Luke Stocker

Contract Details: Vaccaro, Callahan, Okafor

Let’s take a look at the details of a few recently-signed NFL contracts, with all links going to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle’s Twitter account:

Falcons Sign TE Luke Stocker

The Falcons have signed tight end Luke Stocker, according to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Stocker previously played under Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter with the Buccaneers, so it shouldn’t take long for him to learn the playbook. 

Stocker entered the league as a fourth-round pick of the Bucs in the 2011 draft. Just after Thanksgiving in 2017, the Bucs waived him, but he was quickly scooped up by the Titans. The Titans exercised the 2018 option on his deal and mostly utilized him as a blocker.

Stocker has never caught more than 16 passes in a season, but his blocking acumen has kept him employed over the years. Last year, he graded out as the fifth-best tight end in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus, and ranked among the best pass blockers in the league.

With the Falcons, Stocker may appear in two tight end sets along with Austin Hooper.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Tomlin, Bengals, Dolphins

Michael Lombardi of The Athletic takes a deep dive into the Antonio Brown saga, and he is pretty straightforward with his thoughts on the entire situation. He certainly puts much of the blame for the acrimonious relationship between Brown and the Steelers on Brown himself, saying that the talented wideout has a tremendous combination of selfishness, all-about-me attitude, and hostility towards the only team he has ever known. As one GM recently said, Brown is a a “[g]reat talent, but a huge pain in the ass.”

However, Lombardi also says that while Brown’s behavior has driven down his price on the trade market, interested teams are doing their homework to get to the true essence of the problem. Lombardi believes the Steelers’ culture is lost, and that head coach Mike Tomlin, despite his impressive 57-29-1 record over the last five seasons, loses critical games because he and his teams fail to handle small details and do not exhibit the physical and mental toughness they need in key situations. The Rooney family does not overreact, but Lombardi suggests the imminent departures of Brown and Le’Veon Bell will lead to a thorough evaluation of Tomlin, who will need to fix his team’s culture in order to secure his future in Pittsburgh.

Now for more out of the AFC:

  • Linebacker Jon Bostic would like to return to the Steelers, but Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says the club has no interest in re-signing Bostic. The Steelers could look to the draft to fortify their inside linebacker position, but this year’s collegiate crop of ILBs is a bit thin. Pittsburgh also needs to address its cornerback depth chart, but Dulac suggests the free agent market could be a better option in that regard given the club’s poor history of drafting CBs under Tomlin. Of course, the Steelers will use much of their time at this week’s Scouting Combine to explore the trade market for Brown.
  • The Bengals have historically been pretty conservative on the free agent market under owner Mike Brown, and Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com does not believe that will change going forward, even though Cincinnati has a new head coach for the first time in 16 years (Twitter link). That is in keeping with a piece that the Cincinnati Enquirer published several days ago.
  • The Dolphins have plenty of holes to fill during this year’s draft, and as Adam H. Beasley of the Miami Herald writes, Clemson’s Clelin Ferrell could be a perfect fit for the team’s pass rush if the Fins do not use their first-round pick on a QB. Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, citing the NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah, says Miami should be able to build its O-line throughout the draft, and that the team was not particularly impressed by West Virginia signal-caller Will Grier. Jackson also explores the Dolphins’ other options for their No. 13 overall pick, including trade-back scenarios.
  • Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com expects the Titans to sign a wideout and an interior lineman in free agency and to address those positions in the draft as well. The team may be getting Delanie Walker back in time for OTAs, but Wyatt also believes the Titans will add at least one TE to the mix, and he expects Tennessee will try to re-sign Luke Stocker.

Titans Exercise Luke Stocker’s Option

The Titans have exercised the 2018 option on tight end Luke Stocker, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Per the terms of the option, he’ll receive a $125K bonus and can make up to $1.375MM more this season. 

The Bucs waived Stocker just after Thanksgiving and the Titans signed him once he cleared waivers. It was a two-year deal for Stocker, but it included an escape hatch for Tennessee. They have elected to keep him to see what he can do in camp this summer.

Stocker, 30 in July, appeared in three games for Tampa Bay and one game for Tennessee in 2017, totaling just four catches for 30 yards and one score. He has never caught more than 16 passes in a season, but he does offer above-average blocking skills.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Titans Place DaQuan Jones On IR

DaQuan Jones‘ season is over. On Monday, the Titans announced that the defensive lineman is being placed on injured reserve with a biceps injury. Taking his place on the roster will be tight end Luke Stocker, who has signed a two-year deal with the team. DaQuan Jones (vertical)

The timing of the injury is unfortunate for Jones as he looks ahead to free agency in March. The 25-year-old (26 later this month) looked strong in recent weeks as he recorded 3.5 sacks in the last two games. He currently ranks as Pro Football Focus’ No. 40 ranked interior defender out of 117 qualified players, so he should still draw some interest on the open market.

Stocker Stocker, 29, recently became available when the Buccaneers cut him loose. The former fourth-round pick appeared in three games for Tampa Bay this year, amassing just three catches for 18 yards and one score. He has never caught more than 16 passes in a season, but he does offer above-average blocking skills.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/28/17

Here are today’s minor moves.

Arizona Cardinals

Chicago Bears

Denver Broncos

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

New England Patriots

Oakland Raiders

  • Signed: WR Isaac Whitney

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Buccaneers To Re-Sign Larry English, Major Wright

The Buccaneers have agreed to contracts that will keep pass rusher Larry English and safety Major Wright with the team, reports Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune (via Twitter) and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter).

English was a first-round pick of the Chargers in the 2009 NFL Draft, after taking down the quarterback more than 30 times during his final three collegiate years. His success stopped there, as he struggled with both performance and injury with the team. He was cut before the 2014 season, and signed with the Buccaneers.

Wright was a third-round pick of the Bears in the 2010 NFL Draft, after winning a national championship with the University of Florida. He was inconsistent in Chicago, and signed a one-year deal with the Buccaneers last offseason.

Both English and Wright were cut by the team after signing, but rejoined the Buccaneers in 2014. Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht has now re-signed four players, with English and Wright joining linebacker Jason Williams and tight end Luke Stocker, according to Cummings (via Twitter).

 

Minor Moves: Saturday

With free agency fast approaching, teams are doing their best to take care of the small but necessary moves as they prepare for a hectic market. Here are a number of minor moves and updates from around the league:

  • The Chiefs have also come to terms on a new one-year deal with outside linebacker Dezman Moses, who was set to be a restricted free agent, according to Paylor (via Twitter).
  • Packers linebacker Josh Francis signed a three-year contract for the league minimum, writes Wes Hodkiewicz of PackersNews.com (via Twitter).
  • The Buccaneers have agreed to terms with tight end Luke Stocker, writes Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times (via Twitter). Stocker was expected to reach unrestricted free agency before this deal.
  • Details from Australian rugby star Jarryd Hayne’s contract with the 49ers have come out, and it is a three-year deal worth $1.583MM and $115,100 in guaranteed money, writes Tom Pelissero of USA Today (via Twitter).
  • The Titans are working on signing long snapper Beau Brinkley to a multi-year contract, reports Jim Wyatt of the Tennesseean (via Twitter). Brinkley was set to be a restricted free agent.