Kevin Pamphile

Titans To Re-Sign Kevin Pamphile

The Titans are re-signing offensive lineman Kevin Pamphile, per Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network (via Twitter).

The 28-year-old lineman signed with Tennessee last March, but his season ended early, as he was placed on IR in September. Still, he is one year removed from being a full-time starter with the Bucs, and his ability to line up at tackle or guard does make him an appealing depth option if nothing else.

Pamphile started two games at tackle for the Titans last season before succumbing to injury.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/25/18

Here are Tuesday’s minor moves:

Buffalo Bills

Dallas Cowboys

Houston Texans

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Contract Details: Mathieu, Pamphile, Watson, Weeden

Some details on recent free agent deals (all links via Twitter):

NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero also has signing bonus/guarantee details on players who signed one-year deals: TE Levine Toilolo $400K (Lions), LB Pernell McPhee $350K (Redskins), QB Brandon Weeden $90K (Texans), CB Leon Hall $45K (Raiders).

Titans To Sign OL Kevin Pamphile

The Titans have reached a one-year deal with offensive lineman Kevin Pamphile, reports Jenna Laine of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Pamphile, 27, has been a full-time starter over the past two seasons, and last year played 70% of Tampa Bay’s offensive snaps, third among Buccaneers offensive linemen. Additionally, while Pamphile is typically a guard, he does offer the ability to play all five positions along the offensive line.

That versatility could be attractive to the Titans, as Pamphile could fill in at tackle or center if a need arises. Indeed, it’s possible Tennessee views Pamphile as a temporary replacement for right tackle Jack Conklin, who suffered a torn ACL in January and could be sidelined for the start of the regular season. At guard, Pamphile’s natural position, the Titans appear set with the recently re-signed Josh Kline in addition to Quinton Spain, who was tendered at the original round level as a restricted free agent.

Before landing with Tennessee, Pamphile also received preliminary interest from the Vikings, but never set up a visit with Minnesota.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Vikings Interested In OL Kevin Pamphile

The Vikings have “preliminary” interest in offensive guard Kevin Pamphile, reports Chris Tomasson of St. Paul Pioneer Press (via Twitter). However, the front office is still sorting out what to do regarding the offensive line in free agency. Tomasson notes that the Vikings are interested in bringing back Joe Berger.

The 27-year-old Pamphile has spent his entire career with the Buccaneers, including a 2017 campaign that saw him appear in 16 games (15 starts). Pro Football Focus wasn’t particularly fond of his performance last season, ranking him 57th among 77 offensive guard candidates. The site rated him as a better run blocker than pass blocker. We previously heard that Pamphile was generating interest from eight-to-ten teams. The lineman was listed 15th among interior linemen in PFR’s position rankings.

The 35-year-old Berger has spent the past seven seasons in Minnesota, and he started all 16 games in 2017. We heard earlier today that the Vikings had interest in retaining the veteran, and there were at least three other teams eyeing the lineman.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

South Notes: Texans, Watson, Titans, Bucs

Given that he tore his ACL in early November, Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson is expected to be available for organized team activities, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link). While losing a dynamic talent like Watson clearly cratered Houston’s 2017 campaign, the fact that he went down relatively early in the season does have a silver lining, as he’ll now be ready for offseason work. The Texans don’t have a first- or second-round pick in 2018, so they’ll rely on free agency and Watson returning to his excellent form in order to compete next year.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two South divisions:

  • Although the Titans spoke with Erik Walden‘s agent at the scouting combine, the veteran edge defender is expected to test the open market, tweets Terry McCormick of TitansInsider.com. Earlier this offseason, I noted that finding a young pass rusher should be at top priority for Tennessee, so the 32-year-old Walden may not be a fit. Walden managed four sacks as a rotational rusher during his first season with the Titans, but he posted 11 sacks as recently as 2016. Entering the free agent period, PFR ranked Walden as the 15th-best free agent edge defender.
  • The Buccaneers are targeting free agent kicker Chandler Catanzaro, reports Jenna Laine of ESPN.com. Tampa Bay has been atrocious at kicker for the better part of two years, as Roberto Aguayo, Nick Folk, and Patrick Murray have all struggled as the club’s primary kicker. Indeed, Football Outsiders ranked the Bucs 30th in the NFL with -13.2 points created on field goals and extra points. Catanzaro, who converted 83.3% of his field goals in 2017, isn’t the only kicker Tampa Bay is looking at, as the Redskins’ Dustin Hopkins is also on the team’s radar.
  • Buccaneers free agent guard Kevin Pamphile is drawing interest from eight-to-ten teams, per Laine. Pamphile, 27, has been a full-time starter over the past two seasons, and last season played 70% of Tampa Bay’s offensive snaps, third among Bucs offensive linemen. Additionally, while Pamphile is typically a guard, he does offer the ability to play all five positions along the offensive line. That versatility could be attractive to a number of clubs, as Pamphile could fill in at tackle or center if a need arises.

Top 2018 NFL Free Agents By Position: Offense

NFL free agency will get underway on Wednesday, March 14th, 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. We’ll start today on offense, before getting to defense and special teams later this week.

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each offensive position. The rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts that each player is expected to land in free agency, they 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 are not listed here since they are unlikely to actually reach the open market. The same goes for players who have been franchise tagged or transition tagged.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some guys than you are, so we encourage you to make your voice heard in our comments section to let us know which free agents we’ve got wrong.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by offensive position for 2018:

Quarterback:

  1. Kirk Cousins
  2. Drew Brees
  3. Case Keenum
  4. A.J. McCarron
  5. Sam Bradford
  6. Teddy Bridgewater
  7. Colin Kaepernick
  8. Josh McCown
  9. Mike Glennon
  10. Drew Stanton
  11. Jay Cutler
  12. Chase Daniel
  13. Ryan Fitzpatrick
  14. Brock Osweiler
  15. Tom Savage

There were many difficult calls when putting this list together, but ranking Kirk Cousins as the No. 1 QB available was not among them. Cousins is the best quarterback to reach free agency in recent history and he’ll become the highest-paid player of all-time – at least, for some period of time – in mid-March. Who will make history with Cousins? That’s anyone’s guess right now. The Browns have more cap room than any other team, but a recent report from Adam Schefter of ESPN.com listed the Broncos, Cardinals, Jets, and Vikings as the final suitors for Cousins. Of those four, the Jets have the most money to work with, but they’re concerned about the Vikings winning out and Cousins’ desire to win could point him in another direction. If the Broncos and Cardinals want in on the Cousins sweepstakes, they’ll have to get creative with the books.

Drew Brees is included here, but by his own admission, he’ll be re-signing with the Saints rather than testing the open waters of free agency. Unless the Saints lowball their franchise QB, it’s hard to see him leaving New Orleans.

Case Keenum put together a tremendous season for the Vikings, but he doesn’t have a history of success beyond 2017. There will be plenty of interest in Keenum, but only after QB-needy teams strike out on Cousins. The incumbent Vikings could re-sign Keenum, but right now, it seems like they are intent on exploring the Cousins waters first.

There isn’t a ton of footage on A.J. McCarron, which made his placement on this list awfully tricky. We know this much: McCarron did well in place of Dalton in the home stretch of the 2015 season and his former offensive coordinator Hue Jackson was salivating at the chance of landing him before the Browns bungled the trade with the Bengals. McCarron’s relative youth is a plus (he won’t turn 28 until September) and his lack of experience can be looked at as a positive. Unlike some of the other names on this list, he hasn’t run up his NFL odometer.

What will NFL teams make of Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford this offseason? Not long ago, both seemed like quality starting options. However, there are serious injury questions about both players and any team signing them will either look to backstop them with another decent option or ask them to come onboard as a QB2. With that in mind, one has to wonder if Bradford would consider retirement if asked to hold the clipboard for another signal caller. Bradford has earned upwards of $110MM over the years in the NFL, so it’s safe to say that he has enough money in the bank to call it quits if he wants. For now, he’s intent on playing.

Colin Kaepernick‘s placement on this list is sure to draw some strong reactions from his fans and detractors alike. Looking purely at his football ability, there’s no question that he belongs on someone’s roster. At minimum, Kaepernick profiles as a high-end backup, even after a year out of the game.

Quarterbacks coaches have long believed that Mike Glennon is capable of great things, due in part to his height. At 6’7″, he can see over any defensive line, but he hasn’t done much on the field to prove that he is a quality Week 1 starting option. Josh McCown, who is a decade his senior, edges him here for his surprisingly strong performance in 2017 at the helm of a weak Jets offense.

Read more

South Notes: Jaguars, Breaux, Buccaneers

Formerly a Dolphins second-rounder given the chance to start for multiple seasons with two teams, Chad Henne is in position to reclaim the Jaguars‘ starting job after Doug Marrone‘s postgame announcement. By opening the competition, Marrone is giving it to Henne, Ryan O’Halloran of jacksonville.com notes. Regarding Henne’s competitor in this renewed competition, O’Halloran notes the Jags should be ready to cut Blake Bortles soon rather than risk an injury in a game or practice that could potentially put them on the hook for the $19MM fifth-year option come 2018. Bortles’ 2017 money ($6.571MM) is guaranteed at this point, so the Jags would carry that amount on their cap regardless of the fourth-year quarterback’s employment, but the team could afford it in carrying more than $44MM in cap space currently. This would be an even more aggressive move than the 2015 Redskins used with Robert Griffin III. Washington benched Griffin for the season and cut him after an injury-free campaign of practices.

Here’s more from Jacksonville and some other southern-headquartered franchises.

  • While O’Halloran categorizes the Jags’ decision to pick up Bortles’ option as careless, Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com argues the team should have drafted or signed competition to join Bortles and Henne. O’Halloran suggests the Jags should have drafted a quarterback, while DiRocco points to players like Brian Hoyer, Jay Cutler or Nick Foles as UFA options that could have pushed Bortles.
  • The handling of Bortles and Branden Albert have not looked good for Tom Coughlin, Gene Frenette of jacksonville.com writes. Cutting Bortles now and bringing in a third passer would put that quarterback too far behind, and Frenette looks at the decision not to add an outside arm to learn Nathaniel Hackett‘s offense looks bad now that Bortles could be on the way to a demotion or out of Jacksonville.
  • Delvin Breaux underwent successful surgery to repair a broken fibula that was initially misdiagnosed, Joel Erickson of the New Orleans Advocate reports. The Saints cornerback went to Green Bay for the surgery — one that removed the old plate in the his leg and replaced it with a longer one. Sean Payton tentatively put the timetable at six weeks, which Erickson estimates will shelve the third-year corner for four games and place him on course to return after New Orleans’ Week 5 bye. “He’ll be back in New Orleans, and when we get back, we’ll have a chance to sit down,” Payton said. “I don’t want to call him up over the phone; I know it went well.”
  • Demar Dotson will undergo an MRI on his injured groin Saturday, and Dirk Koetter said (via Jenna Laine of ESPN.com) Caleb Benenoch and Kevin Pamphile would be the next men up. Both are fifth-round picks, Pamphile in 2014, Benenoch in ’16. Koetter added he’s more content with the Bucs’ guard depth than he is at tackle presently.

2017 Proven Performance Escalators

According to the NFL’s contractual bargaining agreement, players drafted in rounds three though seven are entitled to raises during the fourth year of their respective rookie contracts. The pay bumps are tied to playing time — a player must have played in 35% of his team’s offensive or defensive snaps in two of his first three seasons, or averaged 35% playing time cumulatively during that period.Donte Moncrief (Vertical)

If one of these thresholds is met, the player’s salary is elevated to the level of that year’s lowest restricted free agent tender — that figure should be around $1.8MM in 2017. Players selected in the first or second round, undrafted free agents, and kickers/punters are ineligible for the proven performance escalator.

Here are the players who will see their salary rise in 2017 courtesy of the proven performance escalator:

49ers: Aaron Lynch, LB; Marcus Martin, OL

Bears: Charles Leno, T; Will Sutton, DT

Bengals: Russell Bodine, C

Bills: Preston Brown, LB; Seantrel Henderson, T

Broncos: Michael Schofield, OL

Browns: Christian Kirksey, LB

Buccaneers: Kevin Pamphile, G

Cardinals: John Brown, WR

Chiefs: Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, G; Zach Fulton, G; Phillip Gaines, CB

Colts: Donte Moncrief, WR

Cowboys: Anthony Hitchens, LB

Falcons: Devonta Freeman, RB

Giants: Devon Kennard, LB

Jaguars: Aaron Colvin, CB; Brandon Linder, G; Telvin Smith, LB

Lions: Nevin Lawson, CB; Travis Swanson, C

Packers: Corey Linsley, C; Richard Rodgers, TE

Panthers: Tre Boston, S; Trai Turner, G

Raiders: T.J. Carrie, CB; Justin Ellis, DT; Gabe Jackson, G

Rams: Maurice Alexander, S; E.J. Gaines, CB

Redskins: Bashaud Breeland, CB; Spencer Long, G; Morgan Moses, T

Texans: C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE; Andre Hal, S

Titans: DaQuan Jones, DL; Avery Williamson, LB

Vikings: Shamar Stephen, DT

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

J.R. Sweezy Expected To Start Season On PUP List

One of the Buccaneers most notable offseason signings will likely be missing the first five weeks of the season. Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Bucs are expected to place offensive guard J.R. Sweezy on the physically unable to perform list. Sweezy has been battling a back ailment, and Stroud says the injury is “troublesome enough” to place the 27-year-old on the PUP.

J.R. SweezyThe Buccaneers added Sweezy in March, inking him to a five-year, $32.5MM ($14.5MM guaranteed) contract. The offensive guard had spent his entire four-year career in Seattle, where he had settled into the starting right guard role. With left guard Logan Mankins retiring, the Buccaneers were in the market for offensive line help. Stroud writes that Sweezy actually turned down a similar deal from the Seahawks in order to join Tampa Bay.

After signing that deal, the lineman had surgery to repair a herniated disk, and a recent second opinion provided Sweezy with some optimism.

“Just went and got it checked out. Everything is good. I’m on track,’’ Sweezy said (via Stroud). “I’m taking it day by day and trying to get back to where I need to be to play at the level I need to play at.’’

However, as Stroud notes, the Buccaneers want to protect their investment, and they want to assure that Sweezy is 100-percent before he takes the field. The writer cites the team’s mishandling of lineman Carl Nicks as a reason for caution. Third-year lineman Kevin Pamphile will likely slot in as the team’s starting left guard during Sweezy’s absence.