Month: October 2018

Extra Points: Bengals, Bucs, Browns, Chiefs, Broncos

Matt Barkley suffered a Grade 3 MCL sprain in Thursday night’s preseason game, which could end the veteran quarterback’s chance to serve as the Bengals‘ No. 2 signal-caller, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Barkley, whom Cincinnati inked to a two-year deal during the offseason, will likely be placed on injured reserve, although he could return later in the season. Given his lackluster play during the exhibition season, Barkley was likely going to lose out to Jeff Driskel in the Bengals’ backup quarterback battle even before injury luck intervened.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Buccaneers could make a waiver claim for a veteran backup offensive lineman over the weekend, but don’t expect them to orchestrate any trades, tweets Greg Auman of The Athletic. Starting left tackle Donovan Smith is expected to be sidelined for another one-to-three weeks after suffering a knee sprain earlier this month, so Tampa Bay could certainly aim to add bodies to its front five. However, offensive tackle depth is sparse league-wide, so it’s unclear if the Bucs will be able to find any competent options. At present, journeyman Michael Liedtke is set to fill in for Smith if the latter misses regular season action.
  • The Browns released linebacker Mychal Kendricks on Wednesday after he was shockingly charged with insider trading, but the 27-year-old had been performing so well in Cleveland that other clubs believed fellow ‘backer Jamie Collins was available via trade, according to Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com (Twitter link). Crucially, Breer does not indicate the Browns were shopping Collins or had any intention of moving him, but the mere fact that rival teams believed Collins could be had is notable. Cleveland sent a third-round pick to New England in exchange for Collins in 2016, and subsequently re-signed him to a four-year, $50MM contract the following year. Collins, who played in only six games last season before going on injured reserve with a torn MCL, will join Christian Kirksey and Joe Schobert as Cleveland’s starting linebackers.
  • Orlando Scandrick‘s one-year deal with the Chiefs contains a base salary of $915K and includes up to $500K in per-game roster bonuses, reports Terez A. Paylor of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Scandrick had already collected $1MM in guarantees from the Redskins, who signed the veteran defensive back in March before releasing him earlier this month. Now that Steven Nelson has returned to Chiefs practice, Scandrick is competing with David Amerson for Kansas City’s third corner role.
  • Broncos linebacker Jerrol Garcia-Williams will undergo season-ending surgery after suffering a torn ACL, per Mike Klis of 9News (Twitter link). Garcia-Williams appeared in 11 games for Denver last season after going undrafted out of Hawaii, but was primarily limited to special teams duty (he saw only 23 defensive snaps). Speculatively, Garcia-Williams’ injury could open the door for the Broncos to reunite with fellow linebacker Corey Nelson, who was released by the Eagles on Sunday.

Eagles S Chris Maragos Reworks Deal

Eagles defensive back Chris Maragos has agreed to a reworked deal that will eliminate the 2019 season of his contract, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

It’s unclear if Maragos gave up anything financially in order to hit free agency a year earlier than was previously scheduled. Maragos was due a base salary of $1.75MM in 2018, and Yates reports Maragos will now earn “up to” $1.75MM this season, so it’s possible the veteran defender agreed to a lower salary with incentives that can bring him back to even.

Maragos had been set to earn a $2MM base salary in 2019, but that figure will now be removed from the Eagles’ books next season. As part of a three-year, $6MM extension he inked in 2016, Maragos received a $1MM signing bonus, which prorated onto his salary cap charges. As such, Philadelphia is still responsible for Maragos’ $250K in 2019 bonus money.

Maragos, 31, ended last season on injured reserve with a PCL issue, and his lengthy recovery has forced him on to the physically unable to perform list. He hasn’t participated in any of the Eagles’ training camp sessions or preseason games, and it appears that he’ll remain on PUP to begin the regular season. That designation would force Maragos to miss at least six games to begin the 2018 campaign.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chances Of Khalil Mack Being Traded Are “Very Real”

The odds that Raiders edge rusher Khalil Mack is traded this weekend are “very real,” according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link), who adds the market for Mack is unsurprisingly “robust.”

Mack is currently engaged in a contract dispute with Oakland, one that’s expected to last into the regular season. One of the NFL’s best pass-rushers, Mack is scheduled to earn $13.846MM in 2018 before hitting free agency next spring.

The Raiders’ asking price for Mack is believed to start with two first-round picks, but it’s unclear if any club is willing to meet that price. While teams have inquired on Mack, and offers have been coming in, Oakland has yet to make a trade. The Jets, for one, are known to be interested in acquiring Mack, as are the Browns.

Mack, 27, has been a wrecking ball since entering the league as a first-round pick in 2014. A three-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All-Pro, Mack has totaled 40.5 sacks over his first four NFL seasons. In 2017, Pro Football Focus graded Mack as the NFL’s seventh-best edge defender.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steelers QB Landry Jones Generating Trade Interest

Steelers backup quarterback Landry Jones has generated trade interest from other NFL clubs, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (Twitter link). However, it may be difficult for Pittsburgh to deal Jones given that he’s the most experienced reserve signal-caller on its roster, per Fowler.

Jones isn’t the only Steelers quarterback being discussed by rival teams, as second-year pro Joshua Dobbs is reportedly also garnering interest. Clearly, Pittsburgh will keep third-round rookie Mason Rudolph behind starter Ben Roethlisberger, and is attempting to choose between Jones and Dobbs for its other quarterback roster slot.

Jones, 29, hasn’t played much during his six-year NFL career, as he’s attempted just 169 passes in relief of Roethlisberger. In that span, Jones has been a middling option, completing 63.9% of his passes for 1,310 yards, eight touchdowns, and seven interceptions.

Among the quarterbacks who have thrown at least 160 passes since 2013, Jones ranks 35th in passer rating and 26th in adjusted net yards per attempt, but it’s difficult to assign much relevance to those numbers given his small sample size. With that 160-pass cutoff in place, Jones ranks second-to-last in attempts since his rookie campaign, just ahead of Derek Anderson.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Multiple Teams Expressing Interest In Earl Thomas

Multiple teams have contacted the Seahawks to express interest in safety Earl Thomas, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link).

While the identity of the clubs interested in Thomas remains unknown at this point, it’s an interesting development in the Thomas sage. Thus far, only the Cowboys are known to have had talks regarding a Thomas trade, so the mere fact that other teams are now in the mix could potentially give Seattle more leverage in negotiations.

Thomas, of course, is seeking a contract extension as he enters the final season of his pact. But the Seahawks have shown no willingness to discuss a new accord, and Pelissero similarly reports the two sides are still at a stalemate.

Thomas is set to earn a base salary of $8.5MM and count for $10.4MM on Seattle’s salary cap. That salary is courtesy of a four-year, $40MM extension which Thomas signed in 2014, a deal which now makes him the NFL’s sixth-highest-paid safety in terms of annual value.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets WR Jermaine Kearse Likely To Miss Week 1?

The Jets fear wide receiver Jermaine Kearse may miss Week 1 after undergoing a medical procedure to treat an abdominal injury, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.

Kearse’s timetable for return isn’t exactly clear, as Brian Costello of the New York Post tweets. Kearse could conceivably recover in time for the season opener, or perhaps miss a few weeks with the injury. As Costello notes, Kearse’s ailment is “impossible to predict.”

If Kearse is sidelined, the Jets will need to turn to the other receiving options on their roster. Without Kearse in tow, New York would likely use Robby Anderson, Quincy Enunwa, and Terrelle Pryor as their starting wideouts in three-WR sets. Gang Green could also conceivably grab a pass-catcher off waivers or via trade in the coming days.

Kearse, 28, enjoyed the best statistical campaign of his career in 2017 by managing 65 receptions for 810 yards and five touchdowns. He’s entering the final season of his contract, and is scheduled to make $5.55MM during the upcoming season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colts’ Austin Howard, Eagles’ Chance Warmack Among OL On Trade Block?

Colts tackle Austin Howard, Eagles guard Chance Warmack, Bears center Hroniss Grasu, and Raiders tackle Jylan Ware are among the offensive linemen who could be made available via trade this weekend, according to Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com.

Trade candidates are often simply players who will be released if no offer is made, and Howard is a clear case of that principle. The Colts already invested $1.3MM guaranteed in Howard, but he’s not a lock to open as Indianapolis’ starting right tackle or even make the club’s 53-man roster. A veteran of 92 NFL games, Howard wasn’t medically cleared until late July and has struggled in camp and during the preseason.

Warmack, too, looks like a candidate for release, as he hasn’t been included on numerous Eagles roster projections. Philadelphia extended Warmack last September, adding an extra year (2018) to his contract while guaranteeing $500K of his $1MM base salary. A trade would be especially beneficial to the Eagles, then, as an acquiring team would take on that base salary guarantee. Philadelphia could use the cap space, as it ranks a bottom-five team in financial reserves.

Both Grasu and Ware are also on the roster bubble with their respective teams. Neither offers much experience: Grasu, a third-round pick in 2015, has been beset by injuries and appeared in just 14 games, while Ware, a 2017 seventh-rounder, has just one contest under his belt.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Falcons Release OL Austin Pasztor

The Falcons have released veteran offensive tackle Austin Pasztor, the club announced today.

Pasztor, 27, was excellent as the Browns’ right tackle in 2016, but he surprisingly hasn’t garnered any interest as a starter since that season. Last year, he didn’t land a free agent contract until August, and went on to appear in only seven games as a reserve for the Falcons.

In addition to releasing Pasztor, Atlanta reached an injury settlement with cornerback Leon McFadden and cut him from injured reserve.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots Cut Five Players

The Patriots are getting an early start on roster cuts, as they’ve announced the following five transactions:

Of the group, only Turner boasts any NFL experience. The 25-year-old appeared in four games and managed nine receptions for the Eagles in 2016, but didn’t see any action last season.

49ers Announce Roster Cuts

The 49ers acquired offensive tackle Shon Coleman earlier this evening, but that wasn’t the only transaction for the club. San Francisco has also begun trimming its roster in advance of Saturday’s roster deadline.

The following players have been cut by the 49ers:

Williams was a fourth-round pick in the 2016 draft, but he’s being pushed off the roster by veterans such as Alfred Morris and Raheem Mostert. Locke lost out in his camp battle with fourth-year punter Bradley Pinion. Robinson has followed 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan to each of his three stops.