The NFL’s legal tampering window opened on Monday at Noon and there was already a lot of movement for several former Ohio State players. Free agency, then, officially opened Wednesday, March 13 at 4 p.m. ET and that’s when the gauntlet really begins.
New deals in place
The Oakland Raiders have made a lot of questionable moves since Jon Gruden accepted the head coaching position, but in addition to signing Antonio Brown this offseason, they also signed Buckeye Johnathan Hankins to a new 2-year deal.
He bounced around a bit the past couple of seasons since leaving the Giants, and despite a longer than expected stint on the open market in 2017, he’s found a home in Oakland. Last season with the Raiders, Hankins played in 15 games — having signed with the team after Week 1 —, and made 36 total tackles, including 4 for loss and two QB hits, plus two fumble recoveries.
It has been a bumpy ride for El Guapo, and the running back has yet to catch a break. After spending his first few seasons in the NFL with a rotating door of head coaches in San Francisco, he spent some time in Cleveland and then in Jacksonville to finish out the 2018 season. The Jaguars had to clear up a lot of cap space in preparation of the absolutely gigantic contract they were giving to QB Nick Foles, and Hyde no longer fit into their plan.
Hyde didn’t spend much time on the market though, and was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs to a one-year, $2.8 million prove-it deal. This may have been the best thing to happen to the Buckeye’s career. He’ll get to play with a young and excited quarterback, have the stability at head coach in veteran Andy Reid, and with Kareem Hunt off the roster, has a real chance to contribute.
The Broncos signed a different corner and didn’t even extend an offer to their former draft pick heading into free agency. With the writing on the wall, Buckeye Bradley Roby went about making a business decision — especially considering he had several offers — and ultimately signed a one-year, $10 million deal with the Houston Texans.
Spoke to Bradley Roby. He turned down 3-year offer from Steelers and 1-year offer from 49ers to take one-year, $10 Mil deal with Texans. Browns were also in for a while. Roby: "It's a prove it deal. I feel like I should go back in (the market) while I'm still young.'' #9sports— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) March 12, 2019
To his credit, the cornerback market has produced some big money deals for top name free agents, and if he’s finally able to get out from under the veteran players in Denver, this could prove to be worth it for Roby.
Roby just made his way into the starting lineup with the Broncos in 2018, where he notched 50 total tackles, two forced fumbles and an interception. In his four-year career since being drafted, he’s amassed an impressive 238 total tackles, seven forced fumbles and seven interceptions — two for touchdowns —, and 3.0 sacks.
After a few years developing under Mike Vrabel in Houston, John Simon had a short — and injured — tenure with the Colts and then found himself with the Patriots in 2018. Not bad to get a Super Bowl ring five months after signing with a new team.
It looks like Bill Belichick liked what he saw from the Buckeye and the two parties are ironing out a new deal that will keep Simon in New England through 2019.
The #Patriots are expected to bring back defensive end John Simon, sources say, as the two sides are working on a deal that should be finalized today. The veteran impressed in his 11 games with the Pats after being released in Indy.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 13, 2019
Simon had 17 tackles, two for loss, three QB hits and 2.0 sacks in his 11 regular season games with the Patriots, and contributed another four tackles and 0.5 sacks during their postseason run.
So, no Ryan Shazier will still not be lining up at linebacker in 2019, but the Steelers did pull off a very classy move, shifting the final year of his contract into this season to allow the Buckeye to keep his salary and, more importantly, his health insurance.
“We will continue to support Ryan’s efforts to return to play,” said General Manager Kevin Colbert. “Although he won’t be able to help us on the field in 2019, his leadership, insight, and emotional support have always been very valuable to us, and we look forward to his contributions in our pursuit of a championship.”
Shazier will eventually be placed on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list and stay actively involved with his teammates.
After finishing out his rookie contract with the Denver Broncos, the team decided to bring him back in the fold on a new 2-year, $9 million deal.
Heuerman missed his entire rookie season due to injury, but has suffered minor setbacks throughout the three years that followed — yet to have a full 16-game season. But he’s nabbed 49 receptions for 564 yards and four touchdowns over his career, which has included more than it’s share of quarterback woes.
Now, with the Broncos trading for veteran Joe Flacco, Heuerman might get the stability he needs to finally take hold of the tight end position in Denver and live up to the potential he showed at Ohio State.
Still waiting on a new deal
- Rod Smith (UFA)
- Adolphus Washington (ERFA — Bengals)