Artie Burns

Contract Details: Dunlap, Bills, Texans, Burns

Let’s catch up on some of the latest contract details from around the league:

  • Seahawks DE Carlos Dunlap: Two-years, $13.6MM. This had previously been reported as $16.6MM, but it turns out Seattle got Dunlap back for a few million cheaper than that, as Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets. It’s actually a five-year pact with three years that automatically void for cap spreading purposes. As previously reported, it has $8.5MM in guaranteed money. Dunlap was set to have a $14.1MM cap charge for 2021 before the Seahawks cut him and then re-signed him to this less expensive deal.
  • Bills LB Tyler Matakevich: One-year extension. Buffalo gave their special teams ace a one-year extension through the 2022 season, which lowered his 2021 cap number to $2.95MM from $3.7MM, Matthew Fairburn of The Athletic tweets. His base salary for 2021 is now fully guaranteed. He’ll count for $3.25MM against the 2022 cap, but there will only be $750K in dead money if he’s released.
  • Texans CB Tavierre Thomas: Two-years, $4MM. We now have details on this contract, as Thomas will be getting $2MM in guaranteed money, Wilson tweets. Not bad for a player who prior to 2020 was mostly a special teams guy. He ended up playing almost 20 percent of the defensive snaps for the Browns last year as they dealt with injuries in their secondary. He got a $1MM signing bonus, a $1MM guaranteed salary for 2021, and a non-guaranteed $1.5MM salary for 2022 with $250K in per game active roster bonuses for each season.
  • Bears CB Artie Burns: One-year, $990K. The financial terms on this one were previously not reported, and it turns out the former first-round pick only got the veteran’s minimum from Chicago, Wilson tweets. The 25th pick of the 2016 draft by the Steelers got over $1MM to sign with the Bears last offseason, but then tore his ACL in August before playing a down for the team.

Bears Re-Sign Artie Burns

The Bears have re-signed Artie Burns on a one-year deal, per a club announcement. The cornerback joined Chicago last year, but never made it to the field. 

Burns, 26 in May, spent his first four NFL seasons with the Steelers. Expectations were high for the first-round pick, but his role in the Steelers’ defense dwindled over time. With 32 starts to his credit, he joined the Bears last year, but wound up tearing his ACL in August.

Burns played on just 6% of Pittsburgh’s defensive snaps in 2019, so he’s really two years removed from standard safety play. He’ll look to bounce back this year and add to his career totals of 149 tackles, four interceptions and 27 pass breakups. Playing alongside old University of Miami pal Deon Bush may help as he gets reacquainted.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/20/20

Here are Thursday’s minor moves, with the list being updated throughout the afternoon:

Carolina Panthers

  • Claimed (from Bills): K/P Kaare Vedvik
  • Waived: TE Andrew Vollert

Chicago Bears

Detroit Lions

Jacksonville Jaguars

New Orleans Saints

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Washington Football Team

Bears CB Artie Burns Tears ACL

The Bears will be without one of their offseason additions. Artie Burns suffered a torn ACL during practice, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Tuesday tests confirmed the diagnosis, which will end the cornerback’s season.

A former Steelers first-round pick, Burns signed a one-year deal worth just more than $1MM. This was to be a comeback bid of sorts for Burns, who did not do well to justify his draft slot in Pittsburgh.

Chicago cut Prince Amukamara earlier this year and was counting on Burns to play a role in its secondary. The team drafted Utah’s Jaylon Johnson in Round 2, however. Despite this being a difficult year for rookies to transition to the pro game, the Day 2 selection may be asked to contribute from the start.

Burns, 25, has made 32 career starts. But he trended down with the Steelers as his career progressed. The ex-Miami Hurricane prospect played just 6% of Pittsburgh’s defensive snaps last season and will now have to wait until 2021 to resume his career. Notable veteran corners remain available in free agency. Logan Ryan, Aqib Talib, Dre Kirkpatrick and Trumaine Johnson represent the biggest names out there.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bears, CB Artie Burns Agree To Terms

Artie Burns will have another chance to be part of a North-division team’s cornerback rotation. The Bears and Burns agreed to a one-year deal, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com confirms (on Twitter).

The 2016 first-round pick played just 67 snaps in his final Steelers season, after falling to justify the franchise’s investment. Pittsburgh did not pick up Burns’ fifth-year option in 2019, sending him to free agency this year.

An ex-Miami Hurricane, Burns will join a Bears team that moved on from Prince Amukamara last month. Burns started 32 games as a Steeler, including 16 in 2017. Despite producing a respectable Pro Football Focus grade that season, Burns lost his job during the 2018 season and saw the team make multiple additions at the position last year. As a result, this will likely be a low-cost prove-it deal.

In addition to All-Pro Kyle Fuller and slot defender Buster Skrine, third-year UDFA Kevin Toliver and 2019 sixth- and seventh-round picks Duke Shelley and Stephen Denmark reside among Chicago’s corner cadre. The Burns move may not be the Bears’ last at this position this offseason they attempt to replace Amukamara.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC North Notes: Browns, Landry, Steelers

A change of plans for Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry. Initially, Landry said he would go the rest-and-rehab route for his lingering hip issue. Instead, he went under the knife recently to correct the problem, per a team announcement.

The Browns expect Landry to make a full recovery for the 2020 season, so this shouldn’t impact their plans very much. And, even though there’s a new regime in Cleveland, Landry (and Odell Beckham Jr.) are expected to remain in the fold, giving Kevin Stefanski as many offensive weapons as possible.

Landry, 28 in November, played through the pain in all 16 games last year. In fact, he’s never missed a game in his six-year career. The LSU product – who finished out with 83 catches, 1,174 yards, and six touchdowns – has three years to on his five-year, $75.5MM deal.

More from the AFC North:

  • Even after inking nine contract extensions over the past year, the Ravens could have more on the way. Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic looked at the club’s remaining extension candidates, including outside linebacker Matt Judon and defensive tackle Michael Pierce. Center Matt Skura hasn’t been talked about as much, but he could also be in line for a fresh deal as he nears unrestricted free agency. The former UDFA gave the Ravens consistent play in the middle up until his major knee injury in November. The injury might complicate things a bit, but he expects to be back in time for training camp.
  • Alex Van Pelt is the Browns‘ new offensive coordinator, but he’s not sure if he’ll be the one calling the plays (via WKYC). That responsibility could be kept by Stefanski, who previously donned the headset for the Vikings.
  • Steelers cornerback Artie Burns has switched to Drew Rosenhaus, as Liz Mullen of SBJ tweets. Burns, a former first-round pick who had his fifth-year option declined by the team, will be a free agent in March. In 2019, he appeared in just ten games and started only once.
  • Another pending Steelers free agent – linebacker Bud Dupree – will be switching representation (Twitter link via Mullen). For now, all we know is that Dupree is parting ways with CAA. In the next few days, we should know who his agent will be. Dupree’s stock is pretty high after he registered 11.5 sacks in 2019, though the Steelers could cuff him with the franchise tag.

North Notes: Steelers, Burnett, Lions

If you’ve missed the latest Thursday-night game, injuries have limited the Steelers. Pittsburgh lost JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Conner; the former suffered a concussion and the latter re-injured the AC joint that sidelined him for the past two games. Both are out for the rest of the Browns game, as are cornerback Artie Burns and wideout Diontae Johnson (due to a knee injury and a concussion, respectively). This is Smith-Schuster’s third known concussion since coming into the league. He suffered two as a rookie in 2017.

Here is the latest from the North divisions:

  • Both of the Browns‘ starting safeties are out of tonight’s game. Shortly before Damarious Randall was ejected for a helmet-to-helmet hit, the Browns lost Morgan Burnett. The ex-Packers and Steelers defender suffered what the Browns fear is a significant Achilles injury, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). After being relegated to a part-time role in his one Pittsburgh season, Burnett has been a full-time starter in Cleveland.
  • The NFL is looking into the Lions‘ handling of Matthew Stafford‘s back injury, Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com notes. Multiple Lions players were informed Saturday that Stafford would not play, but Detroit had called the quarterback a game-time decision. Stafford has been playing through back pain all season. The league requires teams to update their injury reports if it has been decided, prior to a team’s stadium arrival, a player will not play.
  • With Michael Pierce battling an injury, the Ravens bolstered their defensive tackle corps with two veteransDomata Peko and Justin Ellis.

AFC North Notes: Burns, Young, Browns

Steelers CB Artie Burns, a 2016 first-round pick, was widely considered to be on the club’s roster bubble this summer, and even after he earned an $800K roster bonus at the end of July, there was still some chatter that he could be sent packing. But as Mark Kaboly of The Athletic writes, Burns has quieted those rumors with a strong training camp, and he excelled in Pittsburgh’s preseason contest against the Chiefs on Saturday. He is eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2020 since the Steelers declined his fifth-year option, and his contract year has gotten off to a great start. He now has a legitimate chance to be the team’s No. 3 corner.

Now for more from the AFC North:

  • Kaboly notes in a separate piece that the Steelers may be on the lookout for a veteran TE and/or punter on the free agent market.
  • Ravens slot corner Tavon Young may miss the entire 2019 campaign due to a serious neck injury, but Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic says Young is still weighing his options with respect to surgery (Twitter link). Initial reports suggested that Baltimore believes Young should get surgery, which would likely allow him to return at full-strength for the 2020 season, but Young remains undecided. If he doesn’t get surgery and allows the injury to heal on its own, he could potentially return in 2019, but if the injury doesn’t heal, he may miss some of 2020. Either way, he will almost certainly open this season on IR.
  • Ravens guard Marshal Yanda is dealing with an ankle/foot injury and will not play in either of the club’s remaining preseason games, as Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com tweets. However, HC John Harbaugh expects the seven-time Pro Bowler to be ready to go for Week 1.
  • Garrett Gilbert played well in the Browns‘ preseason victory over the Colts on Saturday, but head coach Freddie Kitchens foreclosed any potential chatter of a QB2 battle by declaring that Drew Stanton will be the club’s backup QB (via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com). Still, Cabot writes that Gilbert’s performance likely earned the AAF alumnus a spot on the roster.
  • Jaelen Strong was signed by the Browns in February, and he has played well over the past several weeks. He found the endzone in Saturday’s game, and Tony Grossi of ESPN.com suggests that the former Texans’ third-rounder is closing in on a roster spot (Twitter link).

Steelers Notes: Colbert, Tomlin, Burns, Haden

The Steelers staved off questions about Mike Tomlin’s job status, at least temporarily, by giving him a one-year extension recently. They didn’t do the same for GM Kevin Colbert, and that was apparently at his request. Colbert told reporters at training camp today that “he’s not getting an extension because he wanted to go year-to-year based on ‘personal request’ to organization,” per Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Fowler notes that Colbert is only under contract until May of 2020, and that the GM said his age could be a factor in whether or not he steps away. Colbert, 62, has been Pittsburgh’s front office head since 2010.

This is the first we’ve heard of any potential retirement for Colbert, so as Fowler points out, this is a “big development.” Steelers owner Art Rooney chimed in, saying “at this stage of the game, he’s really not looking to do any long-term planning,” per Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “We talked and we agreed he’d rather wait till after the season to talk about the contract.” Fowler noted in a follow-up tweet that Colbert indicated he could still be around for several more years, but he’s got “wiggle room” now. The Steelers have undergone a lot of change the last couple of years, and this would be another huge one.

Here’s more from Pittsburgh:

  • Tomlin’s job security has been a hot topic in recent years, and he’s one of the more polarizing coaches out there. He usually receives two-year extensions, so it was notable that this time around he only got one. When asked what he thought about that, Tomlin insisted it didn’t matter to him. “Nothing,” he told reporters, per Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com. “I really don’t think a lot about it to be quite honest with you. I focus on the task at hand, and if you do that, contractual things take care of themselves.” Tomlin has been the coach since 2007, but he’ll be under intense pressure to win in 2019. If the Steelers struggle, his seat will start getting awfully hot.
  • Tomlin’s old contract had an option year that was triggered due to hitting a certain number of wins, Dulac tweets. A source told Dulac that Tomlin’s new recently signed contract doesn’t have any similar provisions.
  • The Steelers don’t only have to worry about the contract situation of their coach and general manager, some players need to be decided on as well. Pittsburgh didn’t pick up the fifth-year option on former first-round pick Artie Burns back in May, which led to a lot of speculation that he’d be cut. Burns was due an $800K roster bonus this weekend, so a decision was always going to have to be made right around now. Burns will in fact collect the $800K and he’ll be a member of the Steelers in 2019, reports Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports (Twitter link). Burns hasn’t lived up to his draft status, but he did start six games last year and all 16 the year before that.
  • In the same tweet, La Canfora notes that the team is “working on extending” cornerback Joe Haden. Haden is entering the final year of the three-year, $27MM deal he signed after being released by the Browns back in 2017, and we heard a couple of days ago that the two sides had begun talking.

AFC North Notes: Jackson, Steelers, Bengals

The RavensLamar Jackson interest began before his junior year at Louisville. It escalated a few weeks before the 2018 draft. During a disagreement among Ravens staffers regarding quarterback preferences going into a draft that would have five QBs taken in the first round, John Harbaugh pronounced his willingness to build a new offense around the dual-threat passer.

If we draft Lamar, I’m good with that,” Harbaugh said during an hours-long discussion about Jackson (via The Athletic’s Dan Pompei, subscription required). “We can build an offense around him. We’ll play great special teams, great defense and be a ball-control offense. We’ll build a big, physical offensive line. We’ll get physical running backs. We’ll block on the perimeter. We’ll run all the elements of the college offense. We’ll do something different.”

After choosing Jackson, the Ravens rode some of Greg Roman‘s Colin Kaepernick-based concepts to a division title. Harbaugh, Roman and then-OC Marty Mornhinweg considered going back to Joe Flacco when the Ravens’ offense stalled for much of their wild-card loss to the Chargers, but each of Harbaugh’s assistants agreed Jackson gave the team the best chance to win. As for the Ravens’ 2019 offense, it will feature similar run designs to what was used last season. But Pompei adds the passing attack was considerably revamped in the offseason.

I expect this to change the way offensive football is played in the National Football League,” Harbaugh said. “Not that everybody is going to take on this style. But I expect us to create something that hasn’t been seen before. … I think we’re going to be in more elements than any team has ever been.”

Here is the latest from the AFC North, shifting first to Pittsburgh:

  • This weekend, Artie Burns is due an $800K bonus. If the Steelers are to move on from the former first-round pick who has not lived up to that billing, they would stand to limit their losses by doing so soon. Burns’ camp, however, is confident the fourth-year corner will still be a Steeler by week’s end, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. Pittsburgh still has Joe Haden and Mike Hilton and added UFA addition Steven Nelson and third-round pick Justin Layne.
  • A hamstring injury will move T.J. Watt to the Steelers’ active/PUP list, Mark Kaboly of The Athletic tweets. The Pro Bowl outside linebacker should be expected to return fairly soon.
  • The Bengals placed Darqueze Dennard and running back Rodney Anderson on their active/PUP list. Dennard underwent offseason knee surgery, while Anderson’s college career ended after an ACL tear. The former Oklahoma running back is a candidate for the reserve/PUP list to start the season, per Fletcher Page of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Should Anderson stay on the PUP list to start the season, he must remain there for six regular-season weeks.