Bilal Powell

Latest On Jets RB Bilal Powell

Despite some initial concern to the contrary, running back Bilal Powell’s neck injury is not career-threatening, Jets coach Todd Bowles told reporters (Twitter link via Ralph Vacchiano of SNY). Powell suffered the same injury that wide receiver Quincy Enunwa suffered last year, which means that it is a serious neck injury, but one that Powell can come back from after taking time to recover. 

The Jets placed Powell on IR this week after learning that he would be unable to play again this year. It’s possible that Powell has played his final down in a Jets uniform since he is in a contract year, but, fortunately, it sounds like he will be able to play football again.

The quietly productive running back will turn 29 over the weekend, meaning that he’ll hit free agency still on the right side of 30. He’ll still be in the recovery process during the first and second waves of free agency, but he could be available for clubs near the start of the season.

The Jets, without the services of Powell, will face the Bears in Chicago on Sunday.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Rumors: Jets, Nagy, Conley, Bengals

Todd Bowles and Matt Nagy will face off Sunday when the Jets head to Soldier Field, but this matchup’s visiting coach wanted Nagy to be his offensive coordinator last year, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports. The Jets ended up hiring the since-fired John Morton to be their OC in 2017, but Mehta writes Bowles’ top choice to replace Chan Gailey was Nagy, whom he’s known for decades. However, Nagy did not take an interview, continuing as Andy Reid‘s top offensive lieutenant with the Chiefs. Reid did not want to lose Nagy, per Mehta. Nagy stayed in Kansas City and served as a part-time play-caller last season. That ended up being a critical decision, with Nagy overseeing a dynamic Chiefs offense — one that continued to incorporate college concepts and doubled as one of the league’s most innovative attacks — and the season leading to the Bears hiring him as their head coach. Jeremy Bates is now the Jets’ OC.

Here’s the latest out of the Big Apple and other AFC cities:

  • Bilal Powell‘s career may be in jeopardy. The Jets placed their longtime passing-down running back on IR today, and the neck injury Powell’s sustained will need to be surgically repaired. Bowles said (via Rich Cimini of ESPN.com, Twitter link) this could be a career-threatening setback. Powell’s played with the Jets since arriving in New York as a fourth-round pick in 2011. He’s by far the longest-tenured Jet, having served as a backfield complement to the likes of LaDainian Tomlinson, Chris Ivory and Matt Forte.
  • Patrick Peterson is either off the market, or the Cardinals are orchestrating an impressive smokescreen, so cornerback-needy teams will need to look elsewhere. Some are gauging whether the Raiders would trade another Reggie McKenzie first-round pick, with Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports tweeting teams are inquiring about Gareon Conley. Janoris Jenkins is the other player contenders are monitoring, but Conley is only in his second season. He is, however, one of the many Raiders who’ve seen their stock drop under Jon Gruden. The Raiders benched Conley prior to their London game; he’d started the previous five Oakland games after missing almost all of his rookie season due to a shin injury. However, the Raiders aren’t believed to be ready to part with Conley. JLC adds the Eagles, Patriots and Steelers are among the teams exploring what it would take to land a corner.
  • An NFLPA grievance against the Bengals filed on behalf of Eric Reid did not go in the union’s favor, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com reports. An arbitrator denied the grievance, ruling the Bengals were within their rights to ask the then-free agent safety if he planned on continuing to kneel during the playing of the national anthem. The NFLPA argued the Bengals passed on Reid solely because of the anthem controversy, per Garafolo. Now on the Panthers, Reid has knelt during the anthem with Carolina. His collusion grievance against the NFL is still pending and isn’t expected to be heard in the near future, Garafolo adds.

Jets Place RB Bilal Powell On IR

The Jets placed running back Bilal Powell on injured reserve, according to a club announcement. Powell suffered a neck injury on Sunday against the Vikings, and the injury will bar him from returning this season. 

Sunday’s game could mark the end of Powell’s tenure with the Jets. Powell, a fourth-round pick of Gang Green in 2011, is in the final year of his three-year, $11.25MM extension. While he has been a staple of the Jets’ backfield for years, it’s possible that they’ll go in another direction this offseason.

Powell has never been the most exciting player or much of a household name, but he has been quietly consistent for the Jets. Powell has rushed for an average of 4.4 yards per carry over the course of his eight-year career and been a consistently capable pass-catcher out of the backfield. In 2016, he caught a career-high 58 passes for 388 yards and two receiving scores.

Powell’s 2018 season has come to a close after racking up 343 yards off of 80 carries. He found pay dirt once on a receiving touchdown and he had eleven grabs for 110 yards on the whole.

Without Powell, the Jets may consider adding a running back to add support behind Isaiah Crowell. For now, they’re using the spot to sign safety Ibraheim Campbell. Rookie Trenton Cannon is technically the only other running back on the roster, but Eli McGuire is back practicing and eligible to come off of IR next week.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Broncos, Pats, Von, Steelers, Jets

Mike Klis of 9News obtained a report from a non-Broncos scout who observed linebacker Von Miller nine times last season and concluded that the 27-year-old is a “Hall of Fame-caliber performer.’’ Meanwhile, former Patriots general counsel/player personnel Jack Musa told Klis that the Pats – who are known for preemptively cutting bait on stars – would shop Miller if they were in a similar situation as Denver is now.

“I’m not saying not signing Von Miller is the wrong thing to do. I’m not saying that at all,” said Musa, who was with the Patriots for a decade. “But if you don’t and you’ve moved on from him, you certainly get something from him. You don’t have him sitting out a year and improving his own negotiating leverage – that’s not something we ever experienced in New England but that’s a very real possibility in Denver.’’

The Broncos and Miller are currently in a contract-related showdown, one which they’re running out of time to resolve. If the reigning Super Bowl champions and the franchise-tagged superstar don’t reach an agreement on a long-term deal by July 15 at 4 p.m. ET, they won’t be able to negotiate again until the offseason. That would leave Miller with two options: 1. Continue sitting out in lieu of signing the franchise tender. 2. Sign it and make in the $14MM neighborhood to play this year. If Miller opts for the first choice, the Broncos wouldn’t have the ability to slap the exclusive franchise tag on him next offseason, though they could give him the non-exclusive version. However, the compensation from a team that signs Miller to an offer sheet would decrease in value by a substantial amount, going from two first-round picks to a first- and third-round selection. The Broncos hit Miller with the exclusive designation this year to stop him from trying to hammer out an accord with another team.

Elsewhere around the AFC…

  • The Browns picked up quarterback Robert Griffin III in free agency and ex-Baylor receiver Corey Coleman via the first round of the draft, but they’re nonetheless “going to be a run-oriented football team,” run game coordinator Kirby Wilson told Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. As Roster Resource shows, the Browns’ top two rushers from last season – Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson – remain in the equation, and three former undrafted free agents trail behind them. Given that trio’s lack of pedigree and the fact that neither Crowell nor Johnson eclipsed 3.8 yards per carry last season, it’s not exactly the most promising group on paper. Johnson, to his credit, caught 61 passes as a rookie, leading Wilson to call the 2015 third-rounder from Miami “an ultimate weapon.”
  • The five-year, $41.9MM deal – including $8.5MM guaranteed – all-world wide receiver Antonio Brown signed in 2012 is the most team-friendly contract the Steelers have, argues Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap. Brown was behind Mike Wallace on the Steelers’ wideout pecking order at the time, but the former has since combined for a stunning 375 receptions, 5,031 yards and 31 touchdowns going back to 2013. Although Pittsburgh took a risk at the time, it now has the biggest veteran bargain in the league, Fitzgerald opines. Conversely, linebacker Lawrence Timmons‘ contract (five years, $47.8MM, $11MM guaranteed) is the Steelers’ worst. While Fitzgerald doesn’t have a problem with the value, he’s critical of the way the Steelers have handled the pact. The club has restructured it three times in a four-year span, effectively guaranteeing four of its five seasons and leaving Timmons without an incentive to accept an extension and lower his cap number – which is the most among inside linebackers this season by over $5MM.
  • Jets offensive coordinator Chan Gailey could have a harder time dividing touches between his top two running backs this year than he did in 2015, posits Brian Costello of the New York Post. Last season’s Jets prominently featured the duo of bruiser Chris Ivory and dual-threat option Bilal Powell, but the former is now in Jacksonville. The Jets replaced him with Matt Forte, who – like Powell – can do damage both as a rusher and pass catcher. Regardless, Costello argues that New York has a valuable player on its hands in the 27-year-old Powell, without whom it went 1-4 in 2015. As a result of his 11-game, 701-total yard, 47-catch season, the Jets re-signed Powell to a three-year, $11.25MM deal with $6MM in guarantees over the winter. Forte landed a somewhat similar contract at three years, $12MM and $8MM guaranteed.

Contract Details: Smith, Martin, Sweezy, Thornton

Here are some of the latest details on recently agreed-upon or signed contracts from around the NFL. All Twitter links are courtesy of Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle unless otherwise indicated…

  • Sean Smith, CB (Raiders): Four years, $38MM. $20MM guaranteed. $5MM signing bonus. 2016 $5.75MM base salary is guaranteed. 2017 $5MM salary guaranteed against injury upon signing. 2018 base: $8.25MM. 2019: $8.75MM. $500K annual Pro Bowl incentive. Smith has $4.25MM roster bonus guaranteed on third day of 2017 league year. (Twitter links). $15.25MM fully guaranteed in first 12 months of the deal, per Tom Pelissero of USA Today (on Twitter)
  • Byron Maxwell, CB (Dolphins): As part of restructure, gave back $1.5MM in cash on 2017 salary in exchange for $2MM guaranteed in ’17, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter)
  • Doug Martin, RB (Buccaneers): Five years, $35.75MM. $15MM guaranteed. $4MM roster bonus on March 14. Guaranteed base salaries of $4MM, $7MM in 2016, 2017. Salaries from 2018-20: $6.75MM, $7MM, $7MM. $1.44MM escalator for stats, playing time, Pro Bowls from 2017-20 (Twitter links)
  • J.R. Sweezy, G (Buccaneers): Five years, $32.5MM. $14.5MM guaranteed. $5MM roster bonus on March 15. Base salaries from 2016-20: $4.5MM, $2.5MM, $6.5MM, $5.75MM, $5.75MM. $2.75MM roster bonus in 2017. (Twitter link)
  • Cedric Thornton, DE (Cowboys): Four years, $17MM. $9MM guaranteed. $5MM signing bonus. Base salaries 2016-19: $1MM (guaranteed), $3MM (guaranteed against injury), $4MM, $4MM. (Twitter link)
  • Tracy Porter, CB (Bears): Three years, $12MM. $4.25MM guaranteed. $900K signing bonus. $1.6MM roster bonus on March 30. Base salaries from 2016-18: $1.5MM, $3.5MM, $3.5MM. $1MM Pro Bowl bonus in each year. (Twitter links via Wilson and Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times)
  • Bilal Powell, RB (Jets): Three years, $11.25MM. $250MM signing bonus. 2016 base salary of $850K, which is guaranteed. $2.5MM of $3.75MM 2017 base salary guaranteed. (Twitter link)
  • Tony Bergstrom, C (Texans): Two years, $5.75MM. $750K signing bonus. $1.5MM guaranteed. Base salaries in 2016-17: $1.23MM (guaranteed), $2.63MM (guaranteed against injury). $750K roster bonus April 18. (Twitter links)
  • Johnson Bademosi, DB (Lions): Two years, $4.5MM. $2.9MM guaranteed. Base salaries in 2016-17: $1.1MM, $1.3MM. $50K annual workout bonus. $400K Pro Bowl incentive. (Twitter link)

Jets To Re-Sign Bilal Powell

7:11pm: Powell’s new contract with the Jets is a three-year pact worth $11.25MM, with $6MM in fully guaranteed money, tweets Tom Pelissero of USA Today.

11:28am: The Jets lost one key running back to free agency, but they refused to lose another. Gang Green and Bilal Powell have reached agreement on a new deal, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Bilal Powell

Powell will now join free agent acquisition Matt Forte in what is shaping up to be a formidable backfield. Chris Ivory, of course, has moved on to the Jaguars, but Forte and Powell should give the Jets two different running styles to throw at opposing defenses. The Jets still have one more free agent tailback to address in Stevan Ridley, though he is considered to be less pivotal to the Jets’ offense than Powell.

Powell averaged a career-high 4.5 yards per carry on 70 attempts last season and added a personal-best 47 receptions. Jets head coach Todd Bowles has been a vocal supporter of the running back and is undoubtedly happy to have him back in the fold.

“He’s been more of a complete back than even I thought he was coming in. He can block. He can run. He’s not just a pass catcher. He does a bunch of things for us,” Bowles said in January.

The 27-year-old has spent all five of his career NFL seasons with the Jets. In terms of overall yards and usage, his best season came in 2013 when he carried the ball 176 times for 697 yards and one touchdown. Last season, Powell had 70 rushing attempts for 313 yards, giving him a 4.5 yards-per-attempt average.

The Cowboys, Patriots, Ravens, and Broncos also showed varying degrees of interest in Powell this week.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Market Intensifying For RB Bilal Powell

2:59pm: The market for Powell is intensifying, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.com, who suggests (via Twitter) that the Patriots are no longer in the mix.

1:22pm: The Broncos are also interest in Powell, according to Brian Costello of the New York Post (Twitter link).

8:20am: The Cowboys, Patriots, Ravens, and the incumbent Jets are showing interest in running back Bilal Powell, league sources tell Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. The Jets could be looking at a full makeover at running back with Stevan Ridley on the open market and Chris Ivory on his way to the Jaguars. Bilal Powell

Powell averaged a career-high 4.5 yards per carry on 70 attempts last season and added a personal-best 47 receptions. If he does leave, it will be a disappointment for head coach Todd Bowles, who has been a vocal supporter of the running back.

“He’s been more of a complete back than even I thought he was coming in. He can block. He can run. He’s not just a pass catcher. He does a bunch of things for us,” Bowles said in January.

The 27-year-old has spent all five of his career NFL seasons with the Jets. In terms of overall yards and usage, his best season came in 2013 when he carried the ball 176 times for 697 yards and one touchdown. Last season, Powell had 70 rushing attempts for 313 yards, giving him a 4.5 yards-per-attempt average.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Hasselbeck, Powell, Vernon

Former Colts quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is set to join the cast of ESPN’s Sunday Countdown, sources tell Jason McIntyre of the Big Lead, who adds that a retirement announcement from Hasselbeck could come as soon as tomorrow. Indianpolis informed Hasselbeck that it would not re-sign him late last month:

More from around the league before the craziness starts tomorrow:

  • The Patriots are interested in free agent running back Bilal Powell, tweets Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. The Jets, Powell’s club for the duration of his career, already lost one RB earlier tonight when Chris Ivory agreed to sign with the Jaguars.
  • Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports is the latest to confirm rumors that the Dolphins may rescind Olivier Vernon‘s franchise tag, noting that if the club works out an extension with Cameron Wake, Vernon could become an unrestricted free agent.
  • Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo underwent successful collarbone surgery and is expected to recover within six-to-eight weeks, according to Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (Twitter link).

Free Agent Rumors: Weddle, Raiders, Patriots

Here’s a roundup of the very latest free agent rumors from around the NFL:

  • Reiterating that he wants to sign with a team capable of contending for the Super Bowl, free agent safety Eric Weddle tells Peter King of TheMMQB.com that he thinks he has another three to five years left in him. According to King, Weddle spoke fondly of the Patriots, Panthers, Raiders, and Steelers, suggesting those teams could be fits for him.
  • Within King’s piece, the MMQB.com scribe notes that rival executives around the NFL expect the Raiders, Jaguars, and Falcons to be among the most active teams in free agency this week.
  • “Buzz is building” for running back Bilal Powell, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, who writes that the free agent Jet should land a respectable contract this week. Florio notes that all three of the Jets’ division rivals – the Dolphins, Patriots, and Bills – make sense as potential suitors for Powell.
  • Washington running back Alfred Morris took to Instagram with a message that appears to be a farewell to the organization. Morris will be a free agent this week. The tailback rushed for 4,713 yards in his four seasons with Washington. This past season, he split duties with rookie Matt Jones and was not a key part of the team’s offense.
  • The Colts have former Patriots tight end Scott Chandler in for a visit today, Albert Breer of NFL.com tweets.

AFC East Rumors: Bills, Dolphins, Jets

Three of the AFC East’s four teams are in the news. Here’s the latest:

  • As free agency approaches, the Bills are working to retain their two best offensive linemen – left tackle Cordy Glenn and left guard Richie Incognitowrites CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora. We learned this afternoon that the Bills intend to place the franchise tag on Glenn if he hasn’t agreed to a long-term deal by the March 1 deadline. Contrary to a report from earlier this week, the Bills aren’t currently looking to extend contract-year quarterback Tyrod Taylor, per La Canfora, who adds that they’re instead focusing on locking up cornerback Stephon Gilmore. Moreover, they’ll release defensive end Mario Williams and running back Anthony Dixon, and could restructure the contracts of safety Corey Graham, corner Leodis McKelvin, and possibly defensive lineman Kyle Williams. With some of the cap space those moves would create, La Canfora expects the Bills to pursue free agent-to-be Bilal Powell. The 27-year-old running back played under Bills head coach Rex Ryan as a member of the Jets from 2011-14. Powell averaged a career-high 4.5 yards per carry on 70 attempts last season and added a personal-best 47 receptions.
  • The Dolphins want to rework the contract of defensive end Cameron Wake, according to La Canfora. The problem, he notes, is that Wake would likely match or exceed the $8.4MM he’s scheduled to make as a Dolphin next season if they release him and he reaches the open market. Thus, the 34-year-old lacks incentive to take a pay cut. Not surprisingly, then, talks between the Dolphins and Wake’s agent made no progress at the combine.
  • With two ex-Jets bigwigs in Buffalo (Ryan) and Miami (executive vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum), representatives of pending Jets free agents said at the combine that the Bills and Dolphins could be landing spots for their clients, according to Brian Costello of the New York Post. That seems to corroborate La Canfora’s report that the Bills will try to reel in Powell in free agency. Further, the Bills and Dolphins could go after Jets run-stuffing defensive tackle Damon Harrison if he hits the market, per Costello, though he notes that the teams’ lack of cap space might serve as roadblocks. Even so, Harrison could use those clubs as leverage to scare the Jets into meeting his demands.