Tarell Brown

AFC Notes: Flacco, Jaguars, Patriots, Dolphins

After reporting earlier today that the Ravens are growing increasingly optimistic about their chances of reworking Joe Flacco‘s contract, Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter link) hears from another source that talks between the Ravens and agent Joe Linta have indeed been productive. A new deal may not be completed this week, but it’s getting closer, according to Zrebiec.

Flacco’s contract, which includes cap hits of $28MM+ in 2016 and $31MM+ in 2017, is a tricky one for the Ravens, since asking the quarterback to take a pay cut isn’t an option. In order for Baltimore to get some cap relief for more than just ’16, the team will likely need to tack on at least two years to Flacco’s deal.

Here’s more from around the AFC:

  • The Jaguars‘ willingness to go after older free agents this offseason shows that the team believes it’s closer to contention than it has been in past seasons, according to Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com, who notes that 18 of the 20 free agents Dave Caldwell signed in his first three years as GM were under 30 years old. “Now that we’re at that point in time where we can compete and compete for championships I have no issue with signing guys that are 30, 31 and 32,” Caldwell said.
  • As of Thursday, the Patriots remained in a holding pattern when it comes to their major offseason financial decisions, per Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald. Howe suggests that the team has engaged in the early stages of talks with free-agents-to-be Tarell Brown and LeGarrette Blount, but haven’t yet approached most veterans about pay cuts or extensions.
  • The Dolphins are saying they want to keep the majority of their free agents and release candidates, but given their limited cap room and their 6-10 record in 2015, continuity across the board may not be the best option for the franchise, writes Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald.
  • The odds of a downtown stadium plan coming together for the Chargers in San Diego are long, but not impossible, says Logan Jenkins of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Patriots Place Tarell Brown On IR

The Patriots’ cornerback corps will undergo another change, with Tarell Brown heading to injured reserve, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter).

Despite playing in three games for the Patriots this season, including registering six tackles last week against the Cowboys, Brown struggled to overcome a foot injury. The 30-year-old corner this week received a second opinion on a foot that, per NESN.com, he likely reinjured in Week 2.

Brown finished last season on the Raiders’ injured reserve with a broken foot. The eighth-year corner carried a $2MM cap figure after signing a one-year agreement with the Patriots in July.

Brown underwent offseason foot surgery, which prevented him from signing with a team until late in the summer.

After signing in New England this summer, Brown started two games. His injury leaves the Pats’ cornerback corps with less experience, as Malcolm Butler and Logan Ryan are now the team’s starting corners with scant depth behind them. Justin Coleman and Rashaan Melvin, the latter arriving as a waiver claim from the Ravens this week, are the team’s other healthy players at the in-flux position.

Derek Cox, Bradley Fletcher and Robert McClain signed with the Patriots to try and fill spots vacated by Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner and Kyle Arrington, but each was cut, leaving young contributors in charge of deterring wideouts.

A free agent who was in camp with the Pats, McClain has two workouts lined up, but New England hasn’t contacted him yet, according to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald (Twitter link). Howe also speculates Fletcher, who the Patriots cut last week due to an injured hamstring, could be an option here.

AFC Notes: Texans, Watkins, Boykin

With the NFL eyeing locations beyond the United Kingdom for international games in future seasons, the Texans are targeting a potential game in Mexico City in 2016, according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. Of course, like most other teams that express interest in playing an international contest, Houston would prefer to be the road team in such a game.

“I believe there’s a chance,” Texans president Jamey Rootes said of playing in Mexico City. “We’ve always expressed that we have an interest in participating internationally as a road team. … We’ve made it clear that we’re most interested in doing that in Mexico. It’s an amazing opportunity for the team and the league. But it’s a league decision, and it would be on their timing.”

Let’s check out a few more odds and ends from around the AFC….

  • With Bills wideout Sammy Watkins having expressed a desire to have more passes thrown his way, Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap examines the situation in Buffalo, discussing the role that targets play in contract discussions for wide receivers.
  • The Steelers sent a fifth-round pick to Philadelphia when they acquired cornerback Brandon Boykin, but Pittsburgh seems unwilling to play Boykin, as Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com details. Presumably, the Steelers will want to get some value out of Boykin eventually, to warrant giving up that draft pick, but Fowler looks into why the ex-Eagle has only seen one defensive snap in the last three weeks.
  • Patriots cornerback Tarell Brown has a potentially serious foot injury and is seeking a second opinion, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. For now, Brown’s availability appears to be week to week, but if the injury is determined to be significant, he could end up on the IR list.
  • The Dolphins aren’t happy about starting the season with a 1-3 record, or having to make coaching changes, but football czar Mike Tannenbaum tells Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald that he likes the team’s roster.

AFC Notes: S. Smith, Weddle, Bengals, Pats

While some players like the idea of going out on top, veteran receiver Steve Smith thinks he might continue playing even if the Ravens win the Super Bowl this season, per Clifton Brown of CSNBaltimore.com.

“You still have the same bills, the same issues, you’re the same person,” Smith said, joking, “You don’t all of a sudden get free cable for life because you’ve won a Super Bowl.”

Here’s more from around the AFC:

  • As expected, Chargers safety Eric Weddle doesn’t have a new contract in place as San Diego’s training camp gets underway, so expect him to play out the 2015 season with an eye toward free agency in the winter, says Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
  • With James Wright done for the year, Coley Harvey of ESPN.com expects the Bengals to add one more receiver via free agency. Harvey ran down some notable names that are still available, including Reggie Wayne, Wes Welker, James Jones, and Dane Sanzenbacher. Greg Little, who will audition with the team this week, earned an honorable mention on his list.
  • Cornerback Tarell Brown got a one-year, $1.5MM deal from the Patriots, Ben Volin of The Boston Globe tweets. Brown will receive a $100K bonus if he makes the team in Week 1, to go along with a $400K signing bonus and a $1MM base salary.
  • There was some confusion this week when the Dolphins re-signed quarterback Josh Freeman just four days after cutting him. However, as Field Yates of ESPN.com explains (via Twitter), Freeman’s new contract includes a split salary, which would allow the team to save money if the signal-caller gets hurt and lands on injured reserve.
  • After meeting with San Diego officials earlier this week to discuss the stadium situation there, NFL executive Eric Grubman was in East Bay today to talk about the Raiders‘ stadium progress, according to Scott Bair of CSNBayArea.com (via Twitter).

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Patriots To Sign Tarell Brown

The Patriots have reached an agreement with free agent cornerback Tarell Brown, according to Dianna Marie Russini and Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter links). Terms of the deal have yet to be reported, but I’d imagine it’s a modest, short-term contract that will give Brown a chance to compete for a regular-season roster spot.

Brown, 30, made multiple visits to the Patriots earlier in the offseason, first in March and again in May. The veteran cornerback, who spent most of his career with the 49ers before joining the Raiders last year, didn’t receive much interest from Oakland when he became eligible for free agency this winter, as the Raiders opted to go younger at the cornerback spot.

Having started 14 games for the Raiders in 2014, Brown logged exactly 1,000 snaps for the team before he was shut down with a foot injury. According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Brown’s -4.6 grade placed him 75th out of 108 qualified cornerbacks, though he only allowed one passing touchdown on 67 passes thrown into his coverage.

For the Patriots, Brown will provide some much-needed veteran cornerback depth for training camp and the preseason, and perhaps the regular season as well. While Darrelle Revis‘ departure for the division-rival Jets was the most notable shake-up in the Patriots’ secondary, and will have the biggest impact on the group for 2015, Brandon Browner also departed in free agency, signing with the Saints, and the club cut Kyle Arrington and Alfonzo Dennard as well.

AFC Notes: Tarell Brown, Gipson, Fins

The Ravens‘ secondary was their weakest unit last season, and it may have cost them a chance at the AFC Championship game. To that end, the team has added Kyle Arrington and Cassius Vaughn in free agency this offseason, and Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun believes Baltimore may not be done bolstering its cornerback corps. Wilson writes that the Ravens have shown interest in 30-year-old free agent corner Tarell Brown, who played for the Raiders last season after spending the first seven years of his career with the 49ers.

Although Brown finished with a -4.6 overall rating last year per Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics (subscription required), placing him 75th out of 108 eligible corners, he did play through a broken foot, and he finished with strong ratings in each of the previous three seasons, even ranking as the 13th-best corner in the league in 2012. He also brings significant starting experience, having started 114 games in his career while amassing 295 tackles and 11 interceptions. Brown may not be a top-flight corner, but he would offer solid production and invaluable depth for a relatively modest price.

Let’s take a look at a few more notes from around the AFC:

  • Unless the Browns make Tashaun Gipson a blockbuster offer, Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com believes Gipson will play out the 2015 campaign on his second-round tender and take his chances on the open market next offseason.
  • Terry Pluto of The Plain Dealer saw Johnny Manziel practice recently, and Pluto writes that Manziel did make “a few good medium throws” and is reportedly limiting his pre-snap issues, but he did struggle with red-zone drills and appears to have difficulty seeing the whole field. Pluto writes that Manziel is currently “not even close to the caliber of play that Josh McCown has shown at quarterback.”
  • Troy E. Renck of The Denver Post examines the five biggest issues the Broncos face heading into training camp next month, including their left tackle and inside linebacker positions.
  • Ben Volin of The Boston Globe examines the Patriots‘ salary cap situation, noting that despite carrying over $14MM in dead money, New England is sitting pretty with just under $10MM in cap space. Of course, considering the number of departures the team has had to deal with this offseason, it is not surprising that the Pats have some spending flexibility.
  • The Dolphins have a good problem in that it will be more difficult for the team to pare the roster to 53 players than it has been in recent seasons, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Jackson writes that there is a glut of high-ceiling, if unproven, talent in Miami’s secondary, and the team will have to make sacrifices in other areas to retain that talent.
  • In the same piece, Jackson writes that the Dolphins may have interest in Evan Mathis, but they are not currently interested in “consolation prize” guards like Dan Connolly and John Moffitt.
  • Ryan O’Halloran of The Florida Times-Union offers his projections on the Jaguars‘ 53-man roster.

Extra Points: Brown, Wilkerson, Raiders

The NFL and NFLPA recently reached a settlement that capped the number of unsigned veterans who can participate in tryouts at rookie minicamp to five players, sources tell Alex Marvez of FOX Sports. The financial compensation for participating veterans was one of the NFLPA’s concerns, and that apparently outweighed the upside of deals coming together for players like Josh Morgan, who signed with the Saints after an impressive tryout during rookie minicamp. Here’s more from around the NFL..

  • The Patriots had free agent cornerback Tarell Brown in for a visit today, a team source tells Mike Reiss of ESPN.com (on Twitter). This is the second time that the Pats have hosted Brown for a visit.
  • Jets owner Woody Johnson didn’t make it sound like a new deal for Muhammad Wilkerson is coming anytime soon, as Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post writes. “We’re continuing to have dialogue sporadically, but it’s got to be something that works for both sides,” Johnson said.
  • The Raiders are open to selling a minority stake in the team to a Bay Area company if that company can help fill the $400MM stadium financing gap that currently exists, Peter Schrager of FOX Sports tweets.
  • Washington proposed that roster cuts should go from a 90-man roster to a 53-man roster, but that idea was voted down, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter).
  • With 49ers defensive lineman Justin Smith retiring in May, he has more than $2.1MM in unearned signing bonus money, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes. The 49ers could try and recoup that money, but they might feel indebted to Smith after he restructured his deal in 2013. Meanwhile, the former defensive end known as Cowboy says he checked out 49ers rookie minicamp and he might want to “dip my toe into coaching” after a couple years, Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com tweets.
  • Saints receivers coach John Morton probably had some input in the signing of wide receiver Lance Lewis, who spent last year under Morton on the 49ers’ practice squad, Evan Woodbery of The Times Picayune tweets. Earlier today, New Orleans signed Lewis and dropped kicker Shayne Graham.
  • The release of Graham leaves the Saints on the hook for his $10K signing bonus, Woodbery notes (on Twitter). The team’s dead money total has now risen a tad, from $21.67MM to $21.68MM.

Patriots Eyeing Free Agent Cornerbacks

We heard earlier today that veteran cornerback Terence Newman was in town to visit the Patriots, but Newman isn’t the only free agent corner the team is considering. According to Howard Balzer of The SportsXchange (via Twitter), the Pats also hosted Tarell Brown, Bradley Fletcher, and Robert McClain.

While Darrelle Revis‘ departure for the division-rival Jets was the most notable shake-up in the Patriots’ secondary, and will have the biggest impact on the group for 2015, Brandon Browner also departed in free agency, signing with the Saints. In-house options like Kyle Arrington, Logan Ryan, Alfonzo Dennard, and Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler could be in line for increased roles next season, but it looks like the Pats wouldn’t mind adding a veteran or two to that group.

Brown, Fletcher, and McClain all saw significant playing time for their respective teams in 2014, with Brown (Raiders) and Fletcher (Eagles) logging 1,000+ defensive snaps while McClain (Falcons) played 642. None of them graded particularly well over at Pro Football Focus (subscription required), with Brown placing 75th among 108 qualified cornerbacks and McClain and Fletcher checking in at 90th and 92nd respectively.

Still, Browner (79th) was in that range as well, and the Pats’ coaching staff certainly doesn’t rely on PFF’s evaluations when making decisions on which players to target — no one in this group of free agent corners is capable of adequately replacing Revis, but Bill Belichick and company may find one or two players they like.

Raiders Notes: Rogers, Brown, Branch

On Wednesday, Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie sat down with reporters for a 30 minute chat. He told the press on hand, including Scott Bair of CSNBayArea.com (on Twitter) that the Raiders will let both Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown hit the open market as they look to go younger at cornerback. Here are some of the highlights from McKenzie’s chat..

  • Safety Tyvon Branch has an uncertain future with the Raiders. McKenzie says that he plans to speak with his agent soon to discuss different possibilities, Bair tweets. Branch, under contract through 2017, is due a $1MM roster bonus in March. He has missed almost two entire years thanks to injury.
  • Even with a starter’s salary, McKenzie said it isn’t out of the question for Matt Schaub to return as a backup, Jerry McDonald of The Oakland Tribune tweets. Schaub is scheduled to earn a $5.5MM base salary and Derek Carr in place as the team’s starter. It seems likely that he could get let go if he was unwilling to restructure.
  • Talks are ongoing with center Stefen Wisniewski but McKenzie wouldn’t make promises either way, Williamson tweets.
  • Coach Jack Del Rio told reporters that Austin Howard, who struggled at guard in 2014, will compete with third-year player Menelik Watson at right tackle, according to Bill Williamson of ESPN.com. That could mean that Oakland will be shopping for a guard this offseason.
  • In no particular order, it seems like McKenzie will be looking at running back, wide receiver, guard, defensive end, defensive tackle, and middle linebacker, Williamson tweets.
  • The GM said that the Raiders could sign multiple starter quality players, Williamson tweets.

Minor Moves: Saturday

We will keep track of all of Saturday’s minor transactions here. As usual, newest moves will be added to the top as they come in:

  • The Seahawks have made a change to their 53-man roster, placing tight end Rashaun Allen on waivers and promoting offensive lineman Keavon Milton from their taxi squad, tweets Brian McIntyre. Milton will provide some depth on Seattle’s offensive line as the team prepares to be without Russell Okung and Max Unger this weekend in Arizona.

Earlier updates:

  • Earlier today, the Raiders placed Tarell Brown on injured reserve. The team has signed linebacker Spencer Hadley off of its practice squad to fill Brown’s roster spot, according to Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter).
  • The 49ers have placed rookie inside linebacker Chris Borland on the injured reserve, reports Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter). The team has promoted outside linebacker Chase Thomas from its practice squad.
  • The Buccaneers have placed safety Major Wright on injured reserve, reports Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com (via Twitter). The team has promoted cornerback C.J. Wilson from the practice squad to the active roster to fill his spot.
  • The Dolphins have signed wide receiver Matt Hazel off of the practice squad to the active roster, reports James Walker of ESPN (via Twitter). The team has released linebacker Jake Knott to make room for Hazel.