The Jets have waived wide receiver Quinton Patton with an injury settlement, per Rich Cimini of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The 26-year-old offseason signing went on injured reserve earlier this week with an undisclosed ailment.
The Lions have added offensive tackle Tony Hills and waived guard Connor Bozick. Hills will add another body for a team whose starting left tackle, stalwart Taylor Decker, is dealing with a shoulder injury. However, Hills isn’t any kind of replacement for Decker, as he has totaled just 33 appearances and one start since 2010. Bozick didn’t last long in Detroit, where he signed last May as an undrafted free agent from Delaware.
The Dolphins have agreed to a contract with wide receiver Mitch Mathews, sources tell Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Mathews went undrafted out of BYU in 2016. In his collegiate career, he caught 152 passes for 2,083 yards and 24 touchdowns.
The Seahawks have signed tight end Steve Donatell and cut fellow TE Bryce Williams. Donatell, the brother of Seahawks quality control coach Tom Donatell, signed as an undrafted free agent from Wake Forest. Williams went undrafted last year out of East Carolina and spent some time with the Patriots and Rams.
The Chargers have signed cornerback Ryan Reid, an undrafted free agent from Baylor.
The Jets announced today that they have placed wide receiver Quinton Patton on the injured reserve. To replace him on the roster, the organization has signed wideout Devin Street.
Patton joined the Jets this offseason after spending his first four seasons with San Francisco. After playing in only 10 combined games during his first two seasons in the NFL, the former fourth-rounder saw an increased role in 2015 and 2016. This past season was arguably his best, as the 26-year-old finished the campaign with 37 catches for 408 yards. Patton also has brief experience as a running back, kick returner, and special teamer.
Meanwhile, Street saw a reduced roll with the Colts this past season. After appearing in 31 games with the Cowboys between 2014 and 2015, the 26-year-old only made five appearances in 2016, hauling in a single catch for 20 yards. Over his career, the 2014 fifth-round pick has collected 10 receptions for 152 yards and one touchdown. Besides the Colts and Cowboys, Street also had two separate stints with the Patriots.
Quinton Patton started all 14 games he played for the 49ers in 2016 and remains available as the 2017 league year nears the 10-day mark. The Jets have interest and announced they are hosting the fifth-year wide receiver on a visit today.
With the 49ers over the past two seasons, Patton amassed 802 receiving yards and made 18 starts. He scored just one touchdown for 49ers teams that struggled to generate much offensively. Patton missed the 49ers’ final two games with a foot injury, joining the brigade of 49ers regulars on IR.
New Jets OC John Morton served as Patton’s wide receivers coach during his first two seasons with the 49ers, who selected him in the fourth round of the 2013 draft. Gang Green has serious uncertainty at wide receiver. Brandon Marshall requested his release and signed with the Giants, and Eric Decker‘s status for the 2017 season is murky. Jalin Marshall is facing a four-game drug suspension as well, leaving Quincy Enunwa potentially as the Jets’ No. 1 wideout come Week 1 as of now.
The initial wave of NFL free agency is now complete, and while many of the league’s top available players are now off the board, there are still plenty of quality options still on the open market.
Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each offensive position. These rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts – or the amount of guaranteed money – that each player is expected to land in free agency. These are simply the players we like the most at each position, with both short- and long-term value taken into account.
Restricted and exclusive-rights free agents, as well as players who received the franchise tag, aren’t listed here, since the roadblocks in place to hinder another team from actually acquiring most of those players prevent them from being true free agents.
We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some free agents than you are, so feel free to weigh in below in our comments section to let us know which players we’ve got wrong.
Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by offensive position for 2017:
Tony Romo is not a free agent…at least not yet. If the Cowboys do not find a suitable trade and release him, you’ll find him at the top of this list.
Laugh if you must, but Cutler is far and away the best quarterback available on the open market. While most of this year’s QB-needy teams are done with their free agent shopping, the Jets are still searching for their 2017 starter and no one would make more sense for them than Cutler. He’s not all that far removed from playing solid football and he’s a logical transitional option for the Jets until they can isolate a better, younger option for 2018.
Kaepernick’s reps wisely told the press that he will be standing for the National Anthem this year. Still, Kaepernick is an outspoken guy who wants to use his platform to discuss hot button issues, so there’s no guarantee that the media circus around him will cease. Jets owner Woody Johnson loves seeing his team on the back pages of the New York tabloids, but even he has to have more sense than to entertain Kaepernick. McCown, who has been contact with the team, would be an okay choice if they can’t get something done with Cutler. Chase Daniel could be an option too, but there isn’t much game film on him.
Needless to say, the No. 3 ranked player on this list isn’t an option in New York.
The Vikings have moved on and Peterson will not be back in Minnesota. Where he goes from here is anyone’s guess. When Peterson’s option was declined by the Vikings earlier this month, there were tons of stories (likely sourced by Peterson’s camp) about interest from a litany of contenders. Since then, each team – through anonymous sources – has denied being in the mix for the veteran. It would be easy to doubt Peterson at this juncture, but he has come back from serious injuries multiple times in his career and he is only one year removed from his stellar 2015 campaign. He gets the top spot over the bruising Blount as well as Charles, who hasn’t been healthy in a long while.
Jennings was brought to New York with the idea that he would be the team’s workhorse. Unfortunately, two of his three seasons with the G-Men were marred by injury. Jennings is currently putting his agility to good use on Dancing With The Stars and it remains to be seen how committed he is to football. After that, we have a trio of vets (Hightower, Williams, CJ2K) who could still advance the ball in limited spurts.
In case you’re wondering – Mike Gillislee is not listed here because he is a restricted free agent.
The market has been slow to develop for Aiken but it sounds like things could pick up soon as he’s set to meet with the Colts and Seahawks. Aiken, 28 in May, had only 29 receptions last year, but he had 75 grabs for 944 yards in 2015.
Cruz was on the field for 15 regular season games last year and he could recapture some of his old form if a team uses him in the slot. Quick quietly had 44 catches for 564 yards and three touchdowns with the Rams last year, and he was playing in a less-than-stellar offense. Boldin, meanwhile, had 67 catches in 2016, but he averaged just 8.7 yards per reception.
It’s a thin group at tight end and everything drops off dramatically after Tamme and Rivera at the top. Donnell made some noise during his time with the Giants but it’s been a while since he’s done anything of note. Tamme and Rivera could be the only two players from this group to land a deal with any real guaranteed cash.
Things have thinned out at tackle but there are still some impact guys here including Clady, Dunlap, and the versatile Pasztor. Sebastian Vollmer, if healthy, would be an interesting pickup for a team in need of offensive line depth.
Evans can still go and he finished out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 36 guard in the NFL last season. We have a few notable centers here as well in Mangold, Sullivan, and Barnes. Some teams are asking Mangold to switch to guard, but he is hoping to continue in the middle.
Patton (foot) and Bellore (elbow) both went down early on in Sunday’s embarrassing 41-13 loss to the Falcons. Bell, meanwhile, suffered a shoulder injury after being tackled on a 45-yard pass play in the second quarter. In addition to those three, Maiocco notes that cornerback Jimmie Ward (shoulder), center Marcus Martin (ankle), and nose tackle Glenn Dorsey (undisclosed) also sustained injuries yesterday and their status for Weeks 16 and 17 are not yet known.
The 49ers could fill some of these roster spots from within, if they choose. Wide receiver DeAndre Smelter and linebacker Wynton McManis could be candidates for promotion from the practice squad, Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee tweets.
NaVorro Bowman is staying in San Francisco for the foreseeable future. The talented linebacker signed an extension earlier this week that will last through the 2022 season. The four-year extension is worth a reported $44MM (with $20MM guaranteed).
Bowman still had three years left on his contract, but the 28-year-old told Cam Inman of The Mercury News that he was intent on inking a long-term extension as soon as possible. Furthermore, the linebacker understood his standing in the organization, and he didn’t want his contract to trump that of former 49ers greats (including Patrick Willis).
“Out of respect for Pat, I took a little less and understood this was his team at the time,” Bowman said. “I’ve accomplished a lot since that time and made huge accolades.
“For me asking (now) for the deal, they understood why,” said Bowman, noting he never considered holding out of camp. “I knew it wasn’t a popular thing to do so with three years left. It’s basically about being fair. It shows how good of an organization they are to the players and fair for all the work I’ve put in.”
Let’s take a look at some more reactions to Bowman’s new contract…
The Bowman extension sent the right message to the linebacker’s teammates, writes Cam Inman. The players have learned that hard work can translate into a lucrative extension, and general manager Trent Baalke has already said that he plans on using the team’s remaining cap space to ink additional players to new contracts. Quarterback Blaine Gabbert, defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey, wide receiver Quinton Patton and linebacker Michael Wilhoite are among the 49ers who are in the final year of their contracts, Inman notes
“I’ve had several guys walk up to me and say this is motivation for them,” Bowman told Inman. “It’s win-win situations for all us, to show guys it’s possible, but you have to put your work in and do your job.”
“It just shows they truly believe in the guys they drafted to get the job done,” said defensive tackle Quinton Dial, who also received an extension. “It’s something we take a lot of pride in.”
“I want to thank Jed, the York family and Trent for giving me the opportunity to continue my career where my heart is,” Bowman said after inking the extension (via CSNBayArea.com). “I appreciate the hard work that Drew and Paraag put in to getting this deal done. My teammates and coaches have meant so much to me throughout my career and I thank them for helping me become the player I am today. The support I’ve received from my family and friends throughout my life, especially through the adversity of the past few years, has meant so much to me. I can’t wait for the season to start and play in front of the best fans in the NFL.”
Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com was surprised at the timing of the Bowman extension, although he notes that it isn’t the first time the team has extended a player with multiple years left on a contract. Furthermore, Fitzgerald believes the organization was simply taking advantage of their abundance of cap room.
Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who identifies as an introvert, spoke with the Oregonian’s John Canzano for a piece about the All-Pro’s image “reconstruction.” Suh has taken criticism for spending his offseason in Portland instead of Detroit, but explained his reasoning: “I’m there when everyone reports. I like being in my own niche and by myself. I have my trainers here. I get 1-on-1 attention. I have every ounce of this campus to myself. My coaches have been here. I’ve probably talked with our head coach more than just about any player on the team. People here don’t care about celebrity. I can walk around and do whatever I want. I’m a normal Portland person.”
Here’s some additional NFC links:
Several Seahawks veterans, prominent ones, could be entering their final season with the team because of impending salary-cap implications, particularly with Russell Wilson‘s inevitable contract extension soon to hit the books, writes ESPN’s Terry Blount.
The NFC East position groups are being broken down by Jordan Raanan and Eliot Shorr-Parks on NJ.com. Their latest post examines the division’s tight ends. They agree the Giants have the worst tight end group in the division, and Shorr-Parks goes so far as to say, “They may just have the worst tight ends in the entire NFL, let alone the NFC East.”
Meanwhile, the Packers’ NFC North rival Bears are still trying to sort out their safety position. “Every spot on the safety depth chart registers as a battle to watch because right now every position — including the starting jobs — is up for grabs,” says ESPN’s Michael C. Wright.
Falcons reserve receiver/core special teamer Drew Davis will be sidelined for six weeks after foot surgery, reports Orlando Ledbetter in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Davis was placed on the physically unable to perform list, meaning he would miss about three weeks of training camp.