Trent Brown

West Notes: Harris, 49ers, Chiefs, Raiders

Shortly after agreeing to a redone 2019 contract, Chris Harris announced intentions to bet on himself in advance of a 2020 free agency venture. The decorated Broncos cornerback bypassed free agency in 2015, signing a five-year extension, but is targeting top cornerback money next year. As for the chances of the Broncos being the team that authorizes such a deal, the soon-to-be 30-year-old defender said that would be the goal.

I’m definitely giving them a shot. Definitely,” Harris said, via NFL.com, of the prospect of re-signing with the Broncos after this season. “The situation could always be salvaged and worked out. So, I’ll go do my thing, and then at the end of the year, whatever, I’ll definitely give them a fair chance, for sure.

I’ve always said I want to retire here and that’s always been my mentality here. So, if I got to go show them in 16 games that I want to retire here, then I’m going to go do.”

When the Broncos and Harris discussed his deal this offseason, both sides preferred a long-term extension. But the parties were so far apart they shifted to this rare pay-raise agreement. The Broncos are projected to hold $50MM-plus in 2020 cap space, and while Harris would stand to profile as their most talented free agent-to-be, it appears this situation can be tabled for several months.

Here is the latest coming out of the West divisions:

  • After converting college safety Tarvarius Moore to cornerback his rookie year, the 49ers recently moved him back. Jimmie Ward‘s broken collarbone prompted this change, with The Athletic’s Matt Barrows noting (subscription required) Moore was stationed at corner as recently as last week. DC Robert Saleh praised Moore’s versatility. Fellow 2018 safety draftee D.J. Reed is also recovering from offseason surgery, so Moore’s latest position switch might not be permanent.
  • Given a starting role by two teams thus far in his career, Carlos Hyde is again set to work as a backup. The Chiefs plan to use Damien Williams as their starter over the former 49ers and Browns first-stringer, OC Eric Bieniemy said (via 610 Sports’ Brandon Kiley, on Twitter). Summoned into action because of Kareem Hunt‘s midseason exit and a Spencer Ware injury, Williams averaged 5.1 yards per carry during the regular season and scored four playoff touchdowns. Coming into his surprise promotion, Williams averaged 3.6 yards per tote in four seasons as a Dolphins backup. A year after signing a three-year, $15.25MM deal with the Browns, Hyde is attached to a one-year, $1.5MM Chiefs pact.
  • Trent Brown did not voice a preference to play left or right tackle, and the 6-foot-8, 380-pound Raiders blocker said moving back to right tackle will be less of a transition than sliding to the left side with the Patriots last year. The Raiders moved Brown because they prefer Kolton Miller on the left side, OC Greg Olson said. “Certainly, we had a chance to study Trent before when he was in San Francisco. We’ve seen him on both sides,” Olson said, via Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area. “We’ve had a chance to have Kolton, obviously, on the left side, so that’s where we’ve started this spring.”

AFC West Notes: Jones, Raiders, Broncos

The Chiefs entered the offseason with two major extensions on tap, but considering Tyreek Hill‘s situation, that number has almost certainly dwindled to one. And Chris Jones looks to be staying away from the team for the time being. Jones did not show for the Chiefs’ voluntary workouts this week, Terez Paylor of Yahoo.com reports. While this may not be contract-related, the now-extension-eligible interior defender may be sending an early message to his team. The Chiefs just gave trade acquisition Frank Clark a massive extension, and despite Clark’s presence as the Seahawks’ top pass rusher last season, Jones outperformed him with 15.5 sacks — far and away the most in Chiefs single-season history for an inside defender. Considering Fletcher Cox received $17.1MM per year after a 9.5-sack season, and on a $155MM cap in 2016, Jones’ representation will surely argue the Pro Bowl snub deserves to be the highest-paid non-Aaron Donald interior lineman in the game.

Here is the latest from the AFC West, shifting to a lineman that already received a massive contract:

  • Although the Raiders gave Trent Brown the biggest contract in tackle history, they plan to use him at right tackle. Jon Gruden confirmed (via NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo, on Twitter) Kolton Miller will stay at left tackle and Brown, who signed a $16.5MM-AAV deal in March, will return to the right-edge spot he occupied in San Francisco. The Patriots used Brown at left tackle, and he played a key role in their championship push in the playoffs. However, this may be geared toward the Raiders’ competition. Von Miller consistently rushes against right tackles, as does Joey Bosa. It is possible Clark will too, though that has yet to be determined. Nevertheless, Brown now easily usurps Denver’s Ja’Wuan James ($12.75MM per year) as the NFL’s highest-paid right tackle.
  • Mike Mayock identified a new key presence in his scouting department. Cowboys west coast area scout Jim Abrams will become the Raiders’ new college scouting director, Alex Marvez of Sirius XM Radio and ESPN.com’s Todd Archer report (Twitter links). Abrams worked with Gruden during part of the Raiders HC’s Buccaneers tenure and has nearly 30 years of NFL experience.
  • The Broncos did use one of their six draft choices on a wide receiver, waiting until Round 6 to do so (Juwann Winfree), but did not add any notable wideouts in free agency. They are counting on Emmanuel Sanders to return from his Achilles injury. Sanders made another key step in his rehab recently, taking to Instagram to show his first on-field sprint following his December injury. Sanders, 32, is entering the final year of his contract.
  • While the Broncos did take a quarterback in the second round, they appear to have their eyes on another developmental project at the position. Their UDFA deal with Brett Rypien comes with a $146K base salary guarantee and a $10K signing bonus, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. This virtually assures the Boise State product and nephew of former Super Bowl MVP Mark Rypien of making Denver’s practice squad, with 9News’ Mike Klis reporting (on Twitter) he will receive $136K if he is part of the Broncos’ taxi unit. That is well north of most P-squad salaries. Rypien’s guarantee represents the largest of John Elway‘s nine-year tenure, per Klis (on Twitter). That said, Joe Flacco, Drew Lock and Kevin Hogan remain likely to be the quarterbacks on Denver’s 53-man roster. The Broncos may have to hope no team claims Rypien if and when he is waived after the preseason.

Extra Points: WRs, Steelers, Edwards, Cook

Some assorted notes from around the NFL:

  • The Saints, Seahawks, and Patriots are continuing to monitor the wide receiver market, per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports (via Twitter). Golden Tate is the best receiver still unsigned, but there are a number of other notable names available. New Orleans is reportedly interested in bringing back Dez Bryant, and veterans like Michael Crabtree and Randall Cobb still have some value.
  • The Steelers are working to re-sign linebacker L.J. Fort, as Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. Fort was primarily deployed on passing downs in 2018 and was an underrated part of Pittsburgh’s defense last season, racking up 48 tackles and a sack. Fowler notes that Fort has generated interest from other clubs.
  • Defensive lineman Mario Edwards is set to visit with the Saints tonight, tweets Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com. The 25-year-old was claimed off waivers by the Giants in September after having spent the first three seasons of his career with the Raiders. The former second-rounder proceeded to play in 15 games for the Giants, compiling 14 tackles, two sacks, and one forced fumble.
  • The Raiders continue to monitor free agent tight end Jared Cook, writes Scott Bair of NBCSports Bay Area. The writer cautions that it’s “hard to imagine” the veteran returning, as he’s visited with the Saints and received interest from the Patriots. The 31-year-old started 14 of his 16 games last season, hauling in 68 receptions for 896 yards and six scores.
  • Trent Brown isn’t all that concerned about his role with the Raiders, tweets Bair. After playing left tackle for the Patriots in 2018, Brown said he’d be receptive to a switch to right tackle. As of right now, Kolton Miller is expected to start on the opposite side of the offensive line.

Contract Details: Brown, Boyle, Harrison

Let’s take a look at the details of a few recently-signed contracts from around the NFL:

  • Trent Brown , T (Raiders): Four years, $66MM, $36.75MM guaranteed. As Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network tweets, Brown will earn $15MM in 2019 but $21.5MM in 2020, when the Raiders move to Las Vegas (there’s no income tax in Nevada). That’s a smart move on Brown’s part, obviously. But as Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal observes (via Twitter), there is no guaranteed money left on the deal after 2020, so the Raiders can cut bait with no dead money ramifications at the end of the 2020 season. Essentially, then, it is a two-year, $36.75MM pact.
  • Nick Boyle, TE (Ravens): Three years, $18MM. $10MM fully guaranteed ($7MM signing bonus, $1MM guaranteed salary in 2019, $2MM of $4.5MM guaranteed in 2020). Twitter link via NFL Insider Adam Caplan.
  • Jonotthan Harrison, OL (Jets): Re-signed on March 9. Two years, maximum of $6MM. Twitter link via Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.
  • Angelo Blackson, DE (Texans): Three years, $12MM. $3.5MM guaranteed. Salaries of $2MM (guaranteed), $3.5MM, and $3.5MM. $1.5MM 2019 roster bonus. $31,250 per game 46-man roster bonus. Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.
  • Ben Braunecker, TE (Bears): Two-year deal. Total value of $2.7MM. $300K signing bonus. $6,250 per game 46-man roster bonus. Twitter links via Wilson.

Raiders To Sign LT Trent Brown

The Raiders are making some serious noise in March. On Monday, the club agreed to sign former Patriots tackle Trent Brown to a four-year, $66MM deal, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. The pact, which includes $36.75MM guaranteed, will make Brown the highest-paid offensive lineman in NFL history. 

The league-wide dearth of quality offensive lineman has taken the OL market to previously unforeseen heights. Brown had an excellent platform season in his first (and only) year with the Patriots in 2018, but few expected him to break the bank in this fashion.

Last year, Brown started in all 19 regular and postseason games for New England en route to a Super Bowl championship. Pro Football Focus was bullish on his performance, ranking him 32nd among 80 eligible linemen.

The Raiders already had a left tackle in UCLA product Kolton Miller, but he’ll be shifted back over to the right side, Schefter hears (Twitter link). Miller, who many felt was a reach at No. 15 overall in last year’s draft, produced mixed results in his 16 starts last year. The youngster may have a greater comfort level on the opposite side of Brown.

Meanwhile, veteran Donald Penn is a “strong candidate for release,” according to Michael Gehlken of the Review- Journal (on Twitter). By cutting Penn, the Raiders can save $7.225MM against the 2019 cap. Due to injuries, the usually durable Penn was limited to only four games in 2018.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Targeting Trent Brown, Ja’Wuan James

The Raiders may have just traded away their best offensive lineman when they agreed to ship Kelechi Osemele to the Jets, but they still want to fortify the O-line in free agency. Per Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network (video link), offensive tackle Trent Brown is high atop Oakland’s wish list.

Brown had an excellent platform season in his first (and likely final) year with the Patriots in 2018, starting all 19 regular and postseason games for New England en route to a Super Bowl championship. Pro Football Focus was bullish on his performance, ranking him 32nd among 80 eligible linemen.

The Buccaneers just inked Donovan Smith to a three-year pact worth $41.25MM ($27MM guaranteed), and it would not be a surprise to see Brown top that figure in terms of years, AAV, and total guarantees. That is especially true given that he profiles as the best left tackle on the free agent market by a wide margin.

Rapoport confirms as much, tweeting that Brown could be among the highest-paid tackles in the league. He turns 26 next month and clearly has Pro Bowl upside. RapSheet also says Brown could make his decision early on in the tampering window, which opens in less than an hour. The Patriots declined to use the franchise tag on him but are still interested in re-signing him, and the Texans have some interest as well. Brown, though, may prefer a different destination, as Vic Tafur of The Athletic tweets that head coach Jon Gruden does not plan to move 2018 first-round pick Kolton Miller from left tackle.

Per Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Oakland is also interested in Dolphins right tackle Ja’Wuan James (Twitter link). New GM Mike Mayock is prioritizing the offensive tackle position, per Gehlken, and while Miami would like to retain James, the rebuilding Fins may find it difficult to do so.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots Won’t Tag Trey Flowers, Trent Brown

The Patriots are not expected to apply the franchise tag to any of their notable free agents, as Field Yates of ESPN.com and Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweet. This means that defensive end Trey Flowers and offensive tackle Trent Brown are on target to reach free agency in a week. As previously reported, kicker Stephen Gostkowski won’t be receiving the tag either. 

Flowers won’t turn 26 until August and profiles as one of the most attractive free agents in this year’s crop. Last year, he set a new career high with 7.5 sacks and continued to generate pressure against opposing QBs. Last year, Flowers graded out as the sixth-best edge rusher in the entire NFL, according to Pro Football Focus, and posted a career-best 88.7 overall score. That mark put him below only Calais Campbell, Khalil Mack, J.J. Watt, Von Miller, and Cameron Jordan.

If Flowers does not re-sign with New England, the rival Jets could be among Flowers’ top suitors. The Jets have the second-highest cap room total of any team in the league and are in desperate need of pass rushers.

Brown, meanwhile, has been vocal about his desire to remain with the Pats. However, the Patriots tend to be thrifty when it comes to bidding against other teams and tackles of Brown’s caliber figure to see major dollar signs this offseason. On Tuesday, Bucs tackle Donovan Smith re-upped on a three-year, $41.25MM deal that surely has Brown’s camp salivating.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Brown, McDermott, Dolphins

Patriots offensive tackle Trent Brown will soon be hitting free agency, but the 25-year-old sounds like he’s focused on staying in New England. Brown told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that he’s seeking some “longevity” and a “great fit schematically,” and he specifically pointed to the Patriots.

“That’s definitely something I would love,” Brown said about sticking with the team (via Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk.com). “But hey, we’re going to cross that bridge when we get there.”

The six-foot-eight lineman has a solid season with the Patriots in 2018. After being acquired from the 49ers, Brown proceeded in start all 16 games for New England en route to a Super Bowl championship. Pro Football Focus was bullish on his performance, ranking him 32nd among 80 eligible linemen.

However, considering Brown’s performance, many thought the lineman may leave New England for a lucrative payday. In that scenario, the Patriots would presumably lean on 2018 first-round Isaiah Wynn, who missed his entire rookie campaign after having torn his Achilles during the preseason.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the AFC East…

  • The Dolphins will have a tough decision to make on free agent offensive lineman Ja’Wuan James, but it sounds like he has at least one fan in the team’s new offensive line coach, Pat Flaherty. “I think it keeps the continuity there, if we’re able to retain him,” Flaherty told Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. “We sure hope he does [stay with Miami]. He’s a good football player. I’ve had an opportunity to go back and watch every game from 2018. He’s a fairly young guy also, so he has some things technique-wise that he can get better.” Agent Drew Rosenhaus (who does not represent James) recently predicted that the Dolphins would make 26-year-old the highest-paid right tackle in the NFL.
  • It’s been a bit more than two years since the Bills hired Sean McDermott as their head coach, and the team has seen a complete roster overhaul since that time. As Alper points out, the Bills are only rostering five players who preceded McDermott’s tenure: running back LeSean McCoy, defensive end Jerry Hughes, defensive end Shaq Lawson, linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, and long snapper Reid Ferguson. The number would increase if the team retains any of their impending free agent offensive linemen: Ryan GroyJordan Mills and John Miller.
  • The Dolphins have hired Mike Judge as their new defensive quality control coach, according to agent Paul Sheehy’s Twitter. The former Patriots intern has spent the past 11 years as Navy’s fullback coach. The team compiled a 84-47 during his tenure.

Patriots Notes: Gordon, Gronk, Slater, Jones

The Patriots will end up getting a 2019 seventh-round pick out of the Josh Gordon trade, per Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. It was initially reported that New England sent a fifth-round pick to Cleveland in exchange for Gordon, and that a seventh-rounder would be coming back to the Pats if Gordon was unable to play 10 games with the club in 2018. Although Gordon ended up playing 11 games for New England before being suspended again, Reiss says the 10-game condition was lifted and that the Patriots will get the 29th pick in the seventh round.

Now for more news and notes from the Super Bowl champs:

  • Tight end Rob Gronkowski has been at Gillette Stadium multiple times over the last couple of weeks, and while he may only be there to continue treatment on his thigh, Reiss believes Gronk’s presence is reflective of the good relationship between him and the team at the moment and of Gronkowski’s overall positive feelings towards the Patriots. Although he may still retire, his current state of mind is good news for Pats fans who would like to see him back in 2019.
  • Matthew Slater is due a $400K roster bonus on March 13, and assuming he is still on the roster at that point, the team’s 2019 option — which calls for a $1.6MM base salary — will be automatically exercised. Reiss believes that is a reasonable price for a special teams ace like Slater, and that the 33-year-old will be back in Foxborough next season.
  • Reiss also believes tight end Dwayne Allen could be back, as the team admires his professionalism and work ethic, but he will obviously need to accept a pay cut; he is due a $6.4MM base salary in 2019.
  • Cornerback Jonathan Jones proved his value to the Patriots in this year’s playoffs, and he is eligible for restricted free agency in March. As Reiss observes, the Patriots could tender him at the second-round level, which would entitle him to a salary of $3.1MM, or at the low level, which calls for a $2MM salary. But if they go with the latter option, they risk losing Jones without getting any draft compensation in return, so Reiss suggests that the two sides could explore a long-term deal before free agency opens.
  • Zack Cox of NESN.com believes LT Trent Brown will get a contract on the free agent market that the Patriots cannot compete with, and that the team will need to turn to 2018 first-rounder Isaiah Wynn to replace him. Wynn, of course, missed his entire rookie campaign due to a torn Achilles he suffered last preseason.
  • Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels received only tepid interest on the head coaching market this year, but Ben Volin of the Boston Globe says McDaniels’ excellent work in engineering the Patriots’ Super Bowl run will put him firmly back on the HC radar in 2020.
  • The Patriots have once again surfaced as a potential home for Colin Kaepernick.

AFC East Rumors: Mack, Brady, Hughes

The Raiders and star defender Khalil Mack are embroiled in contract negotiations that could result in Mack being traded. If that happens, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com suggests that the Jets should pounce. Gang Green has little pass rushing talent at the moment, and the club has $82MM of projected cap room in 2019, with only one big contract (Leonard Williams) on the horizon. Oakland would demand at least a first-round pick in return, and in addition to negotiating a high-level trade, the Jets would also need to work out a long-term deal with Mack. Those types of deals are difficult to pull off, and it is still unlikely that the Raiders part with Mack, whom they can keep under club control through three more seasons if they so choose. However, if Oakland does begin entertaining offers, Cimini would not be surprised if the Jets are one of the first teams to jump on the phone.

Let’s take a look at a few more rumors from the AFC East:

  • Jets OLB Lorenzo Mauldin is still around because of New York’s aforementioned dearth of pass rushers, but Mauldin, a 2015 third-round pick, has been dogged by injuries throughout his brief career, and he hasn’t been particularly effective even when he’s gotten on the field. As such, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News tweets that Mauldin could be cut sooner rather than later, and that New York could let him go with an injury settlement (Mauldin is currently dealing with a leg issue that kept him out of the team’s preseason opener).
  • In a full-length piece, Mehta says that Brandon Copeland, a former UDFA out of UPenn who signed a one-year deal with the Jets this offseason after missing all of 2017, has been very impressive in camp and has been taking first-team reps over the past few days. Given the Jets’ pass rushing needs, Copeland has a real chance to get plenty of playing time this season.
  • We have written extensively on Tom Brady‘s new contract with the Patriots in recent days, and the moral of the story is that it looks as if Brady will continue playing through at least the 2019 season, and that the two sides could come to terms on another new deal next year in order to push some of Brady’s increased 2019 cap number into 2020. However, as Ben Volin of the Boston Globe tweets, since Brady and the Pats officially put pen to paper on August 9, 2018, they can’t renegotiate his contract again until August 9, 2019.
  • Trent Brown, whom the Patriots acquired via trade with the 49ers earlier this offseason, is the favorite to replace Nate Solder as New England’s starting left tackle, per Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. Brown is eligible for unrestricted free agency next year, so he will have plenty of incentive to perform at a high level.
  • Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News calls 2018 the most critical season of Bills DE Jerry Hughes‘ career. Hughes’ volatile on-field personality could be overlooked when he was posting double-digit sack totals earlier in his career, but his sack numbers have slumped since he signed a five-year, $45MM in 2015, so the unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties are a little harder to stomach. His $10.4MM salary in 2018 is the highest on the Bills, and while Buffalo could have cut him this offseason and saved a little cap room, the team could save $7.5MM by releasing him after the 2018 campaign, so he may need to show a return to his early-career form to stay in Buffalo and earn another $10.4MM next year. For what it’s worth, the Bills think Hughes’ sack numbers will be improved with the addition of Trent Murphy and (hopefully) some growth out of Shaq Lawson. Plus, Hughes did grade as a top-10 run defender (among edge players) last season, in Pro Football Focus’ view.
  • The Bills shook up their defensive line rotation earlier today.
  • The Dolphins are visiting with the increasingly-popular Bashaud Breeland today.