Brandon Shell

AFC Notes: Ramsey, Texans, Dolphins, Jets

Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey is going to miss his second straight game with back issues. Many have questioned the timing of his back injury, since it has coincided with his public demands to be traded. But speaking on The Uninterrupted’s “17 Weeks” podcast this week, Ramsey revealed the injury isn’t anything new. “My body was banged up, my back being extremely tight. Having back issues is something I’ve had to deal with over the course of my NFL career. At times I’ve played through extreme pain or not practiced for weeks and tried to go out there and play. It’s something I’ve dealt with,” Ramsey said, via Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com.

DiRocco notes that Ramsey appeared on Jacksonville’s injury report with a back issue a couple of times back in 2017. As for his trade request, there isn’t much new on that front. The Jaguars’ ownership is reportedly fighting hard for Ramsey and trying to convince him to stay, but so far the Florida State product hasn’t wavered. Meanwhile, the Jags have apparently turned down an offer of two first-rounders.

Here’s more from around the AFC:

  • The Texans signed veteran safety Mike Adams last week, and now we have details on his contract. Adams will receive $787K for the rest of the season, which prorates from $1.03MM if he had been on the roster for all 16 games, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. Adams will only count for $553K against the Texans’ cap, and he received a $60K signing bonus. Adams is a longtime veteran who is entering his 16th season, and he’s appeared in 222 games during his lengthy career.
  • The Dolphins are worried that a day-two pick in the 2020 NFL Draft they’d been banking on might get downgraded, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Miami was projected to receive a third-round compensatory pick for losing tackle Ja’Wuan James to the Broncos in free agency, but that’s now in danger of becoming a fourth-rounder. Jackson cites Nick Korte of Overthecap.com’s analysis, who notes that because James has now missed a handful of games with a knee injury, his contract might be deemed less valuable in the NFL’s complex compensatory pick formula. James signed a massive four-year, $52MM deal this offseason, but he’s been sidelined since Week 1 with a knee injury. He appears to be nearing a return, but if he misses much more time it could have negative implications for his former team. The Dolphins have been stockpiling draft assets as they tank, and they’ve been counting on having four day-two picks next April.
  • The Jets have started off the Adam Gase era 0-3, and they’re massive underdogs against the Eagles this week. Unfortunately they’ll be without Sam Darnold for at least one more game, but they are making a shakeup on their offensive line. Rookie Chuma Edoga is going to replace Brandon Shell in the lineup at right tackle, sources told Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. New York drafted Edoga 92nd overall out of USC back in April. The Jets drafted Shell in the fifth-round back in 2016, and Mehta writes that the team is likely to let him walk in free agency this spring. Their offensive line has been a mess so far this season, so it isn’t surprising they’re making a move.

Jets’ Brandon Shell Underwent Knee Surgery

Jets right tackle Brandon Shell has a chance to earn himself a lucrative contract based on his play next season. However, he’ll first have to prove that he’s fully recovered from a knee injury. As Brian Costello of the New York Post writes, the 27-year-old underwent surgery on his left knee this past offseason.

The exact injury hasn’t been reported, but we learned back in December that it had nothing to do with the lineman’s ACL or MCL. It also sounds like the operation was a success, as Costello writes that Shell was practicing fully during OTAs and didn’t show any issues with his knee.

If Shell is indeed healthy, it’d be ideal timing. After all, the 2016 fifth-rounder is set to hit free agency following the 2019 campaign. While Shell has started 29 of his 34 career games (including 16 starts over the past two seasons), he’s now playing for a new head coach and GM. As Costello writes, 2019 will be Shell’s opportunity to show both Adam Gase and Joe Douglas that he should be considered a foundational piece of the Jets’ offensive line.

While Shell didn’t have a standout 2018 season protecting rookie Sam Darnold, he showed improvements over his 2017 season. Pro Football Focus ultimately ranked Shell 56th among 80 eligible tackles, and he allowed only 1.5 sacks throughout the year. The lineman will predictably have a lot more pressure on him in 2019, as he’ll now be blocking for an All-Pro running back in Le’Veon Bell.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2019 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.

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 $2MM in 2019. 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 2019 courtesy of the proven performance escalator:

Bears: RB Jordan Howard, LB Nick Kwiatkoski

Bengals: LB Nick Vigil

Broncos: G Connor McGovern, S Will Parks, S Justin Simmons

Browns: S Derrick Kindred, LB Joe Schobert

Buccaneers: G Caleb Benenoch, DE Carl Nassib, CB Ryan Smith

Chargers: LB Jatavis Brown

Chiefs: CB Kendall Fuller, WR Tyreek Hill, S Eric Murray, WR Demarcus Robinson

Colts: QB Jacoby Brissett, T Joe Haeg

Cowboys: CB Anthony Brown, DT Maliek Collins, QB Dak Prescott

Dolphins: RB Kenyan Drake

Eagles: CB Jalen Mills, T Halapoulivaati Vaitai

Falcons: LB De’Vondre Campbell, TE Austin Hooper, G Wes Schweitzer

Jaguars: DE Yannick Ngakoue

Jets: LB Jordan Jenkins, CB Rashard Robinson, T Brandon Shell

Lions: C Graham Glasgow

Packers: LB Kyler Fackrell, DE Dean Lowry, LB Blake Martinez, LB Antonio Morrison

Patriots: G Joe Thuney, LB Elandon Roberts

Rams: G Austin Blythe, TE Tyler Higbee

Ravens: DE Matt Judon, OL Alex Lewis, CB Tavon Young

Saints: DT David Onyemata

Steelers: DT Javon Hargrave

Texans: DT D.J. Reader

Titans: S Kevin Byard, WR Tajae Sharpe

OverTheCap.com was essential in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. 

Jets Notes: Anderson, McCarthy, Shell

Robby Anderson can be kept away from unrestricted free agency for one more year. The Jets wide receiver will be a restricted free agent next spring, and although he wants an extension, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News notes the expectation is the Jets apply a second-round tender to the talented wideout. That would cost them approximately $3.12MM. Due to Anderson’s issues off the field, the Jets will continue to monitor him as a long-term investment, per Mehta. An RFA tender allows them to do so at a relatively cheap rate.

Additionally, Mehta reports the Eaglesdeadline offer for Anderson was a fourth-round pick. The Jets declined, and the Eagles surrendered a third-rounder for Golden Tate. Although the Jets are more solidified at quarterback than they have been in many years, this season has not gone as well for Anderson as the Josh McCown year did. After a 941-receiving-yard, seven-touchdown 2017, Anderson is at 541 yards and five scores entering Week 16.

Here is the latest out of Jets headquarters:

  • Anderson figures to be part of the Jets’ skill-position corps in 2019, but there figure to be some changes. Sam Darnold does not appear to have a cornerstone weapon among this contingent yet, and Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv writes the Jets need to use some of their $100MM-plus in projected cap space to bring in better weapons for their young passer. Beyond Le’Veon Bell, whose path may well lead to the Big Apple, Mark Ingram and Tevin Coleman are big-name running backs who are months from free agency. The wideout situation figures to involve Tate, though he will be 31 next season, along with John Brown, Tyrell Williams, Randall Cobb and Jamison Crowder. The Jets also have Jermaine Kearse and Quincy Enunwa playing on expiring deals.
  • As for who will be coaching this to-be-determined Darnold supporting cast, Mike McCarthy should be atop Gang Green’s target list, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com writes. McCarthy’s experience as a head coach and background with offense should endear the Jets to the longtime Packers coach. The Jets have opted for defensive-minded coaches for decades — Bill Parcells, Al Groh, Herm Edwards, Eric Mangini, Rex Ryan and Todd Bowles, dating back to 1997 — and are probably leaning toward changing course.
  • Davis Webb dressed for his first game as a Jet on Saturday against the Texans. He remains behind Darnold and McCown on the depth chart, but due to injuries elsewhere, the Jets opted to make Webb part of their 46-man game-day contingent as a reward for solid practice play, Bowles said (via Mehta, on Twitter). With McCown winding down his age-39 season, Webb could possibly be a candidate to be Darnold’s backup in 2019.
  • Brandon Shell will head to IR because of a knee injury, but the Jets expect their right tackle starter to return by OTAs, Matt Stypulkoski of NJ.com notes. Shell’s precise injury is not known, but Stypulkoski adds he did not tear an ACL or MCL. A full-time New York starter for the past two seasons, Shell is under contract through 2019.

Jets Place Brandon Shell, Jeremiah Attaochu On IR

The Jets have placed offensive tackle Brandon Shell and linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu on injured reserve, the club announced today. To fill its two newly-opened roster spots, New York claimed linebacker Emmanuel Lamur off waivers from the Raiders and promoted linebacker Anthony Wint from the practice squad.

Shell, 26, was a fifth-round pick in the 2016 draft and become a full-time starter along the Jets’ offensive line in 2017. While New York’s front five ranks 31st in pass protection and 32nd in run blocking according to Football Outsiders‘ metrics, Shell hasn’t been to blame. Pro Football Focus‘ grades don’t label Shell as an All-Pro, but he ranks a middling 55th among 83 qualifying tackles. He’ll be back in 2019 at a minimum salary.

Attaochu, for his part, has been long on talent but short on production during his five-year NFL career. Drafted out of Georgia Tech as the 50th overall pick in 2014, Attaochu managed only one season as a starter for the Chargers from 2014-17. Injuries have been a problem, as Attaochu played in just 12 total games over his final two years with Los Angeles, but he’s never posted results even when on the field. In 10 games with Gang Green, Attaochu played 22% of the club’s snap and put up two sacks.

Lamur, 29, followed defensive coordinator Paul Guenther from Cincinnati to Oakland this offseason, inking a one-year deal for the minimum to join the Raiders. In nine games (four starts) with Oakland, Lamur registered 13 tackles while playing on roughly a quarter of the team’s defensive snaps. He’ll offer depth and special teams prowess in New York.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Brissett, Ajayi, Bills

We heard last week that Jacoby Brissett‘s place on the Patriots‘ roster may not be safe, and Ben Volin of the Boston Globe doubled down on that report this week. Volin reiterated that Brissett’s performance in the spring and in training camp has left much to be desired, and he says it is fair to wonder whether the Patriots refused to deal Jimmy Garoppolo because they believe Garoppolo represents their future, or because they have no faith in Brissett should Tom Brady be forced to miss time (in truth, it is surely some combination of the two). In any event, Volin opines that New England may have to keep Garoppolo next year, even if that means putting the franchise tag on him (at an estimated $25-26MM cost). After all, the team will still be loaded with talent and should be a championship contender in 2018, but a Brady injury could waste all of that talent if the No. 2 QB cannot adequately replace him.

Now for more from the AFC East:

  • Dolphins RB Jay Ajayi is still in concussion protocol, but he did practice today and the team is excited about his progress, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald tweets. Ajayai left practice early with a trainer, but that was due to a hydration issue, Jackson notes.
  • Dolphins second-round draft choice Raekwon McMillan, who was expected to see significant time at middle linebacker this season, tore his ACL while playing on the punt coverage team in Miami’s first preseason tilt Thursday night. He will now miss his entire rookie season, and head coach Adam Gase has been predictably criticized for using a player of McMillan’s importance on special teams. Roy Cummings of Florida Football Insiders believes such criticism is unwarranted, writing that a head coach cannot field kickoff, kickoff return, punt coverage, and punt return teams without playing first- or second-year guys. Likewise, you cannot expect those players to perform well on special teams in the regular season if they do not see live action in the preseason.
  • Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News offers his take on which wide receivers will make the Bills‘ roster after the team dealt Sammy Watkins and acquired Jordan Matthews. Skurski says Matthews, Zay Jones, and Anquan Boldin will make the club, which is a given, and he adds that Rod Streater is likely to earn a spot due to his excellent camp. Skurski says he currently projects Andre Holmes and Brandon Tate to round out the WR corps, but the fact that cutting Holmes could help the team land a high compensatory draft choice next season certainly works against him. If Holmes should be cut, Walter Powell could find himself on the 53-man come Week 1.
  • Christian Hackenberg played fairly well in the Jets‘ first preseason game last night, thereby creating more fodder for Gang Green’s starting QB discussion. But as Laura Albanese of Newsday writes, there are other competitions worth watching. For instance, the battle for the team’s starting center position is tighter than originally anticipated, as Jonotthan Harrison is putting pressure on presumed starter Wesley Johnson. Likewise, Albanese writes that Brent Qvale and Brandon Shell appear to be neck-and-neck in their race for the Jets’ right tackle job.

Impact Rookies: New York Jets

The old adage that defense wins championships may or may not be true, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a title-winning team that didn’t build heavily through the draft. Rookie classes, naturally, are evaluated on the perceived upside of the NFL newcomers, but which rookies are ready to contribute right out of the gate? And, how do they fit in with their new team schematically?

To help us forecast the immediate future of these NFL neophytes, we enlisted the help of draft guru Dave-Te Thomas who has served as a scouting personnel consultant to NFL teams for multiple decades.

Today, we continue PFR’s Impact Rookie series with his insight on the New York Jets’ draft class:

It has been a strange off-season for the Jets, as they seem to be taking a disregard to their recent past, holding the contract line firmly on 2015 starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and one of the best defensive linemen in the game in Muhammad Wilkerson. They failed to impress with their “temporary” solution to the Fitzpatrick stand-off by using their second-round draft pick to snatch Penn State erratic signal-caller, Christian Hackenberg.

Even if Fitzpatrick had signed, the Jets were going to look at addressing their future at quarterback anyway, as their starter in 2015 has had a journeyman’s like career to date. Still, they fail to impress Jets fans with the addition of Hackenberg, if it means that Fitzpatrick will turn into a training camp stalemate. They can’t be serious about turning the reins over to Geno Smith, could they?

Offensive coordinator Chan Gailey has been talking up Smith, citing his maturity, but his obvious lack of leadership skills (see last season’s locker room debacle) and marginal performances to date makes Jets faithful hope that Gailey can create magic in the huddle this season. One option not talked about often is the development of 2015 third round pick, Bryce Petty. Still, like Hackenberg, he is still unproven at the professional level, leaving the Jets to ponder if they want to risk a season as a playoff observer or come to some kind of solution with the Fitzpatrick situation.

While the Jets did not address their quarterback situation in the way that many fans would have liked, they did pick up some interesting talents at other positions in this year’s draft.

First Round – Darron Lee, LB (Ohio State, No. 20 overall)

It is not etched in stone where Lee will line up for the Jets, but hailed by The NFL Draft Report the “best defensive playmaker in the 2016 draft,” the Jets are certain to find a role quickly for their first round pick. For now, he’s listed behind Erin Henderson at right inside linebacker. Beyond that, veteran and inside starter David Harris might be looking for employment elsewhere in 2017, if Lee progresses as quickly as expected. Darron Lee (vertical)

Henderson moves into the lineup, at least temporarily, after the Jets let Demario Davis leave in free agency despite finishing second on the team with 90 tackles last year. Still, it will not be long before he cedes playing time to Lee. Another player greatly affected by Lee’s arrival is San Francisco cast-off, Bruce Carter, who was brought in to play the nickel package. With Lee’s cornerback-like speed, Carter will have to sit while Lee performs in that alignment.

Some draft analysts stated that Lee was a “work in progress” and “did not excite” in 2015 like he did in 2014 during the Buckeyes’ national championship march. Unknown to many scouts, at the time, but Lee was playing with a lower leg injury during the first half of his sophomore campaign. With several Buckeyes suspended earlier in the year, the strong-side linebacker felt that even on one leg, he needed to be out on the field.

Lee recovered just in time – for the late season tough part of the schedule. He recorded at least seven tackles with one stop behind the line of scrimmage and one quarterback pressure in each of his final four appearances. While he delivered 66 tackles (36 solos) for his final season at Ohio State, it is how he compiled those statistics that were even more impressive.

On 53 plays he made vs. the running game, Lee limited his opponents to an average gain of a minuscule 0.68 yards per attempt. The longest gain vs. the linebacker was a 9-yard scamper. He delivered eleven crunching third-down stops and another on a fourth-down play vs. those ball carriers, posting fourteen of those tackles inside the red zone, including four on goal-line stands. In addition to taking down thirteen runners for losses, ten more were tackled at the line of scrimmage for no gain. He also made five touchdown-saving tackles after runners broke free from other Ohio State defenders in 2015.

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Draft Signings: Bucs, Seahawks, Lions

A rundown of the latest draft signings:

  • The Buccaneers have agreed to terms with fourth-round pick Ryan Smith and fifth-round pick Caleb Benenoch, as freelance reporter Jenna Laine tweets. Smith, a defensive back out of North Carolina Central, left college as the program’s all-time leader in solo tackles (168) and kickoff return average (28.1). Even though he played cornerback during his final year at UNCC, the Bucs plan to use him as a safety. Benenoch, an offensive linemen from UCLA, has experience both at tackle and on the interior line and that versatility helped his stock heading into the draft.
  • The Seahawks signed fifth-round running back Alex Collins, as Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle tweets. As his slot mandates, it’s a four-year, $2.566MM deal with a $184K signing bonus.
  • The Lions signed sixth-round defensive lineman Anthony Zettel, as Wilson tweets.
  • The Dolphins have signed seventh-round quarterback Brandon Doughty, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (on Twitter). The former Western Kentucky signal caller drew interest from scouts in large part because of his pinpoint accuracy.
  • The Lions signed fifth-round offensive lineman Joe Dahl, per Rand Getlin of NFL.com (on Twitter).
  • The Jets announced the signings of cornerback Juston Burris (fourth round) and tackle Brandon Shell (fifth), as Rich Cimini of ESPN.com writes. Shell, a 6-foot-6, 328-pound tackle, started for four seasons for the South Carolina Gamecocks and is the great nephew of Raiders Hall of Fame tackle and ensuing coach Art Shell.

Washington Trades No. 158 Pick To Jets

The Jets acquired the No. 158 pick from Washington in exchange for a 2017 fourth-round selection, Master Tefatsion of the Washington Post tweets. Gang Green chose South Carolina tackle Brandon Shell with the pick.

New York did not have a fifth-round choice after it sent the No. 157 selection to the Broncos for Ryan Clady earlier this month. With the draft’s ensuing choice, the Jets brought in a player who could serve as the succession plan post-Clady. The former 2008 No. 1 pick’s contract expires after the 2017 season.

The Jets had yet to address their offensive front during the draft after entering the weekend relatively thin on long-term options up front. Breno Giacomini resides as the incumbent right tackle, and although the team re-signed Ben Ijalana earlier this offseason, he’s a career backup who barely played during his time with the Jets after backing up iron man D’Brickashaw Ferguson.

A 6-foot-6, 328-pound tackle, Brandon Shell started for four seasons for the Gamecocks and is the great nephew of Raiders Hall of Fame tackle and ensuing coach Art Shell.

Draft Rumors: Cravens, Lions, Dolphins, Raiders

USC safety/linebacker Su’a Cravens says he has six visits lined up and another eight potentially on the horizon as well, Mike Florio of PFT writes. In addition to the previously reported teams with interest, Cravens says he will visit the the Lions, Raiders, and Dolphins.

Here are the latest draft rumors:

  • Maryland outside linebacker Yannick Ngakoue said he has visits scheduled with the Jaguars, Eagles, Titans, and Jets, according to Daniel Gallen of The Baltimore Sun (on Twitter). Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net (on Twitter) adds that the Bills and Browns both met with him today.
  • Boise State lineman Rees Odhiambo will meet with the 49ers, Saints, and Buccaneers in the next couple of weeks, agent Ron Slavin tells Jay Tust of KTVB (on Twitter).
  • Ohio State safety Vonn Bell has (or has had) meetings, workouts and/or visits with the Jets, Patriots, Panthers, and Giants, Rand Getlin of Yahoo Sports tweets.
  • South Carolina offensive lineman Brandon Shell says he has individual workouts coming up with the Panthers, Ravens, and 49ers, David Caraviello of the Post And Courier tweets.
  • Alabama linebacker Reggie Ragland told SiriusXM NFL Radio (on Twitter) that he has probably heard the most from the Bears, Falcons, Saints, and Dolphins. He also confirmed personal workouts with the Bears, ColtsRavens, Jaguars, Vikings, Rams, and the Bills.
  • Pitt wide receiver Tyler Boyd confirmed that he has had workouts with the Cowboys, Patriots, Chargers, and Rams (Twitter link via SiriusXM). He’ll also have formal visits with the Panthers and Cowboys next week.
  • Cincinnati wide receiver Chris Moore has visits/workouts scheduled with the Buccaneers, Panthers, Texans, Eagles, and Bengals, Jenna Laine of Sports Talk 1040 tweets.
  • Defensive line coaches from the Eagles, Titans, Steelers, and Bengals put Javon Hargrave through a workout which lasted almost 45 minutes, according to Tony Pauline for Walter Football.
  • The Cardinals are bringing in linebacker Victor Ochi for an official visit, Pauline writes.