Month: October 2019

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/15/19

Here’s a rundown of early week minor NFL moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

  • Claimed: OL Fred Johnson (from Steelers)
  • Placed on IR: DE Kerry Wynn

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

New England Patriots

Philadelphia Eagles

Jets’ Kelechi Osemele To Have Surgery

The Jets’ can’t seem to shake their bad luck. Guard Kelechi Osemele is set for shoulder surgery, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). 

Osemele has missed the team’s last two games, including their upset win over the Cowboys on Sunday. Just when things seemed to be turning around for Gang Green, the injury bug reared its head again. The Jets lost wide receiver for the season Quincy Enunwa due to a neck injury, they’re still waiting on linebacker C.J. Mosley‘s return, and they’ll be without one of their star lineman as they look to build on their first W.

The Jets acquired Osemele via trade with the Raiders this offseason with the hope that they would patch up their porous offensive line. So far, that hasn’t happened, and it’ll be even more challenging to open up holes for Le’Veon Bell and protect Sam Darnold‘s spleen from here on out.

The 1-4 Jets will face the Patriots in New Jersey on Monday night.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

XFL Assigns QBs To Teams

The XFL draft gets underway on Tuesday, but the league’s eight teams already have their starting quarterbacks penciled in. Here’s the breakdown: 

[RELATED: XFL Projects $55K Salary For Players]

The rest of the 71-man rosters will be filled by the two-day draft, which will include the selection of other quarterbacks. Interestingly, Zach Mettenberger and Joe Callahan are in the draft pool, but were not in this initial group.

The XFL season will open on February 8, 2020, shortly after the Super Bowl.

Connor Barwin Announces Retirement

Connor Barwin is hanging ’em up. This week, the longtime NFL pass-rusher announced his retirement from the sport. 

[On Tuesday], I turn 33 and after a decade of playing the greatest sport there is, I’m excited to say I’m moving on to the next chapter of my life,” Barwin wrote on social media. “To my coaches, teammates, fans, and family – thank you all! It was an honor to compete on Sundays for the last ten years. Houston, Philadelphia, LA, and New York – couldn’t have dreamed of a better journey. Thank you for the good times and all the support!

Barwin enjoyed some of his best years with the Eagles from 2013-2016 and lobbied for a return late in the summer. That never came to fruition and Barwin is ready to move on to life after football.

Barwin’s very best season came in Philly in 2014 when he racked up 14.5 sacks, made the Pro Bowl, and earned second-team All-Pro honors. He signed a one-year deal with the Rams in 2017, and, although he had five sacks, his performance wasn’t well-regarded by the advanced metrics. Then, Barwin signed a two-year deal with the Giants before the 2018 season but didn’t make waves in New York, either.

While things didn’t necessarily end on a high note, Barwin leaves the game after an impressive total run. He notched 56.5 sacks across ten NFL seasons for the Texans, Eagles, Rams, and Giants, and that’s plenty to celebrate on his 33rd birthday.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals’ Dre Kirkpatrick To Miss Time

Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick will miss amount a month with a hyperextended knee, sources tell NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). The veteran may have a clearer picture after seeing a specialist on Tuesday, but it would be a shock if he plays in Week 7. 

Kirkpatrick was carted off the field during Sunday’s game against the Ravens. That marked the Bengals’ sixth loss of the year and they won’t have an easy time getting their first W against the Jaguars without one of their starting corners in action.

Kirkpatrick had an opportunity to leave in March of 2017, but the Bengals cuffed him with a five-year, $52MM deal. Kirkpatrick’s deal is something of a pay-as-you-go agreement from here on out, but the Bengals should have every reason to keep him, regardless of whether they enter a complete rebuild this offseason.

Last year, Kirkpatrick allowed just 44.4% of the targets thrown his way to be caught, good for the second-best rate in the league. That was good for second amongst all NFL cornerbacks with at least 400 coverage snaps.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams’ Joseph Noteboom Done For Year

Rams left guard Joseph Noteboom is done for the year, head coach Sean McVay announced. Unfortunately, team doctors didn’t need long to make a diagnosis after Noteboom tore his ACL and MCL. 

[RELATED: Rams To Place Aqib Talib On IR]

Noteboom, a third-round pick in the 2018 draft, appeared in every game for the Rams last year and started for them on the interior line in all six games this year. That includes every snap of the first five games, plus ten snaps on Sunday, before the fateful injury.

Losing him will be rough, particularly on the heels of losing Aqib Talib on the other side of the ball. The Rams started 3-0, but they’re in the midst of a three-game skid with losses to the Bucs, Seahawks, and 49ers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

North Notes: Ravens, Elliott, Bears

The Ravens lost another safety Sunday, with DeShon Elliott going down in the team’s win over the Bengals. Like Tony Jefferson last week, Elliott looks to be facing a season-ending malady – head coach John Harbaugh expects the second-year defender to miss the rest of the season.

With Baltimore down to third-year player Chuck Clark and veteran backup Anthony Levine, Harbaugh said the Ravens looking for outside help at safety is now “very possible,” per Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com (on Twitter). A 2018 sixth-round pick, Elliott missed all of his rookie season due to injury as well.

Here’s more from the NFC North:

  • Good news for the Bears: quarterback Mitch Trubisky was back throwing in practice on Monday for the first time since dislocating his shoulder. Trubisky went down hard on his left shoulder in Week 4, leaving Chase Daniel as the team’s starter for the time being. Daniel and the Bears fell to the Raiders last time out, leaving them 3-2 on the year. Off of their bye, they’ll face the Saints on Oct. 20.
  • Bad news for the Bears: Head coach Matt Nagy says Kyle Long will not return this season. This was the expected news after the right guard landed on IR for the fourth straight season.
  • The Vikings want to bring back wide receiver Davion Davis, either on the active roster or the practice squad, if he clears waivers on Monday, Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press tweets. Davis was cut this week to make room for the promotion of linebacker Cameron Smith, who was chosen in the fifth round of this year’s draft.

Steelers’ Stephon Tuitt Done For Year

Stephon Tuitt left Sunday night’s game midway through, and he’ll miss the rest of the season due to the chest injury he suffered. The Steelers fear they may be without one of their long-tenured defensive ends for a while, with Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reporting (video link) the team has concern Tuitt suffered a torn pectoral muscle.

Surgery is ahead for the sixth-year veteran as he watches the Steelers from a distance. It all has to be extra frustrating for Tuitt as his Steelers are 2-4 through six games.

Tuitt and Cameron Heyward have served as Pittsburgh’s defensive end starters for the past five seasons. Both are playing on high-end extensions and play key roles for a Steelers team that’s seen productivity from its pass rush this season. Tuitt was on pace to eclipse his single-season sack high (6.5 in 2015), having recorded 3.5 in six Steelers contests.

Heyward and Tuitt exited Week 6 as the NFL’s fourth- and sixth-best interior defenders, per Pro Football Focus, so losing the former second-round pick is a considerable blow for Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh has veteran backup Tyson Alualu and sixth-round rookie Isaiah Buggs as backup defensive ends. Alualu would be the next man up opposite Heyward.

Beyond this year, the 6’6″, 303-pound lineman still has three seasons to go on his contract with a 2020 cap hit of $14.9MM.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles Cut LB Zach Brown

The Eagles have released linebacker Zach Brown, according to a team press release. The Eagles D came up short against the Vikings – after Brown ran his mouth a bit – and, now, Brown is no longer part of the team.

Brown was released by the Redskins back in March and scooped up by the Birds soon after on a one-year, $3MM deal. Unfortunately for him, he only got to see his old team once this year – the Eagles’ second showdown with the Redskins won’t take place until December.

Brown was supposed to help replace inside linebacker Jordan Hicks this year, but didn’t meet the Eagles’ expectations. The 29-year-old started in all six games before his release and registered 29 tackles in total.

Brown received extremely high grades from Pro Football Focus last year, grading out as their third best linebacker overall behind only Bobby Wagner and Luke Kuechly. It stands to reason that he won’t be out of work for long, though, as this past offseason taught us, he probably won’t secure the bag.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams To Place Aqib Talib On IR

For a second straight season, the Rams will place Aqib Talib on IR. The 12th-year cornerback’s rib injury will end up sidelining him for at least eight more weeks, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

Talib missed Sunday’s game against the 49ers and would not be able to return until Week 15 because of this transaction. This timetable closely mirrors the Rams’ 2018 Talib plan. The Pro Bowler went on IR after Week 3 and returned in early December.

Los Angeles’ defense suffered last season without Talib, with teams picking on Marcus Peters in what became a tough season for the then-fourth-year veteran. The contract-year corner will again become the Rams’ top outside cover man. The Rams roster veteran Troy Hill, ex-waiver claim Darious Williams and third-round rookie David Long at corner. Hill started in Talib’s place against San Francisco.

The Rams were playing better when they placed Talib on IR in 2018. The defending NFC champions are now 3-3, having lost three straight. Talib’s future with the team is also murky, with the 33-year-old defender’s contract expiring at season’s end.

The Rams traded for Talib in their action-packed 2018 offseason but by December will have seen him miss 15 games. Talib was far more reliable in Denver, having missed just six games in four Broncos seasons.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.