Tim Tebow needs to feel welcomed in Jacksonville before he becomes a Jaguar. Mike Florio thinks that will happen. Florio also talks about Charles Tillman’s potential absence on Sunday and Jerry Jones’ role with the Cowboys.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
PFT Live: Is Tebow welcome in Jacksonville?
Walker signed with the Saints as an undrafted free agent out of Tulsa in 2012. He made the roster but did not take the field as a rookie. Walker played in seven games in 2013 with four tackles and a sack and became a regular in the Saints defensive line rotation the following season, making 19 tackles and 2.5 sacks.
Walker signed with the Lions before the 2015 season but broke his fibula after only four games that season, and he underperformed last season, going from starter to a reserve player and was even benched for a midseason game.
Walker, 27, played 353 defensive snaps in 2016. He appeared in 15 games, finishing the season with 26 tackles and no sacks.
The big wheels of the anti-Kaepernick machine keep rolling.
In an item that sounds a little like our recent PFT item but that in many ways is fundamentally different, Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com shares under the cloak of anonymity more criticism of Kaepernick’s football habits. And, at a time when the 49ers have recently apologized to Kaepernick for a leak to Peter King of TheMMQB.com regarding Kaepernick’s desire to play, these latest leaks come from, yes, the 49ers.
“As one Niners employee explained it, Kaepernick wouldn’t stay late at the facility during the season like many quarterbacks routinely do, saying he’d take work home,” Breer writes. “And there were examples where coaches saw what looked like shoddy prep surfacing in inexplicable mental errors in games. Another staffer, asked if he thinks Kaepernick wants to keep playing, answered, ‘I do think he wants to play — to stay relevant.'”
It’s not clear on the surface of the article whether the leaks come from current or former 49ers employees. Breer has clarified that the person who expressed the belief that Kaepernick wants to play “to stay relevant” was employed by the team a year ago, but Breer has not clarified whether the Niners employee who chided Kaepernick for taking work home is still employed, or whether the leak came before or after G.M. John Lynch told PFT Live that he apologized to Kaepernick for the leaks to King about Kaepernick.
The irony of Breer’s article is that his broader point — Kaepernick needs to speak on his own behalf — comes in an article containing more examples of people speaking about him under the cloak of anonymity. Multiple members of the media have been trafficking in these anonymous opinions, passing them along without scrutiny and thus necessarily presenting them as true.
Breer’s item becomes the latest example of King’s website being all over the map when it comes to Kaepernick. King has consistently and repeatedly argued that Kaepernick should be employed, reiterating the view most recently in King’s weekly mailbag and sharing eye-opening data on Monday from Cian Fahey suggesting that Kaepernick threw only seven “interceptable” passes in 2016, the least in the league. (Kaepernick threw 16 touchdown passes against four interceptions for a 90.2 passer rating last season; imagine how well he would have played if he wasn’t lazy, as Breer’s latest reporting clearly implies.)
Others, like Breer and Andy Benoit, have made their views on Kaepernick clear. Benoit received sharp criticism from Drew Magary of Deadspin.com for making a football-based argument that all 32 starters and 15 backup quarterbacks are better than Kaepernick. While it’s admirable that King allows his people the freedom to write what they want, the issues raised by Kaepernick’s unemployment are too sensitive and too nuanced for a publication to be skittering all over the place regarding whether Kaepernick can or can’t play, regarding whether he does or doesn’t want to play, and regarding whether his unemployment is or isn’t a result of his activism.
In a surprise announcement at what is ordinarily the slowest time of the year in the NFL, the Chiefs have fired General Manager John Dorsey.
The Chiefs issued a statement saying Dorsey is out.
“I notified John that we would not be extending his contract beyond the 2017 season, and after consideration, we felt it was in his best interests and the best interests of the team to part ways now,” owner Clark Hunt said in a statement.
That announcement came about half an hour after the Chiefs announced that head coach Andy Reid has signed a contract extension. That will obviously lead to speculation that perhaps Dorsey and Reid weren’t on the same page, and that Reid won a power struggle within the organization. Dorsey recently made the surprising decision to cut an old favorite of Reid’s, Jeremy Maclin.
Dorsey is the third G.M. to be fired this offseason, following Washington’s Scot McCloughan and Buffalo’s Doug Whaley.
Add the Saints to the list of teams with all of their draft picks signed.
The Saints moved into that column on Thursday by announcing that first-round tackle Ryan Ramczyk has signed with the team. Ramczyk, the 32nd overall pick of the draft, signed a four-year deal with a team option for a fifth year.
Ramczyk appeared headed for a backup role as a rookie, but left tackle Terron Armstead’s shoulder surgery could lead to a spot in the starting lineup right off the bat. Armstead is expected to miss 4-6 months and Ramczyk is seen as a favorite to take over his role while he’s recovering.
With Ramczyk under contract, there are now 11 unsigned draft picks in the entire league. Seven of those players are first-round picks, including second overall pick Mitchell Trubisky.
“We think he’s got a lot of years left in him,” Mara told WFAN on Thursday, via Dan Duggan of the Newark Star-Ledger.
The difference from three years ago is Manning now is 36 and is entering his 14th NFL season. Manning, who has made 211 consecutive starts, has three years left on his contract.
The Giants started planning for a future without Manning, though, by drafting Davis Webb in the third round. Giants coach Ben McAdoo has said the team intends to give Webb time to develop as the No. 3 quarterback behind Manning and either Josh Johnson or Geno Smith, who are competing for the backup job.
The Raiders signed their quarterback to a contract extension on Thursday and one of their AFC rivals has done the same with their head coach.
The Chiefs announced that they have reached agreement on a new deal with Andy Reid, who was in the fifth and final year of his current contract. There were no terms announced.
“I’d like to thank Clark and the entire Hunt family for the opportunity to continue my coaching career here in Kansas City,” Reid said in a statement. “We’ve made quite a bit of progress over the last four seasons, but we are not done yet. We are going to continue to work towards our ultimate goal of winning championships. I’ve been blessed by the support of the community, our fans, the Hunt family and the entire Chiefs staff. I’m looking forward to the years ahead as the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs.”
Reid has gone 43-21 in four seasons with the Chiefs and has taken the team to the playoffs in three of those years. The extension will give him a chance to improve on those totals while overseeing the expected transition from Alex Smith to 2017 first-round pick Patrick Mahomes at quarterback.
Darren McFadden never lived up to expectations as the fourth overall pick in 2008. In seven seasons with the Raiders, McFadden had only one 1,000-yard season as he missed 29 games with 15 different injuries.
Yet, McFadden, who turns 30 next month, still has a job in the NFL. He has, in fact, embraced his role as Ezekiel Elliott’s backup.
“Obviously I’m going to be a backup guy,” McFadden said, via Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “Whatever they need me to do, I’m going to do it. If it’s special teams or whatever, I’m up for it. At the end of the day, it’s a team sport. I’m a team guy. That’s what I love about the game.”
McFadden didn’t even test free agency in the offseason, instead signing a one-year, $980,000 deal that included only $80,000 to sign. The Cowboys are comfortable with him as Elliott’s primary backup considering he rushed for 1,089 yards for them in 2015.
McFadden missed most of last season with a fractured elbow, playing only three games and 48 offensive snaps while getting only 24 carries. He also played 13 snaps on special teams, something the Cowboys ask of their backup running backs.
“It’s tough [not to be the feature back],” McFadden said. “…But at the same time, it’s a team sport. I’ve been around the game long enough to know that eventually someone is going to come in who is going to try to run you out.
“I’m blessed to be 10 years in the league as a running back still playing. It’s one thing I’m very happy about.”
Jason Garrett refers to Jeff Heath as one of the players “who always shows up” when the Cowboys give him chances. To that end, the Cowboys plan on giving Heath more chances this season.
They have penciled in Heath as the starting strong safety, a spot left open by the free agent departure of Barry Church.
“I’ve seen a lot [from Heath],” free safety Byron Jones said, via Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News. “All of this stuff we saw last year, he wasn’t getting a lot of playing time earlier in the season, but he was coming in at critical situations and making good plays. That’s what Jeff Heath’s main thing is.
“Even on special teams, he’s a core guy. He’s a guy who is calling the plays. He’s a personal protector on punt [coverage]. That’s a big job. If there’s one guy we can trust with that, it’s Jeff Heath.”
The Cowboys signed Heath as an undrafted free agent in 2013. Known more as a core special teams player, Heath has made the most of his time on defense. He has five interceptions since arriving in Dallas, including the postseason, which ties him for the team lead in that span. Heath has intercepted Jameis Winston three times and Kirk Cousins and Aaron Rodgers once each.
Heath received his most snaps his rookie season when he was on the field 594 defensive plays, starting nine games because of injuries in the secondary. He got only 125 snaps in 2014, 205 in 2015 and 243 in 2016.
On the first minicamp practice last week, Heath had two interceptions of Dak Prescott. Heath’s performance in the offseason program has given the Cowboys confidence he can handle the job.
Former Colts and longtime Arizona State head coach Frank Kush has died at the age of 88.
Kush coached the Colts from 1982-84, which made him a first-hand witness to both the team’s move from Baltimore to Indianapolis before the 1984 season and then-owner Robert Irsay’s decision to draft John Elway in 1983 despite Elway’s desire to avoid the Colts. Elway was ultimately traded to the Broncos.
“That was old man Irsay’s decision,” Kush said in 2008, via the Arizona Republic. “I’m sure he [Elway] didn’t want to play for the Colts. If that included Frank Kush, that’s his opinion.”
Kush went 11-28-1 before resigning with a game left in the 1984 season. He coached one season in the USFL before that league folded and spent a year in the CFL between his Colts and Arizona State gigs. Kush spent 21 seasons at ASU and went 176-54-1, but his tenure came to a bad end after a player accused Kush of punching him during a 1978 game.
Kush returned to the school in 2000 as a special assistant to the athletic director. The field at Sun Devil Stadium is named after him and a statue of Kush sits outside a stadium entrance.
Odell Beckham’s absence from voluntary offseason workouts hasn’t turned Giants owner John Mara against him.
Mara said today on WFAN that he had a “great conversation” with Beckham and still considers him the kind of player the Giants want on their roster.
“I wish we had another dozen players like him,” Mara said, via NJ.com.
Mara said the Giants want Beckham to get better at controlling his emotions, but they also think Beckham is emotional because he cares so much about his team.
“He knows that he’s got to mature and learn to control his emotions better,” Mara said. “He’s working on that. But one thing about that kid is that when he shows up at work, nobody works harder than he does. He’s so competitive, even in practice. He wants to win so badly.”
Beckham reportedly wants a new contract. Mara sounds like he’d be OK with paying Beckham a lot of money.
After the Steelers drafted wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster in the second round of this year’s draft, Martavis Bryant tweeted that the rookie would be replacing Sammie Coates in the team’s receiving corps.
Coates responded with a laugh, but he’s aware that it is going to be a competitive situation at camp this summer. Antonio Brown has a spot locked down and the Steelers won’t be cutting Smith-Schuster. Barring further discipline, Bryant will likely have another spot and Eli Rogers is back after working out of the slot last season.
Coates, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Justin Hunter, Cobi Hamilton and 2016 seventh-rounder DeMarcus Ayers round out a group that Coates believes will make for “a good fight” for jobs. Special teams work will factor into the final choices and Coates’ chances of being one of them will be better if he’s healthy after breaking fingers last season and having groin surgery this offseason.
“I’m getting there. It’s a process,” Coates said, via Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com. “That’s what this process is for, to get your body back so you can compete during camp. … I’m starting to get back my speed.”
Getting as much of it back as soon as he can would seem to be in Coates’ best interests.
When it comes to quarterback contracts, the player’s circumstances tend to have much more relevance to the final numbers than the broader market at the position. On Thursday, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr combined his status as a second-round pick entering the fourth and final year of his contract along with a clear message that he’s willing to do the franchise-tag dance into a long-term contract that nudges the bar a little higher than Colts quarterback Andrew Luck did a year ago.
As each franchise quarterback signs, attention turns to the next wave. Or two. Or three. Here’s a look at each of the foreseeable waves of major quarterback deals.
1. The Next Wave.
The twice-tagged Washington quarterback will either sign a long-term deal by July 17 or posture himself for one of several options in 2018: (1) a long-term contract with Washington signed after the season ends; (2) the transition tag of $28.7 million; (3) the franchise tag of $34.47 million; or (4) a shot at the open market, either with an offer sheet under the transition tag or as an unrestricted free agent.
His risks of letting it ride for a third straight year are simple and clear — serious injury or complete and total ineffectiveness. Either way, he will have made $44 million over two years, and at a minimum someone will pay him $5 million or so to serve as a backup in 2018, if for some reason he badly regresses this season.
What he’d make on the open market remains to be seen. The 49ers are believed to be interested, given the presence of former Washington offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. But the Rams have hired the coordinator who helped Cousins throw for more than 4,900 yards in 2016. If head coach Sean McVay decides that he both wants Cousins and hopes to keep him from Shanahan, Cousins could be in position to sit back and allow the NFC West rivals to bid the package higher and higher.
Stafford has a $16.5 million salary in 2017, the last year of the extension he signed with two years left on his rookie deal. With a 2017 cap number of $22 million, his franchise tender for 2018 would be $26.4 million. For 2019, it would move to $31.68 million. That’s a bare minimum of $74.58 million to be paid out over the next three years, and thus the starting point for another extension.
Bottom line? He could (should) soon eclipse Carr as the highest paid player in NFL history.
A second-round pick from 2014 (like Carr), Garoppolo has been the subject of plenty of speculation regarding trades, franchise tags, and bridge deals aimed at paying him a lot of money to wait behind Tom Brady. For now, coach Bill Belichick merely wants to keep Garoppolo in place as insurance against a Brady injury. Come 2018, a decision will need to be made.
Some believe that Brady could retire after winning a sixth Super Bowl, especially since his wife seems to be steadily nudging him to walk off into the sunset. If that happens, the Patriots would then have a limited window for negotiating a long-term Garoppolo deal, with the franchise tag as the fallback against Garoppolo hitting the market.
The real question is whether the tag also would be the starting point on a long-term quarterback. For most quarterbacks, it is. But Garoppolo: (1) plays for the Patriots; and (2) is represented by Don Yee, the agent who has signed off on multiple below-market Tom Brady deals. Some think the Patriots will be able to get Garoppolo to take less than top dollar, like Brady has done. Others think Yee is determined to do with Garoppolo that which Brady refused to ever do.
If Brady refuses to retire after 2017 (and if the Patriots choose to keep him in place as a 41-year-old starter in 2018), they could tag and trade Garoppolo (see Matt Cassel), keep him under the tag for a year, sign Garoppolo to a short-term deal aimed at keeping him in place to take over for Brady, or let Garoppolo hit the open market and enhance their haul of compensatory draft picks in 2019.
Brees has one year left under contract, and a clause prohibiting the team from using the franchise tag to keep him in place the following year. Whether he stays or goes, Brees will count for a minimum of $18 million under the New Orleans salary cap next year.
He has said he won’t extend the deal, which means he’ll either sign with the Saints after the 2017 season ends and before the launch of free agency or he’ll become an unrestricted free agent, like he did more than 11 years ago.
So what is a 39-year-old franchise quarterback worth on the open market? We could find out within nine months.
Yes, Sam Bradford. The last No. 1 overall pick of the pre-rookie wage scale era, who made $78 million on his first six-year deal and enters the final season of the two-year, $36 million contract signed in Philadelphia last year. Now the starter in Minnesota, the Vikings can pay him a lot of money now or even more later, if forced to use the franchise tag to keep him in place.
The wildcard as to Bradford is Teddy Bridgewater. The Vikings could end up choosing to keep him instead, if he recovers sufficiently from the devastating knee injury that compelled the Vikings to trade for Bradford last September.
Yes, A.J. McCarron. Other teams have been interested in trading for him, but the Bengals have wanted too much for the man who nearly helped Cincinnati nail down the No. 2 seed — and who did everything in his power to win a 2015 wild-card game against the Steelers — after Andy Dalton broke his thumb. Will someone break the bank for McCarron? He’s due to become an unrestricted free agent in March.
2. The Second Wave.
The Falcons quarterback has two years remaining on his current deal, with a 2018 cap number of $21.65 million. This means that he’d make $25.98 million, at a minimum, under the franchise tag in 2019. With $35 million in cash due to be paid out over the next two seasons, the Falcons could approach Ryan about trading it in for a long-term deal that puts north of Carr in annual average, or Ryan could wait for the market to keep going up — and in turn for his leverage to increase.
However it plays out, another major payday is coming for Ryan. There’s currently no reason to think Ryan will push it to the brink and force the Falcons to play the franchise-tag dance.
Winston won’t approach free agency or the franchise tag until after the 2019 season, but he’ll be eligible for a second contract after 2017 . Given that the Buccaneers have never (never) given a second contract to any quarterback the franchise drafted, they may want to make a statement by committing to Winston as early as possible — and possibly at a number far lower than it would be if he’s closer to the franchise tag.
Mariota, the second pick in the same year Winston was drafted No. 1 overall, also becomes eligible for a new deal after the 2017 season. The Titans will need to decide whether to move quickly or let it play out a bit, with Mariota under contract through 2019, once they pick up the fifth-year option. The decision could, in theory, hinge on how quickly the Buccaneers extend Winston, and vice-versa.
3. The Third Wave.
Some would say Rodgers should be in the first wave. But here’s the rub: He doesn’t seem to be inclined to complain about his current contract, even though he’s woefully underpaid. It’s the Jo(h)n Voight Phenomenon; Rodgers did a bad deal, committing himself for seven full seasons in 2013 without accounting for potential spikes in the salary cap. As a result, his aging $22 million-per-year contract doesn’t compare well to new Derek Carr’s $25 million annual deal.
In March, as rumors and reports grew that the Bears would be giving Mike Glennon $15 million or more per year in free agency, Rodgers said as to whether this would compel contract talks for him, “I think it has to.” In response to the PFT item on the issue, Rodgers downplayed the obvious implications of his words and brushed our interpretation off as “#fakenews.”
Interpretation of the reaction to the interpretation? He plans to keep driving the LeBaron once owned by Jon Voight the actor, resisting any and all suggestions that it was actually owned by John Voight the periodontist.
As Wilson entered the last year of his rookie deal in 2015, the Seahawks rewarded Wilson for a pair of Super Bowl appearances (and avoided the franchise-tag dilemma) with a four-year extension worth $21.9 million per year. Wisely, Wilson ensured that he’d get back to the market sooner than later, which likely puts him in line for another extension after the 2018 season, when once again approaches the final year of his current deal in 2019.
The fourth-round phenom becomes eligible for a new deal after the 2018 season, and 2019 will be the fourth and final year of his rookie deal. The Cowboys will need to decide whether to do a top-of-market deal before Prescott approaches the franchise tag, or risk inheriting a Kirk Cousins conundrum. How he plays, and what the team achieves, over the next two years will be critical to answering that question.
The Raiders and quarterback Derek Carr have agreed to a five-year extension that is worth up to $125 million over the life of the deal.
As any longtime follower of NFL contracts is well aware, however, the details of how the deal is structured in terms of guaranteed money provides a fuller view of how much money a player will see over the life of the contract. According to multiple reports, Carr’s deal gives him $40 million in fully guaranteed money at the time of signing. There are reportedly $70 million in total guarantees, but it’s not clear how those are structured.
The $40 million at signing is less than Colts quarterback Andrew Luck received as part of the extension he signed a year ago. Luck had another $16 million guaranteed on the fifth day of this league year and the contract, which has a slightly lower annual average value, included $87 million guaranteed for injury in total.
Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that Carr’s deal also includes a delayed cash flow that will enable the quarterback to take advantage of the lack of income tax in Nevada once the Raiders move to Las Vegas and should help the team find money to use on extensions for defensive end Khalil Mack and guard Gabe Jackson.
Cam Newton makes people stupid.
And sometimes, he makes them say things which are the opposite of things they said previously.
In a classic case of late-June hot-takery, former NFL defensive lineman Booger McFarland has declared Panthers quarterback Cam Newton a phony.
“People I talk to in Carolina tell me Cam’s not a leader and not well liked by a lot of his teammates,” McFarland said, via Ross Tucker.
The cool thing about this is, a year ago, McFarland said on ESPN Radio that Newton was the “Best young leader in all of sports right now.”
So, not to pick on Booger (see what I did there?), but which is it?
Certainly circumstances and opinions can change, and McFarland can easily claim he’s learned things in the last year he didn’t know previously. And if that’s the case, then at least one of his opinions was ill-informed and irresponsible.
Now we’ll just wait to see which one he claims, which will probably depend on whether Newton plays like an MVP again.
We now return you to your regular summer programming.
The Bengals have employed Marvin Lewis as their head coach since 2003 and they’ve kept him in the organization with a series of one-year extensions in recent years, but that’s not the case this time around.
Lewis is not signed beyond the 2017 season, leading some to wonder if this will be his final year on Cincinnati’s sideline if the team doesn’t make progress after going 6-9-1 last year. Quarterback Andy Dalton says the coach’s status isn’t weighing on the players as they head toward September.
“He doesn’t talk about contracts. He doesn’t talk about his situation,” Dalton said, via the Cincinnati Enquirer. “It’s all about having a good year. So, the guys aren’t thinking about that.”
The players may not be putting particular focus on Lewis’ situation, but it’s not because they don’t like the coach. Cornerback Adam Jones and punter Kevin Huber both said they love Lewis, but pointed out that nothing about this offseason is too different from a player’s perspective.
If players don’t perform well, there’s a good chance they’ll be off the roster when the next year gets underway and that’s true whether Lewis is signed for four more years or four more months. Or, as Jones put it, “if you’re winning everything is good” and players have a lot more control over that than any decision owner Mike Brown will make if they post another losing record.