Month: April 2024

Browns RB Nick Chubb Undergoes First Knee Surgery; 2024 Return In Play

Nick Chubb‘s long road to recovery began earlier this week, undergoing surgery to address, among other things, the MCL tear he suffered in Week 2. The team announced on Saturday that his procedure – performed the day prior – was a success.

The Friday operation was scheduled in the wake of Chubb being learned to have suffered a torn MCL, but not a full ACL tear as a result of the hit he took in Cleveland’s loss to the Steelers. Yesterday’s surgery was aimed at addressing the MCL damage, along with that done to his medial capsule and meniscus. As expected, a second operation will be required; that subsequent procedure, which take place “in the coming months,” will tend to his ACL.

The Browns’ statement on the Chubb surgery adds a return to the field at some point in 2024 is in play. While much of his recovery timeline will depend on the success of the second surgery, that update offers optimism regarding the four-time Pro Bowler’s long-term future. A return next season would be a welcomed development for Cleveland’s most consistent offensive producer, and it would represent a best-case scenario for all parties.

As ESPN’s Jake Trotter notes, the Browns initially feared Chubb suffered a more serious injury than he actually did. The fact he has a path to returning to the lineup next year has financial significance, as that is the final year of the 27-year-old’s contract. No guaranteed money remains on his three-year, $36.6MM deal after this season, so it will be interesting to see how the team handles Chubb’s situation given the injury but also his central importance to the team’s offense.

While the four-time 1,000-yard rusher (who has posted high-end totals while averaging 5.3 yards per carry in his career) cannot be fully replaced, the Browns made the unsurprising move of reuniting with Kareem Hunt in the wake of the Chubb injury. The veteran, along with 2022 fifth-rounder Jerome Ford, is tasked with handling the load for the remainder of the season as Cleveland aims to maintain a strong ground game. While the team is shorthanded in the backfield for the time being, a Chubb return next season can at least be loosely counted on in the wake of a succesful first step in his rehab process.

Raiders Release DE Chandler Jones

The Chandler Jones situation is set to come to an expected conclusion. The veteran defensive end is being released by the Raiders, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The move is now official, per the transactions wire.

The move comes after Jones was arrested in Las Vegas for two violations of a domestic temporary restraining order yesterday. That, in turn, marked the latest chapter in an off-field saga which has prevented the four-time Pro Bowler from seeing game time in 2023, the second year of his Raiders deal. Jones had been on the team’s NFI list prior to his release.

Jones went public with his criticism of head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler at the start of the month, something which was sparked by Jones being locked out of the team’s facility when attempting to work out. The situation has escalated quickly since then, with the 33-year-old adding he did not want to continue playing for the organization so long as the ex-Patriots tandem remained in place.

As his absence lasted deeper into the campaign, it seemed increasingly likely the Raiders would elect to move on from Jones in response to his situation. The two-time All-Pro cautioned against the chances of that, however, when alleging owner Mark Davis is keeping a “huge secret.” No further details have emerged on that front, and it will be interesting to see if any will moving forward now that Jones is no longer with the team.

The former Patriots and Cardinals starter said earlier this week that he was recently taken to Seven Hills Behavioral Health Hospital “against my will.” In spite of that, the Raiders were thought to be open to a return to the field on Jones’ part at some point down the road. Instead, they have decided to put an end to his tenure in Sin City, which was marked by underwhelming statistical performances prior to recent events.

Attached to a three-year, $51MM deal signed in free agency last year, expectations were high for Jones upon arrival in Vegas. He recorded only 4.5 sacks and three tackles for loss across 15 games in 2022, however, leaving him with plenty of room for improvement this season, something which will not come to pass. His release will create roughly $12.2MM in dead cap charges in 2023 and ’24, Schefter notes.

Maxx Crosby remains in place as the anchor of the Raiders’ edge rush contingent. First-round rookie Tyree Wilson – whom the team planned to use in a rotational capacity alongside Jones early in his career – will likely be in line for an increased workload with a return for the latter no longer an option. Wilson has logged a 40% defensive snap share so far, totaling three tackles in as many games. Jones, meanwhile, will begin a stint in free agency which will no doubt last for some time given his current situation.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/30/23

Saturday’s gameday elevations and other minor moves ahead of tomorrow’s slate of Week 4 games:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

Walker’s elevation comes amidst a degree of uncertainty regarding Deshaun Watson‘s Sunday availability. The latter is dealing with a shoulder injury, but he has expressed confidence he will be able to suit up. In the event he is unable to play, though, Walker will provide insurance under center. NFL Network’s James Palmer reports Watson will be a game-time decision.

Chosen, formerly Robbie Anderson, made his Dolphins debut in Week 3, scoring a 68-yard touchdown on his only catch. His performance – along with other depth wideouts currently being sidelined for Miami – will give the 30-year-old a longer look with his new team.

Gore’s elevation will give him the chance to see regular season game action for the first time since 2021. The former UDFA recorded 361 scrimmage yards with the Chiefs that season, but a subsequent IR stint marked the end of his time in Kansas City. Gore has since spent time on the Saints’, and now Commanders’, taxi squads. Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post notes that fellow depth back Chris Rodriguez has bee ruled out with an illness, opening the door to Gore seeing limited snaps.

No Return Imminent For Cardinals’ Kyler Murray

Players who began the 2023 season on the PUP list are eligible to be activated as early as Week 5. That will not be the case for the Cardinals as it pertains to their starting quarterback, however.

Kyler Murray is not expected to resume practicing in the coming days, and his return is believed to be “weeks away,” ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports. Players on IR or the PUP list can only return to practice when their three-week activation window has been opened, so today’s update means the Cardinals will proceed with caution with their franchise passer.

Head coach Jonathan Gannon indicated last week that Murray may not resume practicing at the first opportunity, so this news comes as little surprise. More than nine months have transpired since Murray tore his ACL and ended his 2022 campaign. A return around the middle of this season has been mentioned as a realistic timeline, and Schefter’s colleague Josh Weinfuss confirms that is the “earliest” point at which Murray will likely next take the field in game action. Plenty could change in the coming days and weeks affecting that timeframe, of course.

Murray – whose presence Gannon has named as part of the reason he took the Cardinals’ head coaching gig this offseason – is on the books through 2028 as a result of the five-year, $230.5MM extension he signed last summer. Speculation picked up recently about a potential trade sending the former No. 1 pick out of Arizona in favor of the team starting over with another new QB in the draft, but Gannon has shot down such notions.

With Murray still squarely in the franchise’s plans, Joshua Dobbs remains in place as the Cardinals’ starter for the time being. Acquired via trade from the Browns in late August, the 28-year-old has put up a 72% completion percentage and has yet to throw an interception in three games to start the campaign. Those statistics have kept the Cardinals more competitive than expected in the early going, including an upset win over the Cowboys in Week 3. Dobbs will carry on in his QB1 duties for the foreseeable future with rookie Clayton Tune serving as his backup.

Schefter notes that Murray wants to return to action, encouraged by the performance of Gannon and the team so far. He has plenty of work remaining to reach the practice field, however, and for the time being he will stay sidelined. It will be interesting to see when the Cardinals deem Murray ready enough to open his activation window, and where the team finds itself at that point.

Ravens Place OLB David Ojabo On IR

In a move which further explains the Kyle Van Noy addition, the Ravens announced on Saturday that edge rusher David Ojabo has been placed on injured reserve. The latter will be sidelined for at least four weeks as a result.

Ojabo picked up what the team has listed as a knee/ankle injury during their Week 3 loss, leaving his short-term availability in question. Today’s news means the ailment will require a multi-week recovery period, adding further to the 23-year-old’s injury history at the NFL level. Ojabo missed all but two regular season games and one playoff contest in his rookie season due to an Achilles tear suffered at Michigan’s 2022 Pro Day.

That injury led to Ojabo’s slide to the second round of the draft, but he flashed potential with a sack and a forced fumble in his limited action last year. The free agent departure of Justin Houston, coupled with Tyus Bowser‘s NFI designation to start the year, left the door open to signficant playing time in 2023. Ojabo had logged only a 38% snap share so far this season, but his absence will be acutely felt given the other injuries on the edge Baltimore is currently dealing with.

2021 first-rounder Odafe Oweh missed Week 3 with an ankle injury and it remains to be seen if he will be able to suit up tomorrow. With Bowser still sidelined for at least one more game, the Ravens will lean heavily on free agent addition Jadeveon Clowney, fourth-round rookie Tavius Robinson and former UDFA Jeremiah Moon for the time being. That will especially hold true now that Ojabo will be shut down until at least November.

Van Noy originally signed with the Ravens via their practice squad, but he has quickly been added to the active roster. With Ojabo sidelined, Van Noy will be in line for immediate playing time to begin his Baltimore tenure. The 32-year-old has been a consistent depth producer with three different AFC teams (Patriots, Dolphins, Chargers) recently, recording at least five sacks in five of the last six seasons. The Ravens will be hoping for a similar performance in 2023 as they remain thin on the edge for the time being.

Raiders Rule Out QB Jimmy Garoppolo For Week 4

SEPTEMBER 30: Garoppolo will not clear the protocol in time to suit up on Sunday. He has officially been ruled out by the team, leaving Vegas with an interesting Hoyer-or-O’Connell decision for the contest against the Chargers. Garoppolo should be expected to be available in time for Week 6, a Monday night affair against the Packers.

SEPTEMBER 25: Jimmy Garoppoloplayed the Raiders’ Week 3 game in full, but his availability for the team’s next contest is now in doubt. Head coach Josh McDaniels said on Monday, via Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, that Garoppolo is in the concussion protocol.

It is unknown when exactly in Vegas’ primetime loss Garoppolo suffered the injury, but he was evaluated for a concussion after the game. Having now been placed in the protocol, the team’s free agent addition faces a tough road to be cleared in time for Week 4. Provided he is forced to miss a game, it will be interesting to see how the Raiders proceed under center.

As Tashan Reed of the Athletic notes, McDaniels declined to confirm that veteran Brian Hoyer would suit up as Vegas’ starter if necessary. The latter has dressed as the backup in every game so far this season, giving the Raiders a familiar face given the ties shared between he, Garoppolo and McDaniels dating back to their respective days with the Patriots. Hoyer, 37, contemplated retirement this offseason before taking a deal including $4.21MM guaranteed across two seasons. His last start came with New England in 2022, but it has been seven years since his most recent win.

Vegas also has fourth-round rookie Aidan O’Connell in place as an option. The Purdue alum drew praise for his performances in preseason, leading to speculation he could overtake Hoyer on the depth chart. O’Connell has been designated the Raiders’ emergency third quarterback each game to date, but a full week of preparation with the first-team offense would of course alter the situation for either non-Garoppolo passer in advance of a Week 4 start.

“We’ll prepare for everybody,” McDaniels said when asked about the team’s QB situation, via Reed and colleague Vic Tafur (subscription required). “I mean, obviously, that would change things relative to Aidan, also, if Jimmy was not to progress through the protocol to be able to play. So, we’re hard at work prepping how we manage that situation as best we can as it progresses through the week.”

After moving on from Derek Carr, the Raiders turned to Garoppolo with a three-year, $72.75MM deal. Offseason foot surgery prompted the team to include an injury clause in that contract, and today’s news adds further to the lengthy injury history for the former 49ers starter. Garoppolo threw three interceptions last night, bringing his season total to a league-leading six. Still, the 1-2 Raiders would have uncertainty under center (especially with O’Connell) if Garoppolo were to miss Week 4, so his progress will be worth monitoring over the coming days.

Browns TE David Njoku Listed As Questionable After Sustaining Burn Injuries

David Njoku has been listed as questionable for tomorrow’s game against the Ravens after suffering a burn injury at his home. The Browns announced that the tight end sustained “burn injuries to his face and arm during a household accident.”

Per Mary Kay Cabot of, Njoku was burned while lighting a fire pit in his backyard. Fortunately, it sounds like the player avoided a serious injury, with Cabot noting that Njoku is “okay.”

After finishing last season with a career-high 58 catches for 628 yards and four touchdowns, Njoku has gotten off to a bit of a slow start in 2023. Through three games, the tight end has collected only 10 receptions for 92 yards. As a result, he currently ranks 48th among 68 qualifying tight ends on Pro Football Focus’ positional grades, although he does have a top-three grade for his pass-blocking ability.

Following his career year in 2022, the Browns slapped Njoku with the franchise tag. The former first-round pick ended up signing a long-term deal with the organization, with the Browns giving him a four-year, $56.75MM extension.

If Njoku is sidelined for Week 4, the team would likely roll with a combination of Harrison Bryant and Jordan Akins at the position. Bryant has gotten into all three games for the Browns this season, although he’s been limited to a pair of catches while mostly serving in a blocking role. Akins also has a pair of catches in three games, and the tight end is coming off a career season in Houston where he compiled 495 receiving yards and five touchdowns. The team also announced that they’ve promoted UDFA tight end Zaire Mitchell-Paden from the practice squad.

Elsewhere in Cleveland, the team announced that they’ve promoted quarterback P.J. Walker from the practice squad. The former Panthers QB spent training camp with the Bears before catching on with the Browns practice squad. Deshaun Watson is questionable for tomorrow’s game with a shoulder injury, and rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson would be in line to start if needed.

Colts Add WR KJ Hamler To Practice Squad

KJ Hamler has found his next gig. The free agent wideout has joined the Colts practice squad, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The former second-round pick was waived by the Broncos with a non-football illness designation back in August. It was revealed that Hamler was dealing with pericarditis, a heart condition which required medication rather than surgery. Per NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, the receiver took “some time away from football to get healthy,” and Hamler will land his next gig about two months after getting cut by Denver.

Hamler was expected to be a major part of a talented young receivers corps in Denver, but he could never gain the same traction as teammates Jerry Jeudy or Courtland Sutton. Hamler’s best season came during his rookie year, when he hauled in 30 catches for 381 yards and three touchdowns. His 2021 season was limited to only three games thanks to a torn ACL, and while the receive was able to return for the 2022 campaign, he finished with only seven catches for 165 yards before landing on IR with a hamstring injury.

The 24-year-old underwent offseason surgery to repair a partially torn pectoral muscle. Hamler has apparently fully recovered from that operation, and it sounds like he’ll be joining the Colts at full health.

The Colts seem to be set atop their WR depth chart for the foreseeable future with Michael Pittman Jr., Alec Pierce, and rookie third-round pick Josh Downs leading the way. The Colts have been eyeing a fifth receiver behind that trio and offseason acquisition Isaiah McKenzie. Juwann Winfree got the first shot at the gig, but Schefter notes that the team opted to promote wide receiver Amari Rodgers from the practice squad for Week 4.

Latest On Ravens’ Backfield Injuries

The Ravens are dealing with injuries throughout their offense, with wideouts Odell Beckham Jr. and Rashod Bateman having already been ruled out for tomorrow’s game against the Browns (via ESPN’s Adam Schefter). While Baltimore’s receiving corps may be in doubt, the team did get some good news regarding their running back depth.

Justice Hill is expected to play on Sunday against Cleveland, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. A toe injury kept Hill off the field for last weekend’s loss to the Colts.

The Ravens were really forced to dig into their running back depth against Indy. J.K. Dobbins, of course, has been ruled out for the season, and with Hill missing the contest, the Ravens were expected to lean heavily on Gus Edwards. However, the veteran suffered a concussion during that contest, and the Ravens ended up giving Melvin Gordon and Kenyan Drake a combined 40 snaps.

While Fowler notes that Gordon is still expected to be called up from the practice squad for Baltimore’s Week 4 game, it sounds like the team should be able to roll with their top-two options at the position. Edwards returned to practice this week, an indication that he’s cleared concussion protocol and should be good to go for this weekend.

With Hill also expected back, it will be interesting to see how the Ravens divvy up the RB snaps. Hill outsnapped Edwards when the two played alongside each other in Week 2 (43 to 32), and Hill also got more snaps when Dobbins went down during Week 1.