Live free-agency news updates from the PFF analysis team

Check back regularly as the PFF team provides updates and reactions on every 2017 NFL free-agency move.

| 2 weeks ago
NFL Free agency 2017

Live free-agency news updates from the PFF analysis team


Throughout free agency, the PFF team will be commenting on the biggest signings, news, and rumors from around the league. Be sure to check back regularly for the latest free agency updates.

[Editor’s note: Deal grades and analysis may be updated as further details around transactions are reported. For more PFF free agency coverage, click here.]

WR Andre Roberts agrees to terms with Falcons

07:57 a.m. ET, Tues., March 14

According to Dan Graziano of ESPN, former Detroit Lion’ wide receiver Andre Roberts has signed a one-year contract with the Atlanta Falcons for $1.8 million. Roberts hasn’t seen more than 25 pass targets in a season since 2014 and will make his biggest impact as a punt and kick returner. Roberts was highly effective as a punt returner in 2016 as he averaged 11.7 yards per return and returned 2 punts for touchdowns. This contract looks like a very affordable way for the Falcons to add punt-return production to their roster in the short term. — Jordan Plocher, @PFF_Jordan

 

WR Cordarrelle Patterson moves to Raiders

07:56 a.m. ET, Tues., March 14

According to Matt Vensel on Twitter, former Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Cordarelle Patterson has signed a contract with the Oakland Raiders. Patterson has been unable to make a big impact as a receiver thus far in his career but did average 6.3 yards after the catch in 2016. Patterson continues to be absolutely electric with the ball in his hands and open-field running has always been instinctive to him. Patterson has 31 career carries on offense and he has scored 4 touchdowns and forced 29 missed tackles. Patterson is still a threat to score every time he touches the ball and brings a big-play element to the Raiders. As a kick returner Patterson has 5 career touchdowns and a 30.4 average yards per return. Patterson will have value as a kick returner, but if the Raiders are able to get more of an impact out of him in the passing game he could provide Derek Carr with another weapon. — Jordan Plocher, @PFF_Jordan

 

Rams bring in CB Kayvon Webster

07:55 a.m. ET, Tues., March 14

According to Adam Schefter, the Rams have signed free agent CB Kayvon Webster to a two-year contract. The Broncos selected Webster in the third round in 2013 out of South Florida and he played 499 snaps as a rookie. Since then, though, Webster has been absolutely buried on one the league’s deepest depth charts at cornerback, seeing his snap count diminish to 93 snaps in 2015 and only 59 in 2016. Webster’s career coverage numbers are 57 catches allowed on 95 targets for 705 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception and 8 passes broken up. Webster will get to play for defensive coordinator Wade Phillips once again in Los Angeles. Webster’s new team and familiarity with the scheme should see him have a considerable shot at a starting job in 2017, but even if he doesn’t win a starting job outright expect a sizable increase in defensive snaps. — Jordan Plocher, @PFF_Jordan

 

S Kemal Ishmael re-signs with Atlanta

07:53 a.m. ET, Tues., March 14

According to Pro Football Talk, the Atlanta Falcons have re-signed safety Kemal Ishmael to a one-year $2.5 million contract. In 2014, Ishmael played 74.4 percent of defensive snaps for the Falcons, but that percentage dropped to 41.0 in 2015 and 39.9 in 2016. Ishmael has graded positively as a run defender for three straight seasons. Last season in coverage he was targeted 30 times and allowed 25 receptions for 199 yards and 1 touchdown. Ishmael will be relied upon to make an impact on special teams with the ability to not only play reserve snaps at safety but even spot start if necessary. On special teams, Ishmael has graded positively on punts the last two seasons and had 3 special teams tackles in 2016. — Jordan Plocher, @PFF_Jordan

 

Colts, C Brian Schwenke agree to terms

07:52 a.m. ET, Tues., March 14

According to Kevin Bowen of colts.com, the Indianapolis Colts have agreed to a contract with center Brian Schwenke. Schwenke has played for the Tennessee Titans for all four seasons of his career but has yet to play a complete 16-game season. Schwenke’s 2014 and 2015 campaigns both ended up with him placed on injured reserve. In 2016, Schwenke saw three starts at left guard and had good game grades against Jacksonville and San Diego. Last season the Colts invested significant draft capital at the center position in Ryan Kelly, who had a very good rookie season both as a pass-protector and a run-blocker. Schwenke’s signing is largely to provide interior offensive line depth as he has shown he can play both center and guard if needed. — Jordan Plocher, @PFF_Jordan

 

Packers re-sign Jayrone Elliott

07:51 a.m. ET, Tues., March 14

Good Morning Football’s Peter Schrager reports that the Packers have re-signed outside linebacker Jayrone Elliott to a one-year contract. Elliott only played 136 snaps on defense in 2016 and makes his largest contribution on special teams for the Packers. Elliott was one of the Packers’ highest-graded special teams players in 2016 and notched 8 tackles on coverage units. Signing Elliott for another year seems like a wise investment for the Packers, as 2017 will only be the fourth season for the Toledo product and he has graded positively on kickoff and punt units for every year of his young career. — Jordan Plocher, @PFF_Jordan

 

TE Jared Cook to visit Seahawks

According to Ian Rapoport, free agent tight end Jared Cook plans to visit the Seahawks. Cook was excellent down the stretch for Green Bay in 2016, but became expendable once the Packers signed former Patriots TE Martellus Bennett and former Rams TE Lance Kendrick. In the Packers’ final six games of the season (including three playoff games), Cook racked up 31 catches for 424 yards and two scores. Cook would be a bit of a curious fit in Seattle, however, as current Seahawk tight end Jimmy Graham is not known for his blocking, and Cook’s highest season grade as a run blocker is just 69.7. — Josh Liskiewitz, @PFF_Josh

 

Colts sign former Bengals DE Margus Hunt

7:50 p.m. ET, Mon., March 13

Ian Rapoport is reporting the Colts have signed former Bengals defensive end Margus Hunt to a two-year contract. Known primarily for blocking kicks—he blocked three field goals last season—Hunt struggled to see much action on defense in Cincinnati. He did post a career-best 77.3 run defense grade in 2016, and his 322 snaps played this past season was easily the highest total of his four-year NFL career. — Josh Liskiewitz, @PFF_Josh

 

Former Saints DE Kasim Edebali signs with Broncos

7:46 p.m. ET, Mon., March 13

Nicki Jhabvala reported this afternoon the signing of former Saints DE Kasim Edebali by the Broncos. In 537 pass-rush snaps over his three-year career in New Orleans, Edebali racked up 43 total QB pressures and three batted passes. He also saw the field on special teams all three seasons with the Saints. — Josh Liskiewitz, @PFF_Josh

 

Eagles release QB Chase Daniel

7:39 p.m. ET, Mon., March 13

With Philadelphia’s signing of Nick Foles, it’s no surprise that the Eagles released Chase Daniel this afternoon. Despite playing just 262 career snaps, Daniel has been a coveted backup QB in the past. As Andrew Brandt made mention of in his initial report of the transaction, Daniel made $7 million with Philadelphia last year despite playing just six snaps. He has completed 50 of his 77 career passes for 472 yards, one touchdown and one interception, and has recorded a career QB rating of 80.7. While he could still be viewed as a viable backup for a number of teams, he is unlikely to earn anything approaching the salary he did in 2016 with the Eagles. — Josh Liskiewitz, @PFF_Josh

 

Former Broncos, Cowboys OLB DeMarcus Ware retires

4:52 p.m. ET, Mon., March 13

Former first-round pick, nine-time Pro Bowler, four-time All-Pro, Super Bowl champion, and 2008 NFC Defensive Player of the Year DeMarcus Ware has announced his retirement from the NFL. As his opening statement on Twitter says, Ware had quite a decorative career split between the Dallas Cowboys (2005–2013) and the Denver Broncos (2014–2016). The PFF era dates back to 2006, so we are missing out on his rookie season, but since 2006, Ware racked up a massive 148 sacks, 129 QB hits and 434 QB hurries, and was a force basically every year, save for his last, in which he struggled through injury. A surefire Hall-of-Famer, Ware topped double-digit sacks in nine of his 12 seasons and double-digit QB hits in seven of his 11 PFF-era seasons. Ware was a big piece of the dominating Broncos defense that won Super Bowl 50 and his presence will be missed not just in Denver, but the entire NFL. We’ll have a full article on Ware’s career tomorrow morning. — John Kosko, @PFF_JohnKosko

 

Colts re-sign RB Robert Turbin to two-year deal

4:50 p.m. ET, Mon., March 13

RB Robert Turbin is set to return to the Indianapolis Colts on a two-year, $4.1 million deal according to Ian Rapoport. Turbin has just 365 carries over his five-year career, but has made solid work out of them, averaging 3.9 yards per carry with 2.3 coming after contact. Turbin is a solid change-of-pace back as well, as he caught 26 passes for 179 yards—but with 214 coming after the catch. Solid in pass protection, Turbin’s signing provides quality depth at a position of need for the Colts. — John Kosko, @PFF_JohnKosko

 

Chiefs agree to one-year deal with DT Bennie Logan

4:46 p.m. ET, Mon., March 13

The Kansas City Star’s Terez Paylor has reported that the Chiefs have agreed to a one-year deal with former Philadelphia Eagles DT Bennie Logan. Logan had two productive years in 2014 and 2015 as a run defender before struggling in defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz’s 4-3 scheme. Logan returns to a 3-4 defense in Kansas City to play NT and should be able to return to his run-stuffing ways. Logan averaged 41 defensive stops in 2014 and 2015 and regressed to just 18 in 2016. Logan recorded three sacks last season, but that part of his game is only a bonus if he is able to get to the QB, as he has consistently graded very poorly rushing the passer. This signing is a solid replacement for Dontari Poe, who is looking for a big contract after having an up-and-down career in Kansas City. — John Kosko, @PFF_JohnKosko

 

Chargers release OT King Dunlap

4:42 p.m. ET, Mon., March 13

First reported by Good Morning Football’s Peter Schrager, the Los Angeles Chargers have released OT King Dunlap. A productive LT in 2013 and 2014, Dunlap has regressed each of the past two years; the former seventh-round pick ranked 55th out of 61 eligible OTs in pass-blocking efficiency in 2016, at 92.0. His five allowed sacks and six QB hits weren’t the worst in the NFL, but considering that he pass-blocked just 435 times in 2016, his per-snap metric was very poor. If Dunlap can find his 2013–2014 form, he can be a good, affordable pickup for any team, but considering his play since then, he might struggle to win a starting job in 2017. — John Kosko, @PFF_JohnKosko

 

Rex Burkhead visits the Patriots

12:06 p.m. ET, Mon., March 13

Former Cincinnati running back Rex Burkhead is expected to visit the New England Patriots on Monday, according to ESPN’s Field Yates. Burkhead, a former sixth-round pick, played a career-high 239 snaps on offense in 2016 and he did not disappoint. The former Nebraska running back averaged 3.0 yards after  contact and forced 11 missed tackles on just 74 carries. In addition, Burkhead can be considered as a receiving threat out of the backfield, since he caught all 17 of his catchable targets, averaged 8.8 yards after catch and forced four missed tackle. Furthermore, Burkhead is a valuable contributor on special teams, as he totaled 208 special-teams snaps in 2016. While it’s uncertain how he would fit into the busy backfield of the Patriots, his versatility is certainly something Bill Belichick would value. – Zoltan Buday, @PFF_Zoltan

 

Eagles are expected to release Chase Daniel

12:06 p.m. ET, Mon., March 13

The Philadelphia Eagles are expected to release quarterback Chase Daniel following the signing of Nick Foles, according to ESPN’s Adam Caplan. Daniel found himself the odd man out with the addition and asked to be released, according to Caplan. Although Daniel, who turns 31 in October, attempted only 77 passes in his career, he is considered to be one of the most reliable and experienced veteran backup quarterbacks in the league. There may be some teams where eventually Daniel could even compete for the starting position. – Zoltan Buday, @PFF_Zoltan

 

Nick Foles returns to Philadelphia

08:56 a.m. ET, Mon. March 13

Quarterback Nick Foles is signing a two-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The former Chiefs and Rams signal-caller played his best football in Philadelphia under Chip Kelly in 2013, when he passed for 27 touchdowns while throwing only two interceptions and earning a grade of 84.1. However, he graded out at only 52.4 in 2015 for the St. Louis Rams, his last year as a starter, as he had 10 interceptions while throwing only 7 touchdowns. It seems like, at this point in his career, the former Arizona quarterback, who turned 28 in January, is content with backing up second-year quarterback Carson Wentz and re-uniting with Doug Pederson, who was Foles’ quarterback coach in his rookie season. The move appears to open up the possibility of the Eagles trading 2016 backup quarterback Chase Daniel. – Zoltan Buday, @PFF_Zoltan

 

Cornerback Davon House set to visit Pittsburgh

08:29 a.m. ET, Mon., March 13

The Pittsburgh Steelers are expected to host former Jaguars cornerback Davon House on a visit, according to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. House was unable to live up to his strong first season in Jacksonville as he struggled mightily in the first weeks of 2016. Overall, House allowed a completion percentage of 80.8 percent in coverage and gave up three touchdowns without recording a single interception or pass breakup, leading to a passer rating of 144.9 on passes thrown into his coverage in 2016. As a result, following Jacksonville’s bye week in Week 5, he lost his starting position and played more snaps on special teams than on defense. Consequently, it is more likely that teams and House are both looking for more of a prove-it type of deal than a long-term contract as he could make more on the open market next offseason if he played at his pre-2016 level once again in 2017. – Zoltan Buday, @PFF_Zoltan

 

Edge defender Okafor visiting New Orleans

08:29 a.m. ET, Mon., March 13

Former Arizona Cardinal Alex Okafor is expected to visit the New Orleans Saints Monday, according to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. While Okafor recorded only 29 total pressures – including four sacks – in 2016, he did it on just 180 pass-rushing snaps as he played a limited role and became a situational pass-rusher last season. In fact, while his previous career high was 50.1 percent, 77.9 percent of Okafor’s snaps came as a pass-rusher in 2016 as he earned an overall grade above 52.0 for the first time in his career – he graded out at 72.5 in his fourth season. Although Okafor is not the most coveted player on the free agency market, he could provide an upgrade for a Saints defense that needs all the help it can get to build a pass rush around star edge rusher Cameron Jordan. – Zoltan Buday, @PFF_Zoltan

 

Edge Connor Barwin visits Bengals

08:29 a.m. ET, Mon., March 13

The Cincinnati Bengals are expected to host edge defender Connor Barwin on a visit Monday, according to ESPN’s Adam Caplan. Barwin – who was released by the Philadelphia Eagles last week – played his fewest snap in a single season in 2016 since 2010 as he failed to top 1,000 snaps for the first time since his second season. This was however a result also of his declining performance, as he recorded just 30 total pressures on 449 pass rushing snaps and finished the season with a grade of 42.1, the worst in his career. However, the Bengals are one of the few teams who had an edge rusher that ranked behind Barwin in 2016 since Michael Johnson was PFF’s 105th-ranked edge defender while Barwin came in at No. 100. – Zoltan Buday, @PFF_Zoltan

 

Patriots appear to lead the race for Hightower

08:29 a.m. ET, Mon., March 13

The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Monday that teams that have talked to linebacker Dont’a Hightower believe he will return to the Patriots. Hightower has visited the Titans and the Jets, but all signs point to him re-signing with the defending champions. Although Hightower graded above 90.0 only once in his career – in 2014 – his consistency and reliability remains one of his strengths as he earned a grade of at least 82.0 in all five seasons of his career. In additions, the former Alabama player is one of the few linebackers in the league that can truly rush the pass, defend the run and drop into coverage. – Zoltan Buday, @PFF_Zoltan

 

DT Dontari Poe meets with Jacksonville

09:13 p.m. ET, Sun., March 12

According to Josina Anderson, former Chiefs DT Dontari Poe finished his visit with Indianapolis Sunday afternoon and headed to Jacksonville to meet with the Jaguars. With just 15 run stops, 2016 was a down year by Poe’s standards, but he would be in an ideal situation if he were to sign with Jacksonville. Because of the depth on the defensive interior of the Jaguars, Poe would be able to stay fresh by playing situationally on run downs, which would put him in the best possible situation to succeed considering his limitations as a pass-rusher (he has just three sacks and nine hits in the last two seasons combined). — Josh Liskiewitz, @PFF_Josh

 

Bills sign WR Philly Brown

09:09 p.m. ET, Sun., March 17

The Bills announced the signing of former Carolina wide receiver Philly Brown Sunday afternoon. Brown played mostly a backup role for the Panthers, accumulating 27 catches on 45 targets in 2016, including just nine over the final 10 games of the season. He also made a minimal contribution on special teams, with appearances in just four games last year in that phase of the game. — Josh Liskiewitz, @PFF_Josh

 

G T.J. Lang agrees to sign with Lions

04:28 p.m. ET, Sun., March 12

Per his agent Mike McCartney, ex-Packers guard T.J. Lang will be signing with the division-rival Lions. The move represents a complete overhaul to the right side of the Lions offensive line after right tackle Ricky Wagner was one of the first free agent offensive linemen to sign Thursday. Lang should be a considerable upgrade from Larry Warford in pass protection. Lang allowed 11 pressures on 659 pass-blocking snaps last year including the playoffs, while in all of 2016 while Warford yielded 28 on 704. — Mike Renner, @PFF_Mike

 

Jaguars release Roy Miller

04:27 p.m. ET, Sun., March 12

According to Aaron Wilson the Jaguars have parted ways with veteran defensive tackle Roy Miller. Miller was due a cap hit over $4 million this season, but had already been passed up on the depth chart by multiple players. Miller registered all of 165 snaps in 2016. — Mike Renner, @PFF_Mike

 

Broncos restructure Donald Stephenson’s contract

11:15 a.m. ET, Sun., March 12

Denver restructured right tackle Donald Stephenson’s contract, according to Mike Klis. Stephenson had two years on his contract with $4 million guaranteed in each of the next two years as he would count $5 million against the cap in 2017 and 2018 as well. This may be a case where Denver asked Stephenson to take a pay cut in order to stay on the roster as he has failed to live up to expectations and has not had a season yet when he graded above 50.0. In fact, Stephenson was PFF’s 77th-ranked offensive tackle out of 78 qualifying players with an overall grade of 28.0 in 2016. — Zoltan Buday, @PFF_Zoltan

 

Adrian Peterson is expected to visit the Seahawks

11:08 a.m. ET, Sun., March 12

Veteran running back Adrian Peterson is expected to visit the Seattle Seahawks, according to Jason La Canfora. Peterson is one of a handful of free agent running backs to visit Seattle in the first days of free agency as the Seahawks are looking to add a veteran presence in the backfield. Due to his injuries and age it is uncertain what the former Minnesota Viking, who is considered to be no more than a two-down back at this point, can bring to the table. While he did not play behind a solid offensive line, Peterson also failed to surpass the mediocre average of 1.5 yards after contact on his limited carries in 2016. — Zoltan Buday, @PFF_Zoltan

 

Hightower expected to be back with Patriots

11:08 a.m. ET, Sun., March 12

A team expects linebacker Dont’a Hightower to re-sign with the New England Patriots, according to The MMQB’s Albert Breer. Hightower appeared to be one of the most coveted players prior to the opening of the free agency, but he never seemed to generate the kind of interest that was expected. The former Alabama brings the type of versatility to the table that Bill Belichick probably appreciates more than other coaches and this was exploited by the Patriots last year. While Hightower lined up as an off-ball linebacker on 70.9 percent of his snaps between Week 1 and Week 14, he played more than half of his snaps as an edge defender from Week 15 through the Super Bowl. — Zoltan Buday, @PFF_Zoltan

 

Dontari Poe to visit Colts

11:08 a.m. ET, Sun., March 12

The Indianapolis Colts are expected to host interior defender Dontari Poe on a visit, according to Jason La Canfora. While many expected Poe to find a new home already on the first couple days of free agency, the former Kansas City defender is just about to start a series of visits to interested teams. The lack of interest may be attributable to the fact that Poe played his worst football in four years in his contract year as he graded out at 55.8 in 2016. While he was never among the premiere pass-rushers in the league, even Poe’s run-defense performance declined in his last season as he recorded a career-low 15 defensive stops. Meanwhile the Colts are looking to continue strengthening their front-seven after signing edge defenders Jabaal Sheard and John Simon recently. — Zoltan Buday, @PFF_Zoltan

 

O-lineman D.J. Fluker signs with the Giants

12:24 a.m. ET, Sun., March 12

D.J. Fluker wasn’t on the street long. The New York Giants signed the former first-round draft pick to a one-year contract Saturday after he was released by the Chargers Tuesday. Fluker has been used both at right tackle and right guard, but his performance on the field hasn’t matched up to his 11th overall draft selection, as evidenced by his 46.0 run-blocking grade in 2016. Still, Fluker is only 25 years old and has tremendous length so there is clearly something for the Giants to work with. The fact that it’s only a one-year contract gives the Giants a chance to give Fluker a shot without being financially committed long-term. — Jordan Plocher, @PFF_Jordan

 

Bears sign WR Kendall Wright on one-year deal

07:42 p.m. ET, Sat., March 11

Long labeled as a dynamic open-field playmaker with the shiftiness to make defenders miss utilizing smooth, athletic moves, WR Kendall Wright, formerly with the Tennessee Titans, agreed to a one-year pact with the Chicago Bears that will pay him up to four million in 2017. During his sophomore season in the NFL in 2013, Wright collected 94-of-102 catchable passes, 1,079 receiving yards, and forced 19 missed tackles (second-most in the NFL among WRs). While Wright would carry the efficiency over to the following season, his targets would drop by 39.1 percent in 2014, 40.2 percent in 2015, and down another 41 percent in 2016.

One of the potential factors to consider for the dropoff in production was the arrival of rookie QB Marcus Mariota in 2015. However, the numbers translate that Wright was unable, either by injury or simply by chance, to continue posting the 6-plus yards after the catch per reception he had achieved in 2013 (6.2) and 2014 (6.6). Over the last two seasons, those averages for Wright dropped to 4.3 YAC/reception in 2015, and 4.2 in 2016. After losing WR Alshon Jeffrey to the Eagles, the Bears are hoping to uncover the promising production  Wright posted in his early years. It’ll be interesting to see how Chicago and newly signed QB Mike Glennon utilize their new weapon, and if they’ll receive an improvement in play over his last two seasons that earned barely average grades. — Wes Huber, @PFF_Wes

 

RB Rex Burkhead visits with Falcons

05:28 p.m. ET, Sat., March 11

Four-year veteran RB Rex Burkhead made a visit to Atlanta on Saturday. Atlanta would seem to be interested in adding some insurance behind one of the most explosive backfield threats in the league in Devonta Freeman and dynamic third-year RB Tevin Coleman, who led all qualified NFL running backs with 2.58 average yards per receiving snap in route in 2016. While the potential of signing Burkhead may not create much of a stir, the former Nebraska Cornhusker proved more than capable of filling the receiving role starting in Week 12 last season when the Bengals lost Giovani Bernard, and embraced the opportunity for bell-cow touches in Weeks 16 and 17 — when Cincinnati also lost Jeremy Hill — averaging 22.5 touches, 105 total yards, and one touchdown. In addition, Burkhead became a vital component to the Bengals’ special teams, recording 18 solo, and five assisted tackles over the last two years. — Wes Huber, @PFF_Wes

 

Bills, T Jordan Mills reach two-year deal

05:07 p.m. ET, Sat., March 11

The Buffalo Bills have reached an agreement with free agent right tackle Jordan Mills. Mills, who has played two years with the Bills, returns after a lackluster 2016 season that saw him give up 57 total pressures on 554 total pass-blocking snaps. That earned him a pass-blocking efficiency rating of 91.9, which ranked 56th out of 61 qualifying tackles. Without many options left on the tackle market, the Bills turned to their own player in hopes of turning around his so far unproductive career. — Jon Abbott

 

Packers bring TE Lance Kendricks in to pair with Bennett

05:00 p.m. ET, Sat., March 11

The Green Bay Packers have signed free agent TE Lance Kendricks one day after signing another tight end, Martellus Bennett. Kendricks has played his entire six-year career with the Rams after being selected out of Wisconsin, where he was chosen as an All-American as a senior. He’ll return to his home state aiming to provide a relatively reliable blocking/receiving presence. Kendricks’ overall season grade has dropped from 69.6 in 2014, to 50.4 in 2015, and down to 48.3 in 2016. — Wes Huber, @PFF_Wes

 

Buccaneers re-sign Josh Robinson

04:58 p.m. ET, Sat., March 11

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have announced that they have re-signed core special-teamer Josh Robinson to a two year deal. Robinson, who was drafted in the third round by the Vikings in 2012, only played two defensive snaps with the Buccaneers last year. As a special-teamer Robinson recorded 11 solo tackles and 1 assist, which was double the output that any other Buccaneer was able to produce on special teams. — Jon Abbott

 

Broncos add two D-linemen in Domata Peko and Zach Kerr

04:49 p.m. ET, Sat., March 11

The Denver Broncos have added two pieces to their interior defensive line with the signings of Domata Peko and Zach Kerr. Peko, an 11-year veteran, was most recently with the Vikings as a-run defense specialist who has struggled to make much of a positive impact over the last several seasons. Peko’s overall grade of 42.6 landed him in the bottom third of the league for overall interior defensive linemen. As a run-defense specialist he has struggled, posting only a 44.6 run-defense grade.

Zach Kerr was signed by the Colts as an undrafted free agent out of Delaware in 2014. He is also coming off of a down season where he graded out at 42.9 overall. He has seen more recent success than Peko, though. In 2015 he, graded out in the top 30 for interior defensive linemen. Kerr is only 26, and the Broncos hope they can rekindle some of that success to bolster their interior pass rush and run defense after several departures the last couple of seasons. — Jon Abbott

 

Lions sign WR Keshawn Martin

03:53 p.m. ET, Sat., March 11

Veteran WR Keshawn Martin will join the Detroit Lions after playing one game for San Francisco in 2016. Martin played collegiately at Michigan State before being selected in the fourth round by the Houston Texans in 2012. While playing for New England in 2015, Martin participated in nine games posting replacement-level grades. He’ll look to earn a roster spot utilizing his special teams experience. — Wes Huber, @PFF_Wes

 

Patriots, DI Lawrence Guy reach agreement

02:42 p.m. ET, Sat., March 11

Lawrence Guy and the New England Patriots have agreed to terms on a four-year deal, according to Ian Rapoport. Guy, who was a seventh-round pick by the Indianapolis Colts in 2012, is mostly utilized as a specialist in run defense. Guy is coming off of his best season as a pro for the Ravens. While not much of a pass-rusher, Guy’s run-defense grade of 78.1 ranked in the top 30 for all interior defensive linemen. He will join the ranks of Alan Branch, Malcolm Brown and Vincent Valentine as the Patriots interior two-gappers that are instrumental in the Patriots’ run-defense scheme. — Jon Abbott

 

Dallas T Doug Free announces retirement

01:57 p.m. ET, Sat., March 11

The Cowboys are set to lose another member of their top offensive line as right tackle Doug Free has announced that he is retiring. Free was drafted by the Cowboys in 2007 and has spent his entire career as a Cowboy. He recorded many good seasons with the Cowboys, but it seems the wear and tear of the position has caught up to him in the past two seasons. Free graded out at a 71.6 overall and had a pass-protection grade of 70.2. While not awful grades, they were the worst of his career. Former top prospect La’el Collins could be a candidate to move out there in the offseason. — Jon Abbott

 

Lions sign TE Darren Fells

01:10 p.m. ET, Sat., March 11

TE Darren Fells, formerly of the Arizona Cardinals, has agreed to terms with the Lions on a one year deal. Fells acted as a backup behind Jermaine Gresham last year for the Cardinals and will likely take a similar role behind Eric Ebron in Detroit. Fells, playing 36.6 percent of the offensive snaps for the Cardinals, excelled as a pass-blocker last season, earning a 73.0 pass-blocking grade. He will likely aid as a blocker the most, because Ebron recorded a league-worst 29.6 run-blocking grade for tight ends. — Jon Abbott

 

Bears bring back LB Christian Jones

12:15 p.m. ET, Sat., March 11

The Chicago Bears have agreed to re-sign LB Christian Jones to a one-year contract. Jones — signed as an UDFA out of Florida State in 2014 — has recorded a combined 15 solo tackles on special teams during his three years with the Bears. — Wes Huber, @PFF_Wes

 

LB Audie Cole agrees to terms with Jacksonville

12:09 p.m. ET, Sat., March 11

Former Vikings linebacker and core special-teamer Audie Cole has signed with the Jaguars. Last season with the Vikings Cole only played 36 defensive snaps. As a special-teamer, Cole recorded six solo tackles and 2 assists. Cole has graded above average on special teams each of his four seasons in the league. Cole projects to fit in the same role in Jacksonville in 2017. — Jon Abbott

 

Sealver Siliga returns to Tampa Bay

12:00 p.m. ET, Sat., March 11

The Buccaneers have decided to re-sign NT Sealver Siliga to a one-year deal. Siliga joined the team midway through the 2016 season after being released by the Seahawks. He played only 67 snaps for the Bucs, and will likely provide back-up to the recently signed Chris Baker. Siliga has six QB hurries over the past two seasons. — Harley Sherman, @PFF_Harley

 

Lorenzo Alexander staying with the Bills

11:57 a.m. ET, Sat., March 11

Veteran OLB Lorenzo alexander has announced on Twitter that he will be returning to the Bills. Alexander unexpectedly had the season of this career in 2016, registering 49 total pressures, more than the previous five seasons combined. That ranked him 13th among outside linebackers in pass-rush productivity, and he also finished the season fourth in run-stop percentage, making a defensive stop on 8.7 percent of his snaps. It’s unlikely he keeps this pace up heading into the 2017 season, but Alexander still has time left to contribute. — Harley Sherman, @PFF_Harley

 

Jaguars sign G Earl Watford

11:11 a.m. ET, Sat., March 11

Former Cardinals G Earl Watford has signed a two-year, $6-million deal with the Jaguars. He played in 13 games in 2016, allowing 46 total pressures in 788 snaps. Watford played both tackle and guard for the Cardinals, so he gives the Jaguars some flexibility. — Harley Sherman, @PFF_Harley

 

Bills showing interest in T Andre Smith

10:59 a.m. ET, Sat., March 11

Former Vikings tackle Andre Smith is set to visit the Bills on Sunday, according to Ian Rapoport. The Bills’ starting RT in 2016, Jordan Mills, is still on market and Buffalo seem to be looking elsewhere. Smith’s performances have been on a steady decline however, with his career-best 87.2 grade in 2012 in stark contrast to a 2016 grade of 39.3. Smith played four games last season before hitting injured reserve. — Harley Sherman, @PFF_Harley

 

Buccaneers sign S J.J. Wilcox

10:28 a.m. ET, Sat., March 11

After re-signing starter Chris Conte, the Bucs make an upgrade at safety by adding former Cowboy J.J. Wilcox to a two-year, $8.5-million deal. Wilcox earned a career-best 81.5 grade in 2016, and will likely replace free agent Bradley McDougald. Last season saw Wilcox rotating with Byron Jones, Barry Church and Jeff Heath, but he should be an every-down player in 2017. He allowed only 7.3 yards per catch in 2016, fourth among safeties. — Harley Sherman, @PFF_Harley

 

Chiefs re-sign S Daniel Sorensen

08:19 a.m. ET, Sat., March 11

After a quiet couple of days for the Chiefs, they have elected to re-sign one of their own, keeping safety Daniel Sorensen on a four-year, $16m deal. Sorensen offers flexibility as a back up to starters Eric Berry and Ron Parker, and also spent 401 snaps at LB in mostly nickel packages. His 19 defensive stops were the highest among Chiefs’ DBs, and his positive contribution as a special-teamer adds value to his return too. — Harley Sherman, @PFF_Harley

 

Damontre Moore signing with the Cowboys

5:58 a.m. ET, Sat., March 11

The Cowboys have added more firepower to their pass rush, signing former Seahawk Damontre Moore. Moore has never played more than 326 snaps in a season, and has managed 68 total pressures over his four-year career. His best season was 2014 with the Giants, when he registered six sacks and graded at 69.4. — Harley Sherman, @PFF_Harley

 

The Oakland Raiders have agreed to terms with RT Marshall Newhouse

5:27 a.m. ET, Sat., March 11

Formerly with the New York Giants, Newhouse allowed a pair of sacks in 2016 over 202 snaps, and earned a 67.2 overall PFF grade. Right tackle was an area of need for the Raiders last season and Newhouse is likely being brought in to challenge for the position. Drafted in the fifth round of the 2010 draft out of TCU, Newhouse will be joining his fourth team in six years in the league. — Wes Huber, @PFF_Wes

 

49ers add special teams depth

11:23 p.m. ET, Fri., March 10

The San Francisco 49ers have announced they have signed special teamer Don Jones. Jones was drafted in the 7th round out of Arkansas State by the Dolphins. He has bounced around the league for the past three years serving as a core special teamer on New England, Miami, New Orleans, Cleveland, and most recently Houston. In those three years he has accumulated 26 special teams tackles and 3 assists. — Jon Abbott

 

Bears add OL depth with Tom Compton

10:35 p.m. ET, Fri., March 10

Tom Compton who last played with the Atlanta Falcons will sign with the Chicago Bears. Compton signed on with the Falcons last offseason after spending three years in Washington. Serving as a backup tackle for the Falcons, Compton played only 82 snaps and was not particularly impressive in those. In his one game of note this season against Kansas City, he replaced Jake Matthews and allowed three pressures over 44 total snaps for a 30.1 pass protection grade. He will likely serve as a depth piece if he makes the roster for Chicago. — Jon Abbott

 

49ers add scheme-familiar LB Brock Coyle

10:33 p.m. ET, Fri., March 10

The San Francisco 49ers continued retooling their roster with the signing of LB Brock Coyle, formerly of the Seattle Seahawks. A 2013 Big Sky All-Conference selection as a senior with the Montana Grizzlies, Coyle went undrafted in 2014, but was an UDFA priority signing by the Seattle Seahawks. New defensive coordinator Robert Saleh—who held the position of defensive quality control coach with Seattle from 2011-13—is currently transitioning the 49ers to utilize a 4-3 under front defensive scheme, and should allow Coyle to hit the ground running with his new team. Coyle played 24 percent of Seattle team snaps in 2016 after only playing 16 total snaps in 2015. — Wes Huber, @PFF_Wes

 

Titans add former first-round DL Sylvester Williams

9:25 p.m. ET, Fri., March 10

Defensive lineman Sylvester Williams has agreed to a 3-year deal with the Tennessee Titans. Williams, who was the Broncos first round pick in 2013, has not lived up to his first round pedigree in his stay in Denver. Because of that Denver decided not to exercise his fifth year option, which landed Williams in the open market. The 320 pound nose tackle is coming of the worst season in his career and struggled particularly in run defense, where he is expected to excel. In 2016 his run defense grade of 42.1 ranked near the bottom for interior defensive linemen. He will hope to turn that play around in his new home. — Jon Abbott

 

Jets re-sign long snapper Tanner Purdum

8:21 p.m. ET, Fri., March 10

The New York Jets have re-signed long snapper Tanner Purdum. The 2017 season will be his ninth season in the NFL after briefly joining Kansas City in 2009. Purdum, who played college ball at Baker University, originally signed a contract with the Jets in 2010. — Wes Huber, @PFF_Wes

 

Panthers sign CB Captain Munnerlyn

8:19 p.m. ET, Fri., March 10

The Carolina Panthers have agreed to terms to sign Captain Munnerlyn. Munnerlyn spent the last three seasons with the Minnesota Vikings and has graded very well there. Over the past three seasons Minnesota, he played 1,229 snaps covering in the slot, which is more than any other player in that span. Munnerlyn returns to Carolina where spent his first five seasons playing primarily slot cornerback. His best season in coverage throughout his career was in 2013, his last year with the Panthers, where he ranked 23rd in coverage grade among qualifying corners. — Jon Abbott

 

Patriots trade picks for former Saints WR Brandin Cooks

8:12 p.m. ET, Fri., March 10

The Patriots have traded their first-round pick (No. 32 overall) and third-round pick (No. 103 overall) to the Saints for WR Brandin Cooks and New Orleans’ fourth-round pick (No. 118 overall). Cooks comes to the Patriots with one year left on his deal, and with a fifth-year rookie option for 2018. Although an excellent all-around receiver, Cooks brings an element of speed and a deep-threat presence that the Patriots have not had since Randy Moss. His youth and quickness is also likely to be utilized in the slot some by the Patriots, where WRs Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola are on the wrong side of 30 years old, and have taken a fair amount of punishment throughout their careers. When Cooks was targeted last season, the quarterbacks throwing to him had a QB rating of 119.2—a mark that ranked fifth among qualifying receivers.

This trade also comes without rumored Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler, who graded out seventh overall for cornerbacks last season, which is a major win for the Patriots.

The Saints add two quality picks to their draft this year, where they can help fill an aging roster and talent-stricken defense that is burdened by many expensive contracts over the last several seasons. The emergence of rookie receiver Michael Thomas was another reason Cooks became expendable. When QBs targeted Thomas last season, they had a QB rating of 117.5, which ranked sixth overall—right behind Cooks. — Jon Abbott

 

DI Stephen Paea headed to Dallas

7:43 p.m. ET, Fri., March 10

After losing Terrell McClain to the rival Redskins, the Cowboys have signed the former Redskin and Brown Stephen Paea to help fill his place in the interior of the defensive line. Paea, known as one of the strongest players in the league, has been relatively productive on a per-snap basis. His grade of 75.7  was just above league-average, but he projects as an interior run-stopping specialist. — Jon Abbott

 

Panthers sign WR Charles Johnson

7:36 p.m. ET, Fri., March 10

Following WR Ted Ginn’s departure for New Orleans, the Carolina Panthers have signed WR Charles Johnson to a one-year deal that will pay him $2.2 million. Minnesota refused to tender Johnson, shifting him from a restricted to an unrestricted free agent, and he wasted little time signing on with a new team. Johnson will need to improve his production after averaging a paltry 0.88 yards per route run in 2016—a number that would’ve ranked 90th of 96 NFL receivers had he played enough snaps to qualify. — Wes Huber, @PFF_Wes

 

CB Nolan Carroll signs with Cowboys

7:28 p.m. ET, Fri., March 10

The Cowboys have agreed to a three-year deal with cornerback Nolan Carroll. With both starting cornerbacks Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr hitting the open market this offseason, the Cowboys had a couple holes to fill at the position. With Dallas unlikely able to bring both back, they went for a cheaper option in Carroll. Carroll is coming off the worst year of his career grade-wise, earning a 51.7 overall grade in 2016. He has recorded three interceptions and 12 pass breakups over the past two seasons. — Jon Abbott

 

Chargers re-sign interior defender Damion Square

7:23 p.m. ET, Fri., March 10

The Los Angeles Chargers have agreed to re-sign interior defender Damion Square to a two-year contract. Square played 50.6 percent of defensive snaps last season for the Chargers, the highest participation during his three-year career since signing with Philadelphia in 2013. Square played his college ball at Alabama, and will look to improve on his 60.7 overall grade from 2016. — Wes Huber, @PFF_Wes

 

Jets ink former Jaguars OT Kelvin Beachum

7:17 p.m. ET, Fri., March 10

Kelvin Beachum has agreed in terms to sign with the New York Jets. After a great 2014 season and an injury-shortened 2015 campaign, Beachum signed a one-year contact with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2016 with a team option to extend his deal for four more years. Beachum, though, recorded the worst season of his career (44.3 grade and 47 QB pressures surrendered), leading the Jaguars to not exercise his option. His pass-blocking efficiency of 94.3 ranked 36th among qualifying offensive tackles. Beachum replaces Ryan Clady for the Jets after New York declined Clady’s option. — Jon Abbott

 

Former Patriots TE Martellus Bennett signs with Packers

6:54 p.m. ET, Fri., March 10

Fresh off earning a championship ring with the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI, TE Martellus Bennett will reportedly sign a contract with the Green Bay Packers. Bennett will shift from catching passes from QB Tom Brady, who recorded the highest season grade PFF has ever seen last season, at 99.3, to Packers QB Aaron Rodgers. He’ll be adding another dangerous toy to the impressive collection already at the disposal of the future Hall-of-Fame signal caller. Bennett will be playing for his fifth different team in nine years.

Bennett accumulated 701 receiving yards and seven touchdowns in 2016 and finished fifth in the league among qualified tight ends with 1.96 average yards per route run. Concluding the championship season with the 10th-highest tight end grade (79.8), the Patriots already made it clear they were moving on after trading for Dwayne Allen from Indianapolis, and Bennett will look to replace Jared Cook after talks reportedly fell apart with Green Bay.  – Wes Huber, @PFF_Wes

 

Cowboys re-sign WR Terrance Williams

6:44 p.m. ET, Fri., March 10

The Cowboys have agreed to terms to re-sign Terrence Williams on a four-year deal. Williams will come back as the Cowboys’ No. 2 receiver next to Dez Bryant, and will give second-year quarterback Dak Prescott some continuity with his receiving corps heading into next season. When Williams was targeted last season, the QB throwing to him recorded a passer rating of 124.6, the third-best mark among qualifying wide receivers. — Jon Abbott

 

EDGE Jabaal Sheard expected to sign with Colts

Jabaal Sheard to Colts

5:06 p.m. ET, Fri., March 10

The Indianapolis Colts have clearly made improving the edge of their defense the key focus of free agency, adding John Simon and Barkevious Mingo. Per Adam Schefter and Field Yates, they’ve made another move, and it’s the best on yet, adding former Cleveland Browns and New England Patriots pass-rusher Jabaal Sheard. Sheard has been a solid contributor off the edge for the Patriots over the past two seasons, racking up 14 sacks, 11 hits and 83 hurries on 777 pass-rushing snaps (including the playoffs). While those numbers don’t represent a top-tier pass-rusher, Sheard is most definitely a guy who can be part of a rotation on the edge for Indianapolis. — Gordon McGuinness, @PFF_Gordon

 

Vikings sign OT Mike Remmers

4:55 p.m. ET, Fri., March 10

Offensive tackle has been a glaring need for Minnesota. After signing Riley Reiff yesterday, the Vikings have made a second signing, this time former Panther OT Mike Remmers. Given Remmers’ liability in pass protection at times for his former team, it’s not a signing to get too excited about. However, based on what the Vikings were getting from Matt Kalil and T.J. Clemmings the past couple of years, Remmers looks like an upgrade over both players. Remmers is a considerably stronger run blocker than Clemmings, and while the former Panther has his own struggles in pass protection, he is better than Clemmings in that aspect, too. Remmers has finished 50th among tackles in pass-blocking efficiency each of the past two years, compared to Clemmings’ 66th and 68th ranks out of 75 qualifying tackles. It may not be a big one, but Remmers should be an upgrade for Minnesota. — Matt Claassen, @PFF_Matt

 

Long-snapper John Denney re-signs with Dolphins

4:54 p.m. ET, Fri., March 10

Per the Miami Dolphins’ official twitter account, the team has re-signed long snapper John Denney. At 91.8 percent, Denney had the fifth-lowest snap accuracy percentage in the NFL last year. All 13 of his inaccurate snaps came on punts, as he was perfect on field goals and extra points. Denney missed just two tackles on punts all year. — Gordon McGuinness, @PFF_Gordon

 

Broncos ink former Raiders OT Menelik Watson

4:19 p.m. ET, Fri., March 10

With a need at right tackle, the Denver Broncos have signed former Oakland Raider Menelik Watson. Watson really struggled at left tackle in the Raiders’ Wild Card loss to the Houston Texans, giving up a sack and three hurries, but was solid at right tackle last season, surrendering just five total QB pressures on 127 pass-blocking snaps. Despite his inconsistency, he still represents an upgrade over Ty Sambrailo, who was currently in line to start before the Broncos made this deal. That being said, there is still work to be done on the Denver O-line this offseason. — Gordon McGuinness, @PFF_Gordon

 

Washington Redskins sign Terrelle Pryor to fill WR void

4:14 p.m. ET, Fri., March 10

Washington lost both Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson in the first day of free agency, and in an attempt to replace Kirk Cousins’ weapons, the team has signed former Browns WR Terrelle Pryor. After reportedly turning down multi-year deals from Cleveland, he was only able to get a one-year contract worth $8 million as a prove-it-type deal elsewhere. By giving Pryor a one-year deal, it minimizes Washington’s risk if Pryor were to regress after one big season in his first year as a starting wide receiver. Prior to a thumb injury in the second-half of the season, he was having an extremely productive campaign, earning the 12th-highest receiving grade through Week 11. His play dipped after the injury, but he also had to deal with a revolving door of quarterbacks for the Browns throughout the season. Having a consistent, capable starter in Cousins should only help Pryor’s development in 2017. — Matt Claassen, @PFF_Matt

 

Patriots acquire Kony Ealy in trade with Panthers

4:03 p.m. ET, Fri., March 10

Per Adam Schefter, the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers have made a trade that sends defensive end Kony Ealy and a third-round pick for a second-round pick. With the Panthers re-signing both Mario Addison and Charles Johnson, along with bringing Julius Peppers back from Green Bay, it limited the number of snaps that were going to be available for pass-rushers in Carolina. Ealy has flashed during his three-year career, including an incredible three-sack performance in the Super Bowl at the end of the 2015 season, but with just 17 sacks, 14 hits and 65 hurries since 2014, the consistency just hasn’t been there. If New England can get the best out of him, though, this could be a steal. — Gordon McGuinness, @PFF_Gordon

 

Falcons re-sign CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson

3:23 p.m. ET, Fri., March 10

Cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson was a free agent for the majority of the 2016 season before Atlanta signed him late in the year; he saw the field for just a combined 11 snaps on defense and special teams. Prior to 2016, Wreh-Wilson had earned below-average coverage grades in both of his seasons with significant playing time. He has allowed seven touchdowns and a 112.8 passer rating into his coverage in his career, and in 2014 (when he saw the most playing time), he earned a coverage grade that ranked 104th out of 108 qualifying cornerbacks. — Matt Claassen, @PFF_Matt

 

Panthers sign veteran safety Mike Adams

3:20 p.m. ET, Fri., March 10

According to Pro Football Talk, safety Mike Adams will be joining the Carolina Panthers on a two-year deal. Adams, who turns 36 later this month, has graded well throughout most of his career. He’s been more productive and consistent in run defense over the years, and earned a career-high run defense grade in 2016. His work in coverage has been a bit more of a roller coaster, as Adam has failed to earn above-average grades in consecutive years in the 11 seasons of the PFF era; he still owns an above-average grade over the course of those seasons, however. Adams could step in as the starting strong safety to allow Kurt Coleman to play the free safety role on a regular basis, and at the very least gives the secondary more veteran depth. — Matt Claassen, @PFF_Matt

 

Dolphins add LB Lawrence Timmons

3:07 p.m. ET, Fri., March 10

Adam Schefter reports that the Dolphins have added linebacker Lawrence Timmons on a two-year deal worth $12million, with $11 million of that guaranteed. Timmons has spent his entire career in Pittsburgh until now, but his play has dipped over the past two seasons. Of the 217 solo tackles he has attempted since the beginning of the 2015 season, he has missed 40 of them. Timmons has contributed as a blitzer, though, racking up 10 sacks, 11 hits and 24 hurries on 292 pass-rushing snaps over the past two seasons. — Gordon McGuinness, @PFF_Gordon

 

Top 25 free agents still on the market

2:53 p.m. ET, Fri., March 10

The first wave of free agency bit deep, and most of the top available talent has been signed. That said, there are still some quality players available, and even more reliable role players out there for teams to nab. G T.J. Lang, LB Dont’a Hightower, and WR Terrelle Pryor lead the group—see who fills out the top 25.

 

Dolphins TE Jordan Cameron retiring

2:49 p.m. ET, Fri., March 10

Back in 2013, Jordan Cameron emerged as one of the top receiving tight ends in the league. He finished the season just shy of 1,000 receiving yards and was second only to Jimmy Graham among tight ends in that regard. Unfortunately, a series of concussions over multiple seasons forced him to miss stretches of time, and in the years since, he has never reached the same level of productivity, ultimately leading to his retirement due to health concerns. — Matt Claassen, @PFF_Matt

 

Rams cut running back Tre Mason

2:14 p.m. ET, Fri., March 10

Per Alden Gonzalez, the Los Angeles Rams have parted ways with running back Tre Mason. Mason never showed up to join the team last year, so the move was largely expected. He showed real promise as a rookie, averaging 4.3 yards per carry and forcing 28 missed tackles on 179 rushing attempts, but was never able to push on beyond that rookie year. Off-field troubles mean there is a very good chance that we have seen the last of Mason in the NFL. — Gordon McGuinness, @PFF_Gordon

 

PFF’s 10 favorite deals from Thursday’s action

1:36 p.m. ET, Fri., March 10

 

K Connor Barth re-ups with Chicago

01:20 p.m. ET, Fri., March 10

Brad Biggs reports that the Chicago Bears have inked kicker Connor Barth to a one-year deal, keeping him in Chicago. With reportedly only $155,000 guaranteed, this move doesn’t really prevent Chicago from bringing in some competition via the draft or an undrafted free agent. Barth ranked 31st in the NFL with a field-goal percentage of just 78.3 percent, and connected on just one of the three field goals he attempted of 50 yards and beyond. — Gordon McGuinness, @PFF_Gordon

 

Browns cut Robert Griffin III

01:01 p.m. ET, Fri., March 10

The Browns traded for a second-round draft pick and QB Brock Osweiler Thursday, and regardless if he is in their future plans or not, the team has made the move to cut QB Robert Griffin III after one season. Griffin was injured once again last season and missed most of the year. Griffin’s first two games in a Browns uniform were poor performances and his last above-average performance came in Week 2 of the 2014 season. There’s no question that Griffin is still talented, but at this point he is so far removed from being a serviceable starter, any coaching staff is going to have to invest a lot of time and effort in an attempt to revive his career. — Matt Claassen, @PFF_Matt

 

Colts cut CB Patrick Robinson

12:45 p.m. ET, Fri., March 10

After just one season in Indianapolis, cornerback Patrick Robinson has been cut by the team, according to Mike Chappell. Robinson dealt with injuries last year and played in just seven games for the Colts. In those seven games, he allowed three touchdowns and a career-high 111.7 passer rating into his coverage. He played much better in 2015 and could still make an impact for a team, but the former first-round pick will also be on the wrong side of age 30 this September. — Matt Claassen, @PFF_Matt

 

G T.J. Lang visits with Seahawks

12:37 p.m. ET, Fri., March 10

Kevin Zeitler’s signing with the Browns Thursday leaves former Packer T.J. Lang as the top guard available on the market. According to Jordan Schultz, Lang is visiting with Seattle Friday after visiting with Detroit Thursday night. Lang is one of the best pass-protecting guards in the league, and typically a pretty good run-blocker. If signed, he would be a massive upgrade for the Seahawks’ offensive line that featured just one above-average graded player and collectively ranked last in our offensive line rankings for the 2016 season. — Matt Claassen, @PFF_Matt

 

Peppers on his way back to Carolina

12:13 p.m. ET, Fri., March 10

According to a report from Joe Person, the Carolina Panthers are closing in on a deal to bring defensive end Julius Peppers back to Carolina. A star for the Panthers early in his career, Peppers has remained a productive pass rusher through stints with the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers. This past season in Green Bay he racked up nine sacks, six hits, 30 hurries on 485 pass-rushing snaps, including the playoffs. Carolina already re-signed both Mario Addison and Charles Johnson, but if they can bring back Peppers they could have a fairly strong pass-rushing rotation, allowing them to keep players fresh late into games. — Gordon McGuinness, @PFF_Gordon

 

OT Eric Winston returning to Cincinnati

12:10 p.m. ET, Fri., March 10

It might not be the re-signing that Bengals fans were hoping for along the offensive line, but thanks to a tweet from the man himself, we now know that offensive tackle Eric Winston is returning to the team. Winston played just 279 snaps last year, but with Andrew Whitworth gone, he will provide a veteran presence for young offensive tackles Jake Fisher and Cedric Ogbuehi. He also provides insurance should those two struggle again next year. Though clearly on the downside of his career, Winston’s pass-blocking efficiency of 95.6 last year was better than his two younger counterparts. — Gordon McGuinness, @PFF_Gordon

 

Bears signing CB Prince Amukamara

11:48 a.m. ET, Fri., March 10

After a brief one-year stint as a Jaguar, CB Prince Amukamara moves to the Bears, according to Mike Garafolo. Amukamara gave up 5 TDs and allowed a passer rating of 108.8 into his coverage in 12 games, and failed to collect any interceptions, but will regardless be the number one option in a barren Chicago secondary. He will play out another one-year deal in 2017. — Harley Sherman, @PFF_Harley

 

Falcons linked with NT Dontari Poe

11:31 a.m. ET, Fri., March 10

After reports of a thin market for Poe Thursday, Jason La Canfora has noted that the Falcons are being linked with the nose tackle on a one-year prove-it deal. Poe had his worst season since his rookie year, grading at 55.8. His 15 defensive stops were the lowest total of his five-year career. Playing 4,529 snaps as a 300-pound defender may have taken it’s toll on him, and a role splitting time with Grady Jarrett may be best for him and return his form to that of the run-stopping monster he once was. His presence would add some much-needed beef on the Falcons’ front seven too. — Harley Sherman, @PFF_Harley

 

Kirk Cousins officially signs his franchise tag tender

11:27 a.m. ET, Fri., March 10

Cousins — widely reported to want out of Washington — is now officially tradeable. Washington hasn’t shown any inclination to do so, and in fact some reports speculate that the animosity between Dan Snyder and Kyle Shanahan since they parted ways is enough to obstruct any possible trade between the two sides, but now that Cousins is under contract it’s at least theoretically and practically possible at short notice if things change. — Sam Monson, @PFF_Sam

 

Grading every free agency deal so far

11:20 a.m. ET, Fri., March 10

 

Ravens cut S Ladarius Webb

10:58 a.m. ET, Fri., March 10

In a move that was inevitable following the signing of Tony Jefferson Thursday, the Ravens have released eight-year starter Ladarius Webb. In his first season as a full-time safety, Webb graded as the 15th-best safety in the league at 84.1, and reversed his gradual decline as a top-tier cornerback. There is still value to be had, with Webb giving up just one TD and 8.7 yards per reception in 2016. The Ravens will save $5.5 million on this season’s cap, which could potentially be used toward reported target former Cowboys CB Morris Claiborne. — Harley Sherman, @PFF_Harley

 

The Eagles agree to three-year deal with utility O-lineman Stefen Wisniewski

10:38 a.m. ET, Fri., March 10

Stefen Wisniewski is a player that has always graded at least average and usually better than that when he has been on an NFL field, whether at guard or center. Last season for the Eagles he began the year on the bench before finding time at left guard and starting seven of their final nine games, allowing just one sack all season. He is at worst a valuable sixth man on the line and at best a capable starter at guard or center. — Sam Monson, @PFF_Sam

 

Titans sign WR Eric Weems

10:26 a.m. ET, Fri., March 10

Paying particular attention to special teams in the first 24 hours of free agency, the Titans have signed former Falcon Eric Weems, following Thursday’s signings of Brendan Trawick and Daren Bates. Weems played only 20 offensive snaps in 2016, but saw extensive work as a returner and on kickoff and punt coverage teams (he made PFF’s list of the best special-teamers of 2016). Marc Mariani, Tennessee’s leading returner last season, is a free agent, so Weems fills an obvious need, and collectively the Titans ranked 18th in special teams grading. Weems has graded positively in every season of his career as a special-teamer. — Harley Sherman, @PFF_Harley

 

Jared Cook looking elsewhere for offers

10:10 a.m. ET, Fri., March 10

Adam Schefter has reported that TE Jared Cook has broken off talks with the Green Bay Packers over a new deal, and will now take some visits to other teams. Divisional rivals the Lions and Bears are reportedly in the mix, as are the Bills. 2016 saw Cook grade at 79.0, the highest of his career despite being out-snapped by Richard Rodgers. His 5 dropped passes and lack of experience pass-blocking are a concern though, as he has stayed back to block on only 3.7 percent of his career snaps. He would slot in as an upgrade over Detroit’s Eric Ebron, who hasn’t graded positively in three seasons as a Lion. — Harley Sherman, @PFF_Harley

 

Colts sign OLB John Simon

09:31 a.m. ET, Fri., March 10

With pass rush a clear priority for this offseason, the Colts have taken measures by signing former Texans OLB John Simon to a three-year, $13.5-million deal, according to Ian Rapoport. Simon instantly becomes the team’s top option at a position that is extremely thin on the roster. His 78.3 overall grade in 2016 bettered that of any Colts edge rusher, and he managed 24 total pressures on only 133 pass-rush snaps. — Harley Sherman, @PFF_Harley

 

Packers restructure DI Letroy Guion’s contract

09:20 a.m. ET, Fri., March 10

Following the news that he will suspended for the first four games of the 2017 season, the Packers have restructured defensive tackle Letroy Guion’s contract. They have both agreed to have two offseason roster bonuses moved into the the regular season. Guion has not registered a sack since 2014, and has never cracked 20 total pressures in a single season. He offers some help against the run however, making a stop on 8.2 percent of his run snaps in 2016. The Packers will now have the offseason to decide whether or not to part ways with the veteran. — Harley Sherman, @PFF_Harley

 

Seven free agency moves so far that don’t make sense

09:18 a.m. ET, Fri., March 10

 

Lions sign CB D.J. Hayden to one-year deal.

09:10 a.m. ET, Fri., March 10

Former Raiders CB D.J. Hayden has agreed to terms with the Lions on a one-year, $5.25 million deal. The former first-round pick’s career has been plagued by injury and uneven play, with 2014 representing his highest-graded season at 67.6. Hayden has started 25 games in his four-year career, allowing 16 TDs and a 104.5 QB rating into his coverage over that timespan. This is a classic prove-it deal for him. — Harley Sherman, @PFF_Harley

 

Giants releasing FB/TE Will Johnson

08:58 a.m. ET, Fri., March 10

Following the signing of TE Rhett Ellison, the Giants have parted ways with hybrid FB/TE Will Johnson. Johnson never actually saw the field in New York, spending the entirety of 2016 on injured reserve after being signed from Pittsburgh in the 2016 offseason. He graded positively as a run-blocker in all but one of his four seasons as a Steeler, but only managed 850 snaps over that time period. — Harley Sherman, @PFF_Harley

 

OT Mike Remmers visiting Vikings and Texans

08:15 a.m. ET, Fri., March 10

The agent of former Panthers right tackle Mike Remmers has told Pro Football Talk that he will be visiting the Vikings Friday and the Texans Saturday. Remmers has given up 18 sacks over his two seasons as a starter with Carolina, the highest total among all tackles over that period. Both teams are in need at the tackle position; a move to the Vikings would likely see newly signed Riley Reiff move to LT and Remmers replace T.J. Clemmings, while Chris Clark would make way at RT at the Texans. Remmers has reportedly indicated that he will play RT wherever he goes. — Harley Sherman, @PFF_Harley

 

S Nate Allen to visit the Dolphins

08:01 a.m. ET, Fri., March 10

Amid lots of turnover at the safety position, the Dolphins are scheduled to meet with former Raider Nate Allen Friday. The release of starter Isa Abdul-Quddus opens a hole next to recently extended Reshad Jones, and Allen would bring a solid veteran presence, grading at 68.0 in limited action in 2016. Allen had seven defensive stops on 232 snaps last season, but has had a QB rating of 101.8 or higher over the past three seasons when QBs threw into his coverage. — Harley Sherman, @PFF_Harley

 

Jabaal Sheard will visit Colts

6:25 a.m. ET, Fri., March 10

After taking a look at what the Dolphins were offering yesterday, former Patriots ED Jabaal Sheard will visit the Colts today according to New England beat writer Mike Reiss. Sheard had somewhat of a down year in 2016 after finishing top among 4-3 defensive ends in pass rush productivity in 2015, ranking 36th among edge rushers with a 79.6 overall grade. He still managed 44 total pressures in 2016 while serving in a primarily situational role, and graded positively in all facets of the game. The Colts have already locked up former Patriots pass rusher Barkevious Mingo, but Sheard would provide a much larger boost for a pass rush that ranked dead last in cumulative team grading last season. — Harley Sherman, @PFF_Harley

The Cardinals have re-signed starting center A.Q. Shipley on a two-year deal

4:22 a.m. ET, Fri., March 10

Shipley’s 82.4 grade in 2016 ranked 14th among centers, and was the highest of his career. Shipley provides some stability on an offensive line that ranked 28th in the league with a 73.3 pass block efficiency rating. — Harley Sherman, @PFF_Harley

 

The Miami Dolphins sign G Ted Larsen

3:31 a.m. ET, Fri., March 10

The Dolphins have signed former Bears G Ted Larsen on a three-year deal, adding some much needed depth at interior offensive line. Larsen posted the best season of his career since 2012, grading at 72.3 and allowing 15 total pressures on 321 pass block snaps. He gave up only 3 sacks and hits after allowing 29 in 2015 and 2014 combined. — Harley Sherman, @PFF_Harley

 

The Ravens elected to pick up WR Mike Wallace’s 2017 option, paying him $5.75 million.

2:32 a.m. ET, Fri., March 10

Wallace is coming off a solid first season with Baltimore, reaching 1000 yards for the first time since 2011, and grading at a solid 75.7 overall on the season. While he may not be the deep threat he once was earlier in his career, depth behind him on the roster is perilously thin, with Breshad Perriman the only other WR under contract who had more than 10 catches in 2016. It was imperative to hold onto to player that also led the Ravens in 1.74 yards per route run. — Harley Sherman, @PFF_Harley

 

Rams trade DE William Hayes to Dolphins

1:07 a.m. ET, Fri., March 10

The Rams have announced that they traded DE William Hayes and a seventh-round pick to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for a sixth-round pick. Hayes can still get after the quarterback in a rotational role and had positive pass-rushing grades for the last five-straight seasons for the Rams. In 2016 Hayes generated 5 sacks, 7 hits and 27 hurries in 2016 on 324 pass-rush snaps. He should be able to provide the Dolphins with some pass-rush depth. — Jordan Plocher, @PFF_Jordan

 

Rams release three

1:02 a.m. ET, Fri., March 10

The Los Angeles Rams have released TE Lance Kendricks, DE Eugene Sims and C Tim Barnes according to ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez. The Rams are a team in desperate need of some roster turnover so it’s not exactly a shocker to see them cutting 3 players who underperformed in 2016. Kendricks is coming off a 50 catch season that also saw him drop 7 passes. Sims was only able to generate 18 total pressures on 308 pass rush snaps. Barnes’s 6 sacks allowed in 2016 tied him with Russell Bodine for the most among all centers. — Jordan Plocher, @PFF_Jordan

 

QB Matt Barkley to 49ers

11:42 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

Ian Rapoport is reporting that Matt Barkley is signing with the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers have been linked heavily with Kirk Cousins in recent weeks and this signing should have little impact on that. What this does for the 49ers though is give them a solid option to compete with Brian Hoyer in case the 49ers can’t find their franchise guy via trade or the draft. Matt Barkley was very impressive in multiple games last season with Chicago although he came crashing back down to earth in others. He still finished the season with an above average grade on 223 dropbacks. Barkley’s performance was much better than his 68.3 passer rating as he was victimized by a ridiculous 20 drops on 149 catchable passes (13.4 percent rate). — Mike Renner, @PFF_Mike

 

Top remaining CB on the market, Logan Ryan, to Titans

11:42 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

Adam Caplan reports tonight that former Patriots CB Logan Ryan has signed with the Tennessee Titans. Ryan has made at least 10 pass disruptions (interception or pass break-up) in each of his four seasons in the NFL, and has posted coverage grades over 80.0 in each of the past two seasons. His 17 coverage stops in 2016 were the fifth-most among all CBs, and he also contributed 10 pressures on pass rushes. — Josh Liskiewitz, @PFF_Josh

 

WR Aldrick Robinson follows Kyle Shanahan to 49ers

11:14 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

Mike Garafolo is reporting that Aldrick Robinson is following former Falcons offensive coordinator across the country to join the 49ers on a 2-year, $6 million deal. Robinson has played a total of 1,055 snaps since he was drafted in the sixth round of the 2011 draft, but he’s coming off a career year. In it, Robinson had 323 yards and 20 catches on 174 pass routes. — Mike Renner, @PFF_Mike

 

OLB Corey Lemonier re-signs with Jets

9:44 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

Aaron Wilson is reporting that outside linebacker Corey Lemonier is re-signing with the Jets. Lemonier was a third-round pick of the 49ers back in 2013, but couldn’t even finish out his rookie contract in San Francisco. He’s managed only 557 snaps over the past three seasons and has 16 total pressures over that span. — Mike Renner, @PFF_Mike

 

Titans sign former Raiders S Brynden Trawick

9:44 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

According to Adam Caplan, the Titans have signed former Raiders safety Brynden Trawick. Trawick has been used primarily on special teams during his four-year career, amassing 23 combined solo tackles to just one miss with Oakland in 2016 and Baltimore in 2015. — Josh Liskiewitz, @PFF_Josh

 

Panthers working to sign former Bucs WR Russell Shepard

8:47 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

According to Ian Rapoport, the Panthers are hoping to sign former Buccaneers WR Russell Shepard. 39 of Shepard’s 55 career catches came in 2016, although against Carolina in Week 17, he caught just two of seven balls thrown his way and had a drop. On the season, he averaged just 3.6 yards after the catch per reception. — Josh Liskiewitz, @PFF_Josh

 

Ravens re-sign run-stuffer Brandon Williams

8:42 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

Adam Schefter is reporting that Brandon Williams has re-signed with the Baltimore Ravens on a five-year deal. Williams is easily one of the top-three run-stuffing nose tackles in the NFL at the moment, collecting 30-plus run stops each of the past three seasons. He teams up with Timmy Jernigan and Michael Pierce to form the most formidable three-man run-stopping front in the NFL. — Mike Renner, @PFF_Mike

 

OL Don Barclay re-signs with Packers

7:33 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

According to Michael Cohen, backup swing offensive lineman Don Barclay has re-signed with the Packers on a one-year, $1.3 million deal. Green Bay makes this deal hoping that Barclay never has to see the field, as he’s been nothing short of a liability when forced into action. He was forced into a starting role back in 2013 at right tackle and allowed nine sack on 1,043 snaps. — Mike Renner, @PFF_Mike

 

Jets re-sign key special teamer Josh Martin

7:23 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Jets have re-signed core special teamer Josh Martin. Martin’s best season was 2014 in Kansas City, when he earned the highest cumulative PFF grade for a special teams player that was not a kicker or return specialist. — Mike Renner, @PFF_Mike

 

Former Steelers WR Markus Wheaton signs with Bears

7:17 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

Ian Rapoport is reporting that the Bears have reached an agreement with former Steelers wide receiver Markus Wheaton. Once pegged as the next up-and-coming star in the Steelers’ receiver pipeline after a 201-yard performance against the Seahawks in 2015, Wheaton’s 2016 season was ruined by a shoulder injury. He managed all of 97 snaps in 2016 after 812 the year prior. Back in 2015, Wheaton’s 1.62 yards per route mark was 41st among 85 qualifying wideouts. — Mike Renner, @PFF_Mike

 

First look at new Cleveland Browns offensive line

7:02 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

 

Former 49ers K Phil Dawson headed to Arizona

6:51 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Arizona Cardinals have signed former 49ers kicker Phil Dawson. Dawson connected on 18 of 21 field goal attempts last season, and was perfect on 10 kicks under 40 yards. For his career, he has hit an impressive 85.2 percent of his kicks, and has been under that mark only once in the past five seasons. — Josh Liskiewitz, @PFF_Josh

 

49ers sign K Robbie Gould

6:47 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

Mike Garafolo is reporting that former Giants kicker Robbie Gould is signing with the 49ers on a two-year deal. The 35-year-old kicker was a perfect 10-for-10 after signing with the Giants midway through last season. He’d been one of the most consistent kickers in the NFL before the Bears cut him inexplicably prior to last season. — Mike Renner, @PFF_Mike

 

Browns claim interior lineman Marcus Martin

6:41 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

Waived yesterday by the 49ers, interior lineman Marcus Martin has now been claimed by the Browns. A former third-round pick, Martin has never lived up to his hype coming out of USC in 2014. After posting a run-blocking grade of 29.4 in 2015, Martin played just 110 snaps in 2016, seeing time both at right guard and center. — Josh Liskiewitz, @PFF_Josh

 

Tamp Bay re-signs S Chris Conte

6:36 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Buccaneers have re-signed safety Chris Conte to a two-year deal worth $2.5 million guaranteed. After a strong 2015 season, Conte regressed back to prior form in 2016, allowing 75.2 percent of passes completed into his coverage while surrendering seven touchdowns and posting a career-low QB rating against of 121.5. — Josh Liskiewitz, @PFF_Josh

 

LB Karlos Dansby returning to Arizona

6:33 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

According to Kent Somers, Karlos Dansby is headed back to where his career started and signing with the Arizona Cardinals. It’s quite an interesting move after the 35-year-old Dansby saw a considerable drop off in play last season. His 69.7 coverage grade was his lowest in the 11 years of PFF grading. — Mike Renner, @PFF_Mike

 

Jets release RB Khiry Robinson

6:14 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

The New York Jets have announced the release of RB Khiry Robinson. After logging just over 100 snaps in each of his first three years in the league, Robinson managed just 17 snaps in 2016. He has forced 52 missed tackles in 215 career carries. — Josh Liskiewitz, @PFF_Josh

 

Colts add LB Barkevious Mingo

6:19 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

According to Ian Rapoport, the Colts have signed Barkevious Mingo to a one-year, $2.5 million deal. With as big a need as the Colts have for an edge rusher, they simply have to throw as many as they can at the position, hoping something sticks. A former top-five pick, Mingo never fulfilled his perceived upside, but he could still be an upgrade for Indianapolis. After being traded to the Patriots before last season, he managed all of 48 snaps in 2016. — Mike Renner, @PFF_Mike

 

Dolphins waive safety Isa Abdul-Quddus due to neck injury

6:10 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

According to Pro Football Talk, the Dolphins have decided to waive safety Isa Abdul-Quddus because of his neck injury. In 2016, he was targeted 28 times and gave up 17 receptions for 150 yards, while opposing QBs had a rating of 81.0 when throwing into his coverage. — Josh Liskiewitz, @PFF_Josh

 

Steelers release RB Karlos Williams

6:02 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

The Pittsburgh Steelers have announced the release of RB Karlos Williams. Williams famously showed up to OTAs severely overweight, and the Buffalo Bills released him. Williams never saw a snap with the Steelers, but showed major promise as a rookie, as he forced 19 missed tackles on 93 rushes while scoring seven touchdowns. — John Kosko, @PFF_JohnKosko

 

Chargers’ tackle carousel to include unreliable Okung

5:58 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

For a team in need of some stability on the offensive line, Russell Okung might not be the best option. These are desperate times for the Los Angeles Chargers, however, with Orlando Franklin (44.2 grade in 2016) and King Dunlap (48.2 grade) both struggling mightily in pass protection. The caveat is that Okung wasn’t much better (55.0 grade) a season ago. He allowed 57 combined QB pressures, ranking 51st of 61 qualifying tackles in pass-blocking efficiency. While Okung remains a solid run blocker, his status as the league’s top-earning tackle in average per year is bewildering, highlighting the demand for perimeter pass protectors. — John Breitenbach, @PFF_John

 

Steelers re-sign backup QB Landry Jones

5:48 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

Pittsburgh has maintained continuity in the QB room by re-signing backup QB Landry Jones to a two-year deal. That’s about the best that can be said for a move that brings back a player that has consistently graded negatively every time he has been forced to fill in for an injured Ben Roethlisberger. — Sam Monson, @PFF_Sam

 

Falcons re-sign TE Levine Toilolo, LB LaRoy Reynolds

5:37 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

The Atlanta Falcons quietly re-sign TE Levine Toilolo and LB LaRoy Reynolds, according to D. Orlando Ledbetter. Toilolo struggled early in the season, but graded very well down the stretch and in the playoffs for the Falcons, as he was strong in run blocking and on screen blocks. Reynolds only saw 143 snaps in 2016, and has 397 for his career. He has been primarily used on special teams, where he has struggled. Both re-signings are expected to be affordable contracts for roster depth. — John Kosko, @PFF_JohnKosko

 

Lerentee McCray to Jacksonville

5:41 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

The Jaguars add another pass-rusher to mix, only this time offering a modest deal to developmental pass-rusher Lerentee McCray. Although he has only 21 combined QB pressures on 92 rushes, McCray has been impressive against the run, notching 19 stops in 61 snaps. An inexpensive one-year deal makes sense. The contract is reasonable for the Jaguars, and McCray gets an opportunity to improve his stock. — John Breitenbach, @PFF_John

 

Former Cardinals S D.J. Swearinger lands with Redskins

5:31 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

The Washington Redskins have signed former Arizona Cardinals safety D.J. Swearinger, according to John Keim. Swearinger is set to make $13.5 over three years, according to Ian Rapoport, as he comes off the best season of his career. Swearinger held QBs to a 67.6 passer rathing on passes into his primary coverage, a career-best mark. He was the only safety last season with seven-plus interceptions/pass breakups combined, and no TDs allowed. Swearinger is a bit of a risk, considering he bounced around the league before finding a home in Arizona. With a team-friendly contract, though, the risk is worth the price. — John Kosko, @PFF_JohnKosko

 

Buccaneers have agreed to terms with DT Chris Baker

Chris Baker to Buccaneers

5:22 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

Chris Baker tweeted that the Redskins didn’t want him back, and so he moves on to Tampa Bay, a team that needs a quality interior lineman to go along with Gerald McCoy. Baker has graded extremely well inside for Washington over the past two seasons, notching six sacks and 42 total QB pressures in 2016. Maybe Washington didn’t want him, but the Bucs should be pleased to acquire the interior defender. — Sam Monson, @PFF_Sam

 

DIs Cornelius Washington, Akeem Spence headed to Detroit

5:07 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

The Detroit Lions have agreed to terms with former Chicago Bears interior defender Cornelius Washington, according to Adam Caplan, as well as former Tampa Bay Buccaneers DT Akeem Spence, according to Pro Football Talk. Both moves are to go younger and add depth to a defensive line that really struggled to stop the run in 2016. Neither player has graded well previously, but Washington showed solid ability as a pass-rusher in 2016, recording two sacks, three hits and 24 hurries. Spence played poorly in the first half of 2016 before turning around his play after Week 9, as he became more consistent stopping the run and rushing the passer, quadrupling his total QB pressures from the first eight weeks. — John Kosko, @PFF_JohnKosko

 

Ravens RB Kenneth Dixon facing four-game suspension

4:57 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

News that Kenneth Dixon will be lost for four games due to a PED suspension is a significant blow to the Ravens. He appeared set for an expanded role before being hit with the ban. Dixon averaged 2.9 yards after contact per attempt, breaking 26 tackles from only 88 carries in 2016. Considering his performances as Louisiana Tech, he surely also expected to improve from his 48.6 receiving grade as a rookie. Hoping for a boost in production entering his second year, Dixon will instead be sidelined for the beginning of 2017. — John Kosko, @PFF_JohnKosko

 

Bills add CB Micah Hyde, S Jordan Poyer

4:53 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

According to Aaron Wilson, the Buffalo Bills are signing free agents CB Micah Hyde and S Jordan Poyer. Hyde is set to make a max contract of $32.5 million over five years with $14 million guaranteed, according to Ian Rapoport.  Hyde is a versatile defensive back who can play every position on the field and disrupted (interception or pass break-up) 14.8 percent of targeted passes thrown into his coverage in 2016, 22nd-best among CBs. Numbers for Poyer haven’t come to light, but he started as a free safety for Cleveland, and was regarded as one of the better special teams players in the NFL for a few years. — John Kosko, @PFF_JohnKosko

 

Washington signs interior defender Stacy McGee to five-year deal

4:50 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

The Washington Redskins signed Stacy McGee to a five-year, $25 million contract. McGee has been a rotation body for the Raiders for the past four seasons, but 2016 was the first year he showed some impressive play, albeit for only 242 snaps. McGee had three sacks, eight total QB pressures, a batted pass and 14 defensive stops in those snaps, grading well as both a pass-rusher and run defender. The Redskins clearly thinks he can be a valuable member of their rotation, and will be hoping he has turned a corner in his play. — Sam Monson, @PFF_Sam

 

G Chance Warmack reunites with former Alabama college offensive line coach in Philadelphia

4:47 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

Chance Warmack has not enjoyed a smooth transition to the NFL. A promising start to his career has subsided, giving way to injury and inconsistency. He fell from our 16th-ranked guard in 2014 to 47th in 2015, as well as missing all but two games last year through a hand injury. Warmack, however, was the 10th overall pick in 2013, building his prospects by working with current Eagles’ offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland. The reunion, coupled with the lack of depth on Philadelphia’s front, could facilitate a turnaround. — John Breitenbach, @PFF_John

 

Vikings to sign former Lions OT Riley Reiff

4:38 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

The Vikings had the worst set of offensive tackles in the NFL last year, and have signed Riley Reiff to amend the situation, according to Ian Rapoport. Reiff isn’t entering free agency off his best season, but he’s just one year removed from posting an 81.2 run-block grade, which was 13th-best among OTs in 2015. Reiff had proved to be a solid run-blocking LT, but the switch to RT was difficult for him in 2016. His play last year won’t inspire confidence in Vikings fans, but he is a big upgrade over what they had in 2016. — John Kosko, @PFF_JohnKosko

 

Luke Joeckel to sign one-year deal with Seahawks

4:24 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

The Seattle Seahawks are doing something about their offensive line, according to Adam Schefter. A former No. 2 overall pick, OT Luke Joeckel is signing a one-year deal with the Seahawks. Joeckel has been a big disappointment as he’s struggled each of his seasons, though he started to show promise as a run blocker in 2016 before injuring his knee and needing surgery.  Joeckel started the season at guard, and perhaps he’ll have more success there than at tackle. The Seahawks are giving him the opportunity to revamp his career. — John Kosko, @PFF_JohnKosko

 

Cash-strapped Eagles overhaul receiving corps with Jeffery addition

Alshon Jeffery Eagles

4:24 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

The Eagles were desperate for wide receiver help, and they nabbed the top player at the position on the open-market, signing Jeffery to a one-year, $14 million deal. Highlighting the extent of the upgrade, Jeffery has fewer career drops than Nelson Agholor, Dorial Green-Beckham and Jordan Matthews had in 2016 alone. After being burned by Lane Johnson’s 10-game suspension a season ago, the Eagles have also mitigated the risk by inking Jeffery to only a one-year contract (he was suspended four games for PED use last year). Torrey Smith provides the speed, and Jeffery, the physicality. It is great on paper, but also carries an element of risk, considering Smith’s regression and Jeffery’s injury history. — John Breitenbach, @PFF_John

 

Browns receive QB Brock Osweiler in trade with Texans

4:24 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

An absolutely shocking—but brilliant—trade, the Houston Texans off-load QB Brock Osweiler to the Cleveland Browns. In a move rarely, if ever seen in the NFL, this trade saves the Texans $16 million in cash and $10 million in cap space, and the Browns are essentially buying an extra second-round pick from Houston. The Browns are reportedly not expected to keep Osweiler, but because they came into the offseason with over $100 million in cap space, have the luxury to make such a move. In addition to acquiring Houston’s 2018 second-round pick, the Browns will get their 2017 sixth-round pick while giving away their 2017 fourth-round pick. — John Kosko, @PFF_JohnKosko

 

Reshad Jones inks mega extension with Dolphins

4:14 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

The Dolphins have retained one of the league’s best safeties, tying Jones up for a further five years at an average of $12 million per season, with $35 million guaranteed. A shoulder injury curtailed his 2016 season, a year in which he was enjoying his best form in coverage of his career, but Jones still ranked as PFF’s sixth-overall safety, despite managing only 437 snaps. Jones has only allowed 12 touchdowns in his career, picking off 16 passes and knocking down a further 19 (QB rating allowed of only 76.0). Although the deal sets the benchmark for the position in terms of guarantees, a complete safety like Jones is still good value. — John Breitenbach, @PFF_John

 

Falcons continue to solidify D-line, sign Jack Crawford

3:39 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

Edge defender Jack Crawford agreed to terms on a three-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons, according to his agent. The Falcons have already re-signed Courtney Upshaw earlier today, but apparently they are not done with adding depth to the defensive line. Crawford is expected to see a situational role, as he has never played more than 550 snaps in a single season in his career. In addition, he projects to be a situational pass-rusher, since 62.8 percent of his snaps came rushing the quarterback in 2016. After the Super Bowl, it is no surprise that the Falcons are trying to strengthen the defensive line, as their lack of depth and rotation led to their pass-rushers becoming too tired to get to Tom Brady in the fourth quarter and in overtime. — Zoltan Buday, @PFF_Zoltan

 

Saints add G Larry Warford

03:39 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

After missing out on the Kevin Zeitler sweepstakes, the New Orleans Saints grabbed the next-best available guard in free agency as Larry Warford is heading to the Big Easy, according to Ian Rapoport. Warford has been a quality guard in the NFL each of his four seasons in the NFL and has been a great value as a third-round pick out of Kentucky. Warford was PFF’s Rookie of the Year back in 2013, but has yet to match those heights. His 81.5 overall grade in 2016 was the best mark since that rookie season. Warford provides a cheaper option for the Saints who couldn’t compete with Cleveland’s monster cap space. This is still a good win for a Saints team that had good play at both OT positions and at center but struggled at guard. — John Kosko, @PFF_JohnKosko

 

Jaguars retain dependable WR Bryan Walters

03:33 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

Bryan Walters returns to Jacksonville on a one-year deal with an option. He is a solid receiver in a rotation, and can contribute on special teams. Walters shouldn’t be relied upon to take meaningful snaps at wideout, but has enjoyed intermittent success in spot duty. He caught 24 passes a year ago, for 231 yards and two touchdowns. — John Breitenbach, @PFF_John

 

Dolphins sign TE Anthony Fasano

03:19 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

The Miami Dolphins are bring back TE Anthony Fasano, according to ESPN’s Jeff Darlington. Fasano has spent the past two seasons with the Tennessee Titans, and had previously played in Miami from 2008 to 2012. Throughout his career, Fasano has graded as one of the best blocking TEs in the NFL. Fasano’s pass-blocking grade of 72.9 ranked second of all TEs, and his run-blocking grade of 88.1 was by far the best at his position in 2016. While the 11-year veteran will be 33 years old this season, he hasn’t shown any signs of decline and has in fact improved each of the past two years. — John Kosko, @PFF_JohnKosko

 

Injuries make Levy a cap casualty in Detroit

03:17 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

Missing another season with a knee injury was the final blow to LB DeAndre Levy’s Lions career. Releasing him only saves $1 million unless he’s designated as a post-June 1 release, but that does nothing to benefit the team in the short-term. Levy was outstanding in 2014, ranking as our third overall linebacker, proving he’s capable of performing at an elite level. The concern is whether he will ever reach those heights again having suffered so many injuries. — John Breitenbach, @PFF_John

 

Jaguars’ get Campbell on reasonable deal

Calais Campbell to Jaguars

3:07 p.m ET, Thurs., March 9

The numbers are in for our top-ranked free agent, Calais Campbell, and they make good reading for Jaguar fans. Calais Campbell’s four-year, $60-million contract with $30 million guaranteed is much better value than the deals for either Fletcher Cox ($17.1 million per year, $36 million guaranteed) or Ndamukong Suh ($19 million per year, $60 million guaranteed). Questions remain over the usage of Campbell and Malik Jackson in combination, but the Jaguars can be content with two of the league’s best interior rushers. — John Breitenbach, @PFF_John

 

Browns to sign PFF’s No. 2 overall free agent, G Kevin Zeitler

Kevin Zeitler to Browns

03:04 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

The Cleveland Browns have made their “dream” free agency signing by nabbing the No. 2 free agent in the 2017 class, according to Adam Schefter.  Former Cincinnati Bengals RG Kevin Zeitler is set to be the highest-paid guard in the NFL, agreeing to a five-year, $60 million deal that includes $31.5 million guaranteed. Zeitler has consistently graded as one of the best guards in the NFL the past three seasons, and will be just 27 years old at the start of the 2017 season. Zeitler has allowed one sack in the past two seasons of play, with 2,229 snaps under his belt, and he’ll boost a Cleveland offensive line that allowed a league-high 33 sacks. While most critics of the Browns slammed the “analytics” of the new front office for disregarding the offensive line a year ago, the Browns now have arguably one of the best O-line units in the NFL on paper, with the addition of J.C. Tretter, as well. — John Kosko, @PFF_JohnKosko

 

Jets retain versatile backup on offensive line

02:45 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

Ben Ijalana was shunted around on the Jets’ offensive line in 2016, lining up at both left and right tackle extensively, showing enough to earn himself a two-year contract extension. Asking him to flip-flop from either side makes an evaluation difficult, but Ijalana found his first season of extensive action difficult. He allowed 43 combined QB pressures (15 knockdowns), recording a pass-blocking grade of only 49.2. Ijalana struggled equally as a run blocker (46.3), but is worth persevering with for depth purposes. — John Breitenbach, @PFF_John

 

S Jonathan Cyprien set to join Titans’ secondary

2:26 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

The influx of physical talent continues in Tennessee under Mike Mularkey. The Titans are set to sign aggressive strong safety Jonathan Cyprien to add to their secondary. For all of Cyprien’s strengths, he has struggled mightily in the NFL space. He has allowed a QB rating of over 100.0 in each of his four NFL seasons, giving up 16 touchdowns while picking off only two passes. On the positive side, Cyprien managed 38 stops in 2016, second-most in the NFL. He is very one-dimensional, but can set the tone from the back end (98.8 run-defense grade), a trait held in high regard by the new regime. — John Breitenbach, @PFF_John

 

Buccaneers to re-sign RB Jacquizz Rodgers

2:22 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are re-signing RB Jacquizz Rodgers to a very team friendly two-year, $3.3 million deal with $1 million incentives according to Jason La Canfora. Rodgers had his best season as a rusher in 2016, earning a solid 76.5 rushing grade. Rodgers has never played in more than 47.7 percent of his team’s snaps, and prior to 2015, had been primarily a receiving back and one of the better pass-blocking RBs in the NFL. Last year, he allowed his first career sack while grading negatively as a receiver for the first time since his rookie season. That said, Rodgers is an excellent change-of-pace back and forced 18 missed tackles on just 129 carries in 2016. — John Kosko, @PFF_JohnKosko

 

QB Jay Cutler to hit open market

2:03 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

Chicago has turned to former Buccaneers backup Mike Glennon at quarterback after finally losing patience with Jay Cutler. After inking the former to a three-year deal, while reportedly simultaneously eyeing a young quarterback in the draft, Cutler’s release was announced. Years of inconsistency make another certain starting gig unlikely (he endured his worst season as a pro, with a grade of only 41.9), but the former Bear could be of interest to franchises with uncertainty surrounding their incumbent quarterback. The Bills, Redskins and Texans all make sense from that perspective. Cutler would represent an alternative to Tyrod Taylor, Kirk Cousins and Brock Osweiler. Only the Bills sit inside the top-10 in the draft, making the addition of a highly-regarded prospect more difficult. Alternatively, the Jets (sixth overall) could add Cutler to give a rookie some adjustment time prior to taking a starting role. — John Breitenbach, @PFF_John

 

49ers planning to sign TE Logan Paulsen

1:56 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

The San Francisco 49ers are looking to sign former Chicago Bears TE Logan Paulsen, according to CSN’s Fallon Smith.  Paulsen has been a poor receiving threat in his career, but has been one of the better run-blocking tight ends in the NFL the past four seasons. The 49ers tight end group was subpar in run blocking, as Vance McDonald was their best in that area, with a 58.1 run-blocking grade. Paulsen will fit well in Kyle Shanahan’s zone-blocking scheme, and is a good signing if only for that reason. — John Kosko, @PFF_JohnKosko

 

Cardinals to sign S Antoine Bethea

1:49 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

The Arizona Cardinals have found their Tony Jefferson replacement by landing former 49ers S Antoine Bethea, according to Kent Somers. Bethea will be 33 years old for the 2017 season, and is signing a three-year deal, but his play has steadily declined the past two years.  The former sixth-round pick in 2006 has been a productive player throughout his career, as he’s recorded 24 interceptions along with 37 pass breakups, but over the past two seasons, has just one interception, two pass breakups and seven touchdowns allowed when his coverage area has been targeted. While Arizona needed to replace the void that Jefferson left behind, signing an aging veteran to a deal is only a band-aid fix. — John Kosko, @PFF_JohnKosko

 

Patriots re-sign interior defender Alan Branch

1:42 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

The New England Patriots are looking to re-sign another of their own according to CSNNE’s Michael Giardi. Ian Rapoport reports that it will be a two-year deal worth up to $12 million for Alan Branch, the team’s best run-defending defensive lineman. Branch was key in the second half of the season for the Patriots as he turned up his game after LB Jamie Collins was traded to Cleveland. Branch racked up 39 defensive stops, with 29 of those as run stops, and earned a career-high 83.0 run-defense grade in 2016. This is a solid re-signing for a team needing stability up front with the uncertainty surrounding LB Dont’a Hightower’s return, as well as edge defenders Jabaal Sheard and Chris Long. — John Kosko, @PFF_JohnKosko

 

CB A.J. Bouye set to sign with Jaguars

A.J. Bouye to Jaguars

1:37 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

The news of CB A.J. Bouye leaving the Houston Texans for a rival AFC South team has been strong the past 24 hours, but it appears the Jacksonville Jaguars are the frontrunners according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Bouye was a situational role player in his first three years and broke out in a monster way, grading as the No. 3 overall CB in 2016 with an overall mark of 90.9. Bouye’s 11 pass breakups tied for the sixth-most among qualified CBs in 2016, and was he the best CB when targeted on slant routes. Bouye will pair opposite of 2016 first-round pick Jalen Ramsey, who had an excellent rookie finishing as the No. 22-graded CB. The Jaguars have been very active in free agency the past two years, and hope that new head coach Doug Marrone can bring it all together to get them over the hump. — John Kosko, @PFF_JohnKosko

 

Jones earns huge pay-day with Cardinals

1:35 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

The Cardinals announced the second phase of acquiring Chandler Jones by tying him down to a long-term contract. The five year, $83 million deal ($53 million guaranteed) resets the market for pass-rushers. It surpasses Olivier Vernon’s contract with the Giants. Vernon received $40 million guaranteed and $17 million per season. An edge rusher of Jones’ quality may well be worth the second-round investment and $16.6 million per season. He amassed 66 combined QB pressures, and an 86.5 pass-rushing grade in 2016, also performing well against the run and in coverage. Arizona has paid a high price for a dominant player at a valuable position, but Jones might just be worth it. — John Breitenbach, @PFF_John

 

Saints, Fairley close to committing long-term

1:13 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

The Saints are aiming to ensure a consistent interior pass-rush by inking Nick Fairley to a long-term deal. Ian Rapoport is reporting the two sides are closing in on a long-term extension. He enjoyed a solid 2016 season, his first in New Orleans, registering 47 combined pressures and 17 knockdowns. Fairley could improve against the run, he managed only a 47.9 run-defense grade a year ago, but offers a high impact rushing from the interior in the nickel. Combined with Cameron Jordan, the Saints at least have a pair of lineman they can build around. Assuming the Fairley deal is done, that is just a first step in retooling a toiling defense. — John Breitenbach, @PFF_John

 

Rams bring in QB Aaron Murray

01:06 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

Free agent QB Aaron Murray is heading to the Los Angeles Rams, according to his agency. Murray was drafted by Kansas City in the fifth-round in 2014 out of Georgia. He has zero regular-season snaps and has struggled in preseason action with a passer rating of just 50.2 and just 27.8 under pressure. — John Kosko, @PFF_JohnKosko

 

Broncos, G Ronald Leary agree to terms

12:40 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

The Denver Broncos are set to sign former Dallas Cowboys LG Ronald Leary to a four-year deal worth $35 million with $20 million guaranteed, according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo. This is great for a Denver offensive line that ranked 26th in pass-blocking efficiency at 74.2 allowing 23 sacks and 208 total pressures. Leary didn’t allow a single sack in 13 starts in 2016, and his run-blocking was his stronger suit as his 82.5 run-blocking mark was 14th-best in the NFL among all guards. Leary was the oft-forgotten player on a very talented Cowboys OL and Denver adds one of the better guards on the market to their porous unit. Considering the weak draft class at the position, this is a win for Denver. — John Kosko, @PFF_JohnKosko

 

Chargers bring back QB Kellen Clemens as backup

12:30 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

Kellen Clemens, who has played only 35 snaps the past three seasons, returns to the Chargers to back up Philip Rivers. The former Jet is probably well past seeing meaningful playing time, but is clearly valued in San Diego, where Rivers has proven remarkably durable in his stint as the team’s franchise quarterback. Clemens returns on a one-year deal. — John Breitenbach, @PFF_John

 

FS Duron Harmon appears set to return to New England

12:26 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

The New England Patriots are negotiating a deal to re-sign FS Duron Harmon, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Harmon ranked as the No. 18 free agent this offseason and has been remarkably consistent in his four season with the Patriots. Over his career, opposing QBs have just a 78.0 QB Rating when targeting their receiver while Harmon was the primary defender in coverage. Harmon has surpassed 600 snaps in each of the past two seasons while seeing just 16 targets. It’s a bit surprising no other reports have surfaced for the services of the productive nickel and dime package specialist considering posting some outstanding numbers in coverage. This is a big re-signing for the Patriots as it solidifies their back-end and allows Devin McCourty to continue being the versatile playmaker he is. — John Kosko, @PFF_JohnKosko

 

Washington situation with QB Kirk Cousins up in the air

12:22 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

The Washington Post reported Thursday that soon-to-be former GM Scott McCloughan wanted to sign Kirk Cousins to a long-term extension prior to the first franchise tag extended to him. Despite opting against that strategy, Cousins’ request to be reunited with Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco this offseason has also reportedly been denied by owner Dan Snyder. The Redskins appear to lack a clear gauge of their quarterback’s value, simply persisting with their signal-caller on one year deals.

For San Francisco, clearly Cousins is their first choice quarterback, but they will be forced to make contingency plans with Washington’s refusal to negotiate. Sitting at No. 2, it is certainly possible Shanahan will like one of the top options at the position in the draft. Deshaun Watson and Mitchell Trubisky both have flaws, but also the potential to thrive under the quarterback guru. Should San Francisco wish to pursue a veteran, perhaps Tony Romo would make sense after his release from the Cowboys. — John Breitenbach, @PFF_John

 

Chicago set to sign S Quintin Demps

12:11 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

The Chicago Bears are expected to agree on terms with former Houston Texans safety Quintin Demps, according to the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson. Although Demps turns 32 in June, he just recorded his best season, as he earned the highest grade in his career (85.2) and recorded a career-high six interceptions. While Demps’ career started slowly, he earned career-high season grades in back-to-back years in 2015 and 2016. In fact, Demps was PFF’s 12th-highest graded safety in 2016, which suggests that he still has gas left in the tank. The Bears made a couple of smart moves during free agency last year that led to an immediate upgrade on the defensive side of the ball, and this one can have a similar result in 2017. — Zoltan Buday, @PFF_Zoltan

 

 

New Orleans expected to sign wide receiver Ted Ginn

12:09 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

Former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Ted Ginn is expected to sign with NFC South rival New Orleans Saints, according to ESPN’s Dianna Russini. Ginn played the best years of his career in Carolina, as he earned a grade above 72.0 in only those three seasons of his 10-year career. Nevertheless, Ginn still remained a boom-or-bust type of player with the Panthers—there were just enough big plays to outweigh his drops during his tenure in Carolina. While he did have 14 touchdowns over the past two seasons, he also dropped 17 passes in the same timespan. Ginn’s speed can still stretch the field, as he can take the top off defenses; however, since this role is currently filled by Brandin Cooks, this move may point towards the Saints eventually trading Cooks. — Zoltan Buday, @PFF_Zoltan

 

Terrell McClain to sign with Washington Redskins on four-year deal

12:04 p.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

It’s being reported that DT Terrell McClain is leaving Dallas but staying within the NFC East, signing with Washington on a four-year contract worth north of $21 million. McClain was thrown to the wolves as a rookie for the Panthers back in 2011, and has taken some time to recover and find his feet, but did flash some ability with the Cowboys this past season, notching 14 total QB pressures and 23 defensive stops. He did play 500 snaps in order to generate those stats, however, and so remains an average rotational body at best, but he can at least make a contribution now. — Sam Monson, @PFF_Sam

 

Alshon Jeffery in talks with Colts and Eagles besides Chicago

11:58 a.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

Jeffery, the best wide receiver on the free agency market, is reportedly being pursued by Indianapolis and Philadelphia, according to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. While Jeffery has had trouble staying on the field, he remains one of the most talented wide receivers in the NFL, turning just 27 in February. Of the two teams trying to sign him, he would provide the bigger upgrade for the Eagles, who are clearly lacking a No. 1 wide receiver at this point, and whose pass catchers have been struggling with, you know, catching the football. Wide receivers Jordan Matthews, Dorial Green-Beckham and Nelson Agholor combined to drop 20 passes on 165 catchable targets in 2016, while Jeffery dropped just 19 passes on 323 catchable passes over his career. While it remains to be seen whether Philadelphia can sign Jeffery, it should be among their top priorities for the first day of the new NFL season. — Zoltan Buday, @PFF_Zoltan

 

LB A.J. Klein set to sign with the New Orleans Saints

11:51 a.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

The Saints are attempting to shore up their defense by bringing in LB A.J. Klein from Carolina. Klein has been the primary backup to MLB Luke Kuechly in Carolina, and given Kuechly’s concussion issues, that has meant that over his four-year career, he has played exactly 1,100 snaps, occasionally flashing ability, but rarely looking like he can be an impact starter with a full-time role. The Saints have been swinging and missing at linebackers both in free agency and the draft for years, so Klein likely has a chance to prove he can step up as a starter, but for his career he has allowed 76.8 percent of passes into his coverage to be caught and missed 11.5 percent of his tackle attempts. — Sam Monson, @PFF_Sam

 

Eagles land veteran wide receiver in Torrey Smith

Torrey Smith with Eagles

11:25 a.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

The Philadelphia Eagles are signing freshly-released wide receiver Torrey Smith to a three-year contract worth $15 million, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. While Smith is coming off the worst season of his career as he finished 2016 with an overall grade of just 46.1, he had to deal with probably the worst quarterback situation in the entire NFL. However, he also did not help the offense, as he dropped six of his 26 catchable targets, leading to the second-worst drop rate among 96 wide receivers, an issue that Eagles fans are far too familiar. Nevertheless, sure hands were never a traits that Smith possessed, as he had at least five drops in every year of his career, but he can still provide a viable deep threat and stretch the field for the Philadelphia offense. In fact, he averaged at least 15 yards per reception in five of his six seasons. While the Eagles will probably still need to find a wide receiver in the draft, adding Smith to the mix does not hurt, especially at the price that they have to pay for the former San Francisco 49er. — Zoltan Buday, @PFF_Zoltan

 

Robert Woods expected to sign five-year deal with Rams

11:23 a.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

The Rams are addressing their need for a receiver with the addition of former Bills WR Robert Woods, who is expected to sign a five-year deal. The deal is said to be worth $39 million, with $15 million in guarantees. Even if the headline figure is inflated, the guaranteed money is significant for somebody that has yet to eclipse 700 receiving yards in a season. Woods has shown the ability to be a reliable and impactful receiver, though, catching at least 70 percent of the passes thrown his way on the two occasions he was targeted at least 10 times in 2016. — Sam Monson, @PFF_Sam

 

Cleveland continues to solidify O-line, expected to sign C J.C. Tretter

11:17 a.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

Center J.C. Tretter is expected to agree to terms with the Cleveland Browns, according to the NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo. Shortly after extending one guard that had trouble staying on the field, Cleveland is reportedly signing another one that has had similar issues in his career. Tretter missed his entire rookie year due to an injury and had to wait until Week 10 of the 2014 season to make his debut. While he only played 60 snaps on offense in his first season, he flashed versatility, as he played at both tackle positions, despite being mainly an interior offensive lineman. He once again played nearly all positions in 2015 as he surrendered just four total QB pressures on 258 pass-blocking snaps. Finally, not only did he play the most snaps in 2016, with 488, but he also had his best year, as he allowed only eight total QB pressures and earned a grade of 84.1 for the season. While he has flashed ability and proven that he can play at a high level at several positions along the line, his injury history presents a risk that the Browns will probably need to take at this stage, as they have to start spending some cash on improving their roster. — Zoltan Buday, @PFF_Zoltan

 

Browns extend guard Joel Bitonio

11:11 a.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

The Cleveland Browns are closing in on an extension with guard Joel Bitonio, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Bitonio was selected in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft by Cleveland and has proven to be one of the best selections the franchise has made in recent memory (when he was not injured). The former Nevada guard played at a very high level in his first NFL season, as he graded out at 87.8 while playing all 1,078 snaps for the Browns. However, he has not been able to sustain that form since then, mainly due to injuries. Although he started 2015 strong, his performance tailed off, and his season was cut short due to injury. He was even better in 2016, earning an overall grade of 83.3 as he allowed only eight total QB pressures, including one sack in his first five games. However, once again, his season ended in early October. While the Browns have only a handful of players that are considered to be among the best at their position, Bitonio is one of them, and locking him down for a long time is a smart decision by Cleveland if the guard can stay healthy—which is a big if at this point. — Zoltan Buday, @PFF_Zoltan

 

New England Patriots considering blockbuster trade for Brandin Cooks

10:28 a.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

Shortly after reportedly signing arguably the best cornerback on the market in Stephon Gilmore, the New England Patriots are in talks to trade away their current No. 1 cornerback Malcolm Butler to New Orleans for wide receiver Brandin Cooks, according to ESPN’s Dianna Russini. The move would be unlike any other that we have seen in recent years as it would lead to two of the best players at their positions changing homes. Cooks would bring a deep threat to New England that would represent an upgrade over Chris Hogan, as the former Oregon State receiver ranked second in the league with 544 receiving yards on deep passes. In addition, Cooks ranked eighth in the NFL in wide receiver rating as quarterbacks had a passer rating of 119.2 when targeting him in 2016.

On the other hand, Butler would bring a much-needed enforcement to the defense in the Big Easy, as he has established himself as an elite cornerback over the past two seasons. In fact, Butler earned a grade of 88.6 in 2016, which was significantly higher than that of any cornerback on the Saints, including Delvin Breaux, who struggled with injuries and graded out at 42.3 last season. In addition, Butler allowed a reception only once on every 12.6 coverage snap, which ranked 12th among cornerbacks in the NFL. There are only speculations about this trade at this point, but it would certainly shake up both the New Orleans defense and the Patriots offense. — Zoltan Buday, @PFF_Zoltan

 

Atlanta re-signs edge rusher Courtney Upshaw

10:05 a.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

Edge defender Courtney Upshaw is expected to agree to terms with the Falcons to stay in Atlanta, according to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. The former Baltimore Raven played a limited role in the Falcons’ Super Bowl run in his first season in Atlanta as he was on the field for 32.9 percent of the snaps. However, despite the fact that he played the fewest snaps in a single season in his career, Upshaw recorded a career-high three sacks, including one in the Super Bowl against the Patriots. The former Alabama player is basically a pass-rushing specialist at this point in his career as 264 of his 367 – 71.9 percent – came as he was rushing the passer. Upshaw was one of just a few Falcons free agents who contributed to the team’s first Super Bowl appearance since 1998. — Zoltan Buday, @PFF_Zoltan

 

Eagles release DE Connor Barwin

09:56 a.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

Saving themselves $7.5 million, the Eagles have released DE Connor Barwin, who was still the starter even though he had seen his playing time reduced to just 69.1 percent of defensive snaps, the lowest level since his rookie year. Barwin notched just 30 total pressures from 449 snaps rushing the passer, earning his worst pass-rush grade since 2012. He remains a smart player, but his physical tools may have declined, but in a barren free agent crop for edge rushers will likely find a job somewhere. — Sam Monson, @PFF_Sam

 

Browns start crucial offseason by signing Kenny Britt

09:49 a.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

Wide receiver Kenny Britt is expected to sign with the Cleveland Browns, according to ESPN’s Adam Caplan. While the former first-round pick has never lived up to his draft position, Britt surpassed 1,000 receiving yards in 2016 for the first time in his career – even if only by two yards. While Britt’s numbers are not overwhelming, the fact that he played in one of the least productive offenses over the past three seasons needs to be taken into account here. Still, he managed to earn precisely 2.0 yards per route run, which ranked him 16th among wide receivers, while quarterbacks had a passer rating of 96.2 when targeting him, which was by far the highest on the LA Rams. Nevertheless, it remains to be seen how much of an upgrade, if any, Britt represents over wide receiver Terrelle Pryor as all signs point to the latter not returning to Cleveland. The spotlight will be on Cleveland this entire offseason; however, unless Britt was a significantly cheaper option than Pryor, prioritizing him over the incumbent No. 1 wide receiver seems to be a questionable decision at this point. — Zoltan Buday, @PFF_Zoltan

 

Andrew Whitworth is expected to land in Los Angeles with the Rams

Andrew Whitworth to Rams

09:37 a.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

Veteran left tackle Andrew Whitworth will agree to terms with the Los Angeles Rams, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Despite his age – he turned 35 in December – Whitworth was still considered the top left tackle on this year’s free agency market. The former Cincinnati Bengal has been an elite left tackle for nearly as long as he has been in the NFL, grading above 85.0 in nine of the past 10 seasons. Whitworth, who has played for the Bengals in his entire career, has allowed a total of nine sacks over the last three seasons while Rams tackles Greg Robinson and Rob Havenstein gave up eight sacks apiece in 2016 alone. Although Whitworth, who signed a three-year contract, cannot be considered a long-term solution, he will bring much-needed stability to the left side of the Rams offensive line and will provide the type of blindside protection that quarterback Jared Goff has never experienced so far in his career, including his years at Cal. — Zoltan Buday, @PFF_Zoltan

 

New England is expected to sign CB Stephon Gilmore

09:09 a.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

Former Buffalo Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore is expected to sign with AFC East rival New England Patriots, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Gilmore has been a consistent player for Buffalo throughout his career as he has not given up more than 700 yards in a single season since his rookie year and has not allowed more than five touchdown receptions in any season. While the big interception numbers have avoided Gilmore so far and 2016 was his career best season from this perspective with five turnovers through the air, he got his fair share of pass breakups as he knocked down a total of 34 passes over the first five seasons of his career. In addition, Gilmore is yet to allow a passer rating above 92.0 in coverage in a single season so far. This move will likely result in the Patriots letting former starting cornerback Logan Ryan leave in free agency, while the fate of restricted free agent Malcolm Butler is still uncertain as he received a first-round tender earlier this week. — Zoltan Buday, @PFF_Zoltan

 

WR DeSean Jackson expected to land in Tampa Bay

DeSean Jackson to Buccaneers

08:40 a.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are expected to agree to terms with former Washington wide receiver DeSean Jackson, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. While Jackson turned 30 in December and is not quite the receiver he once was, he still remains one of the best deep threats in football. As a matter of fact, he ranked third in the league on deep balls, as 36.0 percent of his targets traveled at least 20 yards in the air and he caught 16 of 32 such targets, including three touchdowns. In addition, Jackson is still among the most efficient wide receivers in the NFL as he ranked in the top 15 in yards per route run in three of the past four seasons. There were only two wide receivers with more deep targets than Jackson last season, and the fact that one of them was Mike Evans will most likely cause some headaches to safeties trying to defend Tampa Bay’s deep threats in 2017. — Zoltan Buday, @PFF_Zoltan

 

LB Nick Perry agrees to stick around in Green Bay

08:34 a.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

Nick Perry has agreed to terms with the Packers to remain in Green Bay for another five years, according to Jason La Canfora. Perry has gradually grown into a full-time role in Green Bay as he played a career-high 704 snaps in 2016 and rewarded the team with 51 total pressures including the playoffs. Perry, who can line up on either side, recorded a pass-rushing productivity score of 10.0 in the regular season, which ranked 26th among 3-4 outside linebackers. The former UCLA player has become the Packers’ best pass-rusher as he is replacing the production of his aging – and declining – teammates such as Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers. In addition, Perry is among the best run defenders at his position since he led all 3-4 outside linebackers with a run-stop percentage of 12.4 percent as he recorded a stop on 24 of his 193 run defense snaps in the regular season. With this transaction the Packers have started the most important phase of their free agency activity, the re-signing of their own players. — Zoltan Buday, @PFF_Zoltan

 

Quarterback Mike Glennon set to sign with Bears

Mike Glennon to Bears

7:36 a.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Mike Glennon is in the process of finalizing a 3-year contract with Chicago that would pay an average of $14.5 million per year. Glennon has been mentioned as one of the top targets in free agency for teams needing a quarterback and his acquisition will most likely lead to Chicago releasing Jay Cutler. Although Glennon does have 630 career pass attempts, he has not started a regular season game since Week 9 of the 2014 season. While the former Tampa Bay signal caller did flash the ability in 2013 and 2014 to be an NFL starter it is hard to call those two seasons anything other than average since he earned grades of 72.1 and 76.2 respectively. His adjusted completion percentage, which takes into account throwaways and dropped passes, was 67.0 percent in 2014, the 36th highest among 39 quarterbacks. While the price they pay for a relatively unproven quarterback might be too steep, the Bears are in dire need of an answer at the position and it would come as no surprise if they target one in the upcoming draft too. — Zoltan Buday, @PFF_Zoltan

 

Seahawks show interest in running back Jamaal Charles

07:10 a.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

Former Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles is expected to visit the Seattle Seahawks according to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Charles was released earlier this offseason by Kansas City after playing only 290 snaps, including 85 carries over the past two seasons due to a series of injuries. While Charles may be an attractive name on the free agency market, his production has gradually declined over his career. Although he averaged above 2.5 yards after contact per carry in each of his first four seasons, he surpassed that milestone only once in the past five years. Even though Charles, who turned 30 in December, may not be as elusive as he once was, he could bring a veteran presence to the Seahawks’ running back room, which consists of some talented, but unproven players at this point. –– Zoltan Buday, @PFF_Zoltan

 

Matt Kalil expected to sign with the Carolina Panthers

05:41 a.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

Former Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Matt Kalil has reportedly agreed to terms with Carolina. Once the fourth overall pick in the NFL Draft, Kalil has never lived up to the expectations that surrounded him as a prospect. His best season came in his first year when he earned an overall grade of 82.3, however, he was unable to ever build on that promising rookie campaign. The former USC Trojan’s performance had gradually declined and hit rock bottom in 2014 when he finished the season with a grade of 43.8. Although his 2016 season was cut short due to an injury, he was not off to a good start and had allowed nine total pressures, including a sack, in the first two games of the season. While we have identified offensive tackle as the biggest need for the Panthers, based on past performance it is unlikely that Kalil can reliably fill that role and can be anything more than a stopgap left tackle until the team finds and develops a player through the draft. — Zoltan Buday, @PFF_Zoltan

 

Buffalo is expected to sign kicker Steven Hauschka

05:05 a.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

Former Seattle kicker Steven Hauschka has reportedly agreed to sign with the Buffalo Bills. Hauschka spent six seasons in Seattle and won a Super Bowl with the Seahawks, however, his performance has tailed off over the past couple seasons. Although he missed only two extra points between 2011 and 2014, he started to struggle once the extra point attempts were moved back to the 15-yard line and failed to convert on 10 of his 79 attempts over the past two seasons. On the other hand, he was still successful on over 90 percent of his field goal attempts in both 2015 and 2016, which would represent a significant upgrade for the Bills over Dan Carpenter who converted only 76.0 percent of his attempts in 2016. — Zoltan Buday, @PFF_Zoltan

 

Saints re-sign backup safety Shiloh Keo

04:17 a.m. ET, Thurs., March 9

Shiloh Keo has reportedly agreed to terms to re-sign with the New Orleans Saints. Keo started for a year in Denver after winning Super Bowl 50 with the Broncos the previous season and joined New Orleans during the regular season following his release. Although the former Idaho safety played only one snap on defense in 2016, he has proven to be a reliable member of the Saints’ special teams as he played on all four main special team units and totalled 130 special teams snaps in 7 games. Keo is the second New Orleans special teams contributor to re-sign with the Saints in as many days following in the footsteps of fellow safety Chris Banjo. — Zoltan Buday, @PFF_Zoltan

 

RB Danny Woodhead set to sign with Baltimore

11:11 p.m. ET, Wed., March 8

The Ravens agreed to terms on Wednesday with former Chargers RB Danny Woodhead. An eight-year veteran playing with four different teams, Woodhead will add another dimension to the Ravens’ roster if he is 100 percent healthy after recovering from ACL surgery. The 32-year-old played collegiately at Chadron State with record-setting results, but despite rushing for 7,962 yards there, Woodhead went undrafted in 2008. Two years removed from posting the NFL’s second-best RB receiving grade (89.1) in 2015, Woodhead will for vie for backfield touches in Baltimore with Kenneth Dixon, a fourth-round 2016 pick from Louisiana Tech, and, potentially, restricted free agent Terrance West. – Wes Huber, @PFF_Wes

 

Ravens re-sign backup QB Ryan Mallett

10:38 p.m. ET, Wed., March 8

The Ravens have announced that they have re-signed backup quarterback Ryan Mallett. Mallett comes back to Baltimore after playing only 23 snaps and attempting six passes in 2016. Mallet last saw real playing time with the Ravens in 2015, replacing Matt Shaub after he took over for Joe Flacco following his torn ACL. In his two games with the Ravens, Mallett recorded a QB rating of 74.5 with a yards per attempt average of 5.84. The Ravens went 1-1 in those two games, and apparently saw enough to retain Mallett now as the backup. — Jon Abbott

 

PFF’s No. 1 free agent, DI Calais Campbell, expected to sign with Jacksonville Jaguars

10:09 p.m. ET, Wed., March 8

After nine years with the Arizona Cardinals, 3-4 defensive end Calais Campbell is expected to sign a contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Drafted out of the University of Miami in the second round of the 2008 draft, the 6-foot-8, 282-pound Campbell has been an anchor for the Arizona defense, and a top-10 positional performer for six consecutive seasons.

In 2016, Campbell submitted his finest season to date, earning the second-best pass-rush (87.5) and seventh-best run-defense grades (84.5) among all interior defenders. Ranking as the 24th-best player in the PFF 101 for the 2016 season, Campbell will team up with Malik Jackson on the Jacksonville defensive line, with sights set on reversing the fortunes of PFF’s 30th-ranked defense (by cumulative team grade in 2016).

Campbell made his presence felt during his sophomore season (2009) with Arizona after producing nine sacks, eight hits, and 31 QB pressures. However, it wasn’t until 2011 that Campbell fully emerged as one of the NFL’s most disruptive forces, terrorizing opposing offensive linemen. In the 2013 season, he recorded a career-high 11 sacks. This past season, Campbell ranked second among all 3-4 defensive ends with a 9.2 pass-rushing productivity mark. – Wes Huber, @PFF_Wes

 

Bills set to sign G Vladimir Ducasse on Thursday

9:53 p.m. ET, Wed., March 8

Vladimir Ducasse has reportedly agreed to a three-year deal with the Buffalo Bills. After being drafted out of UMass in the second round by the Jets, Ducasse has bounced around the league, as this will be his fifth team in eight years. Ducasse served as a backup guard for the Ravens in 2016 after being cut in the preseason. He only managed a middling grade of 54.6 across 555 total snaps last season and will likely compete for a reserve role on the Bills’ offensive line. — Jon Abbott

 

S Tony Jefferson expected to sign with Ravens

Tony Jefferson to Ravens

9:27 p.m. ET, Wed., March 8

After debating between Cleveland and Baltimore, Tony Jefferson has reportedly agreed to terms with the Ravens. Following a couple of solid seasons with the Cardinals, Jefferson had his breakout year in 2016, ranking as PFF’s second-highest-graded safety in run defense, with a mark of 98.0 in that facet of play. Jefferson’s run-stop percentage of 7.8 was best among all safeties last season. He tallied 27 stops on 347 run snaps. Jefferson, who was PFF’s 13th-ranked free agent this offseason, will join Eric Weddle in the talented Baltimore secondary. The two should make a formidable pair, as Weddle graded out first overall among safeties, while Jefferson ranked fifth overall. — Jon Abbott

 

LB Malcolm Smith expected to sign with 49ers

9:07 p.m. ET, Wed., March 8

Former Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith appears to be on his way out of Oakland, but not traveling far, as he is expected to sign with the San Francisco 49ers. Smith started at LB the last two years with the Raiders, where he did not see much individual success after signing as a free agent. Smith ranked 21st out of 41 qualifying linebackers in tackling efficiency, and in the middle of the pack in run-stop percentage, while grading out poorly in coverage. Smith is likely to see to a reduced role upon NaVorro Bowman’s eventual return from an Achilles injury, and with Gerald Hodges performing well for the 49ers last season. — Jon Abbott

 

WR Kenny Stills re-ups with Dolphins on four-year deal

8:22 p.m. ET, Wed., March 8

Following a 2016 season that saw him corral 9-of-10 catchable deep (20-plus) targets ending in a league-tying eight touchdowns, WR Kenny Stills and the Miami Dolphins have agreed to further their relationship with a four-year, $32 million contract that includes $20 million guaranteed, according to Adam Schefter. A product of the University of Oklahoma, Stills was drafted in the fifth round of the 2013 draft by the New Orleans Saints before they shipped him to Miami for LB Dannell Ellerbe and a third-round pick in the 2015 draft. – Wes Huber, @PFF_Wes

 

Lions, LB Paul Worrilow agree to terms

6:56 p.m. ET, Wed., March 8

Paul Worrilow has agreed in terms with the Detroit Lions. Worrilow battled through injuries in much of 2016 and was reduced to a reserve role on defense with Deion Jones and De’Vondre Campbell seizing the starting roles. When he was a starter for the Falcons from 2013 to 2015 he ranked near the bottom of the league in overall grades for linebackers. He is likely to be a backup and special-teams contributor if he even makes the team. — Jon Abbott

 

Bills now expected to sign FB Mike Tolbert

5:24 p.m. ET, Wed., March 8

Buffalo and nine-year veteran fullback Mike Tolbert reportedly have a mutual agreement in place. Tolbert has been a member of the Carolina Panthers since 2012, and will be joining the Bills along with fellow FB Patrick DiMarco, who is also expected to sign with Buffalo. Tolbert’s play has disappointed during recent seasons—he finished 2016 with the third-lowest run-blocking (42.6) and fourth-lowest overall grade (46.2)—among qualified fullbacks. – Wes Huber, @PFF_Wes

 

FB Kyle Juszczyk expected to sign with 49ers, not Bills

5:19 p.m. ET, Wed., March 8

After rumors of Kyle Juszczyk coming close to joining the Bills this morning, it looks as if he will now go to the San Francisco 49ers. Although the position is being used less often in the league, Juszczyk’s 450 snaps last season were by far the most for any fullback. Juszczyk’s overall grade of 87.9 and receiving grade of 76.4 were the highest marks in the league for any fullbacks. Kyle Shanahan will look to use him as a dual-threat in the backfield to complement both the pass and run offense. — Jon Abbott

 

Bengals re-sign WR Brandon LaFell

5:13 p.m. ET, Wed., March 8

Coming off the second-best year of his career, it makes sense for the Cincinnati Bengals to bring LaFell back into the fold for 2017. Not a huge big play threat, LaFell has averaged 13.5 yards per catch over the course of his career. The best part about his 2016 season was that he dropped just two of the 66 catchable passes thrown his way, a season after dropping 10 of the 50 catchable passes thrown his direction—a huge improvement. A.J. Green is the obvious No. 1, but LaFell and second-year man Tyler Boyd will compete to be the Bengals’ second option at wide receiver. – Gordon McGuinness, @PFF_Gordon

 

Patriots to receive TE Dwayne Allen in trade with Colts

5:11 p.m. ET, Wed., March 8

The Patriots have agreed to a trade with the Indianapolis Colts for TE Dwayne Allen. Allen, who is signed through 2019, gives the Patriots a viable option as a complete backup tight end that can both block and catch. Allen, who burst on the scene in 2012 as a rookie, graded out as the top run blocker in the league among tight ends in addition to 45 catches for 521 yards, but has has struggled in recent years. Last season, Allen’s run-blocking grade was an average 49.9, but he did manage 35 receptions. The Patriots hope to reinvigorate Allen as a player and integrate him into their two-TE system next to Rob Gronkowski, continuing to be a versatile offense with multiple pass-catching options. — Jon Abbott

 

Bills re-sign P Colton Schmidt, release WR Marcus Easley

5:00 p.m. ET, Wed., March 8

The move to re-sign Schmidt makes sense, particularly if you can get past his struggles at the end of 2016 as nothing more than a small slump. In 2015, he was our 14th-highest graded punter in the NFL, and averaged 40.9 net yards per punt. He started 2016 well before falling away in the second half of the year. Easley hasn’t contributed much as a receiver, but he was one of the top special teamers in the NFL in 2014, and while he took a small step back in 2015, he was still solid in that role. Over those two seasons (he missed 2016), Easley racked up 37 special teams tackles. – Gordon McGuinness, @PFF_Gordon

 

Safety Barry Church expected to sign with Jaguars

3:32 p.m. ET, Wed., March 8

Church is coming off his best season, both in coverage and overall, since entering the league in 2010—just in time to cash in during free agency. As much as this was his best year in coverage, it’s not the strongest area of his game, and he has recorded just five interceptions and six pass breakups in his career so far. He has been impressive against the run, though, and has racked up 124 total tackles resulting in a defensive stop over the past four years. One thing Jaguars fans should be wary of, though: Church has missed 55 tackles in that span, too. – Gordon McGuinness, @PFF_Gordon

 

FB Patrick DiMarco expected to sign four-year deal with Bills

3:32 p.m. ET, Wed., March 8

Patrick DiMarco is expected to sign with the Buffalo Bills. DiMarco, who graded out as the best run-blocking fullback in 2016 and 2015, will help bolster the running game that is likely to still be the focal point of the Bills’ offense with the return of quarterback Tyrod Taylor. DiMarco should serve as an upgrade over Jerome Felton, who graded out as the 18th-best blocking fullback last season. — Jon Abbott

 

Back-up QB Matt Schaub re-signs with Falcons

3:30 p.m. ET, Wed., March 8

This is more about continuity than anything else for the Atlanta Falcons, and everyone within the organization will be hoping that they don’t need him to actually see the field in meaningful action in 2017, because that will mean an injury to Matt Ryan. Schaub hasn’t impressed since 2012, and in his last meaningful action—with Baltimore in 2015—he recorded a passer rating of just 61.3. That being said, there is value in keeping him around for continuity, providing another experienced voice in quarterback meetings along with Ryan. – Gordon McGuinness, @PFF_Gordon

 

Dolphins re-sign edge defender Andre Branch

3:21 p.m. ET, Wed., March 8

The Dolphins have announced that they will be bringing back Andre Branch on a long-term deal. Branch signed with the Dolphins last offseason and performed reasonably well in his first season. In 2016, Branch generated 46 total QB pressures, which was the 17th-highest mark among 4-3 defensive ends. Branch out-snapped all other Miami edge defenders with 774 snaps, and was a more productive pass-rusher than recently released Mario Williams, who only generated 22 pressures in 2016. — Jon Abbott

 

WR Marquise Goodwin set to join 49ers receiving corps

3:14 p.m. ET, Wed., March 8

After the success that Kyle Shanahan had with WR Taylor Gabriel in Atlanta last season, is he hoping to take another relatively unknown speedster and get a lot of production out of him in Marquise Goodwin? Over the course of his four-year career, Goodwin has averaged 14.9 yards per catch and scored six touchdowns. With Pierre Garçon in the fold, Goodwin likely projects as the third or fourth receiver in San Francisco, but also potentially has some value on special teams. Back in his rookie year in 2013, he averaged 21.9 yards per kick return, and could create some big plays for the 49ers there. – Gordon McGuinness, @PFF_Gordon

 

Brian Hoyer signing smart move by 49ers

3:05 p.m. ET, Wed., March 8

Considering the 49ers don’t actually have a quarterback on their roster right now, this is a smart signing by the franchise. Right now it’s hard to see him being the starting quarterback, especially when free agency hasn’t opened yet, and with the 49ers owning the second overall pick in the NFL Draft. However, Hoyer is a safe option as a backup and spot starter. He was actually solid as a starter for the Chicago Bears last year, and has generally held his own early in the season when called upon to start. Routinely, though, he has fallen apart in the second half of the year, including an awful display in the playoffs a year ago for the Houston Texans. Regardless, with nobody else on the roster at quarterback, this signing makes a lot of sense for the 49ers. – Gordon McGuinness, @PFF_Gordon

 

Ravens release edge defender Elvis Dumervil

2:56 p.m. ET, Wed., March 8

The Ravens have informed edge defender Elvis Dumervil of his release. Dumervil, at age 33, is a 10-year veteran who has been used more as a pass-rush specialist in his four-year stint as a Raven. His effectiveness as a pass-rusher has slowed with his age. In 2013, his pass-rushing productivity ranked second in the league for 3-4 outside linebackers, and in 2015, that dropped to 12th.  Last season, he only managed to play 272 snaps through injury, generating a solid 25 QB pressures. Dumervil still shows to be productive in a limited pass-rushing role when healthy, but the concern is whether he can stay on the field enough to warrant his salary. The Ravens deemed the $6 million in cap savings more valuable than Dumervil’s position on the roster. — Jon Abbott

 

Cowboys QB Tony Romo likely to hit free agency on Thursday

2:15 p.m. ET, Wed., March 8

After testing the trade market for Tony Romo, the Cowboys reportedly will be releasing the QB on Thursday. After Dak Prescott’s ascension to the starting role followed Romo’s preseason back injury, the veteran became expendable—and ultimately too expensive to keep.

In 2014, Romo’s passing grade ranked sixth among quarterbacks, posting 30 TDs to only nine interceptions and the highest quarterback rating of the year (113.2). But after breaking his collarbone in Week 2 of 2015, and again on Thanksgiving of the same year, in addition to sitting out nearly all of 2016 with a back injury, at age 36, Romo’s ability to stay healthy is a legitimate concern.

Teams with talented, established veteran rosters looking for a short-term fix at the quarterback position are likely to be interested, with the Broncos and the Texans being the most obvious fits. — Jon Abbott

 

Tyrod Taylor suiting up for Bills in 2017

2:04 p.m. ET, Wed., March 8

News broke Wednesday afternoon that the Buffalo Bills are not only keeping quarterback Tyrod Taylor, but that they are doing so on a restructured contract. This really is the perfect scenario for Buffalo. Not only was Taylor their best option at quarterback, the restructure indicates that they are likely to be saving some money against the cap with the move, as well.

Our 11th-highest-graded quarterback in 2016, and seventh in 2015, it really didn’t make a lot of sense that Buffalo was even considering moving on from Taylor. Realistically, when you look at the quarterback market, the former Virginia Tech star is something of a bargain at the position, especially when you consider the contract handed to Texans QB Brock Osweiler last offseason, and the fact that Tampa Bay Buccaneers backup quarterback Mike Glennon is likely to command $14 million per season. – Gordon McGuinness, @PFF_Gordon

 

Tight end Michael Williams nearing new deal with Patriots

1:47 p.m. ET, Wed., March 8

Converted tight end Michael Williams is reportedly closing in on a new deal with the New England Patriots. Williams was acquired in a 2015 offseason trade with the Lions to serve as an option as an extension of the offensive line. He sat out last season with an ACL injury. — Jon Abbott

 

49ers waive O-lineman Marcus Martin

1:23 p.m. ET, Wed., March 8

Marcus Martin has been informed of his release by the San Francisco 49ers. After posting the worst run-blocking grade of all centers in 2015, he played only 110 snaps in 2016 bouncing around the 49ers offensive line as a reserve. — Jon Abbott

 

Tackle Ricky Wagner expected to sign with Lions

1:04 p.m. ET, Wed., March 8

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Ricky Wagner expects to be a Detroit Lion as free agency starts on Thursday, barring no setbacks in negotiations. Wagner was the most sought after right tackle in free agency this year. His pass-blocking grade ranked fourth among right tackles in the 2016 season. The Lions look to replace Riley Rieff at that position, who allowed 44 QB pressures in 2016, 12 more than Wagner on a nearly identical amount of pass-blocking snaps. — Jon Abbott

 

Titans parting ways with interior defender Al Woods

12:51 p.m. ET, Wed., March 8

The Tennessee Titans have decided to release veteran defensive tackle Al Woods. Woods had been a rotational player for the Titans over the past three seasons, but saw his snap total drop from 361 in 2015 to just 245 in 2016. Woods finished this past season with a 46.1 overall grade. He doesn’t offer much as a pass-rusher, but has graded positively throughout his career as a run defender and should command some modest offers for teams in need of a rotational interior lineman capable of eating up some space. — William Moy, @PFF_Billy

 

Cardinals sign edge defender Chandler Jones to five-year deal

12:11 p.m. ET, Wed., March 8

After placing the franchise tag on him, the Cardinals made quick work of signing edge rusher Chandler Jones to a multi-year contract extension. Jones finished 2016 tied as PFF’s seventh-ranked edge defender with a 87.4 overall grade, the best mark of his career. His 66 total QB pressures ranked sixth among 3-4 outside linebackers, and he has never recorded less than 43 pressures in a season. With interior defender Calais Campbell potentially moving on, it was imperative to lock Jones down. The Cardinals’ pass rush ranked collectively at 31st in the league last season, and can ill-afford to lose the talent they have in that facet. — Harley Sherman, @PFF_Harley

 

Cowboys re-sign WR Brice Butler to one-year deal

12:18 p.m. ET, Wed., March 8

The Dallas Cowboys have re-signed wide receiver Brice Butler to a one year deal. Butler is coming off a poor season where he only had 16 receptions over 429 snaps, although three did go for touchdowns. This is likely a move to maintain depth at the WR position, as Dallas teammate Terrance Williams is likely to command much more money when he hits free agency in a few days. — Jon Abbott

 

Packers re-signing punter Jacob Schum

11:27 a.m. ET, Wed., March 8

The Packers elected to re-sign starting punter Jacob Schum to an RFA tender. He has graded as a league-average player over the past two seasons, ranking 27th among all punters in 2016. He allowed only 28.6 percent of his punts to be returned, and 18 were fair caught. — Harley Sherman, @PFF_Harley

 

Pierre Garçon expected to sign with 49ers, re-join Kyle Shanahan

11:22 a.m. ET, Wed., March 8

Chris Mortensen is reporting that not only is WR Pierre Garçon close to agreeing a deal with the 49ers, but that the deal will see him make a pretty hefty $16 million in year one of the contract. Garçon is familiar with Kyle Shanahan’s offense from their time together in Washington, but his value goes far beyond that. Last season, Garçon finished as PFF’s eighth-ranked WR with an overall grade of 85.8. He caught 71.8 percent of the passes thrown his way and broke 13 tackles after the catch. — Sam Monson, @PFF_Sam

 

49ers and Jets showing interest in QB Brian Hoyer

10:47 a.m. ET, Wed., March 8

Ian Rapoport notes that both the 49ers and Jets are interested in signing veteran QB Brian Hoyer. Hoyer registered a 81.1 grade in 2016 with the Bears, albeit on only five starts in place of incumbent starter Jay Cutler. Hoyer played 13 games for the Browns in 2014 when 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan was offensive coordinator, and the Jets are in dire need of quarterbacks. Whether he will get a starting spot for either team remains to be seen. — Harley Sherman, @PFF_Harley

 

Bills now favorites to sign FB Kyle Juszczyk

10:28 a.m. ET, Wed., March 8

After reporting that the Browns were interested earlier this morning, ESPN’s Adam Schefter now says that the Bills are the favorites to land former Ravens FB Kyle Juszczyk. As Senior Analyst Sam Monson noted earlier, the fullback position is a dying breed in modern football, but the Bills used FB Jerome Felton on 322 offensive snaps in 2016—tied for the fourth-highest mark in the league. With Felton a free agent, Juszczyk would slot into that void and would offer a more versatile presence, catching 31 more passes than Felton last season.— Harley Sherman, @PFF_Harley

 

Marshall adds element of physicality to Giants’ WR corps

Brandon Marshall signs with Giants

10:23 a.m. ET, Wed., March 8

Brandon Marshall didn’t last long on the open market, and he doesn’t even need to move houses. After parting ways with the Jets, Marshall will spend his Sundays in the same building playing for the New York Giants after reportedly signing with the team on a two-year deal. The Giants are stacked with receiver talent, with Odell Beckham Jr. and second-year standout Sterling Shepard already in-house, but Marshall brings a physical presence that they don’t already have on the roster. Click here for more on the fit. — Sam Monson, @PFF_Sam

 

Giants looking to restructure, possibly cut WR Dwayne Harris

9:38 a.m. ET, Wed., March 8

The Giants are seeking a contract restructure for WR Dwayne Harris, with the possibility of a release if they can’t agree, according to Adam Schefter. Harris played only 59 offensive snaps last season, his lowest total since 2012, and with the reported deal with WR Brandon Marshall he may only continue to have value as a special-teamer. He has led the Giants in kick and punt returns for the past two years, and has graded positively as a special-teamer in every season of this career. — Harley Sherman, @PFF_Harley

 

Market cool on Dontari Poe

9:31 a.m. ET, Wed. March 8

Reports are swirling this morning on Chiefs NT Dontari Poe, with Bleacher Report’s Jacon Cole reporting that his market may not be as strong as hoped, suggesting he may take a one-year deal with a team that will allow him attack more and try again next year. Jason LaCanfora on the other hand reports that the Washington Redskins at least will be in for his services as one of their top targets. Poe has rushed the passer on 2,590 occasions for the Chiefs, and while he may have had more of a contain role this season with rookie Chris Jones in the mix, it doesn’t explain his consistent lack of production in all other years rushing the passer. Poe wants to prove he can be more than a two-down run stuffer, but has work to do to convince everybody of that, having never topped 41 total pressures over a season. — Sam Monson, @PFF_Sam

 

Saints still discussing possible trade of WR Brandin Cooks

8:44 a.m. ET, Wed. March 8

According to Ian Rapoport, the Saints are still working through talks with the Eagles, Titans and Patriots about trading WR Brandin Cooks. They are apparently looking for picks, or someone who can “affect the QB” in return. Outside of Cameron Jordan (79 total pressures) and Nick Fairley (47, an upcoming free agent), the Saints had nobody on defense last season who topped 27 total pressures, so they are going to be in the market for a pass-rusher if they could get one from moving Cooks. — Sam Monson, @PFF_Sam

 

Chargers expected to re-sign S Jahleel Addae on a four-year deal

6:36 a.m. ET, Wed., March 8

According to Field Yates, the Chargers are expected to bring back one of their own, safety Jahleel Addae on a new long-term contract. 2016 was the best season of Addae’s career, and the first in which he posted solid coverage and run defense grades in the same season. He notched 17 defensive stops, missed only five tackles and made more of an impact across the field in the games he was starting. — Sam Monson, @PFF_Sam

 

49ers showing interest in former Redskins WR Pierre Garçon

 6:31 a.m. ET, Wed., March 8

The 49ers are reported to be looking into signing WR Pierre Garçon, a player who worked under head coach Kyle Shanahan when he was Washington’s offensive coordinator from 2010-2013. Garçon had the best grade of his career in 2016, ranking eighth among WRs with 85.8. Garçon would add a much-needed pair of safe hands, dropping only one pass and catching 71.8 percent of his targets last season.  – Harley Sherman, @PFF_Harley

 

Browns have interest in former Ravens RB, Kyle Juszczyk

6:10 a.m. ET, Wed., March 8

Connecting one of the more unusual threads you’ll come across, Adam Schefter reports that the Harvard graduates within the Browns front office has the team very interested in former Harvard fullback, Kyle Juszczyk. Fullback is a position that has waned in importance over recent years, but Juszczyk is one of only a couple with the versatility to succeed in all facets of the game, and played 115 more snaps in 2016 than any other fullback. He would be an excellent fit for a team that could use the upgrade and versatility. — Sam Monson, @PFF_Sam

Browns QB Josh McCown en-route to visit Dallas Cowboys

5:32 a.m. ET, Wed., March 8

The Dallas Cowboys haven’t closed the door on Tony Romo still being around in 2017, but they’re preparing for the likelihood that he won’t be, with former Browns backup Josh McCown on his way for a visit, per Adam Schefter. The high water mark of McCown’s career was an eight-game stretch for the Bears in 2013 where he earned a PFF grade of 87.8. That is the only season of his career with a grade above 67.0, but he is an established veteran QB whose value to the team is more in meeting rooms and as an experienced confidant to Dak Prescott. In 188 pass attempts for the Browns this past season he completed 54.5 percent of his passes and only 36.2 percent when under pressure. — Sam Monson, @PFF_Sam

 

Washington re-sign TE Vernon Davis to a three-year, $15m contract

4:46 a.m. ET, Wed., March 8

Vernon Davis has indicated via Snapchat that he has re-signed with Washington for three more years. While Jordan Reed is clearly the star tight end in that offense, Davis did play on 63.5% of snaps in 2016. Davis’s run blocking last season wasn’t his best but he was still able to get open and produce in the short passing game and he provided 228 yards after the catch. Rumors continue to build that Kirk Cousins will be getting traded to the 49ers so Davis is likely to be catching passes from Colt McCoy or someone else in 2017. – Jordan Plocher, @PFF_Jordan

 

Seahawks elect not to tender contract to DeShawn Shead

4:37 a.m. ET, Wed., March 8, 2017

The Seahawks chose not to tender a contract to RFA and starting CB DeShawn Shead. Shead is coming off the best season of his career to date, allowing only 1 TD and notching 10 pass defenses. He also led all CBs with a run stop percentage of 3.4%, making 12 stops on 353 run snaps. The ACL injury suffered in the loss to the Falcons in the playoffs likely played into the Seahawks’ decision, but they will need to find a way to replace Shead’s 1003 defensive snaps played in 2016, and Shead becomes an interesting addition to the cornerback crop. – Harley Sherman, @PFF_Harley

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Saints re-sign FS Chris Banjo to a two-year contract

4:12 a.m. ET, Wed., March 8

The Saints agreed to terms with safety Chris Banjo, eliminating the need to give him an RFA tender. Banjo joined the Saints in November last season, and while he failed to play any defensive snaps, he was an important special teams contributor. His 120 special teams snaps ranked among the highest on the team. With Jairus Byrd cut and Roman Harper a free agent, Banjo may be forced into a regular role in 2017. – Harley Sherman, @PFF_Harley

 

Lions re-sign DT Khyri Thornton to two-year contract

11:14 p.m. ET, Tues., March 7

The Lions have agreed to terms to re-sign defensive tackle Khyri Thornton to a two-year deal worth $3.3 million (comes with a $325,000 signing bonus). Thornton appeared in 14 games for the Lions last season as a rotational player, seeing 328 snaps after just 103 in 2015, with his best performance coming in Week 7 against Washington when he tallied two stops to go along with a QB pressure. — William Moy, @PFF_Billy

 

Texans agree to terms with K Nick Novak, P Shane Lechler

9:12 p.m. ET, Tues., March 7

Locking up Novak gives the Texans consistency at the kicker spot, and he was perfect on field goals from inside 40 yards this past season. That number dropped to just 72.7 percent from 40 to 49 yards, and just 50 percent from field goals of 50 yards and beyond, so it’s clear at this point that he is not the type of kicker who can boom them from distance. Lechler finished 2016 as our 11th-highest-graded punter, and with 30 of his 72 punts landing inside the 20 yard line, he remains one of the better punters in the NFL heading into his 18th season. – Gordon McGuinness, @PFF_Gordon

 

Tight end Jack Doyle re-signed by Colts

8:07 p.m. ET, Tues., March 7

The Colts re-signed their tight end to a three-year deal, which should bode well for both the club and the player as Doyle really came on down the stretch for the Colts, and he’ll be set to re-hit free agency at 29 years old if he plays out this deal. Doyle finished 16th among tight ends with an overall grade of 76.0 in 2016, and he ranked second on our list of the top free agent tight ends. Doyle has just three drops over 123 career targets and in 2016 he ranked 18th among 40 qualified tight ends with an average of 1.58 yards per route run. — William Moy, @PFF_Billy

 

Edge defender Charles Johnson re-signed by Panthers

6:02 p.m. ET, Tues., March 7

Charles Johnson will be back for his 11th season with the Panthers after the organization opted to re-sign their veteran defensive end to a modest two-year, $9.5 million deal. In all honestly, that level of contract is about right for a player who has failed to recapture the form of early in his career. Johnson managed more knockdowns in 2014 (23) than in 2015 and 2016 combined (21). He no longer consistently impacts quarterbacks off the edge, but remains a solid defensive end utilized best as part of a rotation. — John Breitenbach, @PFF_John

 

Safety Antoine Bethea cut by 49ers

5:58 p.m. ET, Tues., March 7

Bethea signed with the 49ers ahead of the 2014 season, and quickly produced his highest-graded season since entering the league in 2006. The success was short-lived though, and he’s has graded below average in each of the past two seasons. He was due to be a free agent after this season, but with the 49ers in full rebuild mode now, it makes sense to save the roughly $5.75million that they can and focus on the future. Despite being cut, it wouldn’t be a shock to see Bethea starting somewhere in the NFL next year; with his 72.5 PFF grade in 2016 ranking 66th among safeties, he remains a lower-level starting-caliber player in the NFL. — Gordon McGuinness, @PFF_Gordon

 

Jaguars re-sign G Patrick Omameh

5:40 p.m. ET, Tues., March 7

The Jaguars took steps to ensure cohesion on their offensive line by re-signing OG Patrick Omameh. The former undrafted free agent flashed his potential in Tampa Bay, so much so that his release came as a slight surprise. Jacksonville claimed him off waivers, and only injuries prevented that decision from paying off dramatically. If Omameh can recover from the foot injury that forced him onto IR, he can be a solid starting guard. He allowed only 13 pressures a year ago, while proving dependable in the run game. — John Breitenbach, @PFF_John

 

Panthers agree to two-year deal with RB Fozzy Whittaker

5:10 p.m. ET, Tues., March 7

The Panthers’ continued their retention of key role players, signing RB/KR Fozzy Whittaker to a two-year extension worth only $2.5 million. Whittaker has seen his role steadily expand since entering the NFL in 2012 as an undrafted free agent. He managed 308 snaps in 2016, finding a niche as Carolina’s third-down running back. The Panthers wisely limit Whittaker to reps in the passing game, where he managed 25 catches for 226 yards and seven broken tackles in 2016. For a man of his stature, his ability in pass-protection (75.9 grade) is a bonus. — John Breitenbach, @PFF_John

 

Ravens cut CB Shareece Wright, S Kendrick Lewis

3:38 p.m. ET, Tues., March 7

This move for the Ravens frees up roughly $4.9 million in cap room, and considering that neither guy was likely to be a starter in 2017, makes a lot of sense. Lewis played just 17 snaps on defense in 2016 before injury ended his season in Week 6. Wright did start at one cornerback spot for the Ravens last year, and with a below-average PFF rating at 66.0, and a 115.2 NFL quarterback rating allowed on throws into his coverage, it makes sense for the Ravens to move on. That money needs to be spend upgrading their secondary and pass rush, along with probably replacing right tackle Ricky Wagner. – Gordon McGuinness, @PFF_Gordon

 

Cardinals, TE Jermaine Gresham agree to four-year deal

3:28 p.m. ET Tues., March 7

Despite failing to live up to his first-round status from 2010, the Arizona Cardinals opted to sign Jermaine Gresham to a four-year extension Tuesday. He has always struggled as a blocker, never moreso than in 2016, when he finished with a grade of 42.0 in pass protection and 38.9 in the run game. Gresham is an adequate receiver, but caught only 63.8 percent of targets (37 catches), with only two touchdowns and five drops a season ago. While he keeps receiving opportunities to start, Gresham is one of the more underwhelming tight ends in the league. – John Breitenbach, @PFF_John

 

Rams reportedly discussing trade options for Trumaine Johnson

3:05 p.m. ET, Tues., March 7

Fed up of losing talented members of their secondary for nothing in free agency, the Rams opted to tag CB Trumaine Johnson for a second consecutive offseason. However, with a long-term deal unlikely, L.A. is apparently willing to deal its top corner to fuel the rebuilding project under new head coach Sean McVay. The Rams have only two draft picks in the top 100. Johnson, who has allowed a QB rating of only 72.4 throughout his career, can expect to command at least a Day 2 pick as compensation. – John Breitenbach, @PFF_John

 

Cowboys restructure LB Sean Lee’s contract, free up cap space

3:01 p.m. ET, Tues., March 7

The Cowboys getting themselves to $9 million in cap space is important because, heading into this offseason, they were a team with serious Super Bowl ambitions, but a lack of cap room to make it happen. With a decision on quarterback Tony Romo looming, they could free up enough space to add some key help on defense. Lee had 60 total defensive stops last year, and helps the team out with the restructure. – Gordon McGuinness, @PFF_Gordon

 

Under-the-radar free agents worth keeping an eye on

2:57 p.m. ET, Tues., March 7

Senior Analysts Sam Monson and Mike Renner run through some potential high-value sleeper free agents currently set to hit the market.

 

Bucs rumored to make strong push for DeSean Jackson

1:08 p.m. ET, Tues., March 7

Jackson is a certified deep threat, averaging at least 16.3 yards per reception in each of the past four years. This past year he led all wide receivers with 579 yards on passes traveling 20 yards or further downfield. Tampa Bay being interested makes a lot of sense, and with Mike Evans finishing ninth in the league with 372 deep receiving yards, it would give the Buccaneers an opportunity to field one of the most explosive passing attacks in the NFL. That being said, with Pierre Garçon also a free agent, it seems crazy that Washington would let Jackson walk, given that he seems like the ideal partner for WR Josh Doctson, the team’s first-round draft pick from a year ago. – Gordon McGuinness, @PFF_Gordon

 

49ers officially release WR Torrey Smith

12:44 p.m. ET, Tues., March 7

Expensive mistakes are becoming the norm for the 49ers at wide receiver. Following quickly on Michael Crabtree’s heels, Torrey Smith has been released after a pair of disappointing years in San Francisco. He was handed a five-year, $40 million ($8 million guaranteed) deal, but fell way short of expectations. Smith totaled more drops (11) than touchdowns (seven) in two seasons, registering only 890 combined yards. Once one of the league’s best deep threats, Smith will hope to resurrect his career outside the Bay Area. – John Breitenbach, @PFF_John

 

Panthers re-sign special-teamer Colin Jones to two-year deal

12:17 p.m. ET, Tues., March 7

Jones doesn’t play a lot on defense for Carolina, but has been a key part of their special teams units, playing 269 total snaps as part of the kick coverage, kick return, punt coverage and punt return units. While he has been a consistent fixture on those units, he hasn’t really excelled there, with a slightly below-average special teams grade every year since 2012. He has missed 15 of the 53 solo tackles he has attempted on special teams, but has made at least eight special teams tackles in four of the past six seasons. — Gordon McGuinness, @PFF_Gordon

 

Colts O-linemen Joe Reitz announces retirement

12:10 p.m. ET, Tues., March 7

 

Former Chargers CB Brandon Flowers set to hit open market

11:54 a.m. ET, Tues., March 7

The Chargers also parted ways with CB Brandon Flowers, who missed much of the 2016 season injured. Flowers had a poor 2015 campaign, allowing a passer rating of 123.4 when targeted, and 67.7 percent of the passes thrown his way to be caught. He became surplus to requirements with the outstanding season from Casey Hayward once opportunities opened up for the former Packer a year ago. Flowers may still have some gas in the tank, but needs the right landing spot with a team that plays plenty of zone coverage. — Sam Monson, @PFF_Sam

 

Chargers part ways with O-lineman D.J. Fluker

11:38 a.m. ET, Tues., March 7

The Los Angeles Chargers elected not to pick up the fifth-year option of former first-round offensive lineman, D.J. Fluker, sending him into the free-agent pool. Fluker has played both right tackle and right guard for the Chargers, surrendering an average of 3.2 total QB pressures per game at tackle and 2.5 per game at guard. His run blocking was better outside, however. Overall, one of the worst offensive lines in the game cut him loose over an $8.8 million cap hit, so this isn’t a player threatening the best free agents available. — Sam Monson, @PFF_Sam

  • DaRightRadical

    The Chargers Telesco, Sapnos FO team got ZERO out of the 2013 draft, other the Keenan Allen, who’s career arc is Jerricho Cotchery with more targets.

    New city same shit show.

    • crosseyedlemon

      I guess it’s time to move on when you find you can’t compete with the exhibits at the zoo.

  • dlund6cutler

    Chicago better not sign Mike Glennon to a three year/$45 million deal. People complained about Cutler being payed $16 million a year and he is better then Mike Glennon who might get paid $15 million a year, so whats the difference… I say we try to trade for Jimmy G and if his price is to high you trade down and draft a QB then.

    • themacabre

      All that matters is guaranteed money…that is 19m. Not a big risk. I’m not getting the obsessive love for Jimmy G who has only thrown 97 passes in his career…oh, he’s a Belichick boy so me must be great? What about Hoyer and Cassel? I expect the Bears to draft a QB in the middle part of the draft…2018 is a better year for QBs anyway.

  • Nick Walter

    Mike Tolbert did not spend his whole career in Carolina, he was a Charger first.

  • JT

    Mike Remmers is complete and utter trash at LT….I’d take Kalil over him any day of the week he would of given up about 20 sacks if Newton didn’t escape most of them.