No surprise here, but Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune hears that the Bears are unlikely to use the franchise tag on Kyle Fuller. Multiple sources tell Biggs that they do not expect the franchise tag to be employed, though he is less certain about whether the transition tag could be in play. It also seems unlikely that Fuller would sign a multi-year contract with the Bears before free agency opens, but there is interest on both sides in moving forward together.
Here’s more from around the NFL on a very busy Monday:
- The Seahawks had open ears at the draft combine last week, sources tell Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter). Among those drawing interest include defensive tackle Michael Bennett and safety Earl Thomas, two players that have been the subject of trade speculation in recent weeks. Over the weekend, it was reported that the Falcons have discussed a Bennett deal with Seattle. Cornerback Richard Sherman, who has a $13.2MM cap charge in 2018, is also a trade candidate.
- The Panthers, Jaguars, and Dolphins are heavily interested in free agent quarterback market, Ben Volin of The Boston Globe (on Twitter) hears. The Panthers obviously have a starter in Cam Newton, but they are seeking a quality backup because Newton tends to take a lot of hits. The Jaguars and Dolphins have starters in Blake Bortles and Ryan Tannehill, respectively, but both clubs want veteran backups that can push them. The Dolphins are also exploring the idea of drafting a QB at No. 11 overall.
- Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson has been the subject of tremendous debate in football circles, particularly due to questions about his ability to play QB at the next level. He may have another problem. Jackson did not do well in interviews and white-board work at the combine, Volin hears (Twitter link) and his decision to go without an agent may be the culprit.
- The Bills‘ one-year contract with cornerback Vontae Davis includes an unusual wrinkle, as noted by Volin (on Twitter). Davis is slated to receive a roster bonus of nearly $47K for each game he spends on the 46-man active roster. Meanwhile, he’ll receive a lesser bonus of almost $16K per game that he spends on the 53-man roster. It’s unique for a contract to have separate bonuses for appearing on the 53 and the 46 each week, but it’s a creative structure for Buffalo given Davis’ injury history. One has to wonder if other teams could follow a similar blueprint this offseason when signing veterans with health concerns.