Senio Kelemete

Texans To Sign OL Senio Kelemete

The Texans are signing former Saints offensive lineman Senio Kelemete, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). It’s a three-year, $12MM deal with $5.5MM guaranteed.

Kelemete has a chance to start for the Texans given his experience at four different offensive line positions. He’s the third new significant newcomer to that unit, joining guard Zach Fulton and tackle Seantrel Henderson.

The 27-year-old spent the past five seasons in New Orleans, and he’s missed only a single game over the past three years. In 2017, Kelemete appeared in all 16 games with eight starts. Pro Football Focus pegged the veteran as a middle-of-the-road lineman, ranking him 41st among 77 eligible offensive guards.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Top 2018 NFL Free Agents By Position: Offense

NFL free agency will get underway on Wednesday, March 14th, 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. The same goes for players who have been franchise tagged or transition tagged.

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 2018:

Quarterback:

  1. Kirk Cousins
  2. Drew Brees
  3. Case Keenum
  4. A.J. McCarron
  5. Sam Bradford
  6. Teddy Bridgewater
  7. Colin Kaepernick
  8. Josh McCown
  9. Mike Glennon
  10. Drew Stanton
  11. Jay Cutler
  12. Chase Daniel
  13. Ryan Fitzpatrick
  14. Brock Osweiler
  15. Tom Savage

There were many difficult calls when putting this list together, but ranking Kirk Cousins as the No. 1 QB available was not among them. Cousins is the best quarterback to reach free agency in recent history and he’ll become the highest-paid player of all-time – at least, for some period of time – in mid-March. Who will make history with Cousins? That’s anyone’s guess right now. The Browns have more cap room than any other team, but a recent report from Adam Schefter of ESPN.com listed the Broncos, Cardinals, Jets, and Vikings as the final suitors for Cousins. Of those four, the Jets have the most money to work with, but they’re concerned about the Vikings winning out and Cousins’ desire to win could point him in another direction. If the Broncos and Cardinals want in on the Cousins sweepstakes, they’ll have to get creative with the books.

Drew Brees is included here, but by his own admission, he’ll be re-signing with the Saints rather than testing the open waters of free agency. Unless the Saints lowball their franchise QB, it’s hard to see him leaving New Orleans.

Case Keenum put together a tremendous season for the Vikings, but he doesn’t have a history of success beyond 2017. There will be plenty of interest in Keenum, but only after QB-needy teams strike out on Cousins. The incumbent Vikings could re-sign Keenum, but right now, it seems like they are intent on exploring the Cousins waters first.

There isn’t a ton of footage on A.J. McCarron, which made his placement on this list awfully tricky. We know this much: McCarron did well in place of Dalton in the home stretch of the 2015 season and his former offensive coordinator Hue Jackson was salivating at the chance of landing him before the Browns bungled the trade with the Bengals. McCarron’s relative youth is a plus (he won’t turn 28 until September) and his lack of experience can be looked at as a positive. Unlike some of the other names on this list, he hasn’t run up his NFL odometer.

What will NFL teams make of Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford this offseason? Not long ago, both seemed like quality starting options. However, there are serious injury questions about both players and any team signing them will either look to backstop them with another decent option or ask them to come onboard as a QB2. With that in mind, one has to wonder if Bradford would consider retirement if asked to hold the clipboard for another signal caller. Bradford has earned upwards of $110MM over the years in the NFL, so it’s safe to say that he has enough money in the bank to call it quits if he wants. For now, he’s intent on playing.

Colin Kaepernick‘s placement on this list is sure to draw some strong reactions from his fans and detractors alike. Looking purely at his football ability, there’s no question that he belongs on someone’s roster. At minimum, Kaepernick profiles as a high-end backup, even after a year out of the game.

Quarterbacks coaches have long believed that Mike Glennon is capable of great things, due in part to his height. At 6’7″, he can see over any defensive line, but he hasn’t done much on the field to prove that he is a quality Week 1 starting option. Josh McCown, who is a decade his senior, edges him here for his surprisingly strong performance in 2017 at the helm of a weak Jets offense.

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Extra Points: Steelers, Tuitt, Saints

Here’s a look around the NFL:

  • Steelers defensive end Stephon Tuitt has a chance to play this week against Minnesota, coach Mike Tomlin told reporters on Tuesday (Twitter link via Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com). Tuitt has been classified as week-to-week with his bicep injury.
  • In light of the Zach Strief injury news, Nick Underhill of The Advocate (on Twitter) notes that likely replacement Senio Kelemete can earn $200K by playing in 50% of the team’s snaps and up to $600K at 70%. The Saints will be without the tackle for at least a few weeks.
  • Texans guard Jeff Allen is expected to miss at least one game with an ankle injury, Mark Berman of FOX 26 tweets. Allen, one of Houston’s starting guards, is in year two of a four-year, $28MM pact. He appeared in 14 games last season, all starts.
  • Wide receiver Cobi Hamilton is working out for the Texans this week, a source tells ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler (on Twitter). The former Pittsburgh receiver could round out a banged up unit that is missing both Bruce Ellington (concussion) and Will Fuller (collarbone).
  • The Chiefs gave running back Akeem Hunt an upgraded practice squad contract, Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle tweets. He’ll now make $36K per week, which comes out to $615K for the year. Hunt signed on with KC’s taxi squad on Sept. 5 and it sounds like the Chiefs weren’t the only team interested in his services.

Extra Points: Browns, Bengals, Oher, Raiders

Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon is currently without an agent, tweets Jason Cole of Bleacher Report, who adds Gordon has utilized three different agents in three years. Gordon, 26, is in limbo at the moment after applying for reinstatement in March. He’s yet to hear back from the league regarding his status, and Gordon’s fate with Cleveland is also in question. While reports have indicated the Browns may look to trade Gordon, executive VP of football operations Sashi Brown said the club is open to a Gordon return.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • The Bengals have agreed to pay first-round wide receiver John Ross his entire 2017 base salary even if he lands on the non-football injury list, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Though Ross suffered injuries (including a torn labrum) while playing football, he wasn’t yet in the NFL when those issues cropped, so the NFI list is still a viable option. Clubs aren’t required to pay players on NFI, but will typically negotiate some sort of compensation if a unique situation arises, and that’s especially true if the player was injured upon arrival in the NFL. Cincinnati inked Ross to a four-year deal worth $17.116MM earlier this week.
  • Given that Max Unger may miss the start of the 2017 campaign, the Saints could turn to reserve interior lineman Senio Kelemete to man the center position until Unger returns to full health. Taking over the starting job could be financially beneficial to Kelemete, as he can earn a $200K incentive if he plays 50% of New Orleans’ snaps next season, according to Nick Underhill of the Advocate (Twitter link). Kelemete, 26, can bring in another $200K for hitting the 60% and 70% snap mark, as well. In 2016, Kelemete played on 57.5% of the Saints’ offensive plays.
  • Panthers offensive tackle Michael Oher turned himself in to Nashville police on Tuesday and will now appear in court on June 6, according to Joseph Person and Lavendrick Smith of the Charlotte Observer. Oher was cited for misdemeanor assault last week following an altercation with an Uber driver in which Oher allegedly knocked the driver to the ground. Carolina selected Western Michigan tackle Taylor Moton in the second round, so Oher — who is still dealing with concussion concerns on top of his legal issues — isn’t a lock to return as a starter, or even make the roster, in 2017.
  • The Raiders were “impressed” by undrafted safety Marcus McWilson, and are expected to sign him to a contract following his tryout at the club’s rookie minicamp, per Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal (Twitter link). McWilson, a Kentucky product, played in 13 games for the Wildcats in 2016, racking up 108 tackles (4.5 for loss) and one interception, which he returned for a touchdown. Oakland has already signed 17 UDFAs and two additional tryout players, but hasn’t yet announced the signing of McWilson.

Contract Details: Kearse, Whitehead, Hali

Here are a few of the latest contract details for players who have agreed to new deals and/or signed them in recent days. All links are courtesy of Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle unless otherwise indicated…

NFC:

  • Jermaine Kearse, WR (Seahawks): Three years, $13.5MM. $6.3MM guaranteed. $5.5MM signing bonus. Up to $4.7MM in total incentives/escalators (Twitter links via Wilson and Tom Pelissero of USA Today).
  • Tahir Whitehead, LB (Lions): Two years, $8MM. $4.75MM guaranteed. $3MM signing bonus. $500K in annual playing-time/Pro Bowl incentives. $200K in per-game active roster bonuses in 2017 (Twitter links).
  • Sherrick McManis, CB (Bears): Two years, $2.85MM. $600K signing bonus. $150K roster bonus due 10th day of 2016 league year. $50K annual workout bonus (Twitter link).
  • Senio Kelemete, OL (Saints): Two years, $2.7MM. $300K signing bonus. $50K roster bonus due third day of 2017 league year. Up to $600K in annual incentives (Twitter links).
  • Kenrick Ellis, DT (Vikings): One year, $810K. $25K workout bonus. $25K bonus for one game on 53-man roster (Twitter link via Pelissero).

AFC:

  • Tamba Hali, OLB (Chiefs): Three years, $21MM. $11.5MM fully guaranteed. $4.75MM signing bonus. $500K annually in weight bonuses (five weigh-ins worth $100K each). $500K annually in per-game active roster bonuses (Twitter links via Wilson and Pelissero).
  • Robert Golden, S (Steelers): Three years, $4.95MM. $1.25MM signing bonus (Twitter link).
  • Eddie Pleasant, S (Texans): Two years, $2.15MM. $311K roster bonus in 2016. $36K roster bonus in 2017 (Twitter link).
  • Shane Lechler, P (Texans): One year, $1.8MM. $500K signing bonus (Twitter link).
  • Khiry Robinson, RB (Jets): One year, $1.175MM. $80K signing bonus. $20K roster bonus for first game. $350K in per-game roster bonuses (Twitter link).
  • Nick Novak, K (Texans): One year, $965K. Minimum salary benefit. $80K roster bonus due March 14 (Twitter link).

Saints Re-Sign Travaris Cadet

The Saints announced that they have re-signed running back Travaris Cadet. Cadet, a four-year NFL vet, originally signed with New Orleans as a UDFA out of Appalachian State in 2012. Travaris Cadet (vertical)

For his career, Cadet has appeared in 48 games (2 starts) with 62 catches for 559 yards and three scores plus 22 carries for 65 yards. This past season, he spent time with the Patriots and Niners. Cadet, 27, saw his first significant action for the Saints in 2014, hauling in 38 passes on 51 targets, totaling 296 yards and a touchdown on those receptions. He didn’t see that kind of usage in 2015 but he’s certainly hoping to find that same level of involvement in ’16 as he returns to New Orleans.

Within the announcement, the Saints also confirmed new deals for kicker Kai Forbath, tight end Michael Hoomanawanui, center/guard Senio Kelemete, and cornerback Kyle Wilson.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints Re-Sign Senio Kelemete

Set to be a restricted free agent, Senio Kelemete will stay with the Saints on a two-year extension, NOLA.com’s Evan Woodberry reports.

The deal could be worth up to $4MM, according to the NFL Network.

The fifth-year offensive lineman’s been with New Orleans for the past three seasons — spending the first of which on the team’s practice squad — after initially entering the league as a fifth-round selection of the Cardinals’. He made his first start last season in place of Jahri Evans and broke with the Saints’ starting linemen in four additional games before Evans returned.

The Saints cut Evans after 10 seasons and will have an opening at his right guard slot as a result. A University of Washington product, Kelemete’s served as a backup center and tackle as well, increasing his value to the Saints.

New Orleans now has seven offensive linemen under contract, Woodberry tweets, but still have to determine whether or not to tender left guard Tim Lelito by Wednesday. Lelito started 13 games for the Saints last season and is a restricted free agent after arriving in New Orleans in 2013 like Kelemete.

Minor Moves: Monday

We’ll round up today’s minor transactions from around the NFL in the space below, with any additional moves added to the top of the list throughout the day. Here’s the latest:

  • The Saints have re-signed exclusive rights free agent Senio Kelemete to a one-year, minimum-salary contract for 2015, as first reported by Evan Woodbery of the Times-Picayune. Kelemete, who only saw six offensive snaps all year as a reserve at center and guard for New Orleans, confirmed the agreement with an announcement on Twitter.
  • After announcing their first round of reserve/futures signings last week, the Seahawks locked up several more players to new deals today, per Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. Condotta tweets that the club has officially signed wide receiver Kevin Smith, quarterback R.J. Archer, guard C.J. Davis, long snapper Luke Ingram, linebacker Brendan Kelly, defensive end Will Pericak, and center Jared Wheeler, whose agreement was previously reported.