NFL free agency: Latest rumors, buzz
NFL free agency doesn’t officially open until March 11, but the rumor mill is already in full swing. Find all the latest buzz from around the league below.
Thursday, March 6
• Will Matt Cassel land in Houston? The Texans’ interest in the QB is “real,” reports Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. “New Texans coach Bill O’Brien was an assistant with the Patriots during Cassel’s final two seasons in New England,” details Kevin Patra at NFL.com. “Interest in the veteran might indicate the Texans aren’t sold on taking a quarterback No. 1 overall in the 2014 NFL draft and would rather develop one taken in the later rounds while using Cassel as the bridge to that future.” CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora also expects Cassel to land with the Texans.
• Despite speculation, the Eagles aren’t actively shopping DeSean Jackson and they have no intention of parting with the wideout this offseason, per Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer. ”Jackson isn’t close to being cut, and even if he was one misstep away from forcing the Eagles to move him, they most certainly wouldn’t release him without getting something in return. … [A]fter talking with almost a dozen sources from around the league, it’s clear the Eagles aren’t interested in dealing the 27-year-old Jackson – not by a long shot.”
• Champ Bailey, released Wednesday by the Broncos, is open to playing safety on a new team, via Lindsay H. Jones of USA Today. “My vision is to still play corner, but I’m a little more open-minded about the season I had last year. I’m a corner at heart. If a situation made sense to play safety, then I would consider it.”
• TE Jermichael Finley (neck) is hoping to get medical clearance to return to the field in the next few weeks. ProFootballTalk quotes a source who says that clearance could be coming “very soon.”
Wednesday, March 5
• Aqib Talib wants to be paid like an upper-echelon cornerback, reports Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald. “It’s possible the Patriots wanted Talib for a less risky three-year deal, perhaps in the range of $7 million per year, but that’s well shy of Grimes’ mark [four years, $32M; $16M guaranteed]. Since Talib has thoroughly enjoyed his season and a half with the Pats, he might take something of a discount, but it’s got to be close.”
• The Steelers will not release Troy Polamalu despite their cap crunch, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter. ”Rooney family is too loyal and Polamalu has been too valuable,” Schefter says.
• OT Eugene Monroe will be the Dolphins’ primary target if he reaches free agency, says the Miami Herald’s Armando Salguero. ”Monroe is good but not yet elite. So paying him $11.5 million to $12 million per season suggests overpaying. That’s elite tackle money. … So if the Dolphins can get Monroe for somewhere between $9 million to $11 million per season, they should be pleased.”
• WR Golden Tate “hasn’t heard much” from the Seahawks, via ProFootballTalk.
• In an ideal world, WR James Jones would return to Green Bay, but he’s not sure that’ll happen, via NFL.com. ”I’ve thought about places that I would like to go play, whether it’s in Indy or there’s coming back home, San Diego or somewhere. Teams have popped up in my head. I can’t say I haven’t thought about it, but in a perfect world I’d love to go back [to Green Bay].”
• The Cowboys “definitely” want to keep DE DeMarcus Ware, but not at his current salary ($13M), reports Ian Rapoport.
Tuesday, March 4
• Titans CB Alterraun Verner is unlikely to give the Titans a hometown discount, reports Jim Wyatt at the Tennessean. ”I love being here, I love my teammates and I love Tennessee. … From a business standpoint, you don’t know how long you are going to play in this league, so you have to take advantage when you can. … So if they don’t offer me something that shows they value me, I feel like it is a slap in my face.”
• The Bills haven’t ruled out brining S Jairus Byrd back, GM Doug Whaley told the team’s official site. “It’s a negotiation,” Whaley said. “We still have some time to get it done so we’re not closing the door on it. We’re hopeful. We’re optimistic, but we’ll see where it goes from here.”
• Miami is “very intrigued” with free agent LB D’Qwell Jackson, reports Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.
• There’s a “gut” feeling DE Michael Johnson lands in Minnesota, per the team’s website.
Monday, March 3
• The Bills are unlikely to keep S Jairus Byrd, reports Jeremy White of WGR 550 in Buffalo. “I’m told that it’s unlikely they’ll use the tag and that it’s unlikely they’ll reach an agreement before that time. … The two sides have had productive discussions, and while things could change, it seems at this point that the two sides will split.”
• Tackle Eugene Monroe and the Ravens remain “far apart” in negotiations, writes Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun. “ It’s uncertain whether they will designate Monroe as their franchise player, but one source characterized that option as a possibility the team has considered.”
• The Jets will “definitely” make a play for Michael Vick when free agency opens, reports Adam Schefter.
• Red Bryant could be an option for the Chiefs, says The Baltimore Sun’s Aaron Wilson.
• The Dolphins are not expected to tag CB Brent Grimes, reports Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk. It’s “more likely than not,” though, that Grimes signs a long-term deal to stay in Miami.
• The Colts are still negotiating a long-term deal with CB Vontae Davis, but don’t plan to use the franchise tag on him, per CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora.
• Steve Hauschka won’t get the franchise tag from the Seahawks, says USA Today‘s Tom Pelissero.
• The Packers are trying to give CB Sam Shields less than $6M per year, reports Ian Rapoport.
Friday, Feb. 28
• The Dolphins are “gauging [the] trade value” of Dion Jordan, reports CBS’ Jason La Canfora. Miami took Jordan No. 3 overall last season after giving up two picks to trade into that spot.
• The Panthers and DE Greg Hardy are still discussing a long-term deal, says Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. “Hardy is looking for a contract commensurate with his place among the league’s best pass rushers after totaling 26 sacks over the past two seasons,” the Observer says.
• Golden Tate says he would like to stay with the Seahawks “because I see this team winning for a long time,” via the Seattle Times.
• The Redskins seem unlikely to bring back Brandon Meriweather, says John Keim of ESPN.
• Will Josh McCown return to Chicago? The Bears “overwhelming desire” is to re-sign the backup QB, reports the Chicago Tribune.
Thursday, Feb. 27
• The Jets haven’t “told [Mark] Sanchez he’s gone,” according Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
• Four to six teams are expected to have interest in Jeremy Maclin if he hits the open market, says ESPN’s Adam Caplan on NFL Insiders
• The Ravens are in active discussions with both OT Eugene Monroe and TE Dennis Pitta, but nothing is imminent, reports Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun.
• There’s been “no real progress” between CB Alterraun Verner and the Titans, says Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean.
• The Colts are among the teams interested in Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker, per Vic Lombardi of Denver’s CBS4.
• The Bills are willing to use the franchise tag on safety Jairus Byrd, according to the team’s website.
• The Panthers have not asked WR Steve Smith to take a pay cut, says Darin Gantt of ProFootball Talk. Smith will count $7M against the cap in 2014.
• DeMarcus Ware and the Cowboys have had no dialogue, despite Jerry Jones’ comment that Ware could be cut, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
• Bears DT Henry Melton is interested in signing with the Cowboys, his agent told ESPNDallas.
• Jared Allen could be a target of the Buccaneers in free agency, says Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times.
Wednesday, Feb. 26
• Several teams have contacted the Buccaneers about CB Darrelle Revis, and many believe he “could be dealt by the start of the league year,” says Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports first reported the Revis talks. “Revis [who counts $16M against the cap in 2014] got no guaranteed money,” says La Canfora, “so he could be traded or released without cap or cash ramifications (no cap acceleration) and thus Tampa could conceivably get assets in return for him, and then use his cap and cash savings to address several other positions.”
• Mark Sanchez has a “20 to 30 percent chance” of returning to the Jets, according to Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.
• The Dolphins plan to pursue Ravens OT Eugene Monroe and Chiefs OT Branden Albert, per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. “The Dolphins like both, and would be happy to land either. … The Dolphins prefer to sign a high-end left tackle and fill the other tackle spot through free agency or the draft, possibly with Notre Dame’s Zack Martin with the 19th pick in the first round.”
• Jimmy Graham and the Saints remain ”several million dollars per season apart,” according to Fox Sports’ Mike Garafolo.
• A “healthy market” is forming for Packers TE Jermichael Finley, says CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora. Finley suffered a season-ending neck injury, but he hopes to receive medical clearance soon.