Nelson Agholor

Breer’s Latest: Jets, Broncos, Rudolph

Some assorted notes from SI.com’s Albert Breer leading up to tonight’s draft…

  • The Jets are beginning to gain some traction on a deal involving the third-overall pick. Breer mentions that the Redskins could be a match, with the team presumably eyeing a quarterback. Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins could be an option, as could Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray (if he isn’t taken with the first-overall pick). Breer notes that if the Jets remain in the top-10, they could opt for Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver, who one scout described as “the epitome of a [defensive coordinator] Gregg Williams player.”
  • Missouri quarterback Drew Lock is “rising continuously in draft meetings” among the Broncos front office. The team could be eyeing him with pick No. 10, or they could be preparing for a scenario where Lock falls towards the bottom of the first round.
  • After paying Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Eric Kendricks, Anthony Barr and Danielle Hunter, the Vikings could be looking to deal one of their other pricey veterans. Tight end Kyle Rudolph could be a trade candidate, and Breer writes that he wouldn’t be shocked if the Patriots make a play for the pass-catcher. The writer mentions cornerbacks Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes as well as wideout Laquon Treadwell as trade candidates.
  • Two players who are set to play on their fifth-year option are on the block. Breer writes that Eagles receiver Nelson Agholor and 49ers defensive end Arik Armstead “have been part of trade discussions.” On the flip side, Breer believes that it’s unlikely that the 49ers trade defensive lineman Solomon Thomas.
  • If Mississippi State’s Montez Sweat gets past the Redskins (No. 15), Panthers (No. 16), or Seahawks (No.21), Breer is unsure how far the defensive end could end up falling. Breer points to the Rams as a potential fit at the end of the first round. Reports indicated that Sweat was diagnosed with a heart condition, although there were rumblings today that he may have been misdiagnosed.

Eagles Willing To Trade Nelson Agholor?

Teams believe that Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor could be available via trade, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Agholor, a versatile weapon, carries a $9.4MM fully guaranteed price tag and could be moved if the Eagles draft a receiver early in this week’s draft. 

This is a change in thinking from where the Eagles were just six weeks ago. Even after the Eagles acquired DeSean Jackson and gave him a lucrative three-year extension, the belief was that Agholor would remain with the club. Now, the Eagles seem to be a bit more future-minded at the WR position and they could use this opportunity to get younger while cutting down on costs.

The former USC pass-catcher has been a key component of the past two Eagle passing attacks. Even with the midseason arrival of Golden Tate, Agholor still managed a career-high 64 receptions for 736 yards and four touchdowns.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles Expected To Retain Nelson Agholor

Yet another Eagles splash move at wide receiver places Nelson Agholor in a precarious position, but the fifth-year player may be set to be part of another Philadelphia receiving corps.

Despite his 2019 option price of $9.4MM, Agholor is likely to remain with the Eagles, Jeff McLane of Philly.com tweets. Agholor staying means he will join Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson on what would be quite the well-compensated wideout trio.

Jackson is expected to sign an three-year, $27MM extension, and Jeffery is tied to a four-year, $48MM deal. Agholor’s fifth-year option makes it somewhat uncertain he makes sense to return, given Philadelphia’s expenses elsewhere. But the former USC pass-catcher has been a key component of the past two Eagle passing attacks.

Last season, the Eagles brought in Golden Tate at the trade deadline, somewhat diminishing Agholor’s role. But the Eagles’ incumbent slot receiver still caught a career-high 64 passes for 736 yards and four touchdowns. With Jeffery and Jackson in the fold, a Tate return to Philly no longer makes sense.

Agholor could be a trade candidate, per McLane, so that bears monitoring. For now, however, the Eagles have a Jeffery-Jackson-Agholor trio to team with Zach Ertz.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Notes: OBJ, Cowboys, Redskins

Dave Gettleman gave his Odell Beckham Jr. party line again this week, insisting the Giants were planning to keep him. However, trade gusts continue to swirl in Indianapolis. While the Giants won’t move Beckham for a below-market deal, Jay Glazer of The Athletic notes (subscription required) buzz around the Combine points to the team being ready to part ways with the superstar wideout if the offer is fair. Glazer predicted earlier this month Beckham would be traded. Teams are higher on Beckham than Antonio Brown, with the latter’s antics posing a significant problem for some, Glazer hears. This could inflate Beckham’s value, but Gettleman will surely need to be blown away to part ways with the recently extended wideout.

Here’s the latest from the NFC East quartet:

  • Jason Witten‘s exit from the Monday Night Football booth shocked many, and the Cowboys already appear to have a plan for the recently unretired tight end. They are planning to deploy Witten around 25 snaps per game, Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. The future Hall of Fame tight end, who will turn 37 in May, does not want to impede incumbents Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz‘s progress, per Hill, and is fine with a 25-snaps-per-game workload.
  • Another way the 2019 Cowboys could be flashier than the ’18 version: if Earl Thomas joins the team. Long connected to the Cowboys, the Texas native looks to still view Dallas as his preferred destination. If the money is equal, Thomas will pick Dallas, former teammate Richard Sherman said (via Matt Barrows of The Athletic, subscription required). However, the 49ers cornerback added that another team outflanking the Cowboys would make it a fairer fight. Thomas’ camp met with the Cowboys’ Combine contingent on Thursday, according to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora (Twitter link). It doesn’t sound like the Cowboys will go all-in for the three-time All-Pro, with JLC adding the team is casting a wide net (on a deep safety market) to help here. But the soon-to-be 30-year-old defender certainly appears to still be on Dallas’ radar.
  • Nick Foles has now been connected to the Jaguars and Giants, but the Redskins also need a starting quarterback. Or do they? Washington appears likely to avoid spending starter-level cash on a veteran, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link). Colt McCoy has one season remaining on his contract, and a report earlier this month indicated the Redskins are high on their backup as a possible stopgap starter. McCoy, 32, has not been a full-time starter since working in that capacity for the 2011 Browns. He started 21 games for Cleveland from 2010-11 before becoming a well-regarded backup.
  • The Eagles are finally under the projected cap, but they are still floating Nelson Agholor‘s name as a trade option at the Combine, La Canfora writes. The 2015 first-round pick’s salary is set to spike to $9.4MM. Although Philadelphia is not going through with its Foles tag-and-trade plan, taking a $25MM cap hold off the books, Agholor’s salary will still affect a team with just $6MM in cap space. Only the Jaguars hold less.

Eagles Exercise Agholor’s 2019 Option

Nelson Agholor‘s breakout 2017 season turned around his career, and the Eagles aren’t going to let 2018 become a contract year for the emerging wide receiver.

Philadelphia will exercise Agholor’s fifth-year option, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter), and the USC product will be under team control through 2019.

Agholor stands to earn $9.387MM if he’s on Philly’s roster in 2019. These options are guaranteed for injury only, but it appears a near-certainty that Agholor will be part of the Eagles’ equation in ’19.

The Eagles traded Jordan Matthews to the Bills last summer, largely because of Agholor’s progress en route to commandeering the team’s slot role. He thrived in that capacity during the Eagles’ first Super Bowl championship season, catching 62 passes for 768 yards and eight touchdowns. Each of those numbers is more than what Agholor totaled in 2015 and ’16 combined.

Both Agholor and Alshon Jeffery are signed through at least 2019 now, furthering the Eagles’ security at wideout when such an arrangement previously didn’t exist entering last season, when Jeffery was on a one-year deal and Agholor teetering on the bust fringe.

East Notes: Cousins, Eagles, Jets, Pats, Bills

Should the Redskins place the franchise tag on Kirk Cousins, a grievance from the quarterback’s camp could follow. And Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk expects the quarterback’s side to successfully prevent Washington from tagging him again. Florio cites a section of the CBA that indicates a team that intends to use the tag must have a “good faith intention” to employ that player the following season. The Redskins having agreed to trade for Alex Smith, and having terms in place for an extension once that trade processes, essentially signals they do not plan to employ Cousins at or around $34.47MM this season. With other complications of a possible Cousins tag potentially emerging, the Redskins don’t look to be in line to succeed if they were to go down this path.

Here’s the latest from the East divisions:

  • The Eagles currently hold the least amount of projected cap space (being $9MM-plus over the cap as of Saturday), and Geoff Mosher of FanRag Sports notes Howie Roseman would like to get a head-start on future caps by reaching an extension with breakout wideout Nelson Agholor. While no 2014 first-round pick has signed an extension yet, Mosher writes Roseman would probably like to extend the Chip Kelly-approved 2015 first-rounder this offseason and expects — if that comes to fruition — that price to be at around $9-$10MM per year. That would stand to lower Agholor’s 2019 fifth-year option number, slated to come in at $9.5MM. But with Agholor set for a bigger role in the Eagles’ offense, which Mosher does not expect to include Torrey Smith, he could bet on himself and see if he can drive up his value with a strong 2018.
  • This offseason will also be important for Jay Ajayi, whose contract expires after the ’18 slate. But Ajayi’s history of knee trouble — which helped lead to the Boise State product falling to the fifth round in 2015 — could induce Roseman to be careful about an extension, Mosher writes. Corey Clement‘s Super Bowl performance may put the ex-UDFA on the radar to be the leading Eagles back in the near future, Mosher writes, which would affect Ajayi’s long-term standing.
  • Martellus Bennett did not end up playing much of a role for the AFC champions this season post-waiver claim, and ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss does not expect his second Patriots stint to last much longer. Reiss expects the Patriots will decline his $2MM option (which would trigger a $3.6MM 2018 base salary and $2.6MM roster bonus). Bennett said he intended to retire after last season but has yet to formally announce anything. Of course, he was embroiled in a contentious situation with the Packers at the time of that proclamation.
  • Two AFC East tackles are cap-casualty candidates in the view of OverTheCap’s Jason Fitzgerald. The Jets will save $4.67MM by cutting Ben Ijalana, who has mostly served as a backup aside from his 13 starts in 2016. The Bills may have a tougher decision regarding Cordy Glenn, but since signing a five-year extension in 2016, the formerly durable left tackle has has struggled to stay healthy. It would cost the Bills $9.6MM in dead money to cut Glenn, with $4.85MM coming Buffalo’s way in savings, and Fitzgerald could see the team putting him on the trade block. The Bills have second-rounder Dion Dawkins as an in-house replacement option and could see if another team would gamble on Glenn given the dearth of available tackle talent.

Reactions From Bills’ Two-Trade Day

The Bills reshaped their team and 2018 draft with two trades on Friday afternoon. Buffalo unloaded Sammy Watkins to the Rams for E.J. Gaines and a second-round pick. The Bills then shipped Ronald Darby to the Eagles for Jordan Matthews and a third-rounder. Here’s the latest fallout from these deals.

  • Eagles GM Howie Roseman said the team didn’t shop Matthews but acknowledged the fourth-year wideout being in trade rumors since March accelerated the actual trade. Roseman, per Zach Berman of Philly.com (on Twitter) said when trade rumors are out there, “people call.” Roseman added Darby — a 2015 second-round pick — having two years left on his rookie contract cemented the deal for the Eagles. “The big factor for us was we weren’t getting a free agent back, too,” Roseman said (via Berman, on Twitter). “We wouldn’t have done the trade if a player had one year left.”
  • A perpetual injury risk, Watkins seeing another team take a chance on him in a contract year indicates belief he can stay healthy, ESPN.com’s Stephania Bell tweets. Bell adds a member of the Bills medical staff is now with the Rams. Watkins missed eight games last season and three in 2015. He played in all 16 games as a rookie.
  • ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano picked up a vibe while visiting Eagles camp the team was worried about their cornerbacks, and he notes the team is high on 2015 first-round wideout Nelson Agholor as a late-blooming talent. Although, he added the caveat of Agholor’s camp emergence could partially be due to Philly’s substandard corner situation. Graziano adds the Bills were worried about being too young at corner as well. Buffalo has overhauled its cornerback corps this offseason, cutting Nickell Robey-Coleman, letting Stephon Gilmore defect to New England and now trading Darby. The Bills added Shareece Wright, Tre’Davious White, Leonard Johnson and now Gaines. Darby is the latest Bills corner to join the Eagles, following Leodis McKelvin and Ron Brooks. Graziano notes Darby is a higher-ceiling talent than anyone the Eagles previously had.
  • Graziano added Jordan Matthews not receiving a contract extension so many of his teammates did recently was a bad sign for his future in Philly. Berman points out (via Twitter) Alshon Jeffery is the receiver the Eagles will try to keep long-term. Jeffery signed a one-year deal with Philadelphia in March. A Matthews re-up may have gotten in the way of that for an Eagles team that’s seen the aforementioned extensions tie up its 2018 cap for the time being. The Eagles as of now are projected to have just $1MM in 2018 space.
  • The Rams were the only team to not receive a cornerback in these trades, but Wade Phillips is confident in his group. Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com notes (via Twitter) that means Kayvon Webster as well. The 2013 third-round pick’s a bit of an enigma in being buried behind Denver’s dominant trio for three seasons, but he’s in line to start in Los Angeles now. Robey-Coleman and Webster are now the top two candidates to play opposite Trumaine Johnson.
  • LeSean McCoy weighed in on the deal and praised his outgoing teammate while tabbing Matthews — his teammate in Philly for a year — as an inferior receiver to Watkins. “If you compare the two, it’s obvious you can agree who is better,” the Bills running back said, via Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. McCoy added (via Rodak) he can relate to Watkins being traded for a player who he’s “probably better than” from the Eagles-Bills 2015 swap of McCoy and Kiko Alonso.
  • Watkins was due a $2.4MM bonus last week, according to OverTheCap’s Jason Fitzgerald (on Twitter). He notes unless there was an unreported adjustment in the contract, the bonus was the Bills’, and not the Rams’, responsibility.

Extra Points: Agholor, Eagles, Steelers, Robinette

Some assorted notes from around the NFL…

  • The Eagles signed free agent wideouts Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith this offseason, putting former first-rounder Nelson Agholor‘s spot on the depth chart in doubt. However, the 24-year-old made it clear that he embraces the competition. “I think I was worried about taking such a large leap in a day. It’s all about getting better consistently each day, even if it’s just a little bit,” Agholor told ESPN.com’s Tim McManus. “Some of the best players in this league, they didn’t just become really great the first day they’re there. It took a process and continuous progression every day, so that’s my focus right now.” In 28 career games, Agholor has collected 59 receptions for 648 yards and three touchdowns.
  • Earlier this offseason, the Eagles signed safety Rodney McLeod to a five-year, $37MM deal ($17MM guaranteed). The team has apparently slightly altered the contract to open up some cap space, as Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com tweets that the team saved $2.4MM by converting $3.225M of his salary into a bonus.
  • There have been whispers that the Steelers could convert William Gay to safety or even release the veteran. However, as Chris Bradford of the Beaver County Times notes, the 32-year-old is seemingly still the team’s slot cornerback ahead of Senquez Golson and Cameron Sutton. Gay has spent 10 seasons with the Steelers, and last year was the first time since 2010 that he started less than 10 games.
  • We learned yesterday that The Air Force Academy had barred wideout Jalen Robinette from graduating, putting both his Air Force and NFL future in doubt. Following the announcement, the player’s agency released a statement to Nicki Jhabvala of The Denver Post: “Jalen Robinette is currently awaiting a determination on a non-criminal disciplinary proceeding. Jalen continues to look forward to serving the country that he loves and remains committed and loyal to the United States Air Force.” Robinette finished his collegiate career as the team’s all-time leader in receiving yards.

NFC Notes: Hawks, Giants, Eagles, Cowboys

ESPN’s Seth Wickersham reported Thursday that Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman has been holding a grudge against both quarterback Russell Wilson and head coach Pete Caroll since the team’s devastating Super Bowl XLIX loss to the Patriots in 2015. But Sherman and defensive end Michael Bennett insist that’s not true (via Kevin Patra of NFL.com). “It’s just a bunch of nonsense from ‘anonymous’ sources. Can never put much gravity of things like that,” said Sherman, who, according to Wickersham, “allowed himself to imagine playing for the Cowboys” when Seattle placed him on the trade block earlier this spring. Bennett, meanwhile, dismissed the article as “trash” and “all gossip.”

The latest from the NFC East…

  • In an interview with 105.1 FM in New York on Thursday, now-Bears wide receiver Victor Cruz implied that the Giants didn’t involve him in their offense more last year because they knew they’d release him in the offseason (per Ralph Vacchiano of SNY). “Halfway through the year, you’re like, ‘OK, I’m balling,’ and then the other half I’m not getting the ball,” he said. “And you’re just like, ‘What’s going on?’ It was like, ‘OK, I see what’s happening. They don’t want me here anymore.’” Continued Cruz, who caught 39 of 72 targets in 2016: “If I played well, they owed me a ton of money that next year. So it was like, ‘let’s get Cruz off the books.'” Unsurprisingly, head coach Ben McAdoo refuted Cruz’s claims, telling reporters that “there is no accuracy” to the wideout’s theory (via Lorenzo Reyes of USA Today).
  • Cutting receiver Nelson Agholor would cost the Eagles more money than they’d save ($4.68MM versus $2.56MM), but his roster spot nonetheless looks to be in jeopardy, writes Andrew Kulp of CSNPhilly.com. Philadelphia signed two proven receivers in March, Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith, to join Jordan Matthews, which could further marginalize Agholor. A first-round pick just two years ago, Agholor caught only 59 of 114 targets and three touchdowns from 2015-16.
  • It continues to look as though Cowboys offensive lineman La’el Collins will move to right tackle after functioning as a left guard during his first two seasons. Collins has lined up solely at right tackle during organized team activities this week and will likely continue to do so leading up to the season, according to Kate Hairopoulos and Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News. The position opened up in Dallas when starter Doug Free retired earlier this offseason, and if Collins fills it, either Jonathan Cooper or Emmett Cleary could take over at left guard, per Hairopoulos and George.

NFC East Notes: Cowboys, Romo, Agholor

Where will Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo wind up this offseason? The Broncos, Jets, and Bears would be the most obvious fits for the Cowboys quarterback, NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal opines. Beyond those teams, the Cardinals could be a possibility if Carson Palmer retires. Meanwhile, the Bills and Texans represent “longshot” landing spots for the veteran. Buffalo already has a QB in Tyrod Taylor, but his contract gives them an out if they see Romo as the better option to win right now. In Houston, Brock Osweiler could use another QB to push him, but they’d probably look to a younger player.

Here’s more out of the NFC East:

  • The Eagles will enter the offseason with just $9.6MM in cap space, meaning that they will have to make some moves in the spring. Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com runs down a handful of cap casualty candidates, but says that wide receiver Nelson Agholor is unlikely to get cut. That’s because cutting Agholor would leave $4.6MM in dead money on the cap versus $2.1MM in savings. The Eagles could theoretically trade him and absolve themselves of that dead money, but they’re not likely to find a strong market for him. High-priced players who could go include tackle Jason Peters, defensive lineman Connor Barwin, and linebacker Mychal Kendricks.
  • Eagles coach Doug Pederson says there is a good chance Agholor is active this week, Shorr-Parks of NJ.com tweets. Agholor was a healthy scratch against Green Bay on Monday and Pederson has declined to give specifics on that decision. In other Agholor news, he remains under NFL investigation for his involvement in an alleged rape over the summer.
  • Is Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins playing himself into the $24MM/year range? One former agent says yes.
  • The Giants auditioned a quartet of safeties earlier this week.