NFL Rumors: Latest Trade and 2019 Free-Agency Buzz Heading into 2nd Wave

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistMarch 16, 2019

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 04:  Duke Johnson #29 of the Cleveland Browns avoids a tackle by Allen Bailey #97 of the Kansas City Chiefs during the second quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium on November 4, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins announced they had traded away quarterback Ryan Tannehill on Friday, pulling the plug on the seven-year experiment at quarterback and putting an end to a wild first five days of free agency. Incredibly, that wasn't even the most shocking move of Wave 1.

In the first few days of free agency, we saw two All-Pro receivers traded, a former backup-turned-Super Bowl MVP take the reins of the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Green Bay Packers being active buyers for the first time since the Bush administration.

It's been a wild free-agency period so far, and there's more to come. What might we expect in the second wave? Let's dig into some of the latest rumors.


Browns Are Shopping Duke Johnson

One of the aforementioned All-Pro receivers is Odell Beckham Jr. He's now a member of a Cleveland Browns offense that also features wideout Jarvis Landry, running back Nick Chubb, tight end David Njoku and, of course, quarterback Baker Mayfield.

The Browns are loaded with weapons, and some of them may be expendable. According to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com, one such player is running back Duke Johnson.

"In the course of trade conversations over the past few days, teams have learned that the Browns are more than willing to deal Johnson, but they're waiting for the right offer," Cabot wrote.

Johnson is one of the premier pass-catching backs in the NFL, so it's no surprise that he may draw interest. In his four seasons as a Brown, he's caught 235 passes for 2,170 yards. He's also averaged 4.3 yards per carry, so it's not like he's only useful as a receiver, either.

Chubb and Johnson formed a dangerous duo down the stretch last season, and the only reason Johnson is trade bait is Kareem Hunt's presence. He, too, is pretty handy as a pass-catcher, and he was signed by the Browns early in the offseason.

But Hunt was just handed an eight-game suspension for violation of the league's personal conduct policy.

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

The #Browns had expected 8 to 10 games for RB Kareem Hunt when they signed him. It turns out to be 8, as the league says Hunt accepts the punishment and did not appeal.

Therefore, as Cabot pointed out, it's going to take the right offer—and likely a substantial one—to pry away Johnson in this offseason.


Cowboys Looking into Eric Berry

Ed Zurga/Associated Press

The Dallas Cowboys haven't been active in free agency, which is a little surprising. Dallas wasn't overloaded with cap space, but as of this writing, they are more than $25 million below the cap. They can afford a large free-agent deal.

Dallas was never going to go out and blow a ton of cash on a receiver or a pass-rusher, but they were linked for a time to safety Earl Thomas.

Thomas ended up with the Baltimore Ravens, and it doesn't sound like Dallas was ever in the mix.

"I thought I was going to go [to the] Kansas City [Chiefs] on a two-year deal, one-year deal, and I was just going to bet on myself and hit the market again," Thomas said, per the Ravens' official website (h/t RJ Ochoa of Blogging the Boys). "Then my agents called me. They said that 'Baltimore has made a deal for you.'"

Thomas never mentions Dallas, and while that doesn't mean the Cowboys weren't interested, it does suggest they weren't seriously interested.

Fans who were hoping Dallas would go safety shopping, however, are in luck. While Dallas may only be kicking the tires, they are at least showing interest in former Chiefs safety Eric Berry—the guy Thomas almost replaced.

According to Mike Fisher of 247Sports, Dallas will investigate Berry's health. That makes for a story worth following in the second wave of free agency.


Kaepernick Interested in Dolphins Job

Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Could the Dolphins be the team that finally gives Colin Kaepernick a path back to the NFL? It would almost certainly spark a healthy amount of fan debate, and the move makes sense.

Miami is staring at the tandem of Luke Falk and Jake Rudock on its quarterback depth chart. There's little experience between the two, which is an issue even if Miami is planning to go after a quarterback in the draft.

The Dolphins previously had interest in Teddy Bridgewater and Tyrod Taylor. However, Bridgewater returned to the New Orleans Saints to back up Drew Brees, while Taylor joined the Los Angeles Chargers as Philip Rivers' understudy.

MarkMaske @MarkMaske

Dolphins didn't get Teddy Bridgewater. They didn't get Tyrod Taylor. Now they trade Ryan Tannehill. Their QB situation is, shall we say, unsettled.

Kaepernick has plenty of NFL starting experience, and while he hasn't played since 2016, he was solid that year. He passed for 2,241 yards with 16 touchdowns and just four interceptions—similar numbers to what Miami might have hoped to get from Taylor.

According to CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora, Kaepernick is also interested in the opening in Miami, something Taylor and Bridgewater apparently were not:

Jason La Canfora @JasonLaCanfora

Reached out to source close to @Kaepernick7 and asked if he was interested in filling Miami QB vacancy. Was told “yes, he’s training hard and ready to play” could get interesting

It's worth wondering if perhaps Taylor and Bridgewater were told they would merely be a bridge to a quarterback taken in April's draft. If so, it would make sense for the two to prefer situations where they may soon take the keys, not hand them over.