Mike Glennon

NFC Notes: Thomas, Bradford, Eagles, Reid

The Seahawks have indeed fined safety Earl Thomas, who missed practice for non-injury reasons for the second consecutive week. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that the Seahawks — who were considering imposing a substantial fine on Thomas last Sunday — fined the star defender for missing practice and for “other things.” Rapoport adds that “communication should increase going forward,” but it is presently unclear as to whether he is referring to communication between Thomas and Seattle or between Seattle and other clubs who may want to trade for Thomas. We heard earlier today that the Steelers were interested in Thomas, but there has been no communication between Seattle and Pittsburgh at this point.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter adds that the Seahawks are still asking for a second-round pick for Thomas, and that the Chiefs remain interested (though Kansas City does not want to give up a second-rounder). The Cowboys, of course, offered a second-round pick to Seattle earlier this year, but the Seahawks wanted more from Dallas at the time since the two teams were set to play each other last week. Now that the Cowboys-Seahawks matchup has taken place, perhaps the Seahawks will be more willing to consider the Cowboys’ offer, but Rapoport indicates (video link) that the Seahawks want two second round picks in exchange for Thomas, which seems like an especially lofty asking price.

Now for more from the NFC:

  • Sam Bradford is now the Cardinals‘ No. 3 quarterback, per Schefter, who says that going forward, rookie Josh Rosen will be the starter and will be backed up by Mike Glennon (Twitter link). That means that Bradford will generally be inactive on game days and will miss out on his active roster bonuses of $312,500 per game, a situation we explored in more detail last week.
  • Another tough blow for Rams outside linebacker Dominique Easley. Per the team’s official website, Easley, who has suffered three torn ACLs since 2011, may be heading for his fourth surgery in the last seven years. Head coach Sean McVay said that Easley, who converted to outside linebacker during training camp, is suffering complications from his previous injuries.
  • Prior to signing him a few days ago, the Panthers did not ask new safety Eric Reid about his anthem protests or his collusion case against the league, per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. GM Marty Hurney said team ownership was not involved in the signing, and that it was a purely football move.
  • Eagles WR Alshon Jeffery will make his 2018 debut today, per ESPN’s Chris Mortensen (via Twitter). Rapoport (video link) reports that Jeffery’s status for this week was up in the air because of a virus that made him seriously ill, but that his shoulder is good to go.
  • As Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer observes, the Eagles have four prominent starters playing out the final year of their respective contracts: Jordan Hicks, Ronald Darby, Jay Ajayi, and Brandon Graham. Even if the Eagles wait until after the 2019 season to give quarterback Carson Wentz what will surely be a massive extension, Philadelphia has to plan for that contract now, which means the club will have some difficult decisions to make with respect to its impending free agents. McLane posits that Hicks is the most likely of the above-named players to be retained, and he examines the futures of all four players in detail.
  • Jane Slater of the NFL Network reports that Cowboys WR Terrance Williams will be inactive today, and that the recently re-signed Brice Butler will be leaned upon more heavily as a result (Twitter link). Williams, the most expensive receiver on Dallas’ roster, may be facing a suspension stemming from his May arrest and recently missed practice, though that absence was reportedly an excused one and was unrelated to the possible suspension. Williams, though, has just two catches for 18 yards this season, and the team wants to give someone else a shot.

Cardinals Won’t Trade QB Mike Glennon

Cardinals are going with three quarterbacks to begin 2018, which means that Mike Glennon will stay with the team, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Glennon and rookie Josh Rosen will serve as the backups behind Week 1 starter Sam Bradford.

Glennon staying in Arizona means there’s one potential backup QB off of the trade market, which may raise the asking price for other quality understudies around the league. Between now and Saturday afternoon, teams will wrestle with the decision to keep two or three quarterbacks on the roster. Meanwhile, there are plenty of teams with doubts about their present No. 2 QB. Some of the players to keep an eye on include Tom Savage (Saints), Joshua Dobbs (Steelers), and maybe even A.J. McCarron (Bills).

The Bills inked McCarron to a two-year, $8.1MM deal this offseason, but rookie Josh Allen may be their Week 1 starter. McCarron’s only relevant NFL work came as a replacement to an injured Andy Dalton during the 2015 campaign, but he has long been regarded as one of the best backup types in the league. In eleven career games (three starts), the soon-to-be 28-year-old has completed 64.7% of his passes for 920 yards, six touchdowns, and two interceptions. He also started the Bengals’ 2015 playoff loss to the Steelers, throwing a touchdown and a pick.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Glennon, Other QBs Drawing Trade Interest

On Wednesday morning, the Packers traded Brett Hundley to the Seahawks. That deal is unlikely to be the last trade involving a backup quarterback, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Mike Glennon of the Cardinals, Tom Savage of the Saints, and Joshua Dobbs are the Steelers are among the QBs being discussed by teams of need, Rapoport hears. 

The Cardinals signed both Sam Bradford and Glennon in March, but the QB room changed dramatically in April when they drafted UCLA star Josh Rosen. Rosen may not be ready for primetime, but the Cardinals may feel that he is ready to be a capable No. 2 QB. Glennon flamed out in his one month as the Bears’ starter last year, but he would represent a QB2 upgrade for many teams around the league.

Savage has been long rumored to be on the bubble, but he is now firmly on the trade block following the Saints’ acquisition of Teddy Bridgewater. The Saints project to move ahead with Bridgewater and Taysom Hill as the backups to Drew Brees, leaving Savage without a spot in New Orleans. Savage, a former fourth-round pick out of Pittsburgh, entered the 2017 season as Houston’s starter, but he lost the job to rookie Deshaun Watson rather quickly. He finished the year with 1,412 yards and five touchdowns against six interceptions.

The writing has been on the wall for Dobbs ever since the Steelers used a third-round pick on Mason Rudolph in this year’s draft. Landry Jones is locked in as the backup quarterback and Rudolph is locked in as the No. 3, so Dobbs is clearly on the block.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals’ Starting QB Job ‘Sam Bradford’s To Lose’

Despite Sam Bradford having not participated in as much of the Cardinals’ offseason program, Steve Wilks has determined the injury-prone veteran is his starter, barring something unexpected. The first-year coach said the Cards’ QB1 job is Bradford’s to lose, per Kyle Odegard of AZCardinals.com, then indicating Josh Rosen and Mike Glennon will compete for the backup position.

The Cardinals brought the ninth-year quarterback along slowly this offseason. Bradford has not played extensively since the 2016 season. He started twice for the 2017 Vikings but made it through just one game healthy.

This is the time where he needs to step it up,” Wilks said of Bradford’s return to action. “He understands and knows that. We’ve got to proceed forward with our timing. He’s ready.”

During Arizona’s offseason program, Wilks labeled this an open competition with the caveat Bradford was signed to start this season. He’s not wavering from that stance at this point. Bradford is expected to practice fully during camp. Wilks said he feels “great” about where Bradford’s at in his return from his latest bout of significant knee trouble.

I didn’t play a ton of football last year, so being able to get back in the flow of things, get back in rhythm and play again, and see how my knee reacts, see how my mind reacts out there on the field in practice,” Bradford said. “I think it’s important in these next couple of weeks to re-establish that rhythm.”

Contract Details: Jordy, Glennon, Incognito

Let’s take a look at the most recent new contracts and restructures around the NFL:

New Contracts

  • Jordy Nelson, WR (Raiders): Two years, $14.2MM. $13MM guaranteed (Twitter link via Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com).
  • Mike Glennon, QB (Cardinals): Two-year, $8MM deal contains void years in 2020 and 2021. $4MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com).
  • Spencer Long, C (Jets): Four years, $27.5MM. $6MM guaranteed (link via Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap).
  • Jaron Brown, WR (Seahawks): Two years, $5.5MM. $2.75MM guaranteed. $1.95MM signing bonus. $750K available annually via receptions, yards, and touchdowns incentives (Twitter link via Brady Henderson of ESPN.com).
  • Christian Jones, LB (Lions): Two years, $6.35MM. $2.8MM guaranteed. $1.75MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com).
  • Kyle Wilber, LB (Raiders): Two years, $2.75MM. $1.4MM guaranteed (Twitter link via Adam Caplan of SiriusXM).
  • Billy Turner, OL (Broncos): One year, $2MM. $750K guaranteed. $500K signing bonus (Twitter link via Mike Klis of 9News).

Restructures

  • Richie Incognito, G (Bills): 2018 base salary reduced from $6.325MM to $3.65MM. Earned $1MM bonus. Bills created $1.675MM in cap space (Twitter link via Yates).
  • John Jerry, G (Giants): 2019 contract season eliminated. 2018 base salary reduced from $3.05MM to $1.075MM, $525K of which is guaranteed. $400K roster bonus added and paid on 3/21. Per-game roster bonuses increased from $250K to $500K (all Twitter links via Dan Duggan of NJ.com). Giants created $525K in cap space.

Cardinals Sign Mike Glennon

The Cardinals have signed Mike Glennon, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter). Peter Schrager of NFL.com (on Twitter) had first reported that the organization was going to sign the quarterback. The deal is worth $8MM over two years.

[RELATED: Cardinals Sign Sam Bradford]

Glennon now projects to be the No. 2 quarterback on the Cardinals’ depth chart, behind the newly-signed Sam Bradford. Bradford played in just two games for the Vikings last season, so the Cardinals placed considerable value on their backup QB spot. Glennon flamed out in his one month as the Bears’ starter last year, but he was still among the best available QB2 types in this year’s market.

Last year, Glennon inked a three-year, $45MM free agent contract with the Bears after receiving interest from multiple teams. This year, the Cardinals were the only team linked to the 6’7″ signal caller.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals Targeting Mike Glennon

With Kirk Cousins likely headed to the Vikings, the Cardinals’ quarterback search continues. One option on Arizona’s radar is free agent Mike Glennon, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). 

The Bears informed Glennon of his release earlier this offseason. His release will be made official on Wednesday, which coincides with the official start of free agency.

The Cardinals may be eyeing Glennon as a backup possibility for a more promising QB. It’s also possible that he could be a bridge option for a rookie quarterback, which is a familiar situation for Glennon. Last year, the Bears signed Glennon to a lucrative three-year deal (which was abandoned this offseason) in order to serve as a bridge for rookie Mitch Trubisky. His turn as the Bears’ starting QB lasted all of one month.

As of this writing, the Cardinals do not have any quarterbacks under contract for 2018.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Top 2018 NFL Free Agents By Position: Offense

NFL free agency will get underway on Wednesday, March 14th, and while the list of free agents will change between now and then, we do have some idea of who will be available when free agency kicks off. The frenzy is right around the corner and it’s time for us to break down the outlook for each position. We’ll start today on offense, before getting to defense and special teams later this week.

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each offensive position. The rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts that each player is expected to land in free agency, they are simply the players we like the most at each position, with both short- and long-term value taken into account. Restricted and exclusive-rights free agents are not listed here since they are unlikely to actually reach the open market. The same goes for players who have been franchise tagged or transition tagged.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some guys than you are, so we encourage you to make your voice heard in our comments section to let us know which free agents we’ve got wrong.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by offensive position for 2018:

Quarterback:

  1. Kirk Cousins
  2. Drew Brees
  3. Case Keenum
  4. A.J. McCarron
  5. Sam Bradford
  6. Teddy Bridgewater
  7. Colin Kaepernick
  8. Josh McCown
  9. Mike Glennon
  10. Drew Stanton
  11. Jay Cutler
  12. Chase Daniel
  13. Ryan Fitzpatrick
  14. Brock Osweiler
  15. Tom Savage

There were many difficult calls when putting this list together, but ranking Kirk Cousins as the No. 1 QB available was not among them. Cousins is the best quarterback to reach free agency in recent history and he’ll become the highest-paid player of all-time – at least, for some period of time – in mid-March. Who will make history with Cousins? That’s anyone’s guess right now. The Browns have more cap room than any other team, but a recent report from Adam Schefter of ESPN.com listed the Broncos, Cardinals, Jets, and Vikings as the final suitors for Cousins. Of those four, the Jets have the most money to work with, but they’re concerned about the Vikings winning out and Cousins’ desire to win could point him in another direction. If the Broncos and Cardinals want in on the Cousins sweepstakes, they’ll have to get creative with the books.

Drew Brees is included here, but by his own admission, he’ll be re-signing with the Saints rather than testing the open waters of free agency. Unless the Saints lowball their franchise QB, it’s hard to see him leaving New Orleans.

Case Keenum put together a tremendous season for the Vikings, but he doesn’t have a history of success beyond 2017. There will be plenty of interest in Keenum, but only after QB-needy teams strike out on Cousins. The incumbent Vikings could re-sign Keenum, but right now, it seems like they are intent on exploring the Cousins waters first.

There isn’t a ton of footage on A.J. McCarron, which made his placement on this list awfully tricky. We know this much: McCarron did well in place of Dalton in the home stretch of the 2015 season and his former offensive coordinator Hue Jackson was salivating at the chance of landing him before the Browns bungled the trade with the Bengals. McCarron’s relative youth is a plus (he won’t turn 28 until September) and his lack of experience can be looked at as a positive. Unlike some of the other names on this list, he hasn’t run up his NFL odometer.

What will NFL teams make of Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford this offseason? Not long ago, both seemed like quality starting options. However, there are serious injury questions about both players and any team signing them will either look to backstop them with another decent option or ask them to come onboard as a QB2. With that in mind, one has to wonder if Bradford would consider retirement if asked to hold the clipboard for another signal caller. Bradford has earned upwards of $110MM over the years in the NFL, so it’s safe to say that he has enough money in the bank to call it quits if he wants. For now, he’s intent on playing.

Colin Kaepernick‘s placement on this list is sure to draw some strong reactions from his fans and detractors alike. Looking purely at his football ability, there’s no question that he belongs on someone’s roster. At minimum, Kaepernick profiles as a high-end backup, even after a year out of the game.

Quarterbacks coaches have long believed that Mike Glennon is capable of great things, due in part to his height. At 6’7″, he can see over any defensive line, but he hasn’t done much on the field to prove that he is a quality Week 1 starting option. Josh McCown, who is a decade his senior, edges him here for his surprisingly strong performance in 2017 at the helm of a weak Jets offense.

Read more

Bears To Cut QB Mike Glennon

The Bears will release Mike Glennon this offseason, GM Ryan Pace told reporters on Wednesday morning. By cutting Glennon, the Bears will save $11.5MM against the cap with $4.5MM in dead money remaining. Mike Glennon (Vertical)

The Bears were widely criticized last offseason when they signed Glennon to a three-year, $45MM contract. Despite entering the league in 2013, Glennon had limited on-field experience. As a rookie, Glennon started 13 games for the Bucs, completing 59.4% of his passes for 2,608 yards, 19 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. But, between 2015 and 2016, Glennon threw just eleven passes as Jameis Winston’s understudy. Glennon got his big money deal with a 5-13 record as a starting QB.

Glennon’s second run as a starting QB did not last long either. Six weeks after signing Glennon, the Bears shocked the world by trading up to draft UNC signal caller Mitch Trubisky. One month into the season, Glennon got the hook in favor of the No. 2 overall pick. Glennon will once again be a free agent, this time with a 6-16 career record as a starter.

Glennon, 28, earned $18.5MM for his four starts in Chicago. The deal was a bust in retrospect, but to the Bears’ credit, they did structure the deal to give themselves an easy out after one season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

South Notes: Jags, Colts, Glennon, Falcons

After their most successful season this century, the Jaguars are firmly committed to their power structure. The Tom Coughlin/Dave Caldwell/Doug Marrone triumvirate is now signed through 2021 after the extensions announced Friday, and this season looks to have played a key part in Shad Khan‘s decision. The owner approached his top staffers about these extensions shortly after the Jags’ AFC championship game loss to the Patriots, Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union reports.

For Caldwell, this marks the second two-year extension in as many offseasons. The GM signed one in January 2017 on the same day he was stripped of some of his decision-making abilities, but he’ll continue to work with Coughlin for the foreseeable future. This comes after some in league circles believed Coughlin would attempt to push Caldwell out of the picture, per O’Halloran, if last season did not go well. In particular, Blake Bortles‘ play was key in this scenario, O’Halloran writes. Caldwell had overseen four straight losing seasons since taking over the Jags’ reins in 2013.

Here’s the latest out of the South divisions:

  • The Colts continue to add to Frank Reich‘s first staff. They’ve hired Tom Manning as their tight ends coach, reports Tommy Birch of The Des Moines Register. The former Iowa State offensive coordinator led the Cyclones to two of the best offensive seasons in team history. He previously served as the offensive line coach at Toledo and Mount Union.
  • Regarding Reich’s first offense, Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star notes it’s expected to be a significant change from Rob Chudzinski‘s attack. Reich is expected to install an uptempo setup to help a Colts offense that ranked 31st last season. However, Andrew Luck being at the controls had the Colts at No. 10 offensively in 2016. So, improvement will largely come from Indianapolis’ starter being back in the fold.
  • A Buccaneers/Mike Glennon reunion will likely be on the Tampa Bay brass’ radar, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times writes. The Bears are expected to cut Glennon, whom Mitch Trubisky quickly supplanted in Chicago’s starting lineup, and Stroud notes the Bucs will be watching carefully to see if their former backup will wind up in need of a job. Glennon served as Jameis Winston‘s backup in 2015 and ’16, and with a possible suspension for Winston looming because of an alleged groping of an Uber driver, Stroud notes Tampa Bay’s backup could play a key role in the 2018 season. The Bucs were ready to pay Glennon like a top-market backup at $8MM per year, but the Bears’ offer easily won out last March.
  • Sean Weatherspoon has played in just six games for the Falcons the past two seasons and has missed all five of Atlanta’s playoff contests in that span. The 30-year-old linebacker is now a free agent. He would like to return to Atlanta but acknowledged a connection to former Missouri defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus, who now has a first-time opportunity as an NFL DC with the Colts. “My college coach, who recruited me to Missouri, is the (defensive) coordinator for the Colts now,” Weatherspoon said, via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “There are a lot of things, I love Atlanta, but I’m just looking for an opportunity. I’d love to be here. If things work out, this is where I’ll be.” Prior to his injury trouble during his second Falcons stint, the former first-round pick started 40 games with the Falcons from 2010-13. Given where he is in his career, Weatherspoon would likely be available for the veteran minimum.

Ben Levine contributed to this report.