Peter King believes there will be more movement in this year’s draft than any draft in NFL history. We know many teams need a new QB, but can they fill their need with this draft class?This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
ProFootballTalk: Massive movement in NFL Draft
The Jets have told Antonio Cromartie he is being released.
Cromartie, who was viewed as a potential cap casualty, confirmed as much when he wrote a farewell message to the team and its fans on Twitter on Sunday afternoon.
“I would like 2 thank the Jets organization so much with helpin me grow as leader and a player. S/O 2 my teammates I wish u guys the best,” Cromartie wrote. “I would also like to give a big up to The Jets Fan base. Thank you for all the support thru my 4 yr career with you. Thank you again. It’s time for a new chapter in my life and now it’s time to let my lord and savior lead my steps every step of the way.”
The departure of Cromartie means the Jets will be big players in the free agent cornerback market. The Jets are believed to be very interested in signing Titans cornerback Alterraun Verner when free agency officially begins on Tuesday.
Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman suggested that his team might be more interested in addressing another position in the first round of the draft, and taking a quarterback on the second day of the draft.
“I think you can find quarterbacks in the second round and the third round, as well,” Spielman told the Star Tribune. “We’ve started that process on the evaluation part. I think we’re scheduled to go out there and see a lot of these quarterbacks through the spring and get to know them a little bit better. The one thing that I want to make sure we don’t do is box ourselves into having to take a quarterback if there’s another player that’s very significant at another position.”
With Matt Cassel signed for another two years, the Vikings may see Cassel as a player who can start this year while helping to groom a young quarterback who would be available on the second day of the draft, such as Jimmy Garoppolo of Eastern Illinois or AJ McCarron of Alabama. Cassel may not be a long-term answer, but he may be a stopgap that gives the Vikings an opportunity to be patient for a quarterback to develop, rather than thinking they need a rookie to start right away.
All 32 teams can talk to agents for impending free agents around the league, but they can only sign contracts with players who were already on their rosters or those released around the league.
The Vikings have reportedly done both on Sunday. On the heels of word that defensive end Everson Griffen has landed a fat new contract to stay in Minnesota and forgo free agency comes a report from Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports that linebacker Jasper Brinkley has landed a one-year deal in Minnesota.
It’s a reunion for Brinkley and the Vikings after Brinkley’s stay with the Cardinals ended with his recent release. Brinkley, a 2009 fifth-round pick, was the starting middle linebacker for Minnesota in 2012 and the team is looking for someone to fill that role again now that Erin Henderson has been released. Brinkley’s got the run-stuffing chops to play a role on early downs, but will be stretched if he’s asked to do much beyond that.
Brinkley also visited with the Bills last week before settling on a return to his first NFL home.
Sometimes the early phone calls in the legal tampering period matter, and sometimes they don’t.
But if there was a surprise among the calls not made, it might be that the Browns didn’t check in with Bills safety Jairus Byrd yet.
According to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Browns haven’t touched base with his representatives as of early Sunday afternoon.
Some level of interest in Byrd was assumed by many, given the success he had under now-Browns coach Mike Pettine last year, and the Browns’ potential vacancy with T.J. Ward hitting the market.
There’s still plenty of time for them to get in if they want in, but so far other teams have expressed more interest, or at least made more phone calls.
As one league source explains it to PFT, teams aren’t worried about Nicks’ foot or knee or any other part of his body. Teams are concerned about the thing propped on his neck.
While Nicks’ performances over the past two years can be attributed to injury, the concern isn’t whether he still can play. The concern is whether he truly still wants to play, at a high level.
Whether it’s a desire to be paid a lot of money or concern about injury or interest in doing things other than playing football, the concern is that Nicks lacks the motivation to perform like he did earlier in his career.
It remains to be seen whether those concerns are legitimate. And Nicks’ reported willingness to do a one-year deal suggests that someone has successfully communicated to him that he won’t simply be handed a huge pile of money for accomplishments from 2011 and earlier.
With plenty of receivers available in free agency and a healthy complement of incoming rookies at the position, Nicks’ best and only play may be a one-year deal that allows him to show that he’s still the guy who once seem destined for the big payday that won’t be coming in 2014.
The Vikings have gotten 17.5 sacks in a situational role from defensive end Everson Griffen over the last three years and it appears he’ll be back in Minnesota to give them more in 2014.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports that Griffen is re-signing with the Vikings on what he calls a “huge” five-year deal. There’s no details about just how huge, but it supports what we’ve been hearing about deals being higher across the league in free agency this year than they were last year.
The Vikings aren’t giving Griffen, who ranked 19th on PFT‘s Hot 100 free agents, a big deal to continue as a situational pass rusher. Jared Allen is a free agent and keeping him doesn’t look like a priority for the Vikings, who also stand to lose veteran defensive tackle Kevin Williams to another club. That means more work for Griffen and, it seems, a salary to match.
With the negotiating window open, teams looking for help at end have had a chance to let Griffen know how much they desired his services. Minnesota outbid them, though, which leaves Michael Johnson, Michael Bennett and Lamarr Houston set to be the top available players at the position.
Eventually, it will be Lance Briggs. And Lance Briggs knows it.
“It’s sad, man,” Briggs said of the recent departures of veteran Bears players, via the Chicago Sun-Times. “For a guy like me — and I know Peanut [Tillman] and Brian have been here a long time — we’ve seen a lot of guys come and go. I think we all know our time is coming. But it’s sad when it does. And I hate to see a guy like Devin, and what he’s meant to this city and to the Bears organization, not brought back. . . . It’s hard with the bond that you build with all your brothers. It kinda just sucks.”
Briggs remains hopeful that Tillman will re-sign with the Bears.
“One of my brothers didn’t get a chance to come back this past year, and hopefully the other one gets to stay,” Briggs said. “We’ll see.”
At some point, Tillman won’t be back. At some point, Briggs won’t be back. It’s a harsh reality of the modern NFL, where players received the freedom that comes with free agency but in turn experience the finality that comes from costing too much under the salary cap.
“When my time comes, I don’t expect anything more or less than a tweet saying, ‘We’re parting ways with Lance,’” Briggs said. “It’s not gonna hurt my feelings or anything like that.”
That day is coming for Briggs. And for Julius Peppers. And for Matt Forte. And Jay Cutler. And Brandon Marshall. And every other player who has been or will be a contributor to the Bears and every other NFL team.
A recent report had the Patriots floating wide receiver Danny Amendola’s name to other teams as a trade possibility along with speculation that he could be released if he isn’t dealt.
If he is going to be released, the Patriots will be doing it on Tuesday. Ben Volin of the Boston Globe reports that the Patriots have until the end of Tuesday to make a decision about Amendola before $2 million of his $3 million base salary becomes guaranteed for the 2014 season.
Amendola has a cap charge of $4.575 million once the salary is guaranteed and designating him as a June 1 cut would spread the remaining cap hit over the next two seasons. Amendola didn’t have a productive 2013 season and missed time to both a groin injury and a concussion. This wasn’t Amendola’s first injury-plagued season and the Patriots, who would save a bit more than $1.3 million under the cap, may prefer to devote more resources to re-signing Julian Edelman and exploring other receiving options than banking on a rebound.
It would be a quick change of direction for the Patriots, but they’ve never been unwilling to move on if they feel there are better options available at a position.
William Clay Ford Sr., the longtime owner of the Detroit Lions, has died at the age of 88.
“It is with profound sadness that we mourn the loss of Mr. Ford and extend our deepest sympathies to Mrs. Ford and to the entire Ford family,” Lions President Tom Lewand said in a statement. “No owner loved his team more than Mr. Ford loved the Lions. Those of us who had the opportunity to work for Mr. Ford knew of his unyielding passion for his family, the Lions and the city of Detroit.”
Ford purchased the Lions in 1963 and oversaw their move out of the city from Tiger Stadium to the Pontiac Silverdome in 1975, and then oversaw their move back into downtown Detroit with the opening of Ford Field in 2002. Ford was the youngest son of Edsel Ford and the last surviving grandchild of Henry Ford, and he was the largest individual shareholder in Ford Motor Company.
Control of the Lions will presumably go to his son, William Clay Ford Jr., who has become increasingly active in the team in recent years. There is no reason to believe Bill Ford would make any immediate changes, but he developed a reputation for being more proactive than his father when his public criticism precipitated the ouster of team President Matt Millen in 2008.
Born March 14, 1925, William Clay Ford Sr. served in the Navy in World War II and married Martha Firestone of the family that owned the Firestone tire company in 1947. In addition to Bill Jr., William and Martha had three daughters.
It’s been a rough month for the Ravens.
According to the website of the Monroe County, Florida Sheriff’s office, Reid was arrested early Sunday on two misdemeanor charges of battery.
A third-round pick in 2011, appeared in 10 games with no starts in 2013. He’s due to become a free agent next year.
Cowboys owner and General Manager Jerry Jones loves to make a splash in free agency, but at the moment he doesn’t have the salary cap space to do it.
Even after the Cowboys’ recent moves — including cutting center Phil Costa and restructuring the contracts of guard Mackenzy Bernadeau, quarterback Tony Romo, linebacker Sean Lee and cornerback Orlando Scandrick — the Cowboys only have about $2 million in cap space, according to ESPN.com.
Before Jones could make a splash with an addition, he may have to make a splash with a subtraction. And so the big question facing the Cowboys is whether they’ll release DeMarcus Ware, the defensive end they’re hoping will take a pay cut. If Ware doesn’t play ball on a restructured deal and Dallas releases him, the Cowboys will get $7.4 million in cap savings, which would put their total cap space at around $9.4 million.
There’s likely more cap relief coming for the Cowboys, as they can release receiver Miles Austin with a post-June 1 designation and free up another $5.5 million in cap room, but that cap room won’t be available until it’s time for the Cowboys to start using some of their cap space to sign their rookie class.
Basically, the Cowboys’ free agency plans hinge on what happens with Ware. If they release him or get him to take a new contract that provides immediate cap relief, Jones may be able to sign a key player in free agency. If things stay as they are, the Cowboys will mostly be observers while other teams are spending.
In fact, John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reports that there’s not even any reason to talk about it. McClain reports that the Texans “won’t be trading for Ryan Mallett,” period.
It sounds good in theory: New Texans head coach Bill O’Brien was the Patriots’ offensive coordinator for Mallett’s rookie season, so O’Brien knows what kind of player Mallett is, and Mallett knows what kind of offense O’Brien runs. That’s the case for the Texans making the trade.
The case against it is that Mallett has completed a grand total of one pass in an NFL regular-season game. If the Texans are going to make a quarterback with no experience their starter, it’s going to be a rookie they’re drafting as their long-term answer. Not a third-year backup who only has one year left on his rookie contract.
The most likely path for Mallett is spending one more year as Tom Brady’s backup and then hitting free agency a year from now. The most likely path for the Texans is acquiring their quarterback of the future in the draft.
Safety Mike Mitchell made the most of a one-year deal in 2013, starting 14 games and providing the NFC South champion Panthers with solid play in the back end of the secondary.
That would seem to position him well for a longer deal this offseason and early reports about interest in Mitchell around the league do nothing to change that opinion. Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer reported Saturday that Mitchell fielded calls from the Bears, Eagles, Falcons and Broncos and added the Redskins to the list on Sunday.
Person adds that the Redskins join their NFC East rivals from Philadelphia as the teams showing the most interest in Mitchell. While we can’t be sure what that interest will amount to when it comes time for players to actually sign contracts, both teams are in major need of help at safety and Mitchell would certainly be an upgrade over what they had in 2013.
The Panthers aren’t out of the mix, but their limited cap space could make it hard for them to compete for Mitchell while also making other moves to bolster the team for the 2014 season.
The four-year, $17 million contract was nice.
But Red Bryant’s background with coach Gus Bradley was one of the things that sold him on the Jaguars.
Back when he was still with the Seahawks, Bryant raved about his former defensive coordinator, which speaks to his quick signing after being cut last week.
“A lot of times, people look tough and they’re soft and a lot of times people look soft, but they’re tough,” Bryant said last fall, via Hays Carlyon of the Florida Times-Union. “Gus has a fire about him. I played for him for four years and I know what type of man he is. He’s committed to winning and you best believe he’s going to come up with the best game plan to beat us.”
Bradley’s Jaguars did not, in fact, win that game — it wasn’t close, a 45-17 beating.
But it’s clear that Bradley’s influence was a big factor in Bryant’s quick decision, which should help solidify a team that is moving in the right direction.
No trades have been made, but two of the three are no longer in New Orleans. Moore and Sproles were released last week, leaving Thomas as the last man standing in the trio. It seemed that changed on Saturday when safety Malcolm Jenkins tweeted about Thomas’ departure, but, according to Thomas’ agent Lamont Smith, nothing has changed regarding Thomas’ status with the team.
“Status quo on PT at the present time,” Smith wrote on Twitter.
Will that remain the case? Based on moves they’ve made on both sides of the ball, one of the Saints’ plans for the offseason was clearing the roster of aging players whose money could be reinvested elsewhere and Thomas, who is set to make $2.9 million this season, fits the bill on that front. The Saints have Khiry Robinson, Mark Ingram and Travaris Cadet on the roster at running back in addition to Thomas, so the cupboard won’t be bare if they do say goodbye to a second veteran running back.