Spencer Long

Bills Sign C Spencer Long

Spencer Long will stay in the AFC East. Not long after the Jets released the veteran center, the Bills signed him. The team announced the move.

It will be a three-year, $13MM agreement, Adam Caplan of Sirius XM Radio tweets, adding that Long could earn up to $15MM on this deal.

Thanks to team options for the 2020 and 2021 seasons, it’s effectively a one-year deal, Mike Rodak of ESPN.com tweets. Long’s cap numbers if both options are exercised would be $3.9375M (2019), $4.25M (2020) and $4.35M (2021).

The Bills’ offensive line struggled last season, so changes can be expected. Longtime center Eric Wood‘s injury-induced retirement set the recently formidable unit back. Ryan Groy graded as one of the worst centers in the league, per Pro Football Focus, so it isn’t surprising to see Buffalo look to upgrade this position.

A three-year Redskins starter, Long was a first-stringer in 13 Jets games last season. A few of those games came at guard, and while the Jets liked his performance at guard, they still released him at almost the earliest possible offseason juncture.

With nearly $80MM in cap space, the Bills are almost certainly not done addressing their offensive front.

Jets Release Spencer Long

The Jets plan to limit Spencer Long’s stay to one season. They do not plan to pick up the center’s option bonus and will release him, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports (on Twitter). The Jets confirmed the move.

However, the Jets would be interested in re-signing Long at a reduced rate, Mehta tweets. This would seemingly be contingent on Long generating scant interest elsewhere.

After four seasons with the Redskins, Long signed a four-year, $27.5MM contract. Just $6MM of his Jets deal was guaranteed. Long would have pocketed another $3MM if he was on the Jets’ roster on the third day after the Super Bowl.

For the Jets, this move will free up $6.5MM in additional cap space. While Gang Green is not exactly hurting for money, this would push their total beyond $95MM. Only the Colts hold more available funds. A three-year Redskins starter, Long started 13 Jets games but graded as Pro Football Focus’ second-worst full-time center this season. Though, the team liked how he played at left guard in December, Mehta notes.

New York does not have much in the way of long-term solutions up front, and the Jets plan to be aggressive in bolstering their line in free agency.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Contract Details: Jordy, Glennon, Incognito

Let’s take a look at the most recent new contracts and restructures around the NFL:

New Contracts

  • Jordy Nelson, WR (Raiders): Two years, $14.2MM. $13MM guaranteed (Twitter link via Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com).
  • Mike Glennon, QB (Cardinals): Two-year, $8MM deal contains void years in 2020 and 2021. $4MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com).
  • Spencer Long, C (Jets): Four years, $27.5MM. $6MM guaranteed (link via Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap).
  • Jaron Brown, WR (Seahawks): Two years, $5.5MM. $2.75MM guaranteed. $1.95MM signing bonus. $750K available annually via receptions, yards, and touchdowns incentives (Twitter link via Brady Henderson of ESPN.com).
  • Christian Jones, LB (Lions): Two years, $6.35MM. $2.8MM guaranteed. $1.75MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com).
  • Kyle Wilber, LB (Raiders): Two years, $2.75MM. $1.4MM guaranteed (Twitter link via Adam Caplan of SiriusXM).
  • Billy Turner, OL (Broncos): One year, $2MM. $750K guaranteed. $500K signing bonus (Twitter link via Mike Klis of 9News).

Restructures

  • Richie Incognito, G (Bills): 2018 base salary reduced from $6.325MM to $3.65MM. Earned $1MM bonus. Bills created $1.675MM in cap space (Twitter link via Yates).
  • John Jerry, G (Giants): 2019 contract season eliminated. 2018 base salary reduced from $3.05MM to $1.075MM, $525K of which is guaranteed. $400K roster bonus added and paid on 3/21. Per-game roster bonuses increased from $250K to $500K (all Twitter links via Dan Duggan of NJ.com). Giants created $525K in cap space.

Jets To Sign C Spencer Long

The Jets have their center. Gang Green will sign former Redskins center Spencer Long when the league year officially begins, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). It’s a four-year, $28MM deal, a source tells Rich Cimini of ESPN.com (on Twitter). He can earn another $2MM with play time incentives. 

Heading into free agency, the expectation was that the Jets would go hard after Ravens free agent Ryan Jensen. Instead, it’ll be Long manning the middle of the offensive line.

The Jets had a long history of quality play at center thanks to Kevin Mawae and Nick Mangold holding down the position for a combined 19 seasons. Things did not go as smoothly for the Jets at center in 2017, leading them to Long. Long takes over for Wesley Johnson and the Jets believe he’ll do a better job.

Long graded out as just the 19th best center in the NFL last season, according to the advanced metrics at Pro Football Focus.

[RELATED: Jets Depth Chart]

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets Likely To Sign Spencer Long, Pushing To Sign DaQuan Jones

The Jets are “very likely” to sign offensive lineman Spencer Long on Wednesday, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). They are also pushing to land defensive end DaQuan Jones as well, JLC adds. 

Last week, we rated Long as the 16th best interior lineman available. The advanced metrics aren’t crazy about Long – he graded out as just the 19th best center in the NFL last year, per Pro Football Focus – but he was well liked in Washington and also offers experience at guard. Meanwhile, we haven’t heard a whole lot about the Jets and Ryan Jensen, who is viewed by many as the best center available in free agency this year.

Jones, 26, enjoyed the best season of his young career in 2017. He totaled 31 tackles and 3.5 sacks in 12 games before suffering a season-ending biceps tear. Prior to that injury, he started 44 consecutive games over three seasons. The Titans would like to re-sign him, but it sounds like the Jets are closing in.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets Interested In OL Spencer Long

This may not be the free agent splash Jets fans were hoping for on Tuesday morning. Gang Green is pushing to land former Redskins offensive lineman Spencer Long, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports (on Twitter). 

Already, the Jets have seen one prospective free agent quarterback come off the board in Case Keenum as he is expected to sign with the Broncos on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Kirk Cousins is taking his first free agent visit with the Vikings.

Long can help bolster the Jets’ offensive line, but right now, no one knows which quarterback he’d be protecting. Last week, we rated Long as the 16th best interior lineman available.

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.

Read more

NFC East Rumors: Redskins, Brown, Giants

The Redskins‘ decision to re-sign Mason Foster to a two-year deal last week won’t preclude the club from pursuing a new contract with fellow linebacker Zach Brown, sources tell John Keim of ESPN.com, who recently reported Washington has opened negotiations with Brown. Indeed, despite reports that the Redskins had opened talks with a “lowball offer,” they’re still conversing with the 28-year-old Brown, tweets J.P. Finlay of NBC Washington. Per Keim, Brown could potentially looking for a top-of-the-market linebacker pact, which could require $10MM annually and nearly $20MM in guarantees. However, Brown was only able to garner a one-year, $2.5MM deal last season when he was younger and coming off an arguably more productive campaign.

Here’s more from the NFC East:

  • While the Redskins are engaged in talks to bring back Brown, the team may not be interested in a reunion with offensive lineman Spencer Long and Shawn Lauvao, according to Rich Tandler of NBC Washington. Long and Lauvao split time at guard in 2017, but neither earned positive grades from Pro Football Focus. If Washington does opt to re-sign one of its two free agent lineman, Long could speculatively have the advantage given that he’s three years younger than Lauvao. However, Tandler expects the Redskins to instead bring in a free agent or a draft pick to compete with former fourth-round pick Arie Kouandjio, who started six games a season ago.
  • The Giants are searching for a new offensive coordinator under new head coach Pat Shurmur, and while former Cardinals OC Harold Goodwin has been mentioned as a candidate for the position, there’s a possibility he could hired as a combination offensive coordinator/offensive line coach, per Ralph Vacchiano of SNY. Goodwin held the same dual role in Arizona, and given that New York hasn’t yet hired an OL coach to replace Mike Solari, Goodwin could potentially join the G-Men in a similar capacity. Other contenders for the Giants’ offensive coordinator include Vikings quarterbacks coach Kevin Stefanski and Eagles running backs coach Duce Staley.
  • Although the Giants still need an offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, the club’s coaching staff is mostly set, as Vacchanio writes. Shurmur has filled most of the team’s vacancies and retained a number of incumbent coaches, including coaching assistant Chris Pridy, reports Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com.

Redskins Add Four To Roster

After a rash of injuries, the Redskins are calling for backup. The Redskins announced that they have promoted linebacker Pete Robertson, nose tackle A.J. Francis, and running back LeShun Daniels from the practice squad. The team also signed center Demetrius Rhaney while placing fellow center Spencer Long (quad) on injured reserve. A.J. Francis (vertical)

The Redskins had several spots to fill after putting Long, wide receiver Terrelle Pryor, and running back Chris Thompson on IR. Meanwhile, the Redskins have even more depth concerns. Center Chase Roullier had hand surgery on Monday and tells reporters that he will be out at least a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, linebackers Martrell Spaight and Zach Brown have both been spotted with walking boots.

Washington will have to dig deep and find a way to survive all of the injuries in order to keep its slim playoff hopes alive. At 4-6, the simulations at Football Outsiders peg the Redskins with just a 9% chance of making the postseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Winston, 49ers, Cards, Pryor

The woman who accused Jameis Winston of groping her in an Uber vehicle in 2016, via Buzzfeed report earlier today, said only she and Winston were in the car at the time. But Winston’s representatives assert there were several people in the car, with the Buccaneers quarterback sitting in the backseat, NFL.com reports. Winston’s statement pointed to there being multiple passengers in the vehicle as well. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter links) listened to the voicemail an Uber representative sent Winston, with the phrase “you or someone else in your vehicle engaged in inappropriate behavior” used. This led to Winston being banned from Uber but also has the third-year passer’s representatives saying there were more people in the car than the accuser’s account suggests.

Here’s the latest from the NFC.

  • The knee sprain Drew Stanton suffered will lead to the Cardinals starting a third quarterback this season. Bruce Arians said Blaine Gabbert will start Sunday against the Texans, marking the first time since October 2016 Gabbert will have started a game. Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com notes it will be a game-time decision for who will be Gabbert’s backup. Stanton, who sprained a knee against the Seahawks, being healthy enough to be an in-case-of-emergency option will make him the No. 2. If not, recently signed Matt Barkley will serve as the backup. This marks the second time in four seasons the Cardinals have needed to start three quarterbacks. This happened in 2014, when Carson Palmer, Stanton and Ryan Lindley opened with that playoff-qualifying team’s first unit.
  • John Lynch said the 49ers don’t need to see Jimmy Garoppolo start a certain number of games in order to make a judgment about him for the future. The rookie GM the franchise’s view of the longtime Patriots backup has been enhanced by Garoppolo’s first few weeks in San Francisco despite him not seeing game action yet. “We know what we like about Jimmy Garoppolo. And that’s only been strengthened by the time that’s he’s been here,” Lynch said (via Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area). “We’re just going to let these things play out. People have had all these ideas about why we got Jimmy. We got Jimmy because we think he has big-time ability at the quarterback position. And we believe so much – to get where we need to get – you have to have a franchise quarterback. We think he’s got that ability. Whether that happens, when that happens, we’ll see. But we certainly like his future with the 49ers.”
  • Both Terrelle Pryor and Jordan Reed will miss the Redskins‘ Week 11 against the Saints, and Pryor’s ankle injury looks like one that could shelve him for multiple weeks. Pryor will see Dr. James Andrews about his ankle, Master Tefatsion of the Washington Post reports (on Twitter). Signed to a one-year contract, Pryor has been demoted from Washington’s first unit and now hopes he can return this season — one that’s doubled as a grim contract year. Center Spencer Long will also miss Washington’s game in New Orleans.
  • On the subject of less-than-ideal contract years, Ziggy Ansah will miss a second straight game with a back injury, Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com reports. Injuries have limited the Lions defensive end for the past two seasons and figure to be a key part of the discussion once his contract expires after 2017. He has four sacks — all coming in two games — this season.
  • Mike Remmers experienced a concussion protocol setback this week and will miss the Vikings‘ Week 11 game against the Rams, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. Andrew Sendejo will also miss Sunday’s game, the safety being out due to groin and hamstring pain. Rashod Hill and Anthony Harris will respectively replace the ailing duo in Minnesota’s starting lineup.