NFL Notes: Olivier Vernon, Ronnie Hillman, Browns, Bucs, Panthers & Vikings

Olivier Vernon

Jason Cole of B/R reports that impending free agent DE Olivier Vernon‘s agent met with the Dolphins on Wednesday to discuss an extension with the team.

According to Cole’s sources, negotiations between the two went “nowhere” because Miami is offering the same deal to Vernon that they constructed prior to the 2015 season.

However, Vernon appears to be ready to play under the franchise tag in 2016 which would pay him $15 million. Cole insists that Vernon is comfortable playing under the tag and hitting the open market after the season.

Vernon believes he will receive a huge contract through free agency that would give him huge guarantees. As it stands right now, Cole says Miami must decide if his return is feasible under the high tag price.

We will provide more information regarding the Dolphins and Vernon as the news becomes available.

Ronnie Hillman

  • Broncos impending free agent RB Ronnie Hillman said he wants a “lucrative contract“, but would still like to play with a contending team. (Nicki Jhabvala)


Browns OC Pep Hamilton said he will have an active role in evaluating their quarterback options with the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL Draft.

Hamilton commented on California QB Jared Goff being one of the best quarterbacks available and said that the team is looking for a player with an accurate arm and leadership qualities.

Accuracy. Is he a winner?” said Hamilton, via Scott Petrak. “And, of course, leadership qualities are really important to Coach Jackson and myself.

Additionally, Hamilton said the coaching staff has not discussed the possibility of having WR Josh Gordon back next season.

We have not,” Hamilton said. “I’m sure that Coach Jackson and Sashi and (VP of player personnel) Andrew Berry, they’ve discussed Josh Gordon. But we haven’t really had a lot of discussions about personnel.”

However, Hamilton commented on impending free agent WR Travis Benjamin‘s physical abilities and that he is a “playmaker.” It is worth mentioning that the Browns are reportedly near an agreement with him.

Big-time playmaker,” Hamilton said. “His speed is off the chart. He’s shown that he can get over top of coverages and he is a difference-maker. He’s a guy if you get the ball in his hands and you give him space, he’ll make something happen with the football.”

As for other impending free agents, Hamilton admitted that he is unsure about RT Mitchell Schwartz or C Alex Mack returning next season.

It is and I try not to think about it,” Hamilton said. “But at the same time, I’m optimistic that things are going to work out.”


  • Mark Cook of thinks it is highly unlikely for the Buccaneers to place the franchise tag on impending free agent RB Doug Martin because the tag-price of around $12 million will be too high for the team.


  • Panthers have hired Thomas McGaughey as a special teams assistant coach, per Joe Person.
  • Person adds that the Panthers also considered Kevin O’Dea and Chase Blackburn for the job.


Vikings GM Rick Speilman said he will have further discussions with impending free agent LB Chad Greenway‘s agent about re-signing with the team.

I had a very good conversation with Chad after the season,” Spielman said, via Eric Smith of the Vikings’ official site. “We’ll have a few more conversations with his agent.”

As for another impending free agent on the Vikings, Speilman said he has spoken with CB Terence Newman and believes the veteran corner will continue his career in 2016.

I think Terence still wants to play,” Spielman said. “It’s funny when you talk to these guys right after the season, especially with the emotion that was going on Monday right after the game.

But when things calm down and you get to the combine, we’ll have a lot of talks with the agents on our team. The process will continue as we get up to the negotiation period. We have plenty of time between now and then.”

Spielman also mentioned S Harrison Smith, who is entering the final year of his contract, as a candidate to get an extension in the near future.

I would imagine he would be one of those guys coming down the pipe here pretty soon,” Spielman said. “Harrison, with the way he runs our back end of the defense, I think he’s one of the better playmakers at safety. He can play free and strong, he’s effective on the deep end, and he’s just as effective when he gets walked up to the line.”

Speilman went on to voice his support of K Blair Walsh, despite him missing the game-tying field goal in their Wildcard loss to the Seahawks.

Blair Walsh is our kicker,” Spielman said. “I understand him missing that last kick (drew criticism), but I also know we wouldn’t have been in that situation if he didn’t kick the three before in those conditions. Our organization and our coaches have confidence in Blair.”


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