Jerry Hughes

Contract Notes: Hughes, Walker, Boyle

Here are some details on a deal recently reached in Houston:

  • Jerry Hughes, DT (Texans): Two-year, $10MM. The deal , reported by ESPN’s Field Yates, has a guaranteed amount of $4.5MM comprised of a $2.5MM signing bonus and Hughes’s 2022 base salary of $2MM. The contract has two different per game active bonuses for each year. In 2022, Hughes will receive a per game active bonus of $29,411 for a potential season total of $500,000. In 2023, Hughes will receive a per game active bonus of $58,823 for a potential season total of $1MM.

Here’s an interesting detail in the contract of the 2022 NFL Draft’s No. 1 overall pick:

  • Defensive end Travon Walker‘s first NFL contract currently has a detail that no other rookie contract from this year holds: the deal contains no offset language, according to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated. Offset language usually pertains to what will happen to a player’s salary if he should be cut in his first four seasons (the duration of each drafted rookie’s contract). Breer reports that it’s currently the only such deal this year. He also points out that it only occurred with two players from last year’s Draft: Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Jaguars running back Travis Etienne. Jacksonville has clearly started a trend of being uniquely generous to their first-round picks.

Here are some details from a contract recently restructured in Baltimore:

  • Nick Boyle, TE (Ravens): Two-year, $13MM. According to Yates, Boyle agreed to rework his contract, lowering his 2022 salary from $5MM to $1.12MM with a signing bonus of $2.63MM and possible incentives of $1.25MM. His 2023 salary was lowered $1MM with that money being converted to a roster bonus for that year. The deal creates $2.57MM of new cap space for the Ravens to work with.

Texans To Sign Jerry Hughes

One of the top remaining edge rushers is off the market. Jerry Hughes is signing with the Texans, as first reported by Jordan Schultz and confirmed (on Twitter) by Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson. 

Hughes, 33, began his career in Indianapolis in 2010. He played a reserve role for the first two seasons of his career, but took on a much larger workload the following year. He started six games, totalling 41 tackles and four sacks. During the subsequent offseason, though, he was traded to the Bills.

It was in Buffalo that he enjoyed the bulk of his success. Starting 127 of 144 games with the Bills, Hughes put up back-to-back seasons with 10 sacks in 2013 and 2014. Since then, he has remained a consistent presence on the edge of the Bills’ defense. His level of play earned him a two-year extension in 2019, though the 2021 campaign saw him put up the lowest totals of his tenure in western New York (18 tackles, two sacks).

This offseason, the Bills have made changes in the edge room, including, most notably, the signing of Von Miller. In large part because of that deal, Hughes and Mario Addison were forced to find new homes. The latter has already signed in Houston, making him one of a few notable faces for Hughes. Another is defensive line coach Jacques Cesaire, who previously worked on the Bills’ staff.

As a Sugar Land native and TCU alum, this deal also marks a homecoming for Hughes. Even if he isn’t able to replicate his best years, he should have a notable role to play on what could be a much-improved Texans defense in 2022.

AFC Rumors: Jaguars, Williams, Van Roten, Leonard, Browns, Griffin III

After the Jaguars fired former head coach Urban Meyer, it became public that Jacksonville had no intentions of paying Meyer the remaining money on his contract, as he was being fired for cause. There was speculation at the time that the parties may follow existing precedents and negotiate a settlement in order to avoid a legal situation.

According to Jarrett Bell of USA Today, an anonymous source with knowledge of the situation informed the columnist that, to date, the two sides have been unable to strike a settlement agreement.

Here are a few other rumors from around the AFC, starting with a rumor out of South Beach:

  • The Dolphins should have plenty of options for their offensive line configuration, but it most likely hinges on what they do with interior offensive lineman Connor Williams. According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Miami isn’t quite sure what to do with Williams, working him at center and left guard over the past three weeks. The good news, is that it gives them plenty of options. With Terron Armstead solidified at left tackle and Robert Hunt solidly at right guard, Williams could fit at either position. If you put Williams at left guard, the team would likely have Michael Deiter start at center and leave Liam Eichenberg and Austin Jackson to compete for the starting right tackle job. If you start Williams at center, Eichenberg can slide in to the left guard job and Jackson can man the right tackle position.
  • The Jets recently released guard Greg Van Roten. According to Ralph Vacchiano of SNY, head coach Robert Saleh claimed that they released Van Roten because they believe he has the potential to start for other teams in the league. His release is meant to allow him to find those teams that would provide him a starting opportunity. Saleh was quoted saying they’d “love to have him back,” if he fails to find such opportunities.
  • Colts linebacker Darius Leonard had ankle surgery in June last year before the season. The surgery helped him to get healthy for the season, where he played every game but one and was named a first-team All-Pro for the third time in his career. While the ankle is still ailing him, Joel A. Erickson of the Indy Star reported that Leonard says the ankle is better now than it was at this point last year. This is an encouraging sign for Leonard and a scary message for the other teams in the AFC South. Leonard has been named to an All-Pro team every year of his career while being nagged by his ankle ailment. A healthy Leonard is a dangerous weapon for opposing teams to have to game-plan against.
  • With the return of free agent wide receiver Jarvis Landry seeming less and less likely, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com believes the Browns will be able to push a bit harder now for free agent pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney to return. Cabot points out that drafting UAB pass rusher Alex Wright makes the need to sign Clowney a little less urgent, but also mentions that fellow pass rusher Myles Garrett wants Clowney back, which could help his case. Cabot claims that, if the two parties can’t agree to a new deal, Cleveland will consider former Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes instead.
  • We’ve all seen Rich Eisen of NFL Network run the 40-yard dash for charity. Well, this year, former NFL quarterback Robert Griffin III, currently an analyst for ESPN, participated and reportedly was clocked at 4.48 seconds. Mike Florio of NBC Sports reports that on Eisen’s show, Griffin made the claim that some teams took notice of his impressive run and reached out to him. This doesn’t necessarily mean that any teams have offered to bring him back to the NFL, but Griffin has publicly stated his desire to return to football in the past, even claiming that his contract with ESPN would allow him to sign with an NFL team if the opportunity presents itself. Griffin last spent time in the league as Lamar Jackson‘s back up on the Ravens. He filled in multiple times leading many to wonder if he still had the ability to lead an NFL offense based on his brief appearances.

AFC East Notes: Maye, Bills, Dolphins, Pats

Playing on the franchise tag, Marcus Maye continues to be viewed as on the way out for the Jets. Whether his exit will come via deadline trade or in free agency next year remains to be seen, but Dan Graziano of ESPN.com notes there is interest in the fifth-year safety ahead of the Nov. 2 deadline. While Maye’s $10.6MM franchise tag salary is prohibitive, he is a fifth-year starter who could be an impact rental player. A team acquiring Maye also would allow for exclusive negotiating rights between season’s end and free agency, though Maye giving the 2022 market a try after being tagged would make sense. Maye said last week he has not requested a trade, but contentious negotiations with the Jets did not produce a summer deal. And Maye’s DUI arrest may only further distance him from the Jets, whom he did not inform about the arrest for months after the fact.

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • Going into the 2021 free agency period, the Dolphins‘ regret from their 2020 spending spree influenced a quieter tour through this year’s market, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald notes. The pandemic-reduced salary cap impacted Miami, like it did all teams, but the Dolphins spent just $25.4MM in guarantees this year. They allocated $147.2MM in total contracts in 2020, and the results helped lead the team to its 1-6 place. Byron Jones has not lived up to his then-record deal, and the Dolphins moved on from Shaq Lawson, Kyle Van Noy and Ereck Flowers after one season.
  • Bills defensive ends Mario Addison and Jerry Hughes have been discussed as trade targets around the league, per Graziano. Buffalo has done well to bolster its defensive line, and Addison and Hughes are 30-somethings in contract years. That said, it is difficult to see the Bills parting with either given their status as Super Bowl contenders. Hughes, 33, has started every game for Buffalo this year — his eighth as a Bills first-stringer — while first-rounder Gregory Rousseau has displaced Addison as a starter. Addison, 34, and Hughes have combined for just 1.5 sacks, but each certainly helps Buffalo with D-line depth.
  • The contract the Patriots gave ex-Lions second-rounder Jahlani Tavai runs through the 2022 season, according to ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss, who writes the ex-Day 2 pick is likely being evaluated for a bigger role next season. The Patriots have Dont’a Hightower, Ja’Whaun Bentley and Jamie Collins on expiring contracts, giving Tavai a chance to grow from a seldom-used defender to a more prominent player in 2022. Tavai is set to make just $965K next year.
  • The extension the Patriots gave ex-Dolphins starter Raekwon McMillan calls for a $1MM base salary in 2022, per Reiss, who adds the Pats included $300K in playing-time incentives for the rehabbing linebacker. McMillan tore an ACL early in Pats camp but will have a shot to make next year’s team. The Pats included a $50K roster bonus for McMillan, if he remains with the team March 22.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/10/21

Here are Tuesday’s minor moves, with the list being updated throughout the day:

Arizona Cardinals

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

  • Waived: FB Mikey Daniel

Chicago Bears

Houston Texans

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Released from IR via injury settlement: G Anthony Coyle

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

AFC East Notes: Jets, Williams, Thuney, Dolphins

Throughout the offseason, the Jets have been unwilling to part with a second-round pick for Trent Williams. With days to go before the draft, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY hears that their position hasn’t changed.

And, even if the Jets were willing to cough up a second-round pick, Vacchiano doesn’t think that would be enough to bring the Redskins’ left tackle to Gang Green.

More on the Jets and the rest of the AFC East:

  • The Jets want to keep Jamal Adams for the long haul, but they’re also willing to slow-play negotiations to get the best possible price, ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini writes. Meanwhile, Adams’ camp has not set a deadline for talks, so the Jets don’t feel rushed or pressured to get something done. As it stands, Adams is under contract through the 2020 season, and the Jets also hold a fifth-year option on his deal that could take him through 2021.
  • If rival teams call with trade interest in guard Joe Thuney, ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss expects the Patriots to pick up the phone and listen with an open mind. The Pats stunned everyone by using the franchise tag on Thuney, cuffing him at a $14.78MM rate for 2020. That’s not Bill Belichick‘s style, of course, so Reiss thinks he’d consider dealing Thuney if they’re offered a second-round choice or even a high third-rounder.
  • The Dolphins have done lots of homework on mid-round running backs and Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald wouldn’t be surprised to see them come out of draft weekend with two new RBs. They’ve also done lots of interviews with kickers like Georgia’s Rodrigo Blankenship, which could spell the end for Jason Sanders.
  • After undergoing wrist and groin surgeries, Jerry Hughes says he’s “on schedule” for the 2020 season (via Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News). That’s fantastic news for the Bills, who hope to feature Hughes at defensive end alongside Trent Murphy and newcomer Mario Addison.

Bills To Sign Jerry Hughes To Extension

The Bills have agreed to sign defensive end Jerry Hughes to a two-year extension worth up to $23MM, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Of that sum, the deal includes a healthy $19.5MM guaranteed. 

Hughes disappointed in the early part of his career, but he has been solid for the Bills ever since coming over in a 2013 trade. The defensive end has not missed a single contest for Buffalo and has 47 sacks to his credit over the last six years. Last year, Hughes recorded seven sacks, a showing topped only by the ten sacks he put up in 2013 and 2014.

The Rams made a push to acquire Hughes before the trade deadline last year, but a deal could not be reached. Instead, the Rams pivoted towards Dante Fowler as a backup plan and Hughes finished out the year with Buffalo, where he impressed with seven sacks and three forced fumbles.

Prior to the extension, the former first-round pick was set to hit the open market after carrying a $10.4MM cap number in 2019. The new deal will keep him under contract through the 2021 season.

Extra Points: Manning, Hughes, Arians

Following Sunday’s loss to the Dolphins, Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes was seen on video yelling at official Roy Ellison. The player was restrained by a team employee before being led back to the locker room.

ESPN’s Mike Rodak tweets that the veteran will not face a suspension for the incident, although ProFootballTalk.com’s Charean Williams says Hughes could still be fined. Meanwhile, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets that Ellison has been placed on administrative leave while the NFL continues to review the matter. Hughes accused the umpire of calling him a vulgar name, and Rapoport notes that Ellison was suspended back in 2013 following an incident with Trent Williams.

The 30-year-old Hughes is having another productive season with Buffalo, compiling 31 tackles, six sacks, and three forced fumbles through 12 games.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFL…

  • Bruce Arians is apparently very focused on the Browns head coaching job. According to ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss (via Twitter), the 66-year-old has “probably very little” interest in the Packers gig. The two-time AP NFL Coach of the Year winner previously said he would only consider becoming a head coach again if he were hired by Cleveland, where he was an offensive coordinator between 2001 and 2003. After serving as the Cardinals head coach for five seasons, Arians retired at the end of the 2017 campaign.
  • During an appearance on WFAN660, Giants head coach Pat Shurmur was non-committal when asked about Eli Manning‘s status heading into next season. “Those are offseason discussions,” he said (via SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano on Twitter). “I’m really pleased with how he’s played of late. … I can’t answer that. I’m fond of everything Eli brings to the table.” The 37-year-old Manning has been having a solid season, completing a career-high 67.9-percent of his passes for 3,263 yards, 15 touchdowns, and eight interceptions.
  • The Vikings will audition Calgary Stampeders quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell this week, reports Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune (via Twitter). The 28-year-old has won a pair of Grey Cup MVPs and two CFL Most Outstanding Player awards during his seven seasons in the league. Mitchell also won the Walter Payton Award during his time at Eastern Washington. The Vikings are currently rostering Trevor Siemian and Kyle Sloter behind Kirk Cousins.
  • Former Seahawks and Patriots cornerback Brandon Browner was sentenced to eight years in prison after he pleaded no contest to attempted murder, reports TMZ Sports. The 34-year-old was accused of breaking into his ex-girlfriend’s apartment, where he then “allegedly chased her, dragged her and then smothered her in a carpet.” Browner also pleaded no contest to two counts of child endangerment, while the remaining chargers (including robbery, burglary, and false imprisonment) were dropped.

Failed Trades: Beasley, Fowler, Jets, Jags

After the trade deadline passes each year, there are inevitably reports about the trades that were discussed but never consummated. For instance, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reports that teams were trying to trade for Falcons pass rusher Vic Beasley (video link). Beasley has just one sack this year, and he has regressed considerably since his First Team All-Pro performance in 2016, but Atlanta believes it can make the playoffs this season, and it was not prepared to move a foundational piece like Beasley, who is under contract through 2019 via the fifth-year option.

Now for more reports concerning trades that never happened, which nonetheless shed some light on the teams that declined to make the deals, the clubs that tried to make the deals, and the players themselves:

  • The Jets, desperate for pass rushing help, inquired on former Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler over the summer, and they tried again at last week’s trade deadline, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com details. The Rams ultimately acquired Fowler in exchange for a 2019 third-rounder and 2020 fifth-rounder, and while the Jets submitted a similar offer about a half hour before the 4pm deadline on October 30, they also wanted a fourth-rounder to come back to them. As such, Jacksonville pulled the trigger on the Rams’ offer.
  • Interestingly, before dealing him to the Saints in August, the Jets offered quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to the Jaguars in a one-for-one swap for Fowler, per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. Jacksonville rebuffed that proposal, even though it knew that Fowler was probably on the way out, and given their QB struggles, that decision may have made a major difference in the Jags’ season.
  • Fowler may not have been the Rams‘ first choice for pass rushing help. We already knew that Los Angeles had made a significant offer for Khalil Mack before he was dealt to the Bears, but Schefter writes that the Rams also called the Texans to discuss Jadeveon Clowney in the first weeks of the season, and as late as last week, they made a push to acquire the BillsJerry Hughes.
  • Several teams, including the Eagles, called the Jets in an effort to acquire deep threat Robby Anderson, per ESPN’s Chris Mortensen (Twitter link). However, Gang Green opted to hold on to Anderson because the development of Sam Darnold remains the team’s top priority, and it did not want to remove one of Darnold’s biggest weapons.

AFC East Notes: Patriots Trades, Collins, Bills, Hughes, Jets, Sterling

The Patriots are annually one of the most aggressive teams in the league when it comes to adding talent, as evidenced by their recent trade for Josh Gordon. With the trade deadline now just a couple of days away, New England is looking to make more moves. The team wants “to acquire some help in the defensive front seven by the deadline Tuesday”, and “they’ve had internal discussions about trading for linebacker Jamie Collins“, according to Jeff Howe of The Athletic.

The Patriots traded Collins to the Browns in 2016, and now apparently have some interest in bringing him back. It would be an unusual move with a player being traded twice between two teams, but the Browns would likely welcome the relief of getting out of Collins’ contract, and it sounds like the Patriots are interested. Collins signed a four-year $50MM deal with Cleveland in 2017, and hasn’t lived up to that deal so far. Whatever happens, it sounds like the Patriots’ defense will look a little different by this time next week.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes “has been a hot name on the trade market”, but the “Bills have been reluctant to part with him”, a source told Howe. Howe thinks that Hughes would “be a good fit for the Patriots”, but doesn’t think Buffalo will decide to part with him. Hughes has been having a good season, notching 4.5 sacks in seven games.
  • Jets tight end Neal Sterling “suffered his second concussion of the season” today against the Bears, and “likely will be lost [for] multiple games”, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN (Twitter link). The Jets are very thin at tight end, so this is a somewhat significant loss for New York.
  • Bills running back LeSean McCoy has cleared the concussion protocol and will play Monday night against the Patriots, the team announced in a tweet. It’s a huge boost for Buffalo’s struggling offense as they look to pull of the massive upset in primetime.