Iowa offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga was regarded as a surefire top-ten pick just days ago, but he slipped all the way to 23rd overall in the draft. Packers G.M. Ted Thompson hardly hesitated to scoop him up.
Packers intercept Bulaga
He’ll do so by joining the Jaguars, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media.
A league source tells PFT that Gerhart’s three-year deal has a base value of $10.5 million, including $4.5 million guaranteed.
The move could mean that the Jaguars have exited the Maurice Jones-Drew business. Given that he has eight years of wear and tear, the money paid to Gerhart is likely money that would have been given to Jones-Drew, if he wanted it.
A second-round pick in 2010, Gerhart has 1,305 career rushing yards, with a 4.7 per-carry average.
If, as it appears, Jones-Drew won’t return, Gerhart and Jordan Todman likely will serve as the top tailbacks in Jacksonville.
As expected, no restricted free agents received a first-round tender, according to the NFL’s official free agency press release.
Recent restricted free agents who have been given first-round tenders were Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz in 2013 and then-Buccaneers defensive end Michael Bennett in 2012. However, this RFA class didn’t have a slam dunk first-round tender candidate, and that held true.
That said, it isn’t a class without some talent. Four restricted free agents received second-round tenders: Seahawks wideout Doug Baldwin, Panthers offensive tackle Byron Bell, Lions running back Joique Bell (who also agreed to an extension Tuesday) and Broncos cornerback Chris Harris.
Eleven other restricted free agents were tendered a contract, with the tendering team simply retaining the right to match any offer sheet. Among this group was Bengals slot receiver Andrew Hawkins, who reportedly has drawn an offer sheet from Cleveland.
Falcons cornerback Robert McClain was the only player given an original-round tender. If the Falcons declined to match an offer sheet to McClain, the signing team would give up a seventh-round pick. McClain was a seventh-round selection of Carolina in 2010.
Forty-six players with less than four accrued NFL seasons were not tendered a contract by their 2013 clubs, including offensive guard Danny Watkins, a 2011 first-round pick of Philadelphia who spent last season with Miami.
On a day with few surprises relating to the signing of free agents, here’s a fairly big one.
The Saints have announced that former Bills safety Jairus Byrd has signed a six-year deal.
Byrd, who played in 2013 under the franchise tag in Buffalo, wasn’t expected to draw serious consideration from the Saints, in large part because the Saints have been dealing with salary-cap issues.
But G.M. Mickey Loomis and coach Sean Payton have found a way to get the deal done. And a defense that got a lot better in 2013 (then again, the bar from 2012 was low) suddenly has gotten even better, with the addition of the No. 12 player on the PFT Free Agent Hot 100.
The Buccaneers didn’t want Darrelle Revis. But they did want a big-name, big-money cornerback.
Free agent cornerback Alterraun Verner, formerly of the Titans, has agreed to terms on a contract with the Buccaneers. It’s a four-year, $26 million deal with $14 million guaranteed, according to Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports.
Verner is the No. 10 player in our Free Agent Hot 100, and he’s a great addition to the Buccaneers and to new coach Lovie Smith’s defense. It’s also a significant surprise: Few people saw this one coming.
Revis will not return to the Bucs, and barring a last-minute trade, he will be released on Wednesday. Now the Bucs have their No. 1 cornerback. And he’ll cost less than half as much as Revis.
The bad news is that the Jets seem destined to lose the 2014 third-round pick they presumed they’d get from the Bucs for the 2013 trade of Darrelle Revis. The good news is they could get back Revis.
If they want Revis.
Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports that Revis would “love” to play for the Jets and coach Rex Ryan again.
While Ryan and some teammates and plenty of fans would “love” it, too, the guy who made the decision to trade Revis may not be interested. Owner Woody Johnson, weary of the constant threat of a holdout or other Revis-related drama, opted to trade him with a year left on a deal that Revis expected to have renegotiated last year. Johnson surely isn’t ready to re-embrace a player who seemed only to be happy when he wasn’t happy about his contract.
A cynic would suggest that Revis realizes the team (i.e., the owner) doesn’t really want him back. So by making it known that Revis would love to return, the knife will twist a little more if/when Revis ends up with the Patriots.
It’s believed that contending teams with franchise quarterbacks will pursue Revis the most aggressively, and that he’ll be inclined to take the best offer made by a team with which he thinks he can win.
Last week, we unveiled our annual PFT Free Agent Hot 100 list.
This week, it’s updated to include all of the various signings.
You can see it right here, and you can bookmark the link.
Actually, you should bookmark the link. Right below your bookmark for the home page of PFT. And below your bookmark of the Rumor Mill.
And above your bookmark of the PFT Team Page for your favorite NFL team.
Thank you. That is all.
Despite his age (31), defensive end Jared Allen deserves consideration at the top of the pass-rusher market. And it’s his insistence to be paid accordingly that could make it hard to find a new home.
Per a league source, the Broncos definitely have interest in the former Chiefs and Vikings standout. However, the concern is that he wants too much money.
With no other serious suitors (for now), Allen has no leverage.
Allen earned every dollar of a six-year, $73 million contract. It’s unclear what he wants now, but it’s apparently more than the Broncos care to pay.
With DeMarcus Ware suddenly available, Ware and Allen could be played against each other by a contending team looking to land a bargain.
The Seahawks, whose defensive line depth has been thinned a little in recent days, are reportedly set to host one of the top interior defensive linemen available in free agency.
Hatcher ranks No. 36 on PFT’s Free Agent Hot 100.
Hatcher (6-6, 299) had a strong season for Dallas in 2013, recording a career-best 11 sacks and making the Pro Bowl. He will be 32 in July.
The Giants landed a guard, a linebacker and a running back on the first day of free agency and now they’re turning their attention to their kick return game.
Josina Anderson of ESPN reports that Jacoby Jones is expected to visit with the Giants on Wednesday. Anderson notes that Jones is still talking to the Ravens about remaining in Baltimore, so the visit is contingent on nothing happening with the Ravens that would make a trip to New Jersey moot.
Jones made $4 million in Baltimore last season and returned 31 kickoffs for 892 yards and a touchdown. That score was the fourth career kickoff return touchdown in the regular season — Jones added one in Super Bowl XLVII — to go with four punt return scores. That kind of production was missing for the Giants last season, although it’s unlikely that they’d be willing to pay the same price that the Ravens paid for Jones’ services last season.
With Hakeem Nicks likely leaving the team, Jones could work his way into the receiver rotation for the Giants as well. He has done his best work on special teams throughout his career, though, and that’s likely the leading reason why the Giants and Ravens are interested in his services.
The clock is ticking in Tampa, where the Buccaneers reportedly will cut cornerback Darrelle Revis absent a trade concluded by 4:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, no resolution is expected on Tuesday night.
A resolution must come on Wednesday, and the options are simple. The Bucs will trade him, or they’ll cut him.
With each passing hour, it becomes harder to trade him. And it becomes more likely that the only teams that would acquire Revis and his $16 million annual contract are those teams that stand no chance of luring him on the open market, where he’s likely to land with a contending team sporting a franchise quarterback.
The Browns are the only team believed to be interested in a trade. The team’s level of interest isn’t known.
In turn, the player’s level of interest in playing for the Browns isn’t known. Presumably, the Browns want him only if he wants to be there. If that’s the only way Revis gets $16 million for 2014, there’s no reason to think he wouldn’t want to be there.
Eric Wright will spend another season in San Francisco.
Wright, a cornerback who signed a one-year deal with the 49ers last year, revealed on Instagram that he is signing another contract with the 49ers this year.
When Wright is 100 percent physically and mentally, he has shown flashes of being a very good player. Unfortunately, Wright hasn’t always been 100 percent physically and mentally. Wright has had run-ins with the law, and he lasted just 10 games in Tampa Bay after signing a five-year, $37.5 million contract with the Bucs in 2012.
When the 49ers signed Wright in 2013 they initially put him on the non-football injury list, saying he was “tending to a personal matter.” But Wright was able to get on the field for the 49ers late in the regular season and in the playoffs, and they like his potential. He’s still just 28 years old and should have some good football ahead of him. That football will be played in San Francisco.
Defensive end DeMarcus Ware wasn’t the only longtime member of the Cowboys to part ways with the franchise on Tuesday.
Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News reports that wide receiver Miles Austin will also be dropped from the roster. The move will save the Cowboys $5.5 million under the salary cap, but those savings will not come into effect until after June 1 because Austin has been designated as a post-June 1 cut.
Austin’s departure has been expected for some time as he has found it difficult to remain healthy enough to stay on the field because of hamstring injuries. His production hit a new low in 2013 with just 24 catches and 244 yards in 11 games despite the presence of Dez Bryant and Jason Witten to keep defenses from keying on Austin.
Terrence Williams filled some of the void left by Austin with 44 catches for 736 yards in his rookie season. He’s likely to move up to the No. 2 receiver spot unless the Cowboys make an unexpected addition to the top end of the receiving corps.
Austin turns 30 in three months and he’s probably going to have to take something at or near the veteran’s minimum for the 2014 season to show that he’s still capable of both being productive and staying on the field.
And now they apparently will trade him.
Sproles joined the Saints in 2011, after six seasons with the Chargers. He turns 31 in June, and the Saints apparently believe his best days are behind him. Fortunately for New Orleans, other teams disagree.
Thus, of all the veterans destined to be cut whose teams are trying to trade them, Sproles is the one, and perhaps only, that actually will be traded.
Julius Peppers wasn’t a free agent at 4:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday. He now is.
The Bears have terminated Peppers’ contract, a six-year, $84 million contract signed by the former Panthers defensive end in 2010.
“We appreciate Julius’ contributions to the Bears over the last four years,” G.M. Phil Emery said. “He was a leader on our defense starting every game since coming to Chicago. His accomplishments over his NFL career place him among the best defensive ends over the past 20 years. The Chicagoland community has benefited greatly from his quiet generosity. We wish him the best.”
Peppers made $53.5 million in four seasons. The move avoids $14 million in total compensation for 2014, along with $16.5 million for 2015.
The second overall pick in the 2002 draft instantly becomes a free agent. It’s unlikely that he’ll be offered anything close to $14 million for 2014.
Who’s up for a little in-state restricted free agency intrigue?
According to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal, the offer sheet is for four years.
The Bengals will have seven days to match the offer. The Bengals tendered the 28-year-old Hawkins at the right-of-first-refusal level in restricted free agency, meaning they will not receive any draft pick compensation if the receiver departs.
The 5-foot-7, 180-pound Hawkins has hauled in 86 passes for 995 yards and four TDs in three seasons with Cincinnati. His quickness makes him a challenging player to deal with in space, and the Browns would likely use him as their primary slot receiver.
A University of Toledo product, Hawkins played for the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes and appeared on the reality show “Fourth And Long” before joining the Bengals.
Now, he appears in line for a nice pay bump, whether it’s in Cleveland or Cincinnati.