Shaq Lawson

AFC East Notes: Lawson, Dolphins, Jets

Despite Shaq Lawson being in trade rumors for much of his tenure with the Bills, the current regime was interested in bringing him back. However, it does not appear Buffalo’s interest in retaining the former Doug Whaley first-round pick was extensive. The Bills were open to re-signing Lawson, but Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic notes such interest was contingent on Lawson returning at a certain price (subscription required). But once the Dolphins guaranteed two years of Lawson’s $10MM-AAV contract, the Bills let him walk. Buffalo signed both Mario Addison and versatile D-lineman Quinton Jefferson to cover for Lawson’s exit.

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • Shifting to Lawson’s new team, the Dolphins received good news on the health statuses of two of their recent free agent additions. Emmanuel Ogbah said he has been cleared for football work for around a month but has yet to partake in workouts because of COVID-19 concerns, Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com tweets. Ogbah will receive a Chiefs Super Bowl ring, but the defensive end’s contributions ended midseason because of a torn pectoral muscle.
  • Jordan Howard also will be full-go when the Dolphins reconvene, Wolfe adds. After a strong start to his Eagles season, Howard suffered a shoulder injury that derailed his momentum. He played in just one game after Week 9 but did not log any carries. Howard was inactive for Philadelphia’s playoff game. The Dolphins gave him a two-year, $9.75MM contract.
  • Sam Martin ended up signing with the Broncos, but the Jets were interested in adding the former Lions punter, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News notes. The Broncos gave Martin a three-year, $7.05MM deal; Mehta adds the Jets were not budgeting that much for their punter position. Martin’s $2.35MM salary ranks 15th among punters. The Jets have opted not to re-sign incumbent punter Lac Edwards, their four-year punter, and Mehta adds they have remained in contact with former Dolphins and Bills punter Matt Darr. Ian Berryman, a 2019 Steelers UDFA, is the only punter on the Jets’ roster. The team remains interested in another addition here. Bringing considerable punter news to the table, Mehta adds that the Jets are doing their homework on Texas A&M’s Braden Mann — the 2018 Ray Guy award winner.
  • While things could certainly change in the coming months, the Patriots appear set to make Jarrett Stidham the favorite to be their first non-Tom Brady Week 1 starter since 2001.

AFC East Notes: Jets, Gordon, Lawson

Devoting significant resources to retooling their offensive line, the Jets have not address their edge defender situation. Jordan Jenkins remains a free agent, but the team has not made a strong effort to re-sign their sack leader of the past two years, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY notes. As far as the bigger names out there, the Jets are still not prepared to pay up for Jadeveon Clowney and do not have Yannick Ngakoue on the front burner, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com writes. The Jets have explored an Ngakoue tag-and-trade move but are not planning to pursue the disgruntled Jaguars defensive end, Cimini adds. Gang Green will need to make multiple moves outside, however. Tarell Basham resides as the top edge rusher on the Jets roster; he registered two sacks last season.

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • The Bills may or may not have expressed interest in Melvin Gordon. While 9News’ Mike Klis tweets that the Bills submitted an offer better than the Broncos’ two-year, $16MM proposal, ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter indicated Buffalo did not do so (Twitter link). Regardless of whether an offer emerged, Schefter adds (via Twitter) Gordon’s agent did contact the Bills about a deal. The Bills are all set to go with Devin Singletary again; Frank Gore is a free agent.
  • George Fant‘s three-year, $27.3MM Jets deal essentially doubles as a one-year, $9.25MM investment, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News notes. If the veteran tackle is still on the Jets’ roster by Day 5 of the 2021 league year, $4.45MM of his $8MM 2021 base salary becomes guaranteed, per OverTheCap. This still represents a nice deal for Fant, whom Mehta adds was only targeting $6MM per year before the Jets swooped in with their offer.
  • Shaq Lawson signed a three-year, $30MM Dolphins deal. While many teams prefer to backload free agency contracts, the Dolphins set Lawson’s up so he has a $10.3MM 2020 cap number, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald notes. Miami did this in order to lessen Lawson’s 2021 and ’22 cap hits, which OverTheCap lists as $9.3MM (’21) and $10.3MM (’22) figures.

Contract Details: Lawson, Trufant, Shelton, Witten,

Kyler Fackrell (Giants), One year, $4.6MM, $3.5MM guaranteed, base salary 2020: $2.6MM, $2MM roster bonus, according to Jordan Raanan of ESPN.

Antonio Hamilton (Chiefs), One year, $1.047MM, $887.5k guaranteed, $137.5k signing bonus; salary 2020: $910k ($750k guaranteed), according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.

Shaq Lawson (Dolphins), Three years, $30MM, $21MM guaranteed, $4MM signing bonus; salaries 2020: $6.4MM (fully guaranteed), 2021: $7.9MM (fully guaranteed), 2022: $8.9MM; $2.5MM fully guaranteed roster bonus in 2020, $100k workout bonus in 2020-2021, potential $2MM in annual incentives, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.

John Miller (Panthers), One year, $4MM, $2MM guaranteed, $2MM signing bonus; salary 2020: $1.79MM; $160k in per-game roster bonuses, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.

Danny Shelton (Lions), Two years, $8MM, $4MM guaranteed, $2.5MM signing bonus; salaries 2020: $1.5MM (fully guaranteed), 2021: $4MM, according to Michael Rothstein of ESPN.

Desmond Trufant (Lions), Two years, $20MM, $14MM guaranteed, $5MM signing bonus; salaries 2020: $4.5MM (fully guaranteed), 2021: $9.5MM ($4.5MM guaranteed for injury at signing); $500k in annual per-game roster bonuses, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.

Jihad Ward (Ravens), One year, $1.047MM, $637.5k guaranteed, $137.5k signing bonus; salary 2020: $910,000 ($500,000 guaranteed), according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.

Jaylen Watkins (Texans), Two years, $3MM, $300k guaranteed, $300k guaranteed; salaries 2020: $1.1MM, 2021: $1.4MM; 200k first-game roster bonus in 2020, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.

Jason Witten (Raiders), One year, $4MM, $3.5MM guaranteed; salary 2020: $3.5MM (fully guaranteed); $500k in per-game roster bonuses, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com.

Dolphins To Sign Shaq Lawson

The Dolphins’ interest in Shaq Lawson looks like it will lead to a deal early on Day 1 of the tampering period. The former first-round edge defender is expected to sign with the Dolphins, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

A Bills 2016 draft choice, Lawson recorded a career-high 6.5 sacks last season. He will become the fourth first-round pick currently on the Dolphins’ defensive line. It’s a three-year deal worth $30MM, Rapoport adds (via Twitter). The deal also includes $21MM fully guaranteed at signing and, through incentives, can reach as much as $36MM, Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com tweets.

Miami entered Monday with $80MM-plus in cap space — most in the league — and a roster needy at most areas. The Dolphins surprised the NFL-following world by winning five games last season but are still deficient in many areas, one being in the pass-rushing department. Miami featured one player — waiver claim Taco Charlton — record more than four sacks in 2019.

Lawson loomed as a Bills trade candidate for a while, but Buffalo held onto the Clemson product. He will join Christian Wilkins, also an ex-Clemson defensive lineman, Charlton and Charles Harris as first-round picks on Miami’s D-line.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins Interested In Shaq Lawson

Not much has emerged about Shaq Lawson‘s market, but with many would-be free agent edge rushers being franchise-tagged, the longtime Bills defender should see interest pick up.

One of the Bills’ top rivals is in the mix for Lawson, with Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com reporting the Dolphins are interested in the former first-round pick (Twitter link).

This year’s market has seen Shaquil Barrett, Matt Judon, Yannick Ngakoue and Bud Dupree removed from free agent consideration because of the tag. The Bills did not pick up Lawson’s fifth-year option last year, but the Clemson alum posted a career-high 6.5 sacks with 18 QB hits.

The Dolphins lead the NFL in cap space, with more than $80MM, and have needs at most spots on their roster. The team does return Taco Charlton and still has fellow 2017 first-round edge Charles Harris under contract.

AFC Notes: Marrone, Dolphins, Lawson

After the Jaguars ugly 42-20 loss to the Titans, the team fell to 4-7 and reporters asked head coach Doug Marrone if the team would be making any changes at quarterback or defensive coordinator. Marrone remained steadfast that he is not considering changes at either spot, according to Michael DiRocco of ESPN.

Marrone, currently in his third season as Jacksonville’s official head coach (he served as the interim at the end of 2016), is still looking to replicate the success he found in his first year at the helm. That season the Jaguars had one of the best defensive units in football that carried a team with questionable quarterback play to the AFC Championship Game. Since, the team is 9-18 and recently looks in disarray defensively. On the opposite side of the field, rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew showed promise while Nick Foles was out with a broken collarbone. Foles returned last week, but has yet to lead a strong offensive performance.

Here’s some more Sunday notes from the AFC:

  • Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is perfect for the Dolphins situation, according to Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald. Fitzpatrick has helped their offensive unit maintain an acceptable level of competence, but not to a level that could cause the team to win enough games to have their first round pick fall outside the top five in next year’s draft. Salguero also notes that head coach Brian Flores’ choices have made clear that Miami believes that Josh Rosen is not the franchise’s answer under center.
  • The Bills defense dominated the Broncos offense in Sunday’s 20-3 victory. It’s no secret that Buffalo has one of the best defensive units in football, but one player seemed to be playing with a little chip on his shoulder. According to Denver7’s Troy Renck, Bills edge rusher Shaq Lawson, who recorded two sacks on Sunday, looked for Broncos center Connor McGovern after the contest to tell him, “You will remember me now.” Apparently, McGovern said he did not who Lawson was prior to the game and the Clemson alum took note.

Bills To Decline Shaq Lawson’s Option

Shaq Lawson is on track for unrestricted free agency following the 2019 season. The Bills will not pick up the defensive end’s fifth-year option, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). 

Lawson, a 2016 first-rounder, was a trade/cut candidate last offseason, though he ultimately remained with the club. He performed reasonably well despite the uncertainty, compiling four sacks for the second year in a row across 14 games (six starts). Lawson also set a career-high in defensive snaps, and graded out as an above-average edge defender, per Pro Football Focus, but ultimately didn’t do enough to coax the Bills into picking up his pricey option for 2020.

In the draft, the Bills added top defensive tackle prospect Ed Oliver in the first round to further bolster their front seven. Next year, they could be in the hunt for edge help.

You can keep track of all fifth-year option decisions for 2016 first round picks by going here.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills Undecided On Shaq Lawson’s Fifth-Year Option

The Bills remain uncertain as to whether they will exercise defensive end Shaq Lawson‘s fifth-year option for 2020, as Joe Buscaglia of WKBW tweets. GM Brandon Beane has until May 2 to make the call.

It is understandably not an easy decision for Beane to make. Lawson, a 2016 first-rounder, was a trade/cut candidate last offseason, though he ultimately remained with the club. He appeared in 14 games (six starts), and he compiled four sacks for the second consecutive season. He actually set a career-high in defensive snaps, and he graded out as an above-average edge defender, per Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics.

So while Lawson has some value, he has not exactly lived up to his draft pedigree, and the 2020 option would tie him to a $14MM+ salary. Of course, that salary is guaranteed for injury only, but if Lawson should get hurt, the Bills may be on the hook for that hefty sum.

Buffalo added top DT prospect Ed Oliver with their 2019 first-round pick in an effort to further bolster its front seven.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Foster, Joseph, Mack

Good news for Steelers fans. Left guard Ramon Foster, who was carted off the practice field yesterday, hyperextended his knee but did not suffer any ligament damage and will not require surgery, as Aditi Kinkhabwala of the NFL Network reports (via Twitter). Kinkhabwala adds that Foster will miss four to five weeks but is expected to be ready for Week 1.

Now let’s get to more notes from around the AFC:

  • Browns owner Jimmy Haslam expressed unwavering support of head coach Hue Jackson during Haslam’s traditional training camp address yesterday. Per Tony Grossi of ESPN 850 WKNR, Haslam said, “I think we will see the real Hue Jackson (this year). He has good quarterbacks, he has some skill players, he has veteran offensive line – now, we have to figure out left tackle – and three really good backs and a good defense. I think this will be the first opportunity Hue will have to do what we know he can do as head coach and as a leader. We are excited to see it.” That certainly sounds to some, like Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, that Jackson is getting a clean slate, which is quite surprising for a head coach who has compiled a 1-31 record over his two seasons with the club. But Grossi suggests that the Haslams could also be subtly putting Jackson on notice that he is out of excuses.
  • Johnathan Joseph, who signed a two-year, $10MM deal to remain with the Texans this offseason, does not plan on calling it quits anytime soon, as Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle writes. The 34-year-old Joseph is entering the 13th year of his career, but he remains a starting cornerback and stills loves the game and the camaraderie it engenders. Joseph said, “as long as I’m healthy and I’m fine, I’m going to go out there and compete and contribute to the team. I’ll never play this game just to be playing and out there taking checks and stuff like that. So, if I’m able to be out there playing winning football, I’ll always play.”
  • We learned several days ago that Raiders star defensive end Khalil Mack, who is staying away from the team in an effort to land a new contract, has not spoken with head coach Jon Gruden since Gruden was hired in January. That report sent some of Raiders Nation into panic mode, but as Jerry McDonald of the Mercury News opines, there is no cause for alarm. He says Gruden is right to stay out of the negotiations, which is the domain of GM Reggie McKenzie and ownership, and that there should be no issues between Mack and Gruden when the contract situation does get resolved. McKenzie, meanwhile had no updates to offer on the negotiations.
  • In other Raiders news, Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com reports that rookie Kolton Miller will be given every chance to win the starting LT job from Donald Penn, who is currently on the PUP list.
  • Embattled Bills DE Shaq Lawson could be on his way out of Buffalo, but DC Leslie Frazier isn’t casting him aside just yet. Frazier said Lawson’s best football is ahead of him, and that he is much too young to say that 2018 is a make-or-break year (via Joe Buscaglia of WKBW on Twitter). However, as Mike Rodak of ESPN.com tweets, Frazier also refers to Trent Murphy as the team’s starting left end, which is further evidence that Lawson has ground to make up if he wants to remain a Bill.

Bills Notes: Lawson, McCarron, Peterman, Benjamin

Although Bills defensive end Shaq Lawson has said “all the right things to the media” this offseason, including saying recently that he knows he’s on the trading block and has to get better, he apparently still isn’t in good standing with the team, according to Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News. Carucci writes that he’s “not buying” Lawson’s supposed turnaround and says that “parting ways with Lawson makes perfect sense” as “he’s not remotely close to being a good fit on Sean McDermott‘s team.”

Lawson, a first round pick in 2016, could find himself out of a roster spot after just two seasons. While Carucci thinks the Bills will try and trade Lawson, he doesn’t think they’ll get much for him, writing the “rest of the NFL recognizes that Lawson is on borrowed time and will likely offer little or simply wait for him to be released.”

Here’s more from Buffalo:

  • While Carucci thinks “Nathan Peterman looked good” during OTAs and minicamp, he doesn’t “fully buy the narrative that he’s soared to the top of the depth chart and is the front-runner to start.” Despite the offseason hype that Peterman has received, Carucci still thinks A.J. McCarron is the favorite to start.
  • Wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin could be “setting himself up for a big contract” if he plays well in the final year of his deal, according to Joe Buscaglia of ABC 7 Buffalo. Buscaglia thinks the Bills will want to lock up Benjamin longterm if he can stay healthy, but writes that the team won’t “commit to him until he shows well, if he develops strong chemistry with [Josh] Allen, or a fair bit of both.”
  • Carucci thinks the Bills will look to add a pass-catcher during training camp. The Bills are a bit thin at receiver and Carucci thinks GM Brandon Beane will be aggressive, saying he thinks he will “as he did last August, look to add a receiver or two.”