Michael Davis

Commanders Sign CB Michael Davis

The Commanders’ efforts to re-tool their defense under new head coach Dan Quinn continue. The team announced on Monday that cornerback Michael Davis has been signed.

[RELATED: Commanders Add CB Noah Igbinoghene]

Davis joined the Chargers in 2017 as an undrafted free agent, and he went on to become a mainstay in the secondary over the course of his seven-year tenure with the team. He started 74 of his 107 games with the Bolts, seeing first-team action at least nine times every campaign since his rookie year.

The 29-year-old has some experience in the slot, but he has primarily been used on the perimeter during his career. Davis’ PFF evaluations have remained relatively consistent and less-than-spectacular, but he drew a career-best overall grade of 72.7 in 2022. Coverage was a sore spot last season, however, with nine touchdowns and a 119 passer rating allowed as the nearest defender.

On the other hand, Davis has posted notable ball production during much of his career. He has racked up eight interceptions across the past five seasons, while adding 60 pass deflections over that span. The BYU alum has reached double digits in the latter category four years in a row, and continuing in that regard while bouncing back from a coverage perspective will be a goal for 2024.

The Commanders have been among the busiest teams on the free agent market so far, something which comes as little surprise. The team entered the new league year with considerable spending power, much of which has been devoted to upgrading a defense which featured major room for improvement compared to the end of last season in particular. Davis will join a CB room which lost Kendall Fuller to the Dolphins in free agency and which features a number of low-cost contributors in the secondary. He will look to earn a starting role alongside recent draftees Benjamin St-Juste and Emmanuel Forbes.

Latest On Chargers’ CB Room

The Chargers’ secondary was a relatively strong unit in 2022, but it faces questions heading into training camp. The starting configuration at the cornerback spot in particular is yet to be determined.

Ja’Sir Taylor lined up in the slot during OTAs and minicamp, as detailed by Daniel Popper of The Athletic (subscription required). That position could remain his into the start of the regular season, but the team’s situation on the boundary will change when veteran J.C. Jackson makes his return to the field. That is expected to take place in time for training camp, which could leave Taylor competing for a first-team role.

Jackson and former UDFA Michael Davis would likely operate on the perimeter, Popper writes, which would leave 2021 second-rounder Asante Samuel Jr. eyeing the starting slot spot. The latter has started all but two of his 30 regular and postseason appearances to date, recording a pair of interceptions and 11 pass breakups in each of his first two campaigns. Issues in run defense could open the door to Taylor eating into Samuel’s playing time, however.

A sixth-round selection last year, Taylor was used primarily on special teams as a rookie. His strength against the run compared to Samuel could earn him a sizable jump in playing time, though. While DBs’ performance against aerial attacks obviously plays a bigger role in how teams divvy out playing time, it would certainly be interesting if the Chargers went with Taylor and kept Samuel as a top backup.

Jackson’s patellar tendon rupture cleared out one of the two boundary roles for Samuel last season, and Pro Football Focus viewed the Florida State alum as making progress in Year 2. Samuel, however, also has slot experience. PFF graded Samuel as a top-25 cornerback last season. The advanced metrics site ranked Samuel as a top-15 cover corner, masking the run-defense issue to some degree. Samuel accomplished this while playing 1,045 defensive snaps. Davis graded as PFF’s No. 19 overall corner, putting Brandon Staley‘s unit in a good place — so long as Jackson can bounce back from a rough 2022 on the performance and injury front.

Even though the Bolts have not re-signed veteran Bryce Callahan — their primary slot defender last season — Staley figures to have options. Callahan, 32, remains a free agent. Should Jackson be ready for Week 1 as he expects, L.A. will boast one of the league’s more interesting cornerback groups. Samuel’s role, in particular, will be worth monitoring.

Chargers CB J.C. Jackson Out For Season

OCTOBER 24: Staley confirmed the high-priced corner will miss the rest of the season. The second-year Bolts HC said Jackson suffered a patellar tendon rupture. This can be one of the toughest injuries to surmount. Needless to say, it will require significant recovery time. This adds to another brutal season for Chargers injuries. Jackson is signed through the 2026 season on a contract that includes $40MM in guarantees.

OCTOBER 23: The Chargers lost their Week 7 contest to the Seahawks on Sunday, and they may have lost a high-profile defender as well. Cornerback J.C. Jackson, who was carted off the field in an air cast, suffered a dislocated kneecap, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). Jackson will have an MRI on Monday to determine the extent of the damage, but head coach Brandon Staley called the injury “significant” (Twitter link via James Palmer of the NFL Network).

Jackson signed a massive five-year, $82.5MM contract with the Bolts this offseason, and the early returns have not been promising. The soon-to-be 27-year-old was forced to undergo ankle surgery in August, which kept him out of Los Angeles’ Week 1 victory over the Raiders, and he also missed the club’s Week 3 drubbing against the Jaguars. In the four games he had appeared in before Sunday, he surrendered a 149.3 QB rating on passes thrown in his direction, according to Pro Football Reference. Pro Football Focus was even less friendly, charging him with a 155.3 rating and assigning him a dismal 28.9 coverage grade.

Still, it’s easy enough to chalk those numbers up to small sample size volatility and the learning curve that can be expected when a player is adjusting to a new system. The Chargers authorized the Jackson deal for a reason, and losing him for an extended period of time would be a difficult pill to swallow. That is especially true given that the club is already without star pass rusher Joey Bosa, who was placed on IR last month and who is not expected back until the end of November at the earliest. Even when he does return, it is not believed that he will perform at his usual elite level.

Making matters worse is the fact that Los Angeles also lost WR Mike Williams in the fourth quarter of the Seattle game, with Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com reporting that Williams sustained a right ankle injury. Ironically, fellow receiver Keenan Allen, who had been sidelined since suffering a hamstring injury in Week 1, finally returned to game action on Sunday. Allen and Williams have yet to finish a game together in 2022.

Meanwhile, LT Rashawn Slater joined Bosa on injured reserve at the end of September, and if he returns at all this year, it will not be until the end of the regular season or the beginning of the playoffs, if the Chargers should qualify. The 4-3 outfit is still in the thick of the postseason picture, but the mounting injuries are obviously cause for alarm. Initial reporting seems to suggest that Williams’ prognosis is not as worrisome as Jackson’s, though we are awaiting confirmation on that front.

In Jackson’s absence, Michael Davis stands to see an increase in snaps. Davis has started the two games that Jackson missed this year, and he started 49 games for the Chargers from 2018-21. Jackson was benched in favor of Davis during halftime of LA’s Week 6 win against the Broncos.

AFC West Notes: Mahomes, Bolts, Broncos

Given a deal that was $10MM north of the previous NFL AAV record two summers ago, Patrick Mahomes has seen his $45MM-per-year pact fall to fourth. This offseason saw Aaron Rodgers surpass $50MM per year and Deshaun Watson‘s fully guaranteed $46MM-per-year pact lead to Kyler Murray signing for $46.1MM on average. Mahomes received the $45MM salary because he agreed to a 10-year extension, and the superstar Chiefs quarterback has said he is unconcerned about where is contract currently stands among QBs. But a source informed Pro Football Focus’ Doug Kyed the Chiefs could adjust his deal “sooner than later.” Mahomes, 26, has never been expected to play out his through-2031 contract. It will be passed many times between now and its expiration date. Lamar Jackson is almost certainly gunning for a deal north of that $45MM figure. It does not look like the Chiefs will be addressing the contract this year, but in addition to Jackson, Russell Wilson should be expected to pass Mahomes’ pact by 2023. Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert will also be extension-eligible in January.

A team agreeing to redo a player’s deal with so many years left on it stands to be an interesting contract chapter — one that may not be too far in the future — but Mahomes is rather important to this franchise’s prospects. Here is the latest from the AFC West:

  • From one previous contractual record to a current position’s standard, the ChargersDerwin James re-up looks quite good for the player. James’ $19MM-per-year extension tops safeties in AAV; it also compares favorably to Minkah Fitzpatrick and Jamal Adams‘ deals in terms of its three-year payout ($58.5MM) and fully guaranteed money ($38.6MM), OverTheCap’s Jason Fitzgerald tweets. Given James’ injury history, the Bolts’ $42MM in total guarantees matters as well. His 2023 base salary is fully guaranteed, and $3.4MM of his 2024 base becomes fully guaranteed in March 2023, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes. Two 90-man roster bonuses worth $3MM are due in 2025 and ’26, respectively, though those base salaries are nonguaranteed. James will count less than $10MM against the Chargers’ cap in 2022 and 2023, but those numbers go way up by the mid-2020s: $19.9MM (2024), $23.9MM (2025), $24.6MM (2026).
  • Asante Samuel Jr.‘s path back to the Chargers’ starting lineup appears to be narrowing. While Samuel entered camp as the outside cornerback starter opposite J.C. Jackson, Michael Davis has taken over in recent days. Brandon Staley said the competition remains open, but The Athletic’s Daniel Popper notes Davis has played in front of Samuel for several days. A former UDFA the Bolts re-signed on a three-year deal worth $25.2MM in 2021, Davis appears to be distancing himself in this battle, per Popper (subscription required). Davis, 27, has been a Chargers starter for the past three years. Samuel also has slot experience, something that could come into play considering Bryce Callahan‘s injury past. The mid-offseason addition, however, has been manning the slot with the Bolts’ first unit.
  • The Broncos, who have lost starting wideout Tim Patrick for the season and likely linebacker starter Jonas Griffith for several weeks, are starting to see injuries pile up. Netane Muti, who has been battling Quinn Meinerz for the starting right guard gig, is out due to an arthroscopic knee surgery. Muti will miss between three and four weeks, per Mike Klis of 9News (Twitter links). This effectively walls off the third-year blocker’s path to a starting role, for the time being. The Broncos have Meinerz and Dalton Risner as their expected guard starters, though Graham Glasgow is still in the mix after returning from a season-ending 2021 setback.

Chargers Rumors: RT, Davis, Palmer

The Chargers offensive line is almost perfectly set for the regular season. They return the left-side trio of tackle Rashawn Slater, guard Matt Feiler, and center Corey Linsley, who were all very impressive in the same roles last year. They used their first-round pick this year to fill the right guard spot with rookie guard Zion Johnson out of Boston College. 

The right tackle position is currently a battle between last year’s starter Storm Norton and reserve lineman Trey Pipkins III. Norton has vastly outperformed his undrafted status, but does leave something to be desired at the position. The Chargers are really hoping, though, that Pipkins will live up to his third-round draft stock from three years ago, according to Daniel Popper of The Athletic.

Pipkins spent the offseason working out with Duke Manyweather, who works with offensive lineman in Dallas. Los Angeles will hope that Pipkins will be able to make the leap and take over the starting right tackle job to fill in their ideal offensive line. If not, they will likely rely again on Norton and focus any blocking help directly to that side of the line.

Here are a few other notes on position battles the Chargers face going into the preseason, according to Popper:

  • Cornerback Michael Davis is heading into his sixth year with the Chargers. After spending his first season and a half as a rotational cornerback in the Chargers defense, Davis took hold of a starting job and didn’t relinquish it. Not until this preseason, that is. With the free agent additions of Bryce Callahan and J.C. Jackson, Davis is facing some serious competition for his starting job. As training camp begins, it appears the Chargers have been running with Jackson and Asante Samuel Jr. on the first-team with Callahan coming in as the first option for nickel packages. It’s great news for the Chargers depth at cornerback, but tough for Davis who hasn’t been a backup since 2018.
  • With wide receivers Mike Williams and Keenan Allen set to return as quarterback Justin Herbert‘s top two receiving options, the question rises of who comes in as the third receiver. Los Angeles didn’t make any moves to acquire a new receiving threat this offseason, mainly due to the belief they hold that Josh Palmer will make a significant leap in his second NFL season. As a rookie, Palmer caught 33 balls (third-best for receivers on the team) for 353 yards (fourth-best for receivers on the team). The Chargers will continue to use running back Austin Ekeler‘s receiving abilities in the passing game and, after losing Jared Cook to free agency, they brought in Gerald Everett to start at tight end. But they hope to see Palmer really step up as a wide out so that they can terrorize opposing defenses with a three-headed monster of a receiving corps.

AFC West Notes: Wilson, Chargers, Chiefs

The Chargers made the biggest cornerback splash this offseason, signing ex-Patriot J.C. Jackson. While Jackson’s starting spot is known, the rest of the Bolts’ corner arrangement is not. Asante Samuel Jr. will enter training camp with the lead to be the team’s other outside starter, according to Daniel Popper of The Athletic (subscription required). With Bryce Callahan signed to play in the slot, this would move Michael Davis to a bench role. Davis, who signed a three-year deal worth $25.8MM to stay in Los Angeles last year, started all 14 games he played for the 2021 Chargers. He has worked as a starter for the past three seasons. Pro Football Focus ranked both he and Samuel outside its top 80 corners last season, however. Samuel playing in the slot over Callahan, with Jackson and Davis outside, is another option for the Bolts, Popper adds. Callahan, who dealt with extensive injury problems in Denver, signed for barely the league minimum after the draft.

Shifting first to Denver, here is the latest from the AFC West:

  • Although the NFL is amid its quiet period, the Broncos‘ new quarterback will host a pre-training camp of sorts ahead of the team reconvening. Russell Wilson will gather his pass catchers for a mid-July summit in San Diego, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. The Broncos have their top four wide receivers (Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, Tim Patrick, KJ Hamler) and tight end Albert Okwuegbunam back, and Melvin Gordon‘s re-signing kept the team’s 2021 backfield intact. But Denver newcomers Wilson and Nathaniel Hackett‘s presences obviously loom larger, and the 11th-year QB will take advantage of some off time to accelerate his rapport with his new teammates.
  • Shifting back to L.A., the Bolts are planning to keep Kyle Van Noy in the versatile role he held with the Patriots. The post-draft free agency addition is expected to both work as an edge rusher and an off-ball linebacker, per Popper. Van Noy played both spots during the Bolts’ offseason program. The 31-year-old linebacker should be expected to be the team’s No. 3 edge rusher, behind Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack, Popper adds. With the Pats and Dolphins over the past three years, Van Noy combined for 17.5 sacks.
  • Easton Stick‘s rookie contract expires after the 2022 season, and despite the Chargers having Chase Daniel back to be Justin Herbert‘s top backup, Popper notes the team is grooming the North Dakota State product to be Herbert’s post-Daniel QB2. Dating back to Tyrod Taylor‘s tenure, Stick, 26, has been L.A.’s third-stringer throughout his career. Carson Wentz‘s Bison successor has thrown one regular-season pass.
  • A Chiefs exec since 2017, Tim Terry is staying put with a new title. The team bumped him up to senior director of pro personnel, Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com tweets. Terry, 47, has been a key front office staffer for a while. Prior to coming to Kansas City, he spent eight years as the Packers’ assistant director of player personnel. The Chiefs lost one of Brett Veach‘s top lieutenants, assistant director of player personnel Ryan Poles, this offseason. Poles is now the Bears’ GM.

Broncos Expected To Pursue Kyle Fuller

Now a free agent, Kyle Fuller figures to have some options. One will be in Denver with his former defensive coordinator.

The Broncos are expected to make a “strong push” to sign the veteran cornerback, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. Vic Fangio coached Fuller for four seasons as Chicago’s D-coordinator. New Denver GM George Paton was with the Vikings throughout Fuller’s Bears career.

It should not be ruled out, as the Raiders have shown this week, that the Bears could find a trade partner at the 11th hour. But the team likely discussed Fuller with other teams before cutting him. Fuller was due to make $13MM as part of his 2018 contract, which the Packers constructed after the Bears transition-tagged him.

While the Broncos made a key addition in Ronald Darby, they still have a need at cornerback. They also roster ex-Fuller teammate Bryce Callahan, who is going into his third season with the team. Callahan has shown the ability to play outside and in the slot, his strength, but he has battled significant injury issues that would prevent the Broncos from counting on him. Callahan missed all of the 2019 season and was limited to 10 games last season.

Denver entered free agency targeting more than one cornerback, and Mike Klis of 9News notes the team made an offer to Michael Davis early this week (Twitter link). The Chargers, however, re-signed Davis. Fuller, 28, certainly carries a higher profile. The Broncos not adding another will make corner a logical target at No. 9 overall.

The Bears drafted Fuller before Fangio’s 2015 arrival, taking him in the 2014 first round, but he still broke out during Fangio’s run. The Bears passed on Fuller’s fifth-year option in 2017, but he delivered a first-team All-Pro 2018 season in Fangio’s Chicago finale. Considering the Packers signed Fuller to the offer sheet three years ago, they may be back in the mix for him as well. Other teams figure to inquire too, but Fangio’s presence may be pivotal for the Broncos.

Chargers To Re-Sign CB Michael Davis

Having just released Casey Hayward, the Chargers agreed to terms with one of their younger cornerbacks. They will keep Michael Davis off the free agent market via three-year deal, according to NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo (on Twitter).

A key Los Angeles contributor, Davis will stay in southern California and receive $15MM guaranteed to do so, per Garafolo (on Twitter). He received interest from a few other teams as well but will play his fifth season in L.A.

A year ago, the Bolts gave Davis a second-round tender. He intercepted a career-high three passes last year, following a 2019 season in which he nabbed two picks. The former UDFA graded as Pro Football Focus’ No. 55 overall cornerback in 2020.

The Chargers have parted ways with two All-Pro corners over the past several months, having traded Desmond King — who also dabbled at safety in L.A. — to the Titans ahead of their Hayward cut. Going into the new league year, Davis and Chris Harris are the Bolts’ top corners.

Chargers CB Michael Davis Signs Tender

Chargers cornerback Michael Davis signed his second-round tender, as Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. With that, Davis will earn roughly $3.3MM in 2020 on a one-year deal. 

[RELATED: Rams-Chargers Stadium May Not Be Ready For Season]

Davis was set for restricted free agency and the Bolts tendered him at the second-round level to keep other teams at bay. Last year, Davis started in all 12 of his games as the Chargers worked around a rash of injuries in the secondary. Derwin James, Adrian Phillips, and second-round rookie Nasir Adderley all succumbed to different maladies, thrusting Davis into the spotlight.

Davis, meanwhile, missed a pair of games due to a substance-abuse policy violation. All together, the advanced metrics were not wild about Davis’ performance – he graded out as one of the NFL’s worst qualified corners, according to Pro Football Focus. Still, he managed 39 stops and the first two interceptions of his career. It was, at minimum, enough for the Chargers to hang on to him for another season.

This year, the Chargers’ secondary will be bolstered by the arrival of Chris Harris, who is expected to play in the slot. The longtime Broncos star gives the Chargers three first-team All-Pros in the unit – Harris, James, and Desmond King – plus second-team All-Pro Casey Hayward. King, who excelled in the slot last year, will likely shift to safety.

RFA/ERFA Tender Decisions: 3/17/20

Tuesday’s restricted free agent and exclusive rights free agent tender decisions will be posted below. Deals will be updated throughout the day.


Tendered at second-round level: 

Tendered at original-round level: