Steelers To Stick With Chris Boswell

The Steelers won’t be getting rid of Chris Boswell after all. The club worked out kickers after Boswell’s rough showing against the Raiders, but they have decided against making a chance at this time, as Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets

On Wednesday, the Steelers brought in Kai Forbath and Matt McCrane for a competition on the practice field alongside Boswell. Forbath apparently had a strong workout and was kept in Pittsburgh overnight after his audition. But, on Thursday, Boswell responded with a strong practice, and the Steelers decided to ride it out with the fourth-year pro.

To help Boswell get back on the right track, the Steelers have brought in old friend Shaun Suisham to work with him, according to Gerry Dulac of the Post-Gazette (on Twitter). Boswell has been undeniably bad this season, but there’s reason to believe in his leg after he sank 92.1% of his field goal tries in 2017 and earned his first ever Pro Bowl nod.

Of course, Boswell’s contract is also a factor here. In the offseason, the Steelers inked Boswell to a new four-year, $19.2MM extension and cutting him would result in upwards of $6MM in dead money.

Boswell and the Steelers will look to snap a three-game losing streak on Sunday when they face the Patriots.

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Jaguars’ Jalen Ramsey Wants Extension

Jalen Ramsey has heard the trade rumors and he wants to put them to rest. The Jaguars deny wanting to move on from the talented cornerback, but Ramsey wants them back up the talk by engaging in contract negotiations. 

[RELATED: Jaguars’ Malik Jackson Expects To Be Cut]

Like I said, I’m going to let my agent and the front office handle that, but after what came out here, what was it five weeks ago or however many weeks ago it was, yeah I’m feeling like yeah, if y’all serious about that [a potential trade] not being real, then y’all need to make it happen,” Ramsey said (via ESPN.com). “If not, then maybe what came out five weeks ago will happen. We’ll see.”

Ramsey would like a long-term commitment, but the Jaguars are under no real pressure to give him one. His rookie deal expires in 2019, but the Jags are expected to pick up his fifth-year option in early May, keeping him under control through 2020. After that, the Jags could keep him away from free agency once, and even twice more, through the franchise tag.

This figures to be an offseason of upheaval in Jacksonville and the Jags could get a huge haul if they decide to shop the former No. 5 overall pick. He’s also having a solid year on an individual level, even though the Jaguars have sagged. Ramsey has three interceptions thus far and ranks as the No. 27 corner in the league, per Pro Football Focus.

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Zach Brown Expects To Be Cut By Redskins

Linebacker Zach Brown doesn’t expect to return to the Redskins in 2019, as Michael Phillips of the Richmond Times-Dispatch writes. Brown is under contract through 2020, but he was pulled from the starting lineup on Sunday and sees that as a sign. 

According to coaches, Brown missed his first start of the year because he missed practice during the week. However, the linebacker says that doesn’t wash.

I mean, if a guy’s sick, he’s sick,” Brown said. “What was I supposed to do, go out there and throw up for you? I had a stomach virus. Wasn’t nothing I can do. Last year I didn’t practice at all until Friday or Saturday with my knee injury, so it’s kind of contradictory what they’re saying.”

Brown joined the Redskins on a three-year, $21MM deal in March, but the Redskins can save $5.75MM by releasing him this offseason. The move would leave them with $3MM in dead money, but Brown believes the Redskins will make that tradeoff.

I think they’re just going in a different direction towards everything,” Brown said. “I’m going this direction, they’re going that direction. I’ll talk to them, but right now I’ve just got to focus on beating Jacksonville.”

The 6-7 Redskins still have a 10% chance of reaching the playoffs, according to Five Thirty Eight, but they’ll need a few breaks plus three straight wins against the Jaguars, Titans, and Eagles to salvage the season. With journeyman Josh Johnson under center, that may be tough to pull off. If the Redskins fall short, major changes are likely coming, and that could include parting ways with Brown.

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Latest On Redskins RB Derrius Guice

There could be an issue in D.C. Running back Derrius Guice‘s rehab from a torn ACL has been delayed by an infection in his leg (via Kareem Copeland of the Washington Post). 

After surgery, Guice developed an infection that lasted two months and required three separate procedures to address the compromised tissue. During this time, he had to stay close to orthopedic surgeon James Andrews in Florida rather than being with his teammates in D.C.

It really sucks, man,” Guice said. “Everywhere you go, you either have people asking how your knee is, how your rehab is going . . . or asking why you’re in Louisiana. ‘Why are you not with your team?’”

Because of the setback, Guice is unsure about when he’ll be able to resume football activities. He hopes to be ready by the time the Redskins’ organized team activities begin in early summer, but there are no guarantees.

Word of Guice’s issue comes days after we learned of quarterback Alex Smith‘s battle with a gruesome infection in his broken leg. Guice, by all accounts, is out of the woods, but Smith’s infection and subsequent surgeries have put his football future in jeopardy.

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Eagles’ Carson Wentz Likely Done For Season

The Eagles will be without Carson Wentz on Sunday and probably won’t have him back at all this season. The team has not formally decided on whether to place him on injured reserve, but it’s likely that we won’t see the quarterback again until 2019, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

As it turns out, Wentz’s back injury is more serious than it initially appeared. After a battery of tests, the team learned that Wentz has a fracture in his back. Now, the Eagles are doing more tests to determine whether playing would put him at further risk (Twitter link). On the plus side, Wentz will not require surgery either way.

With that, the Eagles will head into a crucial Week 15 matchup against the Rams without Wentz. A win keeps them very much alive in the Wild Card chase, but a loss would require two more wins and a whole lot of luck to get them into the playoffs.

On the plus side, the Eagles may have the league’s best contingency plan in quarterback Nick Foles. On Sunday, he’ll make his first start since the Eagles’ Week 2 loss to the Bucs.

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Eagles Not Planning To Re-Hire DeFilippo

Former Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo is back on the market, but it doesn’t sound like a reunion is in the works. On Thursday, head coach Doug Pederson told reporters that there are no plans to bring the offensive guru back into the fold. 

[RELATED: Vikings Fire John DeFilippo]

What I’ll say is John did a great job for me,” Pederson said (via Zach Berman and Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Inquirer). “He helped us win a world championship and then he had an opportunity. I love my coaches. I’m confident in the guys we have. At this time, no.”

Last year, DeFilippo was a hot candidate for both head coaching jobs and offensive coordinator vacancies. HC interviews with the Bears and Cardinals did not vault him all the way up the ladder, but he landed a coveted OC job in Minnesota. Unfortunately, his offense did not perform up to snuff in 2018, despite a strong group of receivers and the arrival of high-priced quarterback Kirk Cousins.

DeFilippo still figures to draw interest as an assistant this offseason, but he’s unlikely to have the same kind of buzz this time around.

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Jaguars’ Malik Jackson Expects To Be Cut

Three years ago, Malik Jackson inked a six-year, $85.5MM contract with the Jaguars. However, Jackson doesn’t expect to play out the second half of that deal. In a conversation with John Reid of the Florida Times-Union, Jackson said that he expects to be released in the offseason. 

In my mind, if I’m third or fourth on the depth chart making $14.5MM to $15MM, I don’t see too much future for me in Jacksonville,” Jackson said Wednesday. “I’m not trying to be a journeyman by any means. But it’s a business and soon as you try to forget that then it’s a rude awakening for sure.”

Jackson was a Pro Bowler in 2017, but he was dropped from the starting lineup in November and has ceded snaps to rookie Taven Bryan. With that in mind, Jackson’s assessment is probably spot on. The Jaguars can save $11MM by cutting the 28-year-old (29 in January) versus just $4MM in dead money.

Jackson, meanwhile, is taking it all in stride. He says that he’s learned to embrace his role as a mentor to Bryan and other young teammates, following the example set by Peyton Manning. He’s also motivated to close out the season strong and showcase himself for prospective suitors.

With my situation, I’m playing for 31 other teams potentially,” Jackson said regarding the final three games. “I have to show these teams that I’m playing at a high level. I’m a pass rusher with one sack. So I have to show this team that I’m consistently still getting to the quarterback, but I’m just not finishing. So for me, I have to show a lot of people a lot of things about who I am and what I am and what I’m continuing trying to build for myself.

Jackson has just one sack this year, a big drop off from his eight sacks in 2017. However, he still has a nose for getting to the quarterback, as evidenced by his 40 pressures this season. That ties with Ndamukong Suh for eleventh in the NFL among defensive tackles, according to Pro Football Focus.

On the flipside, his overall PFF score leaves much to be desired. Jackson is ranked just 94th out of 118 qualified DTs, per PFF.

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OSU’s Dre’Mont Jones To Enter NFL Draft

Dre’Mont Jones is going pro. The Ohio State defensive lineman announced that he will forgo his final year of eligibility in order to enter the 2019 NFL Draft. 

[RELATED: FAU RB Devin Singletary To Enter NFL Draft]

The redshirt junior has been on the NFL radar for some time now and could have turned pro last year. However, he decided to return to the Buckeyes for another year of seasoning, and he believes that was the right call.

I think it was a great decision for me to come back,” said Jones, who tallied 40 tackles, nine sacks, and two defensive touchdowns in his All-Big Ten season. “I kind of proved myself.”

Unlike other top prospects, Jones says that he will play in his team’s bowl game. So, for now, his focus is on the Jan. 1 Rose Bowl against No. 9 ranked Washington. After that, he’ll set his sights on gearing up for workouts.

My thing with injuries is that they’re a part of the game,” Jones said. “You have to just play with it. As much as you think about it the more it can affect you.”

Most draft prognosticators see Jones as a first round talent – ESPN.com’s Todd McShay has Jones as the No. 21 ranked player on his board while Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller has him 19th. His pass rushing technique is said to need work, but he offers serious potential and his 6’3″, 286 pound frame looks to be NFL-ready.

AFC Notes: Steelers, Dolphins, Ravens, Jets

Free agent kicker Kai Forbath was impressive during his Wednesday workout with the Steelers, and Pittsburgh is “keeping him on hold” while they determine a course of action with incumbent Chris Boswell, as Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. Boswell’s fate with the Steelers could well rest on his performance during Thursday’s practice, per Fowler. Boswell missed two field goals against the Raiders on Sunday, including one that would have tied the game as regulation expired. All told this year, Boswell has missed six field goal attempts (leaving with him a conversion percentage that ranks last in the NFL) and five extra points. According to Football Outsiders’ special teams metrics, the Steelers’ kicking game is the second-worst in the league.

Here’s more from the AFC:

  • Ryan Tannehill‘s injury woes continue, as the Dolphins quarterback suffered an ankle injury in Miami’s stunning victory over the Patriots on Sunday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Tannehill practiced on Wednesday and should be able to face the Vikings in Week 15, head coach Adam Gase told reporters, including Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press (Twitter link), but Rapoport indicates Tannehill could be limited against Minnesota. Tannehill himself, meanwhile, said he’s “encouraged” by his progress thus far, per Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk. The Dolphins will be fighting for their playoff lives, as FiveThirtyEight.com currently gives them a one-in-five chance of earning a postseason berth.
  • The Ravens appear likely to target safety help early in the 2019 draft, as Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic writes (subscription required). Eric Weddle could potentially be released next spring if he doesn’t retire, and hanging up the cleats is a possibility for the veteran defensive back giving that he’ll be entering his age-34 campaign. Tony Jefferson won’t be released due to the dead money that would be associated with such a move, but there’s no question Baltimore needs help at safety. As Zrebiec indicates, the Ravens have been horrendous against opposing tight ends, and rank 26th against the position in DVOA.
  • If/when the Jets part ways with Todd Bowles, Gang Green should pursue John Harbaugh as their next head coach, opines Brian Costello of the New York Post. Harbaugh, of course, isn’t nearly the lock to be fired that Bowles is, as Baltimore still has a decent chance of making the postseason, either by winning the AFC North or by securing the No. 6 seed. But if he is available, Harbaugh would add “instant credibility” to a Jets organization that desperately needs it. If Harbaugh doesn’t hit the coaching market, other veterans like Mike McCarthy or Jack Del Rio could be considered by New York, but Costello expects the Jets to target a young offensive mind instead.
  • The Raiders are seeking a new general manager after firing Reggie McKenzie earlier this week, and one name that could surface during the search is Jets director of player personnel Brian Heimerdinger, according to Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports. However, as Robinson writes, it’s unclear if the Oakland job will have any sort of allure around the NFL, especially given that most executives will see the gig as nothing short of being Jon Gruden‘s “puppet master.” Heimerdinger, for his part, is currently in his third season with New York after previously spending time with the Rams and Texans.

Chargers RB Melvin Gordon A Game-Time Decision?

Although the Chargers are reportedly not optimistic that they’ll have running back Melvin Gordon for Thursday night’s contest against the Chiefs, Gordon himself believes he’ll be a game-time decision for the pivotal AFC West matchup, as Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com writes.

“I’ve been grinding hard to get back and we’re still trying to decide what we’re going to do,” Gordon said. “I know Coach [Anthony Lynn] is trying to be careful and doesn’t want me to further hurt myself or things like that. So we’ll see where that goes, but I’m a lot stronger and more confident than I was last week.

“I’d love to be out there,” Gordon continued. “I know it’s a big game and I know the guys want me to be out there. We need all of the play-makers we can to beat K.C.; you know how explosive they are. I just love football, and we’ve only got a few games left before we get to the offseason, then we can do what we want to do.”

The Chargers haven’t exactly played it safe with Gordon’s health this season. Los Angeles allowed its star running back to suit up and handle a normal workload against an overmatched Cardinals team in Week 12, and Gordon ultimately left that game with an MCL injury and hasn’t played since. Thursday’s contest against the Chiefs has far more at stake, so the Chargers might be even more amenable to deploying Gordon despite his injury status.

If Gordon can’t play against Kansas City, Los Angeles figures to deploy Justin Jackson in a full-time manner, with fellow rookie Detrez Newsome also seeing snaps.

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