins (Vertical)

Hankins is only 24 years old, and though the Giants are trying to retain him along with the rest of their defensive core, the 6’3″, 320-pound mauler should represent an attractive option to a number of clubs this offseason. Williams, too, offers a massive presence on the inside, while Poe could intrigue clubs based on his first-round pedigree and athleticism (though his play hasn’t always matched his potential). The Redskins’ Chris Baker is a solid, well-rounded defensive tackle, and could constitute a consolation prize for teams that miss out on their top targets.

The rest of the class offers an interesting mix of nose tackles (Bennie Logan), interior pass rushers (Nick Fairley, Earl Mitchell), and run stoppers (Karl Klug, Alan Branch), so clubs hoping to bolster their defensive line should find no shortage of options. Jared Odrick recently hit free agency after being released by the Jaguars, while Terrell McClain, Lawrence Guy, and Stacy McGee could be underrated finds for the right team. McClain, for what it’s worth, has already been linked to the Falcons.

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AFC Notes: Vegas, Bengals, Browns, Broncos

The National Hockey League officially announced its expansion into Las Vegas on Wednesday, which could affect the NFL – and the Raiders, to be more specific. The Raiders have been working to relocate to Vegas if they fail to come up with a stadium solution in Oakland, though there has been concern historically about placing a pro sports franchise in a city built on gambling. However, as evidenced by the NHL’s decision, sports commissioners are less and less worried about gambling as a factor, per Andrew Brandt of TheMMQB.com (Twitter link). Now, with the NHL having taken the plunge into Vegas, the door has opened that much more for the Raiders to do the same.

For more on the NHL’s 31 franchises, bookmark the newly launched Pro Hockey Rumors and follow PHR on Twitter.

Elsewhere around the NFL…

  • Bengals linebacker Karlos Dansby has tried to recruit free agent safety Donte Whitner to Cincinnati, he told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Wednesday (Twitter link via Alex Marvez). The rebuilding Browns released Dansby in March and Whitner in April after the two played together in Cleveland from 2014-15. Given the Bengals’ situation at safety, odds are seemingly against the 31-year-old Whitner joining them as anything but a backup – for which he’s overqualified. As Roster Resource shows, the team has expensive, in-their-prime starters in George Iloka and Shawn Williams.
  • In his interview with SiriusXM, Dansby also opened up about his experience with the 3-13 Browns last season (via Dan Hanzus of NFL.com). “The coaches and the front office, there was just a lot of mess going on, a lot of things going on, a lot of distractions.” Dansby said, referring to the coaching staff Mike Pettine was at the helm of and the Ray Farmer-led front office. The 13th-year man added that his teammates “had just shut down” after a certain point, which would help to explain Cleveland’s 1-10 finish. The Browns moved on from both Pettine and Farmer at the end of the season, of course, and have begun a new era with ex-Bengals assistant Hue Jackson atop the coaching staff and Sashi Brown leading the front office.
  • Three of Broncos owner Pat Bowlen’s seven children – John Michael Bowlen, Brittany Bowlen and Jane Elizabeth Bowlen Wallace – are no longer employees of the organization, per Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post. That doesn’t mean a sale of the franchise is in the works, though. “No plans for the sale of the team. The hope remains to keep the Broncos in the Bowlen family,” Broncos vice president of communications Patrick Smyth tweeted in response to a Pro Football Talk report on Wednesday. PFT’s Mike Florio is skeptical, however, noting that “hope” isn’t a guarantee and one of Bowlen’s children will eventually have to show why he or she is worthy of taking control of the Broncos. In the meantime, with Pat Bowlen having resigned as the Broncos’ CEO in 2014 because of his battle with Alzheimer’s, the team will remain in a trust and president Joe Ellis will continue running the operation.

Bengals Sign Karlos Dansby

FRIDAY, 8:14am: Dansby’s one-year contract has a base value of $2MM, with another $250K available in incentives, tweets Tom Pelissero of USA Today. The deal also features a $700K signing bonus.

WEDNESDAY, 9:40am: The Bengals have made the signing of Dansby official, announcing the move today (via Twitter).

TUESDAY, 9:55am: Having been released earlier this month by the Browns, veteran linebacker Karlos Dansby has found a new home, but he won’t be going far — his new team plays in the same state and the same division as his old team.Karlos Dansby

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter), Dansby is set to sign a contract with the Bengals. Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com had reported earlier this morning (via Twitter) that talks between Dansby and the Bengals were heating up.

Dansby, a former second-round pick, racked up 109 tackles, forced three fumbles, and intercepted three passes, including two for touchdowns, during the 2015 season. Pro Football Focus ranked him 25th out of 97 qualified non-rush linebackers. However, having decided to go younger on defense, the Browns opted to cut the 34-year-old with two seasons left on his four-year contract.

At the time of his release, Dansby told Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com that he wouldn’t mind joining a Super Bowl contender like the Bengals, Packers, or Cardinals. “Yeah, I think the Bengals are licking their chops right now,” the linebacker said. “I hope they are. We’ll see what it is.”

The Bengals have some depth at linebacker, with Rey Maualuga, Vontaze Burfict, Vincent Rey, and A.J. Hawk among the available options for the three starting jobs. Still, the team did lose Emmanuel Lamur in free agency, and Burfict will serve a suspension to start the 2016 season, so adding a player like Dansby certainly won’t hurt.

Because Dansby was released by the Browns, he won’t count toward the compensatory pick formula for 2017’s draft. Cincinnati has lost several noteworthy free agents this year, including Marvin Jones, Mohamed Sanu, and Andre Smith, so the club should be in line for a few extra draft picks next year.

Dansby is also said to have received some interest from the Seahawks, though his only reported visit was to Cincinnati.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Karlos Dansby Visiting Bengals

After being released by the Browns earlier this month, linebacker Karlos Dansby mentioned the Bengals as a team he wouldn’t mind joining. It appears that interest is mutual. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter), Dansby is visiting Cincinnati today to meet with the Bengals.Karlos Dansby

[RELATED: Bengals, Brandon LaFell close to deal]

Dansby, racked up 109 tackles, forced three fumbles, and intercepted three passes, including two for touchdowns, during the 2015 season. Pro Football Focus ranked him 25th out of 97 qualified non-rush linebackers. However, with the Browns going younger on defense, the team released the 34-year-old with two seasons left on his four-year contract.

At the time of his release, Dansby told Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com that he wouldn’t mind joining a Super Bowl contender like the Bengals, Packers, or Cardinals. “Yeah, I think the Bengals are licking their chops right now,” the linebacker said. “I hope they are. We’ll see what it is.”

The Bengals have some depth at linebacker, with Rey Maualuga, Vontaze Burfict, Vincent Rey, and A.J. Hawk among the available options for the three starting jobs. Still, the team did lose Emmanuel Lamur in free agency, and Burfict will serve a suspension to start the 2016 season, so adding a player like Dansby certainly wouldn’t hurt.

Dansby is also said to have received some interest from the Seahawks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

FA Rumors: J. Jones, A. Smith, Dansby, Randle

The Packers have informed Frank Bauer, the agent for wide receiver James Jones, that they don’t currently have interest in re-signing Jones, writes Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “They’re going to go with the young guys,” Bauer said. Davante Adams, Ty Montgomery, Jeff Janis, and Jared Abbrederis are expected to complement top targets Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb in Green Bay.

Here are a few more free agent updates from across the NFL:

  • Asked about outside linebacker Aldon Smith, who will be suspended until at least mid-November, Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie tells Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com that “conversations have been good.” Oakland – or another team – could sign Smith immediately, but McKenzie and the Raiders are more likely to be patient to ensure that the veteran pass rusher continues to make good off-field decisions.
  • Following his release last week, veteran linebacker Karlos Dansby suggested that he wouldn’t mind heading to Arizona, Cincinnati, or Green Bay. However, Mike Jurecki of Fox Sports 910 in Arizona (Twitter link) hears that the Cardinals haven’t reached out to Dansby. The division-rival Seahawks have shown some interest though.
  • After paying a visit to the Jets last week, Saints RFA tight end Josh Hill is meeting with the Bears today, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). New Orleans would have the opportunity to match any offer sheet Hill signs with another team.
  • Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com (Twitter link) hears that the Rams are unlikely to add wide receiver Rueben Randle to their roster, despite hosting him for a visit earlier in March.
  • Before he signed with the Broncos, free agent tackle Russell Okung drew interest from other teams on a traditional multiyear deal, tweets Tom Pelissero of USA Today. Okung was seeking $10-11MM per year though, which was too rich for clubs, given his injury history, says Pelissero.

FA Rumors: Upshaw, Cowboys, Hall, Dansby, Mays

Free agent linebacker Courtney Upshaw will meet with the Jets on Thursday, reports Peter Schrager of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Upshaw has made 64 straight regular-season appearances (51 starts) since Baltimore took him in the second round of the 2012 draft. The 26-year-old recorded 51 tackles, two sacks and two forced fumbles last season. In terms of overall performance, Pro Football Focus ranked Upshaw 84th out of 110 qualifying edge defenders for his work during the 2015-16 campaign. He was an honorable mention on PFR’s Top 50 Free Agents list.

The latest on some other unsigned players around the NFL:

  • Linebacker Karlos Dansby, whom the Browns released Wednesday, would like to join the Cardinals, Bengals or Packers, writes Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. “Yeah, I think the Bengals are licking their chops right now,” he said. “I hope they are. We’ll see what it is.” Notably, Dansby started his career in Arizona as a second-round pick in 2004 and piled up 25.5 sacks before leaving at the close of the 2009 season.
  • The Cowboys aren’t working toward a deal with Wednesday visitor Leon Hall, per Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Twitter link). The veteran cornerback has thus far spent his entire career with the Bengals since they chose him in the first round of the 2007 draft. Hall started in four of 14 appearances last season, picked off two passes, and graded as Pro Football Focus’ 33rd-best corner (111 qualifiers). Like Upshaw, Hall also earned an honorable mention from PFR before free agency.
  • Even though Hall to the Cowboys doesn’t exactly appear imminent, they are working on a deal with restricted free agent Benson Mayowa, tweets Rand Getlin of NFL.com. The Raiders gave Mayowa, a defensive end, an original-round tender. As a former undrafted free agent, that means they won’t get any compensation for him if they decide against matching a hypothetical offer. Mayowa, 25 in August, has accrued 30 appearances (three starts) and two sacks during his three-year career.
  • The Bengals “have made good progress” on a contract with Taylor Mays, writes Geoff Hobson of their official website. Mays is scheduled to miss the first four games of next season because of a suspension. Nevertheless, Cincinnati wants him back as a nickel linebacker to replace Emmanuel Lamur – who signed with the Vikings – Hobson notes. Mays spent 2011-14 with the Bengals before joining the Raiders last season.
  • Linebacker O’Brien Schofield took to social media Wednesday to discuss his future. “By no means have I counted the Falcons out but I’m waiting for the right opportunity for my family and I. It’s a business so I’m patient,” Schofield tweeted. The 28-year-old signed with Atlanta last offseason and then made 30 tackles and two sacks in 16 appearances (11 starts). Schofield said last week that he and the Falcons “aren’t seeing eye-to-eye on a contract.”