Ryan Griffin (TE)

AFC East Notes: Brady, Jenkins, Lotulelei

Patriots QB Tom Brady will play against the Cowboys this afternoon, but as Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network (video link) notes, the team will need to closely monitor Brady’s elbow moving forward. Brady was unable to finish practice on Friday due to elbow pain, and while he was able to take all necessary reps on Saturday, he will continue to get work on the elbow as the season goes on.

Now for more from the AFC East:

  • It’s not unusual for teams to distance themselves from certain prospects in the pre-draft process in order to hide their interest in those prospects, and that’s exactly what the Patriots did with punter Jake Bailey, as Mike Reiss of ESPN.com writes. New England neither interviewed nor held a workout with Bailey, but it traded up in the fifth round of this year’s draft to select him. That move paid off, as the rookie specialist has two AFC Special Teams Player of the Week nods and is currently a favorite for the Pro Bowl.
  • Rich Cimini of ESPN.com expects the Jets to make a concerted effort to re-sign linebacker Jordan Jenkins this offseason. Jenkins, who will be eligible for unrestricted free agency for the first time, has steadily improved during his first four years in the league, and despite missing two games this season with a calf injury, he has posted five sacks, just two shy of his career-high of seven (which he set last year). Jenkins will likely command a contract paying him over $10MM per year.
  • The Jets will have a lot of positions to address this offseason, but tight end isn’t one of them. As Cimini tweets, the club appears set at TE with Ryan Griffin — who agreed to a three-year extension on Saturday — Chris Herndon, and improving rookie Trevon Wesco.
  • Bills fans have been less than impressed with the performances of front-seven defenders Star Lotulelei and Trent Murphy, but Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic says (via Twitter) that Lotulelei will definitely be back with the team next year (the Bills could save $10.1MM against the 2020 cap by cutting Lotulelei after the season, but they would also take on a $7.8MM dead cap charge). Murphy’s status is a bit tougher to predict, but if the Bills move on from Shaq Lawson, Murphy is likely to be back for the final year of his contract.

Jets TE Ryan Griffin Signs Multi-Year Extension

Jets tight end Ryan Griffin has signed a three-year $10.8MM extension that includes $4MM in guarantees with the team, according to Mike Garafolo on the NFL Network. Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News was the first to report the agreement.

While Gang Green has failed to meet their expectations entering the season, Griffin has been one of the team’s bright spots. Griffin is far from an elite player at his position, but represents a solid rotational piece.

Originally drafted by the Texans in the 6th round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Griffin spent the first six years of his career in Houston averaging six starts a year and accumulating 1491 receiving yards, 136 receptions, and 7 receiving touchdowns. Griffin receive consistent playing time, but generally only after an injury.

Griffin signed a one-year, $1.125 MM contract this offseason with the Jets that included no base salary guarantees. Since joining the team, he quickly moved to the top of the depth chart and has started every game of the season. Griffin has caught a career-high four touchdown passes and has grabbed a total of 25 receptions for 269 yards.

Jets To Sign TE Ryan Griffin

Set to be without Chris Herndon for the season’s first month, the Jets added some experience Monday. The team and veteran tight end Ryan Griffin agreed to terms, per Brian Costello of the New York Post.

A six-year veteran, Griffin joins fourth-round rookie Trevon Wesco and fifth-year players Eric Tomlinson and Daniel Brown (a combined 51 career catches). Griffin ended his Texans run with 136 receptions, topping out with a 50-catch, 442-yard 2016 season.

Following an arrest on charges of misdemeanor vandalism and public intoxication, the Texans released Griffin in May. The charges were later dismissed. Griffin, 29, will now have a chance to make an impact with a second franchise.

Griffin’s functioned as a part-time starter throughout his career, earning that distinction 36 times since debuting in 2013 after being a sixth-round Texans pick. He started a career-high 11 games for the 2018 Texans and, with Herndon set to be shelved on a four-game suspension, stands to have a decent chance at working with Jets first-stringers in September.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: McCoy, Incognito, Packers

Another day, another Gerald McCoy update. The biggest name left available has been taking his time, taking several visits, but it sounds like he could be nearing a decision. So far, the veteran defensive tackle has visited the Browns, Ravens, and Panthers. Although McCoy left Cleveland without a contract, a source tells Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer that the Browns are still very “much in the running” for McCoy’s services (Twitter link).

What suggests he should be signing imminently is that Kay Cabot also writes that he wants to attend his new team’s voluntary minicamp. As she points out, the Browns’ camp starts June 4th, which is in just a few days. To that end, she writes that McCoy could sign on Monday or Tuesday. It sounds like we’ll still be on McCoy-watch this weekend.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Richie Incognito has become more well known for things not related to football than for what he’s done on the field. The Raiders raised a lot of eyebrows when they signed the veteran guard to a deal earlier this week. Incognito spent the entire 2018 season out of football before retiring and then quickly reversing his decision. His retirement came at a tumultuous time for him, and a source told Josh Dubow of the Associated Press that “security was stepped up at the Bills headquarters around the time Incognito announced his retirement,” and that “security personnel were placed on alert if Incognito arrived.” Clearly Buffalo was concerned about him, which isn’t too shocking. Raiders GM Mike Mayock recently said while defending the signing, that “at the end of the day, you can’t have all Boy Scouts.” Speaking of Incognito, he’s had some run-ins with the law that were heavily publicized, but one slipped under the radar. According to documents obtained by ESPN, Incognito plead guilty to “charges of criminal damage and disorderly conduct,” last month, stemming from an August argument at his grandmother’s house. Incognito reportedly blamed his grandmother for his father’s death, which had happened just prior to the argument.
  • The Packers’ 90-man roster just got trimmed by one. Tight end Davis Koppenhaver, an undrafted rookie from Duke, “has decided to step away from the game and pursue a career outside of football,” a source told Michael Cohen of The Athletic (Twitter link). Koppenhaver never topped 157 yards during his time at Duke, so this isn’t too big of a loss for Green Bay.
  • Charges against former Texans tight end Ryan Griffin were dismissed earlier today, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Griffin was arrested last month at the NFL Draft in Nashville, and charged with misdemeanor vandalism and public intoxication. A few weeks later, Houston released him. The 2013 sixth-round pick has spent his entire six-year career with the Texans, and has never played a huge role on offense. After a relatively strong 2016 season where he had 442 yards and two touchdowns, the Texan gave him a three-year, $9MM deal. The charges against him never seemed too serious, and he should resurface soon.

Texans Release TE Ryan Griffin

The Texans have released tight end Ryan Griffin, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Griffin was arrested last month in Nashville after allegedly punching a hotel window. 

The incident occurred near the site of the NFL Draft and made headlines for the Texans at an inopportune time. Hotel security reported Griffin to police, and the tight end was subsequently arrested and charged with vandalism and public intoxication. The player was also reportedly bleeding from his left hand, although the extent of the injury is not clear. Instead of writing Griffin a citation, police decided to arrest the player “for his own safety.” The tight end was ultimately released from jail after paying his bond.

The 2013 sixth-round pick has spent his entire six-year career with the Texans, serving in mostly a backup role. His best season came in 2016, when he hauled in a career-high 50 passes. Griffin started a career-high 11 games (in 14 appearance) in 2018, compiling 24 receptions for 305 yards. Pro Football Focus wasn’t particularly fond of his performance last season, ranking him 56th among 70 eligible tight ends.

After selecting San Diego State tight end Kahale Warring in the third round and adding free agent Darren Fells this offseason, the Texans had little reason to keep Griffin. By releasing him, the Texans have brought an early end to the three-year, $9MM extension ($3.22MM guaranteed) he inked back in 2017.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans TE Ryan Griffin Arrested

Texans tight end Ryan Griffin was arrested last night in Nashville, according to a report from Tennessean.com.

Police say the 29-year-old punched a window at a hotel (which, notably, was located near the NFL Draft). Hotel security reported Griffin to police, and the tight end was subsequently arrested and charged with vandalism and public intoxication. The player was also reportedly bleeding from his left hand, although the extent of the injury is not clear. Instead of writing Griffin a citation, police decided to arrest the player “for his own safety.” The tight end was ultimately released from jail after paying his bond.

The 2013 sixth-round pick has spent his entire six-year career with the Texans, serving in mostly a backup role. His best season came in 2016, when he hauled in a career-high 50 passes. Griffin started a career-high 11 games (in 14 appearance) in 2018, compiling 24 receptions for 305 yards. ProFootballFocus wasn’t particularly fond of his performance last season, ranking him 56th among 70 eligible tight ends.

His underwhelming advanced metrics could (partly) explain why the Texans ended up selecting San Diego State tight end Kahale Warring in the third round last night. The team also added free agent Darren Fells this offseason, so there’s no guarantee that Griffin makes it to the regular season with his current squad. Griffin signed a three-year, $9MM extension ($3.22MM guaranteed) with the Texans back in 2017.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans Activate C.J. Fiedorowicz, Place Ryan Griffin On IR

The Texans swapped out tight ends on their 53-man roster on Friday, activating C.J. Fiedorowicz from IR and moving Ryan Griffin to the injured list, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter).

Fiedorowicz suffered a concussion to induce an IR stay in Week 1 but will return Sunday, and James Palmer of NFL.com tweets the Texans expect him to play a key role.

Griffin was in concussion protocol this week, being ruled out for Sunday’s Rams game, and the head injury will likely end his season. Re-signed this offseason, Griffin caught 13 passes for 158 yards this season. He played in seven of the Texans’ eight games. Griffin sustained two concussions this season, one that’s been incredibly problematic for Texans tight ends.

Fiedorowicz also suffered two concussions this season, one coming during preseason play. So his return bears monitoring.

Griffin’s shutdown will leave Fiedorowicz and Stephen Anderson as the only tight ends on the active roster. Fiedorowicz finished with 559 receiving yards and tied for the team high with four touchdowns last season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Contract Details: Campbell, Demps, Wheaton

Let’s take a look the financial details of some recently-signed contracts:

  • Mike Adams, S (Panthers): Two years, $4.2MM. $1.15MM guaranteed. $650K signing bonus. $00K available annually via Pro Bowl and interception incentives (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle).
  • Calais Campbell, DL (Jaguars): Four years, $60MM. $30MM guaranteed. $6MM signing bonus. Base salaries $9MM (guaranteed), $15MM (guaranteed), $12MM, $15MM. $3MM option bonus for 2019 (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Marcus Cooper, CB (Bears): Three years, $16MM. $8MM guaranteed. $1.5MM signing bonus. $1MM available annually in Pro Bowl and interception incentives (Twitter links via Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune).
  • Quintin Demps, S (Bears): Three years, $13.5MM. $5MM guaranteed. $1MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Ryan Griffin, TE (Texans): Three years, $9MM. $3.225MM guaranteed. Annual $100K workout base de-escalator (Twitter links via Wilson).
  • D.J. Hayden, CB (Lions): One year, $3.75MM. $2.25MM guaranteed. $1MM signing bonus. $250K workout bonus. $1.5MM available via incentives (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Ted Larsen, OL (Dolphins): Three years, $5.65MM. $1.75MM guaranteed. $1.25MM signing bonus. $500K escalator in 2018. $1MM escalator in 2019 (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Josh Robinson, CB (Buccaneers): Two years, $5M. $2MM guaranteed. $1MM roster bonus due on eighth day of 2017 league year. $1.75MM team option in 2018. $750K available via incentives (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Cornelius Washington, DL (Lions): Two years, $5.825MM. $1.5MM signing bonus. $1.5MM guaranteed (link via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press).
  • Markus Wheaton, WR (Bears): Two years, $11MM. $5MM guaranteed (Twitter link via Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times)
  • Terrance Williams, WR (Cowboys): Four years, $17MM. $9.5MM guaranteed. $5MM signing bonus. 2020 option season. Annual $200K workout base salary de-escalator (Twitter links via Wilson).

Ryan Griffin To Re-Sign With Texans

Ryan Griffin reached an agreement to re-sign with the Texans, Mark Berman of Fox 26 tweets. This will be a three-year deal for the fifth-year tight end. He was scheduled to visit the Lions on Monday, Berman reports. The pact will be worth just more than $9MM, with $3.2MM guaranteed, per Berman (Twitter links).

Darren Fells‘ signing with the Lions earlier today may have played into the 27-year-old pass-catcher’s decision-making process.

This process is absolutely wild. It’s crazy. A whole bunch of stuff happened,” Griffin said, via Berman. “The Lions signed Fells. The pieces fell into place for me to come back. The money was right.”

Griffin emerged as a key Houston pass-catcher during his fourth season, hauling in 50 passes for 442 yards and two touchdowns. Houston will again deploy the tandem of Griffin and C.J. Fiedorowicz in 2017, with the latter entering a contract year. A former sixth-round pick, Griffin nearly doubled his previous career-high figure in receiving yards last season, with Houston’s two tight ends combining for just more than 1,000 yards during Brock Osweiler‘s one-year cameo.

Prior to his increased usage in 2016, Griffin never caught more than 20 passes in an NFL campaign, so Osweiler’s penchant for feeding the Texans’ tight ends looks to have benefited one player, even if the team involved him in one of the weirdest trades in NFL history.

The Texans now have their core of 2016 pass-catchers retained for at least one more season but obviously have a question as to who will be distributing the passes in 2017.

Top 2017 Free Agents By Position 2.0: Offense

NFL free agency is right around the corner! The legal tampering period starts on Tuesday and free agency officially starts on Thursday. The list of available free agents will change between now and then as players re-sign with teams or get cut loose, but we have a pretty good idea of who will be available right now. After looking at the top defensive players, we now shift our attention to the other side of the ball.

Here are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each position. The rankings aren’t determined by earning power, they are simply the players we like the most at each position, with a combination of short- and long-term value taken into account. You won’t find restricted free agents or franchise tagged guys here since they are unlikely to go leave their current clubs.

Player evaluation is always subjective, so we encourage you to make your voices heard in the comments section in cases where you disagree with us.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by offensive position for 2017:

Updated 3-7-2017, 2:55pm CT

Quarterback:

  1. Mike Glennon
  2. Nick Foles
  3. Brian Hoyer (story)
  4. Ryan Fitzpatrick
  5. Colin Kaepernick
  6. Josh McCown
  7. Case Keenum
  8. Matt McGloin
  9. Mark Sanchez
  10. Ryan Mallett
  11. Christian Ponder
  12. Blaine Gabbert
  13. Geno Smith
  14. Matt Schaub (story)
  15. EJ Manuel

Honorable mention: Ryan Nassib, Landry JonesShaun Hill Mike Glennon (vertical)

Colin Kaepernick’s agents have (wisely) let everyone know that their client will stand for the National Anthem in 2017. That may seem like a minor point, but teams say they would have automatically removed him from consideration if he continued his attention-grabbing protest. He grabbed headlines for his actions on the sidelines last year, but he actually turned in an OK season. From a football standpoint, Kaepernick would make sense for a lot of teams as a QB2 with upside.

Interestingly, this list includes three quarterbacks who couldn’t cut it as the Jets’ starter and three rejects from the 49ers. They say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure and all six of those players (Ryan Fitzpatrick, Kaepernick, Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith, Christian Ponder, Blaine Gabbert) come with varying degrees of potential and proven effectiveness. Smith, somehow, could reportedly be retained by the Jets and installed as the starter in 2017.

Ryan Nassib is just outside of the top 15 here with EJ Manuel getting the final spot. Despite positive word about his play in practice, Nassib is unproven and the Giants’ apparent lack of interest in re-signing him says a lot. It’s also possible that he might not be 100% after ending the 2016 season on IR with an elbow injury. Manuel, for all his warts, has shown potential in small bursts.

Running back:

  1. Eddie Lacy
  2. Adrian Peterson
  3. LeGarrette Blount
  4. Latavius Murray
  5. Jamaal Charles
  6. Darren McFadden
  7. Jacquizz Rodgers
  8. Rex Burkhead
  9. Rashad Jennings
  10. Danny Woodhead
  11. Tim Hightower
  12. DeAngelo Williams
  13. Andre Ellington
  14. Chris Johnson
  15. Christine Michael

Honorable mention: Robert Turbin, Travaris Cadet, Benny Cunningham, Lance Dunbar, Bobby Rainey, Brandon BoldenDenard Robinson, James Starks

Adrian Peterson (vertical)As expected, the Vikings have cut Adrian Peterson loose and he is expected to garner interest from contending clubs this week. Some might peg Peterson as the most talented running back in this year’s free agent class, but it all comes down to how you weigh his age and injury history. Peterson has shocked the football world in the past with an incredible comeback, but I’m a little skeptical of his ability to do it again in his age-32 season. Eddie Lacy, who has injury question marks of his own, takes the top spot at the position.

The Patriots believe they won’t be able to match the offers that come in LeGarrette Blount‘s direction. Latavius Murray could circle back to the Raiders, but he won’t be agreeing to a deal with them before free agency opens on Thursday.

Jamaal Charles has the most impressive resume of anyone on this list, with the exception of Peterson. However, no one knows exactly what he can do after playing eight games in the last two years. He’ll turn 31 in December and that’s usually not an indicator of success for running backs.

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