The Bills have released running back Chris Ivory, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Ivory was no longer needed in Buffalo after the club signed Frank Gore this offseason to support LeSean McCoy.
Ivory, 31, amassed just 385 yards and one touchdown last year with an average of 3.3 yards per carry. Given the presence of Gore and Ivory’s scheduled $2.9MM cap hit, this was pretty much a no-brainer for the Bills. By releasing Ivory, the Bills will save $2.156MM against just $750K in dead money.
The Bills have upwards of $35MM in cap space after releasing the veteran, putting them in the same tier as the Browns, Titans, Jets, and Raiders, who are all hovering around ~$30MM in room. The Colts, Texans, and 49ers currently lead the way, though there’s a big gap between Indy and everyone else. The Colts have a projected $74.5MM in cash to work with after sitting on their cash stockpile in the early stretch of free agency.
November 4th, 2018 at 9:39pm CST by Andrew Ortenberg
The Dolphins will have a lot of tough decisions to make this offseason, including what to do with Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill is set to have a cap hit of over $26MM in 2019, hasn’t been able to stay healthy, and hasn’t been great on the field even when he is. Deciding Tannehill’s fate “clearly tops” the list of Miami’s priorities for the offseason, according to Adam Beasley of The Miami Herald, who writes “Tannehill would need to be exceptional when he returns from his shoulder injury” for the Dolphins to bring him back at that salary next year.
Tannehill missed the end of the 2016 season with a torn ACL, then missed all of the 2017 season when he re-tore the ACL. This year, Tannehill started the first five games, then went down with a mysterious shoulder injury. He’s been sidelined for four games, and it’s not clear when he’s coming back. It’s still very early, but at this point it would be a surprise if Tannehill is brought back at his current cap number. For what it’s worth, Beasley writes that the Dolphins like Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
Here’s more from the AFC East:
Speaking of decisions the Dolphins have to make, they’ll also have to decide the fate of receiver DeVante Parker and right tackle Ja’Wuan James this offseason, according to Beasley. Parker is owed $9.4MM next year, and Beasley writes that keeping him “seems unlikely now, but if he strings together several games like the one last Thursday in Houston (six catches, 134 yards), it becomes a strong consideration.” James will be a free agent after this season, and Beasley writes that “unless he’s great the final eight games, the Dolphins again figure to explore outside options” this March.
The Bills’ offense has already been an injured mess this year, and they got even more bad news today. Running back Chris Ivory “was taken to Erie County Medical Center, a level 1 trauma center, for evaluations on his left shoulder”, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). It’s unclear the exact nature of the injury, but it seems clear Ivory will miss some time, and he’s been playing a fairly big role in the offense lately.
Jets GM Mike Maccagnan “was noticeably less effusive” when talking about Todd Bowles in his ‘state of the team’ press availability than he was in last year’s availability, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. Cimini thinks that Maccagnan “is safe, no matter what” and is trying to separate himself from Bowles and from the narrative that the two are joined at the hip, in case Bowles needs to be fired. Bowles is on a very hot seat, and it wouldn’t be surprising if a change is made soon with the Jets suffering another loss today.
LeSean McCoy‘s status for Monday night’s game against the Patriots is still up in the air. ESPN’s Mike Rodaktweets that the Bills running back is still in the concussion protocol. Head coach SeanMcDermott said the team is taking it “one day at a time” with McCoy as they prepare for the team’s first Monday night game in almost a decade.
McCoy left the opening drive of Buffalo’s Week 7 loss to the Colts, but he was already back at Thursday’s practice on a limited basis. The veteran would have to be cleared by the medical staff if he wants to suit up against New England, but his participation in practice is encouraging. At the very least, there seems to be more optimism surrounding McCoy’s status than there was at the beginning of the week.
The 30-year-old is currently averaging a career-low 3.9 yards-per-attempt, and he’s yet to score a touchdown this season. However, McCoy had compiled at least 1,000 rushing yards in both 2016 and 2017, and his Pro Bowl pedigree has to led him being involved in a number of trade rumors. While teams like the Eagles are still monitoring the situation, we recently heard that the Bill were unlikely to trade the running back.
While McCoy’s status is up in the air, it sounds like Chris Ivory is ready to go on Monday night. Rodak tweets that the veteran running back is on track to play despite his injured hamstring. The 30-year-old compiled 81 rushing yards on 16 carries in place of McCoy last weekend, and he added another three receptions for 25 yards. Marcus Murphy would also see reps if McCoy doesn’t suit up.
Chris Ivory is off of the board. The Bills are signing the veteran running back, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). It’s a two-year deal worth $5.5MM, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The deal gives him $3.25MM guaranteed in the first year and it can be worth as much as $6MM.
Ivory was released by the Jaguars late last month, freeing him from the final three years of a five-year, $32.5MM deal. At the time, the Jaguars thought they were getting a high-end running back as Ivory was coming off of a 1,000+ yard, seven-touchdown season with the Jets. Unfortunately, he did not produce in Jacksonville. Last season, Ivory averaged just 3.4 yards per carry.
Most of the league’s impact free agents will not be able to sign with teams until March 14. Because Ivory was released from his contract, he had the ability to sign with a club at any time. The Bills snagged another “early” free agent recently when they inked cornerback Vontae Davis to a one-year deal.
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. We’ll start today on offense, before getting to defense and special teams later this week.
Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each offensive position. The rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts that each player is expected to land in free agency, they 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 are not listed here since they are unlikely to actually reach the open market. The same goes for players who have been franchise tagged or transition tagged.
We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some guys than you are, so we encourage you to make your voice heard in our comments section to let us know which free agents we’ve got wrong.
Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by offensive position for 2018:
Drew Brees is included here, but by his own admission, he’ll be re-signing with the Saints rather than testing the open waters of free agency. Unless the Saints lowball their franchise QB, it’s hard to see him leaving New Orleans.
Case Keenum put together a tremendous season for the Vikings, but he doesn’t have a history of success beyond 2017. There will be plenty of interest in Keenum, but only after QB-needy teams strike out on Cousins. The incumbent Vikings could re-sign Keenum, but right now, it seems like they are intent on exploring the Cousins waters first.
There isn’t a ton of footage on A.J. McCarron, which made his placement on this list awfully tricky. We know this much: McCarron did well in place of Dalton in the home stretch of the 2015 season and his former offensive coordinator Hue Jackson was salivating at the chance of landing him before the Browns bungled the trade with the Bengals. McCarron’s relative youth is a plus (he won’t turn 28 until September) and his lack of experience can be looked at as a positive. Unlike some of the other names on this list, he hasn’t run up his NFL odometer.
What will NFL teams make of Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford this offseason? Not long ago, both seemed like quality starting options. However, there are serious injury questions about both players and any team signing them will either look to backstop them with another decent option or ask them to come onboard as a QB2. With that in mind, one has to wonder if Bradford would consider retirement if asked to hold the clipboard for another signal caller. Bradford has earned upwards of $110MM over the years in the NFL, so it’s safe to say that he has enough money in the bank to call it quits if he wants. For now, he’s intent on playing.
Colin Kaepernick‘s placement on this list is sure to draw some strong reactions from his fans and detractors alike. Looking purely at his football ability, there’s no question that he belongs on someone’s roster. At minimum, Kaepernick profiles as a high-end backup, even after a year out of the game.
Quarterbacks coaches have long believed that Mike Glennon is capable of great things, due in part to his height. At 6’7″, he can see over any defensive line, but he hasn’t done much on the field to prove that he is a quality Week 1 starting option. Josh McCown, who is a decade his senior, edges him here for his surprisingly strong performance in 2017 at the helm of a weak Jets offense.
Carlos Hyde didn’t have the kind of platform year he was hoping for, but he’s still just 26 and could headline a running back by committee group.
Jerick McKinnon‘s placement on this list figures to be controversial, but his athleticism and pass-catching ability can blow a game wide open. No one will bank on McKinnon to carry the ball 20 times per game, but he can be a real difference maker for a team out there.
Can Frank Gore outrun father time? History indicates that he can’t and so does his 3.7 yards per carry average in 2017. You have to give credit where credit is due, however. Gore has been ruled out by many for years, but he has not missed a regular season game since the 2010 season. He’s also just one year removed from cracking 1,000 yards and he almost did the same last year.
For most teams, Allen Robinson would be a franchise tag candidate. However, that may be too much of a luxury for the cash-strapped Jaguars. He presents a fascinating free agent case. Robinson missed all but three snaps of the 2017 season after suffering a torn ACL, but he’s the most talented wide receiver on the board in the eyes of many. His 2015 season – 80 catches, 1,400 yards, and a league-leading 14 touchdowns – makes GMs drool. His quieter year in 2016 (73 catches, 883 yards, and six touchdowns) is less worthy of salivation. His 2017 season, of course, was a lost cause. For all the question marks, you can expect Robinson to see more dollars than any other free agent WR this year, particularly since Jarvis Landry has been held back by the tag.
Some in the football world may prefer Sammy Watkins for his big-play ability, but his down contract year amidst a capable offense is cause for concern. His injury history doesn’t do him any favors either. No matter your feelings on Watkins, there’s no debating that this year’s WR market has a top tier comprised of just two players – Watkins and Robinson. With few quality receivers out there, they’ll both get paid.
Marqise Lee represents a much less sexy option (speaking in football terms, of course), but he had the most receptions of any Jaguars receiver in 2017 (56) and finished second in receiving yards (702). Teams looking for a quality WR2 in free agency could do a lot worse than Lee and he’ll be far cheaper than the two-man top tier.
Danny Amendola hauled in 61 receptions for 659 yards and two touchdowns in the regular season and continued his strong play in the playoffs. However, teams will wonder if he can thrive in his age-33 season while playing outside of the Patriots’ offense. It’s also quite possible that he never tests the market as his stated preference is to remain in New England.
After that, you’ll notice a pretty significant drop off. That’s because this year’s WR class isn’t all that deep. Terrelle Pryor had to settle for a one-year prove-it contract last year and, to put it mildly, he did not prove it. Paul Richardson caught 44 passes for 703 yards and six touchdowns in 2017, but that marked his first NFL season of real note.
Trey Burton spent most of the year behind Zach Ertz on the Eagles’ depth chart, but he emerged late in the season and set himself up nicely for free agency. Given his age and potential, there’s no question that he is the belle of the ball at tight end.
The rest of the tight end crop is not nearly as inspiring. Jimmy Graham has enjoyed back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons with the Seahawks, but he’ll turn 32 in November and he’s no longer the monster playmaker that he was in New Orleans. He had ten touchdowns in 2017, but his 9.1 yards per reception average is a career low.
Odds are, you have Tyler Eifert ranked over Austin Seferian-Jenkins given the fact that Eifert has played just ten games over the last two years. ASJ, meanwhile, rebounded from personal issues to post a 50-catch season for the Jets. Personally, I’m picking Eifert based on upside. Hopefully, we can still be friends.
Offensive line play is down across the board and evaluators around the league have been openly complaining about an increasing dearth of tackles coming out of college. That makes for a generally uninspiring lot in free agency.
Nate Solder battled through injuries in 2017 and did not miss a game. He’s no longer a top-flight option, but he graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 32 tackle last year, meaning that he’s starter quality at left tackle. You’ll notice that three of the top five tackles on this list are Patriots. There’s little chance that the Pats let all three get away.
Justin Pugh offers the ability to play both guard and right tackle, though he might not do either one particularly well.
Andrew Norwell is the undisputed king of this category after netting an All-Pro selection in 2017. Norwell also earned a career-high 88.8 overall score from Pro Football Focus, which positioned him third in the entire NFL amongst guards. A team with greater means than the Panthers might have used the franchise tag on him. Fortunately for rival teams in need of interior help (such as the Giants), they won’t cuff him with the one-year placeholder.
February 27th, 2018 at 11:51am CST by Zachary Links
This is shaping up to be a busy week for running back Chris Ivory. The free agent is visiting with the Browns on Tuesday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter).
News of Ivory’s trip to Cleveland comes on the heels of word that he met with the Bills on Monday. He plans to take a “few visits,” so it sounds like he’ll explore his options fully before signing anywhere.
The Browns don’t have many noteworthy free agents this year, but running back Isaiah Crowell is among them. After two down years in Jacksonville, Ivory wouldn’t exactly be a great one-for-one replacement for Crowell, but the cash-flush Browns may see the veteran as a solid reserve.
February 27th, 2018 at 9:25am CST by Zachary Links
Free agent running back Chris Ivory spent all of Monday meeting with the Bills, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. This marks Ivory’s first free agent visit since being released by the Jaguars last week, but it won’t necessarily be his last. Rapoport hears that Ivory is drawing considerable interest and plans to take a few visits.
Ivory spent two seasons with Jacksonville before being handed his pink slip on Friday. The running back’s five-year, $32.5MM deal with $10MM guaranteed was a bust for the Jaguars, but teams are apparently still interested in him as a complementary veteran piece. If signed, the Bills would slot Ivory behind top rusher LeSean McCoy.
Before his big free agent pay day, Ivory ran for more than 1,000 yards in 2015 while averaging 4.3 yards per carry for the Jets. In two years with Jacksonville, Ivory amassed just 821 yards with 3.6 yards per tote.
Ivory will celebrate his 30th birthday on March 22. By then, he figures to be with the fourth team of his NFL career.
February 23rd, 2018 at 11:32am CST by Zachary Links
On Friday, the Jaguars announced the release of Chris Ivory. The running back spent the last two years with the Jaguars.
In March of 2016, the Jags signed Ivory to a five-year deal worth $32.5MM with $10MM guaranteed. It seemed like a reasonable signing at the time since the Jaguars were armed with tons of camp space and Ivory was coming off of a 1,000+ yard, seven-touchdown season with the Jets.
Unfortunately, things did not pan out. Ivory missed considerable time in his first season with Jacksonville and averaged just 3.4 yards per carry in his most recent campaign. His performance made for an easy call this offseason. The Jaguars are eating $3.25MM in dead money, but they’re also saving $3.69MM by dropping him.
Ivory will turn 30 in March and no longer profiles as an RB1 type. However, he could draw interest from teams looking for depth at the position.
In related moves, the Jags also waived rookie defensive back Jarrod Harper, rookie running back I’Tavius Mathers and second-year wide receiver Larry Pinkard.
A video emerged on Twitter this weekend allegedly showing Jets linebacker Darron Lee in an apparent altercation with a woman at the Governors Ball Music Festival on Randall’s Island. The video shows a man shouting at a woman, and the Twitter user claimed the individual proceeded to “manhandle her’’ and “call her names.’’
“We are aware of the reports,” a Jets spokesman said (via Schwartz). “We are taking them seriously, and we are looking into the specifics of the situation. We will have no further comment at this time.”
Lee, a 2016 first-round pick, appeared in 13 games (nine starts) with the Jets last season, compiling 73 tackles and one sack.
Let’s take a look at other notes from around the AFC…
We learned yesterday that running back LeSean McCoy was recruiting former teammate Jeremy Maclin to join the Bills. Now it looks like quarterback Tyrod Taylor is also looking to touch base with the free agent receiver. “Today was the first day I seen Shady,” Taylor told Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News. “We texted about it, but [I] want to get Maclin’s number and try to reach out to him. Just to see what his thoughts, what is he thinking moving forward and try to get him here.”
After a season that saw him compile only 439 rushing yards, Jaguars running back Chris Ivorywants to prove that he’s still capable of starting in the NFL. Unfortunately, despite his experience, the veteran has fourth-overall pick Leonard Fournette breathing down his neck. While the odds seem to be against the 29-year-old, he’s still confident that his 2016 woes are a thing of the past. “One thing about it, people and everybody are going to have their opinions,’’ Ivory told John Reid of the Florida Times-Union. “Mainly, the people that know nothing about football. They don’t know the things we go through to get to this point. What we actually face before we come out for those games…Most of the stuff the people on the outside see are the mistakes and the bad things you do. It’s not always going to go the way you want. I think a lot of people that like to see guys get a 1,000 yards each year, but it just don’t work that way.’’
September 16th, 2016 at 10:12am CST by Zachary Links
From a medical standpoint, it appears that Chris Ivory is in the clear. However, the running back is not quite ready to return to the field for the Jaguars. The team says that Ivory will not play this Sunday against the Chargers, as Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com tweets. Same goes for fellow free agent acquisition Prince Amukamara who suffered a hamstring injury last week.
Ivory missed out on the Jaguars’ first game of the season after being checked into the hospital for an undisclosed issue. After spending the early part of the week at Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville, Ivory was released and he returned to the team facility on Thursday. Still, the tailback is going to need some additional time before he can be activated. It is not immediately clear when Ivory will get the greenlight to play.
T.J. Yeldon was pretty impressive for Jacksonville last season, averaging 4.1 yards per carry and scoring twice in 12 starts. Still, Ivory is the more proven option and operates with the kind of power you only see from a handful of tailbacks. The Jaguars’ offense won’t be operating at full strength without him, but they’re hoping they have enough to top San Diego on Sunday.