Nelson Agholor

WR Notes: Hopkins, Diggs, Agholor, Ravens

Before the Texans dealt DeAndre Hopkins to the Cardinals, the Patriots pursued the All-Pro wideout. So did the Eagles, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com said during an interview with Philadelphia’s 97.5 The Fanatic (Twitter link). The Eagles passed on going deep into talks, however, which makes sense given their commitments to Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson. Hopkins also wants a new deal in the $20MM-per-year range, in which Amari Cooper (zero All-Pro honors). The Eagles’ view of the much-hyped 2020 wide receiver class affected a potential Hopkins pursuit, Tim McManus of ESPN.com adds.

This impacted the Texans’ trade, with Albert Breer of SI.com adding that Hopkins wanted a raise instead of an extension. He is under contract through 2022 — on a $16.2MM-per-year deal that has dropped from first to eighth among wide receivers. Hopkins had also become a bit of a locker room issue in Houston, per Breer, who adds that the Texans may have been reluctant to reward the 27-year-old star because of the message it would have sent. This process came as a bit of a surprise to the Cardinals, whom Breer notes did not engage in Hopkins discussions with the Texans at the Combine.

Here is the latest from the wideout front, moving first to last week’s other big trade:

  • Months before the Bills pulled the trigger on a Stefon Diggs trade, they were interested in doing so before last year’s deadline. The Bills called the Vikings on several occasions about Diggs’ availability last year, Breer reports, but Minnesota insisted on keeping him. The Bills reached out about an hour after an ominous Diggs tweet that emerged shortly after the Hopkins trade, Breer adds. Last year, the Vikings wanted either two first-rounders or first- and second-round picks for Diggs, but Breer notes they loosened their asking price when the Bills called last week. Although the Vikings mentioned the 2013 Percy Harvin trade — in which the Seahawks dealt first-, third- and seventh-rounders for the then-standout wideout — as a starting point, they ended up accepting a first-rounder and no Day 2 picks for Diggs.
  • The Raiders are likely to use Nelson Agholor as their punt returner, according to Vic Tafur of The Athletic (subscription required). While Agholor has only returned three punts in five NFL seasons, he was an accomplished return man at USC. He totaled four punt-return touchdowns between his sophomore and junior years with the Trojans. The Raiders traded for Trevor Davis to return punts last year but waived him later in 2019.
  • Chris Moore‘s Ravens contract expired last week, but the team remains interested in keeping him. The Ravens have engaged in talks about re-signing the free agent wide receiver, Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic tweets. Although Moore is not a big factor in Baltimore’s passing game, he is valued as a special-teamer. A new deal would likely cost close to the league minimum.

Contract Details: Brees, Mariota, Apple

Let’s take a closer look at the details of a few recently-signed free agent contracts:

AFC

  • Marcus Mariota, QB (Raiders): Two years, $17.6MM $7.5MM guaranteed. $2.4MM in incentives available in 2020 (60% snaps). $1.5MM in playtime and win incentives. $10MM in similar incentives available in 2021. $2MM in playoff/Super Bowl wins each year. $12MM 2021 salary escalator (Twitter link via Mike Garafolo of NFL.com).
  • Eli Apple, QB (Raiders): One year, $6MM. Fully guaranteed. $500K available via incentives (Twitter link via Garafolo.
  • Pierre Desir, CB (Jets): One year, ~$3.75MM. Max value of $5.5MM via incentives (Twitter link via Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News).
  • Chad Henne, QB (Chiefs): Two years, $3.25MM. $2MM guaranteed. Max value of $7.25MM (Twitter link via Tom Pelissero of NFL.com).
  • Nelson Agholor, WR (Raiders): One year, veteran salary benefit. $887K guaranteed. $137K signing bonus (Twitter link via Pelissero).

NFC

  • Drew Brees, QB (Saints): Four years, $100MM. $25MM guaranteed. Void years used in 2022-23. Brees receives no-trade clause and no franchise/transition tag can be used after 2021 (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle).
  • Jalen Mills, DB (Eagles): One, $4MM. Up to $1MM available via incentives (Twitter link via Adam Caplan of SiriusXM NFL Radio).
  • Thomas Davis, LB (Redskins): One year, $3.5MM. $250K available via incentives (Twitter link via Pelissero).
  • Shon Coleman, T (49ers): One year, $2.2MM. $1.37MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Miles Killebrew, S (Lions): One year, $2MM. $1.137MM guaranteed (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Jayron Kearse, S (Lions): One year, $2MM. Up to $1.25MM available via incentives (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Pharoh Cooper, WR (Panthers): One year, $1.21MM. $300K signing bonus (Twitter link via Wilson).

Raiders To Add WR Nelson Agholor

The Raiders continue to make additions in the opening days of free agency, and they will add a wide receiver who played a key role for a Super Bowl champion.

Nelson Agholor and the Raiders agreed to a deal, Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group tweets. The former first-round pick played out his five-year rookie contract with the Eagles and will follow Jason Witten in moving from the NFC East to the Raiders’ first Las Vegas pass-catching contingent. Agholor’s pact is for one year, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

This marks an interesting move for Las Vegas, which has been linked to high-end free agent wideout Robby Anderson and has been deficient at the position since Antonio Brown‘s drama tour involved a release from Oakland. Agholor was inconsistent during his Eagles tenure, but the former first-round pick proved essential during Philadelphia’s Super Bowl LII march.

The USC product surpassed 700 yards in both the 2017 and ’18 seasons, helping Carson Wentz emerge as one of the game’s most promising young players. Working mostly as a slot target in Philly, Agholor combined for 12 touchdown grabs in those seasons. He caught a game-high nine passes for 84 yards in the Eagles’ Super Bowl victory.

However, Agholor failed to eclipse 400 yards in his other three seasons and is coming off a 2019 slate marred by a knee injury. The ailment kept Agholor out of Philadelphia’s first-round playoff game, but he caught just 39 passes for 363 yards in 10 games last season. As a result of the down campaign, the 2020 season will double as a value-reviving opportunity for the once-coveted prospect.

The Raiders picked up Tyrell Williams‘ 2020 option and have Hunter Renfrow established as their slot receiver. Former second-round pick Zay Jones also remains on Las Vegas’ roster. The Raiders still figure to make a splashier addition to their receiving corps this offseason, but Agholor profiles as an interesting flier.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Redskins, Agholor, Spagnuolo

The Redskins and Ron Rivera are making a historic hire. Washington is hiring Jennifer King as an offensive assistant, a source told Adam Schefter and David Newton of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The news of the potential hire was first reported by Rhiannon Walker of The Athletic (Twitter link). King will now be the first full-time African American female assistant coach. As Schefter points out there’s some familiarity here, as Rivera had hired King as a summer intern when he was with the Panthers. It furthers a trend we’ve seen developing the past couple of years, as women continue to make more inroads into the coaching ranks. Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians has been a champion of female coaches, and he hired two women to full-time coaching positions on his staff before last season. King also coached with the Arizona Hotshots of the short-lived AAF.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Eagles fired offensive coordinator Mike Groh after the season ended, and it looks like they could be headed for a lot of turnover on that side of the ball. Receiver Nelson Agholor is “unlikely to return” next year, writes Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer. A first-round pick back in 2015, Agholor just finished the fifth-year option on his rookie contract, and is slated for unrestricted free agency. He missed the last month-plus of the 2019 campaign, but was pretty much always a full-time starter for Philly when healthy. He struggled with inconsistency and drops, but also had plenty of good moments with the Eagles. He scored eight touchdowns in 2017, and had at least 736 yards in each of his last two full seasons. Despite the sometimes maddening inconsistency, the 26-year-old USC product should draw plenty of interest on the open market.
  • Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo just won another Super Bowl, and he earned a ton of praise for his work with Kansas City’s defense. The unit made major strides from last season after he took over, and it sounds like he hopes to parlay the success into another shot at a head coaching gig. “Oh, certainly,” Spagnuolo told Zach Gelb of CBS Sports Radio when asked if he’d be interested in being a head coach again, via Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com. “Listen, that desire and passion never changes. But I will say this . . . I’m a blessed man to have the job I have. If it’s not in God’s plans, I’m OK with that. But I’ve always kept preparing myself that way. It would be great if it happened, and if not, again, I’m very fortunate to be where I am.” The thought would’ve seemed like a huge reach a year ago, but Spags bounced back in a big way. He first rose to prominence as the Giants’ defensive coordinator, and his success in New York led to him becoming head coach of the Rams. He was fired after going 10-38 in three years as St. Louis’ head coach. He also served as New York’s interim coach for four games in 2017 after Ben McAdoo was fired.

Eagles’ Nelson Agholor Out Vs. Seahawks

The Eagles will face the Seahawks without the services of Nelson Agholor. The wide receiver’s knee injury will sideline him for the opening round of the playoffs, head coach Doug Pederson announced. 

Agholor has not played since suffering a knee injury in Week 13. Before that, he caught 39 passes for 363 yards and three touchdowns in eleven games.

Meanwhile, the statuses of tight end Zach Ertz and right tackle Lane Johnson remain murky.

Zach [is] still not cleared for any contact,” Pederson said. “He will work a little bit on the side again like he’s done this week and stuff like that, but we’re waiting on a few doctor results tomorrow. If things go favorable, he’ll play. If they don’t, he won’t.”

The Eagles can get by without Agholor, but it won’t be easy for Carson Wentz to move the chains or convert in the red zone without Ertz. The tight end caught 88 passes for 916 yards and six touchdowns this season, giving him his third-straight Pro Bowl nod. Ertz is known for his toughness, but doctors won’t let him take the field unless his broken rib and lacerated kidney show drastic improvement.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Notes: Eagles, Jacobs, Steelers, Hawks

Afflicted with injuries to their receiving corps for most of the season, the Eagles will be severely shorthanded on this front in their win-and-in game Sunday. In addition to Nelson Agholor missing another game, Zach Ertz is not ready to return. Carson Wentz‘s top target will miss Week 17 due to back and ribs injuries. Ertz left the Eagles’ Week 16 win, leaving second-year tight end Dallas Goedert as Wentz’s most proven target.

Here is the latest from Philadelphia and other contending teams’ injury situations going into the regular season’s final Sunday:

  • While the Eagles are stripped of their top three wide receivers and their premier tight end, Jordan Howard will return. The fourth-year running back missed Philadelphia’s past six games due to a shoulder injury. The Eagles’ leading rusher when the injury surfaced at the midseason point, Howard will rejoin a backfield that’s seen more from Miles Sanders and some contributions from Boston Scott.
  • Moving to another playoff hopeful’s running back situation, the Raiders will be without Josh Jacobs on Sunday in Denver. The team declared Jacobs out, meaning he will miss a third game in his past four. Their offensive rookie of the year candidate is battling a shoulder malady and a skin condition, the latter prompting him to undergo a minor surgery this week. Jacobs missed Week 14 and Week 16 due to a shoulder injury. Free agent-to-be DeAndre Washington has filled in well for Jacobs, amassing 202 scrimmage yards in those two games. The Raiders need to win and receive another Sunday of good fortune to make the playoffs.
  • One of the teams the Raiders need to lose Sunday will be shorthanded on the ground as well. James Conner will miss the Steelers‘ regular-season finale, joining Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey in that regard. After missing a chunk of Pittsburgh’s season with a shoulder injury, Conner is now dealing with a quad problem. Pouncey is down due to a knee ailment.
  • Most of the non-Marshawn Lynch Seahawks news this week centers around the players who will not be available Sunday night, but the team will have some key players back in uniform. Jadeveon Clowney and Shaquill Griffin missed Seattle’s past two games but will be on the field in Sunday’s de facto NFC West championship game against San Francisco. Clowney is still battling the core issue that he initially played through but one that’s caused him to miss time.
  • The 49ers placed another defensive lineman on IR. Defensive tackle Jullian Taylor will end his season on the injured list because of an ACL tear sustained in practice this week, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area notes. A 2018 seventh-round pick, Taylor played in six 49ers games this season. Defensive linemen Taylor, Ronald Blair, D.J. Jones and Damontre Moore reside on San Francisco’s IR list.

NFC East Notes: Dak, D-Jax, Eagles, Giants

After a week of limited practices, two of which involving no throwing, Dak Prescott is no longer on the Cowboys‘ Week 16 injury report. Prescott will make his 63rd straight regular-season start Sunday. He participated in light throwing drills Friday, according to Todd Archer of ESPN.com. While Prescott’s status never seemed to be in doubt, his practice routine this week was notable. The former offensive rookie of the year had never previously been designated as limited during his four-year career.

Here is the latest from the NFC East, shifting first to the other team in Sunday’s marquee game.

  • Should the Eagles pull off the upset Sunday and then defeat the Giants in their regular-season finale, they would make the playoffs. If that happens, DeSean Jackson offered a glimmer of hope he could return from IR. Weeks after undergoing groin surgery, the 33-year-old wide receiver shared a workout video of him featuring sprints and agility drills (Instagram link). If Jackson does not experience any setbacks, Adam Caplan of Sirius XM Radio tweets he is on target to play once eligible. However, Jackson not being eligible until the divisional round may make this a moot point for the 7-7 Eagles. Philadelphia has Jackson and Alshon Jeffery on IR, and Nelson Agholor may be on the wrong end of questionable after not practicing all week.
  • Said upset will be a bit more difficult without Lane Johnson, who will miss a second straight game because of the high ankle sprain he suffered in Week 14. The Eagles declared their All-Pro right tackle out against the Cowboys. Johnson has missed two games this season, the first due to a concussion. Halapoulivaati Vaitai will draw the start.
  • Golden Tate‘s 2020 salary was to be guaranteed, but because of the PED suspension the Giants wideout received, he now could be a cut candidate. The 31-year-old receiver, whose $7.98MM base salary next year is no longer guaranteed, addressed this prospect this week. “There’s not 100% certainty in really anything,” Tate said, via the New York Post’s Ryan Dunleavy. “I definitely hope and plan to be here. I think I’ve proven to be a solid leader for our locker room. I feel like I’ve been productive, and I haven’t shown a decline. But I don’t know what people upstairs think.” Rookie fifth-rounder Darius Slayton‘s emergence will likely play a role in the team’s decision. Slayton, Sterling Shepard and Tate are all signed through at least the 2022 season.

NFC East Notes: Shurmur, Vander Esch, Eagles

Giants head coach Pat Shurmur is clearly on the hot seat, and everything we have heard this year suggests that he could be fired at season’s end. And as Paul Schwartz of the New York Post writes, the sentiment for bringing Shurmur back for the 2020 season is dimming within the organization because there is simply no concrete reason to suggest that he should be retained. Previous reports indicated that Shurmur could keep his job simply for the sake of giving young QB Daniel Jones some continuity, but Schwartz says the cons of keeping Shurmur outweigh that potential pro.

Schwartz does not offer an update on Big Blue’s plans for GM Dave Gettleman, and the fact that the Giants have historically practiced patience with their GMs and knew that they were tasking Gettleman with a rebuilding job could mean that he is safe for 2020. But will the team trust him to hire another HC since the Shurmur hire has flopped, or will ownership just clean house and start afresh? All options are definitely on the table.

Let’s take a swing around the NFC East:

  • Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch has not played since November 17 due to a neck injury, and while there has been some improvement, the 23-year-old is still not ready to practice, as Todd Archer of ESPN.com writes. The club is not ready to put Vander Esch on IR just yet, but it sounds like that could be a possibility.
  • The Eagles may have lost WR Alshon Jeffery for the season, and as Bo Wulf and Zach Berman of The Athletic write, Nelson Agholor‘s status remains up in the air. Agholor sat out the team’s Monday night win with a knee injury, so Philly may need to make more than one WR roster move. Old friend Jordan Matthews just signed with the 49ers, so Berman believes it’s more likely that the team will promote one or two of their taxi squad wideouts than sign a free agent. Wulf, though, names a few players on other practice squads that the Eagles could poach.
  • Speaking of Jeffery, Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94WIP.com says the Eagles have no choice but to release the veteran wideout if they cannot find a trade partner for him (which seems highly unlikely). Because the team guaranteed Jeffery’s 2020 salary earlier this year in order to create more cap room, cutting Jeffery will result in an enormous dead cap number of over $26MM in 2020. That seems like an impossible pill to swallow, even if the club were to designate him as a post-June 1 cut to spread out the dead cap money over two years, but Shorr-Parks believes the team will indeed cut Jeffery if he cannot be traded.

Practice Notes: Eagles, Jets, Cardinals

The Eagles got positive news on the injury front regarding three of their biggest weapons Wednesday, according to Ian Rapoport. Wide receivers Alshon Jeffery (ankle) and Nelson Agholor (knee) are full participants in practice today and running back Jordan Howard (shoulder), while not yet back to practice, is “trending the right way.”

All three players missed Sunday’s game against the Seahawks, Jeffery and Howard have not played since November 3rd. Philadelphia’s offense has struggled mightily in recent weeks. Most of the blame has fallen on the shoulders of quarterback Carson Wentz, but it would surely help their signalcaller to have some more weapons.

Here’s some more notes on practice status around the league:

  • Jets head coach Adam Gase told reporters he expects cornerback Darryl Roberts is expected to return after missing two games with a calf injury, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN. Right tackle Chuma Edoga will not practice today and left tackle Kelvin Beachum will be limited as well. The Jets are in the midst of a three-game win streak in hopes to rebound from what looked like a lost season.
  • While Cardinals offensive tackle Jordan Mills was designated for return from the injured reserve earlier today, cornerback Robert Alford, though, will not be joining his teammate, according to Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com. Alford, a six-year veteran, fractured his tibia prior to the season and was placed on injured reserve with the possibility to return. However, per Urban, that possibility is no longer an option.

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.