Mike Wallace

Eagles WR Mike Wallace Hopeful He Can Return This Season

The Eagles placed wideout Mike Wallace on injured reserve Wednesday after he suffered a broken fibula in Week 2, but the veteran pass-catcher is optimistic he can make a 2018 return, according to Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (Twitter link). “As long as I’m healthy, I know they’ll bring me back in,” Wallace said.

A broken fibula generally heals in roughly six weeks, so there’s every reason to think Wallace would come back this season. Because he’s on injured reserve, Wallace must miss at least eight games before returning, so he should have ample time to recover. If the Eagles designate Wallace as one of their IR/return players, he can begin practicing in six weeks. Once Wallace returns to practice, Philadelphia would get a three-week window during which it could activate him.

Wallace, 32, inked a one-year, $1.915MM deal with the Eagles this spring in order to replace Torrey Smith as the club’s deep threat. After posting 52 receptions for 748 yards and four touchdowns with the Ravens in 2017, Wallace managed just three targets and zero catches for Philadelphia before going down.

With Wallace down, the Eagles are relying on Nelson Agholor, Kamar Aiken, Shelton Gibson, and the recently-signed Jordan Matthews as their wideouts. Alshon Jeffery, still working his way back from offseason shoulder surgery, returned to a limited practice this week.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles Sign Jordan Matthews

The Eagles reunited with wide receiver Jordan Matthews, according to a team announcement. To make room, the Eagles have placed veteran Mike Wallace on IR. 

[RELATED: Carson Wentz To Start In Week 3]

Matthews worked out for the Eagles on Tuesday – his first audition since the Patriots released him in August. Although he was not productive with Buffalo last year, the Eagles have seen what Matthews can do when he is fully healthy and in the right system. He enjoyed three 800-plus-yard seasons with Philly, two in Chip Kelly’s offense and the third — a 73-reception, 804-yard campaign in 2016 — under Doug Pederson. His totals in 2016 were a close second to Zach Ertz among Eagles receivers.

Wallace, meanwhile, suffered a broken fibula last week. The injury is not necessarily a season-ender, so he could be a candidate to return from IR in eight weeks or more.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jordan Matthews Works Out For Eagles

A reunion between Jordan Matthews and the Eagles may not be imminent, but the defending Super Bowl champions are considering the possibility.

The veteran wide receiver worked out for the Eagles on Tuesday, Eagles insider Geoff Mosher reports (on Twitter). He was the only player to audition for the Eagles today, per Mosher.

This is Matthews’ first known workout since the Patriots released him early last month. He has not been the same since being traded from the Eagles to the Bills just prior to last season. Matthews’ Buffalo contract year helped cool off his free agent market, the formerly productive Philadelphia slot player catching just 25 passes for 282 yards. He settled for a low-end Patriots contract.

Matthews amassed three 800-plus-yard seasons with the Eagles, two in Chip Kelly’s offense and the third — a 73-reception, 804-yard campaign in 2016 — with Doug Pederson. His totals in 2016 were a close second to Zach Ertz among Eagles.

Philly’s experienced trouble at wideout this season. Mike Wallace is dealing with a fractured fibula, per ESPN.com’s Tim McManus (Twitter link), Mack Hollins is on IR and Alshon Jeffery remains week-to-week. They may be looking to add a proven talent here, and Matthews certainly has familiarity with Pederson’s system.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Carson Wentz To Start In Week 3

Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz has been medically cleared and will start against the Colts on Sunday, the club announced today.

Wentz is roughly nine months removed from tearing his ACL, so it’s no surprise Philadelphia used a cautious approach with its franchise signal-caller. While he’d been cleared for 11-on-11 drills, Wentz hadn’t been cleared for full contact until today. Eagles head coach Doug Pederson has previously indicated Wentz will need a week of full contact practice before he’ll be re-inserted as the club’s starter.

The Eagles had the luxury of deploying Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles during their first two games and managed to post a 1-1 record. Foles wasn’t very effective during Philadelphia’s Week 1 win over the Falcons, as he completed just 56% of his passes for 117 yards and one interceptions. He performed much better against the Buccaneers on Sunday (73% completion rate, 334 yards, one touchdown), but the Eagles still lost 27-21.

Wentz, of course, was playing at an MVP pace before going down last December. In 13 starts, Wentz posted 3,296 passing yards, 33 touchdowns, and just seven interceptions and was named second-team All-Pro despite missing three games. Among the 26 quarterbacks with at least 350 attempts in 2017, Wentz ranked second in ESPN’s Total Quarterback Rating, fourth in passer rating, and fourth in adjusted yards per attempt.

Wentz won’t return with his full arsenal at hand, as wide receiver Alshon Jeffery is still recovering from shoulder surgery while Mike Wallace injured his ankle on Sunday. However, Jeffery is expected to practice on a limited basis this week, tweets Josina Anderson of ESPN.com, so he could return to game action in the near future. And Wallace will not be placed on injured reserve after fracturing his fibula, Pederson said today, which means the Eagles may believe he could return later this year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles WR Mike Wallace Possibly Done For Season?

Eagles wideout Mike Wallace is out indefinitely after suffering an ankle injury during Week 2, and could potentially miss the remainder of the season, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (Twitter link) was the first to report Wallace is dealing with a serious ankle issue.

Philadelphia could ill afford another blow to its wide receiver depth, as the club is already without Mack Hollins — who was placed on injured reserve earlier this month — and Alshon Jeffery, who is still working his way back from shoulder surgery. Jeffery indicated on September 7 that he was still multiple weeks away from returning to the field.

Nelson Agholor now leads a wide receiver contingent that also includes Kamar Aiken, DeAndre Carter, and Shelton Gibson, so the Eagles could look to add another pass-catcher in the near future. Markus Wheaton, who was with Philadelphia during the summer, is one obvious solution, while other available free agents include Dez Bryant, Jeremy Maclin, Breshad Perriman, Kenny Britt, Kendall Wright, and Jordan Matthews. Cleveland’s Josh Gordon is also available via trade, but there’s been no indication the Eagles have inquired on the Browns receiver.

Wallace, 32, inked a one-year, $1.915MM deal with the Eagles this spring in order to replace Torrey Smith as the club’s deep threat. After posting 52 receptions for 748 yards and four touchdowns with the Ravens in 2017, Wallace managed just three targets and zero catches for Philadelphia before going down.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Contract Details: Landry, Wallace, RG3

Here’s the latest from some the recently agreed-upon contracts around the NFL.

  • Jarvis Landry‘s five-year, $75.5MM Browns contract will come with $34MM fully guaranteed, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (video link). This figure, which is a tad less than Landry likely would have earned if he was franchise-tagged twice, places Landry fifth among wideouts. The $47MM in total guarantees are third all-time, behind only DeAndre Hopkins and Mike Evans.
  • Another wideout has a somewhat bizarre clause in his Eagles deal. The defending Super Bowl champions will pay Mike Wallace an additional $585K if he weighs less than 250 pounds when they open their offseason program on Monday, Field Yates of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). Wallace signed a one-year deal with a base value of $1.9MM, so Monday — barring an alarming discovery — will presumably be a nice bonus for the veteran deep threat.
  • The only guaranteed money in Robert Griffin III‘s one-year, $1.1MM deal with the Ravens is a $100K signing bonus, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.

Extra Points: Griffin, Falcons, Wallace, Fitzpatrick, Patriots

UCF held its pro day Thursday and 31 teams from around the NFL came out in part to watch linebacker Shaquem Griffin work out, per ESPN’s Josina Anderson. The Titans and Saints have already visited with the linebacker who captivated many at the Scouting Combine by running the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds and putting up 20 reps on the bench press with a prosthetic hand.

ESPN’s Jenna Laine reported that Griffin has been invited to the upcoming NFL Draft after a struggle to just get invited to the Scouting Combine. The 49ers were the only team not in attendance Thursday. Laine noted that most teams see Griffin as a weakside inside linebacker at the next level. His brother, Shaquill Griffin, is a cornerback for the Seahawks.

“I was a guy who was under the radar who they didn’t believe in at first but I feel like they’re starting to believe now,” Griffin said Thursday, via Laine. “I have the entire nation behind me now.”

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • While speaking with ESPN’s Vaughn McLure, former NFL agent Joel Corry opined that Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is likely to get $100MM in total guarantees, including $85MM guaranteed at signing, whenever he signs his new deal — based off previous quarterback deals. Both the Falcons and Ryan’s agent, Tom Condon, who also represents Drew Brees and Matthew Stafford, haven’t set a timetable on a possible deal. Curry believes that means that Ryan’s asking price is too high for the Falcons. Curry also doesn’t expect Ryan to take a hometown discount.
  • Mike Wallace‘s one-year deal with the Eagles is worth $1.92MM in guaranteed money and he can make up to $2.09MM with incentives, per Sheil Kapadia of The Athletic (on Twitter). Wallace got a signing bonus of $1MM and will make $915K in base salary.
  • NFL Draft analyst Benjamin Albright suggested (on Twitter) that mock drafts have Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick going too high and Boston College pass-rusher Harold Landry going too low, based off sources he’s spoken to.
  • Doug Kyed of NESN opines that people shouldn’t be surprised if former undrafted rookie Cole Croston competes for the Patriots‘ starting left tackle spot if they’re unable to address the position properly with the No. 31 overall pick in the draft. Croston, an Iowa alum, appeared in three games last season as a rookie. Both of the Patriots’ tackles from last season — Nate Solder and Cameron Fleming — have departed in free agency this offseason.

Eagles To Sign WR Mike Wallace

The Eagles have agreed to a one-year deal with free agent wide receiver Mike Wallace, according to Peter Schrager of NFL.com (Twitter link). The pact is worth $2.5MM and contains incentives, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, and the maximum value of the contract is $4MM, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

In Wallace, Philadelphia has found a replacement for Torrey Smith, whom the club dealt to the Panthers in exchange for cornerback Daryl Worley earlier this month. Not only does Wallace represent an upgrade over Smith, but he’s also cheaper, as Smith was scheduled to earn a $5MM base salary in 2018. That level of savings is critical for the Eagles, who are among the most cap-strapped teams in the NFL.

Wallace, 32, will now join the fifth club of his pro career after spending the past two seasons with the Ravens. In 15 games (14 starts) in 2017, Wallace hauled in 52 receptions for 748 yards and four touchdowns. While those numbers were a bit lower than his career averages, Wallace managed 72 catches and 1,000+ yards just one year prior.

With the Eagles, Wallace will now join an offense that not only boasts a more talented quarterback than do the Ravens, but a more enviable offensive corps in total. Wallace will catch passes from MVP contender Carson Wentz, and he’ll be surrounded by skill position players such as Alshon Jeffery, Zach Ertz, Mack Hollins, Jay Ajayi, and Corey Clement.

Baltimore, for its part, reportedly didn’t publicly rule out a reunion with Wallace, but their free agent machinations said otherwise. Not only did the Ravens sign both John Brown and Michael Crabtree, but they’ve met with restricted free agents Cameron Meredith and Willie Snead in recent days.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens Notes: Crabtree, Ryan Grant, Free Agency

Baltimore made a big splash in free agency on Friday, signing veteran receiver Michael Crabtree a day after his release from the Raiders. The move potentially gives the team a go-to, possession receiver that it hasn’t had in a number of years.

Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said as much after the completion of the three-year deal worth up to $21MM. According to the Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec (Twitter link): “Michael has played very well against the Ravens, so we know firsthand the attributes he brings to the game. He is a smart, tough, physical receiver who battles for the ball.”

Newsome remembers well, as Crabtree has topped 80 yards in three out of four regular-season meetings with the Ravens and has posted five touchdowns. That included a three-score outing vs. the typically stingy defense in 2016.

Known for utilizing his big arm early in his career, quarterback Joe Flacco has worked closer to the line of scrimmage in recent years and has posted at least a 64% completion rate in each season in 2015. That is likely to continue with a reliable option like Crabtree joining the hold.

Here’s more from Baltimore:

  • Despite signing both John Brown and Crabtree, Newsome hasn’t ruled out a return to the fold for Mike Wallace and Michael Campanaro, ESPN’s Jamison Hensley tweets. According to Hensley, the team has been in contact with both receivers.
  • Newsome said the team would have pursued Crabtree regardless if the team signed Ryan Grant or not,” Zrebiec tweets. The team voided a contract with the former Redskins wideout after he failed a physical.
  • Sticking with Grant, Newsome said via Zrebiec on Twitter: “I did not get the results of Ryan’s physical until about 4 o’clock yesterday.” He said the team consulted with many doctors around the country. “It’s not a football decision. It’s a medical decision that I had no control over.”
  • Before news of the Crabtree signing hit, Newsome said the team could add two or three more quality football players, Zrebiec tweets. Recently, Pro Football Rumors listed Baltimore’s top three offseason needs and named adding receiver help, beefing up the pass rush and fortifying the secondary as the team’s top goals. It checked No. 1 off the board with the Crabtree move.

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.

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