Extra Points: Cam, Robinson, Slay, Olsen

We’ve got more details on Greg Robinson‘s recent arrest. NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero passes along (via Twitter) that the offensive lineman was busted with approximately 157 pounds of marijuana.

Robinson was arrested alongside former NFL wideout Quan Bray, who served as a return man for the Colts between 2015 and 2017. If the duo is convicted of possession with intent to distribute, they could each face up to 20 years in federal prison. The two were traveling with a third passenger, who was not arrested (although Robinson reportedly tried to bribe the passenger to take the fall).

The soon-to-be-free agent re-signed with the Browns on a one-year, $7MM deal before the 2019 season. Robinson struggled throughout the campaign, and he temporarily lost his starting gig. We learned earlier today that Cleveland won’t be pursuing another contract with the former second-overall pick.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFL…

  • Teams will be allowed to do their research on Panthers quarterback Cam Newton before committing to a trade. Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com writes that a team can give a physical to a potential trade acquisition (with the permission of the incumbent team). Considering the former MVP has suffered a long list of injuries throughout his career, this will be an important hurdle to overcome during negotiations (especially, as Florio notes, if Newton is looking for a brand-new contract).
  • A league executive believes it’d take a second- or third-rounder to pry cornerback Darius Slay from the Lions (via Ryan O’Halloran of The Denver Post on Twitter). Of course, that same executive believes the three-time Pro Bowler will also command a contract that’s worth at least $15MM per season. We recently heard that teams have inquired on Slay, and the cornerback may be looking for a fresh start.
  • Whenever Greg Olsen retires, it sounds like he won’t struggle to find a new job. The veteran tight end had discussions with multiple networks regarding a “high-profile” television gig, reports Joe Person of The Athletic (via Twitter). Ultimately, the 13-year veteran decided to sign a one-year, $7MM deal with the Seahawks.
  • Nate Ebner has spent his entire career with the Patriots, and the special teams ace (and impending free agent) would like to stick with New England. “That would be the best thing, I think, when you consider my entire career has been here,” Ebner told reporters (via NESN’s Zack Cox on Twitter). “I’ve got some true friendships here. … But right now it’s out of my hands, so we’ll see what happens.” The former sixth-rounder has won three Super Bowls during his eight years in New England, and he also earned a second team All-Pro nod in 2016.

Redskins To Release TE Jordan Reed?

It sounds like Jordan Reed‘s tenure with the Redskins has come to an end. ESPN’s John Keim reports that the veteran tight end has finally cleared the concussion protocol and will soon be released.

The move isn’t overly shocking. While Reed still has two years remaining on his five-year, $47MM contract, the organization can save $8.5MM against just $1.8MM in dead money by cutting him. It was important for Reed to pass the concussion protocol; if he didn’t, the Redskins would have been on the hook for the remainder of his contract (barring a settlement).

Reed suffered this latest concussion – his seventh documented concussion since the start of college – following a helmet-to-helmet hit during Washington’s third preseason game. This forced him to miss the entire 2019 campaign, and the tight end has only suited up for 13 games over the past three seasons.

When Reed saw the field, he was a force. Even with his long list of injuries, the offensive weapon still managed to haul in 329 passes for 3,371 yards and 24 touchdowns between 2013 and 2018. If this is indeed the end of Reed’s tenure with the organization, he’ll rank top-10 in Redskins history for touchdowns and receptions.

While Reed may be done in Washington, it sounds like he’s not ready to hang up his cleats. We learned earlier today that the 29-year-old “100 percent” wants to continue playing.

On the other side, Reed will join a growing list of players let go by the Redskins. The organization released cornerback Josh Norman and wideout Paul Richardson last week.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams Promote Sophie Luoto To Director Of Football Operations

Sophie Luoto has taken on a new gig with the Rams. Charles Robinson of Yahoo reports (via Twitter) that the executive has been promoted to the role of director of football operations.

Luoto was previously serving as the organization’s manager of football administration, a role she held since 2016. As Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com writes, Luoto earned wide praise “for her assistance to Rams’ employees during the Southern California fires in 2018.” She previously spent time with the Berkeley football team.

In her new role, Luoto will presumably be working alongside general manager Les Snead and vice president of football & business administration Tony Pastoors.

Williams also observes that the promotion makes Luoto one of the highest-ranking female executives in the league. She’s joined by Callie Brownson, who’s the chief of staff for new Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski.

NFL To Expand Regular Season And Playoffs?

The regular season isn’t the only part of the schedule that could be expanded. In the latest collective bargaining agreement proposal, the league would see the postseason balloon to seven teams per conference with only the top seed receiving a first-round bye, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The change would go into effect immediately, meaning that we’d see two extra playoff teams beginning in 2020.

Schefter adds that the current CBA proposal also includes an increase to 17 regular season games, which has been a long-debated topic between the two sides (and among pundits). Predictably, the preseason would be shortened to three games.

On Thursday, NFL owners and execs will huddle up in New York to consider terms requested by the players, as Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. The NFLPA, meanwhile, will discuss things via conference call on Friday. Jason La Canfora tweets that a vote isn’t expected at the owners meeting, while Ralph Vacchiano of SNY notes that the decision could come down to the wire (which would be March 18th). At the very least, this is an indication that CBA talks are progressing and there’s reason to believe that the two sides will avoid a work stoppage with a new deal.

Still, many issues remain unresolved. At last check, the two sides were still haggling over the funding rule, which puts a player’s guaranteed money into escrow. Originally designed to protect players, its become an oft-cited reason for teams avoiding lots of guaranteed money in future seasons.

The players want the funding rule scrapped and NFL owners are aiming to keep it. A compromise could be on the horizon, however – the league has offered to give teams a $10MM credit against the requirement, Mike Florio of PFT hears. The $10MM amount isn’t much, but as Florio notes, it could be a workable solution if the league is willing to push that figure higher.

Further, La Canfora notes that the players would push for fewer training camp and regular season practices. If those conditions (along with a few others) are met, the NFLPA is confident that the players would approve the expanded playoff format.

Bears To Sign Demetrius Harris

The Bears have agreed to sign tight end Demetrius Harris to a one-year deal, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Harris was let go by the Browns earlier this week, allowing him to reach free agency right away rather than waiting until March. 

Harris has history with head coach Matt Nagy. When Nagy was in command of the Chiefs offense, Harris was featured as a regular. In 2016 and 2017 – Nagy’s two seasons as OC – Harris caught a combined 35 passes for 347 yards and two touchdowns.

Harris flashed athleticism in Kansas City, but he didn’t progress as expected when he joined the Browns as a free agent in 2019. After he notched just 15 grabs for 149 yards and three touchdowns, the Browns terminated the second half of his deal.

Last year, Bears tight ends Trey BurtonAdam Shaheen, and Ben Braunecker all finished the season on injured reserve. Harris might not be the team’s No. 1 TE, but he could be a part of the solution.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles Release LB Nigel Bradham

On Tuesday, the Eagles informed Nigel Bradham that his 2020 option year would be declined. On Wednesday, the team officially released him outright, giving him a chance to hook on with a team immediately, rather than waiting until the middle of March. 

Bradham has spent the last four years with the Eagles and was an integral part of their Super Bowl-winning team. Although he did not fit into their plans for this year, the Eagles wanted to do right by him and give him ample opportunity to find his next NFL home.

All in all, Bradham appeared in 58 regular season games for the Eagles – all starts. He’s been first-string throughout his career, pretty much, save for his 2013 season with the Bills.

Bradham seems to have lost a step after turning 30, but he still offers plenty of experience and hard-nosed toughness for teams in need. He should find decent interest on the open market, especially since he has a jump on all the rest as a street free agent.

Bradham finished out 2019 with 61 total stops, one interception, and five passes defensed.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans Extend Brandon Dunn

The Texans have signed nose tackle Brandon Dunn to an extension, per a club announcement. Before the deal, Dunn was set to reach free agency in March.

After starting his career with the Bears, Dunn joined the Texans midway through the 2015 season. In 2017, he became a rotational regular as he appeared in every game, including eight starts. Over the last three years, Dunn has compiled 75 total tackles, including five tackles for a loss and one sack from the interior.

Dunn’s new deal helps to address one item on their defensive line to-do list. The Texans are looking to keep interior bruiser D.J. Reader under contract, but there’s still a sizable bridge to be gapped. Reader might not be a big name for most, but he could command something in the vicinity of Brandon Williams‘ 2017 deal with the Ravens. In other words, the Texans might have to pony up about $55MM over the course of five years with more than half guaranteed. Failing that, Reader may be a candidate for the franchise tag.

The exact terms of Dunn’s pact are not yet known.

Teams To Inquire About Trading For Derek Carr?

One of the most interesting storylines to monitor during the 2020 offseason is what the Raiders do at quarterback. There have been some rumors as the team prepares to move to Las Vegas that they might not be entirely sold on Derek Carr, and for the first time we have some real reporting that other teams think the Raiders might be inclined to move on.

There is a “growing sense” within the league that teams are preparing to inquire about trading for Carr, according to Vincent Bonsignore of The Athletic (Twitter link). However the Raiders are still looking at their available options before determining what to do with Carr, Vic Tafur of The Athletic cautions in a tweet. The last public comments from the Raiders on the situation came about a month ago, when GM Mike Mayock gave an interesting interview.

“As far as what the future holds, I’m gonna tell you the same thing I told you last year. About every position. And that is, my job is to evaluate every position and try and make us better. And if I can, I will, and if I can’t, I won’t. And that holds true at every position,” Mayock said of Carr at the time, very clearly hedging on his future with the team.

Of course, there have been reports that the Raiders plan to pursue Tom Brady. That’s still a bit of a long-shot though, and they might have to end up choosing between Carr and one of the second-tier available options. To that end, Tafur added in his tweet that he’s “not sure they see [Teddy] Bridgewater as an upgrade over Carr.”

It seems like things are still in flux, but that Carr playing elsewhere in 2020 is a very real possibility. Whatever happens, this offseason is shaping up to have the wildest game of musical chairs for quarterbacks in quite some time.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins Sign Michael Roberts

The Dolphins are adding some competition for Mike Gesicki. Miami is signing tight end Michael Roberts, a source told Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (Twitter link).

Roberts was apparently generating a lot of interest, as Garafolo reports he had four workouts this past week with more scheduled for later. Since he didn’t finish the 2019 season on any team’s roster, he was eligible to sign at any time and didn’t have to wait for the start of free agency. Roberts was drafted by the Lions in the fourth-round back in 2017, and he was traded to the Patriots last June. Unfortunately he failed his physical, and the trade was called off. Detroit then waived him, and he was claimed by Green Bay.

He never was really a Packer though, as they waived him nearly immediately with a failed physical as well. It was never clear exactly what the injury was, although Garafolo confirmed it was a shoulder issue that also cost him part of the 2018 season. He sat out all of last year, and is now reportedly healthy.

A Toledo product, he had a real role on offense with the Lions in 2018, catching three touchdowns in only eight games. As a rookie he was primarily used as a blocker, but he still played a lot. It’s a low-risk flyer for the Dolphins, who don’t have a ton at the position beyond Gesicki, who did show some promise down the stretch last year. Roberts is still only 25.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL News & NFL Rumors