Tagged in: release

CB Pierre Desir joins Jets a day after Colts cut him

It didn’t take Pierre Desir long to find a new home. A day after the Colts made the somewhat shocking decision to release him, the veteran cornerback agreed to a one-year deal with the New York Jets, according to several reports.

Desir’s landing with the Jets should come as little surprise, given their need for corners and his familiarity with assistant general manager — and former Colts vice president of player personnel — Rex Hogan. In New York, Desir joins a handful of ex-Colts, including Henry Anderson, Tarell Basham, Nate Hariston, Matthias Farley, Jonotthan Harrison and the recently signed Josh Andrews.

Releasing Desir saved the Colts $6.85 million against the salary cap this campaign and leaves no dead money. The move was jarring given that it came only a year after Desir signed a three-year, $22.5 million extension to remain with the Colts. Though he suffered through a rough, injury-plagued 2019 season, he enjoyed a breakout campaign during the Colts’ playoff run in 2018.

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Desir was the Colts’ nominee for Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2019. 

A league source told IndyStar Colts Insider Joel A. Erickson that Desir was caught off guard by the Colts’ decision to release him. 

Without Desir, the Colts are both young and thin at cornerback. They have seven corners on the roster, but only Kenny Moore, Quincy Wilson, Rock Ya-Sin and Marvell Tell suited up for the Colts in a game last season. 

Desir played in 12 games, starting 11, and allowed five touchdown passes and a 95.6 passer rating, according to Pro Football Focus.

He broke into the league as a fourth-round pick of the Cleveland Browns in 2014. He played briefly for the Chargers before landing with the Colts in 2017.

Desir has five career interceptions, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

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Todd Gurley agrees to contract with Falcons after being cut by Rams

Todd Gurley is headed back to the Peach State.

The former Georgia Bulldog has agreed to a one-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons, one day after he was released from the Los Angeles Rams. The full details of the contract are unknown at this time.

“WE GOT HIM,” wrote the Falcons’ twitter account on Friday, accompanied by a short slideshow.

The Falcons cut ties with their feature running back Devonta Freeman last week.

Gurley, 25, was cut on Thursday shortly after rumors surfaced that the Rams planned to cut or trade their star running back. In response, he tweeted jocularly, “Damn I got fired on my day off #QuarantineAndChill.”

A Baltimore native, Gurley rejoins former Rams teammate Dante Fowler Jr., who signed a three-year, $48 million deal with the Falcons earlier this week.

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Gurley, the 10th overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft, inked a blockbuster four-year, $60 million contract extension with $45 million guaranteed in 2018, a deal that made him the highest-paid running back in the NFL at the time. His contract with the Rams carried a 2020 cap hit of $17.25 million with a dead-cap hit of $12.6 million, according to Spotrac.

The Rams will spread the dead-cap charges over two seasons and will free up $5.5 million in additional cap space as of June 2.

Gurley’s NFL career started with a 1,106 yard-season, winning him the 2015 Offensive Rookie of the Year award. He won the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year award in 2017, but has failed to replicate that success due in large part to injuries.

The three-time Pro Bowler tore his ACL in his junior year at Georgia and was held out of the end of the 2018 season with knee inflammation.

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Jets to release CB Trumaine Johnson

Trumaine Johnson’s time with the New York Jets is done, in a surprise to absolutely no one. 

The team has informed Johnson, their high-paid cornerback, that he will be released in the upcoming days, a source confirmed. 

The move likely won’t be made official until the CBA situation is clarified for next year. The Jets must cut him by the third day of the new league year (March 20), when his contract becomes fully guaranteed.

Johnson leaves the Jets near the very top of a long list of terrible free agency signings– a reminder of how difficult it can be to rebuild a crew by throwing big contracts at big problems as they go into general manager Joe Douglas’ first free agency with the team next week. 

The New York Daily News first reported Johnson had been informed of his release.

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When the Jets signed Johnson to a five-year, $72.5 million deal just two years ago, they thought they were getting one of the best available cornerbacks on the market and their lock-down answer on the outside. Instead, they got an underperforming player who was burned repeatedly, committed brutal penalties in key spots, couldn’t stay healthy and became a distraction off the field. 

He was benched during the final match of his first campaign for tardiness and early in his second season for poor play. 

In the end, Johnson played only 17 matches in two seasons for the Jets, while collecting $34 million. Yes, that’s $2 million per game.

And while he’s gone, he certainly will not be forgotten. By moving on, the Jets might save only $3 million and carry $12 million of dead money into next season if the CBA stays the same. 

Under a new CBA, they would be able to spread the dead money over two seasons saving them some more space.

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Giants release team captain Alec Ogletree

The New York Giants released team captain Alec Ogletree and fellow linebacker Kareem Martin on Wednesday, opening up about $13 million in salary cap space.

Ogletree joined the Giants in a 2018 trade from the Los Angeles Rams. The Giants signed Martin to a three-year contract in 2018.

Ogletree, 28, was under contract through 2021. The 6-foot-2, 235-pound defender had 80 total tackles, six passes defensed, an interception and a sack in 13 starts in 2019. Ogletree had 93 tackles, eight passes defensed, five interceptions, two touchdowns and a sack in 13 matches in 2018. Cutting Ogletree saves the Giants $8.25 million against the salary cap.

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Ogletree was the No. 30 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.

The Georgia product has 676 tackles, 57 passes defensed, 41 tackles for a loss, 12 interceptions, 12 forced fumbles, 7.5 sacks, four touchdowns and two fumble recoveries in 93 career starts.

The veteran was again slated to make $10 million in 2020 and was in route to be the fourth-highest-paid inside linebacker in the NFL, but none of the money was guaranteed.

Ogletree played the first five years of his career with the Rams, topping 100 tackles in three of his first four campaigns. The second-team All-Pro in 2016 has career totals of 674 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 12 forced fumbles and 12 interceptions. He also has four defensive touchdowns.

The Giants signed Martin to a three-year, $21 million contract one day after getting Ogletree in March 2018. Martin spent his first four seasons in the league with the Arizona Cardinals.

Martin played in all 16 matches in his first season in New York and had a career-high 48 tackles. But a knee injury in the 2019 season opener limited him to five games last season.

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Detroit Lions release DT Damon ‘Snacks’ Harrison

Damon “Snacks” Harrison held out of OTAs and minicamps during last year’s offseason to get a contract extension from the Detroit Lions.

He eventually got that extension. Now, the team is releasing the former All-Pro defensive tackle, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

One of the top interior run-stuffers in the league for years, Harrison posted 49 total tackles last campaign — his lowest total since his rookie year — for a Detroit defense that was 13th in the league against the run.

The Lions will save $6,718,750 in salary cap space by releasing Harrison. Detroit had a cap hit of $11,718,750 on Harrison if they kept the defensive tackle on the roster for the 2020 season.

Harrison started 15 matches for the Lions in 2019, finishing with 49 tackles, two sacks and three passes defensed. He had 5.5 sacks and 49 tackles in 25 games with the Lions, who acquired him for a conditional 2019 fifth-round draft-pick from the New York Giants prior to the 2018 trade deadline. A First Team All-Pro with the Giants in 2016, Harrison had 86 tackles and 2.5 sacks at nose tackle that season.

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Harrison tearfully told reporters at the end of last campaign that he is considering retirement this offseason, and that is reportedly still a possibility.

If this is indeed it for Harrison, it will have been an impressive career for a player who was undrafted out of the NAIA’s William Penn University in Iowa (student population: 1,050).

Harrison’s release continues the Lions’ trend of parting ways with key defensive players. The Lions traded long-time safety Quandre Diggs (and a 2021 seventh-round pick) to the Seattle Seahawks for a 2020 fifth-round pick at the trade deadline last season, just one year after Diggs signed a three-year, $20.4 million contract extension.

The Lions have also talked to multiple teams about a Darius Slay trade this offseason after fielding offers for the Pro Bowl cornerback at the 2019 trade deadline. Slay is about to enter the final year of a four-year, $48.15 million extension, becoming a free agent after the season. 

The Lions are looking to rebuild a defense that finished 26th in points allowed and 31st in yards allowed. Trading Harrison just expedited that process.

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Texans release veteran cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III

The Texans have cut veteran cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III, the team said Friday.

Hargreaves signed with the Texans in November after he was cut by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after he was benched during a match.

After that match, Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said Hargreaves “didn’t look like he was hustling to go in for a tackle.”

Hargreaves could have stayed in Houston under his fifth-year option worth $9.6 million, but there was no dead money on the contract because the option is guaranteed for injury only before the start of the new league year in March.

In his end-of-season news conference, Texans coach Bill O’Brien said he thought Hargreaves “made the best of” his opportunity to join Houston during the campaign.

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“I don’t think that’s easy to be able to come in, in the middle of a season, and really later than that, and play that nickel position is not easy,” O’Brien said. “So, I give a lot of credit to Vernon. There’s a lot of things that he’s going to work hard to improve upon. We’re going to help them with that, but I think Vernon stepped into a tough situation and really made the best of it.”

Hargreaves, 24, was drafted by Tampa Bay with the No. 11 overall pick in 2016.

In 41 career games, the Florida product has two interceptions, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and 186 tackles.

The move helps the Texans clear an additional $10 million in salary cap space, which should help the club with its impending negotiations to keep defensive tackle D.J. Reader, running back Carlos Hyde, and a bevy of other free agents set to hit the open market when the new league year starts on March 18.

Hargreaves will now have the make the best of a situation where he will be on his third team in a 12-month span. The Texans will also have to make the best of a situation where there could be a swath of brand new faces at cornerback.

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Eagles release Jordan Matthews, ending WR´s third sting with team

Jordan Matthews’ third stint with the Eagles has come to an end. 

On Monday, the team stated that they have waived Matthews, who signed with the team just two weeks earlier. Matthews, in two matches with the Eagles, caught four passes for 33 yards. He caught three of six targets for 27 yards in Sunday’s 17-9 loss to the visiting Seahawks. 

The Eagles’ second round pick in the 2014 draft, Matthews caught 225 passes for 2,663 yards and 19 touchdowns during his first three seasons in Philadelphia. Matthews spent one season in Buffalo before returning to Philadelphia last season, catching 20 of 28 targets for 300 yards and two scores in 14 matches.

He started this season with the 49ers before being released by the team for the third time in October.  Matthews was signed to help the Eagles deal with their injuries at the receiver position. Alshon Jeffrey has missed three games this season due to injury, while fellow wideout Nelson Agholor missed Sunday’s game with a knee injury.

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On Monday, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said both players are “trending in the right direction” with regard to their status for this Sunday’s game versus the Dolphins. 

Pederson also confirmed on Monday that quarterback Carson Wentz sustained a finger injury in his right hand during Sunday’s loss.

Pederson does not expect Wentz to miss any practice time leading up to Sunday’s game.

Pederson also addressed the recent play of his quarterback, who threw a pair of interceptions in Sunday’s loss to the Seahawks.  “There are times when it’s just a matter of setting your feet as a quarterback and just delivering a short throw, or getting your eyes on target a lot sooner than you do,” Pederson said, via Alexis Chassen of SB Nation.

“He’s such a great thrower of the ball down the field, and these are the things that we continue to work on with him and we have to make sure Miles is in the right spot, too.´´

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Yankees release Jacoby Ellsbury

The Yankees opened wide Wednesday night and swallowed hard when they released Jacoby Ellsbury, whom they owe $21 million for the 2020 season and a $5 million buyout on a $21 million option for 2021.

By 8 p.m. the Yankees had to set their 40-man roster to make room for prospects they wanted to protect from being taken in next month’s Rule 5 draft at the winter meetings in San Diego.

With their roster at 36 and not counting Domingo German — likely to be suspended for the start of the 2020 season — the Yankees added six minor league players, released Ellsbury and designated first baseman Greg Bird and lefty Nelson Cortes Jr. for assignment.

The Yankees added outfielder Estevan Florial, and right-handers Deivi Garcia, Luis Gil, Brooks Kriske, Luis Medina, Nick Nelson and Miguel Yajure to the roster.

Releasing the 36-year-old Ellsbury, who hasn’t played since the 2017 ALCS due to a buffet of injuries that included hip surgery late in the 2018 campaing, puts an end to the seven-year, $153 million contract the Yankees dumped on the left-handed hitting center fielder before the 2014 campaing.

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Ellsbury’s final season at $21 million wasn’t going to be insured. Even after his release, Ellsbury and his annual average value of nearly $22 million would count toward the Yankees’ 2020 luxury-tax figure.

Paying $26 million to a released player could impact what the Yankees do in free agency since it will count toward the luxury-tax threshold.

The move arrives at a time when the Yankees could use outfield help, as Aaron Hicks will likely miss the first two months of the season because of Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.

In four years with the Yankees, Ellsbury batted .264 with a .330 on-base percentage and posted a .716 OPS. The previous seven seasons with the Red Sox, Elllsbury batted .297 with a .350 on-base percentage and .789 OPS.

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