Amini Silatolu

NFC Rumors: Johnson, Rodgers, Panthers

More details on David Johnson‘s Cardinals contract are emerging. In addition to the fourth-year running back seeing $24MM in full guarantees as part of his three-year, $39MM extension, Johnson will receive a $12MM signing bonus, Dan Graziano of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link). His $5.7MM base salary in 2019 is fully guaranteed. The All-Pro’s 2020 base ($10.2MM) will have $5.1MM guaranteed fully at signing, per Graziano (on Twitter), but the other half of it is guaranteed for injury only. However, Johnson’s full 2020 salary becomes guaranteed if he’s on the Cardinals’ roster by March of 2019.

Each of Johnson’s next three seasons include $750K in per-game roster bonuses. As far as cap numbers go, Johnson now has a $5MM hit this season. The former third-round pick will count $9.45MM against Arizona’s 2019 cap, $13.95MM in 2020 and $11.7MM in 2021, Graziano reports (Twitter link).

Here’s the latest out of the NFC, shifting toward its most important player.

  • Aaron Rodgers missed Packers practice again on Thursday, but this wasn’t unexpected. However, Mike McCarthy said it’s no layup that his two-time MVP quarterback will play Sunday against the Vikings, per Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Rodgers and McCarthy said Wednesday he does not need to practice in order to start Sunday.
  • It keeps getting worse for the Panthers. After serious injuries hit Greg Olsen and Daryl Williams in Week 1, Pro Bowl guard Trai Turner is in concussion protocol, David Newton of ESPN.com notes. Both of Carolina’s starting tackles — Williams and Matt Kalil — are already on IR. Both can return after eight weeks, but at this point, it can’t be assumed both will be back. Carolina could lose a more important player to its cause. Only two players can be recalled from IR. Amini Silatolu filled in for Turner last season, but he may have to play right tackle Sunday. However, the Panthers added Chris Clark to potentially do that. In addition to Silatolu, Newton writes Tyler Larsen and rookie UDFA Brendan Mahon will have a chance to start in place of Turner — in the event he can’t go Sunday.
  • Demario Davis rated as a top-10 Pro Football Focus linebacker last year, doing so for his work as an inside linebacker. It was expected the high-priced free agent would man the middle for the Saints, but they’ve moved him to the weak side, NOLA.com’s Josh Katzenstein notes. Second-year man Alex Anzalone is now stationed as New Orleans’ middle ‘backer, but the team rotated he, Manti Te’o and A.J. Klein as Davis sidekicks in Week 1. Sean Payton said the team’s still determining how it will structure its linebacker usage. Davis played all 66 snaps in the Saints’ loss to the Buccaneers, while Anzalone led the others with 34. Klein functioned in Davis’ role in 2017, playing all of the Saints’ Week 1 snaps in his first game with the team.

Panthers’ Greg Olsen Fractures Foot

For the second straight season, Greg Olsen‘s going to miss time because of a foot fracture. The Panthers confirmed the Pro Bowl tight end’s exit from Sunday’s win was because of another fractured foot.

Olsen will be evaluated on a monthly basis. It appears the Panthers are preparing for the veteran pass-catcher to miss extensive time. An IR stay was required because of a similar occurrence in 2017. It’s the same right foot Olsen broke last season.

The team announced no plans are in place for Olsen to undergo surgery, but he’s almost certainly out for the foreseeable future nonetheless. Olsen missed nine games last season as a result of his foot injury; a similar absence appears likely for Cam Newton‘s top target.

This throws a wrench into the Panthers’ plans. They signed the 33-year-old tight end to a two-year extension this offseason. And Carolina does not have the depth at this position that existed on its 2017 roster. Ed Dickson defected as a free agent. Former waiver claim Chris Manhertz and fourth-round rookie Ian Thomas, an Indiana product, comprise the Panthers’ backup contingent.

The Panthers also revealed Daryl Williams will undergo knee surgery, and the Charlotte Observers’ Jourdan Rodrigue tweets it’s the same knee the right tackle injured during training camp. Although, it’s a different injury. Williams damaged his MCL and dislocated his patella during camp. Rodrigue notes Williams had an MRI done Monday morning and sought a second opinion before deciding to undergo surgery. It’s unclear precisely what the contract-year blocker is dealing with now.

An IR decision looms for the Panthers, with two players seemingly posing as candidates. Though, that’s not a choice the Panthers would want to make after Week 1, when other injuries could surely occur down the line. But Williams does appear headed there, per Rodrigue (on Twitter). The current line of thinking, though, points to Olsen avoiding the injured list. Of course, Williams was believed to be an IR candidate after his last knee injury only to avoid it and play in Week 1.

It’s unclear how long he will be out, but Amini Silatolu looks to be the next man up, per ESPN.com’s David Newton, who adds Thomas will get the first crack at replacing Olsen as the Panthers’ tight end starter. While Silatolu will get a look, the Panthers are expected to be on the lookout for tackle help, Newton adds.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

South Notes: Panthers, Colts, Texans, WRs

An offensive line that already lost a first-team All-Pro this offseason became beleaguered by injuries in training camp. Andrew Norwell left the Panthers for the Jaguars, and Carolina then lost Daryl Williams, Amini Silatolu and Matt Kalil to injuries. However, Carolina’s receiving good news on this front entering Week 1. Williams returned to Panthers practice, per Bill Voth of Panthers.com, despite being barely a month removed from an MCL injury and a dislocated patella. The contract-year right tackle was believed to be an IR-return candidate in August, but the Panthers still have him on their active roster. He hasn’t been ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Cowboys, but the Panthers may be cautious with their right tackle starter.

Silatolu is also back on the field. The veteran blocker tore one of his menisci in mid-August but said he’s 100 percent, per Joe Person of The Athletic (on Twitter). Voth adds Silatolu may be available for the Panthers’ opener. Greg Van Roten took over as the team’s starting left guard after Silatolu went down.

Here’s the latest from the South divisions:

  • D’Onta Foreman wasn’t as fortunate with his rehab process, though the Texans‘ backup running back was rehabbing a more severe injury this offseason. The Texans placed Foreman, who tore his Achilles’ tendon in November 2017, on the Reserve/PUP list to shelve him for six weeks. And Bill O’Brien said (via Deepi Sidhu of Texans.com, on Twitter) the second-year back “no question” needed the time to finish his recovery from the malady. Foreman is expected to be Lamar Miller‘s top backup again, but it’s uncertain how quickly he’ll be able to return to that role.
  • The Colts may have identified their starting right-side offensive linemen. For now, as this team-issued depth chart is unofficial, Indianapolis is going with veterans to man those spots. Matt Slauson is listed as Indy’s starting right guard, and third-year starter Joe Haeg is the first-string right tackle. Second-round rookie guard Braden Smith was tried at right tackle, but for now he will learn from the sideline as his career begins. Haeg started as a Colts right guard and right tackle the past two seasons. The Colts cut Austin Howard, the Ravens’ starting right tackle last season, over the weekend.
  • The Titans will worked out a pair of wide receivers on Tuesday. Devin Lucien and Drew Morgan auditioned for the team, per NESN.com’s Doug Kyed and the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson (Twitter links). The Patriots cut Lucien last week, and Morgan didn’t make the Dolphins’ 53-man roster.
  • Recent Seahawks wide receiver cut Malik Turner is in Houston working out for the Texans today, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets.

Amini Silatolu To Undergo Meniscus Surgery

Panthers left guard Amini Silatolu has a torn meniscus that will require surgery, the club announced Tuesday. Silatolu will undergo a procedure on Friday and will subsequently be evaluated on a “week-to-week basis.” Although Carolina didn’t announce a recovery timeline for Silatolu, Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer indicates a four-to-six week rehabilitation period is typical for meniscus tears.

The Panthers could ill afford another blow to their offensive line, which already saw starting right tackle Daryl Williams go down with a dislocated knee and a torn MCL. Per Wilson, Williams is planning to attempt a 2018 return without undergoing surgery. Either way, Carolina’s offensive line — which ranked as a bottom-half unit in both run- and pass-blocking in 2017 before losing All-Pro left guard Andrew Norwell, per Football Outsiders — doesn’t have the depth to withstand multiple absences.

Silatolu had been competing to replace Norwell as a starting interior lineman, and had reportedly been seeing the most reps at the position. Now, undrafted rookie Brendan Mahon is the likely starter at left guard, according to Bill Voth of Panthers.com. Jeremiah Sirles and Greg Van Roten might also be candidates for increased reps, but Person reports Sirles is slotted in as a pure backup, while Van Roten has spent most of his time at center.

The 29-year-old Silatolu started three games and made 14 total appearnces for the Panthers in 2017, a season which marked his return season in Carolina. Originally a Panthers second-round pick and 15-game starter in 2012, Silatolu spent the 2016 campaign out of the NFL. He re-upped with Carolina this offseason on a one-year, minimum salary benefit contract.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

South Rumors: Conklin, Colts, Panthers

As expected, the Titans placed Jack Conklin on the PUP list at the outset of training camp. The third-year right tackle tore an ACL in Tennessee’s divisional-round loss to New England in mid-January. Given that barely six months have passed, this could be expected. Mike Vrabel said this was a possibility as his team concluded minicamp, and Conklin confirmed this was a methodical process.

Here’s the latest from the Titans, along with some of their top rivals.

  • Tennessee also placed tight end Phillip Supernaw on the PUP list while also slotting second-round pick Rashaan Evans and free agent wideout addition Michael Campanaro on the non-football illness list. The Titans’ rookies and quarterbacks opened camp Sunday, and each of these players is eligible to be reinstated for full work by the time full practices begin Thursday.
  • Titans linebacker Kevin Dodd wound up on the reserve/did not report list.
  • The Colts added multiple veterans up front this offseason, with Matt Slauson and Austin Howard now in the mix for starting roles as stopgaps. Indianapolis boasts some depth at guard now with Slauson, the recently re-signed Jack Mewhort and No. 6 overall pick Quenton Nelson on the roster. Mewhort’s re-up and the Slauson addition, though, did not deter the Colts from selecting Braden Smith in the second round. The franchise’s goal is for Smith, an Auburn alum, to be the long-term starter at right guard opposite Nelson, Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star notes. Though, Holder cautions his development figures to take longer than Nelson’s. Once entrenched as a Colts guard starter and a candidate for a long-term extension, Mewhort suffered significant injury setbacks in 2016 and ’17 to limit him to a one-year, $1.5MM deal with just $300K guaranteed. Slauson is signed for one year and $2.5MM. One member of this tandem could begin the season in an unfamiliar backup role.
  • It looks like Denico Autry has a path toward either a full-time starting role or a prominent backup job with the Colts. Chris Ballard raved about the defensive end/tackle’s skill set this weekend. “Let me tell you the one you need to watch: It’s Autry,” Ballard said. “Denico Autry is legitimate. He’s long; he’s strong; he’s passionate. I am really excited to watch him play. He’s made up of all the right stuff.” Autry (career-high five sacks last season) served as a rotational player with the Raiders, lining up as an end and a tackle during his four-year run in Oakland.
  • A host of players are vying to replace Andrew Norwell on the Panthers‘ starting line. Amini Silatolu, Taylor Moton and former Viking Jeremiah Sirles are among them, with Jordan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer noting Ron Rivera has expressed optimism about the prospect Silatolu can man the first-string post opposite Trai Turner. Silatolu started 15 Panthers games as a rookie in 2012 but hasn’t been a first-stringer on more than three occasions in a season since 2014. Rodrigue adds that Moton may be the top challenger but may also be used as a tackle and be in line to succeed Daryl Williams in the event he follows Norwell’s path as a UFA defection in 2019.

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.