Content provided by Rotoworld Player News - Monday, March 5th, 2018

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RapSheet: Earl Thomas 'firmly in' SEA's plans 03-05-2018
Earl Thomas FS SEA
According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Earl Thomas is "firmly in" the Seahawks' 2018 plans, and they have no plans to trade him.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter
RapSheet reported the same last month, saying the Seahawks would prefer to extend Thomas, who is entering a contract year, rather than trade him. But Yahoo's Charles Robinson reopened the trade talk Monday, saying the Seahawks had "open ears" regarding Thomas at the Combine. That's probably true, but Seattle would have to be blown away to trade the ballhawking safety.
DeMarcus Lawrence signs $17.1M franchise tag 03-05-2018
Demarcus Lawrence DE DAL
Cowboys signed franchise player LE DeMarcus Lawrence to a one-year, $17.143 million contract. That didn't take long. Lawrence was slapped with the tag earlier Monday and wasted no time signing it, guaranteeing himself the full $17 million and change for 2018. The two sides have until mid-July to hammer out a long-term deal. Lawrence and Ezekiel Ansah were both tagged ahead of free agency.
Beat writer 'believes' Jaguars let A-Rob walk 03-05-2018
Allen Robinson WR CHI
John Oehser of the Jaguars' team website "believes" the team will not re-sign free agent Allen Robinson.
The deadline to use the franchise tag is Tuesday, and there's been very little chatter of the Jaguars actually doing that with Robinson over the last week. It sounds as if the team isn't comfortable committing that much guaranteed money to a receiver coming off a torn ACL, and they may prefer to use it elsewhere on fellow free agents CB Aaron Colvin and WR Marqise Lee. Robinson is still just 24 and is expected to be 100 percent for the offseason. He'll have a hot market.
Texans to shun players who knelt for anthem? 03-05-2018
Eric Reid SS SF
Two NFL agents told the Houston Chronicle that the Texans "aren't interested" in any players who have knelt during the national anthem to protest police brutality.

Houston Chronicle
We posted this blurb under S Eric Reid because he is a free agent who knelt during the anthem. Per the Chronicle's Jerome Solomon, "it is considered to be understood" within the Texans' organization that owner Bob McNair would not sign off on any free agents "who (have) participated in protests or are likely to." In fact, Solomon passes along that there are "many who believe if McNair could field a team with all-white, all-conforming all-pro talent, he would."
Le'Veon likely to skip 2nd straight camp 03-05-2018
Le'Veon Bell RB PIT
Le'Veon Bell is expected to skip camp for the second consecutive year when the Steelers place the franchise tag on him.

Jeremy Fowler
The Steelers are expected to tag Bell barring a last-second deal. Retirement is likely an exaggeration. Bell is more inclined to skip all of training camp for the second consecutive season if he and the Steelers can't reach a long-term deal. "We're not coming to a number we both agree on," Bell told ESPN's Jeremy Fowler. "I don't think I should settle for anything less than what I'm valued at." Bell has reportedly set his floor at $14.5 million per year, based on his franchise tag number. Devonta Freeman is currently the league's highest paid running back at $8.25 million per year.
Falcons re-sign K Matt Bryant to 3-year deal 03-05-2018
Matt Bryant K ATL
Falcons re-signed K Matt Bryant to a three-year contract. Bryant has been outstanding the past two seasons, nailing 68-of-76 (89.5 percent) field goal attempts. Bryant has connected on at least 85 percent of his field goals in seven of the past eight seasons. He turns 43 in May. Despite Bryant's advanced age, he will remain a premier fantasy kicker in 2018.
Report: Military man advised against Kap deal 03-05-2018
Colin Kaepernick QB SF
According to TMZ Sports, a "high-ranking U.S. military official" cautioned the Ravens against signing free agent Colin Kaepernick before the 2017 season.

TMZ Sports
The Ravens had a quarterback need when Joe Flacco was nursing a back injury and Ryan Mallett was struggling mightily in training camp. Coach John Harbaugh reportedly sought "advice from some trusted friends," one being a "high-ranking" member of the U.S. military, who reportedly told Harbaugh that Kaepernick should only be signed if he agreed to follow a "set of specific guidelines," presumably including a warning against kneeling during the national anthem. Instead, the Ravens signed Thad Lewis, who hasn't thrown a pass in an NFL regular season game since 2013.
Shields 1 concussion away from retirement 03-05-2018
Sam Shields CB LA
Free agent CB Sam Shields says he's one concussion away from retirement.

Akron Beacon Journal
Shields suffered the fifth documented concussion of his playing career in Week 1 of 2016 with the Packers, and hasn't played since. Shields believes he'll sign with a team because he "can still run," but said he'd call his career "a wrap" if he suffered another concussion. 30-year-old Shields is visiting the Rams on Tuesday. He is scheduled to meet with the Browns after that.
Jets 'Plan B' may be Bridgewater and McCown 03-05-2018
Teddy Bridgewater QB NYJ
Per SNY's Ralph Vacchiano, the Jets' "Plan B" if they fail to sign free agent Kirk Cousins would be to pair Teddy Bridgewater with Josh McCown.

Cousins is still 'Plan A' for the Jets. If "their fears are realized" and Cousins signs with the Vikings, the next plan would be signing Bridgewater, who is still just 25, and bringing back 38-year-old McCown to mentor him. 'Plan C' would be pairing McCown with whoever they take sixth-overall in the draft. Bridgewater has also been linked to "a handful" of other teams eyeing him as a potential starter.
Report: Rams to tag either Joyner or Watkins 03-05-2018
Lamarcus Joyner FS LA
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports the Rams plan to franchise tag either FS Lamarcus Joyner or WR Sammy Watkins on Tuesday.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter
The Rams want both impending free agents back, but they can only tag one. RapSheet indicates whichever player does not receive the franchise tag ahead of Tuesday's deadline will test the open market. Rams beat writers believed earlier in the offseason Watkins was the favorite to get tagged, but their tune has changed. Joyner is now seen as the likeliest franchise-tag recipient.
Free agent CB Shields visiting Rams Tuesday 03-05-2018
Sam Shields CB LA
Free agent CB Sam Shields will visit the Rams on Tuesday.

Michael Cohen on Twitter
He'll visit the Browns after that. With slot CB Nickell Robey-Coleman and Trumaine Johnson's contracts up, the Rams are getting aggressive addressing corner, and staying aggressive even after acquiring Marcus Peters from the Chiefs.
Broncos letting LB Todd Davis test market. 03-05-2018
Todd Davis LB DEN
The Denver Post reports the Broncos will let free agent LB Todd Davis reach the open market.

Denver Post
GM John Elway has said the team would like to re-sign Davis. Davis has played in 1,217 of a possible 2,000 snaps for the Broncos the past two seasons. Going on 26, Davis will likely garner interest in the market if only for his stout run defense.
Ex-Packers CB Sam Shields visiting Browns 03-05-2018
Sam Shields CB LA
Free agent CB Sam Shields will visit the Browns.

Adam Schefter on Twitter
Shields hasn't played since Week 1 of the 2016 season, when he was still a Packer. Shields finished that year on injured reserve before spending 2017 out of the league. He turned 30 in December. Were he to land a Browns contract, he would be facing long odds of cracking the 53-man roster.
Raiders officially cut ties with Aldon Smith 03-05-2018
Aldon Smith OLB OAK
Raiders released OLB Aldon Smith. The Raiders had been keeping Smith around on the reserve/suspended list on the off chance he got his affairs in order and was reinstated, but it has become clear that's not going to happen. TMZ reported earlier Monday that Smith had checked into rehab following a domestic violence incident with his fiancee. Still somehow only 28, Smith hasn't played a down since 2015. His career is almost certainly over.
Broncos 'very much in' on Kirk Cousins 03-05-2018
Kirk Cousins QB MIN
NBC Denver's Mike Klis reports the Broncos are "very much in" on free agent Kirk Cousins.

Mike Klis on Twitter
That's "per team and player sources." There's a report out that Cousins is "down to" the Vikings and Jets, but the sides aren't technically even allowed to talk yet. (Emphasis on "technically.") The "legal tampering" - we really need to rename that - period begins next Monday before free agency kicks off that Wednesday.
Earl Thomas reportedly drawing trade interest 03-05-2018
Earl Thomas FS SEA
Yahoo's Charles Robinson reports the Seahawks have kept "open ears" at the Combine, and that contract-year FS Earl Thomas is drawing trade interest.

Charles Robinson on Twitter
That's in addition to Michael Bennett. There have been signs Thomas and Seattle are headed for divorce, but's Ian Rapoport reported last month the team was more likely to extend Thomas than deal him. The Seahawks are comfortable openly flirting with trading players before keeping them. That's what they did with Richard Sherman in 2017. If Thomas is dealt, he seemed to make it known last season his preference would be Dallas.
Panthers will tag Gano absent long-term deal 03-05-2018
Graham Gano K CAR's Ian Rapoport reports the Panthers will franchise tag K Graham Gano if the sides cannot reach a long-term deal by Tuesday's tag deadline.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter
The Panthers have prioritized tagging Gano over OG Andrew Norwell. Evidently, Norwell doesn't fit in the budget. One of the tag's primary functions has become preventing kickers from reaching the open market. That wasn't the intended use of the "franchise" tag.
Report: Graham and Seahawks to 'part ways' 03-05-2018
Jimmy Graham TE GB
NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports the Seahawks and free agent Jimmy Graham are expected to "part ways."

Tom Pelissero on Twitter
Per Pelissero, the Saints are interested in a reunion. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has previously claimed he would "love" to re-sign Graham, but the 31-year-old tight end probably wouldn't fit in the team's 2018 budget. Graham could also be looking to move on after inconsistent usage in the Pacific Northwest. Graham is the top tight end available.
Report: Eagles want more than a 1st for Foles 03-05-2018
Nick Foles QB PHI
ESPN's Chris Mortensen reports the Eagles are seeking more than the first- and fourth-round picks they received for Sam Bradford in Nick Foles trade talks.

Chris Mortensen on Twitter
That's apparently been the Eagles' "basic answer" in talks. Per Mort, the Eagles are fielding inquiries, but have not "solicited" any. With Carson Wentz recovering from a torn ACL, the Eagles have plenty of reason to be patient with their Super Bowl-winning backup, though his value should be at an all-time high before the draft before steadily declining thereafter. Getting a first-round pick probably isn't the most likely outcome.
Report: DAL to franchise DeMarcus Lawrence 03-05-2018
Demarcus Lawrence DE DAL
Cowboys will apply the franchise tag to DE DeMarcus Lawrence.

Adam Schefter on Twitter
ESPN's Adam Schefter reports the sides will not reach a long-term agreement before Tuesday's deadline, making the tag a formality. The tag is worth roughly $17.5 million for defensive ends. The sides now have until July 16 to reach a long-term agreement. Coming off a 14.5-sack breakout, Lawrence turns 26 next month.
Giants could have five new starters on line 03-05-2018
Ereck Flowers OT NYG
ESPN's Jordan Raanan did not rule out the possibility of the Giants having five new starters on the offensive line.

RT Justin Pugh, C Weston Richburg, and RG D.J. Fluker are all free agents, LG John Jerry is just a replacement-level player, and LT Ereck Flowers has struggled each of his three seasons in the league. It seems unlikely there is that much turnover on the unit, but the line certainly will be one of new GM Dave Gettleman's top priorities this offseason.
Teams looking at Weston Richburg as a guard 03-05-2018
Weston Richburg C SF
ESPN's Jordan Raanan reports teams are looking at impending free agent Weston Richburg at center and guard.

Richburg has been at center the last three seasons, but he was a 15-game starter at guard as a rookie in 2014. That versatility could earn him some extra money, but Richburg is already one of the top interior linemen available on the market. He has been linked with the Jets.
Giants want to re-sign RB Orleans Darkwa 03-05-2018
Orleans Darkwa RB NYG
ESPN's Jordan Raanan reports the Giants want to re-sign RB Orleans Darkwa.

Coming off a breakout season in which he ran for 751 yards and five scores on 171 attempts, Darkwa has drawn a surprising amount of interest so far. NJ Advance Media reports the Jets are interested in him, and Raanan suggests the Raiders will also take a look. Darkwa just turned 26 in February.
Report: Eagles offered 2nd-rounder for Foles 03-05-2018
Nick Foles QB PHI
Geoff Mosher of FanRag Sports reports the Eagles have already been offered a second-round pick for Nick Foles.

FanRag Sports
That is almost certainly not enough to get a deal done, but it does confirm other teams are making inquiries about the Super Bowl MVP. MMQB's Peter King reported the Eagles are "confident" Carson Wentz will be ready for Week 1, opening the door for them to trade Foles, but he added they value Foles more highly than Sam Bradford, who fetched a first and a fourth prior to the 2016 season. If this mystery team really wants Foles, they will need to up their offer.
Muhammad Wilkerson expected to visit Packers 03-05-2018
Muhammad Wilkerson DE GB
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports free agent DE Muhammad Wilkerson's first visit is expected to be with the Packers.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter
Wilkerson has yet to officially be released by the Jets, but Rapoport reports that should happen on Monday. The Packers really need help on the edge, but Wilkerson can be a dominant force when motivated and played for new Packers DC Mike Pettine in New York. With Mike Daniels and Kenny Clark already there, the Packers would boast one of the most talented defensive lines in the league if they sign Wilkerson.
Antonio Cromartie announces retirement 03-05-2018
Antonio Cromartie CB IND
Ex-Chargers and Jets CB Antonio Cromartie announced his retirement after 11 seasons in the NFL.

Antonio Cromartie on Instagram
Report: Giants interested in Patrick Robinson 03-05-2018
Patrick Robinson CB NO
NJ Advance Media reports the Giants are interested in impending free agent CB Patrick Robinson.

NJ Advance Media
Robinson had a standout season for the Eagles after signing a one-year deal last March. He is looking for more money and a longer-term commitment this time around, something Philadelphia is likely unable to offer due to their cap situation. In addition to the Giants, the Cardinals have been linked with Robinson.
Report: Aldon Smith checks into rehab 03-05-2018
Aldon Smith OLB OAK
TMZ Sports reports Raiders suspended OLB Aldon Smith has checked into rehab.

TMZ Sports
Smith was allegedly involved in a domestic violence incident on Saturday night, but he fled the scene before cops arrived. Smith's fiancee, the alleged victim, told TMZ Sports Smith called her parents after the incident and asked them to take him to rehab. Out of the league since 2015, Smith's playing days are almost certainly finished.
Leonard Floyd expected to be ready for OTAs 03-05-2018
Leonard Floyd OLB CHI
The Chicago Tribune's Brad Biggs expects Bears OLB Leonard Floyd (knee) to be "good to go in the spring."

Chicago Tribune
Floyd suffered MCL and PCL damage when he collided with teammate Kyle Fuller in Week 11. He was placed on injured reserve several days later, but he should be ready by the time OTAs roll around. After cutting Pernell McPhee, the Bears need Floyd to step up in his third season.
Report: Bears won't franchise tag Kyle Fuller 03-05-2018
Kyle Fuller CB CHI
The Chicago Tribune's Brad Biggs reports the Bears will not place the franchise tag on CB Kyle Fuller.

Chicago Tribune
Biggs "can't say for sure if the transition tag will be in play." It is a bit of a reversal from Biggs, who just last week said the franchise tag was an option. Expected to cost nearly $15 million, the tag would have been an overspend on Fuller and made long-term negotiations difficult. Biggs reports both sides would like to work out a deal, but Fuller is expected to at least test the market before he makes his final decision.
Robbery charge against Humphrey dropped 03-05-2018
Marlon Humphrey CB BAL
The felony robbery charge against Ravens CB Marlon Humphrey was dismissed on Friday.

Humphrey was arrested for third-degree robbery in Alabama at the end of January for allegedly stealing a phone charger from an Uber driver -- really. Humphrey said the incident was just a "misunderstanding," an interpretation with which the authorities apparently agreed. It seems unlikely the 2017 first-rounder faces any league discipline for the incident.
'Seems unlikely' Ravens cut CB Brandon Carr 03-05-2018
Brandon Carr CB BAL
The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec writes it "seems unlikely" the Ravens cut CB Brandon Carr.

Baltimore Sun
Baltimore can save $4 million against the cap by cutting ties with Carr, money they could use to revamp the offense. The Ravens have questions in the secondary with Jimmy Smith returning from a torn Achilles, however, and GM Ozzie Newsome "stressed" Baltimore needs six quality cornerbacks on the depth chart. At this point, it looks likely Carr is back.
DT Beau Allen expected to walk in free agency 03-05-2018
Beau Allen DT TB
MMQB's Peter King reports the Eagles expect to lose DT Beau Allen in free agency.

A 2014 seventh-round pick, Allen has been a solid rotational option the last two seasons, but he is likely looking for more playing time and money than the Eagles can offer. Allen could end up being one of the better bargain signings this free agency period.
Nigel Bradham expected to walk in free agency 03-05-2018
Nigel Bradham OLB PHI
MMQB's Peter King reports the Eagles expect to lose LB Nigel Bradham in free agency.

Bradham was a key cog in the Super Bowl Champs' defense, recording 88 tackles and a return touchdown across 922 regular season snaps. Philly is already paying Mychal Kendricks a king's ransom, however, and will get Jordan Hicks back from injury, making Bradham an expensive luxury for a team with no cap space. Bradham is Rotoworld's No. 1 available 4-3 linebacker.
Eagles 'confident' Wentz will be ready Week 1 03-05-2018
Carson Wentz QB PHI
MMQB's Peter King reports the Eagles are "confident" Carson Wentz (ACL) will be ready Week 1.

Wentz tore his ACL in mid-December and underwent surgery a few days later. He was already off crutches by the Super Bowl and seen throwing passes up to 50 yards in pre-game warmups. If the Eagles are really "confident" Wentz will be ready, they could look to trade Nick Foles this offseason. King reports they have already received "at least one respectable" offer.
Report: Gronk has yet to decide on retirement 03-05-2018
Rob Gronkowski TE NE
MMQB's Peter King reports Rob Gronkowski has yet to make a decision on retirement.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Gronkowski is expected to return, a report which seemed to elicit a "#clueless" tweet out of the tight end. King reports Gronk has yet to decide and is in "no hurry" to make the final call. It would be surprising if Gronkowski is not spiking footballs in 2018, but it cannot be taken for granted.
King: Hue Jackson wants to sign A.J. McCarron 03-05-2018
AJ McCarron QB BUF
MMQB's Peter King reports Browns coach Hue Jackson's "preference" is signing A.J. McCarron in free agency in addition to spending an early pick on a quarterback.

Jackson said last week he does not want to start a rookie quarterback in Week 1, and it makes sense he would be targeting McCarron in free agency after he pushed to trade for him at the deadline last season. Seemingly out of the Kirk Cousins sweepstakes, it looks likely the Browns head into the 2018 season with McCarron and a rookie atop the depth chart.
Report: Steelers expected to tag Le'Veon Bell 03-05-2018
Le'Veon Bell RB PIT
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports the Steelers are expected to place the franchise tag on Le'Veon Bell.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter
Rapoport says there was "some early optimism" the two sides would work out a long-term deal before Tuesday's tag deadline, but that is not going to happen "barring a dramatic turn." Using the tag gives the Steelers until July 16 to work out an extension. Bell will earn just north of $14.5 million if he plays under the tag this season.