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La Canfora tosses out some cornerback rumors for free agency, trades

He spoke with an executive to get his thoughts on all 32 teams. Three of these rumors are not surprising, but one is a wild card.

The 2018 NFL Combine is just under two weeks away, and the rumor mill is starting to heat up. Free agency and trade rumors will be flying every which way in Indianapolis, but folks are already looking to get thing started.

Jason La Canfora wrote a column on Friday in which he broke down all 32 teams with “two executives” and offered up some thoughts on what each team might have to deal with this offseason. The San Francisco 49ers paragraph was about making a decision with regard to Reuben Foster. However, his thoughts on various cornerbacks were interesting (albeit ones to take with a grain of salt).

The 49ers have a big need at cornerback. Ahkello Witherspoon and K’Waun Williams are solid options, but they need one more starter and plenty of depth. This year’s draft is expected to have some strong late first round and day two options, while free agency offers some options that will go for a pretty penny.

La Canfora had some comments on four cornerbacks that could end up hitting the market in some form or fashion.

For the Chicago Bears, he talked about the importance of re-signing Kyle Fuller. However, while it is a priority, “he’s going to find a lucrative market ahead and will not be returning to Chicago, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.”

The least surprising mention was with the Denver Broncos, where he said, “Aqib Talib is gone.” He remains under contract, but there have been numerous rumors he will be traded or released this offseason.

The Los Angeles Rams have franchised Trumaine Johsnon each of the last two years, and it sounds like a third straight year will not happen. “Trumaine Johnson will not be back with the Rams, according to a league source.” Not exactly a shocking revelation, but another one saying it.

Finally, he threw in a bit of a wild card with Washington.

There are rumblings about Josh Norman’s future there as well, and they could save $15 million in cash and $8 million in cap space by parting with him. “You just moved on from a franchise quarterback and paid a guy to replace him who you didn’t have to pay, so anything is possible there,” a personnel director said. “There is no way I would have extended Alex Smith like that. I hear that Norman hates the front office and would want to leave anyway. Something could happen there.”

If Washington cuts Norman as a pre-June 1 cut, they clear $7.9 million in cap space, and will carry $9 million in dead money. If they designate him a post-June 1 cut, they would clear $13.9 million in cap space, while carrying $3 million in dead money this year and $6 million in dead money in 2019. They also don’t get full access to that cap space until June 1.

Further, I don’t know exactly how much to take from “I hear that Norman hates the front office.” I can’t imagine many people like dealing with them, but whether that’s enough to get something done, we’ll see. They don’t seem to be in the worst shape cap-wise at the moment, but this also does not reflect a contract extension for Alex Smith.

I’m generally skeptical when Jason La Canfora throws crap against the wall. But we’ll keep an eye out on these cornerbacks as the new league year approaches.