Rodger Saffold

Contract Details: Paradis, Saffold, Jackson, Packers

Following another busy day around the NFL, let’s check out some contract details:

Titans To Sign Rodger Saffold

Former Rams offensive lineman Rodger Saffold will sign a four-year, $44MM deal with the Titans, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). The deal will include $22.5MM guaranteed. 

Earlier today, the Rams hinted that Saffold would likely be heading elsewhere. In fact, he’ll be heading to the opposite side of the country on a lucrative new deal.

A 2010 St. Louis Rams second-round pick, Saffold has played his entire career with the Rams. The Rams ideally would have liked to keep him, but they were unable to match his outside offers in a so-so market for free agent guards. For Saffold, this is a phenomenal payday as he enters his age-31 season.

Saffold indicated he wanted to stay with the Rams, but this offer is certainly much bigger than his previous organization was willing to make. Saffold was the Rams’ longest-tenured player.

He started 111 games and was one of the anchors in Sean McVay‘s cutting-edge system, one that featured back-to-back Todd Gurley first-team All-Pro showings.

The Rams will now pivot to at least two new offensive line starters, with Saffold defecting and the team not picking up John Sullivan‘s option. Andrew Whitworth said he will return, and the Rams still have Austin Blythe and Rob Havenstein under contract. Third-round tackle Joseph Noteboom could move inside and replace Saffold, per Vincent Bonsignore of The Athletic (subscription required).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams Do Not Expect To Keep Rodger Saffold

Rodger Saffold said multiple times he would like to return to the Rams, but that is now looking increasingly unlikely.

The veteran guard may be on his way to another team, with Rams GM Les Snead expecting him to receive an offer they will not be able to match, per Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

A 2010 St. Louis Rams second-round pick, Saffold has played his entire career with this franchise. But this is not a particularly strong guard market, and even as he enters his age-31 season, Saffold figures to command plenty of attention this week.

The Jets looked into Saffold before trading for Kelechi Osemele, so news about the longtime Rams blocker’s suitors should emerge soon. Saffold has started 111 games for the Rams since his rookie season. He signed his second contract to stay with then-St. Louis and continued to be an anchor for Sean McVay‘s offenses.

Los Angeles retained Dante Fowler but allowed Lamarcus Joyner to defect to the Raiders. The Rams’ slew of high-end contracts will force tough choices, and it appears Saffold will be a player the team will let walk — barring his market unexpectedly cratering.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

New York Notes: Giants, Cornerbacks, Jets, Saffold

The Giants have been overhauling their defense recently. They’ve traded away defensive end Olivier Vernon, and they’ve decided not to retain safety Landon Collins. Dave Gettleman is looking to rebuild the unit, and he is reportedly looking to add to the secondary. The Giants “will target veteran starting cornerbacks” in free agency, sources told Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com. Dunleavy points out that their secondary has only one returning starter for next year, so the back half of their defense will look quite a bit different.

Specifically, the Giants will be interested in Colts cornerback Pierre Desir when the market opens, a source told Dunleavy. Desir had been a bit of a journeyman early in his career, but blossomed into a full-time starter with Indianapolis last year and had a really good season. Pro Football Focus graded him as the 18th-best cornerback in the NFL last year. Whatever happens, defensive coordinator James Bettcher will have a lot of new parts next season.

Here’s more from the Big Apple:

  • Before making the trade for Kelechi Osemele, the Jets “had been eyeing” Rams guard Rodger Saffold, according to Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com (Twitter link). Pauline writes that they’ll no longer be interested after bringing in Osemele to be a starting guard. Saffold has had a big last couple of years in Los Angeles, and will be landing a hefty contract on the open market. The Rams are hoping to retain him, and it’s possible the Jets making this trade will indirectly help them get their left guard back.
  • “There will be a market for” Giants defensive end Kerry Wynn, an impending free agent, sources told Dunleavy. Given that Wynn is apparently expected to draw heavy interest, Dunleavy thinks the team might be better off trying to retain Josh Mauro, another impending free agent. Wynn had just 1.5 sacks last year, but teams are apparently high on him. Dunleavy also reports that the team has no plans to release cornerback Janoris Jenkins or restructure his contract, and that they plan on Jenkins anchoring the secondary next year.
  • In case you missed it, the Jets are looking to add a blocking tight end and were interested in the recently released Darren Fells.

NFC West Notes: Rams, Seahawks, Wilson

Rams left guard Rodger Saffold wants to return to Los Angeles in 2019, but the pending free agent also acknowledged the reality of the open market. “I don’t think that it’s any surprise to people to know that I want to be back,” Saffold said Tuesday, per Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com. “At the end of the day, though, I need to make sure that it’s something fair for me… something I can use and feel that I was treated fair.” Saffold, 30, just wrapped a five-year, $31.722MM contract with the Rams and is the most accomplished guard scheduled to hit free agency next month. While Los Angeles has roughly $35MM in cap space, the club also has several other free agents — Ndamukong Suh, Dante Fowler, and Lamarcus Joyner among them — whom it may want to re-sign. Saffold could potentially take precedent given that the Rams’ offensive line, which ranked top-six in both adjusted line yards and adjusted sack rate, was critical to their run as NFC champions.

Here’s more from the NFC West:

  • Although Russell Wilson is entering the final season of his contract, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reported earlier this week that the Seahawks have yet to begin extension discussions with their franchise quarterback. Indeed, according to a report from 710 Sports in Seattle, a new deal for Wilson likely won’t be agreed to until at least August. Wilson, 30, inked a four-year, $87.6MM extension in 2015, a deal which — at the time — made him the league’s second highest-paid quarterback. The NFL’s salary cap, and signal-caller salaries, have risen at a steady rate since, leaving Wilson as just the 11th-highest-paid QB on an annual basis. He’ll surely target at least $30MM/year on his next deal, and given Seattle’s willingness to reset positional markets, Wilson could surpass Aaron Rodgers‘ $33.5MM AAV.
  • Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor will have $5.2MM of his $10MM 2019 base salary become fully guaranteed on Friday, reports Brady Henderson of ESPN.com. That total was already guaranteed for injury only, and given that Chancellor hasn’t played since 2017 due to a neck injury, he was going to receive that money anyway. Seattle, which placed Chancellor on the physically unable to perform list in 2018, didn’t cut Chancellor last season due to salary cap ramifications, but they’ll likely do so later this offseason, per Henderson. Chancellor, meanwhile, doesn’t have any incentive to announce his retirement given that he’d forfeit money by doing so.
  • In case you missed it, the Bengals want to interview Rams cornerbacks coach Aubrey Pleasant for their defensive coordinator job.

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.