O'Brien Schofield

Bears Work Out O’Brien Schofield, Three Others

The Bears tried out four defenders this week, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter): defensive ends Josh Boyd and Marquis Jackson, as well as linebackers Andy Mulumba and O’Brien Schofield. With starting nose tackle Eddie Goldman
expected to miss next week’s game, the team is clearly looking for some defensive depth.

O'Brien Schofield (vertical)Schofield, 29, is the most experienced of the bunch. The 29-year-old has bounced around since joining the league as a fourth-round pick in 2010. The defensive end has played 84 career games with the Cardinals, Seahawks, and Falcons, collecting 141 career tackles and 15.5 sacks. The veteran was released by Atlanta earlier this month, and he recently had an audition with the Lions.

Mulumba and Boyd both spent the previous three seasons with the Packers. Mulumba, 26, made 22 appearances over that three-year span, compiling 35 tackles. Boyd, 27, appeared in 26 games, including four starts.

Jackson has briefly spent time with the Vikings and Bears, although he’s yet to make his NFL debut. The 26-year-old had 18 tackles and 7.5 sacks during his tenure with the Portland Thunder of the Arena Football League.

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Lions Work Out O’Brien Schofield

The Lions worked out edge rusher O’Brien Schofield today, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Detroit also took at look at defensive tackle Markus Kuhn and running back Terrence Magee.O'Brien Schofield (vertical)

[RELATED: Lions Sign Justin Forsett]

With Ezekiel Ansah and DeAndre Levy both nursing multi-week injuries, the Lions are on the hunt for bodies along the front seven. Schofield, 29, would fit that mold, and he’s back on the free agent market after being released by the Falcons last week. Schofield followed Dan Quinn from the Seattle to Atlanta in 2015, and proceeded to post 28 tackles, four tackles for losses, two sacks, 13 quarterback hits, and one forced fumble.

Magee, meanwhile, probably isn’t going to be signed now that Detroit has inked veteran Justin Forsett. The 23-year-old spent a bit of time with the Seahawks this season, but only managed three carries. Kuhn, 30, has 39 career games under his belt, all coming with the Giants from 2011-15.

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Falcons Release O’Brien Schofield

O’Brien Schofield‘s reunion with the Falcons didn’t last long, as Atlanta has cut the veteran linebacker to make room for new addition A.J. Hawk, the club announced today. The Falcons also officially placed linebacker Sean Weatherspoon on injured reserve after he suffered an Achilles injury on Sunday."<strong

[RELATED: Falcons Sign A.J. Hawk]

The Falcons made Schofield an offer early on in the offseason, but he held out for more money. Schofield appears to have misjudged the market as the Falcons did not improve their offer and interest from other teams was mild to say the least. The Patriots met with Schofield in August and the Jets hosted him on a visit in September, but neither meeting led to a deal.

Schofield, 29, followed Dan Quinn from the Seahawks to the Falcons, signing a one-year, $1.7MM deal with Atlanta last year. He finished the year with 28 tackles, four tackles for losses, two sacks, 13 quarterback hits, and one forced fumble.

Because they signed Schofield after the start of the regular season, the Falcons won’t be on the hook for the rest of his minimum salary.

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Falcons To Re-Sign O’Brien Schofield

For months, O’Brien Schofield has been lobbying for a return to the Falcons. It took a while, but the veteran linebacker is on his way back to Atlanta, as Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com tweets. It’s a one-year deal for the Falcons and Schofield, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com tweets. The Falcons have confirmed the deal via press release. To make room, the team has waived running back Terron Ward.

O'Brien Schofield (vertical)

Schofield will likely play SAM linebacker for the Falcons and help with the pass rush on occasion, McClure writes. The 29-year-old signed a one-year, $1.7MM deal with Atlanta last year and finished out the year with 28 tackles, four tackles for losses, two sacks, 13 quarterback hits, and one forced fumble.

The Falcons made Schofield an offer early on in the offseason, but he held out for more money. Schofield appears to have misjudged the market as the Falcons did not improve their offer and interest from other teams was mild to say the least. The Patriots met with Schofield in August and the Jets hosted him on a visit in September, but neither meeting led to a deal.

Schofield followed Dan Quinn to Atlanta last offseason when he signed a one-year, $1.7MM contract. He finished out the year with 28 tackles, four tackles for losses, two sacks, 13 quarterback hits, and one forced fumble.

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Jets To Host O’Brien Schofield On Visit

The Jets are hosting O’Brien Schofield on a visit today, a source tells ESPN.com’s Adam Caplan (on Twitter).O'Brien Schofield (vertical)

[RELATED: Jets Sign Antonio Allen]

The veteran, who signed a one-year, $1.7MM deal with Atlanta last year, finished out the year with 28 tackles, four tackles for losses, two sacks, 13 quarterback hits, and one forced fumble. The Falcons did make Schofield early on in the offseason, but it was not to the veteran’s liking. Months later, Schofield was lobbying hard for a return to Atlanta but the interest was not reciprocated at the same level. It seems that Schofield overestimated his market in the spring and found himself without a good opportunity in the summer.

The rival Patriots recently took a look at Schofield but it doesn’t look like they’ll be signing him right now. It’s not clear if the Jets have a spot for Schofield today but they could be taking a look at him as a phone number to keep handy in the event of an injury in the front seven.

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Patriots Looking At O’Brien Schofield

Former Falcons outside linebacker O’Brien Schofield is still without a team, but he might be closing in on finding his next NFL home. The veteran is currently mulling six offers, according to a source who spoke with ESPN.com’s Vaughn McClure (on Twitter). Schofield, who worked out for the Patriots last week, plans to make a decision in the next two weeks. O'Brien Schofield (vertical)

Schofield would be an interesting pickup for the Patriots after defensive end Rob Ninkovich suffered a torn triceps muscle. Schofield has limited experience at DE, but he could help fortify the team’s front seven with some depth while Ninkovich is out. If all goes well, Ninkovich should return to the team in 4-6 weeks.

Falcons coach Dan Quinn has said that he will not rule out a reunion with Schofield, though one has to wonder why a deal hasn’t happened already if Atlanta wanted him back. Furthermore, Atlanta has already added fellow vet Dwight Freeney. The Redskins seemed to be a logical landing spot for Schofield after edge rusher Junior Galette suffered a season-ending injury, but they’re reportedly not interested.

Schofield finished out the 2015 season with 28 tackles, four tackles for losses, two sacks, 13 quarterback hits, and one forced fumble.

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Extra Points: Redskins, Neal, Schofield, Vick

Even though they’ve lost edge rusher Junior Galette for the season due to a torn Achilles, the Redskins aren’t interested in free agent defenders Mike Neal or O’Brien Schofield, according to John Keim of ESPN.com (Twitter link). At this point, it appears as though Washington is going to rely on internal options to replace Galette (who, it should be noted, didn’t even play in a single contest for Washington last year), as reports have indicated that the Redskins won’t target free agent Dwight Freeney or controversial pass rusher Greg Hardy. Instead, the club figures to ask Preston Smith, a second-round pick in last year’s draft, to provide increased production.

Here’s more from around the league…

  • Free agent quarterback Michael Vick has stated he’d like to continue his NFL career multiple times this offseason, and he repeated that sentiment earlier this week on The Dan Patrick Show, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk“We had a couple phone calls,” Vick said. “I won’t say as many phone calls as I’d like. I understand the dynamics. I’m 36 years old. The thing is I still have a lot in the tank. I go work out, still go throw, still feel good.” The Seahawks are known to be looking for a veteran quarterback behind Russell Wilson, and Vick’s name has been tossed out in relation to that vacancy.
  • The NFL and NFLPA have reached an agreement to more strictly enforce the league’s concussion protocol, reports Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Both the NFL and the players’ union will designate a representative to investigate potential violations, and discipline — including fines or loss of draft picks — could be handed down as penalties. Ed Werder of ESPN.com (Twitter link) confirms that the NFLPA had threatened to sue the league and claim malpractice against team doctors after Rams quarterback Case Keenum was allowed to remain in a game last season after appearing concussed.
  • Ra’Zahn Howard‘s signing bonus with the Texans is worth $5K, Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle tweets. Houston signed the former Purdue defensive tackle to a three-year, $1.625MM deal shortly after he went unclaimed in this year’s Supplemental Draft. Many viewed Howard as the strongest player out of this year’s supplemental class and early projections had him going somewhere between rounds five and seven.
  • NFL agent Tory Dandy, who represents Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, Bears nose tackle Eddie Goldman, and Bills cornerback Ronald Darby, has joined CAA Sports, as Liz Mullen of Sports Business Journal tweets.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Falcons Considering Freeney, Schofield

After releasing veteran return man Devin Hester on Tuesday morning, the Falcons find themselves with three open spots on their 90-man roster. It’s possible that one or two of those spots could be filled with veteran defenders. Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff says the team is still looking at Dwight Freeney, per Andrew Hirsh of AtlantaFalcons.com (Twitter link). Meanwhile, coach Dan Quinn says the club is keeping tabs on old friend O’Brien Schofield (Twitter link). Dwight Freeney (vertical)

[RELATED: Redskins Won’t Consider Dwight Freeney]

Freeney, 36, worked out for the Falcons earlier this summer but the team decided to put him on the back burner as they evaluated other players already in-house. After tallying eight sacks in an abbreviated 2015 season, Freeney could make a lot of sense for Quinn & Co. The Falcons are currently slated to start Vic Beasley and Derrick Shelby at defensive end with support from Adrian Clayborn and Tyson Jackson. Recently, former NFL head coach and current analyst Mike Nolan opined that the Falcons should sign Freeney to improve their quarterback pressure. Last season, the Falcons finished with a league-worst 19 sacks.

Schofield, meanwhile, has been lobbying hard for a Falcons return. Until today, however, we haven’t heard much reciprocation from Atlanta.

You know I’ll bring 100 percent to that locker room and to the field,” said Schofield in May. “And you know, without a shadow of a doubt, I would help that ballclub. I’m looking for a more dominant role as a nickel pass-rusher. I would have to be able to compete as the nickel rusher.”

The veteran, who signed a one-year, $1.7MM deal with Atlanta last year, finished out the year with 28 tackles, four tackles for losses, two sacks, 13 quarterback hits, and one forced fumble. The Falcons did make Schofield early on in the offseason, but it was not to the veteran’s liking. If Schofield were to sign with the Falcons now, it could be for the same sum he rejected a few months ago.

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Best Available NFL Free Agents: Defense

The most high-profile free agent signings occurred more than two months ago, but as we near June there are still talented NFL free agents available on the open market. Most of these players (with a few exceptions) won’t command much guaranteed money, and given that we’ve passed the May 12 deadline, none will factor into the compensatory draft pick formula. After examining the offensive side of the ball yesterday, let’s take a look at the defensive players who will try to find a home as training camp approaches…Donte Whitner (Veritcal)

1. Donte Whitner, S: Despite being released by the Browns last month, Whitner is still an excellent player, having graded as the league’s No. 24 safety among 89 qualifiers in 2015, per Pro Football Focus. Remarkably durable (he’s missed only three games in the past six years), Whitner visited with the Rams in early April, and is reportedly still on Los Angeles’ radar. Elsewhere, both the Chargers and the Cowboys could make sense as potential landing spots if San Diego and Dallas want to upgrade on Jahleel Addae and Barry Church, respectively.

2. Leon Hall, CB: Hall hasn’t lacked suitors this offseason, as the Cowboys, Cardinals, Giants, and Falcons have all shown varying levels of interest in the 31-year-old cornerback over the past several months. He’s not the boundary defender that he used to be, but Hall is a productive slot corner, which essentially makes him a starter in today’s NFL. Health questions have nagged Hall throughout his entire career, and an offseason back procedure won’t quiet those concerns, but the former Bengal figures to find a new home sooner rather than later.

3. Greg Hardy, DE: Clearly the best defender on this list in terms of pure talent, Hardy’s off-the-field issues don’t need to be rehashed here. The 27-year-old edge rusher and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, are apparently lobbying NFL clubs for an opportunity, detailing the steps Hardy has taken to correct his pattern of behavior. However, it doesn’t appear as though many teams are convinced Hardy has changed his tune, as sources told Ed Werder of ESPN.com that no one is interested in Hardy, with executives calling him — at best — a “hard sell” to ownership and — at worst — “toxic.”
Dwight Freeney (Vertical)

4. Dwight Freeney, LB/DE: Freeney spent roughly a third of the 2015 season at home, waiting until the Cardinals called in October to get back on an NFL field. Now 36 years old, Freeney has become something of a cause célèbre of mine, as I think he’s a far more valuable player than the league apparently does. I outlined Freeney’s tools in April of last year, and much of what I wrote at the time still holds — any number of clubs could benefit from allowing Freeney to get after the quarterback 20-25 times per game. A reunion with Arizona isn’t out of the question, and the Ravens, Bengals, Panthers, Jets, Patriots, Lions, Chiefs, and Bills could all use an extra edge rusher.

5. Brandon Boykin, CB: At age 25, Boykin surprisingly had to settle for a minimum salary benefit contract to join the Panthers in March — he lasted less than two months on the roster, as he was released by Carolina earlier this week. That series of events, coupled with Boykin’s relative lack of playing time after being dealt to the Steelers last year, is hard to figure, as Boykin is considered one of the premier slot corners in the game. With teams lining up in sub packages more than 60% of the time, Boykin is capable of playing a substantial role, and shouldn’t stay on the street for long.

6. Mike Neal, LB: Neal started a career-high 15 games last season, and has posted at least four sacks in each of the past four years. He’s met with both the Lions and the Seahawks this offseason, but has yet to sign a contract, and would seemingly only be in line for a one-year pact at this point. The Packers selected fellow linebacker Kyler Fackrell in the third round of last month’s draft, so Green Bay probably isn’t an option (though Neal is open to returning). It’s possible that the 2015 Al Jazeera report that linked Neal to PEDs is hindering his market, a sentiment with which Neal agrees.Chris Culliver (Vertical)

7. Chris Culliver, CB: It’s been a trying 12 months or so for Culliver, whose 2015 one-game suspension voided his 2016 $8MM guarantee, making it much easier for Washington to release him — which they did earlier this month. Culliver, 27, also tore his ACL in November, meaning his availability for the start of the season could be in doubt. But Culliver is the one true outside cornerback on this list, and he has also has youth on his side. A smart team might sign Culliver to a two-year deal with limited or no guarantees for the 2017 season, let him rehab for the first half of 2016, and then evaluate him over the course of November and December.

8. Antrel Rolle, S: Rolle isn’t going to get the same kind of offers that fellow safety Whitner will — not only is he more than three years older, but Rolle ranked a little lower among safeties than did Whitner, coming in at No. 39 in the NFL according to PFF. Rolle has expressed an interest in reuniting with the Giants, with whom he spent the 2010-14 seasons, and on paper, it’s a match that makes a lot of sense, as New York needs a rangy free safety opposite Landon Collins. The Rams, Falcons, and Buccaneers could have interest in the veteran defensive back, as could the Colts if they plan to move 2016 second-rounder T.J. Green to cornerback, as has been rumored.

9. O’Brien Schofield, LB: Schofield and the Falcons were said to be working on a deal as far back as early March, but no signing ever came to fruition. At the time, the Cowboys, Bears, and Titans were reported to have interest in Schofield, and while he’s expressed his preference to return to Atlanta, he remains a free agent. Head coach Dan Quinn has stated he hopes that Schofield is re-signed, and the Falcons have in fact made an offer. Primarily a nickel linebacker, Schofield agreed to a two-year deal with the Giants in 2014 only to see it fall apart due to medical concerns — it’s unclear whether his current disagreement with Atlanta is due to injury questions or financial disparities.

10. Jeremy Mincey, DE: At 32 years old, Mincey isn’t going to suddenly blossom into a star, but he’s more than capable of being thrown into a defensive end rotation on a team that runs a 4-3 scheme. Mincey didn’t post any sacks last season, but he registered six quarterback takedowns in 2014, which led to him holding out for an extra $500K the following offseason. The Cowboys reportedly aren’t interested in a reunion, but Mincey did generate some level of trade interest last November, so it’s likely that there are clubs who’d be willing to offer a one-year deal.

Honorable mention: Chris Canty, DL; Henry Melton, DT; Kevin Williams, DT; Cortez Allen, CB; Antonio Cromartie, CB; Cortland Finnegan, CB; Jayron Hosley, CB; Will Allen, S.

Safety Walter Thurmond was not included on this list because he’s contemplating retirement and has reportedly turned down offers of $4MM per year.

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NFC Notes: Tulloch, Schofield, Reed, Cardinals

Way back in February, a report surfaced suggesting that the Lions were planning to release veteran linebacker Stephen Tulloch when the new league year opened. However, the first week of the league year came and went without any roster moves involving Tulloch, and he has remained a Lion for nearly two more full months since then.

Appearing on PFT Live on Monday, Lions general manager Bob Quinn said there’s still “a chance” that Tulloch remains with the team for the 2016 season. However, a source tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk that the linebacker’s release is likely “imminent.” That comes as no surprise — Detroit reportedly made efforts to work out a trade involving Tulloch, but it seems there hasn’t been any movement on that front.

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • We heard last week that free agent linebacker O’Brien Schofield is interested in rejoining the Falcons. According to head coach Dan Quinn, the door is “never closed with Scho.” However, as Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com details, the two sides have been unable to agree on contract terms, despite the fact that Atlanta made Schofield an offer.
  • Master Tesfatsion of the Washington Post breaks down the specific details on Jordan Reed‘s long-term extension with Washington, which is worth $48.421MM over five years.
  • Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk previews the extension talks between the Cardinals and defensive back Tyrann Mathieu, which should become more serious in the coming weeks or months.
  • Ex-NFL quarterback Byron Leftwich has a new job, having joined the Cardinals as a coaching intern under Bruce Arians, as Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com outlines. The former Jaguars starting quarterback will be with Arizona throughout the offseason and in training camp. “After that, we’ll see,” Arians said. “Hopefully I can keep him all year. I think he’s got a great, bright future in coaching.”