Justin Gilbert

This Date In Transactions History: 2014 NFL Draft

The first-round of the 2014 NFL Draft took place seven years ago today. While there was plenty of hype heading into the first day of the draft, surely no one expected the first round to produce so many accomplished players. Among the 32 individuals who heard their name called on May 8, 2014, 17 of those players eventually earned Pro Bowl nods. That’s not shabby.

From a transactions standpoint, there were five trades completed on that Thursday evening, with the Browns and Vikings starring in a handful of the deals. While there were whispers that the first-overall pick could get traded from Houston, the Texans ultimately kept the selection and drafted Jadeveon Clowney at No. 1.

The first trade of the evening was between the Browns and Bills. Cleveland wanted to move back to select a cornerback, so they sent No. 4 to Buffalo for No. 9, a future first, and a future fourth. The Bills ended up selecting wideout Sammy Watkins. As the first round continued to progress, the Browns apparently didn’t feel comfortable staying at No. 9. So, they packaged that selection and a future fifth-round pick to the Vikings for the No. 8 pick, and they proceeded to select cornerback Justin Gilbert. The Vikings selected linebacker Anthony Barr with their new selection.

The Saints later got into the action, acquiring the No. 20 pick from the Cardinals to select receiver Brandin Cooks. New Orleans sent Arizona No. 27 and No. 91, with the Cards selecting safety Deone Bucannon with that first-round selection.

The Browns made another trade later in the night, this time in pursuit of a quarterback. Cleveland traded No. 26 and No. 83 to Philly in exchange for No.22…and the Browns ultimately selected quarterback Johnny Manziel. Really, the writing was on the wall with that selection; the team had previously drafted two other QB busts (Brandon Weeden, Brady Quinn) at that same spot in the draft.

The last trade of the evening once again featured the Vikings. Minnesota acquired the No. 32 pick from the Seahawks for picks No. 40 and No. 108. The Vikings used their new selection on quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

It was surely an entertaining evening, with Cleveland serving as the star of the show. However, fast forward to today, and Browns fans are surely still shaking their head at how everything unfolded.

AFC Rumors: Chiefs, Raiders, Steelers

De’Anthony Thomas was arrested on suspicion of marijuana possession and drug paraphernalia possession on Saturday, according to the Allen County (Kan.) Sheriff’s Office (via KMBC.com). The Chiefs wide receiver has since been released from Allen County Jail on bond. Thomas has played his entire NFL career with the Chiefs, signing a one-year deal to return to the team in 2018 after his rookie contract expired. The wideout’s latest Kansas City deal expired after this season. Thomas, 26, landed on IR in October.

As the Patriots venture to Atlanta for Super Bowl LIII, here is the latest from the AFC:

  • Needs exist at many spots on the Raiders‘ roster, but they are expected to conduct a defense-heavy draft, Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area notes. Oakland added several defenders in free agency last year, most of whom on one-year deals. The Silver and Black finished with an incredible 13 sacks — 17 fewer than the next-closest team (the Giants) this season and fewest in a season since the 2008 Chiefs, who also traded their best pass rusher that year (Jared Allen), recorded just 10 — and lack long-term answers at just about every position defensively. The Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper trades garnered the Raiders, whose own first-round pick became No. 4 overall, the Nos. 24 and 27 selections.
  • The Steelers exercised Bud Dupree‘s fifth-year option last May but have not decided on his long-term status with the team, per Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Dupree collected 5.5 sacks this season and has 20 in his career but has not lived up to his first-round billing. Dupree’s option price is $9.23MM. It would not be surprising if neither Dupree nor 2016 first-round pick Artie Burns inked second contracts with the Steelers, Fittipaldo writes. Burns’ fifth-year option decision is due in May. Considering Burns played just 308 snaps this season and will carry an option cost of close to $10MM, it would be incredibly surprising if Pittsburgh exercised it.
  • JuJu Smith-Schuster suffered an injury in Sunday’s Pro Bowl. While the Associated Press notes the injury that caused the Steelers wideout to leave the game was just a bruised knee, the second-year wideout was limping en route to the AFC team bus. Smith-Schuster may be on the verge of becoming Pittsburgh’s centerpiece receiver, should Antonio Brown be dealt. It doesn’t sound like he’ll be in danger of missing OTA time, however.
  • Included in Seth Wickersham’s must-read ESPN.com piece about the Jimmy Haslam-era Browns: a near-deal that would have added to the Browns and Texans‘ unique quarterback pipeline. After Cleveland chose Johnny Manziel in the 2014 first round, then-Browns GM Ray Farmer had to calm down a “furious” Brian Hoyer. The Texans soon called to offer their No. 33 overall pick for Cleveland’s then-starting quarterback, but Farmer declined the deal to get control of a draft that had gone haywire (with Mike Pettine leading the way for Justin Gilbert and Haslam behind the Manziel move). Hoyer played one more season with the Browns and in 2015 signed with the Texans, who used that No. 33 pick on offensive lineman Xavier Su’a-Filo.

Justin Gilbert Suspended For One Year

Former top ten pick Justin Gilbert has been suspended for one year by commissioner Roger Goodell, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Gilbert, a free agent cornerback, was already facing suspension for the first four weeks of the regular season. Justin Gilbert

Gilbert’s initial one month ban stemmed from a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy. It’s not clear what the new suspension is for, but it seems likely that he has been suspended for a longer term as a repeat offender under the same policy.

This is yet another setback for Gilbert who has yet to do much in his NFL career. After being selected No. 8 by the Browns in 2014, Gilbert struggled totaled just three starts and one interception in 23 games. Later, he drew criticism from owner Jimmy Haslam for his lack of maturity.

The Browns gave up on Gilbert prior to the 2016 season, sending him to the AFC North rival Steelers for a 2018 sixth-round draft pick. Gilbert also failed to realize his potential in Pittsburgh, though, as he played just 11 defensive snaps in 12 games. The Steelers cut Gilbert in February and the only time he’s appeared on the pages of Pro Football Rumors since has been regarding his two suspensions.

At this rate, it will be an uphill battle for Gilbert to get back into football and realize his potential.

Justin Gilbert Gets Four-Game Suspension

The NFL has suspended free agent cornerback Justin Gilbert for the first four weeks of the regular season, as Courtney Fallon of NFL Network was first to report (on Twitter). Gilbert’s ban stems from a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.


Gilbert’s suspension is yet another blow in what has been a disastrous pro career for the 25-year-old. After going eighth overall to Cleveland in the 2014 draft, Gilbert struggled mightily with the Browns on the field over two years, totaling just three starts and one interception in 23 games, and drew criticism from owner Jimmy Haslam for his lack of maturity.

The Browns gave up on Gilbert last summer, trading him to the AFC North rival Steelers for a 2018 sixth-round pick. Gilbert also failed to realize his potential in Pittsburgh, though, as he played a meager 11 defensive snaps in 12 games. The Steelers cut Gilbert in February, and there hasn’t been any reported interest in him since he hit the open market.

Steelers Notes: Brown, Bell, Timmons, Jones

The Steelers have a number of to-do items on their offseason docket, and today general manager Kevin Colbert addressed the media with a focus on what Pittsburgh plans on doing over the next few months. Let’s take a look at the highlights from Colbert’s press conference, courtesy of Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

  • Stating that he wants both wide receiver Antonio Brown and running back Le’Veon Bell to remain Steelers for life, Colbert said the club has opened extension talks with Brown, the only player with whom Pittsburgh has discussed a new deal, according to Dulac. Brown is signed through 2017 with a cap charge of roughly $13.6MM, while Bell is an unrestricted free agent but will likely be retained via the franchise tag. Colbert specifically called reaching a new contract with Brown an offseason “priority,” although a recent report indicated that talks between the two sides will move slowly.
  • Re-signing veteran linebacker Lawrence Timmons could also be in the cards for the Steelers, but negotiations with Timmons won’t be as cut-and-dry as talks with Brown and Bell. “Would you like to have him stay? Absolutely,” Colbert said. “Does it all fit? We can make it work, but at what cost? He’s never been a free agent. I’d like to see him finish his career here and he would too.” Timmons, 30, has spent a decade in Pittsburgh, and is coming off a 78-tackle, 2.5-sack season.
  • The Steelers aren’t counting on former second-round cornerback Senquez Golson, who has missed his first two seasons in the NFL with injury, for anything more than potential depth. “I’m a little more apprehensive,” said Colbert. “Just from sitting out two years, where you haven’t played at all, it’s not real easy to just step out there and catch up.” As such, Colbert said Pittsburgh could consider selecting a cornerback in this year’s draft.
  • Because Golson is a question mark, the Steelers could be open to re-signing cornerback Justin Gilbert, who was released last week, tweets Dulac. Gilbert has become a massive draft bust since being selected eighth overall in 2014, and played only 11 defensive snaps last season. He’s still just 25 years old, however, and would make for an interesting (if uninspiring) depth peice.
  • Despite reports of a possible retirement, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is expected to return in 2017, and the Steelers hope to re-sign backup signal-caller Landry Jones, as well, as Dulac writes. “We’d like to have Landry stay in the mix,” Colbert said. “Will we add a guy? Absolutely. When? It’s hard to say. Sooner or later we will have to address that.” If Pittsburgh doesn’t view Jones as the long-term replacement for Roethlisberger, the club could look to draft a QB at some point.

AFC North Notes: Ravens, Garcon, Garoppolo

Redskins receiver Pierre Garcon would be a quality free agent pickup for the Ravens, Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com argues. The Ravens have a history of success with 30-something WRs (Derrick Mason, Anquan Boldin and Steve Smith Sr.) and Garcon could nicely complement the speed of Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman. Recently, GM Ozzie Newsome talked about his desire to add a receiver with experience and Garcon fits the bill.

Some of the success that we have had here is going out — whether it is by trade or free agency or cap casualty — and getting a veteran receiver that still has some juice left, that still has the ability to play at a high level,” Newsome said. “When I was talking about getting a complementary receiver, that is what I was referring to. It does not necessarily have to come through the draft, but it can come through other means. We definitely will be pursuing that this year.”

Here’s more out of the AFC North:

Steelers Cut Justin Gilbert

The Steelers have cut cornerback Justin Gilbert, per a team announcement, thus ending a short tenure in Pittsburgh for the 25-year-old.
Justin Gilbert

Gilbert joined the Steelers last September via trade with the AFC North rival Browns, who acquired a 2018 sixth-round selection in return. That came just two years after the Browns used the eighth overall pick in the draft on Gilbert, an ex-Oklahoma State star whose success in college hasn’t translated to the pros. Gilbert logged only three starts in two years with the Browns, and he didn’t pick up any in 12 appearances with the Steelers. All told, he played just 11 defensive snaps in Pittsburgh and made one tackle.

Going forward, Gilbert’s 2017 cap charge – upward of $2.17MM – will come off the Steelers’ books, Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports (Twitter link).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns Trade CB Justin Gilbert To Steelers

1:10pm: The Browns will receive a 2018 sixth-rounder for Gilbert, per a club announcement.

12:44pm: We have not just a trade alert, but an intra-divisional trade alert. The Browns are trading former first-round cornerback Justin Gilbert to the Steelers, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter).

Gilbert, whom the Browns chose eighth overall in the 2014 draft, is one of five first-rounders Cleveland used from 2012-14. None of the players they chose are currently on their roster, as Field Yates of ESPN tweets.

An ex-Oklahoma State Cowboy, Gilbert struggled mightly as a member of the Browns, with whom he appeared in 23 of 32 possible regular-season games and made only three starts. Just nine of those appearances and one start came last year for Gilbert, who amassed 10 tackles and failed to record an interception.

Still only 24, Gilbert will now join contending Pittsburgh, where he’ll attempt to realize his vast potential. The Steelers already have a couple of recent high picks among their top corners in the form of two 2016 selections – first-rounder Artie Burns and second-rounder Sean Davis. William Gay and Ross Cockrell are likely to start, as Roster Resource shows.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Geno, Raiders, Browns, Chiefs, Broncos

Geno Smith‘s prospects when it comes to turning into a viable starting quarterback in the NFL ostensibly aren’t good, but one of his Jets teammates – receiver Brandon Marshall – thinks the 24-year-old has a bright future.

“But like I said from the beginning — and I’ll stand by this — Geno is going to have a monster year, but unfortunately he’s not in it right now,” Marshall said Friday on SiriusXM Radio, according to Newsday’s Kimberley A. Martin. “But he’ll get his shot. He’s still young and he has a long career ahead of him.”

Smith was supposed to be the Jets’ starter this year, but ex-teammate IK Enemkpali broke Smith’s jaw with a punch in August. Since then, Ryan Fitzpatrick has taken the reins and helped lead the Jets to a 2-0 start. As a result, Fitzpatrick has earned a vote of confidence from head coach Todd Bowles. Even without Fitzpatrick to take into consideration, the fact is that Smith hasn’t played well during his career. The 2013 second-round pick’s completion percentage sits in the high-50s and he’s thrown 25 touchdowns against 34 interceptions in 30 games.

Other news and notes from the AFC:

  • Oakland city and stadium officials have restarted exploratory talks on a new stadium with the Raiders, ESPN’s Bill Williamson reports. The Raiders have set a deadline for Oakland to figure out a new stadium plan by year’s end. If no progress is made, the Raiders – whose lease expires at the end of the season – could relocate to Carson, Calif.
  • The Browns had two first-round picks in the 2014 draft. They came out of the round with cornerback Justin Gilbert and quarterback Johnny Manziel. Gilbert’s career has been an abject disaster thus far, and Manziel’s hasn’t been a whole lot better. The Browns’ Sunday opponent is the Raiders, whose first two picks in 2014 were star linebacker Khalil Mack and blossoming QB Derek Carr. With that in mind, Tom Reed of Cleveland.com took a look at what could have been for the Browns.
  • In other Browns news, they tried out free agent receiver Jerry Rice Jr. this week, tweets Pro Football Talk. The son of the greatest wideout ever went undrafted out of UNLV in 2014 and has spent time with Washington and Baltimore.
  • Chiefs safety Eric Berry, who won an offseason battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, has regained his spot as a starter in the team’s base defense, coordinator Bob Sutton said (link via Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star). This comes on the heels of the three-time Pro Bowler playing 71 of 73 snaps in the Chiefs’ Week 2 loss to Denver. Berry’s increase in playing time means a decrease for Hussein Abdullah, who played 37 percent of snaps in Week 2 compared to 86 in Week 1.
  • The Broncos’ defense has allowed the fewest yards per game and the seventh-fewest points per game this year. Their players and coaches believe third-year tackle Sylvester Williams has played a key role in their success. “It’s exciting to start to see him develop into the type of player that we all know that he can be,” linebacker Von Miller said, according to Cameron Wolfe of The Denver Post. “He’ll have a heck of a year. He’s truly a hard worker,” added defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. “He’s got talent, but a lot of guys have talent and they don’t work how he does.”

AFC Notes: Folk, Gilbert, Pryor, Ravens

The Jets entered the day with the second-least amount of cap space in the league, but an adjustment to their kicker’s salary will give them some breathing room.

Nick Folk agreed to convert $1.78MM of his $2.5MM base salary into a signing bonus, freeing up more than $1.18MM in cap space, Field Yates of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). This leaves the Jets with just more than $2.17MM worth of space heading into the season; they previously had just $985K, which was ahead of only the Saints’ $465K +, according to OverTheCap.

Folk enters the season with a $1.46MM cap number.

Here is some news from around the AFC, with Week 1 approaching for 30 teams.

  • Justin Gilbert‘s road-rage incident won’t affect his status for Sunday, but the strained hip flexor the second-year Browns cornerback suffered Aug. 18 might, notes Mary Kay Kabot of Cleveland.com.
  • Recently cut from the Browns after initially making the roster out of the preseason, Terrelle Pryor will work out for two teams this week, according to Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk. The former Ohio State and Raiders quarterback will do so as a receiver for both teams, who were not named in the report.
  • Ravens rookie defensive tackle Carl Davis will replace Timmy Jernigan in the starting lineup against the Broncos due to Jernigan’s doubtful status due to a right knee injury, Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com reports. Hensley rates Davis, a third-round pick, as the team’s most impressive rookie thus far.
  • Baltimore has also ruled out Breshad Perriman and Lorenzo Taliaferro, per Hensley.