Billy Price

AFC Notes: Raiders, Fins, Bengals, Chargers

If Jon Gruden had his way, safety Derwin James would be patrolling the Raiders‘ defensive backfield instead of the Chargers’. Gruden today told reporters that he preferred to select James in the first round of this year’s draft, but Oakland had already used high picks on safeties — Karl Joseph and Obi Melifonwu — in recent years, per Eric Williams of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The Raiders ultimately used the 15th overall selection on UCLA offensive tackle Kolton Miller, who is now manning Derek Carr‘s blindside. James has emerged as an early Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate with his play in Los Angeles, but Gruden’s remarks can be interpreted as a subtle dig at Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie, who reportedly hasn’t meshed with Gruden.

Here’s more from the AFC:

  • Dolphins safety Reshad Jones will be available for Week 5 after missing the previous two weeks with a shoulder injury, writes Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com. Jones was sidelined for Miami’s games against Oakland (win) and New England (loss), forcing rookie defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick to take over at safety opposite T.J. McDonald. With Jones’ return, Fitzpatrick will move back into his natural slot corner role. Jones, who entered the league as a Dolphins fifth-round pick in 2010, has been a full-time starter since his second season in the NFL. Last spring, he inked a long-term extension that should keep him in South Beach through 2021
  • Rookie Bengals center Billy Price hasn’t suffered any setbacks since suffering a foot injury in Week 2, but he’s still expected to be in a walking boot for at least two more weeks, tweets Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com. That means Price will miss games against the Dolphins and Steelers, and possibly more if his recovery timeline is extended. Cincinnati’s bye comes in Week 9, so the Bengals could potentially hold Price out through then if they want to be cautious. With Price out, the Bengals have turned to former starting guard Trey Hopkins to fill in at the pivot.
  • Chargers linebacker Kyzir White underwent a minor knee operation on Monday and will miss Week 5, head coach Anthony Lynn told reporters, including Williams (Twitter link). White isn’t expected to miss much time, however, and should be back “sooner rather than later,” per Lynn. A fourth-round rookie out of West Virginia, White has started three games for Los Angeles this season, racking up 12 tackles in the process. Jatavis Brown should see more snaps in White’s absence.

Bengals’ Billy Price To Miss Time

The Bengals will be without center Billy Price for a while thanks to a lower left leg injury, as Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes. Price says he’ll be in a walking boot “24/7” before team doctors re-evaluate him in two weeks. 

Finally figured out what it was this morning,” Price said. “Last couple days was just trying to figure out what it is and what’s the plan going forward. They thought it was an ankle now turned to a foot, there wasn’t any swelling and it wasn’t Lisfranc, so just thankful for that. That’s great news.”

The Price injury hurts (no pun intended), particularly with running back Joe Mixon also on the shelf for 2-4 weeks with a minor meniscus tear. The 2-0 Bengals will go up against the Panthers and Falcons in the next two weeks without two offensive starters, and their absence could stretch into October contests against the Dolphins and Steelers.

For however long they’re out, the Bengals will be relying on running back Giovani Bernard and fill-in center Trey Hopkins to hold down the fort.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Raiders, Ravens, Bengals, Bills

The Raiders surprisingly re-signed wide receiver Martavis Bryant earlier this week after initially waiving him at final cutdowns, and head coach Jon Gruden is optimistic on Bryant’s chances to contribute, as Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area writes. “He’s in a good place right now,” Gruden said. “I think he’s healthy. I think he’s ready to go. We’re sold on that. We’ve been in contact with him since he has been away. I’ve said it before: when he’s right, he can be a difference maker and we’re hoping he can be one sooner rather than later.”

Bryant is reportedly facing a yearlong suspension after another alleged violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy, but he’s eligible to play until the league formally announces a ban. Indeed, Bryant is expected to suit up for the Raiders when they face the Broncos on Sunday. Bryant didn’t take any sort of pay cut to return to Oakland, as he’ll collect the same $1.907MM (prorated) salary he was originally due, tweets Tom Pelissero of NFL.com.

Here’s more from the AFC:

  • Linebacker C.J. Mosley did not suffer any ligament damage in the Ravens‘ Thursday night loss to the Bengals, head coach John Harbaugh told reporters, including Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic (Twitter link). While Mosley may miss Baltimore’s Week 3 contest against Denver, Harbaugh doesn’t think Mosley is facing a long-term absence. For what it’s worth, the Ravens announced Mosley had a bone bruise when he left last night’s game. As Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com writes, Mosley has arguably become Baltimore’s most indispensable defender, so the Ravens will be hard-pressed to replace him for any period of time. Mosley, 26, is currently playing out the final year of his contract, but he hadn’t progressed on an extension with the Ravens as of July.
  • Elsewhere from Thursday night’s game, Bengals center Billy Price suffered a foot sprain, according to head coach Marvin Lewis (Twitter link via Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer). The injury doesn’t sound all that serious, as Lewis indicated he was “surprised” Price wasn’t cleared to return to Cincinnati’s eventual victory. Price, the 21st overall selection in this year’s draft, was part of a Bengals offensive line overhaul that also included the acquisition of left tackle Cordy Glenn. If Price is forced to miss action, he’ll be replaced by reserve Trey Hopkins, who started 12 games for Cincinnati in 2017.
  • The Bills will start first-round rookie Josh Allen at quarterback on Sunday after Nathan Peterman and the rest of Buffalo’s offense was thrashed by Baltimore in Week 1, leading Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com to examine whether deploying Allen this early in the season is the correct decision. Allen won’t be forced to face Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa, but the Los Angeles defense will certainly present a challenge for the Wyoming product.

AFC North Notes: Steelers, Price, Browns

Two key Steelers will be changing positions. Pittsburgh’s outside linebacker starters, Bud Dupree and T.J. Watt, will swap spots, with Dupree shifting to the right outside linebacker role and Watt moving to the left side, Tim Benz of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review notes. Dupree’s issues with being too far behind quarterbacks on outside rushes, in a league that features mostly right-handed passers, prompted Keith Butler to relocate him.

What Bud did too much of last year, in my opinion, was he got past the quarterback,” Butler said. “To me, you’re useless when you’re past the quarterback. Now, he won’t be as useless behind the quarterback because he can work back a little bit or he can go up and under where the quarterback won’t see him.”

Although the Steelers exercised Dupree’s fifth-year option, the 2015 first-round pick has not lived up to expectations just yet. The Kentucky product rated as a bottom-10 edge defender, per Pro Football Focus, last season, but the Steelers will try to give him another opportunity to make good on their investment. Butler said the relative inexperience of the players involved in this switch prompted him to wait until the offseason to make this move.

I think I’m more natural on the left side just because I’m more right-hand dominant,” Watt said, via Benz. “I can have a better dip and a better stab. I have more pitches I can throw on the left side.”

Here’s the latest out of the AFC North, shifting to the division’s most pressing issue — Le’Veon Bell‘s status in Pittsburgh.

  • As less than a month remains until the pivotal extension deadline for franchise-tagged players, Bell has not shown up at Steelers workouts. This was expected. But as of last week, the Steelers had yet to resume contract talks with their All-Pro running back. And Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette puts the odds at an extension occurring as longer than the sides continuing their present arrangement. Fittipaldo writes Bell not reaching a long-term agreement would again induce him to skip training camp and the preseason. Of course, Bell and the Steelers failing to come to terms this year could well mean the 26-year-old dynamo will be playing elsewhere in 2019, considering the prohibitive cost for tagging a player three times.
  • Tyrod Taylor will be a free agent at season’s end, but one AFC executive views him as a player who could make Baker Mayfield wait a long time before taking the Browns‘ reins. “Tyrod Taylor could keep Baker Mayfield on the bench for years,” the anonymous staffer said, via Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report. This seems unlikely given the investment the Browns made in Mayfield, and the fact full redshirts for first-round QBs rarely occur anymore. But Taylor does have three years’ experience as a starter and has maybe the best cast of wide receivers he’s enjoyed since ascending to a starting role. That said, the risk-averse passer will need to be re-signed for this to occur. It would likely take Mayfield’s development stalling considerably for Cleveland to bring back Taylor.
  • Prior to the Lions taking Arkansas interior lineman Frank Ragnow with their first-round pick, the Bengals had he and Billy Price ranked “pretty much evenly,” Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com notes. After watching the Ohio State product operate this offseason, one that didn’t feature him becoming fully cleared until Monday, the Bengals believe Price might be a better fit for their offense rather than the player who was selected one spot ahead of him. He’s expected to be Cincinnati’s starting center from Day 1.

Billy Price Fully Cleared After Chest Injury

The Bengals are set to have their preferred starting center available when they convene for training camp next month. First-round pick Billy Price tweeted Monday he’s been fully cleared for work.

An offseason injury defined Price’s first NFL offseason. The Ohio State standout tore a pectoral muscle while doing bench press in February, but it didn’t damage his stock much. The Bengals selected him with the No. 21 overall pick.

Price was expected to be ready by the time camp began, and a report last week placed the rookie blocker as being a month ahead of schedule. Being cleared on Monday, more than five weeks from the start of Bengals camp, lines up with that updated timeline.

The Bengals will shift to Price after deploying Russell Bodine as their starting center for the past 64 regular-season games. Bodine started every game as a Bengal in his four years in Cincinnati, but he’s now with the Bills battling for their starting job. Barring something unexpected, Price will join longtime Bills left tackle Cordy Glenn as new Bengals offensive line starters.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

North Rumors: Suggs, Price, Vikings, Lions

Terrell Suggs appears set to go after Ray Lewis‘ mark for most years in a Ravens uniform. Should the outside linebacker make it through all 16 games this season, he’ll surpass the Hall of Fame-bound Lewis’ games-played mark of 228. Suggs sits on 213, but this being his 16th season, he’ll need to play through the 2019 slate with the franchise to match Lewis’ 17 years of Ravens service. He doesn’t see that being a problem. Suggs said in May he envisions multiple additional seasons, despite entering his age-35 campaign, and ensured he wasn’t planning to make this one his last. At least, he won’t be making any announcements about 2018 being his final season beforehand. Per Jeff Zreibec of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter link), Suggs is on a year-to-year setup at this point. But the Ravens’ all-time sack leader said “I really couldn’t picture myself doing anything else.” Suggs rated as Pro Football Focus’ No. 17 edge defender last season.

I’ll never do that. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to say that: Going in, this will be my [last],” Suggs said, via Zreibec. “Nah. It’ll probably be one day, I’ll just wake up. But I don’t think I’ll ever not love it. I didn’t choose this. I was born, and this is what I am.”

Here’s the latest from the North divisions, moving to some center situations.

  • Billy Price‘s rehab during his first NFL offseason is going well. The Bengals rookie is approximately a month ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation from a torn pectoral muscle, Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com reports. Price will remain in Cincinnati during the midsummer hiatus. He bench-pressed 315 pounds this week, although he currently needs to be supervised upon doing so at this juncture of the process. The Ohio State standout injured himself in February performing bench reps. Prior to the draft, Price was expected to be ready for training camp. So, that seems fairly easy to assume now given the timeline update.
  • Shifting to the Vikings‘ center spot, Pat Elflein did not participate in minicamp but is expected to be ready to return by Minnesota’s training camp, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press notes. Price’s former Buckeyes teammate underwent ankle surgery in January.
  • Lions training camp could feature an ascent at cornerback. Teez Tabor appears ready to mount a strong challenge for Detroit’s No. 2 cornerback spot, with Kyle Meinke of MLive.com predicting the 2017 second-round pick will be the favorite to win that job despite Nevin Lawson having started 31 games the past two seasons. Tabor played 190 snaps as a backup last season. The Lions also signed DeShawn Shead and have versatile Quandre Diggs entering a contract year. But Diggs, despite playing mostly corner during his three-year career, may be set to shift to safety full-time now.

Bengals Sign Rookie Billy Price

The Bengals have signed first-round draft pick Billy Price, according to a team announcement. Per the terms of his slot as the No. 21 overall pick, Price will earn $11.7MM over the course of his four-year deal. And, as a first-round pick, the Bengals will have the option to tack a fifth year on to his deal down the line. 

Price suffered a torn pectoral muscle while doing the bench press at the draft combine in February. Fortunately, he rebounded quickly from the injury and put himself squarely back into the first round conversation. The Bengals believe that he will be back to full health this summer, which should allow him to be the team’s starting center in 2018.

Last year, Pro Football Focus’ collegiate arm gave Price an 83.2 overall grade for his work at Ohio State, positioning him as the fifth-best center in college football. Clearly, Price transitioned well to the new position after spending his first two years at left guard and his third year at right guard.

As shown on Roster Resource, the Bengals project to start Cordy Glenn, Clint Boling, Price, Trey Hopkins, and Jake Fisher on the offensive line. The Bengals are hoping for significant improvement from last year when their O-Line was ranked near the bottom of the league by virtually every measure.

As of this writing, the Bengals have just two players left to sign in their 2018 draft class in third-round picks Sam Hubbard (DE, Ohio State) and Malik Jefferson (LB, Texas).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Draft Rumors: Browns, Price, Broncos

The Browns‘ No. 1 pick remains a mystery to everyone, including head coach Hue Jackson, according to Robert Klemko of The MMQB (on Twitter). He also adds that Dorsey has already made his determination, contrary to what has been leaked to the press.

On Wednesday morning, it was reported that the Browns are likely to select either Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen or Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield. Of course, that could just be a smokescreen as many still believe the Browns will take USC’s Sam Darnold.

Here’s the latest NFL Draft buzz:

 

NFL Draft Rumors: Sweat, Giants, Patriots

FSU pass rusher Josh Sweat is a player to keep an eye on as the NFL Draft approaches. Sweat, a five-star, top-10 overall recruit nationally coming out of high school, impressed at the draft combine and drew the attention of evaluators across the league. However, his history of knee issues including ACL, MCL, PCL injuries have teams concerned, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Interestingly, his 2016 knee surgery was performed by Giants team doctor Russ Warren, and that leads Rapoport to wonder aloud if that could make New York a potential landing spot for him. Sweat has been widely projected as a third round possibility, but it sounds like he could find his way into the second round based on his potential.

Here’s the latest NFL Draft buzz:

Latest On Ohio State C Billy Price

Good news for Ohio State center Billy Price. Price tells SiriusXM that he has regained full range of motion after suffering a partially torn pectoral muscle (via PFT).

[RELATED: Draft Notes: Giants, Eagles, Lamar Jackson]

Price hurt himself while doing the bench press at the combine in February. As one of the draft’s top offensive linemen, he was widely projected as a first-round pick prior to the injury. The torn pec is a definite setback, but based on the latest info, it sounds as though he could still be a top 32 pick. The belief is that Price will be ready in time for training camp, so any team drafting him will not have to worry about Price being behind the 8-ball.

There are rumblings of a potential late-round run on interior offensive linemen, which could involve Price, Arkansas center/guard Frank Ragnow, Iowa center James Daniels, and Georgia guard Isaiah Wynn. The Eagles, who count tackle among their top needs but aren’t hard up for a guard or center, could score a decent haul for their pick at No. 32 if that happens.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.