Vontae Davis

Browns To Meet With Vontae Davis

Vontae Davis will visit with the Browns on Friday, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). There are more visits coming down the pike for the former Colts cornerback next week, Schefter hears. "<strong

[RELATED: Vontae Davis Gains Medical Clearance]

Davis kicked off his free agent tour on Thursday when he met with the Bills. He left Buffalo without a deal and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he also leaves Cleveland without signing a contract. Davis likely wants to consider all of his options and free agency won’t begin for most of the league’s players for another four weeks, so it stands to reason that he will wait patiently for the right opportunity.

After two Pro Bowl seasons, Davis’ play began to tail off in 2016. Last year, injuries slowed Davis down and ultimately led the Colts to release him in November. The veteran was also said to be angry about the prospect of being bumped from the starting lineup. At this stage of his career, it’s not clear if any club is willing to guarantee Davis a first-string job.

In other Browns news, Cleveland may be a team to watch as A.J. McCarron enters unrestricted free agency.

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Bills Meet With Vontae Davis

The Vontae Davis tour is underway. The cornerback is taking his first free agent visit on Thursday with the Bills, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Vontae Davis (vertical)

The former Colts standout was released by November amidst health issues and a possible clashing between him and the coaching staff. This week, Davis was given medical clearance by doctors, paving the way for him to meet with interested clubs.

Like fellow cornerback David Amerson, Davis has the unique distinction of being an impact free agent who is available here in February. The Bills face the possibility of losing E.J. Gaines in free agency if they cannot re-sign him, so they’ll be keenly interested in someone like Davis who can bolster their depth – even if Gaines stays – and also contribute at safety.

Davis, who turns 30 in May, has not done much over the last two seasons. However, he did earn back-to-back Pro Bowl nods in 2014 and 2015.

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Vontae Davis Gains Medical Clearance

Back in November, the Colts released former Pro Bowler Vontae Davis as he was dealing with a core injury. Months later, Davis has been cleared following core injury surgery, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Vontae Davis (vertical)

Davis, an unrestricted free agent, should draw interest in March if he can demonstrate that he is healthy. When Davis was at his best, he was one of the top players at his position. In 2014 – the first of two back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons – Davis earned an excellent 95.1 overall score from Pro Football Focus. In the following year, he turned in a strong 81.9 mark, which still painted him as an above-average starter.

However, there has been a serious dropoff over the last two years, due in part to his injury. In 2016, Davis was one of the ten worst qualified corners in the league, per PFF. And, at the time of his release in 2017, he rated as the NFL’s No. 94 cornerback out of 117 qualifiers.

In his final year with the Colts, there were rumblings that Davis did not take well to his demotion from the starting lineup. As he looks for employment in 2018, Davis may have to be more realistic about where he is at this stage of his career.

The former first round pick will turn 30 in late May.

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Contending Teams Interested In Vontae Davis

A number of teams, including two who are in playoff contention, have reached out to former Colts cornerback Vontae Davis to express interest in bringing him aboard for a playoff run, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports.

Vontae Davis (vertical)

After a strange couple of weeks for the veteran defensive back, he was released by Indianapolis a few days ago due to a lingering groin issue and has elected to undergo surgery that will sideline him for six to eight weeks. Davis is reportedly unsure as to how quickly he will be ready to suit up after the surgery, though he does remain open to the possibility of playing again this season for a playoff club.

The interested teams clearly think that the groin issue, moreso than age or general decline, is to blame for Davis’ mediocre performance over the past season-and-a-half. He currently rates as the NFL’s No. 94 cornerback out of 117 qualifiers, according to Pro Football Focus, and last year, PFF had Davis as one of the ten worst qualified corners in the league. That represents a major drop for a player who earned an excellent 95.1 overall score in 2014 and followed it up with a strong 81.9 mark in ’15.

Nonetheless, if the surgery can help him return to something close to his former self, he could be a strong addition to a playoff team. Although Schefter did not name the clubs that have reached out to Davis, the Seahawks, who recently lost Richard Sherman for the year, would be a logical destination.

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AFC South Notes: Colts, Davis, Titans, Texans

Three teams discussed trading for former Colts cornerback Vontae Davis in advance of last week’s deadline, but it’s unclear if Indianapolis ever received a formal offer, according to Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star (Twitter link). Davis, of course, was released earlier today following reports that he’s likely to undergo season-ending groin surgery. Any team interested in acquiring Davis would have had to not only factor in Davis’ injury, but the fact that he’s played extremely poorly when on the field (No. 94 CB among 117 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus). Plus, a club that picked up Davis would have been responsible for his remaining $4.5MM in base salary, a hefty total for a player who is no longer a star.

Here’s more from the AFC South:

  • The release of Davis removed a potential distraction for the Colts for the rest of the season, as Mike Wells of ESPN.com writes. Indianapolis had no plans to re-sign Davis after the season, and given that he was entering the final year of his contract, Davis won’t affect the club’s cap space going forward. The Colts likely would have had to continue answering questions about Davis as the year progressed, but the team’s defensive back room is now a clean state.
  • The Titans will next week discuss whether to activate wide Harry Douglas and/or linebacker Aaron Wallace from injured reserve, tweets Terry McCormick of TitansInsider.com. NFL clubs are now allowed to bring two players off IR, so Tennessee will be able to see both players return to the field in 2017 if it so chooses. Douglas would become the Titans’ fourth or fifth wideout if activated, but Wallace could potentially play a role down the stretch, as Tennessee currently ranks as a bottom-five team in adjusted sack rate.
  • Speaking of returning from injured reserve, Colts tight end Erik Swoope hopes to do just that in the near future, reports Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star (Twitter link), who reports Swoope returned to practice on Wednesday. Swoope, a collegiate basketball player, has managed only 15 receptions since entering the NFL in 2014, but the Colts don’t have much at tight end behind starter Jack Doyle. Swoope could hypothetically carve out a role at the expense of backups Brandon Williams or Darrell Daniels.
  • Given that head coach Bill O’Brien has claimed that wins — and not off-field events — are the primary driver for the Texans, free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick makes “football sense” for the Texans, opines Sarah Barshop of ESPN.com. While O’Brien noted that Kaepernick “hasn’t played football in awhile,” recent signee Josh Johnson has attempted a pass since 2011, which would seem to render O’Brien’s argument moot.

Colts Cut CB Vontae Davis

The Colts have cut Vontae Davis, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The defensive back will be subject to waivers since the league’s trade deadline has passed. 

It has been a perplexing couple of weeks for Davis. First, Davis was withheld from Sunday’s game against the Texans for reasons that were not exactly clear. The Colts swore up and down that Davis’ absence was not injury-related. Afterwards, there were conflicting reports. Some indicated that the Colts were covering up Davis’ previously unreported groin injury. There was also talk that Davis had been demoted from the starting lineup and was not taking the news well. Then, on Wednesday night, we learned that Davis’ season is likely over thanks to the aforementioned groin issue.

Given everything going on with the 29-year-old, we’re not expecting another team to claim him and the final year of his four-year, $36MM contract. Once he passes through waivers, Davis will still have to determine whether he wants to go through with season-ending surgery and teams will have to figure out whether it’s worthwhile to bring him into the locker room after things deteriorated so quickly in Indianapolis.

If he doesn’t get the surgery, the Bills might be one team to keep in mind for Davis. Buffalo showed interest in acquiring the veteran before the trade deadline, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter).

Although Davis’ entire body of work has been impressive, he has looked like a shell of himself over the last season-and-a-half. He currently rates as the NFL’s No. 94 cornerback out of 117 qualifiers, according to Pro Football Focus. Last year, PFF had Davis as one of the ten worst qualified corners in the league. It’s a major drop for a player who earned an excellent 95.1 overall score in 2014 and followed it up with a strong 81.9 mark in ’15.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colts CB Vontae Davis Likely Done For Year

Cornerback Vontae Davis may have played his last game for the Colts, as the veteran defensive back — and pending free agent — is likely to undergo season-ending surgery on his injured groin, according to Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star.Vontae Davis (Vertical)

Davis’ injury situation has been riddled with controversy, as Colts head coach Chuck Pagano indicated Davis’ inactivation — which the cornerback refers to as a “demotion” — was simply a personnel decision based on performance. While the issue may seem minor, Davis indicated that his recent poor play is a result of his health questions.

“I’ve been here six years,” Davis said, per a separate piece from Holder. “We’ve had similar situations where I played hurt. These things happen. And I never got confronted and (no one) said, ‘Your play has slipped.’ Nothing. I was playing at a level that was acceptable.But now, my play slips and this? They should have come to me way earlier and said, ‘Vontae, you’re not yourself. You’re not playing well.’ I told the trainers my groin was not responding.”

“It should be more about the respect. I’m a professional,” Davis continued. “I’ve been in (the league) long enough. When I look at the situation, I feel like there was no respect. Knowing Chuck, I figured it would come from him. It really bothered me. I just figured it would be handled differently just knowing our (relationship). That’s the frustrating part. I felt like I was demoted for my (health). That’s the thing. If I get demoted and it’s because I can’t play, I would just say, ‘I (freaking) suck.’”

Regardless of how the situation was handled, there’s no question that Davis has struggled over the past two seasons. Following an entirely successful career that topped out with Pro Bowl appearances in 2014-15, Davis hasn’t played well since 2016. This year, he’s played on roughly half of Indianapolis’ snaps and graded as the league’s No. 94 cornerback among 117 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus.

Davis is a free agent at season’s end, and while his relationship (whether positive or negative) with Pagano may not matter much given that the Colts could have a new head coach next year, Indy could certainly move on from Davis, whom they acquired via trade in 2012. Entering his second campaign as general manager, Chris Ballard may opt to secure younger options on the defensive side of the ball.

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AFC Notes: Luck, Fournette, Watson

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link) says no one is exactly sure what the future holds for Colts QB Andrew Luck, who was recently placed on IR and ruled out for the remainder of the year. Per Rapoport, Luck has met with at least four doctors and has been advised that he should not throw for two to three months, though surgery is not in the cards at this point. Rapoport says all indications are that Luck will be healthy for the start of 2018, but Alex Marvez of Sporting News is not so optimistic. Because of the way the Colts publicly handled the situation, Marvez does not put much stock in reports that Luck will be ready to go by the start of 2018 — especially since he still cannot throw without soreness 10 months after surgery — and he says Indianapolis is facing the possibility of Luck never playing again at a high level and being on the hook for $87 million in salary guaranteed against injury. Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com tweets that Luck will be reevaluated in December, and that the Colts are “not ignoring” the 2018 QB draft class.

On that sobering note, let’s take a look at more rumors from around the AFC:

  • The Colts claim that cornerback Vontae Davis is out for today’s game due to non-injury reasons, but Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk hears that is actually a cover-up for the fact that the Colts have not disclosed Davis’ lingering groin injury in recent weeks. Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star says there is more to Davis’ absence than the team is letting on, but he believes Davis’ absence is due to personal reasons and is not injury-related.
  • Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette was deactivated for today’s game against the Bengals, and Jay Glazer of FOX Sports tweets that the star rookie missed treatment, a workout, and a team photo this week, which led to his benching. Head coach Doug Marrone is clearly trying to change the culture in Jacksonville, though Jags fans have to hope it doesn’t come at the expense of the team’s playoff push.
  • Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets that Texans QB Deshaun Watson is expected to miss eight to nine months as a result of his ACL tear, though the last time he tore his ACL, he missed only five months, so Houston is hopeful for a shorter timeline.
  • Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports says Broncos QB Paxton Lynch is under consideration to start in the team’s Week 10 matchup against New England, but Mike Klis of 9News.com says (via Twitter) that report is inaccurate. Klis reports that Lynch is not yet physically ready and that Brock Osweiler will keep the job if he plays well.
  • As La Canfora writes in a separate piece, there are some Browns coaches who believe GM Sashi Brown intentionally scuttled the team’s near trade for A.J. McCarron, presumably because he believed the cost (a second- and third-round draft choice) was too high. Even if Brown is right about that, his efforts to intentionally sabotage the trade represent a massive breach of protocol and will only intensify the much-discussed rift between the team’s coaching staff and front office. But even if Brown did not act duplicitously, and even if the botched trade was simply due to human error, the fact that the coaching staff thinks Brown intentionally nixed the deal suggests things have gone beyond the point of no return in Cleveland.

Trade Rumors: Megatron, Bryant, Staley

We heard earlier today that the Seahawks are still trying to trade for a veteran left tackle, and they are willing to part with TE Jimmy Graham in order to facilitate such a deal. With the league’s trade deadline just two days away, let’s take a look at more trade rumors from around the league:

  • Two teams have called the Lions to discuss acquiring the rights to retired WR Calvin Johnson, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, and Detroit told those clubs to go ahead and reach out to the future Hall-of-Famer. However, Johnson has been noncommittal at best, so it does not seem as if he will change his decision to remain retired, which he reiterated just two months ago.
  • We learned yesterday that the Lions are shopping TE Eric Ebron, and according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, Detroit is receiving inquiries from multiple teams about Ebron. Per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter link), Ebron has admitted that he could be dealt.
  • The Steelers are ignoring Martavis Bryant‘s trade request and plan to continue ignoring it, according to Albert Breer of SI.com, which makes it sound as if Pittsburgh is going to try and make things work with its disgruntled but talented wideout. However, that has not stopped contending teams from inquiring on Bryant, according to Rapoport (video link), who suggests that the Steelers are willing to at least listen to offers. The Patriots are one potential landing spot, as they discussed trading for Bryant prior to the draft.
  • The Eagles are another club looking for offensive line help at the deadline, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, who names the 49ers‘ Joe Staley as one possibility. Indeed, La Canfora writes in a separate pice that the 49ers are open to trading veterans like Staley, Carlos Hyde, and Eric Reid, but other teams say that the new regime in San Francisco values such players more highly than the market dictates, thereby making a deal unlikely.
  • Despite the fact that the Bills have jumped out to a surprisingly strong start, La Canfora says the team is still willing to move some of its veteran pieces. However, it has already been reported that Cordy Glenn and Anquan Boldin are available, and La Canfora does not add any other names to the list of Bills who could be on the move.
  • Per Schefter (via Twitter), the Colts are receiving inquiries on CB Vontae Davis, and they have been in talks with at least two clubs about the Illinois product.
  • John Reid of the Florida Times-Union says the Jaguars could look to trade RB T.J. Yeldon, but it is unclear whether there has been any movement on that front.
  • Because of the playing time that Chris Smith has received with the Bengals this season, the Jaguars will get a 2018 seventh-round pick from Cincinnati per the conditions of the trade the two clubs completed in April, as Mike Kaye of First Coast News tweets.

Colts DB Vontae Davis Suffers Injury

Bad news for the Colts. Defensive back Vontae Davis will be missing multiple weeks with a groin injury, coach Chuck Pagano told reporters. He added that the injury is “significant.” Vontae Davis (Vertical)

[RELATED: Colts Center Ryan Kelly To Miss Time]

Davis was being counted on to start at left cornerback opposite of Quincy Wilson. Now, the Colts will have to lean more heavily on utility man Darius Butler as well as recent free agent pickups Corey White and Chris Culliver.

Last year, Davis was hampered by a ligament issue in his ankle, though he managed to tough it out and play in 14 of Indy’s regular season games. This time around, it’s a more serious injury that will require some serious rest.

Davis has been a pillar of the Colts’ defense ever since joining the team in 2012. He earned Pro Bowl nods in 2014 and 2015 and his performance was further validated by his exceptional marks from Pro Football Focus. Davis earned an insane 95.1 overall score in 2014 and followed it up with a solid 81.9 mark in ’15. Last year, PFF had Davis as one of the ten worst qualified CBs in the NFL.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.