Foles took all the repetitions in practice Wednesday, when coach Andy Reid said Vick was “getting close to Phase 2” of the concussion protocol which involves working out.
Report: Foles will start for Eagles Monday
Bears defensive end Julius Peppers is 34. His production is declining. He’s due to earn a base salary of $13.9 million in 2014. And the Bears suddenly are trying to trade him.
Good luck with all that.
Peppers is one of several big-name players who were expected to be on the outs and who suddenly are on the market. Whether it’s Peppers or Titans running back Chris Johnson or Buccaneers cornerback Darrelle Revis, the decision to suddenly thrust the player onto the trade block on the eve of the start of the new league year makes little sense.
Why not start the effort to trade the player earlier in the offseason? While a deal can’t be consummated until the moment the clock strikes 4:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, an agreement in principle can be reached well before the deal becomes official. That’s what happened last year with 49ers (now Chiefs) quarterback Alex Smith.
For Peppers, the only way he gets traded if is he agrees to a major cut in pay. No one will pay him $13.9 million. Unless he’s being sent to a place he specifically wants to play, there’s no reason for him to agree to take a dollar less than the amount to which he’s entitled.
And so he most likely won’t be traded, and he undoubtedly will be cut. And that six-year, $84 million contract will end up being a four-year, $53.5 million package.
So why do teams go through the charade of trying to engineer a trade in the hours before the league year starts? While it costs nothing to try, it’s highly unlikely that someone is going to give up a draft pick for a guy who soon will be available for no compensation to his current team.
Sometimes, a team will trade for a favorable contract. For most guys who become trade bait this week, the contract isn’t favorable. Which is one of the big reasons why the team wants to trade him in the first place.
With many of the top free agent pass-rushers taken off the markets by their own teams, the movement figures to be fast for the few remaining young options.
And one of them may be flying south.
New Bucs coach Lovie Smith needs pass-rushers to make his system work, and Johnson’s one of the few of substantial resume available.
Though he dipped to 3.5 sacks last year, the 11.5 he put on the board in 2012 (which earned him the Bengals franchise tag) will get him paid, quickly and well.
The Giants have reportedly retained some secondary and running back depth as the start of free agency nears.
The 28-year-old McBride played 15 games (10 starts) for the Giants in 2013, defending 15 passes and recording two interceptions.
Hillis, 28, rushed for 247 yards and a touchdown on 73 carries for the Giants, who signed him in October. He also caught 13 passes for 96 yards.
Colts coach Chuck Pagano may be reunited with one of his old players on the Ravens today.
Arthur Jones, a Baltimore defensive lineman who played in Pagano’s system when Pagano was the Ravens’ defensive coordinator, could sign with the Ravens today on a deal that will pay him $6 million to $7 million a year, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun.
The 6-foot-3, 315-pound Jones is a good fit for what Pagano wants to do defensively and could end up on the same defensive line as Cory Redding, who also followed Pagano from Baltimore to Indianapolis.
Jones is the oldest of three brothers in the athletic Jones family. His youngest brother is Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones, and their middle brother is UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
Jones is the No. 30 player in our Free Agent Hot 100.
Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL Network reports that the two sides are “very close” to an agreement that would keep Monroe in Baltimore for the next few years. Kinkhabwala’s colleague Ian Rapoport adds that the deal “should” be done before players are free to join other teams at 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday afternoon.
Nothing is official until it is official, of course, but the recent change in tone regarding talk of Monroe’s return to Baltimore certainly bodes well for the Ravens’ chances of keeping him. With other teams able to speak to Monroe’s representatives for the last three days, things would likely be trending in the other direction if Baltimore’s offers were not more appealing than what other teams have pushed in Monroe’s direction.
It also probably doesn’t hurt that the other top left tackles in free agency have all been strongly linked to new homes away from Baltimore already. That leaves fewer options for both Monroe and the Ravens and all the more reason for them to bridge their earlier gap.
The Jaguars are parting ways with an experienced backup tailback.
The 28-year-old Forsett played nine games for the Jaguars in 2014, rushing for 31 yards on six carries and catching 15 passes for 82 yards.
A seventh-year pro from California, Forsett has also played for Indianapolis, Seattle and Houston. He has rushed for 1,692 yards and eight TDs on 314 career carries and has hauled in 115 passes for 850 yards and one score.
Running back Maurice Jones-Drew, a Jacksonville stalwart, will be able to test the open market beginning Tuesday afternoon.
With the new league year less than seven hours away, the salary cap stands at exactly $133 million per team. So where did the $10 million-per-team increase over 2013 come from?
No one is identifying the precise source of $320 million in new spending ability, which translates to $640 million in new total revenues. The NFLPA has gone on the record to identify one place the money didn’t come from.
“There were absolutely no adjustments made to any benefits to inflate the cap,” NFLPA spokesman George Atallah recently told Tom Pelissero of USA Today. An unnamed source from the NFL’s perspective told Pelissero essentially the same thing, pointing generally to “new and enhanced TV deals” as the explanation for the spike.
In past years, there has been some confusion regarding whether the cap comes from revenue earned in the prior year or revenue expected in the current year. Either way, the number isn’t spat out by a giant computer at 345 Park Avenue; it’s negotiated by the two sides each and every year.
While there’s no specific reason to dispute the claim that shell games weren’t played to push the cap up by $10 million per team, there’s no way to know without being privy to the negotiations. Based on past precedent, there’s reason to at least wonder. Two years ago, the league agreed to borrow against future cap dollars in order to avoid a drop in the cap. While that would have hurt many teams, it could have been disastrous to NFLPA leadership, especially with executive director DeMaurice Smith only weeks away from re-election. In return, the union agreed to the imposition of $46 million in cap penalties on the Cowboys and Redskins for treating the uncapped year of 2010 as, surprise, uncapped.
Regardless, the upward trend is likely here to stay. One management-side league source recently reminded PFT of a prediction made back in 2011, after the CBA was finalized: The first few years will be very good for the owners, the next few years will even out, and by the later part of the 10-year deal the cap could be “way up” and players could be making a lot more than they were in 2011 and 2012.
For that reason, agents representing players who’ll hit the market should consider negotiating short-term deals. Unless and until someone finds a way to ensure that future compensation will be increased to reflect the annual percentage increases in the cap, it could be better to get back to the market every year or two, if the cap will be climbing by $10 million or more per year.
They’ll owe him exactly $3 million.
The contract omits offset language. This means that he can join another team, collect full compensation from that team, and keep the full $3 million in fully-guaranteed salary he’s due to pocket from the Panthers.
We revisited our information after Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer mentioned to our friends at WFNZ in Charlotte Tuesday morning that the deal doesn’t include offset language. He’s right; we missed it. “No offset language.”
While it won’t make it any harder (or easier) to trade Smith, it highlights the conundrum the Panthers now face: (1) keep Smith and pay him $7 million; (2) cut Smith and pay him $3 million; or (3) trade Smith and pay him nothing.
Maybe the trade should be Smith and a low-round pick — from the Panthers — to get another team to simply take that contract off Carolina’s hands.
Barring that, Smith will be able to apply a twist to his 2013 catch phrase: “Pay up, son. Pay up.”
Thanks to the rules governing restricted free agents, the Lions aren’t likely to lose running back Joique Bell to another team this offseason.
It’s hard to imagine a team ponying up a draft pick in either of the first two rounds to acquire Bell when few teams have been using those picks on rookie running backs in recent years, so the chances are very good that Bell is in Detroit in 2014. It would be advantageous to the Lions to sign him to a longer deal and save some room under the cap, however.
According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, such a deal may be in the offing. Birkett reports that the two sides are close to agreeing on a multi-year deal. If they can get it done by 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, they’ll have a bit more money to spend when the free agent stampede gets underway.
Bell gained 650 yards on 166 carries while working in tandem with Reggie Bush last season. His role could expand with a new offensive system in place and, one way or the other, it looks like he’ll be in Detroit to make his case for that expansion.
UPDATE 9:05 a.m. ET: Adam Caplan of ESPN reports Bell will be tendered at the second-round level if he’s not signed by 4 p.m. That would guarantee him $2.187 million if he plays in 2014 after signing the tender, but the two sides would still be able to sign a longer deal.
The Factory of Sadness seems to be planning another stellar product line for 2014; perhaps they’ll dub it the “Pick 6.”
Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reports that Schaub is a “serious possibility” for the Browns.
Schaub had some strong years with Shanahan, but based on a horrible 2013 season Schaub seems to be broken beyond repair. For that reason, he wouldn’t be handed the job in Cleveland. He’d have to compete with Brian Hoyer, who’s recovering from a torn ACL.
Currently the property of the Texans, Schaub isn’t available unless and until he’s released. With a cap number north of $14 million, that’s likely to happen, barring a pay cut so big that Ike Taylor would say, “Damn, that guy took a big pay cut.”
The Texans could create $10 million in cap space (as of June 1) by cutting Schaub with the post-June 1 designation. The team would carry $3.5 million in dead money for 2014 before absorbing a $7 million cap charge in 2015.
It’s unclear whether acquiring Schaub would take the Browns out of play for a first-round quarterback. Much of it depends on how much they pay Schaub. The less he gets, the more likely that the Browns are hoping to throw other teams off the scent of the possibility that the team will use the No. 4 pick in round one on a quarterback.
But he’s not exactly covering his tracks very well in terms of social media.
According to Andrew Abramson of the Palm Beach Post, Albert has gone on a spree of following Dolphins players on Twitter, adding Ryan Tannehill, Lamar Miller, Brent Grimes and Louis Delmas to his follows.
Granted, he follows some non-Dolphins too. But it just so happens that he signed up for a bunch of guys who happen to play for the team expected to give him a bunch of money in a few hours.
Welcome to capital-J Journalism, 2014-style.
With the unrestricted free agent market set to open this afternoon, certain positions are already picked over.
And teams are scrambling to keep their own to prevent a vacancy in a thin market.
The former seventh-round pick had a career year, hitting 88.5 percent of his field goals.
Jay Gruden jumped from running the Bengals offense to running everything for the Redskins this offseason and he may want one of his old players to come aboard his new ship.
Mike Jones of the Washington Post reports that the Redskins have made inquiries on wide receiver Andrew Hawkins, who is a restricted free agent that the Bengals tendered at the original round level. That gives Cincinnati the right to match any offer, but neither the Redskins nor any other team would have to fork over a draft pick because Hawkins was undrafted out of college.
Hawkins only played eight games last year because of injuries, catching 12 passes for 199 yards. He was more productive out of the slot in 2012 and isn’t the only receiver coming off a rough year that’s reportedly on the Redskins radar.
Jones reports that they’ve also made inquiries on Kenny Britt, who had just 11 catches in 12 games while playing a steadily diminished role in Tennessee last season. Britt has had numerous injuries and off-field troubles over the years, which should keep his price low enough for some team to take a flier that there’s something left of the player who looked so promising in his first two seasons.
When the Vikings restructured Kevin Williams‘ contract before last season to make him a free agent this year and added Sharrif Floyd in the draft, it seemed like a sign that they were planning for an eventual parting from the veteran defensive tackle.
Williams said Monday that Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman has told him that the Vikings want him back, however, and that his agent is talking to the Vikings as well as other teams. Williams passed on the chance to put odds on his chances of returning to Minnesota, but said he’s happy to stay put.
“I wouldn’t rule it out,” Williams said, via Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press. “I would like to come back, but I’ll have to see if it’s a fit for both of us. I talked to Rick a couple of times and he said he wants me back. I have to see what the coaching staff is going to want.”
If Williams does return, the Vikings could take a longer look at him as a nose tackle while Floyd takes over the three-technique spot that Williams has held down for most of his tenure. Even if that’s a possibility, the Vikings may opt to go in a different direction as they did by re-signing Everson Griffen and moving on from Jared Allen at defensive end.
Well, now we know why linebacker Karlos Dansby hasn’t accepted a two-year offer worth $10 million to $12 million to stay with the Cardinals.
Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reports that the Browns are likely to pursue Danbsy once free agency opens at 4:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday. Dansby, who at age 32 is nearly two years older than former Browns linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, would replace Jackson (now with the Colts) in coach Mike Pettine’s defense.
The Browns may have competition beyond the Cardinals for Danbsy. Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean reports that the Titans also are interested in Dansby. During his first stint in Arizona, he played for new Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt.
Dansby has enjoyed a significant career rebirth in the last year. In 2013, the Dolphins cut Danbsy loose after signing Dannell Ellerbe away from the Ravens.