Adam Shaheen

Bears To Activate Adam Shaheen, Send Dion Sims To IR

Trey Burton will have a different backup tight end Sunday. The Bears will sub out Dion Sims for Adam Shaheen on their 53-man roster, activating the second-year tight end from IR and sending the 2017 free agent signing to the injured list, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com reports (on Twitter).

Chicago designated Shaheen for an IR return last week and had three weeks to activate him. He will likely make his season debut Sunday night against the Vikings.

A concussion will send Sims to IR. The former Dolphins tight end played in eight Bears games during his second season with the franchise but only caught two passes, with first-year Bear Burton becoming the starter this season.

Shaheen came out of Division II Ashland as an athletic marvel but has yet to contribute much as a pro. Preseason ankle and foot injuries sidetracked the 6-foot-5, 270-pound target’s development. He caught 12 passes for 127 yards and three touchdowns last season and poses as an interesting weapon for Mitch Trubisky down the stretch.

Sims did well for himself in free agency last year, signing a three-year, $18MM deal. The $6MM-AAV pact handed to the former Miami backup was more than Austin Seferian-Jenkins or Jared Cook received from their respective teams. Sims, though, has 17 receptions as a Bear in his two-year Windy City run. Considering a 2019 cut would save the Bears $6MM, and with Burton and Shaheen under contract long-term, Sims will surely be a release candidate as the next league year approaches.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Designated To Return From IR: Burkhead, Shaheen, Davis, Quinn

With more than half of the 2018 campaign in the books, NFL clubs have started to exercise their right to return players from injured reserve. Each team is allowed to bring two players back from IR, but said players must have been retained on their respective club’s initial 53-man roster. Once an IR player returns to practice, his club will have three weeks to decide whether to activate him to their 53-man roster; if he’s not activated, the player will remain on injured reserve for the remainder of the season.

Here are three players who have been designated to return from IR this week:

  • Patriots running back Rex Burkhead returned to practice on Thursday, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Burkhead, who is first eligible to play in Week 13 against the Vikings, is the second and final New England player who is scheduled to return from IR, joining rookie cornerback Duke Dawson. That means other injured Patriots, such as linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley, cornerback Eric Rowe, and offensive lineman Brian Schwenke are officially done for the year. New England doesn’t necessarily need more help at running back: James White and jack-of-all-trades Cordarrelle Patterson have held down the fort in recent weeks, and impressive rookie Sony Michel is expected to return from injury this week. But Burkhead could still carve out a role, and will certainly be a factor on special teams.
  • Second-year tight end Adam Shaheen has been designated for return by the Bears, tweets veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer. Shaheen, a second-round pick in 2017, was an impressive athlete coming out of Division II Ashland last year, but didn’t produce much in the way of results during his first NFL campaign. In 13 games (seven starts), Shaheen managed only 12 receptions for 127 yards and three touchdowns. Now that he’s recovered from foot and ankle issues, Shaheen should slot in alongside fellow Chicago tight ends Trey Burton and Dion Sims.
  • The Packers have gotten contributions from several young receivers already this season, and they could be getting another youthful pass-catcher back in the near future. Trevor Davis returned to practice earlier this week, per Balzer, and can now be activated at any point in the next three weeks. A fifth-round choice in the 2016 draft, Davis posted 24 receptions last season while playing on 40.5% of Green Bay’s special teams snaps. Now that Geronimo Allison has been placed on injured reserve, Davis could see snaps behind Davante Adams, Randall Cobb, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling.
  • Redskins rookie wide receiver Trey Quinn returned to practice today and has been designated to return from IR, tweets Balzer. Quinn suffered an ankle injury in Week 1 after being selected in the seventh round of this year’s draft. Washington is dealing with numerous injuries at the wide receiver position and just placed pass-catcher Paul Richardson on IR, so Quinn could theoretically see snaps down the line.

NFC North Notes: Packers, Vikings, Bears

A much anticipated domino finally fell earlier this week when Aaron Rodgers and the Packers agreed to terms on his mega-extension. The deal made Rodgers the highest paid player in league history, and has reset the market for the next crop of signal callers looking to sign deals.

Former NFL agent Joel Corry of CBS Sports took a look at the extension, and what it might mean for several other top quarterbacks. In a way only an expert could, he completely broke down all the cap implications the deal will have for the Packers over the coming years.

Corry notes that Rodgers’ annual salary of $33.5MM is an 11.67% increase over what Matt Ryan got on his record-setting deal, noting that it’s the “biggest increase over the previous benchmark under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement.” The whole piece is worth a read, as few understand contracts as well as Corry.

Here’s more from the NFC North:

  • Brett Jones, acquired in a trade with the Giants just last week, is the “leading candidate” to start at center for the Vikings in Week 1 according to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (Twitter link). Coaches “have raved about how quickly” Jones picked up the offense, writes Tomasson.
  • The Bears will likely “survey [the] cornerback market” according to Brad Briggs of the Chicago Tribune (Twitter link). Briggs also expects Chicago to add a defensive lineman in the coming days.
  • Bears tight end Adam Shaheen will be placed on injured reserve, but “could potentially return later in season” according to the team’s GM Ryan Pace (Twitter link via the Bears’ official account). Shaheen, last year’s second round pick, is suffering from both ankle and foot injuries.

Sunday NFL Transactions: NFC North

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four NFC North teams. Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline yesterday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters, claiming players off waivers or signing guys who clear waivers. Those transactions for the Bears, Lions, Packers, and Vikings are noted below.

Additionally, as of 12:00pm CT today, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads. You can check out our glossary entry on practice squads to brush up on those changes, as well as all the other guidelines that govern the 10-man units, whose players practice with the team but aren’t eligible to suit up on Sundays.

Here are Sunday’s NFC North transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day:

Chicago Bears

Signed:

Cut:

Placed on injured reserve:

Detroit Lions

Claimed:

Cut:

Practice squad:

Green Bay Packers

Practice squad:

Minnesota Vikings

Claimed:

Cut:

Practice squad:

NFC Notes: Lions, Bears, Galette, 49ers

Third-year Lions linebacker Steve Longa did, in fact, suffer a torn ACL that will end his season, Kyle Meinke of MLive.com reports. Longa tore the ligament while chasing down Giants quarterback Kyle Lauletta and is expected to be placed on IR Monday. The Lions weren’t going to use Longa as a starter — Jarrad Davis, Christian Jones and Devon Kennard are entrenched as their first-string ‘backers — but the former UDFA was a key part of Detroit’s special teams corps. This may open up a spot for Miles Killebrew, a former safety who’s been working with the Lions’ linebackers in recent weeks. Killebrew also serves as a regular on special teams.

Here’s the latest out of the NFC, moving to another NFC North team’s injury situation.

  • The Bears received better news regarding a young player’s injury. Adam Shaheen required a cart to leave the field during Saturday night’s Bears-Broncos game thanks to a first-quarter setback. However, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets the second-year tight end is not believed to have suffered a serious injury. The 2017 second-rounder is dealing with a low ankle sprain, per Rapoport. Although more tests will be in store for the small-school product, Shaheen has a chance to play in Week 1.
  • Sean McVay said (via Lindsay Thiry of ESPN.com, on Twitter) Junior Galette‘s Rams visit will take place Monday. Galette is now 30 and a few years removed from his peak — back-to-back 10-plus-sack years with the Saints in 2013-14 — but he did play in all 16 Redskins games last season after missing the previous two years with injuries. The Rams’ efforts to restock their cornerback contingent and add Ndamukong Suh induced some cutbacks, and the Super Bowl contender’s edge defender situation is perhaps a vulnerable spot midway through the preseason.
  • Another NFC West team has questions on the edge, and Kyle Shanahan (via Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area, on Twitter) still has Elvis Dumervil in mind as a contingency plan in case the second-year HC deems the 49ers as being too light on defensive ends. Shanahan said earlier this offseason the 12-year veteran probably wouldn’t need much preseason work to be effective, so San Francisco still remains a possibility for the now-34-year-old edge player. Dumervil, who began his career under Mike Shanahan and alongside John Lynch in Denver, led the 49ers with 6.5 sacks last season. No other 49er registered more than three.
  • More running back injury trouble’s come the 49ers’ way. With Jerick McKinnon and No. 2 back Matt Breida out until Week 1, 2017 fourth-rounder Joe Williams fractured a rib and suffered a “very bad” bone bruise, per Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle (on Twitter). Shanahan said Williams will miss Week 1. Shanahan urged Lynch to trade up to select Williams, but this setback figures to pose a problem for his chances of making an impact this season. The 49ers, who also lost offensive lineman Erik Magnuson to a hamstring strain that will shelve him until possibly October, are going to make IR decisions regarding this duo this week (Twitter links, via Maiocco and the San Jose Mercury News’ Cam Inman). A 2017 UDFA out of Michigan, Magnuson played in four games as a rookie and started two. If the 49ers place either on IR before roster-cutdown day, they cannot use one of their IR-return spots on them.
  • Second-year UDFA Rickey Jefferson will not play for the Saints this season. The defensive back tore one of his ACLs in New Orleans’ second preseason game, Nick Underhill of The Advocate reports. The LSU alum did not play last season and latched on with the Saints in January via reserve/futures contract.

Draft Pick Signings: 5/19/17

The latest draft picks to sign their first NFL contracts:

  • The Colts have signed third-round defensive end Tarell Basham, the 80th overall pick, meaning all eight members of their draft class are now under contract. Basham starred the previous four years at Ohio, where he amassed 38.5 tackles and 27 sacks, and could help upgrade a Colts pass rush that finished a mediocre 19th in sacks last season.
  • The Bears have locked up second-round tight end Adam Shaheen, leaving first-round quarterback Mitch Trubisky as the only member of their five-pick class who hasn’t signed yet. Shaheen – formerly with Ashland – is one of three Bears picks who attended a small school, and plucking players from relatively anonymous institutions has led to criticism of general manager Ryan Pace. But Shaheen is a “special talent,” according to Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com.
  • A day after inking their top two picks to contracts, the Bills have signed their third selection, second-round offensive lineman Dion Dawkins (No. 63 overall). The former Temple Owl should be a factor on the right side of the Bills’ offensive line in 2017, perhaps as a Day 1 starter at tackle, after the team traded up to land him. The Bills’ veteran options at right tackle, Jordan Mills, Cyrus Kouandjio and Seantrel Henderson, have failed to impress on the field. Further, both Kouandjio and Henderson have dealt with off-field issues. Henderson will miss the first five games of the year on account of a suspension.
  • Former North Carolina State safety Josh Jones has signed his deal with the Packers. Jones, the 61st pick, was one of two second-rounders for Green Bay in this year’s draft. The higher selection of the two, ex-Washington cornerback Kevin King (No. 33 overall), signed last week. Jones, who wrapped up his college career in 2016 with a 109-tackle, three-interception season, joins a safety corps that also includes Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Morgan Burnett. With Burnett scheduled to become a free agent next offseason, Jones could be the Packers’ long-term answer at strong safety.
  • Seahawks third-rounder Nazair Jones, the 102nd pick, is now under contract. The former North Carolina defensive tackle, more of a run-stopping factor than a pass rusher, produced 22 tackles for loss and five sacks in three seasons with the Tar Heels. Jones is one of two interior D-linemen the Seahawks used a high pick on, as he followed second-rounder Malik McDowell.
  • The Cardinals have signed fourth-round guard Dorian Johnson, the 115th pick. Johnson was a dominant guard at Pittsburgh, starting in 39 straight games and capping off his Panthers career in 2016 with first-team All-America honors. Arizona already has an established starter at Johnson’s college position, left guard, in Mike Iupati, but it’s not nearly as well off on the right. As of now, 2016 fifth-rounder Cole Toner is penciled in as the starter.
  • One of Johnson’s college teammates at Pitt, offensive tackle Adam Bisnowaty, officially became a member of the Giants on Friday. The 200th overall pick started at left tackle in each of his four years at Pitt, where he earned a first-team all-ACC nod last season. Bisnowaty is likely to end up on the right side in the pros, per NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein, who notes that he has the ceiling of a low-end starter.

NFL Draft Rumors: Lattimore, Westbrook, TEs

The Jets might not be nearing a consensus that ends with Marshon Lattimore joining Gang Green. Picking sixth, the Jets could be worried about the Ohio State cornerback’s history of hamstring injuries. A Jets source fears Lattimore will be hampered by those recurring maladies, per DraftAnalyst.com’s Tony Pauline, a fear that may have received some reinforcement on Monday. Said source mentioned since-released Dee Milliner‘s name when discussing the worries about Lattimore.

Lattimore suffered another hamstring injury today at the Combine, sources tell ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter. However, the prized corner prospect denied the report (Twitter link), saying that it was actually a hip flexor issue and that he’ll be “good.” He also texted Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link) to tell him he’ll be ready for his pro day, where he’ll do all his position work. Before the injury, Lattimore ran a 4.36-second 40-yard dash and had a vertical jump of 38.5 inches.

Here’s more from the 2017 prospect pool.

  • Heisman Trophy finalist Dede Westbook has generated concerns among evaluators, per Pauline. The former Oklahoma wide receiver’s decision to skip the Senior Bowl and not work out at the Combine, along with a history of off-the-field trouble, serve as red flags for some teams. Pauline notes a number of franchises have stamped Westbrook as undraftable. During interviews, Westbrook appeared “guarded” and “seemed untruthful” to some who spoke to Pauline regarding the sessions. Oklahoma’s pro day figures to be well-attended on Wednesday, with Joe Mixon set to perform for scouts for the first time, and it looks like it will be key for Westbrook as well. Pauline estimates the “Day 2 talent” will be a Day 3 pick.
  • First-round prospect Solomon Thomas has a frame that concerns some NFL personnel, Pauline notes. At not quite 6-foot-3 and at 275 pounds, the Stanford edge player might not have much growth potential, per Pauline. Thomas is still expected to go during the first half of the first round.
  • The rookie tight end class profiles as one of the best in recent memory may see at multiple Division II products be drafted. One such player is Ashland’s Adam Shaheen, whom Pauline hears from scouts will be a third-round pick. The 6-foot-6 Shaheen is coming off a dominant season at the D-II program. He caught 57 passes for 867 yards and 16 touchdowns, this coming off a 10-touchdown junior slate. Although Shaheen barely ran under 4.8 in the 40, scouts believe he’s “sneaky-fast,” view him as a potential seam-stretching target and love his pass-catching prowess.
  • Toledo defensive tackle Treyvon Hester missed the East-West Shrine Game and the Combine due to undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum in December, but the prospect will be ready to audition for scouts sometime in April, Pauline reports. Hester is expected to be 100 percent by training camp.