Riley Reiff

AFC East Notes: Ramsey, Patriots, Hardman

A year after acquiring Tyreek Hill and Bradley Chubb via trade, the Dolphins added another standout in Jalen Ramsey. Miami became a destination for Ramsey, whom Albert Breer of notes had zeroed in on landing with the AFC East club. Sean McVay met with Ramsey in January and informed him the Rams would explore trade options, mentioning the team would explore a deal as a way to restock its draft capital and reduce costs. Rams GM Les Snead called teams two weeks before the Combine to gauge interest, and after Dolphins GM Chris Grier confirmed his team might be, Vic Fangio provided a positive opinion of Ramsey’s place in his defense.

After Ramsey’s agent informed him about a Miami deal, the All-Pro cornerback instructed his representative to make sure he ended up there. The Rams may not have traded Ramsey to the Dolphins just because he wanted to be there, Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic tweets, but they did want him out of the NFC. Snead’s price point was initially too high for the Dolphins, per Breer, but the sides settled on a package of a third-round pick and tight end Hunter Long. A far cry from what the Rams sent the Jaguars for Ramsey in 2019 — two first-round picks and a fourth — but the Dolphins now have the eighth-year veteran on the roster and have since adjusted his contract.

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • The Patriots discussed DeAndre Hopkins with the Cardinals early this offseason, per The Athletic’s Jeff Howe, but they backed off due to Arizona’s ask (subscription required). The Cardinals are rumored to be seeking a second-round pick and change here. The NFC West team is not expected to land that, as Howe adds other teams believe the Cards want to dump Hopkins’ salary ($19.45MM in 2023). The Bills and Chiefs are now the closest links to the former All-Pro wideout.
  • Mecole Hardman committed to the Jets after Aaron Rodgers indicated he wanted to be traded to New York, but the ex-Chiefs wideout said (via ESPN’s Rich Cimini) the four-time MVP’s intentions did not affect his decision. While it would seem that would have at least moved the needle a bit — compared to a world in which Zach Wilson was on track for a third QB1 Jets season, at least — Hardman said he was excited to play with Garrett Wilson and Allen Lazard. Hardman added (via the New York Post’s Brian Costello) the Jets showed interest throughout his free agency, which ended with a one-year deal worth up to $6.5MM. Hardman did not elaborate on a Chiefs offer to bring him back, but he seemed to confirm the defending champions’ previously reported plan to move on.
  • A faction of the Patriots‘ locker room voiced support for Bailey Zappe during last season’s brief QB controversy, Devin McCourty confirmed during a WEEI interview (via ESPN’s Mike Reiss). “It was just a back and forth, which to me, spoke more about what we had on offense than the quarterback,” McCourty said. “We never were solidified as an offensive group that guys had full confidence in anything we were doing. There was never true hope.” The Pats, who regressed on offense in 2022, have since rehired Bill O’Brien as OC. While Mac Jones won his job back amid a dysfunctional season, the Pats will give Zappe a chance to push him this year.
  • The incentives in Mike Gesicki‘s one-year, $4.5MM Patriots contract include $300K bumps starting at the 40-reception mark, Doug Kyed of tweets. Gesicki could collect $1.2MM if he reaches 70 catches in 2023. There are also up to $1.2MM in available yardage incentives, with that escalator package starting at 450 yards and ending at 750. Playing-time incentives are also included in the package.
  • Up to $4MM in incentives are present in Riley Reiff‘s one-year, $5MM deal. He will earn $800K by playing 53% of the Pats’ offensive snaps, per Kyed (on Twitter). These figures decrease the higher the snap rate goes, but Reiff can earn all $4.5MM by reaching an 80% snap rate.

Bears Pursued Mike McGlinchey; Latest On Cody Whitehair, Teven Jenkins

Even after acquiring D.J. Moore, the Bears entered free agency with the NFL’s most cap space. But they stood down when it came to the top offensive linemen available.

Jawaan Taylor, Mike McGlinchey and Orlando Brown Jr. each signed for at least $16MM per year last week. The Bears could have obviously competed with the Chiefs, Broncos and Bengals for these blockers, but Ryan Poles‘ club did not. The team did try to land McGlinchey, however, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, with The Athletic’s Kevin Fishbain confirming it was in on the new Broncos right tackle (subscription required).

As expected, McGlinchey landed a deal on Day 1 of the legal tampering period. The Broncos convinced the five-year 49ers right tackle to sign a five-year deal worth $87.5MM deal (fourth among right tackles), but McGlinchey did well to essentially secure three guaranteed years. His 2025 salary becomes fully guaranteed shortly after the 2024 league year begins, virtually locking in $52.5MM at signing. The Bears were not willing to go there, and the Broncos came from a place of desperation considering their track record at right tackle. Barring injury, McGlinchey will be Denver’s 11th Week 1 right tackle starter in 11 seasons.

Chicago pivoted from Larry Borom to Riley Reiff last season, but Reiff has since joined the Patriots on a one-year, $5MM deal. Reiff’s Pats pact includes $4.15MM guaranteed, per’s Doug Kyed (on Twitter). The deal includes up to $4MM in play-time incentives, Kyed adds. Borom would again be projected to start at right tackle, but the Bears will be connected to right-side options in the first round, The Athletic’s Adam Jahns adds.

This year’s draft includes top-10 tackle options Peter Skoronski, from nearby Northwestern, and Paris Johnson (Ohio State). The Bears have not drafted a tackle in Round 1 since Gabe Carimi in 2011, but Poles was with the Chiefs when they used the No. 1 overall pick on Eric Fisher two years later. With right tackle looking like the weak spot for Chicago up front, the team could use its No. 9 overall pick on one or trade down (again) to nab one of the other three first-round tackle prospects (Georgia’s Broderick Jones, Tennessee’s Darnell Wright, Oklahoma’s Anton Harrison). Mel Kiper Jr.’s latest mock sends Johnson to Chicago.

On the interior, the Bears may be prepared to move Cody Whitehair to solve the guard logjam they created by Nate Davis‘ three-year, $30MM deal. Poles said Whitehair will be an option to move back to center, citing the seven-year veteran’s nearly 4,000 snaps at the position. Whitehair played center primarily to start his career, working as Chicago’s snapper over his first three seasons before moving to guard in 2019 to accommodate a James Daniels position switch.

Whitehair shifting to center would allow the Bears to have he, Davis and Teven Jenkins as interior starters. While Davis played right guard with the Titans, the Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs predicts Jenkins will stay at that position after showing considerable promise in 2022. Pro Football Focus rated Jenkins, whom the Bears tried at both tackle spots and dangled in trades last year, as the league’s No. 3 overall guard.

Patriots Expected To Sign T Riley Reiff

Riley Reiff will be heading to a fourth team in four seasons. The veteran tackle is expected to sign with the Patriots, Dianna Russini of tweets.

The 11-year veteran has been with the Vikings, Bengals and Bears since 2020. He will join a Patriots team that has already agreed to terms with ex-Broncos spot starter/swingman Calvin Anderson. Reiff spent last season as Bears part-time starter; the Patriots may give him a chance to earn the right tackle gig opposite Trent Brown.

Connected to a pursuit of a right tackle on this year’s market, the Pats stood down and let the likes of Mike McGlinchey (Broncos), Jawaan Taylor (Chiefs) and Kaleb McGary (Falcons) agree to terms elsewhere. Reiff and Anderson would not exactly present a desired right tackle competition, at least not at this point in Reiff’s career, and the Patriots do not have an expensive contract elsewhere on their front. For now, however, Reiff is the most proven option for the team on the right side.

Reiff’s experience aside, he turned 34 in December and did not begin last season as a starter for a 3-14 Bears team. The NFC North nomad did, however, move into Chicago’s starting lineup. The ex-Lions first-rounder made 10 starts for the Bears last season, supplanting Larry Borom in the rebuilding team’s lineup. Pro Football Focus ranked Borom and Reiff as its Nos. 50 and 51 tackles last season. Reiff (149 career starts) bounced back from an injury-abbreviated Bengals season, playing 16 Bears games in 2022.

The Pats are satisfied with their interior O-line trio (David Andrews, Cole Strange, Michael Onwenu) and may be leaning toward bringing Brown back at left tackle. They benched former blindsider-turned-right tackle Isaiah Wynn last season, before an injury knocked the ex-first-rounder out for the year. Wynn is almost certain to depart. Reiff and Anderson, a former Pats UDFA, as of now represent his successor options.

Bears Searching For O-Line Help?

The Bears’ offensive line has generated a number of questions this offseason, and resolutions have not come just yet. Buzz around the NFL connects the team to pursuing outside help in trades, Adam Jahns of The Athletic writes (subscription required).

An effort to obtaining guard help, in particular, has circulated, per Jahns, even though Teven Jenkins may be moving close to becoming the starter at right guard. The former second-round pick has gone from tackle to trade rumors to guard this offseason, but Jeremy Fowler of notes the Bears have been pleased by the second-year blocker’s transition thus far (Twitter link). The team also signed veteran Michael Schofield, who could be a backup at multiple spots given his tackle past, just before training camp.

Chicago also added Riley Reiff at the start of camp, but Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune notes the veteran has ceded the first-string right tackle spot to Larry Borom — an eight-game 2021 starter. The latter, a 2021 fifth-round pick, has worked opposite fifth-round rookie Braxton Jones in recent days. Despite being a rookie out of Division I-FCS Southern Utah, Jones is being given “every opportunity” to win Chicago’s blindside job, though Biggs wonders if the two young blockers are competing against one another for a spot opposite Reiff.

Reiff, 33, counts just $3MM against Chicago’s cap, but that amount is fully guaranteed. No guarantees are present in Schofield’s veteran-minimum deal. Reiff has started 139 career games, working mostly as a left tackle. Although, he did slide to the right side to accommodate Taylor Decker in 2016 and play RT in Cincinnati last season.

The two other veterans in this mix — Cody Whitehair and Lucas Patrick — are not vying for roles. Whitehair is locked in as Chicago’s left guard, and Patrick — one of a few ex-Packers OC Luke Getsy brought with him this offseason — is in place at center. Patrick, however, is still recovering from thumb surgery. He is not a lock to be ready by Week 1, with Biggs adding the Bears expect him back sometime in September. Patrick being sidelined into the regular season could intensify Chicago’s interest in adding interior help.

Holding the No. 7 waiver priority spot, the Bears will be in a good position to land O-linemen Wednesday — after teams’ rosters are trimmed from 80 to 53 — but new GM Ryan Poles looks to be seeing what it will take to add a veteran upgrade ahead of that point.

Latest On Bears’ Offensive Line

Previously a possibility at left tackle, Riley Reiff now looks to be settling in on the right side. The Bears moved the longtime NFC North left tackle-turned-Bengals RT off the blind side recently, with Courtney Cronin of noting rookie Braxton Jones has taken most of the left-side reps over the past several days.

Reiff, 33, played right tackle with the Bengals last season, prior to going down with a mid-December ankle injury that shelved him for the team’s unlikely Super Bowl run, and moved to the right side in 2016 to accommodate Lions first-round pick Taylor Decker. In every other season, Reiff has primarily been a left tackle.

Jones and Reiff starting would leave Chicago with two new tackle starters. The team’s top 2021 left tackle, Jason Peters, remains a free agent. The player the previous regime hoped would commandeer that post, Teven Jenkins, has not done so. The 2021 second-round pick has battled injuries throughout his career. While Jenkins has returned to practice, he has lined up with the Bears’ second- and third-string lines since doing so, Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic tweets.

As Jones began to show starter readiness during the Bears’ offseason program, Jenkins has already popped up in trade rumors. The Bears chose Jones 168th overall out of Division I-FCS Southern Utah. This would obviously be a big jump from his 2021 gig.

Larry Borom worked as Chicago’s primary right tackle last year, but the 2021 fifth-round pick is playing behind Reiff presently. Pro Football Focus graded Borom outside its top 60 tackles last season. Although O-line development usually takes some time, the Bears’ new coaching staff may be prepared to let the Mizzou product learn from the bench behind Reiff (139 career starts). Borom has been working at both tackle spots, suggesting a potential path as the team’s swing backup.

The team exited the 2020 season with one of the league’s most stable tackle tandems, with Charles Leno and Bobby Massie having started together for five years. The Bears, however, released Leno and did not re-sign Massie during the 2021 offseason. Leno is now with Washington, tied to an extension signed earlier this year, while Chicago searches for long-term replacements. The Bears are not expected to contend this season, but Justin Fields preparing for his first full campaign as the team’s starting quarterback certainly makes tackle performance important through a longer-term lens.

Additionally, late-July pickup Michael Schofield is ticketed to be the team’s top right guard, Cronin adds. Mainstay Cody Whitehair remains the Bears’ other guard starter, while ex-Packer Lucas Patrick is poised to be the Bears’ new center. A former Super Bowl starter at right tackle with the Broncos, Schofield has been a serviceable guard in the years since. The Chargers used him as a guard starter in 49 games over the past five years.

NFC North Notes: Bears, OL, Vikings, Barrett

Mentioned in trade rumors to start the week, Teven Jenkins has not practiced with the Bears since Day 1 of training camp. Due to the unknown ailment he is currently battling and last year’s back injury, Jenkins has participated in just one training camp practice since being chosen in the 2021 second round. He does not look to be factoring into Chicago’s first-string tackle mix. Recently signed veteran Riley Reiff does, and Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune expects the 11th-year blocker to be the team’s left tackle starter. Reiff spent most of his career as an NFC North left tackle but played on the right side for the Bengals last season. Larry Borom, Chicago’s primary right tackle during his 2021 rookie season, should be considered the favorite to stay in that role, Biggs adds. The Bears ditched their five-year tackle setup last summer, cutting Bobby Massie before the ’21 draft and releasing Charles Leno after selecting Jenkins. Leno has since signed a three-year, $37.5MM extension with the Commanders.

Here is the latest from the NFC North:

  • Irv Smith Jr. worked his way back from the knee injury that wiped out his 2021 season, but the third-year Vikings tight end has run into more trouble. Smith underwent thumb surgery, Kevin O’Connell said. While the first-year Minnesota HC added Smith should be back by Week 1, he will miss the preseason. Having let Tyler Conklin hit the market and defect the Jets, the Vikings are counting on Smith to be their starter this season.
  • Jesse Davis has worked as the Vikings’ first-string right guard to start training camp, Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star Tribune notes. The Vikings used fellow free agent signing Chris Reed as the primary first-stringer here during a recent Davis day off. Minnesota is also incorporating second-round pick Ed Ingram into this competition, per O’Connell. Davis, who shuttled between guard and tackle with the Dolphins for years, signed for one year and $3MM. Reed, a recent Colts backup, signed a two-year, $4.5MM pact. Reed has also worked at center in his initial months with the Vikes.
  • The Packers promoted Jon-Eric Sullivan recently. The veteran executive is now serving as the team’s VP of of player personnel. A Packers staffer since 2004, Sullivan has worked his way up from the regional scouting ranks. When Brian Gutekunst was hired as GM in 2018, Sullivan became the team’s co-player personnel director alongside John Wojciechowski. Green Bay also promoted Chris Gaines and Sean Linton to college scouts.
  • J.T. Barrett is breaking into the coaching ranks. The former Ohio State quarterback is now on the Lions‘ staff as an offensive assistant. Barrett, 27, caught on with the Saints, Seahawks and Steelers as an NFLer but never saw regular-season time. He also spent time with the CFL’s Edmonton Elks.

Contract Details: Godchaux, Reiff, Alexander

Some recent deals and extensions have been signed around the NFL. We’ve provided some updates on those contracts below:

  • Davon Godchaux, DT (Patriots): Two-year, $20.8MM extension, including $17.85MM guaranteed. According to ESPN’s Mike Reiss (on Twitter), Godchaux got a $10.5MM signing bonus, and he’ll have a base salary worth $1.5MM in 2022. The extension reduced the defensive lineman’s cap hit from $10.25MM to $8.75MM.
  • Riley Reiff, OT (Bears): One-year deal worth a maximum amount of $12.5MM ($10MM likely to be earned). Per ESPN’s Field Yates (on Twitter), the Bears structured Reiff’s contract in such a way that it will count for just $3MM against the cap next season. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune provides more details on Twitter, noting that the lineman will earn a $3MM base salary, and he’ll earn another $4.5MM if he’s on the field for 10% of his team’s offense snaps. There are also incentives tied to offensive categories and a playoff appearance.
  • Kwon Alexander, LB (Jets): One-year deal. Contract is worth $1.12MM with a $152K signing bonus, according to Connor Hughes of The Athletic (on Twitter). His cap hit will be around that $1.12MM mark for the 2022 campaign.

Bears To Sign OT Riley Reiff

The remodelling of Chicago’s offensive line continues. The Bears are signing veteran tackle Riley Reiff, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). 

The one-year pact carries a maximum value of $12.5MM, with $10MM of that total considered likely to be earned, Schefter adds. This marks the second straight offseason in which he joins a new team on a one-year free agent deal, albeit he is doing so far later this year than last. Reiff previously worked out with the Jets, who made an offer, but no deal ever came to fruition.

The 33-year-old joined the Bengals last year, on a contract which was smaller than the one he is signing now. He started all 12 games he appeared in, before being sidelined with an injury in December. He earned a PFF grade of 67.3, continuing his career trend of solid, yet unspectacular, play.

Another notable aspect of Reiff’s play last season, of course, was the fact that he played right tackle, after manning the blindside during his tenure in Minnesota. He didn’t live up to the expectations associated with the five-year, $58.75MM contract he signed to join the Vikings, but will provide starting-caliber play for the Bears’ new-look offensive front.

Chicago signed fellow veteran blocker Michael Schofield yesterday. It remains to be seen where he and Reiff will line up, but their additions should help protect Justin Fields better in his second season.

Riley Reiff, Kwon Alexander Remain On Jets’ Radar

With training camps looming, several big names remain free agents. Two paid visits to the Jets earlier this offseason. While neither Riley Reiff nor Kwon Alexander signed with the team after their respective meetings, both have the option to join ahead of camp.

The Jets made offers to Alexander and Reiff, according to Connor Hughes of The Athletic, who notes both still have the option to accept and sign on with the rebuilding team (subscription required). The Jets have set their prices here, however, with Hughes adding that — as was the case with the team’s Larry Ogunjobi interest — GM Joe Douglas is not prepared to deviate from his initial offers to either player.

It is understandable, at this point in the offseason, Douglas will not follow through with a perceived overpay for players not expected to be starters. The Jets are uncertain which positions their starting tackles will play, but George Fant and Mekhi Becton are in line to be the team’s first-stringers. Ditto for C.J. Mosley and Quincy Williams as three-down linebackers. With neither Reiff nor Alexander having been connected to other teams this offseason, they may need to revisit the Jets’ offers at some point.

That said, the Jets lost out on a few marquee wide receivers this year after showing interest and/or making major offers. Tyreek Hill chose the Dolphins, while Amari Cooper went to the Browns for the cost of two Day 3 picks. The 49ers may not have been ready to trade Deebo Samuel during the draft, but the Jets’ proposal involving the No. 10 overall pick included the 49ers’ second-round choice coming back. Granted those were higher-stakes negotiations than those involving late-offseason UFAs, but Hughes adds that if offers are equal, players should be considered unlikely to commit to the Jets over a team with legitimate playoff aspirations.

Reiff, 33, makes sense for a few teams as a potential starter option, having worked as a first-stringer for almost all of his 10-year career. He would represent Becton insurance in New York. Alexander, 27, played for Saleh for parts of two seasons (2019-20) before a midseason trade to the Saints. But he did not pan out in San Francisco. Alexander’s 2019 49ers contract may well have had an impact on the Jets’ previous regime needing to pay Mosley a then-record (for off-ball linebackers) $17MM per year. Alexander started eight games for the Saints last season.

OT Riley Reiff To Visit Jets

The offensive tackle position has been an interesting area of focus for the Jets this offseason. The starters are believed to be in place, but veteran depth could soon be on the way as well. 

The team is hosting Riley Reiff today, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). The 33-year-old is coming off a one-year stint with the Bengals. He started the first 12 games of the season, but landed on IR in December. That kept him out of the remainder of the regular season, as well as the team’s run to the Super Bowl.

Reiff was rated similarly to recent years by PFF in 2021, with an overall grade of 67.3. While that continued his career arc of solid, but never Pro Bowl-caliber play, the team found a replacement in free agency by signing La’el Collins. That left the Iowa product on the move for the third time in his career.

A first round pick of the Lions in 2012, Reiff took over as a full-time starter one season later. His play led to a five-year, $58.75MM deal with the Vikings in 2017. While he started all 58 contests he played in with Minnesota, he never lived up to the expectations which came with such a lucrative deal. After taking a pay cut at the start of the 2020 campaign, Reiff was released last March.

That gave him the chance to build back some value during his time in Cincinnati, though he obviously wasn’t among the most sought-after players during the initial waves of free agency. If he were to sign with the Jets, he would provide experienced depth after the departure of Morgan Moses. The team has made it clear Mekhi Becton and George Fant will start, but it remains to be seen on which side of the unit they will be deployed. Reiff would represent a more experienced alternative to Conor McDermott or Greg Senat, who are currently the team’s top backups.