Auden Tate

Bengals’ Auden Tate Done For Year

The season is over for Auden Tate. The Bengals wide receiver will be placed on injured reserve following shoulder surgery, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter). 

Tate, 23, was fighting for targets in a group that also includes Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, and A.J. Green. He made the most of his opportunities in Week 9, catching all seven of his looks for 65 yards, helping the Bengals to top the Titans. In total, he’ll finish the year with a stat line of 14/150 and zero TDs. That’s not quite the follow-up he wanted after notching 40 catches for 575 yards and a touchdown in 2019.

The banged-up Bengals are down to 2-8-1 after falling to the Giants this past week. They’ll have some decent opportunities to win with a final stretch that includes the Cowboys and Texans, but that would also knock them down the draft board. If the season ended today, the Bengals would own the No. 3 overall pick, behind only the Jets and Jaguars.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/28/20

Here are Saturday’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

  • Promoted: QB Reid Sinnett

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

  • Placed on IR: G Sua Opeta

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

COVID-19 Latest: Ravens, Williams, Browns

Earlier Wednesday, the NFL took the Ravens-Steelers rematch off its Thanksgiving schedule. That game is now on tap for 12:15pm CT Sunday. More is emerging on why the Steelers will see another of their games delayed. The Ravens disciplined a strength and conditioning coach for “conduct surrounding the recent COVID-19 cases that have affected players and staff.” The Ravens are levying the discipline because the unnamed staffer did not report symptoms or consistently wear a mask or a contact tracing device, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter). This is believed to have contributed to the Ravens’ outbreak — one that comes nearly two months after a Titans outbreak altered the Steelers’ schedule. Seven Ravens players and at least five staffers have tested positive for COVID. This will not only weaken Baltimore against Pittsburgh but potentially deplete team’s roster for its Week 13 Thursday game against Dallas.

Several teams shuffled their rosters because of COVID on Wednesday. Here is the latest:

  • 49ers left tackle Trent Williams tested positive for COVID-19 last week, per ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano (on Twitter). A cancer survivor, Williams has not experienced issues with the virus yet, Graziano tweets. Williams, who landed on the 49ers’ COVID list earlier this month as a high-risk close contact, is on track to miss San Francisco’s Week 12 game in Los Angeles.
  • Six players remain on San Francisco’s virus list. The 49ers removed Arik Armstead and center Hroniss Grasu on Wednesday.
  • Browns linebacker Sione Takitaki tested positive Wednesday, according to Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com (on Twitter). Takitaki played against the Eagles and returned an interception for a touchdown. The Cleveland starting linebacker’s positive test follows Myles Garrett‘s. Neither they nor Denzel Ward (injury) will be available for Sunday’s game against the Jaguars. The Browns closed their facility Wednesday, but their Jags game remains on schedule.
  • The Bengals placed wide receiver Auden Tate and recently acquired offensive lineman B.J. Finney on their reserve/COVID-19 list. Cincinnati has seen staffers test positive, with D-line coach Nick Eason being the most recent. Eason was alerted of his positive test Tuesday. The Bengals now have five players on their reserve/COVID list.
  • Christian Wilkins is off the Dolphins‘ COVID list. Wilkins was not reported to have tested positive, but the second-year defensive lineman still missed two games after landing on the team’s virus list.
  • The Raiders activated Cory Littleton from their COVID list. The high-profile free agent addition has been out for two weeks due to a positive coronavirus test. Las Vegas’ defense remains shorthanded due to virus issues, with Clelin Ferrell testing positive last week and Lamarcus Joyner missing Sunday’s Chiefs game because of his status as a close contact.
  • Dante Fowler also tested positive two weeks ago and missed the Falcons‘ Week 11 game, but the big-ticket free agent addition is off the list now and on course to return to Atlanta’s lineup Sunday.
  • The Vikings and Chargers also removed players from their respective virus lists Wednesday. Minnesota activated guard Dru Samia; Los Angeles activated cornerback Brandon Facyson.

Extra Points: Stanley, Tate, Broncos, TV

The Ravens and Ronnie Stanley began discussing an extension in February, but after taking a long break prior to an August negotiation resumption, the sides remain without a deal. An understandable reason may be holding up the talks. Buzz has emerged that Stanley is seeking a contract that pays him north of Laremy Tunsil‘s market-reshaping $22MM-per-year pact, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com notes (Insider link). Stanley has been diplomatic about the talks, but he is poised to cash in soon. Tunsil, of course, carried unique leverage after the Texans dealt two first-round picks to land him. Stanley, however, is Baltimore’s top lineman and became a top-tier tackle ahead of his contract year. The Ravens will have the option of a pricey franchise tag, in a year when the cap could plummet by a record margin, if they cannot extend Stanley by the March tag deadline.

Here is the latest from around the league:

  • In another AFC North matter, one of the Bengals‘ wide receivers may be unhappy. And it is not A.J. Green. The Bengals made Auden Tate a healthy scratch Thursday night, and his agent floated the prospect of a trade. While Deiric Jackson stopped short of saying his client has requested one, it is clear Team Tate is not content. “He was healthy and ready to go,” Jackson said, via CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin. “If they don’t know how to use him, I’m sure there are plenty of other teams that would love to have a weapon like that offensively.” Tate played 15 snaps in Cincinnati’s opener. The Bengals used the 6-foot-5 target frequently last season — when he caught 40 passes for 575 yards — but now have Green back and second-rounder Tee Higgins in the fold. Two seasons remain on Tate’s seventh-round contract.
  • The Broncos have put off major investments at inside linebacker since Brandon Marshall‘s 2016 extension, but Mike Klis of 9News notes the team considered both signing street free agent Christian Kirksey and using its first-round pick on Patrick Queen this year. This is not the first time the Broncos were linked to a first-round likebacker under Vic Fangio. Had they not executed a trade-down for Noah Fant in the 2019 first round, they would have chosen Devin Bush 10th overall. Denver, which cut longtime starter Todd Davis this month, used 2019 breakout player Alexander Johnson and 2018 draftee Josey Jewell as its three-down ‘backers Monday.
  • Phillip Lindsay will not be available for the Broncos against the Steelers. The talented running back is battling turf toe, leaving Royce Freeman as Melvin Gordon‘s top Week 2 backup.
  • Blake Bortles remains a free agent, but the former Jaguars starter and Rams backup is waiting on the right situation to open up, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. After starting for five seasons, Bortles threw just two passes in 2019.
  • NFL owners are confident they will have “groundbreaking” TV deals in place by early 2021, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports. The league was making progress during its negotiations with networks prior to the pandemic, and La Canfora adds that the contracts would likely have been finalized were it not for COVID-19. The next round of TV contracts were expected to be a game-changer for the NFL; projections of a $260MM-plus salary cap within a few years surfaced this past winter. While fanless stadiums amid the pandemic will cut into that short-term growth, teams authorizing big extensions in recent weeks points to confidence in long-term financial stability. The NFL’s ESPN contract expires after the 2021 season; its deals with the other networks are not up until the end of 2022.

Bengals Place Auden Tate On IR

Auden Tate‘s season is officially over. On Tuesday, as expected, the Bengals placed the wide receiver on injured reserve.

Tate suffered an MCL sprain last week and the club had little reason to put him in harms way as the season winds down. The 2018 seventh-round pick, played sparingly during his rookie campaign, but he showed promise this year as the team’s No. 2 WR in A.J. Green‘s stead. In 12 games (ten starts) this season, the 22-year-old has hauled in 40 receptions for 575 yards and one touchdown.

Willis, meanwhile, has nine grabs in ten games this season. The undrafted rookie hopes to cement his place on the Bengals’ 2020 roster, which figures to look drastically different.

The Bengals own the league’s worst record with three games left in the regular season. Unless they pick up wins against the Patriots, Dolphins, and Browns, they’ll pick No. 1 overall in April.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals WR Auden Tate Likely Headed To IR

Auden Tate‘s breakout season has likely come to an end. ESPN’s Ben Baby reports that the Bengals wideout will probably be placed on the injured reserve.

Tate left Sunday’s loss to the Steelers, and it was later revealed that he suffered a sprained MCL in his left knee. The receiver will seek a second opinion on the injury, but coach Zac Taylor has already cautioned that it’s not looking great for the second-year player. In all likelihood, Tate’s season is finished.

The 2018 seventh-round pick played sparingly during his rookie campaign. However, thanks in part to A.J. Green‘s continued absence, Tate has emerged as the number-two receiver behind Tyler Boyd. In 12 games (10 starts) this season, the 22-year-old Tate has hauled in 40 receptions for 575 yards and one touchdown.

Baby adds that if Tate indeed lands on the injured reserve, there’s a good chance that Damion Willis gets promoted to the active roster. The undrafted rookie has nine catches in 10 games this season. The Bengals are also rostering John Ross, Alex Erickson, and Stanley Morgan.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC North Notes: Jackson, JuJu, Browns, Tate

The second of the Ravens‘ two 2018 first-round picks has changed the course of their franchise, with Lamar Jackson becoming an MVP candidate barely a year after he made his first NFL start. Ravens brass took extensive measures to keep their Jackson interest secret. While John Harbaugh has said he discussed Jackson at length with his staff and scouts leading up to the 2018 draft, Eric DeCosta said he and previous Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome did not mention their interest in Jackson to the team’s scouts or coaching staff, according to Peter King of NBC Sports. Nor did the Ravens interview Jackson at the Combine, with Newsome and DeCosta wanting to keep what turned out to be an important secret. The Ravens, however, took a risk on losing Jackson by trading back twice in Round 1. Baltimore selected Hayden Hurst at No. 25 before trading back into the first round, via Philadelphia, for No. 32.

We felt like there was a pretty good chance that Lamar might be there later in the first round, early part of the second round,” DeCosta said, via King. “We were willing, if we could, to trade back, trade back, accumulate capital and then possibly either try to trade back again or in a second round, make a play and get Lamar at that point. But, you know, it was a risk.”

“We were (nervous about losing Jackson). We were. But I think you’ve got to stay as clinical in the moment as you can, and really just go with all your best information and the plan.”

Here is the latest from the AFC North:

  • Although Myles Garrett‘s appeal will take place Wednesday, the odds the Browns defensive end plays again this season appear slim. “He will not play the rest of the season,” Roger Goodell told OTG’s Gary Myers (via Pro Football Talk). “He will probably meet with us some time in the offseason. We’ll make a judgement. … Does he have remorse? Does he understand why it’s not acceptable? Do we understand what he’s going to do to make sure it doesn’t happen again?” Garrett is suspended indefinitely for striking Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph with a helmet.
  • Prior to the AFC North rivals’ game-ending fight, the Steelers saw wideouts JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson suffer concussions. In addition to the head injury Smith-Schuster sustained, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (via Twitter) the third-year receiver also sustained a knee injury on the play that ended his night. Smith-Schuster has not missed a game this season but he’s uncertain for Pittsburgh’s Week 12 tilt against Cincinnati.
  • The Bengals observed one of their emerging wideouts stretchered off the field Sunday. Auden Tate is in concussion protocol and suffered a cervical strain, Zac Taylor said (via ESPN.com’s Ben Baby, on Twitter). Tate flew back to Cincinnati with his teammates and has appeared to escape a serious injury.

Injury Updates: Mack, Tagovailoa, Winston

The latest key injury updates:

  • The Colts picked up a big win over the Jaguars on Sunday, but they’ll be without a key part of their offense for at least a little while. Running back Marlon Mack fractured his hand in the win over Jacksonville, a source told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). Rapoport says that Mack won’t play on Thursday night in a key divisional game against the Texans, and that “it’s up in the air beyond that.” Mack had been the team’s workhorse on offense, regularly garnering 20+ carries. Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins will both see an uptick in work in the meantime.
  • Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is done for the year with a hip injury, and there were instant fears that it could put his career in jeopardy. It’ll be a while before we know one way or the other, but the program released a new statement Sunday night that again expressed optimism. Tagovailoa is being transported to Houston to undergo surgery on his hip Monday, team surgeon Lyle Cain said in a statement, via Cecil Hurt of the Tuscaloosa News (Twitter link). Cain said that they “anticipate a full recovery,” which is great news.
  • Bengals receiver Auden Tate went down with a scary neck injury and had to be carted off the field, but fortunately it looks like he’s going to be alright. Tate had rejoined to team and was on their flight back from Oakland, a source told Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link). Pelissero said all tests were negative and that while he’ll be evaluated again tomorrow, “all signed” indicated that he “avoided major injury.” With A.J. Green still sidelined, Tate has been playing a huge role on offense for Cincy as they still search for their first win of the season.
  • Jameis Winston picked up a left ankle injury in the Buccaneers’ loss to the Saints, and he was limping pretty badly toward the end of the game. Speaking to the media after the loss, head coach Bruce Arians said that he was about to go to backup Ryan Griffin, and that he should’ve, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link). Winston was able to convince Arians to let him go back in, but the head coach apparently regretted the decision. Winston told reporters after the game that he’ll be alright moving forward.

AFC North Notes: Harbaugh, Flacco, Green

We learned last week that Ravens HC John Harbaugh is on the hot seat, and the team’s Week 9 loss to the division-rival Steelers did not do him any favors. Today, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes that Baltimore and Harbaugh are indeed heading for a “mutual parting of the ways.” While it is highly unlikely that Harbaugh will be fired before the end of the season — there is, after all, no dysfunction in the locker room and there are no obvious in-house candidates to replace Harbaugh — La Canfora says that 2018 is likely to be Harbaugh’s last on the Ravens’ sidelines. With the team transitioning to a new GM and facing a potential roster overhaul, both parties appear prepared to move on amicably.

Now for more from the AFC North:

  • One name who could be part of the Ravens‘ above-referenced overhaul, of course, is quarterback Joe Flacco. Flacco is battling a hip injury and has been spotted on crutches, though Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network describes the injury as more of a day-to-day malady than a week-to-week one (video link). So if Flacco can practice when the Ravens return to the field in a couple of days — they are on a bye this week — he will likely play. But Rapoport says Baltimore is “relishing” the uncertainty that the situation is creating for the team’s next opponent, the Bengals, and he expects first-round pick Lamar Jackson to get increased snaps whether Flacco plays or not.
  • As Adam Schefter of ESPN.com observes, Flacco’s injury does have a silver lining for the Ravens. If he is unable to suit up for next week’s game or for the next several games, Baltimore would have a better idea of where Jackson is at the moment — he is reportedly still struggling in practice — which would allow the club to better determine whether to retain Flacco in 2019 or move on.
  • Rapoport tweets that Bengals WR A.J. Green is “likely” to miss next week’s game against the Ravens, though there is a chance he will be able to suit up. That is a rosier outlook than the one presented by Schefter, who said earlier this week that Green will definitely miss the Ravens game and could miss multiple games after that. Schefter doubled down on that report today, saying that a December return is looking increasingly likely (Twitter link). Rapoport says 2018 seventh-rounder Auden Tate, who was waived last month but who was signed to the practice squad just one day later, has impressed and will see plenty of snaps in Green’s absence. Tate was promoted from the practice squad on Monday.
  • Although reports have suggested that the Browns will take a different approach to their head coach hiring process this time around, their are plenty of people in the coaching community who are still concerned about how the search will play out. La Canfora writes that team owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam do not have a good reputation in coaching circles, and they have been increasingly hands-on during their ownership, so it is fair to wonder whether GM John Dorsey will truly be running the show. There is even skepticism within the Browns’ organization that Dorsey will be given full autonomy, as the Haslams hired Hue Jackson over the protestations of almost all of their football operations staff, which wanted to hire Sean McDermott instead.
  • We learned earlier today that the Steelers are likely to put the transition tag on Le’Veon Bell, and we took another look at Bell’s future in the league.

Bengals Sign LS Clark Harris To Extension

The Bengals have signed long snapper Clark Harris to a two-year-contract extension, according to a team announcement. In other Bengals news, the club promoted wide receiver Auden Tate from the practice squad to the 53-man roster and formally placed linebacker Carl Lawson on injured reserve.

Harris, 34, earned his first Pro Bowl nod last season. He has been with the club since 2009 and boasts a nearly perfect attendance record over the last ten decade.

Tate’s promotion will provide the Bengals with insurance as they await word on A.J. Green‘s toe. Green is relying on the advice of foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson and the club is waiting to find out whether he’ll require surgery. Even if he doesn’t go under the knife, it’s expected that Green will miss some time.