Kurt Coleman

NFC Notes: Redskins, Scherff, Ajayi, Saints

With Zack Martin recently signing a six-year, $84MM contract ($40MM guaranteed) with the Cowboys, Kareem Copeland of The Washington Post says Redskins guard Brandon Scherff is line for a big extension. The lineman has already earned a pair of Pro Bowl nods during his two seasons in the NFL, and he was rated as one of the best guards in the league per Pro Football Focus. Furthermore, with the organization looking to protect their investment in quarterback Alex Smith, it only makes sense to lock in their offensive line.

Fortunately for Scherff, it sounds like the team is more than willing to keep him around.

“His work ethic is off the charts,” said offensive line coach Bill Callahan. “He’s a guy that continually challenges you as a coach and every day wants to get better, wants to know specifically what he needs to work on to improve. We go over that list continually.

“He’s a guy that you just love to coach because you tell him one time and he gets it and he’s got it. You can do a lot of different things with him because he has that type of versatility and that type of adaptability as well.”

Scherff is set to earn $705K in 2018, but that will be bumped to $12.525MM in 2019 when the Redskins presumably pick up his fifth-year option.

Let’s take a look at some more notes from around the NFC…

  • Jay Ajayi is expected to sit atop the Eagles depth chart next season, but Reuben Frank of NBC Sports Philadelphia says that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll have have 20-plus carries per game. Rather, the writer expects Ajayi to collect less than 200 total carries on the season, especially when you consider the team’s depth at the position and Ajayi’s persistent knee issues. Acquired in a trade with the Dolphins midseason, the running back ultimately appeared in seven games (one start) for the Eagles in 2017, compiling 408 rushing yards and one score on 70 carries. He also collected 42 carries in the playoffs, including a nine-carry, 57-yard performance in the Super Bowl.
  • After being released by the Panthers in February, safety Kurt Coleman quickly signed a three-year deal with the Saints that contained more than $6MM in guaranteed money. It sounds like the organization had high hopes when they signed the defensive back to the contract, as Larry Holder of NOLA.com says Coleman could end up replacing Vonn Bell in the starting lineup. The 30-year-old played in 12 games for Carolina last season, compiling 76 tackles and three passes defended. On the flip side, Bell, 23, was plenty productive last year, finishing with 83 tackles and 4.5 sacks.
  • We learned yesterday that Eagles linebacker Nigel Bradham is facing a one-game suspension.

Extra Points: Vikings, Giants, Norwell, Saints

Remember Zac Stacy? The former Rams and Jets running back is attempting an NFL comeback, according to Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com (Twitter link), who spotted Stacy at Vanderbilt’s Pro Day earlier today. Stacy, who turns 27 next month, hasn’t played since 2015, and announced his retirement at this time last year following an ankle injury. The Rams’ starter as a rookie in 2013, Stacy racked up 973 yards and seven touchdowns during his only campaign as a team’s primary back. New York eventually acquired Stacy for a seventh-round pick, but he managed only 31 total rushes before hanging up his cleats.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Now that Kirk Cousins is closing in on a fully guaranteed deal with the Vikings, at least one source tells Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (Twitter link) that Minnesota could ask running back Latavius Murray or defensive end Brian Robison to accept a pay cut in 2018. Murray got into the end zone eight times in 2017, but he’s due to count more than $6MM on next year’s cap and isn’t a lock to start given that rookie sensation Dalvin Cook will return from injury. Robison, meanwhile, hasn’t even decided if he’ll play during the upcoming season. If he retires, the Vikings will pick up $3.488MM in cap space, the same total as if he retires.
  • Guard Andrew Norwell was considered the Giants‘ primary free agent target this offseason, and while he ultimately landed with the Jaguars, New York’s offer was close if not the same as Jacksonville’s, tweets Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com. Norwell is now the league’s highest-paid after receiving $13MM annually (and $30MM guaranteed) on a five-year deal. New Giants general manager Dave Gettleman originally signed Norwell as an undrafted free agent in Carolina, so the connection made plenty of sense, but Norwell simply chose the Jaguars, per Raanan.
  • New details have emerged on veteran safety Kurt Coleman‘s three-year deal with the Saints, as Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com writes. In total, the pact is worth $16.35MM, but Coleman can earn another $2.25MM via incentives. Coleman will collect $6.2MM in full guarantees, $4.5MM of which will come in the form of a signing bonus. However, Coleman’s new contract is heavily back-loaded, as his 2018 cap charge is just $3.3MM. New Orleans will have a decision to make in 2019, as Coleman has a $500K roster bonus on the third day of the league year — he could be released with $3MM in dead money accelerating onto the club’s cap.

Extra Points: Broncos, Cousins, Coleman

Despite the Broncos being interested in Kirk Cousins throughout the offseason, they moved on Case Keenum and reached an agreement before the Cousins domino fell. The Broncos, who do not have as much cap space as their top Cousins competitors do, spoke with the quarterback’s representation on Monday but did not submit an official offer, James Palmer of NFL.com reports (on Twitter). The team’s Keenum agreement being at least $18MM represented a significant discount from Cousins’ near-$30MM-AAV deal — one expected to be with the Vikings. Despite Cousins having proven more than Keenum, Broncos brass moved quickly on this agreement and was on the same page about the belated breakout passer. Palmer reports that went a long way toward completing this deal. Gary Kubiak is currently serving as a top Broncos front office bastion. Kubiak initially brought Keenum into the NFL as a UDFA while serving as Texans HC.

Here’s more from Denver and elsewhere around the league on Day 2 of pre-free agency.

  • Now that the Broncos lost one of the UFAs they were trying to keep, when Corey Nelson agreed to terms with the Eagles, Denver is trying to retain a higher-profile linebacker. The Broncos are expected to try and ramp up their efforts to retain Todd Davis before he hits free agency on Wednesday, Mike Klis of 9News reports (on Twitter). This would continue a change of pace for the John Elway-era Broncos. Previous offseasons saw off-ball ‘backers Wesley Woodyard, Nate Irving and Danny Trevathan depart. But in 2016, Elway authorized an $8MM-per-year deal for Brandon Marshall. Davis almost certainly won’t cost that much, profiling as more of a two-down thumper than sideline-to-sideline rover who can reliably operate in coverage, but he won’t come cheap since he’s been a two-year starter on one of the league’s top defenses.
  • Kurt Coleman took two visits before agreeing to join the Saints, meeting with the Giants and Bengals, Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com tweets. Coleman has bounced around the league, with his most recent stop being his most notable since the Panthers deployed him as a three-year starter — including in Super Bowl 50 — and signed him to an extension in 2016. Despite having played for three teams and having started 74 games, Coleman won’t turn 30 until July. The Giants are in need of a safety to complement Landon Collins. The Bengals, though, don’t have as obvious a need on their back line.

Saints Sign DB Kurt Coleman

The Saints added some reinforcement at safety overnight. Following a meeting earlier this week, the team has signed former Panthers defensive back Kurt Coleman, reports Nick Underhill of The Advocate (via Twitter). Underhill notes (via Twitter) that it’s a three-year deal for Coleman, while NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport adds that the deal is worth $18MM, with $6.5MM due in the first year of the contract.

Kurt Coleman (Vertical)Coleman, a 2010 seventh-round pick out of Ohio State, bounced around the league during his first few years in the NFL. He ultimately landed with the Panthers in 2015, and he proceeded to start 30 games for the organization between 2015 and 2016. During that two-year stretch, Coleman finished each campaign with at least 90 tackles, seven passes defended, and four interceptions. However, the 29-year-old took a bit of a step back in 2017, compiling 76 tackles, three passes defended, and zero interceptions. These numbers ultimately earned him a bottom-10 safety ranking according to Pro Football Focus.

Despite the struggles, Coleman should still get an opportunity to play next season in New Orleans. The Saints aren’t expected to re-sign defensive back Kenny Vaccaro, meaning Coleman could play plenty in the team’s three-safety sets. He’ll ultimately compete with Vonn Bell and Marcus Williams for playing time, but there should be more than enough snaps for the trio.

The Saints weren’t the only team to express interest in the veteran safety. According to ESPN’s Katherine Terrell (via Twitter), the Bengals also offered Coleman a three-year deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals Meet With Kurt Coleman

The Bengals took a meeting with free agent safety Kurt Coleman at the combine earlier tonight, reports Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com. Cincinnati becomes the known club to have visited with Coleman, joining New Orleans on the list of teams with interest in the veteran defensive back.Kurt Coleman (Vertical)

Coleman could join the Bengals as a third safety (the club has used player such as Chris Crocker or Josh Shaw in that role in recent seasons), but it’s not out of the question Cincinnati could install Coleman as a starter and cut one its incumbent safeties. George Iloka and Shawn Williams each offered league-average production in the Bengals’ defensive backfield in 2017, and the team could create cap space — $4.4MM for Iloka, $2.872MM for Willams — by cutting either.

More likely though, Coleman would offer depth for Cincinnati, as his performance last season wasn’t indicative of a starting caliber performer. Coleman was productive for the Panthers in 2015-16, so much through that Carolina gave him an extension that was to lock him up 2019. But Coleman struggled in 2017, and the Panthers opted to open up $2.65MM in cap room by parting ways with the 29-year-old.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints Meeting With DB Kurt Coleman

Kurt Coleman was released by the Panthers on Monday, but he’s already lined up a meeting with another NFC South club. Coleman met with a Saints contingent in Indianapolis today, according to Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com, who adds (via Twitter) Coleman is expected to visit with multiple teams while at the combine."<strong

The Saints — who have historically played a good deal of three-safety looks — aren’t expected to re-sign defensive back Kenny Vaccaro, so Coleman would give New Orleans another option to play in sub packages. He’d also add experience and leadership to a safety group that includes young starter Vonn Bell and Marcus Williams, each of whom entered the league within the past two years.

Coleman, 29, was a solid starter for Carolina in 2015-16, but struggled last season, grading as a bottom-10 safety per Pro Football Focus. That performance wasn’t enough for Coleman to keep his job, especially given that he was scheduled to count for $5.15MM on the Panthers’ salary cap in 2018.

Now that he’s on the open market, Coleman is part of a free agent safety class which also includes Lamarcus Joyner, Eric Reid, Morgan Burnett, Tre Boston, and Vaccaro.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers Release S Kurt Coleman

The Panthers will release Kurt Coleman despite two seasons remaining on the safety’s deal. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (on Twitter) Carolina will cut one of its safety starters.

Coleman started three seasons for the Panthers and signed an extension in 2016. He was set to comprise $5.15MM of the Panthers’ 2018 cap. This move will tag Carolina with $2.5MM in dead money while creating $2.65MM in cap space.

Coleman’s stay in Charlotte rebuilt his value after he’d been a part-time player with the 2013 Eagles and 2014 Chiefs. He started throughout the Panthers’ Super Bowl season and signed a three-year, $15.1MM extension during the summer of 2016.

Dave Gettleman signed off on Coleman’s extension that summer, and the Panthers have gone through three defensive coordinators since that move commenced. Coleman played in 12 games last season, missing time because of an MCL sprain. He will become a street free agent — on a market that also includes another Panthers safety from Super Bowl 50, Tre Boston — in advance of his age-29 season.

The Panthers may be looking to add younger talent at this position soon. Soon-to-be 37-year-old Mike Adams was Carolina’s other primary starter at this spot last season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers Rumors: Davis, Olsen, Kuechly

Thomas Davis provided some clarification about his health this week, making a slight correction to his wife’s assessment of an injury with which he’s dealing. During a TV interview, Kelly Davis said her husband was broken “completely broken ribs” for several weeks. The longest-tenured Panthers player said (via David Newton of ESPN.com) his wife didn’t lie and he is dealing with a broken bone in that area, but only one rib is affected. The 13th-year linebacker added the injury has healed to the point he doesn’t have to treat it any further. The Panthers called Kelly Davis’ comments “heartfelt” but “overstated,” noting Thomas Davis did appear on the team’s injury report for multiple weeks due to a rib ailment. Having started each of Carolina’s seven games this season, the linebacker is not in danger of missing Sunday’s game against the Buccaneers.

Here’s the latest out of Charlotte.

  • Greg Olsen says he’ll test his surgically repaired foot on the field next week, Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer writes. That’s when Olsen will first become eligible to resume practicing after going on IR in Week 3. If he’s healthy enough, Olsen could suit up again in mid-November. League rules dictate that players can return from IR after spending eight weeks on the list.
  • Ryan Kalil has played in just two of Carolina’s seven games this season and is unlikely to see action Sunday, although Ron Rivera said the longtime center could play in an emergency situation. Kalil’s dealing with a neck injury, one he aggravated in Week 7 after returning to the lineup. Rivera said (via Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer, on Twitter) the Panthers are not ready to discuss an IR move for the 11th-year snapper. Tyler Larsen has started in Kalil’s place.
  • Luke Kuechly is in the final stage of concussion protocol, needing to be cleared by an independent doctor in order to play this week. The All-Pro middle linebacker practiced fully all week, per Newton, and is just more than two weeks removed from the latest concussion he suffered. Signs point to Kuechly playing against the Bucs. Should Kuechly return after missing just one game, it will mark his shortest concussion-induced absence as an NFLer. He missed three games in 2015 and six last season because of head injuries.
  • Rivera added the Panthers will get Kurt Coleman back after three missed games. The safety missed time because of a knee injury.

Zach Links contributed to this report.

NFC Notes: Avril, Redskins, Panthers, Sloter

After being placed on injured reserve earlier this week, there were whispers that Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril could decide to hang up his cleats. While the player subsequently denied those reports, coach Pete Carroll addressed the rumors earlier today.

“We have to wait and see on that,” Carroll said (via ESPN’s Brady Henderson). “That’s really up to the docs and Cliff and all that kind of stuff, and I’m one-thousand percent supportive of whatever we need to do here to help him, and so that’s why we’re taking our time. The IR thing gives him six weeks at least to figure whatever else we can figure out. But he’s not sure what’s best for him right now and he’s trying to find that out. We’re giving him hopefully a good sense and a comfort that we’re going to support it all the way throughout and figure out what’s best and all that.” 

Let’s take a look at some more notes from around the NFC…

  • The Redskins placed rookie defense end Jonathan Allen on the injured reserve earlier today, but ESPN.com’s John Keim reports that the team is hoping he’ll be back before the end of the season. Coach Jay Gruden said the team’s prognosis changed after the player underwent surgery on Wednesday night. “We got better news after the surgery that it wouldn’t be as lengthy as they typically are,” Gruden said. “That’s good news. But we still have to rehab it. He’s a big man and sometimes bigger guys take a little bit longer. We’ll wait and see. Hopefully we see him again, but it’s up to the rehab.”
  • While it was initially believed that Kurt Coleman could miss up to a month, Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer reports that the Panthers safety could return this weekend after missing only a pair of games. Coleman suffered a sprained knee ligament earlier this month in a win over the Patriots. Meanwhile, linebacker Luke Kuechly made more progress towards passing the concussion protocol, as the Pro Bowler was seen riding a stationary bike earlier today.
  • Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is confident that he’ll return this season, and the team may be forced to make a difficult roster decision. With the team currently rostering Sam Bradford and Case Keenum, third-stringer Kyle Sloter appears to be the odd man out. Of course, the undrafted rookie isn’t worried about future transactions, as he’s confident he’ll find a job elsewhere. “I’m not really too concerned day in and day out with my NFL future,’’ Sloter told Chris Tomasson of TwinCities.com. “I think that I’ll have a job.” The reporter also tweets that the organization could look to pass Sloter through waivers with hopes that he’ll land on their practice squad.

Panthers S Kurt Coleman Sprains MCL

The Panthers are probably going to have to get by without their top safety for the time being. Kurt Coleman is set to miss time after spraining an MCL in Sunday’s victory over the Patriots, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

The team confirmed the injury Monday and said the eighth-year veteran could be out as long as a month, Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer tweets. The Panthers will face the Lions on Sunday in a matchup of 3-1 teams before a Thursday-night game against the Eagles. Coleman will almost certainly miss both of those games, regardless of his recovery speed.

Carolina is suddenly hurting for depth on its defensive back line. The team signed 36-year-old Mike Adams to play alongside Coleman but doesn’t have much starting experience behind its top duo. Longtime special-teamer Colin Jones replaced Coleman on Sunday. Rookie UDFA Demetrious Cox is the only other safety on the roster. Jones did start six games for the Panthers from 2014-16, however.

Last year, Coleman signed an extension with the Panthers that runs through the 2019 season. He hasn’t missed more than a game in a season since joining the team in 2015, playing in 15 regular-season contests in each of the past two years.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.