Amini Silatolu

Panthers Re-Sign G Amini Silatolu

The Panthers have re-signed guard Amini Silatolu to a one-year deal, the club announced today.

Silatolu, 29, has spent his entire playing career with the Panthers (his two-month stay with the Bears in 2016 never actually resulted in any playing time). A former second-round pick, Silatolu started 15 games during his rookie campaign in 2012, but has started just 16 contests since that time. Last season, Silatolua appeared in 14 games and made three starts for Carolina, playing on roughly a quarter of the club’s offensive snaps and 18% of the Panthers’ special teams snaps.

Carolina has now assembled a mix of players who could conceivably take over at left guard for the departed Andrew Norwell, with Silatolu, Taylor Moton, Jeremiah Sirles, and Tyler Larsen among them. Of that group, however, Silatolu is probably the most likely to enter the upcoming season as a clear reserve.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers Sign G Amini Silatolu

The Panthers announced they have re-signed guard Amini Silatolu. It’ll be a one-year deal for Carolina and the former second-round pick. Amini Silatolu (Vertical)

After being selected early in 2012, Silatolu started 15 games during his rookie season and looked the part of a future cog for the Panthers. Unfortunately, injuries have slowed him ever since. He suffered torn ACLs which ended both his 2013 and 2015 seasons and calf and knee injuries plagued him in 2014. Silatolu slid down the depth chart and the team showed little (if any) interest in re-signing him after the 2015 season. He hooked on with the Bears prior to the 2016 season, but he was cut before Week 1.

Now, he returns to the Panthers to try and recapture the spark he had in 2012.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/5/16

It’s been a busy Monday around the NFL. Let’s check out some moves that may have flown under the radar…

  • The Seahawks have signed fullback Tani Tupou, per Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. Tupou also played defensive tackle earlier this summer with the Seahawks, who cut him over the weekend. Now that he’s back on their roster, he’ll stay on the offensive side of the ball.
  • In addition to signing Tupou, the Seahawks waived defensive ends Josh Shirley and David Parkins from injured reserve, per Condotta (Twitter link). Shirley logged five appearances with Tampa Bay as an undrafted rookie last year.

Earlier updates:

  • The Saints waived defensive tackle Ashaad Mabry, tweets Nick Underhill of The New Orleans Advocate. Mabry also made the Saints initial roster in 2015, but was waived days later. The former UTSA standout spent last season on New Orleans’ practice squad.
  • The Bears swapped long snappers this morning, cutting Aaron Brewer and signing Patrick Scales (via ESPN’s Jeff Dickerson on Twitter). Brewer joined Chicago this offseason after having spent the past four seasons with the Broncos. Scales, 28, played in a career-high five games for the Bears in 2015.
  • To make room for guard Josh Sitton, the Bears released offensive guard Amini Silatolu (via Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs on Twitter). The 27-year-old lineman started three games for the Panthers last season. ESPN’s Adam Caplan notes that Silatolu signed a one-year, $840K deal ($100K guaranteed) with the Bears this offseason.
  • The Packers signed long snapper Brett Goode, according to Jason Wilde (via Twitter). The 31-year-old, who made 14 appearance last season, has been on the Packers since 2008. To make room, the team released undrafted free agent defensive back Makinton Dorleant.

Bears Sign Amini Silatolu

JULY 30, 3:47pm: It’s a one-year agreement, minimum-salary deal for Silatolu, per Biggs (Twitter link). He stands to make $840K this season and received a $80K signing bonus and a $20K base salary guarantee, working out to $100K guaranteed for the former Panthers starter. Silatolu will count $680K toward the Bears’ cap, per Biggs (via Twitter).

JULY 20, 2:57pm: The Bears have agreed to sign guard Amini Silatolu, according to Rand Getlin of NFL.com (on Twitter). The veteran met with Chicago on Wednesday morning and it didn’t take long for the two sides to reach an accord.Amini Silatolu (vertical)

As Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune tweets, offensive lineman Ted Larsen was sidelined with an undisclosed injury at the end of the offseason program/minicamp. The signing of Silatolu could be a sign that Larsen is still recovering.

A second-round pick in 2012, Silatolu started 15 games during his rookie season and looked to be a mainstay along Carolina’s offensive line for years to come. But he’s been hampered by injuries ever since — torn ACLs ended both his 2013 and 2015 seasons, and he was similarly held back by calf and knee injuries in 2014. Silatolu was largely been relegated to backup duty with the Panthers, having been usurped at guard by Trai Turner and Andrew Norwell.

This offseason, the Panthers didn’t show much interest in retaining Silatolu. Now, the 27-year-old (28 in September) will try and hook on in Chicago.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bears To Host G Amini Silatolu On Visit

Guard Amini Silatolu is scheduled to visit the Bears today, a source tells Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (on Twitter). As previously reported, Silatolu has also visited with the Seahawks, Cardinals, Chiefs, and 49ers this offseason, but none of those visits have resulted in deals. Amini Silatolu (Vertical)

[RELATED: Former Bears CB Charles Tillman Announces Retirement]

A second-round pick in 2012, Silatolu started 15 games during his rookie season and looked to be a mainstay along Carolina’s offensive line for years to come. But he’s been hampered by injuries ever since — torn ACLs ended both his 2013 and 2015 seasons, and he was similarly calf and knee injuries in 2014. Silatolu was largely been relegated to backup duty with the Panthers, having been usurped at guard by Trai Turner and Andrew Norwell.

This offseason, the Panthers didn’t show much interest in retaining Silatolu. Now, the 27-year-old (28 in September) will hope to find his next opportunity in Chicago.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Titans, Bolts, Chiefs, Bills

The latest from the AFC:

  • Titans GM Jon Robinson confirmed that he tried to trade Zach Mettenberger before waiving him. “There were a lot of teams we touched base with over the course of the draft weekend that had interest in Zach, and a lot of those teams ended up selecting quarterbacks at some point in the draft,’’ Robinson said (via Jim Wyatt of Titans Online). “For whatever reason those discussions never really manifested, or culminated into anything.”
  • The Chargers‘ two-year contract with center Matt Slauson carries a $3MM base, Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego tweets. The veteran can earn another $1.25MM in bonuses and escalators via playing time.
  • The Chiefs had free agent guard Amini Silatolu in for a visit recently, a source tells Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (via Twitter). The team is continuing to evaluate the guard position, and that includes a potential signing of the former Carolina lineman.
  • Mike Rodak of ESPN.com has details on Cordy Glenn‘s five-year extension with the Bills. In 2018, $8MM of his $9.25MM base salary is guaranteed for injury only at signing, though $1.5MM of that amount becomes fully guaranteed on the third day of the 2017 league year. The other $6.5MM of that amount becomes fully guaranteed on the third day of the 2018 league year. He can also earn up to $1MM in All-Pro and Pro Bowl escalators. His $2MM roster bonus is due on the fifth day of the 2018 league year.

Best Available NFL Free Agents: Offense

The most high-profile free agent signings occurred more than two months ago, but as we near June there are still talented NFL free agents available on the open market. Most of these players (with a few exceptions) won’t command much guaranteed money, and given that we’ve passed the May 12 deadline, none will factor into the compensatory draft pick formula. Let’s take a look at the players who will try to find a home as training camp approaches:"<strong

1. Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB: The most obvious destination for Fitzpatrick remains the Jets, who don’t intend to play second-round pick Christian Hackenberg immediately but, as of the draft, hadn’t had meaningful talks with Fitz’s camp in awhile. The 33-year-old Fitzpatrick has apparently told people he’d “rather not play football” in 2016 than accept New York’s current offer, though that seems like a negotiating ploy to get the Jets to put more than $7-8MM on the table. Gang Green holds all the leverage in this scenario, as the only other club that might have still been searching for a quarterback — the Broncos — is thought to have ended their hunt for another signal-caller after drafting Paxton Lynch last month.

2. Anquan Boldin, WR: Even as he ages, Boldin continues to post solid production — he’s managed at least 65 receptions in each of the past four years, averaging nearly 1,000 yards and five touchdowns during that time. And while the 49ers have not asked him to return in 2016, Boldin could be an option for a number of wide receiver-needy teams, as the Bengals, Steelers, Colts, Chiefs, and Giants could all make varying levels of sense for the veteran pass-catcher, especially given that he’s indicated he’d prefer to play for a contender. Boldin has taken just one free agent visit this offseason, but that team — Washington — is unlikely to still have interest given that it selected TCU wideout Josh Doctson in the first round of the draft.

3. Arian Foster, RB: There’s no question that Foster offers the highest upside of any free agent on this list, as he’s topped 1,200 yards rushing in every season that he’s remained even remotely healthy. But health, of course, has remained a hindrance throughout Foster’s career — in 2015 alone, Foster was slowed by a groin injury during camp before suffering a torn Achilles in in Week 7. The Dolphins met with Foster earlier this offseason and could still be a landing spot, while the Raiders, Eagles, and Chargers (especially if Melvin Gordon‘s recovery from microfracture surgery doesn’t go well) could be options.

4. Jahri Evans, G: Knee and ankle injuries limited Evans to 11 games in 2015, but like Foster, Evans is a solid contributor when he’s on the field, as he graded as the league’s No. 27 guard among 81 qualifiers last year, per Pro Football Focus. Entering his age-33 season, Evans might have to be willing to engage in a camp battle for a starting role, or even wait until a club suffers an injury along its offensive interior. But a team like the Broncos, who are currently projected to start sixth-round rookie Connor McGovern at right guard, could express interest.

5. Louis Vasquez, G: Vasquez isn’t quite the guard that Evans is, but he offers a vast amount of experience, as he played over 1,000 snaps in 2015 with Denver, and has started 101 games since entering the league in 2009. Not yet 30 years old, Vasquez could help a number of clubs at either guard position — he met with the Titans earlier this offseason, and depending on its assessment of Jeremiah Poutasi, Tennessee may still be interested. The Chiefs, having failed to replace Jeff Allen, could also make sense as a destination."<strong

6. Andre Johnson, WR: After posting the worst full-season results of his career, Johnson was released by the Colts just one season into a three-year pact. Whether interested clubs will determine that Johnson was victimized by a lackluster 2015 Indianapolis (and largely Andrew Luck-less) offense — or instead conclude that Johnson is just about finished at age-34 — is an open question, but the 13-year veteran has indicated that he’d like to continue playing in 2016.

7. Will Beatty, T: Beatty is expected to be fully healthy this summer after missing the entire 2015 season with a torn pectoral muscle, but he reportedly won’t be returning to the Giants. It’s a little surprising that Beatty hasn’t yet found a home for 2016, but he shouldn’t have to wait much longer, as he’s clearly the best tackle available on the open market (his top competition is the likes of Jake Long and Mike Adams). I could see the Bears bringing in Beatty to compete with Charles Leno on the blindside, while the Cardinals could also be a feasible landing spot if they aren’t happy with D.J. Humphries — who didn’t play a single snap as a rookie — at right tackle.

8. James Jones, WR: Another season catching passes from Aaron Rodgers, another successful year for Jones, who returned to Green Bay after a year in Oakland to post 50 receptions for nearly 900 yards an eight touchdowns. Jones, now 32, has indicated that he’d like to play for awhile longer, though the Packers have reportedly moved on. After waiting until July of last year to sign with the Giants (and September to reunite with the Pack), Jones could again have to wait awhile to find a new team, but whoever signs him will be acquiring a big-play threat — in 2015, Jones ranked fourth in the league with 17.8 yards per reception.

9. Ryan Wendell, C/G: Perhaps the least recognizable name on this list, Wendell spent the last seven seasons as a utility interior lineman with the Patriots, and ended up starting 44 contests from 2012-2014. A knee injury prematurely ended Wendell’s 2015 season in November, and a March report stated that Wendell would wait until he returned to full health before signing with a new team. A return to New England can’t be ruled out, but a club like the Cardinals — who are currently projecting A.Q. Shipley to start at center — could also be on Wendell’s radar.

10. Owen Daniels, TE: Daniels has spent all ten of his NFL seasons under the tutelage of Gary Kubiak, following the coach from Houston to Baltimore and, finally, to Denver. That streak of loyalty is now in danger after the Broncos released Daniels earlier this year, though Kubiak did not rule out re-signing the veteran tight end (Denver has since signed fellow TE Garrett Graham, however). Even at age-33, Daniels performed in line with his career averages, posting 48 receptions for more than 500 yards and four touchdowns.

Honorable mention: Tarvaris Jackson, QB; Joique Bell, RB; Bryce Brown, RB; Marques Colston, WR; Brian Hartline, WR; Roddy White, WR; Khaled Holmes, C; Amini Silatolu, G.

Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers Expected To Meet With Amini Silatolu

Having already signed veteran guard Zane Beadles earlier this offseason, the 49ers are still on the hunt for more interior line depth, and they’re expected to meet with free agent guard Amini Silatolu, a source tells Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com. Silatolu, 27, spent the past four seasons with the Panthers.Amini Silatolu (Vertical)

[RELATED: 49ers GM denies club is trying to trade Anthony Davis]

A second-round pick in 2012, Silatolu started 15 games during his rookie season and looked to be a mainstay along Carolina’s offensive line for years to come. But he’s been hampered by injuries ever since — torn ACLs ended both his 2013 and 2015 seasons, and he was similarly calf and knee injuries in 2014. Silatolu has largely been relegated to backup duty with the Panthers, having been usurped at guard by Trai Turner and Andrew Norwell.

San Francisco isn’t the first club to express interest in Silatolu this offseason, as he’s also met with the division rival Seahawks and Cardinals during the past month. In the Bay Area, Silatolu would likely compete with the aforementioned Beadles, Brandon Thomas, and Ian Silberman for playing time at left guard opposite Andrew Tiller.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

FA Rumors: Dunbar, Bears, Givens, Bills

Free agent running back Lance Dunbar is continuing his NFC tour today, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, who tweets that Dunbar is visiting the Bears. The veteran back, who has spent his first four seasons in Dallas, has also paid visits to the Seahawks and 49ers since free agency began.

Dunbar, 26, was on the verge of becoming a legit weapon out of the backfield for the Cowboys last season, racking up 21 receptions in just three full games, including 10 catches for 100 yards in Week 3 against the Falcons. However, in his fourth game, Dunbar suffered a torn ACL that sidelined him for the remainder of the season. While his upside will appeal to teams seeking a receiving option at running back, Dunbar will have to convince those clubs that he’ll be back to full health for the 2016 season.

Here’s more on free agency from around the NFL:

  • After visiting the Jets on Tuesday, wide receiver Chris Givens is meeting with the Eagles today, according to Schefter (via Twitter). Givens, who was traded from the Rams to the Ravens last October, was targeted 53 times in Baltimore, but only hauled in 19 of them for 346 yards and a touchdown.
  • In addition to confirming a pair of previously-reported visits, the Bills also announced today (via Twitter) that they’re hosting tight end Jim Dray for a Wednesday visit, and brought in wide receiver Deonte Thompson on Tuesday.
  • The Seahawks hosted free agent guard Amini Silatolu for a visit on Tuesday, tweets Adam Caplan of ESPN.com.The former-second pick, who also met with the Cardinals, hasn’t been a full-time starter since his rookie season in 2012, but he’s only 26 years old and could appeal to a Seattle team that doesn’t seem interested in spending a ton on its offensive line.
  • Free agent linebacker Sean Spence, having already visited the Dolphins and Jaguars, is meeting with the Titans on Wednesday, a source tells Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (Twitter link). A third-round pick in 2012, Spence was limited to just 31 games during his four years with the Steelers due to injuries.
  • The Jets and Texans are both making an effort to sign free agent safety Antonio Allen, tweets Newsday’s Kimberley Martin. Allen, who visited Houston this week, missed the entire 2015 campaign with an Achilles injury.

FA Rumors: Okung, Soliai, Weddle, Hayward

Free agent left tackle Russell Okung has an offer in hand from the Steelers, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (Twitter link), while Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times reports (Twitter link) that Okung has no other visits planned at this time. Okung is just one of a few offensive tackles whom Pittsburgh has either met with or plans to meet with, including Ryan Harris and Chris Hairston. Kelvin Beachum, the Steelers’ left tackle for the past few seasons, remains unsigned, and is taking visits with other clubs.

Let’s dive into the latest free agent news…

  • Former Falcons defensive tackle Paul Soliai will visit the division-rival Panthers, tweets Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports. Soliai, 32, was released by Atlanta on the first day of the free agent period after spending two years with the club. Carolina has already released defensive tackle Dwan Edwards, so Soliai could be a nice addition to the Panthers’ interior rotation.
  • Another free agent defensive tackle — ex-Patriot Sealver Siliga — will take a meeting with the Seahawks, according to Garafolo (Twitter link). Siliga, 26 next month, was not offered a restricted free agent tender by New England despite appearing in 13 games for the club last season.
  • The Seahawks will also meet with running back Lance Dunbar, reports Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The 26-year-old Dunbar was off to a nice start with the Cowboys in 2015, catching 21 passes out of the backfield in just four games before a torn ACL knocked him out for the remainder of the season. Seattle will be the second NFC West visit for Dunbar, who’s also met with the 49ers.
  • Free agent guard Amini Silatolu will visit the Cardinals today, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The former-second pick hasn’t been a full-time starter since his rookie season in 2012, but he’s only 26 years old, and could help fill in at guard if Arizona follows through on its proposed move of Jonathan Cooper to center.
  • Eric Weddle is expected to narrow his choice to two teams soon, per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. The veteran safety is reportedly choosing between the Ravens, Steelers, Cowboys, and Raiders.
  • Before agreeing to a three-year deal with the Chargers earlier today, cornerback Casey Hayward also drew interest from the Chiefs and 49ers, tweets Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
  • Cardinals backup quarterback Drew Stanton said the Colts, Titans, Dolphins, and Cowboys all showed interest in signing him before he agreed to a new deal with Arizona, according to Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com (Twitter link).