B.J. Goodson

Jets LB B.J. Goodson To Retire

B.J. Goodson‘s Jets stay will end up being brief. The team announced Wednesday the veteran linebacker intends to retire. Goodson signed with the Jets last week.

The former Giants, Packers and Browns starter made his debut for the Jets in Week 2, seeing action on seven special teams plays in the team’s loss to the Patriots. But Goodson no longer intends to continue his sixth NFL season. The Jets placed the 28-year-old off-ball linebacker on their reserve/retired list.

A fourth-round pick out of Clemson in 2016, Goodson became a starter for the Giants in his second season. He made 20 starts with the team but was traded to the Packers before the 2019 season. Green Bay used Goodson as a first-stringer frequently during his lone season with the team, deploying him as a nine-game starter during a 13-3 campaign.

The Browns signed Goodson last year and plugged him into their starting lineup immediately. He made a career-high 91 tackles and intercepted two passes, helping Cleveland snap its lengthy playoff drought. Goodson did miss two games after contracting COVID-19 late last season, however. He returned to start in both Browns playoff games, making 16 tackles.

Pro Football Focus graded Goodson as an upper-echelon coverage linebacker in 2020, and the Jets signed him to a deal worth up to $2.1MM. Goodson made 251 tackles and intercepted four passes in his five-plus-year career.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets, LB B.J. Goodson Agree To Deal

B.J. Goodson is returning to New York. The veteran linebacker agreed to terms on a one-year deal with the Jets on Tuesday, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.

This contract will be worth up to $2.1MM and bring the former Giants fourth-round pick and multiyear starter back to the Big Apple. Goodson worked out for the Jets on Tuesday. Interestingly, the Jets also auditioned former big-ticket free agency addition Avery Williamson, whom they traded to the Steelers at last year’s deadline.

Goodson, 28, has 43 career starts; 14 of those came for the Browns last season. The former Giants and Packers cog established a key role in Cleveland, with which he made a career-high 91 tackles and intercepted two passes to help snap a 17-season playoff drought. Pro Football Focus graded Goodson as an upper-echelon coverage linebacker in 2020. The Titans met with Goodson in April. Otherwise, he enjoyed a quiet free agency stay.

The Jets are down Jarrad Davis with an injury that required an IR stay, and C.J. Mosley has rarely seen the field during his two-plus-year Jets tenure. While Mosley returned to action to start this season, Jet linebackers Jamien Sherwood and Blake Cashman are dealing with injuries.

Williamson, 29, was not connected to a team in the offseason. The previous Jets regime signed the ex-Titan standout to a three-year, $22.5MM deal in 2018. Williamson, however, missed all of 2019 due to injury and finished last season in Pittsburgh. He started four games with the Steelers, who were then without Devin Bush. Williamson led the 2018 Jets with 120 tackles, contributing three sacks as well.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Titans Meet With LB B.J. Goodson

A full-time Browns starter last season, B.J. Goodson is looking for a new team. The former Giants draft pick made a visit Thursday, meeting with the Titans, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets.

The five-year veteran linebacker is coming off his most productive season. In 14 Cleveland games (all starts), Goodson registered 91 tackles and two interceptions. Pro Football Focus graded Goodson as a top-25 off-ball ‘backer. Goodson tested positive for COVID-19 near the end of the regular season but returned to play in both Browns playoff games, when added 16 more stops.

This bounce-back effort came after the Giants shipped him to the Packers in 2019. While Goodson has played for three teams over the past three years, he has been a regular for most of his career. The Clemson product is a 43-game NFL starter.

Tennessee re-signed Jayon Brown this offseason and has Rashaan Evans entrenched alongside him. Goodson joining the Titans would represent a slight step back, but the team struggled in nearly all defensive facets last season and could certainly use a proven veteran for depth purposes.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Finds COVID-19 Spread Within Browns

Jan. 8: There is finally some good news to report on the Browns’ COVID-19 situation. Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets that the only new positive test today was assistant offensive line coach Scott Peters, who had already been identified as a high risk close contact. Hopefully, this means that the spread has been contained.

The wildcard game against the Steelers remains scheduled for Sunday night.

Jan. 7: The Browns learned Thursday they will be without another starter against the Steelers. Ronnie Harrison tested positive for COVID-19, the Browns announced. The team will have another starting safety — Andrew Sendejo — back for its playoff opener, but the NFL has determined some coronavirus spread has occurred within the Browns.

NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills said “there was some spread from one individual to another,” via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter). Previously, the league deemed the Browns’ virus issue as having resulted from a spread within the Cleveland-area community.

Despite the Browns being down head coach Kevin Stefanski, Pro Bowl guard Joel Bitonio and others, the game remains on schedule for Sunday night, Pelissero tweets. However, contact tracing is ongoing and intra-team spreads have triggered postponements this season.

The Steelers saw multiple games — against the Titans and Ravens — postponed because of COVID-19 spreading within those teams’ facilities. The NFL could face a decision soon. It is not out of the question the AFC North matchup is postponed, per the Washington Post’s Mark Maske, but a “bigger bump” in spread would need to happen (Twitter link).

Even in the event of a postponement of a day or two, the Browns would not have Stefanski or Bitonio back due to their positive tests occurring earlier this week. Cleveland also has key contributors Denzel Ward, Kevin Johnson, KhaDarel Hodge, Malcolm Smith and Harrison Bryant on its reserve/COVID-19 list. Ward could be activated in time for Sunday’s game but only if he has not encountered symptoms.

The Browns also placed linebacker Montrel Meander on the practice squad reserve/COVID-19 list but moved linebacker B.J. Goodson back onto their active roster after his stay on the COVID list. Harrison just returned to action, playing in Week 17 after missing several late-season games due to a shoulder injury.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Browns’ COVID-19 Situation

The Browns’ COVID-19 situation will keep at least four players out of their crucial Week 17 game. Linebacker Malcolm Smith and tight end Harrison Bryant are the players who tested positive for the coronavirus, sources tell NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter). They’ll be held out of Sunday’s tilt against the Steelers, along with linebacker B.J. Goodson and safety Andrew Sendejo

[POLL: Which AFC Contender Will Miss Playoffs?]

Although the team reopened its facility after a contact tracing effort Wednesday, the Browns closed it again Thursday. They will, however, have their top four receivers back this week. Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins, Donovan Peoples-Jones and KhaDarel Hodge are off the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list. So is linebacker Jacob Phillips. The Steelers-Browns rematch remains on schedule for 1pm ET Sunday.

Denzel Ward, however, is the latest Browns player to run into COVID trouble. The Browns’ No. 1 cornerback tested positive for the coronavirus and is out Sunday, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com reports (on Twitter). He is out for Sunday’s game and would be a long shot to play in the Browns’ playoff opener, should they qualify.

The Browns are playing to snap the NFL’s longest active playoff drought. If they win, they’re in. If they lose, they’ll need the Colts to do the same, but that would hinge on a quality performance from the lowly Jaguars. If the Browns lose and the Colts win, they’ll need a Titans loss, plus wins from the Ravens and Dolphins to sneak into the postseason.

On the plus side, the Steelers indicated they will rest Ben Roethlisberger this weekend. Plus, they’ll be without top defenders Devin Bush and Bud Dupree, who limited the Browns to just six points in their October meeting. As it stands, Football Outsiders gives the Browns a 44% chance to hold at the No. 6 seed and a 20% chance to make it as the No. 7 seed.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

COVID-19 Latest: Browns, Texans, Panthers

The Browns have closed their facility and delayed their flight to New Jersey because of a positive COVID-19 test. They are performing contract tracing ahead of their scheduled noon CT Sunday game against the Jets. While the Browns placed Jedrick Wills on their reserve/COVID-19 list, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com reports the rookie left tackle did not test positive for the coronavirus. He and practice squad wideout Ryan Switzer are close contacts. However, Wills is expected to be pulled off the Browns’ virus list in order to start Sunday, Cabot adds. Cleveland indeed activated Wills off its reserve/COVID list but placed linebacker B.J. Goodson on it ahead of Sunday’s game. Goodson tested positive, Cabot reports. The Browns are planning to depart Cleveland at some point tonight, Albert Breer of SI.com tweets.

Here is the latest from the NFL’s COVID-19 front:

  • Deshaun Watson‘s restaurant opening has caused an issue for the Texans. Watson and other Houston players were photographed maskless at the recent indoor event, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). Watson received a $7.5K fine. The Texans levied fines against some of his teammates as well, with ESPN.com’s Sarah Barshop noting Laremy Tunsil, Brandin Cooks and Tytus Howard were among those at the event.
  • Whitney Mercilus now resides on the Texans’ reserve/COVID-19 list, and the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson reports he tested positive for the virus (Twitter link). This is Mercilus’ second time on the COVID list; he landed there in November as a close contact of then-COVID-positive linebacker Jacob Martin. This will end Mercilus’ season — his ninth with the Texans. Thanks to his December 2019 extension, Mercilus is signed through the 2023 season.
  • The Panthersdustup with COVID earlier this month produced a series of fines. The team handed out fines of at least $10K to players who broke virus protocols during the team’s bye week earlier this month, per Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com. Wideouts D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel and Shaq Thompson, Derrick Brown and Greg Little were among those placed on the COVID list.
  • After the Broncos were forced to use practice squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton at quarterback earlier this season, the NFL tweaked its protocol to help teams in the event similar trouble emerges. Players already receiving COVID testing will be permitted to make their debuts for new teams without having to take virus tests six days apart, Pelissero tweets. This would allow for a team to sign a player off another team’s practice squad late in the week and use him in a game in an emergency scenario.
  • Washington fined Dwayne Haskins $40K for breaking COVID protocols for the second time this season but did not suspend him.

Contract Details: Davis, Roberts, Haeg

Let’s take a closer look at the details of a few recently-signed free agent contracts:

AFC

NFC

  • Sean Davis, S (Redskins): One year, $4MM. $2MM guaranteed (Twitter link via John Keim of ESPN.com).
  • Seth Roberts, WR (Panthers): One year, $3.75MM (Twitter link via Mike Garafolo of ESPN.com).
  • Zach Kerr, DT (Panthers): Two years, $3MM. Unknown incentives available (Twitter link via Garafolo).
  • B.J. Goodson, LB (Browns): One year, $2.4MM. $2.25MM guaraneed. $1.25MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com).
  • Joe Haeg, T (Buccaneers): One year, $2.3MM. $1.5MM guaranteed. Up to $1MM available via playtime incentives (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Cedric Ogbuehi, T (Seahawks): One year, $2.3MM. $500K guaranteed. $500K signing bonus (Twitter link via Brady Henderson of ESPN.com).
  • Will Parks, S (Eagles): One year, $1.5MM. $1.375MM guaranteed. $375K signing bonus. Up to $125K in per-game roster bonuses (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Tajae Sharpe, WR (Vikings): One year, $1MM. $675K guaranteed. $175K signing bonus. Max value of $1.5MM (Twitter link via Pelissero).
  • Sharrod Neasman, S (Falcons): One year, $950K. $40K signing bonus. Veteran salary benefit (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Joe Walker, LB (49ers): One year, $900K. Max of $75K in per-game roster bonuses (Twitter link via Wilson).

Browns To Sign LB B.J. Goodson

The Browns have come to an agreement with linebacker B.J. Goodson, per NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero. Cleveland has already lost linebackers Christian Kirksey and Joe Schobert in free agency so Goodson should immediately slot into the starting lineup.

Still just 26 years old, Goodson has accumulated 160 tackles in 53 games (29 starts) since entering the league in 2016. A fourth-round pick by the Giants, Goodson spent his first three seasons in New York before a trade last September sent him to Green Bay where he immediately entered the team’s rotation.

Last season, Goodson graded similarly to both Schobert and Kirksey, ranking as the 54th highest graded linebacker out of 89 qualified players, per Pro Football Focus.

NFC North Notes: Lions, Jackson, Vikings, Fields, Vedvik, Packers, Goodson

The Lions might not be done stockpiling quarterbacks. At cutdown day, they had amassed five on the 90-man roster. They cut Tom Savage and Luis Perez to get them down to three, but are now apparently looking for additional options. Detroit will work out Tyree Jackson on Monday, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link). The Bills waived Jackson this weekend. As of right now the Lions have journeyman Josh Johnson and undrafted rookie David Blough, who they just traded for, on the roster behind Matthew Stafford.

The Lions also scheduled a Kyle Sloter workout, but the recently waived Vikings passer ended up signing with the Cardinals’ practice squad. Sloter drew interest from several teams, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets. Jackson left the University of Buffalo a year early, then went undrafted. He’s widely regarded as having impressive physical tools, but still being far too raw to play anytime soon.

Here’s more from the NFC North:

  • The Vikings made a minor trade with the Chiefs for cornerback Mark Fields over the weekend, and now we have the details. The 2021 seventh-round pick Minnesota sent is conditional, a source told Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star Tribune (Twitter link). Gooessling writes that it’s “based on Fields being on the Vikings’ roster for an agreed-upon number of games,” and that if Fields isn’t on the roster long Minnesota won’t have to give up anything. Fields was an undrafted rookie from Clemson who the Vikings reportedly had interest in right after the draft.
  • Speaking of Vikings trades, Minnesota caught some flak for trading a fifth-round pick for kicker/punter Kaare Vedvik and then cutting him a few weeks later. Vedvik struggled during the preseason, and Minnesota opted to stick with Dan Bailey as their kicker. The Jets ended up claiming Vedvik off waivers, but Minnesota apparently wanted him back. The Vikings had offered him a spot on the practice squad and he was likely going to accept before New York claimed him, Tomasson tweets.
  • We also now have terms on the B.J. Goodson trade. The Giants initially announced they intended to release the inside linebacker, but then traded him to the Packers earlier this morning. The deal was done in exchange for the teams agreeing to swap conditional 2020 seventh-round picks, according to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer (Twitter link). Balzer notes that Green Bay sent a pick they had previously acquired from Baltimore in the deal. Goodson was a fourth-round pick of the Giants’ back in 2016, who started 13 games for them last year.

Giants Trade B.J. Goodson To Packers

The Giants aren’t cutting B.J. Goodson after all. Moments after announcing his release, the Giants struck a deal to send him to the Packers, as Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com tweets. The Giants’ return is not yet known.

Goodson isn’t a star, but he does offer starting experience. With the Packers, he can provide depth at inside linebacker in wake of Oren Burks‘ pectoral injury.

I’m not sure what’s really going on with ‘OB,’ but for what it is right now, there’s definitely an opportunity for all of us to step up and fill that role, for whoever it is that the coaches decide,” second-year pro James Crawford said after Burks suffered the injury against the Texans in preseason action.

Now, Goodson will be among those on hand to help out.