Antonio Callaway

AFC Rumors: Clowney, Brady, Brown, Browns

Two franchise-tagged edge defenders changed teams this offseason, with Dee Ford leaving Kansas City and Frank Clark arriving. Trades for tagged players after the July 15 extension deadline are obviously rarer, but John McClain of the Houston Chronicle expects the Texans to deal away Jadeveon Clowney before the season (Twitter link). NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo agrees but wonders (Twitter link) if the talented defender’s Houston departure will instead come in 2020. The 26-year-old edge presence plans to return to his current team in late August.

Clowney is tethered to a $15.9MM cap number, which is a point of contention for the outside linebacker’s camp because of his greater usage as a defensive end, and cannot be extended by any team until after the regular season ends. The Texans discussed a Clowney trade with the Chiefs, but they opted for a Clark deal soon after. McClain cites the team, despite drafting Tytus Howard in Round 1 and signing Matt Kalil, needing a left tackle as a reason Clowney has a better chance of being traded than suiting up for Week 1.

Clowney’s trade value will not be as high as it was before July 15, however, so the Texans would have to factor this into the equation. They could tag him again in 2020 and continue this long-drawn-out process, potentially revving up the tag-and-trade scenario at that point — when they would likely have a GM again.

Here is the latest from the AFC:

  • Although Tom Brady agreed to an in-name-only extension, setting him up for potential 2020 free agency, and put his house on the market, the Patriots quarterback continues to maintain he would like to play past his 45th birthday. That has long been the 42-year-old passer’s goal, and he reiterated it during an appearance on WEEI (via Pro Football Talk) this week. Brady’s post-2019 status, though, is murky.
  • The redone contract Brady agreed to will place a $21.5MM cap number on the Patriots’ books, Nick Underhill of The Athletic tweets. This is down $5.5MM from his previous 2019 cap hold. In doing this, the Patriots, as of Tuesday, possess $15.15MM in cap space (17th-most in the NFL).
  • We have learned plenty about the importance Antonio Brown places on in-game headgear over the past several days. Now, the Raiders receiver is enlisting the help of Twitter followers in hopes of finding a newer brand of his preferred helmet — a Schutt AiR Advantage. The NFL has given Brown the go-ahead here, per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, since the NOCSAE could certify a helmet that is less than 10 years old. But it may be difficult for Brown to succeed on this front. This model was discontinued in 2009, per the Toronto Sun’s John Kryk, and a helmet-industry source (we are deep in the weeds here) said any post-production models of this helmet will likely be unavailable so many years later. However, Drew Rosenhaus told Florio his client apparently located “a few” 2010 models and is searching for one from 2011 — to potentially get two more years to wear this type of helmet.
  • Antonio Callaway‘s failed drug test, which will cost him four games, evidently did not occur this offseason. The second-year Browns wide receiver has not failed a test since the end of last season, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com reports. Since, the 2018 fourth-round pick has been in a comprehensive drug treatment program. Callaway entered the NFL in stage 1 of the league’s drug treatment program, because of a diluted sample at the Combine — which the Florida alum admitted was an attempt to mask marijuana use — and can be tested up to 10 times per month. Several violations needed to have occurred for him to test positive, per Cabot. Callaway was charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession last summer.

AFC Notes: Stidham, Jags, Browns, Bolts

Although Tom Brady continuing to play at a high level into his early 40s has allowed the Patriots to table their need to identify a long-term successor for many years, their recent extension/2019 pay raise brings this issue back to the forefront. The Pats, however, are pleased with their latest quarterback draft pick. Fourth-round rookie Jarrett Stidham has “blown away expectations” this offseason, Jeff Howe of The Athletic notes (subscription required), adding that he is ahead of where Jimmy Garoppolo was at this point during his first NFL summer. Stidham has taken first-team reps in camp and moved the Patriots to move Danny Etling to wide receiver. He finished 14-for-24 for 179 yards and a touchdown in New England’s preseason opener Thursday. While the Auburn alum does not profile as a classic Brady successor type, the Patriots certainly appear encouraged by their developmental prospect.

As we wind down preseason Week 1, here is the latest from the AFC:

  • A.J. Cann has served as the Jaguars‘ starting right guard since his rookie season in 2015. He is not a lock to reprise his role in 2019. Cann is battling converted tackle Will Richardson for the spot, with Doug Marrone indicating (via Hays Carlyon of 1010 XL, on Twitter) Brandon Thomas is also in the mix here. A 2018 fourth-rounder, Richardson looks like the favorite to win this job thus far, Carlyon adds (via Twitter). Richardson has yet to play an NFL down; he hit IR in October of his rookie year. Thomas has hung around for six NFL summers, with the 2014 third-round 49ers pick having never played in a regular-season game. He’s bounced on and off the Jaguars’ roster and practice squad since 2017. Cann has three years remaining on a contract he signed in 2018.
  • With Cam Robinson potentially set to have a delayed start to the season, Marrone said the Jaguars are considering free agent additions Cedric Ogbuehi and Leonard Wester at left tackle. Longtime Jags backup Josh Wells is vying for that temp job as well. Second-round rookie Jawaan Taylor is set to start at right tackle.
  • Had Antonio Callaway not received a four-game suspension, the second-year Browns wideout might not have been able to go in Week 1 anyway. Callaway suffered a high ankle sprain in Cleveland’s preseason opener, per Freddie Kitchens (via ohio.com’s Nate Ulrich, on Twitter). The Browns will now be without two of their 2018 pass catchers, with Duke Johnson having been traded and Callaway out until at least October. Fortunately, they acquired Odell Beckham Jr. this offseason.
  • Chargers tight end Andrew Vollert suffered ACL damage in the team’s preseason opener, and Anthony Lynn said (via ESPN.com’s Eric Williams, on Twitter) the second-year UDFA will miss the season. The Bolts signed Vollert in May.

NFL Suspends Browns’ Antonio Callaway

The NFL has suspended Browns wide receiver Antonio Callaway for violating the league’s policy and program on substances of abuse. He’ll miss the first four games of the season, leaving the Browns without one of their most intriguing weapons until mid-October. 

I take full responsibility for my actions. I made a mistake and I own that,” Callaway said in a statement. “I have taken steps to make myself better and I appreciate the Browns standing by me and supporting me during this time. I know there’s nothing I can say to regain trust; it will all be about my actions.”

Callaway has been talking a big game all offseason, and the Browns were excited to see what he could do in his sophomore season. The 2018 fourth-round pick hauled in 43 passes for 586 yards and five touchdowns last year and seemed to have a strong rapport with quarterback Baker Mayfield. Unfortunately, his off-the-field issues date back to college and have reared themselves once again.

We’re disappointed in Antonio,” Browns GM John Dorsey said in a press release. “Freddie and I have had a direct conversation with him about where we stand. He understands our expectations of him. We will continue to support him as long as he remains committed to taking advantage of the resources made available to him by our club and the league to help him become the best version of himself as a person first and foremost.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Gruden, Raiders, Rams, Browns, Chiefs

Jon Gruden seemed to indicate the Raiders wouldn’t be overly aggressive in free agency this offseason during a recent podcast interview, per Scott Bair of NBC Sports. “Obviously, we’re not looking to add players at the end of their career. We’re looking for blossoming young players. Those guys usually don’t get to free agency, so the pickings are slim”, Gruden said, adding “we’ll see where the market goes, but you don’t want to spend all the money you have on a few free agents. You want to try to keep some of that money available in case a trade might develop during the draft.” Gruden separately again emphasized the possibility of making a trade, saying “I think there’s a lot of potential for trades.”

Here’s more from around the league on this Friday night:

  • The Rams are making another change to their coaching staff. So far this offseason they’ve lost Zac Taylor to the Bengals, promoted Jedd Fisch and Shane Waldron, and hired Wade Phillips’ son Wes to be their tight ends coach. Now, they’re hiring away Eric Henderson from the Chargers to be their new defensive line coach, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). Henderson had been serving as an assistant defensive line coach with the Chargers. Before that, he had been an assistant with Oklahoma State. The Rams haven’t made any announcement, but Vincent Bonsignore of The Athletic was able to confirm that their incumbent defensive line coach, Bill Johnson, won’t be back with the team next year (Twitter link).
  • Browns receiver Antonio Callaway had his marijuana charge from last October dropped recently, according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. Callaway had maintained all along that he had no idea the small amount of marijuana was in his car, and apparently he was right. Callaway had previously tested positive at the combine before he was drafted, so his citation turned into somewhat of a big deal.
  • Earlier this week, we heard that the Chiefs intended to franchise tag pass-rusher Dee Ford. The team could be facing a fight with Ford though over which position he’ll be classified as, according to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com. Ford has played outside linebacker in old defensive coordinator Bob Sutton’s scheme, but Ford is a pass-rusher first and foremost and will want to be classified as a defensive end for tagging purposes. As Florio points out, because the tag is valued based on what the top players at a given position are being paid, it’s the difference of several million dollars. Newly-hired defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo runs a 4-3 defense so Ford will be a defensive end in 2019 anyway, but Florio writes that Spagnuolo intentionally declined to talk specifics about positions in his defense during recent comments to reporters, perhaps because of an impending battle between Ford and the club.

Extra Points: Super Bowl, London, Callaway, Browns, Cooper, Cowboys

There’s been a lot of talk about the NFL and London recently. There were rumors earlier this month that the Jaguars were eyeing a move to London in the near future. Just days later, the NFL’s vice president of international said the league was ready for a team across the pond right now. While Jaguars owner Shad Khan recently pulled his offer to buy Wembley Stadium, throwing cold water on the rumors for now, the NFL is still very invested in expanding the game abroad.

One possibility that’s been suggested is holding the Super Bowl in London. While Roger Goodell is acknowledging that it’s “been talked about a lot”, he said the league currently isn’t planning on doing it anytime soon, according to Nick Shook of NFL.com. Goodell said the Super Bowl is supposed to be a reward for fans, and that he won’t look to put a Super Bowl in London until London has its own team. Overall, Goodell’s comments suggest the league still plans on having a franchise overseas sooner rather than later.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Browns receiver Antonio Callaway has a well-documented legal history. He dealt with lots of off-field issues while at Florida, then was arrested this summer and reportedly didn’t tell the Browns about it until it was reported in the media. Now, Callaway was pulled over for speeding on his way to the team’s game against the Chargers a couple of weeks back, according to Robin Goist of Cleveland.com. It’s a very minor incident, but still worth noting due to Callaway already being on thin ice with the team. Callaway’s role has been reduced in recent weeks, even with injuries piling up to the Browns’ pass-catchers, and it seems like he’s in the doghouse with the coaching staff.
  • The Cowboys had been looking for a number one receiver for a while before trading for Amari Cooper, Cowboys VP Stephen Jones said, per Jon Machota of Dallas News (Twitter link). Jones revealed the team heavily pursued Sammy Watkins in free agency but missed out. Since then, they didn’t find a possibility they liked until Cooper became available.
  • In case you missed it, a breakdown of all the recent drama surrounding ownership of the Denver Broncos.

North Notes: Steelers, Browns, Bears, Lions

Le’Veon Bell‘s revelation that he plans to report to the Steelers following their Week 7 bye leads to as many questions as it does answers, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes in a pair of posts. As Florio notes, Pittsburgh will have three options once Bell reports: play him as if nothing ever happened; trade him before the October 30 trade deadline; or rescind Bell’s franchise tender, which wouldn’t lead to any additional draft pick compensation. Additionally, a roster exemption could play a large role in Bell’s return, per Florio. The Steelers will be allowed to use a two-week exemption for Bell once he signs his franchise tag, and club and player will need to agree to the salary Bell will be paid if he’s on the exempt list. If Pittsburgh doesn’t want to pay Bell at his full rate while he’s on the exempt list, Bell could conceivably reinstate his holdout.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two North divisions:

  • Browns rookie receiver Antonio Callaway today pleaded not guilty to a charge of marijuana possession stemming from an August arrest, tweets Tom Pelissero of NFL.com. Callaway’s lawyer indicated they’ll fight the misdemeanor marijuana charge, but the case doesn’t figure to be resolved for awhile. The NFL, of course, could choose to suspend Callaway regardless of whether he faces legal consequences, but the league will likely let the case play out before taking any action. Unrelatedly, Browns head coach Hue Jackson said today that Callaway’s playing time could be dialed back, according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. Callway has played the third-most snaps among Cleveland wideouts, producing 10 receptions and 155 yards on 24 targets.
  • After losing Sam Acho for the season, the Bears could theoretically take a look at free agent edge rusher Lamarr Houston, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com speculates (Twitter link). The connection makes sense, as Houston spent the 2015-17 seasons in Chicago before landing with the Texans in 2018. Houston landed only five games with the Texans, and was back on the Bears’ roster for the conclusion of the 2018 campaign. The 31-year-old has drawn plenty of interest on the open market despite not yet landing a contract, as he’s worked out for the Vikings, Seahawks, Raiders, and Jets since April.
  • Lions right guard T.J. Lang is in the concussion protocol after suffering a brain injury in Week 4, as Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com writes. This is at least the fifth known concussion for Lang, so the issue is obviously serious in nature, tweets Kyle Meinke of MLive.com. Detroit has heavily invested in its front five in recent seasons, using early picks on Taylor Decker, Frank Ragnow, and Graham Glasgow while inking free agents Lang and Ricky Wagner. Thus far, the unit ranks second in adjusted sack rate and 15th in adjusted line yards, per Football Outsiders. Veteran Kenny Wiggins filled in for Lang on Sunday and will continue to do so while the latter is sidelined.

AFC Notes: Browns, Pats, McCourty

The Browns were seemingly dealt a big blow last week when receiver Antonio Callaway was arrested. News of the arrest came right after the team had traded away Corey Coleman to the Bills, and not too long after Josh Gordon left the team for an indefinite period of time. Callaway seemed poised to start as a rookie, but his arrest clouded the whole situation.

Callaway apparently did not inform the team of his arrest, and the Browns only found out through media reports. Many speculated the Browns would discipline him internally for failing to tell the team about the incident, but it appears no suspension will be forthcoming. Coach Hue Jackson said after practice today that the team’s punishment for Callaway was playing him nearly the entire game in the preseason opener, according to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal (Twitter link). It seems like Callaway dodged a bullet, as many organizations would’ve been a lot more displeased with his failure to inform them of his situation.

Here’s more from the AFC:

  • The Patriots may have traded for cornerback Jason McCourty back in March, but that doesn’t mean he’s a lock to make the team. McCourty is on the “roster bubble” according to Mike Reiss of ESPN, who writes that New England currently has a logjam at corner. Reiss thinks McCourty’s lack of special teams contributions could cost him the opportunity to suit up on the same team as his twin brother Devin McCourty, a safety for the Patriots.
  • Speaking of AFC East roster bubbles, tight end Nick O’Leary is a “surprise cut candidate” for the Bills, according to Joe Buscaglia of Buffalo 7. Buscaglia writes that O’Leary was “once thought of as a shoe-in for the 53-man roster”, but has now been demoted to the third-team offense in practice and very well may find himself cut. The 2015 sixth-rounder caught 22 passes for 322 yards and two touchdowns last season.
  • As a result of Jalen Ramsey‘s suspension by the Jaguars, the guarantees in his contract could void writes former NFL agent and current CBS Sports analyst Joel Corry (Twitter link). Although it shouldn’t end up mattering for a player of Ramsey’s caliber, it’s a fascinating look into how quickly all the guarantees in a player’s contract can go out the window in the NFL.

Extra Points: Pats, Browns, Bucs, Vikings

Patriots edge rusher Harvey Langi is expected to miss at least four weeks after suffering an internal laceration caused by a hit during practice, according to Jeff Howe of The Athletic (Twitter link). While the issue certainly seems serious, a source tells Ben Volin of the Boston Globe (Twitter link) that the injury is relatively minor, and Langi is simply being sidelined for “precautionary reasons.” This isn’t the first time Langi has been hurt by a freak injury, as he and his wife were involved in a serious car crash last October that ultimately landed him on the non-football injury list. An undrafted free agent out of BYU in 2017, Langi was a hot commodity as a UDFA and was reportedly impressing in camp. While this latest health issue may not affect him for the long-term, Langi will lose valuable reps as the preseason continues.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • After being cited for marijuana possession over the weekend, Browns receiver Antonio Callaway intends to fight the charge by arguing the drugs weren’t his, tweets Tom Pelissero of NFL.com. Cleveland management wasn’t made aware of Callaway’s arrest until media reports surfaced, and the club made it clear to Callaway that his actions were unacceptable, as Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com writes. However, general manager John Dorsey believes Callaway did not actually smoke marijuana on the night he was cited, and indicated the Browns have a “low tolerance” policy — in contrast to a “zero tolerance” approach — for minor transgressions. Callaway, a fourth-round rookie out of Florida, is already impressing in his first NFL action tonight as Cleveland faces the Giants.
  • The Buccaneers view second-year wideout Chris Godwin as a starter, writes Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times. Head coach Dirk Koetter says Tampa Bay essentially has four starting receivers, pointing to Godwin, Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, and Adam Humphries as players deserving of playing time. How exactly snaps will shake out once the regular season gets underway is unclear, but Jackson or Humphries, the latter of whom is a slot-only weapon, could be demoted to create space for Godwin. While playing roughly 40% of the the Buccaneers’ snaps in 2017, Godwin managed 34 catches and 525 yards.
  • While Godwin looks to be in line for an expanded role, the same can’t be said for Vikings free agent acquisition Kendall Wright. Because Wright, who signed a one-year deal with Minnesota after spending the 2017 season in Chicago, doesn’t play special teams, he’s shaping up as a weekly inactive, tweets Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Wright, 28, posted 58 receptions in a poor Bears passing offense a year ago, and had been expected to see time as the Vikings’ slot receiver. Instead, other options such as Laquon Treadwell, Tavarres King, or Brandon Zylstra may see more action.

Latest On Browns, Antonio Callaway

More Browns wide receiver tumult surfaced this week when Antonio Callaway received a citation for marijuana possession. This marks the latest trouble for Callaway, and new details surfaced on Wednesday.

The rookie wide receiver said the car he was driving that contained the marijuana was transported from his native Florida recently, and he indicated he didn’t know marijuana was present in the vehicle. But TMZ reports gun parts and ammunition were found in the car as well. The police officer who searched the car found the backstrap of a firearm and several rounds of ammo, TMZ reports.

This figures to increase chances the rookie may incur an NFL suspension.

Due to a diluted sample at the Combine, Callaway entered the NFL in Stage 1 of the substance-abuse program. Hue Jackson‘s engaged in several discussions with the young wideout about his status, per Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com, but he was not told about Callaway’s incident until news broke.

Obviously I’m just now finding out about it,” Jackson said, calling this sequence of events “alarming.” “… We will have a very strong conversation about it.

We cannot run from that. Obviously, the red flag is up, because that’s (a type of trouble) that he’s had. Let me work through it, see what it is and go from there.”

This incident occurred nearly 20 hours before the Browns traded Corey Coleman. Callaway was suspended from the Florida Gators program last season but has impressed during camp. The Browns are currently without Josh Gordon and unloaded Coleman on Sunday night, opening the door for more reps for other roster hopefuls. Callaway seems like a lock to make Cleveland’s 53-man unit.

We’ve had no slip ups, no issues,” Jackson said, adding Callaway had “been great” in his conduct since arriving via fourth-round pick. “This is a young player, who obviously made a bad decision or bad choice. I have to find out.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns WR Antonio Callaway Cited For Marijuana Possession

Rookie Browns receiver Antonio Callaway was cited for marijuana possession early Sunday morning, according to Tony Grossi of ESPN.com.

Callaway allegedly failed to yield to oncoming traffic near Strongsville, Ohio and was subsequently pulled over by police at 2:59am. Officers found “a small amount” of marijuana under Callway’s driver seat, which will only result in a minor misdemeanor thanks to Ohio law.

For his part, Callaway says he recently had his car shipped from Florida to Ohio and wasn’t aware there was marijuana in the vehicle, per Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. Callaway is also facing a citation for a driving on a suspended license.

Although Callaway seems unlikely to face any serious legal consequences as the result of his citation, he could be subject to an NFL-imposed suspension, either during the upcoming season or in 2019. It’s worth noting that Callaway tested positive for marijuana at the scouting combine in April, and had previously been charged with felonies related to a credit card scam that resulted in his suspension from Florida’s football team.

The Browns traded up in the draft in order to select Callaway with the 105th overall pick, and he’d just been promoted into the club’s starting lineup following the trade of fellow wideout Corey Coleman. Cleveland can ill afford any more depletions to its wide receiver corps, as Josh Gordon is currently away from the team as he deals with off-field issues of his own.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.