- Anthony Castonzo, (Colts): two-years, $33MM deal, $17MM guaranteed; salaries 2020: $7MM (fully guaranteed), 2021: $10MM; $10MM roster bonus in 2020 guaranteed on the fifth day of the league year, $6MM roster bonus in 2021 guaranteed on the fifth day of the 2021 league year; $500k annual Pro Bowl or first-team All-Pro incentive, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.
- Christian Kirksey, (Packers): two-years, $13MM, $4MM guaranteed; salaries 2020: $1.75MM, 2021: $3MM; $1.5MM roster bonus in 2021, $1MM per-game roster bonus in 2020, $1.25MM total 2021 roster bonuses, $250k workout bonus, $1.5MM in annual incentives, $1.75MM incentive for Pro Bowl selection in 2021, $250k escalator for Pro Bowl selection, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.
- Kirk Cousins, (Vikings): two-years, $66MM, $66MM guaranteed, $30MM signing bonus; salaries 2020: $9.5MM (fully guaranteed), $21MM (fully guaranteed), $35MM (guaranteed for injury at signing, fully guaranteed on the third day of 2021 league year), according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.
- Blake Jarwin, (Cowboys): four-years, $22MM, $9.25MM guaranteed, $4MM signing bonus; salaries 2020: $2.25MM (fully guaranteed), 2021: $3.5MM ($3MM guaranteed for injury at signing), 2022: $4.5MM, 2023: $5.5MM; up to $750K roster bonus per game active 2021-23, $750K in playtime, catches, and playoff based escalators 2021-23, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.
Indianapolis’ offensive line is perhaps the team’s biggest strength, thanks in no small part to Castonzo, who has anchored the blindside for Colts signal-callers since his rookie year in 2011. As ESPN’s Field Yates observes (via Twitter), Indy was the only team to start the same five offensive linemen in every game in 2019, and the current unit will remain intact for the third consecutive year in 2020.
Though Castonzo has never made the Pro Bowl, he’s started in all 132 of his games with consistently strong play. Last year, the Boston College product graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 7 ranked tackle in the entire NFL. His 81.3 overall score was even stronger than his 2017 and 2018 showings, proving that he still has plenty of football left in the tank.
His previous four-year, $43.8MM deal expired at the end of the 2019 season, and he was reportedly considering retirement earlier this year. However, he recently announced that he would continue his playing career, and he made it clear that he would not consider signing with a club other than the Colts.
Though that statement didn’t do much to help his leverage, it turns out he didn’t need it. The $16.5MM AAV he will see under his new contract puts him at the top of the left tackle market.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Now, the two sides will have to has out a new contract. Ballard says they’re discussing a new deal for the pending free agent in order to keep one of the league’s best offensive lines in tact.
Castonzo is coming off of a four-year, $43.8MM deal. But, even has he mulled retirement, he was not considering the possibility of playing for another team. For the 31-year-old (32 in May), it was the Colts or nothin’. He’s going with the former, and a lucrative new contract should be just around the corner.
The 2011 first-round pick has never made the Pro Bowl, but he’s started in all 132 of his games with consistently strong play. Last year, the Boston College product graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 7 ranked tackle in the entire NFL. His 81.3 overall score was even stronger than his 2017 and 2018 showings, proving that he still has plenty of football left in the tank.
With Castonzo (likely) in the fold, the Colts can apply their ample cap room towards other areas on their to-do list. That list, of course, starts with figuring out their quarterback situation.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
After Andrew Luck‘s retirement created the most uncertainty the Colts have faced at the quarterback position since Peyton Manning‘s career-threatening injury in 2011, they now project to be one of the key players in this offseason’s complex quarterback derby.
Presenting a quarterback market that features Tom Brady, Philip Rivers and Teddy Bridgewater as free agents — along with nominal UFAs Drew Brees and Dak Prescott — to go with Cam Newton and Andy Dalton as likely trade chips, 2020 brings unusual uncertainty at the NFL’s glamour position.
“I won’t talk about specific players; I would just say all options are open,” Irsay said, via Mike Chappell of Fox 59. “We have challenged each other to keep the ancient enemy of rationalization out of the room. The quarterback position, the three of us (Irsay, GM Chris Ballard and HC Frank Reich) will make it. We have to. It’s too big of a decision. All options are on the table. I’ve never quite seen a year when this was so unusual if you will. It’s exciting. I look at it as a challenge.”
The Colts, who hold this year’s No. 13 overall selection, have also been linked to making a first-round quarterback pick. While calling Indianapolis’ Brissett-Brian Hoyer depth chart “better than probably half the league,” Irsay will keep the draft avenue open. Although, the Colts are extremely unlikely to be in position to draft one of this year’s top three quarterback prospects at No. 13.
“We’ll keep evaluating that position. I know we’ll find the right answer and Jacoby can have a much higher ceiling that he has now. That’s a possibility,” Irsay said. “We could draft someone. That’s a possibility. Doesn’t have to be the first round. There’s a lot of good players out there.
“I know we were going to take Russell Wilson the year (2012) we took Andrew in the fourth round, but he was gone in the third. We would have taken him, but that’s a long story.”
As for who will be Brissett or his replacement’s blindside protector, Irsay is confident Anthony Castonzo will be back. The nine-year veteran is considering retirement. Ballard believes the former first-round pick has several years left in the tank.
“I haven’t talked to Anthony personally, but he’s a Pro Bowl left tackle and we want him to come back,” Irsay said. “I think there’s a strong likelihood that he will, but I think Chris will have more on that in the coming weeks.”
Irsay added that the Colts have not discussed an extension for Marlon Mack. While indicating the Colts like Mack and want him to stay beyond his 2020 contract year, the longtime owner mentioned how much the organization likes 2018 draftees Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines.
Lastly, Irsay did get around to Luck. The owner said both Ballard and Reich still have dinner with the retired passer and that he has not given up on the prospect of the former No. 1 overall pick returning to the Colts at some point.
“I try to make the argument (with him) also, ‘What about the $700MM (seems high) you’re leaving on the table?‘” Irsay said, after noting he respects Luck’s decision to retire. “I think we’ll have an outstanding decade, and I think Andrew will have an outstanding life. Will those things meet? It’s very possible, but it’s also not possible. … We have to go on with the assumption that he’s not going to be back. If he comes back, that’s easy.”
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Antonio Brown will soon be battling the Raiders off the field. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler tweets that the wideout’s grievance against the organization will be heard by an arbitrator in May. Brown filed a grievance over lost wages, including more than $30MM in guaranteed money.
Meanwhile, his grievance against the Patriots has yet to be scheduled, according to Fowler. Brown would be looking to recoup some of his $9MM signing bonus.
Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFL…
- Colts offensive lineman Anthony Castonzo is set to hit free agency, and GM Chris Ballard is confident that the 31-year-old can still contribute for several years. The executive recently said during a radio appearance that the left tackle has three or four years left in the tank (via Albert Breer of SI.com).
- Keith O’Quinn won’t continue as the Cowboys special teams coach, but he’ll stick around with the organization. The veteran coach has accepted the role of director of advance scouting (via Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com). O’Quinn has been with the Cowboys for 13 years, including the past 10 on the coaching staff. He spent the 2018 and 2019 seasons as Cowboys’ ST coach, but he was replaced by John Fassel after Mike McCarthy was hired as head coach.
- The Browns announced today that Jeremy Garrett has been hired as the assistant defensive line coach. He’ll work alongside DL coach Chris Kiffin, who was actually a graduate assistant at Ole Miss back when Garrett was a player. “I think we have both grown as coaches,” Garrett told Andrew Gribble of the team’s website. “I bet night and day he has grown from when he was a GA and coached me, and I have grown from when I was a player and starting off my coaching career. So I think we are both at a point that we have grown a ton and we are looking forward to continuing that growth together.”
The Colts had to deal with one shocking retirement before the 2019 season got underway, and they may soon be dealing with another one. Today, left tackle Anthony Castonzo told reporters, including Stephen Holder of The Athletic, that he is taking stock of his career and that he may elect to retire (Twitter link).
Castonzo is eligible for unrestricted free agency in March, having just finished the final year of a four-year, $43.8MM contract. However, if he does choose to continue playing, he does not appear to be interested in testing the open market. Per Holder (via Twitter), Castonzo said he will either retire or re-sign with the Colts. The 2011 first-rounder also told reporters that he was on his way to meet with GM Chris Ballard to discuss his future (Twitter link).
Castonzo has never made a Pro Bowl, but his departure would leave a massive hole on the Colts’ O-line. He has started all 132 games in which he has appeared in his pro career, and he has consistently performed at a high level.
Holder says that Castonzo will take some time to consider his options, but of course, the Colts need to know as soon as possible what he plans to do (Twitter link). Indianapolis will have a great deal of cap space to work with and a full slate of draft picks, so the team wouldn’t necessarily be sunk if Castonzo decides to hand up the cleats, but it would certainly be an unwelcome development.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Anthony Castonzo will make his Colts debut on Thursday night. He’s active against the Patriots. The eighth-year left tackle has been sidelined for most of the past few months because of a hamstring injury, one he’s twice aggravated. Frank Reich said he did not intend to use an IR spot on Castonzo, and the first-year Colts coach’s confidence in the edge blocker being ready to return soon turned out to be appropriate. Castonzo participated in three limited practices this week.
Here’s the latest from the AFC, going into tonight’s intra-AFC matchup.
- Indianapolis won’t, however, have the services of its top tackler. Darius Leonard, the NFL’s runaway tackles leader four games into his rookie season, will be out. The Colts tweeted the linebacker is not expected to dress against the Patriots. Both are technically active but are not going to play. An ankle injury is restricting Leonard, who has 54 tackles (seven for loss) and four sacks. He joins T.Y. Hilton, Marlon Mack and Kenny Moore among Colts who aren’t playing in Foxborough.
- Seantrel Henderson‘s Texans stay did not produce much work. The one-year, $4MM free agent addition suffered a season-ending broken ankle in Week 1 against the Pats. The tackle who recently underwent surgery will be a UFA again in March but wants to return to the Texans. “Of course, I would like to be back,” Henderson said, via the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson. “I love it here.” Julie’n Davenport replaced Henderson at right tackle but was benched. Kendall Lamm‘s now playing there.
- The AFC’s Los Angeles team has seen its wide receivers receive as much publicity as the Rams’ have, but the Chargers contingent’s quite deep in its own right. Although, it will be thinner for a bit going forward. Travis Benjamin is expected to be out for at least two weeks, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Benjamin’s been battling a foot injury this season. The Bolts hope he can return either for their Week 7 Titans game or after their Week 8 bye. L.A. still has Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Tyrell Williams, however.
- Terrelle Pryor only played two snaps against the Jaguars. He’s not happy with his current Jets role. “It’s kind of nerve-racking. I don’t like it,” Pryor said, via Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, about his usage dissatisfaction. “It is what it is, though. You get frustrated, you know? You don’t go out there and make plays. I’ve shown when the ball comes to me, I make plays. I’m a big play waiting to happen.” Noting Jermaine Kearse surpassed Pryor in Gang Green’s wideout pecking order, Mehta adds Pryor suffered a groin injury during practice last week. Pryor’s experienced persistent injury trouble during his Jets and Redskins tenures. He did not live up to expectations in Washington and saw ankle problems recur in New York this offseason. Pryor, however, is averaging 19.8 yards per catch (eight grabs for 158 yards) but has only received one target the past two weeks.
Jack Conklin is in line to make his season debut for the Titans. The right tackle participated fully in Tennessee’s Friday workout and is set to play Sunday, per TitanInsider.com’s Terry McCormick (on Twitter). Finalizing a recovery from the torn ACL he suffered during the Titans’ divisional-round loss last season, Conklin missed the team’s first three games. Taylor Lewan returned from a concussion in Week 3. This will mark the first time the Titans have deployed their top two tackles together since that Patriots game in January.
Adoree’ Jackson also passed concussion protocol, per McCormick, paving a path for the second-year cornerback to play Sunday as well. Here’s the latest from the South divisions:
- Devonta Freeman‘s knee issue, though, has not progressed to the point he’ll reclaim his starting spot. The Falcons will hold their first-string running back out again this week, Dan Quinn said Friday (via ESPN.com’s Vaughn McClure, on Twitter). Freeman has not played since injuring his knee against the Eagles on opening night.
- Eric Reid‘s Panthers deal includes $390K in per-game roster bonuses, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (on Twitter). The $390K will be in addition to Reid’s $1MM base salary, and Schefter adds playing-time and Pro Bowl incentives could bump this pact up to $2MM. It’s unclear what the playing-time thresholds are, or how much a Pro Bowl nod would increase’s Reid’s pay, however.
- Patrick Robinson underwent ankle surgery on Wednesday, ESPN.com’s Mike Triplett of ESPN.com reports. This operation came because the Saints cornerback tore multiple ligaments in his injured ankle, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (on Twitter). The Saints placed their slot corner on IR earlier this week. He is not expected to return this season.
- Colts left tackle Anthony Castonzo will miss another week because of his injured hamstring. Frank Reich confirmed (via The Athletic’s Stephen Holder, on Twitter) the eighth-year veteran is out for Sunday’s game against the Texans. Castonzo has not played in a game this season and has now experienced multiple setbacks in attempts to surmount this hamstring problem. He’s not yet being considered for IR, however.
Prior to Vontae Davis‘ now-infamous halftime retirement, the 10-year NFL veteran cornerback told Bills defensive backs coach John Butler, “I’m done” while he was in uniform late in the first half. This one-sided conversation, per Davis (via The Undefeated’s Domonique Foxworth), occurred in the final minute of the half. Lafayette Pitts replaced Davis in the game and ended up having to play a larger role after halftime once Davis did not return for the second half.
“I didn’t expect them to understand,” Davis said, via Foxworth, of his teammates’ reaction to his abrupt NFL exit. “That moment was shocking to me as well. … My intention was not to hurt my teammates. In that moment, my intuition was telling me I don’t belong on that field anymore.”
The Bills received a roster exemption after the 30-year-old defender’s retirement, and they placed Davis on the reserve/left squad list, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports. While Davis sounds about as far away from a player who’d attempt a comeback, his placement on this list would not allow it — with the Bills or another team — this season.
Shifting back to some active NFLers, here’s what’s new going into Week 3:
- Jack Conklin‘s 2018 debut is unlikely to take place Sunday, Titans insider Paul Kuharsky tweets. In the final part of his recovery process from a torn ACL sustained in January, Conklin appears likelier to suit up in Week 4 against the Eagles than Sunday against the Jaguars. The Titans didn’t have Conklin nor Taylor Lewan in Week 2, but Tennessee’s left tackle has been cleared to return from a concussion he sustained in the season opener. Swing tackle Dennis Kelly, however, remains out. An illness forced Kelly to be hospitalized before last weekend’s game.
- Another AFC South tackle won’t play Sunday, but Anthony Castonzo‘s second hamstring setback in as many months has not caused the Colts to consider placing him on IR. Indianapolis’ left tackle remains week-to-week in his recovery, Frank Reich said (via the Indianapolis Star’s Zak Keefer, on Twitter). Were Castonzo to land on IR, he would not be able to return for eight weeks.
- Three Patriots deemed unlikely to play will, in fact, sit out New England’s Week 3 game in Detroit. The Patriots announced Trey Flowers, Patrick Chung and Eric Rowe are out against the Lions. The team did not declare Marcus Cannon or Josh Gordon out. Cannon returned to practice this week and made progress, pointing to the right tackle’s return.
- Vita Vea‘s calf strain will delay his debut for another week. The Buccaneers‘ first-round pick is out for Monday night’s Steelers game, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. Vea did practice on Saturday, doing so for the first time in a month, so the defensive tackle’s NFL debut appears imminent.
- The Chargers continue to bring Forrest Lamp along slowly. The 2017 second-round pick has not yet debuted, and Anthony Lynn said (via Jeff Miller of the Los Angeles Times) Lamp isn’t ready for action yet. “It’s just that Forrest was an athletic guard,” Lynn said. “He moved a lot and we pulled him in space. He doesn’t feel that speed yet. He feels like he’s a step behind.” Lamp tore an ACL a few days into his rookie training camp and underwent an arthroscopic procedure in May. The Bolts are already down Joe Barksdale for another week. They’ve been playing guard-tackle Michael Schofield in Lamp’s spot, and Sam Tevi started in Barksdale’s right tackle position last week in Buffalo.
Marcus Mariota‘s injury remains a mystery. It hasn’t been disclosed exactly what he’s dealing with although it has reportedly caused him to lose some feeling in his hand. Blaine Gabbert started, and won, for the Titans last week, and it’s possible he’s asked to do so again this week against the Jaguars.
Titans coach Mike Vrabel told reporters that he would make the decision between Gabbert and Mariota within the next “24 hours” and that he would let them know then according to Jim Wyatt of the Titans’ official website (Twitter link). If Mariota can’t go it would be a huge blow for Tennessee against the league’s top defense. One thing that could make their matchup a bit easier is that Jalen Ramsey was added to the injury report Friday with an ankle injury, although it’s unclear if he’s in any danger of missing the game.
Here’s more injury updates from around the league:
- The Falcons just can’t seem to catch a break. It was already known they’d be without Devonta Freeman and several other starters, but it was announced today that they’d also be without talented pass-rusher Takkarist McKinley. McKinley is currently dealing with a groin injury.
- The Colts will be quite shorthanded for their trip to Philadelphia as the team ruled out tight end Jack Doyle, running back Marlon Mack, defensive tackle Denico Autry, and right tackle Anthony Castonzo. Doyle’s injury is a big blow, as he formed an effective tight end duo with Eric Ebron through the first two games.
- The Eagles will also be significantly shorthanded on offense, with their backfield being particularly banged up. Running backs Jay Ajayi and Darren Sproles have been ruled out, while Corey Clement is questionable. If Clement isn’t able to go, the running back situation would be dire. Alshon Jeffery is questionable, but reporters have written that he’s very unlikely to play.