Matt Paradis

East Notes: Cowboys, Crawford, Jets, Bills

The latest from the AFC and NFC East divisions:

  • Cowboys defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford was caught on camera brawling inside of a Florida bar, as TMZ details. The 6’4″, 280-pound lineman is shown fighting off four bouncers at once and holding his own. Then, the fight spilled outside, where Crawford got tangled up with multiple cops. Interestingly, Crawford was not arrested and has not been charged with a crime. However, the NFL might have something to say about the incident. After losing Randy Gregory and David Irving to indefinite bans, the Cowboys can ill afford to lose anyone else on the D-Line for the start of the 2019 season.
  • Center was a major need for the Jets this offseason, but they did not make offers to Mitch Morse or Matt Paradis, the top two centers in this year’s free agent class (via Manish Mehta of the Daily News). Instead, they re-upped Jonotthan Harrison on a two-year deal with the hope that he can compete with other versatile interior line additions to come. Brett Jones, who has drawn interest from the Jets and a quintet of other clubs, could be added to the mix.
  • Seahawks free agent Maurice Alexander, a longtime starter for the Rams, will visit the Bills on Thursday and Friday, a source tells NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter).

Extra Points: Jets, Ravens, Draft

Some assorted notes from around the NFL…

  • The Jets were reportedly interested in free agent centers Mitch Morse and Matt Paradis, tweets Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. However, the team never made an offer to either player. Morse ultimately signed with the Bills, while Paradis ended up inking a deal with the Panthers. With the Jets unable to secure either of the top two free agent centers, the front office continues to reach out to other veterans to gauge the market. Mehta notes that the draft could be another way of acquiring a center.
  • Ravens special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg is retiring, the team announced. The 63-year-old had been with the organization since 2008, winning one Super Bowl championship along the way. Rosburg previously served in the same role with both the Falcons and Browns. Assistant Special Teams coach Chris Horton is expected to take over, with Rosburg briefly sticking around as a consultant. “I will stay on for a period of time to be a resource for Chris and anyone else during that transition,” said Rosburg. “I have a lot of plans. Me and my plans center around my family. I don’t want to miss as many hockey games and volleyball games as I have. Our days are limited on this earth, and there are some things that I’m missing I don’t want to miss anymore.”
  • Rashan Gary wasn’t active in Michigan’s pro day. According to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter), the potential top-five pick only weighed in and didn’t participate in any drills or testing. Instead, the running back stuck around to support his teammates. As Pelissero notes, the defensive tackle “crushed the combine,” and he didn’t want to risk his draft stock with a lackluster outing today.

Contract Details: Paradis, Saffold, Jackson, Packers

Following another busy day around the NFL, let’s check out some contract details:

Panthers To Sign C Matt Paradis

Former Broncos center Matt Paradis agreed to terms with the Panthers on a three-year deal worth $27.03MM, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The Panthers were not previously believed to be in the running for Paradis, but the free agent season is full of surprises.

The Panthers will guarantee Paradis $13.5MM, per NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter). It’s a top-10 center pact.

Paradis drew interest from the Bills on Monday, but they preferred Mitch Morse, who is now the NFL’s highest-paid center. The Jets were also in on Paradis, and the Broncos had re-engaged in talks with their well-regarded starter Monday night.

But the Panthers came out of nowhere and will install the former sixth-round pick as Ryan Kalil‘s replacement. Kalil recently retired after 12 NFL seasons. Paradis is only four years younger than Kalil, despite coming into the league seven season later. He will turn 30 this year. But the older-than-usual first-time UFA was consistently viewed as one of the NFL’s best centers for the past three seasons.

Paradis had not missed a game until his fibula break ended his 2018 season in November. The Broncos authorized a right tackle-record contract for Ja’Wuan James on Monday night, so their ability to keep Paradis on a near-top-market deal became more difficult. The Panthers are getting Paradis for more than $2MM less than the Bills’ Morse deal, and with the veteran snapper moving along in his rehab, Carolina may not miss much of a beat from Kalil to Paradis.

The Broncos may now turn to Connor McGovern as their center. A guard to open last season, McGovern moved to the snapping role following Paradis’ injury.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Broncos Looking To Re-Sign Matt Paradis

Free agent Matt Paradis is generating some interest on the open market, but a return to Denver still sounds like it’s in the cards.

Mike Klis of 9News in Denver reports (via Twitter) that the Broncos have restarted talks with the veteran center. However, Troy Renck of Denver7 adds that the 29-year-old snapper and the Broncos were not close in their talks earlier Monday evening.

We heard in late February that Denver was going to let Paradis hit the open market, and the Jets have been mentioned as one potential suitor for the 29-year-old. The five-year veteran is generally regarded as the top center on the market. Jason Kelce and Maurkice Pouncey recently increased the top of the center market to $11MM per year, meaning Paradis is in line for a lucrative payday.

As our own Sam Robinson wrote earlier today, given how teams have spent on offensive linemen in recent years, it is not out of the question that Paradis could exceed the deals received by Kelce and Pouncey. Ryan Jensen became the highest-paid center via 2018 free agency accord, and Paradis has a longer track record of success than Jensen. The Bills also made Mitch Morse the new highest-paid center earlier Monday, perhaps further raising Paradis’ asking price.

Having started every game with the Broncos since the start of the 2015 season, Paradis broke his fibula to end his 2018 season. But he is still likely to command a top-market contract, having been one of the NFL’s top centers since the 2016 season.

Klis tweets that the Broncos also restarted talks with offensive lineman Billy Turner today. However, it’s uncertain if the team still has interest in Turner following the signing of offensive tackle Ja’Wuan James.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills To Sign Mitch Morse

The Bills just keep on rolling. After landing Frank Gore, Kevin Johnson, and Tyler Kroft, Buffalo is making another big move. Center Mitch Morse has agreed to terms with the Bills, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

This will come with a major pay raise. Morse is expected to receive a contract that will pay him more than $11MM on average, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). It’s a four-year deal, per Yahoo.com’s Terez Paylor (on Twitter). This coming to fruition would make him the NFL’s highest-paid center.

Morse is coming to Buffalo from Kansas City, where he’s spent the past four seasons. The Chiefs took Morse in the second round of the 2015 draft, and he’s been a starter with them ever since. He hasn’t been able to stay healthy the past couple of seasons, which might’ve played into the Chiefs’ decision to let him walk.

Morse appeared in 11 games last year, and just seven the year before that. Morse has dealt with concussion and foot issues the past couple of seasons, but has been an effective player when on the field. In his 11 starts last season, he graded out as the 13th-best center in the league, according to Pro Football Focus’ metrics.

No terms of the deal have been announced at the moment, and it’ll be very interesting to see what Morse gets. The Bills have been very generous with their spending so far, so it’s safe to assume Morse got a fairly big contract. The Chiefs signed Austin Reiter to an extension back in December, and he could become the team’s full-time starting center if they don’t sign or draft anyone else.

Before signing Morse, the Bills were in on Broncos center Matt Paradis, a source told Ralph Vacchiano of SNY (Twitter link). Vacchiano thinks that could help the Jets’ chances of signing Paradis.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Broncos Rumors: Amos, Barrett, Paradis, James

Here’s the latest on the Broncos, with all links going to Troy Renck of Denver7’s Twitter:

Jets Interested In Matt Paradis, Mitch Morse

Even after the Jets’ trade for Kelechi Osemele, they remain interested in improving their offensive line. Armed with the second-most cap space in the NFL, the Jets were expected to pursue multiple starters up front. Center appears to be a priority.

The Jets are interested in this year’s top center UFAs-to-be, with Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reporting the team has Matt Paradis and Mitch Morse on its radar.

Spencer Long signed with the Jets last year, but he’s now with the Bills after underwhelming as a Jet. Paradis and Morse have longer track records of success, each being four-year starters. The Broncos appear set to let Paradis hit the market, despite their longtime starter profiling as their top free agent, and the Chiefs are likely to let Morse walk because of the major re-ups for other homegrown talents coming relatively soon.

Having started every game with the Broncos since the start of the 2015 season, Paradis broke his fibula to end his 2018 season. But he is still likely to command a top-market contract, having been one of the NFL’s top centers since the 2016 season.

The Eagles and Steelers recently raised the center ceiling, with extensions for Jason Kelce and Maurkice Pouncey moving the market to $11MM per year. Given how teams have spent on offensive linemen in recent years, it is not out of the question the 29-year-old Paradis could exceed that. Ryan Jensen became the highest-paid center via 2018 free agency accord, and Paradis has a longer track record of success.

Morse has battled injuries the past two years, missing 14 starts. But he has been a generally well-regarded center since arriving as a Chiefs second-round pick in 2015. Kansas City has extensions planned for Tyreek Hill and Chris Jones this offseason, having already begun talks with Hill, so players like Morse and Steven Nelson may be permitted to walk as free agents.

Additionally, the Jets are not planning to adjust Osemele’s contract, Mehta tweets. The eighth-year guard is scheduled to carry cap numbers of $10.2MM and $11.7MM in 2019 and ’20, respectively. The Jets will be able to afford these hits. No guaranteed money remains on Osemele’s deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC West Notes: Carr, Chiefs, Broncos

This weekend, the latest report pointing to Derek Carr‘s less-than-solid standing with the Raiders emerged, courtesy of Bleacher Report’s Master Tefatsion (on Twitter), which indicated Oakland was shopping its starting quarterback. With a soft veteran quarterback market, perhaps helping the Jaguars on the Nick Foles front, that would make sense. However, the Raiders do not have a viable alternative to Carr, and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes they are not believed to have strong interest in trading their five-year starter. Jon Gruden has offered effusive praise for Carr, and Florio adds — Gruden’s Kyler Murray interest notwithstanding — the Raider HC is still believed to be a big fan of the 27-year-old incumbent. He confirmed as much this week.

Here is the latest from the AFC West, shifting to another player recently mentioned in trade rumors:

  • Travis Kelce will have some rehab to do this offseason. The Chiefs‘ All-Pro tight end underwent ankle surgery, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets, and may not be available for the team’s offseason program. Although Garafolo describes this as a cleanup procedure, the 29-year-old tight end will miss some of the Chiefs’ program. Kelce is, however, expected to be ready by training camp.
  • A position distinction fight appears to be brewing in Kansas City. With the Chiefs all set to tag Dee Ford, the somewhat antiquated franchise tag designations are back in play. The team will likely push for the edge rusher to be classified as a linebacker, which comes with a $15.443MM price, rather than a defensive end ($17.128MM), Florio writes. Ford has played outside linebacker throughout his NFL career, but if he returns to the Chiefs in 2019, he will play defensive end in Steve Spagnuolo‘s 4-3 scheme. This happened with Terrell Suggs and the Ravens in 2008, in a process that ended with Suggs categorized as a hybrid linebacker/defensive end for a compromise, and may become an issue for the Texans and Jadeveon Clowney. However, the Chiefs transitioning to a new defense provides a bit of a new wrinkle. The Chiefs are planning to listen to offers for Ford.
  • Matt Paradis will still reach free agency, but Mike Klis of 9News tweets the Broncos are not out of the running for their four-year center starter. The Broncos and Paradis’ camp had a productive meeting in Indianapolis, per Klis, but not enough to keep the snapper off the market. Denver’s line would lose a major piece, the last part of its Super Bowl 50 blocking quintet, if Paradis walks. Despite coming off a broken leg and being set to turn 30 in 2019, the former sixth-round pick’s previous consistency may well put him on a path to challenge Jason Kelce‘s new $11MM-AAV deal as the top center contract.
  • With the low-end RFA tender having climbed to $2.025MM, the Broncos may be leaning toward non-tendering Pro Bowl long snapper Casey Kreiter. With the highest-paid deep snapper (the Chargers’ Jake McQuaide) averaging a $1.175MM-per-year salary, Klis tweets it would appear the Broncos will not tender Kreiter and instead try to work out a deal at a lower price. Long snappers generally have a set pay scale, with 17 of them making between $1MM and $1.175MM, so a member of this club getting nearly double that in a season would be noteworthy.

Broncos Rumors: Murray, Paradis, Keenum

Although the Broncos agreed to acquire Joe Flacco, they will still be linked to this year’s top rookie quarterbacks — as they were last year. If Kyler Murray is available at No. 10, they may serve as a spot for teams looking to trade up. John Elway does not appear to believe the shorter passer would be a fit for an offense that will use plenty of under-center looks under new OC Rich Scangarello, per Mike Klis of 9News (Twitter link). The Broncos passed on Josh Allen and Josh Rosen last year and have been connected to Drew Lock. If Denver sticks at No. 10 and chooses a non-quarterback, the team will have had back-to-back top-10 picks without addressing its long-term QB need with one of them. The 2020 draft is expected to have high-profile passers, but it’s obviously no lock the Broncos will be in position to draft or trade up for one.

Here is the latest from Denver (via Indianapolis):

  • Despite the Flacco deal, Elway’s preference is to keep Case Keenum. It would take a restructured deal, though, Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic tweets. Keenum is attached an untenable $21MM cap number. With Flacco set to bring an $18.5MM figure to Denver, it is hard to see Keenum staying due to the pay cut it would require. The 30-year-old incumbent has not requested a trade, Elway said (per the Denver Post’s Ryan O’Halloran, on Twitter), adding the Broncos would allow him to seek one.
  • Matt Paradis probably looms as the Broncos’ top free agent priority. Elway has spoken with the Broncos’ center of the past four years and informed him they would like him back, Jhabvala tweets. But Paradis’ injury and price point will be a factor. The 29-year-old snapper has been expected to reach free agency, where a new market-setting deal may well await him — considering teams’ need for higher-end linemen. However, multiple executives predicted (via O’Halloran, Twitter link) Paradis will end up back in Denver on a one-year deal because of the broken fibula that ended his season last November.
  • The Broncos’ need for a cornerback is as great as it has been in five years, and Elway acknowledged (via Klis, on Twitter) the team needs to find a No. 2 corner to team with All-Pro Chris Harris. This would seem to point to Bradley Roby departing, which has been the expectation. Vic Fangio said (via Jhabvala) the Broncos will let Roby test free agency, a good sign he will not be back in 2019.
  • As for Harris, Elway said the team has not considered an extension yet and whether or not the Broncos do go in this direction will depend on their free agency period, per Troy Renck of Denver7 (on Twitter). However, Renck added earlier (Twitter link) the expectation is the Broncos will meet with Harris’ agent at the Combine. The 29-year-old corner has been one of Denver’s cornerstone players this decade, and with Roby likely to leave and Aqib Talib having been traded, Harris represents the Broncos’ only surefire option at corner. Denver is also set to let Tramaine Brock walk.
  • On its offensive line, Denver will bring back Ronald Leary, Elway confirmed (via Jhabvala, on Twitter). Leary has more than $5MM in injury guarantees due if he cannot pass a physical by March 17. It’s been previously reported the veteran guard will be unable to pass said physical by then. Leary has seen both of his Denver seasons end early because of injury. Also on the Broncos’ O-line: Elway said (per Renck, on Twitter) the team would like to re-sign right tackle starter Jared Veldheer and utility blocker Billy Turner. If Veldheer departs, the Broncos would have a sixth Week 1 right tackle starter in six years.