Brandon Boykin

Brandon Boykin Retires?

Brandon Boykin‘s NFL career appears to be over. The former Eagles and Steelers cornerback is suiting up for the American Flag Football League this summer, according to Geoff Mosher of The Score

Boykin, 28 next week, was a fourth-round pick of the Eagles in 2012. In 2013, he turned in a career year with 47 tackles, six interceptions, and 16 passes defended. In 2015, he landed with the Steelers and had his least productive year with just 21 total stops. He has not seen live action since, though he signed deals with the Panthers and Bears in 2016 and the Ravens in 2017.

Boykin has not formally announced his retirement, but it sounds like he has moved on from the NFL.

It’s fun, man. You talk about playing flag football, that’s what you grew up doing,” said Boykin of the upstart summer league. “You can play the game in its truest form and have fun and compete with people all over the world, not have a helmet on and just enjoy the game. That’s what players want. That’s what’s so enticing about it. You can still make money playing a game that’s truly a game.”

The flag football league is made up of four teams, composed of former professional athletes. The team that wins the title will face the amateur champs July 19 in Houston in “the Ultimate Final.” Boykin is a member of Ocho, a team captained by Chad Johnson. They’ll face Michael Vick‘s Roadrunners on Saturday night in the professional semifinals.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens Set 53-Man Roster

The Ravens have announced their 53-man roster and made the following transactions:

Cut:

Waived/injured:

Placed on IR:

Extra Points: Saints, Fins, Cowboys, Ravens

The Saints have too many linebackers and not enough spots, which could lead to the ouster of either Manti Te’o or Stephone Anthony, writes Mike Triplett of ESPN.com. Te’o hasn’t even played a down yet for the Saints, who signed him in May, but his two-year, $5MM deal includes just $600K in guarantees. With that in mind, the former Charger will be easy to jettison if he doesn’t impress Saints coaches in the coming weeks. Anthony’s contract, on the other hand, isn’t so team friendly. Cutting him wouldn’t save the Saints any money this year, yet it would leave them with $2.1MM-plus in dead money. While the 24-year-old was a first-round pick of the Saints not long ago, in 2015, he’s coming off a subpar second season that ended after 10 games on account of a knee injury.

More from around the NFL:

  • As of late June, the expectation was that Dolphins center Mike Pouncey would be ready for Week 1. That remains the case, it seems, as Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reports that Pouncey hasn’t had any setbacks during his recovery from the hip injury that kept him out of 11 games last year. As a result, both Pouncey and the Dolphins are “confident” a forthcoming hip exam will yield positive results. Still, for precautionary reasons, the Dolphins will limit Pouncey in practice throughout the year in hopes of having him for all 16 regular-season games (and potential playoff contests), relays Salguero.
  • Cowboys defensive end David Irving was a no-show for the team’s first day of camp on Friday, per Todd Archer of ESPN.com. It’s unclear why Irving was absent, but he’s now subject to a $40K fine for missing reporting day. Irving’s already set to serve a four-game suspension for a violation of the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
  • With training camp approaching, Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun projects the Ravens’ season-opening roster. Veterans whose roster spots are in danger include tight end Maxx Williams, fullback Lorenzo Taliaferro, defensive ends Brent Urban and Za’Darius Smith, and cornerback Brandon Boykin, writes Zrebiec. Urban is the only member of the group who appeared in every Ravens game last season, when he picked up two sacks on 150 snaps. Smith, a participant in over 47 percent of Baltimore’s defensive snaps and a starter in 13 appearances, played the biggest role of the five in 2016. But Smith only made a marginal impact statistically (20 tackles, sack, forced fumble), and his performance ranked a less-than-stellar 92nd among Pro Football Focus’ 106 qualified edge defenders.
  • Bears center Hroniss Grasu missed all of last season after tearing his ACL in August, and now it’s up in the air whether he’ll play another down for the team, suggests JJ Stankevitz of CSN Chicago. Grasu’s old starting job now belongs to Cody Whitehair, who more than held his own as a rookie after shifting from guard to center in the wake of Grasu’s injury. So, if the Bears only keep eight offensive lineman this year, it may lead to Grasu’s demise. The 25-year-old was a third-round pick in 2015, when he started in all of his appearances, though a neck injury limited him to eight games that season.

Ravens Sign CB Brandon Boykin

The Ravens have found a replacement for injured cornerback Tavon Young. According to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter), the team has signed veteran defensive back Brandon Boykin.

Brandon Boykin (vertical)Boykin hasn’t appeared in the NFL since he played in 15 games with the Steelers in 2015. The former fourth-round pick caught on with both the Panthers and Bears during the 2016 offseason, but he landed on Chicago’s injured reserve after suffering a pectoral injury during training camp.

Prior to last season, the 26-year-old hadn’t missed a single regular season game during his four-game career. His best season came in 2013, when he finished with 47 tackles, six interceptions, and 16 passes defended. Boykin compiled a career-low 25 tackles during his lone season in Pittsburgh during the 2015 campaign.

Young tore his ACL during practice last week, presumably ending his season. The Ravens revamped their cornerback depth chart this offseason, adding free agent Brandon Carr and first-round pick Marlon Humphrey. Boykin will presumably be competing with Lardarius Webb and Maurice Canady for the team’s nickel corner spot.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bears Place Brandon Boykin On IR

8:58pm: The Bears signed cornerback Joel Ross to take Boykin’s place on the roster, the team announced (on Twitter). Ross spent time with the Cowboys and Buccaneers in 2015-16 after coming into the league as a UDFA from Appalachian State last year.

8:04pm: Boykin indeed tore a pectoral muscle, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). He may have to write 2016 off after his initial free agency foray resulted in an action-packed year for the wrong reasons.

7:58pm: Both Brandon Boykin and the Bears have enjoyed a turbulent summer, and the sides’ patterns continued after Boykin’s latest team placed him on IR, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter).

Boykin signed with the Bears just last Wednesday after being connected to many teams — and catching on with the Panthers before being released after the draft — this offseason. But we heard earlier today the well-traveled cornerback was dealing with a problematic pectoral injury that was going to induce Chicago to sign another corner. That problem appeared to be quite troublesome for the Bears, who chose to end Boykin’s chances of playing for them this season.

The 26-year-old corner also visited the Falcons and Cowboys, and was rumored to be dealing with a severe hip injury. But the Bears agreed to sign him, making them Boykin’s fourth employer in the past year. The Eagles traded him to the Steelers just before last season. Respected by the analytics community, Boykin did not see much time in Pittsburgh despite being a quality slot stopper in Philadelphia. And the 2016 offseason has been by far his least stable in the NFL.

Injuries, though, haven’t been a problem for Boykin during the season. He’s played all 64 regular-season contests for his Pennsylvania-stationed teams the past four years and played a key role for the Steelers in the playoffs last season despite only making one start during the regular season.

The 5-foot-9 corner made 21 tackles but graded out well in the opinion of Pro Football Focus. Boykin’s best season came in 2014, when he intercepted six passes and amassed 136 return yards.

The Bears have now lost another potential contributor they’d signed this offseason. Chicago already saw recently signed offensive linemen Manny Ramirez and Nate Chandler retire.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

North Notes: Kalil, Bears, T-Rich, Golson

The Vikings have not received the return they’d hoped after investing their highest first-round pick since 1985 on Matt Kalil, but the team kept him for just more than $11MM on a fifth-year option. The former No. 4 overall selection hopes to reward the team this season and wants to finish his career in the Twin Cities, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press writes.

Despite an inconsistent career, Kalil is set to out-earn every left tackle in football this season on his $11.09MM fifth-year salary. Tomasson writes that an extension for the 27-year-old blocker could happen, as could a re-signing after the season. Kalil owns one more Pro Bowl nod than Eric Fisher, 2013’s No. 1 overall pick who just inked a four-year, $48MM extension with the Chiefs despite middling production to date, and has started all 65 of the Vikings’ games the past four years. So, that kind of agreement could conceivably be in Kalil’s future if he can elevate his game this season.

The Vikings signed Andre Smith this offseason but saw Phil Loadholt retire. They do not have a long-term tackle option at this point. Last month, PFR’s Dallas Robinson checked in on the Vikings’ offensive front.

Here’s the latest from the North divisions, beginning with one of the Vikings’ top rivals.

  • Willie Young‘s extension with the Bears is worth $13.55MM and runs through the 2018 season, Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun Times reports (on Twitter). That includes $9MM in guaranteed money, per Jahns. Young will make $5.85MM in 2016, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune (on Twitter). That total includes a $2.7MM signing bonus, a $2.3MM roster bonus and an $800K base salary. Young will hold cap figures of $4.1MM in 2017 and $5.4MM in ’18, according to Jahns. The Bears will owe Young a $2.2MM roster bonus on the fifth day of the 2017 league year, Biggs tweets. The steady pass-rusher is due a $1MM roster bonus in ’18, per Biggs (via Twitter), and includes incentives for sacks — thresholds that aren’t likely to be crossed, according to Jahns (Twitter link).
  • Bears cornerback Brandon Boykin is dealing with a pectoral injury that might be “problematic,” and that is expected to prompt Chicago to sign a cornerback soon, Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune tweets.
  • The Ravens released Trent Richardson because they needed a wide receiver to practice, Ed Werder of ESPN.com tweets. They believe he’s talented and his return is possibility, Werder adds. Coach John Harbaugh told reporters, including Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun (on Twitter) that both he and GM Ozzie Newsome spoke to Richardson about getting healthy and possibly coming back to the team.
  • Mike Tomlin confirmed Senquez Golson has a Lisfranc injury and that surgery is a likely course of action, Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review tweets. Golson could land on IR-DTR, but the Steelers may reserve that spot for another player since the second-year cornerback will be out up to four months. The 2015 second-rounder has yet to play in a regular-season game after missing his entire rookie slate. As Roster Resource shows, 2016 first- and second-rounders Artie Burns and Sean Davis represent the top depth behind William Gay at a position the Steelers invested in heavily this offseason.
  • Wide receiver Alonzo Russell and interior lineman Alex Redmond represent two of the top choices to continue the Bengals‘ run of UDFAs making the 53-man roster, Cincinnati.com’s Paul Dehner Jr. writes. The 6-foot-4 Russell was a four-year contributor at Toledo, recording 3,076 yards and 24 receiving TDs from 2012-15. A UCLA product, Redmond will be competing with the likes of fifth-round rookie Christian Westerman and 2013 seventh-rounder T.J. Johnson for a spot as a backup interior blocker.

Zach Links contributed to this report

Bears Sign Brandon Boykin

SATURDAY, 3:50pm: Boykin signed a one-year deal worth $760K, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune tweets. The fifth-year cornerback’s contract counts at $600K on the Bears’ cap sheet.

WEDNESDAY, 7:04pm: The Bears have signed free agent cornerback Brandon Boykin to an undisclosed contract, Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times was among those to report (Twitter link). In addition to Boykin, the Bears have added free agent wide receiver B.J. Daniels, thus bringing their roster to the 90-player maximum.

Brandon Boykin (vertical)

[RELATED: Reviewing Chicago’s Offseason]

This offseason has been a tumultuous one for the 26-year-old Boykin, who is joining his second employer in recent months. After he could only find a one-year free agent deal with the Panthers in March, the defending NFC champions then released Boykin in May. A June report stated that Boykin had career-threatening hip problems, a rumor Steelers defensive backs coach Carnell Lake started. Boykin spent last season in Pittsburgh, where he played under Lake and ranked as a top 40 cornerback in the league (out of 111 qualified players), per Pro Football Focus.

Prior to joining the Steelers in a trade last summer, Boykin was an Eagle from 2012-14 after they used a fourth-round pick on him. The ex-Georgia Bulldog appeared in all 48 regular-season games with the Eagles, logged six starts and picked off seven passes – six of which came in 2013. Between those three seasons and his year in Pittsburgh, Boykin has never missed a regular-season game.

After the Panthers released him and before the Bears signed Boykin, the slot corner drew interest from two other NFC teams, the Falcons and Cowboys. He’ll now push for a roster spot in a Chicago secondary whose top four corners consist of Kyle Fuller, Tracy Porter, Bryce Callahan and fourth-round rookie Deiondre’ Hall, as Roster Resource shows. Of the three veterans, only Fuller earned an above-average PFF grade last year. If healthy, then, it seems Boykin will have a strong chance to make the Bears’ roster and perhaps accrue notable playing time this season.

Daniels, meanwhile, is now part of his fifth NFL franchise since the 49ers picked him in the seventh round of the 2013 draft. The former South Florida quarterback has spent time at both QB and receiver in the pros. In his eight appearances (six with the Seahawks, two with the Texans) last year, he lined up at wideout and on special teams.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Coaches, Bell, Boykin

Here’s the latest from around the NFL:

  • Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports examined the job security of each NFL head coach entering the season. In La Canfora’s estimation, Rex Ryan (Bills), Gus Bradley (Jaguars), Jim Caldwell (Lions), Mike McCoy (Chargers), Marvin Lewis (Bengals), Bill O’Brien (Texans) and Jason Garrett (Cowboys) are the least secure coaches going into this year. Of that group, two (Lewis and O’Brien) were at the helm of playoff teams last season. Ryan has only been in Buffalo for a year, making him the shortest-tenured member of the septet.
  • Free agent running back Joique Bell told SiriusXM NFL Radio (audio link) on Friday that a few teams are interested in signing him. Bell added that he hopes to join his next team in July. The 29-year-old, who stated last week that he has “two or three offers on the table,” has been on the market since the Lions cut him in February.
  • One of Bell’s fellow free agents, cornerback Brandon Boykin, surprisingly can’t find work this offseason. One possible reason is a report that he has a degenerative hip problem – a rumor that Boykin blames Steelers defensive backs coach Carnell Lake for starting. Lake had a chance Thursday to walk back comments he made last week about Boykin’s hip, but he opted against doing so, as Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes. “I made some comments that I had at fantasy camp and I’m not going to go back on that,” said Lake. “I wish Boykin all the best; he helped us when we needed him, and I wish him the best in his career.”

Cowboys Not Signing Brandon Boykin

Brandon Boykin‘s nomadic 2016 will continue for the time being. After hosting the fifth-year cornerback on a visit Wednesday, the Cowboys won’t sign him at this point, Todd Archer of ESPN.com reports.

The 25-year-old slot corner worked out for the Cowboys, making them the third team this offseason to make a serious effort to gauge his status — doing so after the Panthers, who ended up signing him before cutting him shortly after the draft, and Falcons.

The news of Dallas passing on Boykin comes after we heard the former Eagles and Steelers contributor had hip trouble that could put his career in jeopardy. That would explain the aforementioned teams’ reasons for passing on a chance to sign a corner that’s been fairly consistent when deployed during his career.

However, Boykin, while saying his Dallas workout went well, denies the initial report that he’s dealing with hip trouble and blames said report on Steelers secondary coach Carnell Lake. The former Eagles fourth-round pick did not see much time at corner with the Steelers last season, but after injuries forced their hand late in the year, the 5-foot-9 cog showed well. Ranking as a top-40 Pro Football Focus corner, Boykin did not allow a pass of longer than 33 yards to be completed against him for the second straight year.

The Panthers hosted Boykin on a late-March visit and signed him soon after. But despite Josh Norman departing for Washington, D.C., soon after, Carolina cut him in mid-May after taking three corners in the draft. The Falcons worked out the Georgia native a few days later, but he remained on the market.

The first-time UFA’s search for his next employer, though, continues after the Cowboys balked.

Photo courtesy USA Today Sports Images.

Brandon Boykin Dealing With Hip Problems?

2:27pm: Boykin denies that he has injury issues and says that his workout with the Cowboys went well (Twitter links via Clarence Hill of the Star-Telegram). Boykin also blames Steelers defensive back coach Carnell Lake for the rumor that he has a hip issue. The corner added that he hopes to sign with Dallas.

10:03am: This offseason, Brandon Boykin‘s market was slow to develop. The cornerback wasn’t scooped up in the first or second wave of free agency and it wasn’t until the end of March that he inked a deal with the Panthers. Then, just six weeks later, Boykin was thrown back into the sea. At the age of 25 (26 next month), Boykin has moved around quite a bit and he still remains without employment after multiple team visits over the past three weeks. It turns out, there could be a reason for that. Brandon Boykin (vertical)

[RELATED: Cowboys Meet With Brandon Boykin, Others]

Ed Bouchette of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette hears that Boykin is suffering from hip problems that might end his career. Once considered to be one of the league’s better slot cornerbacks, Boykin played primarily on special teams for the Steelers until the final few weeks of the season — he logged 252 of his 274 regular-season defensive snaps in the Steelers’ last five games.

Still, despite not seeing significant playing time in Pittsburgh, Boykin ranked as a top-40 cornerback in 2015 (out of 111 qualified players), per Pro Football Focus. The Georgia product has always shown flashes of upside, particularly in his six-interception 2013 campaign, but has never really gotten the opportunity to be a full-time player — he has just seven career starts.

Just yesterday, Boykin met with the Cowboys. Prior to that, he also met with the Falcons, though they will not be signing him at this time.

While Boykin didn’t earn a spot on PFR’s top 50 free agent list, we placed him sixth among free agent cornerbacks when we broke down 2016’s top defensive free agents, placing him ahead of veterans like Leon Hall and Patrick Robinson due to his relative youth and upside. Recently, PFR’s Dallas Robinson ranked Boykin as the fifth-best free agent still left on the board, ahead of names like Mike Neal, Chris Culliver, and Antrel Rolle.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.