Vontae Davis

Extra Points: Bears, Fuller, Seahawks

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.

Details On Vontae Davis’ Deal With Bills

On Monday, the Bills agreed to sign Vontae Davis to a one-year contract. We now know the terms of the deal, and it appears to be a favorable one for the cornerback. Vontae Davis (vertical)

The one-year deal comes with a $5MM base salary and $3.5MM of that sum is guaranteed, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears. With incentives, Davis can max out the value of the deal at $8MM.

Details on Davis’ potential bonuses have not surfaced yet, but it’s notable that he’ll have an opportunity to nearly match the average annual value of his previous four-year, $36MM contract with the Colts. Even before considering the incentives, it’s a solid payday for a player who has not performed at a high level over the last two seasons.

The Bills are taking a bit of a gamble with Davis, but they believe that he has more quality football in the tank. The value of the deal may also give some insight into their plans regarding E.J. Gaines. With a base of $5MM, the Bills probably intend to start Davis at cornerback opposite rising sophomore Tre’Davious White. Gaines edges Davis in both talent and youth, but he is in line for a big payday as one of the best free agent CBs on the board. The Bills have only $29.5MM in cap space and much of that will be dedicated to filling other needs as well as signing their rookie class, so they are taking an economical approach over committing to Gaines on a long-term deal.

Last season, Gaines ranked as Pro Football Focus’ No. 13 ranked cornerback. Davis, meanwhile, ranked near the bottom in 2016 and would have done the same in 2017 if he logged enough snaps to qualify.

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Bills To Sign Vontae Davis

Vontae Davis has found a home. The free agent cornerback is signing a one-year deal with the Bills, according to Ben Volin of The Boston Globe (on Twitter). Davis himself has seemingly confirmed the news on his own Twitter account as well. Vontae Davis (vertical)

For most of the league’s players, free agency does not kick off until March 14. However, Davis was in a unique position since the Colts released him during the 2017 season. Typically, the available players in February are replacement level types. Davis, meanwhile, was able to shop himself as soon as he received medical clearance from doctors a couple of weeks ago.

No one can accuse Davis of being hasty about his free agent choice. In recent weeks, the veteran met with the 49ersBrownsBillsRaiders, and Dolphins before settling on Buffalo. His stated goal was to sign with a team before the start of free agency and he accomplished that with more than two weeks to spare.

The terms of the deal are not yet known and we also don’t know exactly what caliber of player the Bills are getting in the 29-year-old (30 in May). The former first-round pick looked the part of a high-end starter as he earned Pro Bowl nods in 2014 and 2015. However, his performance declined in 2016 and a core injury slowed him down tremendously last season, leading to his November release.

In 2014, Davis earned a stellar 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, he was one of the ten worst qualified corners in the league in 2016, per PFF, and wasn’t ranked much better at the time of his release in ’17.

If healthy, Davis could prove to be a valuable depth piece for Buffalo. He could be asked to provide even more if the team is unable to re-sign pending free agent E.J. Gaines.

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Dolphins Meet With CB Vontae Davis

Where in the world is free agent Vontae Davis? On Friday, the cornerback continued his travels by visiting with the Dolphins in Miami, according to a source who spoke with ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). Vontae Davis (vertical)

In the last week or so, Davis has met with the 49ersBrownsBills, and Raiders. He hopes to sign with a team before free agency opens on March 14, but not before doing his homework on several interested clubs.

Davis is in a unique position as an accomplished veteran who is free to sign with teams before most are eligible for the open market. That’s because the veteran was released by the Colts in November and did not return to the field last season. Surgery for a core injury held Davis back last season, but he recently gained medical clearance from doctors.

The Dolphins have two cornerbacks – Walt Aikens and Alterraun Verner – slated for unrestricted free agency next month. Safeties Nate Allen and Michael Thomas are also scheduled to hit the open market. As it stands, the team is slated to start Xavien Howard and Cordrea Tankersley at cornerback with T.J. McDonald and Reshad Jones at safety. In theory, Davis could bump Tankersley from the CB2 slot after the rookie earned a dismal 53.8 overall score from Pro Football Focus, placing him as the No. 93 ranked CB out of 121 qualified players last year.

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Vontae Davis Hopes To Sign Before Free Agency Opens

Free agent cornerback Vontae Davis wants to sign with a new team before the unrestricted free agent period begins on March 14, according to Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (Twitter link).Vontae Davis (vertical)

Because he was released during the 2017 campaign, Davis is not considered an unrestricted free agent. Instead, he’s a “street’ free agent, which means he’s free to sign with any club at any time. Theoretically, that designation could give Davis a leg up, as he’s not currently competing with an impressive crop of UFA corners that includes Trumaine Johnson and Malcolm Butler.

Davis confirmed that he has thus far met with four clubs: the Bills, Browns, 49ers, and — most recently — Raiders. All four teams are in great need of defensive back help, and Davis could be a cheaper option than the cornerbacks who are set to hit the open market next month. Davis, 29, recently gained medical clearance after dealing with a core injury in 2017, so interested parties have confidence that he’s now healthy.

While Davis struggled with ineffectiveness and injury last year, he was an extremely competent cornerback as recently as 2016, when he ranked 11th in Football Outsiders’ success rate. A former first-round pick, Davis earned Pro Bowl nods in both 2014 and 2015.

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Raiders Meet With Vontae Davis

Vontae Davis is not taking his free agency lightly. On Wednesday, Davis touched down in Oakland to meet with the Raiders, a source tells NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (Twitter link). Vontae Davis (vertical)

This marks Davis’ fourth known free agent visit of the last week. In recent days, the veteran cornerback has met with the 49ers, Browns, and Bills. There could still be more meetings down the pike for the former first round pick.

The Raiders have a clear need in the secondary after releasing cornerback David Amerson. Safety Sean Smith is expected to also get a pink slip in the coming weeks and Davis could also contribute there.

For now, the only real certainty at cornerback is rising sophomore Gareon ConleyT.J. Carrie, who started in all but one of Oakland’s games last year, is slated to be an unrestricted free agent in March. Carrie graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 22 ranked corner in 2017, but new defensive coordinator Paul Guenther may or may not see him as a fit for his scheme.

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49ers To Meet With Vontae Davis

The Niners will meet with cornerback Vontae Davis on Tuesday, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). This marks Davis’ third known free agent visit of the offseason. Vontae Davis (vertical)

Davis, 30 in May, was released by the Colts in November due to health issues and a rumored clashing between him and the coaching staff. Recently, Davis was given medical clearance by doctors, paving the way for him to meet with interested clubs. After meetings with the Bills and Browns, Davis is now discussing things with the cash-flush Niners.

With $74.5MM in cap room, the Niners trail only the Browns and Colts in flexibility. Davis is in a unique spot as a valuable free agent who is eligible to sign in February and both the 49ers and Browns are in the unique position of being able to sign the corner without really impacting plans for March. For what it’s worth, the Bills also have a decent amount of breathing room with roughly $29.6MM in space.

Davis disappointed in 2016 and didn’t see the field much last year thanks to his core injury, but he was among the league’s best corners in 2014 and 2015. The Niners could be interested in seeing if he could turn back the clock. perhaps on an affordable one-year deal.

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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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