After a long break, my NFL Weekly Transaction Tracker is back, just in time for all of the preseason roster changes.
After ten seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars, who drafted Mathis with the 39th overall pick in 2003, Mathis is moving up north to Detroit to try and shore up their secondary.
This contract with the Lions is just for one year, which is to be expected for a 32-year old who had to wait until the middle of preseason to find a team. As of right now, the monetary value of the contract is unknown but it is expected to be for the veteran minimum for the same reasons that this is only a one year contract.
The Jaguars all-time interceptions leader played his college ball at Bethune-Cookman, a college that currently has 3,400 students. Despite playing at such a small school, Mathis was able to become a second round draft pick and instantly became a starter for the Jaguars. In his ten seasons with the Jaguars, Mathis played in 137 out of a possible 160 regular season games and added three games in the postseason.
In his best season, 2006, Mathis recorded 63 tackles while intercepting 8 passes, a career high, and deflected 20 passes. For this great season, Mathis was rewarded with his only career Pro-Bowl berth and, more importantly, he was one of the first team All-Pro cornerbacks.
While 2006 was his best season, Mathis’ best game came in Wild Card playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2007 season. Mathis helped the Jaguars advance to the Divisional Playoffs by intercepting two passes, including one that he was able to return for a touchdown.
Already, Mathis is seeing first team reps with the Lions, where he is playing in the slot. He is also taking some snaps at safety. The Lions have veteran Chris Houston at one cornerback and rookie Darius Slay at the other. Mathis has taken over for second year player Bill Bentley at the slot cornerback position. Bentley is the future for the Lions at this spot but, this signing indicates that he isn’t quite ready yet. It never hurts to bring in a veteran to hold down the fort until younger players are ready, and the Lions have done just that with this signing.
In the biggest move of the week, the Dallas Cowboys gave 27-year old, star middle linebacker, Sean Lee a six-year contract extension.
As you would expect, this extension is worth big money. The yearly average is $7 million which makes the value of the contract $42 million. This can increase to $8.5 million each year if Lee can play in 80% of the team’s defensive snaps each year. If this playing time incentive is reached, the value of the contract will increase to $51 million. The signing bonus for this deal is $10 million and the total guaranteed money is $16.1 million. Lee had one more year left on his rookie contract so, this new contract will kick in starting next season.
The low guaranteed money and the playing time incentives are included in this contract because Lee has suffered various injuries in his three-year career so far. Out of a possible 48 games, Lee has played in 35, which equates to missing just less than a whole season. In his NFL career, Lee has dislocated his wrist, which actually only forced him to miss one game as he opted against season-ending surgery, and suffered a toe injury that made him miss ten games last season. In his rookie season, he missed two games due to various aliments. His injuries extend past his NFL career as Lee tore his ACL at Penn State University during his college career.
Despite these injuries, Lee is a premier middle linebacker in the NFL. His breakout season came in 2011, while he was playing with a dislocated wrist. He recorded 105 tackles and intercepted 4 passes that season. Last season, his play was in line with 2011 before his season-ending toe injury.
This offseason, the Cowboys fired defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and hired Monte Kiffin to replace him. With this switch, comes a change in defensive scheme. The Cowboys will be going from an aggressive, blitzing 3-4 defense to a Tampa-2, 4-3 defense. This new defense will give Lee new responsibilities as the middle linebacker but, this shouldn’t stop him from being one of the NFL’s best middle linebackers. One of the best middle linebackers in recent memory, Brian Urlacher, played in the same scheme in Chicago and had an excellent career so Lee should be fine.
Overall, I like this contract for both sides. Lee gets his payday and is now one of the highest paid middle linebackers in the league. The Cowboys have good protection from injury as only $16.1 million is guaranteed. Also, the Cowboys needed to lock Lee up as he would have become a free agent this season and current defensive leader DeMarcus Ware is starting to age.
The 49ers and the Chiefs have exchanged former first round picks who were both considered to be reaches at the time and both have had disappointing NFL careers so far.
Jenkins was drafted with the 30th overall pick by the 49ers in 2012 NFL Draft out of the University of Illinois. Being active in just three games, Jenkins was on the field for 37 snaps and dropped the only pass thrown his way. This preseason, Jenkins caught only one pass and fumbled the ball after. The definition of a disappointing first round pick, Jenkins is the only receiver taken in the first round since 1970 to not record a catch for the team that drafted him. This stat could get worse as well, since the researcher stopped after getting to 1970.
Baldwin was drafted by the Chiefs out of the University of Pittsburgh in the 2011 NFL Draft with the 26th overall pick. He played in 26 out of a possible 32 games for the Chiefs catching 41 passes for 579 yards and 2 touchdowns in his two seasons there. In just two preseason games, Baldwin had dropped three passes, continuing his problems with catching the ball. His NFL career got off on the wrong foot as he injured his wrist in a locker room fight with veteran teammate Thomas Jones.
This trade was much needed for both players as they had worn out their welcome with the lack of production that is expected from a first round wide receiver. Both players should make the roster of their new teams but, unless they produce, their roster spot next year is in question.
I believe the 49ers got the better end of the trade as Baldwin has at least caught an NFL pass. He has also shown flashes, albeit limited ones, unlike Jenkins.
The Arizona Cardinals waive OL Scott Wedige.
The Arizona Cardinals waive C Kyle Quinn.
The Arizona Cardinals waive P Will Batson.
The Arizona Cardinals sign WR Mike Thomas.
The Arizona Cardinals waive WR Robby Toma.
The Arizona Cardinals waive WR Robert Gill.
The Arizona Cardinals sign K Dan Carpenter.
The Baltimore Ravens cut CB Chris Johnson.
The Baltimore Ravens trade WR David Reed to the Indianapolis Colts for RB Delone Carter.
The Buffalo Bills release K Rian Lindell.
The Buffalo Bills cut S Mark LeGree.
The Buffalo Bills cut CB Don Unamba.
The Buffalo Bills cut OT Tony Hills.
The Buffalo Bills cut WR Terrell Sinkfield.
The Buffalo Bills waive OL Keith Williams.
The Chicago Bears sign QB Jordan Palmer.
The Chicago Bears sign QB Trent Edwards.
The Chicago Bears waive WR Jerrell Jackson.
The Chicago Bears release DE Jamaal Anderson.
The Cincinnati Bengals release WR Tyrone Goard.
The Cincinnati Bengals release LB Aaron Maybin.
The Cincinnati Bengals release CB Troy Stoudermire.
The Cleveland Browns sign RB Jamaine Cook.
The Cleveland Browns waive DB Kenronte Walker.
The Cleveland Browns release FB Brock Bolen.
The Cleveland Browns waive P T.J. Conley.
The Dallas Cowboys sign DE Jason Vega.
The Denver Broncos sign LB Paris Lenon.
The Denver Broncos trade DT Sealver Siliga to the Seattle Seahawks for G John Moffitt.
The Detroit Lions sign DL John Drew.
The Detroit Lions sign LB Rocky McIntosh.
The Detroit Lions sign OT Kevin Haslam.
The Detroit Lions sign TE Cameron Morrah.
The Detroit Lions release OL Austin Holtz.
The Detroit Lions waive CB Conroy Black.
The Detroit Lions waive DE Braylon Broughton.
The Detroit Lions cut LB Adrian Moten.
The Detroit Lions waive LB Cory Greenwood.
The Detroit Lions cut WR Mike Thomas.
The Indianapolis Colts sign WR Maurice Williams.
The Jacksonville Jaguars release G Jason Spitz.
The Jacksonville Jaguars release WR Mohamed Massaquoi.
The Miami Dolphins sign LB Nathan Williams.
The Miami Dolphins release CB Richard Marshall.
The Miami Dolphins waive G Jeff Braun.
The Miami Dolphins waive G Chandler Burden.
The Miami Dolphins waive DT Chris Burnette.
The Miami Dolphins waive LB Alonzo Highsmith.
The Miami Dolphins waive WR Kenny Stafford.
The Minnesota Vikings sign DE Spencer Nealy.
The Minnesota Vikings release CB Jacob Lacey.
The New England Patriots release LB A.J. Edds.
The New England Patriots release OL R.J. Mattes.
The New England Patriots release DL Scott Vallone.
The New Orleans Saints release QB Seneca Wallace.
The New Orleans Saints release WR Steve Breaston.
The New Orleans Saints release WR Patrick Crayton.
The New Orleans Saints waive LB Chase Thomas.
The New Orleans Saints waive DB A.J. Davis.
The New Orleans Saints waive WR Jarred Fayson.
The New Orleans Saints waiveG Ricky Henry.
The New Orleans Saints waive DB Dion Turner.
The New Orleans Saints release OT Jason Smith.
The New York Giants waive G Chris DeGeare.
The New York Giants sign WR Terrell Sinkfield.
The New York Giants sign OT Austin Holtz.
The New York Jets sign WR Marcus Rucker.
The New York Jets sign WR Mohamed Massaquoi.
The New York Jets sign OT Jason Smith.
The New York Jets release C Scott Wedige.
The Oakland Raiders sign OT Tony Hills.
The Oakland Raiders waive K Eddy Carmona.
The Philadelphia Eagles sign DE Eddie McClam.
The Philadelphia Eagles waive OT Ed Wang.
The Philadelphia Eagles trade RB Felix Jones to the Pittsburgh Steelers for LB Adrian Robinson.
The Pittsburgh Steelers sign RB Jeremy Wright.
The Pittsburgh Steelers cut K Daniel Hrapmann.
The San Diego Chargers sign WR Seyi Ajirotutu.
The San Diego Chargers sign CB Richard Marshall.
The San Francisco 49ers sign QB Seneca Wallace.
The San Francisco 49ers waive WR Ricardo Lockette.
The Seattle Seahawks sign DT Dewayne Cherrington.
The Seattle Seahawks waive K Carson Wiggs.
The St. Louis Rams release TE Cameron Graham.
Current St. Louis Rams RB Terrance Ganaway has announced his retirement.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers sign DE Trevor Scott.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers sign K Rian Lindell.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers waive LB Joe Holland.