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ProFootballTalk: Freeney another cap casualty
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.
The Lions have made contract offers to a pair of their free agents.
Johnson has been given a right-of-first-refusal tender, which entails a one-year contract offer for about $1.54 million, per the Free Press. Teams can negotiate with Johnson until he signs his tender, but the Lions can match any offer extended by another club.
The 27-year-old Johnson became an important part of the Lions’ defensive line rotation in 2014, notching a career-best six sacks.
The Lions have also offered a contract to exclusive-rights free agent returner/wide receiver Jeremy Ross, the club’s website said. Ross, 26, caught 24 passes for 314 yards and one TD in 2014 for Detroit. He averaged 25.4 yards on 23 kickoff returns and 8.9 yards on 32 punt returns.
The Chiefs released linebacker Joe Mays this week, but they’ve secured the rights to another member of the position group with the same initials for the next three years.
Mauga started all 16 games for the Chiefs last season after signing with the team in July. He had 103 tackles, a half-sack and three passes defensed in his first year with a Kansas City defense that struggled to stop the run. Mauga played 29 games for the Jets between 2010 and 2012 before spending the entire 2013 season on injured reserve.
With Mays gone, the Chiefs now have Mauga, Derrick Johnson and James-Michael Johnson at inside linebacker. Derrick Johnson missed 15 games last season after tearing his Achilles, but should return to a starting spot if he’s healthy. Mauga will likely be in the mix to start alongside him.
Based on the way he played for the Titans, left tackle Michael Oher wouldn’t have been an upgrade for many teams.
Fortunately for Oher, the Panthers were there for him.
The Panthers announced they signed the former Ravens first-rounder to a two-year deal.
He’ll replace the replaceable Byron Bell at left tackle for the short term, and there are reasons to think it might work. Back when Oher appeared to be good at football, he was being coached by John Matsko, who’s now coaching the Panthers linemen.
And, he’s going to a place where expectations have been lowered by the shoddy line they put in front of Cam Newton last year.
“I’m excited to be joining an organization that knows how to win. They’ve won the past two division championships, and I’m excited to be a part of it,” Oher said. “When I came here on a visit, the culture was great. They’re very into winning and doing everything possible to win.”
Signing Oher keeps them from reaching for a left tackle in the draft, and crosses a box off for the short term, though there are no illusions he’s going to be a Pro Bowl-level player.
Not every roster move in the next few weeks will be a splashy one, as evidenced by a pair of signings the Browns announced on Friday.
The team announced that they have re-signed running back Shaun Draughn and punter Spencer Lanning. Both players were exclusive rights free agents, so the ball was in the Browns’ court and they opted to hold onto both players.
Draughn joined the Browns for the final four games of the 2014 season and played mostly on special teams. He returned five kickoffs for 115 yards and made a tackle in kick coverage. Draughn saw time with the Chargers and Bears last season as well and has also played for the Chiefs and Ravens while bouncing around the NFL.
Lanning has been the punter in Cleveland for the last two seasons. In 2014, he averaged 44.3 yards per punt and dropped 25-of-93 kicks inside the 20-yard line. He also took a foot to the face from Steelers punt returner Antonio Brown during a September game, although the Browns punt coverage typically didn’t put him in position to make tackles while limiting opponents to seven yards a return.
The Chargers are letting go of one of their backups on defense.
Walker was scheduled to make $1 million in 2015, per NFLPA data. According to the Union-Tribune, the release of Walker nets the Chargers a corresponding savings of $1 million against the salary cap.
The 28-year-old Walker appeared in 11 games as a reserve in 2014 for San Diego, with the club crediting him with six tackles on defense and five on special teams.
Walker (6-0, 244) played his first four NFL seasons with Arizona before joining the Chargers in 2013. He could appeal to teams looking for linebacking depth in 3-4 schemes.
Just because a team makes an early move last year for you doesn’t mean you’re a priority.
The move clears $1.75 million off the cap, and erases a bad deal from a year ago.
The Chiefs signed Walker away from the Raiders on a three-year deal which was reported to be worth up to $13 million.
But it didn’t take long for them to regret it, as he started just two games last year. He’s a solid enough player, but hardly worth what the Chiefs invested a year ago.
The Jets aren’t waiting until free agency to start filling up their cap space.
PFT has learned, via a league source, that the team has re-signed linebacker David Harris to a three-year deal worth a total of $21.5 million. Harris got the first two years of the deal fully guaranteed at $15 million.
The move comes shortly after the team swung a trade with the Bears for wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who is set to make $7.7 million during the 2015 season.
Harris has spent his entire eight-year career with the Jets since they took the Michigan product in the second round of the 2007 draft. There had been a fair amount of speculation that Harris might follow former Jets coach Rex Ryan to Buffalo once free agency opened, but he obviously felt that the Jets’ offer satisfied his needs. He should continue to be a centerpiece of their defense under new coach Todd Bowles and defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers.
The Jets still have a lot of money to spend and should get $10.5 million more by moving on from Percy Harvin, who is expected to be released after the acquisition of Marshall.
The Saints have retained a pair of veteran defenders.
The club has reached a one-year deal with safety Jamarca Sanford, agent Drew Rosenhaus told PFT on Friday. The 29-year-old Sanford notched 14 tackles in six games (two starts) with New Orleans last season.
A seventh-year pro from Mississippi, the 5-foot-10, 200-pound Sanford played five seasons with Minnesota (2009-2013) before stints with Washington and Minnesota last season.
Also, New Orleans will be re-signing defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley, ESPN’s Mike Triplett reported Friday. Bunkley, 31, started 11 games in 2014 for the Saints, for whom he’s played the last three seasons.
Bunkley (6-2, 306) previously had stints with Philadelphia (2006-2010) and Denver (2011).
The Lions might be working on bigger business, but they’re taking care of some smaller details today.
They announced they had re-signed quarterback Kellen Moore, who was scheduled to become a restricted free agent.
Moore hasn’t thrown a pass in the NFL yet (which is good news, considering what they have invested in Matt Stafford).
But they apparently feel the former Boise State star worth hanging onto, for something far less than the restricted free agent tender.
The Bears dealt wide receiver Brandon Marshall to the Jets on Friday and they’ll be getting a mid-round draft pick in return.
According to multiple reports, the Jets will send a 2015 fifth-round pick to the Bears for Marshall as long as Marshall passes a physical following the third trade of his NFL career.
Assuming the Jets go on to release wide receiver Percy Harvin, they’ll be without their fifth- and sixth-round picks this year. Should the Jets hold onto Harvin, they’ll send their fourth-round selection to the Seahawks instead.
If Marshall is healthy, he’s a good bet to give the Jets more in 2015 than they would have gotten with a player picked with that selection. It would help if they had more certainty at quarterback, of course, but building up the supporting cast around Geno Smith and whoever else they bring in this offseason may have to suffice unless General Manager Mike Maccagnan has another big deal up his sleeve.