Tagged in: free agency

Chicago Bulls exercise contract options on Coby White, Patrick Williams

The Bulls have exercised a pair of rookie scale team options, locking in guard Coby White and forward Patrick Williams for the 2022/23 campaign, the team revealed wednesday in a press release.

While decisions on standard team options are typically due right before free agency begins, teams have to make their decisions on rookie scale team options a year in advance.

By October 31, clubs must either exercise or decline third-year options for first-round picks from 2020 and fourth-year options for 2019’s first-rounders.

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White was a starter for the Bulls this past season, but figures to come off the bench following the team’s acquisition of Lonzo Ball in free agency.

The 21-year-old averaged 15.1 PPG, 4.8 APG, and 4.1 RPG on .416/.359/.901 shooting in 69 games (31.2 MPG) in 2020/21. His ’21/22 debut may be delayed, since he’s coming off left shoulder surgery.

Williams, the No. 4 pick in the 2020 draft, was also a full-time starter last season as a 19-year-old rookie.

His role for 2021/22 stays unclear, but the former Florida State standout looks like a key part of Chicago’s long-term plans. He put up 9.2 PPG and 4.6 RPG on .483/.391/.728 shooting in 71 games (27.9 MPG) last season. White’s fourth-year option for 2022/23 is worth $7,413,955.

He’ll now be extension-eligible during the 2022 offseason and would be eligible for restricted free agency in 2023 if he doesn’t sign a new contract next year.

Williams’ third-year option for ’22/23 will pay him $7,775,400. The Bulls will have to decide on his fourth-year option for 2023/24 by October 31, 2022.

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Los Angeles Lakers, Carmelo Anthony agree to one-year NBA free-agency contract

Free-agent forward Carmelo Anthony agreed to terms with the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday, Anthony’s manager, Bay Frazier, told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The deal — one of several made by the Lakers on Tuesday — is for one campaign, according to Frazier. Anthony’s agent, Aaron Mintz of CAA Sports, completed the agreement with Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka on Tuesday.

Anthony, who moved up to No. 10 on the NBA’s career scoring list last season, rehabbed his career in two seasons in Portland after being out of the league for a year following an ill-fated stint with the Houston Rockets.

The 18-year veteran flourished in a bench role with the Blazers last season, averaging 13.4 points in 24.5 minutes per game while shooting a career-best 40.9% from 3. Anthony, 37, entered into the league with LeBron James in the famed 2003 draft class, and the two have kept a close friendship.

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Anthony has earned more than $260 million in salary in his career and is a 10-time All-Star, six-time All-NBA selection and three-time Olympic gold medalist.

Success has eluded him on the postseason stage, though. In 13 career playoff appearances, Anthony’s teams have made the conference finals just once, and he has yet to play in the NBA Finals.

After being traded by the New York Knicks to the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2017, Anthony had an up-and-down season with the Thunder as the team failed to meet expectations. He was traded to the Atlanta Hawks the next offseason, then instantly waived.

He signed with the Rockets, agreeing to play a long-anticipated bench role for the contenders led by James Harden and Chris Paul, but was waived after just 10 matches. Anthony wasn’t signed by another team that season, casting doubt on the future of his NBA career.

But the Blazers offered a lifeline, and Anthony accepted the role and opportunity to contribute to a Western Conference playoff team. He started all 58 games his first season with Portland as it dealt with a series of injuries, but he came off the bench in 66 of his 69 appearances last season.

A surefire future Hall of Famer, Anthony currently sits at 27,370 points, just 39 points behind Moses Malone for ninth. He won the scoring title with the Knicks in 2012-13, averaging 28.7 points. Anthony spent 10 consecutive seasons in the top 10 in scoring and finished as a runner-up for the scoring title twice in that stretch.

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Denver Broncos sign right tackle Bobby Massie after injury to Ja’Wuan James

In the wake of Ja’Wuan James’ season-ending injury, the Denver Broncos on Wednesday signed Bobby Massie to play right tackle.

According to Massie’s representatives, Massie agreed to a one-year, $4 million deal. The 31-year-old has started 110 matches in his career and figures to be the Broncos’ starter at right tackle when they open the season Sept. 12 versus the New York Giants.

James suffered a season-ending Achilles tendon injury early last week. The Broncos on Monday will start phase 2 of their offseason program, which will permit some limited on-field work for players in attendance.

Massie was a player the Broncos were interested in signing in 2016, when he joined the Chicago Bears in free agency.

Massie spent the past five seasons with the Bears after playing his first four years in the league with the Arizona Cardinals.

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Massie missed the last eight games of the 2020 regular season because of a knee injury but had returned to practice before the end of the season. He did not play in the Bears’ wild-card loss to the New Orleans Saints.

The Broncos have largely been vexed at right tackle over the past eight years.

At least two players have started games at the position in each of the past eight seasons, as the Broncos used four different players at right tackle in 2020 and 2017.

The Broncos have not had a player start all 16 games of a season at right tackle since Orlando Franklin did it in 2012. James, who opted out last season because of concerns over COVID-19, has played a combined 63 snaps over three games — all in 2019 — since he signed a four-year, $51 million deal with the Broncos in March of that year.

James stated during the 2019 season he had suffered a torn meniscus as well as a torn MCL in separate games that season.

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Minnesota Vikings, safety Xavier Woods reach 1-year deal

The Minnesota Vikings agreed to a contract with free-agent safety Xavier Woods, the team revealed.

Terms were not disclosed but a source confirmed to ESPN on Saturday that it’s a one-year, $2.25 million deal that contains $1.75 million guaranteed.

The 25-year-old Woods, who developed into a versatile safety with the ability to cover the slot over his first four seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, is expected to fill the Vikings’ opening at free safety opposite Harrison Smith after Anthony Harris’ departure in free agency.

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After concluding the season ranked 29th in points allowed and 27th in yards allowed, Minnesota has focused its efforts on the defensive side.

In addition to Woods, the Vikings have acquired only defensive players in free agency — defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson, linebacker Nick Vigil and cornerbacks Patrick Peterson and Mackensie Alexander as head coach Mike Zimmer looks to revamp a unit that allowed 29.7 points per game in 2020 (third-worst in the NFL).

A sixth-round draft pick in 2017, Woods became a full-time starter in his second season with the Cowboys and started his last 44 matches, missing four games over three seasons because of injury.

Heading into 2020, he was viewed as a cornerstone piece to the Cowboys’ secondary, but he struggled despite finishing second on the team with 72 tackles. He had just two tackles for loss, did not record a sack and had just two passes defended while not intercepting a pass for the first time in his career.

Woods can play both safety spots and also played as a nickel cornerback as a rookie.

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Detroit Lions plan to release slot cornerback Justin Coleman

The Detroit Lions have informed slot cornerback Justin Coleman he will be released by the franchise, a source confirmed to ESPN on Thursday.

Coleman is the second Detroit defensive back to learn of his pending release this offseason, joining Desmond Trufant. Earlier this month, when head coach Dan Campbell was asked about Coleman’s and Trufant’s futures with the club, he stated those decisions would be coming. Now they have and both players will be elsewhere in 2021.

Coleman had been scheduled to count $11.029 million against the cap in 2021, and depending on how he’s designated upon his release, the Lions might save up to $9 million if he’s declared a post-June 1 release. If not, the Lions would save $6.971 million, according to Roster Management System.

Releasing Coleman now also keeps the Lions from having to guarantee $1.1 million of his $8.95 million base salary, which would have happened on the third day of the new league year, which starts March 17.

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The Lions will carry $4.058 million in dead money due to Coleman’s release, sending the team’s dead money total for 2021 well over $30 million — largely due to the $19 million from the Matthew Stafford trade that will be official when the new league year begins.

Detroit is now thin at corner with the Coleman and Trufant departures.

With just Amani Oruwariye, Jeff Okudah and recently re-signed Mike Ford at the position with significant experience playing for Detroit last year.

The 27-year-old Coleman signed a four-year, $36 million contract with the Lions during free agency in 2019, making him one of the league’s highest-paid slot corners at the time.

He started 16 matches — mostly in the slot — since his arrival in Detroit, breaking up 14 passes with one interception. He also had three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery, all in 2019.

Coleman went undrafted out of Tennessee and has played two seasons each in New England, Seattle and Detroit, appearing in 79 games (29 starts) and breaking up 41 passes with four interceptions and two returned for touchdowns. He also has forced 4 fumbles, recovered 4 fumbles and scored a touchdown on a fumble recovery.

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Jadeveon Clowney signs with Titans

Jadeveon Clowney made clear for months he wanted to be with a team that can win a Super Bowl, and he’s finally made his choice even if he didn’t get the long-term deal in the process.

The Tennessee Titans announced Sunday they agreed to terms with the three-time Pro Bowl linebacker on a one-year contract. The Titans did not reveal the terms Sunday. But ESPN.com reported the deal could be worth up to $15 million.

The No. 1 overall pick of 2014, Clowney went into free agency looking for a mega-contract that never came calling. The pandemic shut down travel for physicals, and Clowney didn’t visit anybody once the NFL permitted free agents to meet teams in person.

Clowney spent most of his career with the Houston Texans before being traded to the Seattle Seahawks before the 2019 campaign. He hit free agency this past spring and came to an settlement with the Titans nine days before their 2020 season opener.

They play the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football in Week 1.

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Since 2016 according to Sportradar, only Aaron Donald and Chandler Jones have combined for more tackles for loss, forced fumbles and quarterback pressures than Clowney who has 60 tackles for loss, eight forced fumbles and 159 total pressures.

Clowney, 27, is rejoining coach Mike Vrabel.

They worked together for three seasons in Houston when Vrabel was the defensive line coach. One of those years, Clowney reached the Pro Bowl after he had 59 tackles, 21 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks.

Vrabel and the Titans reached the AFC championship game in 2019 and lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. In six NFL seasons, Clowney has 236 tackles, 71 tackles for loss and 32 sacks.

The three-time Pro Bowl selection was one of the biggest stars left in the free agent market ahead of the 2020 season openers. He is coming off a core injury that required offseason surgery.

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Andre Drummond to pick up option to stay with Cavaliers

Cleveland Cavaliers center Andre Drummond has ended his silence about his future, saying Tuesday that he plans to pick up his player option that will keep him in Cleveland for another year.

Drummond, acquired by the Cavaliers in February for Brandon Knight, John Henson and a future second-round pick, has a $28.7 million option for the 2020-21 campaign that he needs to officially accept or decline in writing by Oct. 17, the day before free agency is scheduled to begin.

“Yeah, that’s going to be pretty hard to give up, so you can count on me being in Cleveland still,” Drummond said during a light-hearted, laugh-filled interview on the ESPN podcast Le Batard & Friends — STUpodity. “I definitely will be in Cleveland.”

Multiple sources tell cleveland.com the Cavs have not been informed of any decision at this point and don’t expect to receive the formal paperwork from Drummond until October. However, both sides have been giving off the impression that they are interested in continuing the partnership, which was interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic on March 11.

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Drummond played eight matches with the Cavs before the league froze.

They went 4-4 with him in the lineup. He averaged 17.1 points and 11.1 rebounds in 28.1 minutes. Because of the Cavs’ record — 19-46 — and their place in the Eastern Conference standings, they weren’t one of 22 teams invited to participate in the NBA’s Disney restart in late July. Still, it was enough to give Drummond a taste of the future.

“I enjoy being in Cleveland,” Drummond said. “I think the people there are outstanding. The fan base is super dope. The gym is dope. I love playing there. The coaching staff is good. The team is young, so it’s good to work with.”

At the time of the stunning blockbuster deal, general manager Koby Altman was unsure of Drummond’s plans beyond this campaign. Neither Drummond nor agent Jeff Schwartz, who also represents Cavaliers teammate Kevin Love, gave any indication. But Altman was always fine with either outcome.

Drummond’s decision to opt in allows him to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2021 — unless the Cavs and Drummond work out a long-term contract extension. According to sources, the Cavs have internally discussed that possibility. Based on the new offseason calendar, Drummond can technically sign an extension beginning on Oct. 23.

With Drummond making his commitment public, the Cavs can proceed with other offseason plans. Sources say Drummond’s decision doesn’t guarantee Tristan Thompson’s departure. Thompson, an unrestricted free agent this summer, will weigh all of his options. But the fallout from COVID-19 — and the anticipated drop in in the salary cap — has caused plenty of uncertainty, especially for free agents.

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Tom Brady says goodbye to Patriots on social media

In a move that sent shockwaves around the NFL on Tuesday morning, longtime New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady announced across social media that he is “continuing elsewhere,” signaling an exit from the Patriots in 2020 free agency.

Brady entered the league as a sixth round pick, No. 199 overall, in the 2000 NFL Draft. Since receiving a starting opportunity in place of the injured Drew Bledsoe, he has gone on to conquer six Super Bowls and was named MVP in four of those appearances.

He has completed 6,377 of 9,988 passes for 74,571 yards, 541 touchdowns and 179 interceptions. The 42-year-old has been named an NFL MVP three times and was selected to 14 Pro Bowls. His claim as the NFL’s best ever quarterback is strong.

It will be weird to see Brady wearing a new uniform after 20 campaigns. It will be interesting to see how the legacies of head coach Bill Belichick and Brady divert, and potentially grow, in the coming years.

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NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport said that the Buccaneers and Chargers had already extended an offer worth upwards of $30 million. According to Tom Curran of NBC Boston, an announcement on where Brady will be playing next is not awaited to come Tuesday. The Colts are not expected to get involved, according to ESPN’s Ed Werder. They are satisfied in their pursuit of Philip Rivers. The Las Vegas Raiders might also be enticed.

New England is left with Cody Kessler and Jarrett Stidham on the roster at quarterback. Stidham, a fourth round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, would be the most viable option to start in Brady’s absence. However, he only attempted four passes last season and one ended in an interception.

The Patriots hold the No. 23 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft and could choose to pursue an alternative with that choice.

The other possibility is that the franchise pursues another veteran quarterback either in free agency or via trade. Jameis Winston, Philip Rivers, Teddy Bridgewater and Andy Dalton are some of the players expected to be available through those forms. 

Despite his absence on the roster, the Patriots will carry over $13.5 million in dead salary cap space due to a non-extension extension that he signed in August of 2019, according to NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero.

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Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph will enter free agency

The Houston Texans and Johnathan Joseph have reciprocally agreed that the veteran cornerback will enter free agency, the team informed Wednesday.

Joseph, 35, has spent the past nine campaigns with the Texans. He had 51 tackles, 13 pass breakups and one interception in 14 matches last season.

“Johnathan has been a consummate professional, team captain and one of the leaders of our defense for the past nine years. It is rare for a player to sustain such a high level of play for over a decade and that says so much about him and his dedication to the game,” the Texans said in a statement.

“He is an exceptional teammate, mentor, husband and father. His impact on and off the field makes him quite possibly the most celebrated free agent signing in franchise history. The entire Houston Texans organization thanks Johnathan for the contributions he made to our team and the Houston community. We wish him and his family all the best as he pursues free agency.”

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In 2019, Joseph played fewer than 60% of Houston’s snaps — the lowest percentage of his career — because starting Week 13, he did not play regularly. In 2018, he played more than 75% of the team’s snaps.

After the Texans lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in the divisional round of the playoffs, Joseph said he’s not thinking about retirement.

Joseph has been selected to two Pro Bowls in 14 NFL seasons and has 31 interceptions, 195 passes defensed, 7 forced fumbles and 754 tackles in his career.

Joseph has proven he can still start for a NFL team, but will likely have to wait until the second wave of free agency to get that chance. 

The Texans have just Andre Johnson and Bob McNair in their “Ring of Honor.” There’s an excellent chance Joseph will join them someday.

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