Mike Florio breaks down the biggest stories around the NFL including the Eagles coming to an agreement with QB Mike Vick. Can the athletic QB rebound under new head coach Chip Kelly? Florio also discusses whether Vikings WR Percy Harvin is more trouble than he’s worth and talks about the red flags defensive coordinator Rob Ryan is raising in New Orleans.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
PFT Live: Will Vick rebound under Chip Kelly?
Giants linebacker Jon Beason knows all too well that getting hurt is a good way to ruin your earning potential.
So that’s why he’s willing to work with the Giants on a pay cut, if it means hanging around.
Via Tom Rock of Newsday, Beason said during an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio that he feels good about his chances of remaining with the Giants next year.
“I want to be a Giant,” Beason said. “They took a chance on me when other people may have thought that I was done. You want to go out and hold up your end of the bargain. When healthy I still feel I’m the best in the business and no one can keep up with me.”
Of course, that’s a big condition.
Beason signed a three-year, $17 million deal with the Giants last offseason, but only played four games because of a foot injury. So the $3.6 million ($1 million guaranteed) that he’s due to make this year might be a little steep, and since Beason acts as his own agent, it’s a streamlined process.
“We’ve been back and forth trying to come to terms,” Beason said. “They’re doing the best they can to try to be fair under the situation and as a so-called agent I’m doing the best I can to make sure I get the opportunity to earn some of that money back. . . .
“I’ve had the benefit of doing my own contract and you see how the business works. Unfortunately when you are making more than the league minimum you are susceptible to taking a pay cut due to injury. A lot of that has to do with the leverage that the teams have. What I’ve learned is that you can’t take it personally when the team is going to come after you to get money back based on an injury because the other 31 teams seem like they’re on the same page. ‘Hey, we’ll low-ball you worse if you decide not to take the pay cut.’ . . . It’s an unfortunate part of the business, but at the same time staying in the game and continuing to play is ultimately what you want. And they know that.”
Beason’s 30 now, and was run out of Carolina after a series of injuries and the drafting of Luke Kuechly, so he knows the realities of the business well.
Which means he knows that his familiarity with the Giants might mean more for him there than elsewhere.
Impending free agent defensive tackle Letroy Guion has reportedly agreed to a deal with prosecutors in Florida that will allow him to avoid jail time after last month’s arrest on marijuana and weapons possession charges.
Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com reports that Guion has agreed to a deferred prosecution agreement that is expected to be signed in the next few weeks. The deal would result in probation for Guion and should allow Guion to be available for the 2015 season.
Or some portion of it anyway. The agreement would not eliminate the possibility of league discipline after police found 357 grams of marijuana and an unloaded gun, which was licensed in Minnesota, in his car during a traffic stop. Guion also had $190,028.21 with him, which was seized along with his truck by Florida authorities. Guion said that the money came from cashing his paychecks and the possible return of his property is a separate matter that will be heard in a civil case.
Guion had 41 tackles and 3.5 sacks in 16 appearances with the Packers last season. The team has said since the arrest that they are still open to bringing Guion back.
For a guy who has played five games the last two years, there’s suddenly a market for Tyvon Branch.
Of course, it’s worth noting it’s two teams who haven’t exactly gotten the hang of the whole “free agency” thing.
According to Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports, Branch will head to Washington after today’s scheduled trip to see the Colts.
He should totally just visit the Jets while he’s on the East Coast, just to take care of the “I can replace LaRon Landry” trifecta.
While Washington’s had more high-profile free agent busts the last decade or so, the Colts have made some dubious transactions of their own, stacking up some bad contracts around the really good one they have for quarterback Andrew Luck.
Buffalo needed to add a veteran quarterback this offseason, and now the Bills have their man: Matt Cassel.
The Bills and Vikings announced today that they have agreed to a trade that will send Cassel to Buffalo. Technically the trade can’t be completed until the league year starts on Tuesday, but both teams have agreed to it.
The Vikings will get draft pick compensation for Cassel. According to Alex Marvez of FOX Sports, the Bills will trade the Buccaneers’ 2015 fifth-round pick (which the Bills acquired in a previous trade) for the Vikings’ 2015 sixth-round pick, and Buffalo will also give Minnesota a 2016 seventh-round pick.
Cassel opened last season as the Vikings’ starter but suffered a season-ending injury in Week Three, and with the emergence of Teddy Bridgewater last year, there was little reason for the Vikings to bring Cassel back.
In Buffalo, Cassel will compete with EJ Manuel to be the starter. The winner of that competition will hand off to LeSean McCoy, whom the Bills traded for on Tuesday. The Bills are off to an active start this offseason, even before the opening of free agency.
And it appears someone in Detroit is pi$$ed off about it.
According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, several digital billboards have popped up alongside area highways in recent days, with a simple, yet ambiguous message.
The billboards read only: “$UH?”
Now, the simplest explanation might be that fans are simply upset at what they perceive to be the latest greedy athlete.
And that would be easy enough to buy, except one of their baseball players in town is grinding away on an eight-year, $248-million (fully guaranteed) deal, which would buy the Lions at least a couple of Suhs.
Or maybe it’s a shot at management, for constantly restructuring his contract and not getting a long-term deal soon enough that it made his exit inevitable.
The guy who runs the billboard company said they were paid for by the same group of fans who had “Detroit Lyin'” billboards which featured a photo of a referee after their controversial playoff loss to the Cowboys in January.
Either way, some Detroit sports fan has enough di$po$able income to make his feelings known, whatever those feelings are.
Ingram, who becomes a free agent when his rookie contract with the Saints expires on Tuesday, appears to be on the Eagles’ radar. Lyons Yellin of WWL-TV has heard rumblings about the Eagles being interested in Ingram, whose straight-ahead running style may be more to Chip Kelly’s liking.
If the Eagles were to sign Ingram, it would be the second straight season that they took a running back from New Orleans. Last year they acquired Darren Sproles in a trade with the Saints.
The Saints, however, don’t want Ingram to go, and coach Sean Payton has identified Ingram as a player he’d like to keep. That’s easier said than done because the Saints simply don’t have much cap space, and the Eagles have a lot of cap space. If it’s a matter of money, the Eagles can pay Ingram a lot more than the Saints can.
Ingram is the No. 3 running back and No. 38 player overall in our list of the Top 100 free agents.
The move can’t become official until the start of the league year next Tuesday, but we’ll be talking about what it means for the team’s offseason plans on Wednesday’s edition of PFT Live. Geoff Mosher of CSN Philly will join Mike Florio to talk about what the Eagles will do at running back now, their plans for Alonso on defense and more about what the releases of Trent Cole and Cary Williams will lead to in the near future.
Florio will also continue the series of offseason to-do lists by checking in with the Colts and Packers a few days before free agency gets underway. The Colts are expected to be active in free agency as they try to surround Andrew Luck with as much talent as possible while the Packers may be working to replace wide receiver Randall Cobb and/or tackle Bryan Bulaga.
We also want to hear from PFT Planet. Email questions at any time via the O’Reilly Auto Parts Ask the Pros inbox or get in touch on Twitter at @ProFootballTalk to let us know what’s on your mind.
It all gets started at noon ET and you can listen to all three hours live via the various NBC Sports Radio affiliates, through the links at PFT, or with the NBC Sports Radio app. You can also watch a simulcast of the first hour of the show by clicking right here.
The Texans recently gave receiver Andre Johnson permission to seek a trade. Johnson won’t be doing that.
Johnson’s agent, Kennard McGuire, tells PFT that he has asked the Texans to release Johnson.
The impasse arose when the Texans recently informed Johnson he’d have a reduced role in 2015. Johnson responded by saying that he won’t be happy with a reduced role, so it would be better for him to be elsewhere.
The Texans responded by granting him permission to seek a trade. McGuire believes deliberately leaked to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle the notion that Johnson asked for a trade in an effort to minimize local criticism of the franchise for its treatment of a player who has been with the Texans for all but one year of the team’s existence.
“After 12 years of being a model citizen, an ambassador, and the face of this franchise, he deserves more than a mishandled P.R. campaign that showcases only one side of the story,” McGuire told PFT on Wednesday morning. “After 12 years, he deserves to be sent off in a better way.”
Indeed he does. The Texans know that no one will pay $11.5 million to a receiver who’ll turn 34 in July. At most, a trade would have happened with Johnson doing a new deal. So instead of doing a new deal elsewhere as part of a trade, he should have been cut and given the chance to do that new deal elsewhere.
The ball is now back in the team’s court. The only right thing to do at this point is to thank Johnson for his 12 years of loyal service and release him, giving him a six-day head start on the unrestricted free agency market.
And then there were five. And there still could be more.
With more than 36 hours remaining before the window closes on the ability of candidates for the NFLPA executive director position to be nominated by three player representatives, multiple reports indicate that former NFLPA counsel Arthur McAfee has obtained the requisite nominations and has been added to the ballot.
PFT first reported McAfee’s candidacy on Monday. He joins Sean Gilbert, Andrew Smith, and John Stufflebeam as the official challengers to DeMaurice Smith.
Two other known candidates, James Acho and Sean Morey, have not yet received the three nominations.
The election is scheduled for March 15.
It’s almost like the Colts want to do the Bob Sanders thing again.
When he’s well, Branch is a very good safety, the kind of guy who would represent an upgrade over their last free agent safety by (the just-cut LaRon Landry).
Only, it’s hard to count on Branch being well, after he’s played just five games the last two seasons. A broken leg and a broken foot might not be connected, and might not be a sign of future events.
But still, it’s hard to gauge what his market will be, and how any team is willing to invest in a guy with so little tape the last two years.
The Packers opted not to use the franchise or transition tag on wide receiver Randall Cobb earlier this week, a decision that pushed Cobb closer to the open market.
It also appears to have pushed him closer to the exit. Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the Packers have told Cobb’s agent Jimmy Sexton that they are willing to give Cobb a five-year contract worth between $8 and $9 million a season, which is less than Sexton believes Cobb will receive on the open market.
Cobb had exactly the year you’d want to have with free agency in the future as he played in every game for the first time in his career while setting personal bests for catches, receiving yards and touchdowns. McGinn believes that Cobb could top the $9.763 million per year that Jordy Nelson is set to make under the terms of the extension he signed last year and the presence of teams like the Raiders and Jaguars with big money to spend makes that seem like a real possibility.
The Packers drafted three wide receivers last year and they’ve replaced key offensive contributors without missing too many beats in the past, so there’s not much reason to think that they’re going to get into a bidding war for Cobb’s services. Right now, that gives the strong impression that Cobb will be in a different uniform pretty soon.
The Bills weren’t the only team that knew the Eagles were looking to trade running back LeSean McCoy.
Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said on NFL Network that his team knew that McCoy was available in a trade, but decided not to make an offer.
“No, it wasn’t a good fit for us,” Arians said.
Still, Arians thinks highly of McCoy and thinks the Bills improved their team by trading Kiko Alonso to Philadelphia to acquire McCoy.
“Great move for Buffalo,” Arians said. “Not that Alonso is not a great player — I think he’s going to be, coming off surgery — but when you have LeSean’s resume, that kind of speaks for itself.”
So why did the Eagles make the trade? Arians said he sees Chip Kelly as a coach who wants to bring in his guys, who will play his way.
“Chip is building his culture there, and he’s doing one heck of a job,” Arians said.
Having said that, Arians added that he was glad to see McCoy traded out of the conference. Arians may not have thought McCoy was a good fit in Arizona, but he’d prefer not to have to face him.
He possibly won’t.
Josina Anderson of ESPN, citing an unnamed source close to LeSean McCoy, reports that McCoy is “frustrated” by the news that he’ll be sent to the Bills.
“He’s a Pennsylvania kid,” the source told Anderson. “He’s never played football outside of Pennsylvania — high school, college, pro. So of course he’s not happy. Sounds like it’s pretty final to me unless LeSean is refusing to go to Buffalo.”
Of course, refusing to go to Buffalo would mean not earning $10.25 million in 2015, ultimately being cut by the Eagles, and then being forced to find $10.25 million on the open market.
“It’ll be interesting to see how this process plays itself out because he’s an interesting individual,” the source said. “In your mind, when you think of Buffalo you think of cold and losing games. It’s not like it’s the Philadelphia market where you’re always on [TV] and you’re playing for like the division title or that type of thing.”
Bills coach Rex Ryan likely believes that he’ll be able to persuade McCoy to give it a try, and Rex definitely has the ability to do that. But McCoy may still balk, which means that the Bills then will have to decide whether to go through with the deal.
The deal can’t be finalized until 4:00 p.m. ET on March 10. Before then, either side can decline to proceed. And if McCoy makes it clear that he has no desire to play in Buffalo, that could be enough for the Bills to walk away, minimizing any style points they’d lose by reneging on the tentative swap.
Troy Polamalu was a great player for the Steelers for years, but he turns 34 next month, and he isn’t great anymore. Which puts the Steelers in an awkward position.
No one in Pittsburgh wants to see Polamalu get cut and try to finish his career in another uniform, but the Steelers don’t want to pay a lot of money for an aging, slowing veteran this season, and they’d save $3.6 million on their 2015 salary cap if Polamalu is not on the roster. The best option, from the Steelers’ perspective, may be for Polamalu to decide on his own to walk away.
Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says the Steelers would prefer for Polamalu to retire, so they don’t have to go through the awkward situation of cutting a loyal veteran and fan favorite. The Steelers are in good enough cap shape that they don’t have to cut Polamalu, but according to Bouchette it’s “90 percent he’s not gonna be back.”
Three years ago the Steelers were in a similar situation with Hines Ward: Pittsburgh didn’t think Ward had much left, but Ward wasn’t ready to call it a career right away. So the Steelers cut Ward, only to have Ward look around for a few weeks, find that there weren’t any great offers for his services, and then announce his retirement.
Ideally, a player like Polamalu should retire as a Steeler without getting cut first. But if Polamalu doesn’t retire, the Steelers may decide that they have no choice but to tell him his time in Pittsburgh is over.
As Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy heads to 345 Park Avenue for a meeting with the powers-that-be less than a week before becoming a free agent for the first time in his career, the tea leaves are suggesting that the two sides will try to strike a deal.
For example, Hardy could receive a free and clear path to free agency, with the ability to hit the market the moment the new league year begins next Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. ET. In return, Hardy would agree to a suspension for the conduct that resulted in a judge finding him guilty last year of domestic violence.
It wouldn’t be the first time the NFL has resolved a player’s disciplinary proceedings by agreement. Last year, the Aldon Smith suspension arose not through hearings and appeals but a compromise struck before any of the various proceedings began.
There’s reason to believe the NFL and Hardy have something unconventional going on. For starters, Hardy’s camp has adopted a position of radio silence as the meeting at the league offices approaches. Likewise, the NFL has failed to respond to repeated requests from PFT for clarification regarding Hardy’s ability to hit the free-agent market while on the Commissioner-Exempt list. Which could mean the NFL wants his status to continue to be vague and unsettled in advance of their discussions with Hardy.
Taking Hardy off the Commissioner-Exempt list before the market opens and the biggest money flows becomes the league’s leverage to get Hardy to accept a suspension, which may or may not include the forfeiture of an extra game check or two, given that he was paid his full $13.1 million salary in 2014 despite playing in only one game. And while last week’s ruling in the Adrian Peterson case stands for the proposition that the new personal-conduct policy can’t be applied retroactively (which may limit Hardy to a two-game suspension under the old personal-conduct policy), Hardy can agree to any punishment he wants, if the agreement allows him to hit the market next month.
If Hardy doesn’t strike a deal, it’s quite possible that the NFL find a way to keep Hardy from being eligible for a new contract until after the big money has been spent.