Wesley Woodyard

Extra Points: Bennett, NFLPA, Cap, Kirksey

Although Michael Bennett went through a nomadic late-2010s stretch after the Seahawks traded him in 2018, he remained productive. The veteran defensive lineman has registered 15.5 sacks over the past two seasons and is a free agent for the first time since 2013. Bennett, who signed with the Seahawks in 2013, would like to return to the team to which he’s most linked. Asked if he would want to play for the Seahawks again, the 34-year-old defender said “hard yes.” Bennett, though, has not yet committed to playing a 12th NFL season.

I would love to end my career in Seattle,” Bennett said, via Joe Fann of NBC Sports Northwest. “It’s not up to you, though. It’s up to the team.”

The Seahawks gave Bennett two contracts, including a three-year, $31.5MM extension in 2016. That contract was set to run through 2020, but after the Eagles and Patriots traded him, Bennett and the Cowboys restructured the deal to direct him toward free agency this year. Seattle has most of its pass rushers — including Jadeveon Clowney and Jarran Reed — as impending free agents, so the franchise will have critical decisions to make in the next week and change.

Here is the latest from around the league, moving first to the reconfigured NFLPA:

  • Russell Okung has enjoyed an eventful March, being traded from the Chargers to the Panthers and filing an unfair labor practice charge at the NFLPA staff. As for Okung’s status with the union, he will no longer be part of the NFLPA’s executive committee, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Okung dropped his bid for NFLPA president, throwing support behind Michael Thomas in a race that went to Browns center J.C. Tretter. Both of the players Tretter beat out for the job — Thomas and linebacker Sam Acho — will stay on as executive committee members.
  • Calais Campbell, Malcolm Jenkins and Wesley Woodyard will replace Mark Herzlich, Zak DeOssie and Adam Vinatieri on the executive committee. They will join Tretter, Acho, Thomas, Richard Sherman, Ben Watson, Alex Mack, Lorenzo Alexander and Thomas Morstead on the 11-man committee, the union announced.
  • Rumblings about the salary cap rising to around $230MM by 2021 have surfaced, but the 2020 cap will not move too far from the previously estimated $200MM amount. If the players approve the CBA proposal, the highest the cap would surge to in 2020 would be $206MM, per Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic (subscription required). While the salary ceiling could climb significantly by 2023, if the league’s TV negotiations go well, those spikes will not come until at least 2021.
  • Christian Kirksey may have a chance to land on his feet before free agency. Recently released by the Browns, the veteran linebacker has three visits scheduled, Dan Graziano of ESPN.com tweets. Kirksey’s travel itinerary is not yet known, but the 27-year-old defender’s first visit is scheduled for Wednesday morning.
  • The Texans will take a look at a notable wide receiver soon. They will work out former Broncos rotational cog Jordan Taylor, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle notes. Taylor has not played since the 2017 season. He spent 2018 on the Broncos’ PUP list, and though he caught on with the Vikings last year, the 28-year-old target did not see game action.

Titans, Wesley Woodyard Agree To Extension

The Titans have signed linebacker Wesley Woodyard to a two-year extension, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. The new pact will keep him in place through the 2019 season. He can earn up to $12.75MM over the next three years.Wesley Woodyard (Vertical)

Woodyard, 31 in July, has not missed a single regular season game in his three years with the Titans. He was an every-game starter for Tennesee in his first year there (2014), but he has seen his role downsized a bit in each of the last three seasons. Still, he’s a valuable piece of the defense and he’ll now be tied down for an additional two years.

Woodyard’s old deal called for him to hit the open market after the 2017 season. While he was slated for a $5.5MM cap number with a $4.25MM base salary, Woodyard has agreed to accept a paycut as part of the extension, per Yates. Woodyard will now earn a base salary of $2.2MM, a $1MM roster bonus (already paid out), and have the chance to earn $300K in per-game roster bonuses.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Links: Woodson, Titans, Pats, Skrine

Let’s check out some assorted notes from around the AFC…

  • Following his tenure with the Packers, veteran cornerback Charles Woodson inked a contract with the Raiders. Woodson admitted that his agent had reached out to the Lions during the 2012 offseason, but there was little interest from the franchise. “I was kind of throwing some lines out there to see where the interest was,” Woodson said (via ESPN.com’s Michael Rothstein). “Most teams, coming out of Green Bay, everybody thought I was pretty much done. Washed up. Couldn’t run anymore. I heard all of the adjectives to describe me…They were one of those teams that probably thought that.”
  • Michael Oher was just one of many offseason additions that didn’t work out for the Titans in 2014, writes ESPN.com’s Paul Kuharsky. Linebacker Wesley Woodyard lost his job to a rookie, running back Dexter McCluster made little impact offensively, defensive lineman Al Woods ultimately settled into a backup role and linebacker Shaun Phillips was cut in November.
  • In a series of tweets, Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap partially attributes the Patriots cap-conscious approach to the team’s inability to keep running back Curtis Martin. The franchise’s lack of cap flexibility during the 1998 offseason had a lasting impact on the organization, and the team vowed to never be in that kind of situation again.
  • Count Browns defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil among those who’d like to see defensive back Buster Skrine back with the team next season. “Buster is one of my favorite guys on the defense,” O’Neil previously said (via Kevin Jones of ClevelandBrowns.com). “He embodies ‘Play Like a Brown.’ I don’t ever want to let good players walk out the door.”

Poll: Who Is Most Likely To Be Traded?

The trade deadline is tomorrow at 4pm eastern time, and a number of prominent players have been the subject of swirling trade rumors over the past several weeks. After a nightmarish start to the season, the Buccaneers may be entertaining the idea of a fire sale, with Vincent Jackson, Doug Martin, and Dashon Goldson all potentially on the trading block.

The Titans, meanwhile, appear ready to usher in a new era with the insertion of Zach Mettenberger into the starting lineup, and they are reportedly taking calls on veterans Nate Washington, Michael Griffin, and Wesley Woodyard. The Bengals, who have regained control over the AFC North without much help from Jermaine Gresham, may be waiting for someone to meet what should be a fairly low price for Gresham’s services. And the Rams, who suffered an ignominious defeat at the hands of the Chiefs yesterday after a surprising upset of the Seahawks in Week 7, could be shopping players like Kendall Langford and Zac Stacy.

We also learned yesterday that the Vikings could be taking calls on Adrian Peterson, Chad Greenway, and Greg Jennings. However, all of those players, for various reasons, are probably less likely to be on the move than some of the other names mentioned above.

Indeed, given the level of interest in his services, the struggles of his current team, and his potential impact on a new club, the player who may be the most likely to be dealt is Jackson. This is despite NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport’s belief that Tampa Bay would not settle for less than a second-round pick in exchange for its top wideout.

But that’s just one person’s opinion. Odds are, of course, that no one will be traded; that’s simply the status quo when it comes to the NFL trade deadline. And several head coaches whose teams were rumored to be active participants in the trade market said today that they did not expect their clubs to pull the trigger on a deal. CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, even though he lays out a number of trades that he thinks would be beneficial for teams who appear destined for losing records in 2014, acknowledges that seeing one of those trades come to fruition would be very surprising.

However, reality is not always exciting. So, with that in mind, which of the above players do you think are mostly likely to be traded? Do you think a different player will be on the move? Or do you live so relentlessly in the real world that you think all of this smoke will fail to give rise to a single fire?

Trade Buzz: V-Jax, Rams, Vikings

There seems to be more buzz surrounding this year’s NFL trade deadline than in years past, and Michael Fensom of the National Desk points out that Week 8 will be the final “audition” for those players who have generated the most interest, including the BuccaneersVincent Jackson and the BengalsJermaine Gresham. Fensom also observes that, since January 2012, the teams that have made the most trades are also among the most successful clubs on the field.

Of course, as CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora writes, the odds that a major trade comes to fruition are pretty slim, especially since so few teams are clearly out of the hunt at this point in the season. That does not mean, however, that it is not worth your while to take a look at some of the latest trade buzz. The trade deadline is Tuesday, October 28:

  • NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets that the Eagles, Patriots, and Seahawks are among the teams calling about Jackson. He adds (via Twitter) that the Chiefs are also involved. He points out, however, that the Buccaneers are looking for real value in any trade involving Jackson, and Rapoport defines “real value” as a second-round pick (Twitter link).
  • Rapoport tweets that another player that could be on the move is Rams DT Kendall Langford, who has generated some interest. La Canfora believes that St. Louis may have also fielded some calls on RB Zac Stacy.
  • La Canfora writes that the Raiders are willing to deal Matt Schaub, but there is unsurprisingly not much of a market for him.
  • La Canfora adds that players who had previously been discussed as trade possibilities, like the EaglesBrandon Graham, have since been taken off the table.
  • Fensom reasons that, given the Seahawks‘ reported interest in tight ends, Seattle is a potential landing spot for Gresham.
  • Our Zach Links recently wrote that Titans WR Nate Washington has been made available via trade, but Fensom writes that other Tennessee players like Wesley Woodyard and Michael Griffin are also rumored to be available.
  • There is also speculation that the Vikings are looking to sell, and Fensom lists Adrian Peterson, Chad Greenway, and Greg Jennings as potential trade chips.

Extra Points: McCoy, Woodyard, Mosley, Smith

The Buccaneers and Gerald McCoy exchanged countless proposals and they have been working on a deal every week since before camp, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. It’s a deal that both sides wanted and they got it done with a reported seven-year, $98MM extension earlier today.

Here are some other notes from around the NFL:

Rob DiRe contributed to this post.

Titans GM Downplays Trade Rumors

The Titans are off to a slow start this season, having fallen well back of the playoff teams at 2-5, and the team’s decision to start rookie Zach Mettenberger at quarterback this weekend indicates that the focus has shifted from contending to rebuilding. As such, several veterans have been cited as potential trade candidates, but general manager Ruston Webster isn’t anticipating a busy deadline for his team, as Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com details.

“We actively traded Akeem [Ayers]; that was something we were working on and trying to do and was good for both parties,” Webster said today on 104.5 The Zone in Nashville. “Outside of that, there’s really nothing imminent, nothing on the back burner. I’d be surprised if anything happened before the trade deadline.”

While Ayers had been a key contributor on defense in past seasons, the new coaching staff didn’t have a spot for him, and the return in this week’s trade was minimal — the Titans upgraded from a seventh-round pick to a sixth-rounder for the 2015 draft. There’s a chance the team could do a little better than that for some of its trade chips, but none of them are potential difference-makers that will move the needle significantly for a contender or net the Titans a high draft pick.

Wide receiver Nate Washington, linebacker Wesley Woodyard, and safety Michael Griffin have all been mentioned as players potentially on the block. A PFR poll this morning asked which of those players is most likely to be dealt, and Washington is currently the leader with nearly 50% of the vote. About 20% of you lean toward Webster’s apparent stance, voting that none of those three players will be moved.

The trade deadline is scheduled for Tuesday at 3:00pm central time, so Webster still has about 95 hours to change his mind and swing a deal. We’ll have to wait and see whether the rebuilding Titans indeed stand pat.

Poll: Who Will The Titans Trade?

The NFL trade deadline is just days away and recently there has been a lot of chatter about the 2-5 Titans, who apparently don’t want to wait until the offseason to start their newest rebuilding process. Tennessee traded linebacker Akeem Ayers and a seventh-round choice to the Pats for a sixth-round pick earlier this week and that might not be the last trade they pull off in October.

Three veteran players in particular have been identified as trade candidates, and wide receiver Nate Washington is the biggest of the bunch. Washington is in the final year of his six-year, $26.8MM deal and the Titans, who aren’t in the playoff picture right now, aren’t eager to pay out ~$282K per game to the 31-year-old. Of course, that doesn’t mean other clubs wouldn’t be willing to take on that obligation. The Bengals are one team that could benefit from adding Washington to the fold. Rutgers alum Mohamed Sanu has emerged as a legitimate option in the passing game, but Cincinnati could use reinforcements, especially if A.J. Green isn’t back on the field this Sunday. Moving Washington wouldn’t just save money, it would allow the Titans to see how sophomore Justin Hunter responds to being their unquestioned No. 1 receiver.

Safety Michael Griffin, who has a Tennessee tenure nearly as long as Washington’s, is said to also be on the block. Like Washington, Griffin also boasts an impressive track record of durability, playing 16 games per season from 2007-2012, 14 games in 2013, and playing in all seven games thus far in 2014. In those 14 games last season, Griffin recorded 82 tackles, four pass deflections, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery. Pro Football Focus (subscription required) was also bullish on him, giving him an overall grade of 6.1, good for 14th amongst all qualified safeties in the NFL last season. The advanced metrics haven’t been nearly as kind to him this season – he’s 75th out of 82 safeties – but another team could try getting him back to his old form in a different scheme.

Just hours ago, linebacker Wesley Woodyard was added to the list of Titans trade possibilities. Woodyard just signed with the Titans in the offseason on a four-year deal worth up to $16MM with $4.75MM in guarantees, so his inclusion came as something of a surprise. Still, with a youth movement taking place in Tennessee, it appears that GM Ruston Webster is willing to move Woodyard and possibly carve out more snaps for rookie Avery Williamson.

So, with the Tuesday deadline drawing closer, who do you think will be on the move?

AFC South Notes: Titans, Woodyard, Mallett

They say the “idiot on the field” doesn’t belong there, but that’s not always the case. 23-year-old Kryshana Pierce, who rushed the field during the Colts-Bengals game, is actually a former professional women’s football player, as Dana Hunsiger Benbow of the Indy Star writes. The former wide receiver was arrested and charged with criminal trespassing, disorderly conduct, and resisting law enforcement. She did not get a contract offer from the Bengals, however, even though A.J. Green is sidelined with an injury. More from the AFC South..

  • Last night we heard that wide receiver Nate Washington is on the block and today safety Michael Griffin was mentioned as a Titans trade candidate. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) now adds linebacker Wesley Woodyard to the list. Woodyard, 28, signed a four-year deal worth up to $16MM with the Titans in March. The veteran’s deal includes $4.75MM in guaranteed money. With Zach Mettenberger under center on Sunday, the Titans are apparently looking towards the future.
  • Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req’d) looked at some backup quarterbacks from around the league who could start in 2015, including Texans pending free agent Ryan Mallett. The QB free agent class looks like it’ll be rather thin and the same can be said of the QB talent pool in the draft. That could make Mallett a desirable starting option on the open market for another team or it could lead the Texans to re-sign him to be their own No. 1 guy.
  • Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald (on Twitter) is perplexed by the Jaguars‘ apparent waste of resources. Jacksonville has had top-10 draft choices in each of the last seven seasons and top five picks in each of the last three years. Despite that, they’re currently 1-6.

Titans Notes: Verner, Woodyard, Stewart

New Buccaneer Alterraun Verner spoke earlier about his decision to leave the Titans earlier today, saying he felt undervalued by the team, writes Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com.

“I think it’s very tough because there’s a lot of changeover, new coaches and everything like that,” Verner said. “At times, I felt that I could have been undervalued or maybe not appreciated enough.”

He said the Titans offered him a contract close to what he got in Tampa Bay, but the decision was not solely about the money.

  • Details of Wesley Woodyard‘s new contract with the Titanns have been released, reports Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun and Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean (via Twitter). The $16MM contract includes $4.75MM in guaranteed money.
  • Wyatt also reported that the team’s former right tackle David Stewart is unlikely to continue his career (via Twitter). Stewart was released earlier in the week.
  • Chris Johnson has become more willing to take a pay cut if it helps the Titans to trade him, reports Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. It is unclear if teams would be interested in the 28-year-old running back.