Mon Jan 14 4:23pm ET
By ROB MAADDI
AP Pro Football Writer
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) speaks with Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles after an NFL divisional playoff football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019. The Saints won 20-14 to advance to the NFC Championship. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)
New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, right, speaks with Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson after an NFL divisional playoff football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019. The Saints won 20-14 to advance to the NFC Championship. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
PHILADELPHIA (AP) Nick Foles fell 27 yards short of leading the Philadelphia Eagles to a third straight comeback win in the postseason.
His next opportunity likely will come in a different uniform.
The Eagles (10-8) were eliminated with a 20-14 loss at New Orleans on Sunday, ending the team's bid to repeat as Super Bowl champions. The front office faces several difficult decisions in the offseason, starting with Foles.
Carson Wentz is the team's quarterback going forward and Foles is looking forward to exploring his options. The Eagles must decide by mid-February if they want to exercise a $20 million option to keep Foles for 2019. But Foles could decline it and pay back $2 million to become a free agent. Philadelphia could put a franchise tag on Foles, though $23-25 million is a hefty price for a backup.
''The starter thing, leading a team, impacting a locker room, that's why we play the game,'' Foles said Monday. ''Everything is open. I love this city. I love this locker room. It's special. We'll see.''
It's possible the Eagles could use the franchise or transition tag to trade Foles rather than allow him to walk away for only a compensation pick. Foles isn't a me-first guy and it's not unreasonable to think he would work something out that's beneficial to both sides.
''Having the option to be a free agent is extremely important,'' he said. ''Technically, I'm really not under contract right now and that's something we'll discuss in the future. It's a unique situation, it's a good situation for this team to have. ... I have a great relationship with this team and that's genuine. Ultimately, we'll make the best decision for both sides and it'll work out.''
Wentz missed the first two games recovering from knee surgery that forced him to watch from the sideline last season as Foles led Philadelphia to its first NFL title since 1960. He started 11 games before a back injury ended his season again. Wentz finished third in NFL MVP voting last season and had career-highs in passer rating and completion percentage this season.
But Foles' success in the postseason and his clutch performance down the stretch to help Philadelphia reach the playoffs as a No. 6 seed created a debate among fans and media. There is no quarterback controversy within the organization, however. Coach Doug Pederson reiterated several times Wentz is the starter when he's healthy.
''It's super frustrating,'' Wentz said about his injuries. ''I still have zero games of postseason football under my belt. I realize I have a lot to prove in that regard. I'm confident I will get the chance to do that.''
The Eagles have a lot of work to do to get back to an elite level in the NFL. They overcame several key injuries - three starting defensive backs, a starting running back and starting defensive end were among 17 players on injured reserve - and upset Chicago in the wild-card round. But their run ended against the top-seeded Saints.
The importance of earning a first-round bye - the Eagles were a No. 1 seed last year - is evident by the fact the top two seeds are meeting in the conference title games in the AFC and NFC.
Beyond Foles, management has many important decisions.
Defensive end Brandon Graham, linebacker Jordan Hicks, cornerback Ronald Darby, running backs Jay Ajayi and Darren Sproles, wide receivers Golden Tate, Mike Wallace and Jordan Matthews, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and safeties Chris Maragos and Corey Graham will be free agents.
Pro Bowl right guard Brandon Brooks tore his right Achilles against the Saints. All-Pro defensive tackle Fletcher Cox finished the game but wore a boot on his foot afterward. All-Pro center Jason Kelce and veteran defensive end Chris Long haven't committed to playing next season.
''It's tough,'' Pederson said about roster turnover. ''You build relationships with these guys. You spend so much time together. You build your roster. Every year your roster is going to change, that is just the way that it is. There are people who are going to come. There are people who are going to go. Obviously, we will talk more about it in the next few days. We will see where we go again.''
The Detroit Lions signed free-agent cornerback Rashaan Melvin to a one-year, $3.5 million deal on Friday, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter. Melvin played for the Patriots in 2015 when head coach Matt Patricia was the defensive coordinator. The 29-year-old has been mostly a starter the last three seasons with the Colts and Raiders and had a career-high three interceptions with the Colts in 2017. He could be the replacement for Nevin Lawson, who signed with the Raiders earlier this week.
The Oakland Raiders signed free-agent quarterback Mike Glennon to a one-year, $2 million deal on Friday, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The 29-year-old will be with his fourth different team in the last four seasons and will serve as Derek Carr's backup in silver and black. Glennon has played in 27 games (22 starts) and is 6-16 as a starter in his five seasons in the NFL. He has 35 touchdown passes, 20 interceptions and an 84.0 quarterback rating. Glennon won't be fantasy relevant.
The Pittsburgh Steelers informed safety Morgan Burnett that they will release him by April 1 per the player's request, according to his agent, Kevin Conner. Both parties discussed trade possibilities before the release, according to a source. Pittsburgh signed the safety to a three-year, $14.25 million contract last season that included a $4.25 million signing bonus. Burnett missed four of the first six games of 2018 due to injury and recorded 30 tackles and six pass deflections in a sub-package role in 11 games. The 30-year-old had previously played eight seasons with the Packers.
The Los Angeles Rams are matching the Detroit Lions offer sheet for restricted free-agent running back Malcolm Brown on Friday. Brown's deal with the Rams is for two years with a $3.3 million base salary, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. He'll receive $2.1 million in practice guarantees ($1 million base guaranteed and a $1.1 million roster bonus to be issued April 15). Brown landed on Injured Reserve in Week 13 with a clavicle injury. He played just 15 percent of the offensive snaps and had 264 yards from scrimmage and one receiving touchdown. He's merely depth behind Todd Gurley.
The New York Giants re-signed wide receiver Cody Latimer to an undisclosed deal on Friday. Latimer played in the first three games and the last two games of the 2018 season but just one of the 11 games in between in his first season in New York because of injuries. He battled a knee injury and also spent two months on Injured Reserve with a pulled hamstring. Latimer finished with only 11 receptions for 190 yards and one touchdown and also averaged 24.6 yards on five kickoff returns. He might have more opportunities to make noise in 2019 with Odell Beckham Jr. out of the picture, but Latimer still doesn't have much fantasy upside.
The New York Jets agreed to terms with free-agent quarterback Trevor Siemian on a one-year, $2 million deal on Wednesday, a source told NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Siemian can make up to $3 million in incentives. The 27-year-old former Bronco didn't play at all with the Vikings last year while backing up Kirk Cousins. He was the starter in Denver in 2016 and 2017, completing 59.3 percent of his passes for 30 touchdowns and 24 interceptions. New York's addition of Siemian likely means that veteran Josh McCown, a 40-year-old journeyman quarterback, will leave in free agency or retire. Siemian won't have any fantasy appeal in his new digs while backing up Sam Darnold.
The New Orleans Saints are expected to sign free-agent tight end Jared Cook, sources told NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Cook, who turns 32 next month, had a career year with the Raiders in 2018, catching 68 passes for 896 yards and six touchdowns. The veteran can stretch opposing defenses down the seam and should open up more space for star receiver Michael Thomas on the outside. While it would be foolish to expect Cook to put up better numbers than he did in Oakland, he should remain a strong TE1 option in the high-flying offense of the Saints.
Updating previous reports, Los Angeles Rams LB Clay Matthews' two-year deal has a $9.25 million base value with $5.5 million guaranteed.
Pittsburgh Steelers FS Morgan Burnett will be released by April 1, per the player's request, according to his agent, Kevin Conner.
Free-agent QB Robert Griffin III (Ravens) re-signed with the Baltimore Ravens Friday, March 22, on a two-year deal. Financial terms weren't disclosed, and the deal is pending a physical.
The New Orleans Saints signed long-time Minnesota Vikings punt returner Marcus Sherels to an undisclosed one-year deal on Thursday, according to a source. The 31-year-old was the Vikings primary punt returner for the last eight years and averaged 12.0 yards per punt return in 2018 to finish in the league's top five for the third time in the last six seasons. He was also used occasionally as a kickoff returner and was a backup cornerback. New Orleans ranked in the league's bottom 10 teams in punt return yardage the last two years. Sherels won't be an option in most fantasy leagues with his move to the Saints.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers TE O.J. Howard (ankle) spent time running routes and catching passes from Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes Thursday, March 21.
Fantasy Spin: Howard was having a TE1 campaign in 2018 before an injury ended his season early, but he should be back at full strength well before the start of next season. He is a big-play weapon from the tight end spot and could finish as a top-five fantasy option at his position.
The Baltimore Ravens re-signed backup quarterback Robert Griffin III on Thursday to an undisclosed two-year deal. The 29-year-old will continue to back up starter Lamar Jackson in 2019. The former first-round pick can be an invaluable source for Jackson as he matures heading into his second season, but RG3 will continue to have no fantasy value.
Chicago Bears RB Jordan Howard is unlikely to have a role in the offense if he remains with the team in 2019, in the opinion of Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.
Fantasy Spin: Howard has always struggled to make an impact in the passing game, and after regressing as a between-the-tackles runner last year, the Bears don't have much incentive to feature him in the offense. Feel free to take a flier on him in the final rounds of drafts, but don't count on him to be a contributor for your fantasy squad.
The Indianapolis Colts signed free-agent outside linebacker Justin Houston to a two-year deal worth $24 million on Thursday, a source told NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Houston had nine sacks for the Chiefs last year, but he was cut with the team trying to get younger and defense while transitioning from a 3-4 base defense to a 4-3 scheme. The Colts also run a 4-3, but they project to use him as a defensive end for the first time in his career. The 30-year-old has dealt with a nagging knee injury in recent years but still has 18.5 sacks in the last two years. The veteran will certainly help boost a weak Indy pass rush from a season ago.
Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (toe) has been working out with teammates this offseason, according to RB Adrian Peterson.
Fantasy Spin: Reed managed to play in 13 games last season, but it didn't translate into much production on the field. Between constant health issues and slipping per-game numbers, Reed is no more than a late-round lottery ticket heading into 2019.
Los Angeles Rams WR Cooper Kupp (knee) said his recovery is where it is 'supposed to be' at this point in the process.
Fantasy Spin: Kupp is expected to be ready for the start of the 2019 season. He was Jared Goff's go-to target on third downs and in the red zone prior to the injury, and Kupp should be able to deliver WR2 numbers, especially in PPR formats.
Los Angeles Chargers TE Hunter Henry (knee) is expected to be ready for the start of OTAs, according to general manager Tom Telesco.
Fantasy Spin: Assuming he doesn't suffer any setbacks, Henry should open the year as the starting tight end for the Chargers and a low-end TE1 candidate for fantasy owners.
Free-agent PK Stephen Gostkowski (Patriots) is making progress in contract talks with the New England Patriots. Gostkowski has also received interest from other teams.
Fantasy Spin: Gostkowski struggled at times this past season but still can be a weekly starting option in all fantasy leagues.
Free-agent DT Al Woods (Colts) met with the Detroit Lions Thursday, March 21.