Vinny Curry

Buccaneers Cut Vinny Curry

Vinny Curry is now on the open market. The Buccaneers released the veteran defensive end on Tuesday, according to a team announcement. 

Curry earned $6.5MM with the Bucs in 2018 after signing a three-year, $23MM deal with the club. Apparently, new head coach Bruce Arians did not see him as a fit for his system, so he’s a free agent once again.

The good news for Curry is that pass rushers are continually in high demand, so he’ll have an opportunity to land another multi-year deal. His 21 tackles, 2.5 sacks, seven quarterback hits, and five tackles for loss don’t exactly jump off of the page, but Curry’s 2017 season with the Eagles showed serious promise. After serving as a reserve in his first five seasons with Philly, he was promoted to the starting lineup that year and helped the Eagles capture a Super Bowl ring.

All in all, the Buccaneers improved from a league-low 22 sacks in 2017 to 38 last year, thanks in part to Carl Nassib‘s 6.5 QB takedowns. They’ll look to improve that number even more under Arians.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

South Rumors: Dez, Buccaneers, Conklin

Friday’s top news thus far affected Dez Bryant. The veteran wide receiver and Saints employee for barely a day is feared to have torn one of his Achilles’ tendons. This would put him out for the season and impact his free agency. This reality appears to be in motion. The Saints are “pretty sure he tore it,” Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. While Michael Crabtree did buck the trend of Achilles injuries taking up to a year and more to recover from when he came back in six months to join the 2013 49ers late that season, Bryant is now 30 and was already dealing with damaged stock based on his recent work. Bryant doesn’t appear to be considering retirement and sounds ready to go through a rehab process (Twitter link). It’s possible Bryant could have to accept another one-year deal in the event he recovers from this injury, and that contract may not arrive until he recovers. He may well be back in a similar situation he was this year, when the Cowboys irked him by releasing him well after potential free agency suitors had spent on wideouts.

Here’s the latest from the South divisions:

  • Jack Conklin won’t be available for the Titans on Sunday. The third-year right tackle has not cleared concussion protocol and has been downgraded to out for Tennessee’s game against the Patriots. Swing tackle Dennis Kelly will start on the right side, Turron Davenport of ESPN.com notes.
  • The Buccaneers won’t have Vinny Curry in uniform against the Redskins. The first-year Bucs defensive end is out because of an ankle injury that prevented him from practicing all week. Carl Nassib started opposite Jason Pierre-Paul when Curry was previously out, in Weeks 7-8, and figures to do so again. Nassib’s three sacks are second on the Bucs, though well behind JPP’s eight.
  • Speaking of the Bucs, they could create an immense amount of cap space this offseason while not incurring much dead money to do so. Tampa Bay could create more than $100MM in cap space and incur barely $12MM in dead-money charges, according to Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap, by cutting several veterans. Mentioning Jameis Winston (guaranteed-for-injury fifth-year option of $20.9MM), Curry ($8MM savings, no dead money), DeSean Jackson ($10MM savings, no dead money) and Gerald McCoy ($13MM, no dead money), Fitzgerald sees a path for Tampa Bay to move into better spending position. Of course, some of these players — almost certainly McCoy — will still be around to help the Bucs, the organization’s lack of signing bonuses increases its flexibility. As of now, the Bucs are projected to hold just $10MM in cap room next year.

Extra Points: Meredith, Curry, Ravens, Vikes

Bears restricted free agent wide receiver Cameron Meredith took a visit with the Colts today, and he’s expected to meet with at least one more (unidentified) team, reports Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. Chicago somewhat surprisingly used an original round tender on Meredith, so it won’t receive any compensation if it decides not to match an offer sheet for the former undrafted free agent. Meredith, 25, is coming off a torn ACL, so the Colts (and the mystery club) likely want to check the condition of his affected knee. In 2016, Meredith posted 66 receptions and 888 yards in only 10 starts, so he could potentially be a bargain if he gets away from the Bears.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Defensive lineman Vinny Curry confirmed he had the chance to stick with the Eagles (almost assuredly at a reduced rate), but he ultimately secured interest from as many as seven teams before signing with the Buccaneers, according to SiriusXM NFL Radio (Twitter link). Curry joined fellow former Philadelphia defender Beau Allen in inking three-year deals with Tampa Bay, and their respective signings led the Bucs to cut ties with veteran defensive end Robert Ayers. The Eagles reportedly attempted both to trade Curry or lower his 2018 salary before releasing him, as his presence was made superfluous by Philadelphia’s acquisition of Michael Bennett.
  • New Ravens wide receiver John Brown was diagnosed with the sickle cell trait back in 2016, but he claims that’s not impacting his health. “I’m healthy. I’m feeling good,” said Brown, who signed a one-year, $5MM deal with Baltimore (link via Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com). “Sickle cell was never part of the problem.” Brown set career highs with 65 receptions for 1,003 yards and seven touchdowns for Arizona in 2015, but has not reprised that performance in the last two years. Brown will team with fellow free agent addition Michael Crabtree to give Baltimore a new-look wide receiver corps in 2018.
  • The Broncos are still searching the free agent market for a tight end, per Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post (Twitter link), who suggests the recently-released Marcedes Lewis could get a look from John Elway & Co. Denver lost blocking tight end Virgil Green to the Chargers last week, and didn’t pursue any of the market’s top tight ends such as Jimmy Graham, Trey Burton, or Tyler Eifert. At present, the Broncos’ TE depth chart is topped by Jeff Heuerman and Jake Butt, but free agents that could speculatively be of interest may include Martellus Bennett, Antonio Gates, Luke Willson, or Brent Celek.
  • Kicker Kai Forbath became the first Vikings unrestricted free agent to re-sign with the club earlier today, and Minnesota still has interest in retaining a number of UFAs, tweets Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Cornerbacks Terence Newman and Marcus Sherels are on the Vikings’ radar, as are offensive lineman Jeremiah Sirles and defensive lineman Shamar Stephen. Minnesota could have competition for the latter two, as Sirles has taken a visit with the Panthers, while Stephen was hosted by the division-rival Lions.

Contract Details: A. Smith, Pugh, Curry, ASJ

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

AFC

  • Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE (Jaguars): Two years, $10MM. $4MM guaranteed. $3.21MM signing bonus. $500K 2019 option bonus. $500K annually available via catch, playoff, and touchdown incentives (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Adrian Clayborn, DE (Patriots): Two years, $10MM. $5.5MM guaranteed. $4MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Ben Volin of the Boston Globe).
  • Albert Wilson, WR (Dolphins): Three years, $24MMM. $14.45MM guaranteed. $4.5MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Marcus Gilchrist, S (Raiders): One year, $4MM. $3.85MM guaranteed. $1.85MM signing bonus. $1MM available via playtime, interceptions, and Pro Bowl incentives (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Tramaine Brock, CB (Broncos): One year, $3MM. Fully guaranteed. $1MM signing bonus. $1MM available via playtime incentives (Twitter link via Mike Klis of 9News).
  • Seantrel Henderson, T (Texans): One year, $4MM. $1MM guaranteed. $500K signing bonus (Twitter link via Wilson).

NFC

  • Alex Smith, QB (Redskins): Four years, $94MM. $55MM guaranteed. $27MM signing bonus (Twitter links via Tom Pelissero of NFL.com and Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com).
  • Justin Pugh, OL (Cardinals): Five years, $45.025MM. $15.75MM guaranteed. $10MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle).
  • Vinny Curry, DE (Buccaneers): Three years, $23MM. $6.5MM guaranteed (Twitter link via Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times).
  • Zach Brown, LB (Redskins): Three years, $21MM. $10MM guaranteed. $4.5MM signing bonus. $1MM annually available in Pro Bowl, All-Pro incentives (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Ed Dickson, TE (Seahawks): Three years, $10.7MM. $3.6MM guaranteed. $2.6MM signing bonus. $1.1MM annually available via catch, yards, and Pro Bowl incentive (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Aaron Lynch, LB/DE (Bears): One year, $4MM. $1.25MM guaranteed. $1MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Wilson).

Buccaneers To Sign Vinny Curry

The Buccaneers are moving fast. Minutes after their release of Robert Ayers, the team is set to sign Vinny Curry.

Jenna Laine of ESPN.com reports the Bucs are adding Curry, whom the Eagles released late this week, on a three-year deal worth $27MM with $11.5MM guaranteed.

Curry made 16 starts last season for the Super Bowl champions, the first 16 of his career, and played a key role in Philadelphia’s first Super Bowl title run. The Bucs have now added two pieces from Philly’s defensive front, with Curry joining Beau Allen. They’ve also added Mitch Unrein in what’s been a major effort to overhaul the Gerald McCoy-centered unit.

Set to turn 30 in June, Curry will land on his feet. The Eagles were slated to pay him $9MM this season as part of the previous extension he signed in 2016. Now, he’ll get that from the Bucs per year.

Curry ranked 21st among Pro Football Focus’ edge defender grades last season, 11 spots behind Ayers, and will be expected to provide an outside pass rush to complement McCoy’s nearly unparalleled interior-pursuit abilities. Curry’s best season (2014, nine sacks) came in a 3-4 defense as a rotational player who played on just 32 percent of Philly’s snaps, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com notes (on Twitter). He will likely be utilized more as a pure pass rusher since the Bucs do not have the edge-rushing depth the 2017 Eagles did.

So, Michael Bennett replaced Curry and now Curry will take over for Ayers. It figures to be a matter of time before Ayers lands elsewhere.

[RELATED: Buccaneers Depth Chart]

Eagles Cut DL Vinny Curry

The Eagles are releasing defensive lineman Vinny Curry, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. The Eagles were hoping to retain him, but the two sides were unable to agree to terms on a pay cut. Curry would have locked in $5MM of his $9MM base salary had he remained on the roster on Sunday. 

Curry appeared ticketed for release when the Eagles acquired Michael Bennett in a March trade with the Seahawks. He is now out of Philly and so is his $11MM cap hit. The Eagles will be left with $6MM in dead money after releasing Curry, but they’ll save $5MM.

Curry, 30 in June, totaled 42 tackles and three sacks last season for the Eagles. He tallied 22 sacks for the Eagles between 2013 and 2017.

At this point in free agency, Curry profiles as one of the very best free agent defensive linemen available. The Seahawks may have interest in Curry since they have dealt Bennett and are may be on the verge of losing Sheldon Richardson to free agency.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Fallout From Michael Bennett Trade

The Seahawks and Eagles hammered out a major trade on Wednesday, as defensive lineman Michael Bennett will now head to Philadelphia in a deal that also included a swap of draft picks. Seattle, for their part, looks to be undergoing an overhaul on the defensive side of the ball: not only have the Seahawks made a change at coordinator, but Cliff Avril, Kam Chancellor, and — most recentlyRichard Sherman are among the veterans who could be moving on. Along its defensive line, Seattle is likely betting former draft bust Dion Jordan can play a larger role in 2018, while trading Bennett will also clear cap space that could be used to re-sign defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson.

Here’s more fallout and reaction to today’s deal:

  • Philadelphia wasn’t the only club interested in acquiring Bennett, as the Patriots, Browns, Buccaneers, and the previously-reported Falcons also had their eye on the veteran — and versatile — defensive lineman, tweets Dianna Russini of ESPN.com. None of the reported teams should come as complete surprises: the Patriots, for one, have landed Bennett’s brother Martellus on two separate occasions, while the Browns boast the most salary cap space and draft capital in the league. Tampa Bay, meanwhile, also reportedly discussed acquiring edge rusher Robert Quinn before Los Angeles dealt him to Miami.
  • The Eagles and Seahawks first struck agreement on Tuesday morning, but a third team jumped in and the deal stalled, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). While it’s unclear what club approached Philadelphia at the last second, it would make sense if it were one of the teams listed above. By Tuesday night, it was apparent Bennett would be dealt to the Eagles, but Philadelphia’s front office was still researching the deal, per Rapoport. While this is purely speculation, it’s possible Seattle was able to wrangle a bit more compensation for Bennett given that unnamed third team’s interest.
  • With Bennett now in Philadelphia, the Eagles seem incredibly likely to part ways with fellow defensive lineman Vinny Curry. More than half ($5MM of $9MM) of Curry’s 2018 base salary will become fully guaranteed on March 18, so the Eagles will likely need to make a decision on his fate before that date. While reports initially indicated Curry would be released, the Eagles are — or at least, were — working to retain Curry at a cheaper salary. Philadelphia was projected to be $10MM+ over the cap before acquiring Bennett, so it likely won’t be able to afford a luxury like Curry.
  • Speaking of cap space, Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com provided a good breakdown of where the Eagles now stand following the Bennett trade, and also examined several players whom Philadelphia could cut or trade in order to comply with the cap.

Seahawks Trade Michael Bennett To Eagles

Trade alert! The Seahawks are sending defensive end Michael Bennett and a seventh-round pick to the Eagles for a fifth-round pick and wide receiver Marcus Johnson, sources tell ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (Facebook link). Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (on Twitter) first reported that Bennett was Philadelphia-bound. 

[RELATED: Seahawks To Also Part Ways With Richard Sherman?]

Bennett has been the subject of trade speculation for months now and the Falcons were among the teams to express interest in acquiring him recently. The return for him may seem underwhelming given his ability, but his market was suppressed by his contract, which still has three seasons and $26MM left.

The Seahawks’ loss is now the Eagles’ gain. Bennett didn’t have his best season in 2017, but he did earn a third Pro Bowl nod as he registered 8.5 sacks. His inside pass rush ability helped to propel Seattle to the Super Bowl in back-to-back seasons and he’ll look to do more of the same for the defending champs. The Eagles project to start a defensive line of Bennett, Cox, Derek Barnett, and Brandon Graham, and that’s as good of a D-Line as you’ll find in the NFL.

After acquiring Bennett, the Eagles may explore a potential trade of defensive end Vinny Curry, Schefter tweets. The Eagles like Curry, but his cap number for 2018 is a bit too pricey given their limited amount of room.

The Bennett deal opens up roughly $2.2MM in cap space for the Seahawks, though they’re still saddled with about $5.2MM in dead money. The trade also helped Seattle escape the $3MM bonus he was due later this month and freed them of the future seasons left on his deal. The Eagles now assume that contract, which has Bennett under control through the 2020 season.

Meanwhile, the Seahawks gain an insurance policy in the event that Paul Richardson leaves in free agency. Given the buzz surrounding him, it’s very possible that they’ll lose him on the open market. Enter Johnson, who has posted a 40-yard-dash time of 4.36 seconds in the past. He doesn’t have a stat line that comes close to Richardson (he had just five grabs for 45 yards last season), but his speed could allow him to fill a similar role in Seattle.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles Working To Keep DE Vinny Curry

The Eagles want to keep defensive end Vinny Curry and are working to restructure that deal in order to make that happen, a source tells ESPN.com’s Tim McManus (Twitter link). As it stands, Curry is slated to count against the cap for $11MM in 2018.

The Eagles have very little wiggle room to work with this offseason. As of this writing, the Eagles are projected to be over the cap by about $9MM, so Curry will have to be a team player if he wants to stay on board.Ian Rapoport of NFL.com first reported that the Eagles could approach Curry about a reworked contract.

The Eagles could save $5MM by releasing Curry, but they’d still be left with $6MM in dead money, not to mention the task of replacing his production with limited resources. From a monetary standpoint, it would make sense for Curry to stand his ground in any talks with the Eagles. He didn’t have a gaudy stat line in 2017, but he did grade as the NFL’s No. 21 edge defender, per Pro Football Focus. Plenty of teams will line up to sign Curry if he hits the open market, particularly given the lack of quality defensive linemen in this year’s free agent crop.

In other Eagles news, the team is reportedly seeking more than a first- and fourth-round pick in a trade for quarterback Nick Foles.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles To Release DL Vinny Curry?

The Eagles are expected to release defensive lineman Vinny Curry, but could attempt to restructure his contract before making the cut official, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (all Twitter links). Meanwhile, other NFL clubs are expressing interest in trading for Curry, per Rapoport.Vinny Curry (vertical)

Philadelphia, of course, is coming off a Super Bowl title, but now faces an offseason of cost-cutting. Releasing Curry represents the first of those moves, as parting ways with the veteran defender will clear his $9MM base salary from the Eagles’ 2018 books. However, $6MM worth of Curry’s prorated bonus money will now immediately accelerated onto Philadelphia’s salary cap, leaving the club with a net savings of $5MM.

For most teams, a $5MM cap savings would represent a drop in the bucket, but it’s a critical total for the Eagles, who were a projected $10.41MM over the cap before cutting Curry. Philadelphia will still be over the cap following Curry’s release, so more transactions — which could potentially include cutting wide receiver Torrey Smith or trading backup quarterback Nick Foles — are likely on the table.

Curry, 29, played the most defensive snaps of his career (576) of his career in 2017, and saw the third-most playtime among Eagles defensive lineman. While Curry managed only three sacks, he posted 28.5 quarterback pressures and graded as the NFL’s No. 21 edge defender, per Pro Football Focus, which assigned Curry excellent marks for his run defense.

Philadelphia, though, has cheaper options along its defensive line. Brandon Graham will earn just $8MM in base salary in 2018, the final year of his contract, while Chris Long will collect only $2.25MM. And the Eagles used their 2017 first-round pick on edge rusher Derek Barnett, who is under team control through at least 2020 at cost effective rates.

Given his track record and his ability to slide to defensive tackle in sub packages, Curry should be able to generate a market in free agency. He’ll be aided by a weak free agent defensive end class, as well as the fact that he won’t factor into the 2019 compensatory pick formula now that’s been released.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.