Jabrill Peppers

Patriots Receiving Calls On RB Damien Harris, S Jabrill Peppers

With a 3-4 record and coming off an embarrassing Monday Night Football loss, it’s been speculated that the Patriots could start selling. While we’ve previously heard that receivers Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne are on the block, it sounds like rival teams are sniffing around at some other players in New England.

According to Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus (on Twitter), the Patriots have received calls on running back Damien Harris and safety Jabrill Peppers. However, the reporter is quick to clarify that the Patriots are not actively shopping the two players. Kyed also passes along that the team has also received calls on receivers Jakobi Meyers and DeVante Parker.

Harris is set to hit free agency following the season. The former third-round pick had a standout season in 2021, finishing with 15 rushing touchdowns. He had 246 yards and three touchdowns through his first four games this season, but a hamstring injury forced him to miss most of Week 5 and all of Week 6. He returned on Monday night but was limited to only three carries. Over that same three-game span, Rhamondre Stevenson had collected 364 yards from scrimmage, so there’s a chance the Patriots are ready to give the second-year pro the full-time gig.

After being limited to only six games last year, Peppers joined the Patriots on a one-year deal. He’s started one of his seven appearances this season, collecting 20 tackles. He’s seen an inconsistent role in New England, with only two of his contests featuring him in more than 40 percent of New England’s defensive snaps. Pro Football Focus has been fond of his limited role, ranking him 29th among 87 qualifying safeties.

The Patriots have a crowded receivers depth chart, so it’s no surprise that Meyers and Parker are now being included in the rumor mill. Meyers had a career year in 2021 with Mac Jones, and despite shaky QB play this year, he’s continued to be New England’s most consistent WR. In five games, Meyers has hauled in 26 receptions for 355 yards and two scores. After being acquired from the Dolphins this past offseason, Parker has topped 60 yards in three games (including an 156-yard outburst in Week 3) but couldn’t hit 25 yards in his other three appearances (including a pair of shutouts).

Patriots’ Jonathan Jones, Jabrill Peppers Return To Practice

After letting J.C. Jackson walk in free agency, a decision consistent with offseason cornerback choices in the recent past, the Patriots will have a transition to make. But the team does return some talent at the position. One of those players made a long-awaited return to work Monday.

The Patriots activated Jonathan Jones from their active/PUP list. The team’s primary slot corner, Jones was lost early during the 2021 season, going down with a shoulder injury in Week 6. Offseason safety addition Jabrill Peppers, who suffered an ACL tear days after Jones went down, is also back at practice for New England. The team also activated defensive back Myles Bryant from its active/non-football injury list.

Jones, 28, and Devin McCourty are the only secondary cogs left to have played regular roles in the Patriots’ most recent Super Bowl season. A former UDFA, Jones has been a key member of the Pats’ secondary since the 2017 season. New England gave the Auburn alum a three-year, $21MM extension just before the 2019 season. Jones graded as one of the top corners in football in his most recent full season (2020), per Pro Football Focus; his deal expires after the 2022 campaign.

Peppers was linked in trades ahead of last year’s deadline, but his injury nixed any move. The Giants let the 2019 trade acquisition walk this offseason. The former first-round pick saw his role decrease in 2021, with the Giants using Xavier McKinney and ex-Patriot Logan Ryan more often on their back line, but has made 59 career starts and was the No. 25 overall pick in 2017.

This will be Peppers’ age-27 season. The Pats, who signed Peppers for just $2MM, added the Michigan product to a deep safety corps — one that has McCourty back alongside Adrian Phillips and Kyle Dugger.

Patriots Place Five Players On PUP

The Patriots placed a long list of players on the physically unable to perform list today. Per ESPN’s Mike Reiss on Twitter, New England placed center David Andrews, cornerback Jonathan Jones, linebacker Raekwon McMillan, safety Jabrill Peppers, and running back James White on PUP. The players are able to return to practice at any time, but they’ll be watching from the sideline until they’re officially activated.

Jones is still rehabbing a shoulder injury that limited him to only six games in 2021, while Andrews is recovering from his own shoulder surgery. White was limited to only three games last season thanks to a hip issue, and it sounds like the injury is lingering into this year’s training camp. Peppers and McMillan are both returning from ACL injuries.

White is one of the most veteran players on the Patriots roster, and in an ideal world, the running back would serve as a pass-catching safety blanket for Mac Jones. Between the 2016 and 2019 campaign, White averaged 68.8 catches and 950 yards from scrimmage per season. Now 30, this injury could spell the beginning of the end for White, and with Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson requiring carries (plus rookie fourth-round pick Pierre Strong Jr.), it’s hard to really see a role for White even if he’s healthy.

Andrews is also one of the longest-tenured Patriots players, having appeared in 89 games across seven seasons with the organization (including a 2019 campaign that he missed due to a pulmonary embolism). Despite the 2021 season being Andrews’ age-30 season, he still proved he was one of the best centers in the NFL, with Pro Football Focus ranking him fifth among 39 eligible centers.

McMillan joined the Patriots last offseason, but he tore his ACL in August and missed the entire season. Peppers, a former first-round pick, spent the past three seasons with the Giants. He collected 29 tackles and one sack in six games before suffering a torn ACL in October. Jones has spent his entire six-year career in New England, starting 27 games (including 21 starts between 2018 and 2020). He collected 20 tackles and three passes defended in six games last season.

Contract Details: Armstead, MVS, Douglas, Peterson, Peppers, Butler, Barnett, Harris

Here are the latest details from contracts recently agreed to around the NFL:

  • Terron Armstead, T (Dolphins): Five years, $75MM. In addition to a $12MM signing bonus, Armstead’s $43.37MM guarantee includes his 2022 and ’23 base salaries ($1.1MM, $9MM), Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com tweets. Armstead’s $13.25MM 2024 base salary is guaranteed for injury at signing. The deal includes $2.5MM-per-year incentives for playing time and Pro Bowl accolades, Wilson adds (on Twitter).
  • Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR (Chiefs): Three years, $30MM. Valdes-Scantling’s $18MM guaranteed includes a $6MM signing bonus and a fully guaranteed 2022 base salary ($2.56MM), Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes. The Chiefs have some flexibility in 2023. MVS has $6.4MM of his $8.6MM 2023 salary guaranteed for injury at signing; that shifts to a full guarantee if the wideout is on Kansas City’s roster on Day 3 of the 2023 league year. Valdes-Scantling’s $11.6MM 2024 base is nonguaranteed.
  • Rasul Douglas, CB (Packers): Three years, $21MM. The Packers gave Douglas a $5.3MM signing bonus and have him tied to base salaries of $1.1MM, $2.25MM and $6.25MM, Wilson tweets. Douglas will collect a $2MM roster bonus if he is on Green Bay’s roster on Day 3 of the 2023 league year.
  • Derek Barnett, DE (Eagles): Two years, $13.2MM. Barnett will see $7MM fully guaranteed, which includes $5.5MM in Year 1 and $1.5MM in Year 2, Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes (Twitter links). The Eagles guaranteed $1.5MM of Barnett’s 2023 salary and will guarantee $2MM more of that $7.5MM figure if he is on their roster on Day 3 of the 2023 league year. There are $9MM in incentives available, Wilson tweets.
  • Malcolm Butler, CB (Patriots): Two years, $9MM. The Patriots only guaranteed the recently unretired cornerback $750K, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe tweets. That comes via a $500K signing bonus and a $250K guarantee of Butler’s 2022 base salary. Butler’s cap numbers check in at $2.22MM and $2.75MM.
  • Patrick Peterson, CB (Vikings): One year, $4MM. In addition to the $3.5MM guaranteed Peterson will collect, Wilson notes the Vikings included $1MM in playing-time and playoff incentives (Twitter link). The team tacked a void year onto the deal.
  • Anthony Harris, S (Eagles): One year, $2.5MM. The Eagles are guaranteeing $1MM of Harris’ $2MM base salary, Wilson tweets.
  • Jabrill Peppers, S (Patriots): One year, $2MM. The Patriots are giving Peppers a $300K signing bonus and guaranteeing his $1.1MM base salary, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. The deal includes $3MM in playing-time incentives.

Patriots To Sign Jabrill Peppers

After visiting with the Patriots, safety Jabrill Peppers has decided to join the team. He is signing a one-year contract with New England, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). His colleague Field Yates tweets that the deal has a maximum value of $5MM. 

The 26-year-old met with the Patriots yesterday, signalling that a deal could be imminent. Now, he is set to join a new NFL team for the second time in his career. The former first rounder played two seasons in Cleveland, but wound up with the Giants as a result of the Odell Beckham Jr. trade.

He played in the Big Apple for three years, starting in 30 of his 32 appearances. Over that time, the former Michigan Wolverine totalled 196 tackles, 3.5 sacks, two interceptions and 17 pass breakups. While his numbers in terms of pass coverage have never been favorable, he has established himself as an effective safety defending the run, and contributed on special teams as a returner as well.

By signing in New England, Peppers will reunite with Joe Judge, his head coach in New York. The longtime Patriots assistant – whose background is in special teams – will work to replace Josh McDaniels‘ contributions on offense this season. While he and Peppers likely won’t work as closely together in New England, therefore, there is still a high degree of familiarity between the two.

Peppers will join a Patriots safety room already featuring the likes of Devin McCourty, Adrian Phillips and Kyle DuggerSchefter reports that he is expected to be recovered from a torn ACL in time for this season’s training camp. The Giants, meanwhile, will likely turn to Xavier McKinney as Peppers’ replacement.

Jabrill Peppers Visiting Patriots

Jabrill Peppers may be close to landing in a new home. The safety is visiting the Patriots today, per ESPN’s Field Yates (Twitter link). 

Peppers was a first-round pick of the Browns in 2017. He started all 29 games he appeared in, totalling 137 tackles and a pair of interceptions. His time in Ohio came to an end after two seasons, though, as he was included in the trade package that sent Odell Beckham Jr. to the Browns.

In three years with the Giants, the Michigan product remained a full-time starter. Injuries (including a torn ACL from this past season) caused him to miss 17 games during that span, though, leading many to think his days in the Big Apple were numbered. The team moved on to Xavier McKinney in the role of strong safety in Peppers’ absence.

In New England, Peppers would find a familiar face on the coaching staff in Joe Judge. The ex-Giants head coach – who has returned to the Patriots after a long tenure working with the special teams unit – had an affinity for the 26-year-old during their time together. As Yates notes, his defensive versatility (and, to a lesser extent, his experience as a punt returner) could make him coveted by New England.

Considering his injury history, signing Peppers likely wouldn’t require a sizeable investment regarding term or salary. With his draft pedigree and youth, on the other hand, he could bring notable upside to a Patriots defence which is generally trying to get younger to maintain its success from last year.

NFC East Notes: Giants, Gregory, Fitzpatrick

Jabrill Peppers‘ torn ACL will keep him sidelined for the rest of the 2021 campaign, and considering his expiring contract, there’s a chance his stint with the Giants has effectively come to an end. However, head coach Joe Judge kept the door open when speaking with reporters on Wednesday.

“Look, this guy is in a contract year, it’s something I’ve talked to him about directly,” Judge said (h/t to Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk.com). “He’s a guy that I value a lot in this program. I’d love to have this guy going forward, I’ve told him that directly. He’s been a very good leader for us. You can talk about him being local, that the Giants mean something to him. I think that’s very important. He’s a guy that loves football, he loves this organization, he loves this area. Those are things we talk about building as cornerstones and pillars of this program and he’s a very important part of our program.”

The safety started five of his six games this season, compiling 29 tackles and one sack. Considering Peppers’ contract status, his reduced playing time, and continued trade rumblings, there was a chance the veteran would be traded prior to his injury. The ACL injury certainly changed things, and Peppers could pursue a comeback with his current team.

More notes out of the NFC East…

  • With the Giants sitting at 2-5, it wouldn’t be a surprise if several Giants veterans end up hitting the trade block. Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv explored which players could be on the move, with tight end Evan Engram, cornerback James Bradberry, guard Will Hernandez, tight end Kyle Rudolph, and offensive tackle Nate Solder earning spots on the list. Vacchiano even goes as far as to list running back Saquon Barkley as a potential trade candidate, but he can’t envision the Giants receiving a haul that would convince them to bail on the former second-overall pick.
  • Randy Gregory has dealt with his fair share of suspensions, but the former Cowboys second-round pick followed an impressive 2020 campaign with an even better start to the 2021 season. In five games (four starts), Gregory has collected four sacks. The 28-year-old will hit free agency following the 2021 season, but David Moore, Calvin Watkins, and Michael Gehlken of The Dallas Morning News all believe that the defensive end will be back next season. Moore notes that the team wouldn’t have held on to Gregory for all these years if they didn’t plan on a long-term pact, while Watkins cautions that the franchise tag could prove to be a risky move considering Gregory’s limited track record.
  • There was once some hope that Ryan Fitzpatrick would be back by now, but NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport writes that Washington Football Team will have to wait a bit longer. The 38-year-old is still weeks away from returning, with Week 10 being the earliest possible return for the starting quarterback. Fitzpatrick suffered a hip subluxation back in September, forcing Taylor Heinicke into the lineup.

Giants Place S Jabrill Peppers On IR

Jabrill Peppers is now on the Giants’ IR list, ensuring he will finish the season in New York. The team placed the fifth-year safety on IR due to knee and ankle injuries.

These maladies are set to sideline Peppers for the rest of this season, with the Giants announcing the veteran defender has both a ruptured ACL and a high ankle sprain. Peppers suffered the injuries on a third-quarter punt return. This is a brutal blow for the free agent-to-be.

The Giants acquired Peppers via 2019’s Odell Beckham Jr. trade and picked up his fifth-year option. His rookie contract expires at season’s end, which invited speculation about his availability ahead of next week’s trade deadline. These injuries stonewall the prospect of a Peppers trade out of New York.

[RELATED: Joe Judge Discusses Trade Deadline]

Big Blue has safeties Logan Ryan and Xavier McKinney signed long-term, giving the team one of the NFL’s top back-line groups. Peppers has played 58% of the Giants’ snaps this season, the lowest participation rate out of this group. He has served as the Giants’ primary punt returner this season, however, and did register a sack during New York’s dominant win over Carolina in Week 7.

Pro Football Focus slots Peppers 56th among safeties this season, just behind McKinney. Peppers has made 30 tackles (two for loss) this season. A former first-round pick, Peppers was a full-time player for the 2019 and ’20 Giants squads. While the Michigan product should still have a market come March, his value dropped a bit since being included in the blockbuster trade two years ago and now takes a bigger hit thanks to these injuries.

NFC Rumors: Giants, Saints, Adams, Bears

Part of 2019’s Odell Beckham Jr. trade, Jabrill Peppers is going into his fifth-year option season. However, the Giants‘ three-year, $31MM extension for Logan Ryan back in December may well have signaled they are OK moving on from the former first-round pick after this season, Dan Duggan of The Athletic writes (subscription required). The Giants signed Ryan shortly after Xavier McKinney suffered a broken foot and extended him toward the end of the year. By season’s end, the team had Ryan, Peppers and McKinney available. Ryan and McKinney are signed through 2023, though Ryan has no guarantees beyond this year. While Peppers (25 starts as a Giant) would attract interest as a 2022 free agent, his role and performance this season will go a long way toward determining his long-term value.

Of the players that changed teams in that 2019 deal, Peppers, Beckham and Dexter Lawrence — the first-round pick the Browns sent to the Giants — remain with their teams. Kevin Zeitler and Olivier Vernon are not. With Beckham’s long-term status in Cleveland uncertain and Peppers in a contract year, Lawrence may be the only holdover from this trade come 2022. Here is the latest from the NFC:

  • Despite Lorenzo Carter going down with an Achilles tear in October, the Giants are prepared to reinstall him as a starter, Duggan notes. Carter returned for the Giants’ offseason program. The former third-round pick out of Georgia has 9.5 career sacks and, like Peppers, is entering a contract year. The Giants have not been especially aggressive at outside linebacker during Dave Gettleman‘s GM tenure, but they did use a second-round choice this year on USC’s Azeez Ojulari. He, 2019 third-rounder Oshane Ximines and fourth-round rookie Elerson Smith are in the mix to start opposite Carter, per Duggan. The Giants added veterans Ryan Anderson and Ifeadi Odenigbo as well, but they appear to be competing for rotational work.
  • Marcus Williams is one of this year’s seven remaining franchise-tagged players. The Saints surprised most when they created cap space to tag the talented safety, but if they cannot complete an extension by July 15, they should not be expected to entertain a second tag in 2022, Joel Corry of CBS Sports writes. Marshon Lattimore playing this season on his fifth-year option would make him a higher-priority free agent come March, and whoever wins New Orleans’ quarterback job — set to be a Jameis WinstonTaysom Hill competition — could fall into the 2022 tag mix as well.
  • One factor complicating the SeahawksJamal Adams talks: the Pro Bowl safety wanting not only to become the highest-paid player at the position but seeking to end up on his own financial tier. Adams does not want to be viewed as a pure safety, and thus be confined to the position’s salary range, Corry adds. Adams does not rate as a top-tier coverage safety, but he is a historically productive pass rusher for the position and is used in myriad capacities. With Seattle having traded two first-rounders for him, a deal is expected to come to fruition soon.
  • The Bears made a couple of changes to their scouting staff. They promoted Jeff King to the pro scouting director post. King joined the team as a pro scout in 2016. The former NFL tight end interviewed for the Panthers’ assistant GM job in May. Chicago also promoted Sam Summerville from area scout to national scout. The Fritz Pollard Alliance named Summerville, a Bears scout since 2012, as its NFC scout of the year in 2019.

Giants Pick Up 2021 Options For Evan Engram, Jabrill Peppers

The Giants will extend the contracts of 2017 first-rounders Evan Engram and Jabrill Peppers through the 2021 season, the team announced.

This marks the final year fifth-year options will be guaranteed for injury only. Beginning in 2018, teams must fully guarantee players fifth-year salaries if they pick up options. The injury component will be key for Engram.

The fourth-year tight end is coming off a second straight injury-marred season. Engram underwent foot surgery in December. While the Giants would obviously prefer he stay healthy and earn the 2021 salary coming to him, they would only be able to cut Engram free of charge if he can pass a physical by the start of the ’21 league year. Engram has missed 13 games between the 2018-19 seasons.

Engram, however, has given Eli Manning and Daniel Jones an intriguing weapon when healthy. He averaged a career-high 58.4 yards per game last season but only played in eight contests. Engram’s 722 yards as a rookie were the most of any rookie tight end during the 2010s.

Drafted two spots after Engram three years ago — at No. 25 overall — Peppers came over in last year’s Odell Beckham Jr. trade. The former Browns draftee started 11 Giants games last season before suffering a transverse process fracture in his back. Pro Football Focus graded the Michigan product as a middle-of-the-pack safety in 2019. Peppers registered 76 tackles, which were only three shy of his career-high figure despite an injury-shortened season, and intercepted one pass — which he took back for a touchdown.