The NFL’s free company interval will get going this week as groups start to barter with gamers forward of Wednesday afternoon, when the league’s 2018 calendar formally begins and groups can begin signing away. Here’s a take a look at who’s going and who’s staying, with the proviso that offers usually are not official till four p.m. EDT Wednesday.
New England exodus continues; Malcolm Butler to Tennessee
The creator of arguably a very powerful play in Super Bowl historical past is leaving the staff he gained it for. Malcolm Butler is ready to go away the New England Patriots for the Tennessee Titans in a five-year deal value $61 million, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Butler intercepted a cross on the objective line to seal New England’s win in Super Bowl XLIX in 2014 in opposition to Seattle. In Super Bowl LII, although, Butler was benched on protection and performed solely particular groups. After the sport, the fourth-year professional stated the staff, “gave up on me.”
Tennessee signed a brand new coach, former Patriots linebacker and Texans defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel, in January, at the same time as former coach Mike Mularkey led the staff the second spherical of the playoffs.
Jets deliver again Josh McCown, add Isaiah Crowell
It stays unclear how far alongside the Jets are with free agent quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, however the staff has reeled in final yr’s beginning signal-caller, Josh McCown. According to a number of studies Tuesday, McCown has agreed to a one-year, $10 million deal.
Reports have additionally indicated that McCown, who turns 39 in July, has been informed he would be the Jets’ starter this season, which may complicate negotiations with Bridgewater. New York can also be thought-about to be very doubtless to make use of its No. 6 total decide in subsequent month’s draft on a quarterback, and even commerce up increased to land its most popular goal.
In his first season with the Jets, McCown performed properly, setting profession highs in completion share and touchdowns whereas main the staff to a surprisingly aggressive begin. However, McCown suffered a critical harm, as he so typically has in his profession, in Week 14 and failed to finish the season.
The Jets additionally nonetheless have final yr’s backup quarterbacks, Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg, on the roster, however each could possibly be launched earlier than the beginning of the upcoming season. Having apparently misplaced out to the Vikings in its pursuit of Kirk Cousins, New York pivoted shortly to signal McCown, who has earned reward for his veteran management, and go after Bridgewater.
The Jets are additionally including former Browns operating again Isaiah Crowell, per studies. The 25 year-old Crowell ran for 853 yards and two touchdowns final season, averaging four.1 yards per carry, whereas catching 28 passes for 182 yards.
Crowell joins Bilal Powell, the main rusher for the Jets final season, and Elijah McGuire in New York’s backfield. The staff additionally had Matt Forte for the previous two seasons, however the veteran operating again retired early within the offseason.
Panthers signal ex-Redskin Bashaud Breeland
Less than per week after Carolina traded away one among its cornerbacks, it restocked Wednesday with former Redskin Bashaud Breeland, who is predicted to signal a three-year, $24 million deal, in keeping with NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.
Numbers on new Panthers CB Bashaud Breeland: three years, $24 million, with $11 million in ensures, sources say.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 13, 2018
Washington used Breeland as its second cornerback the previous two seasons as he performed alongside Josh Norman. And when Norman missed three begins as a result of harm, Breeland shifted into the highest position, one he relished and thought he was deserved on a full-time foundation.
“I feel like I’m a top corner in this league,” he stated in Dec. 2016. “It hasn’t been proven, I haven’t gotten that publicity, however I really feel like with my confidence degree and the way I imagine in myself, I really feel like I’m a prime nook on this league. I’m simply not a kind of gamers that’s flashy, that’s going to make the flashy play that you simply wish to see, you understand what I’m saying? Really, what I do, I deliver much more to the desk — physicality, tackling. I’m a tackling nook. And I play my man. I make performs.”
Packers ink tight finish Jimmy Graham, reduce Jordy Nelson
Free agent tight finish Jimmy Graham intends to signal with the Green Bay Packers after the free agent market formally opens Wednesday, in keeping with an individual near the scenario.
Graham will go away the Seattle Seahawks and selected to not return to the New Orleans Saints, who additionally had been occupied with him.
He offers a probably productive pass-catcher at tight finish for quarterback Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay because the Packers take a extra aggressive strategy to free company beneath new common supervisor Brian Gutekunst.
Graham had 57 catches for 520 yards and 10 touchdowns final season for Seattle. He was a two-time 1,200-yard receiver throughout his 5 seasons with the Saints earlier than he was traded to the Seahawks. He spent three seasons in Seattle.
Moments after the Graham deal got here to fruition, the staff additionally introduced it will reduce vast receiver Jordy Nelson, who’s third all time in receptions in Packer historical past.
“We can’t thank Jordy sufficient for all that he has given the Green Bay Packers and our neighborhood for the previous 10 years,” Gutekunst stated in an announcement. “He has been an exemplary skilled and teammate and enormously contributed to our success. Jordy will at all times be a member of the Packers household and we stay up for his eventual induction into the Packers Hall of Fame.”
Sam Bradford makes a cope with the Cardinals
The beginning quarterback market is shortly drying up after a raucous first day of free company. Sam Bradford and the Arizona Cardinals have reportedly agreed to a one-year $20 million cope with an possibility for a second yr.
Bradford will exchange the retired Carson Palmer beneath middle for Arizona, which completed a disappointing Eight-Eight final season and out of the playoffs.
The transfer leaves Teddy Bridgewater, Josh McCown and A.J. McCarron as essentially the most sought-after quarterbacks nonetheless accessible on the free agent market. Case Keenum, Drew Brees and Kirk Cousins all agreed to offers with Denver, New Orleans and Minnesota, respectively, earlier within the day.
Bradford suffered via one other injury-plagued season in 2017 with the Vikings, and was supplanted as Minnesota’s starter by Keenum when he returned to the lineup. Bradford hasn’t performed a full 16-game season since 2012 in St. Louis.
In 2016, his final yr a full-time starter, he performed 15 video games and threw for three,877 yards, 20 touchdowns and 5 interceptions.
Kirk Cousins cashes in with Minnesota
Ex-Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins is predicted to affix the Minnesota Vikings with a three-year, $84 million deal, The Washington Post’s Kimberley A. Martin and Mark Maske report.
The Vikings had three quarterbacks perceived to be franchise-caliber — Teddy Bridgewater, Case Keenum and Sam Bradford — to start out the offseason and let all of them stroll for a shot at Cousins.
In Washington, Cousins was an indicator of consistency. In every of his final three seasons, the Michigan State product threw for greater than four,000 yards and a minimum of 25 touchdowns. He accomplished 67 p.c of his passes.
But by the tip of his tenure, it was clear the Redskins entrance workplace had moved on. General Manager Bruce Allen referred to as him by the fallacious identify, “Kurt,” six instances in a two-minute span throughout a radio interview final summer time.
Coach Jay Gruden plainly stated Cousins “did some good issues” in a season during which he was seventh within the league in passing yardage, forward of the likes of Russell Wilson, Cam Newton and Carson Wentz.
Danny Amendola hops from New England to Miami
One of Tom Brady’s prime targets is staying within the AFC East, however leaving New England. Danny Amendola is predicted to signal a deal to affix the Dolphins, NFL Network’s Dan Hellie reported Tuesday afternoon.
Amendola caught 61 passes for 659 yards and two touchdowns through the 2017-18 season, and emerged within the postseason as New England’s most dependable goal. He had 26 extra receptions for 348 and two extra scores within the Patriots’ run to Super Bowl LII.
The deal is for 2 years and $12 million, according to NFL.com.
Brees and Saints reportedly will stick collectively
To nobody’s shock, the Saints and quarterback Drew Brees have struck a deal to maintain the 39-year-old future Hall of Famer in New Orleans. According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, the 2 sides have agreed to a $50 million cope with $27 million assured. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the deal is the equal of a two-year contract, although formally it is going to be a one-year cope with a staff possibility for 2019, plus a no-trade clause, all however making certain Brees will finish his profession with the Saints.
Brees was eligible for unrestricted free company Wednesday, however he has lengthy stated that he wished to stay with the Saints and the staff has expressed confidence that it will maintain him. Brees has spent the previous 12 seasons with the Saints and led the staff to a Super Bowl title.
Brees remained productive final season, finishing 72 p.c of his passes and throwing for four,334 yards and 23 touchdowns, even because the Saints used a extra balanced offensive strategy with an elevated give attention to a operating recreation led by Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara. They gained the NFC South and beat the Carolina Panthers in a first-round playoff recreation earlier than dropping in dramatic style at Minnesota in a convention semifinal.
Although studies indicated that the Vikings have shown interest in Brees, there was little motive to anticipate that he wasn’t going to stick with the Saints. He and his household love New Orleans and he’s the staff’s basis. Besides, he almost obtained them into the NFC championship recreation in January. Why wouldn’t the Saints have him again?
With Brees again within the fold, Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer says New Orleans will now work on bringing again tight finish Jimmy Graham, who has spent the final three seasons in Seattle however is now a free agent.
Elsewhere, Case Keenum has agreed to a cope with the Broncos that ought to get the free agent market shifting. The Broncos will turn out to be Keenum’s fourth NFL staff after the Houston Texans, Rams (in each St. Louis and Los Angeles) and Minnesota Vikings. He had a breakthrough 2017 season with the Vikings during which he threw for three,547 yards with 22 touchdowns and solely seven interceptions, enjoying at a near-league-MVP degree and serving to Minnesota to achieve the NFC title recreation.
As for the Jets, who’re out of the operating for Cousins:
Jets’ fall-back QB plans, assuming they’re out of the Kirk Cousins chase, appear to contain Teddy Bridgewater, Josh McCown and the No. 6 decide within the draft.
— MarkMaske (@MarkMaske) March 13, 2018
Ok.C. lands a star goal for Patrick Mahomes
Free agent vast receiver Sammy Watkins is predicted to signal with the Kansas City Chiefs, an individual acquainted with the scenario informed The Post’s Mark Maske.
Watkins is considered one of many prime wideouts accessible in free company after a 39-catch, 593-yard, eight-touchdown season for the Los Angeles Rams. He is a former 1,000-yard receiver for the Buffalo Bills.
His three-year cope with the Chiefs is predicted to common about $16 million per season.
In Kansas City, Watkins joins tailback Kareem Hunt, vast receiver Tyreek Hill and tight finish Travis Kelce in an offense being handed over to second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs agreed to commerce Alex Smith to the Washington Redskins to clear the beginning spot for Mahomes, a first-round draft decide who served as Smith’s backup as a rookie.
According to ESPN’s Jeff Dickerson, the Bears additionally made a “sturdy push” to signal Watkins.
Kansas City additionally started restocking its protection after both buying and selling away or reducing key parts from final yr. According to Rapoport and Tom Pelissero, they plan on signing former Cowboys linebacker Anthony Hitchens to a deal value $9 million per yr. Hitchens, a fourth-round decide within the 2014 draft, has began 48 video games over his four-year NFL profession.
Bears beef up receiving corps with Allen Robinson
The Chicago Bears averaged a league-low 175.7 passing yards per recreation final season, their quarterbacks throwing solely 13 landing passes to tie the Colts for the league low. And so the information that, barring a snag, that Jaguars vast receiver Allen Robinson will signal with the Bears isn’t all stunning (it was first reported early Tuesday by ESPN’s Adam Schefter).
Josina Anderson, Schefter’s ESPN colleague, reports the deal is value $42 million over three years.
Robinson, who shall be 25 when the 2018 season begins, tore his ACL in Jacksonville’s season opener final season and missed the remainder of the season, however within the two earlier years he had 153 receptions for two,283 yards and 20 touchdowns. He had an NFL-best 14 landing catches in 2015; no Chicago receiver has ever reached that mark, with Brandon Marshall’s 12 receiving scores in 2013 being the franchise’s latest high-water mark.
The Bears didn’t have a large receiver on their roster final season with multiple landing catch.
Jacksonville declined to position the franchise or transition tag on Robinson final week, making him a free agent.
Chicago wasn’t performed tinkering with its pass-catchers Tuesday, reportedly agreeing to a cope with former Eagles tight finish Trey Burton, who famously threw a trick-play landing cross to quarterback Nick Foles in Philadelphia’s Super Bowl win over the Patriots. Schefter says the deal is value $32 million over 4 years, making Burton one of many NFL’s highest-paid tight ends.
Burton has caught 63 profession passes, with 60 of them coming within the final two years whereas serving as a succesful backup to Zach Ertz. Five of Burton’s six profession landing catches got here in 2017.
Cowboys reportedly sticking with Dez Bryant
Rapoport reports that the Cowboys have met with wideout Dez Bryant and gained’t be making any alterations to his contract. Dallas reportedly sniffed across the free agent vast receiver market however determined to stay with Bryant, who’s due $12.5 million subsequent season as a part of a five-year contract extension he signed in 2015.
According to the Star-Telegram, the Cowboys had been maybe hoping Bryant would take a pay reduce however apparently that’s not taking place after the staff determined that the options weren’t any higher than the 29-year-old, eight-year NFL veteran.
Bills get their Star
Schefter reports that former Panthers defensive sort out Star Lotulelei is headed to Buffalo with a five-year contract. Lotulelei, the 14th decide of the 2013 draft, has began almost each recreation of his five-year NFL profession and has 11.5 profession sacks. He performed beneath Bills Coach Sean McDermott from 2013 via 2016 when McDermott was the Panthers’ defensive coordinator.
Buffalo had one of many worst defensive traces in soccer final season after it traded away Marcell Dareus in Week Eight final season. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Bills allowed a league-high 18 dashing touchdowns and an AFC-worst 1,487 rush yards after the Dareus commerce. Of these yards, 1,105 had been contained in the tackles, and opponents’ four.Eight yards per rush contained in the tackles was tied for worst within the NFL.
Rapoport says the Bills are also bringing again defensive sort out Kyle Williams on a one-year deal. The four-time Pro Bowler has spent his whole 12-year profession in Buffalo.
Jags’ already-good offensive line simply obtained even higher
Jacksonville averaged 141.four dashing yards per recreation final season, tops within the NFL. The Jaguars additionally allowed solely 24 sacks, a quantity bested by solely the Chargers and Saints.
On Tuesday, a stout offensive line obtained even stouter with the news that former Panthers guard Andrew Norwell intends to signal with Jacksonville, the Jaguars beating out the Giants, 49ers and Colts for his companies.
Per his 5 yr, $66.5M settlement w/ the #Jaguars, Andrew Norwell is ready to turn out to be the 2nd highest avg. paid OL in soccer.
Trent Williams: $13.6M
Andrew Norwell: $13.3M
Russell Okung: $13.25Mhttps://t.co/sXvuRIm9zt
— Spotrac (@spotrac) March 13, 2018
According to Pro Football Talk, Norwell has agreed to a five-year, $66 million cope with $30 million in assured cash, which units a brand new excessive bar for NFL guards. The first-team All-Pro in 2017 was ranked because the league’s No. 12 offensive lineman by Pro Football Focus. He was the one guard within the league with a minimum of 200 snaps in cross safety to not enable a quarterback sack or hit, PFF says.
Dolphins to maneuver on from Suh
Ndamukong Suh is predicted to hit the free agent market, with studies indicating that the Miami Dolphins will launch him on Wednesday. The defensive sort out hints as a lot Monday when he tweeted a video during which he promised, “there shall be some thrilling issues happening.”
— Ndamukong Suh (@NdamukongSuh) March 12, 2018
Suh has been one thing of a disappointment in Miami after signing a six-year, $114.four million contract in 2015. Over the previous three years, he has not had greater than six sacks in a season. Nevertheless, a host of teams would love so as to add the 31-year-old to their rosters for 2018.
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