This Date In Transactions History

This Date In Transactions History: Broncos Cut Adam “Pacman” Jones

Two years ago today, the Broncos released cornerback Adam Jones. The veteran disclosed the news himself on social media and vowed to continue his career elsewhere.

Well ,Denver it was good,” Jones wrote on Instagram. “Thanks for the opportunity!!!! On to the next.

Jones didn’t realize it at the time, but this would mark the end of his NFL career. The 35-year-old hooked on with the Broncos late in the 2018 preseason to serve as Denver’s punt returner and No. 4 CB. Once a dynamic threat in the return game, he did not live up to expectations. Jones had just 25 total yards off of seven attempts.

Jones was showing obvious signs of decline before his deal with Denver. When the Bengals turned his 2018 option, few teams considered him. Jones was limited to just nine games with the Bengals in 2017 and didn’t fare particularly well on 299 defensive snaps. Pro Football Focus assigned Jones the worst mark (47.1) of his entire career, framing him more as a punt returner than a reliable corner.

Jones legacy may be clouded by his string of off-the-field incidents, but he was a force in his prime. After being selected by the Titans with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2005 draft, Jones offered up a series of head-turning highlights, including three punt return touchdowns in his second pro year.

Years after being ID’d as a suspect in the now-infamous Atlanta incident, Jones found his second wind with the Bengals. Jones spent eight years in the Bengals’ secondary and put together three straight seasons with three interceptions in each. In 2014, Jones earned his first ever First-Team All-Pro nod and received a Pro Bowl selection in 2015. Jones achieved a great deal throughout his tumultuous career, but his 2018 release proved that he could no longer outrun Father Time.

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This Date In Transactions History: Cardinals Extend Larry Fitzgerald

Three years ago, Larry Fitzgerald was thought to be on his farewell tour. That, of course, was not the case. The Cardinals inked the legendary wide receiver to a new one-year extension worth $11MM, tying him to the team for at least one more year. "<strong

Fitzgerald was considering retirement, but the Cardinals talked him out of it with this re-up, which included a no-trade clause. It wasn’t necessarily an easy decision for the vet, who could have left on a high note. At the time of the deal, Fitzgerald led the NFC with 60 catches and was on pace for well over 1,000 yards. No player in league history ever registered more than 100 catches and 1,000 yards in an age-34 season — Fitzgerald did it with ease.

The deal didn’t necessarily guarantee that Fitzgerald would play in 2018 — it merely put the ball in his court. Fitzgerald went on to play and suit up for every game, matching kicker Jim Bakken for the most regular season games played in Cardinals history with 234. He also captured his eleventh career Pro Bowl nod and leapfrogged tight end Tony Gonzalez for second all-time in NFL receptions, behind Jerry Rice. Fitzgerald didn’t stop there — he’s now eclipsed Randy Moss and Terrell Owens on the all-time list with 17,000+ receiving yards. Once again, only Rice (22,895) tops him.

Fitzgerald is still doing his thing at the age of 37 and he’s still not quite ready to commit to retirement. What would it take for one of the league’s all-time legends to call it quits?

You wouldn’t see me around here anymore if [we win the Super Bowl this year],” Fitzgerald said in September. “Another catch, another touchdown, another yard is not going to make more whatever – my legacy is pretty much cemented. I just want to win a championship, I want to compete for a division title. Those are the things that are important to me.”

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This Date In Transactions History: Martellus Bennett Joins Patriots

Three years ago, tight end Martellus Bennett dominated the pages of Pro Football Rumors. Bennett left the Patriots and joined the Packers in the spring of 2017, agreeing to a three-year, $21MM deal. After little in the way of production and lots of drama, the Packers dropped him in the middle of the season. The Patriots swooped in to claim him from the Packers, who had already paid out about $8MM to the tight end.

The Packers claimed that Bennett failed to disclose his lingering rotator cuff injury. Bennett, meanwhile, said that he noted the issue every week on his medical survey from the team. When the Packers put him on the waiver wire, Bennett hoped that he would go unclaimed, giving him time to recuperate.

“It’s not about, ‘Could you play?’ It’s, ‘Should you play?’ It was one of those things,” Bennett said. “Right now, I’m just like, (expletive) it. At first, I told my agent to tell no teams to claim me because I was still trying to get the surgery. So when Bill (Belichick) called and said they claimed me, I was like, ‘No (expletive) way.’ ”

It was a big (expletive) surprise for Bennett, who circled back to the Pats just months after helping them defeat the Falcons in Super Bowl LI. The Patriots — with knowledge of his injury — passed him on his physical, allowing him to suit up against the Broncos on Nov. 12, 2017.

Unfortunately, the second stint wasn’t as impactful as the first. Bennett was placed on IR a couple weeks later with shoulder and hamstring injuries. Then, in the 2018 offseason, the Pats released him, and the tight end subsequently retired from football. Bennett left the game at the age of 31, though he reportedly lobbied the Pats to bring him back once they acquired his older brother, Michael Bennett. That didn’t happen, so Bennett walked away with his Super Bowl ring, 4,500+ career yards, and plenty of cash for retirement, since the Packers lost their arbitration battle for his bonus.

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This Date In Transactions History: Cardinals QB Carson Palmer Signs Extension, Tears ACL

In one of the more unfortunate post-extension-signing performances in NFL history (we’re assuming, considering the specificity of that statement), Carson Palmer tore his ACL shortly after inking an extension six years ago. We know, we know…Palmer officially inked his new deal on November 7th, and he subsequently suffered the injury on November 9th. However, on November 10th, 2014, we learned of the quarterback’s official diagnosis (head coach Bruce Arians also acknowledged that Palmer was heading to the IR) and (in a cruel twist) the full details of the extension. So, for the sake of this series, we’ll say this qualifies.

The story really begins in 2013. Following a three-year stint with the Bengals and Raiders that saw him go 12-27, Palmer was traded to the Cardinals for a few late-round picks. The former first-overall pick overcome a tough start to the season and finished the campaign with a 7-2 record in his final nine contests. In total, Palmer completed 63.3-percent of his passes for 4,274 yards and 24 touchdowns.

Palmer looked like a potential MVP candidate during the early part of the 2014 season. He threw for 11 touchdowns vs. only three interceptions and won each of his six games as a starter, and that proved to be enough to warrant an extension from the Cardinals front office. So, on November 7th, 2014, Palmer inked a lucrative three-year, $49.5MM deal, including a bit more than $20M in guaranteed money.

You probably already know what happens next. A few days after inking his extension, Palmer suffered an ACL tear in a win over the Rams. With Drew Stanton inserted into the lineup, the Cardinals went 3-4 the rest of the way, and they lost to the Panthers in the first round of the playoffs.

Fortunately, the story has a somewhat happy ending. Palmer returned to appear in all 16 games in 2015, earning his first Pro Bowl nod in nine years and finishing tied for second (with Tom Brady, behind Cam Newton) in MVP voting. The veteran also set career-highs in passing yards (4,671) and touchdown passes (35) while leading the Cardinals to a 13-3 record. Palmer ended up having a brutal game in an NFC Championship loss that postseason, but it was still a remarkable comeback for the quarterback.

Palmer spent two more seasons with Arizona before hanging up his cleats in 2018. Ultimately, this proved to be a solid ending to a story that got temporarily sidetracked six years ago today.

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This Date In Transactions History: Saints Sign WR Dez Bryant

Two years ago today, Dez Bryant’s brief stint with the Saints began. On November 7th, 2018, the embattled wideout inked a one-year deal with New Orleans.

The one-year, $1.25MM pact was a bit modest considering the three Pro Bowls on Bryant’s resume. However, at that point of his career, the former first-rounder was coming off three straight underwhelming seasons, and his plummeting production played a role in the Cowboys releasing him in April of 2018.

It’s also worth noting that Bryant reportedly favored the one-year deal over longer commitments; the veteran was hoping to rehabilitate his value prior to the upcoming offseason. In fact, he reportedly turned down a three-year, $21MM offer from the Ravens, and he subsequently languished in free agency for half of the 2018 campaign.

In New Orleans, Bryant was expected to provide Drew Brees with another talented weapon behind Michael Thomas, Cameron Meredith, and Tre’Quan Smith. The organization had also worked out wideouts Brandon Marshall and Kamar Aiken, but they seemingly believed in Bryant’s upside. We’ll never really know if New Orleans’ inkling was correct; only two days after signing his contract, Bryant tore his Achilles tendon during practice. That ended his season before it even began.

Bryant hit free agency in 2019, and he didn’t retire as he continued to rehab from his injury. He ultimately sat out the entire season, but he finally got a second chance last month. The 32-year-old signed with the Ravens practice squad, and there’s an expectation that he’ll be on the active roster sooner than later.

When it comes to Bryant’s career, there are clearly plenty of “what ifs.” However, we do know one thing: this obviously wasn’t the expected outcome when Bryant inked his deal with the Saints two years ago today.

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This Date In Transactions History: Patriots Trade Jimmy Garoppolo To 49ers

Has it been three years already? On this date in 2017, the 49ers acquired quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo from the Patriots in exchange for a 2018 second-round pick. "<strong

The deal was a stunner on multiple levels, especially since New England hadn’t expressed in any interest in moving Garoppolo despite the presence of Tom Brady under center. Bill Belichick & Co. reportedly rejected multiple trade offers in exchange for Garoppolo before the draft, and instead dealt third-string quarterback Jacoby Brissett to the Colts before the season began.

Some believed that the Patriots would use the franchise tag on Garoppolo in the spring of ’18 before trying to trade him. Instead, they dealt Brady’s heir apparent just before the deadline in a deal that raised eyebrows for many. Some wondered whether the Patriots could have gotten more, or if Belichick had truly explored every possible trade partner for Garoppolo. The Browns, for example, were keenly interested in Jimmy G, but Belichick reportedly wasn’t interested in helping his former employer.

Garoppolo offered limited NFL experience outside of two starts for New England in 2016 while Brady was serving a four-game suspension. Garoppolo played well in his time on the field, but he was injured early in his second start, so the regular season film on him is extremely limited. Still, Kyle Shanahan saw a future franchise QB in the youngster, and ownership was willing to work with him on a pricey long-term extension before he could walk in free agency.

For the Patriots, the deal signaled confidence in Brady’s vow to play for several more seasons, despite the fact that he was already 40 years old. Brady made good on his promise, though he’s now defying Father Time in Tampa Bay. Signing a backup to a top-tier, multi-year contract was never a real option and a one-year, top 5 QB salary was certainly not the Patriots’ style. There was no circumstance in which Jimmy G could have held the clipboard for Brady for another three years, but it’s fair to second guess the Patriots’ timing. Had they traded Garoppolo prior to the 2017 NFL Draft — and considered all suitors equally — they could have scored a much larger haul.

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This Date In Transactions History: Patriots Trade Michael Bennett To Cowboys

A year ago today, Michael Bennett‘s brief stint with the Patriots came to an end. On October 24, 2019, the veteran defensive end was traded to the Cowboys for a conditional late-round pick.

Following a 2018 campaign with the Eagles where Bennett compiled nine sacks in 16 games, the pass rusher (along with a 2020 seventh-rounder) was traded to New England for a 2020 fifth-rounder. The acquisition initially seemed like a win; while Bennett was forced to play more of a rotational role, he still managed to compile five tackles and 2.5 sacks in six games (one start).

However, in mid-October, Bennett was suspended by the Patriots for conduct detrimental to the team. The veteran reportedly clashed with Pats brass, and he had a lively argument with defensive line coach Bret Bielema.

“It’s America. You can voice your opinion about how you feel about certain situations. That’s what I did,” Bennett said following his suspension. “…I got suspended. Lost money. What am I supposed to take away from that? There’s no love lost. It’s just how it is.”

While Bill Belichick insinuated that Bennett never explicitly asked for a trade, the Patriots were quick to send him out. So, on this date last year, New England and Dallas pulled off the trade. The Patriots haul was reported as a seventh-rounder that could turn into a sixth-rounder. However, the real incentive was the $2.5MM in savings, especially since the Patriots were right up against the cap after acquiring wideout Mohamed Sanu.

With Tyrone Crawford succumbing to injury, the Cowboys were looking for some help on the defensive line. Bennett ended up being relatively productive for Dallas, collecting 27 tackles and four sacks in nine games. The deal also worked out for the Patriots; since Bennett ended up being on the Cowboys active roster for at least four games, the Patriots received a 2021 sixth-rounder instead of the 2021 seventh-rounder.

Bennett made it clear that he wanted to play in 2020 (especially for his former team, the Seahawks), but he wasn’t connected to any suitors throughout the offseason. In July, the 34-year-old announced that he’s retiring from the NFL. The former undrafted free agent out of Texas A&M finished his career having compiled 69.5 sacks in 156 games.

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This Date In Transactions History: Titans WR Rishard Matthews Requests Release

Two years ago today, Titans wideout Rishard Matthews requested his release. The veteran receiver was hoping the impending move would lead to a bigger role elsewhere. Instead, it likely spelled the beginning of the end for his career.

The 2012 seventh-round pick out of Nevada spent the first four seasons of his career with Miami, culminating in a 2015 campaign where he compiled 662 receiving yards on 43 receptions. This performance earned him a three-year contract from the Titans, and Matthews immediately became a contributor to his new team. The wideout’s first season in Tennessee proved to be the best of his career; he finished with career highs in receptions (65), receiving yards (945), and receiving touchdowns (nine). He missed a pair of games in 2017, but he still put up similar per-game numbers (53 receptions, 795 yards, four scores). Unfortunately, the wheels fell off in 2018.

It started with a preseason contract extension that was self-negotiated by Matthews. The deal was the equivalent of a team option that would pay the receiver $7.5MM, but none of that money was guaranteed. The deal was generally panned by pundits, and while the contract has never been explicitly attributed to Matthews’ dissatisfaction with the organization, you’ve got to wonder if it played a role.

Of course, Matthews was also unhappy with his role in the passing game. Through the first three games of the 2018 season, the receiver had only hauled in three receptions for 11 yards. He played only 50% of the team’s offensive snaps through three weeks (third among Titans receivers behind Corey Davis and Tajae Sharpe), and he was ranked sixth on the team in targets. Part of that reduced production was thanks to subpar quarterback play from Marcus Mariota and Blaine Gabbert, but Matthews also seemed to blame the coaching staff.

“I’ve been the leading receiver for two years,” Matthews said at the time. “Then all of a sudden I’m barely playing and not even starting. Using my injury as the scapegoat. Look at number of snaps and targets.”

Matthews ultimately got his wish, as he was released by the Titans the day after his public request. After hiring Drew Rosenhaus for representation, Matthews proved to be a popular free agent target, with the Browns, Cardinals, and Jets expressing interest. The receiver ultimately landed in New York, but he didn’t do much for his new team; in five games for the Jets, Matthews was limited to only two receptions for 13 yards before landing on the IR.

He caught on with the Saints during the 2019 offseason, but he was cut in August. Days later, Matthews announced his retirement. Who knows if things would have been different if Matthews ended up sticking in Tennessee. However, it’s obvious that his public release request — a move made two years ago today — certainly didn’t help his prospects of sticking around the NFL.

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This Date In Transactions History: Vikings Place Adrian Peterson On IR

Four years ago, Adrian Peterson was counted out for the season, and possibly for his career. The Vikings placed Adrian Peterson on the injured reserve list with a torn meniscus. Even though he was 31 at the time (old, by running back standards), Peterson vowed to return to the field and continue his career long past the 2016 season.

Peterson made his way back to the field after some unsettling off-the-field events, but many felt that this was different. Peterson’s odometer was already way up there – in 2015, he led the league in rushing yards (1,485) and touchdowns (11) with an NFL-high 327 carries. With nearly 2,400 totes in total, it was fair to wonder if Peterson had exhausted his tank.

In Week 15, Peterson made good on his promise to come back from IR, though it was a forgettable game for both the veteran and the Vikings. That game against the Colts would turn out to be his final contest in purple. In February of 2017, the Vikings announced that they would not exercise his option for the coming year, making him a free agent. That led Peterson to the Saints, where he signed a two-year, $7MM deal that lasted just four games. Unhappy with his minimal role, Sean Payton & Co. shipped him off the the Cardinals for a conditional sixth-round pick.

Done? Nope. In his first game with the Cardinals, Peterson rumbled his way to 134 yards and two touchdowns, leading his new squad to victory over the Bucs. Later that year, he turned in another stellar performance against the 49ers, going off of 159 yards and staying strong through 37 (!) carries. His final tally for 2017 (3.4 yards per carry) didn’t lead to a ton of offers, but he found a home with the Washington [Football Team] on a minimum-salaried deal. Peterson would spend two years as the club’s primary tailback, topping 1,000 yards in his first season and averaging a solid 4.2 yards per carry on the whole.

Now, at the age of 35, Peterson is still doing his thing in Detroit. With a lighter workload, Peterson has 6.4 yards per carry through the first two games of the season. Whether he can meet his stated goal of playing until the age of 40 remains to be seen, but we know better than to bet against him.

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This Date In Transactions History: Lions Extend Theo Riddick

On this date in 2016, the Lions finalized a three-year, $12.75MM deal with running back Theo Riddick. At the time, the deal positioned Riddick as one of the higher-paid tailbacks in the NFL. Today, the deal serves as a reminder of how quickly things can change in football. 

[RELATED: Lions Sign Adrian Peterson]

Riddick, who had just turned 25, was coming off of a breakout year. He hauled in 80 passes – the most of any running back in 2015 – for 697 yards and three touchdowns. The Lions didn’t want to let the dual-threat RB get anywhere near free agency, so they locked him up through 2019. With Riddick and the speedy Ameer Abdullah in the fold, the Lions figured that they were well-set in the backfield.

Riddick kicked off his new deal with 728 all-purpose yards in ten games and set a new career-high with 3.9 yards per tote. And, naturally, he showed his soft hands with 53 grabs. Then, a wrist injury halted his season in November. Riddick returned in 2017, and stayed healthy, but the Lions’ ground game was lacking. In 2018, rookie Kerryon Johnson emerged as a total game-changer, and that changed the course of Riddick’s career. After Riddick logged just 40 carries, the Lions no longer felt that he was worth his contract. In July of 2019, they dropped the 27-year-old to save less than $4MM against the salary cap.

Today, Riddick finds himself on the fringe. After missing the Raiders’ final cut, he’s waiting for his next opportunity on Jon Gruden‘s practice squad.

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