Kendrick Lewis

Titans Sign S Kendrick Lewis

The Titans have signed safety Kendrick Lewis, according to a team press release. In a related move, the Titans released linebacker Denzel Johnson. 

Lewis was out of football in 2017 but he offers a great deal of starting experience over the years. Out of 90 career games with the Chiefs, Texans, and Ravens, the safety was first-string for 81 of those contests.

Lewis turned in a standout season in 2014 with Houston as he finished the year with 84 tackles, six passes defended, three forced fumbles, and two interceptions. His 2015 with Baltimore wasn’t too shabby either. In 2016, unfortunately, he only saw time in six games as a reserve and was limited due to injury.

It was a quiet offseason for Lewis up until his deal with the Titans. His only other previously reported workout came with the Saints in January and he left New Orleans without a deal.

Lewis, who has nine career interceptions, will look to make the Titans’ final cut. By the sound of it, Lewis is probably playing on a one-year deal with little or no guarantees.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Workout Updates: 1/4/18

Today’s NFL workout updates, with all links going to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter account:

Arizona Cardinals

  • G Greg Pyke (link)

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cleveland Browns

Indianapolis Colts

  • DE Evan Panfil (link)

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

  • LS Anthony Kukwa (link)

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

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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Ravens Cut Shareece Wright, Kendrick Lewis

The Ravens have released cornerback Shareece Wright and safety Kendrick Lewis, per a team announcement. The moves will save a combined $4.9MM in cap space. Shareece Wright (vertical)

Wright signed with the 49ers prior to the 2015 season but wound up being a healthy scratch for the first four games of the year. He was then scooped up by the Ravens and wound up being the team’s best corner in those eleven regular season games. After that, he was rewarded with a three-year deal worth up to $16MM including $5MM guaranteed. This past season, however, his performance slipped and he missed one-quarter of the games.

Prior to this season, Lewis had been plenty productive. After spending the first four seasons of his career in Kansas City, the 2010 fifth-round pick had a standout campaign in 2014 with the Texans. The defender finished the year with 84 tackles, six passes defended, three forced fumbles, and two interceptions. His 2015 with Baltimore wasn’t too shabby either. Last year, unfortunately, was pretty much a lost season for Lewis as he appeared in just six games.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens Activate Lorenzo Taliaferro, Place Kendrick Lewis on IR

It’s time to add another name to the Ravens’ continually rolling list of running backs. According to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter), the Ravens will be activating running back Lorenzo Taliaferro from the PUP list. Zrebiec notes that the team has also promoted cornerback Robertson Daniel from the practice squad. Safety Kendrick Lewis has been placed on the injured reserve, while tight end Dan Brown has been waived.

Lorenzo TaliaferroTaliaferro, 24, has had issues staying healthy since entering the league as a fourth-round pick in 2014. The Coastal Carolina product has made 16 appearances over two seasons, running for 339 yards and five touchdowns on 81 carries (4.2 average). Taliaferro also has 13 career receptions for 114 yards. He’ll presumably compete with Terrance West, Kenneth Dixon and Javorius Allen for snaps in the backfield.

Lewis will certainly be missed in the Ravens secondary, although the 28-year-old hasn’t played a significant role this season. After starting 15 games for Baltimore in 2015, Lewis had only collected six tackles this season. The team will be replacing the veteran with Daniel, who has also spent time with the Redskins, Raiders, and Packers. The cornerback was signed to the Ravens’ practice squad earlier this month.

Brown, a former undrafted free agent, had issues establishing himself on a team that also features tight ends Dennis Pitta, Crockett Gillmore, and Darren Waller. In eight career games, the 24-year-old has six receptions for 64 yards.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Contract Details: Shorts, Lewis, Cadet

Here are some details on a few of the contracts agreed to or signed within the last few days:

  • Cecil Shorts, WR (Texans): Two years, $6MM base value. $1MM signing bonus. $750K of $1MM 2015 base salary fully guaranteed (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun).
  • Kendrick Lewis, S (Ravens): Three years, $5.4MM. $1.4MM signing bonus (link via Wilson).
  • Garrett Reynolds, OL (Rams): Two years, $2.2MM base value. $250K roster bonus for 2015. Up to $1MM annually in playing-time and team-related incentives (Twitter links via Wilson).
  • Travaris Cadet, RB (Patriots): Two years, $1.75MM. $65K signing bonus. Various roster bonuses (Twitter links via Wilson).
  • Bradley Fletcher, CB (Patriots): One year, $1.5MM base value. $100K signing bonus. $250K of $800K base salary guaranteed. Up to $1MM in incentives (Twitter link via Wilson).

Ravens To Sign Kendrick Lewis

The Ravens have agreed to terms on a three-year deal with former Texans safety Kendrick Lewis, reports Adam Schefter of ESPN (via Twitter).

The deal is pending a physical, expected for early next week, according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter).

Lewis graded out positively in 2014 according to Pro Football Focus, leading the Texans’ secondary in snap count (subscription required). He will join a secondary that struggled last season. He will likely compete with Matt Elam for the starting spot opposite Will Hill, who was arguably the best member of the defensive backfield by the end of the year.

The Texans wanted to keep Lewis in Houston, but he was not interested in backing up Rahim Moore in 2015, so he decided to pursue a starting role elsewhere, according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter).

FA Rumors: Morgan, Shorts, Gresham, Texans

As anticipated, Derrick Morgan left his meeting in Tampa Bay today without signing with the Buccaneers, tweets Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com. The Cowboys are expected to be next on Morgan’s list of visits, and the Titans still want to re-sign him as well. As for the Bucs, if they decide to move on from Morgan, it’s not clear who they’d target instead. Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times tweets that the club has yet to reach out to George Selvie, who played his college ball at the University of South Florida.

Here’s more on free agency:

  • The Jets have interest in wide receiver Cecil Shorts, according to Dom Cosentino of NJ.com. Wide receiver isn’t really an area of need for New York, since the team already has Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, and Jeremy Kerley on the roster, but adding more weapons would only help whichever quarterback ends up as the Jets’ starter.
  • Tight end Jermaine Gresham paid a visit to the Raiders this week, and still could sign with the team, but nothing is imminent at the moment, tweets Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle.
  • There’s “genuine mutual interest” between the Packers and free agent cornerback Tramon Williams, reports Jason Wilde of ESPNWisconsin.com (via Twitter). Having lost Davon House in free agency, Green Bay could use some depth at corner, and Williams, who has received some interest from around the league, is certainly a player the team is familiar with.
  • Despite locking up free agent safety Rahim Moore today, the Texans would still like to bring back their own free agent, Kendrick Lewis, according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter). As McClain notes, Houston often utilizes three safeties on defense.
  • Washington has inquired on free agent safety Taylor Mays and there’s “mutual interest” between the two sides, but it’s not clear if a visit has been scheduled yet, tweets John Keim of ESPN.com. Mays was primarily a special-teamer for the Bengals last season.

FA Rumors: Orakpo, Rolle, Gilchrist, Conte

After also being linked to the Cardinals earlier today, Brian Orakpo will visit the Titans to start his first free agency foray, according to Terry McCormick of TitansInsider.com on Twitter.

The Titans have more than $44MM in cap room, according to OverTheCap, and do not have much money currently allocated to their linebacking corps as free agency enters warp speed. Tennessee’s highest-paid linebacker is 3-4 inside man Wesley Woodyard, who signed with the Titans last year, with a $3.5MM number for this season.

An older first-time free agent who enters his age-29 season, Orakpo made more than triple that on the franchise tag for Washington last season before suffering a pectoral tear for the third time in his career, weakening the edge-rusher’s momentum.

In other news in the opening stage of real free agency …

  • Antrel Rolle will visit the Bears, according to agent Drew Rosenhaus’ Twitter, but has no agreement in place. The Bears are the highest bidder for the 32-year-old free safety’s services, according to ESPN’s Michael C. Wright on Twitter.
  • The player Rolle could be replacing in Chicago, 26-year-old Chris Conte, will visit the Buccaneers, ESPN Falcons reporter Vaughn McClure notes on Twitter. Conte was the fourth-worst safety Pro Football Focus (subscription required) graded last year.
  • More from the safety market: the Jets will host former Chargers back-line starter Marcus Gilchrist tonight, reports NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter). Gilchrist started all 16 games for the Chargers the past two years.
  • Kendrick Lewis and the Texans engaged in preliminary discussions on keeping the free safety in Houston, reports Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle on Twitter.
  • Veteran defensive end Cory Redding announced (Twitter link) he intends to visit the Cardinals on Wednesday. Now 34, Redding started at least 14 games for the Colts the past three years.
  • Chargers backup linebacker Andrew Gachkar has visits booked with two potential suitors, the Panthers and Vikings, notes Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune (Twitter link). The Vikings appear to be the frontrunner for Gachkar’s second contract, adds Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press on Twitter.

 

AFC Notes: Texans, Chiefs, Jets, Raiders

After a four-year stint in Kansas City, Texans safety and New Orleans native Kendrick Lewis is happy to be closer to home, writes Hank Brady of The Times-Picayune. Now that he’s closer to home, he’s started a football camp for children from the area. “It’s just a blessing to be able to come out here and get with these kids from these same playgrounds, these same parks and these same high schools,” said Lewis. “This (camp) is really important. It’s something that we’ve been meaning to do for a while now.” More from around the NFL..

  • The Chiefs cut defensive tackle Risean Broussard from injured reserve, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (on Twitter).
  • Seth Walder of the New York Daily News looks at five Jets players who need to perform well in training camp in order to make the roster. Stephen Hill, Tajh Boyd, Antonio Allen, Jacoby Ford and Quincy Enunwa have lots to prove, in Walder’s view.
  • The Raiders made stopgap solutions this offseason rather than look for younger players that could help them going forward, and that could wind up hurting them, writes Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz of USA Today. The new crew of veterans could create an atmosphere that attracts young talent, but if it doesn’t, GM Reggie McKenzie will have to answer for that.
  • Panthers Pro Bowl defensive end Greg Hardy was found guilty Tuesday night of assaulting a female and communicating threats, writes Steve Reed of the Associated Press. It’s unclear at this point how the verdict will affect Hardy’s long-term future with the Panthers. Hardy will play out the 2014 season before hitting the open market next offseason.