Lofa Tatupu

Extra Points: Cruz, Bengals, Eagles

The Giants are releasing wide receiver Victor Cruz, which will save them $7.5MM in 2017. Theoretically, they could attempt to bring back the 30-year-old at a lower cap charge next season, but there’s “no indication” they have any interest in doing that, writes Art Stapleton of NorthJersey.com. Cruz spoke in the past tense about his six-year run with the Giants on Monday, saying: “I did some great things there. There are so many experiences, times and moments that I shared in that building with that team in that jersey. Those can’t be replaced or forgotten. I’m happy I have those moments to look back on.”

Cruz will ceremonially retire as a Giant someday and later end up in their Ring of Honor, opines Paul Schwartz of the New York Post. His next step, though, will be to head to the open market, where he could find a fit with the Panthers, suggests Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. There’s already a connection between Carolina and Cruz: Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman was the Giants’ director of pro personnel when Big Blue signed the wideout as an undrafted free agent in 2011.

The Broncos, meanwhile, got virtually no production last season from receivers not named Demaryius Thomas or Emmanuel Sanders, but they haven’t had any discussions about pursuing Cruz, reports Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post (Twitter link).

More from around the NFL:

  • Despite having over $43MM in cap space, the Bengals are unlikely to make any significant splashes in free agency, per Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com. Odds are greater that Cincinnati will focus on its own soon-to-be free agents – including left tackle Andrew Whitworth, guard Kevin Zeitler, cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and receiver Brandon LaFell – writes Terrell, who notes that the club is also expecting to pick up plenty of help via the draft. On top of the picks the Bengals already have, the league could award them three or four compensatory selections this year as a result of the losses they incurred in free agency last offseason.
  • The Eagles are reportedly open to trading linebacker Mychal Kendricks, and it’s a “safe bet” they’ll move him if they’re able to acquire help at receiver, running back or cornerback in return, relays Tim McManus of ESPN.com.
  • Jabrill Peppers is unlikely to be a first-round pick, Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press opines. Peppers’ versatility is an asset, but he doesn’t clearly fit any one position either. ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper has called the Michigan star “a polarizing prospect” and a “tweener,” although he still has him going in the first round in his mock draft. Falling out of the first round could be good for Peppers, Monarrez argues, because it would put less pressure on him as he works to figure out his best role in the NFL.
  • Falcons defensive pass game coordinator Jerome Henderson was under consideration to become the 49ers’ defensive coordinator before they tabbed Robert Saleh for the role on Monday. Now that he’s not going to San Francisco, Henderson will stay in the same position in Atlanta, according to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com.
  • The Seahawks are parting with assistant linebackers coach Lofa Tatupu, who spent the previous two years on Pete Carroll‘s staff, tweets Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. Tatupu is better known for his on-field work in Seattle, where he played from 2005-10 and earned three Pro Bowl nods.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Seahawks Promote Kris Richard To DC

8:00pm: The Seahawks also named Michael Barrow as their linebackers coach, Brennan Carroll as an assistant offensive line coach, and added Lofa Tatupu as an assistant linebackers coach, according to Albert Breer of NFL.com (on Twitter).

6:40pm: The Seahawks announced that they have promoted secondary coach Kris Richard to defensive coordinator, according to Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times (on Twitter). The move has been long rumored but it was not official until Seattle’s Monday night press release.

Richard was a popular man this offseason as new Falcons coach Dan Quinn tried to get Richard to come to Atlanta. Ultimately, Richard declined to follow his friend to the Falcons and one has to imagine he had a pretty good idea a promotion was coming his way.

Richard has long been a member of the Seahawks family, having first arrived in Seattle as a third-round choice in 2002. The cornerback only played for the Seahawks for three seasons before having stints with the Dolphins, 49ers, and Raiders, but he would later join up with Pete Carroll as an assistant on his USC staff. Later on, he followed his coach and mentor to the Seahawks. Seattle, of course, has been known for one of the toughest (if not the toughest) secondaries in the league under Richard’s watch.

Ken Norton Jr. was also considered to be a strong in-house candidate, but he was recently scooped up by the Raiders to be their defensive coordinator.

FA Rumors: Tatupu, Graham, Shaughnessy

Former Seahawks linebacker and three-time Pro Bowler Lofa Tatupu is working out today for the Broncos, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). Knee and pectoral injuries derailed the career of Tatupu, who hasn’t played a regular season game since 2010, but he’s still just 31 years old, so a comeback isn’t out of the question. The former All-Pro linebacker is an unrestricted free agent right now, but the rest of the players in this roundup will have to wait another week before getting the chance to hit the open market. Let’s dive in and check out the latest….

  • While Jimmy Graham will have the ability to field offers from suitors in free agency, the franchise tag will limit his options. In any case, Saints GM Mickey Loomis is confident that his club will find a way to reach a long-term deal with the star tight end, as he said today on SiriusXM NFL Radio (link via Pro Football Talk). “I had hoped and I’m sure he had hoped we’d come to some conclusion on a longer-term deal before this,” Loomis said. “But we haven’t yet, and hopefully we will…. We’ll just let it play out, and I’m sure we’ll get something resolved.”
  • The Cardinals are in talks with Matt Shaughnessy‘s agent Rick Rosa in hopes of signing the free agent DE/LB to a new deal, according to Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic. “They are actively trying to re-sign him,” Rosa said. “He wants to be there, so we’ll see how it goes.”
  • Although cornerback Alterraun Verner acknowledges that he loves Tennessee and his Titans teammates, he sounds lukewarm on the idea of giving the club a “hometown discount” in free agency, as Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean writes.
  • The Broncos have the cap room in 2014 to bring back prospective free agent Eric Decker, but future obligations to Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas will make the team wary about investing too heavily in Decker, says Mike Klis of the Denver Post, who spoke to the wide receiver about his impending free agency.