Richard Sherman wasn’t known for holding his tongue when he was a member of the Seahawks and it doesn’t appear that will be changing now that he’s a member of the 49ers.
Sherman was a guest on the latest episode Uninterrupted‘s ThomaHawk podcast with Joe Thomas and Andrew Hawkins and said that he thinks the Seahawks began “devaluing core players” this offseason because they are “curious” about younger players. Michael Bennett, Jeremy Lane and Deshawn Shead have joined Sherman on the way out the door while there have been reports of trade talks involving Earl Thomas.
“They’ve kind of lost their way a little bit in terms of how they see players and how they evaluate players,” Sherman said.
While Sherman doesn’t seem to think the Seahawks are making the right moves, he does admit that things had gotten a bit stale in Seattle. Sherman said that coach Pete Carroll’s “philosophy is more built for college” where players move on after three or four years. Sherman said veteran Seahakws players had “kind of heard every story, every funny anecdote” that Carroll has to tell and that made it easier to tune them out even though those stories were big for team-building in earlier years.
Sherman said he didn’t sign with the 49ers for a chance to prove his point about the Seahawks’ player evaluation twice a year, citing location and the 49ers’ level of interest as big factors in his ultimate choice. That won’t make it any less interesting the first time the two teams get together this fall, however.
Eric Reid called his shot months ago.
The 49ers safety said in December he anticipated teams shying away him in free agency because of his politics and his willing to speak about them.
“I wouldn’t use the word concerned,” Reid said then. “I would say I understand that’s a possibility. And I’m completely fine with it. The things that I’ve done, I stand by, and I’ve done that for my own personal beliefs. Like I said, I’m fine with whatever outcome happens because of that.”
And now that free agency is open (and nearly closed), the outspoken safety hasn’t heard a peep and he suspects he knows why.
Reid followed up to another tweet suggesting General Managers around the league might pass on him, saying: “GMs aren’t the hold up broski. It’s ownership. People who know football know who can play. People who know me, know my character.”
Reid was one of the first players to take a knee alongside quarterback Colin Kaepernick to protest racial inequality and police brutality. Kaepernick’s contract expired and he went away, but Reid continued to take knees, and to then play and play well for the 49ers last year. He even shifted to linebacker out of team need when injuries hit, and is the kind of versatile defender most teams would be lining up for.
But so far, of all the visits and signings we’ve chronicled here at PFT the last week, the only mention of Reid’s name is in our PFT Top 100 Free Agent List. Only 15 players on that list are higher than Reid and still available. In fairness, the safety market is slow, with Earl Thomas potentially available for trade and Tyrann Mathieu on the street along with safeties including Kenny Vaccaro, Morgan Burnett, and Tre Boston.
But it hardly seems a coincidence that Reid’s phone isn’t ringing, and if it continues to not ring, he’ll know why.
The new players on the Browns are bringing in a new attitude, if Jarvis Landry‘s recent comments are any indication.
Asked in Cleveland on Thursday about being traded to an 0-16 team, Landry said he doesn’t mind because that was last year’s team, and every team starts over again every year.
“That’s OK. Everybody’s 0-0 right now,” Landry said.
Everyone has a 0 in the W column right now, but only the Browns had a 0 all of last year, not to mention until Week 16 the year before. They’re hoping that with the additions of Landry, quarterback Tyrod Taylor, running back Carlos Hyde, offensive lineman Chris Hubbard, cornerback T.J. Carrie and safety Damarious Randall, they might go into a season with a 0 in the L column for a change.
A day before free agency opened, the Ravens and wide receiver Ryan Grant agreed to a contract. Two days later, Grant still hasn’t signed it. And he might never sign it.
Grant failed his physical with the Ravens, according to multiple reports.
NFL contract agreements are contingent on a player passing a physical, but it rarely becomes an issue because teams usually have a good idea of any injuries a player might be recovering from. In the case of Grant, it’s unclear what the issue is. Grant has played all 16 games in all four of his NFL seasons.
The agreement between Grant and the Ravens points to one of the drawbacks of the “legal tampering” period, when agents and teams are allowed to agree on the parameters of a contract, but players are not allowed to visit team facilities or get checked out by team doctors. If Grant had been allowed to take his physical from the outset, both he and the Ravens would be in a better place now: Grant would have been able to shop himself to other teams, hoping that whatever issue concerned the Ravens’ medical staff could be cleared by another team’s medical staff. And the Ravens would have been able to find another receiver, before many were signed by other teams.
Now Grant remains a free agent and the Ravens remain looking for a wide receiver.
Kirk Cousins met the media after signing his fully guaranteed three-year, $84 million contract with the Vikings Thursday and said that the reason he came to Minnesota wasn’t just about the contract.
Cousins said the deal “is what it is,” but said that the organization is what excites him about coming to a place he said he expects to spend the rest of his career. While breaking down the steps that led to Minnesota, Cousins’ agent Mike McCartney told a similar story.
McCartney admitted that “it was important for him to surpass Jimmy Garoppolo’s contract,” but said that Cousins didn’t take the biggest offer on the table.
“Two things I kept saying to Kirk,” McCartney said, via Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press. “Money is important, contract is important but I want you on a daily basis to jump out of bed excited to go to work, to go into a building that has a great culture and a chance to win. But at the same token at the end of the day, I want you to get excited to go home where your wife and family are flourishing and if we can find both of those I think we’ve done our job.”
McCartney didn’t say which team offered Cousins more money than the Vikings, but reporting leading up to his decision suggests the Jets are a good candidate. McCartney also didn’t say anything about the length of the other team’s offer or if it was fully guaranteed, both of which were surely significant pieces of information for Cousins and company when they were figuring out their next stop.
The Saints will never be the same again.
The team announced moments ago that owner Tom Benson passed away today at 90.
Benson was hospitalized with the flu on Feb. 16. The team said his wife Gayle Marie Benson was by his side.
Benson bought the Saints in 1985, and was largely responsible for keeping the team in New Orleans, and was a jovial presence on the sidelines among his fans when things were good.
They posted their first winning season two years later, and went onto win a Super Bowl after the 2009 season. But they also survived Hurricane Katrina, a year away from their home, and became a beacon for their city in the years afterward.
Benson also owned the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans.
Our thoughts are with the Benson family and the Saints at this time.
The Browns say there will not be a competition for the starting quarterback job in Cleveland this year.
Browns head coach Hue Jackson said today that Tyrod Taylor is the starting quarterback for the 2018 season.
“He’s going to be the starting quarterback,” Jackson said of Taylor. “There is no competition.”
That’s easy to say now, but it may be harder to believe six weeks from now, when the Browns may choose a quarterback with the first or fourth overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft. If the Browns do take a quarterback in the first round, and if that quarterback looks good in training camp and the preseason while Taylor struggles, the Browns may have a competition even if they don’t plan on having one today.
So file this one away: The Browns say Taylor is their starting quarterback for the 2018 season right now. They may say something different six months from now.
We heard on Thursday morning that the Saints want defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to come in for a visit and they will reportedly have their wish granted on Friday.
Jane Slater of NFL Media reports that Suh will go to New Orleans to meet with the team. Slater quotes a source who told her “the visit will be important for both sides to make sure it’s a good fit.”
That’s the case with all free agent visits, of course, but there would seem to be a couple of specific issues of concern with this meeting. One will likely be the role that the Saints want Suh to play on their defensive line and the other will likely be whether Suh’s primary motivation with his next contract is money or the chance to win in a way he never experienced in Detroit or Miami.
Should those issues be satisfied by both sides, Suh could be joining a new team a couple of days after the Dolphins cut him loose.
The Saints and other interested teams didn’t get to make their pitch for Jordy Nelson by getting him to visit. Nelson quickly reached an agreement with the Raiders, James Jones of the NFL Network reports, with Nelson getting $15 million over two seasons with $13 million guaranteed.
Raiders General Manager Reggie McKenzie has a history with Nelson from his time in Green Bay, and Oakland receivers coach Edgar Bennett served as Nelson’s position coach for seven seasons with the Packers.
News that the Raiders were releasing Michael Crabtree signaled the team had a deal for his replacement in Nelson. Oakland will clear $7.7 million in cap space by cutting Crabtree.
Nelson, 32, averaged a career-worst 9.1 yards per catch with only six touchdowns last season with Aaron Rodgers missing nine-plus games. The Packers released him earlier this week after agreeing to terms with tight end Jimmy Graham.
Nelson was scheduled to make $9.25 million in base salary and count $12.5 million against the Packers’ cap. Green Bay asked him to take a pay cut before his release.
In nine seasons in Green Bay, Nelson made 550 catches for 7,848 yards and 69 touchdowns.
The general money to be paid by the Vikings to quarterback Kirk Cousins has been known for two days: Three years, $84 million, fully guaranteed.
The actual contract has some other key terms. Per a source with knowledge of the deal, Cousins’ contract has a no-trade clause. The deal also includes a term that keeps the Vikings from using the transition tag in 2021.
The deal includes a $3 million signing bonus, annual workout bonuses of $500,000, and fully guaranteed base salaries of $22.5 million in 2018, $27.5 million in 2019, and $29.5 million in 2020.
The cash flow is $26 million through one year, $54 million through two years, and $84 million through three years. The cap numbers are $24 million, $29 million, and $31 million.
The $31 million cap number means that use of the franchise tag in 2021 would cost $44.64 million, given that Cousins would be entitled to a 44-percent increase over his 2020 cap number, if the franchise tag is applied. Which explains why the deal doesn’t prevent the franchise tag.
(The transition tag would have entailed a 20-percent raise over the 2020 cap number, which equates to $37.2 million on a one-year deal for a right of first refusal.)
The deal also includes up to $2 million in annual incentives, which could push the deal to being worth $90 million over three years. Which suggests that the Jets were offering a straight $90 million over three, and that Cousins simply wanted a chance to match that amount in Minnesota.
The Raiders are releasing receiver Michael Crabtree, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports. Now, the question becomes: Does Marshawn Lynch follow?
Although Raiders G.M. Reggie McKenzie and coach Jon Gruden both indicated Crabtree and Lynch were in the team’s plans for 2018, a report two weeks ago indicated the futures of both remained in doubt.
Crabtree had a cap hit of $7.7 million this season, while Lynch has a cap hit of nearly $6 million and could earn more in performance incentives.
Crabtree, 30, made 58 receptions for 618 yards and eight touchdowns last season. In three seasons in Oakland, he caught 232 passes for 2,543 yards and 25 touchdowns.
When the Browns announced they were releasing cornerback Jason McCourty on Thursday, plenty of people wondered if he might wind up in New England to play alongside his twin brother Devin in the Patriots secondary.
The McCourty brothers will be reunited on the field for the first time since Rutgers, but it won’t be because the Patriots signed Jason following his release. Despite the Browns’ announcement, McCourty remained a member of the team long enough to be traded to the Patriots.
The Browns announced that they have traded McCourty and a 2018 seventh-round pick for a 2018 sixth round pick. The move gives the Patriots a corner to help fill the void left by Malcolm Butler‘s departure and gives Devin McCourty something he wanted when his brother was released by the Titans last year.
“If [Bill Belichick] did listen to me, I would definitely shoot him a text message and tell him, ‘I don’t know if he heard the news, but Jason McCourty is a free agent.,'” Devin said last year. “He’ll listen to me sometimes about my opinion on the deep middle, but scouting players, he stays away from me.”
That scouting report may not have been the reason the Patriots made Thursday’s move, but they’ve doubled down on McCourtys all the same.
The Vikings officially have their man.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins arrived in Minnesota on Wednesday for his first meeting with the Vikings since agreeing to terms on a three-year contract and both sides expected any remaining details to be ironed out in time for a press conference on Thursday afternoon. It appears there were no kinks to throw off that plan because the Vikings have officially announced that Cousins is the newest member of the team.
There will surely be questions at that forthcoming press conference about what appealed to Cousins about the opportunity in Minnesota and a fully guaranteed three-year contract worth $84 million is going to be somewhere on that list. There’s also the chance to try to improve on last year’s 13-3 record and trip to the NFC Championship Game, something that sets a high bar for Cousins and the rest of the team as they begin working toward the 2018 season.
We’ll find out what other questions come Cousins’ way soon as the biggest question for him and the Vikings heading into the offseason has now been answered.
The Raiders found a veteran running back. Which may mean they no longer need that other veteran running back.
According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the Raiders have agreed to terms with former Buccaneers running back Doug Martin.
That creates immediate speculation about the future of Marshawn Lynch, who coach Jon Gruden raved about at the Combine.
But as Michael Crabtree‘s future likely hinges on the ability to sign Jordy Nelson, the presence of a new running back might make it unnecessary to keep Lynch.
Martin ran for 1,402 yarsd in 2015, but averaged less than 3.0 yards per carry in the two seasons since, which were marred by injuries and suspension.
For all the quarterbacks who have been plucked off the market in the last few days, there’s one former Super Bowl participant who hasn’t gotten a call — for some reason.
And while it may not mean anything for his future employment, it appears Colin Kaepernick is at least trying to stay prepared in case anyone decided to stop blackballing him.
Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports spotted Kaepernick going through a workout at a field in Houston (though clearly not for the Texans, Lord, we all know that wouldn’t happen).
It’s unclear why he was in Houston, or whether there’s any immediate plan for him to actively pursue work in the league.
He’s been out of work since his kneeling during the national anthem in 2016 became a national conversation, with President Donald Trump stoking a fire by referring to wanting to fire any “son of a bitch” who kneeled during the song. Kaepernick has filed a collusion grievance against the league regarding his lack of employment for any rational football reason.