Willie Snead

AFC Notes: Patriots, Harry, Dolphins, Mills, Ravens, Snead

There was a lot of talk this offseason about how the Patriots’ receiving corp was looking a little thin. Chris Hogan left in free agency and Rob Gronkowski retired, so Tom Brady‘s group of pass-catchers was a bit depleted. New England moved swiftly to address the issue, taking N’Keal Harry out of Arizona State in the first round of last month’s draft. They nabbed Harry at 32nd overall, but they apparently would’ve been willing to take him much higher.

Bill Belichick told Todd Graham, one of Harry’s former college coaches, that the team “had him graded a lot higher than where he was taken in the first round,” per Jeff Howe of The Athletic. Graham spoke to Belichick the night of the draft, and the Patriots coach told him they “were so fortunate that he was still there.” It’s the first time in Belichick’s 19 years at the helm in New England that they’ve taken a receiver in the first round, so they clearly had to be very high on him.

Here’s more from around the AFC:

  • The Dolphins are rebuilding, whether they want to admit it or not. We still don’t know whether Josh Rosen or Ryan Fitzpatrick will win the starting quarterback job, but we do have a bit more clarity as to who will be one of their starting tackles. Jordan Mills “has come on in the past week and the job is clearly his to lose,” at right tackle, per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. The Dolphins let Ja’Wuan James walk in free agency, meaning they need a new starter opposite Laremy Tunsil, and it looks like Mills is going to be the guy. Mills started all 16 games each of the last three seasons for the Bills, but Buffalo didn’t have much interest in retaining him. He had a poor season last year, grading out as Pro Football Focus’ 70th-best tackle. He signed a one-year, $3MM deal with Miami just a few weeks ago.
  • The Ravens’ receiving corp is going to look a lot different in 2019, as they made a lot of changes in preparation for Lamar Jackson‘s first full season as the starter. They let John Brown and Michael Crabtree walk in free agency, and drafted two new receivers in the first three rounds last month. They’ll need some veterans to provide some stability with all the young guys around, and one of the vets they’re reportedly counting on to step up this year is Willie Snead. Unfortunately Snead hasn’t been able to be a full-go this offseason, as he had surgery on his finger after the season ended, per Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic (Twitter link). Zrebiec writes that the Ravens are “taking it easy with him.” Snead had a productive year last season, finishing with 62 catches for 651 yards and a touchdown.

Willie Snead To Join Ravens

Willie Snead is officially a member of the Ravens. The Saints informed the wide receiver on Monday morning that they will not be matching his offer sheet (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter). 

The Saints used the low level tender on Snead this offseason, which tagged him with only a one-year, $1.907MM placeholder. The move came as something of a surprise, but the Saints did not want to pay him upwards of $2.9MM via the second round tender after a forgettable 2017.

Right at the deadline for restricted free agents, the Ravens inked Snead to a two-year, $7MM offer sheet with another $3.4MM in incentives. After the Saints signed an RFA wide receiver of their own in Cameron Meredith, there was no real scenario in which they would have matched.

The Ravens upgraded their wide receiver stable by adding Michael Crabtree and John Brown in March. They were expected to target a WR3 type in the draft this weekend, but the addition of Snead will allow them to prioritize other areas of need.

Snead virtually disappeared from the Saints’ offense last year, but he averaged 70 catches for 940 yards and four touchdowns between 2015 and 2016. He won’t turn 26 until October, so the Ravens see serious potential in the former UDFA.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints Not Planning To Match Ravens’ Willie Snead Offer Sheet

After four years in New Orleans, Willie Snead looks like he will head north. The Saints are not planning to match the Ravens’ offer sheet, per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports (Twitter link), which will send the RFA wide receiver to Baltimore.

The Ravens only submitted this two-year offer sheet on Friday, but as of Saturday, it doesn’t look like the Saints are planning to retain Snead. This could have been expected after the Saints signed Cameron Meredith to a two-year, $9.6MM RFA offer sheet and agreed to bring back Brandon Coleman. This seemingly locks in a 2018 top four of Michael Thomas/Ted Ginn/Meredith/Coleman and left Snead without a surefire role.

He figures to have one with the Ravens, who continue to overhaul their receiving corps. The 25-year-old pass-catcher joins Michael Crabtree and John Brown as new Raven receivers, and this could well affect the franchise’s potential pursuit of Dez Bryant. Thus far, they’ve been the only team to express interest in the former Cowboys Pro Bowler.

Although, this two-year, $7MM deal, with some incentives, would have been a major discount based on Snead’s 2015 and ’16 seasons. But after a vast production dip in 2017 (eight receptions, 92 yards), Snead will earn a raise nonetheless. This through-2019 contract could double as an audition for Snead, who was negotiating with the Saints for a new deal last offseason. But he’ll be departing the league’s most consistent passing attack for one that hasn’t enjoyed as much success in recent years, so it will be interesting to see how Baltimore pieces together its new-look aerial group.

The former UDFA’s best work came during his age-23 and age-24 seasons, when he totaled 141 receptions for 1,895 yards and seven touchdowns between them. The Ravens are obviously hoping he can move closer to that form instead of the one that relegated him to a surprising afterthought in 2017.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens Sign WR Willie Snead To Offer Sheet

Saints restricted free agent wide receiver Willie Snead is signing an offer sheet with the Ravens, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. It’s a two-year, $7MM offer sheet with another $3.4MM in incentives. The deal also includes a $2MM signing bonus. Per league rules, the Saints have five days to match. 

This week, Snead reported to the Saints even though he did not have a deal in place with the team. Some took this as a sign that his market in restricted free agency hadn’t drawn much in the way of interest but, apparently, he did draw a sizable offer sheet from at least one team. Friday marks the deadline for RFAs to sign offer sheets and the Ravens have put the squeeze on the Saints at the buzzer.

Snead was tendered at the lowest level this offseason, giving the Saints the right to match any offer sheet. However, they will not receive any draft compensation in that event. Snead now stands to earn a significant bump over his one-year, $1.907MM placeholder, regardless of what the Saints do over the next five days.

The Saints will probably take their time in making a call on Snead, but it would be a surprise to see them match. After inking another RFA in former Bear Cameron Meredith, New Orleans will probably allow Snead to walk.

Meanwhile, for the Ravens, the move is an indication that they will not be signing Dez Bryant. The Ravens were among the clubs with interest, but they may have sensed that Bryant is on the verge of signing elsewhere.

Snead, 26 in October, was not a major contributor in the Saints™ offense last year. However, he averaged 70 catches for 940 yards and four touchdowns over the previous two seasons. Last year, as an exclusive rights free agent, he pushed for a better deal and didn’€™t get it. Now, based off of past performance and potential, he’ll be moving up a level.

The Ravens have upgraded their wide receiver stable by adding Michael Crabtree and John Brown in March. Neither Chris Moore nor Breshad Perriman did a whole lot last season, so the Ravens are looking to provide Joe Flacco with another weapon. The addition of Snead would give the Ravens a formidable trio at receiver and allow them to focus on other areas in the draft.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Willie Snead Reports To Saints

Willie Snead‘s status for 2018 remains uncertain, but he is proceeding as though he’ll be with the Saints in 2018. On Monday, the wide receiver reported to the team for workouts, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Snead was tendered by New Orleans at the lowest level this offseason, giving the Saints the right to match any offer sheet he signs (but no draft compensation). The wide receiver auditioned for the Ravens recently, but did not sign a deal with them. For now, he remains in limbo, but he could be getting close to signing his one-year, $1.907MM placeholder with the Saints.

Snead, 26 in October, was hardly a factor in the Saints™ offense last year. However, he averaged 70 catches for 940 yards and four touchdowns over the previous two seasons. Last year, as an exclusive rights free agent, he pushed for an improved contract and didn’€™t get it. He’s a long way from that big-money contract he wanted, but he could restore his value this year and look for a better payday next March.

The Saints added Cameron Meredith to their receiver group this offseason, meaning that Snead will have to fight for targets behind Michael Thomas, Ted Ginn Jr., Meredith, and Tommylee Lewis. On the plus side, quarterback Drew Brees tends to spread the ball around and the Saints did not land the high-end receiving threat they were seeking at tight end.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens Work Out WR Willie Snead

The Ravens auditioned wide receiver Willie Snead on Friday, Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Snead participated in the same workout as fellow wideout Michael Floyd

Snead is a restricted free agent of the Saints at the lowest level tender, meaning that New Orleans has the option to match any offer sheet he signs. If the offer sheet is not matched, the team will not have to forfeit any draft compensation.

Snead, 26 in October, didn’t do much last season. However, in the previous two campaigns, he averaged 70 catches for 940 yards and four touchdowns. The Saints’ decision to not use a second-round tender on Snead may be an indication that they won’t go far to retain him.

Last year, as an exclusive rights free agent, he pushed for an an new big money contract and didn’t get it. Snead is unlikely to hit the jackpot this time around, but he could position himself for a bigger payday if he does well on a one-year deal elsewhere.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints WR Willie Snead Visiting Ravens

Saints restricted free agent wide receiver Willie Snead will visit the Ravens on Wednesday, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The Saints used the lowest tender on Snead, which grants them the right of first refusal on any offer sheet. However, the Ravens would not have to forfeit any draft compensation in the event of an unmatched offer sheet. 

Snead, 26 in October, wasn’t much of a factor in the Saints’ offense last year and missed the first three games of the season with a suspension. However, he averaged 70 catches for 940 yards and four touchdowns between 2015 and 2016.

The Ravens have upgraded their wide receiver stable by adding Michael Crabtree and John Brown this month. Neither Chris Moore nor Breshad Perriman did a whole lot last season, so the Ravens are looking to provide Joe Flacco with another weapon.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

RFA/ERFA Tender Decisions: 3/13/18

Here are today’s restricted free agent and exclusive-rights free agent tender decisions, with the list being updated throughout the day. All links go to Twitter unless otherwise noted:

RFAs

Tendered at original round level ($1.907MM):

Non-tendered:

ERFAs

Tendered:

Non-tendered:

Saints Use Lowest Tender On WR Willie Snead

The Saints have tendered restricted free agent wide receiver Willie Snead at the lowest level ($1.907MM), a source tells ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). New Orleans will have the first right of refusal, but there will be no draft compensation for the Saints in the event of an unmatched offer sheet

Snead, 26 in October, was hardly a factor in the Saints’ offense last year. However, he averaged 70 catches for 940 yards and four touchdowns over the previous two seasons. Last year, as an exclusive rights free agent, he pushed for an an amended contract and didn’t get it. Now, he’s a long way from that big-money contract he wanted, but there should still be a market for his services.

New Orleans has two locked-in receivers in Michael Thomas and Ted Ginn, but the club could see a bit of overhaul on its wideout depth chart. In addition to Snead, wide receiver Brandon Coleman is also a restricted free agent.

In other Saints news, the team has decided against a tender for restricted free agent cornerback Delvin Breaux. Breaux, a former CFL standout, turned in a strong season for the Saints in 2015. Unfortunately, things tailed off from that point and he lost his entire 2017 season to injury.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC South Notes: Winston, Panthers, Saints

Jameis Winston is on track to return for the Buccaneers this weekend after missing time with a shoulder injury. But the third-year quarterback potentially has another battle to fight off the field. An Uber driver accused Winston of sexual assault, and although he’s denied the allegation, the NFL’s launched an investigation that is expected to carry over into the offseason. Thursday, Winston was asked if he’s worried a suspension would come his way. The Bucs quarterback (via the Tampa Bay Times’ Greg Auman, on Twitter) said he has “no fear at all.” ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter reported earlier this month many around the league expect the Winston proceedings to become a contentious process.

Here’s the latest from the NFC South.

  • Ron Rivera is comfortable playing Greg Olsen on Sunday even if he doesn’t practice this week, Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer tweets, adding the Panthers‘ Pro Bowl tight end’s rest thus far during the practice week is “precautionary.” Olsen aggravated the foot injury that sidelined him for most of this season on Sunday and returned this to see the Charlotte-stationed foot specialist who performed his surgery, Person reports (on Twitter). Olsen did not re-fracture his foot, per Person, but has a pain-tolerance decision to make before playing. He’s uncertain to face the Saints, who have their own issues at tight end.
  • Coby Fleener will not play in Sunday’s pivotal matchup with the Panthers. The Saints tight end is in concussion protocol and is week-to-week, but he’s not going to be ready for Week 13, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The NFL insider notes this unfortunate setback could linger for Fleener. While not a high-end threat in the Saints’ passing game, Fleener has suited up in all 11 Saints contests this season. Backup Josh Hill has just nine receptions this year.
  • Willie Snead has joined Fleener as a bit player in New Orleans’ passing game, being well off his paces set the past two seasons. The third-year wideout admitted he is frustrated about his current role, one that has him at just three receptions for 32 yards, Amos Morale III of NOLA.com notes. Snead served a three-game suspension and missed multiple games due to injury, but for an exclusive-rights free agent that came into training camp wanting an amended contract, Snead is having a disastrous season for that prospect. He caught 69 and 72 passes the past two years, respectively, and approached 1,000 yards in each. Snead will be a restricted free agent in 2018.
  • It will take a contract similar to the one the Panthers authorized for Trai Turner to keep the Turner-Andrew Norwell guard tandem intact long-term, Joel Corry of CBS Sports writes. The recent rise in guard money figures to benefit Norwell, a UFA-to-be and possibly set to be the top guard available on next year’s market. The franchise tag won’t be an option for Carolina, considering the system groups all offensive linemen together, and Corry writes Norwell could exceed Kevin Zeitler‘s guard-record five-year, $60MM pact.