There’s still no movement toward a deal between the Rams and cornerback Trumaine Johnson, per ESPN.com’s Alden Gonzalez, who’s the latest to report that he’ll play 2017 under the franchise tag. Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson relayed earlier this week that no agreement would come to fruition by Monday’s deadline, meaning Johnson will play the season as the NFL’s highest-paid corner. Johnson will earn $16.742MM in his second straight year as the Rams’ franchise player, and the likelihood is that he’ll test the free agent market next offseason. Tagging him again isn’t going to happen because doing so would cost the Rams $24.1MM.
Elsewhere around the NFC…
The NFL needs to make a decision on whether to suspend Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott as soon as possible, opines Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. In doing so, he league would ensure that the internal appeals process would be resolved by Week 1, reasons Florio. Elliott is bracing for a season-opening ban, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN, and Florio wonders if the league leaked that information to Schefter in order to gauge the opinions of both the public and Jerry Jones. The Cowboys owner has made it known to NFL higher-ups that he won’t react kindly if the league suspends one of his stars without ample justification, reports Florio. Given the power Jones has, the NFL “needs to placate” him, writes Florio; at the same time, the league’s also in a difficult situation because it can’t afford to screw up another ruling involving domestic violence.
The Eagles want to “take a little bit off” second-year quarterback Carson Wentz‘s plate this season, head coach Doug Pederson told Comcast SportsNet’s John Clark this week (via Reuben Frank of CSNPhilly.com). Pederson believes that the offseason additions of wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith and running back LeGarrette Blount should make life easier for Wentz, who didn’t have enough help at the skill positions last season and attempted 607 passes – the second-highest rookie total in NFL history, notes Frank. “Everything doesn’t have to fall on Carson’s shoulders and I think sometimes a little bit last year he felt that way and things had to fall his way a little bit to make a play and I don’t think we have to do that this year,” said Pederson.
Redskins safety DeAngelo Hallagreed to a pay cut last month, but he’ll still enter training camp in danger of losing his roster spot, suggests Rich Tandler of CSN Mid-Atlantic. A couple of other veteran safeties, Will Blackmon and Josh Evans, are also on the bubble, per Tandler. Injuries limited Hall to just 17 games over the previous three seasons, including a mere three in 2016. Conversely, staying healthy hasn’t been a problem for the 32-year-old Blackmon, who has made 30 of 32 appearances and logged 16 starts since joining the Redskins prior to 2015. Evans, a regular for the Jaguars from 2013-15, was on and off Washington’s roster last year and only played two games.
More turnover at safety will be on tap for the Redskins, with Field Yates of ESPN.com reporting (via Twitter) the team is placing Donte Whitner on IR.
Washington re-signed safety Josh Evans as a result of this move, reuniting after cutting the depth piece earlier this season. Whitner initially reached an agreement with the Redskins in October and played in 11 games for the team, starting nine, after a lengthy stay in free agency.
It’s a quadriceps injury that will end Whitner’s season and send him back to the UFA market.
The former Bills, 49ers and Browns cog received extensive interest as a UFA but opted to wait for a more attractive offer. However, he ended up signing a one-year deal for just $985K. Despite signing in October, Whitner became a key member of the Redskins’ secondary, one that now has Will Blackmon and Duke Ihenacho as its surefire starters going into a must-win Week 17 game against the Giants.
The 31-year-old back-line defender made 66 tackles and forced a fumble this season, his 11th in the league. Washington has seen much turnover at safety in 2016, cutting David Bruton after signing him to a three-year deal, placing DeAngelo Hall on IR, and determining Kyshoen Jarrett‘s injury was too severe for their liking. This could trigger the team to also move Su’a Cravens to safety, where the USC standout could reside long-term. Although, the Redskins may wait until the offseason to make that move for developmental purposes.
Initially a sixth-round Jaguars pick in 2013 who started for three seasons in north Florida, Evans caught on with the Redskins and played two games for the team earlier this season. He will now be looked to as a backup option again.
December 13th, 2016 at 8:25pm CST by Dallas Robinson
We’ve already passed along one batch of workout updates earlier today, but clubs with continuously taking a look at free agents as the season comes to a close — likely with an eye on futures contracts — we have a fresh listing of tryouts to share. Here’s the latest from the workout circuit:
Before signing Shaquille Riddick to their practice squad earlier today, the Steelers also worked out fellow linebacker Davis Tull, tweets Adam Caplan of ESPN.com. Tull was waived from Atlanta’s practice squad in early November.
Like Denver, the Saints also worked out a large group of players. The full list, per Nick Underhill of the Advocate (alllinksgotoTwitter): quarterback Sean Renfree; running backs Will Ratelle, Darrel Young, and Soma Vainuku; wide receivers Max McCaffrey, Derel Walker, and Kevin Smith; linebackers Khalil Bass and Adam Bighill; defensive end T.J. Fatinikun; defensive tackle Drake Nevis; defensive backs Tony Burnett, Otha Foster, Anthony Gaitor, and Forest Hightower.
The Packers worked out linebacker Frank Beltre and defensive lineman David Moala today, reports Rob Demovksy of ESPN.com. The third member of that tryout, linebacker Jordan Tripp, was ultimately signed to the active roster.
The Buccaneers tried out cornerback Tre Jones and linebacker Raphael Kirby, per Caplan (Twitter link).
The Redskins signed running back Mack Brown to their active roster off of their practice squad, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. The move is another indication that the team will be without Matt Jones on Sunday. To make room, Washington waived safety Josh Evans.
The fumble-prone Jones has been dealing with a knee injury and was held out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday. Now, Jones will be on the sidelines as Chris Thompson and Rob Kelley handle the Redskins’ ground attack. Brown, meanwhile, will back both of them up as Washington takes on the Bengals in London.
Brown missed the Redskins’ 53-man cut in each of the last two years. After being yo-yo’d on and off the practice squad last year, Brown landed there again this year. Now, he might actually get his first taste of real NFL action.
Brown led the NFL with 227 rushing yards in the 2016 preseason.
The Redskins are signing safety Josh Evans, a source tells Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle (on Twitter). Evans joins a Redskins’ secondary that has lost both David Bruton and DeAngelo Hall to injury. Evans is currently on the practice field with Washington, so it would appear that his deal is official.
Evans auditioned for the Redskins late last month and apparently made a good impression on team brass. Cut by Jacksonville before the 53-man deadline, Evans played a significant role during his three years with the Jaguars. He appeared in 47 of a possible 48 regular-season games and tallied 36 starts, with at least 11 coming in each individual campaign.
Evans, 25, amassed 201 tackles – including a career-high 90 in 2014 – with the Jags. For his performance last season, he ranked just 77th among Pro Football Focus’ 89 qualified safeties.
September 2nd, 2016 at 7:57pm CST by Zachary Links
7:57pm: Jacksonville has also released safety Josh Evans, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Evans played a significant role during his three years with the Jaguars, who selected him in the sixth round of the 2013 draft. All told, he appeared in 47 of a possible 48 regular-season games and tallied 36 starts, with at least 11 coming in each individual campaign. Evans, 25, amassed 201 tackles – including a career-high 90 in 2014 – with the Jags. For his performance last season, he ranked just 77th among Pro Football Focus’ 89 qualified safeties.
4:50pm: The Jaguars’ quest to get to 53 has bumped Ryan Davis from the roster. The pass-rushing specialist took to Twitter on Friday to announce that the Jaguars have let him go.
“I got love for Duval, but my time here is done, catch ya later,” he wrote.
Davis was considered something of a lock to make the Jags’ roster this year after he was hit with the second-round tender worth $2.55MM. After spending past years at defensive end, the Jags were hopeful that he could successfully transition to linebacker. Davis, who has registered 11 career sacks with 10 in the last two years, was expected to back up Dan Skuta on the strong side.
February 12th, 2016 at 5:53pm CST by Dallas Robinson
According to the NFL’s contractual bargaining agreement, players drafted in rounds three though seven are entitled to raises during the fourth year of their respective rookie contracts. The pay bumps are tied to playing time — a player must have played in 35% of his team’s offensive or defensive snaps in two of his first three seasons, or averaged 35% playing time cumulatively during that period.
If one of these thresholds is met, the player’s salary is elevated to the level of that year’s lowest restricted free agent tender — that figure is projected to be $1.696MM in 2016. Players selected in the first or second round, undrafted free agents, and kickers/punters are ineligible for the proven performance escalator.
Here are the players who will see their salary rise in 2016 courtesy of the proven performance escalator:
There’s a chance that one of the Jaguars new additions, linebacker Dekoda Watson, could begin next week’s training camp on the team’s physically unable to perform list. According to Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union, the former seventh-round pick underwent hernia surgery in late June, but he is expected back for the start of the regular season.
The Jaguars inked the 26-year-old to a three-year deal in March. Watson spent his first four NFL season with the Buccaneers, where he compiled 106 tackles and three sacks. O’Halloran adds that second-year player LaRoy Reynolds took the first-team reps during minicamp and will likely do the same during training camp.
Let’s take a look at some more notes out of Jacksonville…
“Not participating in organized team activities and minicamp because of foot surgery certainly hurt” the chances for defensive back Josh Evans, says ESPN.com’s Michael DiRocco. If Evans can start to show consistency, DiRocco believes he could unseat Winston Guy.
DiRocco believes the team’s biggest position battle heading into training camp is between right guards Jacques McClendon and Brandon Linder. Considering the interior offensive line’s struggles in 2013, production from right guard will be key if the Jaguars hope to have a successful season.
When looking at the team’s defensive backs, DiRocco thinks the Jaguars will have to choose between Jeremy Harris or Mike Harris for the final cornerback spot. At safety, the writer snubs Chris Prosinski.