C.J. Fiedorowicz

Texans Activate C.J. Fiedorowicz, Place Ryan Griffin On IR

The Texans swapped out tight ends on their 53-man roster on Friday, activating C.J. Fiedorowicz from IR and moving Ryan Griffin to the injured list, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter).

Fiedorowicz suffered a concussion to induce an IR stay in Week 1 but will return Sunday, and James Palmer of NFL.com tweets the Texans expect him to play a key role.

Griffin was in concussion protocol this week, being ruled out for Sunday’s Rams game, and the head injury will likely end his season. Re-signed this offseason, Griffin caught 13 passes for 158 yards this season. He played in seven of the Texans’ eight games. Griffin sustained two concussions this season, one that’s been incredibly problematic for Texans tight ends.

Fiedorowicz also suffered two concussions this season, one coming during preseason play. So his return bears monitoring.

Griffin’s shutdown will leave Fiedorowicz and Stephen Anderson as the only tight ends on the active roster. Fiedorowicz finished with 559 receiving yards and tied for the team high with four touchdowns last season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans Cut Matt McGloin, Add Josh Johnson

The Texans announced that they have waived quarterback Matt McGloin. To take his place, they have replaced him with fellow QB Josh Johnson. In a related move, the Texans have also released defensive lineman Kendall LangfordJosh Johnson (vertical)

McGloin was signed shortly after starting quarterback Deshaun Watson went down with an ACL tear. However, it was T.J. Yates – signed the day after McGloin – who dressed as Tom Savage‘s backup over the weekend.

All indications are that Savage will continue as the Texans’ starter, even after Houston’s 20-14 defeat at the hands of the Colts. Johnson may or may not get the nod over Yates as the primary backup.

Johnson has not played in a regular season NFL game since 2013. Since then, he has signed 13 contracts with eight different teams, as Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter) notes.

The Texans are also expected to activate tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz from injured reserve this week, so the release of Langford could make room for him on the 53-man roster.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans TE C.J. Fiedorowicz To Return From IR

Tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz returned to practice today, and the Texans have officially designated him to return from injured reserve, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.C.J. Fiedorowicz

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Houston infamously lost all three of its tight ends — Fiedorowicz, Ryan Griffin, and Stephen Anderson — to concussions in Week 1, but Fiedorowicz’s was the most severe. Given that he had also suffered a concussion during the preseason, Fiedorowicz was placed on IR, as the Texans opted not to further risk his health.

The Texans never did replace Fiedorowicz with another tight end, so Griffin and Anderson have handled the position for the Houston’s 12th-ranked-DVOA offense. Griffin is third on the club with 12 receptions, and has also graded as an above-average run-blocker (No. 24 among 69 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus). Anderson, a second-year pro, has managed nine catches for 136 yards.

Fiedorowicz, 26, was a major part of the Texans’ offense in 2016, as his 89 targets represented 15% of Houston’s target share. All told, he posted 54 receptions for 559 yards and four touchdowns, easily the best marks of his NFL career. The Texans rewarded Fiedorowicz with a contract extension just before the start of the season, inking him to a three-year, $23.5MM extension that locks him up through the 2021 campaign.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.