Reggie Wayne

Extra Points: Wayne, Lions, Fewell, Staff

Reggie Wayne retired after 14 seasons four years ago, and while he only played regular-season games with the Colts, the decorated wideout was a Patriot briefly. However, the Lions showed interest in adding him in that 2015 offseason as well. Wayne was not interested, citing the Lions’ insistence he work out for them as a reason he sidestepped them en route to New England.

I said, ‘Work out? You the Detroit Lions. Wait. Work out? I’m good,'” Wayne said during an appearance on NFL Network anchor Dan Hellie’s Helliepod podcast (via the Detroit Free Press). “Like, I can give you — I got 14 years of working out that you can see,” Wayne said. “So I was like, ‘Nah, I’m cool.’”

Then coached by former Colts HC Jim Caldwell, the Lions employed Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate as their starters at that point. Wayne did end up working out for the Patriots but cited Bill Belichick‘s success as a reason he agreed to audition for the Pats. Wayne’s Patriots tenure ended up lasting barely 10 days, with the then-36-year-old wideout asking to be released before the start of the 2015 season. Wayne added during the interview the Pats let him keep a $450K signing bonus he received.

Shifting to current matters, is the latest from around the league:

  • Veteran NFL assistant and two-time interim HC Perry Fewell accepted a job with the NFL this week. The league named Fewell its senior vice president of officiating administration. The former Super Bowl-winning defensive coordinator will oversee the officiating department, which will include working with outreach to GMs and head coaches. This will be the 57-year-old Fewell’s first year away from coaching since he began in the profession in the mid-1980s. Fewell has been an NFL assistant since 1998.
  • When the NFL revamped its Rooney Rule, it also added a provision that will feature all 32 teams housing a coaching fellowship program for minority candidates. These will be full-time positions that will last from one to two years.
  • The NFL made another new hire recently, tapping Jeff Miller as its new executive VP of communications, public affairs and policy, per ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter).
  • NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith is somewhat less bullish on the 2020 season unfolding than the NFL currently is.

Reggie Wayne To Retire After 14 Seasons

In a conversation with CBS4Indy.com’s Mike Chappell, Reggie Wayne said he intends to retire.

Chappell reports the veteran ex-Colts receiver won’t pursue another opportunity in the league.

Yeah, I’m done. It was fun, but it’s time. It’s just time,” Wayne told Chappell.

A 2001 Colts first-round pick, Wayne played 14 seasons in Indianapolis before briefly being employed in New England in 2015. The former Miami Hurricanes wideout will leave ranked in the top 10 in receptions (1,070, seventh all-time) and yards (14,345, eighth), with his 82 touchdown receptions ranking 23rd in league history.

When I look at it, what else did I have to prove?” Wayne said. “In my mind, I never got as much pub as a lot of other guys, and that’s fine. I don’t care. You know what? Numbers don’t lie. … For me to be in that mix, man, that’s not too bad. I played against the elite of the elite, the best of the best. I was able to crack the top 10 of this and the top 10 of that, and be one of the best in franchise history.

Man, not too many people can say that.”

The 37-year-old Wayne, per Chappell, expects to make an official announcement in a few weeks’ time. He finished as a six-time Pro Bowler and one-time first-team All-Pro (2010). Wayne compiled four 100-catch seasons — 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2012 — and flourished as both a No. 2 wide receiver alongside Marvin Harrison in Peyton Manning‘s prodigious offense and as a No. 1 once Harrison moved on.

Wayne did not play during the regular season in 2015 after asking for and receiving his release from the Patriots.

Telling Chappell attending a Nov. 29 Colts-Buccaneers game represented the tipping point from going from player hanging on to an NFL alumnus, Wayne explained his decision.

I finally turned into a fan, a real fan,’’ Wayne told Chappell. “I’ve got my adult beverage. I’m eating some popcorn. I’m watching fans’ reactions. I’m watching the Jumbotron. … “I thought that was the final notch for me. I felt like I needed that to help get me over that hump. A lot of guys who go to games come away and say, ‘You know what? I can still do that.’ But I needed that to realize, ‘You know what? This ain’t half bad.”

Coming off a Pro Bowl campaign in Andrew Luck‘s rookie season, Wayne’s career began rapidly trending toward the end when he tore his ACL in October of 2013. He finished the 2014 season with 779 yards — his fewest since his second season in 2002 — and suffered a torn triceps.

The Colts did not re-sign the franchise’s second-leading receiver, behind Harrison, after that campaign.

Wayne’s 93 playoff receptions currently rank second in postseason receptions behind only Jerry Rice, and his 1,254 yards (gained in 21 postseason performances) sit fourth all-time behind Rice, Michael Irvin and Cliff Branch.

Wayne will receive Hall of Fame consideration in five years, should his retirement stick, especially with the once-immense glut of wideouts being inducted. Harrison figures to follow the likes of Cris Carter, Tim Brown and Andre Reed into Canton, which will help clear the way for more modern pass-catchers’ enshrinement.

Photo courtesy USA Today Sports Images

East Notes: Wayne, Brown, Tebow

Bill Belichick and Reggie Wayne agreed to mutually part company when the Patriots officially released the wide receiver they employed for not even two weeks, according to Ryan Hannable of WEEI.com.

Another reason for Wayne’s abrupt departure amid the Patriots’ injury struggles at the position could stem from the wideout’s lack of enjoyment in the Pats’ environment, per team radio analyst, Scott Zolak (on Twitter).

A source told Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk the the Patriots like to bring in veterans and let them learn the system to a degree, so even in the event they are cut, they could potentially fill a need later in the season if help is needed. Florio offers that Wayne might not be willing to follow in this path.

Two months shy of 37, Wayne’s beginning to sound like he’s on the way out, with a source telling Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link) the potential Hall of Fame wideout is willing to return but only in the right situation. But then again, not many veterans this far into their careers like to join up with losing franchises, so Wayne not jumping at just any chance to play makes sense.

Here are some other notes from the Eastern divisions as cut day closes.

  • Chip Kelly told Tim Tebow to hone his craft in Canada when the third-year Eagles coach cut the polarizing quarterback today, reports Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer (on Twitter). Tebow has previously rebuffed such opportunities, but Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com notes (on Twitter) the Toronto Argonauts hold Tebow’s CFL rights, have spoken with him before and happen to be on a bye week presently.
  • The Bills may not be done reshuffling their backfield. They’ve had discussions of trading Bryce Brown, Albert Breer of NFL.com tweets. Buffalo GM Doug Whaley surrendered a fourth-round pick for Brown last season. The backup to the recently relocated Fred Jackson and the less-recently relocated C.J. Spiller last season, Brown, 24, didn’t receive many opportunities in his debut Bills slate. Now a two-time LeSean McCoy understudy, Brown appears to have fallen out of favor in Buffalo. He still sits behind Anthony Dixon and potentially fifth-rounder Karlos Williams. Dixon accrued 105 carries to Brown’s 36 last season despite Brown’s 5.1 yards per tote eclipsing Dixon’s tally by a full yard.

Patriots Jettison 11 Players

Reggie Wayne indeed appears among the contingent of cut Patriots, per the team’s official website, but the team’s wide receiver depth chart took another hit, at least from an experience standpoint amid the moves the Super Bowl champions made Saturday.

Brandon LaFell will begin the season on the PUP list, meaning the earliest the veteran can debut Oct. 25 at the earliest. A foot injury kept the starting wide receiver out of training camp, and it likely leaves New England to once again rely on the underwhelming Danny Amendola in the starting lineup.

The Patriots also waived Jonas Gray, he of the four-touchdown performance last season before an alarm clock-related practice absence halted the runner’s momentum.

They cut tight end Asante Cleveland and wideout Jalen Saunders, both of whom they traded for recently, notes Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald (on Twitter).

The rest of New England’s cuts are as follows:

  • Justin Coleman, DB
  • Xzavier Dickson, LB
  • Darius Fleming, LB
  • Brandon King, S
  • Robert McClain, CB
  • Zach Moore, DL
  • Daxton Swanson, DB

Reggie Wayne Asks To Be Released

Less than two weeks ago, the Patriots gave Reggie Wayne a $450K signing bonus to join the team, but it appears his stint in New England will be short-lived. A source tells Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (Twitter link) that the veteran wideout will not be on the Pats’ 53-man roster.

The 15-year veteran asked to be released despite just signing with the Patriots last month, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter).

Retirement is an option for Wayne, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter), and he would want to do that in a Colts uniform and not with the Patriots.

Wayne’s deal with the Patriots included several bonuses and incentives, so the team won’t carry a huge chunk of dead money if the former Colt is released. Still, the Pats did sink a guaranteed $450K into Wayne, so the decision to move on so quickly means they really must not have liked what they saw from him over the last week and a half.

Wayne has indicated throughout the offseason that he wants to play one more year. It’s not clear if his outlook will change after what appears to be a brief, failed stint with the Pats. But there are a few other clubs around the NFL that could use receiving help, so perhaps he’ll catch on elsewhere.

East Notes: T. Williams, Jets, Cowboys, Wayne

Washington offensive tackle Trent Williams isn’t worrying about his contract situation, focusing instead on giving Washington “one of the best years of my career” in the final season of his current deal, as he tells John Keim of ESPN.com.

Keim suggests that if the two sides don’t reach an agreement on an extension, the franchise tag will be an option for Washington, but Williams’ cap hit this year is $14.23MM, so franchising him would mean committing to a salary north of $17MM for 2016. As such, it’s in Washington’s best interest to work out a longer-term arrangement, and Williams should have plenty of leverage in those negotiations.

Let’s round up a few more notes from out of the NFL’s East divisions…

  • Speaking today to reporters, including Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (Twitter links), Osi Umenyiora said he got an offer from a team yesterday, but didn’t want to continue his career if he wasn’t playing for the Giants. According to Garafolo, the Jets contacted Umenyiora yesterday, but didn’t make a formal contract offer — they were just checking to see whether he was really retiring. The veteran pass rusher paid an informal visit to the Jets earlier this year.
  • Although an earlier report suggested the Cowboys were poking around for cornerback help, Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweets that the team has no plans to add a corner in the wake of Orlando Scandrick‘s ACL injury. I’d expect the Cowboys to keep an eye on defensive backs who are cut next week, but it doesn’t sound like the club is in the market for a starter at all.
  • Field Yates of ESPN.com passes along some specific details on Reggie Wayne‘s one-year contract with the Patriots, tweeting that the wideout will earn a base salary of $1.1MM to go along with a $450K signing bonus. The pact also features $750K in per-game roster bonuses, plus additional bonuses if Wayne reaches 55 receptions ($250K) and 65 receptions (another $250K).

East Notes: Galette, Wayne, Brady, Ryans

There’s “a feeling” in Washington that the team will learn this week whether or not veteran pass rusher Junior Galette will face a suspension for any off-field incidents, writes John Keim of ESPN.com. Washington didn’t waste much time picking up Galette after he was released by the Saints, suggesting the front office wasn’t expecting a significant penalty. According to Keim, the club is hopeful that any Galette suspension would be for two games or less.

Here’s more from out of the NFL’s two East divisions:

  • Josina Anderson of ESPN.com provides a couple specific figures on Reggie Wayne‘s new contract with the Patriots, tweeting that has a maximum value of $2.8MM and features a $450K signing bonus. According to Wayne, he fielded “a lot of serious calls from some good teams,” but decided New England was the best fit for him, per Mike Reiss of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
  • Attorneys for the NFL and NFLPA met yesterday for another settlement conference regarding Tom Brady‘s case, but – as expected – the session didn’t lead to an agreement, tweets Ben Volin of the Boston Globe. The next hearing in Judge Richard Berman’s court regarding the Patriots quarterback is scheduled for August 31.
  • Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter links) wonders what the Mychal Kendricks extension means for Eagles linebacker DeMeco Ryans. As McLane explains, he heard earlier this year that Kendricks would likely only play one more season in Philadelphia, so the apparent change of heart from the team may be related to Ryans, who turned 31 last month.
  • E.J. Manuel acknowledged during training camp this year that he knows his days with the Bills may be numbered if he doesn’t play well. However, as Sal Capaccio of WGR550 details, Manuel says he loves playing in Buffalo: “I want to stay here.”

Patriots Sign Reggie Wayne

11:38am: According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter), Wayne’s one-year deal can be worth up to about $3MM with incentives, and the veteran wideout gets nearly $500K up front.

TUESDAY, 11:21am: The Patriots have officially signed Wayne, the team announced today in a press release.

MONDAY, 12:12pm: Following a weekend visit to New England, veteran wideout Reggie Wayne has agreed to a one-year contract with the Patriots, reports Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter). A report earlier this morning had indicated the Packers would inquire on Wayne if they confirm Jordy Nelson‘s ACL is torn, but the Pats beat them to the punch, locking up the free agent receiver for the 2015 season.Reggie Wayne

Wayne, who spent 14 years in Indianapolis after being drafted by the Colts in the first round way back in 2001, is no longer the sort of impact player he was during his prime. However, he was still a reliable target for Andrew Luck last season, compiling 779 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 64 catches. A report last month suggested that Wayne’s ideal scenario would be to play for one more season and then retire.

It may be painful for some Colts fans to see Wayne suit up for the Patriots this season, but Indianapolis’ front office made the decision to move on from the longtime Colt when his contract expired earlier this year. GM Ryan Grigson and company signed Andre Johnson and drafted Phillip Dorsett to help solidify Luck’s receiving corps in the wake of Wayne’s departure.

For Wayne, who has spent most of his career catching passes from Peyton Manning and Luck, moving to a team led by Tom Brady will mean working with another future Hall-of-Famer. Of course, if Brady’s suspension is upheld in court, it will be Jimmy Garoppolo, rather than Brady, who opens the season as the Patriots’ starting quarterback.

Whichever quarterback starts Week 1 for New England will be working with a talented group of pass-catchers that includes Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Brandon LaFell, Danny Amendola, and now Wayne. Edelman and LaFell are among the Patriots wideouts who have been slowed by injuries this summer, but neither player’s Week 1 availability is believed to be in jeopardy at this point. Adding Wayne gives the Pats a little more veteran depth as those players recover.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: JPP, Mathis, Wayne

According to three sources informed of his recovery, Jason Pierre Paul‘s rehab is “progressing very well,” Ian Rapoport of NFL.com writes. However, it’s not clear if the Giants star will be in uniform Week 1 against the Cowboys. It’s also not clear when the Giants will get a chance to examine JPP’s hand to get a better read on his situation. Here’s more from the NFC..

  • Seahawks coach Pete Carroll told reporters, including Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times (on Twitter), that even though Evan Mathis‘ workout went well, there are “a lot of issues” preventing a deal from happening. The biggest roadblock, unsurprisingly, is Mathis’ asking price. Carroll indicated that the Seahawks can’t offer the guard the $5.5MM salary he earned last year with the Eagles. The Seahawks may have to wait and see if Mathis gets that kind of cash elsewhere. If he doesn’t, then he could bounce back to them, Condotta tweets.
  • Reggie Wayne considered waiting for the Packers, but the team did not confirm its interest before Wayne decided to sign with the Patriots, Josina Anderson of ESPN.com tweets.
  • Washington worked out fullback/tight end Evan Rodriguez today, according to John Keim of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The versatile Rodriguez spent time on Tampa’s practice squad last year and made five starts with the Bears in 2012.

FA Rumors: Packers, Wayne, Mathis, Deering

The Packers are still waiting on the official results of Jordy Nelson‘s MRI, but if the star wideout has a torn ACL, as is feared, the team is expected to inquire on Reggie Wayne, reports Dianna Marie Russini of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Green Bay still has a good deal of wide receiver depth without Nelson, and the club typically doesn’t sign outside free agents very often, so it seems unlikely that Wayne would land with the Packers. It’s fair to wonder if Wayne’s camp is using Green Bay as a leverage play, as the veteran free agent attempts to negotiate a deal with the Patriots or perhaps another team.

As we wait to see where Wayne lands, let’s round up a few more notes on free agents….

  • Agent Drew Rosenhaus expects free agent guard Evan Mathis to have a new team by the end of the week, he said during an appearance on South Florida’s WSVN-7 (link via Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald). According to Rosenhaus, his client has received interest from the Seahawks and “other teams,” and Salguero suggests the Dolphins should be in the mix if Mathis’ asking price is coming down at all.
  • It’s a busy week for former Rutgers safety Jeremy Deering, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, who tweets that Deering tried out for the Eagles, is working out for the Colts today, and has an audition with the Jets later in the week.
  • Jason Wilde of ESPNWisconsin examines the Packers‘ wide receiver situation, speculating that ex-Packer James Jones could be an option for the team. For now though, Jones is a Giant, so he’d probably have to be cut for Green Bay to consider him. Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports made a similar point yesterday.