Rodger Saffold

Rodger Saffold Wants To Return To Rams

Guard Rodger Saffold is scheduled to hit the open market in March, but he wants to stay put in sunny Los Angeles. The Rams’ longest-tenured player says he wants to re-sign with the club and return for a tenth season (via Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com). 

As one of the more reliable left guards in the league, the Rams certainly want Saffold to return. The veteran also hinted that he may be willing to take a hometown discount to make that happen.

You want to be paid fairly,” Saffold said. “But I think the culture and the team that I’m around is worth just as much as the extra money that I could get from going somewhere else. That’s just with getting older and understanding what I’m around. I want to be successful for years to come, and I think in order to do that — I’ve been with this team for so long already, it’s like why start changing now that it’s good.”

Saffold, 31 in June, currently ranks as Pro Football Focus’ No. 9 ranked guard in the NFL. The advance metrics show that Saffold is a balanced blocker in all scenarios, which is exactly what his film shows.

What he enables us to do both in the run and the pass,” head coach Sean McVay said. “The combination of his athleticism, his ability to get to the second level, play in space, but then also play with power, get removal at the line of scrimmage. You’re not limited in any really scheme run-wise. He’s a great matchup.”

The Rams and Saffold are expected to discuss a new deal when the season ends, but at this rate, that might not be for a while. The 12-3 Rams profile as one of the league’s Super Bowl favorites heading into the postseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Notes: Broncos, Fitz, Mahomes, Rams

The Broncos my have lost their 10th game of the season on Sunday, but they also got a glimpse at a potential quarterback target in Washington signal caller Kirk Cousins. Playing on his second straight franchise tag, the 29-year-old posted close to 300 yards and tossed three scores against a very formidable Broncos defense. It was a performance that made Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post ask, “is Cousins worth $30MM?”

In fact, many Broncos defenders seemed to think that he could be worth that type of investment this offseason.

“A lot of teams would literally kill to have a quarterback like that,” Broncos linebacker Von Miller said.

“He’s the real deal as a quarterback,” Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall added.

Kiszla proclaimed that Cousins is unlikely to get another franchise tag given just how detrimental a guaranteed cap number like that would be on the Redskins roster. This would mean that Denver would have the opportunity to invest a lot of money in the soon-to-be free agent QB.

Denver clearly needs to address their quarterback situation this offseason. It’s clear that Trevor Siemian and Brock Osweiler are more backups, with Paxton Lynch still needing major development even when he gets healthy.

There’s a lot of QB needy teams in the NFL, but the Broncos got a personal look on Sunday of what Cousins could bring to a team that’s been craving any sort of offense since Peyton Manning retired after their Super Bowl 50 run.

Here’s more from the NFL’s West divisions:

  • Even though Cardinals star wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald signed a one-year contract extension during the season, that does not mean it’s a guarantee he will return to the football field in 2018. However, Fitz looks to be in a much better position to return than a year ago, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Rapoport suggests that the 34-year-old is much healthier than at the conclusion of the 2016 regular season. He’s also on track to post better numbers this year, as he’s just slightly behind his 2016 totals in receptions and yards, while just needing another touchdown to surpass his six scores from a season ago. Fitzgerald is a surefire Hall of Famer as well, but could also be motivated to surpass Terrell Owens on the all-time receiving list. He sits just a few hundred yards behind T.O. and would assuredly pass him if he remains healthy in 2018. Fitz has clearly shown that he can continue to play at a high level in his mid-30’s, so there’s hope from Cardinals fans he could return for another season in Arizona.
  • With their win yesterday, the Chiefs have clinched the AFC West and the fourth seed in the AFC. This means that rookie quarterback Patrick Mahomes could get the start or at least see a lot of playing time in a meaningless Week 17 game against the Broncos. But as expected, head coach Andy Reid wasn’t tipping his hand about how the team will approach the QB position next week. “We’ll get through Christmas and then we’ll get on with that,” Reid said. There had been some speculation that Reid may turn to Mahomes during the team’s midseason losing streak, but veteran Alex Smith has bounced back in a big way and led Kansas City to their second straight division title. Mahomes has been playing with the scout team and would probably be well served in getting some actual playing time in his first professional season.
  • While it was a very good day for a Rams franchise that clinched their first division title since 2003, the team was forced to deal with injuries to a pair of starters, reports Aiden Gonzalez of ESPN.com. Left guard Rodger Saffold was forced to exit the game with a rib injury, but head coach Sean McVay said after the victory that, “I think he’s OK.”. Gonzalez added that Saffold was “seen in good spirits” in the postgame celebration as well. However, linebacker Mark Barron‘s achilles injury could be worse than expected. The 28-year-old was a suprise inactive in Week 16 and has dealt with a variety of minor ailments throughout the season, according to Gonzalez. McVay wasn’t as clear with how his prognosis looked for the remainder of the season. “We’ll have some updates on that moving forward,” said the Rams head coach. If Barron should miss time, backup Cory Littleton would likely be forced into the starting lineup.

Combine Updates: Packers, Colts, Rams

The scouting combine continues today in Indianapolis, and so have the press conferences and media scrums with head coaches and general managers around the NFL.

Here are some highlights from a few of those conversations, sorted by team:

Green Bay Packers:

  • Despite the fact that the Packers aren’t generally major players in free agency, GM Ted Thompson said his team isn’t averse to exploring the market. With that in mind, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link) says Green Bay will likely be in the mix for a complementary wide receiver.
  • Asked whether Thompson listens to him if he wants a certain player, Packers coach Mike McCarthy said, “Everybody wants something. Someone has to say no. That’s why you have a chain of command. Someone has to be the bad guy” (link via Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com).
  • McCarthy also said today that he’s “disappointed” in Mike Pennel‘s four-game suspension, according to Demovsky. “Mike’s one of our guys, but we’ll see him through this,” McCarthy said. “He’s a young player who really came on in the second half of the season.”

Indianapolis Colts:

  • Colts head coach Chuck Pagano didn’t go into specifics on personnel moves today, but he didn’t pull punches when discussing the team’s pass rush, tweets Stephen Holder of ESPN.com. Pagano conveyed that it hasn’t been good enough, and needs to be upgraded.
  • GM Ryan Grigson also weighed in on the idea of adding pass rushers, suggesting that the draft isn’t as deep at that spot as he’d like, and acknowledging that there will be some financial constraints in free agency (Twitter link via Holder).
  • Asked about Andrew Luck‘s potential contract extension, Grigson said today that the team has yet to open negotiations, “but that will probably happen soon” (link via Holder). While he declined to discuss specific numbers, the GM expressed confidence that there would be no issues holding up talks.

Los Angeles Rams:

  • The Rams’ top priority right now is re-signing the team’s many free agent defensive backs, GM Les Snead said today, per Andrew Siciliano of the NFL Network (via Twitter). Cornerbacks Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson, along with safety Rodney McLeod, are eligible to hit the market in March.
  • The Rams released three veteran players last week to create cap room, but the team is planning to keep offensive lineman Rodger Saffold on its roster, according to Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
  • Snead made it clear today that, in addition to addressing this year’s free agents, the Rams are also hoping to lock up key extension candidates, including defensive tackle Michael Brockers and linebacker Alec Ogletree (Twitter link via Wagoner).

Rams Place Rodger Saffold On IR

Rodger Saffold will undergo season-ending surgery on shoulder and has been placed on IR, Rams head coach Jeff Fisher told reporters, including Myles Simmons of StLouisRams.com (on Twitter). Saffold will undergo surgery on his right labrum, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The guard’s left labrum was repaired in January.

The Raiders and Saffold made headlines in 2014 when an agreement between the two sides was torn up over a failed physical. The botched deal wasn’t great PR for the Raiders, but it would appear that time has validated their decision. Soon after that, the Rams and Saffold inked a five-year deal worth $31.7MM overall, including $19.5MM guaranteed. Saffold lost $10MM in potential value over the Raiders’ decision but he more or less matched the guarantee.

Saffold, 27, started all 16 games for the Rams in 2014 and made all five possible starts for St. Louis this year.

Extra Points: Dolphins, Wright, Saffold

Dolphins interim head coach Dan Campbell told reporters, including ESPN.com’s James Walker (on Twitter), that he’s talked to Bill Parcells since taking over the job and that he has been a good “resource.” Parcells is said to still have a lot of sway in Miami’s operations, which has led some to speculate that Sean Payton could be a fit for Miami since he once served as his assistant in Dallas.

Here’s more from around the NFL..

  • Earlier this week, Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith heard that Shareece Wright was leaning toward signing with the Seahawks. Smith, not wanting Seattle to beat Baltimore to the punch, put in recruiting call to Wright, as Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun tweets. Smith joked that he’s the reason the ex-49ers/Chargers corner signed with the Ravens, but it’s possible that he moved the needle. Wright rode the bench in SF and he’s looking to get playing time with his new squad.
  • Former Baylor wide receiver Antwan Goodley worked out for the Giants today, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com tweets.
  • Rams right guard Rodger Saffold is not expected to return to the playing field soon, if at all this season, a source tells Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
  • Chiefs nose tackle Dontari Poe has a high ankle sprain and will likely be out for a few weeks, Adam Teicher of ESPN.com tweets.

NFC West Notes: 49ers, Finley, Rams

The 49ers have had some wildly successful draft classes in recent years, and Sports On Earth’s Dan Pompei has a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at the team’s 2014 draft. The author explains the strategy and thinking that went into each selection.

The team’s first-round pick, safety Jimmie Ward, wasn’t necessarily expected to be an early pick. While some teams focused on his injury and size, the 49ers focused on a strategy used by former Jets’ duo Bill Parcels and Dick Haley. General manager Trent Baalke said he learned that there are “few players who can perform at a high level regardless of system.” As a result, a coach should draft a player who fits nicely into their scheme.

I learned that a long time ago,” said Baalke. “Coach Parcells was the guy I looked at and learned the most from, he and Dick Haley. That was always the question with them, how do they fit what we are going to ask him to do? For us, it’s critical.

The author has other interesting insight, including the team’s selection of basketball player Bruce Ellington and trade for Steve Johnson.

Let’s take a look at some more notes from the NFC West…

Recent Signings Facing Former Teams In 2014

The 2014 NFL schedule has been released, and it gives us an interesting chance to see some players face their former teammates for the first time. Some of these players were traded or otherwise unwanted by their former teams, and others spurned their hometown fans for greener pastures elsewhere. In all cases, there are some fans or players who must be licking their chops to finally treat these players in their new colors as enemies for the first time.

The following players will get the chance to play against their former teams in 2014:

  • Matt Schaub will either get a chance to show up his replacement in Week 2, or possibly hope to avoid getting tormented by Jadeveon Clowney when the Texans visit the Raiders on September 14th (4:25 EST, CBS).
  • DeSean Jackson would love a chance to show the world the Eagles made a mistake, and he will return to Philadelphia for Week 3 on September 21st (1:00 EST, FOX). Jackson will get a second chance on Saturday, December 20th (4:30 EST, NFL Network/CBS).
  • Branden Albert got see Tamba Hali and Justin Houston in practice for years. He will get them in a game for the first time when the Dolphins host the Chiefs on September 21st (4:25 EST, CBS).
  • Julius Peppers can wreak some havoc in a new system in his former stadium when the Packers visit the Bears on September 28th (1:00 EST, FOX). Peppers will get a second chance in Green Bay on November 9th in primetime (8:30 EST, NBC).
  • Steve Smith told the fans to “Put your goggles on cause there’s going to be blood and guts everywhere,when he signed with the Ravens. Well have your goggles ready for Week 4, when the Ravens host the Panthers on September 28th (1:00 EST, CBS).
  • Alex Smith didn’t get to see Jim Harbaugh last year, but will finally get his shot to go after his former coach when the Chiefs travel to face the 49ers on October 5th (1:00 EST, CBS).
  • Eric Decker will get to watch Peyton Manning and the Broncos’ offense churn on without him when the Broncos play the Jets at MetLife Stadium on October 12th (1:00 EST, CBS).
  • Brandon Spikes will have to be prepared for the Patriots after a contentious offseason, as Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have been known to pick on players before. The Bills host the Patriots on October 12th (1:00 EST, CBS) and travel to New England on December 28th (1:00 EST, CBS).
  • Darrelle Revis will get to feast on a passing offense that struggled in 2013, and will likely invite Eric Decker to Revis Island when the Patriots host the Jets on Thursday Night Football on October 16th (8:25 EST, CBS/NFL Network). Revis will then get to return to a stadium filled with jeering fans on December 21st (1:00 EST, CBS).
  • Jared Veldheer seemingly couldn’t leave Oakland quick enough, and the Raiders will host his Cardinals on October 19th (4:25 EST, FOX).
  • Jason Hatcher had a career season with the Cowboys in 2013, and now returns to a 3-4 defense hoping to build upon his great season against his former team when the Redskins head to Dallas for Monday Night Football on October 27th (8:30 EST, ESPN). His second meeting with the Cowboys will be in Week 17, when the Redskins host their rivals on December 28th (1:00 EST, FOX).
  • Aqib Talib took the money to switch from the AFC runner up to the AFC champion, and he will take part in his third Brady-Manning matchup, his first as a Bronco, on November 2nd (4:25 EST, CBS).
  • Hakeem Nicks looked like he hated playing with the Giants in 2013, and this is his chance at revenge after feeling mistreated by the Giants organization and fans when the Colts visit MetLife Stadium for Monday Night Football on November 3rd (8:30 EST, ESPN).
  • Jared Allen gets to tee off against the Vikings offensive line he has been practicing against for the past six years, and for the first time since 2007 will finally get to share the field with Adrian Peterson on November 16th when the Bears host the Vikings (1:00 EST, FOX). Allen will head back to Minnesota on December 28th (1:00, FOX).
  • Lovie Smith gets his shot to beat the team that fired him, and will bring former Bear Josh McCown with him to move the football against a no longer feared Bears defense on November 9th (1:00 EST, FOX).
  • Mike Pettine left the Bills to coach the Browns, and will have to return to Buffalo on November 30th (1:00 EST, CBS).
  • Michael Johnson left the Bengals to be the featured pass rusher for the Buccaneers, and he will get his chance to beat Andrew Whitworth and the Bengals offensive line to get a hit on Andy Dalton on November 30th (1:00 EST, CBS).
  • Rodger Saffold can show the Raiders exactly how healthy he is after the team signed him to a huge money deal and subsequently failed him on his physical, voiding the deal. The Rams host the Raiders on November 30th (1:00 EST, CBS).
  • Henry Melton got hurt after receiving the franchise tag by the Bears, and will get a chance to prove he is still an effective player when the Cowboys visit the Bears for Thursday Night Football on December 4th (8:25 EST, NFL Network).
  • Chris Johnson will get to face the Titans for the first time, as he tries to show the team he still has some miles left on his tires when the Jets go to Tennessee on December 14th (4:05 EST, CBS).

Extra Points: Browns, Goodson, Dolphins, Rams

After initially suggesting that he’d be open to returning to the Seahawks on a “hometown discount,” Golden Tate ultimately landed with the Lions, inking the second-largest deal of the offseason for a wide receiver. In retrospect, Tate may regret making the comment about giving Seattle a discount, as he explained on 710 ESPN in Seattle (link via Terry Blount of ESPN.com).

“I didn’t mean a 40% discount,” Tate said. “I’m going to earn in one year at Detroit what Seattle was going to pay me for two years. Seattle offered numbers that were laughable. I thought, ‘I’ve given you everything and this is what you give me?'”

As Tate looks forward to teaming up with Calvin Johnson in Detroit, let’s check in on a few more odds and ends from around the NFL….

  • Free agent offensive lineman Paul McQuistan and defensive lineman Alex Carrington visited with the Browns, tweets Pat McManamon of ESPN.com.
  • The Jets have converted Mike Goodson’s $650K roster bonus into a different form of roster bonus that can be obtained if he’s on the roster for all 16 games, as Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com details (via Twitter). The move takes the bonus charge off the cap, creating some modest savings for the Jets.
  • Before he re-signed with the Jets, Willie Colon drew interest from the Falcons and Vikings, but those teams both ultimately “backed off,” the lineman told reporters today (Twitter link via Brian Costello of the New York Post).
  • The Redskins hosted free agent guard Mike McGlynn for a visit today, reports Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Washington is clearly in the market for at least one interior lineman after cutting Will Montgomery, considering we heard earlier in the afternoon that the club will also host Brian De La Puente.
  • The conditional draft pick the Dolphins sent to the Ravens for Bryant McKinnie last season will be a seventh-rounder, a league source tells Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald (Twitter link).
  • The Vikings‘ offer to Henry Melton was competitive with the Cowboys‘ proposal in terms of salary, but the free agent defensive lineman simply chose Dallas instead, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
  • A little over a week into free agency, Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch examines where the Rams stand, and takes an in-depth look at Rodger Saffold‘s new contract.
  • Javier Arenas‘ one-year deal with the Falcons is a minimum salary benefit contract with a $65K signing bonus, says Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter).
  • Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk has the details on the new additions to the NFLPA’s executive committee.

Extra Points: DRC, Miller, Sanders, Saffold

Following up on a piece he wrote about Jets GM John Idzik‘s deliberate – and perhaps questionable – approach to free agency, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News tweets that, after an initial low-ball offer, the Jets made an “11th hour” pitch to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. However, the Giants had essentially locked up the free agent cornerback by that point.

Here are a few more Tuesday updates from around the NFL:

  • In a series of tweets, Tom Pelissero of USA Today breaks down the details on Zach Miller‘s pay cut with the Seahawks, which will reduce the tight end’s 2014 compensation by $3MM and his 2015 pay by $2MM.
  • After missing out on Emmanuel Sanders, the Chiefs continue to target younger wide receivers in free agency, which rules out some of the older veterans on the market, tweets Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star.
  • Speaking of Sanders, his agents issued a lengthy statement suggesting that there was never an agreement in place with the Chiefs before the receiver agreed to sign with the Broncos, as Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post details.
  • In the wake of the Sanders controversy, former agent Joel Corry points out in a piece for CBSSports.com that both agents and teams can be guilty of reneging on deals.
  • Aaron Wilson (Twitter links) passes along the specifics of the Rodger Saffold contract with the Rams, which includes a $5MM signing bonus, a $3MM roster bonus for 2015, and a $3MM guaranteed base salary in 2014. As Joel Corry tweets, the Raiders‘ decision to void their agreement with Saffold will cost the offensive lineman a significant sum.
  • Daryl Smith‘s contract with the Ravens includes a $3.5MM signing bonus, and that appears to be the only guaranteed money in the deal, as Aaron Wilson details in a pair of tweets. According to Wilson, the four-year pact can be worth up to $16.1MM, as initially reported, but it has a base value of just $13.6MM.
  • Jack Bechta of the National Football Post identifies the Colts‘ signing of Hakeem Nicks and the Buccaneers‘ deal with Alterraun Verner as two of the best bargains in free agency so far. Among our top 25 free agents of 2014, Nicks and Verner are two who will earn markedly less than I anticipated.

NFC Contract Details: Quarless, Collins, Saffold

We rounded up a handful of AFC contract details earlier this afternoon. Now, let’s turn our attention to the NFC:

  • Andrew Quarless‘ two-year contract with the Packers is worth $3MM in total, tweets Tom Pelissero of USA Today. The base salaries are $800K and $1.3MM, while the remaining money is made up of a $350K signing bonus, $200K in per-game roster bonuses, and $75K in annual workout bonuses.
  • Pelissero tweets that only $9MM of Anthony Collins‘ five-year deal with the Bucs is fully guaranteed at signing, which is $6MM less than what was reported earlier. I’m guessing that $6MM is guaranteed for injury only.
  • Although Rodger Saffold‘s new five-year contract with the Rams is worth $31.7MM, it can max out at $35MM+, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter).
  • Willie Young‘s three-year contract with the Bears includes a $1MM roster bonus and $150K in workout bonuses, tweets Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times.
  • Meanwhile, the Bearssigning of Ryan Mundy has the club on the hook for a two-year, $3MM contract, with $650K guaranteed, says Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune (all Twitter links). That $650K guarantee comes in the form of a roster bonus, while the pact includes base salaries of $800K (2014) and $1.45MM (2015), plus workout bonuses of $50K annually.
  • Eric Wright‘s one-year contract with the 49ers sounds like a minimum salary benefit deal, according to Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com (Twitter link). For a player with Wright’s experience, that’s an $855K base salary to go along with a $20K reporting bonus and another $25K if he makes the team.
  • Joe Berger‘s one-year deal with the Vikings is worth $920K, with a $65K signing bonus, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter). That makes it a minimum salary benefit contract too.
  • Anthony McCoy will have a base salary of $950K on his one-year contract with the Seahawks, tweets KJR’s Curtis Crabtree.