Michael Wilhoite

South Notes: Brissett, Colts, Falcons, Saints, Bucs

When Andrew Luck missed the entire 2017 season, Jacoby Brissett ended up becoming the Colts’ starter after they acquired him from New England, and he filled in admirably. He’s remained in Indianapolis since then, despite trade rumors swirling ever since. Colts GM Chris Ballard said in January that the team viewed Brissett as a starter in the league, and that they’d have to be blown away to trade him.

We now have more details on their thinking, as sources at the combine told Tony Pauline of Draftanalyst.com that the Colts “would demand a second-round choice ” for Brissett. Pauline further explained their process, writing that if Brissett walks in free agency after this season the Colts think “they would likely receive a compensatory third-round pick based on the contract he’s likely to sign; hence the second-round price tag.” This could all just be posturing to elicit better offers for Brissett, but it definitely seems like the team is high on him.

Here’s more from the league’s southern divisions:

  • The Falcons have repeatedly expressed confidence that they’d be able to get a new deal done with Julio Jones, but there’s “not much going on” between the two sides, a source told Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Jones is locked into a contract that is one of the best bargains in the NFL, and isn’t happy about it. He briefly held out last offseason before the team sweetened his deal with some incentives to draw him back. As McClure points out, GM Thomas Dimitroff has said the team is optimistic against getting a deal done, but there’s apparently been no progress. Jones could hold out again this summer, and it’ll be something to keep an eye on.
  • There were some rumors online that the Buccaneers could be shopping linebacker Lavonte David at the combine, but those apparently are false. Multiple sources told Jenna Laine of ESPN.com that David “is going nowhere.” David is still only 29 and received very good marks from Pro Football Focus last year, so it makes sense that the Bucs would want to keep him in the fold as they rebuild their porous defense.
  • The Saints are hiring former NFL linebacker Michael Wilhoite to their coaching staff, according to Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com. Wilhoite will be a special teams assistant in New Orleans. Wilhoite played six seasons in the NFL from ’12-17, spending time with the 49ers and Seahawks.

NFL Workout Updates: 11/27/18

Here’s the latest from the workout circuit, all links going to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer, unless otherwise specified.

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Oakland Raiders

San Francisco 49ers

Seahawks To Sign Michael Wilhoite

The Seahawks and free agent linebacker Michael Wilhoite have agreed to a contract, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).

Michael Wilhoite

Seattle had been on the lookout for linebacker depth before its deal with Wilhoite, having met with him, ex-49ers teammate Gerald Hodges and former Redskin and Steeler Terence Garvin in recent days. The Seahawks were already familiar with Wilhoite prior to free agency, as he spent the first five years of his career with NFC West rival San Francisco. Thus far, the 30-year-old Wilhoite has amassed 65 appearances and 36 starts.

After starting in all 28 of his appearances from 2014-15, Wilhoite took on a lesser role last year. While he did log the third 16-game season of his career and play 58.3 of the 49ers’ special teams snaps, he only started in six contents and saw action in 44.3 percent of defensive snaps. As a defender, Wilhoite picked up 46 tackles, a forced fumble and a half-sack, and ranked as one of Pro Football Focus’ five worst qualified linebackers in overall performance (though he did earn a respectable grade against the pass).

When the Seahawks’ agreement with Wilhoite becomes official, they’ll have added two linebackers this offseason (the special teams-only Arthur Brown was the first). The team has also lost one, as Brock Coyle signed with the 49ers, while longtime Seahawks reserve Mike Morgan remains without a deal. Regardless, with Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright in place, Seattle possesses an elite linebacker corps.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

FA Rumors: Poe, Seahawks, Steelers, Jaguars

Now that free agent defensive tackle Dontari Poe has concluded his visits with the Dolphins, he’ll head home to consider offers, tweets Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com. Poe has met with the Colts, Falcons, and Jaguars in addition to Miami, and will presumably sign with one of the clubs. Poe is PFR’s No. 2 free agent interior defender on the market, just behind Johnathan Hankins.

Here’s more from the free agent period:

  • Although Adrian Peterson visited the Seahawks earlier this week, he never entered into negotiations with the club, reports Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com. Seattle was eyeing a younger back, and it found one in former Packer Eddie Lacy, whom the team signed to a one-year deal on Tuesday. Through six days of free agency, the key story around Peterson has been the number of clubs who aren’t interested in the ex-Vikings RB, who turns 32 next week. The Texans, Patriots, Raiders have all indicated they they’re not in contact with future Hall of Famer.
  • The Seahawks may have not been all that interested in Peterson, but the club might have a different opinion on free agent linebacker Michael Wilhoite, whom they will host on a visit, tweets NFL reporter Howard Balzer. Wilhoite, 30, was a full-time starter for the 49ers from 2014-15, but only started six games last year (despite appearing in all 16 contests). In that time, Wilhoite put up 46 tackles, a half-sack, and a forced fumble.
  • While the Steelers has “mild interest” in re-signing linebacker Jarvis Jones, the club never made a real effort to retain the former first-round pick before he inked a one-year deal with the Cardinals on Monday, per Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com. Jones, 27, never lived up to his draft billing, but did provide solid run defense over 35 starts in Pittsburgh. The Steelers will now roll with Arthur Moats and Anthony Chickillo behind James Harrison and Bud Dupree on the edge.
  • Tight end Chris Gragg visited the Jaguars but did not agree to a contract, as Gragg himself announced (Twitter link). Jacksonville head coach Doug Marrone was in Buffalo when Gragg was made a seventh-round pick in 2013, so he should have some level of familiarity with the 26-year-old. Gragg missed the entire 2016 campaign with a torn ACL.

Reactions To NaVorro Bowman Extension

NaVorro Bowman is staying in San Francisco for the foreseeable future. The talented linebacker signed an extension earlier this week that will last through the 2022 season. The four-year extension is worth a reported $44MM (with $20MM guaranteed).

Bowman still had three years left on his contract, but the 28-year-old told Cam Inman of The Mercury News that he was intent on inking a long-term extension as soon as possible. Furthermore, the linebacker understood his standing in the organization, and he didn’t want his contract to trump that of former 49ers greats (including Patrick Willis).

“Out of respect for Pat, I took a little less and understood this was his team at the time,” Bowman said. “I’ve accomplished a lot since that time and made huge accolades.

“For me asking (now) for the deal, they understood why,” said Bowman, noting he never considered holding out of camp. “I knew it wasn’t a popular thing to do so with three years left. It’s basically about being fair. It shows how good of an organization they are to the players and fair for all the work I’ve put in.”
Let’s take a look at some more reactions to Bowman’s new contract…
  • The Bowman extension sent the right message to the linebacker’s teammates, writes Cam Inman. The players have learned that hard work can translate into a lucrative extension, and general manager Trent Baalke has already said that he plans on using the team’s remaining cap space to ink additional players to new contracts. Quarterback Blaine Gabbert, defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey, wide receiver Quinton Patton and linebacker Michael Wilhoite are among the 49ers who are in the final year of their contracts, Inman notes
  • “I’ve had several guys walk up to me and say this is motivation for them,” Bowman told Inman. “It’s win-win situations for all us, to show guys it’s possible, but you have to put your work in and do your job.” 
  • “It just shows they truly believe in the guys they drafted to get the job done,” said defensive tackle Quinton Dial, who also received an extension. “It’s something we take a lot of pride in.”
  • “I want to thank Jed, the York family and Trent for giving me the opportunity to continue my career where my heart is,” Bowman said after inking the extension (via CSNBayArea.com). “I appreciate the hard work that Drew and Paraag put in to getting this deal done. My teammates and coaches have meant so much to me throughout my career and I thank them for helping me become the player I am today. The support I’ve received from my family and friends throughout my life, especially through the adversity of the past few years, has meant so much to me. I can’t wait for the season to start and play in front of the best fans in the NFL.”
  • Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com was surprised at the timing of the Bowman extension, although he notes that it isn’t the first time the team has extended a player with multiple years left on a contract. Furthermore, Fitzgerald believes the organization was simply taking advantage of their abundance of cap room.

49ers’ Michael Wilhoite Signs RFA Tender

49ers linebacker Michael Wilhoite has become the latest restricted free agent to sign his contract tender from his team, according to a team release from the Niners. The one-year deal will set Wilhoite up to earn a non-guaranteed base salary of $1.671MM for the 2016 season.Michael Wilhoite

Wilhoite, 27, started all 16 games for the 49ers back in 2014, but had been expected to transition back into a reserve role in 2015. However, after Patrick Willis and Chris Borland announced their respective retirements, Wilhoite was thrust back into the starting lineup at one of the Niners’ inside linebacker spots.

The former undrafted free agent, who made 12 starts last season before injuries cut his year short, was graded as the league’s worst linebacker out of 97 qualified players by Pro Football Focus. Based on his shaky performance and the presence of Gerald Hodges, who started down the stretch, Wilhoite won’t be assured of a spot in the lineup in 2016.

Wilhoite becomes the second-last restricted free agents to officially sign a contract this offseason, leaving only Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall unsigned. I examined the status of this year’s group of RFAs a couple weeks ago.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

RFA Tender Decisions: 3/4/16

When teams assign first- or second-round tenders to their restricted free agents, like the Raiders did today with quarterback Matt McGloin, we’ll devote full news stories to those moves. But for the most part, RFAs around the league can expect to be either non-tendered or given a low-end tender worth $1.671MM. We’ll round up the players that fall into that group on Friday in the space below, with the latest updates added to the top of the list throughout the day….

  • The 49ers have offered linebacker Michael Wilhoite the low-end tender, reports Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. The 29-year-old has started in all 28 of his appearances over the last two seasons. Despite missing four games in 2015, Wilhoite was second on the Niners in tackles (85), though he graded dead last in overall performance out of Pro Football Focus’ 97 qualifying linebackers (subscription required).

Earlier updates:

  • The Saints aren’t expected to submit an RFA tender to running back Khiry Robinson, according to Mike Triplett of ESPN.com. Katherine Terrell of NOLA.com confirms as much (via Twitter). Robinson, 26, saw his 2015 campaign come to an early end when he suffered a broken leg in November, but he has been a steady contributor in New Orleans’ backfield since 2013, averaging 4.1 yards per carry on 186 total attempts. He’s now on track to reach the open market as an unrestricted free agent.
  • The Eagles have given RFA offensive lineman Matt Tobin the low-end tender, according to Tom Pelissero of USA Today (Twitter link). Philadelphia now holds the right of first refusal on the 25-year-old lineman, who made 13 starts for the Eagles in 2015. Depending on the moves the team makes in free agency and the draft, Tobin could return to a reserve role in 2016.
  • One restricted free agent who won’t get a tender offer from the Eagles is offensive lineman David Molk, who has decided to retire rather than continuing his career, according to the team (Twitter link). Molk, who started four games at center for Philadelphia in 2014, is widely believed to be the anonymous author of a book called NFL Confidential: True Confessions from the Gutter of Football, which provides a behind-the-scenes look at life in the NFL.
  • The Packers have a pair of players eligible for restricted free agency, and according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (via Twitter), the team won’t be tendering one of them, linebacker Andy Mulumba. Silverstein adds that guard Lane Taylor probably won’t get a tender offer either, which would make both players unrestricted free agents next week.

49ers Send Michael Wilhoite To IR

A rebuilding 49ers season will end with another starter unavailable for Week 17 action after the team sent linebacker Michael Wilhoite to injured reserve, Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reports.

San Francisco’s corresponding move comes in the form of backup running back Mike Davis being activated from IR-DTR.

Despite being an undrafted free agent from Division II Washburn, Wilhoite’s started 28 games for the 49ers the past two seasons.

The 29-year-old inside linebacker’s 2015 season, however, has been an uphill struggle, per Pro Football Focus. The advanced-metrics site rates Wilhoite as the league’s worst linebacker.

Davis played in five games this year, the most recent coming in Week 8 against the Rams. Prior to suffering a broken hand, the fourth-round rookie didn’t make much progress, gaining 24 yards on 25 carries as a backup. Per Barrows, Davis runs the risk of becoming the first running back since ex-Chiefs committee cog Donnell Bennett, who gained 24 yards on 27 totes in 2000, to average fewer than one yard per carry.

 

 

Minor Moves: Wednesday

Here are Wednesday’s minor transactions from around the NFL, with additional moves added to the top of the list throughout the day:

  • The 49ers re-signed linebacker Michael Wilhoite, according to Howard Balzer of USA Today Sports (on Twitter). Wilhoite was an exclusive rights free agent. At one point earlier this offseason, the 49ers were said to be shopping Wilhoite as a possible trade chip. However, that was back when San Francisco was still expecting to have Patrick Willis and Chris Borland back in the mix for 2015. In April, GM Trent Baalke indicated that he was working on a new deal with Wilhoite. Apparently, that did not come together as planned.
  • As we heard yesterday, the Panthers are signing tight end Scott Simonson after working him out earlier this week. To make room on the roster, Carolina has waived punter Matt Wile, the team announced today (Twitter link). Wile initially joined the Panthers as an undrafted free agent out of Michigan about five weeks ago.
  • The Lions have made some changes at the back of their 90-man roster, signing tight end David Ausberry and cutting safety Nathan Lindsey, tweets Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. Like Simonson, Ausberry is a former Raiders tight end, having spent four seasons with the team after being drafted in the seventh round back in 2011. He played sparingly during his time in Oakland, catching 11 career passes for 120 yards.

Reaction To Anthony Davis’ Retirement

The most surprising news of the NFL day was the seemingly out-of-nowhere retirement of 25-year-old offensive tackle Anthony Davis. This is the latest in a run of early retirements for top 49ers’ players.

His statement was tweeted out by Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group (via Twitter), courtesy of Davis’ agent Drew Rosenhaus.

Here is some reaction from around the 49ers following Davis’ decision:

  • Davis’ retirement may not have been a total surprise, writes Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee (via Twitter). He writes that a player said Davis was talking about stepping away from the game last season.
  • Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports 1 adds to Barrows comments, noting Chris Borland talked about it last season as well, noting that works against the theory that Jim Harbaugh is at fault for the retirements (via Twitter).
  • The financial ramifications of the move could be severe for Davis, who will have to return the unearned portion of his signing bonus. Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com has all the details on how the contract will effect Davis and the team’s cap.
  • Fellow offensive lineman Joe Looney chimed in on his teammate’s retirement, writes Inman (via Twitter). “You can’t replace AD. He’s was, he is, a hell of a player. He always worked hard every play.”
  • Inman also passed along a statement from guard Daniel Kilgore (via Twitter). “I’m as shocked as anybody else. I hate to see him go. He’s a great player, great teammate.”
  • Alex Marvez of Fox Sports 1 writes about the tearing down of the 49ers’ roster this offseason, losing young talent to retirement. He believes head coach Jim Tomsula and company could be in trouble despite having a team that has been in the NFC Championship game three of the past four seasons.
  • Linebacker Michael Wilhoite wants 49ers fans to have faith in the team to ignore the doomsday mentality that has followed these retirements, according to Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter). “Just have faith. They call them The Faithful, so stay faithful.”
  • The 49ers have a few option at right tackle, including Erik Pears, sliding Alex Boone over, or letting sixth-round draft pick Ian Silberman get a chance at tackle, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN (via Twitter). Silberman was more likely drafted as a guard, but played right tackle at Boston College.
  • Joe Buscaglia, who covers the Bills for WKBW in Buffalo, is not optimistic about Colin Kaepernick‘s chances of succeeding with Pears starting at right tackle (via Twitter).
  • Branch also points readers to his profile of former University of Florida offensive tackle and seventh-round pick Trent Brown, who could be an option to replace Davis in the lineup. The nearly 6’9″, 355-pound lineman is the only unquestioned offensive tackle the 49ers selected in the NFL Draft this year.