Austin Blythe

Chiefs OL Austin Blythe Underwent Hernia Surgery

Austin Blythe recently went under the knife, but the Chiefs center should be good to go for the start of the regular season. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reports (via Twitter) that the offensive lineman recently had hernia surgery. Blythe is expected to be sidelined for three weeks, which means he should be healthy for Week 1.

Considering the Chiefs invested a second-round pick in Creed Humphrey, Blythe’s injury all but guarantees that the rookie will be starting in Week 1. However, that doesn’t mean Blythe will see a reduced role in 2021. The 29-year-old started 47 games for the Rams over the past three years at both guard and center, so his versatility should find him a spot in the lineup (even if he’s temporarily a backup).

After grading as PFF’s ninth-ranked center last season, Blythe ended up joining the Chiefs on a one-year deal this offseason. After starting his career with the Colts, the veteran had spent each of the past four seasons in Los Angeles.

There’s some more promising injury news for the Chiefs. Despite aggravating his hamstring during practice earlier this week, defensive end Frank Clark is only expected to miss three weeks. Pelissero notes that there’s optimism that the veteran will be ready to play Week 1. Clark has had two productive seasons in Kansas City, collecting 14 sacks, 20 tackles for loss, and 29 QB hits in 29 games (26 starts).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chiefs To Sign OL Austin Blythe

The Chiefs are bringing in more outside help for their offensive line. They will sign former Rams starting center Austin Blythe, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. It’s a one-year deal.

Blythe will join Joe Thuney and Kyle Long as Chiefs interior O-line additions this offseason. Blythe started three seasons with the Rams, doing so at both center and guard. The Chiefs had used Austin Reiter as their primary center over the past two seasons, and although the team made an offer for Reiter to return, they appear to be moving on at the position.

A full-time guard starter on the Rams’ Super Bowl LIII-qualifying team, Blythe has started 47 regular-season games since the start of that 2018 season. The former seventh-round Colts pick established himself as a quality Rams starter and will be in line to work as the Chiefs’ starting center. The Rams moved Blythe to center last season, and Pro Football Focus graded him ninth at the position.

The Rams claimed Blythe off waivers in 2017 and turned to him as a replacement for the suspended Jamon Brown in 2018. Blythe kept his job after Brown’s reinstatement and played guard in 2019 as well. The Rams re-signed Blythe last year but will lose him. Despite Sean McVay wanting the team to retain Blythe this year, Andrew Whitworth and right tackle Rob Havenstein remain from Los Angeles’ Super Bowl O-line.

Blythe, 28, will check off a key box for the two-time reigning AFC champions, who can shift their O-line focus to the tackle positions.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams “Definitely” Value Austin Blythe

In a few weeks, Austin Blythe will be eligible for free agency. Ideally, Rams head coach Sean McVay would like to prevent that from happening. 

[RELATED: Rams’ Matthew Stafford On Lions Exit]

He did a great job and he’s definitely somebody that we appreciate, we value,” McVay said (via USA Today). “I think there’s going to be a lot of things that we’ve got to really navigate through as we’re trying to figure out the best way to put our team together as we figure out what is that cap? What does it look like specific to some of the things that we’re in the midst of trying to figure out? You even talk about restructuring, some of the guys that have some of those bigger deals and where we can find some of that money.”

Blythe raised his stock in 2019 as he took over for Brian Allen. The Rams re-upped him on one-year deal and he performed as a solid starter throughout the year. Centers like Corey Linsley may draw more attention on the open market, but there would be plenty of suitors for Blythe. Last year, he earned a score of 69.3 from Pro Football Focus, positioning him as the ninth-best center in the NFL.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Contract Details: Funchess, Blythe, Redskins, Cardinals

We’ve got a handful of contract details to pass along. We’ll start with the latest NFC notes, all via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle on Twitter:

  • Devin Funchess, WR (Packers): One year, $2.5MM. Includes $3.75MM in receptions, receiving yards, touchdowns incentives.
  • Austin Blythe, OL (Rams): One year. Worth $3.9MM, including $3.5MM guaranteed. $950K signing bonus, $2.95MM salary (of which $2.55MM is guaranteed).
  • Peyton Barber, RB (Redskins): Two year, $3MM. Includes $600K signing bonus. Salaries: $910K (2020), $1.14MM (2021). $150K per-game maximum roster bonus in 2020, $199K+ per-game maximum roster bonus in 2021.
  • Nate Orchard, LB (Redskins): Re-signed. One-year, $1.047MM deal. Includes $137.5K signing bonus, $910K salary.
  • Seth Roberts, WR (Panthers): One year, $3.75MM. Includes $600K signing bonus, $3.1MM salary, $50K workout bonus.
  • Marcus Gilbert, OT (Cardinals): One year, $3.75MM. $1.05MM base salary (of which only $150K is guaranteed). Up to $2.7MM in playing time incentives.
  • Max Garcia, OL (Cardinals): Re-signed. One-year, $1.25MM deal, including $600K guaranteed. Up to $190K per-game maximum roster bonus, up to $1MM in playing time incentives.
  • Cameron Fleming, OL (Giants): Signed. One-year, $3.5MM deal (as opposed to previously-reported one-year, $4MM deal). Includes $2MM guaranteed. Up to $500K per-game roster bonus, up to $500K playing time incentives.
  • Kerry Hyder, DE (49ers): One year. $1.5MM, including $550K guaranteed. Up to $250K in per-game roster bonus.

Rams To Re-Sign Austin Blythe

The Rams have seen a mass exodus of players on defense in recent days, but they’re keeping a crucial offensive piece around. The team has agreed to terms on a new one-year deal with interior lineman Austin Blythe, they announced in a release.

Blythe provides some nice versatility for the Rams, as he has started at both guard and center over the last couple of seasons. Originally a seventh-round pick of the Colts in 2016, Blythe got the axe after just one year in Indianapolis. The Rams quickly scooped him off waivers, and he’s turned into a nice find for general manager Les Snead. After serving as a reserve in 2017, Blythe started all 16 games the following year.

Jamon Brown was suspended for the first two games of 2018 so Blythe took over his starting spot at right guard, and played well enough to keep the gig even after Brown returned. He missed one game this past season with an ankle injury, but started the other 15. He started last year at guard but moved to center when Brian Allen went down with an injury. Terms of his new deal weren’t immediately available.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams C Brian Allen Out For Season

Rams head coach Sean McVay told reporters earlier today that starting center Brian Allen had suffered a season-ending MCL injury, according to Lindsey Thiry of ESPN. It remains unclear whether Allen’s injury could impact him next season or in the offseason, but he is definitely done in 2019.

Allen supplanted John Sullivan as the starter at center this season. While the entire Rams offensive line has struggled, Allen has played a major role in those issues. Trade deadline acquisition Austin Corbett had experience at both guard and center and seemed like a possible replacement for Allen, but instead slotted next to Allen at left guard.

When Allen left Los Angeles’ game on Sunday, starting right guard Austin Blythe slid over to center and backup Coleman Shelton replaced Blythe at right guard. Shelton was an undrafted free agent out of Washington last season who bounced between the 49ers and Cardinals practice squads before joining the Rams active roster this season.

The Rams were surely disappointed with Allen’s performance on the interior line, but are no better off with even less depth. If Los Angeles chooses to look at free agent options, Sullivan remains available on the open market.

In addition to Allen, Los Angeles could be without starting right tackle Rob Havenstein for two weeks, as veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer tweets. Havenstein is dealing with a knee injury.

Injury Roundup: Hilton, Lions, Bolts, Rams

It’s looking like the Colts‘ passing attack will have to operate without its top weapon Sunday. T.Y. Hilton drew a doubtful designation on Indianapolis’ Friday injury report. He did not practice all week. The eighth-year wideout left the Colts’ Week 3 win with a quadriceps injury, and although the Raiders enter Week 4 ranked 30th in pass defense DVOA, the Colts went 0-2 without Hilton last season. They are already down previous starter Devin Funchess, who sits on IR. The Colts also ruled Darius Leonard out for a second straight week. The All-Pro linebacker remains in concussion protocol.

Here is the latest from the Week 4 injury front:

  • Matthew Stafford popped up on the Lions‘ injury report Friday; he’s listed as questionable with a hip malady. While Stafford should be expected to play, given that he’s played through injuries in recent years and holds the league’s third-longest active start streak among QBs with 131, this is a less-than-ideal scenario going into a key inter-conference matchup with the Chiefs. Rookie UDFA David Blough has been Stafford’s backup this season, though Jeff Driskel is now on Detroit’s 53-man roster.
  • That matchup will not include Chiefs starting running back Damien Williams, who will miss a second straight game with a knee ailment. LeSean McCoy put together two full practices this week and will likely team up with Darrel Williams, as he did last week, in Detroit.
  • Good news for the Rams‘ offense. Sean McVay said both Austin Blythe and Tyler Higbee will be available against the Buccaneers on Sunday, per Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Blythe missed Los Angeles’ Week 3 game with a sprained ankle, while Higbee has been sidelined with a lung contusion.
  • Another Chargers game will unfold without their primary kicker option. The Bolts ruled out Michael Badgley for a fourth straight contest. Punter Ty Long‘s multipurpose afternoons will continue. Long made both of his field goal tries last week after missing two in Week 2.
  • Additionally for the Bolts, they will be without Mike Williams. He’s been declared out with a back injury. Travis Benjamin will head to Miami as doubtful to play, meaning Dontrelle Inman and Geremy Davis stand as the Chargers’ only two healthy auxiliary wideouts. This marks Williams’ second injury of the season. A knee problem plagued the third-year target earlier this month but did not force him to miss any time.
  • The Vikings‘ No. 2-ranked rushing attack will be tested in Chicago this week, and right guard starter Josh Kline will not play a part in the NFC North contest. The free agent acquisition will miss Sunday’s game with a concussion that kept him out of practice this week. This will end Kline’s 49-start streak. Veteran Dakota Dozier will start, per Mark Craig of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Dozier has started eight games in his six-season career, which included a Week 2 start in place of Pat Elflein.

Injury Notes: Winston, Rams, Cowboys, Pack

Here is the latest from the injury front at the midweek point, beginning with another NFC South quarterback encountering injury trouble.

  • Jameis Winston is now battling a foot injury. The Buccaneers quarterback, who is in a contract year, appears on the team’s first Week 3 injury report with this issue. Winston joins Drew Brees and Cam Newton as injured NFC South quarterbacks, but his malady doesn’t appear to be nearly as severe. Winston practiced fully on Wednesday and appears in line to face the Giants.
  • Austin Blythe needed a cart to leave the field Sunday at Los Angeles Coliseum, but the Rams‘ starting right guard looks to have dodged significant trouble. The fourth-year blocker said (via ESPN.com’s Lindsey Thiry, on Twitter) he suffered a low ankle sprain. Blythe is not certain how much time he will miss, but considering how he left the field, this may have been the best possible outcome. If he cannot return for Sunday’s game in Cleveland, 2018 sixth-rounder Jamil Demby would be in line to start.
  • Cowboys defensive tackle Antwaun Woods suffered an MCL sprain in Week 2, per Todd Archer of ESPN.com. Second-round pick Trysten Hill stands to be called to action if Woods is out against the Dolphins on Sunday. Hill has yet to be active this season. Woods started 15 games as Dallas’ nose tackle last season and has reprised that role this year.
  • Darnell Savage left Sunday’s Packers-Vikings game in a walking boot, but the rookie safety looks to have received good news. Savage shed the walking boot, per The Athletic’s Matt Schneiderman (on Twitter), and has been diagnosed with a shin injury. It looks like he will be good to go for Week 3’s game against the Broncos.

2019 Proven Performance Escalators

According to the NFL’s contractual bargaining agreement, players drafted in rounds three though seven are entitled to raises during the fourth year of their respective rookie contracts. The pay bumps are tied to playing time — a player must have played in 35% of his team’s offensive or defensive snaps in two of his first three seasons, or averaged 35% playing time cumulatively during that period.

If one of these thresholds is met, the player’s salary is elevated to the level of that year’s lowest restricted free agent tender — that figure should be around $2MM in 2019. Players selected in the first or second round, undrafted free agents, and kickers/punters are ineligible for the proven performance escalator.

Here are the players who will see their salary rise in 2019 courtesy of the proven performance escalator:

Bears: RB Jordan Howard, LB Nick Kwiatkoski

Bengals: LB Nick Vigil

Broncos: G Connor McGovern, S Will Parks, S Justin Simmons

Browns: S Derrick Kindred, LB Joe Schobert

Buccaneers: G Caleb Benenoch, DE Carl Nassib, CB Ryan Smith

Chargers: LB Jatavis Brown

Chiefs: CB Kendall Fuller, WR Tyreek Hill, S Eric Murray, WR Demarcus Robinson

Colts: QB Jacoby Brissett, T Joe Haeg

Cowboys: CB Anthony Brown, DT Maliek Collins, QB Dak Prescott

Dolphins: RB Kenyan Drake

Eagles: CB Jalen Mills, T Halapoulivaati Vaitai

Falcons: LB De’Vondre Campbell, TE Austin Hooper, G Wes Schweitzer

Jaguars: DE Yannick Ngakoue

Jets: LB Jordan Jenkins, CB Rashard Robinson, T Brandon Shell

Lions: C Graham Glasgow

Packers: LB Kyler Fackrell, DE Dean Lowry, LB Blake Martinez, LB Antonio Morrison

Patriots: G Joe Thuney, LB Elandon Roberts

Rams: G Austin Blythe, TE Tyler Higbee

Ravens: DE Matt Judon, OL Alex Lewis, CB Tavon Young

Saints: DT David Onyemata

Steelers: DT Javon Hargrave

Texans: DT D.J. Reader

Titans: S Kevin Byard, WR Tajae Sharpe

OverTheCap.com was essential in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. 

Minor NFL Transactions: 5/16/17

Today’s minor moves:

Carolina Panthers

Dallas Cowboys

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

  • Waived: DL B.J. Dubose

Pittsburgh Steelers

Washington Redskins