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Tag:Kelly Jennings
Posted on: March 1, 2012 8:12 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2012 10:21 am
 

2012 NFL Free Agency: Cornerback rankings

Follow all our 2012 free-agent rankings here (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Leading up to the start of free agency on March 13, we're compiling the best 2012 NFL free agents by position. These are the cornerbacks.

The NFL is a passing league, which puts a premium on quarterbacks and wide receivers on offense, and pass rushers and cornerbacks on defense. Incidentally, these positions are among the league's highest paid, too. Go figure.

1. Cortland Finnegan

Breakdown: The former seventh-round pick out of Samford has turned a draft-day oversight into a career fueled by motivation. Finnegan's on-field skills are sometimes overlooked by his trash-talking and knack for playing just past the whistle. But there's no disputing his ability. And if the Titans don't re-sign him (the two sides were reportedly far apart on a deal earlier this week), expect a CB-needy team to pony up. Like, say, the Cowboys.

Possible landing spots: Cowboys, Titans, Texans (for the sheer Andre Johnson/Kevin Walter awkwardness)

2. Brent Grimes

UPDATE: The Falcons franchised Grimes Friday

Breakdown:
Another small-school player who has emerged as one of the NFL's best cornerbacks. The Falcons are working to re-sign Grimes (worst case: they'll franchise him), who played opposite Dunta Robinson in recent seasons. ProFootballFocus ranks Grimes as their No. 1 free-agent CB, noting that he allowed just 258 total receiving yards in 2011.

Possible landing spots: Falcons

3. Carlos Rogers

Breakdown: Perhaps it's coincidence that Rogers' breakout performance came a year after he left the Redskins, the team that drafted him in the first round back in 2005. In Washington, he was considered a bust, a cornerback who got beat too often and dropped too many should-be interceptions. In San Francisco, he looked like the player the Skins envisioned they were getting on draft day. Rogers recorded six interceptions (he had eight in six previous seasons) and 18 passes defended in 2011, and said recently that he hopes to get a deal down with the 49ers before free agency. If not, he's a candidate for the franchise tag, assuming that honor doesn't go to safety Dashon Goldson

Possible landing spots: 49ers, Cowboys

4. Brandon Carr

Breakdown: Carr was taken in the fifth round of the 2008 draft as a Cover-2 cornerback. In three years, he's emerged as one of the Chiefs' best defenders and if he doesn't return to K.C. (the organization hopes to keep him), the Cowboys have grand plans of bringing him to Dallas (yes, just like Finnegan). Kansas City signed Stanford Routt in February but GM Scott Pioli said during a recent radio interview that "The signing of Stanford Routt does not impact where we’re at with Brandon Carr. As a matter of fact, Romeo and I both reached out to Brandon yesterday as this was unfolding and talked to him."

Possible landing spots: Chiefs, Cowboys

5. Lardarius Webb

                                                                            (Getty Images)
Breakdown: After a solid rookie campaign in 2009, Webb regressed in Year 2 only to have his best NFL season in 2011. The Ravens appear set to tender him as a restricted free agent and have him play opposite 2011 first-rounder Jimmy Williams. According to PFF, he didn't allow a single touchdown last season. Webb is also a capable return man.

Possible landing spots: Ravens

6. Terrell Thomas

Breakdown: Thomas suffered a season-ending injury during the preseason but the Giants could choose to re-sign him and let former first-rounder Aaron Ross walk. Thomas' 2010 season can kindly be described as disastrous, but he played well in 2009and at 27, he has plenty of upside. CBSSports.com's Pat Kirwan tweeted Thursday that the Giants and Thomas are closing in on a deal.

Possible landing spots: Giants

7. Tracy Porter

Breakdown: Porter is best known as "that guy who was on the receiving end of the Peyton Manning Super Bowl gift," but he hasn't lived up to expectations as a former second-round pick. That's not to say he's been a disappointment just that he hasn't been a breakout player. In his top-50 free-agent rankings, CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco offers an apt description: "He is a good, solid starting corner, and those guys get paid. The Saints probably won't be able to keep him. He turns 26 in August."

Possible landing spots: Lions

8. Aaron Ross

Breakdown: Ross, like former teammate Thomas, has been plagued by injuries. He's also one of the six Giants cornerbacks set to hit free agency. But unlike Thomas, the former first-rounder may have played his last down in New York. As the New York Daily News noted earlier this week, "(Thomas) was the starter over Ross before he tore his ACL in August. The Giants had even expressed an interest in extending his contract last summer before he got hurt." Still, like we said at the outset: this is a passing league, which means that even mediocre cornerbacks won't have trouble finding work. If Ross can stay healthy, he'll have a job.

Possible landing spots: Lions, Cowboys

9. Tim Jennings

                                                                            (Getty Images)
Breakdown: At first glance, Jennings is undersized and outmatched. That explains why the Colts parted ways with him in 2009, four years after they drafted him in the second round. It's with some irony then that Jennings' performed well in the Bears' defense. As PFF points out, Jennings is primarily a Cover-2 cornerback, a potential limitation given that teams are moving away from that scheme. Even though he was benched last year, Jennings didn't allow a touchdown. While he's not a starter, he provides quality depth in the right system.

Possible landing spots: Cover-2 teams looking for a nickel or dime back

10. William Gay

Breakdown: Gay, like most names at the bottom of this list, isn't an NFL starter. The Steelers tried that in 2010 with disastrous results. But Gay is a pretty good nickel back who can serve as a spot starter. Given that Pittsburgh has invested five years into him learning Dick LeBeau's scheme, they might try to bring him back. If not, he won't have any issues landing with another team.

Possible landing spots: Steelers, Lions

Honorable Mention

Richard Marshall, Eric Wright, Rashean Mathis, Ronde Barber, Marcus Trufant, Phillip Buchanon, Jason Allen, Kelly Jennings, Adam Jones, Antwaun Molden, Cary Williams (RFA), Jacob Lacey (RFA), Keenan Lewis (RFA)

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Posted on: November 13, 2011 7:04 pm
Edited on: November 13, 2011 7:06 pm
 

Report: Leon Hall tears Achilles, lost for season


Rashard Mendenhall ran for a pair of touchdowns Sunday, and the Steelers intercepted rookie Andy Dalton twice in the fourth quarter, holding on for a 24-17 victory over the Bengals. Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts recap all the action from Cincinnati.

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The Bengals were supposed to be in rebuilding mode this year. Partly because they're always in rebuilding mode, it seems, but mostly because Carson Palmer had quit, and the team decided Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens weren't worth the trouble. And on defense, Jonathan Joseph, one of the league's best young cornerbacks, signed with the Texans during post-lockout free agency.

Which meant that Cincy would rely on former first-rounder Leon Hall and grizzled veteran (yep, that's a euphemism for "over the hill and not much left in the tank") Nate Clements.

Yet through the first nine weeks, the Bengals were 6-2, one of the best teams in the AFC, and atop the AFC North with the Ravens. And they did it with a rookie quarterback.

But as the old saying goes: It's not how you start, it's how you finish.

The Bengals lost at home against the Steelers Sunday, but worse than that, they were without two of their best players for most of the game. Rookie wideout AJ Green tweaked his knee on a second-quarter touchdown catch and played sparingly thereafter. Hall was left in the second quarter, suffering an Achilles injury.

Good news first: “I think it will be fine (for next week's game vs. the Ravens)," Green said, via the Cincinnati Enquirer's Joe Reedy. "It doesn’t feel too bad, just a little stiff. I feel like I’ll be back next week. After halftime it got stiff. I got on the bike and it didn’t feel the same.”

Now the bad news: Hall, who was on crutches after the game, had an MRI Sunday night. According to Reedy, his teammates feared he had a torn Achilles. And ESPN's Adam Schefter tweeted that Hall had in fact torn his Achilles.

That means Hall's 2011 season is over and now the team will rely on Kelly Jennings and Adam Jones to pick up the slack. Hall signed a $39 million extension a week before the regular season.

It's a tough break for the most underrated team in the NFL, but winning football games is as much about roster depth as it is about having quality starters. We'll see how Cincy responds.

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Posted on: September 2, 2011 11:28 am
 

Bengals ink CB Leon Hall to $39 million extension

Posted by Ryan Wilson

When the Bengals opted not to re-sign 2006 first-round pick cornerback Johnathan Joseph, and the Texans eventually gave him $48.75 million over five years to bolster their secondary, it was clear that the team would make a concerted effort to keep cornerback Leon Hall.

(Even if the Bengals wanted him back, it's not clear Joseph would've returned. In July, ESPN's John Clayton said Joseph "would leave Cincinnati for a dollar more than the Bengals are offering.")

That's exactly what happened Friday. 

Earlier in the week, the team traded for cornerback Kelly Jennings, a former Seahawks first-rounder, and now the Bengals have extended Hall, one of the best players on the team. It's a four-year, $39-million contract extension that will keep him in Cincy through 2015, according to ESPN.

CBSSports.com's Rapid Reporter Paul Dehner adds that the deal includes $14.1 million guarantees (his 2011 salary increases to $5.1 million from $3 million, and he gets a $9 million roster bonus), and that extending Hall was on the radar before Joseph left for Houston. ESPN adds that he's expected to receive another $5 million roster bonus March 1.  

Dehner writes that "Hall, 26, has more interceptions (18) than any player his age or younger except the Jets' Antonio Cromartie, also 26 with 18 interceptions. In fact, only 10 active players younger than 30 have more picks than the Bengals corner." He's now tasked with leading a defense that must keep the Bengals in games while the offense finds its way with rookie quarterback Andy Dalton under center. 

In addition to the Jennings trade and the Hall extension, the Bengals last week traded for safety Taylor Mays, who had fallen out of favor in San Francisco after just one season. On Wednesday, the team also extended left tackle Andrew Whitworth.

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Posted on: August 29, 2011 10:52 pm
 

Why Jennings is an important piece for Bengals

K. Jennings was traded from Seattle to Cincinnati (US Presswire).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

After losing Johnathan Joseph to Houston in free agency and with Adam Jones battling injuries and potentially about to miss at least the first six games of the season, the Bengals were in need of some help in their secondary.

That’s why Bengals.com’s Geoff Hobson calls it a “no brainer” that Cincinnati would trade defensive tackle Clinton McDonald to the Seahawks for cornerback Kelly Jennings. Automatically, Jennings -- a former first-round draft pick -- becomes Leon Hall’s tandem partner as long as Jones isn’t playing.

As Rapid Reporter Paul Dehner Jr., points out, the deal also might be bad news for Brandon Ghee -- who now finds himself squarely up against the 53-man roster bubble, even though he was a 2010 third-round pick. This is what Zimmer had to say about Ghee, who has not played in any preseason games this year, earlier today: “We've got to play him a lot this week and see where he's at. Athletically, we have seen that. It’s about finishing plays and making plays."

It’s the second trade in eight days the Bengals have made to help Cincinnati improve the secondary: already, the Bengals gave up a seventh-round pick in 2013 for former 49ers safety Taylor Mays.

Obviously, Cincinnati has no problem swapping personnel with other NFL teams. And after the Jennings swap, Zimmer intimated the Bengals might not be done making trades. Somewhere in southern California, Carson Palmer gnashes his teeth.

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Posted on: August 2, 2011 5:35 pm
Edited on: August 2, 2011 6:01 pm
 

Seahawks, Zach Miller reach agreement

Posted by Ryan Wilson

It's sometimes easy to get lost in the maelstrom that is Oakland Raiders football, but tight end Zach Miller was one of the most underrated players at his position during his four-year NFL career. And now he'll take his game some 800 miles north to Seattle where the Seahawks have reached an agreement with the former second-round pick out of Arizona State, the Associated Press is reporting.

ESPN's Adam Schefter tweets that the deal is for five years, worth $34 million, and includes $17 million in guarantees.

Miller joins Tarvaris Jackson and Sidney Rice as the newest faces on Seattle's offense, and he'll team up with another young tight end with unlimited potential: John Carlson who, because of injuries, changing schemes and quarterbacks, has seen his reception totals decline in each of his three NFL seasons.

On Monday before Miller had agreed to terms but after it was announced he was visiting Seattle, ESPN.com's Mike Sando detailed the plan for Carlson and the Seahawks' tight ends in 2011: "[New offensive coordinator Darrell] Bevell is implementing an offense similar to the one Mike Holmgren ran in Seattle when Holmgren pushed the team to make Carlson a second-round draft choice. That angle still might come into play, but Carlson isn't the only receiving tight end the Seahawks are considering as they move through the early stages of training camp."

In terms of raw numbers, Miller has 226 career receptions for 2,712 yards and 12 touchdowns, and he hauled in 60 catches for 685 yards (5 TDs) in 2010. Carlson, meanwhile, has 137 receptions for 1,519 yards and 13 touchdowns, including 31 catches for 318 yards (1 TD) a season ago.

Miller will be reunited with Tom Cable, the new Seattle assistant head coach/offensive line and former Raiders head coach.

In other Seahawks personnel news (via the AP): Defensive end Jimmy Wilkerson has also signed with the team. He spent last season with New Orleans, but his best seasons came in 2008 and 2009 with Tampa Bay when he worked with new Seattle defensive line coach Todd Wash. Wilkerson started a career-high 15 games in 2009 and had career bests in tackles (46) and sacks (6). Wilkerson was the second defensive free agent to reach a deal with Seattle in as many days. The Seahawks brought back cornerback Kelly Jennings on Monday.

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Posted on: March 25, 2011 12:07 pm
Edited on: March 27, 2011 12:49 am
 

Offseason Checkup: Seattle Seahawks

Posted by Josh Katzowitz



Eye on Football's playing doctor for every NFL team with our Offseason Check-ups . Also, check out our checkup podcast:





The Seahawks were subjected to much ridicule when they became the first team in playoff history to enter with a losing record (for that, we can thank the incredibly weak NFC West – not to mention the Rams, who fell to the Seahawks in Week 17 in a game that would have allowed St. Louis to win the division with an 8-8 mark).

But then, Seattle immediately thumbed its nose – and indirectly taunted the Giants and Buccaneers, both of whom missed the playoffs with 10-6 records – at the NFL by beating New Orleans (we can talk all day about how Seattle had an unfair advantage by getting to host an 11-5 team, but Seattle outclassed the Saints big time).

Seattle was a weird team to observe last season. The Seahawks were either pretty good (wins against the Chargers and the Bears attest to that), or they were absolutely horrid (remember the 33-3 loss to the Raiders and the 41-7 defeat to the Giants in consecutive weeks?). I never really got a handle on which Seattle team was going to show up each week, and I still couldn’t tell you whether the Seahawks were a good team last year. I kind of lean toward no, though.




Future franchise QB, Too much change

Matt Hasselbeck could return for another season, and honestly, that wouldn’t be a terrible decision, because he was decent enough last year for a 35-year-old quarterback. But his backup Charlie Whitehurst – who the Seahawks traded for last season – simply has not proved he’s a quality starter, and while third-stringer J.P. Losman started in Buffalo, there’s a pretty good reason he’s not doing it there anymore.

It seemed like coach Pete Carroll has turned over the roster about 15 times since he took over as head coach, and he’s lost a few assistants. At some point, there needs to be some roster and staff consistency, doesn’t there?



1. Franchise QB
Could Philadelphia’s Kevin Kolb be that quarterback? The Seahawks would have to give up, at the very least, a first-round draft pick (and probably a mid-round pick as well) in order to trade the Eagles, but Kolb could very well be the guy to replace Hasselbeck. Emphasis on the word “could” because Kolb, as far as I’m concerned, still has much to prove as a starting QB. And if Seattle doesn’t get Kolb (and can’t re-sign the unrestricted free agent Hasselbeck), what the heck happen

2. Offensive consistency
wks fired offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates after just one season, probably because they averaged less than 300 yards of total offense per game and perhaps because they thought they could get Josh McDaniels to take that job. Instead, they hired former Vikings offensive coordinator Darren Bevell to replace Bates and former 49ers head coach Tom Cable as the OL coach. Maybe that will work. And if not, Carroll won’t have a problem looking for a replacement.

3. Cornerback help
Seattle allowed 11 passes of 40-plus yards last year, and though that wasn’t necessarily always the fault of the 30-year-old Marcus Trufant and the underwhelming Kelly Jennings, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Seattle takes a defensive back in the first round of the draft. The top-two CBs in the draft (Prince Amukamara and Patrick Patterson) surely won’t be around by the time the Seahawks pick at No. 25, but Colorado’s Jimmy Smith is a definite possibility.




For a playoff team, the Seahawks have soooooo much room to improve. RB Marshawn Lynch (who, you’ll recall, did this against the Saints) was serviceable after landing in the Pacific Northwest, and Seattle signed WR Mike Williams to a three-year extension near the end of the season. But the offensive line needs help (the team has used 15 (!) players on the left side of the line in the past three years), and the Seahawks could forgo a cornerback and draft a lineman in the first round.

That said, remember the Seahawks play in the weakest division in football. So, you could mark them down as favorites to win the NFC West, and you actually have a pretty good chance of being correct. But this team, like last year’s squad, could be very flawed. And it might not be very good.

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Posted on: January 13, 2011 5:07 pm
Edited on: January 13, 2011 8:31 pm
 

Bears vs. Seahawks: 7-Point Divisional Preview

Posted by Andy Benoit



CBSSports.com's patented and award-winning 7-point preview gets you ready for each and every playoff game. As an added bonus, check out our playoff podcast preview:



1. Seattle Seahawks (No. 4, NFC, 8-9) @ Chicago Bears (No. 2, NFC, 11-5)

Arguably the most unlikely second-round playoff team in NFL history goes on the road (like it should have had to do in the wild card round) to face a storied franchise that filled up the bottom half of everybody’s NFC North preseason rankings.

No taking potshots at the Seahawks this week (aside from that little “going on the road” one…which not even the most fiery Seattleites can, deep down, disagree with); Pete Carroll’s men played too well against the Saints to be mocked.

Besides, Seattle beat Chicago at Soldier Field back in Week 6. It was Marshawn Lynch’s Seahawk debut, and his club became, at the time, just the second team to rush for more than 85 yards against Chicago’s reinvigorated defense. (Lynch wound up with 44 of Seattle’s 111 rushing yards; his former Cal teammate, Justin Forsett, had 67). Regardless of what happens from here on out, Lynch will forever be remembered for his earth-rumbling 67-yard run against the Saints.

He’ll need similar tenacity Sunday. The Bears held opponents to an NFC-best 90.1 yards rushing per game during the regular season. Forsett’s quickness won’t be as viable on the sloppy Soldier Field surface; the Seahawks will need to call upon their new hero.

2. PLAYOFFS?! Watchability Ranking



The Seahawks bring a David factor to this equation, but it’s not like the 11-win Bears are a big bad Goliath.

3. Key Matchup to Watch: Earl Thomas/Lofa Tatupu vs. Bears Passing Offense

After tearing him apart in the regular season, the Saints were eager to pick on rookie safety Earl Thomas Saturday. But the first-round pick from Texas responded admirably, finishing second on the team with eight tackles. Thomas showcased blazing speed on many of those tackles – including one where he crossed the field to hunt down Reggie Bush.

That speed will be crucial against Devin Hester and Johnny Knox, Chicago’s two playmaking receivers. Though a slapdash offensive line has compelled Mike Martz to call fewer seven-step-drop passes in 2010, you can bet the Bears will still look to stretch the field a time or two. The Seahawks gave up an NFC-high 60 passes of 20 yards or more during the regular season. They also allowed 11 passes of 40-plus yards (tied for fourth most in football). Some of those passes were due to Thomas’ misreads.

Thomas is obviously more experienced than when the Bears last saw him, but given how vulnerable Seattle’s corners are to downfield patterns (knee injuries have cost Marcus Trufant a half-step; No. 2 corner Kelly Jennings struggles with his outside change-of-direction technique at times) Martz and Jay Cutler will be tempted to showcase their big-play prowess on a high-stakes stage.

As far as Tatupu goes, his speed and instincts are key to Seattle’s short-area pass defense. The Bears completed 51 passes to running back Matt Forte this season (tied with Knox for the team lead). Seattle may want to consider shadowing Forte with their veteran Pro Bowl middle linebacker.

4. Potentially Relevant Video

Pete Carroll should make his special teams unit watch this video 10 times a day the rest of this week.



5. The Seahawks will win if ...

They get another spectacular performance from Matt Hasselbeck and take advantage of Chicago’s issues with recognizing pass blocking assignments (that is if the Bears haven’t corrected these issues over the past two weeks).

6. The Bears will win if ...

They simply break even with Seattle in the “mistakes” category and can take advantage of the favorable mismatches for their defensive line.

7. Prediction: Bears 24, Seahawks 17

Posted on: January 6, 2011 10:28 am
Edited on: January 7, 2011 11:11 am
 

Seahawks vs. Saints: 7-Point Wild Card Preview

Posted by Andy Benoit



CBSSports.com's patented and award-winning 7-point playoff preview gets you ready for each and every playoff game. And as an added bonus, check out our playoff podcast preview:



1. New Orleans Saints (No. 5, NFC, 11-5) @ Seattle Seahawks (No. 4, NFC, 7-9)

The 2010 Saints essentially became the first wild card team in history to get a bye when they drew the matchup against the hapless/fruitless/pathetic/laughabl
e/embarrassing NFC West Champion Seahawks. Seattle can obviously play the “nobody believes in us card”. It’s not even a card to play – it’s more just a fact. But it doesn’t matter because nobody believes in their ability to play the “nobody believes in us card” anyway. And nobody cares if the Seahawks have a chip on their shoulder or something to prove or are out for respect or whatever it is bad teams say before big games. So you say nobody thinks you deserve to be here, Seattle? You’re correct. And all the nobodies are correct, too.

2. PLAYOFFS?! Watchability Ranking (On a scale of 5 'Jim Mora Faces')





3. Key Matchup to Watch: Drew Brees & Sean Payton vs. Seahawks D

It’s simple, really: the Seahawks don’t have the firepower to keep up with the Saints. Which is why you can expect the Saints to look to establish a big lead early. Obviously any team would like to establish a big lead early. The difference with New Orleans is that they have a coach who is willing and knows how to do it. The Saints are arguably the best play-scripting team in football. Don’t be surprised if you see 15 different formations in New Orleans’ first 15 plays. Most of those formations will be of the spread variety, given that Drew Brees prefers to get as many weapons as possible involved, and given that New Orleans has all but ignored the run the last three weeks.

Brees will take a keen interest in the Seahawks cornerbacks, neither of whom matches up well with Robert Meachem (expect Meachem to be the No. 1 target given that Marques Colston is questionable after having arthroscopic knee surgery last Tuesday). Kelly Jennings lacks size and Marcus Trufant is inconsistent in deep man-to-man coverage. Seahawks fourth-round rookie Walter Thurmond will also be tempting to pick on, especially if he has to handle the precise route running of Lance Moore.

4. Potentially Relevant Video

If the Saints watch this video sometime during the week, don’t be surprised if Sean Payton, out of support for an angry Reggie Bush (and inside word is Bush is definitely angry) giddily runs up the score on the former USC head coach.



5. The Saints will win if ...

They show up and nothing ridiculous happens.

6. The Seahawks will win if ...

They are on the fortunate end of a fluke turnover (or two…or three) and can gather energy from the home crowd that they don’t deserve to be playing in front of.

7. Prediction: Saints 35, Seahawks 13
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com