Ryan Schraeder

Texans, Vikes Interested In Ryan Schraeder

Both the Texans and Vikings have expressed interest in free agent offensive tackle Ryan Schraeder, according to Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Schraeder was released by the Falcons earlier this week.

Houston fielded one of the NFL’s worst offensive lines in 2018, but the club hasn’t yet been linked to any free agent tackles. Last season, the Texans not only gave up the most sacks in the league (62), but ranked 27th in adjusted line yards, Football Outsiders’ run-blocking metric. Schraeder would presumably displace incumbent Texans right tackle Seantrel Henderson if signed.

Minnesota, meanwhile, wasn’t quite as poor as Houston: the Vikings’ front five gave up only 40 sacks (ninth in the NFL), but finished 23rd in ALY. The Vikings haven’t yet decided on an offensive line configuration for 2019, but reports have suggested they could shift Riley Reiff from left tackle to left guard and move 2019 second-round pick Brian O’Neill to the blindside. That would theoretically open right tackle for Schraeder.

A former undrafted free agent out of Valdosta State, Schraeder latched on with the Falcons in 2013 and proceeded to start 73 games over the next six years. He signed a five-year, $31.5MM extension in 2016, but only completed a portion of that contract. Schraeder lost his starting right tackle job to Ty Sambrailo at the end of the 2018 campaign; Sambrailo was subsequently extended by Atlanta.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Falcons To Release Ryan Schraeder

The Falcons will release right tackle Ryan Schraeder, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (Twitter link).

Schraeder was fully expected to be cut after Atlanta gave Ty Sambrailo — who took over as the club’s starting right tackle near the end of the 2018 season — a three-year extension. The Falcons will field an offensive line that features three new starters next year: Sambrailo, plus free agent guards Jamon Brown and James Carpenter, the latter two of whom agreed to multi-year deals earlier this week.

A former undrafted free agent out of Valdosta State, Schraeder latched on with the Falcons in 2013 and proceeded to start 73 games over the next six years. He signed a five-year, $31.5MM extension in 2016, but he’ll only complete a portion of that contract. Atlanta will now take on $3.8MM in dead money by releasing Schraeder, but the team will also open $3.95MM in cap space.

Schraeder will now join a free agent tackle class that’s mostly been picked over. Daryl Williams is still the best option on the market, while other 30-something tackles like Jared Veldheer, Jermey Parnell, and Joe Barksdale also remain available.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC South Rumors: Coleman, Panthers, Olsen

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff gave an indication on the future status of running back Tevin Coleman, ESPN’s Vaughn McClure writes.

“Tevin’s going to do well, wherever he is,” he said.

The stumble of words just goes to confirm what many have expected: That Coleman will not be back with the Falcons in 2019. Projected as the No. 2 free agent running back behind Le’Veon Bell, the Indiana product is due for a big payday. That wasn’t likely to come from the Falcons, who already have the league’s third-highest-paid running back on the roster in Devonta Freeman.

The Falcons also have a capable backup ready to take Coleman’s role in Ito Smith, who gained 315 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie. While it won’t be with the Falcons, Coleman is sure to command a primary back role with another team after showcasing a dual-threat skill set in his time in Atlanta.

Here’s more from around the NFC South:

  • If the Panthers are to bring in a new quarterback in 2019, head coach Ron Rivera said it is more likely to come through the draft rather than free agency, Panthers team writer Bill Voth tweets. That would take them out of the hunt for a proven veteran backup to Cam Newton, who dealt with injuries throughout the 2018 season.
  • Sticking with the Panthers, tight end Greg Olsen has met with ESPN about opportunities but that does not include the Monday Night Football post that was vacated yesterday when Jason Witten returned to the Cowboys, The Athletic’s Joseph Person writes. Those talks could eventually come, but the Panthers fully expect the veteran tight end to return to the field in 2019.
  • The Falcons view Ty Sambrailo as the team’s starting right tackle over Ryan Schraeder, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s D. Orlando Ledbetter writes. Sambrailo moved past Schraeder on the depth chart last season and started the final game at right guard. He will stay at right tackle because it’s easier to find guards and Sambrailo’s ability to pass protect, head coach Dan Quinn said.
  • The Saints have hired Declan Doyle to be an offensive assistant coach, Josh Katzenstein of the Times-Picayune writes. Doyle previously worked as an offensive student assistant at the University of Iowa.

South Notes: Colts, Bucs, Falcons, Newton

Although Matt Eberflus was tied to Josh McDaniels when he accepted the offer to become the Colts‘ defensive coordinator, Stephen Holder of The Athletic notes (subscription required) Chris Ballard was the driving force behind the then-Cowboys linebackers coach moving to Indianapolis. The second-year Colts GM held Ebeflus in such high regard that he may have been the DC choice without McDaniels’ involvement, though likely not had the Colts hired a defensively geared coach. But in nearly all of the interviews the Colts conducted, Holder reports Eberflus’ name was broached. Despite a host of young players for a unit not expected to be particularly strong, the first-year DC has the Colts holding the No. 11 DVOA defense going into Week 15. The 2017 Colts produced the No. 27 DVOA defense.

The latest from some South teams, continuing to Tampa.

  • It is possible DeSean Jackson has played his final game with the Buccaneers. Playing on a contract that includes no additional guaranteed money, the 32-year-old wide receiver had his injured thumb immobilized, Greg Auman of The Athletic tweets. Jackson has been unable to grip footballs with his injured hand, forcing him to miss the past two Bucs games. He had previously played through this malady, per Auman (on Twitter). Tampa Bay’s top deep threat hopes to play again this season, but that’s not a lock. And with a nonguaranteed $10MM base salary on the Bucs’ books next year, Jackson is a prime release candidate in 2019.
  • Most believe Buccaneers GM Jason Licht has a better chance of returning in 2019 than Dirk Koetter does, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com writes. Despite the Bucs still staring at what will likely soon become an 11-season playoff drought, Licht’s ability to draft and extend the likes of Mike Evans and Cameron Brate has pleased ownership, Laine adds. Licht signed an extension that takes him through the 2019 season, but it remains possible the Glazers move on from he, Koetter and Jameis Winston and start fresh next year.
  • Arthur Blank said he has not lost faith in Thomas Dimitroff or Dan Quinn, but the Falcons have since endured another one-sided defeat and now sit 4-9. They already made other moves, like replacing highly paid right tackle Ryan Schraeder with Ty Sambrailo, for the future. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes more losses will continue to cause suspicion as to whether Blank will change his mind and pivot to a new power structure.
  • Derek Newton‘s Saints contract is a two-year pact, according to his agency (Twitter link). It appears the Saints will use their upcoming practices to gauge whether the former longtime Texans right tackle is fit enough to the point he could be more than an injury fill-in.

Falcons, Ryan Schraeder Rework Contract

The Falcons have created $4.8MM in cap space by converting offensive tackle Ryan Schraeder‘s $6MM roster bonus into a signing bonus, tweets Field Yates of ESPN.com.Ryan Schraeder (vertical)

Schraeder, 28, agreed to a five-year, $30MM extension with Atlanta in November (a deal that, given the free agent tackle market, he may now regret). Originally scheduled to count $7.1MM against the Falcons’ 2017 salary cap, Schraeder will now only take up $2.3MM. He won’t be losing any money, and in fact will likely now be paid earlier. Schraeder’s cap charge will increase by $1.2MM from 2018-2021.

In 2016, Schraeder started 16 games for the second consecutive season, bringing his career total to 46 starts in 58 games. The former undrafted free agent graded as the league’s No. 13 offensive tackle last season, according to Pro Football Focus.

Extra Points: Jets, Falcons, Romo, Bills

Former Seahawks offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates has emerged as a strong candidate to become the Jets’ quarterbacks coach, according to Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com (Twitter link). The 40-year-old Bates hasn’t coached anywhere since 2012, when he oversaw the Bears’ QBs, but he did work on the same staff as then-USC offensive coordinator and now-Jets OC John Morton in 2009. If Bates ends up in New York, he’ll join a team whose starting signal-caller for 2017 probably isn’t on its roster yet.

A few more notes from around the NFL:

  • Falcons right tackle Ryan Schraeder tore a ligament in his right ankle Sunday during the team’s Super Bowl LI loss to the Patriots, a source told Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com. Schraeder suffered the injury in the second quarter and eventually departed in the fourth, when the Falcons were amid an all-time meltdown. Fortunately, this ailment seems unlikely to affect Schraeder going into next season – it’ll take “probably a good month” for the stalwart to feel normal again, per the source.
  • Should a team trade for Cowboys backup quarterback Tony Romo this offseason, that club would have to take on his $14MM base salary for 2017 before reworking his contract, tweets CBS Sports’ Joel Corry. The Cowboys would likely permit the acquiring team to have contract-related discussions with Romo’s camp before the trade, Corry adds.
  • The Bills will hire Gill Byrd to coach their defensive backs, report Vic Carucci and Alex Marvez of SiriusXM NFL Radio (Twitter link). The father of ex-Bills safety and current Saint Jairus Byrd, Gill Byrd served as the Buccaneers’ defensive backs coach from 2014-15. He worked under former Bucs D-coordinator Leslie Frazier, who’s now atop the Bills’ defense, in each of those two seasons.

Falcons Extend Ryan Schraeder

The Falcons have reached agreement on an extension with right tackle Ryan Schraeder. It’s a five-year deal with a $32MM base and a maximum of $33MM, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The deal gives Schraeder $19.5MM in the first three years and grants him $12.5MM guaranteed.Ryan Schraeder (vertical)

The new pact marks a major pay bump for Schraeder. In the spring, Schraeder signed a restricted free agent tender worth just $2.553MM. Before that, the Falcons had some concern that another team could steal him away. Now, rival clubs are likely kicking themselves after watching Schraeder take another step forward in 2016.

Through ten games, Schraeder is Pro Football Focus’ No. 13 ranked tackle in the NFL. His 83.3 overall grade comes from roughly even scores in pass blocking and run blocking. If he can continue that kind of production, this deal will prove to be a strong value for Atlanta.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 4/7/16

Here are Thursday’s minor moves from across the NFL:

  • Falcons right tackle Ryan Schraeder has signed his restricted free agent tender, according to ESPN.com’s Vaughn McClure. It’s a one-year pact that will pay him $2.553MM. Schraeder was one of the few RFAs who may have drawn interest from rival teams despite receiving a second-round tender, but it appears no clubs were willing to make a serious play for him.
  • The Colts announced a series of roster moves today, officially confirming that they signed wide receivers Josh Boyce and Brian Tyms and waived guard Ben Heenan. Boyce and Tyms both have NFL experience in New England, while Heenan was a former CFL standout who has decided to retire (Twitter link via Sportscentre).
  • About a month after cutting veteran long snapper Aaron Brewer, the Broncos have signed a potential replacement. Per Mike Klis of 9NEWS (Twitter links), Denver worked out Air Force Academy long snapper Harrison Elliott, who has another year of military commitment, but ultimately signed former Iowa long snapper Casey Kreiter.
  • Ravens wide receiver Chris Matthews has signed his exclusive rights free agent tender, the club announced today (via Twitter). The signing ensures that Matthews remains under contract with Baltimore on a one-year, minimum salary deal.
  • Safety Brandon King, a key special-teamer for the Patriots in 2015, has signed his ERFA tender to remain in New England, tweets Mike Reiss of ESPN.com.

Falcons To Tender RFAs Worrilow, Schraeder

The Falcons intend to extend second-round tender offers to restricted free agent linebacker Paul Worrilow and offensive tackle Ryan Schraeder, reports Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com. The contract tenders will be worth $2.553MM, and will keep Worrilow and Schraeder from becoming unrestricted free agents.Paul Worrilow

Manning the middle of the Falcons’ defense, Worrilow has been the team’s leading tackler in his first three seasons in the NFL. The former undrafted free agent, who turns 26 in May, has averaged 122 tackles from 2013 to 2015, and grabbed the first two interceptions of his career in 2015.

Still, Pro Football Focus ranked Worrilow 80th out of 97 qualified linebackers, based on the site’s 2015 grades. PFF was particularly hard on Worrilow’s performance as a run defender, grading him a bit higher for his coverage and pass-rush skills. The Falcons are reportedly bringing in veteran free agent James Laurinaitis for a visit today, so it seems the team is mulling other options at the middle linebacker spot, even as they prepare to tender Worrilow.

Pro Football Focus was significantly higher on Schraeder’s performance as Atlanta’s right tackle. In his first season starting all 16 games for the club, the Valdosta State product graded as PFF’s fifth overall tackle, earning PFF’s fourth-best pass-blocking grade at the position.

The Falcons will receive a second-round pick as compensation if another team signs either player to an offer sheet that Atlanta decides not to match.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Kaepernick, Schraeder, Henderson

Chip Kelly‘s official preference on Colin Kaepernick now that he’s in control of the 49ers hasn’t been established. But rival defensive coordinators are under the impression the former Eagles coach will extend an olive branch to the maligned quarterback once thought set for the trade market, given what the pair could accomplish together, NFL.com’s Albert Breer writes.

Whereas the DCs informed Breer that Sam Bradford did not evoke much fear in Kelly’s attack, the mobile Kaepernick could, considering how Kelly’s offense looked when he was coaching Marcus Mariota or Darron Thomas at Oregon.

I think [Kaepernick] is a good enough passer, but obviously what’ll be a nightmare is his ability to run. That offense is straight ‘Freddy Krueger’ when you have a quarterback that can pull the ball and run at any given time,” one rival coordinator told Breer.

Kelly’s Philadelphia tenure began with Michael Vick at the controls, but Vick at that point did not represent the kind of dual-threat signal-caller Kaepernick has shown himself to be at his best. The former second-round pick’s strong arm will bring something else Bradford didn’t last season, per another rival DC, along with his ability to play a zone-read-style system alongside Carlos Hyde.

Awesome — could be scary. You get the run threat back to keep the ball on zone read,” the coordinator said. “… And Kap can throw it deep. Chip stretched the field with [Nick] Foles vertically, and not as much with Bradford. … And Kap did a good job with simple reads and progressions early in San Francisco. Chip’s intermediate pass game in Philly had those features.

Assuming Kelly wants to see how Kaepernick looks in his offense, the 28-year-old will enter the third year of his contract and cost the 49ers $15.9MM against their 2016 salary cap once he’s on the roster after April 1.

Here are some other items from around the league as 28 teams are in their early offseason phases.

  • With the Cowboys and Jaguars’ coaching staffs set to instruct sides at next weekend’s Senior Bowl, a source told David Moore of the Dallas Morning News secondary coach Jerome Henderson‘s status will be resolved by Monday when the staff leaves for the all-star game. The 46-year-old Henderson interviewed for the Browns’ head-coaching job, the Jaguars’ defensive coordinator role and on Friday spoke with the Falcons regarding an unspecified position with the Atlanta defense. Cowboys officials, however, have expressed desire to retain Henderson, however, according to Moore. His contract expires at the end of the 2016 season. Henderson and the Cowboys have discussed his contract, with the understanding that Henderson will only depart if he can become a coordinator somewhere.
  • Falcons restricted free agent Ryan Schraeder may require more than a second-round tender to keep after a dominant third season, McClure writes. A first-team All-Pro right tackle, according to Pro Football Focus, Schraeder receiving the second-round tender would cost the Falcons $2.47MM but would allow another team to sign him while surrendering only a second-round pick. An ex-UDFA, Schraeder made $585K last season. “Atlanta has given me an opportunity,” Schraeder told McClure. “I felt like I’ve tried to make the most out of it. Whatever happens in the future, happens. But I know deep down inside that I can play in this league. My agent [Joel and Justin Turner], I feel like I have the best agents in the business. They’ll handle a lot of that. And I’ll probably give them some input.” A first-round tender cost a team $3.354MM last year.
  • The Lions fired senior vice president of football operations Cedric Saunders, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports. Saunders joined the Lions 10 years ago under Matt Millen and began overseeing the Lions’ budget with regards to personnel under Martin Mayhew. He’s one of several executives to be ousted since new GM Bob Quinn‘s arrival.
  • The Giants‘ ideal free agent targets, in the mind of NJ.com’s Jordan Raanan, should be Olivier Vernon, Danny Trevathan and Tashaun Gipson. Big Blue’s defense risks losing its most accomplished players this offseason in Prince Amukamara and Jason Pierre-Paul, although Raanan tabs Amukamara as having a “better than 50% chance” of staying, and hasn’t had much luck fortifying its defense with talent through the draft. Gipson went through a contentious stretch with the Browns last summer as a restricted free agent, and Trevathan faces a long road back to Denver next season due to potential eight-figure AAV players the Broncos have yet to sign in Von Miller and Brock Osweiler.