The Lions were among the NFL’s worst running offenses last season, but help could soon be on the way.
Pure blocker Dwayne Allen, owed $5 million for 2018, is a likely salary-cap casualty after only one season. There’s also a good chance the team saves another $6.2 million by parting ways with soon to be 31-year-old Martellus Bennett.
So New England will need to fill that position in some way, and it could view Graham as a much splashier version of Scott Chandler from 2015. It would be a downright luxury move for the AFC champions, but with Josh McDaniels sticking around, the Patriots should want to create more danger in Barkevious Mingo Jersey their two tight end sets, especially in the red zone. Call it insane, call it genius, but a bold Graham move would represent both.
It seems clear Cobb won’t be returning to Green Bay as the team tries to keep Nelson after signing Davante Adams to a massive extension. Cobb, 27, was a fading blip in the offense with or without Rodgers.
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Turning only 29 in August, Taylor has a few good years left as a versatile veteran stopgap. It just won’t be for Buffalo, which will move on to find a true franchise guy it totally trusts. Arizona and Denver are Taylor’s best fits elsewhere.
Houston is 29 and coming off an injury-riddled season. Yet he still played 15 games in 2017 and produced 9.5 sacks, his highest total since his 22-sack, monster 2014 season. The Chiefs want him on that defense. They need him on that defense. He’s not going anywhere.
Houston has a clear need for a solid starter at corner. Butler would make sense given the Texans’ connections to the Patriots in O’Brien and Romeo Crennel, who is back as defensive coordinator. The Redskins’ Bashaud Breeland also should be drawing some interest.
Johnathan Joseph may be retained as a free agent for his age-34 season, but even coming off a down year, he was by far the best of a shaky cornerback group. Kareem Jackson and Kevin Johnson struggled in coverage. Marcus Williams, like Joseph, is unsigned for 2018. Jackson is entering his final contract year, while the club has an option on Johnson for 2019.
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The Texans also need a safety, as both Marcus Gilchrist and Eddie Pleasant are entering free agency. With Lamarcus Joyner franchise-tagged by the Rams, the best available player there is the Cardinals’ Tyvron Branch. The Seahawks’ Bradley McDougald had a strong, versatile season and would be a fine signing, too.