Buster Skrine

Ravens CB Chris Westry Suffers Torn Meniscus

The injuries keep coming for the Ravens. Cornerback Chris Westry is expected to miss at least a month after suffering a torn lateral meniscus, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler (and passed along by ESPN’s Jamison Hensley).

Westry, a former undrafted free agent, ended up playing the third-most snaps among Ravens cornerbacks on Sunday, collecting three tackles. The team was already relying on the bottom of their depth chart after losing cornerback Marcus Peters to a season-ending injury, and Westry’s latest injury is only going to make matters worse.

Thanks to their depleted cornerbacks depth, the team is naturally looking for reinforcement at the position. Earlier this week, Hensley tweets that the Ravens worked out four cornerbacks, including Buster Skrine, Daryl Worley, Winston Rose, and Grant Haley. That’s a mix of experience and youth, and the team will presumably add one cornerback to their active roster sooner than later (the organization already added Kevon Seymour to their practice squad).

While this latest injury is certainly frustrating, Ravens fans have probably come to expect it by now. Per Hensley, the Ravens have already placed 15 players on IR this year, including nine players over the past 24 days.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bears To Release CB Buster Skrine

After two seasons, the Bears will move on from Buster Skrine. Chicago will make the veteran cornerback a cap casualty, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter).

Skrine signed with the Bears in 2019, landing in Chicago after four seasons with the Jets. The veteran slot corner has managed to reach 10 NFL seasons. An 11th would mean another relocation.

This move comes ahead of a $500K roster bonus Skrine was due to collect. He will turn 32 in April. Skrine played 28 games with the Bears, with his tenure coming exclusively under DC Chuck Pagano. Both are out of the picture now. Because of the two void years tacked onto the end of Skrine’s three-year deal, the Bears will save just $2.7MM by making this move. Entering Monday, the Bears were barely $2MM over the projected salary cap.

Skrine played 52% of the Bears’ defensive snaps in 2020, grading as Pro Football Focus’ No. 92 overall corner. The former Browns fifth-round pick has started 92 games in his career but will now enter a buyer’s market, with the cap set to drop.

The Skrine release marks the second straight year in which the Bears have cut a 30-something cornerback contributor. They made Prince Amukamara a cap casualty ahead of the 2020 league year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bears Notes: Desai, Robinson, Massie, Skrine

Earlier this week, Sean Desai met with the media for the first time since being promoted to the role of defensive coordinator. While the 37-year-old will take over a defense that has ranked as a top-10 DVOA unit in each of the past three seasons, they’ve also seen some regression since peaking in 2018. However, Desai doesn’t believe the defensive needs a significant overhaul.

“I’m not a big car guy, so my analogies may not be great, but this is like a tune up,” Desai said (via the team’s website). “We’re going to refine some things and we’re going to make sure our players are playing to their strengths on a consistent basis and they’re going to buy into the system and the whys and the hows of why we’re doing certain things. But we’ve got a good defense. We’ve got really good players here.”

“There was some regression, and we’re going to overcome that,” Desai added. “But we’re going to do it in a positive way and we’re going to do it where the players are going to be able to shine through that defense. So I think we’ll build some depth and we’ll continue with our tough, physical mindset of play and do that over a 16- to 20-week season.”

Some more notes out of Chicago…

  • CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora writes that the Bears are “prepared” to tag wideout Allen Robinson with the hope of eventually signing him to a long-term deal. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune writes that it will be difficult to fit a franchised Robinson into a reduced 2021 cap, but the writer also admits that replacing Robinson would be a more daunting task.
  • Speaking of the cap, Biggs provided some cost-cutting options for the Bears. The team could move on from right tackle Bobby Massie, although that would open a spot on the offensive line. Cornerback Buster Skrine could also lose his roster spot, especially since he has a $500K roster bonus due in March. Finally, Biggs also whether the front office will be receptive to paying tight end Jimmy Graham $7MM this season.
  • As for restructured contracts, Biggs points to pass rusher Khalil Mack and safety Eddie Jackson, and he notes that the team could also extend cornerback Kyle Fuller. Alternatively, the team could look to retain free agents like Cairo Santos and Cordarrelle Patterson on low-money pacts.
  • Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic passed along a few Bears players who have increased their 2021 salaries via proven performance escalators (Twitter links): defensive end Bilal Nichols (from $920K to $2.183MM) and guard James Daniels ($1.437MM to $2.183MM),. Their new salaries are contingent on the final 2021 cap number.

Bears To Sign Buster Skrine

Moments after agreeing to terms with running back Mike Davis, the Bears are making another signing. Chicago is adding cornerback Buster Skrine, sources told Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (Twitter link).

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network added in a tweet that it’ll be a three-year deal worth $16.5MM. $8.5MM of it will be guaranteed. Garafolo writes that the news “surely means Bryce Callahan is gone from Chicago.” Skrine comes to the Bears from the Jets, after spending the past four seasons in New York.

Skrine signed a four-year $25MM deal with the Jets back in 2015, and had an up and down tenure in New York. He came close to getting cut several times, and his play has fluctuated greatly. A fifth round pick of the Browns back in 2011, Skrine is still only 29. He’s a slot cornerback, and will slight right into the hole presumably left by Callahan.

Skrine received average marks from Pro Football Focus for his work last year, which is a pretty big downgrade from Callahan, but the move should save the Bears a decent amount of money. In 14 games and 11 starts last year, Skrine had 58 tackles and eight passes defended.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets Notes: Bowles, Martin, Skrine, UDFAs

Some fringe NFL players have difficulties finding a job after their NFL career has seemingly come to an end. However, Jets placekicker Ross Martin seems to have it all figured out. The former undrafted free agent out of Duke already has a job lined up at IBM if/when his football opportunities have dried up.

“Throughout my senior year, my first and foremost passion was to make it to the NFL, but I also wanted to have a contingency plan,” Martin told Ethan Greenberg of NewYorkJets.com. “I did a couple interviews with a couple different firms and ended up getting the offer from IBM with a start date in October last year. I went the whole course with the Jets through the preseason and everything. I got cut and started working for IBM in October of last year all the way up through April.”

Martin is hoping for a different outcome this time around. The 23-year-old is competing with Chandler Catanzaro in what special teams coordinator Brant Boyer described as a “wide open kicking competition.”

Let’s check out some more notes out of the Jets organization…

  • In the unlikely event that Jets coach Todd Bowles loses his job, Darryl Slater of NJ.com believes that general manager Mike Maccagnan should have a major say in hiring the team’s replacement. Bowles and Maccagnan were hired together before the 2015 season, and it’s clear that owner Woody Johnson is still running the show. However, considering the organization’s wish to rebuild next season, it seems unlikely that the team wouldn’t consider bringing Bowles back for the 2018 campaign.
  • Looking at holdovers from last season’s team, Slater makes it clear that Jets veteran running back Matt Forte will not get cut. Considering Lorenzo Mauldin‘s legal issues, the writer can envision the team moving on from the linebacker. The writer also points to cornerback Buster Skrine, who he assumes will be gone next offseason, anyway. Cutting the veteran defensive back would create nearly $6MM in cap space, which the Jets could carry over into next offseason.
  • Among all of the Jets’ undrafted free agents, Connor Hughes of NJ.com believes offensive lineman Chris Bordelon has the best chance of making the 53-man roster. While the Jets starting offensive line is seemingly set, the Nicholls State product could catch on as a reserve. The writer also lists wideouts K.D. Cannon and Gabe Marks, fullback Anthony Firkser, cornerback Xavier Coleman, and linebacker Connor Harris as potential candidates to make the team.
  • In case you missed it, free agent linebacker Zach Orr is set to meet with the Jets today.

Jets To Cut Richardson, Skrine?

The Jets aren’t done cleaning house. Sheldon Richardson, Buster Skrine, Marcus Gilchrist, and Calvin Pryor are among the players that are in danger of losing their roster spots, ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini tweets. As previously reported, Eric Decker may be in the same boatSheldon Richardson (vertical)

Cimini writes that David Harris seems safe for now, but that could change if they add a free agent at inside linebacker. Gang Green could also try to deal Pryor and Richardson since the former first-round picks still have some trade value. The Jets once shopped Richardson with the hope of netting a first-round pick, but it now seems like they might have to settle for a third-round choice given Richardson’s down year and off-field red flags. Pryor, a big hitter in the secondary, has yet to really break out in his three NFL seasons. This past season, Pro Football Focus rated the Louisville slugger as the No. 73 safety in the NFL out of 89 qualified players.

In recent days, the Jets have released wide receiver Brandon Marshall, cornerback Darrelle Revis, center Nick Mangold, offensive tackles Ryan Clady and Breno Giacomini, kicker Nick Folk, and linebacker Erin Henderson. It sounds like that list is about to grow even more.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets Notes: Decker, Trades, Revis

Jets wideout Eric Decker recently underwent hip surgery, and the 29-year-old is also awaiting an operation to repair his partially torn rotator cuff. Despite these setbacks, Decker said he wouldn’t miss any games in 2017.

“I’m not worried about missing any time next year,” Decker said on ESPN New York (via Darryl Slater of NJ.com). “I’ll be fine by the start of next year.”

Decker will be on crutches for a few more weeks, and he’ll have his shoulder surgery once he’s recovered from his hip operation. The shoulder should take about eight months to recover, which should line up perfectly with offseason workouts.

“I think they say eight months is kind of the time frame where you’re back to full strength lifting,” Decker said. “But there are a lot of guys that say after six weeks, after eight weeks, they feel pretty good. And then it’s a matter of obviously strengthening the shoulder.”

Let’s check out some more notes from the Gang Green…

Jets’ Buster Skrine Restructures Contract

As Sunday fast approaches, more and more players are restructuring their deals to accommodate their teams. Cornerback Buster Skrine has joined the club, as Darryl Slater of NJ.com writes. The Jets created $2.5MM in salary cap space for 2016 by giving Skrine a $3.75MM signing boBuster Skrine (vertical)nus and dropping his 2016 base salary from $6.5MM to $2.75MM. Skrine’s cap number has now gone from $7.754MM to $5.254MM.

Skrine, 27, joined the Jets on a four-year, $25MM deal ($13MM guaranteed) last offseason. With Antonio Cromartie out of the picture, Skrine is now serving a more important role as he’ll start opposite of Darrelle Revis in the base defense while also serving as the primary slot corner in the nickel formation.

In 2015, Skrine appeared in all 16 regular season games and started in seven contests. He had one interception, six passes defensed, and 55 total tackles.

The Jets are roughly $430K under the cap now, according to Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap (on Twitter).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Colts, Jets, Raiders

Some assorted notes from around the AFC…

  • Despite the Colts‘ apparent need for a pass rusher (and the team’s tendency to add players older than 30), ESPN.com’s Mike Wells can’t envision the team bringing in free agent Dwight Freeney. The 36-year-old spent 11 seasons with Indy, and he played last season with the Cardinals, where he compiled eight sacks.
  • The Colts don’t have much cornerback depth outside of Vontae Davis, Patrick Robinson and Darius Butler, writes Kevin Bowen of Colts.com. This could pave the way for an undrafted free agent to play a significant role on the team.
  • Regardless of how much money Ryan Fitzpatrick is seeking, ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini notes that the Jets will have to clear some cap room to retain the quarterback. The writer notes that the team could take several routes, like restructuring Eric Decker or Buster Skrine‘s contracts.
  • Raiders first-round pick Karl Joseph had to watch from the sideline during his team’s rookie minicamp this past week as he recovers from a torn ACL. While the organization is confident that the safety will be ready for the regular season, Joseph is frustrated that he can’t participate with his teammates. “It’s tough, just not being able to go out there and practice and learn the stuff, but I am still learning in meeting rooms,” Joseph told Josh Dubow of the Associated Press. “Right now, I am just focusing on rehabbing and getting healthy.”

Workout Updates: 10/20/15

Today’s workouts and visits from around the NFL..

Earlier today:

  • The Panthers are working out tight end/fullback James Casey today, according to Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (on Twitter).
  • The Saints tried out defensive backs Akeem Davis and Robert McClain, wide receiver T.J. Graham, guard David Arkin, and center Ryan Seymour, according to ESPN.com’s Field Yates (on Twitter). Seymour was ultimately signed to New Orleans’ practice squad.
  • The Jets worked out cornerback Jeremy Harris on Monday, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Buster Skrine and Marcus Williams are both uncertain for this week, so Gang Green is likely looking at Harris as possible insurance.
  • The Vikings worked out former Ravens defensive tackle Christo Bilukidi on Tuesday, a source tells Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle (on Twitter).
  • The Panthers worked out former Ravens quarterback Bryn Renner according to a source who spoke with Wilson (Twitter link).
  • The Broncos are working out former Titans linebacker J.R. Tavai, according to a source who spoke with Wilson (Twitter link).
  • The Titans will try out ex-Ravens fullback Kiero Small, Wilson tweets.
  • The Ravens tried out a trio of defensive backs: Jonte Green, Sheldon Price, and Cornelius Brown, Wilson tweets.
  • The Chiefs tried out defensive back Trovon Reed, Wilson tweets.
  • The Steelers worked out tackle James Brewer, Wilson tweets.
  • Former Seahawks wide receiver Douglas McNeil is working out for the Panthers today, according to a source who spoke with Wilson (link).
  • The Broncos working out tight end Matt LaCosse today, according to a source who spoke with Wilson (link).