Elvis Dumervil is calling it a career. On Thursday, the veteran defensive end took to Twitter to announce his retirement from the NFL.
“After spending a great deal of time talking to my family and prayerfully considering what’s next in my career, I have made the difficult decision to step away from the NFL at this time,” Dumervil wrote. “Its been an incredible 12-year run.”
Dumervil, 34, ranked third among active players in career sacks with 105.5. And, last year, he led the 49ers with 6.5 sacks. Dumervil clearly still has some football in the tank – and he said his body “feels great” in his retirement announcement – but he has opted to spent more time with his family and focus on his other business ventures going forward.
Dumervil entered the league as a fourth-round pick of the Broncos in the 2006 draft and the Louisville product went on to become a pillar of the Broncos’ D. In 2009, he broke through as a defensive star with a league-leading 17 sacks. Interestingly, the Broncos have watched former stars Dumervil, Eric Decker, and Julius Thomas all retire in a matter of days.
In 2013, Dumervil hooked on with the Ravens and he continued to terrorize opposing quarterbacks. In 2014, he even matched his personal high of 17 sacks.
After 12 seasons in the league (eleven, if you exclude his lost 2010 season), Dumervil acquired five Pro Bowl nods and two First-Team All-Pro selections. He probably has some sacks left in him, but he already accomplished plenty on the field.
Third-year Lions linebacker Steve Longa did, in fact, suffer a torn ACL that will end his season, Kyle Meinke of MLive.com reports. Longa tore the ligament while chasing down Giants quarterback Kyle Lauletta and is expected to be placed on IR Monday. The Lions weren’t going to use Longa as a starter — Jarrad Davis, Christian Jones and Devon Kennard are entrenched as their first-string ‘backers — but the former UDFA was a key part of Detroit’s special teams corps. This may open up a spot for Miles Killebrew, a former safety who’s been working with the Lions’ linebackers in recent weeks. Killebrew also serves as a regular on special teams.
Here’s the latest out of the NFC, moving to another NFC North team’s injury situation.
The Bears received better news regarding a young player’s injury. Adam Shaheen required a cart to leave the field during Saturday night’s Bears-Broncos game thanks to a first-quarter setback. However, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets the second-year tight end is not believed to have suffered a serious injury. The 2017 second-rounder is dealing with a low ankle sprain, per Rapoport. Although more tests will be in store for the small-school product, Shaheen has a chance to play in Week 1.
Sean McVay said (via Lindsay Thiry of ESPN.com, on Twitter) Junior Galette‘s Rams visit will take place Monday. Galette is now 30 and a few years removed from his peak — back-to-back 10-plus-sack years with the Saints in 2013-14 — but he did play in all 16 Redskins games last season after missing the previous two years with injuries. The Rams’ efforts to restock their cornerback contingent and add Ndamukong Suh induced some cutbacks, and the Super Bowl contender’s edge defender situation is perhaps a vulnerable spot midway through the preseason.
Another NFC West team has questions on the edge, and Kyle Shanahan (via Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area, on Twitter) still has Elvis Dumervil in mind as a contingency plan in case the second-year HC deems the 49ers as being too light on defensive ends. Shanahan said earlier this offseason the 12-year veteran probably wouldn’t need much preseason work to be effective, so San Francisco still remains a possibility for the now-34-year-old edge player. Dumervil, who began his career under Mike Shanahan and alongside John Lynch in Denver, led the 49ers with 6.5 sacks last season. No other 49er registered more than three.
More running back injury trouble’s come the 49ers’ way. With Jerick McKinnon and No. 2 back Matt Breida out until Week 1, 2017 fourth-rounder Joe Williams fractured a rib and suffered a “very bad” bone bruise, per Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle (on Twitter). Shanahan said Williams will miss Week 1. Shanahan urged Lynch to trade up to select Williams, but this setback figures to pose a problem for his chances of making an impact this season. The 49ers, who also lost offensive lineman Erik Magnuson to a hamstring strain that will shelve him until possibly October, are going to make IR decisions regarding this duo this week (Twitterlinks, via Maiocco and the San Jose Mercury News’ Cam Inman). A 2017 UDFA out of Michigan, Magnuson played in four games as a rookie and started two. If the 49ers place either on IR before roster-cutdown day, they cannot use one of their IR-return spots on them.
Second-year UDFA Rickey Jefferson will not play for the Saints this season. The defensive back tore one of his ACLs in New Orleans’ second preseason game, Nick Underhill of The Advocate reports. The LSU alum did not play last season and latched on with the Saints in January via reserve/futures contract.
As we heard Sunday, Browns VP of player personnel Alonzo Highsmith indicated Sam Darnold was his preferred quarterback until late in the draft process. Baker Mayfield then became the consensus choice. However, the first-year Browns exec had one interesting reason for being less interested in Josh Rosen, whom the Browns worked out at UCLA and hosted on a visit.
“I was at an airport. UCLA’s volleyball team was in front of me. You heard so much about Rosen. He’s this or that,” Highsmith said, via cleveland.com. “We all know how people talk. So I asked one of the volleyball coaches, ‘What’s Rosen like?’ He said, ‘Aaaaa, you should probably ask his girlfriend. She’s one of the players. She’s over there. I’m like, ‘All right, coach. That’s good enough.’
“I don’t know what all this means, but there was something about him that bothered me.”
The Browns were not connected closely to Rosen, the least mobile of this year’s top QB contingent but also the player who could well be the readiest to start in Week 1, and they preferred a more mobile passer. But this candor is rather interesting and may not age well if Rosen has a strong rookie year for the Cardinals. It’s not the first time a key Browns exec’s made a comment on a quarterback they bypassed.
As for Allen, Highsmith wasn’t interested in hearing excuses for why the Wyoming player couldn’t complete 57 percent of his passes in either of his two years as a starter.
“Josh Allen … big arm … he could throw the ball from here to the moon,” Highsmith said. “When they have to make excuses … why are they not completing passes? That’s a problem. Baker Mayfield lost two receivers (from the 2016 team) and he was the same quarterback.”
Elvis Dumervil is currently without a team after the 49ers did not pick up his option. The 49ers did not draft an edge defender this year, and John Lynch indicated Dumervil — his teammate for two seasons with the Broncos — could be brought back and may not need a full offseason in what would be his 13th year. “Yeah, I think it could be,” Lynch said (via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle) of a possible reunion with the 34-year-old pass rusher. “I’m sure a lot of (teams) are looking at it as such. Elvis isn’t a guy who at this stage of his career really needs to be around in an offseason. He’s a professional. He takes tremendous pride in how he trains, how he eats and all those things. So he’ll be ready.” Lynch mentioned the 49ers plan to evaluate some younger players for pass-rushing roles, though, so it could be a while before a possible reunion commences. Dumervil made $4.5MM with San Francisco last season and registered a team-high 6.5 sacks.
The Texans are moving second-year cornerback Treston Decoud to safety, Mark Berman of Fox 26 tweets. A 2017 fifth-round pick, Decoud played in 10 games for the Texans as a rookie. Decoud played cornerback in both of his seasons at Oregon State. He’s the younger brother of former longtime Falcons safety Thomas Decoud. Houston signed Tyrann Mathieu in free agency and drafted Justin Reid with its first 2018 pick, a third-rounder, so Treston Decoud could stay a depth piece at his new position.
Houston’s revamp of its scouting department will see the franchise hire nine-year Patriots staffer James Liipfert as the new director of college scouting, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports. Liipfert will succeed Jon Carr in this role. Having been with the Patriots during each year Bill O’Brien was, Liipfert served the past three seasons with the Patriots as a national scout after previously being an area scout.
The 49ers announced that they will not pick up defensive end/linebacker Elvis Dumervil’s contract option for 2018. Meanwhile, they are exercising the option of linebacker Dekoda Watson and have tendered a one-year contract to exclusive rights free agent running back Raheem Mostert.
The Niners have a good amount of cap space, but Dumervil’s $4.25MM cap hit (and $500K option bonus) was still too high for the Niners’ liking. Dumervil led the Niners’ D with 6.5 sacks in 2017, but the team is intent on moving forward with younger options including Eli Harold, Cassius Marsh, and Pita Taumoepenu. No other SF player had more than three sacks last year.
Dumervil is on the backend of his career at the age of 34, but he still has plenty to offer teams. He offers a wealth of experience as an edge rusher, not to mention 105.5 career sacks across eleven seasons with the Broncos, Ravens, and Niners.
Watson appeared in 14 games for the 49ers last season, primarily as a special teamer. He’s now slated to count against the cap for $1.633MM in 2018.
Pass rusher Elvis Dumervil told Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area that he spoke with a “handful of teams” between his release from the Ravens in March and his signing with the 49ers this week. In the end, Dumervil’s familiarity with general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan helped direct him to San Francisco. Dumervil played with Lynch in Denver from 2006-07, when Kyle Shanahan’s father, Mike Shanahan, was the Broncos’ coach. The elder Shanahan drafted Dumervil, who has since racked up 99 sacks. Now, even though he’s 33 and coming off an Achilles injury that limited him to eight games last season, Dumervil feels “great” and believes he has “a few years left, for sure.”
More from around the league:
The NFL Players Association has taken issue with around 160 rookie contracts, believing those deals are in violation of the collective bargaining agreement, reports Dan Graziano of ESPN.com. The union is considering filing a grievance to void those agreements, with spokesman George Atallah stating, “The CBA explicitly prohibits players from some of the language that we have seen the clubs attempt to impose in these deals. We are considering all of our options to protect the players and enforce the CBA.” In the NFLPA’s estimation, the majority of the league’s 32 teams – 25 or 26 – have included prohibited language in rookie contracts this year.
Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. could land a $100MM contract eventually. For now, though, the Giants have all the leverage, observes Bill Barnwell of ESPN.com. Beckham’s on a dirt-cheap $1.8MM salary this season, and he’s controllable in 2018 via an eminently affordable fifth-year option ($8.5MM). After that, Beckham could get the $18.3MM franchise tag in 2019, meaning he’d only cost Big Blue $28.6MM over the next three seasons. Even if the Giants were to tag Beckham again in 2020, the four-year total would still be a more-than-reasonable $50.6MM.
Free agent safety James Ihedigbo was recently slapped with a four-game suspension and is coming off a season in which he landed on IR after breaking his leg, but he is optimistic about his chances of suiting up in 2017, as Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com writes. Ihedigbo says his leg is completely healed and that he has received interest from several teams in recent weeks.
The Eaglesreportedly have interest in a reunion with free agent wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, but their lack of cap space (around $5MM) is likely to stand in the way, writes David Murphy of Philly.com. Plus, with other proven pass-catching options in Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, Jordan Matthews and Zach Ertz, the Eagles don’t need Maclin as much as other teams that are chasing him. Therefore, Philadelphia won’t have the motivation to get into a bidding war for Maclin and use what little spending room it has left on him, reasons Murphy.
Elsewhere around the NFC…
The Saints had interest in pass rusher Elvis Dumervil before he signed with the 49ers on Monday, reports Nick Underhill of the Advocate (on Twitter). It took the 33-year-old Dumervil nearly three months to find a new home after the Ravens released him in March, but San Francisco was the only team to bring him in for a workout. Dumervil potentially could’ve helped a New Orleans club whose defense finished just 27th in sacks last season.
A pay cut for Redskins safety DeAngelo Hall is seemingly inevitable, suggests Rich Tandler of CSNMidAtlantic.com. The Redskins would like to knock $2MM to $3MM off the 33-year-old’s salary, per Tandler. Hall’s currently set to make $4.25MM, which is high for someone who has appeared in just 17 of 48 regular-season games dating back to 2014 and could begin 2017 on the physically unable to perform list.
Although Rams pass rusher Connor Barwin‘s took a one-year deal earlier in the offseason, his goal is to play through the 2020 campaign. “Yeah, I think I want to play 12 years,” he told Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.com. “This will be nine, so I think I have four more. I’d like to do three stints of four – Houston, Philly and L.A.” Barwin played under new Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips with the Texans from 2011-12, and the 30-year-old expects their reunion to prolong his career. “I loved playing for Wade [while with the Texans in 2011-12], just in general,” said Barwin. “But I think playing in this system will be good for me to keep playing for a couple more years, because it takes advantage of what I do well. It allows me to still play every single snap. Play first down, second down, rush the passer on third down, but be able to cover guys when I need to — tight ends, running backs, that sort of thing.
Less than a week after auditioning the veteran, the 49ers are signing Elvis Dumervil. The 49ers announced on Twitter that they have signed the linebacker. It’s a two-year deal for Dumervil, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Twitter. The team has cut rookie offensive lineman Evan Goodman in a corresponding move.
It had been a rather quiet offseason for Dumervil prior to last week’s audition with San Francisco. The 33-year-old had generated little interest across the league since being released by the Ravens in early March. That could partly be attributed to the veteran’s recent injury concerns, as Dumervil only appeared in eight games with Baltimore last season. However, the linebacker still managed to compile three sacks and a pair of forced fumbles.
Prior to 2016, Dumervil was one of the most consistent defenders in the NFL. Since entering the league as a fourth-round pick in 2006, the veteran had missed a total of six regular season games between nine NFL seasons with the Ravens and Broncos. During his first three seasons in Baltimore, Dumervil averaged more than 38 tackles and 10 sacks a year.
Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee tweets that Dumervil is expected to play the role of a Leo linebacker with the 49ers, an indication that Aaron Lynchmay be on the outside looking in. General manager JohnLynch is certainly familiar with Dumervil’s production, as the two played alongside each other for two seasons in Denver.
Although Dumervil’s among the most accomplished pass rushers in the NFL, the 33-year-old didn’t generate any reported interest between the Ravens releasing him March 8 and the 49ers deciding to bring him in for a workout. Injuries limited Dumervil to eight games in 2016, his fourth and final year in Baltimore, but he still totaled three sacks, two forced fumbles, and drew a strong pass-rushing grade from Pro Football Focus.
Prior to last season, Dumervil hadn’t missed more than two games in a campaign since his rookie year, 2006, when he sat out three as a member of the Broncos. Notably, Dumervil was a teammate of then-safety and now-49ers general manager John Lynch in his first two seasons. Between Denver and Baltimore, Dumervil racked up 99 sacks – including a personal- and league-high 17 in 2009 – 23 forced fumbles and five Pro Bowl nods over 10 seasons.
In San Francisco, Dumervil would play the role of a Leo linebacker, notes Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee (Twitter link). The 49ers didn’t address the position with a high selection during the draft, and in-house Leo candidate Aaron Lynch has battled weight problems in recent months. Dumervil, it seems, would provide more of a sure thing and add a pass-rushing threat to a team that finished a below-average 19th in the league in sacks in 2016.
The initial wave of NFL free agency is now complete, and while many of the league’s top available players are now off the board, there are still plenty of quality options still on the open market.
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 2017:
The pass rushing market has been completely depleted during the first week of free agency, as 14 of our original top 15 edge players have now been franchised, signed, or, in the case of DeMarcus Ware, retired. As such, a 37-year-old with 15 NFL seasons under his belt is now the best pass rusher on the market. Dwight Freeney played on roughly a third of the Falcons’ defensive snaps in 2016, and posted three sacks and 18 hurries. Capable of playing in either a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme, Freeney can still help out a club on the cheap.
Three players on this list — Elvis Dumervil, Connor Barwin, and Eugene Sims — were released by their respective clubs last week, meaning they won’t count against the compensatory formula if and when they’re signed. Dumervil, now 33, was hampered by injuries last season but still earned strong pass-rushing marks from Pro Football Focus. Barwin, meanwhile, wasn’t a good fit in Jim Schwartz‘s 4-3 defense, but he should flourish if he signs with a team running a 3-4 look. So far, he’s met with the Bengals (who use a 4-3) and Rams (3-4).
Although top-flight players such as Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams have already been signed, the crop of interior defenders remains strong at the top. The buzz around Johnathan Hankins has been virtually non-existent, as the only club that’s been even tangentially linked to the 25-year-old is the Redskins. He’s one of the youngest free agents on the market, and therefore is probably looking for a massive payday. But the lack of interest around Hankins may be an indication that he’s simply asking for too much money.
The same issue could be surrounding Dontari Poe, although he’s not wanting for meetings around the league. He’s visited with the Colts, Falcons, Jaguars, and Dolphins, while the 49ers and Raiders also reportedly have some level of interest. Clubs may have concerns about Poe’s lingering back issues, and he might have to accept a one-year deal in order to prove he’s healthy and willing to provide full effort.
While players at other defensive positions have flown off the board, there’s been almost no movement among off-ball linebackers. Only five of PFR’s original top-15 free agent linebackers have signed new contracts, a group that includes Dont’a Hightower, our previous No. 1 ‘backer who re-signed with the Patriots today. Zach Brown, who now holds that honor, broke out in his fifth NFL campaign and played especially well in coverage, a skill that should lead to a handsome reward. Brown, 27, met with the Raiders today, while the Dolphins also hope to schedule a visit.
The Bengals, specifically, are in the linebackermarket, as they’ve met with both Kevin Minter and Keenan Robinson in recent days. But the rest of the players on this list aren’t drawing much interest as of yet, a fact that speaks to the devaluation of the linebacker position. Teams will pay up for a three-down linebacker like Hightower, but if a player can be formation-ed off the field, he’s not going to land a hefty deal.
One linebacker who did prove he could stay on the field on third down was Perry Riley, who played 370 coverage snaps for the Raiders last season. Riley is still only 28 years old, but posted awful marks from Pro Football Focus during his previous campaigns with Washington. Whether it was Oakland’s scheme (including its talented pass rushers) that allowed Riley to flourish, or a true breakout coming in the middle of a career, Riley could help a number of clubs. The Raiders are reportedly working to bring him back.
The top two corners still on the open market are both former Cowboys, and Brandon Carr looks like the surer bet to return to Dallas at this point. Morris Claiborne, meanwhile, has drawn interest from the Ravens, and most opposing clubs believe he’ll end up signing with Baltimore. Clairborne, 27, appeared to be a prime overpay candidate heading into the offseason, but if the Ravens can land him on a short-term deal, they’d be making a wise investment.
Now that all charges have been dropped against Darrelle Revis, he’ll make for an interesting test case in free agency. Clearly, Revis is not the shutdown corner he once was, and may even be mulling a move to safety as he closes his career. But clubs in the market for secondary help could do worse than Revis, and he should be on a roster when the regular season rolls around.
Most of the safeties on this list are in-the-box types — that’s thanks to the fact that center field-esque safeties are more rare and thus more expensive. Recently-released veterans such as Jairus Byrd, Lardarius Webb, and Corey Graham, however, offer coverage ability and would make for decent signings on short pacts. T.J. McDonald and Bradley McDougald, on other hand, are big hitters that will patrol near the line of scrimmage. McDougald, specifically, will take a visit with the Seahawks this week.
Chris Prosinski is just a special teamer, but he’s a great special teamer. While he only played 173 defensive snaps in 2016, he saw time on more than 80% of the Bears’ special teams plays, and was listed as one of the season’s best special teams players by Gordon McGuinness of Pro Football Focus. Football Outsiders ranked the Cardinals, Jets, and Texans as the bottom-three teams in special teams DVOA, and any of those clubs would benefit from adding Prosinski.
Demand is not high for placekickers at the moment, as only the Giants and Bengals stand out as clubs that immediately need a kicker. Injuries and ineffectiveness are sure to strike the position, however, at which point the specialists on this list will surely receive calls. Dan Carpenter and Mike Nugent missed a combined 11 extra points in 2016, and given that he topped both Carpenter and Nugent in field goal percentage, Nick Folk should be the first kicker on clubs’ emergency list.
Once again, Steve Smith is breaking news. The Ravens are releasing linebacker Elvis Dumervil, according to the retired wide receiver (on Twitter). The team has since confirmed the news.
By releasing Dumervil, who had one year left on his contract, the Ravens opened up $6MM in cap space. However, Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome says he has not closed the door on a possible return (Twitter link via NFL.com’s James Palmer).
Dumervil, 33, played in only eight games last year but still managed three sacks. Before that half-season, he missed just one game out of 48 possible appearances from 2013-15 and totaled 32.5 sacks. In 2014, he had 17.5 sacks on the season.
Dumervil now joins a linebacker market that includes names such as Dont’a Hightower, Zach Brown, Kevin Minter, Perry Riley, and Lawrence Timmons. Given his age and injury history, he may have to settle for a one-year deal with a modest base salary.