Month: November 2019

Saints’ Marcus Davenport Done For The Year

There’s already been a lot of big injury news today, and now we have even more. Saints defensive lineman Marcus Davenport is expected to undergo season-ending surgery, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link). 

Per Pelissero, Davenport “suffered a significant foot injury” during New Orleans’ loss to the 49ers on Sunday. It’s a huge blow to a Saints defensive front that has been one of the team’s strengths this season. The Saints traded a first-round pick to move up and take Davenport 14th overall in last year’s draft. He dominated against weaker competition in college at UTSA, and was regarded as a highly talented but somewhat raw prospect.

After a relatively quiet rookie year in which he showed plenty of flashes but didn’t start a game, he has been playing a huge role in 2019. He’s started all 13 games for the Saints this season, racking up 31 tackles, six sacks, and three forced fumbles. The Saints’ defense is pretty banged up at the moment, with key linebackers A.J. Klein and Kiko Alonso also dealing with injuries.

They recently re-signed Manti Te’o in response to the health issues. Defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins was also knocked out of their loss to the 49ers with an ankle injury, although it’s unclear how serious that is. Davenport took a step forward this season, and he will be back as a key piece in 2020.

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Raiders Make Flurry Of Roster Moves

Oakland is coming off three straight lopsided defeats, and in the wake of the embarrassments Jon Gruden is reshuffling his roster. The Raiders are waiving veteran defensive players D.J. Swearinger, Preston Brown, and Terrell McClain while signing running back Rod Smith, the team announced today.

They also placed rookie tight end Foster Moreau on injured reserve, which was expected. Oakland has given up at least 40 points in back to back weeks, and Gruden made it clear he isn’t happy with the defensive effort. Brown, an inside linebacker, had been with the Bengals for most of this season and was starting for them before he was scooped up by the Raiders prior to this week’s loss to the Titans. Brown started almost every game for the Bills from 2014-17, but he lasted only one game with Oakland. McClain started the season with Kansas City before latching on with the Raiders for the last few games.

Swearinger was picked up by Oakland after the Cardinals cut him earlier this season, and he started three of his four games with the Raiders including their most recent loss to Tennessee. He’ll get a shot elsewhere in 2020 if not sooner. Smith is a former Cowboys backup running back, and his signing could indicate that workhorse back Josh Jacobs won’t be ready to return this week.

The shakeup comes as the Raiders’ playoff hopes have been all but dashed. Just a few weeks ago they were looking good at 6-4, but they collapsed in epic fashion. Gruden promised there would be changes following their most recent loss, and he delivered by sending almost all of their recently added guys packing.

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49ers Place Marquise Goodwin On IR

The 49ers got pretty banged up during their win over the Saints this past week, and now another player is headed to the shelf. The team has placed receiver Marquise Goodwin on injured reserve, a source told Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link). 

Goodwin had been dealing with a knee injury, and even though he hadn’t been playing much recently, it’s a significant depth blow. The speedster and deep-threat had a breakout 2017 campaign with the 49ers, racking up 962 yards and averaging an impressive 17.2 yards per catch while starting all 16 games. Injuries hampered him last year and limited him to only 11 games, and he fell down the depth chart this season.

He still made six starts in nine games in 2019, but he fell out of favor as the season went on. The Texas product had at least 41 yards in three of San Francisco’s first four games, but he failed to top 15 after that. Rookie Deebo Samuel began to emerge, and then the 49ers added Emmanuel Sanders as well. All that being said, if they were to now suffer another injury to the group they’d be getting pretty thin. This was the first year of a three-year, $20.3MM extension that Goodwin signed in March of last year.

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Redskins Place Derrius Guice On IR

Derrius Guice‘s season is officially over. The Redskins placed their young running back on injured reserve with a knee injury today, a source told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link).

Rapoport tweeted earlier today that the official diagnosis was an MCL sprain and that the team would be cautious with him, so this isn’t too surprising. Fortunately, his ACL was spared. Guice has had some brutal injury luck during his brief time in the NFL, as this is at least his third significant knee issue since becoming a pro. Washington drafted Guice in the second round last year, and he tore an ACL during his first preseason.

The initial ACL tear didn’t heal right, and resulted in multiple infections and an extended recovery. He was able to battle his way back to make it back on the field for Week 1 of this season, and promptly went down with another knee injury. He was placed on injured reserve, and then activated after sitting out the required eight games.

During the five contests he ended up appearing in this season, he mostly split time with Adrian Peterson. He had a breakout game two weeks ago in Washington’s win over the Panthers, carrying the ball ten times for 129 yards and two touchdowns. Guice obviously has a rough injury history, but he won’t turn 23 until June and he’s obviously still high on talent. The latest MCL issue isn’t considered serious, and he should have a good chance of being the Redskins’ featured back next year if he can stay healthy.

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NFL Projects ~$200MM Salary Cap For 2020

NFL revenue continues to rise and, in turn, the salary cap continues to climb. On Tuesday, the league office informed club officials that the salary cap is projected fall somewhere between $196.8MM and $201.2MM in 2020 (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero). This year, the cap is at $188.2MM, so that marks a significant jump in potential pay for players league-wide.

The expected increase marks a ~40% jump from five years ago in the 2015 season, when the cap was set at $143.3MM. It’s the seventh straight year in which cap is projected to climb more than $10MM per team, year over year. Since 2011, the cap has increased roughly 65 percent and $76 million per club.

The final cap number will likely set by the NFL and NFLPA in late February or early March, just before free agency gets underway. What we know is this – projected player costs, including benefits, will total more than $7.7 billion in 2020.

The NFLPA is undoubtedly happy about the jump, but the players’ union is expected to seek a larger share of the pie in the next collective bargaining agreement. The 2020 season marks the final year of the current labor contract.

For many teams, the cap increase will provide a bit of extra breathing room for the offseason. However, six clubs will still have to trim payroll between now and the new league year, as Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. The Jaguars ($208MM), Falcons ($206MM), Bears ($205MM), Vikings ($203MM), Saints ($202MM), and Chiefs ($201MM) are all past the $200M mark for 2020, as of this writing.

Lions Place Marvin Jones On IR

The Lions placed wide receiver Marvin Jones on IR, head coach Matt Patricia announced. The ankle injury suffered by Jones late in Sunday’s loss to the Vikings proved to be fairly serious and he’ll be held out of action the rest of the way in order to heal up.

Jones had three receptions for 38 yards in the loss and played through the pain to finish the game. This brings an early end to a productive season for the veteran, who finishes out with 62 catches for 779 yards and nine touchdowns (four of those scores came in the Lions’ first game against the Vikings.)

Jones will turn 30 in March and is set to earn a base salary of $6.5MM in 2020. In theory, the Lions can cut him instead – saving $6.5MM against just $2.695MM in dead money. However, Jones has demonstrated clear value, so it stands to reason that he’ll be back next year.

Jones also finished the 2018 season on IR, thanks to a knee injury. It’s undoubtedly frustrating for Jones, but he did succeed in having a bounce back year – he easily topped his 2018 stat line of 35/508/5.

To fill Jones’ roster spot, the Lions signing defensive tackle Frank Herron off of the Dolphins’ practice squad.

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Panthers Release Greg Dortch

For the second time in 2019, the Panthers have released kick returner Greg Dortch. The move comes two days after Dortch fumbled a return in the Panthers’ loss to the Falcons.

Dortch, listed as a wide receiver, has yet to catch a pass at the NFL level. With the Panthers, he’s served as the kick and punt return specialist on two separate occasions. His first opportunity came in Week 9, when he returned two kickoffs and two punts against the Titans.

Then, on Sunday, he coughed up the ball on a third quarter kickoff return. The Falcons turned that change of possession into a field goal, en route to a 40-20 win.

The 5-8 Panthers will have someone else fielding kickoffs and punts as they wrap up the year against the Seahawks, Colts, and Saints.

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Bengals Place Auden Tate On IR

Auden Tate‘s season is officially over. On Tuesday, as expected, the Bengals placed the wide receiver on injured reserve.

Tate suffered an MCL sprain last week and the club had little reason to put him in harms way as the season winds down. The 2018 seventh-round pick, played sparingly during his rookie campaign, but he showed promise this year as the team’s No. 2 WR in A.J. Green‘s stead. In 12 games (ten starts) this season, the 22-year-old has hauled in 40 receptions for 575 yards and one touchdown.

Willis, meanwhile, has nine grabs in ten games this season. The undrafted rookie hopes to cement his place on the Bengals’ 2020 roster, which figures to look drastically different.

The Bengals own the league’s worst record with three games left in the regular season. Unless they pick up wins against the Patriots, Dolphins, and Browns, they’ll pick No. 1 overall in April.

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Falcons To Sign CB Jamar Taylor

The Falcons are signing cornerback Jamar Taylor, as Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. The veteran appeared in nine games with the Seahawks earlier this year before being released in late November.

Taylor had three passes defensed with the Seahawks, who dropped him twice in 2019 – once in August and again in November. All in all, he’s been a part-timer in his seventh pro season, notching 20 tackles in nine games as a backup.

The Falcons’ season is effectively over, but Taylor will get a chance to showcase himself before free agency begins in March. Still only 29, the former second-round pick could put himself in line for a deal with a cornerback-needy team.

With three games to go, the Falcons are 4-9 and in line for the No. 8 overall pick.

Eagles’ Alshon Jeffery Done For Year?

The Eagles topped the Giants in overtime on Monday night, but the win may prove to be costly. Offensive lineman Lane Johnson is “week to week” with a sore ankle and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery suffered a foot injury that is more significant than Johnson’s, head coach Doug Pederson told reporters. 

With only three games left in the regular season, it sounds like Jeffery might be done for the season. That would be a bad blow for the Eagles as they fight for the NFC East crown and an opportunity to capture another Super Bowl ring.

Jeffery hauled in 65 catches for 843 yards and six touchdowns in 2018. Before Monday’s game, and his early exit to the medical tent, he had 43 catches for 430 yards and four touchdowns for the 2019 season.

Johnson, 29, was on the field for every offensive snap in ten of his twelve games this year. The Eagles will hope to have him back this Sunday against the Redskins as he plays out his recently-inked four-year, $72MM extension, which includes a staggering guarantee of $54.595MM.

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