Taylor Gabriel

FA Notes: Cowboys, Williams, Church, Gabriel

The free agent period opens in less than one month, but at least front office staff isn’t enthralled by the prospect of adding players from the 2017 open market. “It’s a brutal free agent class,” an AFC executive tells Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com. “You’ve got to hope some guys get cut who can fill a role at a decent price. We’re more interested in seeing who gets released than where these free agents sign.” While this year’s crop of players may not feature the depth of other free agent classes, there is still some intriguing talent at the top of the market, as exhibited in the latest edition of PFR’s Free Agent Power Rankings.

  • NFL front offices are more willing than ever to employ the franchise tag, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link), who notes that the franchise tender allows clubs to retain elite-level talent without worrying about large signing bonuses. Those bonuses become prorated onto teams’ salary caps, making it difficult to release players down the road, while the franchise tag — while expensive — only ties a club to a player for a single season. PFR’s Zach Links examined candidates for the 2017 franchise tag earlier today.
  • The Cowboys coaching staff is “much higher” on free agent Terrance Williams than the rest of the league, according to Todd Archer of ESPN.com, who notes Dallas’ decision-makers respect Williams’ consistency and availability. Cowboys CEO Stephen Jones has already expressed an interest in re-signing Williams, who finished the 2016 campaign with 44 receptions for 594 yards and four touchdowns, but Archer believes another club with more financial wiggle room will likely swoop in and steal Williams away from Dallas.
  • Pending free agent safety Barry Church sounds open to giving the Cowboys some sort of hometown discount, but like most players reaching the open market for the first time, Church wants to capitalize on his next contract. “It’s definitely a business decision, but … the Cowboys … were the team that gave me that gave me the opportunity coming out of the draft, being undrafted,” Church told SiriusXM NFL Radio. “Everybody else kind of passed up on me. But it’s definitely a business decision.” Church, 29, managed two interceptions and four passes defensed in 12 games with Dallas last season, and now joins a free agent safety class that includes Eric Berry and Tony Jefferson.
  • The Falcons will likely place a second-round restricted free agent tender on wide receiver Taylor Gabriel, and a first-round offer isn’t out of the question, writes Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com. The second-round tender should be worth roughly $2.8MM in 2017, while a first-round tender will come in around $4MM. Using a high tender would dissuade a club like the 49ers, which now employs former Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, from stealing Gabriel. In his first season with the Falcons, the 25-year-old Gabriel posted 35 receptions for 579 yards and six scores.

Sunday NFL Transactions: NFC South

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four NFC South teams. Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline yesterday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters, claiming players off waivers or signing guys who clear waivers. Those transactions for the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are noted below.

Additionally, as of 12:00pm CT today, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads. You can check out our glossary entry on practice squads to brush up on those changes, as well as all the other guidelines that govern the 10-man units, whose players practice with the team but aren’t eligible to suit up on Sundays.

Here are Sunday’s NFC South transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day. All links go to Twitter unless otherwise noted:

Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers

New Orleans Saints

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Browns Down To 53

The Browns have officially cut down to a 53-man roster, according to a team announcement.

The team’s cuts include receivers Taylor Gabriel and Marlon Moore. Undrafted out of Abilene Christian in 2014, the 5-foot-8, 176-pound Gabriel appeared in 29 of a possible 32 regular-season games with the Browns and started four. He amassed 64 receptions for 862 yards and a touchdown during that time, with most of those numbers coming as a rookie. Gabriel caught 36 passes on 72 targets and averaged a prolific 17.1 yards per reception in his first year, but that figure fell to a paltry 8.6 on his 28 grabs in 2015.

Moore, a six-year veteran, previously saw action with the Dolphins and 49ers before joining the Browns last season. He pulled in only seven receptions in 14 games in Cleveland.

The full list is below.

Released:

Waived:

Minor Moves: Browns, Jets, Raiders

We’ve already taken a look today at some minor moves from around the NFL. Let’s take a look at some more transactions from the AFC…

  • The Browns have signed receiver Anthony Armstrong, reports ProFootballTalk.com (via Twitter). The 31-year-old has 54 catches for 986 yards and five touchdowns over 34 career games.
  • Running back Jourdan Brooks has signed with the Browns, announced agent Scott Bergman (via Twitter). Brooks spent last season with the Bengals.
  • The Browns also announced the signings (on Twitter) of receiver Taylor Gabriel, offensive lineman Randall Harris, defensive lineman Jacobbi McDaniel, defensive back Robert Nelson and tight end James Oboh.
  • The Browns announced that they have waived running back Jamaine Cook, receivers Josh Cooper and Tori Gurley, offensive lineman Anthony Dima, fullback Chris Pressley, tight end Andre Smith and defensive lineman Elhadji Ndiaye.
  • The Jets have signed linebacker A.J. Edds and offensive lineman Markus Zusevics, reports Randy Lange on NewYorkJets.com. To make room on the roster, the team cut receiver Dwight Jones and offensive lineman Jacolby Ashworth.
  • The Raiders have signed linebacker Bojay Filimoeatu and cornerback Jansen Watson, tweets Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun. The team added wideout Greg Little earlier today.
  • The Raiders also waived receiver D.J. Coles and cornerbacks Johnny Adams and Frank Beltre, reports Jerry McDonald of the Oakland Tribune (via Twitter).
  • The Texans made an assortment of moves (via Aaron Wilson’s Twitter): they added receiver Lacoltan Bester and defensive tackle Julius Warmsley, cut defensive lineman Tyrone Ezell and receivers Nathan Slaughter and Andy Cruse, and waived injured offensive tackle Chris Martin.
  • The Dolphins added former North Dakota State quarterback Brock Jensen, the team announced on Twitter. Miami also inked linebacker Chris McCain.