NFL Player News

  • Jonnu Smith TE | ATL

    Jonnu Smith: Being cut by Falcons

    Smith is expected to be released by Atlanta, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.

    Smith performed adequately for the Falcons in his debut season with the team, as in 2023 he secured 50 of 70 targets for 582 yards and three touchdowns across 17 regular-season appearances. Nonetheless, entering his age-29 season, Smith carried a non-guaranteed salary of $6.5 million, with just $2.5 million in dead money, making his release a relatively easy decision. Though Smith was the Falcons' fourth-leading receiver in 2023, that came in part due to former head coach Arthur Smith's tight-end heavy deployment, something that seems likely to change under new offensive coordinator Zac Robinson. Kyle Pitts now looks primed to enter the 2024 campaign as the clear top option leading Atlanta's TE depth chart.

  • James Houston DE | DET

    Lions' James Houston: Season ruined by injury

    Houston recorded one tackle in two games during the 2023 regular season.

    Houston was expected to handle a large workload as a pass rusher after racking up 8.0 sacks as a rookie in 2022. However, he suffered a fractured ankle in Week 2 and didn't see the field again until the Lions' season-ending loss to the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game. Now set to become an exclusive-rights free agent at the end of the league year, Houston is a strong candidate to return to Detroit in 2024.

  • Josh Jacobs RB | LV

    Raiders' Josh Jacobs: Could stay with Vegas

    GM Tom Telesco said Tuesday that the Raiders will make an effort to re-sign Jacobs (quadriceps) even though the running back isn't expected to get the franchise tag, Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com reports. "We're going to explore pretty hard and see if we can bring [Jacobs] back," said Telesco.

    Telesco all but confirmed a recent Adam Schefter report suggesting Jacobs wouldn't get tagged. That's no surprise given the $14.15 million salary the tag would carry, combined with Jacobs' disappointing 2023 campaign, but it doesn't mean the Raiders aren't interested in bring him back on a cheaper deal. What's less clear is if the team will make a serious effort to re-sign him before free agency or simply let him test the market.

  • Raiders' Davante Adams: No trade planned

    Raiders GM Tom Telesco said Tuesday that Adams won't be traded this offseason, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.

    Adams has three seasons remaining on his contract, including a full guarantee on his $16.89 million base salary for 2024. The number is reasonable enough that he'd have considerable trade value, but it sounds like the Raiders are more inclined to keep him around, figuring the 31-year-old wideout can not only help them win games but also help ease the transition for whoever ends up playing quarterback. That said, Telesco might change his mind if another team makes a strong offer.

  • Broncos' Patrick Surtain: Option should be picked up

    Surtain is expected to have his fifth-year option exercised by the Broncos, Aric DiLalla of the Broncos' official site reports.

    Surtain had another individually successful campaign in 2023, recording a career-high 69 tackles, albeit while notching a career-low one interception. The Alabama product remains one of the better corners in the league, so having his option picked up, and keeping him in Denver for at least two more seasons, makes sense.

  • Ravens' Justin Madubuike: Franchise tag candidate

    General manager Eric DeCosta said Tuesday that Madubuike will likely receive the Ravens' franchise tag if the team and the defensive tackle aren't able to come to an agreement on an extension before March 5, Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic reports.

    Madubuike enjoyed a breakout 2023 campaign in which he set career highs with 38 tackles, 13.0 sacks and two forced fumbles while earning his first Pro Bowl trip. Though the 25-year-old appears unlikely to reach the open market, he would be considered one of the best options available at any position if he were to become a free agent.

  • Lions' Ifeatu Melifonwu: Strong finish to 2023 campaign

    Melifonwu recorded 33 tackles, 3.0 sacks, eight pass breakups, two interceptions and one forced fumble over 17 regular-season games in 2023.

    Seeing extended playing time just twice in the first 12 games of the season, Melifonwu ended the year with a bang after being pushed into a large role for a second time in Week 14. From that point on, the Syracuse product did enough to finish the season tied for second among safeties in sacks and top 20 in passes defended despite seeing more than seven percent of the defensive snaps in just seven of 17 games. Melifonwu then finished tied for third among all players in sacks (2.0) and 11th in tackles (16) during the postseason. Now entering the final year of his rookie contract, the 2021 third-rounder seems headed for a big role in 2024 regardless of any additions the Lions could make to the secondary this offseason.

  • Jaylon Johnson DB | CHI

    Bears' Jaylon Johnson: Working on new contract

    Bears general manager Ryan Poles said the Bears are in the process of getting a contract extension done with Johnson (shoulder), Chris Emma of 670TheScore.com reports.

    Johnson is coming off a strong fourth season, having recorded 36 tackles, 10 passes defended and four interceptions during the 2023 campaign. He'll be one of the top potential free agents this offseason if the Bears are unable to re-sign him before free agency begins. According to Adam Jahns of The Athletic, Poles would like to avoid using the franchise tag on Johnson, but it's not clear if they will if they're unable to each an agreement on an extension.

  • Buccaneers' Shaquil Barrett: On way out of Tampa

    Barrett is expected to be released by the Buccaneers before his $15 million option bonus is due next month, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.

    Barrett appeared in 16 regular-season games during the 2023 campaign, after missing much of the 2022 season due to an Achilles tear. The veteran linebacker recorded 52 tackles (33 solo), including 4.5 sacks, a pick-six, a pass defended and three forced fumbles last season, and showed he could still be a contributor, even if his Pro Bowl days may be behind him.

  • Justin Fields QB | CHI

    Bears' Justin Fields: Trade could come before free agency

    General manager Ryan Poles said Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine that if the Bears decide they will be selecting a quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick in April's draft, the team would attempt to trade Fields before the start of free agency March 13, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.

    Poles' comments could be read as a response to Fields' recently stated desire for clarity on his future in Chicago, and it sounds like a decision could be made more quickly than expected. The official start of free agency is just over two weeks away, while the legal tampering period will begin March 11. If, as expected, the Bears determine they will be selectin a QB like Caleb Williams in the 2024 NFL Draft, trade options for Fields could include the Steelers, Falcons, Patriots, Raiders and Broncos. In 13 games last season, the 2021 first-round pick compiled 2,562 passing yards with 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions, to go with 657 rushing yards and four scores.

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