QChris Johnson RB ARI (9) 22 minutes ago
Johnson (groin) will seek out the best fit as an unrestricted free agent this offseason, Alex Marvez of the Sporting News reports. "I feel at this point in my career if it's not a situation where a team wants to bring me in to be a starter, I definitely need to be somewhere where I have a role," Johnson said on SiriusXM NFL Radio on Tuesday. "I need to be involved. At this point in my career, I don't want to sit on the sideline. I want to get in the game."
After back-to-back injury-altered campaigns with the Cardinals, Johnson sees the writing on the wall in a backfield populated by a workhorse like David Johnson, who handled 73.4 percent (293 of 399) of the team's carries in 2016. At this point in the former's career, he won't contribute much, if anything, as a pass-catcher, so a between-the-tackles gig is likely at the top of his list. Johnson will be entering his age-32 season in the fall, so landing atop a depth chart out of the gate isn't really in the cards. Rather, a complementary role could be his best-case scenario, whether he sticks in Arizona or heads elsewhere.
QGeno Smith QB NYJ (11) 40 minutes ago
The Jets believe that Smith (knee) may not be healthy until September, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com reports.
Smith received an opportunity to start for the underwhelming Ryan Fitzpatrick in Week 7, only to sustain a torn ACL in the first half of that contest. Such injuries are accompanied by lengthy recoveries, so a September return is on the optimistic side, in most scenarios. Having said that, Smith thinks he'll be healthy by training camp and even stated a willingness to serve as a backup, which would open more doors as he embarks on unrestricted free agency this offseason. Whichever team provides Smith with his next opportunity, there's little doubt that his recovery will impact his potential to play in 2017.
Mike Wallace WR BAL (8) 59 minutes ago
Head coach John Harbaugh expects Wallace to remain with the Ravens in 2017, Ryan Mink of the team's official site reports. "But my anticipation is that Mike Wallace will be a part of our team, and I know he's working to be a part of our team, and I'm planning on having him back next year," Harbaugh said Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Last offseason, Wallace landed in Baltimore on a two-year contract, which included a lofty $8 million team option for the 2017 campaign. Considering he topped all Ravens receivers with 1,017 yards, including 415 yards after catch, last season, the organization clearly deems the 30-year-old worthy of a roster spot. There's no indication whether the front office is seeking a restructured deal with a more team-friendly salary cap hit. However, after Steve Smith's retirement, quarterback Joe Flacco likely prefers to have a modicum of continuity within the passing attack, which may include Wallace in addition to wideout Breshad Perriman and tight ends Dennis Pitta and Benjamin Watson (Achilles), among other holdovers, in the fall.
QEddie Lacy RB GB (4) 1 hour ago
Lacy needed "two screws, two wires, and a plate" to repair the deltoid ligament in his left ankle last October, Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com reports. "I'm just trying to make sure whether I end up in Green Bay or somewhere, I'm in the best shape or I'm in the best position I can be in personally, so when it's time for me to contribute to whatever team that it is that they're getting 100 percent of me," Lacy added Tuesday on Adam Schefter's "Know Them From Adam" podcast.
Lacy termed his recovery effort a "4-to-6 month" process, the former of which he reached Sunday. Only a few days prior, he released a video of himself running on a pool treadmill. In addition to revealing the extent of the injury and its accompanying timetable, Lacy believes that he'll be healthy enough to run on a normal surface in the near future, coinciding nicely with the start of free agency on March 9. No matter whether he progresses to that point, the Packers control his destiny to an extent, as they're the sole party who can have contact with Lacy before March 7. If he returns to Green Bay, he'll join forces with Ty Montgomery to form a potentially dynamic backfield.
Trumaine Johnson DB LA (8) 1 hour ago
The Rams have placed their franchise tag on Johnson, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Per NFL.com, the tag will make Johnson -- who was also franchised by the Rams last season -- the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL, with his contract tender in line to be in the neighborhood of $16.74 million. The 27-year-old is coming off a 2016 campaign in which he recorded 57 tackles and a pick in 14 games. Over the course of 14 contests in 2015, Johnson logged seven interceptions.
QMarcus Mariota QB TEN (13) 2 hours ago
Mariota has exchanged a scooter for a walking boot as he recovers from a broken right fibula, Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com reports.
Mariota's second season came to a close in Week 16, requiring surgery on Dec. 28 to repair the afflicted fibula. In the aftermath, he was expected to avoid putting any weight on his right leg for a period of eight weeks, hence the use of a scooter in the early stages of his rehab. Now in a walking boot, as of last week, he has hit that benchmark precisely on the head. On February 15, head coach Mike Mularkey mentioned that Mariota will be treated cautiously this offseason, stating that the quarterback is unlikely to participate in drills until training camp. If the preceding comes to pass, whoever the Titans ink as Mariota's backup in free agency will direct the offense in the coming months.
QCameron Brate TE TB (6) 2 hours ago
Brate (back) is expected to be available for the Buccaneers' offseason program, ESPN.com's Jenna Laine reports.
Brate ended up missing the Bucs' Week 17 game against the Panthers while dealing with a small fracture in the transverse process of his spine, but the tight end's agent confirmed Wednesday that his client is "good to go" for OTAs in April. The 25-year-old submitted in breakout season in 2016, supplanting Ausitn Seferian-Jenkins as the team's starting tight end and hauling in 57 catches for 660 yards, trailing only Pro Bowl wideout Mike Evans in both categories for the team. The Buccaneers have already re-signed Brate to an exclusive rights free-agent deal that will keep him in the fold for 2017, so look for him to remain highly involved in the Tampa Bay passing attack for at least another year.
Colin Kaepernick QB SF (8) 2 hours ago
Kaepernick announced Wednesday that he would opt out of the final season of his contract with the 49ers, ESPN.com's Nick Wagoner reports.
In what was a widely-anticipated decision, Kaepernick will become a free agent for the first time in his career, affording the 49ers approximately $14.5 million in cap room in the process. After spending a good portion of 2015 in a backup role behind Blaine Gabbert, Kaepernick made 11 starts in 2016 and was quite productive from a statistical standpoint, posting a 90.7 passer rating and a 16:4 touchdown-to-interception ratio while also contributing 468 yards on the ground. It's unclear if other teams around the league view Kaepernick, who went only 1-10 as a starter last season, as a viable No. 1 quarterback, but now that he's a free agent, his acquisition cost would likely be lower than some of the other veteran signal callers who are expected to be available via trade.
Brandon Williams DL BAL (8) 2 hours ago
Williams will become a free agent on March 9 after the Ravens announced that they will not use the franchise tag on the defensive tackle, ESPN's Jamison Hensley reports.
According to Hensley, the Ravens would've used essentially all of their current available cap space in tagging Williams. With that, Williams is set to hit the open market once free agency begins. The Ravens will likely try to re-sign Williams as he is the team's most valuable free agent, but other teams will be looking to add his run-stopping abilities to their defensive fronts as well.
QTrevor Siemian QB DEN (11) 2 hours ago
Broncos coach Vance Joseph said Wednesday that Siemian (shoulder) is on track to return for OTAs, Troy Renck of The Denver Post reports.
After winning the starting quarterback job to open 2016, Siemian played capably in the early stages of the season, but saw his production wane upon separating his left shoulder in October. Though he only ended up missing one game due to the shoulder issue, he required a minor procedure in January to address the issue, which left his availability for offseason activities on uncertain ground. Joseph's comments seem to suggest that Siemian is progressing as expected, and the organization seems to remain committed to the 25-year-old, at least in their interactions with the media. Despite Siemian's uneven play last season, Joseph said the Broncos are comfortable with Siemian and Paxton Lynch as the team's quarterbacks, perhaps taking them out of the running for one of the several veteran signal callers around the league who are expected to be available via trade or free agency in the offseason. Even if the Broncos don't bring in any outside competition for training camp, Siemian will likely still have to battle Lynch for the starting job heading into 2017.