Nickell Robey-Coleman

Wednesday NFL Transactions: NFC North

Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline Tuesday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters. In addition to waiver claims, teams can begin constructing their 16-man practice squads today. These BearsLionsPackers and Vikings moves are noted below.

Here are Wednesday’s NFC North transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day.

Chicago Bears




Placed on IR:

Signed to practice squad:

Detroit Lions


Signed to practice squad:

Green Bay Packers

Signed to practice squad:

Minnesota Vikings



Placed on IR:

Signed to practice squad:

Lions Down To 53

The Lions have their 53-man roster in place. On Tuesday, the Lions officially cut:



Placed on Reserve/Suspended

The Lions will carry three quarterbacks for now in Jard Goff, Tim Boyle, and David Blough. Boyle is currently dealing with an injured thumb, which will keep him sidelined for two months. But, in order to hang on to him and dress him ASAP, they’ll have to carry him on their initial 53-man roster. Fortunately, Goff has proven largely durable during his five-year career. He did not miss a start due to injury until late last season, when a thumb surgery sidelined him.

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Lions To Sign CB Nickell Robey-Coleman

After Monday’s workout, the Lions are signing Nickell Robey-Coleman, Ian Rapoport of tweets. This will reunite the veteran slot cornerback with new Lions front office bosses Brad Holmes and Ray Agnew.

The new Lions GM and assistant GM were with the Rams during Robey-Coleman’s three-year Los Angeles stay, with Agnew serving as the team’s director of pro personnel when Robey-Coleman signed there in 2017. The Lions were the only team connected to Robey-Coleman this offseason, and the 28-year-old cover man will attempt to stick with a fourth NFL franchise.

Robey-Coleman played last season with the Eagles, and while he did not fare as well in Philly as he did in L.A., the Lions will pair him with 2020 No. 3 overall pick Jeff Okudah and recently added vet Quinton Dunbar. Detroit dismantled its 2020 cornerback crew, cutting Desmond Trufant and slot defender Justin Coleman this offseason. The Lions have now added two ex-Rams defensive regulars this year, with Robey-Coleman following Michael Brockers to the Motor City.

Pro Football Focus ranked Robey-Coleman as a top-20 overall corner from 2017-19, when he manned the slot for Wade Phillips-led Rams defenses. The eight-year veteran will transition to first-year DC Aaron Glenn‘s unit in Detroit.

Robey-Coleman began his NFL career with four Bills seasons, arriving in Buffalo as a UDFA. He has done well to beat the odds and stick around in the league, and the rebuilding Lions will provide another opportunity.

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Lions To Host CB Nickell Robey-Coleman

The Lions will look into a veteran cornerback Monday. They are set to work out Nickell Robey-Coleman, according to veteran NFL reporter Josina Anderson (on Twitter). Despite the calendar having flipped to August, this marks the first piece of Robey-Coleman news since he became a free agent in March.

Although Robey-Coleman played the 2020 season with the Eagles, his most prominent NFL work came in Los Angeles. The 29-year-old defender has ties to both Lions GM Brad Holmes and assistant GM Ray Agnew, with each being with the Rams throughout Robey-Coleman’s time with the team. Robey-Coleman spent three seasons with the Rams, playing in L.A. from 2017-19.

The new Lions HC and DC — Dan Campbell and Aaron Glenn — were on the other end of Robey-Coleman’s defining play, his controversial collision with Tommylee Lewis near the end of the 2018 NFC championship game. The ex-Saints staffers will obviously not let that stop their new team from taking a look at the veteran slot defender. Robey-Coleman has eight years’ experience. If signed, he would join ex-Rams teammates Jared Goff and Michael Brockers in Detroit.

Robey-Coleman has been one of the league’s better slot defenders over the past several years, bouncing from Buffalo to L.A. to Philly. Pro Football Focus viewed the Rams’ version of Robey-Coleman as a high-end cover man, ranking him as a top-20 corner from 2017-19. PFF slotted him outside the top 80 during his one Eagles season, however. Robey-Coleman allowed a 78.8% completion percentage on passes thrown his way in 2020 — well north of his Rams marks.

The Lions have changed up their corner group considerably this offseason, cutting both Desmond Trufant and slot man Justin Coleman after injury-marred seasons. They signed Quinton Dunbar and drafted Ifeatu Melifonwu in the third round.

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Eagles To Sign Nickell Robey-Coleman

The Eagles’ have agreed to sign cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman, as Josina Anderson of tweets. Robey-Coleman will join on a one-year deal (financial terms not yet disclosed). 

The Rams declined Robey-Coleman’s option in March, allowing him to hit the open market. He’s found work in Philly, and he’ll join a revamped Eagles secondary that looks pretty darn good on paper.

New pickup Darius Slay will star as the team’s primary outside corner while Rasul Douglas, Sidney Jones, and Avonte Maddox are set to jockey for the CB2 spot. In the middle, safeties Jalen Mills and Rodney McLeod will be on patrol, with Robey-Coleman handling the slot. It remains to be seen whether his former Buffalo teammate, Ronald Darby, will be brought back for another year.

Robey-Coleman was set to count for a $4.5MM cap hit before the Rams turned him loose. Last year, he appeared in 16 games and played on 64% of their snaps. Before he joined LA in 2017, he spent the first four years of his career with the Bills and built a reputation as one of the league’s better slot men.

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Rams Won’t Exercise Option On CB Nickell Robey-Coleman

Another cornerback is hitting the market. The Rams have informed Nickell Robey-Coleman that they won’t pick up his option and he’ll become an unrestricted free agent, according to Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link).

Robey-Coleman would’ve had a $4.5MM cap hit had the Rams picked up his option. Los Angeles has been shedding defenders left and right in free agency, as starters Michael Brockers and Cory Littleton both just landed big contracts from other teams. Eric Weddle also retired, so the defense is going to look quite a bit different in 2020. The Rams traded away cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib midway through last season, so their current unit is virtually unrecognizable from the one we saw at the beginning of last year.

Robey-Coleman appeared in all 16 games and while he only started three, he played about 64 percent of the defensive snaps, so this is a significant move. The Rams have Jalen Ramsey at corner now, but not a whole lot after him. Troy Hill is still under contract, and last year’s third-round pick David Long will likely be counted on to play a bigger role assuming they don’t make any more moves.

Originally an undrafted free agent out of USC in 2013, Robey-Coleman signed a three-year, $15.75MM deal with the Rams back in 2018 that included an option for the 2020 season. Primarily a slot corner, Robey-Coleman is perhaps most well known for being the defender on the infamous pass interference non-call in the Rams’ NFC Championship Game win over the Saints two seasons ago. He should generate significant interest from teams looking for someone to man the slot.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams To Re-Sign CB Nickell Robey-Coleman

The Rams have agreed to re-sign cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman, according to Ian Rapoport of (on Twitter). He’ll receive a three-year deal worth upwards of $15.75MM with $8MM guaranteed.

The Rams have completely revamped and reloaded their secondary this offseason. Los Angeles acquired Marcus Peters in a huge trade with the Chiefs and quickly followed that up by acquiring Aqib Talib from the Broncos. Now, Robey-Coleman has been retained as the Rams’ slot cornerback. The team is also rostering free agent addition Sam Shields, Kayvon Webster, and Kevin Peterson, among others.

After having spent four seasons with the Bills, the 2013 undrafted free agent out of USC joined the Rams last offseason.The 26-year-old went on to have a productive season, compiling a career-high 49 tackles to go along with nine passes defended and two interceptions. Pro Football Focus rated Robey-Coleman highly, ranking him 19th among 120 eligible cornerbacks.

Coleman ranked as our ninth-best cornerback heading into free agency, putting him ahead of Prince Amukamara, Brent Grimes, Rashaan Melvin, Ross Cockrell, Tramon Williams, and Johnathan Joseph.

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Top 2018 Free Agents By Position: Defense

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. After looking at offense on Monday, we’ll tackle defense and special teams today.

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each defensive position. These rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts – or the amount of guaranteed money – that each player is expected to land in free agency. These 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, as well as players who received the franchise tag, aren’t listed here, since the roadblocks in place to hinder another team from actually acquiring most of those players prevent them from being true free agents.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some free agents than you are, so feel free to weigh in below in our comments section to let us know which players we’ve got wrong.

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

Edge defender:

  1. Julius Peppers
  2. William Hayes
  3. Trent Murphy
  4. Pernell McPhee
  5. Aaron Lynch
  6. Alex Okafor
  7. Adrian Clayborn
  8. Kony Ealy
  9. Connor Barwin
  10. Jeremiah Attaochu
  11. Junior Galette
  12. Derrick Shelby
  13. Barkevious Mingo
  14. Kareem Martin
  15. Erik Walden

As a positional group, pass rushers comprise interesting market on the defensive side of the ball. It’s not often that a list of best available players is topped by a 38-year-old, but Peppers is the top free agent edge defender after the Cowboys and Lions deployed the franchise tag on Demarcus Lawrence and Ezekiel Ansah, respectively. As with quarterbacks, NFL clubs are extremely reluctant to allow pass rushers to hit the open market, so top-tier options are rarely ever truly “available.” Peppers, for his part, hasn’t even declared whether he’ll return in 2018, but indications are that he’ll suit up for a 17th campaign after posting 11 sacks last year.

Alongside Peppers, other veterans populate the edge market, and while William Hayes may not be a household name, he’ll be a contributor for whichever team signs him. A stout run defender, Hayes is also capable of generating pressure despite managing only one sack in 2017. The Dolphins used Hayes on only 271 defensive snaps a season ago, and have since replaced him by acquiring fellow defensive end Robert Quinn from the Rams. Now that he’s entering his age-33 season, Hayes should come cheap, but will almost assuredly outplay his contract.

Nearly every other available pass rusher has some sort of flaw which will likely limit his market next week. Trent Murphy is only 27 years old and put up nine sacks in 2016, but he missed the entirety of the 2017 campaign with injury. Pernell McPhee, Alex Okafor, Junior Galette, and Derrick Shelby have also been plagued by health questions in recent seasons. And Adrian Clayborn famously registered the majority of his 2017 sacks (and 20% of his career sack total) in one game against overwhelmed Cowboys backup Chaz Green.

The two names that I keep coming back to are Aaron Lynch (49ers) and Jeremiah Attaochu (Chargers). Yes, Lynch has been suspended for substance abuse, struggled with his weight, and was reportedly in danger of being waived prior to last season. He’s also extremely young (he won’t turn 25 years old until Thursday) and ranked fifth in the league with 34 pass pressures as recently as 2015. Attaochu, a 25-year-old former second-round pick, also has youth on his side, and while he hasn’t quite flashed as much as Lynch, he’s also been buried on LA’s depth chart for much of his career.

Interior defensive line:

  1. Sheldon Richardson
  2. Dontari Poe
  3. Muhammad Wilkerson
  4. Star Lotulelei
  5. DaQuan Jones
  6. Beau Allen
  7. Denico Autry
  8. Justin Ellis
  9. Tom Johnson
  10. Bennie Logan
  11. Chris Baker
  12. Kyle Williams
  13. Dominique Easley
  14. Haloti Ngata
  15. Jay Bromley

Interior rushers are getting more respect in today’s NFL, but that still hasn’t translated to them being paid on the level of edge defenders — the 2018 franchise tag for defensive tackles, for example, is roughly $3MM cheaper than the tender for edge rushers. While the 2018 crop of interior defenders boasts some impressive top-end talent, none of the available players figure to earn a double-digit annual salary. Sheldon Richardson may have the best chance to do so, but Seattle determined he wasn’t worth a one-year cost of $13.939MM, so is any other club going to pay him $10MM per year? I’d guess he comes in closer to $9MM annually, which would still place him among the 25 highest-paid defensive tackles.

Dontari Poe will be an intriguing free agent case after setting for a one-year deal last offseason, but the most interesting battle among defensive tackles will take place Star Lotulelei and Muhammad Wilkerson, and I’m curious to see which player earns more on the open market. Both are former first-round picks, and it’s difficult to argue Wilkerson hasn’t been the more productive player — or, at least, reached higher highs — than Lotulelei. Wilkerson also won’t affect his next team’s compensatory pick formula given that he was released, but his off-field issues, which include a reported lack of effort and problems with coaches, could limit his appeal.

While Beau Allen and Denico Autry are potentially candidates to be overpaid based on their youth, there are bargains to be had at defensive tackle. Tom Johnson is 33 but he’s offered consistent pressure from the interior for years — his last contract was for three years and $7MM, so he shouldn’t cost much this time around. Haloti Ngata was injured in 2017 but plans to continue his career, and he can still stop the run. And Dominique Easley was outstanding as a 3-4 end in 2016 before missing last season with a torn ACL, meaning the former first-round pick could be a value play for any number of teams.Read more

The 10 Best One-Year NFL Contracts Of 2017

Signing a one-year contract is almost never ideal from a player’s perspective — while a single-season pact can often mean a larger salary, it doesn’t come with the security or guarantees that a multi-year deal offers. From a team’s vantage point, however, there’s essentially no such thing as a poor one-year contract. The player doesn’t work out? No problem: he’s off the books in one season and doesn’t hinder the club’s long-term financials.

Not every player listed below was inked with the presumption that they’d become an integral piece of their respective team’s roster, but they’ve all made good on their one-year pacts. Here are the ten best one-year NFL contracts signed in 2017:

Case Keenum, QB (Vikings)

In Week 9 of the 2016 season, Keenum was appearing in his final game as the Rams’ starting quarterback, and had led the club to a 3-5 record while ranking 29th in both quarterback rating and adjusted net yards per pass attempt. Fast forward to the 2017 campaign, and Keenum is 16th in quarterback rating, 11th in ANY/A, and fronting a Vikings team that leads the NFC North at 6-2 — not bad for a one-year, $2MM deal. It’s unclear how long Keenum will remain Minnesota’s starter under center (Teddy Bridgewater is due back next week), but Keenum, who will be 30 years old when free agency opens next spring, has put himself in line to compete for a starting job in 2018, either with the Vikings or with another club.

Josh McCown, QB (Jets)

Although the Jets were thought to be tanking this season, they’ve posted a 4-5 record (a mark that includes close losses to the Dolphins and Falcons), and McCown has been a key driver of that success. Now 38 years old, McCown is posting his best statistics since 2013, and has completed 70.4% of his passes for 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He’s been especially productive in the deep passing game, ranking second in touchdowns and third in passer rating on throws of 20 yards or more, per Mike Castiglione of Pro Football Focus. Given his performance and his locker room presence, McCown shouldn’t have any trouble landing another job next offseason.

LeGarrette Blount, RB (Eagles)LeGarrette Blount (Vertical)

While trade acquisition Jay Ajayi figures to take over as the Eagles’ starting running back going forward, Philadelphia has already gotten value out of Blount and his one-year, $1.25MM pact. Blount has handled at least 12 carries in seven of nine games this season while posting a robust 4.6 yards per rush. While he’s scored only two touchdowns thus far, Blount ranks first among all running backs with more than 25 touches with a broken tackle per touch ratio of 39.4%, according to Football Outsiders. The Eagles are the best team in the league right now, meaning they’ll be favored in a majority of their remaining games. Even with Ajayi in tow, positive game scripts should ensure Blount still has a role in Philadelphia’s backfield.

Alshon Jeffery, WR (Eagles)

Following two consecutive down seasons in Chicago, Jeffery took a pillow contract with the Eagles — he’ll collect $9.5MM (and can earn $4.5MM via incentives) before searching for a long-term deal next spring. Jeffery is fresh off his best game of the season, as he posted six receptions for 84 yards and two touchdowns against the Broncos’ vaunted pass defense. While he’s still not creating separation — dead last in the league in yards of separation among qualified wideouts — Jeffery and his contested catch ability are nevertheless a large part of the Eagles’ offense. He’s accounted for 35.03% of his club’s air yards (10th in the NFL), per Next Gen Stats, giving quarterback and MVP candidate Carson Wentz a much-needed weapon on the outside.

Alex Okafor, DE (Saints)

After trying the likes of Bobby Richardson and Paul Kruger of the past two seasons, the Saints have finally found a counterpart to Cameron Jordan at defensive end in the form of Okafor, whom New Orleans lured away from Arizona with a $2MM contract. He’s since played more than three-quarters of the Saints’ defensive snaps, racking up 3.5 sacks in the process. Also excellent against the run, Okafor ranks second among 4-3 defensive ends with a 9.5% run stop percentage, per PFF. All told, Okafor has helped the Saints defense rebound to a No. 16 ranking in DVOA and No. 15 ranking in adjusted sack rate (and those numbers are prior to New Orleans’ five-sack performance against the Buccaneers on Sunday).

Julius Peppers, DE (Panthers)

Peppers is back in Carolina following a seven-year hiatus, and the former No. 1 overall pick is playing like it’s still 2008. He’s 37 years old now, so the Panthers are wisely limiting his snaps — he’s seen action on roughly half the club’s defensive plays through nine weeks. Peppers has racked up 7.5 sacks this season, a figure which ranks eighth among defenders this season and places him fourth all-time with 150.5 career sacks. If Carolina earns a postseason berth — FiveThirtyEight gives them a 52% chance to do so — it will be on the strength of the team’s defense, which currently ranks sixth in DVOA.

Zach Brown, LB (Redskins)

Coming off the best season of his career with the Bills in 2016, Brown was surprisingly forced to settle for a one-year, $2MM deal with the Redskins after initially searching for a $6MM/year contract. And that’s not due to lack of interest, as Oakland, Miami, Indianapolis, and Buffalo all expressed interest in the veteran linebacker before he landed with Washington. Several of those clubs (we’re looking at you, Raiders) would certainly love to have a defender of Brown’s caliber and price available right now. A playmaking machine who embodies a 21st-century linebacker, Brown should be able to land a multi-year pact next offseason, when he’ll still be only 28 years old.

Morris Claiborne, CB (Jets)Morris Claiborne (Vertical)

The Jets’ offseason was primarily dedicated to getting rid of veteran players, but general manager Mike Maccagnan‘s small-scale signings have worked out well, as Claiborne joins McCown as the second Gang Green addition on this list. Claiborne, 27, has always been an effective player when healthy, but injuries have often marred his performance. He’s never played an entire 16-game slate, and he’s managed more than 11 games just once during his five-plus year career. Like Brown, Claiborne can use 2017 as his platform season in order to secure a multi-year deal in 2018 — as long as stays healthy for the rest of this year, that is.

Nickell Robey-Coleman, CB (Rams)

A perfectly-named slot corner, Robey-Coleman was shockingly cut loose by the Bills earlier this year despite ranking as PFF’s No. 33 cornerback in 2016 and being on par to earn just $2.083MM in 2017. The Rams scooped him up on a one-year deal worth the minimum salary, and he’s been outstanding under defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, helping Los Angeles to a No. 3 ranking in pass defense DVOA. Thus far, the 25-year-old Robey-Coleman ranks third among 64 qualified cornerbacks in success rate, per Football Outsiders.

Patrick Robinson, CB (Eagles)

While the Eagles certainly have leaned on their excellent young corps on the way to a 8-1 record, general manager Howie Roseman should be lauded for his one-year, cost-effective signings of Robinson, Jeffery, and Blount. Cast off by the Colts one year into a three-year deal, Robinson signed with Philadelphia for the minimum salary and has since become the Eagles’ best cornerback. Pro Football Focus ranks the former first-round pick as the No. 4 corner in the league, and Robinson is allowing only 56.3% of targets in his area to be caught. While Robinson may not be able to parlay his production into a hefty deal in 2018 given that he’ll be 31 years old when next season gets underway, he’s been a superb addition for the Eagles.

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