NFL NewsWire: 3/6 – 3/10/18

Bills sign RB Chris Ivory to a 2 year, $5.5 million deal (via Ian Rapoport)

$3.25 million of the deal is guaranteed. After breaking out two years ago as the workhorse for the Jets, and being named to a Pro Bowl, Ivory spent the last two seasons with Jacksonville. Last season he was solid insurance behind starter Leonard Fournette, and should fill a similar role in Buffalo next season behind LeSean McCoy. He is an upgrade on Buffalo’s back-ups from last season.

Rams place franchise tag on S Lamarcus Joyner (via ESPN)

The tag will pay Joyner north of $11 million next season unless he and the Rams can work out an extension by July 16th. This likely means Sammy Watkins will hit the open market as arguably the most coveted wide receiver out there. Joyner made the switch from corner to safety last offseason and watched his production skyrocket, finishing the season as Pro Football Focus’ (PFF) 3rd highest graded Safety. He should have a bright future in LA.

Panthers sign K Graham Gano to a 4-year, $17 million contract (via Ian Rapoport)

$9 million of that is guaranteed. Gano is entering his age-31 season. He doesn’t have exceptional range, but is one of the most accurate kickers in the game.

Bears assign transition tag to CB Kyle Fuller (via Ian Rapoport)

After not having his 5th-year team option exercised before the season, Kyle Fuller proceeded to have a career year in 2017, making Chicago regret their decision. Now, they assign Fuller the transition tag, which is very different than what we’re used to seeing in the franchise tag. Fuller is free to negotiate with any team, and if he signs an offer sheet somewhere, the Bears have the right to match that offer to bring Fuller back to Chicago. That seems to be the most likely scenario in this case.

Seahawks trade DE Michael Bennett and their 2018 7th round pick to the Eagles for WR Marcus Johnson and their 2018 5th round pick (via Sports Illustrated)

The Eagles have been arguably the most aggressive in making trades the past two years, and this one is no exception. Philadelphia adds more talent to an already loaded defensive front here, all for the price of an Undrafted Free Agent WR who didn’t see much of the field last year and a 5th rounder. As for Seattle, this helps them clear some much needed cap space, and they get some assets in the process. Bennett will be entering his age-33 season next year. He is starting to show signs of decline, but is still a disruptive force on defense.

Rams trade LB Alec Ogletree and their 2019 7th round pick to the Giants for their 2018 4th round pick and 2018 6th round pick (via Adam Schefter)

Ogletree signed a 4-year extension with the Rams last offseason, but was not a good fit when transitioning to 3-4 inside linebacker in Wade Phillips defense. With the Giants, he’ll slide back into his more natural 4-3 MLB role in an attempt to revive his career. Linebacker is still a huge area of need for the Giants.

Patriots release TE Martellus Bennett (via Field Yates)

This move was fully expected, as Bennett was going to be owed a $2 million bonus soon. This move saves the Patriots $6.2 million against the cap. Bennett spent last year with the Packers and the Patriots, but was too banged up to make an impact basically the whole season. Entering his age-31 season, he is not expected to retire and should be looking for a new home this offseason.

Titans release RB Demarco Murray (via ESPN)

This move saves Tennessee $6.5 million against the cap, and was expected all along. Murray seemed banged up last season and was way less effective than he was in years past. He should’t have trouble finding work in a committee situation this offseason. This move clears the way for Derrick Henry to take on a well-deserved heavier workload next season. When given the opportunity, he wore teams out throughout the course of four quarters, and should do much of the same next season.

Cardinals ask S Tyrann Mathieu to take a pay cut (via Gregg Rosenthal)

The Cardinals can clear $11 million in cap by designating Mathieu to a post-June 1st cut, but they want to see if something can be worked out between the two sides beforehand. Mathieu has not been the elite defender he was before he tore his ACL two years ago, but he still remains an asset on defense.

Broncos trade CB Aqib Talib to the Rams for their 2018 5th round pick (via James Palmer)

The Broncos made Talib available for trade really early in the offseason – now a deal finally gets done. There were some who believed the Broncos would be forced to outright release Talib, but there was clearly enough interest in the star corner to create a sort of bidding war between the Rams and Talib’s other possible suitors. As for the Rams, they strike again after trading for another star corner in Marcus Peters a few weeks ago. They have been utilizing the trade block to completely retool their defense, and I don’t expect that to stop one bit when free agency opens next week.

Seahawks release CB Richard Sherman (via ESPN)

The demolition on defense continues in Seattle, this time with the release of star cornerback Richard Sherman. Sherman was undoubtedly the face of the Seahawks defense during these past few years of success, but coming off an Achilles injury and carrying an $11 million cap number, it was time for Seattle to cut him loose. They did offer him a chance to take a pay cut to stay in Seattle, but it is clear now that he intends to test his market and see what he can get. He already has visits lined up and is sure to be an interesting case this offseason. The Seahawks also cut CB Jeremy Lane to clear an additional $4.75 million, and they are sure to be in the market for CB help this offseason.

Eagles trade WR Torrey Smith to the Panthers for CB Daryl Worley (via Adam Schefter)

The expectation since the start of the offseason was that Philadelphia would try to get rid of Smith and his $5 million salary. The Eagles were expected to release him, but instead they get solid compensation in Worley, who was a serviceable slot corner for Carolina last season. As for the Panthers, they get the lid lifter that was severely missing last season after the departure of Ted Ginn.

Buccaneers sign WR Mike Evans to a 5-year, $82.5 million extension (via Adam Schefter)

$55 million of the deal is guaranteed. It will make Evans the 2nd-highest paid receiver in the game behind Antonio Brown. The 7th overall pick in the 2014 Draft, Evans has fully lived up to the draft day hype, establishing himself as one of the elite receivers in the game. He will be entering his age-25 season next year, and still has a little bit of room for improvement.

Dolphins trade WR Jarvis Landry to the Browns for their 2018 4th round pick and 2018 7th round pick (via Adam Schefter)

After weeks of speculation, it is good to finally know where Landry lands. It’s an excellent fit for the Browns, as they now have an established receiver who, at the very least, will eat up plenty of targets on a weekly basis. The Browns also have more than enough cap to take on the entirety of Jarvis Landry’s $16 million tag number, assuming they do not work out an extension this summer. As for the Dolphins, they breathe a collective sigh of relief, as they get compensation they were hoping for in exchange for a receiver they really couldn’t afford to retain. If they weren’t able to pull off this trade, they likely would’ve had to release their best defensive player, Ndamukong Suh.

Bills trade QB Tyrod Taylor to the Browns for their 3rd round pick (via Adam Schefter)

A few hours after acquiring Jarvis Landry, the Browns dipped into the trade market again, this time acquiring the polarizing Tyrod Taylor. Taylor is fresh off a season where he led the Bills to their first playoff appearance in 18 seasons, but he was constantly cast aside, and even benched at one point. His play always left a little to be desired, but he was more than serviceable in his years as Buffalo’s starter and will be an ideal stopgap option in Cleveland before the reins are eventually handed off to some young, potential franchise quarterback. As for the Bills, this trade places them squarely in the discussion of teams looking for a franchise QB this offseason. They hold the 21st and 22nd pick in the draft, along with the additional 3rd rounder they just acquired from the Browns, and find themselves in prime position to trade into the top 10 if they find it necessary.

Browns trade QB DeShone Kizer, their 2018 4th round pick, and 2018 5th round pick to the Packers for CB Damarious Randall, their 2018 4th round pick, and 2018 5th round pick (via Ian Rapoport)

Essentially, the players are being swapped, and Green Bay trades up in the 4th and 5th rounds. The Packers are getting a raw QB prospect in DeShone Kizer, who clearly showed last season he was not ready for all the responsibilities required of a starting quarterback. He will benefit heavily from some time to sit and learn behind one of the best to ever do it. For the Browns, they get a rising young star still on his rookie deal in Damarious Randall. He should be an immediate upgrade to their secondary after putting starter-quality play on tape last season. He apparently clashed with coaches and likely wore out his welcome in Green Bay.

Browns trade DT Danny Shelton and their 2018 5th round pick to the Patriots for their 2019 3rd round pick  (via Field Yates)

Shelton was a 1st round pick of the Browns in 2015, and has lived up to his draft stock with quality marks against the run. He became expendable after the emergence of rookie 3rd rounder Larry Ogunjobi, so the Browns get solid draft capital in exchange. This fills a huge need for the Patriots after they struggled against the run last season.


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