Month: May 2021

Extra Points: Nassib, Twyman, Buccaneers

In a post on Instagram, Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib announced that he was gay, making the 28-year-old the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib also made an $100K donation to the Trevor Project, a foundation which provides “crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25.”

Support for Nassib was wide spread:

“The NFL family is proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth today,” commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “Representation matters. We share his hope that someday soon statements like his will no longer be newsworthy as we march toward full equality for the LGBTQ+ community. We wish Carl the best of luck this coming season.”

Our union supports Carl and his work with the Trevor Project is proof that he – like our membership – is about making his community and this world a better place not for themselves, but for others,” said NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith (via Twitter).

Raiders owner Mark Davis also showed his support for Nassib, noting that the announcement “doesn’t change my opinion of Carl as a man or as a Raider” (via Sam Farmer of the LA Times on Twitter).

Nassib joined the Raiders last offseason on a three-year, $25MM deal with $17MM guaranteed. He finished his first season in Las Vegas with 28 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and nine QB hits in 14 games (five starts).

More news from around the NFL:

  • Vikings rookie defensive tackle Jaylen Twyman was shot four times today in Washington D.C., reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). Fortunately, the Pitt product is expected to make a full recovery, with agent Drew Rosenhaus noting that there were “superficial, exit wounds” and that his client was simply in the “wrong place, wrong time.” Twyman does not need surgery and x-rays were negative. Minnesota drafted the defensive lineman in the sixth round (No. 199) in this past year’s draft.
  • The Vikings also released a statement regarding the shooting: “We have been in direct contact with Jaylen and his family, and we are extremely thankful Jaylen is expected to make a full recovery. At this time we will defer any further comment to the proper authorities.”
  • Earlier this month, we learned that Buccaneers rookie Cameron Kinley had been denied a waiver to delay his commission from the U.S. Navy. “Cameron Kinley is an exceptional young man and a shining example of the type of high-character individuals that make our nation’s military the most elite in the world,” the Buccaneers said in a statement (via Rick Stroud on Twitter). “We appreciate and support the United States Naval Academy’s position with regards to Cameron’s fulfillment of his post-graduate service commitment and remain hopeful that he will one day have an opportunity to also fulfill his dreams of playing professional football.”
  • Earlier this month, former Chiefs coach Britt Reid pleaded not guilty to a DWI charge that stemmed from a crash that critically injured a young girl (per the AP). Reid was placed on administrative leave following the crash, and the team ultimately let his contract expire.

Chiefs DE Frank Clark Arrested Sunday Night

Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark was arrested in Los Angeles last night and charged with felony possession of a concealed firearm. The news was first reported by TMZ.com and has since been confirmed by the Los Angeles Police Department (to NFL.com).

[RELATED: Chiefs Rework Frank Clark’s Deal]

Clark was originally pulled over for a vehicle code violation. Officers noticed that a bag inside of the vehicle was holding an Uzi, and the NFL player was subsequently arrested. Clark was in police custody for more than 12 hours before posting $35K bond and being granted his release this afternoon.

Per NFL.com, Clark’s next court date is scheduled for October 18. The arrest could fall under the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy, which could lead to punishment for the veteran defender.

After spending the first four seasons of his career with the Seahawks, Clark joined the Chiefs via trade in 2019. Since joining Kansas City, the defensive lineman has earned a pair of Pro Bowl nods while collecting 14 sacks, 66 tackles, and 29 QB hits in 29 games (26 starts). Clark has also come up big during each of the Chiefs’ last two playoff runs, collecting eight sacks in six games. The 28-year-old reworked his deal earlier this offseason, providing the team some extra wiggle room while converting $5MM of his base salary into a signing bonus.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 6/21/21

Today’s minor NFL transactions:

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

  • Waived from IR: WR Donte Sylencieux

Denver Broncos

Jacksonville Jaguars

New England Patriots

Philadelphia Eagles

Trade Candidate: Patriots LB/DE Chase Winovich

It’s not often that a team would be looking to move on from a soon-to-be third-year player who’s collected 5.5 sacks in each of their first two NFL seasons. However, that’s the position the Patriots may end up finding themselves in come preseason.

Recently, Doug Kyed of NESN.com pointed to 2019 third-round pick Chase Winovich as a surprise cut/trade candidate.

“I’m interested to see what kind of role Chase Winovich can find this offseason,” Kyed wrote. “Linebacker is a crowded position, and Belichick made Winovich expendable a few times last season.”

Winovich would seemingly fit the bill of an ideal Bill Belichick depth piece. The 26-year-old has shown plenty of potential, he’s displayed versatility, he can play special teams, and (perhaps most important to Bill) he’s inexpensive at around only $1.7MM combined for the next two years. In fact, the Patriots head coach was willing to provide some rare praise for the youngster.

“He’s still a young player that’s developing and can continue to grow, both in his understanding of our system and the techniques and some of the assignments that come with it,” Belichick said recently (via WEEI). “His versatility leads to probably, I would say, a wider range of assignments than maybe some other players, including in the kicking game, but he does a good job of trying to manage all that and work on all of the things that will help the team.”

So, with all that said, why would the Patriots consider moving on from Winovich? For starters, the team’s depth at linebacker has seen a massive upgrade. Winovich generally spent the 2020 season serving as New England’s second outside linebacker behind John Simon. In the span of an offseason, the team added both Matt Judon and Kyle Van Noy (who’s back after one season in Miami), and Dont’a Hightower is set to return after sitting out the 2020 campaign. Plus, reports out of Patriots camp indicate that 2020 second-rounder Josh Uche is impressing. While Winovich has the versatility to play defensive end, he’ll be hard pressed to earn playing time at linebacker.

Further, while Winovich has put up some solid counting stats, the advanced metrics paint a different picture. The defender proved to be above-average when it comes to pass-rushing and pass-coverage, but he’s struggled mightily when it comes to stopping the run. If that trend continues, Winovich will have a tough time becoming a full-time player. Those run-stopping deficiencies could explain why he’s often found himself in Belichick’s doghouse throughout his two-year career. Winovich was often in and out of the lineup over the past two years, with the player alternating between frequently used starter to little-used backup.

Because of all those aforementioned positives (versatility, upside, affordability), the Patriots would probably be able to find a taker for Winovich if they decide to ultimately move on. Belichick would probably be more than satisfied with recouping part of the team’s initial investment into the player (third-round pick, No. 77 overall). Perhaps a fourth-round pick could get it done, although that’s just speculation on my side.

There’s a chance that Winovich eventually transforms into yet another all-time Patriots great. However, based on the team’s current roster crunch at linebacker, the young player could instead find himself on the way out of New England.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

FA Golden Tate Eyeing Titans, Colts, Rams

Golden Tate remains unsigned, but it sounds like the veteran receiver has his eye on a few teams. During an appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio, the free agent wideout provided a list of three potential suitors that each offer a bit of familiarity.

“I would love to go back home to Tennessee,” Tate said (Twitter link). “Indy, over with Carson Wentz. Obviously, the LA Rams would be fantastic with Stafford.”

As Tate noted, he grew up in Tennessee, where he starred as a three-sport athlete (football, baseball, track and field). Of course, the Titans already pulled off a big acquisition at the position when they traded for Julio Jones, but there’s a chance they could be looking for more depth at receiver.

Tate’s best seasons came in Detroit, where he served as one of Matthew Stafford‘s favorite targets and collected three 1,000-plus-yard campaigns. Stafford now finds himself in Los Angeles, and the Rams already signed one veteran this offseason in DeSean Jackson, adding him to a crowded depth chart that is highlighted by Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, and 2020 second-round pick Van Jefferson.

Perhaps Tate’s best chance at playing time would be with the Colts, where he’d be reunited with former Eagles teammate Carson Wentz. The duo only saw time in five games together during their stints in Philly, but Indianapolis could provide an opportunity for them to team up again. Tate would have a chance to unseat the likes of JJ Nelson and/or Dezmon Patmon for one of the final receiver spots on the roster.

The 32-year-old has seen time in 23 games for the Giants over the past two seasons, collecting 84 receptions for 1,064 yards and eight touchdowns.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals First-Round Pick Zaven Collins Arrested

There’s a potential headache brewing for the Cardinals in the desert. Rookie first-round pick Zaven Collins was arrested in Arizona over the weekend, TMZ reports.

Details are light right now, but cops told TMZ that the linebacker “was speeding and driving dangerously.” He was allegedly driving 76 mph in a 35 mph zone. “A traffic stop was conducted, and Mr. Collins was placed under arrest for the violations,” the police said later in a somewhat cryptic statement.

The Tulsa product just signed his rookie contract, worth more than $14MM, a couple of weeks ago. A unanimous All-American this past season, the Cardinals drafted him 16th overall. The incident doesn’t sound particularly serious initially, but if more damaging details end up coming to light it could result in some league discipline.

Collins had four sacks last year, but we heard recently the team isn’t planning on using him as a hybrid pass-rusher and will instead have him playing strictly inside. Assuming everything goes according to plan, he should play a large role on Vance Joseph’s defense in Year 1.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Sign Second-Round S Tre’von Moehrig

The Raiders signed first-round pick Alex Leatherwood about a month ago, and now they finally have their second pick locked up. Las Vegas signed second-round safety Tre’von Moehrig to his rookie deal on Monday, the team announced in a release.

Moehrig was the 43rd overall pick of this past draft. He was widely expected to be the first safety off the board and was considered a potential first-rounder, but he ended up slipping a bit and going behind both Jevon Holland (Dolphins) and Richie Grant (Falcons).

The TCU product won the Jim Thorpe Award this past season, given annually to the nation’s top defensive back. He also earned first-team All-Big 12 honors in each of the past two seasons. Across those two years he had six interceptions and 20 passes defended in 22 games.

The Raiders’ secondary was a big weakness last year, and the team is hoping Moehrig can be part of a dramatic improvement. He’s the favorite to start at free safety next to Johnathan Abram.

The Raiders have now inked five of their seven draft picks, with only third-round defensive end Malcolm Koonce and third-round defensive back Divine Deablo remaining unsigned.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Nick Chubb Could Get Browns Extension Before Start Of Season

We heard last week that Nick Chubb‘s agent had started extension talks with the Browns. Although Chubb said he wasn’t putting a deadline on things which seemed to imply it could come during the season, it sounds like it may happen sooner than that.

Chubb could get his extension done before the beginning of the season, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. Kay Cabot says there’s mutual affection between the two sides, “which should translate to an extension.” It sounds like both Chubb and the Browns want to get something done, so don’t expect this to drag on too long.

Interestingly, Kay Cabot writes that she believes Cleveland “will negotiate an incentive-laden deal” with Chubb that gives them some protection in case he declines, in the wake of several other high profile running backs who have landed huge contracts and then fizzled.

The 2018 second-round pick is currently set to enter the final year of his rookie deal. Whenever he gets a new contract he’ll want to become one of the league’s highest-paid rushers, and deservedly so. Despite ceding some carries to Kareem Hunt, Chubb has rushed for over 2,500 yards in 28 games over the past two years, averaging well over five yards per carry.

In 2019, he led the NFL in rushing with 1,494 yards. Last season he led the league in rushing touchdowns with 12, despite playing only 12 games while dealing with an MCL injury. He’ll turn 26 in December.

Trai Turner “100% Ready” To Play

We haven’t heard much about Trai Turner lately, but he told SiriusXM (Twitter link) that he’ll “make a splash sooner [rather] than later.” Meanwhile, the free agent says that he’s now fully healthy following a year of maladies. 

Last year was a rough season for me with injuries and just [COVID-19] overall. You go through things and situations arise, but you work through it and you get through it,” Turner said. “So, I’m feeling good. I’m just ready to come back and have a phenomenal season.”

Turner met with the Steelers recently, his only known visit of the offseason. The five-time Pro Bowler has been on the market since March, when the Bolts released him to save ~$11MM against the salary cap. Now, he stands as one of the very best free agents on the board.

Turner, 28, mounted a Pro Bowl streak from 2015-19. But, last year, he was limited to just to nine games. All in all, the former Panthers third-round pick has 89 career starts to his credit. He may be a good fit for the Steelers, though there are other teams with more dire needs at guard. As it stands, those spots are manned by All-Pro David DeCastro and promising youngster Kevin Dotson.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

This Date In Transactions History: Dolphins Extend Sam Madison

In the late 1990s, the Dolphins held the 44th overall pick in back-to-back years. They used both second-round selections, 1997 and ’98, to form one of the top cornerback tandems of that era: Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain.

Both players appeared on an All-Pro first team, and the Dolphins locked up each cover man long-term to keep their coverage duo in place until the mid-2000s. Twenty-one years ago today, Miami began the process of building around that pair. On June 21, 2000, the Dolphins agreed to a seven-year, $54MM extension with Madison, who was coming off the first of his All-Pro seasons. Madison’s contract, which contained an $11MM signing bonus, surpassed Dan Marino‘s as the richest in franchise history.

Then-HC Dave Wannstedt and current Vikings GM Rick Spielman, then Miami’s VP of player personnel, were at the helm. The Dolphins had made three straight playoff berths since Madison’s 1997 arrival (during Jimmy Johnson‘s tenure) and remained a Pro Bowl-caliber player well into the post-Marino era.

Madison’s terms were similar to what other high-end corners had signed for in 2000. Earlier that year, the Patriots and Ty Law agreed to a seven-year, $50MM pact. Deion Sanders signed with the Redskins for seven years and $55MM. Madison’s Dolphins run outlasted both Hall of Famers’ deals, playing in Miami through the 2005 season.

Madison made four straight Pro Bowls, from 1999-2002, and was a back-to-back first-team All-Pro from 1999-2000. Surtain (three Pro Bowls, 2004 first-team All-Pro nod) signed his extension a year later and teamed with Madison until the ’04 season, after which he signed with the Chiefs. Madison’s 31 interceptions are third in Dolphins history, behind their early-1970s safety tandem of Jake Scott (35) and Dick Anderson (34).

The Dolphins cut bait on this contract in March 2006, as Madison was entering his age-32 season. But the veteran landed on his feet, spending the next three seasons with the Giants before retiring. He started 15 games for the 2007 Super Bowl champion Giants iteration, intercepting four passes.