The Bucs will meet with the reps for free agent LB Dekoda Watson on Monday.
It may be their final effort to retain Watson, a solid special teamer who didn't embarrass himself when forced to play defense last season. Per beat writer Greg Auman, Watson has already drawn "strong interest from other teams."
Former Jaguars C Brad Meester has shed 30 pounds since the season ended.
Meester announced he would retire in December, and has made good on his promise. His playing weight was 292. "I’m just eating better," he said. "I really didn’t care how much I ate or what I ate before, because I had to keep the weight on." Meester's career ends at age 37 as the Jaguars' franchise record holder in starts (209). He should earn a spot in the club's Ring of Honor.
One league source told the Florida Times Union that Maurice Jones-Drew should anticipate two-year offers in free agency.
As far as we can tell, Jones-Drew's market has been dead during the three-day negotiating window. "With as many miles as he’s got on his wheels, somebody may give him a third year," the league source said. "Maybe $4 million in the first year from somebody. But I don’t think he’ll get more than that." We'd be surprised if he got the $4 million. Jones-Drew turns 29 in two weeks.
ESPN Falcons reporter Vaughn McClure believes there's a "strong possibility" Atlanta will inquire about free agent CB Champ Bailey.
The Falcons are set at outside corner with Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford, but are reportedly seeking competition or a potential upgrade on incumbent nickel back Robert McClain. Atlanta did extend McClain a $1.431 million restricted free agent tender. Bailey is a Georgia native and played college ball in Athens.
Antonio Brown's restructured contract with the Steelers converted $5.2 million of his scheduled $6 million salary into a signing bonus.
They Steelers are "kicking the can" down the road. Brown's future salary cap numbers increase by $1.3 million in years 2015-2017, but his number drops by $3.9 million in 2014. Brown, 26 in July, turned in a breakout 2013 campaign as Pittsburgh's go-to receiver. The former punt returner ranked second in the NFL in catches (101) and receiving yards (1,499), scoring eight touchdowns.
Profootballtalk.com reports "all signs" are pointing toward free agent LT Branden Albert signing with the Dolphins when the market opens Tuesday.
A Saturday story in the Miami Herald indicated Albert had risen atop the Fins' left tackle wish list, bypassing Eugene Monroe and Jared Veldheer. If Albert does sign with Miami, the similarly blindside-needy Cardinals would have to turn their attention elsewhere. Albert is entering his age-30 season and with durability woes in each of the last two years. He's still expected to command north of $10 million per year. The Dolphins are sitting on nearly $34 million in cap space.
ESPN Chicago reports free agent DE Michael Johnson is "on the Bears' radar."
The Bears reportedly "inquired" about Johnson when the negotiating period opened on Saturday. With the Vikings likely dropping out of the running after the Everson Griffen deal, Chicago and Tampa Bay appear to be Johnson's likeliest landing spots. At this juncture, we'd project Johnson to the Buccaneers and free agent Michael Bennett to the Bears. That's obviously just a guess.
The Charlotte Observer anticipates free agent Brandon LaFell costing just $1 million per year.
LaFell is entering his fifth NFL season. A $1 million deal would essentially be the veteran minimum's salary plus a cheap signing bonus and a few incentives. LaFell is an effective run-blocking wideout, but lacks playmaking ability on the perimeter. NFL teams should not be targeting him as a 2014 starter.