Sean Davis

North Notes: Steelers, McSorley, Lions

The Steelers have a few players they need to take care of. Cornerback Joe Haden is looking for an extension, and all indications are that he’s going to get it. Javon Hargrave‘s situation has flown a bit more under the radar, but he’s also heading into the final year of his deal. The Steelers drafted the defensive tackle in the third round in 2016, and he’s started at least 12 games for Pittsburgh every year since. Hargrave has been keeping quiet about his contract, but Mark Kaboly of The Athletic thinks Hargrave will get an extension from the Steelers before the start of the season.

The Steelers restructured Stephon Tuitt‘s contract late last month to free up some cap space, and Kaboly thinks they’ll use some of it here. He also writes that “Haden’s extension could very well add money to the cap so money shouldn’t be an issue.” He also notes that Haden, Hargrave, and safety Sean Davis all have a self-imposed deadline of Week 1 for a new contract to get done by. Kaboly writes that it seems like Davis “is the odd man out” in that trio, indicating he might be playing out his walk year without a new deal. Davis recently signed with superagent Drew Rosenhaus, and said at the time he was looking to land top safety money next offseason.

Here’s more from the league’s North divisions:

  • Ravens rookie quarterback Trace McSorley is doing everything he can to make the team, and it seems to be working. Baltimore indicated as soon as they drafted him in the sixth round out of Penn State that they planned to use him on special teams and perhaps as a returner, in a similar role as Taysom Hill with the Saints. McSorley “has shown Ravens enough to warrant a spot on the 53-man roster,” even after Robert Griffin III returns from his injury, writes Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Hensley points out that McSorley will give the Ravens necessary depth “in an offense where QBs will take hits running the ball.”
  • The Lions gave offensive lineman Joe Dahl an extension last week, and now we have the full details. His two-year extension will be worth $3.6MM in new money, with a signing bonus of $750K, according to Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com. The signing bonus appears to be the only fully guaranteed money, although his $1.1MM salary for 2020 becomes fully guaranteed on the fifth day of the new league year. Rothstein also has the breakdown on the various roster and workout bonuses he’ll receive assuming he makes it through the duration of the contract. The Lions drafted Dahl in the fifth round back in 2016 and he’s served as a reserve guard ever since, starting four games over the past two years.
  • In case you missed it, it looks like Ravens slot corner Tavon Young will miss the entire 2019 season after suffering a “serious” neck injury in practice.

AFC North Notes: Josh Johnson, Ravens, Kareem Hunt

With the news that Ravens backup quarterback Robert Griffin would miss time with a fractured bone on his thumb, the team worked out free agent quarterback Josh Johnson, the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted.

A journeyman signal-caller over the last decade, Johnson has suited up in the regular season with five teams — Buccaneers, Browns, Bengals, 49ers and Redskins — but has been a part of numerous others. He received an extended look under center with Washington in 2018, when he started three games and threw for 590 yards and three touchdowns.

A mobile QB, Johnson fits Baltimore’s run-heavy attack and has worked under Harbaugh in the past. Johnson reportedly had ankle surgery in March, so assuming he receives a clean bill of health during his workout, the veteran makes plenty of sense to work under second-year signal-caller Lamar Jackson.

Here’s more from around the AFC North:

  • Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam addressed the media about Kareem Hunt, stating that talks are still ongoing with the league and players association regarding the team’s attempt to have Hunt remain with the team through the upcoming eight-game suspension, the Akron Beacon Journal’s Nate Ulrich tweeted, Dee Haslam also noted Hunt has to work really hard to be a part of the Browns and that it’s up to him, Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot tweeted.
  • Sticking in Cleveland, second-year defensive end Chad Thomas gave the middle finger to a fan who heckled Thomas to hustle on Sunday, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes. Coach Freddie Kitchens addressed the incident, saying that if the two of them had a conversation it would stay between them. “Of course, Chad Thomas, as you guys see, he is very emotional, a passionate guy. I want those guys to play with passion, but he is also a young guy so he has to understand and develop a sense of when to move on. I think he will learn.” Since it was not done during a game, the Browns instead of the NFL will handle any type of punishment.
  • Steelers safety Sean Davis suffered a finger injury that could possibly be a dislocation, coach Mike Tomlin said [Tweet via ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler]. Davis has started 31 of a possible 32 games the past two seasons in Pittsburgh, registering four interceptions and 15 pass breakups.

North Notes: Green, Bears, Mack, Steelers

A.J. Green is entering the final season of a four-year, $60MM contract. He is also coming off another injury-shortened slate, with a toe malady cutting it short. Bengals owner Mike Brown said earlier this year he would be interested in Green staying in Cincinnati on another deal. Green expressed the same sentiment over the weekend.

Cincinnati is home for me,” Green said, via FOX 19 in Cincinnati (video link). “I’ve been here nine years. This is home as much as South Carolina. All I know is Cincinnati. I can’t see myself playing anywhere else or playing in a different city. Hopefully I can be here for a couple more years, so we’ll see on that part.”

Green is entering his age-31 season and has missed 13 games over the past three years, but the seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver has proven to be one of the best players in Bengals history. The Bengals extended two other cornerstones last year, in Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap, and Brown called the wideout a “proven commodity” earlier this year. No known talks have commenced between Green and Bengals. The receiver also said, via FOX 19, he has been cleared from the toe surgery he underwent in December. It is not certain if he will participate in Cincinnati’s minicamp next week.

Here is the latest from the North divisions:

  • During the 2018 Khalil Mack pursuit, Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy began calling their Raiders counterparts (Reggie McKenzie and Jon Gruden) about the All-Pro edge defender once training camp began last year. But the Bears’ prevailing thought as of late July 2018 was, in the words of player personnel director Josh Lucas, “What are we doing? They’re not going to trade this guy,” Lucas said (via J.J. Stankevitz of NBC Sports Chicago). But shortly before Chicago’s final preseason game — which occurred a day after the Aaron Donald extension, and as the Raiders’ patience with Mack was running out — Bears brass were told to submit their best offer. That proposal (a package fronted by two first-round picks and a third-rounder) won out. “I think we had an advantage because they wanted him to get out of the AFC, so being an NFC team, I think we had a pretty good chance,” Lucas said. “I don’t think the Raiders thought we were going to be any good last year, so they wanted our first-round pick. So I think that played a part of it.
  • After Adrian Amos and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix started the 2018 season as Bears and Packers safeties, the respective back-line defenders switched cities this year. Clearly on a roll at the Bears100 Celebration this week, Lucas added (via Stankevitz, on Twitter) the Bears consistently graded Clinton-Dix as superior to Amos. Pro Football Focus would disagree with the Bears’ assessment, particularly in 2017 (when the site gave Amos a 90.9 grade and Clinton-Dix a 71.5 mark). The Bears also landed Clinton-Dix for far cheaper (one year, $3MM) than the deal the Packers gave Amos (four years, $36MM), pointing to other teams sharing PFF’s view.
  • Sean Davis switched agents in advance of his contract year, moving from MBK sports management to Drew Rosenhaus, the safety confirmed (via Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). Davis said no extension talks have occurred between he and the Steelers and noted the safety market’s 2019 explosion as a reason he may bet on himself this season. “I just felt like I needed a change,” Davis said, via Fittipaldo, of switching from Eugene Lee to Rosenhaus. “Drew is a top agent, man. … The safety market went up this year. That puts a little more pressure on me to get the job done and to compete for those contracts.” After faring better as a free safety than he did at the strong safety spot in 2017, Davis will remain there this season.

North Notes: Vikes, Browns, Ravens, Sutton

At Vikings OTAs this week, they placed Mike Remmers back at right tackle, per Michael Rand of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Remmers finished last season playing guard, and the Vikings used a second-round pick on tackle Brian O’Neill out of Pittsburgh. Minnesota had UFA signee Tom Compton working as its first-string right guard during OTAs, per Rand. Compton has never been a full-time starter in his six-year career, coming closest with the 2014 Redskins, who used him as a nine-game starter. Last season, the Bears started Compton in five of the 11 games he played. Minnesota lost its most effective blocker, Joe Berger, to retirement and did not make any notable additions beyond Compton at the guard spot.

Here’s more from the north:

  • The Browns have made some adjustments to their front office and scouting department, and Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com expects that to continue. She targets the VP of player personnel decision as a possible turnover spot. Alonzo Highsmith, Ken Kovash and Andrew Berry currently reside in that role. John Dorsey just hired Highsmith, and Cabot reports Berry is safe from a change despite being an integral part of the previous regime. The Browns promoted Kovash shortly after the Sashi Brown regime took over in 2016 after he’d previously worked as the franchise’s director of football research.
  • Converted cornerback Damarious Randall will be the Browns’ starter at free safety this season, relocating Jabrill Peppers to strong safety, per Cabot. Gregg Williams‘ deep placement of Peppers, sometimes more than 25 yards off the ball, became a constant source of discussion and derision among Browns fans, and Peppers himself may be a bit tired of the jokes. But the Browns will now place him closer to the line of scrimmage, which is similar to the role he had at Michigan.
  • Optimism exists around Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith, who saw a strong season end early in 2017 because of a torn Achilles, but Jeff Zreibec of the Baltimore Sun notes the veteran may not be ready for the start of training camp. The career-long Raven is going into his age-30 season.
  • Additional Ravens’ timelines are coming into focus as well. Defensive lineman Carl Davis, who started nine games last season, underwent surgery to repair a tear in his shoulder earlier this offseason, Zreibec reports. The former third-round pick is questionable to participate in minicamp. Offensive lineman Nico Siragusa also had an operation this offseason. The 2017 fourth-round pick missed all of last season because of ACL, MCL and PCL tears and required an additional knee surgery this year. Zreibec reports the goal for him is a training camp return. As for Alex Lewis, Baltimore’s projected guard starter opposite Marshal Yanda, he’s fully recovered from the shoulder injury that nixed all of his 2017 season, Zreibec notes.
  • The Steelers aren’t sure where to station Cameron Sutton. The 2017 third-round pick played 117 snaps as a rookie after an injury delayed his NFL debut. Pittsburgh may be planning to use him at outside or slot cornerback, or as a safety alongside Morgan Burnett, Tim Benz of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes. But he notes that Artie Burns and Sean Davis will still have first crack at their respective jobs, outside cornerback and the non-Burnett safety starter, with the Steelers still hoping for the high draft picks’ upside to show. Mike Hilton remains the frontrunner to be the Steelers’ slot corner, where the former UDFA fared well in 2017.

North Rumors: Richardson, Steelers, Ravens

The $3MM incentive package for Sheldon Richardson will center on the interior defender’s sack production. Richardson’s one-year, $8MM Vikings deal will include a $667K bump if he reaches six sacks, Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star Tribune notes. Should Richardson register eight sacks, that number spikes to $1.3MM. It rises to $2MM for a 10-sack slate. These benchmarks will be difficult to hit. The former first-round pick has only exceeded six sacks once in five seasons (eight in 2014). Richardson can also earn $500K if he makes the Pro Bowl, which he has done once (in that ’14 season). That will increase to $1MM if a first-team All-Pro nod follows the Pro Bowl acclaim, per Goessling.

Here’s the latest from the North divisions.

Draft Signings: Steelers, Cowboys, Raiders

Today’s draft signings:

  • In addition to Smith (listed below), the Cowboys announced that they’ve also agreed to terms with sixth-round pick Rico Gathers. The 6’6″, 273-pound former Baylor basketball player did not play football at the collegiate level, but is expected to pursue an NFL career at tight end. Dallas has now locked up six of its nine 2016 draft picks.

Earlier updates:

  • The Steelers have agreed to terms with second-round pick Sean Davis on a four-year deal, according to a source who spoke with Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com. The Steelers have since confirmed the deal. Davis has now become the fourth Steelers draft pick to sign his rookie pact.
  • The Cowboys have signed second-round linebacker Jaylon Smith to a four-year deal, ESPN.com’s Todd Archer writes. It remains to be seen when Smith will take the field, however. The prevailing belief is that he will need a redshirt year because of the serious knee injury he suffered in January. If Smith spends the season on the NFI list, he’ll be a restricted free agent in 2020 instead of an unrestricted free agent, Joel Corry of CBSSports.com notes (via Twitter).
  • The Raiders announced the signing of sixth-round linebacker Cory James. James, selected No. 194 overall, played in 51 games with 46 starts over four seasons at Colorado State, totaling 230 tackles (112 solo), 24 sacks, four forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and three passes defensed.

AFC Notes: Tunsil, Carroo, Ravens, Steelers

The Dolphins slotted Laremy Tunsil as their No. 2-rated player before the draft, with Jaguars defensive back Jalen Ramsey at No. 1, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reports. Had Tunsil not fallen to them at No. 13, the Dolphins would have been inclined to trade back and seek cornerback help, Salguero writes.

Among corners, the Dolphins had Eli Apple rated No. 2 behind Ramsey. Although Miami traded for Byron Maxwell, the team is now without all three of its primary starters from 2015 — Brent Grimes, Brice McCain and Jamar Taylor, the latter being traded to the Browns for a seventh-round pick Saturday.

Here’s more from the AFC as we transition into a post-draft world, beginning with more on the Dolphins’ board.

  • Miami traded up in the third round to take Rutgers wideout Leonte Carroo, but it’s not where the ex-Scarlet Knights target came off the board that’s interesting; it’s where his new team rated him. “We thought he was the second-best receiver in the draft,” Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said, via Salguero. That assessment runs counter to just about every pre-draft analysis in a draft that saw four wideouts go in the first round and three come off the board in Round 2. Prior to Miami selecting Carroo at No. 86, the Texans took Braxton Miller at No. 85. The Dolphins surrendered a sixth-round pick in this year’s draft — which it traded to the Vikings to select another receiver, Jakeem Grant — as well as third- and fourth-round choices in 2017 to become the ninth team to select a receiver this year. Rutgers suspended Carroo twice in 2015, and he was arrested once on a domestic violence-related charge.
  • Tunsil’s selection strikes Salguero as interesting considering as the No. 2 player on the Dolphins’ board, they couldn’t have done the exhaustive work on him as they did on someone like Apple or another player they thought would be in play at 13. He uses the Patriots, who did not pick until the 60s, not doing much work on Ramsey as an example.
  • Although Ozzie Newsome denied the Ravens picked Ronnie Stanley over Tunsil because of the now-infamous bong video posted on the tackle’s Twitter account before the draft, Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun reports that the social media posting was passed around the Ravens draft room prior to the team selecting Stanley. The Ray Rice moment still hangs over the franchise, Schmuck writes, inducing Baltimore to play it safe when it comes to questionable prospects.
  • The past two years, the Steelers have chosen 11 defensive players compared to just four on offense, and Mike Tomlin told media (including Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) it’s realistic three could emerge as starters in Week 1. “I believe it’s realistic,” Tomlin said of the prospect of the team’s top three picks — cornerback Artie Burns, safety Sean Davis and nose tackle Javon Hargrave — starting against Washington in September. “That’s why we chose them where we chose them. But they have to earn it, and we’ll give them the opportunity to do that.” Following the departures of Steve McLendon and Brandon Boykin, the team has holes in its lineup at No. 2 corner and at defensive tackle.

NFC Notes: Washington, Rams, Greenway, Giants

Although Washington didn’t have a ton of cap flexibility this offseason, the team could have made a bigger splash in free agency if GM Scot McCloughan had been interested in doing so. However, as John Keim of ESPN.com details, Washington’s players have faith in the front office and don’t mind the more patient approach to roster building.

“I’m excited about what he’s doing,” said Washington defensive lineman Ricky Jean-Francois. “I understand a lot of people say he didn’t bring in a lot of big names. You’ve got to know Scot McCloughan; he doesn’t like big name guys. As you can see with our [defensive backs], we got guys off the street and he brought them in and they did a wonderful job for us. I can only imagine what he’s going to do with the draft. I understand he [wants] 12 picks. I believe that first and second pick are up for grabs to get what he wants.”

As we wait to see what McCloughan has up his sleeve for draft day, let’s round up several more items from around the NFC….

  • Ohio State wide receiver Michael Thomas will work out on Friday in Los Angeles for a Rams contingent that includes GM Les Snead and head coach Jeff Fisher, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.
  • The Vikings‘ new one-year deal with linebacker Chad Greenway is worth $2.75MM, with $750K in guaranteed money, tweets Tom Pelissero of USA Today. Ben Goessling of ESPN.com adds (via Twitter) that the guarantee comes in the form of a $400K roster bonus and a $350K guarantee on Greenway’s $2.3MM base salary.
  • Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle (all Twitter links) has the details on three recently signed Giants contracts, reporting that the deals for linebacker Kelvin Sheppard, running back Bobby Rainey, and offensive tackle Byron Stingily are all one-year, minimum salary benefit pacts. Sheppard gets an $80K signing bonus, Rainey gets a $40K signing bonus (plus $40K in additional bonuses), and Stingily gets a $20K first-game, 53-man roster bonus.
  • Maryland safety/corner Sean Davis will visit the Buccaneers next week, according to Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times (on Twitter). Aaron Wilson had reported over the weekend that Davis met – or will meet – with over half the teams in the NFL.
  • Aaron Wilson passes along word of a couple more pre-draft meetings, reporting (via Twitter) that Incarnate Word linebacker Myke Tavarres has a private workout this Friday with the Eagles, and tweeting that Sam Houston State punter Lachlan Edwards is privately working out for the Cardinals today.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

AFC Rumors: Steelers, Patriots, Easley, Texans

The Steelers have used the majority of their pre-draft visits within the last week, and announced several more today. As Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com writes, the following players were in Pittsburgh today to meet with the club: Ole Miss defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche, Alabama cornerback Cyrus Jones, West Virginia safety Karl Joseph, South Carolina wide receiver Pharoh Cooper, Virginia Tech linebacker Dadi Nicolas, Colorado cornerback Ken Crawley, Maryland safety Sean Davis, and Boston College safety Justin Simmons.

Here’s more from the AFC:

  • Arkansas running back Jonathan Williams is visiting with the Patriots at Gillette Stadium today, sources tell Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald (on Twitter). The Pats previously met with the tailback at the combine. Williams, 22, missed the 2015 regular season after undergoing foot surgery. In 2014, he racked up 1,190 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground despite splitting carries.
  • Patriots defensive lineman Dominique Easley has hired agents Drew Rosenhaus and Michael Katz of Rosenhaus Sports for representation, as Rand Getlin of NFL.com tweets. Easley, 23, has been plagued by injuries since being selected by the Patriots in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft. In December of last season, he was placed on IR with a leg injury. In his injury-shortened sophomore year, Easley totaled 15 tackles and two sacks as a part-time player.
  • Texas Tech’s Jakeem Grant is visiting the Texans, as Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle writes. The wide receiver/kick returner has also worked out for the Dolphins, Colts, and Jets. Grant returned four kicks for touchdowns over the course of his collegiate career with the Red Raiders and caught 90 passes for 1,268 yards and 10 touchdowns last season.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Draft Notes: S. Davis, J. Smith, K. Joseph

Maryland corner Sean Davis is attracting a ton of interest around the league, according to Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post, who writes that Davis has met or will meet with 16 clubs, including the Texans, Cowboys, Saints, Cardinals, Dolphins, Lions, Browns, Colts, Seahawks, Ravens, Washington, Raiders, 49ers, Steelers, Bengals, Bills, and Titans. Wilson also confirms previous reports that Davis has met with the Patriots and Ravens.

Let’s dive into the latest draft news…

  • Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith has started running again, which is a good sign as he recovers from his ACL injury, tweets Gil Brandt of NFL.com. Smith, once a surefire top-15 pick, but with some clubs now reportedly worried about possible nerve damage, Smith could be in danger of tumbling down the board.
  • Like Smith, West Virginia safety Karl Joseph is also recovering from a torn ACL, and he won’t be able to run before the draft, per Brandt (Twitter link). But Joseph, who suffered his injury in early October, should be ready to go by training camp.
  • In a piece for the Houston Chronicle, Wilson reports that Oklahoma State defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah was the highest-rated prospect to participate in the Texans‘ local prospect workout on Saturday morning. University of Houston linebacker Elandon Roberts was also in attendance, and has also met with the Steelers, per Wilson. The lengthy list of attendees is available via the link.
  • Georgia Southern safety Antonio Glover met with the Lions and Titans after his Wednesday pro day, and was scheduled to fly to Indianapolis to meet with the Colts, according to Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net.
  • The Browns and Bears have spent a “significant amount of time” with Utah State linebacker Nick Vigil, who will also take a meeting with the Falcons, per Pauline. Vigil’s teammate, defensive tackle David Moala, met with the Browns and Chiefs.