Vic Beasley

Failed Trades: Beasley, Fowler, Jets, Jags

After the trade deadline passes each year, there are inevitably reports about the trades that were discussed but never consummated. For instance, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reports that teams were trying to trade for Falcons pass rusher Vic Beasley (video link). Beasley has just one sack this year, and he has regressed considerably since his First Team All-Pro performance in 2016, but Atlanta believes it can make the playoffs this season, and it was not prepared to move a foundational piece like Beasley, who is under contract through 2019 via the fifth-year option.

Now for more reports concerning trades that never happened, which nonetheless shed some light on the teams that declined to make the deals, the clubs that tried to make the deals, and the players themselves:

  • The Jets, desperate for pass rushing help, inquired on former Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler over the summer, and they tried again at last week’s trade deadline, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com details. The Rams ultimately acquired Fowler in exchange for a 2019 third-rounder and 2020 fifth-rounder, and while the Jets submitted a similar offer about a half hour before the 4pm deadline on October 30, they also wanted a fourth-rounder to come back to them. As such, Jacksonville pulled the trigger on the Rams’ offer.
  • Interestingly, before dealing him to the Saints in August, the Jets offered quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to the Jaguars in a one-for-one swap for Fowler, per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. Jacksonville rebuffed that proposal, even though it knew that Fowler was probably on the way out, and given their QB struggles, that decision may have made a major difference in the Jags’ season.
  • Fowler may not have been the Rams‘ first choice for pass rushing help. We already knew that Los Angeles had made a significant offer for Khalil Mack before he was dealt to the Bears, but Schefter writes that the Rams also called the Texans to discuss Jadeveon Clowney in the first weeks of the season, and as late as last week, they made a push to acquire the BillsJerry Hughes.
  • Several teams, including the Eagles, called the Jets in an effort to acquire deep threat Robby Anderson, per ESPN’s Chris Mortensen (Twitter link). However, Gang Green opted to hold on to Anderson because the development of Sam Darnold remains the team’s top priority, and it did not want to remove one of Darnold’s biggest weapons.

Falcons Exercise Vic Beasley’s Option

The Falcons have exercised the fifth-year option on defensive end Vic Beasley, according to a team announcement. It was an easy call for Atlanta and GM Thomas Dimitroff told reporters back in February that he would be exercising the option.

[RELATED: PFR’s Fifth-Year Option Tracker]

Beasley is already under contract through 2018 at a $4.6MM cap number, the fourth year of his rookie contract. The option year will pay him $14.2MM in 2019, as shown on PFR’s Fifth-Year Option Tracker.

The Falcons experimented with using Beasley as an outside linebacker in the past, but he’ll return to playing defensive end full time in 2018, according to head coach Dan Quinn. Despite his up-and-down ’17, his previous work and potential made the fifth-year option decision a simple decision.

In 2016, Beasley led the league with 15.5 sacks, earning a Pro Bowl nod and a First Team All-Pro selection. Last year, he had just five sacks as his mvoe to linebacker resulted in a career-worst 55.6 overall score from Pro Football Focus.

The fifth-year option is guaranteed for injury only, so the Falcons will have an opportunity to bail if necessary.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Falcons To Exercise Vic Beasley’s Option

The Falcons will exercise their fifth-year option on Vic Beasley, GM Thomas Dimitroff told reporters (Twitter link via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution). The Falcons had until May to make the call, but they did not need the extra time to mull it over. Vic Beasley (Vertical)

The fifth-year option will keep Beasley under contract through the 2019 season. He’s already signed through the upcoming season at a $4.6MM cap number, the fourth year of his rookie contract. The figures for the fifth-year option are not yet known, but it will likely be in excess of $13MM.

The Falcons experimented with using Beasley as an outside linebacker in the past, but he’ll return to playing defensive end full time in 2018, according to head coach Dan Quinn. Despite his up-and-down campaign, his previous work and potential made the fifth-year option decision an easy call.

In 2016, Beasley led the league with 15.5 sacks, earning a Pro Bowl nod and a First Team All-Pro selection. Last year, he had just five sacks and his reassignment to linebacker resulted in a career-worst 55.6 overall score from Pro Football Focus.

The fifth-year option is guaranteed for injury only, so the Falcons will have an opportunity to change course if necessary.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Falcons Lose Vic Beasley To Injury

Falcons linebacker Vic Beasley is expected to miss about a month with a hamstring injury, a source tells Zach Klein of WSB (on Twitter). Beasley suffered the injury during Sunday night’s 34-23 win over the Packers. Vic Beasley (vertical)

The 25-year-old led the league with 15.5 sacks in 2016, earning a Pro Bowl nod and a First Team All-Pro selection. He also played a major role in Atlanta’s nationally televised win over Green Bay, including his bone-crushing hit on Aaron Rodgers in the third quarter which led to a defensive TD.

Defensive end Courtney Upshaw was sidelined for Week 2 with an ankle injury, so the Falcons’ front seven could be particularly thin when they face the Lions on Sunday. In the meantime, the Falcons will have to lean a little more heavily on Derrick Shelby, Adrian Clayborn, and first-round pick Takkarist McKinley. Since Beasley and Upshaw are facing only short-term absences, they may not have the roster room to add an impact edge rusher.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Colts, Bills, Hightower, Beasley

Broncos quarterbacks struggled during the 2016 campaign, leading some to wonder if the team could pursue a veteran option this offseason. That thought has apparently crossed receiver Emmanuel Sanders‘ mind, as the wideout said he’d certainly benefit if the squad acquired Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.

“I believe I would benefit,” Sanders said (via Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk.com). “But one thing about it is: I’m always gonna take it back and I’m just gonna put it on John Elway. In John Elway I trust. If he does bring him over, I think Tony Romo will fit good in [Mike] McCoy’s system. It’s a no-huddle, up-tempo offense. I think that it’s gonna be similar to the Cowboys. I think he has Demaryius Thomas and some receiver No. 10 on the other side. I feel like we will win ballgames with Tony Romo or potentially a championship. At the same time, Paxton Lynch played in a spread offense at Memphis and he can be successful. I think Trevor can be successful. We’ll see what we do. I can’t sit up here and say ‘Bring Tony Romo!’ because I also have two other quarterbacks that are playing really well too.”

During his introductory press conference, Broncos head coach Vance Joseph said Trevor Siemian and Lynch would compete for the starting quarterback gig.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFL as we wrap up this Monday evening…

  • Colts owner Jim Irsay will be hiring the team’s new general manager on his own, reports Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com. Since Irsay won’t be relying on other team officials, Florio believes Irsay will lean towards promoting executive Jimmy Raye III. The writer cites the owner’s familiarity with Raye, as well as the executive’s supposed willingness to stick with head coach Chuck Pagano.
  • The Bills have hired Chiefs assistant head coach/wide receivers coach David Culley as their new quarterbacks coach, reports Alex Marvez of The Sporting News (via Twitter). Culley spent more than a decade with the Eagles before joining Andy Reid and the Chiefs in 2013. We heard earlier tonight that the Chiefs had hired former Eagles wide receivers coach Greg Lewis for the same position.
  • Browns linebacker Jamie Collins received a four-year, $50MM extension earlier today. CBSSports.com’s Joel Corry believes the contract should serve as a “floor” for Collins former teammate, Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower (Twitter link). Corry notes that the Patriots will have a tough time convincing Hightower’s agent that the linebacker deserves less than the player they traded away.
  • Falcons linebacker Vic Beasley was close to being traded or cut during training camp, reports Gil Brandt of NFL.com (via Twitter). The fear of being let go apparently motivated the former first-rounder, as Beasley finished the season with 39 tackles, 15.5 sacks, and six forced fumbles.

Extra Points: RG3, Falcons, Panthers, Revis

Robert Griffin III took some criticism for putting himself in danger during the Browns‘ season-opener against the Eagles. On a third and 14, the speedy quarterback ran towards the sideline, where his ribs collided with Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills‘ helmet. The result? Well, if you haven’t heard, RG3 landed on the injured reserve.

Griffin explained the hit (and defended the play) to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com:

“It was just an unlucky situation. I got pushed in the back — maybe not the hardest push — but I was running full speed, and I didn’t have an opportunity to slide before that. I felt like I could get out of bounds. That didn’t happen. I watched the play. I did get pushed in the back, and at the last second, the defender (Mills) came off of Gary, and hit me and I didn’t have an opportunity (to protect myself). That’s why I think what happened happened, because I didn’t get a chance to truly protect myself and that’s when I got hit underneath my shoulder pad.

“(But) not everybody wants to look at that. They want the sexy story. They want to say that I’m not protecting myself. It’s just something that happened and it’s unfortunate.”

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

  • Falcons outside linebacker Vic Beasley is on the “hot seat,” writes D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Despite playing 39 snaps in the team’s season-opener against the Buccaneers, Beasley didn’t compile a single tackle. The former eighth-overall pick understands that he needs to produce if he wants to stay on the field, and his coach is optimistic that he can be a force on the Falcons defense. “I’m looking for his arrow to be going up in this game,” said Dan Quinn. “He just didn’t perform the way he’s capable of. When those opportunities come up to go make a play, can we just nail the technique just right?”
  • The Panthers considered quarterback Blaine Gabbert with the first-overall pick in the 2011 draft, coach Ron Rivera told Joseph Person of The Charlotte Observer. The team ultimately preferred Cam Newton, who impressed the organization during his pre-draft visit. “As you go through it, you look for certain things, certain characteristics. And probably the biggest difference was the situation Cam had been in, going through the adversity and then coming out on top,” Rivera said. “Cam was tremendously impressive, and Blaine did a nice job for us.”
  • The Jets need to handle the Darrelle Revis “problem” sooner than later, opines Mark Cannizzaro of The New York Post. The cornerback has struggled through his team’s first two games, and while the writer doesn’t anticipate a move to safety, he believes the Jets may start double-teaming the opposition’s top target.

NFC Notes: Patterson, Matthews, Beasley

It appears that a fire has been lit under Vikings wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson. Minnesota failed to exercise the former first-round pick’s fifth-year option for 2017, and teammates believe that slight may have been a catalyst in Patterson’s increased production so far at camp.

I don’t know if them not picking up his fifth-year option woke him up a little bit or what, but he’s going out there and working,” Vikings cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said, according to Ben Goessling of ESPN.com. “He’s doing a great job of switching it up on you. Normally, CP, he was just one speed. He’d just come at you full speed. Now, he’ll lull you to sleep a little bit, and he’ll turn on the burners. It’s messing the DBs up a little bit, but at the same time, I told him, ‘You’re running some great routes. Just keep it up, keep working and then when we get the month of July off, don’t backslide. Just keep doing what you’re doing and getting better.'”

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

  • Clay Matthews says he never pressured Packers head coach Mike McCarthy to move him back to outside linebacker, but he did admit to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com that he hoped the transition inside would be short-lived. Matthews is set to return to his pass-rushing role again in 2016, as Green Bay will roll with Jake Ryan, Sam Barrington, and fourth-round rookie Blake Martinez at inside ‘backer.
  • The Falcons do plan to move former eighth overall pick Vic Beasley to linebacker, but that doesn’t mean that he’ll stop rushing the passer, as Atlanta linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich explains to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com. “The emphasis with Vic will still be pass rush,” Ulbrich said. “The emphasis will still be his nickel end stuff, will still be playing Sam as a blitzer. The majority of his meeting time will be devoted to that. The majority of his individual work pre-practice will be devoted to that. The majority of his practice reps will be devoted to that. And on Sundays, the majority of his reps will be devoted to that.”
  • Running back Terron Ward made the Falcons as an undrafted free agent last season, but he’ll have to beat Gus Johnson and Brandon Wills to retain his roster spot this season, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. Ward managed only 29 carries behind Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman in 2015, but he did play on roughly 22% of Atlants’s special teams snaps.
  • The Lions worked out former Mississippi State tight end Darrion Hutcherson on Thursday, Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle tweets.

Extra Points: Harrison, Replay, Bucs, Beasley

James Harrison‘s recent drug-testing mixup may have triggered more dissent between the NFL and NFLPA. The Steelers linebacker informed DeMaurice Smith of a drug-testing agent categorizing the taping of a test as an act that could ensure a positive result. The NFL’s explanation of the ban on taping drug tests was to maintain the process’ integrity, however, Smith’s response to Harrison — which he posted on his Instagram account (h/t Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk) — refutes that.

Despite what the player was told, and what has been reported, our drug policy regarding specimen collection rules does not specifically prohibit the video taping of a drug test,” Smith wrote. “There are rules in place, however, that prohibit a player from carrying any item other than his collection cup into the restroom when providing a specimen. Additionally, some states may have rules limiting a person’s ability to videotape another person without their consent. If drug collectors desire to change the collection rules, they may not do so on their own as happened in this case. They need to obtain approval from both the NFL and the NFLPA before making any such changes.”

The veteran linebacker appears to be at the center of another controversy and the latest source of conflict between the league and its players’ union.

  • The competition committee will consider a proposal that will expand the use of replay, Jarrett Bell of USA Today reports. Although penalties won’t be up for review, referees under this concept would be permitted to speak with league representatives in New York similar to last season’s playoffs format. The rule will need 24 approval votes at the owners’ meetings Tuesday in Charlotte.
  • Another proposal on the table for the most recent set of meetings comes from the Redskins, who would prefer a late-summer format where teams did not have to perform two stages of roster cuts. Washington’s proposal would allow all 90 players to stay on the roster until the early-September cutdown to 53 is required instead of the initial trim to 75, Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer reports. That passing would flood the waiver wire and free agent market with more than 1,200 players in one weekend.
  • Although Vic Beasley will play a Bruce Irvin-like role with the Falcons after relocating from defensive end to linebacker, he’s still expected to return to a three-point stance on passing downs, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Atlanta’s coaches left the decision up to the 2015 first-rounder, though if it was their preference Beasley move to linebacker, this may have been a choice in name only.
  • Buccaneers offensive line coach George Warhop did not consider the team to have deployed a good offensive line last season. Although the Bucs employed now-retired Logan Mankins and potentially promising Day 2 pick Ali Marpet, the team allowed an NFL-high 124 quarterback hits. “Too many quarterback hits, regardless. I don’t care whose fault it is,” Warhop said, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “We all have a hand in that. It’s one of our points of emphasis this year. First meeting, ‘Hey, listen, guys. Everybody’s telling me what a great job you did. I thought we were just average, really.” Pro Football Focus graded tackles Donovan Smith and Gosder Cherilus as two bottom-tier performers at the position, but now-healthy Demar Dotson and newly signed J.R. Sweezy should bring some much-needed reinforcements to the group.
  • Robert MathisColts contract expires after this season, but Colts.com’s Kevin Bowen expects that if the former All-Pro can perform like he did during his age-34 slate in 2015 and is willing to work with the Colts financially, there’s a path for another Mathis contract for 2017. Mathis, Trent Cole and Erik Walden‘s contracts expire after this season, leaving Indianapolis bereft of pass-rushers after 2016. As part of an extension signed during Mathis’ PED suspension in Sept. 2014, the 35-year-old outside linebacker is due a non-guaranteed $5MM this season.

NFC Notes: Eagles, Lions, Falcons

Eagles running back Darren Sproles took to Twitter on Wednesday to shoot down the notion that he’s holding out for a long-term contract (links here). “Totally false,” he claimed in one of the tweets. As of earlier this week, the soon-to-be 33-year-old was reportedly staying away from Eagles workouts amid trade rumors, but head coach Doug Pederson responded by calling Sproles “a big part of this team.” Sproles, who’s entering a contract year, will count $4.6MM against the Eagles’ cap this season.

More regarding Philly and a pair of other NFC clubs:

  • Whether Pederson can actually develop quarterbacks remains an open question, opines Mike Sielski of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Sielski points to 2011, the year Pederson was the Eagles’ quarterbacks coach and when Michael Vick declined significantly from the prior campaign, as a reason for skepticism. Pederson also failed to tap into former first-round pick Vince Young‘s talent, adds Sielski, who writes that the beleaguered Chip Kelly did manage to get production from Nick Foles, Mark Sanchez and Sam Bradford during his oft-criticized run in Philadelphia. While Alex Smith played well during Pederson’s three-year reign as Kansas City’s offensive coordinator, his career was revived by Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman – not Pederson – as Sielski offers.
  • Lions safety Glover Quin believes teammate Darius Slay is one of the 10 best cornerbacks in the NFL, but there’s one thing missing from his game. “Everybody is going to say it from now until the end of time — he’s a great, great, great cover guy. The only thing that he can do to take it to the next level is intercept the ball. I mean, that’s it,” Quin said Wednesday (via Kyle Meinke of MLive.com). Slay has just four interceptions during his three-year career – all of which came during the previous two campaigns – but Pro Football Focus graded him as the second-best corner in the league last season (111 qualifiers). Thanks to his reputation as a shutdown corner, Slay should land a sizable raise between now and the expiration of his contract after next season. A deal could be in the works, as Slay’s agent – Drew Rosenhaus – was at Lions practice Thursday.
  • The Falcons are making a few changes to their defensive alignment, including shifting Vic Beasley to strongside linebacker. The eighth pick in last year’s draft, Beasley spent his rookie campaign as a LEO pass rusher, as Kevin Patra of NFL.com notes, and totaled four sacks while playing in all 16 of the team’s games. The ex-Clemson star had a difficult time against the run, writes Patra, which would explain the switch. Beasley will now fill the role that former Seahawk Bruce Irvin occupied when Falcons head coach Dan Quinn was Seattle’s defensive coordinator in 2014. Patra, however, is skeptical of the decision because it’ll lead to fewer pass-rushing opportunities for Beasley.
  • In addition to moving Beasley, the Falcons will give Ra’Shede Hageman a look at defensive end and try DE Tyson Jackson at D-tackle, per Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com. Hageman, a second-round pick in 2014, spent his first two seasons at tackle, amassing 43 tackles and two sacks in 32 games (11 starts). On playing end, the former Minnesota standout said, “It’s something I did in college. It’s a nice little move for me.” The Falcons believe the change will give the 310-pound Hageman a better opportunity to take advantage of his size and strength.

NFC Notes: Seahawks, Eagles, Cards, Falcons

Bellevue, Wash., police arrested Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman in October on investigation of vehicular assault and hit-and-run, but they released the 26-year-old without charges the next day. They’re now recommending the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office charge Coleman with felonies for both offenses, Jennifer Sullivan and Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times report. The prosecutor’s office will take the next several weeks to determine whether to file charges against Coleman, who was driving a Dodge pickup at a “high rate of speed,” according to police, and struck a Honda Civic traveling the same direction.

The police report, which was released Monday (per Sheil Kapadia of ESPN.com), says Coleman’s truck was going 60 in a 35-mph zone, and his foot was on the accelerator at 100 percent for several seconds. That pushed the other vehicle 260 feet off the roadway up a hill. It then flipped over. The driver went to the hospital with a head injury and a fractured left clavicle, while police found a barefoot Coleman two blocks from the scene. Stephen W. Hayne, Coleman’s lawyer, said the accident dislodged Coleman’s hearing aids, which may have left him disoriented and caused him to leave the scene. The report reveals Coleman admitted to smoking “Spice,” synthetic cannabinoids, and showed signs of impairment. Police found multiple bags of synthetic cannabinoids and various drug paraphernalia in Coleman’s truck. However, there were no signs of drug consumption in the blood tests Coleman underwent several hours after the accident. Despite that, Coleman – whom police accused of driving in a manner that was “rash and heedless” and “indifferent to the consequences” – could now be in serious trouble.

The four-year veteran is set to become a restricted free agent.

Some notes on the NFC’s other bird-themed teams:

  • It’s currently unclear who will quarterback the Eagles next season. If newly extended tight end Zach Ertz has his way, the club will re-sign pending free agent Sam Bradford. “I’ve played for five quarterbacks now in three years, which seems like a lot, and I want to play with Sam,” Ertz said, per Bob Ford of Philly.com. Ertz added that Bradford hopes to remain with the Eagles. “He wants to be in Philadelphia. Whether he’s back here or not, that’s none of my business, honestly. He’s going to do what’s best for him and the Eagles are going to do what’s best for us. But at the end of the day, I think he wants to be here.”
  • The Cardinals finished a below-average 20th in the NFL in sacks during the regular season and took down Panthers quarterback Cam Newton just once in their 49-15 NFC title game loss on Sunday. As a result, the Cards’ top offseason priority will be strengthening their pass rush, general manager Steve Keim said Monday (per Darren Urban of the team’s website).
  • Despite playing his entire rookie year with a torn right labrum, Falcons pass rusher Vic Beasley will not have offseason surgery, according to head coach Dan Quinn (link via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution). As Ledbetter writes, some labrum tears can be treated without surgery. Beasley led the 2015-16 Falcons with four sacks, a franchise record for rookies, and will look to build on that next season without having to deal with a shoulder injury.