Tony McDaniel

Saints Sign DT Tony McDaniel

After being released by the 49ers in mid-November, veteran defensive tackle Tony McDaniel has found a new home in New Orleans after signing with the Saints, Herbie Teope of The Times-Picayune writes. The team has placed defensive tackle John Hughes III to accommodate the signing, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link)."<strong

It is the 12-year lineman’s second stint with the Saints in 2017. McDaniel appeared in all four preseason games with the team before being released at the start of the season. He then signed with San Francisco and appeared in four games, making five tackles, before being released on November 13.

The Saints will mark the sixth team McDaniel has suited up for since entering the league in 2006 as an undrafted free agent out of Tennessee. After stays with Jacksonville and Miami, McDaniel enjoyed his breakout campaigns with Seattle in 2013 and 2014, winning a Super Bowl during that stretch. He made a stop in Tampa Bay, another round in Seattle before ending up with the Niners and Saints in 2017.

 

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49ers Release DT Tony McDaniel

Tony McDaniel‘s stint with the 49ers has come to an end. Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area reports (via Twitter) that the team has released the veteran defensive tackle.

Tony McDanielMcDaniel initially signed with the Saints during the offseason, but he was released towards the end of the preseason. He later joined the 49ers in mid-October, and he proceeded to compile five tackles in four games. The 32-year-old has bounced around the league recently, and he’s spent time with five different organizations during his 12-year career. Following breakout campaigns with Seattle in 2013 and 2014, he joined the Buccaneers in 2015 before reuniting with the Seahawks in 2016.

As Maiocco points out, the team is presumably anticipating the return of defensive end Tank Carradine, who is eligible to come off the injured reserve later this month. Before landing on the IR with a high ankle sprain, Carradine had appeared in three games (two starts) this season, compiling seven tackles and one sack.

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49ers Add Two Defensive Linemen

The 49ers have beefed up their defensive line in the wake of Arik Armstead‘s injury. Defensive tackles Tony McDaniel and Leger Douzable have been signed, as Adam Caplan of SiriusXM reports (Twitter links). Tony McDaniel (Vertical)

[RELATED: 49ers’ Arik Armstead Suffers Hand Injury]

McDaniel, 32, has experience in a system similar to SF’s thanks to his time in Seattle. Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh was even on staff with the Seahawks during one of his seasons with the team. In that year, McDaniel started a career-high 15 games and recorded 53 tackles (a career mark) plus two sacks.

Douzable missed the Niners’ initial cut, but he is back with the team here in October. The 31-year-old appeared in every game for the Bills last season (including five starts) and had 43 total tackles and 1.5 sacks.

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49ers Work Out Seven Defenders

The 49ers hosted a few established defensive linemen on Wednesday, working out free agents Ahtyba Rubin, Jaye Howard, Kendall Langford and Tony McDaniel, according to Field Yates of ESPN (Twitter link). They also tried out defensive tackle Stefan Charles and a pair of defensive backs – Devonte Johnson and Josh Thornton – per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.

Ahtyba Rubin

Rubin, perhaps the most notable of the bunch, spent the previous two years in the 49ers’ divisio – the NFC West – with Seattle. The Seahawks, who play the 49ers this week, released Rubin at the outset of the month, and his only known interest prior to his meeting with San Francisco came from the Bills. The 31-year-old DT started in all 32 appearances with the Seahawks, registering 75 tackles and three sacks, and previously started in 75 of 99 games as a Brown from 2008-14. Kyle Shanahan, the Niners’ rookie head coach, was Cleveland’s offensive coordinator during Rubin’s last season there.

Howard, 28, worked out for the Lions this week before his visit to San Francisco. The former Chief has been on the hunt for a job since the Bears released him Sept. 2. Howard didn’t play a down in Chicago, which signed him in May after the Chiefs released him, and is coming off an injury-played 2016. After Howard posted back-to-back 16-game seasons and combined for 24 starts from 2014-15, a hip ailment limited him to eight and five in those categories last year.

Like Rubin and Howard, Langford and McDaniel earned summer releases from their previous employers. The Colts cut Langford with a failed physical designation in August, indicating that the 31-year-old hadn’t recovered from the knee injury that ended his 2016 campaign in October. He was, however, the picture of durability from 2008-15 with the Dolphins, Rams and Colts, appearing in eight straight 16-game seasons. Langford’s also just two years removed from a career-high seven-sack showing.

McDaniel, whom the Saints released at the beginning of the month, is an 11-year veteran who spent three of the previous four years in Seattle. The 295-pounder is familar with first-year 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, who worked on the Seahawks’ staff during one of McDaniel’s seasons with them (2013). McDaniel started a personal-best 15 games that season and notched 53 tackles (a career mark) and two sacks.

It’s unclear if the 49ers will sign any of these players, but doing so would perhaps improve a defensive line that didn’t generate much pressure during their 23-3 loss to the Panthers in Week 1. The 49ers hit Panthers quarterback Cam Newton just twice and failed to register a sack in Saleh’s debut atop their defense. They did, however, hold Carolina to a measly 3.1 yards per rush on 38 attempts.

Saints Release DT Tony McDaniel

The Saints are releasing defensive tackle Tony McDaniel, according to Josh Katzenstein of the Times-Picayune (Twitter link).Tony McDaniel

New Orleans signed McDaniel earlier this year following the loss of Nick Fairley to a heart condition with the hope that the 32-year-old veteran could offer experience to a depleted defensive interior. McDaniel does boast 141 career appearances and 48 starts, after all, and has been a serviceable rotational option with Seattle and Tampa Bay over the past few seasons.

Instead, the Saints will go with a youthful defensive line that includes last year’s first-round pick in Sheldon Rankins, plus other youngsters such as Tyeler Davison and David Onyemata.

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Saints Sign Tony McDaniel

Defensive tackle Tony McDaniel has signed with the Saints, his agency announced Thursday (on Twitter).

Tony McDaniel

The 32-year-old McDaniel could end up in a prominent role for the Saints, who are awaiting word on whether starting defensive tackle Nick Fairley will be able to overcome heart problems to continue his career. Like Fairley, McDaniel brings plenty of experience, having logged 141 appearances and 48 starts with the Jaguars, Dolphins, Buccaneers and Seahawks since entering the NFL in 2006.

McDaniel is coming off the fourth 16-game season of his career, in which he started 11 contests, totaled 43 tackles and finished a respectable 52nd in performance among 127 qualified interior defensive linemen at Pro Football Focus. In New Orleans, he’ll join a D-tackle contingent that includes Fairley (for now, at least), 2016 first-rounder Sheldon Rankins, Tyeler Davison and David Onyemata.

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Saints Working Out LB Mike Morgan, DT Tony McDaniel

The Saints are are auditioning linebacker Mike Morgan and defensive tackle Tony McDaniel during their minicamp, according to Herbie Teope of NOLA.com and Joel Erickson of the Advocate (Twitter link).Mike Morgan

Morgan, 29, was nominally the Seahawks’ starting strongside linebacker in 2016, but because Seattle spent so much time in nickel, Morgan’s defensive snaps were limited. Morgan’s contributions were further restricted by injury last year, as he spent eight weeks on injured reserve while dealing with a sports hernia. All told, Morgan played only 138 defensive snaps and posted just 10 tackles. His only other known interest this offseason came from the Jaguars, for whom he auditioned last month.

New Orleans has already augmented its linebacking corps this offseason, as the club signed free agents Manti Te’o and A.J. Klein while using a third-round pick on Florida’s Alex Anzalone. Those three ‘backers will add to an already crowded unit that also includes Craig Robertson, Dannell Ellerbe, Stephone Anthony, and Nathan Stupar.

Like Morgan, McDaniel also spent the 2016 campaign with Seattle, and has in fact played for the Seahawks in three of the past four years. The 32-year-old McDaniel played on 45% of Seattle’s defensive snaps a season ago, racking up 43 tackles and grading as the league’s No. 52 interior defender in the process, per Pro Football Focus. McDaniel could have a path to playing time in New Orleans alongside Sheldon Rankins, especially if Nick Fairley‘s heart condition restricts his ability.

Other notable players working out for the Saints this week include offensive lineman Chris Watt, kicker Patrick Murray, and long snapper Thomas Gafford, per Teope.

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Top 2017 Free Agents By Position 3.0: Defense

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 defensive 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 defensive position for 2017:

Edge defender:

  1. Dwight Freeney
  2. Elvis Dumervil
  3. Chris Long
  4. Mario Williams
  5. Connor Barwin
  6. Paul Kruger
  7. Trent Cole
  8. Erik Walden
  9. Jason Jones
  10. Darryl Tapp
  11. Devin Taylor
  12. Eugene Sims
  13. Howard Jones
  14. Wallace Gilberry
  15. Sam Acho

The pass rushing market has been completely depleted during the first week of free agency, as 14 of our original top 15 edge players have now been franchised, signed, or, in the case of DeMarcus Ware, retired. As such, a 37-year-old with 15 NFL seasons under his belt is now the best pass rusher on the market. Dwight Freeney played on roughly a third of the Falcons’ defensive snaps in 2016, and posted three sacks and 18 hurries. Capable of playing in either a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme, Freeney can still help out a club on the cheap.Dwight Freeney (Vertical)

Three players on this list — Elvis Dumervil, Connor Barwin, and Eugene Sims — were released by their respective clubs last week, meaning they won’t count against the compensatory formula if and when they’re signed. Dumervil, now 33, was hampered by injuries last season but still earned strong pass-rushing marks from Pro Football Focus. Barwin, meanwhile, wasn’t a good fit in Jim Schwartz‘s 4-3 defense, but he should flourish if he signs with a team running a 3-4 look. So far, he’s met with the Bengals (who use a 4-3) and Rams (3-4).

Chris Long has already indicated he won’t be returning to the Patriots, indicating he wants to join a roster where he’ll earn more playing time. Erik Walden, too, won’t re-sign with his 2016 club (the Colts), but he has taken a visit with the division rival Titans. Further down the list, Howard Jones has also met with at least one club, as he was hosted by the Jets on Tuesday. Jones, 27, is recovering from a torn ACL, but did post five sacks in five starts last season.

Interior defensive line:

  1. Johnathan Hankins
  2. Dontari Poe
  3. Jared Odrick
  4. Vance Walker
  5. Sen’Derrick Marks
  6. Ricky Jean-Francois
  7. Roy Miller
  8. Al Woods
  9. Tony McDaniel
  10. Cullen Jenkins
  11. Frostee Rucker
  12. Cam Thomas
  13. John Jenkins
  14. Tyson Jackson
  15. Tyson Alualu

Although top-flight players such as Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams have already been signed, the crop of interior defenders remains strong at the top. The buzz around Johnathan Hankins has been virtually non-existent, as the only club that’s been even tangentially linked to the 25-year-old is the Redskins. He’s one of the youngest free agents on the market, and therefore is probably looking for a massive payday. But the lack of interest around Hankins may be an indication that he’s simply asking for too much money.Johnathan Hankins (Vertical)

The same issue could be surrounding Dontari Poe, although he’s not wanting for meetings around the league. He’s visited with the Colts, Falcons, Jaguars, and Dolphins, while the 49ers and Raiders also reportedly have some level of interest. Clubs may have concerns about Poe’s lingering back issues, and he might have to accept a one-year deal in order to prove he’s healthy and willing to provide full effort.

The remaining defensive interior players are mostly over-30 veterans, with names such as Tony McDaniel, Cullen Jenkins, Frostee Rucker, and Tyson Jackson still looking for new deals. While most of these guys can still play, they may have to wait awhile — possibly into the summer — before signing on with their next club. Jared Odrick (Patriots) and Vance Walker (Bears) have both taken visits, but the most intriguing lineman here may be Sen’Derrick Marks, who offers a good amount of pass rush from the interior.

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Extra Points: Jets, Bosa, Seahawks, Eagles

The Jets’ concerns over quarterback Christian Hackenberg‘s throwing mechanics will likely render this a redshirt year for the second-round rookie from Penn State, writes Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. Hackenberg was the fourth of 15 quarterbacks to come off the board during the draft, but he’s the only one who hasn’t yet appeared in a preseason game. He’s also lagging well behind fellow reserves Geno Smith and Bryce Petty on the Jets’ depth chart. As a result, the Jets will stash Hackenberg at the bottom of their 53-man roster this year and could tinker with his mechanics to a significant extent next offseason, according to Cimini. On the possibility of overhauling Hackenberg’s mechanics, Jets quarterbacks coach Kevin Patullo told Cimini, “That’s not something we’re going to get into right now. We’re just trying to see where he’s at, what he knows.”

More on Gang Green and a few other teams:

  • With Hackenberg guaranteed a roster spot and Smith, not Petty, set to serve as the Jets’ backup in their third preseason game on Saturday, it could spell doom for Petty, opines Brian Costello of the New York Post. If the team decides against keeping four QBs, Petty is likely to be the odd man out despite going in the fourth round of last year’s draft.
  • One anonymous NFL general manager blames the Chargers for the Joey Bosa debacle, tweets Michael Silver of NFL.com. “[The] Chargers essentially had first pick in draft since the two quarterbacks were going first. [They] could have made sure Bosa would accept the terms,” the GM said.
  • Thanks to an ankle injury to rookie Jarran Reed, recent signing Tony McDaniel could go into the season as a starting defensive tackle for the Seahawks, observes John Clayton of 710 ESPN Seattle. McDaniel isn’t yet a lock to crack the roster, though, as the Seahawks have decisions to make on him, fellow veteran Sealver Siliga and undrafted rookie Brandin Bryant. McDaniel seems to have the edge on those two, relays Clayton. Click here to read the interesting story of how McDaniel’s deal with the Seahawks came together.
  • Stephen Tulloch‘s one-year pact with the Eagles calls for a $1.75MM fully guaranteed base salary with nearly $47K in per-game bonuses that max out at $750K, per Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (on Twitter). He can also earn $750K through incentives.
  • In case you missed it, free agent safety Donte Whitner will visit the Panthers on Friday.

Zach Links contributed to this post.