The Steelers have never been known to pay market value for a highly-regarded free agent, but will their philosophy have to change this off-season? The PFT crew debates.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
ProFootballTalk: How careful will Steelers be this off-season?
The Indianapolis Colts announced Tuesday they have agreed to terms on a contract extension with long snapper Matt Overton.
While the team didn’t announce the length of the contract, Overton tweeted he’ll be with the Colts the next four years. Overton was going to be a restricted free agent upon the start of the new league year next week. His new contract should run through 2018.
Overton has played in all 48 games over the first three years of his career with 22 tackles on special teams.
It feels distinctly un-NFL.
Such player-for-player, big-contract-for-little-contract deals just don’t happen in the NFL. They’re baseball things. You know the drill: Team A acquires a veteran for the stretch run and sends young, untested, cheaper players to Team B.
Yes, NFL teams are willing to give out big deals. However, because the vast bulk of the money in those deals is not guaranteed, few teams are willing to take them secondhand. They are tailored financial instruments that generally just fit one team and one team only.
Instead, most clubs act as vultures, waiting for highly paid players to be released before swooping in to show interest, usually offering less money than the player received previously. It is logical economic behavior, but the rhythm of the dance is tedious.
But here we have the Bills reportedly showing significant interest in McCoy, who’s due $9.75 million in salary in 2015, $6.9 million in salary in 2016 and $7.6 million in salary in 2017, per NFLPA records. That’s the epitome of a splash trade.
On the other hand, the Eagles could be set to get significant salary-cap relief. A third-year pro from Oregon, Alonso is due about $1.7 million in combined salary over the next two seasons.
Some will praise the Eagles for their fiscal responsibility. Others will cheer on the Bills for swinging for the fences for McCoy, who doesn’t turn 27 until July.
Some will compare this proposed deal to the 2004 swap that sent cornerback Champ Bailey and a second-round pick to Denver and running back Clinton Portis to Washington. However, in that case, both players got new contracts from the trading clubs. That’s unlikely to happen here. The Eagles would have ample reason to let Alonso — who’s coming off an ACL tear — play out at least the next year of his deal. And McCoy surely doesn’t figure to get more money if he’s dealt. At best, he’ll keep what he has.
Nevertheless, the Bills are set to take on quite a bit of money — on paper, about $24 million in salary, per NFLPA data. That doesn’t happen often in pro football trades, and it’s unlikely to be a common occurrence. (On Twitter, veteran agent Mike McCartney expressed surprise the Eagles were able to potentially move McCoy, given his high 2015 salary-cap number.)
But the Bills’ outside-the-box deal-making intrigues. As the salary cap goes up, teams with an an abundance of cap space may have greater ability to take on big existing deals for the right player. Also, draft picks are more valuable than ever under the existing rookie wage scale, making them perhaps tougher with which for clubs to part. Perhaps a few more player-for-player deals could allow clubs to fill needs and create financial flexibility.
Hey, maybe the Bills and Eagles are on to something.
Whatever the case, this sure was something.
Last week, former Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins said he had “no knowledge” of any incident at a Lancaster, Texas Wal-Mart on July 11, 2011 involving Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant. As it turns out, someone in his office does and/or did.
In response to a Texas Public Information Act request sent by PFT to the Dallas County District Attorney’s office, Assistant D.A. Laura Anne Coats forwarded on Tuesday a copy of the same incident report that the Lancaster Police Department previously sent to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media.
There’s one key difference in the version obtained by NFL Media and the version sent to PFT. The version obtained by NFL Media, transmitted with a cover letter dated February 17, 2015, indicates that it was printed by the Lancaster Police Department that same day. The version submitted to PFT by the Dallas County District Attorney reveals that it was printed on August 7, 2012 by the Lancaster Police Department, more than a year after the incident but still more than two years ago — while Watkins was still the District Attorney.
“Because there was no arrest and no complainant, the incident never comes to the District Attorney’s office,” Watkins told Mike Fisher of 105.3 The Fan last week.
But the incident did indeed come to the Dallas County District Attorney, on or about August 7, 2012. If it hadn’t, the District Attorney’s office never would have had a copy of the incident report from the Lancaster Police Department printed on that date. The question becomes whether the District Attorney has anything else relating to the incident; a second request under the Texas Public Information Act for additional, specific information regarding the incident and any investigation has been prepared and sent to the Dallas County District Attorney.
For now, it’s clear the incident that appeared to be a faint, open-and-shut blip on the Lancaster, Texas radar screen somehow made its way to the ultimate law enforcement authority in all of Dallas County, which at last count had a population of 2.48 million.
While no video of the incident has emerged, it remains difficult to believe no video existed, especially since Wal-Mart routinely secures its many retail properties with surveillance cameras. It also remains difficult to understand the decision of the responding officer not to immediately enter the Wal-Mart security office after someone reported that a woman was pulled and dragged from a car registered to Bryant but the alleged victim then claimed that she wasn’t “injured or assaulted in any way.”
After quarterback Josh McCown somewhat surprisingly was cut by the Buccaneers, he joined PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio to discuss the situation. After McCown somewhat surprisingly decided to join the Browns, he returned to PFT Live to talk about the situation.
McCown address his decision, how close he came to joining the Bills, whether he has spoken to Johnny Manziel (McCown hasn’t), and whether McCown got an advance look at the team’s new uniforms before putting pen to paper (he didn’t).
To hear the whole thing, click the thing in the thing below.
Free agent receiver Ted Ginn has two more visits lined up.
According to Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean, Ginn visited the Tennessee Titans on Tuesday. Ginn will then head west for a meeting with the San Francisco 49ers on Wednesday, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com.
Ginn was released by the Arizona Cardinals on Feb. 23.
Ginn caught just 14 passes for 190 yards in his only season in Arizona while primarily contributing as a return specialist. He played for the 49ers from 2010-12 and the Panthers in 2013.
Twelve days ago, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer made during< em>PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio the pitch he’d present to running back Adrian Peterson, if Zimmer had the chance to do so. On Wednesday, Zimmer finally gets that chance.
Via Tom Pelissero of USA Today, Zimmer and G.M. Rick Spielman will fly to Houston on Wednesday to meet with Peterson. Last week’s ruling in Peterson’s federal-court challenge to his suspension, coupled with the league’s decision to return Peterson to the Commissioner-Exempt list, authorizes the face-to-face meeting.
On Monday, Spielman told reporters that the Vikings have been in contact with Peterson.
Peterson has expressed lingering concern about returning to Minnesota. His father, Nelson, recently confirmed reports that Peterson believes Vikings executive Kevin Warren worked with the NFL to keep Adrian away from the field in the 2014 season, even after Peterson resolved his criminal child-abuse case by pleading no contest to misdemeanor charges.
Ultimately, money will become a major factor, with the Vikings presumably willing and able to pay Peterson more than anyone else would — especially since a new team also would have to compensate the Vikings. The more Peterson is worth financially, the more he’s presumably worth in trade.
Zimmer’s PFT Live appearance from Indy, including the pitch he’d make to Peterson, appears below.
As news broke that Buffalo had a deal in place to acquire Eagles running back LeSean McCoy for linebacker Kiko Alonso, Bills running back C.J. Spiller was at NFL Network studios. And as Spiller related on Tuesday’s “NFL Total Access,” NFLN analyst Willie McGinest was the first to tell him of the trade.
Soon enough, though, the Bills were on the phone with Spiller to tell him they had made the deal — a move that all but ends Spiller’s career with Buffalo.
“[McGinest] walked in and said, ‘Did ya’ll hear that Kiko’s getting traded to the Eagles for Shady?’ ” Spiller said. “And to me, I thought he was joking, like just trying to play a joke on me, because he’s a Patriot, and I was a former Bill.
“But then, he put it on TV, and I seen it, and then probably about five minutes later, management called me and told me that they (were) going in that direction, and pretty much giving me a ‘Thank you for your services.’ ”
Spiller was then asked how he felt about the prospect of going into free agency in search of a new team.
“My feeling is still the same. Nothing’s changed,” Spiller said. “The gameplan’s still the same. The only thing is that I won’t be returning to Buffalo.”
Spiller indicated he was open to returning to the Bills, but the sixth-year pro said he understood players often have to change teams.
“Very few guys get to play (their) whole career at one team, but you know, unfortunately, that don’t happen in this business, and I found out today that that don’t happen in this business,” the 27-year-old Spiller said, smiling as he finished his thought and handling the moment about as well as anyone possibly could, given the circumstances.
“I just spoke with the Eagles organization and there is no trade for LeSean at this time,” Rosenhaus said on Twitter. “There have been discussions but nothing finalized.”
Nothing can be finalized until Tuesday, March 10 at 4:00 p.m. ET. So the information the Eagles provided to Rosenhaus is correct, even if the two teams have struck a deal in principle.
Even if an agreement has been reached between the two teams, either side can back out. If McCoy makes it clear that he’s not on board with the deal, the Bills may not want him. So, basically, stay tuned.
As it turns out, the Eagles didn’t approach running back LeSean McCoy regarding a possible pay cut because the Eagles had other plans for McCoy. Per Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Eagles will trade McCoy to the Bills for linebacker Kiko Alonso.
The agreement can’t be finalized until the start of the new league year, next Tuesday. In theory, either side can back out until the clock strikes 4:00 p.m. ET on March 10 and the paperwork is submitted.
It’s unclear whether other compensation will be involved. For now, it appears to be a straight-up deal, player for player.
McCoy is due to earn $10.25 million in 2015. Alonso, a second-round pick in 2013 who missed all of 2014 due to an offseason ACL tear, is due to earn a base salary of only $745,000.
Despite a slow start last season, McCoy rushed for 1,319 yards. It’s unclear whether the Bills will attempt to restructure or extend his contract. It’s also unclear whether McCoy will welcome the change of scenery from Philly to Buffalo.
The move underscores the willingness of the Bills to spend big in an effort to parlay their 9-7 finish in 2014 into the team’s first playoff appearance since 1999. From Philly’s perspective, the trade makes it abundantly clear that coach Chip Kelly runs the show — and that there are no sacred cows. Last year, DeSean Jackson got the heave-ho; this year, LeSean McCoy gets a one-way ticket out of town.
It also reunites Alonso with the man who recruited him to Oregon. Which will serve only to fuel speculation that Kelly plans to do whatever it takes to get the quarterback he recruited to Oregon.
The Titans are taking a flyer on a pass rush prospect.
A fourth-year pro from Troy, Massaquoi recorded 70 tackles and six sacks in his first three seasons with Atlanta. He’s under contract for one more season at $660,000 in salary, per NFLPA records.
All things considered, the 26-year-old Massaquoi couldn’t have landed in a much better spot even if he had picked it. The Titans are not deep at outside linebacker, and starter Derrick Morgan is slated to test unrestricted free agency.
The Raiders have officially let go of one of their homegrown defensive starters.
Branch was due $5.5 million in salary in 2015, according to the NFLPA.
An eight-year pro from Connecticut, Branch has played his entire career with the Raiders, who drafted him in the fourth round of the 2008 draft. His market could be tied to whether he can convince clubs that any durability concerns are a thing of the past. He does not turn 29 until December, which could play in his favor.
Branch started the 2014 season on a tear, notching 30 tackles in his first three games. However, a broken foot suffered in the Raiders’ Week Three loss at New England ended his season. The previous year, Branch had been limited to just two games with a broken leg.
Trent Cole is on the way out of Philadelphia.
The Eagles had been hoping to get Cole to take a pay cut, but that hasn’t happened. Now Cole is expected to be released within the next 24 hours, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN.
Cole is a good pass rusher who has 14.5 sacks in the last two seasons, but with his cap number scheduled to be $11.6 million this season, it’s no surprise that the Eagles felt like that was more than they could justify spending.
Eagles coach Chip Kelly, who has been given full control of all personnel decisions, clearly wants to get rid of the aging and expensive veterans on the roster. Todd Herremans and Cary Williams have all been sent packing, and now Cole is on the way out as well.
Kelly is clearing plenty of cap space. He may have plans to make a splash when free agency begins next week.
Last week, the NFL said that defensive end Greg Hardy can’t be reinstated to active duty because he hasn’t been disciplined under the league’s personal conduct policy and therefore can’t be reinstated from a suspension.
That’s true, but it’s not quite the entire story. Hardy remains on the commissioner’s exempt list while the league looks into last year’s arrest on domestic violence charges, however, and would like to have that rectified with free agency starting on March 10.
Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer reports that Hardy will have a meeting with the league in New York on Wednesday in an effort to do that. While the Panthers have reportedly made the decision to move on without Hardy, there will surely be other teams interested in his services and a clear idea of his availability will just as surely impact the offers they make to secure his services.
A judge found Hardy guilty last July, but Hardy appealed and the case against him was dismissed when his accuser failed to appear for a jury trial last month. The NFL requested court files from the bench trial as part of their own investigation, but were rebuffed and they would need to get the transcript of the trial directly from Hardy’s attorney.
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton’s no stranger to near-misses lately.
But after suffering two broken bones in his back in a car wreck in downtown Charlotte late last season, he was close to another potential tragedy over the weekend.
According to WSOC in Charlotte, Newton was on stage in a downtown nightclub moments before shots were fired Saturday night.
Newton was at the nightclub Label (and was photographed with Young Jeezy) moments before gunfire rang out during a party which coincided with the CIAA basketball tournament.
Newton was on stage during the private party, but quickly ducked for cover when the shots inside the club were heard.
Two people suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the shooting, and no arrests have been made.
A former Bengals and Ravens running back is headed to the Canadian Football League.
The 30-year-old Scott rushed for 1,059 yards and five touchdowns on 249 carries in his stints with the Bengals (2009-2012) and Ravens (2013).