Prince Amukamara

Extra Points: Cowboys, Lacy, Seahawks

As Todd Archer of ESPN.com writes, the Cowboys are $11-$13MM over the projected 2017 salary cap, but it will be fairly easy for them to clear space and to give themselves enough room to conduct their offseason business and sign a free agent or three. For instance, they could restructure the deals of Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick, and given the relative youth of those two players, such restructures should not hamstring the club in the long run. Dallas could also save a fair amount of money by restructuring Sean Lee‘s deal and giving Jason Witten an extension, and obviously the impending departure of Tony Romo will be a boon to the team’s cap situation. As such, the notion that the Cowboys are in “cap hell” and will be forced to be bystanders in free agency is more of a myth than reality.

Now let’s take a look at a few more notes from around the league:

  • It will be tempting for the Packers to let Eddie Lacy walk in free agency, but as Pete Dougherty of USA Today writes, one agent expects Lacy to get no more than a one-year, $2MM pact on the open market. Even if such a contract were loaded with incentives, it would still represent a small risk for Green Bay with the potential for a high reward, and Dougherty believes the team should make that gamble.
  • Six Seahawks players saw their 2017 base salaries become guaranteed on Saturday, as Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times reports. Those players form a major part of Seattle’s foundation: Russell Wilson, Doug Baldwin, Richard Sherman, Bobby Wagner, Michael Bennett, and Jeremy Lane. As Condotta observes, the only player on that list about whom there might have been some intrigue is Lane, who signed a four-year, $23MM deal last offseason but who failed to meet expectations in 2016.
  • Last offseason, Prince Amukamara bet on himself and took a one-year deal with the Jaguars in an attempt to prove that he could stay healthy and productive over the course of a full season. He was largely successful, as he appeared in 14 games (12 starts) and graded out as an above-average corner per Pro Football Focus. Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida-Times Union believes Amukamara thinks he should be paid as a No. 1 or 1A cornerback (an average of $8-9MM per year), but as he would be the No. 2 corner in Jacksonville behind Jalen Ramsey, it is unclear whether the Jags will meet his demands, even though they have the resources to do so.
  • Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer spoke to one high-level NFL personnel executive who believes that Mitch Trubisky has more upside than Carson Wentz and that the Browns would be wise to select him with the No. 1 overall pick. The Browns also hold this year’s No. 12 overall choice, but Trubisky will not fall that far, so if Cleveland wants him, they will need to make him the top choice in the draft.
  • Former UVA standout Ausar Walcott, who was signed by the Browns as an undrafted free agent following the 2013 draft, is resuming the pursuit of his NFL dream, as Dan Duggan of NJ.com writes. Walcott was charged with attempted murder in June 2013, and was subsequently cut by Cleveland. The charge was eventually dropped to aggravated assault, and while Walcott was free on bail, he was certainly not going to be signed by an NFL club while he was embroiled in a legal battle. But he was acquitted by a jury a few months ago, and the 27-year-old hopes to at least catch on with a CFL team as he tries to work his way back to the NFL.

AFC Notes: Bills, Browns, Jags, Bengals, Colts

Rex Ryan was a beloved players’ coach with the Jets from 2009-14, but it doesn’t seem that was fully the case during his nearly two-year run in Buffalo. Reacting to the Bills’ Tuesday decision to fire Ryan, one defensive player informed Bleacher Report’s Tyler Dunne, “That was music to my ears.” Similarly, some other Bills never bought into Ryan and felt he tore down the elite defense he inherited in 2015, according to Dunne (Twitter links). On the other side of the ball, wide receiver Sammy Watkins told the team’s official website that a “culture change” will be in order with Ryan’s successor. “Change the culture, change the mindset and get players on board,” he said. “If they’re not listening, cut them, kick them out, whatever. Sit them on the bench. I think that will help us move forward.”

More from the AFC:

  • Browns executive vice president Sashi Brown and vice president Andrew Berry were in attendance at Wednesday’s Houston Bowl to scout Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett, tweets ESPN’s Adam Schefter. This isn’t the first connection between Cleveland and Garrett, who could go No. 1 overall in next spring’s draft. The 1-14 Browns will lock up that selection with a loss to the Steelers on Sunday.
  • Impending free agent cornerback Prince Amukamara would like to re-sign with the Jaguars on a multiyear deal, but he admitted Thursday that the team has bigger issues on its plate at the moment. “Right now the front office priority is probably finding a head coach and stuff like that, but I would hope to be a priority to them [after the hire],” he told Mike DiRocco of ESPN.com. Amukamara, who inked a one-year deal with the Jags last March, has appeared in 13 games and made 11 starts – his highest totals in those categories since 2012. Despite being in danger of posting his first interception-less season, the 27-year-old ranks a respectable 51st among 119 corners at Pro Football Focus. “I think it was huge to just be able to show that I am durable and I can play this game if I’m healthy,” added the former Giant.
  • Like Amukamara, Bengals corner Dre Kirkpatrick doesn’t want to leave his current setting. “I love this organization,” the soon-to-be free agent told Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com. Kirkpatrick, a 2012 first-round pick who’s currently in his fifth-year option season, is second among Bengals corners in snaps (906). He has also picked off exactly three passes for the third time in his career and is set for his second straight year with at least 14 starts. PFF isn’t overly bullish, however, as it ranks Kirkpatrick as this season’s 74th-best corner.
  • The Colts worked out linebacker Dezman Moses and safety L.J. McCray on Thursday, per ESPN’s Adam Caplan (Twitter links). Moses is easily the more experienced of the pair, having appeared in 46 games to McCray’s 22, and has been available since the Chiefs cut him Oct. 7. McCray hasn’t caught on anywhere since the 49ers waived him Sept. 5.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Jaguars RB Chris Ivory Remains Sidelined

From a medical standpoint, it appears that Chris Ivory is in the clear. However, the running back is not quite ready to return to the field for the Jaguars. The team says that Ivory will not play this Sunday against the Chargers, as Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com tweets. Same goes for fellow free agent acquisition Prince Amukamara who suffered a hamstring injury last week. Chris Ivory (vertical)

[RELATED: Jaguars Unlikely To Add RB]

Ivory missed out on the Jaguars’ first game of the season after being checked into the hospital for an undisclosed issue. After spending the early part of the week at Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville, Ivory was released and he returned to the team facility on Thursday. Still, the tailback is going to need some additional time before he can be activated. It is not immediately clear when Ivory will get the greenlight to play.

T.J. Yeldon was pretty impressive for Jacksonville last season, averaging 4.1 yards per carry and scoring twice in 12 starts. Still, Ivory is the more proven option and operates with the kind of power you only see from a handful of tailbacks. The Jaguars’ offense won’t be operating at full strength without him, but they’re hoping they have enough to top San Diego on Sunday.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Contract Details: L. Miller, D. Johnson, Woods

Here are several of the latest contract details from around the AFC on recently agreed-upon and signed deals. All links are courtesy of Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle unless otherwise indicated…

  • Lamar Miller, RB (Texans): Four years, $26MM. $14.5MM guaranteed. $4MM signing bonus. $3.5MM roster bonus due on March 16. $750K in annual per-game active roster bonuses in 2018 and 2019 (all Twitter links).
  • Derrick Johnson, ILB (Chiefs): Three years, $21MM. $9.75MM guaranteed. $5.25MM signing bonus. $1MM in per-game active roster bonuses in 2017 (Twitter link).
  • Al Woods, DT (Titans): Three years, $10.5MM. $5MM guaranteed. $2.25MM signing bonus. $250K in per-game active roster bonuses (Twitter link).
  • Prince Amukamara, CB (Jaguars): One year, $5.5MM. $3MM guaranteed. $1.5MM signing bonus. $500K in per-game roster bonuses (Twitter link).
  • Rod Streater, WR (Chiefs): One year, $810K. $110K guaranteed. $10K signing bonus. $1MM in incentives based on touchdowns, catches, and yards (Twitter link).
  • Kellen Davis, TE (Jets): One year, minimum salary benefit. $230K guaranteed. $80K signing bonus (Twitter link via Ben Volin of the Boston Globe).
  • Jamell Fleming, DB (Chiefs): One year, minimum salary benefit. $40K signing bonus. $40K first-game 53-man roster bonus (Twitter link).

Jaguars Sign Prince Amukamara

MARCH 14, 8:07am: Amukamara’s one-year deal with the Jaguars has a base value of $5MM, including $3MM guaranteed, tweets Field Yates of ESPN.com. According to Yates, the pact has another $1MM available in bonuses and incentives.

MARCH 11, 7:03pm: The Jaguars have announced the deal, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link).

3:36pm: A busy week continues for the Jaguars, as the team has agreed to terms on a deal for free agent cornerback Prince Amukamara, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). Schefter reports that it will be a one-year deal for Amukamara, who had been visiting Jacksonville today.

Entering free agency with the most cap room in the league, the Jaguars land one of free agency’s top cornerbacks on what looks like another audition for Amukamara in hopes of establishing his value to re-enter the market in 2017 in hopes of commanding a long-term pact.

Amukamara, the No. 3-ranked cornerback on PFR’s top 50 free agents list, has struggled with injuries throughout his five-year career. The former Giants first-rounder has started more than 11 games in a season just once, doing so in 2013, and has played in more than 13 games in a season only in ’13 as well.

The former Nebraska talent missed 13 games over the past two seasons, attaching the injury-prone label to the otherwise-solid corner. A torn pectoral muscle shelved Amukamara for five games in 2015.

Although the Giants finished with the worst pass defense in football last season, Amukamara rated as Pro Football Focus’ No. 32 cornerback. The 26-year-old has just seven career interceptions, though his presence gave the Giants a strong cornerback tandem in teaming with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

DRC will pair with Janoris Jenkins in 2016 after the Giants distanced themselves from Amukamara and went with the former Rams second-rounder amid a historic spending spree.

The Jags further bolster their secondary after bringing Tashaun Gipson aboard. Jacksonville’s pass defense ranked 29th last season. Despite signing Davon House last year, the Jags’ cornerback contingent entered this offseason a thin arrangement. Both House and Aaron Colvin were mid-tier corners, per PFF, but ranked well behind Amukamara in 2015.

Photo courtesy USA Today Sports Images

South Notes: Fleener, Weddle, Amukamara

The Colts chose to re-sign Dwayne Allen over fellow tight end Coby Fleener, and the latter went on to sign a five-year, $36MM deal with the Saints. And according to Fleener, it doesn’t sound Indianapolis put up too much of a fight to keep him. “The Colts’ lack of interest and the Saints’ interest made going to New Orleans an easy choice,” Fleener told Mike Wells of ESPN.com.

Here are a few more notes from the South divisions…

  • Another former Colt, linebacker Jerrell Freeman, says the club never made him a free agent offer, according to Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times (Twitter link). That seems to conflict from a report earlier today that indicated Indianapolis offered Freeman the same contract he ultimately signed with the Bears, but the dispute could stem from the notion that Freeman wasn’t offered a deal during free agency — this afternoon’s report said the Colts gave Freeman their proposal prior to March 9.
  • The Buccaneers are not among the contenders for free agent safety Eric Weddle, tweets Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times. Weddle is reportedly weighing offers from four teams, thought to be the Ravens, Steelers, Cowboys, and Raiders.
  • Cornerback Prince Amukamara had other free agent trips planned, but he never got around to taking them after finding that he liked what the Jaguars were offering, Amukamara explained to reporters, including John Oehser of Jaguars.com. Amukamara agreed to a one-year deal with Jacksonville.

Prince Amukamara Visiting Jaguars

Even after adding Malik Jackson, Jacksonville isn’t done making moves. Giants free agent cornerback Prince Amukamara is on his way to visit the Jaguars, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter). "<strong

Amukamara, 26, has had an up-and-down run with the Giants since his entry into the league in 2011, but some of his problems can be chalked up to injury. Of course, that’s a double-edged sword when evaluating a free agent. Amukamara’s only 16-game season came in 2013 and in the last two years, he has only taken the field for 19 contests. Still, in his 11 games in 2015, Amukamara was a difference maker, notching 63 total tackles, 10 pass deflections, one fumble recovery, and one interception.

When healthy, Amukamara has demonstrated the ability that made him the No. 19 overall pick in the 2011 draft. We expected the Giants to make a decent effort to re-sign Amukamara before free agency officially gets underway, but we haven’t heard much on that front this week. After signing Janoris Jenkins, the Giants appear poised to head into the season with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and the ex-Ram as their top two corners.

The Jets have reportedly also shown interest in Amukamara. After losing Damon Harrison to Big Blue, it’d only be fair for Gang Green to grab one of the Giants’ free agents.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants Sign Janoris Jenkins

THURSDAY, 1:52pm: The Giants’ signing of Jenkins is official, as Dan Salomone of Giants.com writes.

For a sneak peek at what Jenkins might look like in his new jersey, follow Pro Football Rumors on Instagram.

WEDNESDAY, 9:39am: Jenkins is expected to get $29MM in fully guaranteed money, per Paul Schwartz of the New York Post (Twitter link).

9:29am: Jenkins’ five-year deal with the Giants is expected to be worth $62.5MM, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). That’s an annual average of $12.5MM.

Janoris Jenkins/Giants Uniform (Vertical)

Photo courtesy of @ProFootballRumors on Instagram

6:48am: The Giants are prepared to sign cornerback Janoris Jenkins when the free agent market officially opens later today, reports Rand Getlin of the NFL Network (Twitter link). According to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (Twitter link), Jenkins’ new contract is expected to be worth in excess of $12MM per year.

Jenkins, 27, has spent the first four years of his career with the Rams since being selected by the team with the 39th overall pick in the 2012 draft. Since entering the league, Jenkins has been a starter at cornerback in St. Louis, picking up a total of 10 career interceptions, including five for touchdowns. However, it appears he won’t join the team in Los Angeles.

Prior to the franchise-tag deadline, the Rams had been mulling over whether to use their tag on Jenkins or fellow cornerback Trumaine Johnson. The club ultimately opted to lock up Johnson with the non-exclusive franchise tag, clearing the path for Jenkins to reach the open market.

While the Rams did want to keep Jenkins, negotiations between the two sides didn’t appear to progress the way the four-year veteran anticipated. After a report surfaced suggesting that Jenkins had declined a five-year offer worth about $45MM, the former second-round pick changed agents, and tweeted. “Total disrespect when u held down one side all 4 years and force the ball the other way.. #ThanksButNoThanks.”

For the Giants, Jenkins looks poised to team with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in the secondary, suggesting free agent corner Prince Amukamara likely won’t be back in New York.

According to Dan Graziano of ESPN.com (Twitter links), the Giants may be targeting other big-name free agents on the defensive side of the ball. Graziano reports that Big Blue may make a run at defensive end Olivier Vernon, and adds that the team has also expressed interest in Jenkins’ former teammate, safety Rodney McLeod.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets Show Interest In Adam Jones, Other CBs

After spending big on cornerbacks in free agency a year ago, the Jets aren’t shying away from exploring the market again this time around. According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, New York is among the teams that have shown interest in Bengals free agent Adam Jones. Meanwhile, Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports tweets that the team is “nosing around” the market, having also inquired on Prince Amukamara and others.Adam Jones

Last March, in Mike Maccagnan‘s first offseason as the team’s general manager, the Jets landed Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, and Buster Skrine on lucrative, long-term contracts. The team has since parted ways with Cromartie, whose deal didn’t feature any guaranteed money beyond the first year, and now is back in the market for possible help at cornerback.

Jones, 32, is generating plenty of interest, so the Jets will have competition if they decide to make a play for him. On Monday, Florio identified the Ravens, Browns, Dolphins, Raiders, Cowboys and Vikings as potential suitors for Pacman.

Both Amukamara and Jones ranked among the top five cornerbacks currently available on the free agent market in our look at this year’s top defensive options.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants Rumors: JPP, Ayers, Amukamara

The Giants would like to re-sign defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul and will continue to try to make it happen, writes Jordan Raanan of NJ.com. However, according to Raanan, the club is currently only willing to do a one-year, prove-it deal. Unless that stance changes within the next week or so, there’s a good chance JPP will explore the market, and if he finds a more appealing offer elsewhere, there’s a good chance he’ll depart.

As Raanan details, it’s possible that another team in desperate need of a pass-rusher will be willing to offer Pierre-Paul a multiyear contract in the neighborhood of $10MM per year, but there are too many variables in play for the Giants to make such an offer themselves before letting JPP gauge his value. It will be an interesting situation to watch as free agency nears.

Here’s more from Raanan on the Giants:

  • On the whole, the free agent market is expected to be player-friendly, and one player who will likely benefit is Giants defensive end Robert Ayers. According to Raanan, Ayers is expected to land a deal in the range of $6MM per year, and the Giants will be in the running.
  • The Giants will allow Prince Amukamara to reach the open market to get a sense of his value. The team doesn’t appear poised to spend big money on the cornerback position, since the front seven is the priority, says Raanan. If that’s the case, Amukamara could land with another team.
  • New York will likely explore signing a veteran free agent safety to pair with Landon Collins, says Raanan. Isa Abdul-Quddus is one player the team could target if it doesn’t spend on a top-tier safety.
  • The Giants are willing to let kicker Josh Brown walk if he finds a lucrative multiyear contract on the open market, since they don’t want to invest too heavily in the position.