Washington added Colvin last year, doing so after the Texans cut him early in the season. The veteran has played six seasons, seeing action with the Jaguars, Texans and Washington. He will head back to free agency. As with Rodgers, who was the most notable tight end on Washington’s roster entering camp. Following the exits of Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis — and Thaddeus Moss‘ IR trip — Washington does not feature much of note at the position.
Mr. Irrelevant in 2018, Quinn latched on with Washington for two seasons. He operated as Washington’s slot receiver for a time, but with a new regime running the show now, Quinn will head to the waiver wire. However, he would certainly profile as a player who could be added to Washington’s 16-man practice squad. Garnett would as well.
The team added Garnett during training camp, but the former first-round pick has never managed to carve out a consistent role as a pro.
Derrius Guice has played five of a possible 32 NFL games. The 2018 second-round pick fared well in limited time for the Redskins last season, averaging 5.8 yards per carry on 42 attempts, but saw more injury trouble intervene. Knee trouble has dogged Guice at nearly ever turn as an NFLer, but the former LSU standout does at least expect to be ready to go by the time Washington’s first Ron Rivera-led offseason program opens.
“I’m feeling pretty good about entering OTAs 100% healthy,” Guice said, via The Athletic’s Rhiannon Walker (subscription required). “So that’s the most important thing to me. It’s very comforting to feel that and have that mindset going into OTAs and then training camp and then the season.
“… The main thing is actually like getting through games healthy. I’ve been a practice All-American so far, and I’m trying to bring that to the field, so that’s kind of where I’m at with it.”
Guice missed 2018 with a torn ACL, underwent another knee surgery early last season and, after returning from IR, sustained MCL damage en route to the Redskins shutting him down. With a new regime being assembled in Washington, Guice will face a key season in 2020.
Here is the latest from the NFC East, moving first to a player who will not be with the 2020 Redskins:
Former Redskins tight end Vernon Davisannounced his retirement in a Super Bowl Sunday sketch with Rob Gronkowski and James Harrison but elaborated on his decision this week. “Just the simple wear and tear over time. Especially those concussions,” Davis said in a letter (via NBC Sports Washington’s Ethan Cadeaux). “They can take a toll on you in the long haul. It’s just better safe than sorry. But if it wasn’t for that throughout the course of time, then I probably would have played for the next five years, at least. But I feel like I made a great decision as I move forward.” Davis missed most of last season with a concussion, had already played 14 seasons and turned 36 two weeks ago. He was set to be a 2020 free agent after four Redskins seasons.
Byron Jones is not the only Cowboys cornerback who will be an unrestricted free agent come March. Dallas’ four-year slot corner, Anthony Brown, is on track for free agency but does not expect nearly the same kind of deal as Jones will receive. Brown may be eyeing a short-term pact in order to re-establish his value after an injury-marred season, with Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News noting Brown’s reps expect their client to earn roughly $10MM in total on his next contract. Still, Watkins expects that will be beyond what the Cowboys will authorize. Dallas losing both Jones and Brown will make corner a need area, despite both Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis under contract for next season.
This is the end of the line for tight end Vernon Davis. The Redskins tight end casually announced his retirement during a pre-Super Bowl sketch with Rob Gronkowski on Sunday and, soon after, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (Twitter link) confirmed that Davis is, in fact, walking away from the game.
This marks the end of Davis’ 14-year run in the NFL, which was mostly split between the Redskins and the runners-up to Super Bowl LIV, the 49ers. All in all, Davis hauled in 441 receptions for 583 receptions for 7,562 yards and 63 touchdowns.
In between his runs in D.C. and SF, Davis spent half of the 2015 season with the Broncos. In that magical year, Davis earned a Super Bowl ring as the Broncos went on to top the Panthers in Super Bowl 50.
Davis’ career began in 2006, when the Niners chose him with the No. 6 overall pick. His true breakout year came in ’07, when he posted a 52/509/4 stat line as the team’s season-long starter. He’d go on to capture two Pro Bowl nominations, starting with the 2009 season in which he co-led the NFL with 13 receiving touchdowns.
This past season, Davis was limited to just four games after suffering a concussion. Davis has endured several brain injuries over the years, which was likely a factor in his retirement.
Davis, who just turned 36, should have ample football-adjacent opportunities ahead of him. We here at PFR wish Davis the best in retirement.
Out since September because of a concussion, Vernon Davis will head to IR. The Redskins will place the 14th-year veteran tight end on their injured list, John Keim of ESPN.com tweets.
Washington will promote defensive lineman Ryan Bee from its practice squad, per NBC Sports Washington’s J.P. Finlay (on Twitter). Defensive line starter Daron Payne is doubtful to face the Lions.
For Davis, it’s fair to wonder if this is the end of his NFL run. The 2006 first-round pick signed with the Redskins in 2016 and enjoyed two productive seasons while helping the team as Jordan Reed insurance and an overqualified No. 2 tight end. Davis’ three-year, $15MM deal expires at season’s end. This contract marks Davis’ second with Washington, following a one-year pact that covered the 2016 season.
In 2016 and ’17, Davis combined for 1,231 yards and five touchdowns while working with Kirk Cousins. He started 30 games during that span, often joining Reed in the Redskins’ lineup. The 35-year-old tight end began this season with a spectacular touchdown against the Eagles but did not surpass 30 yards in a game since that 59-yard Week 1 showing. Reed has missed the entire season, and with Davis’ contract up, Washington may be set to start over at this position.
The Cowboys‘ strategy of prioritizing extension for Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper over Ezekiel Elliott have seemingly influenced the two-time rushing champion to consider a holdout. While Elliott is signed through the 2020 season and can be controlled on a 2021 franchise tag, a path the Cowboys appear to be pondering, Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap tweets the team’s best move would be to extend Elliott now in order to have the remaining $12.9MM on his contract become part of the extension’s guarantee structure. The Cowboys should structure a deal that would enable them to cut bait after the first year of the extension, which if done now would be 2021, Fitzgerald adds (on Twitter). That would be unlikely to happen if Elliott heads into 2020 without an extension. Having not yet met the service-time requirements for free agency, Elliott must report to the Cowboys by Aug. 6. This gives the team considerable leverage against a 2019 holdout. A 2020 holdout would become more complicated.
With the NFC East teams wrapping up their offseasons, here is the latest out of this division:
Several Redskins players missed out on some cash this offseason. By either not showing up, in Trent Williams‘ case, to the offseason program (or failing to be there for 90% of it), Williams, Josh Norman, Landon Collins, Paul Richardson, Quinton Dunbar and Vernon Davis missed out on some bonus cash, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Norman led the way on this front, seeing $200K docked from his 2019 salary. Collins was docked $175K, with Williams and Richardson down $150K.
Staying with Washington, their free safety job still figures to be Montae Nicholson‘s to lose, J.P. Finlay of NBC Sports Washington notes. This comes despite the Redskins suspending him in December, for an off-field arrest that resulted in dropped charges, and Jay Grudenexpressing annoyance Nicholson missed the early portion of Redskins OTAs. Washington did not draft a safety, and Pro Football Focus graded Nicholson as its fifth-worst back-line defender last season. Still, Finlay expects the third-year player to have a major say in who starts alongside Collins.
The Giants will join the Eagles in having a project offensive lineman in camp. After Philly drafted tackle Jordan Mailata in last year’s seventh round, the Giants signed college shot putter Austin Droogsma. The Giants signed Droogsma, who last played football as a high-schooler 2012, in May and will try the 6-4, 345-pound track convert as a guard, Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com notes. While at Florida State, Droogsma won the 2018 ACC indoor and outdoor titles and finished both seasons as an All-American. Mailata, a rugby standout, spent most of last season on the Eagles’ practice squad; the Giants’ P-squad would seem like the best-case scenario for Droogsma in 2019.
Here’s the latest on some of the latest contracts agreed to this week.
Chandler Jones‘ five-yearCardinals extension will pay him $16.5MM per year, Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com tweets. Jones will make $53MM in guaranteed money from his second NFL contract, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports adds (on Twitter).
Tyrod Taylor‘s restructuredBills deal is a two-year, $30.5MM pact, La Canfora reports (on Twitter), adding that the rest of it voids after 2018. Taylor will make $15.5MM in guarantees as a result of the re-done pact and $14.5MM in 2017. La Canfora adds the quarterback stands to collect $16MM in ’18.
Andre Branch‘s three-yearDolphins deal is worth $24MM, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe reports (on Twitter). Volin adds the contract includes two fully guaranteed years– at $17MM — for the 27-year-old pass-rusher. Volin adds that Branch could see $3.75MM more via incentives. Branch will receive a $6MM signing bonus, make $2.9MM in base salary in 2017, $7.9MM in ’18 and $6.9MM in ’19, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (on Twitter).
Joel Bitonio‘s five-year Browns extension will pay out $47.5MM in base salary, Nate Ulrich of Ohio.com tweets, adding $23MM in guarantees are included. The new deal kicks in after Bitonio’s 2017 season, so he’s under contract in Cleveland through 2022.
Courtney Upshawre-signing with the Falcons on a one-year deal will result in $1.15MM coming his way in 2017, Wilson tweets. The defender gets a $125K signing bonus and will make $775K in base salary this season.
Updates on the contracts signed over the past couple of days, mostly via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle…
Buccaneers defensive end William Gholston‘s contract includes $13.5MM in guaranteed money, as well as a guaranteed base salary of $3MM for the 2017 season (via Twitter). The 25-year-old’s $6.5MM 2018 salary becomes fully guaranteed on the fifth day of the 2017 league year.
Defensive tackle Khyri Thornton‘s deal with the Lions is worth $3.3MM with a $325K bonus (Twitter). Thornton will make $700K in 2017, followed by a $1.325MM salary in 2018. He can earn another $12.5K via annual per game active roster bonus, as well as $225K via a weight bonus.
Punter Britton Colquitt‘s new deal with the Browns is worth $11.2MM and $4.5MM guaranteed (via Twitter). The former fourth-rounder will earn $1.65MM in 2017, followed by salaries of $2.55MM (2018), $2.7MM (2019), and $2.8M (2020).
Colts tight end Jack Doyle will earn $18.9MM on his next contract (via Twitter). Doyle will earn a guaranteed $1MM next season, followed by a $3.5MM salary in 2018 (guaranteed fifth day of league year) and $5.15MM salary in 2019. The tight end will also earn a $6.5MM roster bonus on March 10th.
Fullback James Develin earned a $2.45MM contract from the Patriots along with a $300K signing bonus, reports Wilson (Twitter). Develin will earn $800K each year, with a guaranteed $200K base salary for 2017. He can earn another $12.5K via a per-game active annual roster bonus.
ESPN’s Adam Caplan tweets that tight end Vernon Davis will receive $15MM ($7.5MM guaranteed) from the Redskins. The veteran will make $6MM in the first year of the three-year deal.
Punter Shane Lechler‘s new deal with the Texans is for one-year and $2MM ($1MM guaranteed), reports Caplan (via Twitter).
Vernon Davis isn’t going anywhere. The tight end has inked a new three-year deal with the Redskins, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. In total, the deal is worth $15MM. The Redskins have confirmed the deal via press release. And, if you were wondering, Davis has personally confirmed the transaction via Snapchat.
Davis was set to explore the open market on Thursday but he’ll instead stay put and collect a solid paycheck. All along, Davis has been open about his desire to remain in D.C.
“You know I’m letting my agent deal with that at the moment with hopes that I’ll be back with the Washington Redskins,”Davis said last week. “I’ll just be optimistic about it. I would love to stay here because it’s such a great organization. The locker room’s amazing. I’m extremely happy here, and it would only make sense to stay here and continue to be a Washington Redskin.”
Davis, a former standout at Maryland, signed with the Redskins last year on a one-year, $2.38MM deal. Now, he’s theoretically getting double the salary to stay through 2019.
In his first season with the team, Davis had 44 catches for 583 yards and two touchdowns. The 33-year-old was coming off of two down years with the Broncos and 49ers, but played closer to his 2013 Pro Bowl form. Davis was our No. 4 ranked tight end heading into this week.
NFL free agency is right around the corner! The legal tampering period starts on Tuesday and free agency officially starts on Thursday. The list of available free agents will change between now and then as players re-sign with teams or get cut loose, but we have a pretty good idea of who will be available right now. After looking at the top defensive players, we now shift our attention to the other side of the ball.
Here are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each position. The rankings aren’t determined by earning power, they are simply the players we like the most at each position, with a combination of short- and long-term value taken into account. You won’t find restricted free agents or franchise tagged guys here since they are unlikely to go leave their current clubs.
Player evaluation is always subjective, so we encourage you to make your voices heard in the comments section in cases where you disagree with us.
Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by offensive position for 2017:
Ryan Nassib is just outside of the top 15 here with EJ Manuel getting the final spot. Despite positive word about his play in practice, Nassib is unproven and the Giants’ apparent lack of interest in re-signing him says a lot. It’s also possible that he might not be 100% after ending the 2016 season on IR with an elbow injury. Manuel, for all his warts, has shown potential in small bursts.
As expected, the Vikings have cut Adrian Peterson loose and he is expected to garner interest from contending clubs this week. Some might peg Peterson as the most talented running back in this year’s free agent class, but it all comes down to how you weigh his age and injury history. Peterson has shocked the football world in the past with an incredible comeback, but I’m a little skeptical of his ability to do it again in his age-32 season. Eddie Lacy, who has injury question marks of his own, takes the top spot at the position.
Jamaal Charles has the most impressive resume of anyone on this list, with the exception of Peterson. However, no one knows exactly what he can do after playing eight games in the last two years. He’ll turn 31 in December and that’s usually not an indicator of success for running backs.
Kyle Juszczyk graded out as the best fullback in the NFL last year, according to Pro Football Focus. The Ravens would be wise to keep him, but if they don’t, he’ll draw interest from teams all over the league. Juszczyk earned his first career Pro Bowl nod as he caught 37 passes for 266 yards. His exceptional 92.1 pass blocking score from PFF led all other fullbacks by a wide margin.
Mike Tolbert is ranked lower than you might expect due to his age and diminished blocking skills. He’ll turn 32 in November and it’s not guaranteed that he’ll find another job after getting released by the Panthers, though the Jets are said to have interest in him. Gang Green could also look into signing Patrick DiMarco and Marcel Reece. If you ask me, they should target DiMarco if they want to truly emphasize the running game. DiMarco finished the year with the best run blocking score in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus.
Brandon Marshall, welcome to the free agent pool. Marshall is just two years removed from a year in which he had 109 catches, 1,502 yards, and 14 touchdowns. However, his numbers dipped significantly last season as the entire Jets offense slumped. The veteran will get tons of interest this week and his suitors may include the Giants, Patriots, and Ravens.
Kenny Britt managed to put up big numbers in the midst of the Rams’ offensive quagmire last season. He now hits free agency at a great time and the WR-needy Eagles are the latest team to be connected to him. The South Jersey contingent of the Eagles fanbase will appreciate the homecoming of the Rutgers product. At the same time, they should hope he exhibits a better attitude than he did on the banks of the old Raritan.
The talent is definitely there with Markus Wheaton and the team that takes a chance on him could wind up very, very happy. Robert Woods, historically, thrived in games where Sammy Watkins was unavailable or limited. Woods doesn’t turn 25 in until April and there’s a case to be made that he should be higher on this list. Cordarrelle Patterson has turned out to be a very capable returner, but there are definitely ambitious coaches out there who think they can still mold him into a great receiver. Michael Floyd is now years removed from his best work in Arizona, so one has to wonder what he can contribute even if he has turned over a new leaf.
Victor Cruz is an exceptionally hard-worker and a team-first kind of guy. He’ll be a great addition to any locker room, but it’s anyone’s guess as to what he’ll do in 2017. We’ll say this: a return to the slot would greatly benefit him.
Anquan Boldinjust missed the top 15 and I don’t necessarily feel great about it. Brian Quickalso missed the cut and it was a toss-up between him and Cruz for that last spot.
Anthony Fasano finds himself ranked higher than some bigger names due to his blocking ability. PFF gave Fasano an 88.1 score for run blocking, which was the best of any tight end last year. His 72.9 pass blocking score was fourth-best among TEs. The Titans will make a real effort to keep him.
Andrew Whitworth spent some time at guard last season but his best (and most profitable) position is on the outside. He’s 35, so he won’t lead all FA tackles in total money this year despite being our top-ranked free at the position.
Russell Okung was thrust into the free agent market in February when the Broncos declined his option. This time around, it will be interesting to see whether he hires an agent. His previous deal was effectively a one-year pact with a club option for a four-year, $48MM deal with $20.5MM in guaranteed cash. After a so-so year, the Broncos wisely turned it down.
Austin Pasztor is listed as a tackle here, though it’s quite possible he reverts to the interior line in 2017. Mike Adams, a former second-round pick, makes the cut for his natural talent, even though he hasn’t shown much at the professional level. Will Beatty also found his way to the Top 15, but his market will be capped after two injury-ridden years.
Honorable mention: D.J. Fluker, A.Q. Shipley (C), Brian Schwenke (C)
Kevin Zeitler was the only offensive lineman to crack our Top 50 Free Agents list last week. Zeitler, 27 in March, was PFF’s No. 7 ranked guard in the NFL this year. After three consecutive strong seasons, he is going to get big bucks.
J.C. Tretter graded out as a top 10 center last year, according to PFF, and he just turned 26. Stefen Wisniewski offers experience at both guard and center and there should be at least a few teams looking at him as a potential starter.
Tight end Vernon Davis is days away from hitting the open market, but he’d rather re-sign with the Redskins than test free agency.
“You know I’m letting my agent deal with that at the moment with hopes that I’ll be back with the Washington Redskins,” Davis told JP Finlay of CSN Mid-Atlantic. (via Peter Halley of CSN). “I’ll just be optimistic about it. I would love to stay here because it’s such a great organization. The locker room’s amazing. I’m extremely happy here, and it would only make sense to stay here and continue to be a Washington Redskin.”
Davis, an ex-Maryland star and a native of D.C., joined his hometown team last offseason on a $2.38MM deal. That proved to be a bargain for the Redskins, with whom Davis hauled in 44 receptions, 583 yards and two touchdowns in 16 games and 14 starts. Last season was something of a bounce-back campaign for the 33-year-old. Although he won a Super Bowl with the Broncos in 2015, Davis failed to record a touchdown in a year spent between Denver and San Francisco and averaged 10.4 yards per catch (well below his 13.3 YPC from 2016) on 38 receptions. Davis attributes some of his latest success to Redskins head coach Jay Gruden.
“I love him, I love him, and that’s one of the other reasons that I wouldn’t mind staying here,” he said. “He allows the players to play really, really loose, and you want that in a coach.”
While Davis hopes to continue playing under Gruden, he’s currently part of an unsigned tight end crop that also includes Martellus Bennett, Jared Cook and Jack Doyle, among others. Age isn’t on Davis’ side, but his track record is better than the other impending free agent tight ends’. Across 10 seasons, the 6-foot-3, 250-pounder has piled up 505 receptions and 57 touchdowns.