Stephen Tulloch

This Date In Transactions History: Lions Release Stephen Tulloch

On this date in 2016, the Lions bid farewell to one-time defensive cog Stephen Tulloch

Tulloch entered the league in 2006 as a fourth-round pick of the Titans. The linebacker played sparingly in his first two seasons but, eventually, he cracked the starting lineup. Between 2008 and 2010, Tulloch was first-string for 41 games with Tennessee.

When he hit free agency, old friend Jim Schwartz brought him to Detroit with a one-year deal. After he tallied three sacks from the inside linebacker position and 111 overall tackles, the Lions re-signed him to a lucrative five-year deal. Tulloch continued to hold down the fort at MLB, compiling 100+ tackles in 2012 and 135 total tackles in 2013, including a career-high 3.5 sacks.

Unfortunately, his career took a weird turn in 2014. In Week 3, Tulloch took down Aaron Rodgers with a thunderous sack. He then busted out a sack celebration which went horribly wrong. Tulloch tore his ACL, ending his season in September.

Afterwards, Tulloch was asked if he had any regrets about the doomed dance.

Hell, no,” Tulloch said. “I’d do it again, brother. You do it every time. If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen. Just a matter of time. I’ve played a long time in this league and I understand you’re susceptible to this kind of injury when you go out there and play. Nine years without missing a game is kind of crazy, but like I said I’m positive because I believe in my hard work, I believe in my training and what I do in the offseason and how I approach things, so I know I’ll be back even better than before.”

Unfortunately, that was not the case. On paper, Tulloch had an alright 2015 as he started all 16 games, registered 108 total tackles, and came up with two fumble recoveries. However, he wasn’t quite an every-down player, as he saw time on less than 70% of the Lions’ defensive plays. Tulloch also graded out relatively poorly in Pro Football Focus’ rankings, placing as the No. 54 inside linebacker among 97 qualifiers.

Late in the summer of 2016, Schwartz re-connected with him yet again as the Eagles inked him to a one-year, $3MM deal. Tulloch wound up as a reserve for the first time in years and had only seven tackles on the year. That proved to be Tulloch’s last season, as he announced his retirement in April of 2017.

If not for that fateful game against the rival Packers, the Lions might not have released Tulloch two years ago today.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Spring League, NFLPA, Tulloch

Want to play professional football? The Spring League is ready to give a chance to hopefuls everywhere with tryouts in multiple cities this fall, according to a press release. The Spring League will hold its first open audition in New York (October 1), followed by events in Cincinnati (October 8), Memphis (October 22), Dallas (November 5), Atlanta (November 19), Tampa (February 18), and Los Angeles (February 25).

Last year, The Spring League launched with four teams playing in an accelerated six-game season. The league, which is not affiliated with the NFL, featured a number of notable names, including defensive end Greg Hardy, tight end Kellen Winslow Jr., and running backs Ben Tate and Ahmad Bradshaw. It’s likely that we’ll see some more familiar faces when things kick off in April.

Here’s more from around the world of football:

  • Commissioner Roger Goodell had his contract extended through the 2024 season, but his counterpart at the players’ union is only signed through March of 2018. NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith tells HBO’s Bryant Gumbel that he would like to stay on board for another term (via PFT). The union gives three-year terms to its presidents, so another deal would mean that Smith’s contract would expire shortly after the current CBA runs out in 2021.
  • Former NFLer Stephen Tulloch will visit the Lions this week to assist in coaching the club’s linebackers, tweets Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Tulloch, who announced his retirement in April, will not be restarting his career, although he might be able to help given the thin state of Detroit’s linebacking corps. After spending 2011-15 with the Lions, Tulloch joined the Eagles last spring but ultimately played only 69 defensive snaps in Philadelphia.
  • This week, Jets owner Woody Johnson was formally sworn in as America’s ambassador to the United Kingdom. The move forced the team to shake up its management structure.

Stephen Tulloch To Retire

Former NFL linebacker Stephen Tulloch will announce his retirement later this week, according to Justin Rogers of the Detroit News (Twitter link).Stephen Tulloch (vertical)

Tulloch, 32, entered the league as a fourth-round pick of the Titans in 2006. After serving as a backup during his first two seasons with Tennessee, Tulloch became a full-time starter in 2008 and never looked back, starting 107 games over the next eight years. He joined the Lions one a one-year deal in 2011, but played well enough to be handed a five-year extension in 2012.

Injuries plagued Tulloch during his final few years in Detroit, and he was ultimately released in 2016. Subsequently, he followed former Lions head coach (and current Eagles defensive coordinator) Jim Schwartz to Philadelphia, inking a one-year pact with the club last August. Tulloch played sparingly, however, seeing the field for just seven percent of the Eagles’ defensive snaps.

PFR wishes Tulloch all the best in retirement.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Jets, Bosa, Seahawks, Eagles

The Jets’ concerns over quarterback Christian Hackenberg‘s throwing mechanics will likely render this a redshirt year for the second-round rookie from Penn State, writes Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. Hackenberg was the fourth of 15 quarterbacks to come off the board during the draft, but he’s the only one who hasn’t yet appeared in a preseason game. He’s also lagging well behind fellow reserves Geno Smith and Bryce Petty on the Jets’ depth chart. As a result, the Jets will stash Hackenberg at the bottom of their 53-man roster this year and could tinker with his mechanics to a significant extent next offseason, according to Cimini. On the possibility of overhauling Hackenberg’s mechanics, Jets quarterbacks coach Kevin Patullo told Cimini, “That’s not something we’re going to get into right now. We’re just trying to see where he’s at, what he knows.”

More on Gang Green and a few other teams:

  • With Hackenberg guaranteed a roster spot and Smith, not Petty, set to serve as the Jets’ backup in their third preseason game on Saturday, it could spell doom for Petty, opines Brian Costello of the New York Post. If the team decides against keeping four QBs, Petty is likely to be the odd man out despite going in the fourth round of last year’s draft.
  • One anonymous NFL general manager blames the Chargers for the Joey Bosa debacle, tweets Michael Silver of NFL.com. “[The] Chargers essentially had first pick in draft since the two quarterbacks were going first. [They] could have made sure Bosa would accept the terms,” the GM said.
  • Thanks to an ankle injury to rookie Jarran Reed, recent signing Tony McDaniel could go into the season as a starting defensive tackle for the Seahawks, observes John Clayton of 710 ESPN Seattle. McDaniel isn’t yet a lock to crack the roster, though, as the Seahawks have decisions to make on him, fellow veteran Sealver Siliga and undrafted rookie Brandin Bryant. McDaniel seems to have the edge on those two, relays Clayton. Click here to read the interesting story of how McDaniel’s deal with the Seahawks came together.
  • Stephen Tulloch‘s one-year pact with the Eagles calls for a $1.75MM fully guaranteed base salary with nearly $47K in per-game bonuses that max out at $750K, per Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (on Twitter). He can also earn $750K through incentives.
  • In case you missed it, free agent safety Donte Whitner will visit the Panthers on Friday.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Eagles Sign Stephen Tulloch

TUESDAY, 10:23am: The deal is now official.

SUNDAY, 5:05pm: The Eagles have reached an agreement with free agent linebacker Stephen Tulloch, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk (Twitter links). The deal is worth up to $3MM, and contains $1.75MM in guaranteed money, per Florio.Stephen Tulloch (vertical)

[RELATED: Eagles acquire Dorial Green-Beckham]

Tulloch, 31, had long been connected to Philadelphia given the presence of new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, who was Tulloch’s head coach in Detroit. The Eagles were said to be in “heavy negotiations” with Tulloch more than two weeks ago, but a contract apparently took awhile to hammer out.

Philadelphia has been on the lookout for help at linebacker, as multiple reports have indicated that the club wanted to add more talent to their front seven, a need that became even more pressing when seventh-round rookie Joe Walker went down with a torn ACL. Moving back to a 4-3 defense following three years playing a 3-4 front, the Eagles are projected to start Jordan Hicks at middle linebacker, with Nigel Bradham and Mychal Kendricks flanking him on either side

In his fifth year in Detroit, Tulloch started all 16 games, racking up 108 total tackles, one sack, and two fumble recoveries. However, he wasn’t quite an every-down player, as he saw time on less than 70% of the Lions’ defensive plays. Tulloch also graded out relatively poorly in Pro Football Focus’ rankings, placing as the No. 54 inside linebacker among 97 qualifiers.

The Dolphins had also recently expressed interest in Tulloch, and had discussed having him in for a workout. However, the club made it clear that it would only consider a cheap deal, which Tulloch apparently wasn’t willing to settle for.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles Seeking Help At Linebacker

After losing promising seventh-round rookie Joe Walker to a torn ACL sustained during Thursday night’s second preseason tilt, the Eagles are indeed in the market for veteran linebacking help, Doug Pederson said Saturday (via Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer, on Twitter).

With Berman categorizing ex-UDFA Don Cherry as the team’s top backup linebacker, the Eagles could certainly use extra talent here to play behind starters Mychal Kendricks, Jordan Hicks and Nigel Bradham, the latter of which could be facing a personal-conduct suspension for an off-the-field incident in July.

Nothing has emerged on the Stephen Tulloch front, except that he’s not willing to take a deal too close to the veteran minimum. At least, that’s the word that’s coming out of Miami.

Two weeks ago, the Eagles were said to be in heavy negotiations with the former Lions middle linebacker and longtime Jim Schwartz charge. But those talks evidently did not progress to the 31-year-old middle linebacker’s liking. Tulloch was not interested, per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, in taking a low-cost deal with the Dolphins. Philly’s depth problems could force the team to up its ante for a player who’s familiar with Schwartz’s system.

As Roster Resource shows, the Eagles’ competition for second-team slots is comprised of multiple UDFAs — Quentin Gause and Myke Tavarres — along with former Patriots reserve Deontae Skinner and ex-waiver claim Najee Goode. The non-rush linebacker market beyond Tulloch is pretty slim presently, with Danny Lansanah — whom the Dolphins signed then quickly cut earlier this month — residing as one of the better options. Entering what would be his seventh season, O’Brien Schofield also resides on the unemployment line.

Considering the Eagles were already pursuing a veteran linebacker before Walker went down, it looks likely they’ll add one in the coming days. Their cap is projected to be close to saturated in 2017 due to the bevy of extensions the team doled out this year, but Philadelphia currently possesses $6.6MM in cap room — plenty to lure a late defensive replacement.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins Eyeing Stephen Tulloch

As they search for depth before the beginning of the regular season, the Dolphins are considering free agent linebacker Stephen Tulloch, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Miami wanted to bring in Tulloch for a workout recently, but the club made it clear that it would only consider a cheap deal, which Tulloch apparently isn’t willing to settle for at the moment.Stephen Tulloch (vertical)

[RELATED: Offseason In Review — Miami Dolphins]

Tulloch, 31, hasn’t drawn much interest on the open market since being released by the Lions in early July. While he’s been tangentially linked to openings with the Cowboys, Tulloch’s only real negotiations have been with the Eagles, who employ his former head coach, Jim Schwartz, as defensive coordinator. Philadelphia was said to be in heavy negotiations with Tulloch as of 10 days ago, but no deal has been struck as of yet.

In his fifth year in Detroit, Tulloch started all 16 games, racking up 108 total tackles, one sack, and two fumble recoveries. However, he wasn’t quite an every-down player, as he saw time on less than 70% of the Lions’ defensive plays. Tulloch also graded out relatively poorly in Pro Football Focus’ rankings, placing as the No. 54 inside linebacker among 97 qualifiers.

As Roster Resource details, Miami is currently projected to start Koa Misi, offseason acquisition Kiko Alonso, and Jelani Jenkins at linebacker, with Spencer Paysinger, Zach Vigil, James-Michael Johnson, and others in reserve. Tulloch, if not a clear backup, would likely serve as an early-down run-stuffer were he to sign with the Dolphins. If Miami is still looking for a low-cost alternative to add to its front seven, as Jackson writes, other free agents such as A.J. Hawk, DeMeco Ryans, Curtis Lofton, and Joe Mays could be of interest to the club.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: PEDs, Bosa, Tulloch, Buccaneers

Some assorted notes from around the NFL to wrap up the weekend…

  • Following a 2015 Al Jazeera America documentary that linked multiple players to PED use, the NFL is still planning on interviewing those players about the accusations, reports ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). Schefter lists Steelers linebacker James Harrison and Packers linebackers Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers, although the documentary also linked free agent linebacker Mike Neal and former tight end Dustin Keller.
  • With the Chargers and rookie Joey Bosa still engaged in a stare down over the defensive end’s contract, the third-overall pick’s mother has taken to Facebook with some interesting comments. “It bums me out for him so much,” she wrote (via Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union Tribune). “Wish we pulled an Eli Manning on draft day.” Manning, of course, forced his way out of San Diego after being selected with the top pick in the 2004 draft.
  • The Eagles have a need at linebacker, leading Philly.com’s Zach Berman to agree with the team’s reported pursuit of free agent Stephen Tulloch. The 31-year-old has a natural connection to the team, as he previously played for defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. “I have a lot of respect for that guy and his production,” Schwartz said. “Whoever is out there that can improve our team, whether it’s a guy like ‘Tully’ who is unsigned or guys that are on other teams . . . we’re going to watch preseason games and be looking at the waiver wire, who might be cap casualties.”
  • Charles Johnson spent his entire career with the Panthers, so it was a bit odd for the veteran to visit the Buccaneers, his longtime division rival, when he was a free agent this offseason. In fact, the veteran admitted that his battles against the Bucs played a role in him spurning the organization to return to the Panthers. “Don’t get me wrong, because Tampa has a great organization, but it was awkward playing against them so many years,’’ Johnson told ESPN.com’s David Newton. “You really have a hate factor for them and it was just really awkward.’’

Eagles, Stephen Tulloch Amid Negotiations

The Eagles are amid “heavy negotiations” with former Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). The Lions released Tulloch early last month after a months-long process that ultimately related to the longtime Detroit second-level cog passing a physical.

He has not been connected to any teams prior to the Eagles’ discussions, which have gone on for weeks, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (via Twitter). The 31-year-old linebacker has started for the past eight seasons, first with the Titans and then becoming a regular in the Lions’ 4-3 setup.

Now run by Jim Schwartz, the Eagles’ defense will transition back to the 4-3 scheme with which Tulloch’s familiar. Tulloch played on Schwartz-run defenses in Tennessee and Detroit, playing for Schwartz for six seasons — from 2006-08 with the Titans and from 2011-13 with the Lions.

Philadelphia also could be dealing with a possible suspension for projected starting outside ‘backer Nigel Bradham after he was arrested late last month. Under optimal circumstances, the Eagles appear set to start Bradham and Mychal Kendricks on the outside and Jordan Hicks in the middle. Behind them, as Roster Resource shows, is a particularly thin group featuring Deontae Skinner, Najee Goode and seventh-round rookie Joe Walker. The team could use some depth in this area, and the Eagles could be a fit for Tulloch on a one-year deal.

Despite their unrelenting spree of extensions doled out this offseason, the Eagles’ payroll includes $6MM+ worth of cap space for 2016, with the financial fallout from the extensions not set to hit the team hard until the 2017 and ’18 league years.

Tulloch led the Lions in tackles last season (108) but his salary was too rich for the Lions’ liking this year. Now, the Eagles could add Tulloch without having to dole out too much money.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colts Notes: London, Fournette, Tulloch, Swoope

While some Colts players are surely anticipating their trip to London this season, it’s just more of the same for running back Frank Gore. The 33-year-old will be making his third career appearance at Wembley Stadium, and he compiled 189 rushing yards and three touchdowns in his previous two games.

The veteran told Kevin Bowen of Colts.com of his first trip to London in 2010. While the player was in an unfamiliar setting, it didn’t take long for him to feel at home.

“I saw people wearing my jersey and I was surprised by that,” he said. “I don’t know how they pick what team they want to cheer for but they are into it.”

Winston Guy (then with the Jaguars) played in London in 2013, and the veteran safety distinctly remembers the energy of the fans.

“It felt like a Super Bowl,” he said. “They didn’t care who won. They were just excited…It’s different, especially for guys that have never been across the world. Definitely a good week of experience.”

Let’s check out some more notes out of Indianapolis…

  • LSU running back Leonard Fournette would be an excellent fit for the Colts in next year’s draft, writes Bowen. The team has a need for a young running back, and the Colts’ depth may take a hit if Gore decides to retire. Of course, Bowen also notes that the organization shouldn’t be reaching for Fournette at the top of the first round.
  • Bowen can’t envision the Colts pursuing former Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch. General manager Ryan Grigson recently said that the team probably wouldn’t be adding more veteran talent, and the organization is also looking to make their defense younger. Considering the presence of Nate Irving and Sio Moore, signing Tulloch may not be the best use of the Colts limited cap space. The 31-year-old was released by the Lions earlier this week.
  • If the Colts end up seeking additional depth at other positions, Mike Chappell of Fox59 in Indy believes that receivers Brian Tyms or Josh Boyce could be out of a job.
  • After two years on the practice squad, it’s time for tight end Erik Swoope to make the active roster, writes Chappell. If the 24-year-old doesn’t prove that he’s worthy of the spot, rookie Darion Griswold could see himself sliding in behind Dwayne Allen and Jack Doyle.