Michael Brockers

Michael Brockers Re-Signs With Rams; Ravens Deal Nixed

APRIL 4, 3:03pm: Brockers’ deal with the Rams is now official. This marks his third contract with the team that drafted him.

MARCH 27, 1:48pm: Brockers’ three-year deal carries a base value of $24MM and could be worth up to $31.5MM via incentives, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. A good chunk of the incentive package – $4.5MM – is based on realistic playing time milestones that he should bank, so long as he stays healthy. Brockers, as Rapoport notes, has not missed a game in the last three years.

MARCH 27, 9:24am: Michael Brockers isn’t going to the Ravens after all. On Friday, the Ravens announced that the deal is off. Then, Brockers did a U-Turn – he’ll return to the Rams on a three-year deal worth up to $31.5MM, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets

It’s a similar deal to his would-be Ravens contract, which was reported to be worth $30MM over the course of three years. However, it’s worth noting that the Ravens were set to give him $21MM fully guaranteed and the locked-in dollar amount of Brockers’ new Rams deal is not yet known.

Brockers was set to join forces with newcomer Calais Campbell and incumbent interior force Brandon Williams in Baltimore. Then, earlier this week, the Ravens got skittish about his medical situation. Unable to examine him with their own team doctors due to the coronavirus epidemic, they had Brockers examined by an outside doctor. The exam raised potential issues with Brockers’ ankle, the same one he injured late last year.

Even though he doesn’t have gaudy sack totals, Brockers has been a solid defender against the run for L.A. For the Rams, it’s a significant item crossed off their to-do list. The Ravens, meanwhile, are in a bit of a tough spot. Before deciding on Brockers, the Ravens were in the mix for Ndamukong Suh and other notable D-Lineman, but Suh and most of this year’s impact free agents are already spoken for.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens Concerned About Michael Brockers’ Medicals

The Ravens made a couple of major additions to their defensive front this month, trading for Calais Campbell and agreeing to a three-year contract with free agent Michael Brockers. But according to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic, Baltimore has some concerns about Brockers’ medicals.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, teams cannot have free agents examined by their own doctors. Instead, physicals must be conducted by independent doctors in the player’s geographic area. As Zrebiec tweets, the independent evaluation turned up potential issues with Brockers’ ankle, which he injured late last season.

Baltimore is still expected to sign Brockers, but the club is considering its options (one of which, presumably, is backing out of the deal altogether). Zrebiec says the team — which has formally announced all of its other acquisitions — was also interested in Ndamukong Suh, but Suh re-signed with the Buccaneers earlier today (Twitter links).

Brockers is not the type of elite pass rusher the Ravens may have been hoping for when free agency opened, but he is capable of getting to the QB, and his versatility and run-stopping ability would serve as an excellent complement to Campbell and Brandon Williams. His presence would also help to free things up for edge rushers Matt Judon and Jaylon Ferguson, so Baltimore clearly wants to get him in the fold.

The free agent market has been mostly picked over at this point, and the Ravens recently traded Chris Wormley and saw Michael Pierce sign with the Vikings, so if the Brockers deal falls through, Baltimore may turn its attention to the draft for DL reinforcements.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens To Sign Michael Brockers

The Ravens are bolstering their defensive front. Baltimore is signing free agent defensive lineman Michael Brockers, his agent told Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (Twitter link).

It’s a big deal for Brockers, as Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets that he’ll be getting $30MM over three years. $21MM of it is fully guaranteed, Garafolo noted in a follow-up tweet. The Ravens will now have one of the most imposing defensive lines in the league, as they just landed Calais Campbell in a trade with the Jaguars on Sunday. They’ve already got Brandon Williams on the interior, so this is a unit that’s going to be hard to block in 2020.

The Rams drafted Brockers in the first-round all the way back in 2012, and he’s been with them his entire career until now. He’s been very sturdy and reliable, starting all 16 games in six of his eight seasons. In the other two, he appeared in at least 13 games. He’s never quite been an elite player, but he’s always been solid.

This past season playing next to Aaron Donald he had 63 tackles and three sacks. The Rams are stretched pretty thin financially, so it would’ve been very hard for them to match an offer like this. The Ravens were one of the league’s breakout teams last season, and they’ve been very bold this offseason after their disappointing divisional round exit in the playoffs. They also added a second-round pick by shipping out tight end Hayden Hurst earlier today.


Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Cowboys, Rams, Brockers, Lions, Dunlap

After much speculation, Cowboys defender Byron Jones confirmed on Monday that he will be switching from safety to cornerback in 2018, the Dallas Morning News’ Jon Machota writes.

Viewed as a versatile defender coming out of college, Jones played cornerback as a rookie in 2015 and a safety the past two seasons. New defensive backs coach Kris Richard preferred him at the former.

“I think it will be a good move for me and the team. I’m always open to making position changes, as long as I’m in the best position to succeed. If [Richard] believes my best position is corner, then I’m down.”

Richard knows a thing or two about getting the best from bigger cornerbacks. With the Seahawks, Richard oversaw Richard Sherman’s ascent to one of the premier corners in the league. What remains to be seen is if the team prefers him on the boundary or in the slot. In 2017, rookies Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis showed plenty of promise on the outside.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • In a press conference on Monday, Rams defensive lineman Michael Brockers told reporters he tore his MCL in the team’s playoff loss to the Falcons in January, ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez tweets. During that game, the sixth-year defender sat out the second half. The good news for Los Angeles is that Brockers took part in team activities on Monday, but they’re not in pads until training camp.
  • If any Lions players are moved in draft-day deals, some of the names that make sense include Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick and Jake Rudock, ESPN’s Michael Rothstein writes. Those names all come to mind after the team added veterans in LeGarrette Blount and Matt Cassel in the offseason.
  • The goal is for the Bengals to sign both Carlos Dunlap and get a new deal with Geno AtkinsBengals.com writer Geoff Hobson notes in a mailbag. Both Dunlap’s and Atkins’ deals run through the 2018 campaign.
  • NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is expected to be deposed in the next two weeks in Colin Kaeperncik‘s collusion case against the league, USA Today’s A.J. Perez writes. Seahawks general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll are also on the docket to be deposed.

Rams, Michael Brockers Agree To Extension

The Rams and defensive tackle Michael Brockers have agreed to a contract extension, according to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (on Twitter). Prior to this deal, Brockers was scheduled to earn a salary of $6.146MM (per the terms of his fifth-year option) before potentially hitting the open market after the season. Brockers’ extension is for three years and will take him through 2019, Josina Anderson of ESPN.com tweets.Michael Brockers (vertical)

[RELATED – Offseason In Review: Los Angeles Rams]

Brockers, 25, has been a starter for the Rams ever since he was selected with the No. 14 overall pick in the 2012 draft. For his career, Brockers has racked up 155 tackles and 14.5 sacks. Last year, the defensive tackle logged 3.0 sacks and 44 tackles.

This offseason, the Rams were unwilling to shell out big bucks to retain top cornerback Janoris Jenkins. With other pending free agents to take care of, it wasn’t clear whether Los Angeles would offer the necessary money to lock down Brockers. However, the Rams managed to get a deal done and they’ll now hold on to one of the most important pieces of their fearsome defensive line. Along with fellow interior lineman Aaron Donald and bookends William Hayes and Robert Quinn, Brockers helps to form one of the most talented defensive line units in the league.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Combine Updates: Packers, Colts, Rams

The scouting combine continues today in Indianapolis, and so have the press conferences and media scrums with head coaches and general managers around the NFL.

Here are some highlights from a few of those conversations, sorted by team:

Green Bay Packers:

  • Despite the fact that the Packers aren’t generally major players in free agency, GM Ted Thompson said his team isn’t averse to exploring the market. With that in mind, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link) says Green Bay will likely be in the mix for a complementary wide receiver.
  • Asked whether Thompson listens to him if he wants a certain player, Packers coach Mike McCarthy said, “Everybody wants something. Someone has to say no. That’s why you have a chain of command. Someone has to be the bad guy” (link via Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com).
  • McCarthy also said today that he’s “disappointed” in Mike Pennel‘s four-game suspension, according to Demovsky. “Mike’s one of our guys, but we’ll see him through this,” McCarthy said. “He’s a young player who really came on in the second half of the season.”

Indianapolis Colts:

  • Colts head coach Chuck Pagano didn’t go into specifics on personnel moves today, but he didn’t pull punches when discussing the team’s pass rush, tweets Stephen Holder of ESPN.com. Pagano conveyed that it hasn’t been good enough, and needs to be upgraded.
  • GM Ryan Grigson also weighed in on the idea of adding pass rushers, suggesting that the draft isn’t as deep at that spot as he’d like, and acknowledging that there will be some financial constraints in free agency (Twitter link via Holder).
  • Asked about Andrew Luck‘s potential contract extension, Grigson said today that the team has yet to open negotiations, “but that will probably happen soon” (link via Holder). While he declined to discuss specific numbers, the GM expressed confidence that there would be no issues holding up talks.

Los Angeles Rams:

  • The Rams’ top priority right now is re-signing the team’s many free agent defensive backs, GM Les Snead said today, per Andrew Siciliano of the NFL Network (via Twitter). Cornerbacks Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson, along with safety Rodney McLeod, are eligible to hit the market in March.
  • The Rams released three veteran players last week to create cap room, but the team is planning to keep offensive lineman Rodger Saffold on its roster, according to Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
  • Snead made it clear today that, in addition to addressing this year’s free agents, the Rams are also hoping to lock up key extension candidates, including defensive tackle Michael Brockers and linebacker Alec Ogletree (Twitter link via Wagoner).

Michael Brockers Drawing Trade Interest

1:40pm: The Cardinals did not inquire about Brockers and the Rams wouldn’t trade him in the division anyway, a source tells Kent Somers of The Arizona Republic (on Twitter).

12:17pm: A report earlier this week indicated that the Rams were exercising their 2016 option on defensive tackle Michael Brockers, but apparently teams around the league aren’t convinced that St. Louis will hang onto Brockers for the long term. According to Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net (Twitter link), the Cowboys, Texans, and Cardinals have been calling the Rams trying to strike a deal for Brockers, and the Dolphins have also expressed interest.

Brokers, 24, has played well for St. Louis since being drafted 14th overall by the team in 2012, though his sack total slipped in 2014. After recording 46 tackles and 5.5 sacks in 2013, Brockers totaled just 32 tackles and 2.0 sacks last year.

The presence of 2014 first-round pick Aaron Donald may have limited Brockers’ impact last season, and he may see his playing time reduced a little this coming season after the Rams signed former Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley in free agency. I imagine Brockers will still see plenty of action on running downs, but the idea of having Donald, Fairley, Robert Quinn, and Chris Long getting after the quarterback on passing downs must be tantalizing for the Rams.

Last month’s addition of Fairley to go along with Donald is likely what’s spurring teams to call the Rams about Brockers. St. Louis is already spending a good chunk of money on its defensive line, so the idea of paying Brockers $6.146MM (his option salary) for 2016 may be a little off-putting.

Nonetheless, Rams COO and EVP of football operations Kevin Demoff said yesterday that there’s a better chance of Adam Wainwright pitching again for the Cardinals this year than there is of the Rams trading Brockers (Twitter link via Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch). Wainwright, of course, recently tore his Achilles and will miss the rest of the MLB season. Still, it’s worth noting that the Rams adamantly denied that Sam Bradford was going anywhere, just weeks before he was dealt to Philadelphia.

Rams To Exercise Brockers’ 2016 Option

The Rams will exercise their 2016 option on defensive tackle Michael Brockers, reports Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (via Twitter). The team has until May 3 to make the move official.

Brokers, 24, has played well for St. Louis since being drafted 14th overall by the team in 2012, though his sack total slipped in 2014. After recording 46 tackles and 5.5 sacks in 2013, Brockers totaled just 32 tackles and 2.0 sacks last year.

The presence of 2014 first-round pick Aaron Donald may have limited Brockers’ impact last season, and he may see his playing time reduced a little this coming season after the Rams signed former Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley in free agency. I imagine Brockers will still see plenty of action on running downs, but the idea of having Donald, Fairley, Robert Quinn, and Chris Long getting after the quarterback on passing downs must be tantalizing for the Rams.

As the 14th overall pick in 2012, Brockers is in line for a salary of $6.146MM on his fifth-year option. That figure will initially be guaranteed for injury only — if he’s still under contract when the 2016 league year begins, his fifth-year salary becomes fully guaranteed.

For a full breakdown on the status of fifth-year options around the league, be sure to check out our tracker.