Month: July 2020

Broncos RT Ja’Wuan James Opts Out

Broncos right tackle Ja’Wuan James announced that he will opt out of the 2020 season. In a message to his fans (Twitter link), James explained that he made the decision to protect the health of his wife and newborn son. 

James joined the Broncos on a four-year, $51MM deal last year and lost the bulk of the season to injury. Now, he’ll pass on the 2020 season and have his $10MM base salary toll into 2021.

Upwards of 40 players have opted out of the 2020 season, as shown in PFR’s tracker. As expected, a number of lineman who could be classified as higher-risk have made the decision to stay home. The deadline for opt out decisions still remains TBD – the NFL wants to schedule Wednesday as the cut-off date, but the window could remain open longer.

James’ last full season came in 2018, with the Dolphins. In that year, Pro Football Focus measured the former first-round pick as a top-35 tackle last season. He’s been a starter since entering the league, but injuries have kept him out of action for extended periods – James missed eight games in 2017 and nine in 2015.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Washington Football Team To Sign Dontrelle Inman

Dontrelle Inman is expected to sign with the Washington Football Team after he completes a physical on Monday, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The wide receiver will provide depth for a team that lost Kelvin Harmon to an ACL tear earlier this summer. 

[RELATED: Kelvin Harmon Tears ACL]

Harmon was set to feature as one of the Redskins’ top receivers, alongside Terry McLaurin and Trey Quinn. With Harmon no longer in the picture for 2020, Inman figures to slot somewhere alongside Cam Sims, Steven Sims Jr., and fourth-round pick Antonio Gandy-Golden on the depth chart. The status of Cody Latimer – who facing multiple charges following his May arrest – remains murky.

Inman made his name with the Chargers in 2016, catching 58 passes for 810 yards and four touchdowns in a breakout season. In recent years, he’s bounced around a bit. The Bolts traded Inman to the Bears midway through 2017, but he wasn’t able to regain his old form. In 2018, he inked a one-year deal with the Colts and went on to catch 28 passes for 304 yards and three scores in nine games. Last year, he signed deals with the Patriots and Chargers before circling back to the Colts. All in all, he finished 2019 with 12 grabs for 181 yards.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson To Buy XFL

Finally, the XFL has come back to the news cycle. On Monday, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson announced that he has purchased the XFL. Johnson’s group – with backing from Redbird Capital Partners – will acquire the league from Vince McMahon for $15MM, as Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com tweets

[RELATED: Former XFL Commissioner Oliver Luck Sues Vince McMahon]

The acquisition of the XFL with my talented partners, Dany Garcia and Gerry Cardinale, is an investment for me that’s rooted deeply in two things – my passion for the game and my desire to always take care of the fans,” said The Rock. “With pride and gratitude for all that I’ve built with my own to hands, I plan to apply these callouses to the XFL, and look forward to creating something special for the players, fans, and everyone involved for the love of football.”

The XFL’s relaunch ended midway through its (re)inaugural season, prompting McMahon to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. McMahon put the league up for sale in May and reportedly attracted “dozens” of potential bidders. Ultimately, McMahon’s longtime WWE superstar presented the top offer. McMahon, meanwhile, still has some loose ends to tie up. Commissioner Oliver Luck sued McMahon in April and other executives have filed claims to collect their pay.

The XFL 3.0, presumably, will target a 2021 relaunch. In the meantime, a number of XFL players are pushing for NFL roster spots in training camp.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Cut 2018 Second-Round Pick P.J. Hall

The Raiders will release defensive tackle P.J. Hall, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The Raiders used a second-round pick on Hall just two years ago. 

[RELATED: Raiders To Sign Jeremy Hill]

Hall, a Sam Houston State product, cracked the starting lineup in 2019. However, the Raiders went in a different direction this offseason, signing former Cowboys DT Maliek Collins to start alongside Maurice Hurst. Collins, 25, came on a fairly reasonable one-year, $6MM deal. Ultimately, they preferred his experience and 55 career starts to Hall’s raw talent.

Hall started in 12 of his 16 games last year, finishing out with 26 tackles and 1.5 sacks from the interior. Head coach Jon Gruden ran the 2018 draft for the Raiders, but he didn’t feel that Hall was worth keeping two years later. Cutting Hall won’t save the Raiders a whole lot of cash – they’ll carry $750K in dead money with just $532K coming off of the books. However, Hall’s release will clear a roster spot for the Raiders as they work their way down to an 80-man roster and welcome running back Jeremy Hill.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles’ Doug Pederson Tests Positive For COVID-19

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson will spend some time away from the team after testing positive for COVID-19 (Twitter link via Tim McManus of ESPN.com). In the interim, assistant head coach Duce Staley will assume HC duties at the team’s complex, as Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets

[RELATED: 2020 NFL Opt Out Tracker]

Pederson, 52, has not experienced any symptoms, but he’ll quarantine to avoid spreading the virus, per the protocols. The league’s guidelines mandate multiple tests for Pederson before he can get back to work.

Person is the second head coach known to have contracted the coronavirus, following Sean Payton‘s positive test earlier this year. Payton’s recovery was relatively quick – he tested positive on March 16 and he was cleared before the end of the month.

You fatigue real easy,” Payton said of his experience with the virus. “I’d be up moving around, doing something, then you’d want to lay down again. That lasted three or four days. By the time I got the test results back I had begun feeling better. I had my appetite back.”

Pederson is set to enter his fifth year as the Eagles’ head coach. Staley, a longtime Eagles running back, joined the team as an assistant in 2011 and worked his way up to AHC in 2018.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets To Release Brian Winters

The Jets will release guard Brian Winters, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. By cutting Winters, the Jets will save $7.2MM against the cap with no dead money left over. 

Winters has served as the Jets’ starting right guard since 2013, but the front office was not quite sold on him. Instead, new addition Greg Van Roten figures to take his place on the team’s revamped offensive line.

Winters, 29, was the lone holdover from the Nick MangoldD’Brickashaw Ferguson era of the Jets’ front five, and the only O-lineman left from last year’s Week 1 starting lineup. This year’s starting lineup will feature first-round pick Mekhi Becton, left guard Alex Lewis, center Connor McGovern, Van Roten at right guard, and George Fant/Chuma Edoga at right tackle.

Winters survived three Jets regimes, starting in 79 games since he was selected in the third-round of the 2013 draft. Last year, a shoulder injury limited him to just nine games, but he’s healthy and ready to go for the upcoming season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills Sign DB Akeem King, DT Niles Scott

The Bills have signed defensive back Akeem King, per a club announcement. King will help bolster the team’s cornerback depth following E.J. Gaines‘ decision to opt out of the 2020 season.

[RELATED: 2020 NFL Opt Out Tracker]

King has spent the last two seasons with the Seahawks. Last year, he suited up in 13 games, including three starts, plus a fair amount of time on special teams. With good size and bulk for the cornerback position, King could be called upon to guard larger tight ends. If he makes the roster – and it seems likely that he will, given the loss of Gaines – he’ll slot somewhere alongside Tre’Davious White, Josh NormanTaron Johnson, and Levi Wallace on the CB depth chart.

In addition to King, the Bills have also signed defensive tackle Niles Scott. Scott suited up in six games for the Bengals in 2018 but was off the field last year due to a foot injury.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/2/20

Today’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

New York Giants

New Orleans Saints

Pittsburgh Steelers

Lions Geronimo Allison Opts Out

Lions wide receiver Geronimo Allison is opting out of the 2020 season, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). As shown in PFR’s tracker, Allison is the second Lions player to exercise his right to skip the season, following defensive tackle John Atkins

[RELATED: Lions Place Stafford, Golladay On Reserve/COVID-19 List]

Allison joined the Lions in March on a one-year deal for the veteran minimum. He showed promise with the Packers – particularly in the first quarter of 2018 when he recorded 19 catches for 289 yards and a touchdown. Last year, he was expected to take on a larger role. Instead, the 6’3″, 202-pound target struggled in the slot. He finished out with 34 catches for just 287 yards and two scores, despite playing in all 16 games.

With the Lions, he was expected to support Danny Amendola, Kenny Golladay, and Marvin Jones. Now, the Lions will need some outside help, especially since Golladay is on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Placement on the list does not necessarily mean that Golladay tested positive for the coronavirus, but he may have come into contact someone who has tested positive. Either way, he won’t be able to return until he clears the league’s testing protocol.

The full rundown of the league’s 30+ opt out players can be found on PFR’s 2020 NFL Opt Out Tracker.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots’ Matt LaCosse Opts Out

Matt LaCosse has decided not to play in 2020, as Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. With that, the tight end becomes the eighth Patriots player to opt out.

LaCosse was supposed to provide veteran help at the position while guiding Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene in their rookie seasons. Instead, the Pats are left with the third-rounders, plus Ryan Izzo and a handful of other options at tight end. LaCosse’s contract will toll into 2021, when he’ll be set to return and earn $1MM in base salary.

The Patriots are now heading into the season without inside linebacker Dont’a Hightower, safety Patrick Chung, right tackle Marcus Cannon, and new wide receiver Marqise Lee. Running back Brandon Bolden, fullback Danny Vitale, offensive lineman Najee Toran, and LaCosse round out the eight opt-outs, and the list could grow larger from here. The official deadline is still TBD, but it’s at least a few days away.

After joining the Patriots last year, LaCosse recorded 13 catches for 131 yards and one touchdown. For his career, LaCosse has notched 40 grabs for 403 yards and two scores for the Pats, Giants, and Broncos.