Month: September 2020

Latest On Chargers’ QB Tyrod Taylor

We already knew that Chargers QB Tyrod Taylor would be unavailable for the team’s contest against the Panthers this afternoon, and Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports that the veteran signal-caller will also miss next Sunday’s game against the Bucs. Rookie Justin Herbert will continue to get the call in Taylor’s absence.

Taylor, of course, suffered a punctured lung at the hands of a team doctor last week when the doctor was administering a pain-killing shot for Taylor’s rib injury. Schefter reported a few days ago that the NFLPA was looking into the matter, and Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports elaborated on that point this morning.

According to La Canfora, the union is seeking clarity on the timeline of events, whether there was any negligence or malpractice on the part of the doctor, and whether Taylor is now more susceptible to long-term injuries as a result of any such negligence. The investigation will also focus on how Taylor’s future earning potential might have been impacted.

Indeed, while the Chargers continue to insist that Taylor will be reinstated as the starting QB when he is healthy enough to return, that will be a difficult sell for HC Anthony Lynn if Herbert continues to play well. The rookie nearly pulled off an upset over the division rival Chiefs last week, and according to Schefter, his teammates already view him as a strong leader. So Taylor could point to the medical mishap as the turning point in his fortunes with the club.

On the other hand, the plan was always for Taylor, who is eligible for free agency next year, to serve as a bridge to Herbert. So as long as Taylor’s punctured lung did not cause any lasting damage, it seems as if the team would have a good chance of defeating any earnings loss claim that the union might bring on Taylor’s behalf.

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49ers DE Nick Bosa Has Torn ACL, Done For Season

Sep. 27: In addition to the torn ACL, Bosa sustained further cartilage damage in his left knee, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports. The 49ers are hopeful that the extra damage will not delay Bosa’s return, and the club remains optimistic that he will be back in time for the start of the 2021 campaign. Bosa will undergo surgery this week.

Sep. 21: Nick Bosa is done for the year. The 49ers announced that their star pass rusher has indeed suffered a torn ACL in his left knee. This doesn’t come as much of a surprise, as head coach Kyle Shanahan hinted at the injury following yesterday’s win.

The injury is obviously a massive blow to the 49ers defense, as the reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year was establishing himself as one of the top rushers in the game. The former second-overall pick earned a Pro Bowl nod last season after compiling 47 tackles, nine sacks, and a forced fumble. He had another forced fumble during the 49ers’ Week 1 loss to the Cardinals.

If there’s any consolation, Bosa should be good to go for the start of next season. Plus, other than core muscle surgery during his time at Ohio State, Bosa has generally stayed healthy during his playing career.

The 49ers are dealing with injuries throughout their roster. It sounds like defensive tackle Solomon Thomas also suffered a torn ACL, while defensive end Dee Ford is sidelined with a neck injury and cornerback Richard Sherman is sitting on IR with a strained calf. The offense isn’t immune; the team has a depth-chart worth of wideouts sidelined (including Deebo Samuel), tight end George Kittle is dealing with a knee ailment, and running backs Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman will be out this weekend against the Giants. Fortunately, it sounds like quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo‘s high-ankle sprain isn’t too serious.

The team has already added Ziggy Ansah to their squad, and it wouldn’t be shocking if the organization signs some more depth along the defensive line.

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In-Season Extension For Cam Newton Unlikely

Patriots quarterback Cam Newton has been one of the league’s most pleasant surprises over the first two weeks of the season. New England came within a yard of a stirring comeback win over the Seahawks last week, and Newton looks more like the MVP version of himself than anyone could have expected.

As such, speculation regarding Newton’s contract status has already started. The 31-year-old signal-caller signed a very modest one-year pact in late June that maxes out at $7.5MM, and right now, that looks like an incredible bargain. However, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network says that an in-season raise or extension is unlikely (video link).

There’s certainly plenty of logic to that. Given Newton’s recent injury history — which is why he came so cheaply to begin with — the Patriots will want to see if he can make it through a full season before committing to him on a long-term basis. And if Newton were to agree to an extension in the middle of the season, he may end up leaving a lot of money on the table in exchange for security that he doesn’t really need (he has earned over $122MM in his career). Instead, he would probably be better off finishing the year strong and going into the 2021 offseason with the franchise tag number for quarterbacks serving as a baseline for negotiations.

Theoretically, New England could give Newton a bit of a goodwill pay bump in a few weeks if he continues performing at a high level, but the ever-pragmatic Pats probably won’t go that route. After all, rollover money is more valuable than ever given the expected salary cap decrease in 2021.

Through two games, Newton has completed 71.4% of his passes for 552 yards, one TD, and one pick. He has already carried the ball 26 times for 122 yards and four scores.

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Raiders Under Investigation For COVID-19 Protocol Violations

Raiders HC Jon Gruden was one of a handful of head coaches to be slapped with a $100K fine for not consistently wearing his mask during his team’s Week 2 game, and the Raiders themselves were handed a $250K fine for Gruden’s indiscretion. And the league isn’t finished with Las Vegas just yet.

Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network reported several days ago that a team was under investigation for “unauthorized locker room access” (Twitter link), and as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com wrote last night, that team is the Raiders. This season, only 40 employees in each organization are allowed to be in the locker room, and an unauthorized Raiders employee allegedly entered the locker room following the team’s win against the Saints on Monday night.

If that allegation turns out to be true, then the league will impose discipline, according to Schefter. It seems likely that such discipline would come in the form of additional fines, but the NFL is apparently willing to go further if necessary.

Indeed, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports says coaches who continue to violate COVID-19 protocols will not only face fines several times higher than the $100K penalty doled out this week, they could also face suspension. Even draft pick forfeiture is not out of the question, and to drive that point home, the coaches who received fines also received a letter from the NFL that included the following language: “[f]uture violations of this rule or any other league policy … will result in increased accountability measures for you, individually, as well as your club.”

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com says that all coaches who were fined have filed appeals (Twitter link). That includes Gruden, who said, “I’m doing my best. I’m very sensitive about it. … I’m calling plays. I just want to communicate in these situations, and if I get fined, I’ll have to pay the fine. But I’m very sensitive about that and I apologize.” The appeals will be heard this week.

Interestingly, Gruden also indicated that he tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this year. He did not divulge many details on his experience, saying only, “it wasn’t pleasant” (Twitter link via Pelissero).

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Injury Notes: Baker, Thomas, Hunter

Cardinals star safety Budda Baker is playing through a torn UCL in his thumb, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports. Baker plans to play in Arizona’s game against the Lions this afternoon and then undergo surgery this week. Although the same injury sidelined Saints QB Drew Brees for six weeks last season, Baker obviously does not have to throw the football and believes he will miss only the Cardinals’ Week 4 contest against the Panthers before returning to the field to take on the Jets in Week 5.

Now for more injury-related news regarding a few of the league’s high-profile players:

  • There has been a great deal of talk about Brees’ struggles early this season, but the Saints‘ signal-caller may soon have his top target back. Wide receiver Michael Thomas has looked good in workouts and is eyeing a Week 4 return, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com.
  • The Vikings need a boost on both sides of the ball, and they are clearly missing DE Danielle Hunter. As Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network tweets, Hunter, who is dealing with a herniated disc in his neck, is eligible to come off IR next week but is unlikely to be ready to return by then. However, he is regaining strength, and the team remains optimistic that he will be back this season.
  • Titans WR A.J. Brown is dealing with a bone bruise in his knee, and the injury is a significant one, according to Schefter (via Twitter). Brown’s knee has not responded as well to treatment as the team had hoped, and he might end up missing more than just this afternoon’s game against Minnesota.
  • More difficult news for Tennessee. Titans CB Adoree’ Jackson is eligible to come off IR this week, but Terry McCormick of TitansInsider.com hears that Jackson may not be sufficiently recovered from his knee injury for that to happen (Twitter link). It’s unclear how much additional time the 2017 first-rounder will miss.
  • 49ers WR Deebo Samuel is likely to return to practice this week, as Rapoport notes (via Twitter). Samuel will be eased into action, and while he probably won’t play in Week 4, the Niners’ top wideout is expected back for the team’s Week 5 bout with the Dolphins.

Falcons CB A.J. Terrell Tests Positive For COVID-19

Going into Week 3, the NFL has done well to prevent the coronavirus from making a major impact on its season — personnel-wise, at least. But the Falcons will be down their first-round pick as a result of the virus.

The Falcons placed cornerback A.J. Terrell on the reserve/COVID list Saturday. Players do not have to test positive to land on the list, but Adam Schefter of ESPN.com says Terrell did indeed test positive on Friday (Twitter link). The team found out about the test results on Friday night, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com, who adds that Terrell was not at the team’s walkthrough Saturday (Twitter link). Terrell practiced Friday.

Luckily, as Schefter and others reported on Sunday morning, all tests administered on Falcons players and coaches on Saturday came back negative, so the club’s Week 3 contest against the Bears will go forward as planned (Twitter link). For now, the league has avoided a major COVID-related crisis.

Terrell, however, must now go through the protocols in order to return to the team. He will miss Sunday’s game, joining fellow Falcon secondary starter Ricardo Allen in that regard. The Falcons also promoted cornerbacks Delrick Abrams Jr. and Tyler Hall on Saturday. They also elevated linebacker Edmond Robinson from their practice squad.

Atlanta used the No. 16 overall pick on Terrell this year and turned to him as a Day 1 starter. The Clemson alum has played 100% of the Falcons’ defensive snaps for a team that enters Sunday’s game ranking 28th in DVOA pass defense.

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Patriots Move C David Andrews To IR

David Andrews‘ return from a full-season absence will be on hold for the time being. The Patriots placed their starting center on IR Saturday.

The veteran snapper did not practice this week due to a thumb injury. New England is promoting center James Ferentz from its practice squad. The Pats also placed rookie linebacker Josh Uche on IR. The second-round pick is battling a foot injury.

A blood clot issue resulted in Andrews missing all of the 2019 season. But he was cleared to resume his career this offseason, and the sixth-year blocker reclaimed his spot as the Patriots’ starting center. He will be out until at least Week 6, however.

So will Uche, who has yet to make his NFL debut. The Pats made the Michigan alum a healthy scratch in Week 1, and he landed on their injury report soon after and missed the team’s Week 2 game.

Ferentz has been with the Patriots for more than three years now. The son of Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz — a Bill Belichick assistant with the Browns in the 1990s — James Ferentz signed with the Patriots in 2017. He played 15 games last season, starting two. The Pats let 2019 Andrews replacement Ted Karras defect to the Dolphins in free agency.

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Minor NFL Transactions: 9/26/20

Here are Saturday’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Buffalo Bills

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Las Vegas Raiders

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Oregon S Jevon Holland Opts Out

A second high-profile Oregon Duck will not play this season. Despite the Pac-12 agreeing to play an abbreviated season beginning in November, safety Jevon Holland announced he will opt out of his junior season (Twitter link).

Holland, who ranks 20th on Todd McShay’s big board of draft-eligible 2021 prospects, joins acclaimed Oregon tackle Penei Sewell in opting out. Several high-end prospects have opted out of this COVID-19-altered season, and although some moved to return to their respective schools, others remain set to steer clear this unusual season and preparing for the ’21 draft.

Holland intercepted nine passes as a Ducks underclassman and ended his sophomore season as a first-team All-Pac-12 performer. He also worked as Oregon’s primary punt returner last season. ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. ranks Holland as his No. 16 overall prospect for 2021.

The Pac-12 plans to begin its 2020 season Nov. 6. The conference will play a seven-game season that will wrap up Dec. 18.

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