AROUND THE NFL

NFC NORTH

 

GREEN BAY

Last year, WR JORDY NELSON was allowed to walk.  This year, the Packers will part ways with WR RANDALL COBB.  Zach Kruse of PackersWire.com:

 

The end is likely near for the working relationship between receiver Randall Cobb and the Green Bay Packers.

        

Mike Silver of NFL Network reports the Packers are not expected to re-sign Cobb, who has an expiring contract and is set to be an unrestricted free agent when the new league year opens in March.

 

Cobb, 28, has spent the last eight seasons with the Packers, catching 470 passes for 5,524 yards and 41 touchdowns. The former second-round pick signed a four-year deal after a Pro Bowl season in 2014, but that deal is about to expire.

 

Cobb’s last four seasons in Green Bay have been marred by injuries and declining production. After catching 91 passes for 1,287 yards and 12 scores in 2014, Cobb has averaged 60 catches, 618 yards and only four scores during the past four years. He played in only nine games in 2018, catching 38 passes for 383 yards and two touchdowns.

 

Silver believes the Packers are aiming to upgrade the slot receiver position with a younger talent.

 

The Packers picked three receivers in last year’s draft and could use either free agency or this year’s draft to add another player at the slot position. Several veteran options are available, and the draft class has an abundance of players with the potential for playing inside in the slot.

 

Although Cobb’s 2018 season was a disappointment, he did produce a pair of memorable moments. He caught the game-winning touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers to cap off an incredible comeback against the Chicago Bears in Week 1, racing 75 yards for the score. He also hauled in Rodgers’ record-breaking 359th consecutive pass without an interception during a December win over the Atlanta Falcons.

 

NFC EAST

 

DALLAS

Another relapse for DE RANDY GREGORY.  Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk.com:

 

Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory is back on the suspended list.

 

Per multiple reports, the NFL has suspended Gregory indefinitely for violating the league’s substance abuse policy as well as the conditions of his reinstatement from a previous suspension. There was word of a violation last September, but Gregory recorded six sacks in 14 regular season games and saw action in both playoff games for the Cowboys last season.

 

Gregory was reinstated last summer after serving a one-year suspension that kept him off the field for the entire 2017 season. He was also suspended for a total of 14 games during the 2016 season for other violations of the same policy.

 

The team was already expected to do what it takes to hold onto defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, but losing Gregory and the expected departure of David Irving ups the need to hold onto Lawrence all the more in Dallas.

 

 

PHILADELPHIA

Andrew Berry, a refugee from Cleveland’s previous analytics-based regime, lands on his feet in Philly.  The AP:

 

The Philadelphia Eagles have hired former Cleveland Browns executive Andrew Berry as vice president of football operations.

 

Berry worked three seasons with the Browns after seven years in Indianapolis and helped lead talent evaluation and scouting. His role had diminished under new general manager John Dorsey, who brought in Eliot Wolf and Alonzo Highsmith from Green Bay.

 

Berry worked under Sashi Berry, who was fired and replaced by Dorsey. The Browns were 1-31 in 2016-17 before going 7-8-1 last season.

 

Berry was part of the search committee that recently hired new Browns coach Freddie Kitchens. During Berry’s time with the Colts, the team won four AFC South titles and made the Super Bowl.

 

The Eagles made several coaching changes, promoting Phillip Daniels to defensive line coach and Carson Walch to wide receivers coach. Mike Bartrum was hired as assistant tight ends coach. Matthew Harper was named assistant wide receivers coach.

– – –

Brad Gagnon of Bleacher Report sees a limited market for QB NICK FOLES:

 

As Nick Foles led the Philadelphia Eagles on a Super Bowl run in 2017 and then a playoff run in 2018, the natural assumption was that the signal-caller was making himself a very rich man.

 

After all, Foles plays quarterback in a quarterback-centric era within a quarterback-obsessed league. He should be in his prime based on his age (he just turned 30), and we know NFL teams drool over perceived winners. Foles won 10 of his 13 starts for the Eagles the last two years, including four in the playoffs, and he’s one of just six active quarterbacks with the words “Super Bowl MVP” on his resume.

 

But the market for Foles might not be as grand as many of us figured when Foles was working his magic back in December and January. Here’s why.

 

The quarterback supply and demand dynamics aren’t what they once were

When Foles essentially bought his freedom by paying $2 million to void a $20 million option in his contract for 2019, he was gambling on his prospects as a free agent.

 

The Eagles could still slap him with the franchise tag for roughly $25 million in hopes of flipping him to a team in need of a starting quarterback, but that would be an even larger risk because there are so few teams that would be surefire suitors for an expensive veteran quarterback.

 

That’s especially the case now that, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Denver Broncos have a trade agreement in place for veteran Joe Flacco, who will fill a potential vacancy without opening up a new one because 2018 first-round pick Lamar Jackson has already moved into a starting role with Flacco’s former team, the Baltimore Ravens.

 

For years we’ve been able to confidently state that the NFL contains 32 franchises but far fewer than 32 franchise-caliber quarterbacks, but that might no longer be the case. Not only do the Broncos and Ravens almost certainly feel they have starting quarterbacks in place, but so does every other team except maybe the Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins and New York Giants.

 

The problem is Spotrac projects that the Jaguars will have less salary-cap space than every other team in the league when free agency opens, which could make it hard to break the bank for Foles.

 

The Dolphins are also one of just seven teams projected to possess less than $12 million in cap room, and there are strong indications they’re rebuilding.

 

Meanwhile, since they share a division with the Eagles, the Redskins and Giants might be off the table for a potential tag-and-trade scenario. Plus, Washington is already paying the injured Alex Smith more than $20 million and is low on cap space, while the Giants owe Eli Manning more than $23 million.

 

Young quarterbacks are all the rage right now

The Giants, Redskins and Dolphins have more wiggle room to find money for Foles, but those three are also more likely than Jacksonville to go the draft route in search of their next franchise quarterback. That’s because they’re all either rebuilding or already committed to an expensive veteran quarterback. In fact, both of those trends apply to the Dolphins, who also still have Ryan Tannehill on the payroll.

 

This draft class isn’t loaded with highly touted quarterbacks, but the recent addition of Oklahoma Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray gives more weight to a group that also includes first-round-worthy Ohio State product Dwayne Haskins as well as potential first-rounders Drew Lock and Daniel Jones out of Missouri and Duke, respectively.

 

The worst-case scenario for Foles involves the Giants, Jags, Dolphins and Redskins all using top-15 picks on those passers, but it would also be problematic if three of them decided to go the draft route at quarterback. It’d be hard to get a bidding war going when you have a market of one, and that could easily end up being the case.

 

And it’s not unrealistic. A big reason the franchise-caliber quarterback supply has increased (and in turn caused the demand to decrease) is that there’s a new wave of talented young quarterbacks taking the league by storm.

 

The 2018 draft alone gave a handful of teams supposed franchise quarterbacks in Baker Mayfield (Cleveland Browns), Sam Darnold (New York Jets), Josh Allen (Buffalo Bills), Josh Rosen (Arizona Cardinals) and Jackson (Baltimore), while the 2017 draft gave the Chicago Bears Mitchell Trubisky, the Kansas City Chiefs Patrick Mahomes and the Houston Texans Deshaun Watson.

 

In other words, a quarter of the league’s current starting quarterbacks were drafted in the last 22 months, and most of them are off to promising starts.

 

Throw in Jared Goff, Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott from the 2016 draft, and it’s easy to understand why teams might prefer to give the draft a shot right now. The NCAA has been sending the NFL some high-quality passers of late, which could make it harder for someone like Foles to strike open-market gold.

 

The Kirk Cousins Effect?

It’s also possible that a quarterback-needy team without a lot of competition on the free-agent/trade market decides it might be better off saving money and pursuing Tannehill, Blake Bortles, Case Keenum, Teddy Bridgewater or Ryan Fitzpatrick, all of whom could be available.

 

Because while Foles has a higher ceiling than all of the above, there might still be some trepidation about bringing in a high-priced quarterback on the wrong side of 30. That’s what the Minnesota Vikings did with Kirk Cousins a year ago, and that buzzworthy $84 million signing did not immediately pay off. In his first year with the Vikes, Cousins ranked in the bottom 10 among qualified passers with a 7.1 yards-per-attempt average and struggled mightily in big games, and Minnesota missed the playoffs.

 

Drafting quarterbacks is vogue, while signing experienced quarterbacks to bloated contracts might be going out of style fast. Not only did Cousins fail to live up to his fully guaranteed salary in 2018, but based on numbers from Spotrac, each of the NFL’s five highest-paid quarterbacks failed to get their respective squads to the playoffs this past season.

 

Is Foles that good?

And then there’s the fact that Foles hasn’t been consistently productive for an extended stretch at any point in his career. Is he another Cousins? Is that the best-case scenario? Could he be another Keenum?

 

That Super Bowl run was astonishing, and Foles also deserves credit for steering the ship as Philadelphia made another improbable late-season run in 2018. He also posted the third-highest qualified single-season passer rating in league history during a remarkable but seemingly aberrational 2013 campaign.

 

But Foles’ passer rating since returning to the Eagles in 2017 is only 90.3 thanks to a concerning 6.6 yards-per-attempt average. That doesn’t include last year’s playoff performances against New England Patriots, Vikings and Atlanta Falcons, but it’s also worth noting that he struggled mightily at times this past postseason. Foles threw more interceptions (four) than touchdown passes (three) while posting an ugly 70.6 rating in two 2018 playoff games, and he and his team undoubtedly benefited from good fortune in a Wild Card Round victory over the Bears.

 

It often seems as though Foles has been favored by the football gods, and it’s possible teams will be excited to pay top dollar for some of that magic dust. But business decisions are rarely made based on intangibles, and the reality is Nick Foles isn’t a special quarterback on paper.

 

With that in mind under the current circumstances, he could have more trouble than expected finding a pot of gold in March.

 

AFC WEST

 

THE RAIDERS

There will be more NFL football in Oakland.  Ian Rapoport of The NFL Network tweets the news:

 

@RapSheet

The #Raiders and the Coliseum Authority have reached an agreement for the team to remain in Oakland for the 2019 season at least and the sides are ironing out final nuances and details of the deal, sources say. It could be wrapped up and presented to the board as early as Friday.

 

AFC NORTH

 

CINCINNATI

The Bengals hope to ship WR JOHN ROSS somewhere on his way to Bustville.  Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com:

 

A former Top 10 pick is on the trade block.

 

The Bengals are looking to trade wide receiver John Ross, according to multiple reports.

 

Ross set an NFL Scouting Combine record when he ran a 4.22-second 40-yard dash in 2017. The Bengals were so impressed with Ross, who had been the Pac-12 player of the year at Washington in 2016, that they chose him with the ninth overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft.

 

As a rookie Ross didn’t catch a single pass, and although he improved in 2018, with 21 catches for 210 yards and seven touchdowns, that’s still not the kind of production the Bengals were hoping for.

 

Ross has guaranteed salaries of $2 million this year and $2.8 million next year, and the Bengals may think he’s just not worth it. Now they’ll try to find some team that thinks Ross is worth a second chance.

 

AFC EAST

 

NEW ENGLAND

Doug Kyed of NESN.com hears the names of two QBs that might fit the Patriots mold.

 

NFL Media draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah sees two intriguing possibilities for the Patriots. Jeremiah identified Duke’s Daniel Jones as a first-round target and North Carolina State’s Ryan Finley as a later-round option in a conference call with the media, according to tweets from the Boston Herald’s Kevin Duffy.

 

@KevinRDuffy

 Jeremiah: Duke QB Daniel Jones “would make a lot of sense” for the Patriots at No. 32.

 

Jeremiah on potential QBs for Patriots: “Daniel Jones, if he falls that far to No. 32, would make a lot of sense for them. He’s very bright. He’s going to be able to swallow the information you’re going to have to swallow…has touch and accuracy, does not have a huge arm.”

 

Jeremiah added that Jones is a “real smooth rhythm quarterback, which is something (the Patriots) value in a big way.”

 

Jeremiah: “Outside of the first round, Ryan Finley from N.C. State, who is almost a little bit of a poor man’s Jared Goff. Same build, kind of skinny frame, but great anticipatory thrower, very accurate and tough. That would be another name that would make sense (for the Pats).”

 

Jones, who’s 6-foot-5, 220 pounds, completed 60.5 percent of his passes for 2,674 yards with 22 touchdowns and nine interceptions with Duke this past season. The Sports Xchange ranks Jones as their No. 4 quarterback behind Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins, Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray and Missouri’s Drew Lock.

 

Finley, who’s 6-foot-4, 212 pounds, transferred from Boise State to NC State in 2016. He completed 67.4 percent of his passes for 3,928 yards with 25 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 2018. Patriots 2016 third-round pick Jacoby Brissett preceded Finley as the Wolfpack’s starting QB. Finley is viewed by The Sports Xchange as a fifth-round pick.

 

 

THIS AND THAT

 

 

KRAFT

You could have guessed a lot of days for Robert Kraft to be spending 13 minutes at the Jupiter massage parlor before you guessed one of the two in question.  ESPN.com:

 

Authorities say New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft visited a Florida massage parlor for sex acts on the morning of the AFC Championship Game, which he attended in Kansas City later that day.

 

According to documents released by the Palm Beach State Attorney’s Office on Monday, it was the second visit by Kraft to the parlor in less than 24 hours.

 

The documents say Kraft arrived at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in a chauffeured 2015 blue Bentley at 11 a.m. on Jan. 20. He was videotaped receiving oral and manual sex from a woman at the spa in Jupiter. Officials say he gave her a $100 bill and another bill before leaving at 11:15 a.m.

 

The AFC Championship Game against the host Chiefs kicked off at 6:40 p.m. ET. Kraft, who is also the owner of the New England Revolution of MLS, was in attendance.

 

The 77-year-old Kraft, who was also seen soliciting prostitution on video surveillance just 17 hours earlier on Jan. 19, was officially charged with two misdemeanor counts of first-degree solicitation, Palm Beach State Attorney Dave Aronberg announced Monday.

 

A court date has been set for 8:30 a.m. ET on April 24. Kraft will have a “low level” arrest warrant issued in his name — similar to a traffic ticket — and he will not need to appear in court. Kraft has hired Jack Goldberger of firm Atterbury, Goldberger & Weiss to represent him in the process.

 

 

TOP FREE AGENTS

Here is a list from Gregg Rosenthal and Chris Wesseling of NFL.com of impending free agents.  Comments are edited from original which you can read here:

 

Gregg Rosenthal and Chris Wesseling combined their personal rankings to formulate NFL.com‘s Top 101 NFL Free Agents of 2019. This list will be constantly updated as players put pen to paper.

 

1  DeMarcus Lawrence    Dallas  Edge

He won’t be on this list for long because the Cowboys will surely tag him.

 

2 Jadeveon Clowney         Houston   Edge

Using the franchise tag to retain Clowney makes too much sense for Houston, considering his nagging injuries, even if Clowney won’t be thrilled about it.

 

3 Grady Jarrett                    Atlanta    DT        

There’s little chance general manager Thomas Dimitroff will let the 25-year-old get away.

 

4  Le’Veon Bell                  Pittsburgh   RB

This ranking isn’t a prediction of how much guaranteed money Bell will earn. It’s a reflection of his status as one of the transcendent players of this century at his position — and the fact that he just turned 27 years old.

 

5  Dee Ford                        Kansas City   Edge

At a position where speed kills, Ford’s first step is among the best in football. The Chiefs will likely use the franchise tag on him rather than work out a long-term deal to make sure his monster breakout season is repeatable.

 

6  Earl Thomas                   Seattle              S

Thomas would be even higher on this list if not for two of his previous three seasons being marred by injury.

 

7  Trey Flowers                 New England     DL

While Flowers is more of an interior player or a 3-4 defensive end rather than a protypical pass rusher, he can make noise from a variety of positions. He’s already been the most disruptive presence on a Super Bowl championship team.

 

8 Frank Clark                  Seattle                Edge

In many years, Clark would be the best pass rusher available. He isn’t as complete a player as the linemen above, but 32 sacks and 66 QB hits over the last three years speaks for itself.

 

9 Nick Foles                     Philadelphia       QB

Foles needs to find the right system to play in, but isn’t that true of any quarterback? His play late in the 2018 season showed that his Super Bowl run was no fluke. This ranking reflects the premium placed on any starting quarterback who becomes available during his prime, because it happens so rarely. That position scarcity, however, doesn’t necessarily mean the Eagles will be able to trade him if they use the tag.

 

10 Landon Collins           New York Giants    S 

It’s possible that Collins is ranked higher by us than NFL teams, who may think his name is bigger than his all-around game.

 

11 Anthony Barr              Minnesota              LB

A four-time Pro Bowl selection in five NFL seasons, Barr is an excellent blitzer and one of the most well-rounded off-ball linebackers. His appeal will likely be limited to teams with a base 4-3 scheme.

 

12 C.J. Mosley               Baltimore               LB

Another member of the quadruple Pro Bowl club, Mosley has been the dependable backbone of Baltimore’s redoubtable defense for the past half-decade. The Ravens want to keep him, and they might have to make him the league’s highest-paid inside linebacker to do so.

 

13  K.J. Wright                 Seattle                LB

Perennially overlooked on a star-studded Seattle defense, Wright is now heading into his age-30 season after battling a lingering knee injury throughout 2018. Interested teams will have to wonder if he’s past his prime.

 

14  Sheldon Richardson        Minnesota        DT

In large part due to character concerns, Richardson has been unable to land a long-term deal the past two offseasons. His value should be on the rise after a bounce-back year in Minnesota.

 

15  Tyrann Mathieu              Houston     S

Mathieu remains a deceptively hard hitter and a versatile ballhawk, even if he’s no longer the game-changing playmaker that he was early in his Arizona tenure. Still just 26 years old, he shouldn’t have to settle for another one-year contract.

 

16  Ndamukong Suh              L.A. Rams      DT

Still a three-down starter at age 32, but the three-time All-Pro seemed to coast through the 2018 regular season before flipping the switch in a dominant playoff run.

 

17  Preston Smith                  Washington      Edge

Not as dynamic as the purest edge rushers, but Smith offers the size to stuff the run in addition to pressuring the passer. He was one of the most underrated outside linebackers in the league last season.

 

18  Lamarcus Joyner               L.A. Rams        S

Joyner offers versatility as a former cornerback who can cover deep center field and creep into the box on run downs. One of the highest-paid safeties in the league last year, the 28-year-old is unlikely to draw a second straight franchise tag after seeing a slight drop-off in effectiveness.

 

19  Brandon Graham             Philadelphia        Edge

Pressure is paramount for pass rushers. Graham certainly checks that box, even if he rarely comes through with the impact plays that distinguish the great ones. Turning 31 in April, he’s approaching the year-to-year stage of his career.

 

20  Ziggy Ansah                        Detroit               Edge

If he stays healthy, he’s good for double-digit sacks. That’s a Brobdingnagian “if” after injuries limited him to a combined six sacks in 2016 and ’18. Ansah is already looking down the barrel of 30 after getting a late start to his football career.

 

21  Za’Darius Smith                  Baltimore             Edge

PFF credited Smith with 10 sacks, 17 QB hits and 33 hurries in the regular season, which is monster production for someone with 690 snaps. He plays with laudable fury.

 

22  Tevin Coleman                    Atlanta               RB

Even if he stays under 200 touches per season like he did in Atlanta, Coleman can add reliable juice to any zone-based running team looking for a boost in explosive plays.

 

23  Ronald Darby                       Philadelphia      CB

A torn ACL will hurt Darby’s value, but the physical cornerback is still the class of a soft cornerback crop of free agents.

 

24  Daryl Williams                       Carolina             T

Good tackles are so hard to find in free agency that Williams, a second-team All-Pro in 2017, should still inspire plenty of interest despite missing nearly all of the 2018 campaign with a knee injury.

 

25  Bradley Roby                           Denver            CB

Roby did not handle an increase in snaps well, following Aqib Talib’s departure, but his sluggish contract-year showing shouldn’t negate all of his excellent playmaking that preceded it.

 

26  Jared Cook                            Oakland            TE

The tight end market is absolutely barren behind Cook, who could add 800 yards of seam-stretching offense to just about any attack.

 

27  Rodger Saffold                     L.A. Rams          G

He’s the top guard available, with his dominant performance against Cowboys linebackers Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch in the playoffs fresh in the minds of decision makers.

 

28  Jordan Hicks                        Philadelphia         LB

Hicks is a three-down, rock-solid linebacker who can steady the middle of a defense.

 

29  Kwon Alexander                   Tampa Bay              LB

Alexander’s torn ACL came at the worst time. The former fourth-rounder makes a few too many mistakes because of his aggressiveness, but that aggression also pays off with a tempo-setting attitude and game-changing plays.

 

30 Teddy Bridgewater               New Orleans            QB

Teddy’s underwhelming Week 17 start was more about a rag-tag backup Saints offensive line that didn’t protect Bridgewater than it was about anything else.

 

31  Trent Brown                         New England              T

Where have we heard this before? The Patriots took a flier on an unsung starter, maximized his role and turned him into a key cog on a Super Bowl champion..

 

32  Golden Tate                         Philadelphia              WR

Tate gets a pass for his disappearing act in a new offense following his midseason trade to Philadelphia.

 

33  Mitch Morse                          Kansas City              C

Morse has missed 14 games due to injuries over the past two years. When healthy, he’s been the steady shot-caller for a consistently overlooked offensive line.

 

34  Bryce Callahan                        Chicago                  CB

Football analytics have noted that slot-corner efficiency is aberrantly unpredictable from season to season. That said, Callahan was one of the position’s premier playmakers prior to his season-ending foot injury in December.

 

35  Matt Paradis                               Denver                  C

Denver’s best offensive lineman of the post-Peyton era, which isn’t quite as damning as Case Keenum’s status as the best quarterback of said three-year drought.

 

36  Dante Fowler                               L.A. Rams            Edge

Although he tallied a mere four sacks between Jacksonville and Los Angeles in the regular season, Fowler was a terror behind the line of scrimmage in December and January.

 

37  Ja’Wuan James                       Miami                     T

The Dolphins considered moving on from James last offseason but never could find an upgrade at right tackle. He’s a prime candidate to get overpaid by a desperate organization.

 

38 Mark Ingram                              New Orleans         RB

Who’s willing to shell out big bucks for a 29-year-old running back?

 

39  Donovan Smith                        Tampa Bay             T

The Bucs are reportedly weighing the franchise tag for Smith, which reflects the dire straits at offensive line in the modern NFL. The former Penn State star has struggled with speed rushers since entering the league.

 

40   Kareem Jackson                    Houston                    CB

Without question the hardest-hitting cornerback in the league — and an egregious Pro Bowl snub — last year.

 

41 Adrian Amos                              Chicago                    S

A Pro Football Focus darling ranked second among all safeties in 2017 and seventh in 2018, Amos completes his assignments with aplomb. His old coordinator, Vic Fangio, could try to bring him to Denver.

42    Jamison Crowder                   Washington                WR

A younger, cheaper Golden Tate?

 

43     Tyrell Williams                      L.A. Chargers             WR

Deep speed is hard to find in free agency and Williams has it. He would make for an excellent addition as a role player in a spread-the-wealth offense.

 

44   Denzel Perryman                     L.A. Chargers              LB

One of the NFL’s hardest tacklers, Perryman stuffs the run when he’s healthy. Unfortunately, he’s missed a total of 20 games over the last three seasons.

 

45  John Brown                              Baltimore                     WR

Brown rewarded the Ravens for taking a chance on him last season, and he shouldn’t come as cheaply this time around. Perhaps his old coach, Bruce Arians, will try to reunite with “Smokey” if the Bucs don’t keep DeSean Jackson.

 

46  Margus Hunt                            Indianapolis               DL

“The Eastern Block” has steadily improved his game throughout his six seasons, showing with the Colts he can create some pass rush to go along with devastating run-stopping ability.

 

47  Shaquil Barrett                        Denver                        LB

Stifled by playing behind Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware early in his career, Barrett was a consistent jolt of energy off the bench for the Broncos. He can win one-on-one pass-rushing matchups and could be a terrific bargain signing.

 

48   Terrell Suggs                          Baltimore                      Edge

Sure, Suggs is not a long-term solution. But anyone who watched Suggs consistently set the edge and create 59 total pressures in 2018 knows he’s on the James Harrison career-arc plan — still effective deep into his 30s.

 

49   Ha Ha Clinton-Dix                      Washington                 S

If Clinton-Dix hit free agency a year or two ago, he might have ranked in the top 15 of this list. But his occasional coverage lapses caused the Packers to give up on him in Year 5. Even an average starting safety, however, has plenty of value.

 

50  Devin Funchess                          Carolina                      WR

There are games when Funchess can body opponents like a young Brandon Marshall. He hasn’t been able to maintain that level on a consistent basis, but he’s far from the draft mistake that he looked like after his first two seasons.

 

51  Pierre Desir                                     Indianapolis              CB

Desir emerged as a solid starter in 2018, earning well-deserved praise for stifling DeAndre Hopkins in the Wild Card Round.

 

52   Adam Humphries                           Tampa Bay              WR

Good football player alert: Humphries is a tough slot receiver with good hands, easy separation between the numbers and a punt returner’s ability to make something out of nothing after the catch. Julian Edelman — after taxes.

 

53  Henry Anderson                            N.Y. Jets                    DL

Acquired in a draft-day trade with the Colts last offseason, Anderson proved to be a savvy pickup by Mike Maccagnan, tying for the team lead with seven sacks.

 

54 Darqueze Dennard                         Cincinnati                   CB

A steady slot corner, Dennard surely took note of Tavon Young’s market-setting three-year, $27 million deal with the division-rival Ravens.

55  Morris Claiborne                     N.Y. Jets                    CB

Not quite as stingy in coverage as he was in his breakout 2017 season, Claiborne still shattered a career high with 14 passes defensed as the Jets’ top corner last year.

 

56  Jason Verrett                       L.A. Chargers             CB

Verrett was a deserving Pro Bowl selection in his last healthy season — when Peyton Manning was still reigning over the AFC West. He’s played just five games in the last three years, undergoing two knee surgeries and an Achilles repair.

 

57  Adrian Phillips                       L.A. Chargers              DB

A former special teamer, Phillips earned his first Pro Bowl nod as a linebacker/safety hybrid in 2018. It’s fair to wonder if he’s best suited to Gus Bradley’s defense, which makes heavy use of dime packages.

 

58  Cameron Wake                       Mimia                         Edge

Although no longer a double-digit sack artist at 37, Wake still has enough life in his legs to help a Super Bowl contender as a rotational edge rusher.

 

59  Malcom Brown                         L.A. Rams                  DT

The final pick in the first round of the 2015 draft has started 62 games (including the playoffs) for a team that has appeared in three consecutive Super Bowls.

 

60  Deone Bucannon                     Arizona                     LB

The undersized Bucannon struggled to make an impact under a new coach last year and might need a reunion with Bruce Arians (Buccaneers) or James Bettcher (Giants) to put his career back on track.

 

61  Clay Matthews                          Green Bay                Edge

Matthews can’t be blamed for thinking he’s owed a couple of would-be sacks that made him the poster boy for mind-boggling penalties in September. He can, however, be blamed for being outplayed by backup Kyler Fackrell the rest of the way.

 

62  Jay Ajayi                                Philadelphia                  RB

The skills are there. So are the injuries, however, and the whispers that Ajayi has never quite maximized all of his talent.

 

63  Justin Coleman                    Seattle                             CB

Slot cornerbacks are starting cornerbacks. Slot cornerbacks are starting cornerbacks. Slot cornerbacks are starting cornerbacks. Justin Coleman is a good slot cornerback.

 

64  Ramon Foster                      Pittsburgh                        G

It will say a lot about the ridiculously thin offensive line market if Foster gets paid big bucks despite being 33 years old.

 

65  Bashaud Breeland                Green Bay                      CB

It was a lost year for Breeland after he hurt his foot just before free agency last offseason, but it’s not like he’s a totally different player than he was at that time, when he cracked our top 25 players available.

 

66  Kenny Vaccaro                       Tennessee                      S

Largely ignored in free agency one year ago, Vaccaro joined the Titans in August and immediately solidified their secondary. He’s averaged more than 800 snaps in his six seasons.

 

67  Clayton Geathers                   Indianapolis                       S

There are games in which Geathers is all over the field, limiting yards after the catch everywhere he roams. He appeared to put his neck issues behind him during a solid 2018 campaign.

68  Robbie Gould                             San Francisco             PK

He’s one of the best kickers in football, so it’s fair if the Kickers Coalition for Respect has a problem with this ranking.

 

69  Jason McCourty                          New England             CB

Teams never appear particularly excited about acquiring McCourty, who then consistently puts up quality cornerback snaps at a bargain price

 

70  Cordarrelle Patterson                   New England                 WR

One of the NFL’s best overall special teams players, Patterson has added value on end-arounds and limited routes as a wide receiver.

 

71  Randall Cobb                              Green Bay                           WR

How much has Cobb been slowed by injuries over the years and how much of his stagnation was Mike McCarthy’s system? That’s the question teams will have to decide when considering Cobb.

 

72    Tyrod Taylor                              Cleveland                          QB

A shaky starter on an irrelevant team; a high-end backup on a contender.

 

73    C.J. Anderson                          L.A. Rams                         RB

What to make of a rotund running back who was cut twice before breaking the century mark in each of his first three games as an emergency starter for the Rams? Anderson proved he has something to offer as a straight-ahead bulldozer.

 

74    Corey Liuget                         L.A. Chargers                   DT

A 103-game starter over eight seasons with the Chargers, Liuget’s free agency timing couldn’t be worse. He’s coming off late November surgery for a torn quadriceps muscle.

 

75  D.J. Fluker                              Seattle                         OL

A first-round flameout in San Diego and New York, Fluker resurfaced as a mauler in Seattle, setting a physical tone for one of the league’s fiercest ground attacks.

 

76  Darius Philon                          L.A. Chagers              DT

Entering the market at age 25, Philon might just hit the jackpot after emerging as a solid starter on last year’s Chargers playoff squad.

 

77 Michael Crabtree                     Baltimore                    WR

Declining speed is an issue at age 31, but Crabtree should still find regular snaps at a time when many top offenses are using four-receiver rotations.

 

78  Quinton Spain                       Tennessee                    G

Much like the Titans’ rushing attack, Spain combined occasional outbursts of dominance with lengthy dry spells as a 42-game starter over the past three years.

 

79  Johnathan Hankins               Oakland                       DT

Have heft, will travel. The veteran run-plugger went unsigned through Week 1 of last season, but still came away as one of the few bright spots on Oakland’s otherwise porous defense.

 

80  Markus Golden                   Arizona                        Edge

Golden broke out with 12.5 sacks in 2016 only to miss the majority of 2017 with a torn ACL and manage just 2.5 takedowns last year while switching from outside linebacker to defensive end.

 

81  Stephen Gostkowski              New England             K

Gostkowski hasn’t been quite as reliable on field goals in recent years, but the six-time Super Bowl participant has remained steady overall in big moments. He’s an asset on kickoffs.

 

82  Jimmie Ward                       San Francisco                  DB

Ward can’t avoid the injury bug, but his ability to play safety as well as cornerback should attract plenty of interest in the heyday of nickel and dime defenses.

 

83   Jordan Phillips                     Buffalo                              DT

A disappointment in Miami, Phillips’ strong end to last season after a trade to Buffalo showed that he could thrive in a different system.

 

84  Adrian Peterson                         Redskins              RB

Still running hard, after all these years. While his lack of passing-down skills is a major minus, Peterson’s 2018 season proved he can still create extra yards if used in the right role.

 

85 Kelvin Benjamin                         Buffalo                WR

The red flags are numerous, but we aren’t ready to completely discount any receiver who gained nearly 2,000 yards combined in his first two seasons.

 

86  Steven Nelson                         Kansas City             CB

Nelson, 26, started all 16 games for the Chiefs last season, but he was often the guy who opposing quarterbacks targeted.

 

87  Cole Beasley                             Dallas                      WR

Perhaps it was the play-calling, but Beasley struggled to make plays over the last two seasons after his breakout 2016 campaign. It’s fair to ask if Cowboys coordinator Scott Linehan served him well.

 

88  Tyler Eifert                               Cincinnati                  TE

Ranked 40th on this list a year ago, Eifert has a proven Pro Bowl skill set and massive durability issues. He’s been able to play in just 14 games combined during the last three years.

 

89  David Irving                              Dallas                        DT

Irving is undeniably a playmaker when he’s on the field, but his repeated suspensions and substance abuse issues will make him a tricky player to evaluate.

90

 

90   T.J. Yeldon                           Jacksonville                        RB

Yeldon quietly has gained nearly 3,200 yards from scrimmage in his four seasons, barely less than fellow free agent Tevin Coleman

 

91  Thomas Davis                   Carolina                         LB

Davis’ release from the Panthers was surprising because he was still playing at a relatively high level.

 

92  Alex Okafor                        New Orleans               Edge

Okafor has been solid across the board as a 26-game starter the past two years in New Orleans. Unfortunately, he’s an edge rusher who rarely lays his hands on the quarterback.

 

93  Donte Moncrief                Jacksonville                WR

Although physically gifted, Moncrief simply hasn’t caught the ball with any degree of consistency while seeing too many snaps on cratering offenses in Indianapolis and Jacksonville.

 

94  Muhammad Wilkerson          Green Bay             DL

Wilkerson has managed just eight sacks in three years since breaking his fibula at the end of a 12-sack campaign in 2015. He’s more name than game at this point.

 

95  Brian Poole                        Atlanta                    CB

A versatile defensive back, Poole has played more than 70 percent of Atlanta’s snaps since signing as an undrafted free agent in 2016.

 

96  Glover Quin                         Detroit                    S

Quin played at a Pro Bowl level in 2017 but seemed to fall out of favor upon Matt Patricia’s arrival in Detroit. If he commits to another season at age 33, the 10-year veteran should have no problem finding a taker for his services.

 

97  Shane Ray                              Denver              Edge

Alternately injured and unproductive as Shaq Barrett’s running buddy with the second-team defense for four years, Ray was a healthy scratch down the stretch last season.

 

98  James Carpenter                  N.Y. Jets               G

Carpenter has never lived up to his first-round pedigree, but that hasn’t stopped teams from signing him as a starter.

 

99  Derrick Morgan                    Tennessee           Edge

Morgan vanished last season while playing through knee and shoulder injuries. On a positive note, he tallied a healthy 16.5 sacks in 2016 and ’17.

 

100  Jason Myers                       N.Y. Jets             K

Myers earned a trip to the Pro Bowl as one of the league’s most reliable legs. Not bad for a streaky kicker who was jettisoned by Jacksonville and Seattle in the previous 12 months.

 

101   Sam Bradford                    QB

Sure, no one is entirely sure whether Bradford can stay healthy for a season again. But some team will look back at his excellent 2016 season and give him a chance to keep his career going as a backup.

 

 

2019 DRAFT

ProFootballTalk.com on which teams will rule the draft in 2019:

 

In Year 1 after the Khalil Mack trade, it looked like a big win for the Bears. Year 2 may look different.

 

The Bears made the playoffs with Mack leading their defense, while the Raiders were one of the worst teams in the NFL last season. But so far, the Raiders haven’t actually acquired anything through the Mack trade, and the Bears haven’t lost anything. And that changes starting with this year’s NFL draft, when the Raiders have the Bears’ first-round pick and sixth-round pick.

 

In fact, the Raiders have the most draft capital in the NFL this year, and the Bears have the least: René Bugner calculated the total value of all draft picks for all 32 teams, using both the point value on Jimmy Johnson’s famous draft chart, and on the updated chart that Chase Stuart developed in 2012. Both charts show the Raiders as the team with the most draft value, and the Bears with the least.

 

That’s in large part because of the Mack trade, but there’s more to it than that: The Raiders also acquired the Cowboys’ first-round pick with the Amari Cooper trade, plus the Seahawks’ seventh-round pick for trading safety Shalom Luani. The Bears also traded away their second-round pick to move up in last year’s draft and select wide receiver Anthony Miller.

 

The Cardinals, owners of the first overall pick, have the second-most draft capital, and the Packers (who own the Saints’ first-round pick) are in good draft shape as well. Unsurprisingly, after the Bears, the two teams in the worst position in the draft are the two other teams that have traded away their first-round picks, the Saints and Cowboys.