Bruce Irvin

49ers Pursued DE Bruce Irvin

The 49ers “went hard” after free agent Bruce Irvin after he was released by the Raiders, according to Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area (Twitter link). Irvin ultimately signed with the Falcons, but San Francisco was one of roughly 10 clubs that inquired on the veteran defensive end, per Maiocco.

Irvin on Wednesday told Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com both the Steelers and Patriots offered him more than the $1.5MM he’ll collect from Atlanta, while reports also indicated the Seahawks expressed interest in adding Irvin. But the 31-year-old preferred to return home to his native Atlanta, so any other proposals weren’t all that attractive.

On paper, the 49ers are something of a curious fit for Irvin, as they’re certainly not in contention for a playoff berth with a 2-7 record. San Francisco, which ranks eighth in adjusted sack rate but just 17th in pressure rate, also has a young crop of rushers available on the edge, including Arik Armstead and Solomon Thomas, so Irvin wouldn’t have been looking at a full complement of snaps.

However, if the 49ers believe they’ll need additional edge defenders in 2019, they may have been interested in signing Irvin for something of a trial run. Irvin should already be familiar with San Francisco’s scheme (it’s similar to the defense he ran with the Seahawks earlier in his career), but the 49ers could have gotten a chance to see how he fits into the club’s front. Irvin only signed a one-year deal with the Falcons, so San Francisco could certainly target him when he hits the open market again next spring.

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South Rumors: Irvin, Dez, Fitz, Titans

Bruce Irvin clearing waivers and landing with the Falcons gives him a chance to earn nearly $10MM this season. His one-year (or, eight-game) Falcons deal is worth $1.5MM, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports. Irvin was playing on an $8MM salary with the Raiders this season, and Florio notes he can recoup the balance of that salary ($3.76MM) by filing a termination pay claim. Vested veterans (at least four seasons’ experience) can do this one in their careers, and this may be the most money Irvin, 31, can claim through this measure. Total, the seventh-year veteran can collect $9.75MM this season. Considering he entered the year with no more guarantees remaining in his deal, that’s not a bad haul.

Here’s more from the Irvin front, along with the latest from the South divisions:

  • With Irvin rejoining a Dan Quinn defense, this one housing recent first-round defensive ends Takk McKinley and Vic Beasley, he won’t be the unquestioned top edge rusher like he was in Oakland. However, Quinn — who coached Irvin with the Seahawks — is planning a NASCAR package with the three ends and Grady Jarrett, per D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Quinn said the team will use the trio on the field together in practice this week in preparation to deploy the speed set a game at some point. The Falcons’ 17 sacks rank 27th in the league. Beasley has just one and is Pro Football Focus’ worst-graded full-time edge defender this season.
  • A six-plus-month stay in free agency ended for Dez Bryant earlier Wednesday, but the new Saints wide receiver is still looking to return to the market in 2019. Bryant wants to prove himself on a contending team and become a free agent again, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com notes. This has been Bryant’s plan all along, and he’ll likely join Tre’Quan Smith as a key complementary receiver for Drew Brees.
  • The Buccaneers won’t be pivoting back to Jameis Winston this week. Dirk Koetter confirmed (via ESPN.com’s Jenna Laine) Ryan Fitzpatrick will be the starter in Week 10. Although Fitzpatrick threw two interceptions in a 42-28 loss to the Panthers, he led the Bucs back from 35-7 and made it a one-score game. Tampa Bay ranks first in pass offense (356.6 yards per game) by more than 30 yards.
  • The TitansMalcolm Butler signing hasn’t worked out the way the team had hoped yet. Signed to a five-year, $61.25MM deal, Butler has struggled in coverage and rates as PFF’s No. 98 cornerback through eight games. Mike Vrabel, though, does not plan to bench Butler. The first-year coach attributes some of the defender’s woes to reading the wrong keys, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets.
  • Tennessee may have to temporarily demote Jack Conklin, though. The right tackle starter is in concussion protocol after the Titans’ win over the Cowboys. Conklin already missed this season’s first four games because of the ACL tear he suffered in last year’s playoffs. Conklin has started five games this year and was on the field for all 32 Tennessee regular-season contests during his first two NFL seasons.

Falcons Sign DE Bruce Irvin

Former Raiders defensive end Bruce Irvin has agreed to a one-year deal with the Falcons, according to a team announcement. The deal reunites Irvin with coach Dan Quinn and gives the veteran a chance at reaching the playoffs this season. 

This was a dream [come] true,” the Atlanta native told Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com (on Twitter). “The Patriots and Steelers offered more money, but being able to play for my city and my people, you just can’t put a price on that.”

The Seahawks also tried to sign Irvin, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). But, rather than don his old uniform, Irvin decided to reconnect with the coach who helped mold him into one of the league’s most feared edge rushers.

Irvin’s new deal will pay him $1.5MM for the final eight games of the season, Rapoport adds (on Twitter). He also gets to collect on the full amount of his remaining Raiders salary, giving him a total haul of $9.75MM for 2018.

Irvin, 31, recorded 88 tackles, 8.5 sacks, five pass defenses, three interceptions and two touchdowns in his two seasons under Quinn in Seattle. The former No. 12 overall pick also had some success with the Raiders, but things took a turn this year under new head coach Jon Gruden.

The Raiders’ pass rush has been listless without Khalil Mack leading the charge, and Irvin was not his usual self, despite leading the team with three sacks at the midway point of the season. In his final game with the Raiders, Irvin played only nine snaps.

With the Falcons, Irvin will join a talented pass rush that includes former first-round picks Takkarist McKinley and Vic Beasley. On the whole, it’s a defense that has not been playing up to its potential. The Falcons are among the lowest-ranked defenses in the league and the front seven has registered just 17 sacks on the year.

Because he was released after the trade deadline, Irvin was subject to waivers. He went unclaimed due to his contract which called for him to earn $3.8MM the rest of the way. Naturally, he’ll earn less on his Falcons deal.

Irvin’s first game with the Falcons will come against the Browns on Sunday.

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Bruce Irvin Goes Unclaimed On Waivers

Former Raiders defensive end Bruce Irvin went unclaimed on waivers, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. The other 31 teams in the NFL were not interested in picking up the $3.8MM left on Irvin’s contract, but he should draw ample interest as a free agent. 

Irvin wants to play for a winner, according Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, who predicts that he will sign with the Patriots, Falcons, and Seahawks. Given Irvin’s history with the Seahawks and his ties to Falcons head coach Dan Quinn, either club would serve as as comfortable landing spot.

Previously operating as Khalil Mack’s sidekick, Irvin registered 15 sacks between the 2016-17 seasons. He led the Raiders with three this year, though Oakland’s pass rush nose-dived after the scrutinized Mack trade. He played only nine snaps in Raiders’ embarrassing 34-3 loss to the 49ers, which turned out to be his final game in silver and black.

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Latest On Bruce Irvin

As soon as the Raiders surprisingly waived defensive end Bruce Irvin, rumors immediately began swirling about where he might end up.

The Raiders failed to get Irvin on the league’s transaction wire in time yesterday, so Irvin can’t be officially placed on waivers until 4 p.m. Monday, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN (Twitter link). The current assumption by most around the league is that Irvin will go unclaimed because he still has a significant amount of guaranteed money left on his deal that any team who claimed him would inherit.

As for where Irvin will sign when he does clear waivers, there are many potential destinations. Irvin “wants to play for a winner”, according Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports (Twitter link). La Canfora thinks Irvin will end up in either New England, Atlanta, or Seattle, as the Patriots are looking for pass-rushing help and Irvin has connections to both the Falcons and Seahawks.

If any team does claim Irvin, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY thinks it could be the Jets (Twitter link). Vacchiano points out that Irvin will likely want to sign with a better team if he’s a free agent, so the Jets could claim him to make sure they get him. As for why Oakland cut Irvin in the first place, it was because Irvin had grown unhappy with his role and the team believed he had “lost a step”, according to Albert Breer of SI.com.

Big names like this don’t usually hit the market this late in the season, so this is a pretty unique situation. Irvin likely won’t take too long, so we should know more about where he’s headed soon.

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Raiders To Cut DE Bruce Irvin

The Raiders’ pass rush is likely about to get worse. The team made the decision to cut defensive end Bruce Irvin, Vic Tafur of The Athletic reports (on Twitter).

Irvin was a trade candidate before the deadline, but the Raiders did not end up moving him. Now, the veteran edge defender will head to the waiver wire as an intriguing pass-rushing option. Since this transaction comes a few days after the deadline, Irvin — despite being a vested veteran — will have to venture to the wire. He’s signed through the 2019 season.

This represents a stunning turn of events for a once-formidable Raiders edge rush. After two seasons of having Khalil Mack and Irvin locking down their edge spots, the Raiders are going to go into the second half of this season without either.

Previously operating as Mack’s sidekick, Irvin registered 15 sacks between the 2016-17 seasons. He led the Raiders with three this year, though Oakland’s pass rush nose-dived after the scrutinized Mack trade. The Raiders have a league-low seven sacks in eight games. This grim situation now looks worse for the free-falling Raiders, who dropped to 1-7 after enduring one of their worst losses in recent memory on Thursday night.

Irvin, though, played only nine snaps in the 34-3 loss to the 49ers. Jon Gruden cited the Raiders’ 4-3 scheme as a reason Irvin’s playing time had been reduced.

We’re a 4-3 team; we’re not a 3-4,” Gruden said, via Tafur (subscription required). “So in the base defense, sometimes he doesn’t fit the role that we need done. No disrespect to Bruce. He’s an edge rusher. We haven’t had a lead. We haven’t had the opposition behind in the chains a lot. So his role has been reduced. I know he’s frustrated. I’m frustrated. We’ll try to solve that as soon as possible. He’s a good player. He’s a good player.”

Irvin’s departure also represents another Reggie McKenzie investment that’s now off the roster. During a busy 2016 free agency period for the Raiders, McKenzie authorized a four-year, $37MM deal for the former Seahawks first-round pick. Since the Raiders had so much cap room that offseason, McKenzie opted to frontload most of those deals. No guaranteed money was attached to Irvin’s contract in 2018 and none remains on the 31-year-old’s deal.

This should make Irvin an interesting commodity on the wire, which is now arranged by teams’ 2018 records. He’s owed a $9MM base salary in 2019. The Raiders are on the hook for the rest of Irvin’s $8MM this season. With $3.7MM remaining on Irvin’s deal, it’s not a lock he is claimed. But numerous teams could afford it.

Under Gruden, the Raiders have now parted with McKenzie first- or second-round draft picks Mack, Amari Cooper, Obi Melifonwu, Jihad Ward and Mario Edwards. Gruden’s jettisoned McKenzie veteran additions Irvin, Michael Crabtree, Sean Smith, David Amerson and Cordarrelle Patterson.

It’s been a stunning offseason for the AFC’s Bay Area team, one that likely has another season left in its original market before moving to Las Vegas in 2020. After this slew of moves and poor performance this season, the Raiders’ 2019 outlook appears bleak as well.

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Raiders’ Bruce Irvin Drawing Trade Interest

The Raiders have already traded wide receiver Amari Cooper and are open to dealing defensive backs Gareon Conley and Karl Joseph, but there’s an additional Oakland player who is also available. Per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, the Raiders have discussed edge rusher Bruce Irvin with other clubs.

With a limited number of pass rushers available on the trade market, Irvin is a logical candidate to be dealt. However, the Raiders are struggling to find a taker for Irvin’s salary, according to Schefter. If a club acquired Irvin before Tuesday’s deadline, it would be on the hook for the rest of Irvin’s 2018 base salary, which amounts to roughly $4.2MM. Irvin is also under contract for 2019, but he can be released without financial penalty.

Irvin, 30, could potentially offer versatility to a number of clubs, as he’s played both defensive end and outside linebacker during his career. Now in his third season with the Raiders, Irvin has started six games this year while three sacks and four quarterback hits. Pro Football Focus has graded Irvin as a below-average defensive end in 2018, ranking him as a bottom-20 edge defender among 101 qualifiers.

Any number of teams could potentially use another rotational pass rusher, but teams with a true need on the edge include the Rams, Jets, Chiefs, and Lions. The Chargers could also make sense as a landing spot for Irvin given Joey Bosa‘s uncertain injury timeline, while the Bengals are now down a defensive end after Carl Lawson tore his ACL earlier today.

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AFC West Notes: Chiefs, Ingram, Raiders

Having funneled their pass offense through Travis Kelce for several seasons and having not invested much in their No. 2 wide receiver job in many years, the Chiefs surprised most observers by authorizing a monster contract for Sammy Watkins. The fifth-year wideout’s three-year, $48MM deal — with $30MM guaranteed — is having a league-wide effect, Joel Corry of CBS Sports writes. Julio Jones, who is signed to a $14.25MM-per-year deal, is now seeking additional dollars. And Corry adds Odell Beckham Jr.‘s hopes to become the league’s first $20MM-AAV wide receiver is not a crazy demand anymore now that Watkins has signed a top-five contract without supplying production to justify it. Corry adds that Watkins’ $16MM-AAV contract will become Brandin Cooks‘ floor, assuming he fares well in Los Angeles this season.

As for the Chiefs, Watkins justifying the contract could be difficult, as Corry writes, since the newcomer may be the No. 4 option in his next offense. Kelce and Kareem Hunt are entrenched as the top components of Kansas City’s attack, and Tyreek Hill put together a strong 2017 featuring 1,183 air yards and seven touchdowns. Watkins caught 39 passes for 583 yards last season, and his career-best numbers were 1,047 and nine with the 2015 Bills. Hill becomes extension-eligible after this season and his contract expires after 2019. Those talks could be tricky if he outproduces Watkins this season. Only two teams — the Packers and Broncos — are paying two wideouts eight figures annually, and the Chiefs could be set to encounter an interesting dilemma once Hill talks begin.

Here’s the latest from the AFC West:

  • Melvin Ingram may not be attending the Chargers‘ OTA sessions. The star pass rusher missed Tuesday’s session and is training in Florida, Eric Williams of ESPN.com reports, adding that Ingram cleared his absence with Anthony Lynn. Ingram skipped the start of these workouts last year, but he was not under contract because he had yet to sign his franchise tender. He’s now signed a long-term Bolts deal.
  • Bruce Irvin played as a 4-3 outside linebacker the past two seasons with the Raiders, but new DC Paul Guenther is moving him to defensive end, Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com notes (on Twitter). Irvin often played end during his first two seasons in Oakland, but did so in sub-packages while lining up as a stand-up ‘backer in most base sets, similar to the Broncos’ usage of Von Miller from 2011-14. Irvin began his career as a defensive end before the Seahawks relocated him. Now that Irvin is at end, Gutierrez notes Tahir Whitehead and Emmanuel Lamur lined up as outside linebackers with the Raiders’ first-stringers at Tuesday’s OTA session.
  • Also at Raiders OTAs, Gareon Conley participated fully, per Gutierrez. A shin injury wiped out most of the 2017 first-rounder’s rookie season, and only recently did the former Ohio State standout receive full clearance.
  • Donald Penn will be limited during these workouts, with Gutierrez noting the longtime Oakland left tackle is still recovering from Lisfranc surgery. Penn is not expected to be ready to participate fully until training camp. For now, second-year player David Sharpe took the reps in 11-on-11 work while Breno Giacomini opened with the starters at right tackle. The Raiders are planning to have Kolton Miller train as a left tackle to start his career.
  • The Chiefs will be without their backup tight end in Week 1. Demetrius Harris received a one-game suspension for a 2017 marijuana arrest that induced a multi-day jail stay, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Harris established new career-high marks last season with 18 receptions for 224 yards. The Chiefs added former Jets second-rounder Jace Amaro this offseason, but Harris has been with the team for the past four seasons. Amaro hasn’t played since 2016.
  • Clinton McDonald did not participate in Broncos OTAs on Tuesday, and Mike Klis of 9News notes the veteran defensive lineman is still recovering from a March shoulder operation. The Broncos knew of this procedure when they signed him in March, per Klis. He adds McDonald is expected to be ready for camp.

This Date In Transactions History: Bruce Irvin Suspension

Following the 2012 season, the Seahawks were surely thrilled with what they had gotten out of Bruce Irvin. The organization had surprised many pundits by selecting the West Virginia product 15th overall, but the defensive end was plenty productive during his rookie campaign. Despite playing behind Chris Clemons and Red Bryant, Irvin managed to compile eight sacks, a mark that still stands as a career-high.

However, Irvin and the Seahawks got some bad news on May 17th, 2013, as the NFL suspended the lineman four games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy (it was reported that Irvin was specifically suspended for performance-enhancing drugs). While the player quickly bounced back from the suspension (he’s only missed a pair of regular season games since), the punishment ended up having a lasting impact on his career.

Why? On the day of the suspension, NFL Network’s Mark Sessler wrote that the Seahawks had known about Irvin’s suspension for months. This information ultimately led the organization to pursue a pair of defensive ends: Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett. While it wasn’t explicitly stated, we can assume that the Seahawks front office may have only pursued one of these free agents had Irvin not been punished. These additions ultiamtely forced the team to convert Irvin to linebacker, a position he’s played ever since.

Irvin ended up being plenty productive at his new position, finishing the 2012 season with 40 tackles and two sacks en route to a Super Bowl championship. He compiled 12 total sacks between the 2013 and 2014 seasons before hitting free agency. He ultimately inked a lucrative four-year, $37MM contract with the Raiders, reuniting him with former Seahawks linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr., who was the team’s defensive coordinator at the time (ironically, Norton Jr. is back in Seattle as the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator).

The 30-year-old hasn’t lost a step during his two seasons in Oakland, averaging 7.5 sacks and just under 58 tackles. However, you’ve got to wonder how Irvin’s career may have been different had he never been suspended five years ago today.

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Raiders To Retain LB Bruce Irvin

The Raiders will not release linebacker Bruce Irvin, general manager Reggie McKenzie told reporters, including Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review JournalBruce Irvin (vertical)

[RELATED: Raiders To Bring Back Michael Crabtree]

Irvin will enter the third season of a four-year, $37MM pact he signed with Oakland prior to the 2016 campaign. Next season, the 30-year-old defender will earn an $8MM base salary and a $250K workout bonus. The Raiders could have cleared that entire total by cutting ties with Irvin this offseason, but they’ll instead retain him for at least one more go-round.

Last year, Irvin totaled 58 tackles and matched his career high with eight sacks. For his efforts, he graded out as the No. 48 ranked edge defender in the league, per Pro Football Focus. His 77.0 overall score was roughly in line with his career average, but a slight downtick from his career-high 81.8 showing in 2016.

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