Brandon Linder

Jaguars Move C Brandon Linder To IR

The Jaguars will be without their top offensive lineman for the rest of the season. They placed center Brandon Linder on IR Wednesday.

Linder did not play in Jacksonville’s loss to Tennessee, with an ankle injury sidelining the veteran blocker. He will join guard Andrew Norwell on the Jags’ IR list. The Jags did designate Norwell to return from IR Wednesday, however.

Pro Football Focus’ No. 3-ranked center, Linder has missed some time this season. He has suited up for nine games in his sixth NFL slate but will now be shut down. The Jaguars have Linder under contract through 2022. He is due a non-guaranteed $8MM base salary next season.

Linder will now see a season capped at nine games for the second time in three years. A knee injury sidelined him midway through the 2018 campaign. The 28-year-old snapper has only played one 16-game season (2019) in his career.

While the Jaguars are 1-12 and reside as the only non-Jets team with a realistic chance of securing the No. 1 overall pick (widely expected to be the Trevor Lawrence slot), rookie UDFA running back James Robinson has already cleared 1,000 yards and sits third in rushing yards this season. Linder certainly played a key part in Robinson’s breakout and should be expected to reprise that role next year.

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Jaguars LB Leon Jacobs Done For Season

Leon Jacobs‘ season is over. The Jaguars linebacker tore his ACL during Thursday’s loss to the Dolphins and will miss the rest of the 2020 campaign.

It’s a tough break for Jacobs, as the 24-year-old was establishing himself as a starter. After starting seven of his 14 games in 2019, the 2018 seventh-rounder had started two of his three appearances in 2020, compiling three tackles and one tackle for a loss. In 29 career games (12 starts), Jacobs has 66 tackles, two sacks, and one fumble recovery.

When Jacobs went down in the first quarter on Thursday, Cassius Marsh was the first choice to fill in at linebacker. The 28-year-old ended up playing 62-percent of Jacksonville’s defensive snaps, collecting three tackles.

ESPN’s Michael DiRocco passed along injury updates on some other notable Jaguars player. Wideout DJ Chark was sat out Thursday’s game with a chest/back injury, but he should return to the practice squad next week if his recent test results come back clean. Center Brandon Linder is also expected to return from a knee injury, while safety Andrew Wingard‘s core muscle injury isn’t as serious as initially thought.

Meanwhile, rookie kicker Brandon Wright suffered a groin injury during Thursday’s loss, forcing the Jaguars to start hunting around for some reinforcement. Wright was already filling in for starter Josh Lambo, who’s sitting on the IR with a hip injury. The 23-year-old Wright has connected on one of his two extra point tries this season.

Jaguars To Place K Josh Lambo On IR

The Jaguars will need a fill-in kicker for the foreseeable future. They are placing Josh Lambo on IR, Doug Marrone said Wednesday. Lambo will miss at least three games due to a hip injury.

The former Chargers kicker has been in place as the Jags’ field goal man since the 2017 season, when he replaced Jason Myers. Lambo has missed time due to an injury in the past, finishing the 2018 season on IR because of a groin injury. The Jags signed Kai Forbath that season.

Brandon Wright will kick for the Jags on Thursday against the Dolphins. The Jaguars signed Wright as a UDFA out of Georgia State this year and stashed him on their practice squad. This will be Wright’s first NFL action.

Jacksonville will also be without starting center Brandon Linder against the Dolphins. The team ruled Linder out with a knee injury he sustained against the Titans.

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Jaguars C Brandon Linder Out For Season

Brandon Linder‘s season is over. The Jaguars’ center will undergo surgery on his right knee, ruling him out for the remainder of the year, head coach Doug Marrone announced.

The Jaguars have dropped five straight and the loss of Linder will not help in their quest to get out of the hole. The 26-year-old ranks as one of the league’s better centers and his importance to the team was underscored by the six-year, $54MM extension he inked in 2017.

Even before the Linder injury, the Jags’ offensive line was weakened by the loss of left tackle Cam Robinson. The Jaguars were hoping to turn things around after getting Leonard Fournette back in the lineup, but he won’t get far if the club’s reserves cannot step up. Tyler Shatley figures to slide into the starting lineup in Linder’s place as the team hopes to get more than the 2.2 yards per carry Fournette averaged against the Colts.

Linder, a former third round pick, missed the majority of the 2015 season due to a shoulder injury and had to sit out for five games between 2016 and 2017. He’s been starting for Jacksonville since entering the league in 2014, but after five years he’ll have missed 26 out of a possible 80 regular season games.

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Jaguars C Brandon Linder To Miss Time

The Jaguars will be without center Brandon Linder against the Steelers on Sunday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The issue could sideline him for multiple games and subsequently deal a serious blow to the Jaguars’ running game. 

The Jaguars finally got star rusher Leonard Fournette back in the lineup on Sunday, but his effectiveness would be limited without the presence of Linder in the middle of the line. The 26-year-old is currently ranked as the league’s ninth-best center, according to Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics.

After losing Linder in the third quarter, the Jaguars’ offense failed to close the gap against the Colts and ultimately lost by a field goal. At 3-6, the Jaguars’ playoff hopes are rapidly dwindling, and a sixth-straight loss may take them out of the postseason mix.

For however long Linder is out, the Jaguars will likely use Tyler Shatley as their starting center.

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Extra Points: 49ers, Patriots, Jaguars, Lions

While Brian Hoyer has certainly struggled four games into the 2017 season, it’s “difficult to imagine” the 49ers making a change at quarterback in the near future, writes Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area. Hoyer ranks 30th in the NFL in both quarterback rating and adjusted net yards per attempt, but he’s extremely familiar with head coach Kyle Shanahan‘s offense. Given that San Francisco is not expected to seriously compete this season, Shanahan would rather have a signal-caller who effectively runs the gameplan than turn to third-round rookie C.J. Beathard, reasons Maiocco.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Despite signing a two-year, $5MM contract prior earlier this year, linebacker David Harris is still establishing his role with the Patriots, as Mike Reiss of ESPN.com details. Originally thought to be in consideration for a starting role, Harris has played all of seven snaps through four weeks. As Reiss opines, Harris is essentially being retained for his locker room leadership, as he doesn’t have a regular spot on defense or special teams. How long New England is willing to keep Harris on the active roster is an open question if his playing time doesn’t increase in the coming weeks.
  • The Jaguars will be without starting center Brandon Linder when they face the Steelers on Sunday, as the club officially downgraded to out as he deals with an illness. Linder has lost a “significant” amount of weight because of said illness, tweets Hays Carlyon of 1010 XL, which could bode negatively for his return in the coming weeks. Without Linder available, Jacksonville will turn to Tyler Shatley, who started four games a season ago, at the pivot.
  • Although Eric Ebron has only managed 11 receptions for 87 yards so far this season, the Lions aren’t likely to place him on the trade block in 2017, according to Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com. Detroit general manager Bob Quinn has shown a willingness to deal in past, but Ebron isn’t expected to be moved, and that’s partly due to his perceived upside. The Lions hold a $8.25MM option on Ebron in 2018, but the club could release instead of paying that tota.

Jaguars, Brandon Linder Agree To Extension

Brandon Linder got paid. The Jaguars and the center have agreed to a five-year extension worth $51.7MM, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The deal will make him the highest-paid center in NFL history on a per year basis, besting the average annual value of Cowboys standout Travis Frederick ($9.4MM per year).

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Linder started out as a right guard but was moved to center in 2016. He flourished at the new position and the Jaguars wanted to ensure that he was locked up for years to come.

Guard Trai Turner, who was drafted one spot behind Turner in the third round of the 2014 draft, inked a four-year, $45MM extension with the Panthers earlier this month. Despite playing at center, a position that is generally less valued than guard, Linder is set to earn nearly as much on a per year basis. His salary may indicate that the Jags plan on shifting him back to guard at some point down the road.

Last year, Linder graded out as the No. 5 center in the NFL, per the advanced metrics at Pro Football Focus. The former third round pick missed the majority of the 2015 season due to a shoulder injury, but he missed only two games last year and was on the field for over 900 snaps.

Linder is the first draft pick of GM Dave Caldwell to sign a second deal with the team. Wide receivers Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee and linebacker Telvin Smith are also products of that 2014 draft class and are eligible to sign extensions with the team this year.

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AFC Notes: Bengals, Osweiler, Hali

Tyler Eifert and Vontaze Burfict are both entering their contract seasons, and while the Bengals have not allowed a Pro Bowl player to leave via free agency who is under the age of 32 since 2011, both players present unique considerations. Both are justified in aiming to be paid at the top of the pay scale for their respective positions, but Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer says Burfict, because of his injury history and run-ins with the league’s player safety rules, is more likely to receive a contract like Dont’a Hightower‘s (four years, $35.5MM with $17MM in guarantees) than Luke Kuechly‘s (five years, $61.8MM with $34MM in guarantees). Also, given Hightower’s difficult time in free agency this season, it is unclear whether Burfict will want to try his luck on the open market.

Eifert’s own injury history could hinder his financial prospects, though league sources indicate he is in line for a five-year pact with an AAV of roughly $9MM. Unlike Burfict, however, the franchise tag is an option for Eifert if the two sides cannot hammer out a long-term deal this year, although both parties are motivated to get something done.

Now for more from the AFC:

  • Brock Osweiler apparently still has a chance to start for the Browns in Week 1. Although Cody Kessler and DeShone Kizer are considered the most likely candidates to open the season under center, a lot will depend on Kizer’s development. As Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com writes, if Kizer does not develop as anticipated during training camp — he has progressed well to this point, but things can always change when the pads are on — then Osweiler could reenter the mix as a challenger to Kessler.
  • Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich is entering his contract year, but at this point, he does not foresee himself playing for anyone other than New England, as Mike Reiss of ESPN.com writes. Ninkovich was drafted by the Saints in the fifth round of the 2006 draft and spent several years with the Dolphins, but his career did not blossom until he signed with the Pats in 2009. Since 2010, he has posted at least four sacks per season as a versatile defensive end/linebacker, including three consecutive eight-sack seasons from 2012-14. He is so grateful for his time in New England that, when asked if he could envision himself playing for another club, he said, “I wouldn’t do that.”
  • Tamba Halis Twitter rant last night drew quite a bit of attention, but the Chiefs linebacker says he is not considering holding out and he has not been told he is not in the team’s 2017 plans. He said he simply wants to play more (Twitter link). Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star says (via Twitter) that Hali did address the matter internally back in January, and he was told by head coach Andy Reid to just “keep getting better.” That obviously did not sit well with Hali, who apparently stewed about it for some time before unleashing a bit last night.
  • Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union wonders what, if anything, Trai Turner‘s recent four-year, $45MM extension could mean for Jaguars center Brandon Linder, who was drafted one spot behind Turner in the 2014 draft. Linder started his career at right guard but was moved to center last season after missing 13 games due to a shoulder injury in 2015. He has missed 15 total games in his career, and it sounds as if Jacksonville will simply allow him to play out his contract because of that injury history. If contract talks do commence this year, it will be interesting to see if Linder gets paid like a center or if he receives a deal that suggests he could return to right guard in the future.

2017 Proven Performance Escalators

According to the NFL’s contractual bargaining agreement, players drafted in rounds three though seven are entitled to raises during the fourth year of their respective rookie contracts. The pay bumps are tied to playing time — a player must have played in 35% of his team’s offensive or defensive snaps in two of his first three seasons, or averaged 35% playing time cumulatively during that period.Donte Moncrief (Vertical)

If one of these thresholds is met, the player’s salary is elevated to the level of that year’s lowest restricted free agent tender — that figure should be around $1.8MM in 2017. Players selected in the first or second round, undrafted free agents, and kickers/punters are ineligible for the proven performance escalator.

Here are the players who will see their salary rise in 2017 courtesy of the proven performance escalator:

49ers: Aaron Lynch, LB; Marcus Martin, OL

Bears: Charles Leno, T; Will Sutton, DT

Bengals: Russell Bodine, C

Bills: Preston Brown, LB; Seantrel Henderson, T

Broncos: Michael Schofield, OL

Browns: Christian Kirksey, LB

Buccaneers: Kevin Pamphile, G

Cardinals: John Brown, WR

Chiefs: Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, G; Zach Fulton, G; Phillip Gaines, CB

Colts: Donte Moncrief, WR

Cowboys: Anthony Hitchens, LB

Falcons: Devonta Freeman, RB

Giants: Devon Kennard, LB

Jaguars: Aaron Colvin, CB; Brandon Linder, G; Telvin Smith, LB

Lions: Nevin Lawson, CB; Travis Swanson, C

Packers: Corey Linsley, C; Richard Rodgers, TE

Panthers: Tre Boston, S; Trai Turner, G

Raiders: T.J. Carrie, CB; Justin Ellis, DT; Gabe Jackson, G

Rams: Maurice Alexander, S; E.J. Gaines, CB

Redskins: Bashaud Breeland, CB; Spencer Long, G; Morgan Moses, T

Texans: C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE; Andre Hal, S

Titans: DaQuan Jones, DL; Avery Williamson, LB

Vikings: Shamar Stephen, DT

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Extra Points: Browns, Romo, Jaguars, Bills

The Browns have several options to choose from as they select their starting quarterback — they did not promise a starting job to Robert Griffin III, third-round rookie Cody Kessler is expected to be given an opportunity to compete, and even Josh McCown is still a threat to earn the starting role. And though head coach Hue Jackson says Cleveland will choose a starter “way before” the season begins, the club doesn’t feel the need to rush when naming its No. 1 signal-caller.

“It’s too soon,” Jackson told Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. “We haven’t gotten into OTAs yet. We just have had offseason and voluntary veteran minicamp and now we’ve got the rookies in and I think that’s way too soon. I would never do that. Again, every position is earned. There’s always competition and there’s a reason behind it.

“At some point in time, I’m sure with [GM] Sashi [Brown] and myself, we’ll make a decision on which direction to go, and it will be the right time. Timing is everything and we’ll get there when we need to.”

Here’s the latest look around the NFL…

  • After undergoing a procedure on his clavicle in early March, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is having a productive camp, as Todd Archer of ESPN.com writes“There’s absolutely nothing negative that can be said about where he is,” said owner Jerry Jones. “Everything they hoped to accomplish technically from appraisal of surgery has gone well. Everything he’s done regarding his strength, everything regarding what he’s wanted to do, he’s been able to do.” Dallas does not expect Romo to be on a “pitch count” through the summer, per Archer.
  • The Jaguars would have considered Ryan Kelly in the second round of last month’s draft, as offensive coordinator Greg Olson tells Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union that Kelly would have been the club’s starting center from “day one.” Instead, Jacksonville will move Brandon Linder to center, opening a spot for former Cowboy Mackenzy Bernadeau at guard. The 30-year-old Bernadeau, signed to a two-year deal in March, has 49 NFL starts under his belt.
  • The Bills don’t have a ton of depth at wide receiver behind Sammy Watkins, meaning they’ll be counting on Dri Archer, Marquise Goodwin, and rookie Kolby Listenbee to post some sort of production. As Tyler Dunne of the Buffalo News notes, if the Bills are able to coax something out of that trifecta, offensive coordinator Greg Roman could have a good shot at landing a head coaching job during the next hiring cycle.