Recent NFL Player News

Panthers could use franchise tag on Graham Gano

The Carolina Panthers could use their franchise tag on kicker Graham Gano, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

What It Means:

Rapoport said it's "more likely" that Carolina uses the tag on Gano than guard Andrew Norwell, who is also set to become a free agent. Tagging the 30-year-old kicker would run the team about $4.9 million for this season.

Gano hit 29-of-30 field goal tries in 2017. In 6 years with the team he has a conversion rate of 85.3%.

Seahawks unlikely to tag Sheldon Richardson

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that the Seattle Seahawks are unlikely to place the franchise tag on defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson.

What It Means:

The Seahawks would rather retain Richardson on a long-term deal. At 27, he's set to become a free agent and would warrant $14.5 million for one year under the tag. Seattle could certainly hope that he doesn't have much of a market given his past character issues and suspensions.

In his first season with the Seahawks, Richardson accounted for 27 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble and 1 interception. He was the 27th-best defensive lineman, according to Pro Football Focus.

Adam Vinatieri re-signs with Colts on one-year deal

Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri re-signed to a one-year contract.

What It Means:

No surprises here, as Vinatieri will return for his 23rd NFL season and 13th in a Colts uniform. The 45-year-old kicker sits just 57 points behind Morten Andersen on the All-Time scoring list, and as long as he stays healthy, Vinatieri should have no problem taking the top spot in 2018. He's averaging 113.0 points per season for his career.

Vinatieri made 29-of-34 field goals (85.3 percent) and 22-of-24 extra points (91.7 percent) in 15 games for the Colts last season.

Saints, Drew Brees to discuss 'short-term deal'

The New Orleans Saints and quarterback Drew Brees are expected to discuss a new "short-term deal" at the NFL Combine.

What It Means:

The Combine will be held on February 27th, so we could get some more news on this sooner rather than later. While there's time for negotiations, the two sides have shown urgency to reach an agreement prior to the new league year, when Brees would carry a cap hit of $18 million without a new deal. The veteran quarterback's expected to be a little softer in negotiations yet his contract is expected to be in the range of $20 to $25 million per year.

In 2017, Brees finished third among quarterbacks with 136.03 Net Expected Points. He attempted more than 100 fewer passes than he did in 2016, but still accounted for 4,334 yards and 23 touchdowns through the air.

Source: NFL.com

Colts' Andrew Luck throwing weighted balls, shoulder reportedly 'fine'

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck's surgically-repaired shoulder is "fine," reports Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

What It Means:

Luck has begun throwing weighted footballs and is "full-speed ahead for 2018," per Rapoport, who added that "parts around the shoulder" remain an issue, which suggests the quarterback is still having problems to some degree. He missed all of last year's campaign after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery.

Luck threw for 4,240 yards with 31 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 15 games when he last played in 2016, while also adding an additional 341 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground.

Jaguars not expected to re-sign slot standout Aaron Colvin

The Jacksonville Jaguars are not expected to re-sign slot corner Aaron Colvin this offseason.

What It Means:

Colvin's set to be a free agent and could be one of the top corners on the market. At 26, he proved himself as a big-time player in the slot. He was a great complement to Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye, who combined to lead the Jaguars to the league's most efficient pass defense.

In 16 games, Colvin tallied 37 tackles and 5 passes defensed this season. He rated out as Pro Football Focus' 47th-ranked corner from his slot position.

Colts not expected to re-sign Frank Gore

The Indianapolis Colts are not expected to re-sign free agent running back Frank Gore.

What It Means:

At 34 years old, Gore isn't likely to have a big market for his services. If anything, he'll be brought on to serve as a veteran backup. The Miami Dolphins could have interest in Gore. Meanwhile, the Colts are expected to use a high pick on a running back.

Gore totaled 1,206 yards and 4 touchdowns on 290 touches in 2017.

Report: Eagles' Alshon Jeffery (shoulder) could miss training camp

"The goal" is for wide receiver Alshon Jeffery to be ready for Week 1 of the regular season.

What It Means:

Jeffery underwent surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff on Wednesday. The recovery could keep him out up to six months, which would mean a mid-August return. He could be ready for the preseason, but he's certainly in jeopardy of missing some, if not, all of training camp. It shouldn't be too much of a problem with his knowledge of the offense and Carson Wentz working his way back from his own injury.

Jeffery finished the 2017 season ranked 19th in Receiving Net Expected Points (81.06). He turned 18 targets and 12 catches into 219 yards and 3 touchdowns during this year's playoff run.

Source: Philly.com

Colts, Adam Vinatieri 'closing in' on one-year deal

Indianapolis Colts and kicker Adam Vinatieri are reportedly "closing in" on a one-year deal, according to WTHR's Bob Kravitz.

What It Means:

The deal is expected to be finalized tomorrow, and it doesn't come as much of a shocker. Vinatieri has said he would kick in 2018 and that he'd like to remain in Indianapolis. The 45-year-old will play his 13th season for the Colts.

In his time with the Colts, Vinatieri has converted 86.5% of his attempts, including 31-of-44 from 50-plus yards.

Eagles' Alshon Jeffery (shoulder) undergoes surgery on torn rotator cuff

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery underwent successful surgery on Wednesday to repair a torn rotator cuff.

What It Means:

Jeffery suffered the injury in training camp, but he was somehow able to play through it all the way to the Super Bowl. It was never thought to be as severe as it was, but Jeffery was instrumental in the Eagles' championship season. The Eagles extended the 28-year-old back in December.

Playing in all 16 games, Jeffery turned 57 catches into 789 yards and 9 touchdowns in 2017.

Panthers could release Jonathan Stewart this offseason

Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart is viewed a potential cut candidate this offseason.

What It Means:

Entering the final year of his contract, the 30-year-old is due a total of $3.5 million in 2018. Cutting him would save the team even more than that toward the cap, allowing them to make upgrades elsewhere. Christian McCaffrey was much more effective in his role as a rookie in 2017. He would undoubtedly see a larger workload absent Stewart.

In 2017, Stewart played in 15 games, rushing for 680 yards and 6 touchdowns on 198 carries.

Source: ESPN

Broncos expected to make Trevor Siemian available via trade

NFL Netork's Ian Rapoport expects the Denver Broncos to make quarterback Trevor Siemian available for trade this offseason.

What It Means:

After a rough 2017 season, it's unlikely that the Broncos get anything more than a late-round pick for Siemian. They have many better quarterbacks to deal with in the market. If moved, Siemian would likely serve as a backup elsewhere, with the Broncos making a run at Kirk Cousins. They also have Paxton Lynch under contract through 2019.

In 10 starts and 11 total appearances, Siemian passed for 2,285 yards, 12 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 2017.

Browns' Joe Thomas hopes to have decision on status prior to free agency

Cleveland Browns left tackle Joe Thomas said that he hopes to have a decision on his playing status by the start of free agency.

What It Means:

Free agency starts on March 14th, and the Browns could be very active with as much cap space as anyone this offseason. Thomas is weighing retirement and his decision could be key to the Browns' problem areas. The 6-time All-Pro has one year and $10.3 million left on his contract.

According to Pro Football Focus, Thomas was the 4th-best tackle in all of football this season.

Titans re-sign Ryan Succop to five-year deal

The Tennessee Titans have signed kicker Ryan Succop to a five-year, $20 million contract.

What It Means:

Succop was set to become a free agent, but he'll remain with Tennessee for a fifth straight season, and beyond. The deal include $7.5 million in guarantees and makes him one of the highest-paid kickers in the NFL.

Last year, Succop hit 35-of-42 field goals and 33-of-35 extra-points. He now has two straight seasons with at least 16.3 Net Expected Points.

Dolphins quickly tag Jarvis Landry, could look for trade

The Miami Dolphins have placed the franchise tag on wide receiver Jarvis Landry.

What It Means:

Per Pro Football Talk, the team tagging Landry on the very first day possible is "being interpreted as a desire" to trade the wideout. Usually these decisions work their way into March. For that reason, this report could be on to something. Still, finding a suitor would be complicated, as the team would likely ask Landry to sign off on a long-term contract.

On 161 targets, Landry went for 112 catches, 987 yards and 9 touchdowns a season ago.

Colts' Andrew Luck (shoulder) insists he will not require another surgery

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck was insistent in an interview that he would not require further surgery to his injury shoulder.

What It Means:

According to the IndyStar's Stephen Holder, Luck says he's preparing to do "heavier throwing." He added that rehab is going well and he's making progress. In regards to surgery, he said, "That is not an option for me right now. That ship has sailed as far as I'm concerned." This comes the same day as his new head coach saying that he hopes to have Luck ready for OTAs.

Luck missed the entire 2017-18 season. In the year prior, he threw for 4,240 yards, 31 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 15 games.

Bears decline Josh Sitton's $8 million option

The Chicago Bears will decline left guard Josh Sitton's $8 million team option for this season, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero.

What It Means:

At 31, Sitton will head into the free agent market, where he will likely command similar money from a team in need of a solid offensive lineman. The Bears reportedly parted ways with Sitton because he missed six games due to injury in his two years in Chicago.

Sitton rated out as Pro Football Focus 5th-ranked guard in football. He's a four-time Pro Bowler and one-time Super Bowl champion.

Le'Veon Bell fully expected to be franchise tagged by Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers are fully expected to use the franchise tag on running back Le'Veon Bell, according to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler.

What It Means:

The deadline for the Steelers to use the tag is March 6th, less than three weeks from now. Tagging Bell would allow the teams to continue to discuss a deal, though, so it might be best for all parties involved.

On 406 touches, Bell totaled 1,946 yards and 11 touchdowns in the 2017 season.

Free agent Adam Vinatieri plans to kick in 2018

Free agent kicker Adam Vinatieri intends to play in 2018, reports ESPN's Adam Schefter.

What It Means:

At 45 years old, Vinatieri would be entering his 23rd season in the NFL. He said that he would like to return to the Indianapolis Colts, where he would be playing his 13th season, but it seems like he might also be open to a move. After all, he may be more likely to compete for a championship elsewhere.

In 2017, Vinatieri hit 29-of-34 field goals and 22-of-24 extra-points. He made an impressive 5 of 6 attempts from 50-plus yards.

Bears release Jerrell Freeman after 2 seasons with team

The Chicago Bears are releasing inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman, reports ESPN's Adam Schefter.

What It Means:

Releasing Freeman saves the Bears $3.5 million toward their cap number. After a nice 2016-17 campaign, Freeman didn't do much of anything this past season. He was hit with two suspensions, which limited him to one game and seven tackles. He's also coming off a torn pectoral and will turn 32 in May. A team could certainly take a shot on his past success, while Nick Kwiatkoski's in line to start with his departure.

Prior to this season, Freeman had tallied 89 or more tackles in 4 of 5 NFL seasons.

Jaguars pick up Marcedes Lewis' third-year option

Per Ryan O'Halloran of the Florida Times-Union, the Jacksonville Jaguars have exercised their club option on tight end Marcedes Lewis.

What It Means:

At 33, Lewis will return for his 13th season with the team. This year marks the final year of the veteran's three-year deal. He'll carry a cap hit of $3.75 million as he assumes his role as the lead tight end in Jacksonville.

Lewis caught 24-of-48 targets for 318 yards and 5 touchdowns in 2017.

Giants' Eli Apple expected to be traded this offseason

ESPN's Jordan Raanan believes that the New York Giants will trade cornerback Eli Apple this offseason.

What It Means:

In discussing the Giants' cut candidates, Raanan predicted that Apple would be traded. He might not return the first-round pick he was in 2016, but with his talent, and at 22 years old, he should bring back a mid-round pick. After a season filled with controversy, it wouldn't be surprising to see the two parties part ways.

Ranked as Pro Football Focus' 71st-ranked corner, Apple finished 2017 with 41 tackles and 8 passes defensed in 11 games.

Source: ESPN

Buccaneers release Doug Martin after 6 seasons

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have released running back Doug Martin, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times.

What It Means:

The Bucs were expected to let Martin go all along. The guarantees in what's left of his three-year contract were eliminated when he was suspended in 2016. Last year, he proceeded to disappoint in Tampa Bay, with Peyton Barber passing him up on the depth chart. Jacquizz Rodgers is the only running back under contract at this time, but Barber's an exclusive rights free agent so he could be back on a one-year deal. It wouldn't be surprising for the Bucs to look for a rookie early on in this year's draft.

In 2017, Martin made just 8 starts as he ran for 406 yards and 3 touchdowns on 138 attempts. He added a mere 84 yards in the Tampa Bay passing game.

Report: Jets could offer Kirk Cousins $60 million in year one

The New York Post's Brian Costello was told that the New York Jets could offer free agent quarterback Kirk Cousins $60 million in the first year of his contract.

What It Means:

It's been reported that the Jets are "willing to pay whatever it takes" to bring Cousins on. They're looking to get creative, and this is certainly a way of doing it. Compared to other suitors -- the Denver Broncos, Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals -- the Jets have the most cap space to sign Cousins. They cleared $4.6 million by declining the option of tackle Ben Ijalana. They're set to open up more if they, as expected, cut Muhammad Wilkerson and Matt Forte. The Cleveland Browns would the the only other team with more space, but they might not be willing to spend as much on one player.

In 2017, Cousins averaged 255.8 yards per game and 6.38 adjusted net yards per attempt with a 5% touchdown percentage.

Panthers unlikely to tag free agent Andrew Norwell

The Carolina Panthers are reportedly unlikely to use the franchise tag on free agent guard Andrew Norwell.

What It Means:

Despite some struggles up front, Carolina has a good chunk of their cap allocated to their offensive line. To keep Norwell, it would take about $14.3 million on the tag. Carolina will look to utilize that money to improve their offensive weapons around Cam Newton.

Norwell rated out as the 3rd-best guard in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus.

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