Oct 23, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Jamel Dean (35) leaves the field after the game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Buccaneers near deal to retain CB Jamel Dean

Top free agent cornerback Jamel Dean is nearing a deal to return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before the official start of free agency, The Athletic reported Monday.

The deal would pay Dean $52 million over four seasons, per reports.

Restricted by a tight salary cap situation, Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht described the mission to keep Dean, a third-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, as challenging when discussing the roster at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Dean earned $3.55 million over his first four seasons in the league.

In his four seasons in Tampa Bay, Dean appeared in 57 games (38 starts) and had 193 tackles (six for loss), 41 passes defensed, seven interceptions and one touchdown.

The 26-year-old made a career-high 15 starts last season before missing the final two regular-season games with a broken toe.

–Field Level Media

Nov 20, 2022; Baltimore, Maryland, USA;  Baltimore Ravens guard Ben Powers (72) takes the field with a member of the U.S. military for introductions before the game against the Carolina Panthers at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jessica Rapfogel-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Broncos to spend $139.5M adding RT Mike McGlinchey, LG Ben Powers

The Denver Broncos added right tackle Mike McGlinchey and left guard Ben Powers, who agreed to massive deals Monday, multiple outlets reported.

McGlinchey and the Broncos agreed to a five-year deal worth $87.5 million, including more than $50 million guaranteed, per NFL Network.

The Denver Post and ESPN reported Powers would get a four-year deal worth $52 million, including $28.5 million guaranteed.

Both deals become official Wednesday, the first day of the new league year.

New head coach Sean Payton and general manager George Paton identified offensive line upgrades as one of the team’s priorities when discussing how to improve the Broncos in 2023.

McGlinchey, 28, started all 69 games he played in with the San Francisco 49ers the past five seasons. The Niners selected him No. 9 overall in the 2018 draft out of Notre Dame.

Powers, a left guard with the Ravens, will replace Broncos free agent Dalton Risner. In the event Risner returns or Denver finds a preferred left guard, Powers also started at right guard during his second season in Baltimore.

Powers was a fourth-round pick out of Oklahoma in 2019.

Backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham also agreed to terms with the Broncos. He’ll reportedly ink a two-year, $10 million deal to back up Russell Wilson in Denver after playing for the New England Patriots and Las Vegas Raiders.

New England drafted Stidham in the fourth round of the 2019 draft. He has 77 completions in 131 attempts with six touchdowns and seven interceptions in his career.

–Field Level Media

Dec 28, 2022; Miami, Florida, USA;  Football player Odell Beckham stands on the court after the game between the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers at FTX Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Odell Beckham Jr. seeking $20M per season

Free agent wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is looking for a deal in the range of $20 million per season, Pro Football Talk reported Sunday.

Beckham, 30, missed all of last season after tearing his left ACL during the Los Angeles Rams’ Super Bowl LVI win against the Cincinnati Bengals on Feb. 13, 2022.

He was linked at various times throughout the 2022 season with the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants and Buffalo Bills but remained unsigned.

A three-time Pro Bowl selection, Beckham has 531 catches for 7,367 yards and 56 touchdowns in 96 career games (91 starts) with the Giants (2014-18), Cleveland Browns (2019-21) and Rams. He exceeded 1,000 receiving yards in five of his first six seasons.

–Field Level Media

Jan 1, 2023; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams quarterback Baker Mayfield (17) throws the ball in the first half against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Bucs targeting free agent QB Baker Mayfield

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are expected to target free agent quarterback Baker Mayfield as a replacement for the retired Tom Brady, NFL Network reported Sunday.

Mayfield, who turns 28 next month, split last season with the Carolina Panthers and Los Angeles Rams after playing his first four seasons with the Cleveland Browns.

He was 1-5 with the Panthers and 1-3 with the Rams, completing a combined 60.0 percent of his passes for 2,163 yards with 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 12 games (10 starts) in 2022.

Drafted No. 1 overall in 2018, the former Heisman Trophy winner is 31-38 as an NFL starter. Among quarterbacks in his draft class, his 16,288 passing yards and 102 touchdowns trail only Buffalo’s Josh Allen (18,397 and 138).

If he does sign with the Bucs in free agency this week, Mayfield would presumably compete with Kyle Trask for the QB1 slot vacated by Brady. Trask, 25, completed 3 of 9 passes for 23 yards last season.

–Field Level Media

Dec 24, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. (57) on the line of scrimmage against the Seattle Seahawks during the game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Not it: Chiefs inform LT Orlando Brown Jr. no tag in 2023

Seven days before the start of free agency, left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. was informed by the Kansas City Chiefs he won’t receive the franchise tag.

NFL Network and ESPN reported Monday that Brown received word from the Chiefs and that the two sides remain engaged in discussions geared toward a tag-free resolution.

The deadline for NFL teams to use the franchise tag is Tuesday at 4 p.m., and the cost to keep Brown under terms of the repeat application of a franchise tag would’ve been nearly $20 million for 2023. He played on a one-year tender worth $16.7 million in 2022, and would have been assured a 20 percent increase if the Chiefs tagged him in back-to-back offseasons.

Brown, a third-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens in 2018, was acquired by the Chiefs in 2021. He played last season under the terms of the franchise tag after reportedly turning down a six-year extension worth up to $139 million.

Those talks reportedly broke down over the amount of guaranteed money in the offer from Kansas City.

Chiefs general manager Brett Veach said last week that Brown would be a priority.

“As always, it’s more beneficial to us to get something done long-term,” Veach said at the NFL Scouting Combine. “That’s why this season is so important to us. Really, this is the start. We’ll have a lot of dialogue, as you know. The combine is great to come in and check out the new college talent, but a lot of the time here is spent talking with the agents of our players to start exchanging information. Unlike last year, we at least have a runway to work with. We’ve gotten to know his team a little bit better, so we’re excited to get that process started here and get something figured out.”

Brown turns 27 in May and was a Pro Bowl selection in each of his two seasons with the Chiefs. With 75 starts in five seasons and experience at right tackle and left tackle, Brown would likely jump to the front of the line of available offensive tackles if the two sides don’t reach an agreement by March 13. That’s the date teams and unrestricted free agents from other teams can begin discussing contracts.

Veach has a number of decisions to make involving the offensive line he overhauled in 2021, following the Super Bowl loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that left quarterback Patrick Mahomes battered.

Right tackle Andrew Wylie is an unrestricted free agent and the Chiefs’ two All-Pro blockers, center Creed Humphrey and guard Joe Thuney, represent imminent decisions for Kansas City.

Humphrey is a free agent in March 2024. Thuney has a base salary of $15.5 million and cap number of $22.6 million in 2024 and 2025.

–Field Level Media

Oct 9, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; San Francisco 49ers place kicker Robbie Gould (9) on the sidelines in the fourth quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Report: 49ers K Robbie Gould to test free agency

San Francisco 49ers kicker Robbie Gould will test free agency and sign with another team for the upcoming season, ESPN reported.

Gould, 40, is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on March 15.

He joined the 49ers prior to the 2017 season after one campaign with the New York Giants.

Gould made 27 of 32 field-goal attempts last season and 50 of 51 extra-point tries in 17 games last season.

He has converted 447 of 517 field-goal attempts and 620 of 636 extra-point tries during his 18-season career with the Chicago Bears (2005-15), Giants and 49ers. He was named a first-team All-Pro and selected to the Pro Bowl in 2006.

–Field Level Media

Nov 17, 2019; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (right) exchanges jerseys with Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (left) after the game at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Tag time: Franchise, transition window opens Tuesday

Lamar Jackson and a host of potential unrestricted free agents could be shown the trap door that is the NFL franchise tag when the window for NFL teams to apply franchise and transition markets opens Tuesday.

The tag window closes on March 7. Free agency begins March 15.

Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens had contract talks on at least three separate occasions since June 2022. Those conversations weren’t fruitful, and the two sides are reportedly far apart as the self-represented Jackson seeks fully guaranteed salaries on a long-term deal.

Baltimore’s conundrum was created in part by the fully guaranteed five-year, $230 million contract Deshaun Watson with the Cleveland Browns.

The Ravens and others can use the franchise tag to retain refusal rights in free agency, or a cheaper insurance policy with fewer guarantees, the transition tag.

There are two franchise tag types available to general managers: the non-exclusive franchise tag is most typical and assures a player a one-year salary tabulated by finding the average of the top five salaries at a position over the last five seasons. Because the tag is non-exclusive, other teams can negotiate with the tagged player, but his current team can choose to match any contract offer or choose to receive two first-round draft picks in return.

The exclusive franchise tag has only been applied once in the past seven seasons. The Dallas Cowboys used it in negotiations with Dak Prescott, prohibiting him from talking to other teams.

But the exclusive tag comes with a price. For example, the Ravens would be indebted to Jackson for a 2023 salary hold of $44.2 million on the exclusive tag. Baltimore is over the projected 2023 salary cap as of Monday, and clearing the cap space to use the exclusive tag could create more headaches with deferred salaries in future years.

A less-beneficial option for GMs, the transition tag gives a player’s current team refusal rights to match any contract offer. However, if the team opts not to match an offer from another team, no compensation is owed.

The 2023 franchise and transition tag values as compiled by the NFL Players Association:

Pos. Franchise tag value Transition tag value
QB $32,416,000 $29,504,000
LB $20,926,000 $17,478,000
WR $19,743,000 $17,991,000
DE $19,727,000 $17,452,000
DT $18,937,000 $16,068,000
OL $18,244,000 $16,660,000
CB $18,140,000 $15,791,000
S $14,460,000 $11,867,000
TE $11,345,000 $9,716,000
RB $10,091,000 $8,429,000
K/P $5,393,000 $4,869,000

–Field Level Media

Sep 8, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; American football player Odell Beckham Jr before the game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Buffalo Bills at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Free agent WR Odell Beckham Jr. reports Odell Beckham Jr. not a Rams’ priority

Free agent wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is not a priority for the Los Angeles Rams. That’s according to Odell Beckham Jr.

Amid reports the Rams are leaving the light on for Beckham Jr. to return to the team when he’s recovered from a torn left ACL– sustained in the Super Bowl win with Los Angeles — Beckham said Wednesday on Twitter that reunion is being overblown.

“LA knows where I wanted to be… but they didn’t offer me…. ANYthing! So idk what people want me to do, I def kno my worth and what the offer was isn’t reflective of that. So it’s tough to say that I can come on back even tho I thought I finally found that home !,” he wrote.

Beckham joined the world champion Los Angeles Rams from the Cleveland Browns midway through the 2021 season.

He caught a touchdown in the first quarter for the first score of Super Bowl LVI and finished with two catches for 52 yards.

The three-time Pro Bowl selection had 305 receiving yards and five touchdowns for the Rams in eight regular-season games.

Los Angeles signed wide receiver Cooper Kupp to a three-year, $80 million contract extension and brought in Allen Robinson II in free agency on a three-year, $46.5 million deal with $30.7 million guaranteed.

He has 531 receptions for 7,367 yards and 56 touchdowns in 96 games (91 starts) with the New York Giants (2014-18), Browns (2019-21) and Rams.

Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff previously told The Athletic that the Rams and Beckham would like to work out a deal for him to return in 2022.

Beckham tore the ACL in the same knee in October 2020 with the Browns, had surgery and returned for the 2021 season. On Nov. 12, the Rams signed him to a one-year deal, a week after he was released by Cleveland amid a deteriorating relationship with quarterback Baker Mayfield.

–Field Level Media

Oct 24, 2021; Nashville, Tennessee, USA;  Tennessee Titans wide receiver Julio Jones (2) splits Kansas City Chiefs free safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) and defensive end Michael Danna (51) during the first half at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

10 sign-now free agents still available

Only a few shopping days remain for teams scrambling to fill needs ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft.

But the cupboard isn’t bare, especially for those with the budget to sweeten the pot for some of the best available veterans on the market.

Here are the top 10 free agents still standing six weeks into the 2022 league year:

10. WR Julio Jones
Age: 33
Credentials: Two-time All-Pro, 2010s All-Decade Team
Best Fit: New England Patriots

We’re not here to suggest the old Julio Jones might return. He’s a 220-pounder who could flash as a second or third option and deliver a game-changing play on occasion. Teams that aren’t confident there is a solution in the 2022 draft could come knocking.

The light barely flickered in Tennessee with 31 catches in his only season with the Titans.

Bill Belichick has turned aging receivers into valuable pieces before, and the Patriots are a team with WR concerns.

9. DT Larry Ogunjobi
Age: 27
Credentials: 21.5 career sacks
Best Fit: Jacksonville Jaguars

A priority for the Chicago Bears in the 2022 free agent class, their deal with Ogunjobi didn’t stick because of a failed physical. He started 16 games last season and has been a starter for the Browns and Bengals with the skill set to play all three downs.

If the price is right, there are a dozen teams Ogunjobi can help. He turns 28 in June.

8. RB Melvin Gordon
Age: 29
Credentials: Two-time Pro Bowler
Best Fit: Buffalo Bills

If there’s one thing the Bills can improve on the offensive side by adding another veteran, running back depth is a consideration. With no bell-cow back, Gordon could be part of the existing rotation and relative Old Reliable in a backfield still reliant on quarterback Josh Allen to move the sticks.

7. Edge Jadeveon Clowney
Age: 29
Credentials: Former No. 1 overall pick, three-time Pro Bowler
Best Fit: Dallas Cowboys

Nine sacks last season showed Clowney can get to the QB when blockers are focused elsewhere — Myles Garrett — and Dallas can create pressure on the other side. The Cowboys subtracted Randy Gregory and might be able to score Clowney on a shorter deal and relative discount. But there’s also a point at which Clowney might not be an upgrade over a cheaper, healthier developmental-type prospect.

6. OT Duane Brown
Age: 37
Credentials: One-time All-Pro, Five-time Pro Bowler
Best Fit: Denver Broncos

Following Russell Wilson isn’t the worst plan for Brown, who fits the scheme and could play on the right side, where the Broncos don’t have a proven veteran. Or he could be called into rescue duty on the left side, where Garett Bolles was an All-Pro in 2021 but has to show it in a new scheme after a rocky four seasons prior.

5. TE Rob Gronkowski
Age: 33
Credentials: Four-time All-Pro, 92 career TDs
Best Fit: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Gronk is no guarantee for even half the regular season. But he’s reliable, proven as Tom Brady’s go-to in big games and undeniably carries the clutch gene TB12 wants on his side.

The questions are whether the Bucs want to invest elsewhere or wait until September to assess Gronkowski’s desire to play.

4. WR Jarvis Landry
Age: 29
Credentials: Five-time Pro Bowler, two 100-catch seasons
Best Fit: Indianapolis Colts

Dumped by the Browns, Landry was essentially replaced (again) when Cleveland traded for Amari Cooper. The previous regime brought in Odell Beckham to be the Batman to Landry’s Robin.

Gander at the depth chart of the Colts and even the most grandiose projections for Michael Pittman Jr. as the lead receiver for Matt Ryan don’t cover the lack of talent at the position. Landry could be a security blanket for Ryan, who also could use a true No. 1 tight end.

If not the Colts, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers wouldn’t mind having another reliable set of hands with Davante Adams gone to Vegas.

3. DT Akiem Hicks
Age: 32
Credentials: Size-strength combo to play multiple roles
Best Fit: Los Angeles Chargers

Hicks hogs blockers and is best in a rotation. His size and strength allow him to be used in a 3-4 or 4-3 front and a team with consistent edge rushers could get a steal considering Hicks devours single blocking against interior offensive linemen.

Reality might have set in with just seven games played last season and durability can’t be ignored, but for an almost-there defense like the Chargers, Rams or Bengals, Hicks’ energy and impact is potentially profound.

2. WR Odell Beckham Jr.
Age: 29
Credentials: Two-time All-Pro
Best Fit: Green Bay Packers

A swing-and-miss last season by the Packers in a bid to sign Beckham Jr. shouldn’t shift the team’s interest, especially given the predicament of the depth chart. Beckham Jr. tore his ACL in the Super Bowl and his previous return was slower than expected, so factoring in a late-season return is part of the bigger picture.

There’s also the benefit of getting multiple seasons on a three-year deal that could be backloaded for health and performance.

1. S Tyrann Mathieu
Age: 29
Credentials: Three-time All-Pro
Best Fit: New York Giants

Mathieu remains a heart-and-soul chess piece and Wink Martindale could employ him in a dozen ways if the Giants can hit on other needs in the draft.

His price was an issue in a split with the Chiefs. If Mathieu agrees to a shorter deal with less guaranteed money, he could be a steal.

–By Jeff Reynolds, Field Level Media

Dec 19, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Carolina Panthers cornerback Stephon Gilmore (9) following the game against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Colts sign CB Stephon Gilmore to 2-year deal

Cornerback Stephon Gilmore is signing a two-year contract with the Indianapolis Colts, multiple outlets reported Friday.

ESPN said the deal with worth $23 million, with $14 million guaranteed.

The Colts announced the signing of another veteran defensive back, safety Rodney McLeod, on Thursday.

Gilmore, 31, played eight games last season for the Carolina Panthers, who acquired him from the New England Patriots in October. He was limited by a hamstring injury in his brief time with Carolina after head coach Matt Rhule disclosed that the team made the move — parting with only a sixth-round pick — in hopes of playing more aggressive man coverage.

The NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2019, Gilmore tore his quad in Week 15 of the 2020 season and didn’t return to the field until Week 8 last season.

Drafted 10th overall by the Buffalo Bills in 2012, Gilmore signed a five-year, $65 million contract with the Patriots in free agency in 2017 and was a two-time All-Pro in New England.

He entered 2021 on the physically unable to perform list and wanted the Patriots to address his contract. In his first media availability with the Panthers last season, Gilmore said he “didn’t like how (the Patriots) handled my situation with my injury.”

He joins a veteran group on the Indianapolis defense that includes DeForest Buckner, Kenny Moore and Darius Leonard. The latter two have been active in recruiting free agents to the Colts this offseason.

A five-time Pro Bowl selection, Gilmore has 27 interceptions in 132 games (125 starts) with the Bills (2012-16), Patriots (2017-20) and Panthers.

–Field Level Media