Lamarcus Joyner

Raiders Notes: Brown, Bell, Williams, Joyner

The 49ers weren’t the only team to miss out on Le’Veon Bell. Vic Tafur of The Athletic writes that the Raiders made an offer to the star running back, and “there was some real buzz in the building” yesterday.

The reporter also notes that the Raiders thought they could land Bell if “money wasn’t the most important thing,” as the running back reportedly preferred to play for the Raiders. After missing out on Bell, the team also took a run at Mark Ingram, who ended up landing in Baltimore.

Bell ultimately agreed to a four-year, $52.5MM deal with the Jets, forcing the Raiders to look elsewhere for a running back. At the moment, the team is rostering three backs in DeAndre Washington, Chris Warren, and James Butler.

Let’s check out some more notes out of Oakland…

  • The Raiders weren’t even considering an Antonio Brown trade until the deal between the Steelers and Bills fell apart, general manager Mike Mayock told Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com (Twitter link). The organization ultimately acquired the Pro Bowl wide receiver in exchange for a third- and fifth-round pick in this year’s draft.
  • The Raiders continued to show interest in wideout Tyrell Williams even after pulling off the Brown trade, according to Jason La Canfora (on Twitter). The team ended up agreeing to a four-year, $44MM deal ($22MM guaranteed) earlier today. La Canfora notes that several other teams pursued Williams, including the Ravens, Saints, Steelers, Jets. Many of those teams were offering contracts between $8MM and $9MM annually, with the 27-year-old ultimately receiving $11MM a season from the Raiders.
  • The Raiders are planning to rely on Lamarcus Joyner as their primary nickel cornerback, writes Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The 28-year-old has primarily played safety throughout his career, although he did play some cornerback early on his career. The team will occasionally deploy Joyner at safety, although Gehlken notes that the team could still add another player at the position. Joyner is set to sign a four years, $42MM deal with the Raiders.

Contract Details: Joyner, Titans, Rams, Hart

Let’s take a look at the details of a few recently-signed contracts from around the NFL. Twitter links courtesy of Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, unless otherwise noted.

Raiders Expected To Sign Lamarcus Joyner

Lamarcus Joyner is heading to the Raiders. The team is expected to sign the former Rams safety, reports NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter). ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez tweets that the deal is expected to pay Joyner around $10.5MM per season.

The 2014 second-rounder had spent his entire career with the Rams organization, and he continued to take on a bigger role with the team throughout his five-year tenure. Joyner started a (then) career-high 12 games in 2017, finishing with 49 tackles, nine passes defended, and three picks. This led to the Rams slapping him with the franchise tag, and the safety proceeded to play the 2018 season on a one-year, $11.28MM deal.

Joyner earned his worth last season, compiling 78 tackles, one sack, three passes defended, and one interception in 15 games. The 28-year-old also appeared in all three playoff games for Los Angeles, and he had six tackles in the Rams’ Super Bowl loss. Pro Football Focus was particularly bullish of his 2018 performance, ranking him 29th among 93 eligible safeties.

The Raiders have been busy over the past two days. After trading for Antonio Brown and trading away guard Kelechi Osemele to the Jets yesterday, the team opened free agency by signing offensive tackle Trent Brown and re-signing defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams Likely To Let Suh, Fowler Hit FA

The Rams have a number of high-profile players scheduled for free agency this offseason and it sounds like they’ll allow most of them to test the waters. “There’s a good possibility” the Rams will permit defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, safety Lamarcus Joyner, and edge rusher Dante Fowler to reach the open market before discussing new deals with them, GM Les Snead says (Twitter link via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press). Snead also said the team is unlikely to use the franchise tag (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Lindsay Thiry).

Suh joined the Rams on a one-year, $14MM deal last year after he was cut loose by the Dolphins. The durable lineman turned in another 16-game season for L.A. and racked up 59 tackles with 4.5 sacks. He was also a disruptive force in the first two games of the postseason, tallying four QB hits in the first two games. He wasn’t quite as effective in the Super Bowl, but then again, most of the Rams’ stars underwhelmed in the championship game.

The Jaguars more or less gave up on Fowler when they shipped him to the Rams in October. Since then, he’s shown flashes of promise and the 24-year-old (25 in August) should draw interest from clubs looking for help around the edge. Fowler had four sacks for L.A. and Jacksonville combined, just half of his 2017 total.

Here’s the full rundown of the Rams’ impending free agents (excluding exclusive rights free agents):

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams To Rest Todd Gurley In Week 17

The next time Todd Gurley plays for the Rams, some type of NFC playoff logo will be featured on the field. The Rams declared Gurley out for Week 17.

Gurley has been dealing with knee inflammation and was a late scratch in Week 16. The Rams are not guaranteed a bye but can clinch the NFC’s No. 2 seed with a win over the 49ers or a Bears loss to the Vikings.

Sean McVay said (via The Athletic’s Vincent Bonsignore, on Twitter) he is not concerned about Gurley’s availability in January but wants to be smart about the return of his All-Pro running back. Gurley suffered the knee injury late in the Rams’ loss to the Eagles nearly two weeks ago. Sitting in the team’s regular-season finale was rumored all week. Now, C.J. Anderson will have another chance to audition for potential free agent bidders.

Gurley’s season will wrap up with 1,831 yards from scrimmage and a career-high 21 touchdowns. He’s been the centerpiece of McVay’s second Rams offense and obviously is key to the team qualifying for its first Super Bowl since the 2001 season. The 24-year-old back signed a market-setting extension to stay with the Rams long-term at the beginning of the season, and a second All-Pro honor will likely come his way soon.

Lamarcus Joyner will also be shelved in Week 17. The safety suffered an ankle injury against the Cardinals.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

No Deals For Bell, Lawrence, Ansah, Or Joyner

None of this year’s franchise tagged players agreed to extensions with their respective teams before Monday’s deadline. That means Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell, Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah, Cowboys defensive end Demarcus Lawrence, and Rams safety Lamarcus Joyner will all play on their tags in 2018. 

Over the weekend, we heard that deals were unlikely for any of the four players. However, we’ve been surprised in the past. You may recall the 2016 franchise tag extension deadline in which Muhammad Wilkerson and the Jets agreed to a buzzer-beating deal after weeks of reports indicating that it would not happen (the Jets certainly wish it hadn’t happened now).

There was no surprise this year, so the four franchise tagged players are all entering contract seasons at the following rates:

  • Ezekiel Ansah – $17.1MM
  • DeMarcus Lawrence – $17.1MM
  • Le’Veon Bell – $14.5MM
  • Lamarcus Joyner – ~$12MM

This marks the first ever franchise tag for Ansah, Lawrence, and Joyner. For Bell, this is the second go ’round and it’s incredibly unlikely that the Steelers will consider a third tag, no matter how good he is in 2018.

Per league rules, extension talks cannot resume between the team and the tagged player until after the 2018 season has concluded.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Franchise-Tagged Players

Monday’s 3pm CT deadline for franchise-tagged players to sign extensions may come and go without one being finalized.

After a Saturday report indicated re-ups were unlikely for DeMarcus Lawrence and Ziggy Ansah, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com confirmed Ansah and the Lions won’t agree to terms by Monday afternoon and adds Lawrence is unlikely to come to terms with the Cowboys (Twitter links).

As for the other two tagged players, prospects also appear grim. Schefter reports (on Twitter) Lamarcus Joyner is not expected to reach an extension with the Rams, though he adds the sides are still discussing one. And despite Mike Tomlin‘s hopes of Le’Veon Bell finally agreeing to a Steelers accord, Schefter reports (via Twitter) that’s unlikely, too. However, the Steelers and Bell have made recent progress and will keep trying until the deadline. But this report throws some cold water on an 11th-hour solution coming to pass.

Ansah and the Lions have been far apart throughout this process, and the Lions are planning to see if their top edge defender can stay healthy and prove reliable enough for a long-term commitment. The Cowboys may be using the same strategy with their injury-prone pass rusher, despite making a stronger effort to discuss a deal with Lawrence.

Bell and the Steelers have been circling each other for years, but if the parties can’t agree by Monday afternoon, their arrangement will be a full-fledged rental situation. Bell will likely be headed toward the 2019 UFA market if the Steelers don’t sign him by Monday. The Rams’ issues with Aaron Donald‘s deal leave Joyner in a strange spot. Los Angeles possesses a league-low $2MM in cap space and has a glut of contract calls coming — Donald, Joyner, Brandin Cooks, Todd Gurley, Marcus Peters — in what will be a complicated stretch for the now-high-profile team.

Of course, by the Lions, Cowboys and Rams not agreeing on deals with their tagged performers, that ups prices down the line. Since Bell has already been twice tagged, it would cost the Steelers a staggering $20MM-plus to tag their All-Pro back again.

Ansah is going to play this season for $17.1MM, and if Lawrence indeed is still without a deal by Monday evening, he will too. Joyner will count nearly $12MM on the Rams’ payroll, while Bell’s $14.5MM 2018 salary has been well-known for months by NFL contract buffs.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Rams, Joyner, Eagles, Redskins, Dez Bryant

The deadline to reach deals with players who were franchised tagged was set by the league as July 16th. If a player and a team can’t agree on a deal by then, they aren’t allowed to agree to a longterm deal until after the 2018 season is over. One notable player who’s been tagged is Rams safety Lamarcus Joyner. Joyner remains unsigned, and there has been little progress on a deal according to recent reports. Fellow Rams defensive star Aaron Donald might be one reason why.

The Rams “would probably have a hard time giving big money to Joyner before finally extending the contract of” Donald, writes Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com. Given how much talk there has been about when Donald will get the contract extension he’s been wanting for over a year now, it might be bad optics for the team to extend Joyner first. Rams fans have been growing impatient with the front office over their inability to cut a deal with Donald. Donald held out all summer last year and ended up missing the first game of the season. If the Rams are reluctant to pay Joyner before Donald is locked up, it could mean Joyner heads into 2019 an unrestricted free agent.

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • Breaking down the Eagles’ secondary, Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com sees a three way battle for the team’s final cornerback spot between De’Vante BausbyD.J. Killings, and Chandon Sullivan. Shorr-Parks thinks Bausby is clearly in the lead and well on his way to a roster spot, whereas Killings and Sullivan will need to have “amazing” training camps and preseasons to make the 53-man roster.
  • Dez Bryant will end up with the Redskins when he finally signs, predicts Jason Fitzgerald of Overthecap.com (Twitter link). Fitzgerald, a salary cap expert, thinks Bryant “won’t get much” in terms of compensation on whatever deal he signs.
  • In case you missed it, another player who’s been franchised tagged and is looking for an extension, DeMarcus Lawrence, will meet with the Cowboys next week to talk about a deal.

 

July 16 Marks NFL’s Franchise Tag Extension Deadline

This year, the deadline for teams to reach extensions with franchise tagged players falls on July 16. If the following four players do not agree to new contracts in the coming days, they will be ticketed for free agency in 2019:

For Bell, the absence of a deal all but guarantees that he will be allowed to explore the open market next season. That’s because this is the second year in a row that Bell has been hit with the tag. He’ll make $14.544MM this season if no extension deal is reached, but a third tag would cost Pittsburgh more than $20MM. For the rest, the possibility of a second franchise tag remains, though the requisite 20% increase could prevent teams from applying the tender.

The rules of the franchise tag dictate that teams have until mid-July to hammer out an extension with players. If not, the two sides are barred from engaging in contract talks until after the season has concluded.

From 2013-2017, 16 of the league’s 33 franchise tagged players agreed to extensions before the summer deadline. This year, it’s hard to say whether deals will be reached for any of the players in question. Bell is looking for a deal that will reflect his production as a top running back and a No. 2 wide receiver. The defensive ends, Ansah and Lawrence, know that teams are willing to overpay for quality edge rushers in free agency. Joyner, meanwhile, may be content to let the Rams control his fate since he’ll either make $11MM+ this year and hit free agency, or earn $25MM through two franchise tags and reach the open market in 2020.

Then again, a serious injury could derail any member of this quartet, so there’s something to be said for financial security over monetary upside. Joyner, in particular, could be quietly eager to sign a multi-year deal after watching a dismal free agent safety market play out this offseason.

What we do know for sure is that the next 12 days will be worth monitoring.

NFC Notes: Vikings, Diggs, Rams, Joyner

Here’s a look at the NFC:

  • There’s a good chance that Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr and wide receiver Stefon Diggs will hit the open market in 2019 if they don’t sign contract extensions, Joel Corry of CBSSports.com (on Twitter) opines. Corry estimates that the linebacker and wide receiver franchise tags will be $16.325MM and $17MM, respectively, and that may be too pricey for Minnesota’s liking. On Wednesday, we evaluated Barr as an extension candidate.
  • Kirk Cousins‘ open-minded approach to the franchise tag should serve as inspiration to this year’s franchise tagged players, Albert Breer of The MMQB argues. That includes Rams safety Lamarcus Joyner, who is set to make $11.287MM this year and would call for a $13.544MM salary if tagged again next year. By standing pat, Joyner would receive either $11.287MM this year and a trip to free agency in March, or nearly $25MM across two seasons before hitting the open market in 2020. That could give Joyner the confidence he needs to stand his ground in extension talks, though this year’s disappointing free agent market for safeties could also steer him towards taking a deal.
  • Eagles running back Matt Jones knows that he needs to get it together if he wants to stick in the NFL. “It could be [my last chance],” Jones said (via Tom Moore of The Morning Call). “That don’t scare me at all. I got my eyes on the prize. I’m here and I’m ready to work.” Jones inked a two-year, $1.5MM deal with the Eagles this offseason, but the contract contains zero guarantees.