Now that the blur of NFL free agency is over with, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some prominent names that are still available. And while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are last in salary cap money available, the two other state NFL teams the Jaguars and the Dolphins still have the cash to make moves.
Two questions that are essential are: how interested are any of them in still spending some of what they have, and whom is a player or two that they are watching and potentially in need of?
Without a doubt, the biggest name still without an NFL home at the end of March is former number 1 pick of the Lions and Dolphins free agent acquisition Ndamukong Suh. Miami cut Suh (above) a year ago in a salary cap move and he signed a one-year deal with the L.A. Rams. Suh obviously ended up playing in the Super Bowl with them in February.
However, the Rams have elected, at least at this point, not to re-sign Suh.
So, he continues in the same mode as last season, trying to find a home most likely on a one-year deal. Suh played for $14 million last season and will probably have to take significantly less at this point to hook on with a team for 2019.
Could Miami be a return destination?
As of Sunday, the Dolphins have $35.5 million under the cap. And this includes, allowing defensive lineman Cam Wake to walk away in free agency and trading veteran Robert Quinn to Cowboys, primarily because of money.
While it is not likely that the Dolphins would want Suh back, as it appears that they are clearing cap money for 2020 and beyond, clearly Suh does have apparently a good relationship with the Dolphins owner, Stephen Ross. And, Miami with a first year defensive minded coach in Brian Flores may be looking to bring him back on a one-year deal at a severe discount from what he played for them, previously.
Another compelling name is Chiefs safety Eric Berry, who was released in large part because of Achilles and heel injuries sidelining him for all but three games the last two years. And, the former three time All-Pro had a large ($12.5 million)( 2019 salary in Kansas City. Yet, all three state NFL teams (and several others around the league) could use a veteran safety. And, Berry becomes a name to watch at a reduced cost.
Example, as much as the Buccaneers would want a veteran in their defensive backfield, they simply don’t have the money. And, Jacksonville has also gone that route with a couple of veteran defensive backs the last couple of years, but just released one of them, Tashaun Gipson, because he was too expensive.
Miami and Jacksonville are both in need of an affordable veteran wide receiver. And, while the Cowboys gobbled up former Packers receiver Randall Cobb last week, the Raiders released former Packer star Jordy Nelson. The word is that apparently Nelson, who turns 34 years old in May, intends to retire instead of playing on. However, he would be an excellent veteran presence in South Florida or for the Jags, if he could be convinced to continue.
If Nelson could not be talked out of retirement, former Patriots receiver Chris Hogan, who will be 31 this fall, has played well on two Super Bowl teams the last two seasons, is still available, as well. And, he will be a fairly significant bargain. Of course, Hogan may be waiting for the Patriots to re-sign him including after draft time..
Finally, one of the best kickers in the NFL over the last 15 seasons is still available. Stephen Gostkowski is 35 and three time All Pro with an 87% FG conversion rate for New England, but was allowed to walk away, for now, by the Patriots due to a $3.5 million price tag last year.
The Fins are happy with young kicker Jason Sanders. Tampa Bay re-signed their kicker from the end of last year, Cairo Santos, but for the Buccaneers, they’re kicking situation has been a revolving door and they could eventually come around to Gostkowski, if he’s still available later this fall.
And the Jaguars remain committed to veteran kicker Josh Lambo, at least for now, too.
So, there are names and likely bargains to be had for current free agents.
Now, we wait, as the players do, to see who wants whom and most importantly, at how much of a discount?
Bama QB Tua Tagovailoa present to start NFL combine
The NFL Scouting Combine is getting underway in Indianapolis this week and on Monday morning, one of the prized quarterbacks that will be available early in the first round of the draft was there for official measurements and to meet with teams.
Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, whose season ended with a fractured hip last November, is on the road to recovery and he was officially measured and also, met with numerous teams that are looking at the possibility of drafting him:
Tua Tagovailoa measured at 6-0, 217 pounds at the NFL combine today. Left throwing hand at 10”
— Cameron Wolfe (@CameronWolfe) February 24, 2020
In addition to not only the injured hip, but also a history of high ankle sprain problems, Tagovailoa has got to answer critics on his size. At just 6 – 0 feet there will be concerns about his ability to clearly see downfield through the massive bodies on NFL Sundays.
However, this can be combated by moving him around out of the pocket and that’s something that Alabama was successful at doing over his three years as well.
As we wrote recently, Tagovailoa was injured in Alabama’s 10th game of the season suffering a fractured hip on a sack late in the first half at Mississippi State. He missed the Tide’s final two regular-season games and then, their Citrus Bowl win January 1st, over Michigan
He came to Alabama from Hawaii and the same high school as Marcus Mariota, having thrown for over 8,000 yards which at that time was a Hawaii High School record. And, he had a career of 84 passing and 27 rushing touchdowns in three seasons.
Tua burst onto the scene nationally, when he relieved Jalen Hurts in the second half and overtime of Alabama’s thrilling title game win over Georgia in the 2018 College Football Playoff Championship Game. Tagovailoa threw the game-winning touchdown pass on the first overtime possession, as Alabama celebrated their fifth National Title in nine seasons under Saban.
In his second season at the helm in the 2018 regular season, Tagovailoa was named second-team AP All-American and was a Heisman Trophy finalist, as the Tide reached the National Title game, again, before being beaten soundly by Clemson 12 months ago.
As this junior season unfolded, Tagovailoa was named almost became synonymous with the Dolphins, who started the season horribly at 0 – 7 and the moniker “Tank for Tua” began to gain momentum in South Florida.
Tagovailoa is obviously on the Dolphins list to look at strongly to select in the top five in the draft and currently, Miami is slated to pick fifth.
It is expected that Tagovailoa will work out for teams probably later in March or maybe even, early April at the Tide’s facility in Tuscaloosa, prior to the NFL draft coming to Las Vegas.
Colorado announced hire of Dolphins assistant Dorrel Sunday
Former UCLA coach and recently promoted Dolphins assistant Karl Dorrell is headed back to college, as the new head coach of the Colorado Buffaloes.
The school confirmed Dorrell’s hire on Sunday evening with a five-year contract to take over their Big 12 program:
We'd like to officially introduce you to our new HC, Karl Dorrell.
— Colorado Buffaloes Football (@CUBuffsFootball) February 23, 2020
The Buffaloes have been seeking a head coach since there coach Mel Tucker abruptly left to take the Michigan State job earlier this month.
Dorrell came to the dolphins with Brian Flores this past season, as wide receiver coach and earlier last week was promoted to assistant head coach for the upcoming season. Miami’s top receiver, DeVante Parker, blossomed under Dorrell’s tutelage as the year went on. He finished the season with 72 catches for 1,202 yards and nine touchdowns becoming the favorite target of QB Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Dorrel is the latest Dolphins assistant on the move. Flores fired the offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea he brought with him from New England. And, his defensive coordinator Patrick Graham left to take the same job with the Giants.
Dorrell had also been the Dolphins receivers coach, previously from 2008 – 10 and then, their quarterbacks coach in 2011 under the late Tony Sparano.
“I am excited that Karl Dorrell has agreed to become our head football coach,” George said. “Karl has had great success as a college coach, both as a head coach and an assistant, and he knows the Pac-12 Conference and West Coast well. It was important that our next coach have CU ties, and Karl has those ties having worked at CU twice previously. Karl shares my passion for Colorado and our vision for winning championships. He will be a tremendous mentor and role model for our student-athletes, and he will provide great leadership for our program going forward.”
The CU Board of Regents still have to approve Dorrell’s contract, which will be $18 million for five seasons.
Dorrell had previously been on Colorado staffs two other times in his career, including most recently as offensive coordinator under Rick Neuheisel from 1995- 98.
Dorrell was named head coach of his alma mater UCLA in 2003, where he lasted five seasons and went to a bowl game every year finishing with a career 35 – 27 record before being fired after the 2007 season.
Dorrell had previously been receivers coach for the New York Jets 2015 – 18 under Todd Bowles (above) and two of his receivers had made the Pro Bowl during his time there.
Colorado picked Dorrell from an interview process that also included former Buffaloes player and Kansas City Super Bowl offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy, who interviewed and was under strong consideration.