Terrance Williams

East Notes: Amendola, Cowboys, Giants, Dez, Jonathan Allen

After playing five seasons with the Patriots, receiver Danny Amendola signed with the rival Dolphins in the 2018 offseason. The move happened, in part, because New England did not come close to matching the two-year, $12MM deal he received from Miami, the receiver told Jimmy Hascup of USA Today.

After taking pay cuts in the past to stay with the Patriots, the veteran wideout was expecting to have a chance to stay with the team. That did not happen with the notoriously stingy Bill Belichick.

“When free agency broke, I came to the realization that he wasn’t going to really come close to any of the other offers I had,” Amendola said. “I had to make a decision for my family and go down to Miami and continue my career there.”

Amendola also commented on playing for Belichick, saying, “It’s not easy, that’s for sure. He’s an (expletive) sometimes,” Amendola said. “There were a lot of things I didn’t like about playing for him, but I must say, the things I didn’t like were all in regards to getting the team better, and I respected him.”

Here’s more from around the East:

  • The Cowboys will be looking for a new go-to receiver after the departure of Dez Bryant. One of those candidates is Terrance Williams, who will be ready for work in June after recovering from a broken foot earlier in the offseason, ESPN’s Todd Archer writes. Though he will be ready to go, Williams is best used as a No. 2 or 3 wideout due to his inconsistency.
  • Speaking of Bryant, the receiver reportedly left his meeting with Jerry Jones saying he would see the team twice next season. If he is going to join a division foe, the Giants seem like an unlikely spot, SportsNet New York’s Ralph Vacchiano writes. The team’s depth at receiver with Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shephard seems to indicate there is no room for Bryant.
  • The Redskins are expected to have defensive tackle Jonathan Allen when the team resumes activities next week, NBC Sports’ JP Finlay writes. He suffered a Lisfranc injury in Week 5 of 2017 and did not play the rest of the season. A healthy Allen could helped Washington improve on its last-ranked run defense in 2017.

Cowboys WR Terrance Williams Recovering From Broken Foot

Cowboys wide receiver Terrance Williams is recovering from a broken foot that required surgery, according to Todd Archer of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Dallas executive Stephen Jones said Williams’ injury could force him to miss a portion of organized team activities, tweets David Moore of the Dallas Morning News.

While it doesn’t sound as though Williams will miss regular season action, his injury nonetheless adds more intrigue to the Cowboys’ receiving corps. Jones said Dallas’ recent wideout addition Allen Hurns is not expected to replace Dez Bryant, but admitted the club still has not discussed altering Bryant’s contract, per Moore (Twitter link).

Bryant is due a $12.5MM base salary in 2018, and will count for $16.5MM on Dallas’ salary cap. If he’s released, the Cowboys would save $8.5MM but still be on the hook for $8MM in dead money. Dallas could designate the 29-year-old Bryant as a post-June 1 release and in turn save $12.5MM in 2018 space.

Williams, for his part, is likely stuck on Dallas’ roster despite his lack of recent production. The Cowboys would pay more to cut Williams than release him prior to June 1, and they wouldn’t net any savings even if Williams was a post-June release. Williams, 28, has failed to top 600 yards receiving in either of the past two campaigns.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Terrance Williams Took Less Money For Cowboys

Terrance Williams took less money to stay with the Cowboys, the wide receiver tells Drew Davison of the Star Telegram. Williams re-signed a four-year, $17MM contract with $9.5MM guaranteed early on in free agency. Terrance Williams (Vertical)

[RELATED: Cowboys, Zack Martin Put Extension Talks On Hold]

It just wasn’t about money to me,” Williams said of his free agency. “There was a lot of money I could have taken, but it’s just the people. The guys I hang around with in my locker room and then the coaches that I have. That’s a bigger price tag on it for me than money.”

Williams, a third-round pick of the Cowboys in 2013, mentioned fellow receiver Dez Bryant as one reason he gave Dallas a hometown discount. It also helps that Williams is already familiar with the playbook and has already enjoyed success with the team. He had 44 grabs for 594 yards and four touchdowns in 2016. In the year prior, he set watermarks in receptions (52) and yards (840).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Contract Details: Campbell, Demps, Wheaton

Let’s take a look the financial details of some recently-signed contracts:

  • Mike Adams, S (Panthers): Two years, $4.2MM. $1.15MM guaranteed. $650K signing bonus. $00K available annually via Pro Bowl and interception incentives (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle).
  • Calais Campbell, DL (Jaguars): Four years, $60MM. $30MM guaranteed. $6MM signing bonus. Base salaries $9MM (guaranteed), $15MM (guaranteed), $12MM, $15MM. $3MM option bonus for 2019 (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Marcus Cooper, CB (Bears): Three years, $16MM. $8MM guaranteed. $1.5MM signing bonus. $1MM available annually in Pro Bowl and interception incentives (Twitter links via Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune).
  • Quintin Demps, S (Bears): Three years, $13.5MM. $5MM guaranteed. $1MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Ryan Griffin, TE (Texans): Three years, $9MM. $3.225MM guaranteed. Annual $100K workout base de-escalator (Twitter links via Wilson).
  • D.J. Hayden, CB (Lions): One year, $3.75MM. $2.25MM guaranteed. $1MM signing bonus. $250K workout bonus. $1.5MM available via incentives (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Ted Larsen, OL (Dolphins): Three years, $5.65MM. $1.75MM guaranteed. $1.25MM signing bonus. $500K escalator in 2018. $1MM escalator in 2019 (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Josh Robinson, CB (Buccaneers): Two years, $5M. $2MM guaranteed. $1MM roster bonus due on eighth day of 2017 league year. $1.75MM team option in 2018. $750K available via incentives (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Cornelius Washington, DL (Lions): Two years, $5.825MM. $1.5MM signing bonus. $1.5MM guaranteed (link via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press).
  • Markus Wheaton, WR (Bears): Two years, $11MM. $5MM guaranteed (Twitter link via Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times)
  • Terrance Williams, WR (Cowboys): Four years, $17MM. $9.5MM guaranteed. $5MM signing bonus. 2020 option season. Annual $200K workout base salary de-escalator (Twitter links via Wilson).

Cowboys To Re-Sign Terrance Williams

The Cowboys have reached a four-year agreement to re-sign wide receiver Terrance Williams, tweets Adam Caplan of ESPN. The pact is worth $17MM, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, while Caplan adds that it carries a max value of $22MM (Twitter links). It contains $9.5MM in guarantees, Todd Archer of ESPN.com writes.

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Williams, 27, has spent his entire four-year career with the Cowboys and is now in position to remain in Dallas for the foreseeable future. The team went into free agency bracing for his departure, but it will instead keep the No. 2 wideout and Dez Bryant complement in the fold. Since going in the third round of the 2013 draft, Williams has played in all 64 of the Cowboys’ regular-season games, made 52 starts and averaged 44 catches, 698 yards and five touchdowns per year.

The 6-foot-2, 208-pound Williams is the latest wideout off the board in a class of available receivers that’s quickly losing its appeal. Among PFR’s 15 highest-ranked receivers entering free agency, only Cordarrelle Patterson, Michael Floyd, Kamar Aiken and Victor Cruz remain. All of those players come with obvious flaws, which made it that much more important for the Cowboys to keep the steady Williams from exiting.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

PFR’s Top 50 NFL Free Agents

It’s free agency week! This year, thanks to the salary cap increase, the dollars will be flying and players will make more than you ever could have expected. Our lists for offense and defense rank free agents based on overall ability, but our Top 50 ranks players based on earning power. Here, you’ll get a good sense of what the market will be like this week and who the big fish are.

The league’s “legal tampering” window will open on Tuesday at 11:00am CT. Technically, teams and players aren’t permitted to finalize agreements on contracts during that legal tampering window, but that’s often treated as a guideline rather than a hard and fast rule. We will almost certainly see handshake agreements go down on Tuesday and Wednesday before they become official on Thursday, the technical beginning of free agency.

Our list of 2017’s top 50 free agents doesn’t include restricted free agents, or franchise tagged players, since they’re effectively restricted free agents as well.

With those caveats out of the way, let’s dive right in! Here are Pro Football Rumors’ top 50 NFL free agents for 2017, along with a few predictions on how much they might earn and what teams could be in the mix to sign them:

1. A.J. Bouye, CB (Texans): Bouye is an overnight sensation, going from unknown to elite talent in the blink of an eye. No one knows exactly what to make of Bouye, but his upside is too much for teams to pass up. The Texans declined to use the franchise tag on the 25-year-old (26 in August), but they’re still hoping to get a deal done this week. The Jets are said to have interest, but it’s not clear if they’ll have the room to get something done. Cornerback-needy teams like the Panthers, Saints, Jaguars, Titans, Bears, and Eagles can be expected to at least kick the tires on this year’s top player in the secondary. Could something like Janoris Jenkins‘ five year, $62.5MM contract ($28.8MM fully guaranteed) from last year be within reach? Jenkins had a longer history of success than Bouye, but consider these facts: Bouye nearly two years younger than Jenkins was at time of signing and the salary cap has risen by about $12MM.
Signed with Jaguars for five years, $67.5MM.A.J. Bouye (vertical)

2. Alshon Jeffery, WR (Bears): He was hurt for most of 2015 and he slumped along with the entire Bears offense in 2016, but his natural ability is still evident and he is a legitimate No. 1 wide receiver. At one point, it seemed like Jeffery could wind up as the league’s highest-paid wide receiver. That won’t be the case, but he will likely get more cash than any other wide receiver in this year’s class. The Eagles and Titans have been hot on his tail for some time now. The 49ers could also get involved and a return to the Bears cannot be ruled out either. Ultimately, Jeffery should wind up fetching at least $10MM per year and perhaps as much as $12MM per year on his next deal.
Signed with Eagles for one year, $9.5MM.

3. Kenny Stills, WR (Dolphins): Jeffery isn’t the only wide receiver who could fetch $12MM per year. Stills isn’t necessarily the best wide receiver on his own team, but he is just on the cusp of his 25th birthday and his ability to stretch the field is tantalizing. It doesn’t sound like the Dolphins are ready to be the highest bidder for his services and it’s not hard to imagine a team like the Eagles landing him. Naturally, there’s quite a bit of overlap between the potential suitors for Jeffery and Stills: the Eagles, Titans, Bears, and 49ers will probably come calling. The Rams may not have enough room to squeeze in Stills, but they could certainly use a playmaker like him if they do not re-sign Kenny Britt. Stills reportedly likes the West Coast (who doesn’t?) so the Niners and Rams could have a leg up on the others if the bidding is close.
Re-signed with Dolphins for four years, $32MM.

4. Dont’a Hightower, LB (Patriots): The market is capped for non-rush linebackers, but Hightower is pretty much the best at what he does and is also lauded for his intangibles. The Patriots have always embraced the “next man up” philosophy, so it is possible they will allow him to go elsewhere. The Dolphins have been frequently connected to Hightower, but that might be too ambitious for a team that has multiple major needs to address. The Colts might also make sense, but the price might be too rich for their blood. A Patriots return appears to be the most likely outcome, but anything is possible.
Re-signed with Patriots for four years, $35.5MM. 

5. Kevin Zeitler, G (Bengals): Zeitler has age on his side and he’s one of the safest free agents in the top ten after three consecutive years of dominance. Interior offensive linemen don’t get as much love as their counterparts on the outside, but they are still incredibly vital and Zeitler’s next contract will reflect that. If he doesn’t circle back to the Bengals, the Jaguars, Cardinals, Packers, and Seahawks all make varying degrees of sense for Zeitler. From a football standpoint, you can add the Jets to that group too, but I’m not sure they can meet a ~$12MM/year asking price.
Signed with Browns for five years, $60MM.

6. Logan Ryan, CB (Patriots): There are bigger names available at the cornerback position, but Ryan slots ahead of many of them after a career year. It also doesn’t hurt that this fresh-faced Super Bowl champ only just turned 26 in February. If the Patriots don’t tie him down, Ryan’s earning power could conceivably vault him past Trumaine Johnson in terms of guaranteed cash. The Jaguars and Titans would be wise to zero in on Ryan if they can’t land Bouye and it’s possible that some of their evaluators might even prefer Ryan over the Houston standout. Ryan’s next deal will probably pay him eight figures per year and it should be a lengthy pact.
Signed with Titans for three years, $30MM.

7. Terrelle Pryor, WR (Browns): There is strong mutual interest in a new deal between Pryor and the Browns. Still, the Browns passed on the opportunity to franchise tag the Ohio State product and he now appears poised to test the open market. With pretty much just one year to show, how will Pryor fare in free agency? His next deal should pay him at least $10MM/year and he could get up to $12MM/year. In addition to the Browns, the usual suspects for this year’s high-end WRs will explore signing Pryor (say it with me): Eagles, Titans, and 49ers. There’s conflicting word about whether the Steelers will get involved. The Giants are known to have interest, but I don’t think they’ll be splurging on free agents like they did one year ago.
Signed with Redskins for one year, $6MM.

8 .Ricky Wagner, OT (Ravens): There’s already talk of Wagner fetching around $10MM/year and it’s not like this year’s free agent market is flush with young, quality tackles. When you also consider the lack of quality tackles in the draft, it’s apparent that Wagner is about to get PAID, in all caps.Believe it or not, $10MM/year might be his floor. When all is said and done, he’ll be the league’s biggest earner at right tackle. The Bears are particularly interested in Wagner, so he could go from the AFC North to the NFC North this week.
Signed with Lions for five years, $47.5MM.

Calais Campbell (vertical)9. Calais Campbell, DL (Cardinals): Campbell was supposed to be an afterthought in Arizona after the addition of Chandler Jones. Perhaps motivated by a perceived slight, Campbell turned in a stellar year. Now, the Cardinals would very much like to keep him, but they can only go so far as they back up the Brinks truck for Jones and look into retaining other key free agents. If Jones does not agree to a cap-smoothing long-term deal between now and March 9th, the odds of Campbell leaving increase. The Jaguars are said to be a leading contender for Campbell while the Titans, Broncos, Colts, and Bears could also use a force like him. His age (31 in September) gives him a bit of a ceiling in terms of overall compensation, but he should still do nicely this month.
Signed with Jaguars for four years, $60MM.

10. Stephon Gilmore, CB (Bills): In terms of pure talent, Gilmore might be the best cornerback available. Trouble is, no one knows what to make of him after a down 2016. Some have openly theorized that Gilmore was playing it safe to avoid injury in his pivotal contract year. It’s also possible that Buffalo’s injuries in the front seven put undue stress on the secondary. The Bears are reportedly high on Gilmore and he may represent a cheaper option than Bouye or Ryan. A Bills return would also make sense here.
Signed with Patriots for five years, $65MM.

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Cowboys To Pursue WR Kenny Britt

The Cowboys are among the teams with interest in Kenny Britt, a source tells Mike Florio of PFT (on Twitter). Britt may be a replacement for Terrance Williams, whom they are expecting to leave via free agency.

Kenny Britt (Vertical)Britt finished out the 2016 season with 68 receptions for 1,002 yards and five touchdowns. It has been estimated that he could get $6-$8MM per year on his next deal, but I think he could possibly get even more. Britt ranks as my fourth-best wide receiver in this year’s class and I can’t imagine a team pegging him any lower in terms of ability. Furthermore, Britt made just over $4MM last season and he is undoubtedly due for a pay bump.

2016 was a breakout campaign for Britt. Prior to his first season with the Rams, Britt’s best season came in 2010 with the Titans, when he collected 42 receptions for 775 yards and nine touchdowns.

If Britt does indeed join Dallas, he’d presumably slide in as the team’s third receiver behind Dez Bryant and Cole Beasley. Last season, Williams finished the campaign with 44 receptions, 594 yards, and six touchdowns, which are about on par with Britt’s career averages.

We learned yesterday that the 49ers are among the teams that have also expressed interest in Britt.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Top 2017 Free Agents By Position 2.0: Offense

NFL free agency is right around the corner! The legal tampering period starts on Tuesday and free agency officially starts on Thursday. The list of available free agents will change between now and then as players re-sign with teams or get cut loose, but we have a pretty good idea of who will be available right now. After looking at the top defensive players, we now shift our attention to the other side of the ball.

Here are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each position. The rankings aren’t determined by earning power, they are simply the players we like the most at each position, with a combination of short- and long-term value taken into account. You won’t find restricted free agents or franchise tagged guys here since they are unlikely to go leave their current clubs.

Player evaluation is always subjective, so we encourage you to make your voices heard in the comments section in cases where you disagree with us.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by offensive position for 2017:

Updated 3-7-2017, 2:55pm CT

Quarterback:

  1. Mike Glennon
  2. Nick Foles
  3. Brian Hoyer (story)
  4. Ryan Fitzpatrick
  5. Colin Kaepernick
  6. Josh McCown
  7. Case Keenum
  8. Matt McGloin
  9. Mark Sanchez
  10. Ryan Mallett
  11. Christian Ponder
  12. Blaine Gabbert
  13. Geno Smith
  14. Matt Schaub (story)
  15. EJ Manuel

Honorable mention: Ryan Nassib, Landry JonesShaun Hill Mike Glennon (vertical)

Colin Kaepernick’s agents have (wisely) let everyone know that their client will stand for the National Anthem in 2017. That may seem like a minor point, but teams say they would have automatically removed him from consideration if he continued his attention-grabbing protest. He grabbed headlines for his actions on the sidelines last year, but he actually turned in an OK season. From a football standpoint, Kaepernick would make sense for a lot of teams as a QB2 with upside.

Interestingly, this list includes three quarterbacks who couldn’t cut it as the Jets’ starter and three rejects from the 49ers. They say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure and all six of those players (Ryan Fitzpatrick, Kaepernick, Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith, Christian Ponder, Blaine Gabbert) come with varying degrees of potential and proven effectiveness. Smith, somehow, could reportedly be retained by the Jets and installed as the starter in 2017.

Ryan Nassib is just outside of the top 15 here with EJ Manuel getting the final spot. Despite positive word about his play in practice, Nassib is unproven and the Giants’ apparent lack of interest in re-signing him says a lot. It’s also possible that he might not be 100% after ending the 2016 season on IR with an elbow injury. Manuel, for all his warts, has shown potential in small bursts.

Running back:

  1. Eddie Lacy
  2. Adrian Peterson
  3. LeGarrette Blount
  4. Latavius Murray
  5. Jamaal Charles
  6. Darren McFadden
  7. Jacquizz Rodgers
  8. Rex Burkhead
  9. Rashad Jennings
  10. Danny Woodhead
  11. Tim Hightower
  12. DeAngelo Williams
  13. Andre Ellington
  14. Chris Johnson
  15. Christine Michael

Honorable mention: Robert Turbin, Travaris Cadet, Benny Cunningham, Lance Dunbar, Bobby Rainey, Brandon BoldenDenard Robinson, James Starks

Adrian Peterson (vertical)As expected, the Vikings have cut Adrian Peterson loose and he is expected to garner interest from contending clubs this week. Some might peg Peterson as the most talented running back in this year’s free agent class, but it all comes down to how you weigh his age and injury history. Peterson has shocked the football world in the past with an incredible comeback, but I’m a little skeptical of his ability to do it again in his age-32 season. Eddie Lacy, who has injury question marks of his own, takes the top spot at the position.

The Patriots believe they won’t be able to match the offers that come in LeGarrette Blount‘s direction. Latavius Murray could circle back to the Raiders, but he won’t be agreeing to a deal with them before free agency opens on Thursday.

Jamaal Charles has the most impressive resume of anyone on this list, with the exception of Peterson. However, no one knows exactly what he can do after playing eight games in the last two years. He’ll turn 31 in December and that’s usually not an indicator of success for running backs.

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Cowboys Bracing To Lose Free Agents

The Cowboys’ list of pending free agents is rife with talented players, including cornerbacks Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne, safeties Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox, and wide receiver Terrance Williams, but Dallas might not be able to retain many (if any) of their unsigned free agents, as Clarence Hill of the Star-Telegram reports the Cowboys “could lose them all.”Terrance Williams (Vertical)

[RELATED: Tony Romo Wants To Join Broncos]

At present, the Cowboys rank last in the league with just $3.3MM in cap space, and as such, don’t figure to be aggressive in the early goings of free agency, per Hill, who adds Dallas will “let the market come back to them.” At wideout, the Cowboys won’t be a factor in the Williams sweepstakes if his value approaches the $7MM range (as is expected), but the club will attempt to re-sign fellow free agent pass-catcher Brice Butler if the price is right.

In the secondary, the Cowboys won’t retain both Carr and Claiborne and could potentially lose both, while Church will also price himself out of Dallas’ range if he lands a contract north of $7MM (Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports reported $5MM as the Church sweet spot earlier today). The Cowboys are reportedly open to starting Jeff Heath at safety opposite Byron Jones, per Hill, which lessens the need to re-sign either Church or Wilcox.

Dallas still plans to target a wide receiver and pass rusher this offseason, but owner Jerry Jones believes those needs can be addressed either through the draft or the second wave of free agency, according to Hill.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Wide Receiver Market

As teams prepare to execute their free agency plans come Tuesday, a window into what kind of money it will take to sign this year’s class of wide receivers is beginning to open. Yahoo.com’s Charles Robinson offered a series of glimpses into the potential markets of the 2017 wideout class.

Of those, Alshon Jeffery and Terrelle Pryor are expected to receive the most per-year money. Robinson hears both are slated to receive offers exceeding $10MM per year (Twitter links), with the breakout Browns pass-catcher possibly seeing a deal extend into the $12MM-per-year range. A $10MM-AAV agreement would probably be disappointing for Jeffery given the 2016 franchise tag that paid him $14.599MM. He’s said to want a contract that includes $14MM per year, but Robinson reports (on Twitter) teams have investment concerns regarding the oft-unavailable wideout.

Jeffery put together a dominant 2013 season that sent him to the Pro Bowl, and the former second-round pick surpassed 1,100 yards as an overqualified No. 2 wideout with the 2014 Bears. But injuries and a suspension limited Chicago’s top target, once Brandon Marshall was traded away, to 21 games over the past two seasons. The Browns would obviously be able to afford a Pryor accord with their $102MM-plus in cap space.

As for the second-tier players on this market, Kenny Britt‘s 1,000-yard season in the league’s worst offense could help him see a substantial raise. Robinson notes the former Titans and Rams receiver is expected to draw an offer between $6-$8MM per year (Twitter link). He earned barely $4MM in 2016. Terrance Williams‘ ensuing pact looks to be in the same realm, per Robinson (on Twitter). The $6-$8MM range these UFAs could be looking at falls on the Golden Tate/Mohamed Sanu/Travis Benjamin/Torrey Smith tier. The Cowboys want to retain Williams, but on a deal pushing $8MM per year, that might be high for a team that possesses barely $3MM in cap space.

Finally, Robinson assessed the value of kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson, placing his second contract (Twitter link) on the level of a top-flight return specialist rather than a receiver. Patterson is expected to see an offer exceeding $4MM per year after seeing the Vikings not pick up his fifth-year option last May. That’s slightly more than Giants specialist Dwayne Harris earns for his niche role.

Both Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson have been linked to deals exceeding $9MM per season, with Jackson’s price going above $10MM AAV.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.