Rashad Jennings

Giants Release RB Rashad Jennings

This is shaping up to be a busy day for the Giants. The G-Men are releasing former starting running back Rashad Jennings, according to Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com (on Twitter). "<strong

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Jennings was set to carry a cap charge of $3MM. By releasing him, the Giants will save $2.5MM.

The veteran running back was brought to New York in 2014 with the idea that he would be the team’s workhorse in the backfield. Instead, injuries held him back in two of his three seasons. In 2016, he averaged a paltry 3.3 yards per rush on 181 carries. Jennings made a name for himself in 2013 with the Raiders when he averaged 4.5 yards per carry and scored a career-high six touchdowns. Now on the verge of his 32nd birthday, it’s fair to wonder if he can get back to that level of production.

The Giants are now expected to turn to youngster Paul Perkins to hold down the running back job. As it stands, the Giants also have veteran Shane Vereen on the books for one more year at a roughly $5MM cap charge.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Steelers, Hawks, Giants, Chiefs

The oldest defensive player in the NFL, linebacker James Harrison, is reportedly planning to return for his age-39 season in 2017, and the Steelers are interested in bringing back the pending free agent. “Obviously, we need to have a contract. But I think we’re definitely open to it,” team president Art Rooney II told Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Tuesday. “And, from what I understand, at least he’s open to it.” Despite his advanced age, Harrison led the Steelers in sacks (five) in his 14th NFL season and became the franchise’s all-time leader in that category (79.5).

Regardless of whether Harrison’s career continues with the Steelers, they’ll prioritize upgrading their pass rush this offseason, Rooney indicated. “That’s a piece of the puzzle that I think we can identify we want to improve on,” said Rooney, whose club finished ninth in sacks and 15th in quarterback hurries in 2016.

Elsewhere around the league…

  • The Seahawks made a contract offer to pending free agent tight end Luke Willson, but it wasn’t “extremely serious” and he “didn’t really respond to it,” the 27-year-old told KJR-AM 950 (via Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times). Willson also revealed that, although his preference is to re-sign with the Seahawks, he’s “excited” about the chance to test the open market. While Willson hasn’t put up gaudy numbers in his four-year Seattle career (74 catches, 976 yards and seven touchdowns in 56 games), he could have a case for a significant payday. As Condotta notes, Willson has similar numbers to San Francisco’s Vance McDonald (64 receptions, 866 yards, seven TDs in 48 games), who landed an extension featuring $16MM in guarantees in December. The Seahawks already have one expensive tight end in Jimmy Graham, who’s due a $7.9MM salary next season.
  • A subpar season – not to mention the $2.5MM in cap savings that would accompany his release – could cost running back Rashad Jennings his place on the Giants’ roster, but he expects to return in 2017. “I’ve got one more year on my contract, and I’ve got a lot to prove. I look forward to doing it in New York again,” the soon-to-be 32-year-old told James Kratch of NJ Advance Media. Jennings, who averaged a paltry 3.3 yards per rush on 181 carries in 2016, added that he and head coach Ben McAdoo had a “very upbeat” exit meeting.
  • Chiefs long snapper James Winchester‘s contract extension is a five-year, $4.45MM pact featuring $500K in guarantees and a $500K roster bonus for 2017, reports Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star. Winchester can also earn $10K in workout bonuses for every year of the deal.
  • Free agent linebacker Justin Tuggle worked out for the Raiders, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. The son of longtime NFL linebacker Jessie Tuggle spent 2013-15 in Houston, where he appeared in 42 games and started 11, but didn’t play this season after he was unable to survive the Browns’ final cuts in early September.

Giants Hoping Rashad Jennings Returns This Week

The Giants are optimistic that running back Rashad Jennings will be able to return to game action in Week 4 against the Vikings, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). New York announced earlier today that Shane Vereen is will be sidelined for awhile, so the club can use all the backfield help it can get.Rashad Jennings (Vertical)

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Jennings, 31, miss Sunday’s loss to the Redskins due to a left thumb injury. The ailment wouldn’t have affected his ability to carry the ball, but Jennings was concerned that it would hinder his passing game role, reports Ralph Vacchiano of SNY. On the season, Jenning has managed 102 yards on 32 carries, adding another 16 yards through the air. If Jennings can’t go on Sunday, the Giants will rely on Orleans Darkwa, Bobby Rainey, and Paul Perkins to maintain the ground game.

The Giants will likely have an open roster spot once they place Vereen on injured reserve, so they could potentially add another running back to their current crop if they choose.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Carlson, Okung, Thomas

Former Cardinals tight end John Carlson unexpectedly announced his retirement in May, leaving Arizona searching for a veteran replacement this summer. As Carlson tells Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune, he considered the health risks inherent in continuing to play after suffering multiple concussions when he made his decision. But with three kids under the age of five at home, he admits that his priorities were shifting as well.

“It was clear already that I didn’t have that same passion and love for the game that I had in the past,” Carlson said, adding that committing so much time to the NFL meant he wasn’t “nearly the husband and father” he wanted to be.

While Carlson adjusts to retirement, the Cardinals are eyeing possible free agent alternatives like Jermaine Gresham and Chris Cooley. Here’s more from across the NFC:

  • Seahawks tackle Russell Okung, who has parted ways with his agent, is consulting with agents and may hire one to assist with his contract, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. Okung would pay that consultant a flat fee rather than a percentage of his new deal.
  • Meanwhile, Okung tells Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (Twitter link) that he’s “optimistic” about his future with the Seahawks and will be speaking with the team soon about his situation. I’d speculated earlier this week that Okung may prefer to wait until after the season to discuss his contract, so as not to interfere with his on-field performance this summer.
  • With Okung planning to negotiate his own deal, and Giants running back Rashad Jennings encouraging other players to do the same (as Nick Powell of NJ.com writes), Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk lists several things an agent can do to help a player and earn his commission, outside of simply negotiating a contract. It’s worth approaching any praise of agents from reporters with a critical eye – since agents are often the sources of insider information for those reporters – but Florio’s breakdown is a good one.
  • Seahawks safety Earl Thomas, recovering from shoulder surgery, acknowledges to Ed Werder of ESPN.com that he’s not sure if he’ll be ready to go when the regular season gets underway.
  • With their division rivals making roster upgrades this offseason, Chip Kelly and the Eagles decided Philadelphia’s upside wasn’t quite high enough, and the team couldn’t afford to stand pat, writes David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News in a look at the NFC East.

Injury Updates: Monday

As is typically the case on Mondays, teams around the NFL are receiving updates on injured players, and while in some instances that news is reassuring, that’s not always the case. Here are a few items related to injuries that may force clubs to make roster moves:

  • As feared, Titans safety Bernard Pollard has a ruptured Achilles and will miss the rest of the season, tweets Terry McCormick of TitanInsider.com. While the team has yet to officially make a move, we can expect Pollard to hit IR at some point this week.
  • A pair of Ravens are expected to miss multiple weeks, according to Garrett Downing of BaltimoreRavens.com, who writes that cornerback Asa Jackson suffered a severly sprained toe, while defensive end Chris Canty is dealing with an infection in his wrist. Head coach John Harbaugh indicated today that the club’s current plan is to place Jackson on the injured reserve with the designation to return. The team will also look to add a cornerback in his absence, according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter).
  • Broncos running back Montee Ball suffered a strained groin, and could miss up to three weeks, head coach John Fox said today (Twitter link via Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com).
  • The Giants figure to be without running back Rashad Jennings for the near future, as the offseason signee confirmed today that he sustained a sprained MCL (Twitter link via Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News). While Jennings should remain on the 53-man roster, the team could bolster the running back position by promoting Michael Cox from the practice squad, notes Vacchiano (via Twitter).
  • The Jets got a scare when linebacker David Harris injured his shoulder, but an MRI showed no structural damage and he’s considered day-to-day, tweets Brian Costello of the New York Post.

Injury Updates: Sunday

Here are some injuries that occurred during Sunday’s game action:

  • Chargers‘ center Doug Legursky left the blowout victory over the Jets with a knee injury, and Michael Gehlken of the U-T San Diego reports that he will likely be out much longer (via Twitter).
  • The Jets also lost a key member of their team, with linebacker David Harris suffering a shoulder injury, reports Brian Costello of the New York Post (via Twitter). He will undergo an MRI tomorrow.
  • Calais Campbell‘s injury reported earlier was an MCL injury, and will keep him out between three and four weeks, reports Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com (via Twitter).

Earlier Updates:

  • Saints‘ star tight end Jimmy Graham suffered a sprained shoulder during the team’s overtime victory against the Buccaneers earlier today. The team is going into their bye week, which should give the All-Pro pass catcher time to recover. Graham hopes to return to the field the following week against the Lions.
  • Titans‘ safety Bernard Pollard left the locker room using crutches, reports Jim Wyatt of the Tennesseean (via Twitter). The team fears that he has torn his achilles, writes Darin Gantt of Pro Football Talk. Pollard will have an MRI on Monday.
  • Titans‘ starting quarterback Jake Locker has also faced an injury, being forced out of the team’s loss at the hands of the Browns. Locker injured his thumb in the game, and while X-rays were negative, he will have an MRI on Monday, writes Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.
  • Giants‘ running back Rashad Jennings is set to have an MRI on his knee tomorrow, but believes the injury is not serious, according to Ebenezer Samuel of the New York Daily News (via Twitter).
  • There have been a number of injuries for the Cardinals during their matchup against the Broncos. Starting quarterback Drew Stanton, who was already filling in for an injured Carson Palmer, has been forced out of the game with a concussion, reports Mark Dalton of the Arizona Cardinals (via Twitter). Rookie Logan Thomas has replaced him in the game. The team does not have an emergency quarterback left on their roster. Defensive end Calais Campbell has also been removed from the game with a knee injury, reports Lindsay Jones of USA Today (via Twitter).
  • The Broncos have not been unscathed so far, losing running back Montee Ball to a groin injury, reports Chris Cwik of CBS Sports.
  • The Chargers have also experienced some key injuries despite building a big lead over the Jets. Tackle D.J. Fluker and receiver Malcolm Floyd have both left the game with lower leg injuries, and failed to return, reports Eric Williams of ESPN (via Twitter). Running back Donald Brown also left the game with a concussion, writes Michael Gehlken of the U-T San Diego (via Twitter).

NFC Contract Details: Hatcher, Jennings, Cards

Jason Hatcher told reporters today that the Redskins blew away the competition with their pitch and offer to him, and Tom Pelissero of USA Today brings us the specifics of Hatcher’s deal (via Twitter). The four-year, $27.5MM deal includes $10.5MM in guaranteed money, made up of a $9MM signing bonus and a $1.5MM guaranteed base salary in 2014.

Here are more details on contracts signed for players by NFC teams this week:

  • While Rashad Jennings‘ four-year deal with the Giants can apparently max out around $14MM, it only has a base value of $10MM, tweets Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News.
  • Matt Shaughnessy‘s two-year contract with the Cardinals includes a $1.4MM signing bonus, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter). Pelissero tweets that there’s a “trigger” of sorts including in the deal, in the form of a $500K roster bonus due next March.
  • Jonathan Dwyer‘s one-year deal with the Cardinals is a minimum salary benefit contract. Wilson tweets that the base salary of $730K is non-guaranteed, while Dwyer also got a $65K signing bonus.
  • Meanwhile, another Cardinals signee, Ted Larsen, gets two years and $2.6MM, with a $470K, tweets Pelissero. The deal also features per-game roster bonuses and additional escalators, as Pelissero explains.
  • The Vikings‘ one-year pact with Derek Cox doesn’t include any guarantees, according to Pelissero (via Twitter). It features a $730K base salary, a $50K workout bonus, and $220K in potential playing time incentives, meaning it can max out at $1MM.
  • Domenik Hixon‘s one-year contract with the Bears is worth the minimum salary ($730K), but the receiver can earn up to $100K in roster bonus money, tweets Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com. Dickerson adds (via Twitter) that M.D. Jennings has a similar deal, though the safety’s minimum salary is $645K.
  • Ramon Humber received a minimum salary benefit deal from the Saints, with a $65K signing bonus and $300K in overall guaranteed money, tweets Wilson.

Giants Sign Rashad Jennings

WEDNESDAY, 3:05pm: Jennings has officially signed his new contract with the Giants, according to Fallon Smith of CSNBayArea.com (Twitter link). A source tells Smith it’s a four-year pact worth $14MM, with about $3MM in guaranteed money. Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports clarifies (via Twitter) that $14MM is the max value of the deal.

TUESDAY, 4:26pm: Rashad Jennings took to Twitter to announce that he is about to sign with Big Blue: “Flying to the Big Apple tonight! Looking forward to signing the dotted lines with @Giants.”

Jennings, who has previously served as the understudy to both Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew, also had interest from the incumbent Raiders. The 6’1″ tailback rushed for 733 yards last season, a career high, off of 163 attempts.

Raiders Rumors: QBs, Revis, Jenkins, Jennings

The Raiders are interested in quarterback Josh McCown, but the team is also waiting to see what the Texans will do with Matt Schaub, says Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter). Additionally, many believe the McCown sweepstakes could be down to the Bears and Buccaneers, according to Tafur. Here’s more on the Raiders:

  • The Raiders are thought to be “strong players” in the Darrelle Revis sweepstakes, according to Tafur (via Twitter), who says the Browns are involved as well. Both clubs have a boatload of cap space available this offseason, which makes them logical destinations to either absorb Revis’ contract in a trade or outbid other teams should he reach free agency.
  • Five teams are interested in free agent cornerback Mike Jenkins, who may be harder for the Raiders to re-sign than they expected, tweets Tafur.
  • Rashad Jennings may make a decision today, and it appears the Raiders and Giants are his top two suitors, says Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News (Twitter links).
  • There’s nothing new on the Raiders front when it comes to Jared Veldheer and Lamarr Houston, tweets Tafur. It continues to look like Veldheer will land in Arizona, and Houston could sign elsewhere too.

East Notes: Giants, Jennings, Woodyard

The Giants are still in the mix for center Evan Dietrich-Smith, but it appears that guard Geoff Schwartz is their more immediate priority, tweets Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News. Jordan Raanan of the Star-Ledger says the club appears to be looking in house at center. Offensive lineman Kevin Boothe, who started six games at center last season, is being viewed as the possible short-term answer.

  • The Giants have made an offer to free agent running back Rashad Jennings, a league source tells Fallon Smith of CSNBayArea.com (on Twitter). The Raiders, meanwhile, would like to hang on to the tailback.
  • Despite interest from the Cowboys, a source close to Wesley Woodyard told Brandon Krisztal of the Denver Post (on Twitter) that his first trip is to the Patriots with another team visit planned after.
  • Tyson Jackson is getting an impressive amount of interest with suitors including the Dolphins, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. The Browns and Falcons are also interested while the Chiefs are still in the mix.