Cameron Erving

Chiefs Extend OL Cameron Erving

Going into his second Chiefs season, Cameron Erving will have some security with his second NFL franchise. The Chiefs announced they’ve signed the former first-round pick to an extension.

The 2015 Browns first-rounder is now signed with the Chiefs beyond 2018. It’s a two-year deal worth up to $15.7MM, Yahoo.com’s Terez Paylor reports (on Twitter), adding that the 26-year-old blocker will receive $6.45MM guaranteed.

The Chiefs declined Erving’s fifth-year option in May but reached an extension agreement that will make him part of their 2019 equation.

Erving worked as Kansas City’s starting left guard during the preseason but is listed as a backup tackle on the Chiefs’ pre-Week 1 depth chart. Considered unofficial, this depth chart nevertheless has Erving slotted as a backup tackle and rookie UDFA Andrew Wylie as the left guard starter.

The versatile Florida State alum started four games for the 2017 Chiefs, despite being a late-offseason trade acquisition, and has a clearer path to playing time in 2018 after Zach Fulton‘s Texans defection. Regardless of his status as a starter, Erving will not be on track for 2019 free agency after all.

Erving’s played center, guard and tackle as an NFLer. The Chiefs have Eric Fisher, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and Mitchell Schwartz signed to extensions, but center Mitch Morse is entering a contract year. Erving may provide some insurance if the Chiefs opt to let Morse walk after 2018.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC West Notes: Houston, Chargers, Broncos

Knee trouble has impacted Justin Houston for lengthy stretches during his career. Although the Chiefs‘ top pass rusher played 15 games last season, he admitted he wasn’t at full strength. Houston missed 11 games in 2016 and five in 2015 due to a troublesome knee, one that required surgery during the 2016 offseason. But Houston’s participated throughout Kansas City’s offseason program this year and will be counted on to supply consistent edge pressure.

When you have the surgery I had on my knee, it takes time to get your pop back and get where you want to be,” Houston said, via Nate Taylor of The Athletic (subscription required). “I’m beyond there right now. It just feels great to be back in that feeling.”

These knee problems have limited Houston since he signed that six-year, $101MM contract at the 2015 franchise tag deadline. He has not recorded double-digit sacks in a season since his NFL record-threatening 22 in 2014.

After examining the latest on the Raiders, here’s what’s new from the rest of the AFC West:

  • In addition to the season-ending injuries sustained by Hunter Henry and Jason Verrett, the Chargers‘ recent spree of misfortune affected another tight end Sunday. Rookie UDFA Austin Roberts suffered a torn ACL and will miss the season, Anthony Lynn said (via Eric Williams of ESPN.com, on Twitter). Roberts was one of Josh Rosen‘s options at UCLA the past two seasons. The Bolts remain in discussions regarding an Antonio Gates reunion.
  • The Broncos drafted two running backs and have two young holdovers in Devontae Booker and De’Angelo Henderson, but rookie UDFA Phillip Lindsay is turning heads early in camp. The 5-foot-7 speedster out of Colorado has Von Miller and Brandon Marshall expecting him to play a key role this season. “We’re definitely going to have some things planned for Phillip,” Miller said, via Jon Heath of Broncos Wire. “Guys like that in the league, you just can’t cover them. They’re just assets to the offense. You have to have a back like that and we definitely have one.” Marshall expects Lindsay, whom Mike Klis of 9News observes battling Henderson and seventh-round pick David Williams for a role behind Booker and Royce Freeman, to be Denver’s third-down back. Lindsay posted 1,700-plus yards from scrimmage in his final two college seasons. UDFAs like Chris Harris, C.J. Anderson and Shaquil Barrett have made impacts in Denver, but the franchise hasn’t deployed much of an outlet threat since Knowshon Moreno.
  • Cameron Erving is in the mix to win the Chiefs‘ left guard job, per Taylor, who adds Mitch Morse looks to have reasserted himself as the center starter. Erving served as a Chiefs backup last season, but with K.C. having lost Zach Fulton in free agency, a spot is open for the former Browns first-round pick. Erving’s last full-time role came when he started 13 games with Cleveland in 2016. The Chiefs declined Erving’s fifth-year option, making this season particularly pivotal for the former Florida State standout.

Chiefs Rumors: Mahomes, Rogers, Ford, OL

Being a first-year starting quarterback, Patrick Mahomes will bring some risk to the Chiefs‘ outlook Alex Smith did not. But the potential reward looks to be much greater. Andy Reid acknowledges the 2017 first-round pick will experience the usual issues adjusting to NFL starter life, but the sixth-year Chiefs coach made it clear he doesn’t want to deprive Mahomes of playmaking opportunities his skill set could create.

You surely don’t want to stifle that at all. One thing that he is blessed with is he has good vision, so you don’t ever want to stifle that and put him in a box with that. Allow him to see,” Reid said from Chiefs training camp in St. Joseph, Mo. “Is there going to be a hiccup here or there? Yeah there’s going to be a hiccup here or there, but you don’t want to stifle that at all.”

Reid added that Mahomes, viewed as a raw but potentially special arm talent out of Texas Tech as a prospect last year, is farther along this year compared to where Smith was in 2013. With the addition of Sammy Watkins, the Chiefs have also outfitted Mahomes with a better collection of skill-position talent than Smith (or possibly any previous Kansas City quarterback) received.

Here’s the latest out of western Missouri:

  • While the Chiefs’ offense looks capable of being one of the NFL’s best units, Kansas City’s defense has plenty of questions. A key one will be the status of their injury-prone edge rushers. Justin Houston enters camp healthy and is signed long-term, but Dee Ford may only be back because an injury left him unable to pass a March physical. His $8.718MM fifth-year option vested, but Ford realizes he’s under pressure to perform this season after a career that’s seen just one productive year (2016, when he had a Chiefs-most 10 sacks). The Chiefs also drafted edge defenders in each of the past two second rounds, in Tanoh Kpassagnon and Breeland Speaks (the latter of whom K.C. traded up to acquire). “Everyone’s seen flashes of what I can do. This is the opportunity to really (show it) for 16 games,” Ford said, via Adam Teicher of ESPN.com. “In order to be a great player you have to be consistent. You can’t just be good (like 2016 in) those first 10 games or so before I got hurt. Everybody was like, ‘That’s the guy we expected,’ and then I got hurt. … This is the time to put it all together.”
  • Eli Rogers left his Chiefs visit Monday without a deal, Field Yates of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). Rogers will now meet with the Browns, who have his three-year OC on staff in Todd Haley. The Raiders have also scheduled a summit with the slot receiver. Behind Watkins and Tyreek Hill, the Chiefs employ Chris Conley, Demarcus Robinson, Jehu Chesson and the recently re-signed De’Anthony Thomas.
  • Despite a 2016 ACL tear hijacking both of Parker Ehinger‘s first two NFL seasons, he still might be the frontrunner to work as the Chiefs’ starting left guard, Nate Taylor of The Athletic writes (subscription required). A fourth-round pick out of Cincinnati two years ago, Ehinger opened his rookie year as a starter but missed all but one game last season. Bryan Witzmann and Jordan Devey represent his primary competitors, per Taylor, who adds that Cameron Erving could linger here as well if he cannot unseat fourth-year center Mitch Morse.
  • Like Ford, Spencer Ware‘s been cleared to begin training camp without a PUP list stay, but the 2016 starter won’t automatically be given the backup job, per Taylor. Charcandrick West remains a factor and scored four touchdowns as Kareem Hunt‘s backup last season. West and Ware will battle for the backup role, just as they did in 2015 when they vied for time behind a then-healthy Jamaal Charles.

Chiefs To Decline Cameron Erving’s Option

The Chiefs will decline Cameron Erving‘s fifth-year option, according to NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo (on Twitter). This means that Erving is entering his contract year and will be on track for unrestricted free agency in 2019. 

[RELATED: 2019 Fifth-Year Option Tracker]

This doesn’t come as a huge shock as Erving is not likely to start for the Chiefs in 2018. Erving can theoretically play anywhere on the offensive line, but Kansas City projects to start Eric Fisher, Bryan Witzmann, Mitch Morse, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, and Mitchell Schwartz up front, as shown on Roster Resource.

The Browns selected Erving with the No. 19 overall pick in the 2015 draft, but he turned out to be yet another high-profile draft bust for Cleveland. Last August, the Browns bailed on the Florida State product and shipped him to the Chiefs for a fifth-round pick.

Erving started in 13 games at center for the Browns in 2016, but Pro Football Focus ranked him among the game’s worst centers. Last year, Erving started just four times for KC and saw just 276 snaps in total.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chiefs Acquire Cameron Erving

The Browns have traded offensive lineman Cameron Erving to the Chiefs for a fifth-round pick in 2018, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Cleveland placed Erving on the block after he lost the starting right tackle job to second-year man Shon Coleman.

Cameron Erving (vertical)

Erving goes down as a failed first-round pick for the Browns, who selected the former Florida State standout 19th overall in 2015. He was unable to establish himself either at tackle or along the interior of the line in Cleveland, which tried Erving at both guard and center. To his credit, the 25-year-old Erving has been durable to this point, having appeared in 29 of a possible 32 regular-season games. He started in all 13 of his appearances last season, though Pro Football Focus ranked him among the game’s worst centers.

For the Chiefs, who acquired another recent high pick – 2016 second-round linebacker Reggie Ragland – in a deal with the Bills earlier this week, Erving represents a talented reclamation project. If he breaks out over the next two seasons, the Chiefs will have the ability to control Erving through 2019 by way of a fifth-year option.

In the near term, playing time looks as if it will be difficult to come by for Erving in Kansas City. The Chiefs have five set starters along the line in tackles Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz, guards Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and Bryan Witzmann and center Mitch Morse, though injuries during the season should create opportunities for the team to plug in Erving.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns Shopping Cameron Erving

The Browns are trying to trade offensive lineman Cameron Erving, a league source tells Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. Erving, a former first-round pick, has lost the starting right tackle job to Shon Coleman, so he is too expensive for a backup role and therefore expendable. "<strong

[RELATED: Browns Aggressively Shopping Joe Haden]

Erving was competing for the No. 1 right tackle job before suffering a calf injury last week. Even though the battle was ostensibly close, Erving’s salary is significantly higher than that of Coleman, a third-round pick in the 2016 draft. If possible, the rebuilding Browns would like to take Erving’s salary off the books and get some draft capital in return.

The former Florida State standout is due to carry a cap hit of $2.571MM this year and $3MM in 2018. He has yet to put it all together at the NFL level, but he does offer versatility, including the ability to play center.

Erving isn’t the only Browns player on the block. The team is aggressively working to trade cornerback Joe Haden and quarterback Brock Osweiler is said to be available.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

10 Centers The Saints Could Pursue

Saints center Max Unger went under the knife to help fix an issue with his foot, and that surgery will cause him to miss the start of the season. With no exact timetable in place for his return, the Saints will likely consider out-of-house options to help fill the void.

With some help from PFR’s Dallas Robinson, here are centers that New Orleans could look into acquiring:

  • Nick Mangold (free agent): Mangold remains on the open market and he stands as the most obvious choice for the Saints to consider. The Saints would be hard-pressed to find anyone with a resume as impressive as Mangold’s and the seven-time Pro Bowler probably wouldn’t cost all that much at this stage of the offseason. At the same time, there’s a reason why he is still available here in May and word of clubs asking him to change positions isn’t exactly encouraging. "<strong
  • Jason Kelce (Eagles): Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com was quick to connect the dots on Monday morning after word of Unger’s injury broke. The Eagles reportedly have had Kelce on the trading block for some time now and the Saints would now be a logical landing spot for him. The Eagles beat writer suggests that a Kelce deal could see running back Mark Ingram going to Philly, but I personally have a hard time seeing that happen. If the Saints are unable to meet the Eagles’ asking price for Kelce, however, they might be able to swing a deal for another interesting option on their roster.
  • Stefen Wisniewski (Eagles): If the Eagles were to trade Kelce, Wisniewski or guard Isaac Seumalo would be the top candidates to step into the starting role. However, Wisniewski himself would make lots of sense as a stopgap for the Saints. Wisniewski was a starter for five straight years with the Raiders and Jaguars before landing with the Eagles as a reserve. In addition to that starting experience, he also offers experience at guard, so he could be used at multiple spots once Unger returns to action. Pro Football Focus ranked him 39th among 72 eligible guards last season with strong marks for his pass blocking skills.
  • Joe Hawley (Buccaneers): The Buccaneers are moving Ali Marpet to center and he could very well wind up as the starter. There’s also Evan Dietrich-Smith and guard/tackle Ken Pamphile to consider for the No. 1 job and that could make Hawley expendable. The 28-year-old (29 in October) has been the Bucs’ primary center for the last two years, but he could be on the outside looking in after camp concludes. This offseason, he re-signed with the team on a two-year, $5.5MM deal with just $1MM guaranteed. It’s an affordable deal that the Saints could easily wiggle out of next year, if need be. Alternatively, the Bucs may want to dangle Dietrich-Smith in New Orleans’ direction.
  • Tim Barnes (49ers): Barnes just showed up in San Francisco, but indications are that the Niners will use Jeremy Zuttah as their starting center in 2o17. Before getting cut this offseason, Barnes spent the 2015 and 2016 seasons as the Rams’ starter. Another Niner, Daniel Kilgore, could have appeal for the Saints.
  • Cameron Erving (Browns): The Browns are planning to move Erving to right tackle now that J.C. Tretter is in town, but perhaps the Saints would be interested in seeing what he can do in the middle. Then again, he was shifted to right tackle last year after performing poorly in 12 games at center.
  • Matt Slauson (Chargers): Slauson isn’t guaranteed to start this year thanks to the presence of Max Tuerk, Forrest Lamp, and Dan Feeney. All three players are rookies (Tuerk didn’t play in 2016 thanks to his knee injury) but the team is high on each of them. In theory, Slauson could be shifted over to guard with Tuerk starting in the middle, but it’s also possible that Feeney starts at right guard over him. Slauson would be a valuable swing reserve for Los Angeles, but the Bolts might also be willing to trade him thanks to their glut of O-Line options.
  • Joe Berger (Vikings): Vikings coach Mike Zimmer sees third round rookie Pat Elflein as a center, and that could potentially make Berger expendable. Berger, 35 later this month, has started 68 games over the course of his career. He graded out as the 12th best guard in the entire NFL last season, according to PFF. He earned an even stronger overall score in 2015 when he primarily played in the middle. Berger still has plenty in the tank, so it would be harder to pry him away than some of the other names on this list.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC North Rumors: Ravens, Jernigan, Browns

The Ravens should only trade Timmy Jernigan if they can get a second-day draft pick in return, and that seems unlikely, Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun writes. There has been speculation that the defensive tackle could be on the block and coach John Harbaugh didn’t do much to slow down that talk when asked about it earlier this week. Jernigan, who is entering his contract year, appeared in every regular season game last season and totaled five sacks. He seemed to run out of gas towards the end of the season and his playing time was slashed down the stretch, but he still stands as Baltimore’s only interior pass-rush threat.

Here’s more from the AFC North:

Dallas Robinson contributed to this post.

Browns Notes: Pryor, RG3, McCown, Erving

Contract-year wide receiver Terrelle Pryor made it clear multiple times earlier this season that he wants to remain with the Browns going forward. However, with free agency looming, Pryor acknowledged Thursday that he could on the cusp of playing his final game with the team. “I love to play for [Hue Jackson] and I enjoy playing for him this year and I’d love to play for him longer,” Pryor told Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com. “But at the end of the day, it’s got to come down to what my agents think is right for me.” Those agents, Drew and Jason Rosenhaus, have tabled extension talks with the Browns until after the season and likely want their client to test the market off a breakout campaign, per Cabot. The 27-year-old Pryor, a former quarterback, leads the Browns in targets (129), receptions (70), yards (913) and touchdowns (four).

More from Cleveland, which is no longer in danger of enduring a winless season as Week 17 nears:

  • Quarterback Robert Griffin III cleared concussion protocol after suffering a head injury last week and is on track to start Sunday in Pittsburgh, writes Cabot. Health has been a problem throughout the season for Griffin, who has not revived his career since signing a two-year deal with Cleveland last winter and could end up on the chopping block this offseason. In four appearances this year, Griffin has completed a meager 54.2 of his 107 passes and hasn’t thrown a touchdown. Moving on from the former Redskin would free up $7.5MM in spending space for the Browns, who would incur $1.75MM in dead cap.
  • Fellow signal-caller Josh McCown hinted at retirement last week, but the 37-year-old declared Thursday that he aims to return in 2017. “My plan is to play,” he said (via Pat McManamon of ESPN.com). “I have another year left on my deal. So right now, that’s the plan.” It’s unclear whether McCown will be open to continuing his career if the Browns release him, which looks like a distinct possibility. By cutting McCown, Cleveland would save $4.375MM on its cap against roughly $667K in dead money next year. If McCown’s playing career does conclude, he could have a place on Jackson’s staff next year. “I told him already if he ever wanted to coach, he could coach for me anytime he wants,” said Jackson.
  • Jackson revealed nearly two months ago that the Browns would try second-year man Cameron Erving at tackle if his play didn’t turn around at center. Erving was then Pro Football Focus’ worst-rated center, which hasn’t changed. As a result, the Browns will try the 2015 first-rounder at right tackle Sunday, per Nate Ulrich of Ohio.com. Erving hasn’t fared well along the interior in the NFL, though he was an accomplished left tackle at Florida State and is eager to serve as a bookend again. “It’s definitely a little exciting, just to be able to potentially have that opportunity to go out and play tackle again,” Erving said.

AFC Notes: Fins, Ben, Bills, Broncos, Erving

The Dolphins have defeated winning teams in each of their past two games and are responding to the Adam Gase-led coaching staff more than their group of leaders last season, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald writes.

Miami’s roster has been more receptive to coaching from this staff after many resisted instruction from the Joe Philbin– and Dan Campbell-led staffs last season, per Salguero, who adds the team’s highest-paid player has fallen in line more in his second season in south Florida.

During his first, “very few people in the building” liked Ndamukong Suh, writes Salguero, who characterizes the standout defensive tackle as not buying into Philbin or Kevin Coyle in leadership positions. This season, Suh’s been living up to his $19MM-AAV price tag, with 3.5 sacks through seven games, rating as Pro Football Focus’ No. 5 interior defender. The Dolphins remain 3-4, though, with a No. 20-ranked defense. They have an uphill battle if they’re going to contend for a playoff spot in Gase’s first season, even if they’ve created some rare momentum.

Here’s more from the AFC, beginning with a team whose momentum the Dolphins stunted.

  • Fantasy owners of Ben Roethlisberger or the Steelers‘ Big Ben-dependent skill-position contingent will need to stay on top of his status going into Week 9, with Adam Schefter reporting (via Twitter) the Steelers haven’t decided if Roethlisberger or Landry Jones will get the call against the Ravens. The 34-year-old passer is less than three weeks removed from meniscus surgery, and another Roethlisberger absence could sink the Steelers to .500 after they looked like one of the league’s most dangerous teams prior to his injury.
  • The Bills remain confident LeSean McCoy and Percy Harvin will play against the Seahawks on Monday night. However, Marcell Dareus will miss the game due to the groin injury he suffered against the Patriots, the team announced. Dareus has played in just one game for the Bills this season.
  • Harvin’s unretirement will net him $825K for the rest of the season, Tom Pelissero reports (on Twitter). The 28-year-old slot target will also earn $22.5K in game-day roster bonuses. Harvin made $6MM for the Bills last season.
  • In addition to Aqib Talib being set to miss Sunday night’s Broncos-Raiders tilt, Denver dime back Kayvon Webster will be out as well, Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post tweets. Functioning as the No. 4 corner for a third straight season, Webster injured his hamstring against the Chargers, leaving the Broncos with three healthy corners on their active roster who have played in a game this season. The defending champions did add Taurean Nixon from their practice squad earlier today.
  • Free to use this year as an observational campaign now that they’re 0-8, the Browns are considering moving Cameron Erving from center to tackle, Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal reports. PFF rates Erving as its worst center among the 34 qualifying as full-time snappers. Hue Jackson intends to keep trying the 2015 first-rounder at center but acknowledged a position change could be in the cards, with Ulrich noting tackle would be the move. The 6-foot-6 Erving started at left tackle for two full seasons at Florida State before moving to center during his senior year in 2014. Cleveland obviously has Joe Thomas at left tackle and opted not to trade him again, but Thomas turns 32 this offseason and will continue to see his trade value diminish as he ages. The Browns have Austin Pasztor at right tackle.
  • Although he sees the Jets making a big move this coming offseason regardless of what transpires down the stretch (Twitter link), ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini does not see the team pulling an about-face and rekindling Muhammad Wilkerson trade talks. Cimini agrees with Sheldon Richardson, who categorized himself as the defensive line’s “odd man out” earlier this week.