Uncategorized

Fifth-Year Option Salaries Revealed

We now have the numbers on the fifth-year option salaries of players taken in the 2015 draft, courtesy of CBSSports.com’s Joel Corry:

 

Position First 10 picks Picks 11-32
Cornerback $12,353,000 $9,069,000
Defensive end $14,200,000 $9,046,000
Defensive tackle $11,407,000 $7,154,000
Linebacker $12,810,000 $9,232,000
Offensive line $12,525,000 $9,625,000
Punter/kicker $4,493,000 $3,384,000
Quarterback $20,922,000 $14,114,000
Running back $9,630,000 $5,605,000
Safety $9,536,000 $6,266,000
Tight end $8,428,000 $5,398,000
Wide receiver $13,924,000 $9,387,000

Roughly 70% of players taken in the first round from 2011 through 2014 have had their options picked up. Some players from the ’15 class, like quarterbacks Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston, have already had their options triggered. Other first-round picks from that year remain in limbo. Teams have until May 3 to make the call.

For a full rundown of players who have had their options picked up, check out PFR’s 2019 Fifth-Year Option Decision Tracker, which has now been updated to reflect the reported values of the additional year for each player.

Extra Points: Cowboys, Rams, Brockers, Lions, Dunlap

After much speculation, Cowboys defender Byron Jones confirmed on Monday that he will be switching from safety to cornerback in 2018, the Dallas Morning News’ Jon Machota writes.

Viewed as a versatile defender coming out of college, Jones played cornerback as a rookie in 2015 and a safety the past two seasons. New defensive backs coach Kris Richard preferred him at the former.

“I think it will be a good move for me and the team. I’m always open to making position changes, as long as I’m in the best position to succeed. If [Richard] believes my best position is corner, then I’m down.”

Richard knows a thing or two about getting the best from bigger cornerbacks. With the Seahawks, Richard oversaw Richard Sherman’s ascent to one of the premier corners in the league. What remains to be seen is if the team prefers him on the boundary or in the slot. In 2017, rookies Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis showed plenty of promise on the outside.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • In a press conference on Monday, Rams defensive lineman Michael Brockers told reporters he tore his MCL in the team’s playoff loss to the Falcons in January, ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez tweets. During that game, the sixth-year defender sat out the second half. The good news for Los Angeles is that Brockers took part in team activities on Monday, but they’re not in pads until training camp.
  • If any Lions players are moved in draft-day deals, some of the names that make sense include Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick and Jake Rudock, ESPN’s Michael Rothstein writes. Those names all come to mind after the team added veterans in LeGarrette Blount and Matt Cassel in the offseason.
  • The goal is for the Bengals to sign both Carlos Dunlap and get a new deal with Geno AtkinsBengals.com writer Geoff Hobson notes in a mailbag. Both Dunlap’s and Atkins’ deals run through the 2018 campaign.
  • NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is expected to be deposed in the next two weeks in Colin Kaeperncik‘s collusion case against the league, USA Today’s A.J. Perez writes. Seahawks general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll are also on the docket to be deposed.

Minor NFL Transactions: 4/16/2018

Here are today’s minor moves:

Denver Broncos

  • Re-signed: LB Zaire Anderson
  • Re-signed: DE Shelby Harris
  • Re-signed: LB Joseph Jones
  • Re-signed: WR Jordan Taylor
  • Re-signed: OT Elijah Wilkinson

Houston Texans

  • Signed original round RFA tender: OL Greg Mancz

Los Angeles Rams

  • Signed original round RFA tender: LB Matt Longacre

Washington Redskins

  • Re-signed: OT Tony Bergstrom

Extra Points: Panthers, Broncos, Cravens, Jets, Titans

Labeled as a frontrunner in the bidding to become the new Panthers owner, businessman Ben Navarro will make a visit to the team’s facilities next week, Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer reports (Twitter link). Person also notes another suitor, Alan Kestenbaum, was in on Wednesday.

A vote on a new owner is expected to take place during late-May meetings in Atlanta, according to David Newton of ESPN.com, who adds a reported sale price of $2.5 billion could potentially be a bit inflated. The last franchise that was sold, the Bills in 2014, went for $1.4 billion.

According to Albert Breer of the MMQB, Navarro is already being vetted by the NFL. The South Carolina businessman is the founder of Sherman Financial, but some owners have had concerns about how Navarro made his money.

Navarro and Kestenbaum are joined by Steelers minority owner and hedge-fund billionaire David Tepper as the perceived top contenders to acquire the franchise. The reported sale price has already helped one potential suitor, Michael Rubin, withdraw his name from the running. Rubin’s group reportedly included Sean “Diddy” Combs and two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Thanks to a video produced by Sports Illustrated, we have some insights into the offers received by cornerback Malcolm Butler before he agreed to sign with the Titans. Early on, the Bears pitched him on a three-year, $30MM deal while the Texans offered a one-year contract (value unknown). It seems that Tennessee greatly outbid the other suitors after signing him to a five-year, $61.25MM deal with $24MM fully guaranteed.
  • For their offseason so far, the Jets have received a grade of B- from ESPN’s Rich Cimini. Considering the team whiffed in its pursuit of Kirk Cousins, that’s not a bad grade to receive. Cimini cites, among other things, the team’s addition of Trumaine Johnson as the team’s most significant offseason signing so far.
  • Su’a Cravens, who was acquired by the Broncos from the Redskins earlier this week, told Nicki Jhabvala of The Denver Post he wanted to play for a team that wanted him. “I can tell that Denver actually wanted me on the team. It wasn’t just, ‘This is smart for our team,” he said. Cravens sat out the entire 2017 season as a member of the Redskins. “I never felt like I could be myself with the Redskins. It’s a blessing obviously to be drafted by the Redskins and I will always thank them for giving me my opportunity. But I just think after my rookie year when I had those injuries, I just felt like things kind of changed.

Contract Details: Gore, Osweiler, Waddle

Some details on recent free agent deals:

  • Brock Osweiler, QB (Dolphins): One year, $880K ($790K base salary + $90K signing bonus). $630K guaranteed (Twitter link via Mike Klis of 9 News Denver).
  • Frank Gore, RB (Dolphins): One year, $1.105MM. $90K signing bonus (Twitter link via Tom Pelissero of NFL.com).
  • LaAdrian Waddle, OT (Patriots): One year, $1.5MM. Includes $800K base salary, $200K signing bonus, $50K workout bonus and $450K in per-game roster bonuses (Twitter link via Mike Reiss of ESPN).
  • Tom Johnson, DT (Seahawks): One year, $2.1MM. Includes $950K base salary, $900K signing bonus, $250K in per-game active roster bonuses (Link Via Brady Henderson of ESPN).
  • Shamar Stephen, DT (Seahawks): One year, $2.1MM. Includes $800K base salary, $1MM signing bonus and $300K in per-game active roster bonuses (Link Via Brady Henderson of ESPN).

Thomas Rawls To Visit Jets

Former Seahawks running back Thomas Rawls is set to visit the Jets on Thursday, a source told Brian Costello of the New York (Twitter link). 

At the outset of the period, Rawls was not tendered by the Seahawks as a restricted free agent.

The visit marks the second stop in free agency for the third-year running back, who also met with the Chiefs earlier this month. The Jets have recently added former Browns running back Isaiah Crowell to their backfield, pairing him with Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire.

Undrafted coming out of Central Michigan in 2015, Rawls enjoyed a strong start to his career as a fill-in for Marshawn Lynch, posting 830 yards and four touchdowns in 13 games as a rookie. That season he also led the league in yards per attempts with 5.6. He has yet to replicate that success, however, gaining just 506 yards in 21 games over the last two seasons. In 2017, he featured in a revolving-door backfield in Seattle with Eddie Lacy, Chris Carson and J.D. McKissic.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Approves Rule Changes For 2018

At this week’s owners’ meetings, the NFL moved to ratify several proposed changes to on- and off-field rules. Here’s the full rundown:

Playing Rules Changes:

  1. By Competition Committee; Makes permanent the playing rule that changes the spot of the next snap after a touchback resulting from a free kick to the 25-yard line.
  2. By Competition Committee; Changes standard for a catch.
  1. By Competition Committee; Authorizes the designated member of the Officiating department to instruct on-field game officials to disqualify a player for a flagrant non-football act when a foul for that act is called on the field.

Approved 2018 Bylaws Summary

  1. By Competition Committee; Makes permanent the liberalization of rules for timing, testing, and administering physical examinations to draft-eligible players at a club’s facility.
  1.  By Buffalo; For one year only, amends Article XVII, Section 17.4 to liberalize the rule for reacquisition of a player assigned via waivers.

3. By Denver; Amends Article XVII, Section 17.16 to permit clubs to trade players from Reserve/Injured.

4. By Minnesota; Amends Article XVIII, Section 18.1 to replace the 10-day postseason claiming period with a 24-hour period.

The change to this year’s catch rule, naturally, has garnered the most attention given the number of controversies around iffy catches last season. The new language means that the “survive the ground” verbiage will not survive in the new league year.

From a transactions standpoint, the rule change to allow players to be traded from the injured reserve list is an interesting one. Many deals have been scuttled in the past due to this restriction, but this adjustment could result in even more NFL trades going forward.

Conspicuously absent from the list is the “Josh McDaniels rule” that would have allowed assistants to be hired while their teams are still in the postseason. That proposal has been tabled until May, according to NFL.com’s Judy Battista (on Twitter).

Ravens Notes: Crabtree, Ryan Grant, Free Agency

Baltimore made a big splash in free agency on Friday, signing veteran receiver Michael Crabtree a day after his release from the Raiders. The move potentially gives the team a go-to, possession receiver that it hasn’t had in a number of years.

Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said as much after the completion of the three-year deal worth up to $21MM. According to the Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec (Twitter link): “Michael has played very well against the Ravens, so we know firsthand the attributes he brings to the game. He is a smart, tough, physical receiver who battles for the ball.”

Newsome remembers well, as Crabtree has topped 80 yards in three out of four regular-season meetings with the Ravens and has posted five touchdowns. That included a three-score outing vs. the typically stingy defense in 2016.

Known for utilizing his big arm early in his career, quarterback Joe Flacco has worked closer to the line of scrimmage in recent years and has posted at least a 64% completion rate in each season in 2015. That is likely to continue with a reliable option like Crabtree joining the hold.

Here’s more from Baltimore:

  • Despite signing both John Brown and Crabtree, Newsome hasn’t ruled out a return to the fold for Mike Wallace and Michael Campanaro, ESPN’s Jamison Hensley tweets. According to Hensley, the team has been in contact with both receivers.
  • Newsome said the team would have pursued Crabtree regardless if the team signed Ryan Grant or not,” Zrebiec tweets. The team voided a contract with the former Redskins wideout after he failed a physical.
  • Sticking with Grant, Newsome said via Zrebiec on Twitter: “I did not get the results of Ryan’s physical until about 4 o’clock yesterday.” He said the team consulted with many doctors around the country. “It’s not a football decision. It’s a medical decision that I had no control over.”
  • Before news of the Crabtree signing hit, Newsome said the team could add two or three more quality football players, Zrebiec tweets. Recently, Pro Football Rumors listed Baltimore’s top three offseason needs and named adding receiver help, beefing up the pass rush and fortifying the secondary as the team’s top goals. It checked No. 1 off the board with the Crabtree move.

Extra Points: Seahawks, Nelson, Browns

The Raiders are in the mix to sign Jordy Nelson, but it’s not a done deal just yet. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) cautions not to count out the Seahawks in the Nelson chase, given John Schneider‘s history with the wide receiver.

In 2008, the Packers traded back with the Jets in the second round in order to select Nelson. Schneider was a big reason for that deal as he advocated for Nelson in the war room. Now, Schneider is at the helm in Seattle with a very real chance at signing the veteran.

The Saints, reportedly, are also pushing to sign Nelson.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Browns GM John Dorsey said he released cornerback Jason McCourty because he wasn’t sure he’d make the roster and, given his veteran status, wanted to give him a chance to catch on with another team (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Pat McManamon). McCourty had a solid bounce back year with the Browns, so it’s surprising to hear that Dorsey wasn’t sure if McCourty would quality for the 53-man roster. In any event, he figures to have a ripe market.
  • Meanwhile, Browns coach Hue Jackson confirmed that Tyrod Taylor is the Browns starting quarterback for 2018. “He’s going to be the starting quarterback. There is no competition,” Jackson said (Twitter link via NFL.com’s James Palmer). The Browns hold the No. 1 and No. 4 overall picks in this year’s draft and one of those selections will almost certainly be used on a QB. Whoever that rookie is, apparently, will be learning from the bench at the outset.
  • The Raiders were a close second for Johnathan Joseph before he agreed to re-sign with the Texans, according to Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle (on Twitter). Joseph re-upped with Houston on Thursday with a two-year deal.
  • The Eagles and Giants are showing interest in Bears free agent punter Pat O’Donnell, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

Receiver Notes: Landry, Dez, A-Rob, Evans

No players have dominated the news more in the last two days than Jarvis Landry and Richard Sherman. On Friday, the Browns kicked off their trading spree by landing the Dolphins wideout in a deal for draft picks. Earlier in the day, Sherman was released from the Seahawks and then signed with the division-rival 49ers Saturday Night.

The two possibly could have been connected on the transaction wire earlier in the 2017 season if a blockbuster deal would have gone through. That’s according to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, who tweets that Seattle rejected a potential Landry-for-Sherman swap in 2017.

At the time of the proposed deal, presumably before the trade deadline, Sherman was healthy and the Seahawks were looking to advance to the postseason for the sixth consecutive. Trading away a key member of the secondary and an influential figure in the locker room doesn’t appear to make much sense.

Regardless, it is interesting both teams were looking to move on from their respective stars as early as October.

Here’s more receivers making news:

  • Before both of those deals went down, Mike Evans grabbed headlines by signing a five-year deal with the Buccaneers worth $82.5 MM. Breaking down the details, CBS Sports’ Joel Corry tweets the Bucs will $5 MM of salary cap space in 2018 and he now takes up $18.25 MM of cap room.
  • During a chat with the Dallas Morning News on Friday, Matt Mosley said his gut feeling is that Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant will be back in 2018. He said that could change if the team lands a receiver in the first round. Alabama’s Calvin Ridley, among others, could be on the board when the Cowboys pick at No. 19.
  • Though they didn’t place the franchise tag on him, the Jaguars do in fact like Allen Robinson and would like to have him back at the right price, general manager Dave Caldwell told Pro Football Talk. “At some point in time, just like other free agents, we’ve walked away. We don’t want to do that with Allen because he’s ours. We’ll see. We have a lot of options on the table with that.”