Tre Boston

Tre Boston Discusses Free Agency

It’s June 1st and Tre Boston is still without a job, but it sounds like plenty of teams have reached out to the safety. Speaking to SiriusXM NFL Radio (Twitter link), the defensive back indicated that he hasn’t been all that pleased with the offers that have come his way this offseason. Specifically, Boston pointed to the contracts signed by Adrian Amos (Packers) and Lamarcus Joyner (Raiders) earlier this year.

“I know I’m worth every dollar those guys are getting paid,” Boston said (via Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk.com). “The stats say it, you can’t say it’s not, but, for me, it’s about being at peace with where I’m at. Even though the stats say I might be there, if they’re not paying me that then I will wait until it comes a time where I need to sign and they feel comfortable that I’m worth that.”

The 26-year-old does make a point; he’s averaged four interceptions, 61 tackles, and 8.5 passes defended over the past two seasons (30 games) with the Chargers and Cardinals. Pro Football Focus was also fond of his performance, ranking him among one of the top defenders in the NFC West last season.

However, Boston hasn’t seen this money translate into a payday. The defensive back has been forced to settle for a pair of prove-it deals over the past two years, and Boston made it seem like his inability to catch on with an organization may have hurt his free agent stock. Still, the safety remains confident, stating that a team will eventually give in to his apparent monetary demands.

“It’s a copycat league,” Boston said. “Once teams aren’t willing to sign you back – no matter if it’s coaches being fired or different reasons – [other teams are] thinking ‘okay, what’s going on?’

“Eventually, [teams] are going to come around and say we need a great veteran who’s going to come in here and make plays for us. I’ve led my last few teams in interceptions… who doesn’t want a guy like that? So it’s all about them trying to stop playing games and get the job done.”

Boston had previously predicted that he’d be among the “second wave” of free agent safeties to ink deals. The veteran also previously counted towards the 2020 compensatory draft pick formula, but that distinction ended in May. So far this offseason, Boston has specifically been connected to the Browns, but the team has since brought in a pair of safeties in Morgan Burnett and Eric Murray.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Compensatory Pick Formula Ends Today

Starting at 4pm ET/3pm CT, any unrestricted free agent that signs with a new team will not count towards the 2020 compensatory draft pick formula, as Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. This should quickly accelerate the market for several free agents of note, including:

Compensatory picks are given to teams that lose a greater number of compensatory free agents (or, a greater quality of free agents) than they acquire. The complicated formula that dictates how the picks are dispersed is not disclosed to the public, but teams are wary of signing even lower impact UFAs while it is in effect.

But, when the formula is turned off, veteran free agents should start flying off of the board.

Tre Boston Still Awaiting Deal

Though most of the high-profile free agents have found homes, Tre Boston is not one of them. Not surprisingly, the safety is not happy about that fact, Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk writes

Responding to a Pro Football Focus tweet that showed Boston as one of the top defenders in the NFC West, the safety wondered what there is left to do to get teams to notice.

“Doesn’t mean much but Stats are beyond there! OBVIOUSLY!! The Players see it, the Fans see it, and are starting to question what’s going on. I like it, keep asking question. You’ll see what’s really up. 2 Prove It Deals…. What’s left to prove? Lol Bout to jump on Offense. Lol”

Those two “prove-it deals” he mentions are the one-year deals he took with the Chargers (2017) and Cardinals (2018) looking to land a long-term deal. Despite performing at a level that should’ve netted him that deal, Boston has been left out in the cold.

He’s not the only one, as several other free agents like Ndamukong Suh, are still awaiting teams due to compensatory picks being attached to their signing, ESPN’s Dan Graziano tweets. Those players will have that pick stripped in May, when most will begin to find homes.

Eric Berry, Tre Boston On Browns’ Radar

The Browns made a rather notable trade earlier this month, and it left them without one of their starting safeties. While there is another former safety starter on Cleveland’s roster, Derrick Kindred, John Dorsey appears interested in upgrading the position.

Dorsey has spoken with the agents of Eric Berry and Tre Boston, the second-year GM said Monday (via the Akron Beacon Journal’s Nate Ulrich, on Twitter).

Both players have long-term connections with key Browns personnel. Berry played for Dorsey in Kansas City for four seasons and negotiated his then-safety-record contract with the then-Chiefs GM in 2017. New Cleveland DC Steve Wilks coached Boston in Arizona last season and for three seasons in Carolina.

Having made the decision to continue his career, despite having missed 29 regular-season games over the past two seasons, Berry visited the Cowboys last week. A few teams reached out to Boston earlier in free agency, but the five-year veteran did not expect to sign soon.

Boston yet again has seen his free agency start slowly. He was a key member of the higher-end safety group that oddly lingered unattached for months before accepting basement-level deals. Boston played for a $1MM base salary last season in Arizona. The Chiefs released the injury-prone Berry, 30, earlier this month. Prior to running into significant injury trouble, Berry landed on three All-Pro first teams. Boston, 26, became a full-time Cardinals starter despite a late-offseason arrival. He has eight interceptions over the past two seasons.

Cleveland has made big moves and figures to enter this season with the most hype a Browns 2.0 team has, given the team’s additions of Odell Beckham Jr., Olivier Vernon and Sheldon Richardson and last season’s seven-win showing. And Dorsey appears interested in exploring another high-profile move.

Peppers started for two seasons, joining Damarious Randall last year. Randall remains under contract. So does Kindred, a 2017 starter. But with some high-profile talent connected to the current staff still available, this figures to be a situation to monitor.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

DB Notes: Roby, Boston, Berry

Earlier today, the Texans agreed to sign former Broncos cornerback Bradley Roby to a one-year, $10MM deal. It sounds like the 27-year-old may have left some longer deals on the table, as the defensive back told Mike Klis of 9News in Denver that he turned down a three-year offer from the Steelers and a one-year offer from the 49ers. Roby said that the Browns were also in the mix (Twitter link).

“It’s a prove it deal,” Roby explained. “I feel like I should go back in (the market) while I’m still young.”

Roby left Denver after spending five years with the organization, and it sounds like the veteran holds a bit of a grudge against his former team.

“It’s a business. Denver didn’t want me, they wanted someone else,” Roby said, with the cornerback referring to the team’s acquisition of Kareem Jackson (Twitter link). “No, they tried to word it nice – they were talking about it but they didn’t offer. They got the guy they wanted.”

Let’s check out some more notes revolving around the league’s defensive backs…

  • Free agent safety Tre Boston doesn’t expect to sign a deal right away, with the 26-year-old telling ESPN’s Josina Anderson that he expects to be in the “second wave” of safety signings (Twitter link). Boston said that three teams have already reached out to express preliminary interest, including the Raiders. However, following the team’s agreement with Lamarcus Joyner, it’s uncertain if they’ll still have interest. Boston spent the 2018 campaign with the Cardinals, compiling 79 tackles, nine passes defended, and three interceptions.
  • Could the Chiefs signing of Tyrann Mathieu spell the end of Eric Berry‘s tenure with the organization? Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio thinks so, as the writer can’t envision the organization paying a combined $27MM for the two players. Considering Berry’s recent injury issues, this isn’t a particularly hot take, but it’s worth noting that the Chiefs will have to make a decision relatively soon. As Florio tweets, another $7.25 million of Berry’s contract will become guaranteed on March 15th.
  • A number of safeties earned large paydays yesterday, which was a significant difference from last offseason. CBS Sports’ Brady Quinn explained why safeties were the bigger winner during the NFL’s first day of the legal tampering period.

NFC Notes: Vikings, Panthers, Jones, Tate, Boston

Following the tragic and unexpected death of offensive line coach Tony Sparano this week, the Vikings have made some adjustments to their coaching staff. Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune reports (via Twitter) that the team will names Clancy Barone and Andrew Janocko co-coaches for the offensive line.

Barone, who’s been working in the NFL since 2004, was the Vikings tight ends coach last season. With the reorganization of the coaching staff, senior offensive assistant (and former Raiders offensive coordinator) Todd Downing will take on the tight ends gig. Meanwhile, Janocko had previously served as the team’s assistant offensive line coach.

NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport notes (via Twitter) that the team had also pursued former Vikings head coach Mike Tice for the offensive line job. We heard back in February that the 59-year-old was eyeing retirement.

Let’s take a look at some more notes from around the NFC…

  • Panthers right tackle Daryl Williams appeared to suffer a serious knee injury during practice today, writes Bryan Strickland of the team’s website. The 25-year-old reportedly went down following a “non-contact injury,” and he was later carted off the field. “He’s being evaluated,” said head coach Ron Rivera. “They’ll send him up to Charlotte where he can be closely looked at, and we’ll go from there. I’m not sure. I just know they’re going to take him up and evaluate him later today…Daryl is a solid young man, and he’s a big part of what we do. We’ll keep our fingers crossed.” If the 2017 second-team All-Pro ends up missing time, Rivera said 2017 second-round pick Taylor Moton will be given the chance to earn the starting gig.
  • Julio Jones saw several adjustments to his contract before reporting to Falcons training camp, writes Michael Davis Smith of ProFootballTalk.com. The star wideout will now earn a $4.4MM signing bonus thanks to his revised deal, while his 2018 and 2019 base salaries were reduced to $1.5MM and $2.9MM, respectively.
  • Lions wideout Golden Tate is entering the final season of his five-year, $31MM deal that was signed back in 2014. While the 29-year-old shouldn’t anticipate a similar payday as Brandin Cooks or Sammy Watkins, he’s still hoping the organization has some leftover money to keep him around. “I hope there’s some (money) left,” Tate told Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press“Congratulations to all those guys who’ve gotten big deals. They definitely deserve it. I mean, all those players like Cooks and Sammy, they’re all hell of players. Who else? The guy who used to be in Chicago? Alshon (Jeffery). He got a payday, too. So congratulations to all those guys. I hope everyone who plays this game has an opportunity to earn a big payday. I’m happy for them.” Tate had another productive season in 2017, hauling in 92 receptions for 1,003 yards and five touchdowns.
  • We heard earlier this week that Tre Boston‘s deal with the Cardinals was worth $1.5MM (although this could be increased to $3MM). However, Pro Football Talk reports that the safety’s deal only contains $800K in guaranteed money. The deal also includes a number of incentives, including per-game bonuses, playing time bonuses, and Pro Bowl/statistical bonuses. The 26-year-old had a productive season for the Chargers last season, compiling 79 tackles, eight passes defended, and five interceptions in 16 games (15 starts).

NFC West Notes: Cardinals, Boston, Rams

The Cardinals‘ one-year deal with free agent safety Tre Boston is worth just $1.5M, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). However, Boston can earn up to $3MM if he hits certain requirements and incentives.

These last five months probably felt like five years for Boston as he lingered on the open market. Like other veteran safeties, he found that interested teams were only willing to offer him deals at or near the minimum salary as they preferred younger and cheaper options in the draft.

The good news for Boston is that he may be able to reestablish his value with a strong year in Arizona. The Cardinals tend to employ sets with three safeties on the field, so he’ll have a chance to shine as he mans center field.

Here’s more from the NFC West:

  • Are the Rams concerned about giving Aaron Donald big money? Mike Florio of PFT wonders aloud if the Rams are wary of paying Donald only to watch him take his foot off of the gas, like other defensive tackles have done before him. Most notably, former standout Albert Haynesworth tanked after signing a $100MM deal with the Redskins.
  • Todd Gurley‘s new $57.5MM extension with the Rams is a rarity in the NFL, Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap writes. That’s because Gurley’s new contract represents a 74% uptick over the second highest paid running back in the NFL and a 110% increase over the fifth highest paid RB. The last player to sign a deal like this was Ndamukong Suh and that was as an unrestricted free agent and his increases were closer to 50% and 75%, respectively. Fitzgerald also believes that the Rams’ ill-fated extension with Tavon Austin hurt their leverage with Gurley.
  • On Thursday, the Seahawks formally placed retired safety Kam Chancellor on the PUP list and released 2017 second-round pick Malik McDowell.

Cardinals Sign Tre Boston

The Cardinals have signed veteran safety Tre Boston to a one-year deal, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Boston’s signing indicates (at last) movement in the free agent safety market, which had been incredibly stagnant since free agency opened back in March. While players such as Kurt Coleman and Tyrann Mathieu received contracts early in the free agent process, other defensive backs like Boston have failed to land deals. At present, free agent safeties Eric Reid and Kenny Vaccaro are still unsigned.

Boston met with the Colts and Cardinals earlier this summer, and while he wasn’t happy with the outcome of his Indianapolis meeting, Arizona reportedly “rolled out the red carpet” for the 26-year-old. That initial impression probably didn’t hurt the Cardinals’ chances of landing Boston, and his experience with head coach Steve Wilks — who was the Panthers’ defensive backs coach during Boston’s time in Carolina — likely also contributed to his landing in Arizona.

The Cardinals spent time with former Steelers safety Mike Mitchell earlier today, but they’ve instead chosen Boston, who is not only younger, but a better player by almost any measure. In 2017, Boston’s first and only year with the Chargers, he started 15 games and posted a career-high five interceptions. Pro Football Focus graded Boston as the NFL’s No. 30 safety, lauding his pass defense skills but denigrating his run defense.

Boston’s poor run-game work shouldn’t make much of a difference in Arizona, where the Cardinals often play three-safety sets. With Antoine Bethea and Budda Baker available to play closer to the line of scrimmage, Boston will likely spend most of his time in a center field role.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Tre Boston On Cardinals, Colts Visits

Tre Boston‘s recent visit to the Cardinals yielded a contract offer. However, it was a “very, very disrespectful” one, according to the safety (Twitter links via SiriusXM). 

The Cardinals “rolled out the red carpet” for Boston late last month, but the end result was a deal that he found insulting. Meanwhile, his visit with the Colts might not have been serious at all.

I didn’t meet with the GM, head coach or defensive coordinator,” Boston said of his visit to Indy. “I was in the lunch room for two hours. I even got to play basketball.”

Like several other veteran safeties, Boston finds himself in limbo this summer. He finds the situation frustrating, to say the least.

It’s kinda rough man, they got us where they think they want us,” Boston said. “For us, we have to communicate with each other so we don’t take this minimum wage.”

The longer things drag on, the more likely it is that Boston and his fellow safeties will have to accept minimum wage deals. Tyvon Branch, Ron Parker, Eric Reid, and Kenny Vaccaro are also among the safeties without contracts as we head into July.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

The Best Remaining NFL Free Agents

There are still plenty of impact free agents left on the board, including some big names. Here’s a look at some of the high-profile veterans that are still looking for work in advance of training camp: 

Kaepernick probably stands as the most talented quarterback left on the open market, but his ongoing collusion case against the NFL complicated matters. It seems unlikely that he’ll land anywhere between now and the start of the season, but friend and former teammate Eric Reid probably has a better chance of signing somewhere, despite being in a similar boat. Recently, the duo was spotted working out together in California.

It seems like just yesterday that Murray was the league’s most fearsome running back. Unfortunately, Murray’s age has caught up to him to some extent and he was overshadowed last year in Tennessee by the younger Derrick HenryThe Titans dropped Murray in March and he has not found a new NFL home despite meeting with the LionsSeahawks, and Dolphins since his release. Recently, the Saints tried to include Murray in their cattle call for running backs, but he declined the invite.

Peterson has lobbied the Texans, Saints, Packers, Panthers, Dolphins, and Rams to sign him, but we have yet to hear of any reciprocated interest from those clubs. It’s possible that Murray and Peterson won’t sign unless a running back injury opens up an opportunity for them. Teams could also steer clear of Peterson altogether given his desire for a starring role despite his lack of star performance over the last two years.

Bryant is the biggest name on this list, but we shouldn’t expect to see him sign anywhere until July. There have been conflicting reports on his market, but the latest word indicates that he is receiving interest, despite concerns about his demeanor in the locker room.

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