Bruce Irvin

West Notes: Chiefs, Irvin, Amukamara

The Chiefs moved on from their longest-tenured player this offseason, jettisoning 15-year punter Dustin Colquitt. Although the team with Patrick Mahomes negotiations looming and Chris Jones attached to a franchise tag created cap space by cutting Colquitt, the defending Super Bowl champions also identified his potential successor in its UDFA class. Chiefs ST coordinator Dave Toub said (via the Kansas City Star’s Herbie Teope, on Twitter) he rated rookie UDFA punter Tommy Townsend as this draft class’ best punter. Twice a semifinalist for the Ray Guy award, Townsend punted at Florida after transferring from Tennessee. The Chiefs signed both Townsend and 2019 UDFA Tyler Newsome this offseason. Toub’s glowing assessment of Townsend almost certainly gives him a leg up in this competition.

Here is the latest from the West divisions:

  • Bruce Irvin had his eye on a Seahawks reunion for a while. The former Seattle first-round pick texted Bobby Wagner during the playoffs he wanted to come back (via the Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta, on Twitter). Irvin also confirmed he will be playing linebacker in Seattle’s base defense while shifting to an edge-rushing role on passing downs, Condotta adds (via Twitter). This was the expected arrangement. The Seahawks used their base defense considerably last season but have not re-signed Mychal Kendricks. Irvin functioned in this versatile capacity during most of his first Seahawks stint.
  • Prince Amukamara will take a considerable pay cut to join the Raiders. The veteran cornerback signed a one-year, $1.05MM deal, per Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Amukamara will qualify for the new minimum salary benefit, counting only $888K against the Raiders’ cap. The Bears re-signed Amukamara in 2018, and he was set to make $9MM in base salary on that contract this season.
  • Frank Clark played a role in bringing Taco Charlton to Kansas City, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). Charlton’s ex-teammate and roommate while at Michigan, Clark lobbied Chiefs DC Steve Spagnuolo in an effort to bring the former first-round pick to Kansas City. The Chiefs did not claim Charlton’s rookie contract but did add him at a cheaper rate. Charlton called his departure from Dallas and Miami “mutual,” according to Pelissero (via Twitter). Both teams waived the 2017 first-rounder, the Dolphins doing so despite Charlton leading the team in sacks last season with five. Charlton figures to fill a rotational role vacated by the exits of Emmanuel Ogbah and Terrell Suggs.
  • Despite Bashaud Breeland being arrested on several charges earlier this offseason, he has been part of the Chiefs’ virtual offseason since it began, Spagnuolo said (via NFL.com’s James Palmer, on Twitter). Re-signed on a one-year deal, Breeland will likely face a suspension for his arrest — which included the charge of resisting arrest.

NFC West Notes: Rams, Irvin, 49ers, TE

Clay Matthews will file a grievance against the Rams over more than $2MM in unpaid guarantees, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. Todd Gurley, however, will not submit one, per ESPN.com’s Vaughn McClure. Gurley is owed a $7.55MM roster bonus, though offset language from his Falcons deal can reduce that to nearly $5.05MM, per McClure. The Rams, who released both players in March, said each player will receive his respective bonus payment. But the team believes neither payment is due for some time. Matthews’ two-year Rams deal included a $5.5MM guarantee, and Fowler adds that his contract contained $2MM in offset language. That would explain the reason for the delay. The Rams are likely waiting to see if another team will end up signing the veteran pass rusher. That would save the Rams the $2MM.

Here is the latest from the NFC West:

  • Despite Bruce Irvin having lined up as a defensive end in his four seasons away from Seattle — with the Raiders, Falcons and Panthers — the Seahawks are listing him as an outside linebacker. Going into the draft, the team viewed Irvin as an option to play off the ball in base sets before lining up as an end on passing downs, per Brady Henderson of ESPN.com (on Twitter). But the Seahawks used a first-round pick on Texas Tech linebacker Jordyn Brooks and possess a greater need at defensive end. Irvin did, however, play this hybrid role for the bulk of his first Seahawks stint.
  • Although the 49ers drafted Georgia tight end Charlie Woerner in the sixth round, he projects as more of a blocking tight end. The team is looking to add a receiving tight end to play behind George Kittle, Matt Barrows of The Athletic notes (subscription required). UDFA Ross Dwelley filled in for Kittle while he missed time due to injury last season, but the ex-San Diego Torero averaged just 6.1 yards per reception on 15 grabs. The top free agent available is former 49er Delanie Walker, but the Titans released him after two injury-marred seasons. Jordan Reed, who played under Kyle Shanahan with the Redskins in 2013, may be a name to monitor as well. But Reed has dealt with numerous injuries during his career.
  • With the 49ers trading Matt Breida, their backfield group looks clearer. Once rumored as a trade candidate, Tevin Coleman now appears a lock to be back with the 49ers in 2020, Barrows adds. Coleman and special-teamer-turned-breakout back Raheem Mostert are almost certain to return, with the 49ers still rostering Jerick McKinnon and Jeff Wilson. McKinnon will be the obvious wild card, given that he’s missed two full seasons.

Seahawks To Bring Back DE Bruce Irvin

After four seasons away from Seattle, Bruce Irvin is set to return to the team that drafted him. The Seahawks and Irvin agreed to terms on Wednesday, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter).

A 2010 first-round Seahawks pick, the veteran defensive end has ventured to the Raiders, Falcons and Panthers in the years since. Now 32, he will come back to the Pacific Northwest.

The veteran linebacker joined the Panthers last offseason, and he proceeded to start 12 of his 13 games. Despite playing in his fewest number of regular season games since 2013, Irvin still finished the campaign with a career-high 8.5 sacks. He also added 36 tackles and one forced fumble.

This signing probably doesn’t take Seattle out of the running for Jadeveon Clowney. We learned earlier today that the pass rusher has been disappointed by his market. The Seahawks have made an effort to keep him and the feeling is that their offer could be the best he gets.

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Panthers To Sign Bruce Irvin

The Panthers have agreed to sign Bruce Irvin, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. It’s a one-year, $4MM that can reach up to $5MM with incentives, a league source tells Jourdan Rodrigue of The Observer (on Twitter). 

[RELATED: Panthers Meet With OL Jermon Bushrod]

The Panthers were in desperate need of pass rush help after losing Julius Peppers to retirement. Now, Irvin will team up with Mario Addison and the rest of the group to try and generate pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Adding Irvin is a big step forward for Carolina, but you can expect the Panthers to scour the free agent market for further upgrades while targeting others in the draft.

Irvin split the 2018 season between the Raiders and Falcons and finished out with a combined 6.5 sacks. Irvin, 32 in November, has 43.5 sacks to his credit across seven NFL seasons with roughly half of those takedowns coming in Seattle.

Previously operating as Khalil Mack’s sidekick, Irvin registered 15 sacks between the 2016-17 seasons. But, following the Mack trade in 2018, things soured between Irvin and head coach Jon Gruden, leading to Irvin’s release in November.

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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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