Caleb Sturgis

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.

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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.

Chargers To Sign K Caleb Sturgis

The Chargers are expected to sign former Eagles kicker Caleb Sturgis, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The Eagles had interest in re-signing him, but he’s headed to sunny Los Angeles instead.

The Chargers were on the lookout for a new kicker this year and also considered former Raider Sebastian Janikowski. Sturgis is more than a decade younger, but both are coming off of lost seasons. Janikowski didn’t kick at all while Sturgis’ Week 1 hip injury knocked him out of action for the rest of the year.

The Bolts ran through four kickers last season and they’re hoping to use just one – Sturgis – in 2018.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Seahawks, Chargers Eyeing Caleb Sturgis

Free agent kicker Caleb Sturgis met with the Seahawks on Thursday and will take a visit with the Chargers on Friday, according to Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Los Angeles is certainly in need of a new kicker this offseason, as the club deployed four different kickers in 2017 without much success. The Chargers have already met with former Raiders K Sebastian Janikowski, so they’re looking at all available options. Seattle, meanwhile, signed Jason Myers — who has a 36 games worth of experience — to a futures deal earlier this year, but Sturgis could represent an upgrade.

Sturgis, for his part, barely played last season, as he suffered a hip injury in Week 1 of the Eagles’ season. Jake Elliott experienced success as Sturgis’ replacement in Philadelphia, so a reunion between the Eagles and Sturgis doesn’t seem possible. Sturgis, 28, owns a career field goal percentage of 81.0 over parts of five NFL campaigns.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Top 2018 Free Agents By Position: Defense

NFL free agency will get underway on Wednesday, March 14th, and while the list of free agents will change between now and then, we do have some idea of who will be available when free agency kicks off. The frenzy is right around the corner and it’s time for us to break down the outlook for each position. After looking at offense on Monday, we’ll tackle defense and special teams today.

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each defensive position. These rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts – or the amount of guaranteed money – that each player is expected to land in free agency. These are simply the players we like the most at each position, with both short- and long-term value taken into account.

Restricted and exclusive-rights free agents, as well as players who received the franchise tag, aren’t listed here, since the roadblocks in place to hinder another team from actually acquiring most of those players prevent them from being true free agents.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some free agents than you are, so feel free to weigh in below in our comments section to let us know which players we’ve got wrong.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by defensive position for 2018:

Edge defender:

  1. Julius Peppers
  2. William Hayes
  3. Trent Murphy
  4. Pernell McPhee
  5. Aaron Lynch
  6. Alex Okafor
  7. Adrian Clayborn
  8. Kony Ealy
  9. Connor Barwin
  10. Jeremiah Attaochu
  11. Junior Galette
  12. Derrick Shelby
  13. Barkevious Mingo
  14. Kareem Martin
  15. Erik Walden

As a positional group, pass rushers comprise interesting market on the defensive side of the ball. It’s not often that a list of best available players is topped by a 38-year-old, but Peppers is the top free agent edge defender after the Cowboys and Lions deployed the franchise tag on Demarcus Lawrence and Ezekiel Ansah, respectively. As with quarterbacks, NFL clubs are extremely reluctant to allow pass rushers to hit the open market, so top-tier options are rarely ever truly “available.” Peppers, for his part, hasn’t even declared whether he’ll return in 2018, but indications are that he’ll suit up for a 17th campaign after posting 11 sacks last year.

Alongside Peppers, other veterans populate the edge market, and while William Hayes may not be a household name, he’ll be a contributor for whichever team signs him. A stout run defender, Hayes is also capable of generating pressure despite managing only one sack in 2017. The Dolphins used Hayes on only 271 defensive snaps a season ago, and have since replaced him by acquiring fellow defensive end Robert Quinn from the Rams. Now that he’s entering his age-33 season, Hayes should come cheap, but will almost assuredly outplay his contract.

Nearly every other available pass rusher has some sort of flaw which will likely limit his market next week. Trent Murphy is only 27 years old and put up nine sacks in 2016, but he missed the entirety of the 2017 campaign with injury. Pernell McPhee, Alex Okafor, Junior Galette, and Derrick Shelby have also been plagued by health questions in recent seasons. And Adrian Clayborn famously registered the majority of his 2017 sacks (and 20% of his career sack total) in one game against overwhelmed Cowboys backup Chaz Green.

The two names that I keep coming back to are Aaron Lynch (49ers) and Jeremiah Attaochu (Chargers). Yes, Lynch has been suspended for substance abuse, struggled with his weight, and was reportedly in danger of being waived prior to last season. He’s also extremely young (he won’t turn 25 years old until Thursday) and ranked fifth in the league with 34 pass pressures as recently as 2015. Attaochu, a 25-year-old former second-round pick, also has youth on his side, and while he hasn’t quite flashed as much as Lynch, he’s also been buried on LA’s depth chart for much of his career.

Interior defensive line:

  1. Sheldon Richardson
  2. Dontari Poe
  3. Muhammad Wilkerson
  4. Star Lotulelei
  5. DaQuan Jones
  6. Beau Allen
  7. Denico Autry
  8. Justin Ellis
  9. Tom Johnson
  10. Bennie Logan
  11. Chris Baker
  12. Kyle Williams
  13. Dominique Easley
  14. Haloti Ngata
  15. Jay Bromley

Interior rushers are getting more respect in today’s NFL, but that still hasn’t translated to them being paid on the level of edge defenders — the 2018 franchise tag for defensive tackles, for example, is roughly $3MM cheaper than the tender for edge rushers. While the 2018 crop of interior defenders boasts some impressive top-end talent, none of the available players figure to earn a double-digit annual salary. Sheldon Richardson may have the best chance to do so, but Seattle determined he wasn’t worth a one-year cost of $13.939MM, so is any other club going to pay him $10MM per year? I’d guess he comes in closer to $9MM annually, which would still place him among the 25 highest-paid defensive tackles.

Dontari Poe will be an intriguing free agent case after setting for a one-year deal last offseason, but the most interesting battle among defensive tackles will take place Star Lotulelei and Muhammad Wilkerson, and I’m curious to see which player earns more on the open market. Both are former first-round picks, and it’s difficult to argue Wilkerson hasn’t been the more productive player — or, at least, reached higher highs — than Lotulelei. Wilkerson also won’t affect his next team’s compensatory pick formula given that he was released, but his off-field issues, which include a reported lack of effort and problems with coaches, could limit his appeal.

While Beau Allen and Denico Autry are potentially candidates to be overpaid based on their youth, there are bargains to be had at defensive tackle. Tom Johnson is 33 but he’s offered consistent pressure from the interior for years — his last contract was for three years and $7MM, so he shouldn’t cost much this time around. Haloti Ngata was injured in 2017 but plans to continue his career, and he can still stop the run. And Dominique Easley was outstanding as a 3-4 end in 2016 before missing last season with a torn ACL, meaning the former first-round pick could be a value play for any number of teams.Read more

NFC Injury Notes: Sturgis, Elliott, Redskins, Vaccaro, Swaim

The Eagles picked up kicker Jake Elliott from the Bengals’ practice squad to replace the incumbent Caleb Sturgis after he suffered a hip injury the first week of the season. The team hasn’t looked back since then and it looks like Philadelphia has no plans to change their special teams unit moving forward. While Sturgis is eligible to come off the disabled list this week, Eagles special teams coach Dave Flipp told reporters today that, “right now there’s no reason to make a change,” reports Zach Berman of The Inquirer. It’s understandable why the team would not feel the need to mess with the status quo. Elliott has made 17-20 of his field goal attempts this season, but is best known for his 61 yard bomb he hit to beat the Giants in Week 3.

  • The Redskins have a few big names that are questionable to play for the team’s game this Sunday. Defensive lineman Matt Ionanidis has already been ruled out for the team’s affair vs. the Vikings, but offensive stalwarts Trent Williams and Jordan Reed are listed as questionable to play too, according to Jonah Keim of ESPN.com. Washington has 11 players listed as 50-50 for Sunday with other offensive lineman Morgan Moses (ankles), Brandon Scherff (knee), Spencer Long (knee/quad) and Ty Nsekhe (core muscle). It’s unlikely that the majority of the Washington offensive line will miss the game, but the team’s depth is something to keep an eye as we get closer to kickoff.
  • The Saints will be without a key member of the defense vs. the Bills this Sunday. Saftety Kenny Vaccaro will miss the contest with a groin injury, but expressed optimism that the situation will be more of a short-term issue, reports Mike Triplett of ESPN.com. The 26 year-old defensive back told the reporter, “Oh, yeah, I’ll be fine,” when referring to the timeline of the groin issue. Meanwhile, while New Orleans will certainly miss their starting safety, the team has a considerable amount of depth at the position with the likes of Vonn Bell, Rafael Bush and Chris Banjo all likely getting playing time in his absence.
  • Cowboys third-string tight end Geoff Swaim missed practice on Friday with a right knee injury and as is waiting on MRI results that should bring light to what his recovery may look like, reports Todd Archer of ESPN.com. Archer opines that Swaim could miss Sunday’s game and may be in line for arthroscopic surgery, which would sideline him for a few weeks. Swaim just has two receptions on the season with Jason Witten and James Hanna getting most of the reps in two tight-end sets.

Eagles To Sign K Jake Elliott Off Bengals’ Practice Squad

Caleb Sturgis‘ injury looks to have prompted the Eagles to pry a kicker off another team’s practice squad, and they’ll be adding one of this past draft’s top kicking prospects.

The Eagles intend to sign rookie Jake Elliott off the Bengals’ taxi squad, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Sturgis’ quad strain will send him to IR, with a potential designation to return, per Rapoport.

The Bengals opted to go with Randy Bullock as their primary kicker but attempted to stash Elliott, a fifth-round pick out of Memphis, on their practice squad. But the Eagles’ injury need will relocate the kicking prospect. Three kickers went in this past draft, and the other two — Zane Gonzalez and Harrison Butker — were seventh-round selections.

So, Philly will have an interesting specialist filling in for Sturgis — also a former fifth-round pick — who has kicked with the team for the past two seasons.

Elliott broke Stephen Gostkowski‘s Memphis records for points scored and field goals made in a career and was a Lou Groza award finalist in 2015.

Eagles K Caleb Sturgis Suffers Injury

The Eagles are on the lookout for a kicker. Caleb Sturgis suffered a hip flexor strain on Sunday, as Jeff McLane of The Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. The injury will rule him out for four weeks, ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets, and the team is already making plans to look at replacements. Caleb Sturgis (vertical)

[RELATED: Eagles’ Ronald Darby Has Dislocated Ankle]

We don’t know who will be working out for the Eagles just yet, but Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter) suggests that free agent Mike Nugent could get a look. Bengals practice squad kicker Jake Elliott could also get a call, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Sturgis, 28, made all three of his field goal tries on Sunday, including a 50-yard attempt, but missed one of his two extra point tries. Last year, he sank a career-high 85.4% of his field goals and went 30-for-31 on XPs.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.