Jabari Greer

Jabari Greer Announces Retirement

Appearing on ESPN’s First Take this morning, veteran cornerback Jabari Greer announced that he intends to end his NFL career (Twitter link via ESPN). After his appearance on ESPN, Greer confirmed the news on his Twitter account, tweeting, “10 years was a blast! Thank You Lord! #retirement.”

Greer, 32, started his career in 2004 with the Bills as an undrafted free agent, and has appeared in a total of 133 contests (86 starts) for Buffalo and New Orleans since entering the league. A key part of the Saints’ 2009 Super Bowl team, the Tennessee product compiled 13 interceptions and more than 400 tackles during his decade in the NFL.

Released in the offseason after a knee injury cut his 2013 campaign short, Greer said back in July that his rehab was “going really well,” though he wasn’t actively pursuing any opportunities to return to the NFL at the time. “I think my pride and my body have two different things to say about that,” Greer said at the time. “But we’ll see. I mean, God can do anything, man.”

It’s not clear whether Greer is retiring for health reasons or if he simply feels it’s time for him to walk away from the game, but either way, it sounds as if we won’t see him in action on an NFL field again.

AFC Links: Ravens, McCarthy, Texans, Colts

The Ravens could use some cornerback help, but the free agent market is thin and Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun isn’t sure either Asante Samuel or Jabari Greer would have interest in joining the team. A preseason trade may be Baltimore’s best chance for an upgrade, says Zrebiec, though he admits the Ravens may not want to part with any more 2015 draft picks after trading a couple for Jeremy Zuttah and Michael Campanaro.

Let’s round up a few more Tuesday updates from out of the AFC….

  • It sounds as if Titans linebacker Colin McCarthy will need shoulder surgery, which makes injured reserve a viable possibility for him, tweets Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean.
  • Asked about the Texans’ overhaul of their backfield – which included signing Ronnie Brown and cutting Andre Brown – head coach Bill O’Brien said the Texans “had a chance to improve our team, and that’s what we did” (Twitter link via John McClain of the Houston Chronicle).
  • Although he believes the Broncos have several good contracts, Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap picks Terrance Knighton’s deal as the most team-friendly one on Denver’s books. On the other hand, Fitzgerald wasn’t a fan of the contract the Broncos gave DeMarcus Ware this offseason, which includes $16.5MM in fully guaranteed money.
  • Because the Colts only had five draft picks in May – the fewest of any NFL team – the team extensively scouted college free agents and placed a greater emphasis on those players this year, tweets Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star. As such, it wouldn’t be a surprise if a few earned spots on Indianapolis’ roster and/or practice squad.
  • In his exploration on the positional investments successful and non-successful teams make in running backs, the Patriots and Browns are among the teams examined by Zach Moore of Over the Cap. The Pats only spent about $3.4MM on their productive group of runners last season, and Moore thinks that inexpensive rookie Terrance West should be a better value for Cleveland than free agent addition Ben Tate.

Extra Points: Cutler, Greer, Bills, Witherspoon

Donovan McNabb, who took plenty of criticism in his heyday, let his thoughts be known on Jay Cutler‘s contract earlier today on 87.7 The Game. “I think Jay might be the luckiest dude in Chicago, to be honest with you, with the contract that he received for what we haven’t seen thus far,” McNabb said, according to CSNChicago.com. “Don’t get me wrong, I think Jay’s got a strong arm, I think the sky’s the limit for him. But for what we’ve seen in Chicago, when you didn’t finish the NFC Championship — which it was due to injury. But even with that, you haven’t been able to get past that hump you needed. One game to get into the playoffs, you couldn’t get it done. Caleb Hanie comes in to play, Josh McCown comes in to play, and then contract comes up and you get paid like a top-three, top-four quarterback? I mean, are you serious? For what we’ve seen? If he doesn’t do it this year, it’s going to end up being a mistake.” More from around the NFL..

  • Jabari Greer said his rehab from last year’s major knee injury is “going really well,” but the former Saints cornerback said he’s not actively pursuing any opportunities to return to the NFL right now and says it’s probably unlikely that he’ll be able to work out for any teams in time for training camp, writes Mike Triplett of ESPN.com. “I think my pride and my body have two different things to say about that,” said Greer, who was released by New Orleans in February. “But we’ll see. I mean, God can do anything, man.”
  • The Bills‘ financial advisers, Morgan Stanley, began granting online access to the team’s detailed financial information, a major step in the sales process, writes Tim Graham of The Buffalo News. Terry Pegula and the man he bought the Buffalo Sabres from, Tom Golisano, each were believed to be among the possible buyers granted permission to review the numbers. Same goes for Jon Bon Jovi’s Toronto-based group and Donald Trump.
  • Veteran linebacker Will Witherspoon has had contract talks with both the Rams and the Falcons, reports Greg Brzozowski of WJHG-TV (hat tip: Pro Football Talk).
  • Patriots seventh-round wide receiver Jeremy Gallon is hoping to be the club’s latest late-round steal, writes Ryan Hannable of WEEI.com.
  • Dion Lewis once thought he might have an opportunity to be the Browns’ feature back in 2014, but following Cleveland’s additions of Ben Tate and Terrance West, the 23-year-old Lewis’ role looks much more uncertain, according to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal.

NFC Links: Foles, Lions, Vikings

Following Colin Kaepernick‘s recent extension, many young quarterbacks are likely counting down the days until their new contract. One signal caller who isn’t thinking that far ahead is Eagles field general Nick Foles.

As Jeff McLane of Philly.com writes, Foles has never been financially motivated to play the sport. It certainly helps that his father sold a chain of Texas-based restaurants for $59MM, but as the writer says, Foles “is his own man and will want to forge his own path.”

Besides the lack of desire for a large payout, there may be many factors that stands in Foles’ way. One could be the lingering belief that a more mobile quarterback would fit better into coach Chip Kelly‘s system. Another is the hesitance to buy into Foles completely until he’s proven that he can sustain his success.

Regardless, the entire thing isn’t bothering the 25-year-old.

If you try to think about all that, it’s hard to play,” Foles said.

If the quarterback continues with that focused mindset, he may be in line for his own large contract soon enough.

Let’s take a look at some more notes from around the NFC…

Panthers Tops In “Dead Money”

Thanks in large part to last season’s trade of Jon Beason, the Panthers have $17.8MM in “dead money,” more than any team in the league, according to ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert (full chart here). “Dead money” is defined as cap space consumed by players no longer on the roster, whether they retired, were released or traded. The numbers will fluctuate as rosters continue to evolve, but listed below are the five teams with at least $10MM worth of “dead money” at present time, including the players accounting for most of the sunk costs:

At the other end of the spectrum, six teams have less than $1MM in “dead money”: Jets, Rams, Buccaneers, Colts, Seahawks and Bengals.

Extra Points: Verner, Flynn, Clowney, Farmer

Coming off his rookie contract, Pro Bowl cornerback Alterraun Verner is set to hit the open market next month, and Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean believes it may be difficult for the Titans to lock him up before March 11 (Twitter link). According to Wyatt (via Twitter), there has been “little to no movement” in talks between the two sides so far, though they’ll likely meet at next week’s scouting combine. After snatching five interceptions and defending 23 passes in 2013, Verner will be in line for a nice raise on 2013’s $1.32MM base salary, meaning he could be looking forward to gauging his value on the open market.

Let’s round up a few more Thursday items from around the NFL….

  • New Packers QB coach Alex Van Pelt praised Matt Flynn’s track record and indicated that he’s “excited to hopefully get him back in here,” according to Wes Hodkiewicz of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. Flynn is eligible for unrestricted free agency this offseason.
  • Texans safety D.J. Swearinger tells Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle that he keeps in contact with former South Carolina teammate Jadeveon Clowney, who is pushing hard to be the No. 1 pick in the draft. “He’s talking about, ‘Man, what’s the word [on the Texans’ pick]?’ I’m like, ‘I don’t know. I’m going to try my best to do what I can to get you here,'” Swearinger said.
  • In the second half of a two-part Q&A with Ray Farmer, Tony Grossi asked the new Browns GM about the importance of landing an elite quarterback, as well as discussing Farmer’s philosophy in approaching free agency and the draft.
  • Cornerback Jabari Greer is taking yesterday’s release from the Saints in stride, as he tells Mike Triplett of ESPN.com. While Greer didn’t expect to be cut, he noted that “you can’t ever be surprised” by it, particularly when you’re on the wrong side of 30.
  • Rick Spielman‘s long-term future as the Vikings‘ general manager may depend on his ability to find the team a solution at quarterback, an issue he’ll address this offseason, writes Ben Goessling of ESPN.com.

Saints Waive Smith, Harper, Greer; Won’t Re-Sign Vilma

4:51pm: The Saints have officially issued a press release announcing that Smith, Harper, and Greer have been cut. The team also won’t re-sign Vilma, according to the release.

“These were not easy decisions to make,” said Saints GM Mickey Loomis in a statement. “Since we acquired them, Jabari, Roman, Will and Jonathan have all been excellent players on the field for us. Each of them were integral parts in turning this program around and winning a Super Bowl…. However, a new NFL year is about to begin and, with the start of free agency in March, these difficult moves allow us to position our team under the salary cap to move forward for 2014.”

4:48pm: The Saints will also release cornerback Jabari Greer, according to Florio (via Twitter). The Saints could create about $3.18MM in cap savings by cutting Greer, but it’s not possible the amount will be lower than that, since he could be eligible for $1MM+ in injury protection, as Rapoport explains in a pair of tweets.

4:34pm: NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport confirms (via Twitter) that Harper has been informed the Saints have released him.

4:18pm: Today’s list of NFL transactions didn’t include any from the Saints, so it looks like potential cap casualties have at least earned another day on the roster. Still, cuts are expected to come this week. According to Triplett (via Twitter), the Saints have informed Smith that he’ll be waived. Meanwhile, Harper sent out a thank-you tweet to Saints fans, suggesting that he has also been told he’ll be released.

9:11am: The Saints are expected to release a handful of veteran players to increase cap flexibility, and those cuts could begin as soon as today, a league source tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Mike Triplett of ESPN.com (Twitter link) echoes that report, with both reports identifying safety Roman Harper and defensive end Will Smith as two potential cap casualties for the team.

As Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com details in his latest 2014 salary cap update, only one team (the Cowboys) has more money committed to ’14 salaries than the Saints, who are currently $13MM+ over the projected cap for next year. Waiving Smith represents the best way to immediately clear nearly that entire deficit — in the last year of his contract, Smith has a cap number of $13.9MM, which could be reduced to just $2.35MM in dead money by releasing him.

As for Harper, after starting nearly every game for the Saints in the previous six seasons, he was limited by injuries in 2013, and was ineffective in his limited playing time. The cap savings won’t be as significant for the Saints if and when they waive Harper, since the veteran still has $3.69MM in bonus money on the final two years of his deal, but the club could still clear $2.18MM in space by cutting him.

Florio notes in his report that a return to New Orleans for free agent linebacker Jonathan Vilma appears highly unlikely. The 31-year-old has been plagued by injuries, which limited him to just one game in 2013, and Vilma’s recent comments about having to share a locker room with a gay teammate aren’t likely to help his free agent stock much either.

Payton Talks Graham, Free Agency

Saints head coach Sean Payton joined Fox Sports 1 on Friday and discussed the issues facing his team this offseason, according to Larry Holder of The Times-Picayune.

The most notable free agent in New Orleans, without a doubt, is tight end Jimmy Graham. Now, if it comes down to a franchise tag, Graham will contend that he should be paid as a wide receiver rather than a tight end. The difference figures to be nearly $5MM ($11.6MM for WR and $6.8MM for TE).

“I know that Mickey Loomis, CAA (Creative Artists Agency), Jimmy Sexton (Graham’s agent) and all parties involved are going to work very hard and very diligently, no different than they did with Drew (Brees) on his contract,” Payton said. “With that being said, the first thing that comes to my mind with free agency is your own roster. I think often times that gets overlooked.

“The most challenging part of your job as a coach, and I share that with Mickey or anyone that has been with an organization as long as we have been, going on year nine, is some of the tough decisions that have to be made with regards to your cap with the ability that you possibly can sign Jimmy Graham.”

Holder points out safety Malcolm Jenkins, tackle Zach Strief and center Brian de la Puente as “key potential free agents” the team would like to re-sign. Easier said than done, noted Payton.

“It’s very easy to say ‘you are certainly going to get this done’ but you have to understand there is a budget here. That’s the challenging part. You are going to read these names that have already come across the ticker from Atlanta last week (Asante Samuel and Stephen Nicholas) and we will be no different.”

According to Holder, players that could become cap-casualties to help the Saints be able to afford signing Graham to a long-term contract include (figures courtesy of Holder):