Bradley Chubb

AFC West Notes: Raiders, Sutton, Chubb

When the Raiders selected Damon Arnette 19th overall last year, it marked the second straight year the Jon GrudenMike Mayock regime stunned draft viewers in Round 1. Despite multiple thumb issues and a placement on the Raiders’ reserve/COVID-19 list, Arnette started seven games as a rookie. Pro Football Focus graded Arnette as a bottom-10 cornerback, however, and the Raiders may not have the Ohio State product in their lineup plans this year. Arnette has nearly drifted off the Raiders’ radar, Vic Tafur of The Athletic notes, adding that Casey Hayward is expected to line up as Las Vegas’ outside corner starter opposite Trayvon Mullen (subscription required). While a few lower-profile corners’ names surfaced during Raiders minicamp this week, Arnette’s was conspicuously absent, Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal adds. Talk surfaced last month of Arnette moving into the slot, but Tafur adds that job looks like Nevin Lawson‘s to lose. Arnette did not practice in the slot during minicamp.

Here is the latest from the AFC West:

  • Yannick Ngakoue is in search of a new agent. The recently signed Raiders defensive end left the Wasserman agency this week, according to the Sports Business Journal’s Liz Mullen (on Twitter). This is not a first for the former Jaguars, Vikings and Ravens pass rusher. He left his first NFL agent in May 2018 and made another change last August. Ngakoue’s next agent will be his fourth as a pro. Ngakoue signed a two-year, $26MM deal with the Raiders in March; that pact featured $21MM fully guaranteed.
  • Numerous key players missed extensive time for the Broncos last season, but the team received good news as it prepares for its next training camp. One of the biggest names to miss Denver’s 5-11 2020 slate, Courtland Sutton is not expected to start camp on the team’s active/PUP list, Vic Fangio said this week. The Pro Bowl wide receiver suffered an ACL tear in Week 2 of last season. Neither Sutton nor Bradley Chubb, who is rehabbing offseason ankle surgery, are likely to miss camp time, Troy Renck of Denver7 notes. Chubb needed bone spurs removed from his ankle.
  • Bashaud Breeland moved on from the Chiefs after two seasons, signing with the Vikings. But the veteran cornerback initially wanted to re-sign with the Chiefs.

AFC West Notes: Broncos, Arnette, Sowers

After missing all of the 2020 season due to a torn ankle tendon, Von Miller has been on the field for the Broncos‘ OTA sessions this week. New Broncos GM George Paton went down to the wire on picking up the All-Pro pass rusher’s 2021 option but ended up doing so. Miller is going into a contract year, having played five seasons on the then-defender-record six-year, $114.1MM deal he inked in 2016. Uncertainty about his future notwithstanding, the 32-year-old linebacker would like to stay in Denver on another contract.

I always had an internal faith that I would be here. I said a long time ago that I want to be a Bronco for life. I always felt like that even though the business and all of this stuff,” Miller said, via DenverBroncos.com’s Aric DiLalla.

This will be a pivotal year for the Broncos’ all-time sack leader, considering a possible free agency bid looms in 2022. Miller has said he plans to play several more seasons. He and Bradley Chubb have not worked together for a lengthy stretch since 2018, but the duo will obviously be counted on to spearhead a talented defense. Here is more from Denver and the latest from the rest of the AFC West:

  • Chubb recently underwent an ankle procedure that is expected to sideline him until training camp. Vic Fangio said the team thought the injury, which shelved Chubb for last season’s final two games, would heal without surgery. The third-year Broncos HC also indicated bone spurs bothered Chubb, leading to the surgery, and that doctors believed Chubb would be sidelined until mid-August. Evidently, he is set to beat that timetable and return by the start of camp. The Broncos recently picked up the outside linebacker’s fifth-year option, locking him down through 2022.
  • Details on the Broncos’ Bobby Massie contract are in; the pact, per usual, is a bit team-friendlier than initially reported. The reported $4MM deal is actually a one-year, $2.5MM accord, Mike Klis of 9News tweets. The Broncos are guaranteeing the longtime Bears right tackle $1.58MM, Klis tweets, and the previously reported $4MM figure includes a $1.5MM incentive package. Massie and fellow May signing Cameron Fleming are set to compete for the right tackle job that became vacant after Ja’Wuan James‘ Achilles tear.
  • The Raiders might be considering shifting 2020 first-round pick Damon Arnette from the outside to the slot, Vic Tafur of The Athletic writes (subscription required). Gus Bradley‘s staff watched Ohio State film in order to best position Arnette, who could shift inside if recent addition Casey Hayward commandeers a starting job outside. Injuries and COVID-19 limited Arnette to nine games as a rookie. Pro Football Focus graded him 116th out of 121 qualified corners last season.
  • Katie Sowers made history by coaching in Super Bowl LIV. After her four-year 49ers tenure ended, Sowers will join the other team that participated in that game. The Chiefs are adding Sowers to their staff, via the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship. Sowers confirmed the move (Instagram link). Sowers, 34, caught on with the 49ers via this program. Sowers went to college near Kansas City, receiving a master’s degree from Central Missouri.

Extra Points: Lance, 49ers, Chubb, Broncos, Patriots

The 49ers just drafted Trey Lance third overall, officially starting the countdown clock for how long Jimmy Garoppolo will remain the team’s starter. Lance was considered a somewhat raw prospect due to his limited amount of college experience at North Dakota State, which is why most expect Garoppolo to open the season as the starter. While Garoppolo is the favorite to be under center come Week 1, that doesn’t mean we won’t get to see Lance on the field right away.

The 49ers will try to “sprinkle in Lance the way the Saints have used Taysom Hill in recent seasons,” Matt Barrows of The Athletic believes. Barrows highlights recent comments Kyle Shanahan made on KNBR, when he raved about how Lance’s athleticism could open up the offense.

It really makes the defense — if you’re in certain formations — honor 11-on-11 football. Because he is that type of threat, not just with his feet but also the way he runs the ball. He’s very natural at it. He can protect himself. He’s got the size to handle a couple of things. He’s always going to be a threat at any time,” the 49ers head coach said. Even if he’s not throwing the bulk of the passes, it’ll be fun to see what kind of packages Shanahan can come up with for Lance off the bench.

Here’s more from around the league on a quiet Sunday offseason night:

  • We heard over the weekend that Bradley Chubb underwent an ankle procedure, which understandably caused some concern. Broncos fans were surely having flashbacks to when the young stud pass-rusher missed most of the 2019 season with a torn ACL. Fortunately, it doesn’t appear to be anything serious. The surgery was a scope to remove a bone spur, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets, noting that it’s “very common.” Rapsheet adds he’ll be in a “boot for a couple weeks and will be fully ready for camp.” The fifth overall pick of the 2018 draft is coming off a Pro Bowl season where he had 7.5 sacks in 14 games.
  • The Patriots have a 17-year streak going of at least one undrafted rookie making their opening day roster. That streak looks like it may be coming to an end, as Mike Reiss of ESPN.com writes. Reiss points out the team has only signed one UDFA so far, kicker Quinn Nordin from Michigan. The Pats have three kickers on the roster and Nordin will need to beat out both Nick Folk and Roberto Aguayo if New England is going to make it 18 years in a row.

Bradley Chubb Underwent Ankle Procedure

Bradley Chubb recently went under the knife. Mike Klis of 9News in Denver reports (via Twitter) that the Broncos linebacker recently had a minor ankle procedure.

Chubb is expected to be sidelined through OTAs. However, there’s optimism that he’ll be ready to go for training camp in two months, which means he’ll have plenty of time to get ready for the regular season. For those keeping track at home, this was the same ankle that forced Chubb to miss the final two games of the 2020 campaign.

Chubb has struggled a bit to stay on the field since being selected with the fifth-overall pick in the 2018 draft. He earned All-Rookie team honors after compiling 12 sacks and 21 QB hits, but he was limited to only four games in 2019 after partially tearing his ACL. Chubb managed to return in time for the start of the 2020 season, and despite missing the final two contests, he still earned a Pro Bowl nod after finishing with 42 tackles, 7.5 sacks, and 19 QB hits. The Broncos picked up the 24-year-old’s fifth-year option last month.

Even if Chubb’s recovery leaked into training camp or the preseason, the Broncos would be fine at strongside linebacker. Malik Reed finished last season with eight sacks, and the team claimed Natrez Patrick way back in January.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Broncos Pick Up Bradley Chubb’s Fifth-Year Option

Bradley Chubb‘s rookie contract will now run through 2022. The Broncos are picking up the Pro Bowl pass rusher’s fifth-year option, Michael Silver of NFL.com tweets.

The 2018 No. 5 overall pick bounced back after missing most of the 2019 season with an ACL tear, making the Pro Bowl and anchoring the Broncos’ pass rush following Von Miller‘s significant ankle injury. This transaction locks Chubb down through 2022. Because Chubb made the Pro Bowl, his salary will increase accordingly due to the new CBA’s altered fifth-year option structure. The North Carolina State product is now attached to a fully guaranteed $12.716MM.

With Miller in the final year of his contract, Chubb becomes a pivotal piece in Denver. It is not certain if the Broncos will enter into extension talks with their future Hall of Fame linebacker, but it went down to the wire whether they would pick up Miller’s 2021 option.

New GM George Paton indicated he wants Chubb to be a long-term cornerstone. While the Broncos are not believed to have begun extension talks, they should be expected to at some point this year or, perhaps more likely, in 2022.

Miller coming back gives the Broncos a long-awaited opportunity. Chubb’s 2019 injury and Miller’s 2020 setback has meant the Vic Fangio era has largely unfolded with one of the two rushers absent. The Broncos are poised to have a strong defense in 2021, having further bolstered the unit via the Patrick Surtain II first-round pick, and the Miller-Chubb tandem will anchor that group.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2022 NFL Fifth-Year Option Tracker

NFL teams have until May 3 to officially pick up their options on 2018 first-rounders who are entering the final year of their rookie deals. In a change from years past, fifth-year option seasons are fully guaranteed, rather than guaranteed for injury only. Meanwhile, salaries are now determined by a blend of the player’s position, initial draft placement, and specific performance metrics:

  • 2-time Pro Bowlers (excluding alternate Pro Bowlers) will earn the same as their position’s franchise tag.
  • 1-time Pro Bowlers will earn the equivalent of the transition tag.
  • Players who achieve any of the following will get the average of the 3rd-20th highest salaries at their position:
    • 75%+ snaps in two of their first three seasons
    • 75%+ average across all three seasons
    • 50%+ in each of first three seasons
  • Players who do not hit any of those benchmarks will get the average of the 3rd-25th top salaries at their position.

With the deadline looming, we’ll use the space below to track all the option decisions from around the league:

Updated 4-30-21, 4:24pm CT

  1. QB Baker Mayfield, Browns: Exercised ($18.858MM)
  2. RB Saquon Barkley, Giants: Exercised ($7.217MM)
  3. QB Sam Darnold, Panthers (via Jets): Pending ($18.858MM)
  4. CB Denzel Ward, Browns — Exercised ($13.294MM)
  5. LB Bradley Chubb, Broncos — Pending ($12.716MM)
  6. G Quenton Nelson, Colts — Pending ($13.754MM)
  7. QB Josh Allen, Bills: Pending ($23.106MM)
  8. LB Roquan Smith, Bears: Exercised ($9.735MM)
  9. OT Mike McGlinchey, 49ers: Exercised ($10.88MM)
  10. QB Josh Rosen, Cardinals: N/A
  11. S Minkah Fitzpatrick, Steelers (via Dolphins): Exercised ($10.612MM)
  12. DT Vita Vea, Buccaneers: Exercised ($7.638MM)
  13. DT Daron Payne, Washington — Exercised ($8.529MM)
  14. DE Marcus Davenport, Saints: Exercised ($9.553MM)
  15. OT Kolton Miller, Raiders — N/A (extension)
  16. LB Tremaine Edmunds, Bills: Pending ($12.716MM)
  17. S Derwin James, Chargers: Exercised ($9.052MM)
  18. CB Jaire Alexander, Packers: Exercised ($13.294MM)
  19. LB Leighton Vander Esch, Cowboys: Pending ($9.145MM)
  20. C Frank Ragnow, Lions: Exercised ($12.657MM)
  21. C Billy Price, Bengals: Declined ($10.413MM)
  22. LB Rashaan Evans, Titans: Pending ($9.735MM)
  23. OT Isaiah Wynn, Patriots: Pending ($10.413 MM)
  24. WR D.J. Moore, Panthers: Exercised ($11.116MM)
  25. TE Hayden Hurst, Falcons (via Ravens): Pending ($5.428MM)
  26. WR Calvin Ridley, Falcons: Pending ($11.116MM)
  27. RB Rashaad Penny, Seahawks: Pending ($4.523MM)
  28. S Terrell Edmunds, Steelers: Pending ($6.753MM)
  29. DT Taven Bryan, Jaguars: Pending ($7.638MM)
  30. CB Mike Hughes, Vikings: Pending ($12.643MM)
  31. RB Sony Michel, Patriots: Pending ($4.523MM)
  32. QB Lamar Jackson, Ravens: Exercised ($23.106MM)

Broncos GM George Paton On Bradley Chubb, Courtland Sutton

Much of the coverage of the Broncos this offseason has focused upon what the club will do with respect to its quarterback position, but new GM George Paton also has non-QB business to handle. That includes the contract situations of OLB Bradley Chubb and WR Courtland Sutton.

During his first pre-draft press conference, Paton told reporters, including Zack Kelberman of SI.com, about his desire to keep both players in the fold for the long haul. “They’re two of our core guys, and we want them here a long time,” Paton said. “We’re not going to address that until after the draft. We’re strictly focused on the draft, but those are two of our guys.”

As a 2018 first-round choice, Chubb’s rookie contract carries a fifth-year option that Paton must exercise by May 3. Though he has not explicitly said so, the rookie general manager will doubtlessly pick up the option, which is valued at a fully-guaranteed $12.7MM. That will buy player and team plenty of time to work out a contract extension.

Chubb posted 12 sacks in his rookie year, but he suffered a torn ACL early in the 2019 season. He rebounded from that injury to tally 7.5 sacks last year, to go along with 19 QB hits. Pro Football Focus graded him as the 30th-best edge defender out of 109 qualifiers, but his pass rushing score of 79.4 was actually a top-15 mark, and he earned his first Pro Bowl bid for his efforts.

It’s unclear if Paton will pursue an extension for Chubb immediately after the draft, though it would make sense for the two sides to at least have exploratory conversations. The same can be said of Sutton, but his situation is a little murkier.

Like Chubb, Sutton is a 2018 draftee, but because he was selected in the second round that year, his deal does not have a fifth-year option. So he will be eligible for unrestricted free agency after the 2021 season, and given that he sustained a season-sending ACL tear in his first game of the 2020 campaign, Paton may want to make sure he returns to form before getting too aggressive with extension talks.

Plus, the Broncos invested heavily at the wide receiver position last year, drafting Jerry Jeudy in the first round and KJ Hamler in the second. That could limit how far Paton is willing to stretch himself on a new contract for Sutton, but if Sutton picks up in 2021 where he left off in 2019 — he earned a Pro Bowl nod that year after posting 72 catches for 1,112 yards — it will be difficult to let him walk.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL’s Fifth-Year Option Salaries For 2021

The NFL’s 2021 salary cap has been set at $182.5MM, marking the league’s first reduction in a decade. With that, the league has also ironed out the value of this year’s fifth-round option for 2018 first-round picks.

Here’s the full rundown, via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter):

1. Baker Mayfield, Browns, QB — $18.858MM (playing time)

2. Saquon Barkley, Giants, RB — $7.217MM (1x Pro Bowl)

3. Sam Darnold, Jets, QB — $18.858MM (playing time)

4. Denzel Ward, Browns, CB — $13.294MM (1x Pro Bowl)

5. Bradley Chubb, Broncos, LB — $12.716MM (1x Pro Bowl)

6. Quenton Nelson, Colts, G — $13.754MM (2x Pro Bowl)

7. Josh Allen, Bills, QB — $23.106MM (1x Pro Bowl)

8. Roquan Smith, Bears, LB — $9.735MM (playing time)

9. Mike McGlinchey, 49ers, OT — $10.88MM (playing time)

10. Josh Rosen, Cardinals, QB*

11. Minkah Fitzpatrick, Steelers, S (drafted by Dolphins) — $10.612MM (2x Pro Bowl)

12. Vita Vea, Buccaneers, DT — $7.638MM

13. Daron Payne, Washington, DT — $8.529MM (playing time)

14. Marcus Davenport, Saints, DE — $9.553MM

15. Kolton Miller, Raiders, OT — $10.88MM (playing time)

16. Tremaine Edmunds, Bills, LB — $12.716MM (1x Pro Bowl)

17. Derwin James, Chargers, S — $9.052MM (1x Pro Bowl)

18. Jaire Alexander, Packers, CB — $13.294MM (1x Pro Bowl)

19. Leighton Vander Esch, Cowboys, LB — $9.145MM

20. Frank Ragnow, Lions, C — $12.657MM (1x Pro Bowl)

21. Billy Price, Bengals, C — $10.413MM

22. Rashaan Evans, Titans, LB — $9.735MM (playing time)

23. Isaiah Wynn, Patriots, OT — $10.413MM

24. D.J. Moore, Panthers, WR — $11.116MM (playing time)

25. Hayden Hurst, Falcons, TE (Drafted by Ravens) — $5.428MM

26. Calvin Ridley, Falcons, WR — $11.116MM (playing time)

27. Rashaad Penny, Seahawks, RB — $4.523MM

28., Steelers, S Terrell Edmunds — $6.753MM (playing time)

29. Taven Bryan, Jaguars, DT — $7.638MM

30. Mike Hughes, Vikings, CB — $12.643MM

31. Sony Michel, Patriots, RB — $4.523MM

32. Lamar Jackson, Ravens, QB — $23.106MM (1x Pro Bowl)

* Rosen was released from his original contract and, therefore, is not option-eligible 

As a refresher, the fifth-year option year is now fully guaranteed. In the past, it was guaranteed for injury only. The values are also dependent on certain performance metrics:

  • Two-time Pro Bowlers (excluding alternate Pro Bowlers) will earn the same as their position’s franchise tag.
  • One-time Pro Bowlers will earn the equivalent of the transition tag.
  • Players who achieve any of the following will get the average of the 3rd-20th highest salaries at their position:
    • 75%+ snaps in two of their first three seasons
    • 75%+ average across all three seasons
    • 50%+ in each of first three seasons
  • Players who do not hit any of those benchmarks will get the average of the 3rd-25th top salaries at their position.

AFC West Notes: Joyner, Broncos, Chubb

It’s been a busy offseason for Derek Carr. The Raiders quarterback moved his family to Las Vegas, and the 29-year-old recently announced that his wife is pregnant. Despite those major life changes and the limitations of a virtual offseason, Carr believes that he and his teammate are entirely focused on football.

“I feel like we’re really working hard, I feel like we’re getting a lot done,” Carr said during an appearance on NFL Network (via Kyle Martin of the team’s website). “We’ve got some young guys, some new guys that are going to play big roles for us. So, I feel like this has been really good for us, this is the best we can do right now.”

Carr also reacted to the news that Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas will host the 2021 Pro Bowl.

“I’ve been to three Pro Bowls, it’s blessing, it’s cool, but I’m trying to do some other things,” Carr said. “I’m trying to play in the Super Bowl, I’m trying to win the Super Bowl. The Pro Bowl is fun and all that stuff, it’s exciting and I think it’s great for the community, I think it’s a great thing for fans to see some of their favorite players up close and personal, and not just on Twitter or Instagram. You know me, I’ve got different plans this year.”

Let’s check out some more notes from around the AFC West…

  • While Lamarcus Joyner is currently slotted in as the Raiders‘ starting slot cornerback, Vic Tafur of The Athletic writes that the coaching staff intends to give the 29-year-old some reps at safety. After inking a four-year, $42MM deal last offseason, Joyner was inconsistent during his first season with the Raiders, finishing with 49 tackles and three passes defended in 14 games (1o starts).
  • Following news that Broncos safety Kareem Jackson had tested positive for COVID-19, ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets that none of his teammates have recently tested positive. 40 Broncos players recently participated in the Denver protests, including Jackson, so there was some concern that the safety may have passed the coronavirus to other members of the organization. Broncos star Von Miller revealed back in April that he had tested positive.
  • It’s been less than a year since Bradley Chubb tore his ACL, but Troy Renck of 7News in Denver writes that the Broncos linebacker has started running. According to the reporter, there’s optimism that the former fifth-overall pick will be ready to go come the start of the regular season.

Extra Points: Patriots, Texans, Caserio, Panthers, Holcomb, Broncos, Chubb, Steelers, Dupree

The Patriots have a big offseason ahead of them. Obviously there’s still the Tom Brady situation to work out, but there are some important behind the scenes decisions that need to be made as well. The front office is in a bit of limbo, as two prominent execs in Nick Caserio and Monti Ossenfort are both on expiring contracts that run out in May. The Texans originally tried to hire Caserio as their GM last year, which resulted in tampering charges. There’s now a good chance that both Caserio and Ossenfort move on from the Pats before the 2020 season, per Albert Breer of SI.com.

Even though we just heard recently that the Texans weren’t going to hire a GM and would continue with Bill O’Brien running the show, Breer writes that the “Texans would find a way to hire him as GM” if Caserio wanted to work in Houston. If Caserio and Ossenfort both leave, Breer writes that the Patriots would likely promote Dave Ziegler. It was rumored that Josh McDaniels might’ve wanted to take Ziegler with him had he landed the head coaching job in Cleveland.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Al Holcomb is back in Carolina. The Panthers have hired Holcomb to be their run game coordinator, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). Holcomb was linebackers coach under Ron Rivera in Carolina for five years from 2013-17, so this is a homecoming for him. He spent last year as the Browns’ run game coordinator, and found himself in need of a new job after Freddie Kitchens got bounced from Cleveland. He had previously served as defensive coordinator with the Cardinals under Steve Wilks in 2018. He was a grad assistant at Temple back in the day, which could explain his connection to new Panthers coach Matt Rhule, who was previously the head coach at Temple.
  • Broncos pass-rusher Bradley Chubb showed a lot of promise as a rookie, racking up 12 sacks in 2018. Unfortunately his sophomore campaign was cut short, as he tore an ACL in Denver’s fourth game. On the bright side his recovery seems to be going well, and GM John Elway recently said that he should be ready for OTAs in a few months, per Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post. Chubb was the fifth overall pick out of N.C. State two years ago.
  • The Steelers are likely to place the franchise tag on impending free agent outside linebacker Bud Dupree, according to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. While Pittsburgh very much wants to retain him for 2020, Dulac writes that the team is unlikely to pursue a longterm extension with Dupree because the “money is being earmarked for a big contract” for fellow outside linebacker T.J. Watt in the near future. Dupree was drafted in the first round back in 2015, and his career got off to a rocky start. He’s since become more reliable though, starting at least 15 games in each of the past three years. He had his best year as a pro this past season, when he started all 16 games and racked up 11.5 sacks. Amusingly, Steelers president Art Rooney II said the Le’Veon Bell debacle isn’t going to impact how they use the tag moving forward. “I don’t think that affects the way we think about franchise tags or anything at this point,” Rooney said. “We had one, I’ll call it unusual experience, and I think it was that — an unusual experience.