The Eagles can also opt to add a high-end prospect in Florida’s Kyle Pitts at the position with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft.
As for Ertz, interest should be there, as Rapoport said. Marcel Louis-Jacques of ESPN tweeted that he expected the Buffalo Bills to be in the mix. Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94 WIP posited that the Los Angeles Chargers could be an option, throwing out the idea of L.A. sending wideout Mike Williams in return.
Nate Taylor of The Athletic reported that the defending AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs have shown interest too.
The interest is clearly there, but Mike Garafolo of NFL Network noted that the Eagles still need to be on the same page with Ertz’s representation about trade compensation in return for the tight end.
Joe Thuney, G, Kansas City Chiefs
The deal: Five years, $80 million, $32 million fully guaranteed
Top 100 ranking: 12
This is what happens when a clearly desperate team approaches the best player available at the position. Thuney’s $16 million average per year blows away the previous high for a guard in a multiyear deal, which had been $14.1 million for the Eagles’ Brandon Brooks. (Washington’s Brandon Scherff’s franchise tag in 2021 will be worth $18.036 million.)
Frank Clark - $25.8 million
Frank Clark has given the Chiefs 14 sacks in two years since signing a five-year $104 million contract in 2019. While Clark has been a productive player for the Chiefs’ defense, sharing a room with Donald as the only non-quarterback on this list is tough standard to live up to, and Clark hasn’t it.
Clark signed his current contract after a career year for the Seattle Seahawks in which he totaled 13 sacks and two forced fumbles. The Chiefs haven’t quite gotten what they paid for. Fortunately for Clark, Mahomes, who’s cap hit is just one third of Clark’s this year, has helped the 27-year-old pass rusher polish his resume with two Super Bowl appearances in Kansas City.
According to The Draft Network’s Justin Melo, the Chiefs are one of the teams to recently hold a virtual pre-draft meeting with cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. out of Florida State. Other teams to recently meet with Samuel Jr. include the Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions, LA Rams, Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Chargers.
Samuel put together quite the career with the Seminoles, recording 97 total tackles, three tackles for loss, 29 passes defended, four interceptions, two fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles in three seasons. The 5-10 and 187-pound cornerback is a tad undersized, but the Chiefs will know exactly what they’re getting here because of his NFL bloodlines.
Winner: Patrick Mahomes
Patrick Mahomes clearly doesn’t want to get beaten up like he did in Super Bowl LV ever again. The quarterback recently restructured his contract with the Chiefs to give the club more cap space and it has provided immediate dividends with the team signing left guard Joe Thuney to a five-year deal. Thuney has been a key piece to the Patriots offense through two Super Bowl championships and now he’ll look to add to his résumé by blocking for Mahomes for the next half-decade. According to PFF, Thuney has allowed just three sacks dating back to 2018. Not only does he bring elite production, but he’s also proven to be one of the more durable offensive linemen around.
Clearly, Mahomes likes what his team is doing on Day 1 of free agency.
Around the NFL
Henry, 26, clicked with rookie quarterback Justin Herbert and had a career-best 60 receptions for 613 yards and four touchdowns for the Chargers last season.
He will join a Patriots team that is undergoing a pass-catching overhaul. On Monday, the team agreed to a total of nearly $100 million worth of contracts to tight end Jonnu Smith and wide receivers Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne.
Dalton heads north after spending the 2020 season with the Dallas Cowboys, where Dalton went from a savvy veteran signing to backup Dak Prescott to Dallas’ No. 1 man under center due to Prescott’s injury. He had to navigate a troublesome road to even be able to fill his role, overcoming a concussion and COVID-19 to play 11 games for the Cowboys.
Dalton completed 64.9% of his passes for 2,170 yards and a 14-8 touchdown-interception ratio, but with Prescott’s return anticipated, it was time for him to find a better opportunity elsewhere. He has located a chance to start in Chicago, where the Bears entered the offseason searching for an answer under center after coming to terms with the reality Mitchell Trubisky wasn’t the answer, nor was Nick Foles or Wilson.
Derek Carr: Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock surely have moves upcoming, so it’s unfair to evaluate the Raiders’ offseason plan before the offseason technically starts. Still, Carr can’t feel all that comfortable that the team is saying goodbye to his top receiver from 2020 (Nelson Agholor), a former Pro Bowl tackle ( Trent Brown) and one of the best centers of his era, Rodney Hudson. Tuesday’s news of Hudson’s release was the biggest surprise and makes me wonder if the previously reported cut of guard Gabe Jackson is still happening. (Jackson officially remains on the roster.)
Hudson has only missed one start in the last five years and is, at worst, still among the 10 best centers in football. He had a big contract, but the Raiders won’t save any cap room by releasing him unless they designate him a post-June 1 cut. (Even then, the savings won’t be available until the summer.) The Raiders’ offensive line has been this team’s identity over the last five years, providing Carr a warm blanket of protection. That blanket has been ripped off.
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
O’Daniel only saw the field defensively on nine snaps in the 14 total games he appeared in. That’s the lowest number among his three NFL seasons. He was a pillar on the special teams unit as usual, but he missed the final five regular-season games with an ankle injury. He returned for the postseason and led the special teams unit in snaps. He was also the only Chiefs player with multiple special teams tackles in the postseason.
After being selected in the third round of the 2018 draft, the expectation was not to be a special teams-only player. He used to get snaps at the dime linebacker position, but Ben Niemann came in as an undrafted free agent and won that spot. He hits free agency after 2021 and releasing O’Daniel now only saves the Chiefs $1 million against the cap. I think he survives for a fourth season.
My opinion: Make him earn the right to finish out his rookie contract.
A tweet to make you think
LT Trent Williams, LG Joe Thuney, OC Rodney Hudson.— BJ Kissel (@LetItFlyBJ) March 16, 2021
I know, I know.
But man ...
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