Markus Wheaton

Eagles Release Markus Wheaton

The Eagles’ shuffling of their receiving corp continued this morning when they cut Markus Wheaton, the team announced via Twitter.

The Eagles just signed Kamar Aiken yesterday, so a move had to be made and the team decided to move on from Wheaton. Wheaton, a sixth-year wideout, was just re-signed himself last week. He played only two snaps in the team’s Week 1 win over the Falcons, but Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports he’ll receive his full salary as he was signed before the Week 1 deadline (Twitter link).

Wheaton signed with the Eagles back in May, was cut September 1st at final cuts, brought back on September 4th just in time for the game, and now released again to make room for Aiken. With Alshon Jeffery still out for likely multiple more weeks, receiver is a major concern for the Eagles. They also recently signed former Texans third round pick Braxton Miller to the practice squad, as well as a pair of other practice squad receivers.

Wheaton showed a lot of promise over a couple of years in Pittsburgh, catching 44 passes for 749 yards and 5 touchdowns in 2015, but never could put it all together. He was a massive free agent bust in Chicago last year, catching only three passes for the Bears all season despite a hefty salary.

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Eagles Re-Sign Markus Wheaton, Place Richard Rodgers on IR

Markus Wheaton, who was released on Saturday, is back in Philadelphia according to Jeff McLane of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link).

Wheaton, who was among the casualties of Saturday’s roster cut-down, now rejoins a receiving corp that’s expected to be with out number one threat Alshon Jeffery for at least the first couple of games. It looks like the Eagles were planning on bringing Wheaton back the entire time, and were just waiting to clear up a spot.

To make room on the roster, the team placed tight end Richard Rodgers on injured reserve. Rodgers, who suffered a knee injury in the Eagles’ second preseason game, will be eligible to return after eight games. At the time of his injury, Rodgers was labeled week-to-week, but clearly the Eagles felt he wasn’t valuable enough to hold a roster spot for.

Wheaton has always been a player who’s production has never equaled his potential. After a breakout 2015 season where he caught 44 passes for 749 yards and five touchdowns with the Steelers, he’s played in just 14 games over the past two seasons, catching just seven passes total for 102 yards. Last offseason he signed a two-year $11MM contract with $5MM guaranteed with the Bears, and was an epic bust, catching just four balls during his time in Chicago. He signed a one-year prove-it deal with the Eagles this past May, and will be facing an uphill battle to revive his career in a crowded skill players group.

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Eagles Cut Down To 53

The Eagles’ receiving corps became a bit younger on Saturday. Two veterans brought in as possible depth pieces — Markus Wheaton and Kamar Aiken — were informed they will be released.

So was potential secondary cog De’Vante Bausby and rookie UDFA running back Josh Adams, given one of this year’s largest guarantees among the undrafted contingent. Philadelphia also placed safety Chris Maragos on its Reserve/PUP list, shelving him for at least six weeks.

Here are the players the Eagles will not be including on their initial 2018 53-man roster:

Released:

Waived:

Waived with an injury designation:

Placed on Reserve/NFI list:

Placed on Reserve/PUP list

Eagles Sign WR Markus Wheaton

On Wednesday, the Eagles announced the signing of veteran wide receiver Markus Wheaton to a one-year deal. The Eagles will also add quarterback Joe Callahan, a source tells Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). 

Wheaton signed a two-year, $11MM deal with the Bears last year that included $5MM guaranteed. Unfortunately, he was one of several busts in that Bears free agent class. In March, Chicago cut the former Steelers draft pick.

Wheaton, 27, has registered just 51 receiving yards in each of the last two seasons. However, he had more than 40 receptions for the Steelers in both 2014 and 2015. With the Eagles, he’ll fight to be one of five or six wide receivers out of a group that is currently in the double digits. The WR depth chart is headlined by star Alshon Jeffery as well as Nelson Agholor and free agent addition Mike Wallace. Mack Hollins, Shelton Gibson, Bryce Treggs, and Marquess Wilson are also among those under contract.

Callahan, meanwhile, went unclaimed after being waived by the Packers on Monday. There could be an opportunity for him to stick as the No. 3 QB behind Carson Wentz and Nick Foles and he should see reps in the preseason as Wentz’s availability is expected to be limited.

Before signing Callahan, the Eagles also considered Ohio State product J.T. Barrett, according to Garafolo. Barrett instead chose to sign with the Saints this week.

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Seahawks Meet With WR Markus Wheaton

Former Steelers and Bears wide receiver Markus Wheaton is visiting the Seahawks, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The Seahawks are on the lookout for pass catchers after losing tight end Jimmy Graham and wide receiver Paul Richardson in free agency.

Last March, Wheaton inked a two-year contract with the Bears worth$11MM with $5MM guaranteed. That deal turned out to be a bust and Chicago released him earlier this week along with quarterback Mike Glennon and cornerback Marcus Cooper, two other free agent signings from 2017 that did not pan out.

Wheaton, 27, has registered just 51 receiving yards in each of the last two seasons. However, he had more than 40 receptions for the Steelers in both 2014 and 2015.

Wheaton could be a low-risk, high-reward pickup for Seattle, and that’s exactly the kind of signing they need as they are working with limited cap space. At the moment, the Seahawks have Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, and the newly acquired Marcus Johnson as their top three receivers, as shown on Roster Resource. Seattle has also shown interest in Cardinals free agent receiver Jaron Brown.

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Bears Release WR Markus Wheaton

Chicago is cutting bait with several of their 2017 free agents. The Bears have officially cut wideout Markus Wheaton. We heard earlier today that the receiver was likely to be cut (via Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune (on Twitter)). Wheaton was scheduled to carry a $5.75MM cap hit, but the Bears released him with just $750K in dead money.

The Bears have also announced the release of quarterback Mike Glennon and cornerback Marcus Cooper. We heard last month that the organization was going to move on from Glennon, and the veteran has already agreed to a deal with the Cardinals.

After adding Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel to the wide receiver stable, the Bears can afford to part with Wheaton, who was part of a failed 2017 free agent class for general manager Ryan Pace. Chicago added Glennon, Cooper, tight end Dion Sims, safety Quintin Demps, and Wheaton last offseason, but none panned out during their first Windy City campaign.

Wheaton, 27, managed only 51 receiving yards for the second consecutive season. Injuries limited him to just 11 games, but he only put up three receptions on the year. In three of his five NFL campaigns, Wheaton has posted six receptions or fewer. Defenders will point to Wheaton’s 40+ catch seasons in 2014 and 2015, but Wheaton hasn’t been productive in some time, and could struggle to find a deal on the open market.

Following a career-year with the Cardinals in 2016, Cooper disappointed this past season in Chicago. The cornerback finished the campaign with 18 tackles and three passes defended in 15 games (four starts).

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Markus Wheaton Suffers Torn Groin

Injuries have damaged the Bears’ passing game this season, and another key wide receiver looks set to miss extensive time.

Markus Wheaton suffered a groin tear and is expected to miss up to six weeks because of the malady, Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. However, Wheaton was limited at Thursday’s practice. The fifth-year wideout practicing at all with this injury points to the possibility of a shorter recovery time.

But this is the latest batch of trouble for one of the most depleted receiving corps in the game. The Bears already lost Cameron Meredith to a torn ACL suffered in August, and Kevin White is also on IR because of his latest severe injury. Wheaton has also struggled with ailments over the past year. He missed 13 games during his final Steelers season because of a shoulder injury, and since joining the Bears suffered a finger injury and underwent an appendectomy. The broken pinkie finger sidelined Wheaton for two games this season.

If Wheaton is on the shelf for the time being, the Bears will be down to Kendall Wright, Deonte Thompson and Josh Bellamy as their top wideouts. This scenario played out earlier this season before Wheaton recovered to return. However, since returning, the former Steelers third-rounder hasn’t been effective. He only has one reception for four yards this season.

Wheaton signed a two-year, $11MM deal with $5MM guaranteed in March.

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Extra Points: Matthews, Megatron, Wheaton

Although the Eagles dealt Jordan Matthews rather than make him part of their large recent group of extension signees, Howie Roseman said the trade wouldn’t preclude the team from re-signing Matthews as a free agent, Eliot Shorr-Parks tweets. Whether Matthews would consider a return to Philadelphia after this is another story. The Bills wideout is one of many notable receivers entering contract years. He joins fellow Friday traded pass-catcher Sammy Watkins, along with DeAndre Hopkins and fellow 2014 draftees Jarvis Landry, Davante Adams, Allen Robinson, Donte Moncrief as a prospective UFA.

The Bills have a revamped wide receiver corps, having traded Watkins and observed Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin leave in free agency, so it would stand to reason they’d want to keep Matthews past 2017. But the acquisitions of Matthews and E.J. Gaines may have been secondary to the second- and third-round draft choices received, so Buffalo’s strategy with the newly acquired players will be interesting.

Here’s the latest from around the league as preseason’s first week wraps up.

  • Teams have reportedly attempted to lure Calvin Johnson out of retirement, but the Lions still have the rights to Megatron if he were to return. But the timing of a Johnson comeback could affect where he’d end up. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes Johnson could put the Lions in a tough spot by notifying the NFL he intends to come back now. Operating under the premise Megatron was retired, the Lions have barely $7MM in cap space. Florio posits a Johnson comeback could get him to free agency — and teams he may believe have a better shot at contention — since his $16MM salary would hit the Lions’ payroll and force the team to act quickly to get in line with the cap. A trade or release would get Johnson out of Detroit, something he may not mind in a comeback scenario given the comments he made this offseason. The potential Hall of Famer turns 32 in September.
  • This probably shouldn’t be a surprise, but it appears Patrick Mahomes has leapfrogged Tyler Bray on the Chiefs‘ depth chart after their first preseason game, Adam Teicher of ESPN.com reports. Despite the rare first-round investment from a franchise that spent a generation signing free agent quarterbacks or trading for them, the Chiefs first installed Mahomes as their third-stringer to start camp.
  • Injuries are again affecting Markus Wheaton‘s status. The Bears wideout missed over a week of camp because of an emergency appendectomy and didn’t return until Saturday, but the fifth-year pass-catcher now has a broken pinkie finger sidelining him, Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com reports. John Fox doesn’t have a return timetable for Wheaton. The Bears signed three veteran wideouts to one-year deals, but Wheaton received more of a commitment than Kendall Wright or Victor Cruz. Wheaton is guaranteed $6MM in 2017 as part of his two-year contract. Dickerson adds the Bears still envision a large role for Wheaton, who missed 13 games last season due to a shoulder injury.
  • The Jets drafted safeties with their first two picks, leading to a shakeup this offseason. But one of their second-stringers may not be playing for them for a while — if at all — in 2017. Second-year safety Doug Middleton is expected to undergo surgery after suffering a torn pectoral muscle in Gang Green’s first preseason game, Manish Mehta and Daniel Popper of the New York Daily News report. Middleton and Rontez Miles were running with the Jets’ second team behind Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye. An ex-UDFA, Middleton will seek a second opinion, according to Brian Costello of the New York Post (on Twitter). The Jets signed safety Robenson Therezie earlier Sunday, a sign they believe they may be a man short going forward.

Contract Details: Campbell, Demps, Wheaton

Let’s take a look the financial details of some recently-signed contracts:

  • Mike Adams, S (Panthers): Two years, $4.2MM. $1.15MM guaranteed. $650K signing bonus. $00K available annually via Pro Bowl and interception incentives (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle).
  • Calais Campbell, DL (Jaguars): Four years, $60MM. $30MM guaranteed. $6MM signing bonus. Base salaries $9MM (guaranteed), $15MM (guaranteed), $12MM, $15MM. $3MM option bonus for 2019 (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Marcus Cooper, CB (Bears): Three years, $16MM. $8MM guaranteed. $1.5MM signing bonus. $1MM available annually in Pro Bowl and interception incentives (Twitter links via Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune).
  • Quintin Demps, S (Bears): Three years, $13.5MM. $5MM guaranteed. $1MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Ryan Griffin, TE (Texans): Three years, $9MM. $3.225MM guaranteed. Annual $100K workout base de-escalator (Twitter links via Wilson).
  • D.J. Hayden, CB (Lions): One year, $3.75MM. $2.25MM guaranteed. $1MM signing bonus. $250K workout bonus. $1.5MM available via incentives (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Ted Larsen, OL (Dolphins): Three years, $5.65MM. $1.75MM guaranteed. $1.25MM signing bonus. $500K escalator in 2018. $1MM escalator in 2019 (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Josh Robinson, CB (Buccaneers): Two years, $5M. $2MM guaranteed. $1MM roster bonus due on eighth day of 2017 league year. $1.75MM team option in 2018. $750K available via incentives (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Cornelius Washington, DL (Lions): Two years, $5.825MM. $1.5MM signing bonus. $1.5MM guaranteed (link via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press).
  • Markus Wheaton, WR (Bears): Two years, $11MM. $5MM guaranteed (Twitter link via Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times)
  • Terrance Williams, WR (Cowboys): Four years, $17MM. $9.5MM guaranteed. $5MM signing bonus. 2020 option season. Annual $200K workout base salary de-escalator (Twitter links via Wilson).

Bears Sign WR Markus Wheaton

After losing Alshon Jeffery to the Eagles earlier today, the Bears have added a new wideout. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (via Twitter) that Chicago has signed receiver Markus Wheaton.

Markus WheatonWheaton, 26, had spent his entire four-year career with the Steelers. The wideout cotinually progressed after getting selected in the third-round of the 2013 draft, as he finished the 2015 campaign with 44 receptions and career-highs in yards (749) and touchdowns (five). The receiver played in three games (two starts) this past season, collecting four receptions for 51 yards and one touchdown. A shoulder injury ultimately led to him being placed on the injured reserve in late November.

After losing Jeffery today, the Bears are looking at a crop of unproven receivers. Besides Eddie Royal, all of the wideouts are 27 or younger. Cameron Meredith and former first-rounder Kevin White figure to be the starters next season. Wheaton will likely compete with Josh Bellamy, Daniel Braverman, and Bralon Addison for snaps.

We ranked Wheaton as the 10th-best wideout available via free agency.

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