Erik Kuselias, Mike Florio, and Rodney Harrison update the NFL playoff picture as the regular season nears conclusion. Is the NFC picture already set? Can the Patriots run the table in the AFC?This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
ProFootballTalk: Painting the NFL playoff picture
Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch has agreed to terms on a new contract that covers the next three years. And he’ll be paid at the high end of the running back market.
Per a source with knowledge of the terms, Lynch gets $12 million this year, in the form $7.5 million signing bonus and a $4.5 million fully-guaranteed base salary.
In 2016, Lynch (if he plays) will get a base salary of $9 million. In 2017 (if he plays), it’s a base salary of $7 million in 2017 along with a $3 million roster bonus due on the fifth day of the 2017 league year.
If Lynch retires after 2015, he’d be responsible in theory for paying back $5 million of the signing bonus. But the Seahawks wouldn’t be required to pursue the money. If they know going in that he may walk after 2015 (and that probably was one of the subjects discussed at Friday’s sit-down regarding the contract), it would be a surprise if they seek repayment of the money.
Lynch was scheduled to make $7 million in 2015, the final year of a four-year contract. So, basically, he got another $5 million to return for one more year.
The Seahawks are making a big change at tight end.
Seattle released veteran Zach Miller with a failed physical designation on Friday, the club announced. The 29-year-old Miller underwent two ankle surgeries in 2014.
Miller hauled in 102 passes for 1,092 yards and eight TDs in four seasons with the Seahawks. He played his first four NFL seasons with Oakland (2007-2010).
If healthy, Miller could be attractive to clubs looking to add to their tight end depth. Earlier in his career, he caught 60 passes or more in back-to-back seasons with the Raiders.
In addition to releasing Miller, the Seahawks waived defensive tackle Jesse Williams and offensive tackle Garrett Scott (non-football illness). Williams was a fifth-round pick in 2013, while Scott was a sixth-round selection last year. In the case of Scott, a heart condition detected in a club physical in May ended his career before it started.
The Patriots opened the week by placing a $4.59 million franchise tag on kicker Stephen Gostkowski.
Gostkowski ended the week by signing it.
Field Yates of ESPN.com reports that Gostkowski has signed the tag, which guarantees him that salary absent agreement on a multi-year deal with the team. Signing the tag also eliminates the possibility, however remote, that the Patriots would rescind the tag and leave Gostkowski, who has been in New England since 2006, in search of a new home.
The Patriots and Gostkowski can work on a longer deal thru July 15 and the Patriots said they intended to do just that when they announced their decision to use the tag on Monday.
With that taken care of, whatever attention the Patriots were paying to the status of the tag can now be applied to other matters. Safety Devin McCourty is the biggest free agent-to-be, although the resolution of cornerback Darrelle Revis’s status for 2015 probably stands as the most pressing issue for the Super Bowl champs.
Free agent safety LaRon Landry is reportedly in line to miss more than half of the upcoming season.
Landry has been suspended for the first 10 games of the 2015 regular season by the NFL, Field Yates of ESPN.com reported Friday.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, Landry’s ban is for a violation of the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy.
Last season, Landry served a four-game PED policy suspension as a member of the Colts, who released him in February.
The 30-year-old Landry has recorded 617 tackles, 41 passes defended and eight interceptions in eight seasons. However, the news of this latest ban puts his NFL career on hold — at best.
One of the better unrestricted free agent cornerbacks is reportedly set to shop around come next week.
“I think he’s going to hit the market,” House’s representative, Kenny Zuckerman, told ESPN.
The 25-year-old House ranks 39th among PFT’s top free agents. Though House has made just 14 career starts in four NFL seasons, his size (6-0, 195), athleticism and relative youth for a free agent could appeal to clubs.
The Jets took one of the Bears’ problems off their hands, but one is apparently enough.
The speculation is natural, because Geno Smith has underwhelmed in his two years there, and a new coach and General Manager with no ties to him have no reason to stake their jobs on a guy they didn’t pick.
Coupled with Cutler’s availability — after new Bears coach John Fox went out of his way to not endorse him — there was plenty of reason to think it was possible, if not smart.
But let’s be honest — it would have been a hoot.
Putting a quarterback who may or may not care — and may or may not be liked by anyone he works with — in New York would have created a tabloid back page gold mine, which the entire country could have enjoyed, the way we enjoy watching spattering, out-of-control grease fire that burns down somebody else’s kitchen.
It might not have been productive for the Jets, but it sure would have been a lot of fun for the rest of us.
After the 49ers mutually parted ways (unless they didn’t) with coach Jim Harbaugh, owner Jed York said that the organization wants to win with class.
Some are having a hard time reconciling their decision to sign receiver Jerome Simpson with that objective.
Simpson, who was out of the league in 2014, has had three off-field incidents since 2012, one of which included the alleged delivery of 2.5 pounds of marijuana to his home. So hows Simpson mesh with the whole “win with class” thing? Owner Jed York has been asked that question. He didn’t answer it.
“You have to ask [G.M.] Trent Baalke,” York told Ann Killion of the San Francisco Chronicle. “I don’t know what the thinking was.”
When it comes to the nature of the split with the team’s most recent head coach, York has a different position: Don’t ask Harbaugh, who claims the parting wasn’t mutual.
“I feel sorry that’s how he feels,” York said. “I have a signed agreement that says otherwise.”
It’s currently expected that the Seahawks and running back Marshawn Lynch will strike a new deal pursuant to which Lynch will return to the team for at least one more year. But that hasn’t officially happened yet.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the meeting between Lynch and the Seahawks is due to start at 2:00 p.m. PT. It’s believed that an agreement will be finalized at that time.
It’s also believed that the contract will commit Lynch to the Seahawks for at least one more year, at a significant increase over the $7 million he was due to earn in 2015.
Beast Mode is back for another run.
Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch has agreed to a new contract and will return for another season in Seattle, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.
Lynch has been noncommittal over the last month about whether he wants to keep playing football, and there had been talk that he might decide to retire. But the Seahawks have apparently enticed him to stay by offering him more money. Seattle also agreed to re-do Lynch’s contract last year to get him to show up to training camp.
Most players can’t get away with threatening to quit if they don’t get more money year after year, but Lynch is not most players. He’s one of the best players in the league, and one of the most important players to the Seahawks. And now they have him back.
UPDATE 5:00 p.m. ET: PFT has learned that the deal is not yet done. But it’s expected to be, soon.
The Bengals re-signed Rey Maualuga on Friday, but they may not be done making moves at linebacker.
Geoff Hobson of the team’s website reports that the Bengals plan to bring A.J. Hawk in for a visit next week “as they rate veteran linebacker depth” in free agency. Hawk was released by the Packers last week, although Green Bay is reportedly open to a return at the right price.
With Emmanuel Lamur tendered at the second-round level, the interest in Hawk could be a hedge against anything less than a full return from Vontaze Burfict next season. Burfict had an injury-riddled 2014 season with a pair of concussions followed by a pair of knee surgeries, including a microfracture procedure that could delay his return to the practice field if not the lineup for the regular season.
Given the way Hobson framed the visit, Hawk likely won’t be the only linebacker under consideration for a job in Cincinnati once the market is flooded with free agents.
The Buccaneers were quick to show interest in former Eagles pass-rusher Trent Cole.
But they’re far from his only suitor.
Via Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times, the Colts want to bring Cole in for a visit if he leaves Tampa today without a deal.
The Colts have cap room to make moves, and need to add pass-rushers in the worst way, though Cole has been better as a 4-3 end than as a stand-up outside linebacker in a 3-4.
Of course, the Bucs also have the opportunity to keep him from making that trip, if they throw enough money his way.
Good news, Raiders fans in Oakland and the Bay Area. The team isn’t leaving.
Bad news, Raiders fans in Oakland and the Bay Area. They still might.
The Joint Powers Authority in Oakland has approved a one-year lease that will allow the Raiders to play at O.Co Coliseum, via NBCBayArea.com. The move was expected because the window for submitting a relocation application has come and gone. It was a given that the Raiders would remain in Oakland for one more year.
The question becomes what they’ll do in 2016. The Chargers and Raiders are collaborating on a stadium they would share in Carson, California.
The powers-that-be in Carson and Inglewood currently are racing for the ability to build an NFL stadium in the L.A. area. The Chargers, Raiders, and Rams hope to be the two teams that end up there.
At least one of those teams will be the odd man out. If it’s the Raiders, they may be stuck in Oakland for a lot longer than 2015.
The Chiefs saw a lot of safety Tyvon Branch when he played for the Raiders and they may be interested in seeing a lot more of him during the 2015 season.
Branch has visited with the Colts and Redskins since being released by Oakland and Jason LaCanfora of CBS Sports reports that he’s scheduled to visit with the Chiefs next. With Eric Berry’s future uncertain as he continues his battle with lymphoma and Ron Parker set for free agency, the Chiefs could use some help at the position.
When he’s healthy, Branch was a good safety for the Raiders and he was particularly strong against the run. That was a weak spot for the Chiefs last season, so Branch fits on that front as well.
The major caveat is that he’s played just five games in the last two years. Whoever signs him will be rolling the dice that he hasnt lost anything while on the sideline and that it won’t be more of the same in 2015, so it’s not too surprising that the teams showing the most interest right off the bat are squads with serious needs at the position.
Two weeks ago, veteran left tackle King Dunlap opted to eschew a shot at the open market and to stay in San Diego.
Even if the Chargers won’t be staying in San Diego.
Dunlap joined Friday’s PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio to discuss his decision to sign a four-year deal, whether he has splurged yet with his new money, whether the potential move to L.A. by the team is a distraction, whether his quarterback gets enough credit, what he’d do if he were the team’s G.M. on Tuesday, whether he hoped Peyton Manning wouldn’t return to Denver, whether he hopes Justin Houston won’t return to Kanas City, and the toughest guy to block.
For the whole segment, click the thing in the thing below.
Minnesota traded Matt Cassel to Buffalo this week and Christian Ponder is set to become a free agent on Tuesday, leaving the team without a backup for Teddy Bridgewater for the 2015 season. Jackson said while he still aspires to be a starting quarterback in the league, he would “definitely love to come back” to the place where he started his NFL career.
“I think I could really help [Bridgewater],” Jackson said, via Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press. “I think I could help put things in perspective for him with football and outside of football. … I feel I can help him just making the game a little easier and kind of learning from my mistakes and stuff.”
Offensive coordinator Norv Turner said after Cassel was traded that the team had a plan in mind for securing a backup to Bridgewater, although he didn’t elaborate on that plan. Jackson will join veterans like Mark Sanchez, Shaun Hill and Matt Moore as free agents, although some of them may be less willing to sign up for a role with little chance of starting absent a serious injury.