- Sean McVay said (via Lindsay Thiry of ESPN.com, on Twitter) Junior Galette‘s Rams visit will take place Monday. Galette is now 30 and a few years removed from his peak — back-to-back 10-plus-sack years with the Saints in 2013-14 — but he did play in all 16 Redskins games last season after missing the previous two years with injuries. The Rams’ efforts to restock their cornerback contingent and add Ndamukong Suh induced some cutbacks, and the Super Bowl contender’s edge defender situation is perhaps a vulnerable spot midway through the preseason.
- Rams rookie Joseph Noteboom, a third-round choice in this year’s draft — and the Rams’ first draft pick in 2018 — has a chance to see immediate playing time along the team’s offensive line this season. And, given the age and contract situation of Los Angeles’ current starting O-linemen, Vincent Bonsignore of The Athletic writes that Noteboom — an ice hockey standout in high school — could become a fixture at guard or tackle in the very near future. The team has been very impressed with the TCU product thus far, and he acquitted himself nicely during last night’s preseason game, when he played both tackle positions and left guard.
There’s been plenty of interest in the 30-year-old’s services, but he still hasn’t been able to catch on with a team. The Rams and Browns reportedly had interest in the veteran earlier this offseason, and the Raiders were considering a pursuit. We most recently heard that Galette could still return to the Redskins, where he had spent the past three seasons. There were even rumblings that the linebacker could consider retirement, but it sounds like it hasn’t gotten to that point.
Galette broke onto the scene in 2013 and 2014, compiling 22 sacks between the two seasons. A pair of torn Achilles injuries forced him to sit out the 2015 and 2016 season, and he looked a step slower in his return to football last year. He ultimately finished the 2017 season with 20 tackles, three sacks, two passes defended, and one forced fumble in 16 games off the bench. Galette also finished with 25 pressures, and he was graded as the league’s No. 30 edge defender among 106 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus.
Behind the projected starters, the Rams linebacker depth chart is composed primarily of recent draft picks, including Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Ejuan Price, Trevon Young, Micah Kiser, and Bryce Hager (as well as free agent addition Ramik Wilson). The team could benefit from adding a veteran to that mix .
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Chiefs gave up on Marcus Peters largely because of his conduct in the locker room. Peters was the source of many headaches in KC, but head coach Sean McVay says the Rams did their homework on the cornerback before trading for him this offseason.
The Rams added other bold personalities on defense, including cornerback Aqib Talib and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, but McVay isn’t concerned about how everyone will gel. McVay feels that 71-year-old defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has “more swag” than all of them combined and has the ability to keep them in line.
- There’s increasing chatter about the Rams signing Aaron Donald to a new deal, but McVay did his best to pump the breaks on such talk. “I’ve seen a lot of reports out there, but that’s news to us,” McVay told reporters on Monday (via PFT). “So, no news on that front for us. Same thing as just the dialogue, but as far as anything that’s changed, it hasn’t changed.”
Another day, another report of progress between the Rams and Aaron Donald. The latest positive word comes from Mike Florio of PFT, who hears from a league source that chatter of a deal happening soon is increasing.
- Despite common speculation, the Raiders do not appear to be waiting on the Rams to sign Donald before they lock up Khalil Mack, Florio opines. That theory would make some sense if the Raiders and Mack were actively negotiating, but they haven’t talked since February, so it seems unlikely that they would wait on Donald before starting from square one late in the offseason. The notion of waiting on Donald seems especially unlikely, Florio adds, when considering that Donald waited until the last minute before reporting to the team last season.
The Aaron Donald saga may finally be nearing a conclusion. Rams GM Les Snead indicated earlier this week that team and player were progressing towards a new deal, and head coach Sean McVay echoed those sentiments last night. Per Vincent Bonsignore of The Athletic (Twitter link), McVay said, “there’s increased dialogue. There’s more…we feel positive about the direction that these things are going. I think there’s a level of urgency that’s being displayed from us.” That probably sounds like music to the ears of Rams fans, who have legitimate championship dreams this season.
Today’s minor moves:
- Waived: OL Leon Johnson
- Signed: WR Quan Bray
Los Angeles Rams
- Placed on IR: CB Kevin Peterson
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
New Orleans Saints
- Waived:G Trevor Darling
- Signed: CB Elijah Battle, LB Jason Hall, C Marcus Henry
- Waived: FB Jalston Fowler, TE Je’Ron Hamm, LB Warren Long
Roquan Smith still isn’t signed. The eighth overall pick in this year’s draft is the last remaining unsigned pick, and there’s no end in sight to the impasse between the linebacker and the Bears. Although issues like total guaranteed money and signing bonuses are predetermined in rookie contracts, things like offsets and when guarantees will void can still be haggled over.
To help better understand the process, Andrew Brandt of SI.com took a look at the rookie contract process, and spoke with a handful of agents. Brandt, a former Packers executive, writes that it’s a “system tilted heavily toward management” and that the players have little leverage now due to the 2011 CBA. Brandt writes that teams have become “emboldened” by their newfound power in negotiating rookie deals, and that “teams like the Bears are looking to invalidate future guarantees based on discipline for on-field conduct.”
The Bears want to be able to void guaranteed money from Smith’s contract if he were suspended for on-field conduct like an illegal hit, and Smith is fighting back. It will be fascinating to see how the situation plays out. Here’s more from around the league:
- The ex-girlfriend of LeSean McCoy issued a new statement yesterday, saying that she is still waiting for “justice to be served.” McCoy has consistently denied any wrongdoing and has not yet been punished by either the Bills or the NFL.
- Odell Beckham Jr. didn’t play in the Giants’ preseason opener, but his absence had nothing to do with his contract. Although the two sides are still negotiating a contract extension which should make OBJ the highest paid receiver in the game, coach Pat Shurmur said he wasn’t going to play his star in the first game anyway, according to Tom Rock of Newsday.
- Aaron Donald missed the August seventh deadline to report and will become a restricted free agent after the season, but the deadline was mostly irrelevant writes former NFL agent Joel Corry of CBS Sports. Since the Rams will certainly franchise tag Donald if the two sides can’t agree on an extension, it doesn’t really matter whether he’s a restricted or unrestricted free agent after this year, and there was no reason for Donald to report.
Here are Saturday’s minor moves.
- Signed: CB Ryan Neal
- Waived: T Kendall Calhoun
- Claimed off waivers from Bengals: T Austin Fleer
Los Angeles Rams
- Signed: DL Lord Hyeamang
New York Giants
- Released from IR: TE Adam Zaruba
- Signed: DB Trey Caldwell, DB Kenneth Durden
- Waived: CB Jarell Carter, CB Joseph Este
Tuesday’s deadline for Aaron Donald to be classified as a 2019 UFA — in the event he is not extended before this season — came and went. The reigning defensive player of the year remains away from the Rams, but GM Les Snead doesn’t believe the sides are too far apart.
“We’re in the same ZIP Code, area code, ballpark,” Snead said, via Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times. “I think all of us weren’t anticipating Aaron showing up on the 7th. As we worked through this, we always figured this wasn’t the date, per se.”
Snead acknowledged no specific deadline exists here, other than one that would sufficiently get Donald ready for the season. Although, he was the NFL’s best defensive player last season and didn’t report until mid-September.
The Rams are not worried about Donald missing camp time, with The Athletic’s Vincent Bonsignore reporting (subscription required) the team is fine with its top player working out in his native Pittsburgh to stay away from a potential injury that would come with team drills in camp. But Donald may want significantly more money than what currently represents the top defender contract.
Von Miller raised the bar two summers ago by agreeing to a six-year, $114.6MM deal, with $70MM guaranteed. The belief around the league, per Bonsignore, is that Donald seeks “elite quarterback money” — potentially as high as $25MM per year and perhaps as much as $90MM in guarantees. He adds the Rams are willing to make Donald the league’s highest-paid defensive player, but the holdup seems to be determining if the all-world interior defender is worth good quarterback money or that of a top-tier signal-caller.
A $25MM-per-year contract would significantly top Miller’s deal in terms of cap percentage as well, since the Broncos linebacker’s $19.1MM-AAV accord represented just more than 12 percent of 2016’s $155.27MM cap. A $25MM pact would comprise more than 16 percent of this $177MM cap, but with the cap continuing to climb by approximately $10MM annually, the 26-year-old superstar asking for this perhaps isn’t entirely out of step.
Snead recently authorized a landscape-changing extension for Todd Gurley, and that deal changed the running back market more than a $25MM-AAV deal would for the defender spectrum. So, the Rams clearly aren’t against outside-the-box thinking. Their five-year, $80MM Brandin Cooks re-up before he’s played a down with the team illustrates this as well.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.