Welcome back to the rumor roundup, where we look at the five biggest stories of the week, every week.
This week has just four rumors or topics to discuss. The NFL news cycle is slowing down considerably, though as we know, the NFL remains king. Even when news isn't supposed to drop, we find out information such as Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins getting suspended for six games next season.
Anyways, let's save the fun for down below. Let's dive into it.
As we near the end of the week, a solution may be nearing for the James Bradberry and New York Giants saga. New York has been shopping Bradberry as a trade candidate throughout the offseason, though no team has taken the bait. Per General Manager Joe Schoen, the Giants "will have a resolution on Bradberry by the end of the week". Well, the time to pay the pied piper has nearly arrived, and it's unlikely that Bradberry gets traded in the coming days, leaving just one option — his release.
If the Giants elect to outright release him before June 1, they will eat over $11.7m in dead money of his $21.8m cap hit, freeing just over $10.1m in cap space. That's obviously an exorbitant cost to eat, especially for a player of Bradberry's caliber, but his salary is too high for the Giants to justify, particularly with his play declining this past season.
There should be no shortage of suitors for the former stud cornerback — he's had incredibly productive stops with the Carolina Panthers and his first season with the Giants (2020), Bradberry was a legitimate top-five cornerback in the league. He might not be that same player consistently year-in-year-out, but he is a high-quality CB2 or a low-end CB1.
Expect Bradberry to be released any day now. His market should present some good options, considering he has 92 career starts and 15 career interceptions.
As of me writing this, Rob Gronkowski still remains unsigned and undecided on whether he wants to return to the NFL. According to The Athletic's Greg Auman, he believes it "still feels more likely" Gronk will re-sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers than not.
That shouldn't really come as a surprise because it's possible that Gronk only has two options in his mind — retire or re-sign with the Bucs and Tom Brady. We have no reason to believe he'd land elsewhere.
Now, Gronk is no longer the player he once was. His physical style of play has led to a lot of injuries, some which he's played through, but ultimately his career has taken its toll on his body. Still, he's a starting quality tight end and one of the best players at the position when healthy.
Going back to last season, Gronk played in 80% or more of the offenses snaps in nine of the 12 games he was active. One of those games (Week 8) he played in just six snaps. He remained a vital piece of the Bucs' offense and should continue to lead the way at the position, should he choose to re-sign.
Tampa Bay does have quality assurance in Cameron Brate, in the event that Gronk decides he's done playing (again).
In short: no. The biggest news here is that Deebo Samuel apparently re-followed the San Francisco 49ers on instagram. That sentence felt incredibly stupid to write, but this is where we are. When one of the best receivers in football and one of the most overall electrifying players in the sport demands a trade, every sliver of movement is noteworthy.
Initially, it looked like there was no hope for the 49ers and Samuel was well on his way to another team, but the tides have turned and the momentum feels as if it's swinging in the opposite direction. Maybe San Fran does have a legit shot to keep their "wide back" happy — we don't really know the source of his unhappiness.
There have been rumors that Samuel doesn't want to carry the ball as a running back, and of course, seeing the extensions that Tyreek Hill, Davante Adams, Stefon Diggs, and most recently A.J. Brown got this offseason won't simplify Samuel's situation at all. He's bound to get paid a ton of money, regardless of where he chooses to play in 2023.
But, as of today, he remains a 49er and the team seems unwilling to move a player of his caliber. They can't be blamed, either — Samuel is a unique player and weapon, and easily the most important player on that offense. He's got all the leverage.
Time to buckle up, folks. The NFL offseason is nearly done. Free agency has mostly come and gone, the 2022 NFL Draft has wrapped up, teams have added their undrafted free agents, and really, all that's left before mini camps and training camp is this "second [or third] wave" of free agency.
Why you might ask?
Well, one of the last "important" dates on the NFL calendar has passed. All free agents added from here on out will NOT affect the compensatory pick formula. Teams have been reluctant to add talent in recent weeks, and that makes sense. They chose to wait instead. For example: the New Orleans Saints immediately signed safety Tyrann Mathieu once he'd no longer come into play with their comp picks.
When teams lose unrestricted free agents, they're eligible to receive a compensatory draft pick, though the unrestricted free agents they sign could very well tilt the scales back to null; meaning, the NFL takes into account a bunch of different factors, though most notably average salary per year, to determine whether or not a team will essentially receive a free draft pick (between rounds 3-7) in exchange for losing a player.
Now, teams are incentivized to add free agents once again. Some of the biggest remaining names in free agency include:
WR Jarvis Landry WR Will Fuller TE Rob Gronkowksi C J.C. Tretter DT Akiem Hicks DT Eddie Goldman DT Larry Ogunjobi EDGE Trey Flowers EDGE Jadeveon Clowney EDGE Melvin Ingram EDGE Jerry Hughes LB Anthony Barr LB Dont'a Hightower CB Joe Haden CB Kyle Fuller CB Chris Harris Jr.
Let the fun start once again.