NFL Rumor Roundup: Free Agency Jitters—Bengals Might Cut Dunlap, Manziel No Longer Hot, Dolphins May Trade Everybody
Another rumor roundup for this week, and it once again includes a lot of material from Tony Pauline and various local beat writers around the league.
The last rumor roundup I posted inspired a lot of questions online and in my inbox about the veracity of “my” rumors. The vast majority of the rumors posted aren’t really “mine” in that I haven’t been directly sourced most of them and they are published elsewhere. This is more of a summary of the work done around the league.
More than that, rumors are not reliable, all they do is give a little additional context to the speculation every fan does in the offseason. Check out Walter Football’s 2013 Rumor Results to see how useful they really are. Even more useful is this article from a former director of college scouting for the Bears, Greg Gabriel. Teams will lie.
John McClain, a very tuned-in beat writer for the Houston Texans, is absolutely convinced they will take a quarterback with their top pick.
The chances of the Jacksonville Jaguars drafting Johnny Manziel is “remote.” This accords well with last week’s rumor that Jacksonville will be taking either Khalil Mack or Teddy Bridgewater.
On the other hand, John Middlekauff, former scout and current co-host for 95.7 The Game is convinced Teddy Bridgewater will fall at least past pick five, where the Oakland Raiders select. It’s being reported again this week that the Raiders are not interested in Johnny Manziel and are more interested in Derek Carr. The more frequent these reports come by, the less likely they are true.
Current Atlanta Falcons offensive line coach Mike Tice maybe particularly keen on offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson, in part due to their Minnesota connection.
The Detroit Lions will focus on finding a center in the draft.
The Cincinnati Bengals are interested in quarterback Aaron Murray as a backup to Andy Dalton.
The Seattle Seahawks and a few other teams are interested in Coastal Carolina’s running back Lorenzo Taliaferro as a late-round pick.
Jimmy Garoppolo is considered to have solidified himself as a second-rounder and has a workout with five teams.
Derek Carr has been ranked above Johnny Manziel by “at least” 17 quarterbacks coaches around the league.
Receiver Mike Evans keeps hearing that he could be a top-ten pick.
Joel Bitonio will go in the second round, but will be drafted as a tackle, not a guard.
Cyrus Kouandjio has serious injury concerns, but despite earlier reports, they might not be an immediate (“short-term”) concern. Teams grade players on a 1-5 scale, where a “1” indicates no injury concerns and a “5” is undraftable. Teams have given him “4” and “3” grades.
Last week, I mentioned that Zach Mettenberger was off of several teams’ boards for off-field behavior that was reportedly worse than (or a continuation of) some serious unreported issues at Georgia. One team was the Minnesota Vikings. Another is the Pittsburgh Steelers. It seems that some teams (no word as to who, or whether or not it includes the Vikings or the Steelers) have begun reconsidering whether or not to take him off their board after he aced interviews at the Combine.
Free Agency Rumors
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Matt Cassel will hit the open market. The Houston Texans and Bill O’Brien are interested. The Vikings want to re-sign Jerome Simpson and are looking at Miami Dolphins cornerback Nolan Carroll. The Dolphins will reportedly match any offer up to $4 million a year for him. Jared Allen will test the free agent market and won’t likely be back. There’s a good chance cornerback/returner Marcus Sherels will have a contract in place before March 11th. And yes, Adrian Peterson said that one thing about Michael Vick.
D’Qwell Jackson is drawing interest from a number of teams, including the Arizona Cardinals, the Indianapolis Colts, the Denver Broncos, the Miami Dolphins, the Tennessee Titans, and the Washington Redskins. He should decide on a team soon. He is evidently deciding between the Colts, Titans, Broncos and Dolphins. UPDATE: D’QWELL JACKSON SIGNED WITH THE INDIANAPOLIS COLTS FOR 4 YEARS AND $22 MILLION, WITH $11 MILLION GUARANTEED.
The Arizona Cardinals are currently in extensive talks with free agent outside linebacker Matt Shaughnessy. They also are currently in talks with inside linebacker Karlos Dansby, who they view as a major priority. Receiver Andre Roberts “does not expect to be back” in Arizona, and has not received any phone calls from them.
DT Jason Hatcher may not be able to stay with the Dallas Cowboys given their cap situation. A few teams are showing interest, including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The New York Giants are showing lots of interest in tight end Andrew Quarless of the Green Bay Packers.
The New York Jets are going to target Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Emmanuel Sanders in free agency. If not, Hakeem Nicks and Golden Tate are on their list as well.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are expected to draw some interest in outside linebacker Jason Worilds, who they have given the transition tag. If another team offers him a contract, the Steelers have the right to match the offer, which he would have to sign. If they do keep him, they are not expected to keep outside linebacker Lamarr Woodley.
Green Bay Packers receiver James Jones has been considering the San Diego Chargers and the Indianapolis Colts along with a return to Green Bay. There are a lot of indications that the Packers are not particularly interested in retaining him. The Packers are close to signing a one-year deal with DT/DE B.J. Raji.
New England Patriots receiver Danny Amendola is on the trading block. Cornerback Aqib Talib is looking for “top-of-the-market” money for his services, which would match Brent Grimes’ $8 million-a-year deal. It seems unlikely he will get it, though.
The Indianapolis Colts will not re-sign ILB Pat Angerer. They are still in talks with cornerback Vontae Davis, but did not apply the franchise or transition tags. Some have speculated that this means he will get Brent Grimes money. They are talking to running back Ahmad Bradshaw, and neither side has closed the door on a possible deal. The Colts are interested in Broncos receiver Eric Decker.
The Miami Dolphins are probably not going to be able to re-sign NT Paul Soliai. They are gauging the trade value for Dion Jordan, who they traded up for in the 2013 draft to get. They have also indicated a willingness to trade Cameron Wake and Mike Wallace. Of course, Miami beat reporters have their own sources and disagree on the veracity of the report. Their preferred offensive line plan is to sign a “high-end” left tackle and fill the other spot through the draft.
Former Seahawks Linebacker Lofa Tatupu worked out for the Broncos. The team is also prepared to let running back Knowshon Moreno hit the market and give Montee Ball a chance to start. They have discussed an extension with cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
Quarterback Michael Vick wants to start, but evidently was still in contact with the Philadelphia Eagles until yesterday, when the Eagles decided to “move on”. The Eagles have been refuting reports that receiver Desean Jackson is on the block. This runs contrary to rumors that Jackson is one step away from being cut, and doesn’t fit the locker room culture of the Eagles, and is therefore expendable. Brandon Graham, who has been extremely good in his limited time in the past couple of years as an edge rusher for the Eagles, may be traded due to schematic concerns.
The Kansas City Chiefs and Justin Houston are still in talks and have been since the Combine. Receiver Donnie Avery is a release candidate. They are apparently interested in re-signing Geoff Schwartz.
New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham is evidently valuable enough that “one or more teams” is prepared to take a run at him despite his hefty price tag (he will cost two first-round picks in addition to whatever his deal costs). He will not show up to the Saints facilities until the franchise tag dispute is resolved.
Reports that San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was seeking a contract worth $18 million a year may have lowballed it; as he may be asking for $20 million or more a year, and could get that amount.
Safety Jairus Byrd has drawn definite interest from the Cleveland Browns if he doesn’t get a deal done with the Buffalo Bills. The Browns are also going to be big players for cornerback Sam Shields, who is not getting a deal done with the Green Bay Packers. Ahtyba Rubin’s salary didn’t seem secure, but recent reports seem to indicate that they won’t restructure. They don’t seem particularly close to an agreement with safety T.J. Ward.
The Tennessee Titans may not be able to keep right tackle David Stewart. They are currently in talks with running back Chris Johnson, who tweeted out that talks were at a standstill. The Titans figure to be a top destination for Arizona Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby if they don’t sign D’Qwell Jackson. Receiver Nate Washington could be a cap casualty. As expected, they are not close to an agreement with Alterraun Verner.
The Atlanta Falcons are currently talking to free agent safety Louis Delmas. Last week one rumor was that the Falcons had a 50% chance of retaining center Joe Hawley. He remains a priority for the Falcons. Some are connecting them to also grabbing guard Jon Asamoah, who was drafted by their current assistant GM Scott Pioli.
Odds are, the Detroit Lions and tight end Brandon Pettigrew won’t have a deal in place by the time the free agency window opens. Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh may represent himself in the next set of negotiations between him and the Lions. They would prefer an agent because the next deal may be complex.
Tony Pauline confirmed the rumor that the Cincinnati Bengals are seriously considering cutting Carlos Dunlap. Unsurprising, but it’s evidently been reported that the Bengals, who have former Raiders head coach Hue Jackson on staff, are not interested in Darren McFadden.
The Baltimore Ravens have not entered negotiations with Michael Oher. They are concentrating on re-signing Eugene Monroe. Talks have not advanced, and he should draw significant interest. Additional reports indicate that Baltimore and Monroe are nowhere close. Aside from Monroe, the Ravens are focusing heavily on ILB Daryl Smith. They are expected to pick up cornerback Jimmy Smith’s 2015 option.
The Washington Redskins are in talks with ILB Perry Riley, but the two are not close to an agreement. They won’t look for a lower salary for defensive end Adam Carriker, and are giving him a chance to prove his health.
The St. Louis Rams are set to release a number of players after releasing Cortland Finnegan as cap casualties, but center Scott Wells may not be one of them. They are expected to sign a long-term deal with offensive lineman Rodger Saffold.