Ryan Mallett

QBs Mallett, Daniels To Work Out For XFL

Ryan Mallett and B.J. Daniels are eyeing another shot at professional football. The two former NFL quarterbacks (along with a long list of hopefuls) are participating at this weekend’s XFL Summer Showcase in Tampa Bay (full list via Emoy Hunt of The Athletic on Twitter).

The XFL Summer Showcase will take place in eight major cities through June and July. The invite-only workout is for players who recently completed their college eligibility, previously participated in the NFL, or played in an “alternate football league.” The event, which operates similarly to the combine, is intended for those seeking “potential XFL opportunities.”

Mallett, a 2011 third-round pick out of Arkansas, was once considered to be the heir apparent to Tom Brady in New England. That didn’t end up being the case, and the quarterback ultimately bounced between the Texans and Ravens. In 21 career NFL games, Mallett completed 55.1-percent of his passes for 1,835 yards, nine touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. His last NFL appearance came in 2017 with Baltimore.

Following a standout career at South Florida, Daniels was selected by the 49ers in the seventh-round of the 2013 draft. The former signal-caller was a practice squad mainstay until 2017, although the Seahawks gave him a handful of appearances in 2015. That season, Daniels earned snaps at wideout, and assuming his NFL career has come to an end, he’ll have finished with as many career receptions as pass attempts.

Other notable participants include running back Matt Jones, who had 950 rushing yards with the Redskins between 2015 and 2016. Former Colts linebacker Antonio Morrison, former first-round safety Matt Elam, and former Buccaneers defensive end George Johnson will also be in attendance.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Redskins Hope To Sign QB Josh Johnson

Following season-ending injuries to starting quarterback Alex Smith and backup Colt McCoy, the Redskins are naturally seeking some help behind Mark Sanchez. We learned earlier today that the team was set to audition a handful of signal-callers, and now there are two more names to add to the list. JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington reports (via Twitter) that Washington will work out quarterbacks Landry Jones and Ryan Mallett today.

However, it sounds like the organization already has their eye on one quarterback in particular: Josh Johnson. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the Redskins are hoping to sign the veteran. There are some hurdles that both sides need to overcome, including Johnson’s status as the recent number-one overall pick of the San Diego Fleet of the Alliance of American Football.

The 32-year-old Johnson has bounced around the NFL and UFL since being selected by the Buccaneers in the fifth round of the 2008 draft. The veteran’s last NFL action came in 2013, when he ran for 20 yards on seven carries in two games with the Bengals (he didn’t attempt a pass during his time in Cincy). His last extended look came back in 2011 during his final year in Tampa, when he completed 19 of his 36 pass attempts for 246 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions (to go along with 67 rushing yards).

Working in Johnson’s favor is his relative familiarity with the Redskins’ system. Head coach Jay Gruden was the Bengals’ offensive coordinator during Johnson’s stint in Cincinnati, and Gruden was also an offensive assistant with the Buccaneers during the quarterback’s rookie campaign. Johnson is obviously a different game manager than both Smith and McCoy, but the Redskins may be enticed by the free agent’s presumed ability to quickly learn the playbook.

Mallett had spent the past three seasons in Baltimore as Joe Flacco‘s backup, but he’s yet to find a new gig since hitting free agency. Meanwhile, Jones had a brief stint with the Jaguars this season, although he didn’t end up seeing the field for Jacksonville. The team is also reportedly set to audition E.J. ManuelT.J. Yates, and others.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Contract Details: Garcon, Baker, Klein, Jones

Let’s take a look at some details of the free agent contracts signed today:

  • Chris Baker, DL (Buccaneers): Three years, $15.75MM. $9MM guaranteed. $1MM in sack incentives each season (Twitter link via Master Tesfatsion of the Washington Post).
  • Jack Crawford, DL (Falcons): Three years, $10.3MM. $3.75MM in 2017 (Twitter link via Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com).
  • Pierre Garcon, WR (49ers): Two years, $23MM. $17MM guaranteed. Options for 2019 ($6MM), 2020 ($8.9MM), and 2021 ($9.6MM) (Twitter link via Tom Pelissero of USA Today).
  • Landry Jones, QB (Steelers): Two years, $4.4MM. $600K signing bonus (Twitter link via Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL.com).
  • A.J. Klein, LB (Saints): Four years, $24MM. $4MM signing bonus. $9.4MM guaranteed. 2020 season will void Klein is on Saints roster on last day of 2019 league year (via Nick Underhill of the Advocate).
  • Jeff Locke, P (Colts): Two years, $3.45MM. $1.25MM guaranteed (Twitter links via Ben Goessling of ESPN.com and Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star).
  • Ryan Mallett, QB (Ravens): One year, $2MM. $1MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Pelissero).
  • Akeem Spence, DL (Lions): Three years, $9MM. $3.5MM guaranteed. $1MM available via escalators (Twitter link via Peliserro).
  • D.J. Swearinger, S (Redskins): Three years, $13.5MM. $9MM guaranteed (Twitter link via Kinkhabwala).

Ravens Re-Sign Ryan Mallett

The Ravens have agreed to re-sign backup quarterback Ryan Mallett. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link) first reported the news.

Ryan Mallett

Mallett also had interest from the Jets, Bears, and 49ers and was mulling opportunities with all four clubs as recently as Wednesday night, according to Dianna Russini of ESPN.com (Twitter link) On Thursday, he reached a decision.

Next season will be the third campaign in Baltimore for Mallett, who first joined the team late in 2015. Mallett had previous stops in New England, which chose him in the third round of the 2011 draft, and Houston.

The ex-Arkansas star attempted only four passes as a member of the Patriots, with whom he backed up Tom Brady, before garnering more playing time as a Texan. The 6-foot-6, 240-pounder fared poorly in Houston, though, as he completed just 53.6 percent of passes, threw five touchdowns against six interceptions, and averaged only 5.3 yards per attempt across nine appearances and six starts. His tenure there ended shortly after he overslept and missed a team charter flight.

Now 28, Mallett hasn’t been particularly effective with the Ravens in six games and two starts (59.2 percent completion rate, two TDs against three picks, and 5.7 YPA), but the team is apparently comfortable with him in a reserve role behind Joe Flacco.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens Trying To Re-Sign Williams, Mallett

As of earlier Wednesday, it appeared impending free agent defensive tackle Brandon Williams was definitely on his way out of Baltimore, but that’s not the case, tweets Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. The Ravens are still working to re-sign Williams before the market opens Thursday.

Brandon Williams (Vertical)[RELATED: Ravens To Sign Tony Jefferson]

The 28-year-old Williams has so far spent his entire career with the Ravens, who selected him in the third round of the 2013 draft. Williams has been durable, having appeared in 16 games in each of the past three seasons, and productive. In addition to piling up 16 starts for the second straight year, he ranked as Pro Football Focus‘ 39th-best D-tackle among 127 qualifiers last season.

Along with Williams, the Ravens are attempting to re-up a lower priority free agent-to-be in quarterback Ryan Mallett, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports (Twitter link). After stints with New England and Houston, Mallett joined the Ravens late in the 2015 season and served as Joe Flacco‘s primary backup last year. In six appearances (two starts) with Baltimore, the 28-year-old has posted a 59.2 percent completion rate, two touchdowns against three interceptions, and 5.7 yards per attempt.

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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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Ravens Rumors: Wallace, Mallett, Wagner

In Indianapolis today, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh fielded a wide range of questions from reporters about the offseason. Here’s a quick look at the highlights:

  • Ravens coach John Harbaugh says his “anticipation” is that Mike Wallace will remain with the team (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Jamison Hensley). Wallace, who has an $8MM cap figure for 2017, has been considered a potential cap cut. That number is the fifth-highest on the team as of this writing.
  • Harbaugh said the Ravens are negotiating to bring back quarterback Ryan Mallett (Twitter link via Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun). We ranked Mallett as one of the ten best quarterbacks in free agency last month. He may slide a bit down the list with the expected additions of QBs like Tyrod Taylor, Tony Romo, and Colin Kaepernick.
  • Harbaugh said the franchise tag is not in play for Brandon Williams or any other Ravens free agent, Zrebiec tweets. On Wednesday morning, we heard that the Ravens will not apply the tag to the defensive tackle. The Ravens also have a priority free agent in tackle Ricky Wagner, but the one-year tender is a bit too pricey for him as well.

Top 2017 NFL Free Agents By Position: Offense

[UPDATE: CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST EDITION OF THE TOP 2017 NFL FREE AGENTS BY POSITION]

NFL free agency will get underway on Thursday, March 9th, and while the list of free agents will change between now and then, we do have some idea of who will be available when free agency kicks off. The frenzy is right around the corner and it’s time for us to break down the outlook for each position. We’ll start today on offense, before getting to defense and special teams later this week.

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each offensive position. The rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts that each player is expected to land in free agency, they are simply the players we like the most at each position, with both short- and long-term value taken into account. Restricted and exclusive-rights free agents are not listed here since they are unlikely to actually reach the open market.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some guys than you are, so we encourage you to make your voice heard in our comments section to let us know which free agents we’ve got wrong.

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

Quarterback:

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

Honorable mention: Shaun Hill

As of this writing, Kirk Cousins is far and away the best potential free agent quarterback in this year’s crop. By the time March gets here, we’re fully expecting Cousins to be spoken for. Ultimately, the Redskins could franchise tag him, work out a long-term deal with him, or swing some type of trade that nets them a massive haul of talent and picks. That will leave a crop of retread quarterbacks that would probably best serve as transitional options for QB-needy teams. Kirk Cousins

Mike Glennon hasn’t done much in his 18 career starts, but talent evaluators are still in love with his size and potential. The 6’7″ quarterback will get more money this spring than you might expect, particularly since there are no surefire QBs in this year’s draft.

Teams looking for stopgap QBs will find a plethora of experienced, though perhaps uninspiring, signal callers. Nick Foles, Brian Hoyer, and Ryan Fitzpatrick all have their best football behind them, but they could hold down the fort for a team in 2017 and maybe even find some success if the defense is strong enough. Of course, the ideal role for those guys would probably be as a backup to a better, younger quarterback.

Running back:

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

Consider Le’Veon Bell‘s name written in Etch-A-Sketch, because he is very unlikely to get near the open market. That could leave Eddie Lacy as the best tailback available in March. Lacy has struggled with weight issues in recent years and he lost much of the 2016 season to injury. Still, he is a bruising back that could nicely complement a quicker ball carrier. Before he was shut down for the year, Lacy was averaging 5.07 yards per carry in five games for Green Bay.

LeGarrette Blount (vertical)In the last two years, LeGarrette Blount seems to have put his off-the-field troubles behind him. Whether that’s a sign of his maturity or a product of the Patriots’ culture remains to be seen. Teams can ignore his past indiscretions, but they will be wary of his age. Blount turns 31 in December.

Latavius Murray has shown glimpses of being a special running back, but he has been inconsistent and his 4.0 yards-per-carry average of the last two years isn’t overly impressive. Darren McFadden ran for more than 1,000 yards in 2015, but 2016 was pretty much a lost year for him. Jacquizz Rodgers seemed to break out last year, but he wound up succumbing to the same injury bug that took down a host of other Buccaneers running backs. Speaking of injuries, Rashad Jennings was initially brought to the Giants to be a workhorse back, but two of his three years in New York were marred by ailments. Everyone in this tier has the potential to make a difference, but none should be counted on as anyone’s main guy in 2017.

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North Notes: Rudock, Orlovsky, Mallett

Through the first two games of the preseason, Lions rookie quarterback Jake Rudock has outplayed veteran Dan Orlovsky by a wide margin, which has left many wondering who will serve as Matthew Stafford‘s primary backup in 2016. Although Orlovsky entered training camp with a huge lead over the rookie for the backup job, and few expected Rudock to seriously vie for it — indeed, Orlovsky has the game experience that a team looks for in a No. 2 signal-caller, and Rudock did not play very well during Detroit’s offseason program — Rudock’s performance and Orlovsky’s struggles in the preseason may leave head coach Jim Caldwell with a difficult decision. When asked who he expected to win the job, Caldwell said, “the best player, period” (article via Kyle Meinke of MLive.com).

Of course, as Meinke observes, the best player for the short term isn’t always the best player for the long term, so Caldwell’s comments do not add much clarity, and Caldwell would reveal little else about how the Lions would go about choosing between the quarterbacks, other than to say the club is weighing its options. As Dave Birkett of The Detroit Free Press writes, if the Lions keep all three quarterbacks, you can count on Orlovsky being the No. 2 on gamedays. The real question is who the Lions keep if they carry just one backup, which is usually how New England built its roster when Lions GM Bob Quinn was in the front office there.

Now for a quick swing around the league’s North divisions:

  • In a separate piece, Birkett examines Stevan Ridley‘s roster status, noting that Ridley has surprisingly been relegated to the second half of the Lions‘ first two preseason games. Ridley, the five-year veteran who was expected to challenge Zach Zenner for the “big back” role on offense, played just nine snaps during Detroit’s Thursday night contest. As Birkett notes, however, it is still too early to read too much into preseason playing time, especially since Ridley is easily the most accomplished of the group of backs fighting for a roster spot behind Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick. Similarly, Caldwell said the Lions are still figuring out their running back rotation, and preseason performance is only one part of the formula.
  • Although it was believed that the Ravens signed veteran signal-caller Josh Johnson to be little more than a camp arm, with Ryan Mallett firmly entrenched as Joe Flacco‘s backup, Johnson has played very well in Baltimore’s first two preseason contests, and head coach John Harbaugh indicated last night that there is indeed a legitimate battle for the backup job between Johnson and Mallett (Twitter link via Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun). Mallett has also played reasonably well during the preseason games but has struggled mightily during training camp. Whether Harbaugh’s comments have any truth behind them, or whether they are simply intended to motivate Mallett, remains to be seen.
  • Chris Tomasson of The St. Paul Pioneer Press believes that the battle for the Vikings‘ starting strong safety spot will again come down to the wire, just as it has in each of the past two seasons. As Tomasson writes, incumbent Andrew Sendejo got the nod in the Aug. 12 preseason opener at Cincinnati before Michael Griffin started in Thursday’s 18-11 win at Seattle. There are two more games left for the two to fight it out.
  • Earlier today, we learned what Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell had to say about his suspension.

Ravens Notes: Pitta, DeCosta, Mallett

Tight end Dennis Pitta missed the entire 2015 season as he recovered from a fractured and dislocated hip. While the 30-year-old had previously hinted at retirement, it appears that the veteran is still interested in returning next season.

“I certainly have a desire to play and want to play and want to be a part of this team moving forward. But we’ll see how it plays out,” Pitta told Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun. “Like we talked about, it’s not entirely my decision. Certainly, I have a lot of weight in what my future holds, but it’s not totally in my hands. We’ll see. There’s no timeline as far as when a decision is going to be made. We’ll give it some time this offseason, and I’ll certainly do some thinking and testing my body and hip.”

Let’s take a look at some more notes out of Baltimore…

  • Ravens assistant general manager Eric DeCosta is once again in demand. Zrebiec writes that the 44-year-old was a top target for the Titans general manager job, although the long-time executive has continually declined interviews.
  • Quarterback Ryan Mallett was content with his performance down the stretch this season, but he understands he’ll be back on the bench with the return of Joe Flacco. “I don’t know what the future holds,” Mallett told Jon Meoli of The Baltimore Sun. “What I’m going to do is take this offseason to get into the best shape that I can, and become a better player any way I can.”
  • ESPN.com’s Jamison Hensley doesn’t envision the Browns cutting bait with embattled wideout Josh Gordon. However, if the talented receiver were to be released, the writer is convinced that the Ravens would have interest.