Tim Lelito

Bills Work Out John Greco

The Bills worked out a handful of notable names as they gear up for Week 2. Their audition included guards John Greco and Tim Lelito, cornerback B.W. Webb, and wide receivers James Wright and Stephen Hill, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter links). John Greco (vertical)

Greco’s six-year tenure with the Browns came to an end prior to this year’s 53-man deadline. After entering the league as a third-round pick of the Rams in 2008, he became a regular for Cleveland in 2011. He started in 66 of 85 appearances with the Browns and finished out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 18 ranked guard last year. Unfortunately, he was not on the field for the Browns’ sole win of 2016 – he was shut down in November due to injury.

Lelito graded out as the No. 49 guard in the league last season for his work with the Saints, according to Pro Football Focus. PFF gave him a solid mark for his pass blocking with a less impressive score on running plays. He hooked on with the Titans in March, but he was let go after a disappointing preseason.

Hill, 26, was a bust for the Jets after being selected in the second round of the 2012 draft. He has not seen live action since the 2013 season.

Titans Sign Brian Schwenke

The Titans have reunited with center Brian Schwenke. To make room, fellow interior lineman Tim Lelito has been released. Brian Schwenke (vertical)

Schwenke was with the Titans from 2013-2016 but he signed a one-year deal with the rival Colts in March. He did not make the team’s final 53-man cut, a surprise since the team is looking thin at center, and the Titans pounced on the opportunity to bring him back. Lelito struggled throughout the preseason, so it was a fairly easy call for the front office to make. If Schwenke stays healthy, he figures to be the first interior lineman off the bench to support guards Quinton Spain and Josh Kline as well as center Ben Jones.

Schwenke played in all 16 games last season, but injuries held him back in the previous three years. From 2013-2015, he missed 23 regular season games.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Titans To Sign OL Tim Lelito

The Titans are signing former Saints guard Tim Lelito, according to his agents at Element Sports Group (Twitter link). Terms of the deal are not yet known. The Lions were among the teams with interest in the lineman.Tim Lelito (vertical)

Heading into Wednesday, I had Lelito ranked as the third-best interior lineman still available. The 27-year-old (28 in June) appeared in all 16 games last season and has only missed one regular season contest in his four years with New Orleans. He graded out No. 49 guard in the league last season, according to Pro Football Focus. PFF gave him a solid mark for his pass blocking with a less impressive score on running plays.

The Titans project to start Quinton Spain and Josh Kline at the guard positions and they’re hoping for a repeat of their 2016 production. Last season, Pro Football Focus ranked Spain as the NFL’s 18th best guard while Kline placed 26th. Lelito might not start, but he’ll at least see a good amount of snaps as a rotational piece. Guards Sebastian Tretola and Josue Matias are also on the bench.

With Lelito gone, Niners free agent Andrew Tiller stands as our top-ranked guard.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Titans Meeting With G Tim Lelito

Saints free agent guard Tim Lelito is on a visit with the Titans today, a source tells NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). Lelito previously visited the Lions but left Detroit without signing a deal. Tim Lelito (vertical)

With many of this year’s best interior offensive linemen off the board, I have Lelito ranked as the third-best center or guard still available. The 27-year-old (28 in June) appeared in all 16 games last season and has only missed one regular season contest in his four years with New Orleans. He graded out No. 49 guard in the league last season, according to Pro Football Focus. PFF gave him a solid mark for his pass blocking with a less impressive score on running plays.

The Titans lost Chance Warmack (Eagles) and Brian Schwenke (Colts) in free agency this year, so they could use some reinforcements. Currently, the Titans project to start Quinton Spain and Josh Kline at the guard positions with Sebastian Tretola and Josue Matias in support. Spain was PFF’s 18th best guard last season while Kline finished 26th. If he signs with Tennessee, Lelito would likely become the top guard off the bench.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Top 2017 Free Agents By Position 3.0: Offense

The initial wave of NFL free agency is now complete, and while many of the league’s top available players are now off the board, there are still plenty of quality options still on the open market.

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each offensive position. These rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts – or the amount of guaranteed money – that each player is expected to land in free agency. These are simply the players we like the most at each position, with both short- and long-term value taken into account.

Restricted and exclusive-rights free agents, as well as players who received the franchise tag, aren’t listed here, since the roadblocks in place to hinder another team from actually acquiring most of those players prevent them from being true free agents.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some free agents than you are, so feel free to weigh in below in our comments section to let us know which players we’ve got wrong.

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

Quarterback:

  1. Jay Cutler
  2. Chase Daniel
  3. Ryan Fitzpatrick
  4. Colin Kaepernick
  5. Josh McCown
  6. Robert Griffin III
  7. Case Keenum
  8. Matt McGloin
  9. Mark Sanchez
  10. Christian Ponder
  11. Blaine Gabbert
  12. Ryan Nassib
  13. Shaun Hill
  14. Kellen Moore
  15. Austin Davis

Tony Romo is not a free agent…at least not yet. If the Cowboys do not find a suitable trade and release him, you’ll find him at the top of this list.

Laugh if you must, but Cutler is far and away the best quarterback available on the open market. While most of this year’s QB-needy teams are done with their free agent shopping, the Jets are still searching for their 2017 starter and no one would make more sense for them than Cutler. He’s not all that far removed from playing solid football and he’s a logical transitional option for the Jets until they can isolate a better, younger option for 2018. Jay Cutler (Vertical)

Kaepernick’s reps wisely told the press that he will be standing for the National Anthem this year. Still, Kaepernick is an outspoken guy who wants to use his platform to discuss hot button issues, so there’s no guarantee that the media circus around him will cease. Jets owner Woody Johnson loves seeing his team on the back pages of the New York tabloids, but even he has to have more sense than to entertain Kaepernick. McCown, who has been contact with the team, would be an okay choice if they can’t get something done with Cutler. Chase Daniel could be an option too, but there isn’t much game film on him.

Needless to say, the No. 3 ranked player on this list isn’t an option in New York.

Running back:

  1. Adrian Peterson
  2. LeGarrette Blount
  3. Jamaal Charles
  4. Rashad Jennings
  5. Tim Hightower
  6. DeAngelo Williams
  7. Chris Johnson
  8. Christine Michael
  9. Benny Cunningham
  10. Bobby Rainey
  11. Brandon Bolden
  12. Denard Robinson
  13. James Starks
  14. Matt Asiata
  15. Kenjon Barner

Honorable mention: DuJuan Harris, Antonio AndrewsKhiry Robinson

Adrian Peterson (vertical)The Vikings have moved on and Peterson will not be back in Minnesota. Where he goes from here is anyone’s guess. When Peterson’s option was declined by the Vikings earlier this month, there were tons of stories (likely sourced by Peterson’s camp) about interest from a litany of contenders. Since then, each team – through anonymous sources – has denied being in the mix for the veteran. It would be easy to doubt Peterson at this juncture, but he has come back from serious injuries multiple times in his career and he is only one year removed from his stellar 2015 campaign. He gets the top spot over the bruising Blount as well as Charles, who hasn’t been healthy in a long while.

Jennings was brought to New York with the idea that he would be the team’s workhorse. Unfortunately, two of his three seasons with the G-Men were marred by injury. Jennings is currently putting his agility to good use on Dancing With The Stars and it remains to be seen how committed he is to football. After that, we have a trio of vets (Hightower, Williams, CJ2K) who could still advance the ball in limited spurts.

In case you’re wondering – Mike Gillislee is not listed here because he is a restricted free agent.

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Lions Hosting G Tim Lelito On Visit

The Lions are hosting Saints free agent guard Tim Lelito on a visit today, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Lelito grew up in the Detroit area, so this could be a natural fit for the veteran. Tim Lelito (vertical)

Heading into free agency, we had Lelito ranked as one of the ten best available interior linemen. Now that many of the better guards and centers are spoken for, Lelito is one of the top guys left along with Jahri Evans. He could be a great pickup for the Lions after they already fortified their offensive line by adding tackle Ricky Wagner.

The Rochester, Michigan native appeared in all 16 games last season and has only missed one regular season contest in his four years with the Saints. He placed as the 49th best guard in the league last season, according to Pro Football Focus. PFF gave him a solid mark for his pass blocking with a less impressive score on running plays.

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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Top 2017 NFL Free Agents By Position: Offense

[UPDATE: CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST EDITION OF THE TOP 2017 NFL FREE AGENTS BY POSITION]

NFL free agency will get underway on Thursday, March 9th, and while the list of free agents will change between now and then, we do have some idea of who will be available when free agency kicks off. The frenzy is right around the corner and it’s time for us to break down the outlook for each position. We’ll start today on offense, before getting to defense and special teams later this week.

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each offensive position. The rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts that each player is expected to land in free agency, they are simply the players we like the most at each position, with both short- and long-term value taken into account. Restricted and exclusive-rights free agents are not listed here since they are unlikely to actually reach the open market.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some guys than you are, so we encourage you to make your voice heard in our comments section to let us know which free agents we’ve got wrong.

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

Quarterback:

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

Honorable mention: Shaun Hill

As of this writing, Kirk Cousins is far and away the best potential free agent quarterback in this year’s crop. By the time March gets here, we’re fully expecting Cousins to be spoken for. Ultimately, the Redskins could franchise tag him, work out a long-term deal with him, or swing some type of trade that nets them a massive haul of talent and picks. That will leave a crop of retread quarterbacks that would probably best serve as transitional options for QB-needy teams. Kirk Cousins

Mike Glennon hasn’t done much in his 18 career starts, but talent evaluators are still in love with his size and potential. The 6’7″ quarterback will get more money this spring than you might expect, particularly since there are no surefire QBs in this year’s draft.

Teams looking for stopgap QBs will find a plethora of experienced, though perhaps uninspiring, signal callers. Nick Foles, Brian Hoyer, and Ryan Fitzpatrick all have their best football behind them, but they could hold down the fort for a team in 2017 and maybe even find some success if the defense is strong enough. Of course, the ideal role for those guys would probably be as a backup to a better, younger quarterback.

Running back:

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

Consider Le’Veon Bell‘s name written in Etch-A-Sketch, because he is very unlikely to get near the open market. That could leave Eddie Lacy as the best tailback available in March. Lacy has struggled with weight issues in recent years and he lost much of the 2016 season to injury. Still, he is a bruising back that could nicely complement a quicker ball carrier. Before he was shut down for the year, Lacy was averaging 5.07 yards per carry in five games for Green Bay.

LeGarrette Blount (vertical)In the last two years, LeGarrette Blount seems to have put his off-the-field troubles behind him. Whether that’s a sign of his maturity or a product of the Patriots’ culture remains to be seen. Teams can ignore his past indiscretions, but they will be wary of his age. Blount turns 31 in December.

Latavius Murray has shown glimpses of being a special running back, but he has been inconsistent and his 4.0 yards-per-carry average of the last two years isn’t overly impressive. Darren McFadden ran for more than 1,000 yards in 2015, but 2016 was pretty much a lost year for him. Jacquizz Rodgers seemed to break out last year, but he wound up succumbing to the same injury bug that took down a host of other Buccaneers running backs. Speaking of injuries, Rashad Jennings was initially brought to the Giants to be a workhorse back, but two of his three years in New York were marred by ailments. Everyone in this tier has the potential to make a difference, but none should be counted on as anyone’s main guy in 2017.

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Minor NFL Transactions: 4/21/15

Here are today’s minor moves:

  • Saints restricted free agent center Tim Lelito has signed his tender, and he shared a picture of the transaction on Instagram. Lelito started 13 games at guard for New Orleans last season, and has 47 career appearances under his belt. The 26-year-old garnered interest from the Cowboys earlier this offseason, but opted to stay with the Saints, where he has a better chance of seeing the starting lineup.

FA Rumors: Dolphins, Broncos, Hillman, Bills

The Dolphins haven’t been linked to cornerback Leon Hall since the league year opened, despite the fact that defensive coordinator Vance Joseph coached Hall in Cincinnati. Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald explains that Hall’s asking price has precluded the Dolphins from getting involved so far, but if that price tag eventually comes down, the veteran corner should see his market heat up, and Miami could get involved.

Here are a few more free agency updates from around the NFL:

  • The Broncos have reached out and expressed interest in bringing back free agent running back Ronnie Hillman, writes Mike Klis of 9NEWS. However, according to Klis, Denver is one of a few teams showing interest, and Hillman’s other suitors have more cap room than the Broncos.
  • The Bills continue to weigh their options on defense, bringing in a pair of defensive free agents for visits today. The club announced (via Twitter) that linebacker Zach Brown and defensive back Corey White arrived at One Bills Drive on Monday morning to meet with the team. Brown, who started 33 games for the Titans over the last four years and had 77 tackles in 2015, is one of the more intriguing free agents still available.
  • Tim Lelito, who received a low-end RFA tender from the Saints, garnered some interest from the Cowboys but opted not to sign an offer sheet with Dallas and sounds prepared to return to New Orleans for 2016, as Lyons Yellin of WWL outlines. Lelito technically remains a free agent until he formally signs his one-year, $1.671MM RFA tender.
  • Veteran guard Chris Chester, who underwent surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff, likely won’t be ready to go until sometime in June, which is why he remains unsigned, per Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter links). The free agent lineman, who spent last season in Atlanta, has a decent chance to start somewhere once he eventually gets healthy and signs.
  • Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune provides the details on a handful of recently-signed Bears contracts, reporting that offensive lineman Manny Ramirez, linebacker Sam Acho, wide receiver Deonte Thompson, and safety Chris Prosinski all received one-year, minimum salary benefit deals, with $80K signing bonuses.