Caleb Sturgis

Bears To Work Out K Caleb Sturgis

Veteran kicker Caleb Sturgis will audition for the Bears today as part of a workout session that also includes Alliance of American Football alums Younghoe Koo and Nick Rose, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune (Twitter link).

Sturgis, 29, has six NFL seasons and 150 field goal attempts under his belt. After playing for the Dolphins and Eagles during the first five years of his career, Sturgis entered the 2018 campaign as the Chargers’ kicker. However, he only converted 9-of-13 field goal attempts in Los Angeles before being sidelined by a strained quad. The Chargers opted to stick with replacement Michael Badgley once Sturgis regained his health, and released the latter in November.

Although Sturgis worked out for the Panthers, Jaguars, and Seahawks after being cut by Los Angeles, he never caught on with another club. Chicago is searching for a new kicker after cutting veteran Cody Parkey following a dismal debut campaign; at present, the only placekickers on the Bears’ roster are Chris Blewitt and Redford Jones, neither of whom have any NFL experience.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Eric Reid, Browns, Coaches, Seahawks, Workouts

We have a new update on the Eric Reid situation. The Panthers safety has been griping for a while now about the NFL targeting him with incessant drug tests in retaliation for his collusion suit against the league, and the league and NFLPA issued a statement a few days ago saying there was no evidence to support his claims. Reid isn’t dropping the issue however, and his lawyers are rejecting the contents of the letter released by the league, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports.

“They claim that some of the dates the NFL used in its report are incorrect”, and “want access to all evidence, records, electronic messages and information sources used to determine the findings within the report”, La Canfora writes. It’s unclear what his potential next step is, but this probably isn’t the last we’ll hear of it. We also heard a few weeks ago that the Panthers were interested in bringing Reid back in 2019 and had already reached out to his agent about a new deal.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Freddie Kitchens’ inaugural staff in Cleveland is getting a new member. The Browns are hiring former Jets running backs coach Stump Mitchell, according to Josina Anderson of ESPN (Twitter link). While Anderson writes that “his official title has yet to be finalized”, she does note that he’ll coach the running backs. Mitchell is a longtime running backs coach in the league, who has also spent some time as the head coach of Morgan State and Southern University. Mitchell and Kitchens worked together on Bruce Arians’ staff in Arizona, so the move makes a lot of sense.
  • While the Raiders’ coaching staff isn’t undergoing any major changes for Jon Gruden’s second season, at least one assistant won’t be back in 2019. Assistant defensive line coach Marco Coleman is leaving the team to take a job at Georgia Tech, his alma mater, according to Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review Journal (Twitter link). Gruden’s first season was a disappointment, but there was no big shakeup in response.
  • Before signing kicker Sam Ficken yesterday, the Seahawks worked out a few other kickers. The team brought in Caleb Sturgis, Younghoe Koo, and Lirim Hajrullahua for workouts, according to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer (Twitter link). Koo was the Chargers’ kicker to open the 2017 season but was cut after a handful of games, while Sturgis was the Chargers’ kicker the first half of this season before being cut in favor of Michael Badgley. Hajrullahua has been in the CFL the last five years. Seattle’s interest in kickers suggests Sebastian Janikowski, who is a free agent this offseason, won’t be returning in 2019.
  • Speaking of workouts, the Colts brought in tight end Gabe Holmes for a tryout, Balzer tweets. Holmes was signed as an UDFA by the Raiders back in 2015, and has bounced around some bottom of the rosters and practice squads ever since. The Purdue product has spent time with the Raiders, Seahawks, Ravens, and Cardinals. Holmes appeared in eight games with Arizona this year, but was used mostly as a blocker and never caught a pass.

NFL Workout Updates: 12/17/18

Here is the latest from the workout circuit, all links going to NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter account (unless otherwise noted)

Jacksonville Jaguars

Minnesota Vikings

  • K Ty Long (CFL tryout), LB Alex Singleton (CFL tryout) (link)

New York Jets

  • LB Jameer Thurman (CFL tryout), LB James Vaughters (CFL tryout) (link)

Philadelphia Eagles

Jaguars To Sign K Kai Forbath

Jaguars have signed free agent kicker Kai Forbath, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Forbath will serve as insurance for Josh Lambo, who is questionable for Sunday’s game with a groin injury.

Forbath has been busy lately. Earlier this week, he auditioned for the Steelers and was asked to stay overnight as the team mulled its options. Ultimately, the Steelers decided to stick it out with Chris Boswell, but Forbath quickly found a job after his audition with the Jaguars. Forbath worked out alongside fellow free agents Caleb Sturgis and Marshall Koehn, according to Rapoport, and had the best showing of the group.

Forbath, 31, spent part of 2016 and all of 2017 with the Vikings, but he was released in August after losing the kicking competition to Daniel Carlson. Forbath connected on 88.7% of his field goal tries in Minnesota, but his 84.9% extra point conversion rate left much to be desired.

If Lambo isn’t cleared in time, Forbath will have an opportunity to make his first kick of 2018 against the Redskins.

Panthers Work Out Caleb Sturgis, Chandler Catanzaro, Others

Graham Gano has been the Panthers’ kicker since 2012, and he’s made 13 of 15 field goal attempts this season. But he’s run into trouble recently, and those issues have overlapped with Carolina’s three-game losing streak.

The Panthers are exploring other options. They brought in kickers Chandler Catanzaro, Caleb Sturgis, Sam Ficken and Matt McCrane for workouts Tuesday, Sirius XM Radio’s Adam Caplan tweets.

Gano missed a go-ahead 52-yard field goal in Carolina’s loss to Seattle on Sunday and missed an extra point, one of the three he’s misfired on this season, in a one-point loss in Detroit in Week 11. For the season, the 31-year-old specialist is 28-for-31 on PATs. He missed three extra points in each of the past three seasons.

Sturgis and Catanzaro saw the Chargers and Buccaneers, respectively, replace them midway through this season. Ficken served as Greg Zuerlein‘s injury replacement, but the Rams cut him prior to Zuerlein recovering; Ficken missed 2 of 3 field goal tries. McCrane went to camp with the Cardinals and received a four-game opportunity with the Raiders. Said opportunity included four missed field goals.

Carolina and Gano agreed to terms on a four-year contract in March. It would cost the Panthers more than $5MM in dead money to cut Gano now. At $4.25MM AAV, Gano is the second-highest-paid kicker in the game.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chargers To Cut K Caleb Sturgis

The Chargers will release kicker Caleb Sturgis, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). To replace him, the teams plans to promote Michael Badgley from the practice squad. 

The move hardly comes as a surprise after Sturgis missed a field goal and two extra points against the Seahawks on Sunday. It was his first game back from a quad injury, but even before that, he missed three field goals and four extra points.

While Sturgis was out, Badgley nailed all three of his field goal tries and went 7-for-7 on extra points, so they have reason to trust the 23-year-old over the veteran. His first assignment as the team’s “full-time” kicker will come on Sunday against the Raiders.

Despite Sturgis’ struggles, the Chargers pulled out a 25-17 win over the Seahawks. Riding a five game win streak, they now stand at 6-2 and have a real chance at catching the Chiefs for the divisional lead.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chargers Sign K Michael Badgley

The Chargers are signing free agent kicker Michael Badgley, league sources tell Field Yates and Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Badgley will kick while veteran Caleb Sturgis nurses a strained quad. Sturgis, meanwhile, will remain on the team and the club will carry both kickers on the main roster. 

Badgley spent time with the Colts this offseason after finishing up his time at the University of Miami. With the Hurricanes, Badgley connected on 794.% of his field goal tries and 96.1% of his extra point attempts. As a senior, he earned first-team All-ACC honors as he made 17-of-23 field goal attempts and 42-of-43 extra point tries for the Hurricanes. Meanwhile, 32 of his 75 kickoffs resulted in touchbacks in 2017.

Badgley’s first test will come against the Browns on Sunday. Depending on Sturgis’ recovery, his audition could last a bit longer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chargers Won’t Make Kicker Change

Chargers kicker Caleb Sturgis has been less-than-perfect this season, but his job is not in jeopardy. Even though Sturgis missed a 49-yard try and an extra point on Sunday, coach Anthony Lynn says that he’s not considering a kicker change. 

The extra point kind of bothered me a little bit. We’ll figure out what happened there, but he’s been kicking well all week, been kicking with a lot of confidence and so I’m not concerned about it,” Lynn said (Twitter link via Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com).

Sturgis’ miss from 49 yards out is certainly understandable, but the missed XP marked his fourth of the season. Through five weeks, Sturgis has made 75% of his field goals and just 66.7% of his XP tries (8 of 12).

The 29-year-old has made 66 of 70 extra point attempts since the line of scrimmage was moved back to the 15-yard line in 2015, so that could help to explain why Lynn isn’t panicking. Sturgis will try to get off on the right foot next week when the Chargers face the Browns in Cleveland.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chargers Waive K Roberto Aguayo

Roberto Aguayo will now be searching for his fifth team in the past year or so. ESPN’s Field Yates tweets that the Chargers have waived the kicker. The move seems to indicate that veteran Caleb Sturgis has won the starting gig.

The Buccaneers (in)famously traded up in the second-round of the 2016 draft to select the Florida State product, surrendering a third- and fourth-rounder to make the pick. Aguayo struggled mightily during his rookie campaign, connecting on a league-worst 71-percent of his field goals, and he was waived by the Buccaneers last summer. Since that time, the 24-year-old has had stints with the Bears, Panthers, and Chargers, but he didn’t see the field once during the 2017 campaign.

However, it appears that Aguayo may be righting the ship. The kicker looked plenty competent during the preseason, connecting on all six of his field goal attempts and all three of his extra points. Teams are naturally wary of his horrendous rookie season, but Aguayo is still plenty young. As the regular season progresses, a team will surely take a look at the kicker.

Sturgis, 29, signed a two-year contract with the Chargers back in March. He had spent the past three seasons with the Eagles, although he was limited to only one game last year. His best season came in 2016, when he connected on 85.4-percent of his field goal attempts and 30 of his 31 extra point attempts.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Contract Details: Crabtree, Williamson

Here are figures on some of the recent contracts signed around the NFL, with all links going to Twitter unless noted otherwise.