Keith Smith

Contract Details: Trevathan, Slater, Smith

A bunch of teams have been locking up their own impending free agents with contract extensions before the new league year opens, and now we have the financial details we were missing on some of those deals. Linebacker Danny Trevathan signed a new three-year contract with the Bears, and he got a nice payday. The pact has a base value of $21.75MM that can grow to $24MM if he hits some incentives, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter video link).

He’s getting $14MM in guaranteed money, essentially meaning the first two years of the deal are mostly guaranteed. Rapoport also reports that the extension was a “priority” for them, and confirms this likely means the Bears will be letting fellow linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski walk in free agency, something we heard earlier this weekend. Trevathan is a full-time starter when healthy, but he has missed 18 games across his four years with Chicago.

Here’s the latest on the new salaries:

  • Special teams ace and locker room leader Matthew Slater signed a new two-year deal with the Patriots on Friday, and now we have his terms. He’s getting $5.3MM over the two years, Albert Breer of SI.com tweets. He’ll have base salaries of $1.6MM in 2020 and $1.75MM in 2021, with the rest coming in the form of roster and per-game bonuses. That’s a pretty impressive figure for a player who only contributes on special teams these days. Of course, Slater’s importance to the team goes well beyond his on-field contributions, as he is a team captain and staple of Bill Belichick’s program. He’s also made the Pro Bowl eight times.
  • Speaking of guys playing unheralded positions getting paid, Falcons fullback Keith Smith also signed an extension yesterday. His new three-year contract will pay him a solid $4.3MM, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link). The San Jose State product, who was in his first year with Atlanta in 2019, will get $1.95MM in guaranteed money. Smith played about 17 percent of the offensive snaps last year as a lead-blocker, while also contributing heavily on special teams.

Falcons, FB Keith Smith Agree To Extension

The Falcons took care of one of their free agents Saturday, reaching an extension agreement with fullback Keith Smith. The team announced the parties agreed on a three-year contract.

Cut by the Raiders after training camp, Smith latched on with the Falcons just before the 2019 regular season. He played 198 offensive snaps with Atlanta — the sixth-most among fullbacks last season — and is now locked up through the 2022 season.

The soon-to-be 28-year-old blocking back has played six NFL seasons. He spent four seasons with the Cowboys and one with the Raiders. Smith’s 2020 base salary will likely be determined by the players’ decision on the CBA, which is due at 10:59pm CT Saturday. If the agreement is ratified, minimum-salary players will receive an approximate $100K salary spike.

Devonta Freeman is not a lock to return as the team’s backfield centerpiece, but Smith is set to reprise his role as the team’s blocking back. It is not yet certain who will be the beneficiaries of Smith blocks, however.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Falcons To Sign Keith Smith

The Falcons have signed former Raiders fullback Keith Smith to a one-year deal, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Smith was a surprise cut over the weekend but the Falcons were more than happy to scoop him up.

Smith, 27, was non-tendered by the Cowboys in 2018 and the Falcons were among the teams to show early interest. They missed out that March when he joined the Raiders, but they got their man just in time for the start of the 2019 campaign. Before the release, Smith was set to play out the backend of a two-year, $4.2MM deal with Oakland.

The Cowboys only used Smith on 12% of their snaps in 2017, but former Dallas special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia utilized him on more than 15% of the club’s offensive plays. In Atlanta, that number could climb even higher.

Raiders Get Down To 53 Players

The Raiders have made their slew of cuts. They placed defensive tackle Justin Ellis on injured reserve, meaning he’ll miss the entire season. After starting 14 games in 2017, Oakland signed Ellis to a three-year, $15MM extension. Injuries limited him to just six games last season, so he’ll have barely played through the first two years of that extension.

Former Rams defensive lineman Ethan Westbrooks also got the boot. He started nine games for Los Angeles in 2017 and racked up four sacks. Last year he had a smaller role, although he did appear in all 16 games for the Rams. ‘Hard Knocks’ star Keelan Doss unfortunately failed to make the roster. He’s an undrafted rookie receiver from UC Davis. Additionally Keith Smith, who served as the team’s fullback last season, was released.

Waived:

WR Marcell Ateman
DE Quinton Bell
RB James Butler
LB Jason Cabinda
LB Te’von Coney
G Lester Cotton Sr.
WR Keelan Doss
LB Koa Farmer
WR Rico Gafford
WR Keon Hatcher
G/T Denver Kirkland
CB Dylan Mabin
T Justin Murray
CB Nick Nelson
WR De’Mornay Pierson-El
T Tyler Roemer
DT Anthony Rush

Released:

FB Keith Smith
DE Ethan Westbrooks
LB Kyle Wilber

Waived/injured:

TE Paul Butler

Placed on season-ending injured reserve:

DT Justin Ellis

AFC West Notes: Chargers, Gates, Chiefs, Hill

The Chargers have had private talks with Antonio Gates about his status, GM Tom Telesco tells reporters (Twitter link via Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com). Williams’ read on the comments is that Gates will not be back, which makes sense since we have not heard much about the 39-year-old in recent months.

The Chargers brought Gates back for a 16th season after losing Hunter Henry to a season-ending injury, but they no longer have a dire need for tight end help. Barring something unforeseen, it sounds like they’ll finally move on from the eight-time Pro Bowler.

Here’s more from the AFC West:

  • There are ways the Chiefs could protect themselves in a potential new Tyreek Hill deal, Joel Corry of CBSSports.com writes. The Chiefs usually favor deals with substantial signing bonuses, but in this case, they could follow the 49ers’ team-friendly blueprint of bonuses that are metered out at specific dates. For example, they could advance the dates for injury guarantees, pack much of the compensation into annual per-game active roster bonuses, and broad language to shield against future incidents.
  • Raiders fullback Keith Smith suffered a knee injury while training and will be out a few weeks to begin training camp, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. It’s possible they’ll sign another fullback as he recovers and Michael Gehlken of the Review-Journal (on Twitter) suggests that rookie Alec Ingold may push for a 53-man roster spot in his absence. Smith is due a $1.4MM salary in 2019 while Ingold is slated for just $495K.
  • The Broncos ended their kicking competition this week while opening up a punting battle.

Raiders To Sign FB Keith Smith

Jon Gruden vowed to restore the importance of the fullback position and he took a major step towards that endeavor on Thursday. The Raiders and fullback Keith Smith have agreed to terms on a two-year worth $4.2MM, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets

Smith, 26 in April, was non-tendered by the Cowboys this week. He quickly drew interest on the open market, not just from the Raiders, but the Falcons as well.

Smith is undoubtedly happy about the way things turned out. Had he been tendered by Dallas, he would have made just $1.908MM in 2018.

The Cowboys only used Smith on 12% of their snaps last season, but he could be in for an uptick in playing time with the Raiders, particularly since former Dallas special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia is in Oakland.

It remains to be seen exactly who he’ll be doing the lead blocking for, however. The Raiders inked Doug Martin to a one-year deal on Thursday and Marshawn Lynch‘s status remains murky.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys Won’t Tender RFA FB Keith Smith; Falcons Have Interest

The Cowboys will not tender an offer to restricted free agent fullback Keith Smith, but they are open to re-signing him on a multi-year extension, according to Todd Archer of ESPN.com. However, the Falcons also have interest in signing Smith to a free agent deal, reports D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.Keith Smith (Vertical)

An original round RFA tender — which wouldn’t have netted Dallas any draft pick compensation had Smith inked an offer sheet with another club — is expected to be worth $1.908MM. Smith only played on 12% of the Cowboys’ offensive snaps in 2017, so that figure was untenable. But a multi-year deal could offer Smith financial guarantees (which the RFA tender does not) and keep his 2018 cap charge to a minimum, aiding Dallas’ books.

As Archer details, the Cowboys have used a similar strategy with restricted free agents in the recent past. In 2016, Dallas tendered safety Jeff Heath at the original round level, but subsequently replaced that one-year salary with a four-year, $7.671MM extension. The year prior, punter Chris Jones had already signed his RFA tender when Dallas worked out a three-year, $4.2MM deal.

Smith, for his part, appeared in all 16 games for the second consecutive season, but wasn’t a large part of the Cowboys offense, as he totaled only five total touches (all receptions). However, the 25-year-old Smith was a key factor on Dallas’ special teams unit: he finished sixth in Cowboys special teams snaps, and ranked second on the club with 10 ST tackles.

The Falcons, meanwhile, have ranked among the top-five NFL teams in fullback usage in each of the past two seasons. Patrick DiMarco played 31% of Atlanta’s offensive snaps in 2016 before signing with the Bills the following offseason, while Derrick Coleman saw time on roughly 22% of the team’s plays last year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Notes: Jets, Fins, Jones, Cowboys, Cousins

Until Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Jets can come to terms, Geno Smith is the most experienced quarterback on the roster. But Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News doesn’t view Mike Maccagnan‘s repeated endorsements of the underwhelming 2013 second-rounder as comments to be taken at face value.

While the Jets and Fitzpatrick play hardball, other executives around the league are wondering what exactly the team is planning at quarterback. Should Fitzpatrick sign to play a second season in New York, Maccagnan has tossed around the idea of carrying four quarterbacks, with Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty residing in the developmental wing of the meeting room.

The Jets as an organization have discussed using the 2000 Patriots as a model for the four-QB setup. The Pats that year housed starter Drew Bledsoe, veteran backup John Friesz and developmental prospects Tom Brady and Michael Bishop. Hackenberg or Petty would theoretically be cast as Brady in the Jets’ scenario.

One NFL executive told Mehta the Jets considering carrying four passers “doesn’t make sense.” Smith and Petty would seemingly be jostling for a roster spot if the Jets were planning to employ the usual three. Mehta writes the Patriots’ thinking in 2000 was an aberration and merely hanging onto an extra signal-caller one season — at the expense of a key backup elsewhere — doesn’t equate to a franchise passer emerging from the group.

Here’s the latest from the Eastern divisions on rookie minicamp Saturday.

  • New Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph guesses Cameron Wake will be ready to play come Week 1, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reports. Wake is recovering from a ruptured Achilles’ tendon and entering his age-34 season. The four-time Pro Bowler registered seven sacks in seven games last season before going down with the Achilles injury in October.
  • Identifying second-rounder Xavien Howard as a “six-foot guy with 5-10 corner movement skills,” Joseph said the rookie corner will vie for a Dolphins starting job with Byron Maxwell and Tony Lippett, per Salguero.
  • Rex Ryan categorized Cardale Jones as a player with “a long way to go,” per an Associated Press report. “He’s got the physical gifts you look for, there’s no question about that,” Ryan said of the former Ohio State starter. “But you also notice that he’s just going through everything like, it’s spinning right now. He’s throwing behind guys. He doesn’t know where he’s going right now with it.” The Bills have Tyrod Taylor and EJ Manuel venturing into their contract seasons in 2016, leaving the franchise’s future unsettled. Jones was considered a potential first-round pick thanks to the tools he showed as a sophomore in the inaugural College Football Playoff, but being benched as a junior damaged his stock and relegated him into the fourth round.
  • The Cowboys are relocating Keith Smith and Rod Smith to fullback from their respective linebacker and running back positions to provide the them a better chance at making the 53-man roster, Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes. Dallas’ fullback from 2013-15, Tyler Clutts remains a free agent. Keith Smith has played in 15 games the past two seasons as mostly a special teams cog, and Rod Smith joined the Cowboys last season after the Seahawks cut him.
  • Washington may be somewhat reluctant to invest long-term, franchise quarterback-level money in Kirk Cousins after he’d shown to be a proficient passer in just one season. But given the team’s recent deals for 2015 breakout players Josh Norman and Jordan Reed, Rich Tandler of CSNWashington.com notes Cousins’ career arc doesn’t differentiate itself much from the now-extremely well-compensated cornerback and tight end. Cousins is currently attached to the $19.953MM non-exclusive franchise tag, which he’s signed.

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/4/16

Now that the 2015 regular season is in the books, teams can begin signing players to reserve/futures contracts, adding those players to their 90-man offseason rosters. Generally, these players finished the season on a team’s practice squad, though some were free agents at season’s end.

Here are today’s reserve/futures deals:

Atlanta Falcons signed four players (Twitter link via Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com)

Baltimore Ravens signed seven players (Twitter link via Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun):

  • Brennen Beyer, LB
  • Leon Brown, G
  • Nordly Capi, DE
  • Blaine Clausell, T
  • Chuck Jacobs, WR
  • Nick Perry, S
  • Harold Spears, TE

Buffalo Bills signed seven players (Twitter link via Mike Rodak of ESPN.com)

Chicago Bears signed nine players (Twitter link via Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune):

Cleveland Browns signed six players (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle)

Dallas Cowboys signed eight players (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle)

Denver Broncos signed four players (Twitter link via Mike Klis of 9NEWS)

Detroit Lions signed five players (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle)

Jacksonville Jaguars signed nine players (Twitter link via Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union):

Miami Dolphins signed one player (link)

  • Tyler Davis, WR

New Orleans Saints signed five players (link via Evan Woodbery of the Times-Picayune):

New York Giants signed six players (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle)

Philadelphia Eagles signed seven players (Twitter link via team):

San Diego Chargers signed six players (Twitter link via Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego)

Seattle Seahawks signed three players (Twitter link via Wilson)

  • Andrew East, LS
  • Ronnie Shields, TE
  • Phillip Sims, QB

Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed nine players (link via Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times):

  • Josh Allen, G
  • Andre Davis, WR
  • Antoine Everett, G
  • Ben Gottschalk, C
  • Gerod Holliman, S
  • Martin Ifedi, DE
  • Derrick Lott, DT
  • C.J. Roberts, CB
  • Joel Ross, CB

Tennessee Titans signed five players (Twitter link via Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com):

  • David Fluellen, RB
  • Kevin Greene, TE
  • Nick Harwell, WR
  • Josue Matias, G
  • Will Poehls, T

Washington signs three players (link via team):

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 11/18/15

Here are Wednesday’s practice squad signings and cuts, with any additional moves added to the list throughout the day:

Baltimore Ravens

Chicago Bears

  • Signed: CB Terrance Mitchell (Twitter link via Rich Campbell of ESPN.com)

Dallas Cowboys

New England Patriots

New York Giants

  • Signed: WR Ben Edwards, C Shane McDermott (link via Jordan Raanan of NJ.com)

San Diego Chargers

Seattle Seahawks

St. Louis Rams

Tampa Bay Buccaneers