LeGarrette Blount

The 10 Best One-Year NFL Contracts Of 2017

Signing a one-year contract is almost never ideal from a player’s perspective — while a single-season pact can often mean a larger salary, it doesn’t come with the security or guarantees that a multi-year deal offers. From a team’s vantage point, however, there’s essentially no such thing as a poor one-year contract. The player doesn’t work out? No problem: he’s off the books in one season and doesn’t hinder the club’s long-term financials.

Not every player listed below was inked with the presumption that they’d become an integral piece of their respective team’s roster, but they’ve all made good on their one-year pacts. Here are the ten best one-year NFL contracts signed in 2017:

Case Keenum, QB (Vikings)

In Week 9 of the 2016 season, Keenum was appearing in his final game as the Rams’ starting quarterback, and had led the club to a 3-5 record while ranking 29th in both quarterback rating and adjusted net yards per pass attempt. Fast forward to the 2017 campaign, and Keenum is 16th in quarterback rating, 11th in ANY/A, and fronting a Vikings team that leads the NFC North at 6-2 — not bad for a one-year, $2MM deal. It’s unclear how long Keenum will remain Minnesota’s starter under center (Teddy Bridgewater is due back next week), but Keenum, who will be 30 years old when free agency opens next spring, has put himself in line to compete for a starting job in 2018, either with the Vikings or with another club.

Josh McCown, QB (Jets)

Although the Jets were thought to be tanking this season, they’ve posted a 4-5 record (a mark that includes close losses to the Dolphins and Falcons), and McCown has been a key driver of that success. Now 38 years old, McCown is posting his best statistics since 2013, and has completed 70.4% of his passes for 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He’s been especially productive in the deep passing game, ranking second in touchdowns and third in passer rating on throws of 20 yards or more, per Mike Castiglione of Pro Football Focus. Given his performance and his locker room presence, McCown shouldn’t have any trouble landing another job next offseason.

LeGarrette Blount, RB (Eagles)LeGarrette Blount (Vertical)

While trade acquisition Jay Ajayi figures to take over as the Eagles’ starting running back going forward, Philadelphia has already gotten value out of Blount and his one-year, $1.25MM pact. Blount has handled at least 12 carries in seven of nine games this season while posting a robust 4.6 yards per rush. While he’s scored only two touchdowns thus far, Blount ranks first among all running backs with more than 25 touches with a broken tackle per touch ratio of 39.4%, according to Football Outsiders. The Eagles are the best team in the league right now, meaning they’ll be favored in a majority of their remaining games. Even with Ajayi in tow, positive game scripts should ensure Blount still has a role in Philadelphia’s backfield.

Alshon Jeffery, WR (Eagles)

Following two consecutive down seasons in Chicago, Jeffery took a pillow contract with the Eagles — he’ll collect $9.5MM (and can earn $4.5MM via incentives) before searching for a long-term deal next spring. Jeffery is fresh off his best game of the season, as he posted six receptions for 84 yards and two touchdowns against the Broncos’ vaunted pass defense. While he’s still not creating separation — dead last in the league in yards of separation among qualified wideouts — Jeffery and his contested catch ability are nevertheless a large part of the Eagles’ offense. He’s accounted for 35.03% of his club’s air yards (10th in the NFL), per Next Gen Stats, giving quarterback and MVP candidate Carson Wentz a much-needed weapon on the outside.

Alex Okafor, DE (Saints)

After trying the likes of Bobby Richardson and Paul Kruger of the past two seasons, the Saints have finally found a counterpart to Cameron Jordan at defensive end in the form of Okafor, whom New Orleans lured away from Arizona with a $2MM contract. He’s since played more than three-quarters of the Saints’ defensive snaps, racking up 3.5 sacks in the process. Also excellent against the run, Okafor ranks second among 4-3 defensive ends with a 9.5% run stop percentage, per PFF. All told, Okafor has helped the Saints defense rebound to a No. 16 ranking in DVOA and No. 15 ranking in adjusted sack rate (and those numbers are prior to New Orleans’ five-sack performance against the Buccaneers on Sunday).

Julius Peppers, DE (Panthers)

Peppers is back in Carolina following a seven-year hiatus, and the former No. 1 overall pick is playing like it’s still 2008. He’s 37 years old now, so the Panthers are wisely limiting his snaps — he’s seen action on roughly half the club’s defensive plays through nine weeks. Peppers has racked up 7.5 sacks this season, a figure which ranks eighth among defenders this season and places him fourth all-time with 150.5 career sacks. If Carolina earns a postseason berth — FiveThirtyEight gives them a 52% chance to do so — it will be on the strength of the team’s defense, which currently ranks sixth in DVOA.

Zach Brown, LB (Redskins)

Coming off the best season of his career with the Bills in 2016, Brown was surprisingly forced to settle for a one-year, $2MM deal with the Redskins after initially searching for a $6MM/year contract. And that’s not due to lack of interest, as Oakland, Miami, Indianapolis, and Buffalo all expressed interest in the veteran linebacker before he landed with Washington. Several of those clubs (we’re looking at you, Raiders) would certainly love to have a defender of Brown’s caliber and price available right now. A playmaking machine who embodies a 21st-century linebacker, Brown should be able to land a multi-year pact next offseason, when he’ll still be only 28 years old.

Morris Claiborne, CB (Jets)Morris Claiborne (Vertical)

The Jets’ offseason was primarily dedicated to getting rid of veteran players, but general manager Mike Maccagnan‘s small-scale signings have worked out well, as Claiborne joins McCown as the second Gang Green addition on this list. Claiborne, 27, has always been an effective player when healthy, but injuries have often marred his performance. He’s never played an entire 16-game slate, and he’s managed more than 11 games just once during his five-plus year career. Like Brown, Claiborne can use 2017 as his platform season in order to secure a multi-year deal in 2018 — as long as stays healthy for the rest of this year, that is.

Nickell Robey-Coleman, CB (Rams)

A perfectly-named slot corner, Robey-Coleman was shockingly cut loose by the Bills earlier this year despite ranking as PFF’s No. 33 cornerback in 2016 and being on par to earn just $2.083MM in 2017. The Rams scooped him up on a one-year deal worth the minimum salary, and he’s been outstanding under defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, helping Los Angeles to a No. 3 ranking in pass defense DVOA. Thus far, the 25-year-old Robey-Coleman ranks third among 64 qualified cornerbacks in success rate, per Football Outsiders.

Patrick Robinson, CB (Eagles)

While the Eagles certainly have leaned on their excellent young corps on the way to a 8-1 record, general manager Howie Roseman should be lauded for his one-year, cost-effective signings of Robinson, Jeffery, and Blount. Cast off by the Colts one year into a three-year deal, Robinson signed with Philadelphia for the minimum salary and has since become the Eagles’ best cornerback. Pro Football Focus ranks the former first-round pick as the No. 4 corner in the league, and Robinson is allowing only 56.3% of targets in his area to be caught. While Robinson may not be able to parlay his production into a hefty deal in 2018 given that he’ll be 31 years old when next season gets underway, he’s been a superb addition for the Eagles.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Fallout From Jay Ajayi Trade

The Dolphins sent their starting running back of the past two years to the Eagles, and Jay Ajayi will join the team with the best record in football. The teams look to view the ball-carrier differently. Here’s the latest coming out of Miami and Philadelphia regarding this high-profile swap.

  • Miami was planning to look for running back help this offseason regardless of an Ajayi trade, Charles Robinson of Yahoo.com tweets. Robinson writes the team has been doing its due diligence on backs, and it looks like Miami could well pursue a new starter for 2018. Miami saw Ajayi average just 3.4 yards per carry this season after debuting as a starter at 4.9 per tote. But the Dolphins handed him the ball on 138 of their 168 rushing attempts thus far. Damien Williams (12 2017 carries) and Kenyan Drake (10) are the next men up.
  • The Dolphins also don’t think Ajayi has much longer to play before the knee problems that dogged him coming out of Boise State catch up to him, Jeff Darlington of ESPN.com tweets. Ajayi fell to the fifth round partially because of concerns about his knees. But he played in 15 games last season, missing the one because of a disciplinary issue, and has suited up for each of the Fins’ seven 2017 contests.
  • Roseman said the Eagles did “the necessary medical work” on Ajayi and are comfortable with his knees, per Jeff McLane of Philly.com (on Twitter). Ajayi will take a physical upon arriving in Philadelphia tonight, and McLane notes he’s expected to be at Eagles practice on Wednesday.
  • Ajayi won’t turn 25 until next summer, and much like Philadelphia’s Ronald Darby trade, a key part of this deal was Ajayi being under contract through 2018, Howie Roseman said (via Zach Berman of Philly.com, on Twitter). LeGarrette Blount, though, will remain the Eagles’ starter, per the GM. Roseman added the Eagles being 7-1 puts them in a better position to unload a draft pick — their third 2018 selection traded away.
  • The Dolphins believe this trade will represent an addition-by-subtraction effect, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reports. Ajayi’s “selfish” attitude contributed to him falling out of favor with the Dolphins, with Salguero reporting the running back on multiple occasions stormed out of the locker room after games due to discontent about his workload. Ajayi had four games featuring 27-plus touches, but three others (all Dolphins losses) featured fewer than 17. Salguero reports Ajayi complained to Dolphins running backs coach Danny Barrett but never addressed his concerns with Adam Gase.

Extra Points: Eagles, Blount, 49ers, Marks

There has been speculation that LeGarrette Blount could be on the Eagles‘ roster bubble, but the running back seems to think that his job is secure.

Oh yeah. Without a doubt,” Blount said when asked if he feels like he’s a big part of the team’s game plan (via NFL.com). “And like I said, I’m excited and I love the opportunity that I’ve been presented here. Everybody’s been nothing but great towards me this whole entire time. And that’s a big thing for me, because you want to be comfortable with the guys you’re going to be working with every day.”

Earlier this week, coach Doug Pederson also characterized Blount as a “big part” of the offensive game plan. Despite some speculation to the contrary, it sounds like Blount’s spot is safe.

Here’s more from the NFC:

  • We now have details on the 49ers‘ deal with new defensive lineman Sen’Derrick Marks, courtesy of ESPN.com’s Field Yates (on Twitter). It’s a pact with $1MM in base salary, $600K in per-game roster bonuses, and $400K available through incentives. Most notably, the deal includes no guaranteed cash, so the Niners won’t be on the hook for his deal if he does not make the 53-man cut on Sept. 2.
  • D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution looked at who is on the Falcons‘ roster bubble as the deadline approaches. The wide receiver group is one to watch as Justin Hardy, Nick Williams, and undrafted free agent Reggie Davis duke it out for one or possibly two spots. Through the preseason thus far, Davis leads the team with 114 receiving yards. However, coach Dan Quinn wants to find out if he can serve as a gunner on punt coverage. Meanwhile, as the Falcons look to replace Jalen Collins in the No. 4 cornerback role, CJ. Goodwin seems to have the leg up on Deji Olatoye and Akeem King. Former third-round pick Blidi Wreh-Wilson is among those listed as a longshot.
  • The Packers have to decide whether to keep Taysom Hill as a third quarterback behind Aaron Rodgers and Brett Hundley, Ryan Wood of USA Today writes. Hill, a 27-year-old UDFA, led two touchdown drives this preseason and boasts 4.4 second 40-yard-dash speed.

NFC East Notes: Eagles, Cowboys, Giants

While recent reports indicated LeGarrette Blount could lose his Eagles roster spot before the season gets underway, head coach Doug Pederson seemingly dismissed those insinuations today, as Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. “LeGarrette Blount is a beast of a runner,” said Pederson. “I’m excited he’s here and he’s going to be a big part of our offense.” The Eagles signed Blount to a one-year deal that contains $400K guaranteed after he led the league with 18 rushing touchdowns a season ago. While there’s virtually no chance the 30-year-old Blount will match his 299 carries from 2016, he should be part of a Philadelphia backfield rotation that also includes Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood, and Donnel Pumphrey.

Here’s more from the NFC East:

  • Last year’s Josh Brown episode could potentially factor into the NFL’s dealings with suspended Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk points out. Brown, of course, was banned for only a single game even after admitting to abusing his ex-wife. Arbitrator Harold Henderson upheld Brown’s suspension at the time, and he’ll also be hearing Elliott’s appeal of his own six-game ban. “Mitigating factors” lead to the NFL suspending Brown for only contest, but the league has never disclosed what those factors were, per Florio.
  • D.J. Fluker isn’t going to earn a starting spot along the Giants‘ offensive line, and it’s possible he won’t even make the club’s roster, opines James Kratch of NJ.com. New York signed the 26-year-old Fluker to a one-year, $3MM deal ($1.5MM guaranteed) this spring, but he’s made no push to steal Big Blue’s starting right guard job from John Jerry. The Giants aren’t giving Fluker the opportunity to compete at right tackle, so the former first-round pick could be shown the door in favor of journeyman Adam Gettis.
  • The Redskins spent heavily on their defensive line this spring, signing both Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee to multi-year pacts. Thus far, McGee has been far more impressive in camp, but neither player has a lock on a starting job, as Mike Jones of the Washington Post writes. McClain, in fact, has performed so poorly that there’s been some noise he could be released, although that’s unlikely given the $7.25MM dead money hit that would come with the cut. Still, first-round rookie Jonathan Allen and others (such as Matt Ioannidis and Anthony Lanier) could be better bets for playing time.
  • After working out for the Bears last week, undrafted rookie linebacker Michael Scherer is set to audition for the Giants today, reports Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Twitter link). Scherer, a Missouri product, appeared in 26 games for the Tigers from 2014-15 before a knee injury ended his senior season after seven contests in 2016. Ranked as one of the 30 best undrafted linebackers following this year’s draft, Scherer has yet to land an NFL contract.

East Notes: Jets, Blount, Cowboys

It has been assumed for some time that Josh McCown would at least open the 2017 season as the Jets‘ starting quarterback, but the team needs to give Christian Hackenberg a look this year in order to see what they have in him, and to that end, Hackenberg got a surprise start in last night’s preseason matchup against the Lions.

It did not go well. Hackenberg took a big step backward from his solid outing last week, going 2-for-6 for 14 yards. He was sacked twice, he fumbled once, and four of his five drives were three-and-outs. Although head coach Todd Bowles attempted to take some of the heat off Hackenberg by pointing out that the offensive line did not give him much of a chance, Brian Costello of the New York Post believes McCown won the team’s starting job last night, and he didn’t even have to take a snap to do it.

Now for more from the league’s east divisions, starting with more from Gang Green:

  • McCown was initially supposed to take more snaps in last night’s game than he did in the Jets‘ first preseason contest, but Bowles said he changed his mind on Thursday night, per Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. Bowles said McCown “has played in a million preseason games” and therefore elected to give Hackenberg a shot. However, Mehta reports that McCown was told by a media relations advisor to not speak with reporters after the game, even though McCown was apparently open to talking. It is unclear what the team’s motivation in “censoring” McCown would be, but it is an interesting move just the same.
  • Unlike Hackenberg, Jets No. 3 signal-caller Bryce Petty performed fairly well last night, going 15-for-24 for 160 yards and leading two field goal drives. Per Mehta, Petty has secured a roster spot unless he suffers a complete meltdown over the next several weeks.
  • Mehta also observes that Ross Martin, who made a pair of short field goals last night to go along with a miss from 56 yards, remains the front-runner to win the Jets‘ kicking job over Chandler Catanzaro, who missed a 55-yarder in the preseason opener but did not get an attempt last night.
  • Eagles running back LeGarrette Blount is coming off one of his best seasons, but he struggled to find a new home in free agency this offseason, and the short-yardage specialist may be on the roster bubble in Philly, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk (citing Matt Lombardo of NJ.com) writes. Although Blount does not really fit the Eagles’ offense, it may not be wise to cut him, as Wendell Smallwood has had difficulty staying healthy, Darren Sproles is 34, and Donnel Pumphrey is a fourth-round rookie.
  • Cowboys No. 2 QB Kellen Moore turned in another poor performance during last night’s contest against the Colts, and while the team continues to publicly support him, an unnamed source tells Clarence E. Hill, Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that Moore will be the subject of conversation at personnel meetings this week. It is unclear what that means at this point, because the team will certainly not promote undrafted rookie Cooper Rush to the backup job, no matter how well he has played, and the Cowboys have not yet considered adding a proven free agent to compete with Moore.
  • It was a different story for Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith, who finally played in a football game last night after 596 days on the sidelines. Smith, who suffered a gruesome knee injury during the final game of his collegiate career on January 1, 2016, saw his draft stock plummet as a result and was ultimately scooped up by Dallas in the second round of the 2016 draft (he was originally considered a top-10, or even top-5, talent). The Cowboys knew 2016 would essentially be a medical redshirt year for Smith, but they also knew that, if Smith could overcome the injury, they could have something special on their hands. The nerve in Smith’s leg continues to regenerate, and as Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News writes, Smith looked solid in last night’s preseason game. He was in for 12 snaps, he moved well, and he was quick to the ball, further solidifying the team;s belief that he will be a significant contributor this year.

NFC East Notes: Redskins, Pryor, Eagles

Will free agent addition Terrelle Pryor wind up being the Redskins‘ leading receiver in 2017? JP Finlay and Rich Tandler of CSN Mid-Atlantic put the question up for debate. Pryor’s 55% catch rate last year wasn’t great, but Finlay argues that he couldn’t have done much better given the quarterbacks he had throwing to him. If Pryor was able to haul in 77 receptions for 1,007 yards with a rotating cast of unimpressive QBs, then he could put up even bigger numbers with Kirk Cousins throwing to him. On the flipside, Tandler notes that wide receiver Jamison Crowder and tight end Jordan Reed both figure to be targeted more than Pryor, giving the Ohio State product long odds of being the team’s top pass catcher.

Here’s more out of the NFC East:

  • Eagles running back LeGarrette Blount can earn $50K if he weighs in between 240-245 pounds on the team’s reporting date for training camp, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Blount’s one-year deal calls for $1.25MM in base pay, but he can earn a total of $2.8MM through incentives, including the summer weigh-in. Blount is coming off one of his best seasons, having achieved career highs in carries (299), yards (1,161), and touchdowns (an NFL-leading 18).
  • If a deal does not get done between the Redskins and Kirk Cousins, don’t be shocked if Washington leaks the last offer rejected by the quarterback, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes. It’s likely that the final offer will sound impressive in comparison to what Cousins has accomplished so far on the field, so the Redskins can win some fan sympathy by giving a selective peek behind the curtain. An extension is currently viewed as a longshot and Cousins might be fundamentally unhappy with the team.
  • Could the Giants consider free agent cornerback Darrelle Revis? It would make for an excellent story, but James Kratch of NJ.com writes that it doesn’t make sense for the G-Men financially. Revis can collect his $6MM salary from the Jets by sitting on the couch and some have speculated that he would want $8MM from a team in order to actually play this year. Not only is that an unreasonable asking price for Revis at this stage of his career, but the Giants couldn’t fit that salary under the cap even if they wanted to make it happen.
  • Alterraun Verner, on the other hand, would be a more realistic option for the Giants, Kratch writes. Verner was apparently out of shape when he auditioned for the Jaguars in May, but he’d be an interesting slot option if he is now ready to play football. The Giants have a great slot corner in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, but they don’t have a Plan B in the event of an injury.

NFC East Notes: Eagles, Graham, Giants

There’s no reason that the Eagles would re-open negotiations with Brandon Graham unless they are just looking to do a solid for him, though that could open a pandora’s box of future requests from other players, Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap writes. Graham has outperformed his contract, but he still has two years to go on the deal and he has already made it clear that he will not be a summer holdout. In theory, the Eagles could shift some 2018 dollars into this year, but they’re already pretty tight against the cap. The Eagles could also guarantee some money that Graham was going to earn anyway, but that probably won’t do much to make him happy. At this point, Fitzgerald concludes that Graham’s best bet will be to crush it in 2017 and convince Philly’s front office to give him a lucrative extension next offseason that will allow him to retire with the Eagles.

Here’s more out of the NFC East:

  • The Giants are all-in on Paul Perkins after their lowball offer to LeGarrette Blount, ESPN.com’s Jordan Raanan writes. There was mutual interest between the Giants and Blount, but Raanan hears that the G-Men only came to the table with a minimum-salary offer. Ultimately, it seems that the Giants were only willing to add a power back if one would come to them on an exceptionally cheap deal. That didn’t materialize, so Perkins now projects as the starter with Orleans Darkwa and rookie Wayne Gallman as insurance. Shane Vereen, meanwhile, figues to be the passing-down back with Shaun Draughn as a potential failsafe in that facet of the game.
  • Redskins coach Jay Gruden believes that outside linebacker Junior Galette should be able to join the team by the end of July, as Nona Princiotti of The Washington Times writes. “He’s running and lifting, all that stuff right now,” Gruden said. “We’ll probably keep him out of the team stuff for OTAs but hopefully he’ll be full go at training camp.” Galette signed with the Redskins prior to the 2015 season but he has yet to play a down for D.C. The pass rusher tore his left Achilles tendon two summers ago and tore his right Achilles last year.
  • The signing of Blount will likely lead the Eagles to release Ryan Mathews.

Eagles Sign LeGarrette Blount

The Eagles have signed running back LeGarrette Blount, according to a team announcement. It’s a one-year deal with a maximum value of $2.8MM, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The pact calls for $1.25MM in base pay with up to $1.55MM in incentives, Josina Anderson of ESPN.com tweets.

[RELATED: Eagles Likely To Cut RB Ryan Mathews]

Last week, the Patriots used a May 9 tender on free agent running back, a little-known clause that could now impact the 2018 compensatory pick formula for the Eagles and Pats. However, it was said that teams with interest in Blount were looking into ways to circumvent the formula, so it’s possible that the Eagles will not give up much in that area.

The last compensatory pick is currently tied to a $2.05MM annual salary, so the Eagles will only sacrifice a 2018 comp selection if Blount earns more than that total. With $1.55MM of Blount’s deal is tied to performance, the Eagles could come away from this deal without hurting next year’s draft.

The Giants and Lions were known to have interest in Blount for a while, but the Eagles swooped in to sign the power back. As we explained earlier this month, the Eagles were a logical landing spot for Blount since Ryan Mathews could be let go this summer. Indeed, on Wednesday, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reported that Mathews is expected to be released once he’s fully healthy. By cutting him, the Eagles will save $4MM in 2017 while carrying just $1MM in dead money. With Mathews gone, Blount and Darren Sproles will get most of the carries while Wendell Smallwood assumes the role of No. 3 RB.

The seven-year veteran is coming off one of the most productive seasons of his career, having amassed career highs in carries (299), yards (1,161) and touchdowns (an NFL-leading 18). Still, the Patriots would only go so far to re-sign Blount this offseason. They’re losing the bruising back, but they now have an impressive bunch at RB with offseason additions Mike Gillislee and Rex Burkhead joining holdovers James White, Dion Lewis, Brandon Bolden, and D.J. Foster.

The Cardinals and Giants both made offers to Blount before he signed with Philly, according to Rapoport.

NFC Notes: D. Martin, Giants, Joeckel

We heard last month that the Buccaneers may retain RB Doug Martin, and Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times explains why Martin remains relevant to the Bucs. For one, Tampa Bay did not select a running back in the draft that could make an instant impact, so Martin is still the most talented back on the roster. But the Bucs do have enough talent at the position to get away with a running back-by-committee until Martin returns from suspension in October, so they can afford to be patient. Plus, Martin has something to prove, and he has shown that, when motivated, he can be highly productive. The team has expressed a great deal of optimism about Martin’s prospects since the draft, so it is looking more likely than ever that he will play out the 2017 campaign with the Bucs.

Now for more from the NFC:

  • The Giants were one of the most logical suitors for free agent RB LeGarrette Blount, but the Patriots’ decision to use a May 9 tender on Blount probably takes New York out of the picture, according to James Kratch of NJ.com. Plus, Kratch believes the team’s reported interest in adding a veteran back was always a bit overblown, as the Giants have three young RBs that they want to give opportunities to, along with veteran Shane Vereen.
  • In the same piece, Kratch observes that Giants cornerstones Justin Pugh, Weston Richburg, Landon Collins, and Odell Beckham will all reach the end of their rookie contracts over the next two seasons. Kratch says it will be difficult for Big Blue to re-sign all four, but it’s not impossible, and he lays out how New York could go about it.
  • Former West Virginia center Tyler Orlosky is part of the Eagles‘ 2017 class of UDFAs, and as Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com writes, it was a bit surprising that Orlosky chose to sign with Philadelphia. After all, he garnered plenty of interest as a UDFA, and the Eagles have three centers on their roster that they are invested in to some degree. But Shorr-Parks suggests that Orlosky may know something we don’t, and if Orlosky performs well in camp, Shorr-Parks says Philadelphia could ship veteran Jason Kelce, whom the club has been trying to trade anyway, off to the highest bidder.
  • Luke Joeckel represents the biggest investment the Seahawks made in free agency this offseason, but given his disappointing tenure as a left tackle for the Jaguars — which ultimately forced him to move to guard — and his season-ending knee injury in 2016, there is plenty of skepticism about his ability to bolster Seattle’s underwhelming O-line. But Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable is bullish on Joeckel’s outlook. As Sheil Kapadia of ESPN.com writes, Cable said during a recent radio interview that Joeckel played as well as any guard in the league before his injury last season, and he believes his coaching will only make Joeckel better. Of course, Joeckel only signed a one-year pact, so if he does play well and stay healthy, the Seahawks will likely have to pay a premium to keep him.
  • The Rams‘ center position is hardly settled, as injury-prone John Sullivan sits atop the depth chart with only Demetrius Rhaney, a special-teams contributor and a natural guard, behind him. As such, Rich Hammond of the Los Angeles Daily News writes that UDFA Jake Eldrenkamp, who did not play center at all in college but whose body and skill-set are best-suited to center at the professional level, has a real chance of winning the starting job this summer. At the very least, he could make the team as Sullivan’s backup.

Latest On Free Agent RB LeGarrette Blount

The Patriots used a May 9 tender on free agent running back LeGarrette Blount earlier this week, ensuring that they’d be entitled to a compensatory pick if Blount signs elsewhere. Clubs with interest in Blount are now attempting to “navigate” the compensatory pick process, tweets Josina Anderson of ESPN.com, and are working on “deal structures” that could work around the comp selection system.LeGarrette Blount (vertical)

[RELATED: Top 8 Fits For LeGarrette Blount]

Blount, 30, had reportedly been nearing a deal with an unidentified team before being slapped with the New England tender. He can still negotiate with other clubs, but will now count against the 2018 compensatory formula. However, the last compensatory pick is currently tied to a $2.05MM annual salary, so the club that inks Blount would only sacrifice a 2018 comp selection if Blount earns more than that total.

Some teams with interest in Blount, such as the Lions, don’t have to consider any possible compensatory pick forfeiture, as they aren’t projected to earn any comp selections in 2018. Other clubs, like the Giants and Ravens, could conceivably work out a trade with the Patriots after New England signs Blount, as Nick Korte of Over the Cap speculates.

If Blount doesn’t sign by July 22, the Patriots will own exclusive negotiating rights through Week 10 of the regular season. If Blount doesn’t sign his tender (or agree to another deal) with New England before then, he’ll be forced to sit out the entire 2017 campaign.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.