Pierre Garcon

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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Top 2017 Free Agents By Position 2.0: Offense

NFL free agency is right around the corner! The legal tampering period starts on Tuesday and free agency officially starts on Thursday. The list of available free agents will change between now and then as players re-sign with teams or get cut loose, but we have a pretty good idea of who will be available right now. After looking at the top defensive players, we now shift our attention to the other side of the ball.

Here are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each position. The rankings aren’t determined by earning power, they are simply the players we like the most at each position, with a combination of short- and long-term value taken into account. You won’t find restricted free agents or franchise tagged guys here since they are unlikely to go leave their current clubs.

Player evaluation is always subjective, so we encourage you to make your voices heard in the comments section in cases where you disagree with us.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by offensive position for 2017:

Updated 3-7-2017, 2:55pm CT

Quarterback:

  1. Mike Glennon
  2. Nick Foles
  3. Brian Hoyer (story)
  4. Ryan Fitzpatrick
  5. Colin Kaepernick
  6. Josh McCown
  7. Case Keenum
  8. Matt McGloin
  9. Mark Sanchez
  10. Ryan Mallett
  11. Christian Ponder
  12. Blaine Gabbert
  13. Geno Smith
  14. Matt Schaub (story)
  15. EJ Manuel

Honorable mention: Ryan Nassib, Landry JonesShaun Hill Mike Glennon (vertical)

Colin Kaepernick’s agents have (wisely) let everyone know that their client will stand for the National Anthem in 2017. That may seem like a minor point, but teams say they would have automatically removed him from consideration if he continued his attention-grabbing protest. He grabbed headlines for his actions on the sidelines last year, but he actually turned in an OK season. From a football standpoint, Kaepernick would make sense for a lot of teams as a QB2 with upside.

Interestingly, this list includes three quarterbacks who couldn’t cut it as the Jets’ starter and three rejects from the 49ers. They say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure and all six of those players (Ryan Fitzpatrick, Kaepernick, Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith, Christian Ponder, Blaine Gabbert) come with varying degrees of potential and proven effectiveness. Smith, somehow, could reportedly be retained by the Jets and installed as the starter in 2017.

Ryan Nassib is just outside of the top 15 here with EJ Manuel getting the final spot. Despite positive word about his play in practice, Nassib is unproven and the Giants’ apparent lack of interest in re-signing him says a lot. It’s also possible that he might not be 100% after ending the 2016 season on IR with an elbow injury. Manuel, for all his warts, has shown potential in small bursts.

Running back:

  1. Eddie Lacy
  2. Adrian Peterson
  3. LeGarrette Blount
  4. Latavius Murray
  5. Jamaal Charles
  6. Darren McFadden
  7. Jacquizz Rodgers
  8. Rex Burkhead
  9. Rashad Jennings
  10. Danny Woodhead
  11. Tim Hightower
  12. DeAngelo Williams
  13. Andre Ellington
  14. Chris Johnson
  15. Christine Michael

Honorable mention: Robert Turbin, Travaris Cadet, Benny Cunningham, Lance Dunbar, Bobby Rainey, Brandon BoldenDenard Robinson, James Starks

Adrian Peterson (vertical)As expected, the Vikings have cut Adrian Peterson loose and he is expected to garner interest from contending clubs this week. Some might peg Peterson as the most talented running back in this year’s free agent class, but it all comes down to how you weigh his age and injury history. Peterson has shocked the football world in the past with an incredible comeback, but I’m a little skeptical of his ability to do it again in his age-32 season. Eddie Lacy, who has injury question marks of his own, takes the top spot at the position.

The Patriots believe they won’t be able to match the offers that come in LeGarrette Blount‘s direction. Latavius Murray could circle back to the Raiders, but he won’t be agreeing to a deal with them before free agency opens on Thursday.

Jamaal Charles has the most impressive resume of anyone on this list, with the exception of Peterson. However, no one knows exactly what he can do after playing eight games in the last two years. He’ll turn 31 in December and that’s usually not an indicator of success for running backs.

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Pierre Garcon Requested Trade In 2016

Pierre Garcon requested a trade from the Redskins early in the 2016 season, as Chad Dukes of 106.7 The Fan first reported. John Keim of ESPN.com has since confirmed the news (Twitter links), and secured comment from Garcon’s agent, Brad Cicala. “Once it didn’t happen we respected it,” said Cicala. “We respect their interest and we were definitely interested in returning.”Pierre Garcon (Featured)

[RELATED: Latest On DeSean Jackson’s Market]

Garcon, whom ranks as PFR’s seventh-best available wide receiver and No. 24 overall free agent, first heard from the Redskins about a potential new deal this week. Clearly, while Garcon’s agent indicates the 30-year-old pass-catcher is willing to return to Washington, the mere fact that he asked for a trade means that something was off was last season. Again, it’s impossible to know exactly what led Garcon to request out of the nation’s capital, but it’s likely to affect his view of the club as he looks for a new contract.

The Redskins could be faced with losing both Garcon and fellow free agent wide receiver DeSean Jackson, as both are expected to command yearly salaries north of $9MM. Garcon should face no shortage of suitors after posting his second career 1,000-yard season, and the Rams, Eagles, Bears, Cowboys, and 49ers have already been mentioned as possible fits.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Rumors: Cowboys, Romo, Redskins

The Cowboys are hoping a team comes in with a Tony Romo trade offer and hoping the 36-year-old passer would accept the deal, Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports (via Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk). Romo is believed to be open to helping Dallas facilitate a trade, but Jerry Jones said he plans to “do right by” the longtime starting passer. Hill also notes Romo would be inclined to sign an playing time-incentive-based contract that would make it easier for a team to justify adding him.

Here’s more from the NFC East:

Sam Robinson contributed to this post.

Scot McCloughan’s Status Affecting Redskins’ Free Agency?

The Redskins are operating in Indianapolis without their general manager, with Scot McCloughan‘s absence from the Combine being attributed to the death of his grandmother. However, agents of free agents — ones representing Redskins UFAs and some who represent other teams’ recently expired contracts — are questioning the stability of the organization, Mike Jones of the Washington Post reports.

Said agents and other league insiders wondered if there was more to McCloughan’s absence than the team is letting on, and some are taking this as a sign to steer their clients away from Washington. One agent likened the Redskins to being in “disarray” and was wondering who was calling the shots for the franchise presently. “I’m not exactly sure who’s in charge over there now,” an agent told Jones.

The uncertainty surrounding McCloughan’s standing within the organization will prompt two agents who represent big-name UFAs from other teams to advise those respective clients to avoid signing with the Redskins, Jones reports. However, multiple agents told ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter they’ve been in contact with McCloughan recently.

Prior to this absence, McCloughan was not permitted to talk to the media at the Senior Bowl. And Jones reported in February team president Bruce Allen was applying pressure to the third-year Washington GM to focus on repairing the team this offseason. Missing the Combine raises the degree of difficulty regarding that task. Allen, though, said this week that McCloughan could resume draft preparation next week.

Jones notes the Redskins are likely to focus on second-tier free agents who won’t be as selective as the marquee names, possibly minimizing this distraction. Regarding their own UFAs, multiple people familiar with the Redskins’ free agency plan indicated to Jones that both Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson will price themselves out of D.C. Garcon could earn between $7-$10MM per year, Jones notes, while Jackson’s annual value may head toward $12MM. A Garcon return has league insiders split, with some saying he will test the market and others indicating the Redskins will swoop in early next week with an attempt to retain him. The team hasn’t met with Garcon yet, though.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Redskins’ FA Wide Receivers

The Redskins’ starting wide receivers during the mid-2010s appear set to play for different teams in 2017, but their previous employer hasn’t given up hope in re-signing Pierre Garcon or DeSean Jackson just yet. But it’s Garcon that could still have a path back to Washington, Mike Jones of the Washington Post reports (on Twitter). However, some league insiders can see both players leaving the nation’s capital for more money elsewhere.

Jones describes both 30-year-old wideouts as having generated a good bit of interest around the league, but Jackson is the player whom the Redskins expect to draw a bigger offer from another team. That said, Washington is still expected to meet with the deep threat’s camp before the legal tampering window opens Tuesday. The team hasn’t met with Garcon yet, and nothing is set up on that front.

Jackson’s drawn his share of interest this offseason, with an Eagles return having emerged as the top storyline for the 10th-year player. But the Buccaneers are seeing what it would take to bring him to Tampa Bay, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times notes (on Twitter). Jameis Winston lobbied for Jackson last month. Beyond Mike Evans, the Bucs are thin at the receiver position, so Jackson would be a fit in Florida.

Another potential sign the Redskins believe Jackson will be too expensive to keep: DraftAnalyst.com’s Tony Pauline hears Jackson will command an offer worth north of $12MM per year. Only seven wideouts earn that on average. All are younger than Jackson.

While mutual interest appears to exist between Jackson and the Eagles, they would also be fine settling for Garcon, per Pauline. Garcon could cost more than $9MM annually. The former Colt’s drawn interest from at least five teams besides the Redskins.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.