Bobby Massie

Injury Notes: Big Ben, Massie, Rankins

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger underwent elbow surgery today, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). The veteran is expected to be ready for the 2020 season. This optimism is similar to what we heard yesterday when we learned about Big Ben’s impending surgery.

Schefter adds that Roethlisberger had surgery on his right elbow. The operation was done by Dr. Neal ElAttrache (in consultation with team physician Jim Bradley) in Los Angeles. ESPN’s Rob Demovsky notes (on Twitter) that this is the same surgeon who operated on Aaron Rodgers collarbone back in 2017.

“Once Ben returns to Pittsburgh, he immediately will begin working with the Steelers’ medical staff on his rehabilitation, and he is expected to make a full recovery and return to the field for the 2020 NFL season,” the Steelers said in a statement (via Schefter).

We learned yesterday that the procedure would repair a muscle tear, and it didn’t involve any ligaments or tendons. Roethlisberger is expected to begin throwing by the spring, and it sounds like he should be good to go come next season.

Let’s check out some more injury notes from around the NFL…

  • Bears right tackle Bobby Massie was forced to sit out tonight’s game against the Redskins due to a bout with vertigo, reports Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (via Twitter). The illness apparently popped up today, and it’s uncertain if this is a temporary or long-term issue for the 30-year-old. After starting each of his 46 games during his first three seasons in Chicago, Massie added another two starts to his resume this season.
  • On Saturday, the Packers placed offensive guard Lane Taylor on the injured reserve with a biceps injury, and we now have a bit more clarity on his outlook. Demovsky reports (via Twitter) that the 29-year-old will ultimately need surgery on his left bicep. While the veteran could return from the injured reserve in late November, the operation may sideline him for the rest of the season. Taylor started a pair of games this season before suffering the injury.
  • There’s a chance that Saints defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins sees this field next Sunday night, but Nick Underhill of The Athletic tweets that the 25-year-old is more likely to return in Week 5 or Week 6. The 2016 first-rounder has yet to play in a game this season as he recovers from his Achilles injury. After compiling a career-high eight sacks during the 2018 regular season, Rankins suffered the injury during the divisional round of the playoffs.

NFC Rumors: Massie, Saints, Jernigan

On the surface, the Saints reluctantly enter their offseason without many avenues to improve their roster. They traded away their 2019 first-, third- and fourth-round picks and stand to hold less than $20MM in cap space. However, they may be open to another extension that knocks down Drew Brees‘ NFL-high $33.5MM cap figure. Another place the team could look to for potential cap savings is Andrus Peat‘s contract. The 2015 first-round pick has a $9.625MM fifth-year option salary, but with those deals guaranteed for injury only, The Athletic’s Larry Holder writes (subscription required) the guard is not a lock to return to New Orleans in 2019. Four of the Saints’ top six cap charges stand to go to offensive linemen, and Peat graded out as Pro Football Focus’ worst full-time guard this season. Peat broke his hand in December, but having played in both New Orleans’ playoff games, passing the fifth-year option physical before the new league year seems like a decent bet.

As its Super Bowl LIII representative prepares to trek to Atlanta, here is the latest from the NFC:

  • With Bobby Massie re-signing to stay in Chicago long-term, the Bears knocked out a key piece of their offseason task list. They now have three of their starting offensive linemen signed to veteran contracts. Massie will become one of the highest-paid right tackles in the game, with Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweeting the 29-year-old blocker will earn more than $8MM annually. While guarantees and base salaries are not yet known, Massie will become the fifth right tackle to make $8MM-plus per year.
  • Shifting back to the Saints, they will lose a staffer to the college ranks. Offensive assistant Joe Brady will become LSU’s passing game coordinator, Bruce Feldman of The Athletic tweets. Brady spent two years with the Saints.
  • The Eagles signed Timmy Jernigan to a four-year, $48MM extension late in the 2017 season. But the reigning Super Bowl champs may be experiencing buyer’s remorse. Jernigan ($13MM cap hit in 2019) will not be back in Philly without a restructure, Dave Zangaro of NBC Sports Philadelphia writes. The Eagles would have to eat a $6MM dead-money charge by releasing the defensive tackle but would gain $7MM in cap savings. This marks the NFL’s worst cap situation, with the Eagles more than $14MM over the projected salary ceiling.

Bears Sign OT Bobby Massie To Four-Year Extension

The Bears have locked up one of their key offensive linemen for the foreseeable future. The team announced that they’ve extended right tackle Bobby Massie. It’s a four-year deal that will last through the 2022 season.

“Bobby has been an important part of our offensive line the past three years and has shown steady improvement during that time,” said general manager Ryan Pace. “Bobby has a tremendous work ethic and has displayed the kind of toughness and consistency we want in our players. More importantly, he is a great teammate and we’re excited to keep him in the fold.”

The 29-year-old has been a mainstay on Chicago’s offensive line since joining the organization back in 2016. The former fourth-rounder has started each of his 46 games during his tenure in Chicago, including a 2018 campaign where he appeared in all 16 contests. Pro Football Focus was particularly fond of his performance this past season, ranking him 29th among 80 eligible tackles.

With Massie signed, the Bears will now return each of their five starters from the 2018 season, a grouping that also includes Kyle LongCody Whitehair, James Daniels, and Charles Leno. Adam L. Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times says Whitehair is one of the next Bears in line to receive an extension.

Massie was set to be one of four Bears starters to hit free agency. Safety Adrian Amos, cornerback Bryce Callahan and punter Pat O’Donnell are still unsigned.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bears Could Pursue Top Free Agents

The Bears are set to enter free agency with no shortage of cap space, and it appears they’re primed to put that money to use. General manager Ryan Pace is “extremely prepared” to explore the open market, he told the Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs, who writes that the Bears could make “strong” bids for cornerback Stephon Gilmore and, as previously reported, quarterback Mike Glennon. Additionally, the Bears could take a run at right tackle Ricky Wagner.

Stephon Gilmore (vertical)[RELATED: PFR’s Top 50 Free Agents]

As PFR’s Dallas Robinson detailed in January, the Bears are rife with questions at corner. Picking up Gilmore could go a long way toward fixing their issues, then, though the careerlong Bill is going to be costly (Biggs forecasts a $13MM-per-year contract). Gilmore, 26, is a five-year pro who started in each of his appearances (15) for the third straight season and notched a career-high five interceptions in 2016. However, after ranking as one of Pro Football Focus’ 10 best corners in 2015, Gilmore dropped to 61st (among 112 qualifiers) last season. Nevertheless, Gilmore possesses an impressive resume, having racked up 68 appearances, 66 starts and 14 picks since going in the first round of the 2012 draft.

As is the case at corner, the Bears are in dire need of help under center. That figures to lead to a Glennon pursuit, as Biggs relays that he’s Chicago’s No. 1 target to replace the soon-to-be jettisoned Jay Cutler. Glennon sat behind Buccaneers starter Jameis Winston the previous two seasons and barely played during that span, but he previously registered 19 appearances and 18 starts from 2013-14. While the Bucs have tried to retain Glennon at $8MM per year, he’s likely to receive both more money and a legitimate shot to start from another club – perhaps the Bears.

Like Gilmore and Glennon, Wagner figures to earn at least eight figures annually on his next contract. The career Raven, 27, is coming off his third season with at least 14 starts, and he finished as PFF’s 18th-best tackle among 78 qualifiers in 2016. He’d further beef up a Bears offensive line that rated among the league’s 10 best units in both the run and pass blocking departments last year, per Football Outsiders.

Signing Wagner could put incumbent right tackle Bobby Massie in danger of staying on the Bears’ roster. Chicago inked Massie to a three-year, $18MM deal in free agency last offseason, but he went on to rank a so-so 43rd among PFF’s 78 qualified tackles. Massie’s due a $1MM roster bonus March 11 and set to count over $6MM against the Bears’ cap in 2017. Cutting him would leave the team with just $1MM in dead money, however.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Contract Details: Harrison, Benjamin, Massie

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…

NFC:

  • Damon Harrison, DT (Giants): Five years, $46.25MM. $24MM guaranteed. $8MM signing bonus (Twitter link).
  • Bobby Massie, T (Bears): Three years, $18MM. $6.5MM guaranteed. $1.5MM signing bonus. $2MM roster bonus due on March 14 (Twitter links).
  • Thad Lewis, QB (49ers): One year, $760K. Minimum salary benefit. $25K playing-time incentive. $428K split salary (Twitter link).

AFC:

  • Travis Benjamin, WR (Chargers): Four years, $24MM. $13MM guaranteed. $5MM signing bonus. $2.75MM salary for 2016 and $4.25MM salary for 2017 fully guaranteed (Twitter link).
  • Antonio Gates, TE (Chargers): Two years, $11MM. $6MM guaranteed. $1MM signing bonus (Twitter link).
  • Ramon Humber, LB (Patriots): One year, $885K. Minimum salary benefit. $25K signing bonus. $30K in per-game roster bonuses (Twitter link via Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald).

Bears To Add Bobby Massie

4:54pm: It’ll be a three-year deal for Massie, tweets Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com, while Cole adds (via Twitter) that the contract is worth $18MM.

3:57pm: Bobby Massie and the Bears have reached an agreement to bring the tackle to Chicago, Jason Cole of Bleacher Report tweets.

Massie started for three seasons with the Cardinals and was linked to multiple teams during his initial free agency foray but opted to sign with the Bears. Terms of the deal are not yet disclosed.Bobby Massie

A starter in Arizona during the 2012, 2014 and 2015 seasons, Massie started 16 total games for the Cardinals last season, including both playoff contests, at right tackle. The NFL suspended Massie for the first three games of last season, a ban that was reduced to two, for a substance-abuse policy violation.

Upon return, Massie didn’t fare too well, per Pro Football Focus. The soon-to-be 27-year-old blocker ranked 45th at tackle, although the site is highly critical of tackles’ play.

In 2014, Massie played all 1,089 snaps for the Cardinals. But the team drafted tackle D.J. Humphries in the first round in 2015 and already employs a second-contract cog as its left tackle in Jared Veldheer.

The Bears also have an interesting quandary on their front now that Massie appears to be in the fold. Kyle Long started all 16 games at right tackle for Chicago last season but played his previous two slates as the Bears’ right guard. The fourth-year veteran and extension candidate’s previously been pegged to play tackle for the Bears next season; that could now be on the left side, where 2014 seventh-round pick Charles Leno resided in 2015.

Chicago could move Long back to guard, where he was a productive talent and a two-time Pro Bowler. Long made the Pro Bowl last year as a right tackle, so his versatility will benefit the Bears as they add a proven component to their starting front.

Photo courtesy USA Today Sports Images

Free Agent Rumors: Massie, Mack, Vikings

The latest free agent rumors:

  • Cardinals free agent tackle Bobby Massie is deciding between three teams and he could remain in Arizona, Jason Cole of Bleacher Report tweets.
  • Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) says that Alex Mack got a quality deal from the Falcons because multiple teams including the Browns and the Chargers were “in strong” for his services. Meanwhile, Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego (on Twitter) says that even though the Chargers reached out, they did not “develop into a major contender.”
  • The Vikings are looking at free agent wide receiver Andre Holmes, Ben Goessling of ESPN.com tweets. Holmes, who was with Minnesota as a UDFA in 2011, would give Minnesota a big target.
  • The Eagles never had formal contract discussions with Walter Thurmond prior to Monday, Geoff Mosher of 97.5 The Fanatic tweets. Thurmond is now on the open market and, one way or another, the Eagles need to add depth at the cornerback position.
  • Keenan Robinson appears to have posted a farewell message to Washington fans on Instagram. After re-signing Mason Foster, it seems like Washington will be moving on from their other free agent inside linebacker.

FA Rumors: McLeod, Vernon, Steelers, Sweezy

Safety Rodney McLeod is one of the top young safeties set to hit the market today, and Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (Twitter link) hears that the Ravens are a “strong contender” for the Rams’ free-agent-to-be.

While the Ravens could use some help at free safety, since Kendrick Lewis didn’t prove in 2015 that he’s the long-term answer and Lardarius Webb doesn’t have much experience at safety. But the idea that Baltimore would make a play for someone like McLeod is surprising, since the team typically doesn’t foray too aggressively into free agency, and doesn’t have a ton of cap flexibility.

As we wait to see if anything comes of the Ravens’ apparent interest in McLeod, let’s check in on a few other free agent rumors….

  • In an interesting piece for TheMMQB.com, defensive end Olivier Vernon, one of the top free agents available, acknowledges that he “probably” won’t be back with the Dolphins in 2016.
  • With Heath Miller having retired, the Steelers are exploring the tight end free agent market, says Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). According to Rapoport, Coby Fleener, Ladarius Green, and Jared Cook are names worth monitoring for Pittsburgh.
  • Over a half-dozen teams remain in the mix for offensive lineman J.R. Sweezy, according to Rand Getlin of the NFL Network, who tweets that the Broncos are worth keeping an eye on.
  • Offensive tackle Bobby Massie has received interest from the Bears and Giants, but his market isn’t up to $8MM per year yet, tweets Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com. A Monday report indicated that Massie could end up landing a deal in that range.
  • The Rams are intent on trying to re-sign defensive end William Hayes, tweets Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com. Per La Canfora, Hayes has a “nice market,” but wouldn’t rule out a return to the Rams.
  • The Bears resumed negotiations on Tuesday with tight end Zach Miller, per Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Miller’s reported asking price of $5MM per year, which seemed outrageous a few weeks ago, doesn’t look quite as far-fetched after Dwayne Allen got $7MM+ annually from the Colts.

Free Agent Rumors: Broncos, Massie, Daniel

Now that defensive lineman Malik Jackson has agreed to join the Jaguars, we can expect the Broncos to make a serious run at Cardinals free agent right tackle Bobby Massie, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (on Twitter). Massie could reportedly command north of $8MM per season, so it was unlikely that Denver would have been able to afford both Jackson and the offensive tackle.

Here’s the very latest free agent news:

  • Even though the Eagles have re-signed Sam Bradford, the Eagles could still pursue Chiefs quarterback Chase Daniel, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Eagles coach Doug Pederson, who is the former OC in KC, is quite fond of Daniel.
  • The Vikings are not close on a deal with guard Mike Harris, per Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press (on Twitter). Harris’ camp has been looking for roughly $5MM on a two-year deal while the Vikings are offering $3.5MM over two. Harris is currently planning on testing the market.
  • The Bears are one of “multiple” teams that have expressed interest in defensive end Akiem Hicks, per Kevin Fishbain of Pro Football Weekly (on Twitter).
  • Four teams have expressed varying degrees of interest in linebacker Demario Davis, a source tells Seth Walder of the Daily News (on Twitter).
  • The Bills‘ signing of Richie Incognito means that Buffalo will not be adding free agent guard Jahri Evans, Peter Schrager of FOXSports.com (on Twitter) hears. The Bills hosted Evans on a visit on Monday. Evans has started 153 games for the Saints dating back 2006 and earned four First-Team All-Pro selections.

Free Agent Rumors: Wisniewski, Browns, Pacman

The Browns have expressed interest in Jaguars free agent center Stefen Wisniewski, a league source tells Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer (on Twitter). The Browns are in danger of losing three-time Pro Bowl center Alex Mack to free agency and they could turn to the 26-year-old as a replacement. Hue Jackson was the coach in Oakland when the Raiders used their 2011 second round draft choice on Wisniewski.

The latest free agent rumors from around the NFL:

  • The Browns have expressed interest in free agent cornerback Adam Jones, a league source tells Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer (on Twitter). Jones, a Bengals free agent, has been heavily linked to Miami in recent weeks thanks to his connection with defensive coordinator Vance Joseph.
  • The Vikings and Matt Asiata are far apart on a possible contract, Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press (on Twitter) hears from a source. Several other teams expressed an interest in the running back on Monday, he adds. Asiata has previously stated that he would like to return to Minnesota.
  • 49ers free agent Alex Boone and Cardinals free agent Bobby Massie are two offensive linemen who could get north of $8MM per season, Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (on Twitter) hears.
  • The Vikings have reached out to the representative of Bengals free agent linebacker Vincent Rey, per Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press (on Twitter). The Vikings are in need of a linebacker and Mike Zimmer is familiar with Rey from their previous time together.
  • Backup quarterback Drew Stanton is unlikely to return to the Cardinals, an NFL source tells Kent Somers of The Arizona Republic (on Twitter).
  • The Eagles had significant interest in signing wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey before he re-upped with the Steelers, as Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com tweets.