Rams Re-Sign Dominique Easley

The Rams are re-signing defensive tackle Dominique Easley on a one-year deal, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Terms of the deal are not yet known. 

Easley, 26, is a former first-round pick of the Patriots. So far, his career has not gone according to plan due to health issues. He has suffered three torn ACLs since 2011 and has not seen the field since the 2016 season.

If he can stay healthy, however, he can be a high-level contributor in Wade Phillips‘ 3-4 defense. He’ll support a Rams defensive line unit that starts Aaron Donald, Michael Brockersand Ethan Westbrooks – or potentially work his way into the starting lineup. That group could get even stronger if Ndamukong Suh‘s visit goes well this week.

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Ndamukong Suh To Meet With Rams

The Rams are set to meet with Ndamukong Suh, according to Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter). Suh recently visited with the Titans and Saints, but has not signed with either club.

[RELATED: Rams’ Depth Chart]

The Rams defense already looks terrifying with a projected starting lineup featuring the likes of defensive linemen Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers, cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib (not to mention Kayvon Webster and Nickell Robey-Coleman), free safety LaMarcus Joyner, strong safety John Johnson, and linebacker Mark Barron. The addition of Suh could push Ethan Westbrooks out of the picture, but that likely wouldn’t deter L.A. from signing him.

Last year, Suh graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 4 interior defensive lineman in the NFL in 2017, and he finished the season with 48 tackles and 4.5 sacks. He recently turned 31, but he remains one of the league’s most fearsome defensive linemen.

In other Rams news, L.A. is working to re-sign former first round defensive lineman Dominique Easley.

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Contract Details: Cousins, Graham, Davis

Let’s take a look at the most recent new contracts around the NFL:

  • Kirk Cousins, QB (Vikings): Three years, $84MM. Guaranteed salaries of $22.5MM, $27.5MM and $29.5MM. Guaranteed $500K workout bonuses each year. Up to $2MM in incentives per year. No-trade clause and a no-transition tag provision in 2021 (Twitter link via Dan Graziano of ESPN).
  • Jimmy Graham, TE (Packers): Three years, $30MM. $11MM signing bonus, $300K per-game roster bonuses each year. $2MM base salary in 2018, $3.45MM in 2019 and $7.45MM in 2020. $5.67MM 2018 cap number. $5MM roster bonus due on third day of 2019 season (Twitter links via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero, ESPN’s Rob Demovsky and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Silverstein).
  • Demario Davis, LB (Saints): Three years, $24MM. $16MM guaranteed. $9.2MM signing bonus. Annual salaries of $850K, $5.95MM (guaranteed) and $7.35MM. (Twitter links via Graziano and Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle).
  • Jeremy Hill, RB (Patriots): One year, $1.5MM. $150K signing bonus. $1M base salary. (via Pelissero, on Twitter, and ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss).
  • Bruce Ellington, WR (Texans): One year, $1.25MM. $730K base salary, $200K signing bonus (via Wilson, on Twitter).

Pernell McPhee Visits Redskins

Former Bears linebacker Pernell McPhee has begun his first visit of free agency, meeting with the Redskins on Sunday night, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets. The meeting will continue to Monday. 

Highly sought after as a free agent in 2015, McPhee, 29, struggled with injuries as a member of the Bears. The Bears signed him to a five-year, $38.75MM contract and he made $23.2MM. He was set to earn $7.5MM this season and his release cleared $7.1MM in cap space for Chicago. He contributed 14 sacks and 90 tackles while making 17 starts.

If he signed with the Redskins, Washington would assuredly hope for a return to his Baltimore days, when he logged 17 sacks in four years as a rotational pass rusher.

The Redskins have been busy on the defensive side of the ball early in free agency, re-signing linebacker Zach Brown and setting up meetings with cornerback Orlando Scandrick, defensive end Benson Mayowa and defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins.

Suh Leaves Titans Visit Without Deal

Ndamukong Suh may be ready to make a decision between two teams, or he could have plans to open the door for others.

Either way, the ninth-year defensive tackle has now left his Titans visit without a deal, Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com tweets. Suh departed his Saints summit for Nashville, Tenn., earlier this weekend and will now contemplate his options.

Those have been the only two teams Suh has visited, but as arguably the top free agent remaining, the 31-year-old defensive tackle could see more teams get into the mix. Suh said he wants to visit the Seahawks, but nothing has been scheduled between the sides at this time.

The door is not believed to be closed on a Saints agreement, but they and the Titans have now made their pitches, with neither securing an agreement while Suh was in their respective buildings.

The Titans have released both Karl Klug and Sylvester Williams and would have a surefire opening for Suh. But a Suh contract will not come cheap.

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AFC West Rumors: Broncos, OL, Patterson

While the Broncos have made two Super Bowls in the past five seasons and have seen numerous players sign extensions or land lucrative deals elsewhere, they have not had much luck filling their right tackle job. Denver has assembled Week 1 lineups with five different right tackles since the 2013 season, and in 2018, the franchise could be set to extend that streak to six. The Broncos are scouring the market for tackle help, Nick Kosminder of the Denver Post notes. With Garett Bolles set to play left tackle for a second season, this presumably means the franchise is again looking to upgrade on the other side.

John Elway said at the Combine the team planned to keep Menelik Watson, despite his struggles with performance and injuries last season. The 2017 UFA acquisition followed Donald Stephenson as a disappointing mid-level UFA add, but at this point, Denver would be pursuing another lower-tier free agent since the top talents on this market have signed. Of PFR’s top 10 UFA tackles, only LaAdrian Waddle, Cameron Fleming and Sam Young remain unsigned. Waddle is meeting with the Patriots, and Fleming is visiting the Cowboys on Monday. The Broncos signed Watson after middling results with the Raiders, and Oakland’s other two right tackles in that span — Austin Howard and Marshall Newhouse — are now available. The Broncos have tried draft choices Michael Schofield and Ty Sambrailo here as well and could bring in competition through that avenue again, but the team looks like it’s examining veterans right now.

Here’s the latest from Denver and other AFC West locales.

  • Brandon Marshall‘s $5MM 2018 salary became fully guaranteed on Sunday, Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post notes. He will return to start for a fifth season in Denver. This isn’t a big surprise considering the Broncos signed Marshall to a four-year, $32MM extension in the summer of 2016. He’s set to comprise $7MM of the Broncos’ 2018 cap. This comes after the Broncos agreed to a three-year, $15MM deal with Marshall’s inside linebacker running mate, Todd Davis.
  • Prior to bringing back Davis, however, the Broncos offered to pay Corey Nelson a one-year deal worth $2.25MM, Jhabvala reports. The Broncos were interested in retaining their longtime backup, who is viewed as a superior coverage player to Davis, but he instead accepted a one-year, $2.25MM offer to sign with the Eagles. Denver still has backup inside linebacker Zaire Anderson under contract.
  • The Raiders agreeing to ship Cordarrelle Patterson to the Patriots freed up $3.25MM in cap space, but the primary reason for the trade was Patterson not being a fit for what Jon Gruden is eyeing, Vic Tafur of The Athletic tweets. Patterson signed a two-year deal with the Raiders last year. The Raiders have reshuffled their receiving corps but are now in deed of more depth at that position.
  • The Chiefs are examining the RFA pool by hosting defensive lineman Xavier Williams on a visit. Williams is a Kansas City, Mo., native.

Cowboys To Re-Sign LS L.P. Ladouceur

On Monday, the Cowboys will re-sign longtime long snapper L.P. Ladouceur to a one-year deal, ESPN’s Todd Archer tweets

It will be Ladouceur’s 14th year with the team, ranking him behind only Jason Witten, Ed “Too Tall” Jones, Bill Bates and Mark Tuinei in total tenure with the team.

If you’ve never heard of him, that’s a good thing. The only time a long snapper is mentioned is when he makes a mistake, something Ladouceur has never done. In 2016, The Guardian labeled the long snapper “the NFL’s perfect player” after he had gone 12 years without making a bad snap. His streak is still in tact through 2017.

Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2005 by the Saints, Ladouceur was released before the start of the season. He was given a tryout with the Cowboys during the season and has been with the team ever since.

His failure to make a bad snap has helped kicker Dan Bailey post one of the highest field-goal percentages in NFL history. The return of Ladouceur, a Pro Bowl selection in 2014, is one that will go under the radar, but provides Dallas with much-needed consistency on special teams.

Damien Williams To Visit Chiefs

After meeting with Thomas Rawls this weekend, the Chiefs will continue to look at running backs this coming week by visiting with former Dolphins backup Damien Williams, Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star tweets

The starter in K.C. is unquestionably Kareem Hunt, who led the NFL in rushing yards as a rookie in 2017. Williams could serve as insurance in the case that Spencer Ware has not recovered from preseason surgery to repair a torn PCL and a damaged LCL.

Undrafted in 2014 coming out of Oklahoma, Williams has spent his first four seasons in the league with Miami, appearing in 58 games. Used more as a pass catcher out of the backfield than as a runner, Williams has logged 85 grabs for 733 yards and six touchdowns, compared to 133 carries for 477 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.

After the Dolphins dealt Jay Ajayi to the Eagles at the trade deadline, Williams made four starts and logged 149 yards on 34 carries during the stretch. In Week 12 against the Patriots, he dislocated his shoulder and was sidelined the remainder of the season.


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Jets Made Multiple Offers To Kirk Cousins

Kirk Cousins‘ agent had his staff do research on seven teams leading up to his client’s historic opportunity, and the quarterback had narrowed his list down to four finalists entering the week.

The Vikings, Jets, Broncos and Cardinals were the official final four, Jenny Vrentas of TheMMQB.com reports. But by Monday, the Broncos pivoted to Case Keenum, and Vrentas adds the Cardinals were out by Monday night. However, the Jets — as the New York Daily News’ Manish Mehta reported — were in the mix until Tuesday.

Rich Cimini of ESPN.com reports the Jets finished second in this race and indeed also offered Cousins a fully guaranteed deal — three years and $90MM — and were ready to go punch for punch with the Vikings if they had to. Gang Green even sweetened its initial offer for the 29-year-old passer, but he ended up choosing a Minnesota path instead.

The Jets were terrific,” Mike McCartney, Cousins’ agent, told Cimini. “I have a lot of respect for Mike Maccagnan and Todd Bowles and their staffs. Jeremy Bates was very attractive to me, personally, for Kirk to fit into his offense. At the end of the day, it was close.

I think Kirk decided to visit Minnesota first. Some of it is gut feel, some of it probably the fact that they were in the NFC championship game. But it was not an easy decision.”

Each of the four finalists had a chance to present cases to McCartney, Cimini reports, but Cousins’ camp — per Vrentas — called the Jets on Tuesday morning and informed them the seventh-year quarterback was planning to visit the Vikings first. That apparently was enough to convince the AFC East franchise it wasn’t going to win this race.

The Jets then moved on to their Josh McCown/Teddy Bridgewater backup plan, and Maccagnan has now made a trade to vault from No. 6 to No. 3. The Jets leapfrog the Broncos, who may now be less inclined to take a quarterback at No. 5, and are in position to outflank the Bills. Buffalo is targeting a top-five pick for a quarterback.

AFC East Notes: Pouncey, Jets, Draft

The Dolphins are overhauling their roster this offseason, looking to improve the culture of the club. A move that wasn’t motivated by the locker room, however, was the release of veteran center Mike Pouncey, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets.

Rapoport notes the All-Pro center received rave reviews for his leadership skills and toughness, but was simply cut because the Dolphins invested more money in the signing of Josh Sitton and the trade for Daniel Kilgore. Pouncey, who had three years left on his current deal, asked and was granted his release earlier this week after declining to take a pay cut. The Dolphins saved $7MM against the cap with the move.

Despite playing in all 16 games, Pouncey struggled through a hip injury in 2017. Pro Football Focus noted his down year, grading Pouncey as just the No. 27 center in the NFL. It’s possible Pouncey will require hip replacement surgery down the road, while at least one doctor has reportedly recommended that Pouncey retire, but he’s rejected that advice tho this point.

Since the trade deadline in 2017, the Dolphins have now parted ways with top producers like Jarvis Landry, Ndamukong Suh and Jay Ajayi, while also releasing veterans Lawrence Timmons and Julius Thomas.

Here’s more from around the AFC East:

  • Sticking with Pouncey, it was reported earlier in the week that he would take his first visit to meet with the Chargers on Sunday. That meeting is expected to be an extended one that will last through Monday and include a physical, CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora tweets. The Buccaneers and Colts have also shown interest in the center, but Tampa Bay could be more content now after signing Ryan Jensen to the richest deal for a center in NFL history.
  • After acquiring the No. 3 pick in the upcoming draft from the Colts, the Jets have not ruled out moving up even further, ESPN’s Rich Cimini writes. Cimini thinks that if they have one or two quarterbacks markedly ahead of the rest of the pack, New York could swing a deal for the Giants’ No. 2 pick or Cleveland’s No. 1. He does not that it is unlikely and would probably be “too rich for the Jets’ blood.”
  • Cimini also thinks the Jets prefer Josh Allen, Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen to Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield. He notes general manager Mike Maccagnan typically prefers prototypical signal-callers, rather than the undersized Mayfield. “My hunch is that Maccagnan and coach Todd Bowles wouldn’t be fans of the Mayfield sideshow.” 



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