Steelers DE/OLB James Harrison released
The Steelers shocked the NFL world Saturday when they released their long-time pass-rusher, James Harrison. The 39-year-old has barely played this season because of the younger players in front of him, but considering that he performed last year, he could still have something left in the tank to help another Super Bowl contender. Here are some possible destinations:
New England Patriots: Bill Belichick loves signing veterans who may or may not be washed up. The Patriots need to bolster their pass rush, so adding Harrison makes sense.
Baltimore Ravens: Harrison already went to one AFC North rival (Bengals), so why not another? The Ravens could stand to add another pass-rusher for their postseason run.
Kansas City Chiefs: Tamba Hali has not played well this year, and the same can be said for Dee Ford when he was on the field. Justin Houston needs a potent threat across from him.
Los Angeles Rams: Wade Phillips' defense needs another pass-rushing presence to play across from Robert Quinn.
Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons couldn't apply any sort of pressure on Jameis Winston this past Monday night, so that doesn't bode well going forward.
Carolina Panthers: The Panthers already have one old-man edge rusher, but they could use another to help beat the talented quarterbacks in the NFC.
Giants QB Eli Manning benched; likely to be on trade block
The Eli Manning era in New York is apparently over. Manning been benched in favor of Geno Smith, and the Giants likely plan on selecting a quarterback in April. I have them taking Lamar Jackson in my 2018 NFL Mock Draft.
Manning is certain to be traded this spring. Here are some possible destinations:
Jacksonville Jaguars: This makes the most sense to me. Tom Coughlin is making the decisions in Jacksonville, and the Jaguars need a veteran quarterback to put them over the top. Coughlin and Manning reuniting seems very logical.
Denver Broncos: The Broncos may not be able to land the quarterback they want in the draft, and Peyton Manning might have a chat with John Elway about acquiring his younger brother.
New York Jets: I could see Manning remaining in New York to quarterback the Jets, who also could use a veteran presence under center to lead an improving roster.
Cleveland Browns: I've added a couple more teams, which readers have suggested on Facebook. Bill B. pointed out that Jimmy Haslam, who has ties to Tennessee, could bring in Peyton Manning to run operations, and Peyton, in turn, could acquire Eli.
Buffalo Bills: Jeremy L. suggested the Bills, which makes sense if they decide to move on from Tyrod Taylor.
Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers, per Eric M., work for Manning as well. Ben Roethlisberger has discussed retirement, and Manning would be a logical successor as the team develops Josh Dobbs.
Colts are willing to trade WR T.Y. Hilton. - PFT
Trading T.Y. Hilton would be very stupid, as he's Andrew Luck's only viable receiver. Still, it's being reported as a possibility, partly because Hilton is unwilling to re-negotiate his contract, which is worth $11 million plus in each of 2018, 2019 and 2020.
Some teams that could trade for Hilton include:
Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys have needed a No. 2 receiver for years. Terrance Williams sucks. I wrote this in the Calvin Johnson entry, but it's still true.
Chicago Bears: The Bears have no receiving talent, so they might be willing to trade for Hilton to give Mitchell Trubisky a legitimate No. 1 receiver.
Buffalo Bills: Like the Bears, Buffalo is an obvious team lacking a No. 1 receiver. Hilton would be huge for the offense, as he would open more opportunities for LeSean McCoy.
Cleveland Browns: The Browns are desperate for a legitimate NFL receiver. The problem is that the 2018 receiving class isn't very good.
Denver Broncos: Denver's downfield threats are Demaryius Thomas, an injured Emmanuel Sanders... and that's it.
Some of the teams I listed for Calvin Johnson below make sense as well.
Lions WR Calvin Johnson has drawn trade consideration. - Adam Schefter
Two teams have approached the Lions about acquiring Calvin Johnson, according to Adam Schefter. It's unclear if Johnson wants to return to the NFL, but people who are close to him may know something, hence the sudden interest.
Some teams that could trade for Johnson include:
Philadelphia Eagles: Most teams could obviously use Calvin Johnson. The Eagles would love to have him, as Torrey Smith has been a big disappointment, while Alshon Jeffery is just a No. 2.
Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys have needed a No. 2 receiver for years. Terrance Williams sucks.
New England Patriots: The Patriots have a history - albeit a bad one - of acquiring aging receivers. If Megatron is even 75 percent of what he used to be, can you imagine how lethal New England's offense would be?
Pittsburgh Steelers: Martavis Bryant hasn't lived up to expectations, while JuJu Smith-Schuster is just a rookie. The Steelers could be interested in a better No. 2 receiver for a potential Super Bowl run.
Kansas City Chiefs: Tyreek Hill is Kansas City's only viable wide receiver, so Andy Reid would love to have Megatron.
As I said, lots of teams are bound to have interest in Johnson, but I listed those I could see him coming out of retirement for. I could expand this list to include the Bills, Redskins, Broncos, etc., but those seem less realistic.
Seahawks TE Jimmy Graham could be traded. - Ian Rapoport
Ian Rapoport's reporting has been inaccurate lately, but he mentioned that the Seahawks could trade Jimmy Graham, so I thought I'd address it here. Graham has dropped a ton of passes this year, as he has not lived up to his athletic ability. It's understandable that the Seahawks would be frustrated with him, hence the trade possibility.
Some teams that could trade for Graham include:
Detroit Lions: Eric Ebron has also dropped lots of passes, but I'm sure Matthew Stafford would enjoy throwing to Graham rather than Ebron.
Miami Dolphins: Julius Thomas sucks, so the Dolphins could be interested. Jay Cutler and Thomas have formed perhaps the most lethargic quarterback-tight end pairing of all time, so Cutler-Graham would be a bit less lethargic.
Houston Texans: This is the most obvious trade, as the Texans could deal Duane Brown. The Seahawks are desperate for a left tackle, and Brown would give them a big upgrade. Houston acquiring Jimmy Graham would give them a needed upgrade at tight end.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Blake Bortles sucks, but perhaps he'll suck less with a talented tight end as an intermediate target.
Oakland Raiders: Jared Cook has been a predictable disappointment, so Graham would be a huge upgrade.
Denver Broncos: John Elway can't do anything about the quarterback situation right now, but perhaps he can give Trevor Siemian a potent threat over the middle.
Like Vontae Davis, whom I profiled below, Graham is an impending free agent, so the team that acquires him should be a buyer for 2017.
Colts CB Vontae Davis generating trade interest. - Adam Schefter
Unless the Colts plan on re-signing Vontae Davis, it would make sense for them to trade him because he's an impending free agent in March. Davis, 30 in May, has regressed in recent years because of numerous injuries, but he used to be a great cornerback, so it's possible that he could play well again in a new home.
Some teams that could trade for Davis include:
Carolina Panthers: The Panthers have just one viable cornerback in James Bradberry, as their defense hasn't been the same since losing Josh Norman.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Buccaneers have some awful cornerback play outside of Brent Grimes, who won't be around much longer. Vernon Hargreaves has been a huge disappointment.
Miami Dolphins: Despite the ugly loss at Baltimore, the 4-3 Dolphins are in the playoff mix, so they could be buyers. They got rid of Byron Maxwell, so maybe another veteran cornerback will help.
Kansas City Chiefs: Derek Carr just lit up Kansas City's secondary. Marcus Peters is a great cornerback, but the Chiefs are very lacking at the position otherwise.
Oakland Raiders: Oakland's secondary struggles have been well publicized. The Raiders already added one veteran in NaVorro Bowman, so perhaps they could acquire another.
There are some other teams that need cornerbacks, but I decided to exclude those not in playoff contention.
Steelers WR Martavis Bryant requests trade
Martavis Bryant requested a trade, then told everyone that this was fake news. Then, he followed that up by skipping a team meeting. There have been reports that Bryant is frustrated with the Steelers, so Pittsburgh could easily deal him in the next eight days.
Some teams that could trade for Bryant include:
Chicago Bears: The Bears have nothing at receiver. I don't know if pairing a rookie quarterback with a negative presence like Bryant is the best idea, but it's an option worth exploring.
San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers have just one viable wideout in Pierre Garcon. Again, giving a rookie a bad-attitude guy doesn't seem like a great move, but San Francisco has less invested in C.J. Beathard.
Buffalo Bills: This makes more sense. Bryant can't exactly ruin Tyrod Taylor, who desperately needs a potent downfield target. Jordan Matthews is not a No. 1 receiver.
Jacksonville Jaguars: I like this one a lot as well. Bryant can't capsize Blake Bortles' career. Bortles' top receiver is Allen Hurns, which is something that needs to change.
I considered a fifth team, the Ravens, but I can't see Pittsburgh and Baltimore trading with each other.
Bills OT Cordy Glenn could be traded to Broncos - Benjamin Albright, Mile High Sports
To be clear, Benjamin Albright didn't exactly say it would be Cordy Glenn, citing that the Broncos were attempting to trade for a tackle from Buffalo. That could only really be Glenn though, as the new coaching staff has expressed frustration with him. Rookie Dion Dawkins has done a solid job at left tackle, so it makes sense for the Bills to move on from Glenn, who is making $12 million per year.
If Glenn is really on the trading block, Denver would make a ton of sense for him. Acquiring Glenn would allow Menelik Watson to go to the bench, where he belongs. Still, if these rumors are true, it made me wonder who else could trade for Glenn.
Some teams that could trade for Glenn include:
New York Giants: The Giants aren't exactly buyers right now, but they've had offensive line issues for years. Glenn would be a nice investment as a blind-side blocker for whomever the Giants select in the 2018 NFL Draft (Josh Rosen in my 2018 NFL Mock Draft.)
Chicago Bears: The Bears have a great interior offensive line, but they could stand to improve their woeful edge blocking to help protect Mitchell Trubisky.
Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks probably make more sense than anyone, even Denver. We all know of Seattle's offensive line woes.
Arizona Cardinals: Jared Veldheer thought about retirement prior to 2017, and he's certainly playing like it right now.
Houston Texans: It's amazing what Deshaun Watson has been able to do thus far despite some horrible pass protection. Imagine how much better he would be with Glenn.
These are just six teams (including Denver). More franchises could use help at offensive tackle, and Glenn, 28, should be able to play at a high level for at least four more years.
49ers are shopping Carlos Hyde - Benjamin Albright, Mile High Sports
The 49ers failed to trade NaVorro Bowman, but they're almost certain to have better luck with Carlos Hyde. Unlike Bowman, Hyde is playing well this year, averaging 4.5 yards per carry behind an average offensive line.
It makes sense that San Francisco would want to deal Hyde. He's in his contract year, and he's not a perfect fit for Kyle Shanahan's offense. Plus, the 49ers will be in position to select Saquon Barkley, as seen in my 2018 NFL Mock Draft.
Some teams that could trade for Hyde include:
Dallas Cowboys: If the Cowboys can acquire Hyde cheaply, he would make for a nice rental if Ezekiel Elliott's suspension were to be upheld.
Minnesota Vikings: Here's another team that could use Hyde as a rental. Dalvin Cook is out, so if the Vikings are to make a playoff run, they'll need a strong running game.
Seattle Seahawks: None of the Seattle running backs have been overly impressive this season. Hyde would be a huge upgrade over what the Seahawks have.
Baltimore Ravens: Alex Collins? Terrance West? Buck Allen? None of these guys are any good. The Ravens are 3-2, and if they're to make a playoff push, they'll need a better running game.
Cleveland Browns: The Browns need to upgrade Isaiah Crowell. If they can guarantee that Hyde will re-sign to a long-term deal, they could pull the trigger on a trade.
These are just five teams. Any team that suffers an injury to a running back of theirs will surely consider trading for Hyde as well.
49ers were shopping NaVorro Bowman (released at 4:30 p.m.) - Adam Schefter, ESPN
From an economical perspective, NaVorro Bowman seems like a great buy-low candidate. Bowman has struggled this season, as it appears as though the Achilles injury he suffered last year has sapped him of his explosiveness. However, Bowman is still just 29, so even though he looks decrepit, he may not be done just yet. He could easily rebound in 2018 and beyond, and I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility that he could be more effective down the stretch this season.
Adam Schefter reported that a number of teams are interested in Bowman, so it appears as though some were thinking along the same wave length. However, Bowman was released, so any team could sign him now.
Some teams that could sign Bowman include:
Green Bay Packers: I thought I'd add the Packers to this list, as they could use a linebacker to play with Blake Martinez.
Carolina Panthers: If the Panthers are worried that Luke Kuechly's latest concussion will sideline him for a while, it would make sense to acquire NaVorro Bowman if the price is very cheap.
New Orleans Saints: The Saints are very weak at linebacker, especially in the wake of Alex Anzalone's injury.
New England Patriots: It's been documented how horrible New England's linebackers are, aside from Dont'a Hightower. Here's an opportunity to acquire a potential upgrade.
Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens have needed a solid complement to C.J. Mosley for some time now, and Bowman seems like the type of veteran they like to bring into their roster.
Indianapolis Colts: The Colts have some of the weakest linebackers in the NFL.
Oakland Raiders: The same could be said of the Raiders, who have desperately needed a big upgrade at the position for years now.
"It's looking" like the Patriots will trade Malcolm Butler. - Doug Kyed, NESN
There was speculation that Malcolm Butler would be traded this offseason, as the hot rumor was that he would be dealt to the Saints. That was eventually shut down when New Orleans selected Marshon Lattimore with its first-round pick.
Butler hasn't played very well this year, but he hasn't been horrible, or anything. He's still a solid starting cornerback who could really help a team with an ailing secondary get over the top. Perhaps the Patriots would trade him for a pass-rusher or a linebacker instead of a draft pick.
Some teams the Patriots could trade with include:
Philadelphia Eagles: Ronald Darby is hurt, and the Eagles have nothing else at corner. They've been rumored to be shopping Mychal Kendricks.
Green Bay Packers: Green Bay's secondary is a mess, and Butler would be a huge addition. The Packers have a number of young front-seven players they could part with.
Chicago Bears: The Bears have a strong front seven, but lack play-makers in the secondary.
Los Angeles Rams: Wade Phillips' defense needs another talented cornerback after Brian Hoyer shredded them Thursday night.
Tennessee Titans: The Titans recently acquired a former Patriot cornerback. Could they get another one? Perhaps Bill Belichick thinks he can make something out of the disappointing Kevin Dodd.
Oakland Raiders: The Raiders have major problems in their secondary, and Butler could really help bolster the stop unit.
Saints shopping S Kenny Vaccaro. - Jason La Canfora
Kenny Vaccaro was a first-round pick in the historically awful 2013 NFL Draft. While Vaccaro hasn't been nearly as bad as some of the other first-rounders from that class, he has also been a disappointment. Vaccaro has played well at times, but has been incredibly inconsistent. He was awful in the season opener versus Minnesota.
Still, some teams might be interested in Vaccaro if all they have to surrender is a late-round pick. He's only 26 and still has some potential. Some teams that could be involved in a trade include the Chargers, who passed on Malik Hooker at No. 7 overall in the draft; Texans, who lost a safety to free agency during the offseason; the Bears, who have some horrid safety play; and the Redskins, who may have lost Su'a Cravens forever to personal issues.
Patriots RB Dion Lewis drawing lots of interest.
The Patriots haven't made it known that they're willing to trade Dion Lewis, but teams have shown interest in him. Lewis is being criminally underused by the team, thanks to the massive amount of depth New England has at the position. Lewis is a very talented back who is a dynamic threat as a receiver out of the backfield. His downfall is his durability, but he would be a nice acquisition if his new team doesn't plan on using him as a primary runner.
It would make sense for the Patriots to trade Lewis. As mentioned, they're deep at running back, and they also have some major holes. They need a defensive end and a linebacker. Some trade partners who make sense are the Eagles (for linebacker Mychal Kendricks), 49ers (for linebacker NaVorro Bowman or defensive end Aaron Lynch), Bills (for linebacker Lorenzo Alexander) and Steelers (for linebackers Arthur Moats or Tyler Matakevich). Obviously, in some of these trades, draft picks would have to be thrown in.
Update: I'd like to add two new teams. The Ravens lost Danny Woodhead to an injury, so perhaps they're a possibility (for draft compensation). The Cardinals could be as well, depending on how long David Johnson is out (for Karlos Dansby or Josh Bynes).
The Giants and Eagles stand out as two teams that should be interested in Williams. They have lackluster rushing attacks. Philadelphia is especially frustrated with LeGarrette Blount. The Packers and Steelers could add Williams as competition for the No. 2 running back spot. I'm also going to list the Jets as a possibility. If they trade Matt Forte, they'll need another running back to pair with Bilal Powell.
Redskins have waived RB Matt Jones.
Matt Jones was picking up his personal items from his locker, but fumbled them while walking out the door. No one was surprised by this, based on Jones' penchant for coughing up the football. Jones, however, is talented as a former third-round pick. He's also still young (24). If he can get coached up and improve his ball security, he could be a starting running back somewhere in the future.
Some teams that make sense for him include the Giants, who have a lackluster rushing attack; the Steelers, who need a better No. 2 running back behind Le'Veon Bell; the Packers, who could find someone to compete with Jamaal Williams to be the team's top real running back on the roster; and the Eagles, who have been very disappointed with LeGarrette Blount thus far.
Broncos have released S T.J. Ward.
Ward isn't coming off his best season, and he turns 31 in December. The Broncos tried to trade him, but couldn't find a suitor. Ward plays the run extremely well, but happens to be suspect in coverage. Some teams that make sense for him include the Rams (his connection with former defensive coordinator Wade Phillips), Browns (he played there previously, and they need someone next to Jabrill Peppers), Cowboys (would shore up a weakness at safety), Patriots (upgrading Patrick Chung is something New England should consider) and Texans (replacement for Quintin Demps).
Seahawks are attempting to trade Ahtyba Rubin. - Ian Rapoport, NFL Network
Ahtyba Rubin signed a 3-year, $12 million contract prior to the 2016 season, but proved to be a massive disappointment. He struggled in all regards, as he seemed too way fat and happy with his new deal. Now, Rubin could be on his way out.
Rubin still has potential to be a solid run-plugger, though at 31, he may never be the same player again. There might be teams interested in exchange for a late-round pick, however. I could see the Redskins pursuing Rubin, as they lost Phil Taylor to injury. The Bears could obtain insurance for Eddie Goldman, who always seems to be hurt. The Vikings could use a veteran defensive tackle if they don't believe Jaleel Johnson is ready. The Broncos are using Domata Peko at nose tackle and should be in the market for an upgrade. The Chargers also make sense, as they run a similar scheme and could use depth if Brandon Mebane gets hurt again.
Seahawks are gauging the trade value of CB Jeremy Lane. - Ian Rapoport, NFL Network
It's odd that the Seahawks are thinking about trading one of their starting cornerbacks, but it could mean that they have a ton of faith in third-round rookie Shaq Griffin despite Griffin being torched in one of the preseason games.
Then again, Lane isn't very dependable. He has played a full 16-game slate just once in his career; he has missed 19 games in the past three years, and he performed poorly in 2016. Still, Lane has size (6-0, 190), youth (27) and some talent, so he could be appealing to teams in desperate need of a cornerback. Teams that could trade for Lane include the Chiefs, Packers and Raiders, as they are Super Bowl contenders who need to upgrade corner. I'd consider the Colts and Texans options as well; they're also weak at the position.
Chargers have had trade discussions involving Dontrelle Inman. - Tom Pelissero, NFL Network
Dontrelle Inman is a talented, tall (6-3) receiver with upside. He caught 58 balls for 810 yards and four touchdowns last year. The Chargers could afford to deal him, as they have Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin, plus Mike Williams whenever he comes back from injury. Inman could be obtained for a late-round pick, and I expect teams to be interested if that's the required compensation.
Several teams that stand out to me are the Bears, who just lost Cameron Meredith; the Panthers, to replace Devin Funchess, who has been poor this preseason; the 49ers, who don't have a viable No. 2 receiver; the Jets, who don't even have a viable No. 1 receiver; and the Chiefs, thought I don't know if the Chargers want to deal Inman within the division.
Jets are seeking to trade running back Matt Forte. - Tom Pelissero, NFL Network
It makes sense to trade Forte, given that the Jets are in complete tank mode. The problem is that Forte is owed $4 million guaranteed this year as a declining, soon-to-be 32-year-old. However, Forte did look good in the third preseason game, so a team desperate for a running back might be interested. The Eagles, Packers, Ravens and Giants are competitive teams that need a boost at running back. The Chiefs could also be interested after losing Spencer Ware. Dallas makes sense as well, given Ezekiel Elliott's suspension. Another thing to consider is that the Jets could just wait for a team's starter to get hurt. For example, Le'Veon Bell has been known to miss time each season, so the Steelers may consider trading for Forte as a replacement for their Pro Bowl back if Bell gets hurt.
The Dolphins are listening to trade offers for Jarvis Landry. - Mike Lombardi, The Ringer
Miami doesn't want to extend Landry, as the front office thinks he's just a slot-only receiver. DeVante Parker is much more talented anyway. Some possibilities for Landry include the Raiders, Chiefs, Broncos, Texans and 49ers. Oakland and Denver have no third wideout. The Chiefs and 49ers are lacking at receiver, while the Texans could add another young weapon for Deshaun Watson.
Browns release Joe Haden.
The Browns were attempting to aggressively trade Joe Haden, but that didn't quite pan out because of the money he was owed ($33 million over three years). Now that teams won't have to dedicate a good chunk of their cap to Haden, there will be interest in signing him. Haden's production has dropped off considerably over the past couple of seasons because of injuries. Still, Haden is only 28 and could rebound. Four primary teams that make sense for Haden are the Chiefs, Steelers, Packers and Raiders, as they are Super Bowl contenders with major issues at corner. I'd include the Eagles in that category as well, but they just traded for Ronald Darby. Two other teams that make sense are the Colts and Rams.
Browns are shopping OT/C Cameron Erving. - Mary Kay Cabot
At first thought, it sounds silly that the Browns think they can trade Cameron Erving. The former Seminole has been atrocious through two seasons, and he didn't look any better this preseason. Having an actual turnstile on the field would be more effective. However, Erving was a first-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft and has some natural talent. He hasn't tried very hard in the NFL, but perhaps a new city and a new coaching staff is exactly what he needs, much like Greg Robinson, who has made vast improvements in Detroit.
Erving can play both center and right tackle - supposedly - and there are enough teams with major offensive line issues that could have interest. The 49ers have holes at both spots, for example. The Texans are desperate for right tackle help, as are the Ravens. The Chargers, meanwhile, are hurting for center help. The Dolphins could also consider Erving, as they have no depth on the offensive line.
49ers cut OLB Ahmad Brooks.
Ahmad Brooks was once a very talented linebacker for the 49ers, but his effectiveness has dropped off a cliff in recent years. Giving him two stars is probably very generous, but perhaps he can help a team as a two-down player adn a leader in the locker room. Some teams that make sense for him are the Redskins, Packers, Seahawks, Colts and Raiders.
Browns cut DT Desmond Bryant.
Desmond Bryant once signed a $34 million contract, but injuries have derailed his career. He missed all of 2016 with a torn pectoral, and he's now 31. However, Bryant was solid in 2015, playing well versus the run and accumulating six sacks. Bryant can still be an effective rotational player, but the Browns had to cut him because he was making too much money. Some teams that make sense for Bryant include the Cowboys, Vikings, Saints, Patriots, Colts and Broncos.
Eagles cut RB Ryan Mathews.
Doug Pederson hated Ryan Mathews, but was forced to use him last year because he didn't have an alternative. That's no longer the case with LeGarrette Blount on the team, so the Eagles were able to cut Mathews once he was medically cleared. Mathews averaged five yards per carry in 2015 and is still just 29, so he can be a strong No. 2 on a team right now. His durability is a strike against him, but that should be fine if he doesn't have to carry the workload. Some teams that make sense for him include the Packers, Giants, Cowboys, Bills (if they plan on trading LeSean McCoy), Ravens and Steelers.