Pierre Garcon

49ers To Part Ways With Pierre Garcon

The 49ers will not pick up their option on wide receiver Pierre Garcon, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). The move terminates his five-year, $47.5MM contract just two years into the deal. 

Despite Garcon’s past accomplishments, his release does not come as a total surprise. Last year, he played in just eight games and finished out with just 24 catches for 286 yards and one touchdown. In 2016, the season before he signed with the Niners, Garcon put up 79 catches for 1,041 yards and three touchdowns, which is the kind of production SF expected.

Unfortunately, injuries slowed Garcon during his time in SF, limiting him to just eight games in each of the last two years. But, in 2017, Garcon showed promise with a 40/500 line that had him on pace for a very solid season.

Garcon will enter a thin free agent WR market, which could enable him to land a solid deal. However, with his 33rd birthday coming up in August, he’ll have to brace for a lesser salary and a shorter deal than his last pact.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC West Notes: Cards, 49ers, Rams, Hawks

Speaking at the Phoenix Open golf tournament on Wednesday, Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson apologized for his 2018 trade request and reiterated that he’s in Arizona “to stay,” according to Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The Cardinals were 1-6 when Peterson originally made his request and ultimately finished with a 3-13 record, their worst mark during Peterson’s eight-year run in the desert. Teams like the Saints and Eagles were reportedly interested in acquiring Peterson, but he rescinded his trade demand only two days after making it. Peterson, a three-time first-team All Pro and eight-time Pro Bowler, is signed through the 2020 campaign.

Here’s more from the NFC West:

  • The 49ers already made one option decision last week, declining their 2019 year for defensive tackle Earl Mitchell, and they may be leaning in a similar direction for another veteran player. San Francisco is not expected to exercise its option on wideout Pierre Garcon, reports Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area. Garcon, 32, would earn $6MM in 2019 if the 49ers change their mind, but if the club follows through on declining the option, it will take on $7.2MM in dead money while saving roughly $1MM. After five years of relative durability in Washington, Garcon hasn’t been able to stay healthy in the Bay Area, playing in just 16 total games over the past two seasons.
  • Not that it needed to be said, but Rams head coach Sean McVay “guaranteed” Los Angeles will not trade wide receiver Brandin Cooks, tweets Lindsay Jones of The Athletic. Cooks has already been dealt twice in his five-year career, with both acquiring clubs (the Rams and Patriots) surrendering first-round picks in order to acquire the dynamic pass-catcher. The Rams signed Cooks to a five-year extension last summer, and they’d take on more than $22MM in dead money by trading him this year. In his first season in Los Angeles, Cooks posted 80 receptions for 1,204 yards and five touchdowns.
  • The Seahawks aren’t likely to franchise tag safety Earl Thomas with the intention of trading him, as Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times indicates in his latest mailbag. Seattle probably wouldn’t be able to generate much trade interest in Thomas at a ~$12MM, fully guaranteed salary, and the Seahawks likely aren’t willing to risk keeping an unhappy veteran on their roster for another season.

49ers To Place Pierre Garcon On IR

The second of Pierre Garcon‘s two 49ers seasons will end with the veteran wide receiver on injured reserve. The 49ers will place Garcon on IR this week, Kyle Shanahan said (via the Sacramento Bee’s Matt Barrows, on Twitter).

A knee injury has sidelined Garcon for the past four games. He will end a second straight 49ers slate having played in just eight contests.

Garcon will undergo arthroscopic surgery on the injured knee this week. This spate of injury trouble is new for the 11-year veteran, whose Redskins tenure concluded with 71 straight regular-season starts.

The former Colts and Redskins wideout generated trade interest before the deadline, but the 49ers opted not to move their then-healthy wideout. The 32-year-old pass-catcher will conclude his season with 24 receptions for 286 yards and one touchdown — his only score as a 49er thus far. Garcon posted a 40-500-0 season in 2017, doing so with Brian Hoyer and C.J. Beathard as San Francisco’s QBs.

A coveted free agent in 2017, Garcon chose the 49ers’ five-year, $47.5MM offer. He received $17MM fully guaranteed and would not provide the 49ers much in cap savings if they opted to move on after 2018. It would cost the 49ers $7.2MM in dead money if they cut Garcon after this season. Though, the 49ers are projected to hold more than $66MM in cap space and could absorb that cap hit if they wanted to go in another direction.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers Getting Interest In WR Pierre Garcon

The 49ers have received inquiries from at least three teams regarding the availability of wide receiver Pierre Garcon, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com first mentioned the possibility that Garcon could be on the trade block.

Per Schefter, many clubs are interested in Garcon thanks to his veteran presence, and he’s always been valued as a tough, hard-nosed player. He’s also relatively affordable, as any club that acquired Garcon would only be responsible for 9/17 of his base salary, which works out to just under $3MM for the rest of the season.

For the 49ers, the financials wouldn’t be quite as simple in the event of a Garcon trade. San Francisco gave Garcon a $12MM signing bonus when it landed him prior to the 2017 campaign, and that money will all find its way to the 49ers’ salary cap. However, because we’ve passed June 1, San Francisco wouldn’t see any additional money hit its cap this season. Instead, the rest of Garcon’s guarantees ($7.2MM) would accelerate onto the Niners’ cap in 2019. That shouldn’t present much of a problem for the 49ers, who have nearly $70MM in available funds next season.

Garcon, 32, joined San Francisco last season after spending the first nine years of his NFL career with the Colts and Redskins. He played in only eight games in 2017, posting 40 catches and 500 yards before a neck injury ended his year. This season, Garcon has started seven games and managed 21 receptions and 230 yards.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Trade Rumors: Carr, Raiders, Peterson, Taylor

We learned earlier this morning that Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson has requested a trade, though the team wants to keep him. Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets that Jackson, on his way to the team bus this morning, declined to comment on the report.

With the trade deadline two days away, let’s round up a few more trade rumors from around the league (Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, who says many GMs expect there to be three to five “impactful” deals over the next 48 hours, offers a helpful primer, which includes a list of some of the most-discussed players on the market):

  • Albert Breer of TheMMQB says that the Raiders may not be done dealing just yet, though he does not expect the team to move Derek Carr (indeed, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reported this morning that the Raiders have told Carr that he is the quarterback of the present and future). However, Oakland is open to moving Karl Joseph and Gareon Conley, though the Raiders are driving a “hard bargain” with teams interested in Conley.
  • Breer names a number of other players whose names we have not heard in recent rumblings but who could nonetheless be on the move: the PackersHa Ha Clinton-Dix, the 49ersPierre Garcon and Jimmie Ward, the CardinalsChandler Jones, and the BroncosShane Ray and Brandon Marshall. Breers adds that San Francisco would need to get something “significant” to deal Ward. He also says that, while teams are certainly interested in Denver corners Bradley Roby and Chris Harris, he thinks it would be difficult for the team to trade either.
  • If they had elected to trade Patrick Peterson, La Canfora writes that the Cardinals could have received a bounty for him, and may have even landed multiple first-round picks (in fact, several teams were already prepared to offer a first- and second-rounder). JLC reports that Peterson was considered the “crown jewel” of the deadline, and given his attractive contract status, he may be the subject of renewed trade rumors during the offseason.
  • Breer also writes that the Browns are open to trading Tyrod Taylor, whose contract structure could make a deal feasible. Meanwhile, Tony Grossi of ESPN.com suggests that Cleveland GM John Dorsey may be trying to acquire wide receiver help (Twitter link).
  • The Bills remain unlikely to trade LeSean McCoy, per Schefter.
  • Jets GM Mike Maccagnan has demonstrated a proclivity for making trades, and Rich Cimini of ESPN.com says Maccagnan has been doing his due diligence on everyone, including big-name players. But while there is a sense that New York could swing a deal, the fact that the team is in a no-man’s land between buyer and seller, and the fact that the roster does not have many tradeable pieces, could make a trade difficult to pull off.

49ers’ Pierre Garcon Done For Year

Pierre Garcon‘s season is over. 49ers GM John Lynch says the wide receiver will be placed on IR with no chance of a late-season return after suffering a neck injury (Twitter link via John Lund of KNBR 680). Pierre Garcon (vertical)

Garcon, 31, joined the Niners in March on a three-year, $23MM free agent deal. In order to preserve their cap space for the 2018 season, the Niners gave the veteran a jaw-dropping $17MM in effective guarantees. When Garcon returns, he’ll go from one of the league’s highest-paid receivers this season to one of the league’s better values at the position.

In what turned out to be a half-season, Garcon had a team-leading 40 catches and 500 yards receiving. For the first time since his rookie season, he did not find the end zone.

Garcon posted 1,000-yard seasons in 2013 and 2016 and surpassed 700 in both 2014 and ’15. In ’16, Kirk Cousins‘ near-5,000-yard season included 79 Garcon receptions and three scores.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Contract Details: Garcon, Baker, Klein, Jones

Let’s take a look at some details of the free agent contracts signed today:

  • Chris Baker, DL (Buccaneers): Three years, $15.75MM. $9MM guaranteed. $1MM in sack incentives each season (Twitter link via Master Tesfatsion of the Washington Post).
  • Jack Crawford, DL (Falcons): Three years, $10.3MM. $3.75MM in 2017 (Twitter link via Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com).
  • Pierre Garcon, WR (49ers): Two years, $23MM. $17MM guaranteed. Options for 2019 ($6MM), 2020 ($8.9MM), and 2021 ($9.6MM) (Twitter link via Tom Pelissero of USA Today).
  • Landry Jones, QB (Steelers): Two years, $4.4MM. $600K signing bonus (Twitter link via Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL.com).
  • A.J. Klein, LB (Saints): Four years, $24MM. $4MM signing bonus. $9.4MM guaranteed. 2020 season will void Klein is on Saints roster on last day of 2019 league year (via Nick Underhill of the Advocate).
  • Jeff Locke, P (Colts): Two years, $3.45MM. $1.25MM guaranteed (Twitter links via Ben Goessling of ESPN.com and Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star).
  • Ryan Mallett, QB (Ravens): One year, $2MM. $1MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Pelissero).
  • Akeem Spence, DL (Lions): Three years, $9MM. $3.5MM guaranteed. $1MM available via escalators (Twitter link via Peliserro).
  • D.J. Swearinger, S (Redskins): Three years, $13.5MM. $9MM guaranteed (Twitter link via Kinkhabwala).

49ers To Sign Pierre Garcon

The 49ers have agreed to sign wide receiver Pierre Garcon, according to Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com (on Twitter). It’s expected to be a three-year contract that pays about $23MM over the first two years with a ~$12MM signing bonus, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. League sources tell Mortensen that Garcon will earn $16MM in the first year of the contract. 

As one of the best wide receivers on the open market, Garcon was expected to fetch a nice payday for himself. However, it’s perhaps a little surprising to see him land $16MM in effectively guaranteed money. Garcon will turn 31 in August and he hasn’t been used to stretch the field in recent years with DeSean Jackson running the bulk of the deep routes.

I had Garcon ranked as the seventh-best available wide receiver on the market, behind Alshon Jeffery, Terrelle Pryor, Kenny Stills, Kenny Britt, DeSean Jackson, and Brandon Marshall. However, I slotted him ahead of Jackson and Marshall on my Top 50 list, which rates players by earning power. So far, that prediction is looking good. Marshall signed a two-year, $12MM deal with the Giants on Wednesday morning.

Garcon drew substantial interest on the open market but will reunite with former Redskins OC Kyle Shanahan. He had his best statistical year in Shanahan’s final season at the controls, going for 113 catches, 1,346 yards and five touchdowns in 2013.

Garcon played out his entire five-year, $42MM Redskins contract and proved not to be a Peyton Manning creation. His production increased at times after moving from Indianapolis to Washington. Garcon posted 1,000-yard seasons in 2013 and ’16 and surpassed 700 in both 2014 and ’15. Last season, Kirk Cousins‘ near-5,000-yard season included 79 Garcon receptions and three touchdowns.

Photo courtesy of PFR on Instagram.

49ers Targeting Pierre Garcon

After re-signing one of Kirk Cousins‘ favorite offensive weapons, another could be on his way out. The 49ers have set their sights on signing Pierre Garcon, sources tell Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Pierre Garcon (Featured)

Garcon, of course, offers familiarity with Kyle Shanahan‘s system, making him a logical fit in San Francisco. The Niners are also in need of a quality receiver after cutting Torrey Smith loose. As of this writing, the Niners’ only receiver of note is Jeremy Kerley, who was re-signed to a multi-year deal.

This past season, he had 79 catches for 1,041 yards with a 69.1% catch rate. Shanahan knows what Garcon is capable of, having served as the Redskins coordinator during his masterful 2013 season. In that year, he had a league-high 113 receptions for 1,346 yards and five touchdowns. Garcon doesn’t want to be pigeonholed as just a possession receiver and Shanahan allow him to show his full range of skills, even as he nears his 31st birthday.

The Redskins only just reached out to Garcon’s reps this week, so we’ve had the sense that he would be going elsewhere this month.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

PFR’s Top 50 NFL Free Agents

It’s free agency week! This year, thanks to the salary cap increase, the dollars will be flying and players will make more than you ever could have expected. Our lists for offense and defense rank free agents based on overall ability, but our Top 50 ranks players based on earning power. Here, you’ll get a good sense of what the market will be like this week and who the big fish are.

The league’s “legal tampering” window will open on Tuesday at 11:00am CT. Technically, teams and players aren’t permitted to finalize agreements on contracts during that legal tampering window, but that’s often treated as a guideline rather than a hard and fast rule. We will almost certainly see handshake agreements go down on Tuesday and Wednesday before they become official on Thursday, the technical beginning of free agency.

Our list of 2017’s top 50 free agents doesn’t include restricted free agents, or franchise tagged players, since they’re effectively restricted free agents as well.

With those caveats out of the way, let’s dive right in! Here are Pro Football Rumors’ top 50 NFL free agents for 2017, along with a few predictions on how much they might earn and what teams could be in the mix to sign them:

1. A.J. Bouye, CB (Texans): Bouye is an overnight sensation, going from unknown to elite talent in the blink of an eye. No one knows exactly what to make of Bouye, but his upside is too much for teams to pass up. The Texans declined to use the franchise tag on the 25-year-old (26 in August), but they’re still hoping to get a deal done this week. The Jets are said to have interest, but it’s not clear if they’ll have the room to get something done. Cornerback-needy teams like the Panthers, Saints, Jaguars, Titans, Bears, and Eagles can be expected to at least kick the tires on this year’s top player in the secondary. Could something like Janoris Jenkins‘ five year, $62.5MM contract ($28.8MM fully guaranteed) from last year be within reach? Jenkins had a longer history of success than Bouye, but consider these facts: Bouye nearly two years younger than Jenkins was at time of signing and the salary cap has risen by about $12MM.
Signed with Jaguars for five years, $67.5MM.A.J. Bouye (vertical)

2. Alshon Jeffery, WR (Bears): He was hurt for most of 2015 and he slumped along with the entire Bears offense in 2016, but his natural ability is still evident and he is a legitimate No. 1 wide receiver. At one point, it seemed like Jeffery could wind up as the league’s highest-paid wide receiver. That won’t be the case, but he will likely get more cash than any other wide receiver in this year’s class. The Eagles and Titans have been hot on his tail for some time now. The 49ers could also get involved and a return to the Bears cannot be ruled out either. Ultimately, Jeffery should wind up fetching at least $10MM per year and perhaps as much as $12MM per year on his next deal.
Signed with Eagles for one year, $9.5MM.

3. Kenny Stills, WR (Dolphins): Jeffery isn’t the only wide receiver who could fetch $12MM per year. Stills isn’t necessarily the best wide receiver on his own team, but he is just on the cusp of his 25th birthday and his ability to stretch the field is tantalizing. It doesn’t sound like the Dolphins are ready to be the highest bidder for his services and it’s not hard to imagine a team like the Eagles landing him. Naturally, there’s quite a bit of overlap between the potential suitors for Jeffery and Stills: the Eagles, Titans, Bears, and 49ers will probably come calling. The Rams may not have enough room to squeeze in Stills, but they could certainly use a playmaker like him if they do not re-sign Kenny Britt. Stills reportedly likes the West Coast (who doesn’t?) so the Niners and Rams could have a leg up on the others if the bidding is close.
Re-signed with Dolphins for four years, $32MM.

4. Dont’a Hightower, LB (Patriots): The market is capped for non-rush linebackers, but Hightower is pretty much the best at what he does and is also lauded for his intangibles. The Patriots have always embraced the “next man up” philosophy, so it is possible they will allow him to go elsewhere. The Dolphins have been frequently connected to Hightower, but that might be too ambitious for a team that has multiple major needs to address. The Colts might also make sense, but the price might be too rich for their blood. A Patriots return appears to be the most likely outcome, but anything is possible.
Re-signed with Patriots for four years, $35.5MM. 

5. Kevin Zeitler, G (Bengals): Zeitler has age on his side and he’s one of the safest free agents in the top ten after three consecutive years of dominance. Interior offensive linemen don’t get as much love as their counterparts on the outside, but they are still incredibly vital and Zeitler’s next contract will reflect that. If he doesn’t circle back to the Bengals, the Jaguars, Cardinals, Packers, and Seahawks all make varying degrees of sense for Zeitler. From a football standpoint, you can add the Jets to that group too, but I’m not sure they can meet a ~$12MM/year asking price.
Signed with Browns for five years, $60MM.

6. Logan Ryan, CB (Patriots): There are bigger names available at the cornerback position, but Ryan slots ahead of many of them after a career year. It also doesn’t hurt that this fresh-faced Super Bowl champ only just turned 26 in February. If the Patriots don’t tie him down, Ryan’s earning power could conceivably vault him past Trumaine Johnson in terms of guaranteed cash. The Jaguars and Titans would be wise to zero in on Ryan if they can’t land Bouye and it’s possible that some of their evaluators might even prefer Ryan over the Houston standout. Ryan’s next deal will probably pay him eight figures per year and it should be a lengthy pact.
Signed with Titans for three years, $30MM.

7. Terrelle Pryor, WR (Browns): There is strong mutual interest in a new deal between Pryor and the Browns. Still, the Browns passed on the opportunity to franchise tag the Ohio State product and he now appears poised to test the open market. With pretty much just one year to show, how will Pryor fare in free agency? His next deal should pay him at least $10MM/year and he could get up to $12MM/year. In addition to the Browns, the usual suspects for this year’s high-end WRs will explore signing Pryor (say it with me): Eagles, Titans, and 49ers. There’s conflicting word about whether the Steelers will get involved. The Giants are known to have interest, but I don’t think they’ll be splurging on free agents like they did one year ago.
Signed with Redskins for one year, $6MM.

8 .Ricky Wagner, OT (Ravens): There’s already talk of Wagner fetching around $10MM/year and it’s not like this year’s free agent market is flush with young, quality tackles. When you also consider the lack of quality tackles in the draft, it’s apparent that Wagner is about to get PAID, in all caps.Believe it or not, $10MM/year might be his floor. When all is said and done, he’ll be the league’s biggest earner at right tackle. The Bears are particularly interested in Wagner, so he could go from the AFC North to the NFC North this week.
Signed with Lions for five years, $47.5MM.

Calais Campbell (vertical)9. Calais Campbell, DL (Cardinals): Campbell was supposed to be an afterthought in Arizona after the addition of Chandler Jones. Perhaps motivated by a perceived slight, Campbell turned in a stellar year. Now, the Cardinals would very much like to keep him, but they can only go so far as they back up the Brinks truck for Jones and look into retaining other key free agents. If Jones does not agree to a cap-smoothing long-term deal between now and March 9th, the odds of Campbell leaving increase. The Jaguars are said to be a leading contender for Campbell while the Titans, Broncos, Colts, and Bears could also use a force like him. His age (31 in September) gives him a bit of a ceiling in terms of overall compensation, but he should still do nicely this month.
Signed with Jaguars for four years, $60MM.

10. Stephon Gilmore, CB (Bills): In terms of pure talent, Gilmore might be the best cornerback available. Trouble is, no one knows what to make of him after a down 2016. Some have openly theorized that Gilmore was playing it safe to avoid injury in his pivotal contract year. It’s also possible that Buffalo’s injuries in the front seven put undue stress on the secondary. The Bears are reportedly high on Gilmore and he may represent a cheaper option than Bouye or Ryan. A Bills return would also make sense here.
Signed with Patriots for five years, $65MM.

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