Stefen Wisniewski

Steelers To Sign Stefen Wisniewski

The Steelers have agreed to a two-year deal with offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link).

Pittsburgh had been searching for a new face at left guard, where Ramon Foster had been a linchpin since the 2009 campaign. Foster retired from the NFL earlier this week, leaving a massive hole along the Steelers’ front five. Now, Wisniewski will likely line up at guard in between left takcle Alejandro Villanueva and center Maurkice Pouncey.

Wisniewski, who turns 31 years old later this week, has played in 134 games since entering the NFL as a second-round Raiders draft pick in 2011. The Penn State alum appeared in 46 games with the Eagles from 2016-18 and won a Super Bowl, then joined the Chiefs last October for another Super Bowl run. Wisniewski started the final two games of the regular season for Kansas City before starting every game during the playoffs.

The Jets, whose interest in Wisniewski was reported earlier this week, made an “earnest effort” to sign the veteran guard, tweets Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. But Wisniewski, a Pittsburgh native, ultimately decided on a homecoming.

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Jets Targeting Interior Linemen Stefen Wisniewski, Greg Van Roten

The Jets have swung and missed on a handful of top free agents already, forcing them to shift their attention to some of their backup plans. They were reportedly in on guard Graham Glasgow, before he signed a big deal with the Broncos.

New York still needs help on the offensive line, and they’re now targeting a couple of lower-profile options along the interior. The Jets have “turned their attention” to guard/center Stefen Wisniewski and guard Greg Van Roten, sources told Connor Hughes of The Athletic (Twitter link). The Jets were also interested in guard Joe Thuney, before the Patriots shockingly franchise-tagged him this morning.

Both Wisniewski and Van Roten are longtime veterans with a lot of starting experience. Neither are elite players by any means, but they’re both respectable options. Wisniewski was a full-time starter with the Raiders and Jaguars his first five years in the league, then became a top reserve with the Eagles and started at least six games in each of his three years in Philly. He spent last year with the Chiefs and only started twice, his first season with less than six starts.

Van Roten entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2012, but didn’t start a game until 2018 when he unexpectedly became Carolina’s starter at left guard and started all 16 games. He started all 11 that he appeared in this past year. As Hughes points out, he’s done quite well in pass protection.

Chiefs To Sign Stefen Wisniewski, Terrell McClain

The Chiefs, who are dealing with injuries to their O-line, are signing veteran Stefen Wisniewski, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network tweets that the club is also adding a vet to their defensive front, Terrell McClain.

Wisniewski spent the last three years with the Eagles, who declined his 2019 option in March. He drew some interest on the open market, and Philly re-signed him in May, but he did not survive final cutdowns.

The 6’3″, 305-pound lineman offers experience at both guard and center and will, at the very least, provide veteran competence off the bench. He may also get a spot start here and there, and he has started at least six games per season since entering the league in 2011.

McClain, meanwhile, spent 2018 with the Falcons and appeared in 13 games. He hooked on with the Cardinals this offseason but, like Wisniewski, was cut at the end of August. He will likely become part of the Chiefs’ D-line rotation right away given that Chris Jones and Xavier Williams are both expected to miss time.

Both men have become NFL journeymen. The Chiefs will be McClain’s seventh team and Wisniewski’s fourth.

The Chiefs have also waived T Ryan Hunter.

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East Notes: Jets, Gase, Bills, Eagles

It has been widely reported that Adam Gase forced Mike Maccagnan out of the Jets’ front office, but the head coach/interim GM denied those accusations in a press conference on Thursday.

Me and Mike had disagreements on a few things. There was no personal rift,” Gase said (Twitter link via Darryl Slater of NJ.com).

Gase claims that team CEO Christopher Johnson called and told him Maccagnan was gone, and did not ask Gase for input on the decision (Twitter link). Whether or not that’s really the case, we know that Gase will have input in the hiring of the team’s next GM.

Here’s more from the East divisions:

Eagles Re-Sign C/G Stefen Wisniewski

The Eagles have re-signed center/guard Stefen Wisniewski, according to an announcement from the player’s Twitter account. Terms of the deal are not yet known. 

The Eagles turned down Wisniewski’s option in March, but, regardless, he’ll return to Philly for a fourth year. The 30-year-old has been an on and off starter at left guard for Philly with six starts in 2016, eleven in 2017, and seven this past season. He entered the 2018 season as the starter at left guard, but was later benched for Isaac Seumalo.

The 6’3″, 305-pound lineman offers experience at both guard and center and should continue to be a solid super-sub on the interior line. Before circling pack to the city of Brotherly Love, Wisniewski also garnered interest from the Vikings and Jets.

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Jets, Vikings Interested In Stefen Wisniewski

Free agent guard Stefen Wisniewski will visit with the Jets on Monday, Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press tweets. The Vikings also reached out about the veteran last week after learning that Nick Easton was New Orleans-bound, Tomasson adds. 

Wisniewski spent the last three seasons with the Eagles, who declined to go for a fourth when they turned down his option last week. The soon-to-be 30-year-old has been an on and off starter at left guard for Philly with six starts in 2016, eleven in 2017, and seven this past season. He entered the 2018 season as the starter at left guard, but was later benched for Isaac Seumalo. Seumalo inked an extension recently, while Wisniewski was asked to pack his bags.

Wisniewski could be an intriguing pickup for the Jets, who are looking for ways to make holes for new star running back Le’Veon Bell. He should also hold appeal for the Vikings and others thanks to his versatility. The 6’3″, 305-pound lineman offers experience at both guard and center, so he can be a solid super-sub on the interior line.

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Eagles Decline OL Stefen Wisniewski’s Option

The Eagles are making another move along their offensive line, declining their 2019 option for guard Stefen Wisniewski, sources told Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (Twitter link).

Garafolo adds that he’s “heard some rumblings” the Jets could be interested in Wisniewski on the open market. The option would’ve paid Wisniewski $3MM in 2019 and the Eagles have spent a ton of money on their offensive line recently, so it makes sense why they didn’t want to pay that.

Wisniewski has been with the Eagles since 2016, and has been an on and off starter at left guard the past three seasons. He started six games in 2016, 11 in 2017, and seven this past season. He entered the 2018 season as the starter at left guard, but was benched for Isaac Seumalo. Philadelphia extended Seumalo last week, signaling who they preferred.

They also extended center Jason Kelce a couple weeks ago, and signed left tackle Jason Peters to a new contract earlier today. Wisniewski entered the league as a second round pick of the Raiders in 2011, and has been a solid starter in Oakland, Jacksonville, and Philadelphia. Still only 29, he shouldn’t have much trouble finding a new team.

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Lawrence Guy, Stefen Wisniewski Get 2018 Bonuses

Patriots defensive tackle Lawrence Guy and Eagles offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski each missed out on playing time incentive bonuses during the 2017 campaign, but their respective clubs have now given them new bonuses for the 2018 season to account for the lost pay.Lawrence Guy (Vertical)

Guy was scheduled to earn a $500K bonus if he played in 55% of New England’s defensive snaps a year ago, but he only saw action on 54.8% of the team’s plays. As such, the Patriots have reworked Guy’s contract by giving him a $500K signing bonus for 2018, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.com.

The Patriots have restructured contracts in such a manner before, as they made offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer‘s deal in 2014 to make his incentives easier to attain, and gave tight end Rob Gronkowski more opportunities to earn extra cash in 2017. Guy, 27, inked a three-year pact with New England last spring, and subsequently posted 34 tackles and one sack during his debut Patriots season.

Wisniewski, meanwhile, failed to earn an $250K bonus after playing only 61.5% of the Eagles’ offensive snaps last season. Philadelphia, therefore, gave Wisniewski a $250K signing bonus this week, reports Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (Twitter link). The 28-year-old Wisniewski started 11 games during his second season with the Eagles, grading as the league’s No. 26 among 77 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus.

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10 Centers The Saints Could Pursue

Saints center Max Unger went under the knife to help fix an issue with his foot, and that surgery will cause him to miss the start of the season. With no exact timetable in place for his return, the Saints will likely consider out-of-house options to help fill the void.

With some help from PFR’s Dallas Robinson, here are centers that New Orleans could look into acquiring:

  • Nick Mangold (free agent): Mangold remains on the open market and he stands as the most obvious choice for the Saints to consider. The Saints would be hard-pressed to find anyone with a resume as impressive as Mangold’s and the seven-time Pro Bowler probably wouldn’t cost all that much at this stage of the offseason. At the same time, there’s a reason why he is still available here in May and word of clubs asking him to change positions isn’t exactly encouraging. "<strong
  • Jason Kelce (Eagles): Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com was quick to connect the dots on Monday morning after word of Unger’s injury broke. The Eagles reportedly have had Kelce on the trading block for some time now and the Saints would now be a logical landing spot for him. The Eagles beat writer suggests that a Kelce deal could see running back Mark Ingram going to Philly, but I personally have a hard time seeing that happen. If the Saints are unable to meet the Eagles’ asking price for Kelce, however, they might be able to swing a deal for another interesting option on their roster.
  • Stefen Wisniewski (Eagles): If the Eagles were to trade Kelce, Wisniewski or guard Isaac Seumalo would be the top candidates to step into the starting role. However, Wisniewski himself would make lots of sense as a stopgap for the Saints. Wisniewski was a starter for five straight years with the Raiders and Jaguars before landing with the Eagles as a reserve. In addition to that starting experience, he also offers experience at guard, so he could be used at multiple spots once Unger returns to action. Pro Football Focus ranked him 39th among 72 eligible guards last season with strong marks for his pass blocking skills.
  • Joe Hawley (Buccaneers): The Buccaneers are moving Ali Marpet to center and he could very well wind up as the starter. There’s also Evan Dietrich-Smith and guard/tackle Ken Pamphile to consider for the No. 1 job and that could make Hawley expendable. The 28-year-old (29 in October) has been the Bucs’ primary center for the last two years, but he could be on the outside looking in after camp concludes. This offseason, he re-signed with the team on a two-year, $5.5MM deal with just $1MM guaranteed. It’s an affordable deal that the Saints could easily wiggle out of next year, if need be. Alternatively, the Bucs may want to dangle Dietrich-Smith in New Orleans’ direction.
  • Tim Barnes (49ers): Barnes just showed up in San Francisco, but indications are that the Niners will use Jeremy Zuttah as their starting center in 2o17. Before getting cut this offseason, Barnes spent the 2015 and 2016 seasons as the Rams’ starter. Another Niner, Daniel Kilgore, could have appeal for the Saints.
  • Cameron Erving (Browns): The Browns are planning to move Erving to right tackle now that J.C. Tretter is in town, but perhaps the Saints would be interested in seeing what he can do in the middle. Then again, he was shifted to right tackle last year after performing poorly in 12 games at center.
  • Matt Slauson (Chargers): Slauson isn’t guaranteed to start this year thanks to the presence of Max Tuerk, Forrest Lamp, and Dan Feeney. All three players are rookies (Tuerk didn’t play in 2016 thanks to his knee injury) but the team is high on each of them. In theory, Slauson could be shifted over to guard with Tuerk starting in the middle, but it’s also possible that Feeney starts at right guard over him. Slauson would be a valuable swing reserve for Los Angeles, but the Bolts might also be willing to trade him thanks to their glut of O-Line options.
  • Joe Berger (Vikings): Vikings coach Mike Zimmer sees third round rookie Pat Elflein as a center, and that could potentially make Berger expendable. Berger, 35 later this month, has started 68 games over the course of his career. He graded out as the 12th best guard in the entire NFL last season, according to PFF. He earned an even stronger overall score in 2015 when he primarily played in the middle. Berger still has plenty in the tank, so it would be harder to pry him away than some of the other names on this list.

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NFC Contract Details: Fairley, Peppers, Reiff

Let’s take a look at the details of a few recently-signed NFC contracts:

  • Nick Fairley, DL (Saints): Four years, $28MM. $14MM guaranteed. $8MM signing bonus. Base salaries of $1MM, $4.25MM, $5.95MM, $5.95MM (Twitter link via Wilson). $500K available yearly in sack incentives (link via Mike Triplett of ESPN.com).
  • Captain Munnerlyn, CB (Panthers): Four years, $17MM. $8MM guaranteed. $6MM signing bonus. $1MM available via incentives (Twitter link via Matt Vensel of the Minneapolis Star Tribune).
  • Julius Peppers, DL (Panthers): One year, $3.5MM. $750K available via incentives (Twitter link via Josina Anderson of ESPN.com).
  • Riley Reiff, T (Vikings): Five years, $58.75MM. $26.3MM guaranteed. $11MM signing bonus (Twitter links via Ben Goessling of ESPN.com). Annual $500K Pro Bowl escalator clause (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Mike Remmers, T (Vikings): Five years, $30MM. $10.5MM guaranteed (Twitter link via Matt Vensel of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune).
  • Dion Sims, TE (Bears): Three years, $18MM. $6MM guaranteed (Twitter link via Adam Caplan of ESPN.com).
  • Stefen Wisniewski, OL (Eagles): Three years, $9MM. $3.25MM guaranteed. $1.75MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer)