Month: November 2022

Broncos Mandating First-Round Pick For Bradley Chubb?

Multiple reports have connected the Broncos to a trade involving a first-round pick for Bradley Chubb, in the event they end up dealing the fifth-year edge rusher. The Broncos may now be insistent on a first-rounder coming back.

Denver is setting a first-rounder as the Chubb starting point, according to Outkick.com’s Armando Salguero, who adds the team is telling teams it must offer a first and then some to pry Chubb away. The former Von Miller sidekick is in a contract year, like Miller was in 2022. While expectations were higher for the 2022 Broncos compared to 2021, they are 3-5 ahead of Tuesday’s deadline and again in position to make a seller’s trade.

The first-round price comes in north of what a report last week indicated Chubb would likely cost. A second- and third-round package, which Miller fetched last year, was viewed as the likeliest Chubb price. But the Dolphins and Jets have since been linked to the former No. 5 overall pick. The AFC East teams, who are each gunning for playoff spots for the first time in years, have been linked to being interested to the point a first-rounder would be exchanged. A Sunday-morning report also indicated the Broncos have received an offer including a first-rounder for Chubb, putting the team to a big-picture decision.

[RELATED: Giants Interested In Jerry Jeudy]

The Broncos have gauged the cost of a Chubb extension, according to Albert Breer of SI.com, but no talks of a new deal are believed to have taken place. Chubb, 26, has expressed a desire to stay in Denver beyond 2022, but he said from London he has not made bye-week plans due to the Broncos’ trade talks. Although injuries have depleted the 2022 Broncos’ outside linebacker depth, they have Randy Gregory, Baron Browning and second-round rookie Nik Bonitto signed long term.

No edge defender has garnered a first-rounder via trade since the Chiefs acquired Frank Clark from the Seahawks in April 2019. That move came with Clark on a franchise tag and before he had made a Pro Bowl. Chubb earned such a nod in 2020 and has a 12-sack season (as a rookie in 2018) on his resume. This would be a steep price to pay for a rental, but an acquiring team would have exclusive Chubb negotiating rights until March 2023. A 2023 tag — surely a Broncos consideration as well — would be in an acquiring team’s back pocket.

Chubb’s age compared to Miller’s likely has led to a first-rounder being in the equation. The Broncos also can use the John Elway-era draftee to recoup draft capital they lost in the Russell Wilson trade. The Wilson trade leaves Denver without 2023 first- or second-round picks, and the quarterback’s $49MM-per-year extension will make high-end investments elsewhere on the roster more difficult. Gregory is signed to a $14MM-per-year deal, while Browning and Bonitto are on rookie pacts. Chubb would be expected to sign for well north of $20MM per annum.

Still, the Broncos have not committed to dealing Chubb, per Salguero, who notes such a move would be a clear sign the team is punting on 2022. The prospect of other teams’ offers falling short of the Broncos’ asking price also looms. It would then be interesting to see if the Broncos would accept a lesser haul to bolster its 2023 draft arsenal or just ride it out with Chubb and reassess the situation ahead of the 2023 league year.

The team is not expected to part with Jerry Jeudy or K.J. Hamler, who are each under contract in 2023. But a Jeudy trade is not completely off the table, per CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones, who adds tight end Albert Okwuegbunam is carrying next to no trade value. The Broncos have buried Okwuegbunam on their depth chart in recent weeks and would likely accept just about any draft capital to move him.

NFC North Rumors: Smith, Corbett, Peterson, Udoh

One of the biggest headlines of the day was when Baltimore acquired Bears linebacker Roquan Smith in exchange for a second- and fifth-round pick. Lots led to this deal being made, but no one can say the Bears didn’t try to hold on to Smith.

General manager Ryan Poles claimed that the Bears made a contract offer to Smith that contained a “record-setting” piece, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. Smith had been representing himself and negotiations have reportedly gone nowhere, according to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer. Not only were the negotiations at an impasse but Adam Jahns of The Athletic tells us they were also apparently tenuous enough to change the team’s perception of Smith.

Regardless, negotiations to extend Smith will now fall on the Ravens’ shoulders, and, according to Biggs, the move shows that pretty much anyone on the Bears’ roster is fair game to be traded before tomorrow’s deadline.

Here are a few more rumors from around the NFC North, all coming out of the Twin Cities of Minnesota:

  • As the trade deadline approaches, an ideal target for the Vikings is Panthers offensive guard Austin Corbett, according to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News in Minnesota. Minnesota was in on Corbett during his free agency this offseason but lost out to Carolina, who signed him to a three-year, $26.25MM deal. The Vikings would love to add Corbett to anchor an offensive line with several young, impressive players, but it appears that Carolina, justifiably, views him as a core player to build around for the future.
  • After throwing some shots at Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray during his in-game celebrations, Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson expressed some lingering discontentment with his former franchise, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. Peterson claimed that someone in the organization used to print out emails from a fan about “how he couldn’t tackle and was washed up” and would leave the letters at his locker in Arizona. Peterson’s jabs make a little more sense with some context about his feelings towards the organization near the end of his tenure.
  • Vikings backup offensive lineman Oli Udoh was arrested last weekend after allegedly harassing a female patron then scuffling with club security at Club e11even in Miami, according to John Shipley of the Pioneer Press. Udoh and his attorney “dispute the reported facts of the incident,” according to Kevin Seifert of ESPN, and head coach Kevin O’Connell told the media that he expects a positive outcome. He participated as usual in practice this week. Udoh was a full-time starter for the Vikings last year but has functioned in a backup capacity this season with rookie second-round pick Ed Ingram taking over as the team’s starting right guard.

Latest On Ryan Jensen, Buccaneers’ Deadline Plans

A recent report indicated that Buccaneers offensive lineman Ryan Jensen could make his return as soon as next week. However, Greg Auman of The Athletic is throwing some cold water on that idea, writing that Jensen “has only a small chance of returning from his knee injury.”

[RELATED: Ryan Jensen November Return In Play?]

The veteran center suffered a knee injury during training camp that was initially feared to be season-ending. Subsequent reports provided a bit more optimism about his prospects of returning during the 2022 regular season or playoffs, and his IR placement reflected that sentiment. A few weeks ago, there were whispers that the Buccaneers were hoping Jensen would be back on the field at some point in November, with the team specifically targeting a November 6th return. The team’s Week 11 bye could also be a target return date, but now it’s sounding like we shouldn’t count on an imminent return.

Jensen, who has started all 65 of his appearances since joining Tampa Bay in 2018, would naturally provide a boost to Tampa Bay’s offensive line, although the unit has generally ranked among the top-1o through the first chunk of the season. Pro Football Focus has generally ranked Jensen among the best centers in the NFL, and the veteran earned his first career Pro Bowl nod in 2021.

Auman discussed Jensen’s potential return in the context of Tampa Bay making a trade to upgrade their offensive line. Second-round guard Luke Goedeke has struggled so far in 2022, and backup Nick Leverett doesn’t have much of a track record. Both Jensen and his current fill-in, Robert Hainsey, are under contract for next season. While the team could look for a temporary upgrade for Goedeke, Auman opines that the organization would be better off pursuing a rental before having Goedeke and Hainsey compete for one of the guard spots opposite Shaq Mason in 2023.

Who could fit that bill? For starters, Auman suggests the team could look to deal from a position of strength and pursue another team’s depth piece. The writer also points to someone like Commanders guard Andrew Norwell, who doesn’t have any guaranteed money owed beyond this season. Panthers guard Austin Corbett is also an affordable option, although he’s under contract for the 2023 campaign.

Injury Updates: Eichenberg, Smith, Parker, Moore, Bellinger

Dolphins guard Liam Eichenberg was carted off the field in this Sunday’s trip to Detroit. The injury isn’t as serious as initially feared, but it appears Eichenberg has suffered an MCL injury and will miss some time, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.

Miami will have options to replace Eichenberg. Michael Deiter started eight games at center last year for the Dolphins and 15 games at Eichenberg’s left guard position in 2019. Brandon Shell and Greg Little are also options with plenty of starting experience, albeit at tackle. Robert Jones is also an option after starting a game last year.

Here are a few other injury updates from around the NFL:

  • The Vikings are expected to be down another tight end after Irv Smith suffered a high ankle sprain in Sunday’s win over the Cardinals, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. With Ben Ellefson on injured reserve, Minnesota will have to rely on veteran Johnny Mundt who came over from Los Angeles in the offseason. Mundt has had limited targets this year with Minnesota’s litany of talented pass catchers, but his 12 receptions are already more than he had during his five years with the Rams. The Vikings will also likely explore the option of signing one of its two practice squad tight ends, Jacob Hollister and Nick Muse.
  • After suffering a knee sprain on the first play of the Patriots’ win over the Jets this weekend, wide receiver DeVante Parker is not expected to miss extended time, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Rapoport reports that if he does miss time, it should only be one game, especially since New England has a bye after next Sunday’s contest against the Colts. He should definitely be back in time for a rematch with the Jets in Week 11.
  • Colts cornerback Kenny Moore suffered a right hand sprain in practice last week, according to James Boyd of The Athletic. As Boyd inquired about the injury, Moore revealed that he has also been playing with a torn ligament in his left hand since the start of the season. Neither injury is expected to hold Moore out of any games, but this interview offered a glimpse into what Moore has been playing through this year.
  • After a gruesome freak accident that saw Jaguars rookie linebacker Devin Lloyd strike Giants tight end Daniel Bellinger directly in the eye on a whiffed attempt to punch the ball out, Bellinger reportedly “underwent successful surgery to correct fractures on (the) lower window of (his) eye socket and damage to (his) septum,” according to Fowler. Bellinger hopes to return in two to six weeks, but other sources indicate that four to six weeks is a much more reasonable timeline.

Colts Receiving Calls On RB Nyheim Hines

The Colts made it pretty clear that they were focused on the future when they replaced Matt Ryan with second-year QB Sam Ehlinger. It didn’t take long for rival squads to start sniffing around at some of Indy’s available players. One player that’s drawn interest is Nyheim Hines, with ESPN’s Adam Schefter reporting (on Twitter) that teams have inquired about the offensive weapon’s availability.

Hines has had a consistent role on the Colts offense since entering the league as a fourth-round pick in 2018. The running back topped 500 yards from scrimmage in each of his first four NFL seasons, including a 2020 campaign where he finished with 862 offensive yards and seven touchdowns. In seven games this season, Hines has collected 224 yards from scrimmage and one touchdown, and he’s returned 11 punts for 111 yards.

Jonathan Taylor‘s emergence over the past two years meant Hines was eyeing a future backup role with the organization. He still inked a three-year, $18MM extension with the Colts last September, and the team has managed to keep him active in the passing game and on special teams.

The Colts could be inclined to move on from the 25-year-old thanks to the recent emergence of Deon Jackson. The 2021 UDFA out of Duke proved to be more-than-capable when he had a significant role with Taylor and Hines sidelined. In Week 5 and Week 6, Jackson collected 104 rushing yards on 25 carries, and he added another 108 receiving yards on 14 receptions. On the flip side, if the Colts are worried that Taylor’s struggles this season aren’t an anomaly, they may want to keep as much RB depth as possible.

Inquiring teams could be eyeing Hines as a third-down RB and/or a ST option. Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus tweets that Hines has drawn trade interest in the past, although he cautions that there are “more running backs available than teams that need running backs.”

Teams Who Could Move On Big-Name Pass Rushers

Some intriguing names have been mentioned as available in the trade market as the deadline approaches tomorrow afternoon. As usual, pass rusher is a position that many teams are looking to make improvements at, and there’s no shortage of big names available. So which teams are in the market to trade for players like Panthers defensive end Brian Burns, Broncos outside linebacker Bradley Chubb, or Jaguars outside linebacker Josh Allen? According to Alber Breer of Sports Illustrated, the Rams, Chiefs, Ravens, and Titans are all in the mix.

After losing Von Miller in free agency this offseason to the Bills, Los Angeles has struggled to pressure opposing quarterbacks. Defensive lineman Aaron Donald leads the team with 4.0 sacks, and, while outside linebacker Leonard Floyd is second on the team with 2.0, he’s tied with middle linebacker Bobby Wagner and cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Besides that, at the pass rusher position, Justin Hollins and Terrell Lewis only have 1.0 sack apiece. The Rams easily could benefit from the addition of Burns, Chubb, or Allen, who could all immediately start adding to the team’s lackluster sack total.

The Chiefs are an interesting addition to this list, since they made the move for pass rusher Frank Clark back in 2019. Like the Rams, Kansas City has gotten their biggest sack totals from interesting places. Defensive tackle Chris Jones leads the team with 5.0 sacks and cornerback L’Jarius Sneed is second on the team with 3.5. Clark and outside linebacker Carlos Dunlap combine for 5.0, while Darius Harris, Willie Gay, and George Karlaftis add a combined 2.0 sacks. They have some big names and are around average in the league for their sack totals, but Clark’s upcoming two-game suspension could limit their pass rush effectiveness during that period. Adding another big name, though, could certainly make them one of the more feared defenses in the league.

The Ravens are another interesting addition. They have lots of potential but lack a young, proven pass rusher on their roster. Baltimore has proven pass rushers in Calais Campbell, Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Houston, and soon-to-return Tyus Bowser. They’ve also got young pass rushers in Odafe Oweh and David Ojabo, who may soon make his NFL debut. But they lack the young AND proven pass rusher. Campbell, Pierre-Paul, and Houston are far from their prime days of double-digit sacks. Houston has made a good effort this season, with 6.0 so far this year, but injuries have already forced him to miss three contests this year. Oweh is the former first-round pick who, after 5.0 sacks in his rookie season, was expected to break out for a big sack total this year. Unfortunately, Oweh only has 1.0 sack this season in a potential sophomore slump. The Ravens may just need to wait, though. The returns of Bowser, who led the Ravens in 2021 with 7.0 sacks, and Ojabo, who trailed only No. 2 overall pick Aidan Hutchinson for the team lead in sacks at Michigan last year with 11.0, may act like trade additions themselves as the Ravens make a push for the playoffs. If they’re returns hit bumps in the road or Houston sees more injury trouble, it may make sense for Baltimore to add a young name with proven pass rushing expertise.

The Titans maybe make the most sense to me. Tennessee has been able to produce decent sack numbers despite their lack of big-name pass rushers. Their biggest name is their sack-leader Jeffery Simmons, who’s totaled 5.5 sacks so far this year. Behind him Denico Autry, Rashad Weaver, Bud Dupree, and DeMarcus Walker have combined for 13.0 sacks, with defensive tackle Sam Okuayinonu also adding a half of a sack. If those numbers are being put up by the likes of Autry, Weaver, and Dupree, imagine what Burns, Chubb, or Allen could produce in this scheme. This team isn’t struggling to provide a pass rush, but it could potentially improve the most with the addition of a big-name pass rusher.

The deadline comes tomorrow at 4 PM eastern time. If any of these teams are going to make a big move in the pass rushing market, it will have to be by then. It will be interesting to see which playoff contending teams decide to make the move to improve their defense by tomorrow’s deadline.

Jerry Jones: Ezekiel Elliott’s Role Won’t Change

Cowboys running back Tony Pollard ran wild with Ezekiel Elliott out of the lineup on Sunday, collecting 147 yards on offense while finding the end zone on three occasions. While you could make a compelling argument that Pollard has outperformed his teammate in recent weeks, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was adamant that Elliott remains atop the depth chart.

“There’s no argument,” Jones said yesterday (h/t to Michael Baca of NFL.com). “Zeke’s ability to punish, Zeke’s ability to deliver, Zeke’s ability, what he does for us in pass protection, and, frankly, Zeke’s ability to make big plays are there, and we’re going to go as Zeke goes. I really mean he’s that integral to our success this year.”

Elliott is one of the most productive offensive players in Cowboys history, collecting 1,000-plus yards from scrimmage in each of his first six years in the NFL. However, the 27-year-old hasn’t looked like his dominant self in 2022. He 4.1 yards per touch is a career-low, and he’s generally been invisible in the passing game (eight receptions in seven games). Meanwhile, following a 2021 season that saw him top 1,000 yards from scrimmage for the first time in his career, Pollard has improved his numbers in 2022. Through eight games, the 25-year-old has averaged 6.7 yards on his 93 touches.

Elliott is almost halfway through a six-year contract he signed with the organization in 2019, and while he’s reworked his deal a few times, he still has significant cap hits in upcoming seasons. Perhaps Jones’ consistent public support of Zeke has something to do with financials, especially if the front office intends to engage in future restructures. By nurturing Elliott’s spot atop the depth chart (and, for that matter, atop the roster), the player may have more reason to continue working with the organization, especially with a pivotal option on his contract after this season.

Plus, when it comes down to it, the Cowboys have shown that they can support both Elliott and Pollard in their offense, and the two players will continue to coexist for at least the rest of the 2022 campaign. Pollard is sit to hit free agency following the season, and if he continues to perform (and if the Cowboys continue to insist that they’re sticking with Elliott), then then RB may end up finding a more significant role (and payday) elsewhere.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 10/31/22

Today’s practice squad transactions:

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

New Orleans Saints

Philadelphia Eagles

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/31/22

Today’s minor transactions:

Baltimore Ravens

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Chargers

San Francisco 49ers

Tennessee Titans

Packers Not Planning To Shake Up Defensive Coaching Staff

Packers defensive coordinator Joe Barry got a vote of confidence from head coach Matt LaFleur last night, but it sounds like frustration may be mounting among players. LaFleur said the team is “absolutely not” going to make a coaching change following their loss to the Bills last night.

However, sources told ESPN’s Rob Demovsky that members of Green Bay’s defense are frustrated with the defensive scheme and playcalling. Specifically, a source said that there was “a declining confidence in the defensive scheme and what’s being called, and it’s led to overall frustration with the defense.”

“Well, first of all, it’s impossible to please everybody,” LaFleur said when asked about growing frustrations. “Everybody has their own opinions, their own ideas. It’s like anything else in life. You have to get the staff on the same page, first and foremost, in making sure that everybody is confident in the plan and then you teach it to the players.”

Barry joined the Packers in 2021 after having served as a defensive coordinator for only two years. The Packers finished top-10 in yards allowed in 2021 and they’re similarly ranked in 2022, but the team ranks towards the bottom of the NFL in many run-stopping statistics. As Demovsky notes, the latest breakdown came last night when Green Bay allowed Buffalo to score on five straight possessions. Speaking after the contest, LaFleur wouldn’t reveal whether players have expressed frustration with the defense.

“I think we’d be foolish not to listen to our players at certain times,” LaFleur said. “Ultimately, we have to make the best decision for our football team in terms of how do you go about winning the game? You know, there were some great moments and then there were some not-so-great moments. It was great that we were able to get a couple turnovers.

“I think from a consistency standpoint, way too many explosive gains, some poor tackling. I think we need to be more physical. I think you look at the teams that are toughest to deal with in this league, especially from a defensive standpoint and physicality, it jumps out to you. There were moments where we’re not always getting that.”

The defense currently consists of seven former first-round picks and a handful of high-priced acquisitions, as Demovsky points out, and the unit was expected to help keep the team afloat while Aaron Rodgers and the offense figured things out on the other side of the ball. Instead, Green Bay’s defensive struggles have contributed to the team’s 3-5 start, and despite LaFleur’s assertion, a change could be coming if things aren’t turned around.