Mendenhall is retiring from football, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports.
Slated to become an unrestricted free agent on Tuesday, Mendenhall will instead call it quits. He hasn't looked particularly explosive the last few seasons and likely would have been forced to settle for a one-year deal at something close to the veteran's minimum. With the 26-year-old Mendenhall out of the picture, Andre Ellington's path to an increased role becomes even clearer. The Cardinals will obviously want a larger back to complement the speedy Ellington, and Stepfan Taylor should get a chance to earn that role, despite failing to make any noise as a fifth-round rookie in 2013.
Nicks' troublesome left knee is completely healed and no longer subject to swelling, while the wideout's ankle showed mild degenerative changes that are "not unexpected given [his] career path," NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reports.
The quote comes courtesy of Dr. Robert Anderson and Dr. James Andrews, both of whom were enlisted by Nicks' camp to vouch for the wide receiver's health. The pair of famous doctors reportedly circulated a letter to all 32 teams that should answer most of the (many) questions regarding Nicks' healthy. It sounds like his knee is finally back to 100 percent, while the ankle is not ideal but entirely playable. Perhaps Nicks will regain his explosiveness in 2014, but it's not something that should be counted on at this early stage of the offseason. First, he needs to find a team.
Shields signed a four-year, $39 million contract with the Packers on Saturday, ESPN's Rob Demovsky reports.
At first glance, the contract seems like a bit much, but the Packers have plenty of cap room, and quality starting cornerbacks don't come cheap. This deal is likely a sign of things to come, as Shields nearly hit the $10 million-per-year mark, despite ranking in the second or third tier of prospective free agents. He figures to start across from Tramon Williams again, and the Packers' cornerback group has the potential to rank among the league's best, if Casey Hayward (hamstring) can bounce back from a disappointing sophomore campaign to regain his dominant rookie-season form in the slot. Shields piled up 61 tackles (51 solo), four interceptions and 17 pass defenses in just 14 games this season, making him a nice sleeper IDP option heading into 2014.
03/08/14 - 12:07PM ETRed Bryant
: Signing With Jags
Bryant has agreed to terms on a four-year contract with the Jaguars, jaguars.com's John Oehser reports.
Bryant, one of the better run-stuffers available in free agency, was recently released by the Seahawks to free up approximately $5.5 million in cap space. He could replace disappointing former first-round draft pick Tyson Alualu as the Jaguars' run-stopping defensive end, and he's big enough (6-4, 323 pounds) to move inside to defensive tackle, if necessary. Bryant's never been much of an IDP option, with just 3.5 sacks and 121 tackles in 64 career games.
Finley's neurosurgeon will examine his scans Saturday and determine if he'll be fully cleared, NFL.com reports.
Free agency opens next Tuesday, and Finley is hoping to receive full medical clearance ahead of that date. The 26-year-old underwent spinal fusion surgery in November, a procedure which seemed likely to jeopardize Finley's playing career, but his neurosurgeon said last month that there's a "99.9 percent" chance Finley makes a full recovery. If he receives clearance, Finley should receive plenty of interest from around the league, though likely not from the Packers.
Cumberland agreed to a new deal with the Jets on Friday, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports.
This seems like a practical move on the Jets' part, because while Cumberland isn't an elite talent, he was the most productive player at the position for New York last season despite seeing seven fewer targets than Kellen Winslow. Winslow's future with the team is uncertain, and if he leaves, Cumberland's role could grow significantly in 2014. That is, assuming the Jets don't go after a tight end early in the draft.
03/07/14 - 4:55PM ETMatt Cassel
: Re-Signing With Vikings
Cassel will re-sign with the Vikings, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports.
Just Thursday, coach Mike Zimmer said he was hopeful the team would bring Cassel back, and while Houston reportedly had eyes on the 31-year-old, Zimmer's got his wish. The quarterback position is still a glaring hole for Minnesota, and the club figures to upgrade on Day 1 of the draft, but Cassel at least provides them with a serviceable placeholder and/or a veteran backup option.
The Seahawks placed a second-round RFA tender on Baldwin on Friday, ESPN.com reports.
While the tender leaves Baldwin free to negotiate with other teams, it's highly unlikely that any organization would surrender a second-round draft pick for the right to give him a long-term deal. In all likelihood, the Stanford product will either sign the one-year tender or reach an agreement with the Seahawks on a contract extension.
Sproles will be released by the Saints, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports.
Sproles' scheduled $3.4 million base salary is rather reasonable given his past production, but the Saints are so strapped for cap space that this can hardly be considered a surprise. The speedy Sproles was a bit disappointing for fantasy owners in 2013, but he still displayed excellent burst when healthy, and his 71 receptions ranked fourth among NFL running backs. While leaving New Orleans and Drew Brees probably won't be a positive development for Sproles' fantasy value, that prognosis could easily change in the next few months, depending on where he lands.
Carlson (concussion) agreed to a two-year contract with the Cardinals on Friday, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports.
Another concussion last season had Carlson contemplating retirement (reportedly), but he said last month that he felt "great" and will now head to Arizona on a two-year deal. The 29-year-old caught just one touchdown in his two seasons with Minnesota (27 games), but considering Carson Palmer's propensity for dumping off to the tight end, it's at least possible Carlson could return to fantasy relevance in 2014.
03/07/14 - 10:44AM ETChad Henne
: Two-Year Deal With Jags
Henne agreed to a two-year contract with the Jaguars on Friday, Mike Garafolo of FOXSports.com reports.
The veteran signal caller will be back in Jacksonville for another two years, likely to bridge the gap while the team grooms a successor. It didn't work out for the Jaguars the last time, as Blaine Gabbert has been a bust, but the club will presumably try its hand again in this year's draft. Henne completed 60.6 percent of his passes for 3,241 yards last season but threw more interceptions (14) than touchdowns (13), and figures to again only be a fantasy option in two-quarterback leagues.
03/07/14 - 9:50AM ETKa'Deem Carey
: Disappointing 4.68 40 Time
Carey ran the 40-yard dash in 4.68 and 4.69 seconds at the Arizona pro day Thursday, NFL.com reports.
Carey had a chance to redeem himself after running a 4.70 at the Combine, but it just wasn't in him. Carey was considered the top running back in the draft in some media corners, but we've always put him behind Devonta Freeman, Tre Mason, Carlos Hyde and Lache Seastrunk. At under 210 pounds, Carey's below average workout times could push him behind the likes of Bishop Sankey, Charles Sims and Dri Archer. James White, Storm Johnson and Henry Josey might be closing in, too. Carey still has something to offer teams as a high-motor pass-catching threat who excels at slipping through tight spaces, but it's difficult to see why he'd go before the fourth round at this point.
03/07/14 - 8:48AM ETLance Moore
: Will Be Released Friday
Moore will be released by the Saints on Friday, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports.
Moore was due $3.6 million in 2014, therefore wasn't receiving much attention on the trade market, as the Saints couldn't afford to keep him at that price. At 31 years old, Moore likely has another contract left in him, but his productivity is bound to take a hit without Drew Brees getting him the ball and Sean Payton calling the shots.
03/07/14 - 8:36AM ETSidney Rice
: (Knee) On Track For OTAs
Rice (knee) is on pace to be healthy enough to participate in the OTAs of the team that signs him, USA Today reports.
Rice was a cap casualty for the Seahawks, and is readying himself to test the free agent waters on what will likely be a short term deal. The 27-year-old caught 15 passes for 231 yards and three touchdowns in 2013, before his season was cut short due to an ACL injury. Wherever he ends up signing, that team will be able to take comfort in the fact that Rice will be able to build a rapport with their quarterback during the offseason.
Spikes says he's 100 percent recovered from the knee injury that caused him to finish 2013 on the IR, Field Yates of ESPN Boston reports.
Spikes won't be back with the Patriots, but the news suggests he'll be healthy for whatever team he chooses to sign with. The 26-year-old run-stopper produced 86 combined tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery over his 2013 campaign.
Cassel has been linked to the Texans, the Houston Chronicle reports. The news was first reported by CBSSports.com and NFL.com.
According to both sites, Cassel is a candidate to become a starter in Houston. Cassel began his career in the New England organization at a time when Houston head coach Bill O'Brien coached there.
Thursday, March 6
03/06/14 - 12:52PM ETMatt Cassel
: Wanted Back In Minnesota
Coach Mike Zimmer hopes that the Vikings are able to bring Cassel back, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. "I would love to have Matt Cassel back, if Matt Cassel wants to be back," Zimmer noted Thursday. "I don't know if that will happen or won't happen. But we're going to find a quarterback somewhere. And if it's not Matt Cassel, then we'll find someone else...If Matt wants to come back, I'm sure that we'll get it worked out."
That said, Zimmer expects Cassel to explore other opportunities, with Houston already having been mentioned speculatively as a possible destination for Cassel, who turns 32 in May.
03/06/14 - 10:11AM ETDevin Hester
: Will Be Released By Bears
The Bears have confirmed that they will not re-sign Hester, the team's official site reports.
As a result, Hester will become an unrestricted free agent on March 11. After catching 23 passes in 2012, Hester was not a factor in the Bears' offense in 2013, making his impact with the team on special teams. At 31, it's unclear if Hester will be used much as a pass-catcher wherever he lands in 2014, but he can still contribute as a returner at this stage. This past season, he averaged 27.6 yards on 52 kick returns and 14.2 yards on 18 punt returns, including a TD.
03/06/14 - 8:28AM ETMatt Cassel
: Could Sign With Houston
Cassel is a candidate to sign with the Texans in free agency, the Houston Chronicle reports.
If added by Houston, Cassel -- who spent his last two seasons, (2007-08) with the Patriots working with Texans coach Bill O'Brien -- could compete for the team's starting QB job, though at this stage there are still a couple of moving parts on that front, including the status of veteran Matt Schaub, as well as the distinct possibility the Texans will draft a quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick in May's NFL draft.
The Colts have signed Jackson to a four-year, $22 million deal, the Indianapolis Star reports.
The report notes that $11 million of Jackson's deal with the Colts is guaranteed. With Pat Angerer not expected to be re-signed by the team, look for Jackson to start at inside linebacker for Indy along with Jerrell Freeman. The 30-year-old Jackson -- who topped the Browns with 141 tackles in 2013 -- will thus be reunited with Rob Chudzinski, his coach in Cleveland in 2013, who is now a special assistant to Colts head coach Chuck Pagano.