C.J. Fiedorowicz

Texans Place C.J. Fiedorowicz On IR

Less than two weeks after signing an extension, C.J. Fiedorowicz won’t be available for the Texans for a while. The team placed its starting tight end on IR after he sustained a concussion, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

Fiedorowicz missed time with a concussion last season as well, and this latest head injury will shelve him for at least half of Houston’s season. The Texans re-signed Ryan Griffin this offseason but are thin behind him, with only second-year UDFA Stephen Anderson on the roster.

The Texans activated wide receiver Jaelen Strong, who served a one-game suspension.

Fiedorowicz played in Week 1 but left with the concussion. With the Texans playing on Thursday, he was not going to be cleared in time for Week 2. He will now be out for much longer. Griffin also is in concussion protocol, making it likely Houston looks for tight ends soon. Brian Cushing and Bruce Ellington are also in the protocol, and Bill O’Brien didn’t sound optimistic Tuesday when assessing their chances for Thursday night.

The fourth-year tight end broke out last season, more than doubling his previous career receiving yardage total by catching 54 passes for 559 yards.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans Sign C.J. Fiedorowicz To Extension

The Texans have agreed to a three-year contract extension with tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN (on Twitter). The deal, which runs through 2020, is worth $22MM and includes $10.1MM in guarantees, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Fiedorowicz now ranks 14th among tight ends in total contract value, ninth in yearly average and 17th in guarantees.

C.J. Fiedorowicz

This has been an extension-happy day for the Texans, who locked up safety Andre Hal and fullback Jay Prosch to long-term pacts in the afternoon. Fiedorowicz is arguably the highest-profile player of the trio, having broken out as a third-year man in 2016 with 54 receptions, 554 yards and four touchdowns on 89 targets. The 25-year-old also started in all 15 of his appearances, building on a 14-start campaign in 2015. In all, the former Iowa Hawkeye has logged 37 starts in 46 games and hauled in 75 catches, 754 yards and six scores since going to the Texans in the third round of the 2014 draft.

Between Fiedorowicz and Ryan Griffin, who amassed 50 receptions last season, the Texans possess one of the most prolific pass-catching tight end tandems in the league. Griffin is under contract through 2019 on the three-year, $9MM extension he signed in March, meaning the club will have the duo around for the foreseeable future.

Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle first reported that the two sides were nearing a deal. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Bryant, Sam, Fluker

When Cowboys‘ superstar Dez Bryant hits free agency, he wants to be paid like one of the top five receivers in the NFL. Shaun O’Hara and Willie McGinest of the NFL Network argued over whether the young wideout is deserving of that payday, transcripted by DallasNews.com.

Here are some other notes from around the NFL:

  • Rams‘ seventh-round pick Michael Sam has had no issues fitting in with the team, according to USAToday. Sam, the first openly gay NFL player, had nothing but great things to say about his teammates. “They respect me as a human being,” said Sam. “And as a football player.”
  • Chargers‘ offensive tackle D.J. Fluker is eyeing the Pro Bowl in his sophomore season, writes Michael Gehlken of UTSanDiego.com. Fluker has been boxing to get into shape this offseason, and is poised to avoid decline in his second year.
  • Texans‘ head coach Bill O’Brien plans on using three tight ends in his offense, and will give all of them a chance to shine, writes Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle. O’Brien started the tight end trend with the pairing of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez in New England, and could continue to see success with the Garrett Graham, Ryan Griffin and rookie C.J. Fiedorowicz.

Draft Signings: Fiedorowicz, Borland, Scott

Here are the latest draft signings from rounds 3-7..

  • The Texans agreed to sign third-round tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz, according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter). With the Iowa product in the fold, only Jadeveon Clowney and Xavier Su’a-Filo remain unsigned. Prior to the draft, Fiedorowicz visited the 49ers, Patriots, Lions, Jets, and worked out privately for the Buccaneers. Fiedorowicz caught 26 passes for 253 yards and led Iowa with six touchdowns last season.
  • The 49ers signed third-round pick Chris Borland, tweets Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee. As noted in Rory Parks’ PFR Prospect Profile, the Wisconsin linebacker had a very productive collegiate career, especially in 2013, when he accumulated 112 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, and four sacks.
  • The Seahawks announced that they have signed sixth-round pick Garrett Scott, tweets Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times. The offensive tackle out of Marshall did not participate in Seattle’s rookie minicamp because he had yet to pass his physical.

49ers Notes: Smith, Crabtree, Fiedorowicz

Although the 49ers have yet to officially make a decision one way or the other on Aldon Smith‘s 2015 option, it appears as if the team is leaning toward declining it. As Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee writes, picking up that fifth-year option looks like the smarter on-field move, given Smith’s impact as a pass rusher and the lack of significant risk the option entails (it’s guaranteed for injury only).

However, as Barrows continues, the reason the team is strongly considering turning down the option is because it would send a bad message. Given Smith’s recent behavior, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for the Niners to turn around and give him a “reward” of nearly $10MM.

As the club weighs its options with Smith, let’s check out a few more Niners-related items….

  • Recalling that Michael Crabtree wasn’t easy for the Niners to sign when the team first drafted him, Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com previews the upcoming negotiations for the veteran receiver as he enters a contract year.
  • Iowa tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz is visiting the 49ers today, a source tells Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post. According to Wilson, Fiedorowicz previously worked out privately for the Buccaneers.
  • Oklahoma cornerback Aaron Colvin‘s visit with the 49ers is happening today and tomorrow, tweets Barrows.

NFC Draft Notes: Falcons, Lions, Eagles

To kick off the day, we rounded up a handful of draft-related items out of the AFC. Now let’s shift our attention to the NFC and check out the latest….

  • We heard earlier in the week that Jake Matthews has a visit scheduled next week with the Falcons, but before that happens, Atlanta is sending a contingent to Auburn to meet with the draft’s other top offensive tackle, Greg Robinson, according to Alex Marvez of Fox Sports (via Twitter).
  • Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post passes along word of a pair of tight ends visiting or working out for NFC teams. According to Wilson, Iowa’s C.J. Fiedorowicz, who was previously visited the Jets and Buccaneers, is visiting the Lions today, while Cincinnati’s Blake Annen recently had a private workout for the Eagles.
  • Cal linebacker Khairi Fortt, who met with the Ravens earlier in April, is visiting the Seahawks today, tweets Rich Cirminiello of CampusInsiders.com.
  • Chris Russell of ESPN 980 reports (via Twitter) that the Redskins are bringing in Georgia tech outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu for a visit this week. Attaochu indicated last month that Washington was one of the teams showing the most interest in him.
  • The 49ers hosted Cumberlands running back Terrance Cobb for a pre-draft visit, writes Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee.
  • Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times takes a look at Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees, who is scheduled to visit the Bears on Friday.

NFC Rumors: McCoy, Rams, Falcons, Packers

Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is excited to see the Tampa 2 return to Tampa Bay, Rick Stroud and Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times write. “It’s definitely going to be different,” McCoy said. “We’re playing the old-school, traditional Tampa 2 defense, and all we’ve been watching is old Chicago tape when (new Bucs coach Lovie Smith) was there. When (the Bucs) were in their prime, from 1996 to 2002, we’ve been watching all that tape because that’s when the Tampa 2 was really thriving and took over the league. I’m excited about it.” More on McCoy and other notes out of the NFC..

  • McCoy is entering the last year of his deal with the Buccaneers but has no intention of holding out if he doesn’t have a new deal by training camp, he told reporters today (Twitter link via Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune). Between his base salary and workout bonus, McCoy is slated to earn more than $13MM this season before his contract voids, according to Over The Cap.
  • North Dakota State offensive tackle Billy Turner started a two-day visit with the Rams today, according to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (on Twitter).
  • Sacramento State punter Justin Weldon punted for the Falcons today with Oklahoma wide receiver Jalen Saunders catching punts, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun.
  • The Packers are unlikely to draft of tackle but there’s plenty of talent out there if they change their mind, writes Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. For now, it appears David Bakhtiari will stay at left tackle with Bryan Bulaga returning to right tackle.

AFC Notes: CJ2K, Jets, Beckham Jr.

Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News (on Twitter) hears that Chris Johnson‘s visit today with the Jets was productive with good vibes all around. However, the Jets are sticking to their budget and will only ink the veteran if it’s a good value for them (link). The depressed running back market suggests that the Jets won’t pay more than $3-4MM for his services. More from the AFC..

  • LSU wideout Odell Beckham Jr., a potential target for the Jets at No. 18, will be visiting the team next week, tweets Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. We heard earlier this afternoon that the Panthers were working out Beckham today.
  • Raiders running back Maurice Jones-Drew told SiriusXM NFL Radio (on Twitter) that he feels great at this point in the offseason and wants to end his career in Oakland. MJD signed a three-year deal with the Raiders, his childhood favorite team, in late March.
  • Iowa tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz is visiting the Patriots tomorrow, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (on Twitter).

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

NFC Visits: Rams, Coleman, Latimer

The Rams are piling up their pre-draft activity, as the team brought in Pittsburgh quarterback Tom Savage today, reports Adam Caplan of ESPN (via Twitter). Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the team has also shown interest in South Carolina’s Connor Shaw and SMU’s Garrett Gilbert (via Twitter).

Thomas also noted that offensive lineman Zack Martin of Notre Dame was also scheduled to visit, but that meeting was cancelled (via Twitter). Thomas did not give a reason for the cancellation.

Here are some other visit information from around the NFC:

  • Kurt Coleman is visiting with the Vikings today, and will spend the night and continue to meet with the team tomorrow, reports Ben Goessling of ESPN.com (via Twitter).
  • Indiana wide receiver Cody Latimer had a meeting tonight with the Panthers, reports Alex Marvez of Fox Sports 1 (via Twitter). Latimer will have his pro day on April 25.
  • Iowa tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz is visiting the Buccaneers today, reports Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. The 6’5″ tight end has worked out privately for the Buccaneers previously. He’s will visit the Jets next.