Friday was a busy day in the NFL, with multiple teams making trades and releasing players before the end of the league year. Let’s recap everything, and see how the moves being reported could impact the Kansas City Chiefs.
We’ll update this story as more moves are announced.
Deal — or No Deal — for Antonio Brown
Friday’s NFL news early started late Thursday night, when NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport tweeted that the Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers were about to conclude a trade sending Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown to the Bills.
Sources: The #Steelers are closing in on a deal to send star WR Antonio Brown to the Buffalo #Bills. There it is.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 8, 2019
But it didn’t come to pass. In the overnight hours, other reporters said the deal wasn’t likely, and Brown himself denied it — calling it “fake news” in an Instagram post.
By morning, it was all over. No deal.
Bills’ GM Brandon Beane: “We inquired about Antonio Brown on Tuesday, and kept talks open with the Steelers. We had positive discussions, but ultimately it didn’t make sense for either side. As great a player as Antonio Brown is, we have moved on and our focus is on free agency.”— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 8, 2019
Potential Chiefs impact: Obviously if other teams are no longer in the running, this could open the door for the Chiefs to make a move to acquire the Steelers wide receiver. But no such move — as yet — has been reported, or even credibly hinted at.
This just in at 4:28 pm: ESPN NFL insider Field Yates reports Brown has made another Instagram post saying he’s about to announce his new team.
Antonio Brown on his Instagram live: "Hey I'm about to announce my new team in like a little bit alright... Something positive is about to be happening real soon, trust me. Stay by the phone... Big announcement coming soon. Big announcement coming soon! Mr. Big Checks."— Field Yates (@FieldYates) March 8, 2019
Shortly afterward, Gerry Dulac — a Steelers beat reporter — reported that a deal was imminent.
BREAKING: Steelers are close to a deal to trade Antonio Brown, per source.— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) March 8, 2019
And shortly after that, Dulac sent out another tidbit saying that three teams were still in the mix.
Three teams "still alive" in the running for Antonio Brown, per source. Deal could be completed soon, tho.— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) March 8, 2019
Jacksonville Jaguars release entire roster
OK... it wasn’t everybody. But for a while on Friday morning — as report after report indicated another player was being cut in Jacksonville — it seemed like the whole roster was headed out the door.
When official word arrived, it turned out five players had received the ax.
We have released DT Malik Jackson, S Tashaun Gipson, RT Jermey Parnell, LS Carson Tinker and RB Carlos Hyde.— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) March 8, 2019
Defensive tackle Malik Jackson, right tackle Jermey Parnell, long snapper Carson Tinker, safety Tashaun Gipson and running back Carlos Hyde will now be seeking life elsewhere.
The moves give the Jaguars $30 million in cap space before the free agency period begins. Since they are seen as a potential landing spot for Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, you can guess where a lot of that money might be used.
Potential Chiefs impact: It seems unlikely that Jackson, Parnell and Tinker will pique the interest of the Chiefs. But Hyde — a productive rusher for the San Francisco 49ers before leaving for the Cleveland Browns, only to be traded to the Jaguars during the 2018 season when Nick Chubb became The Man — could easily figure into the Chiefs’ needs. So could Gipson, 28, a solid starting safety for both the Browns and Jaguars.
Vernon and Zeitler trade teams
The New York Giants and the Browns made a rare player-for-player deal that sent Giants linebacker Olivier Vernon and their 132nd pick in April’s NFL Draft to the Browns in exchange for their right guard Kevin Zeitler and 155th pick.
BREAKING: Giants trading DE Olivier Vernon to Browns for OG Kevin Zeitler. (via @RapSheet + @MikeGarafolo) pic.twitter.com/ZVAS60SGmK— NFL (@NFL) March 8, 2019
This move looks like a win-win. The Giants get a solid offensive lineman, and the Browns get a player they can use as a 4-3 defensive end.
Potential Chiefs impact: With both offensive guard positions solid, the Chiefs weren’t likely to be in the market for a player like Zeitler. Vernon could have been another story. As Craig Stout noted in January, Vernon was sometimes a 4-3 Sam linebacker for the Giants under Steve Spagnuolo, and potentially could have been a target for the Chiefs in a position for which they currently have no clear answer — unless Justin Houston remains on the roster. Speaking of which... this move pretty much eliminates the Browns as a potential trading partner for either Houston or Dee Ford.
Weddle signed by Rams
NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport reported that the Los Angeles Rams have come to terms on a two-year deal with former Baltimore Ravens (and Los Angeles Chargers) safety Eric Weddle, who had been released by the Ravens on Wednesday.
The #Rams have agreed to terms on a 2-year deal with Pro Bowl S Eric Weddle worth up to $12.5M, source said. $10.5M base. He considered retirement, but quickly landed… back on the field.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 8, 2019
The two-year deal is said to be worth $10.5M, with up to $2M in incentives.
Potential Chiefs impact: Weddle, 34, is six-time Pro Bowl player who is another (more than) solid safety that could have been an option for the Chiefs.
Brad Childress to join the Chicago Bears
This isn’t exactly free agency news, but it’s still interesting.
According to NFL Network reporter Tom Pelissero, former Chiefs assistant coach Brad Childress — also a former head coach of the Minnesota Vikings — will be joining former Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy with the Bears.
Not only are they close, Brad Childress was spotted at the combine and my understanding is he's expected to join Matt Nagy's staff soon in an assistant/consultant role, working with the #Bears offense. Another twist on the former #Vikings coach's "retirement". https://t.co/wDmKLnQ9WF— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 8, 2019
Just over a year ago, Childress — then the Chiefs assistant head coach under Andy Reid, after serving as co-offensive coordinator with Nagy in the 2016 season — told the Chiefs he was retiring, and then joined Nagy as an offensive consultant in Chicago.
Pretty much the same thing has happened now. In January, Childress stepped down as head coach of the AAF’s Atlanta Legends, citing a need to spend more time with his family.
Last year, it appeared that Nagy had convinced Childress to come back. And it now seems that Nagy has again made a persuasive argument for Childress to return.
Potential Chiefs impact: None right now. But who knows? The Chiefs might need a spread game analyst again. If so, can Reid be more persuasive than Nagy?
Other transaction headlines
- Denver Broncos offensive tackle Billy Turner has broken off contract extension talks with the Broncos, and will enter free agency.
- The Arizona Cardinals have released quarterback Mike Glennon and safety Antione Bethea. Bethea, 34, has declined in recent years, but still started 16 games for the Cardinals in 2018.
- The Green Bay Packers have waived inside linebacker Antonio Morrison.
- The Miami Dolphins have released wide receiver (and former New England Patriot) Danny Amendola.
- The Buffalo Bills are now reported to be interested in trading for Seattle Seahawks hybrid linebacker Frank Clark, who had 13 sacks in 2018. Note: no word on if the Seahawks are interested in trading him.
- Since the Rams acquired Eric Weddle from the Ravens, it’s being reported that safety LaMarcus Joyner could be allowed to walk in free agency. Joyner is a former second-round pick who played for the Rams for five seasons, and started 15 games last season.
- The Rams have released linebacker Mark Barron. Barron, 29, has played at both safety and linebacker in his seven-year career with the Rams and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A former first-round pick, he started 12 games for the Rams in 2018.