Carl Nassib

AFC West Notes: Bell, Broncos, Nassib, Bolts

Less than an hour after Le’Veon Bell‘s Jets departure became official, rumors about his new team are surfacing. While Bell’s suitor list is not yet known, many around the league expect the Chiefs to be interested in the former All-Pro back, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. The Chiefs made a somewhat similar move last year, signing LeSean McCoy — after the Bills cut him — to play behind then-starter Damien Williams. Kansas City used a first-round pick on Clyde Edwards-Helaire but has lower-profile backs Darrel Williams and Darwin Thompson — after Damien Williams’ July opt-out — backing up the rookie. Bell, whose disappointing Jets stay secured him nearly $30MM, will prioritize his fit in an offense and a team’s chances of contending before choosing his next destination, per Fowler. Bell returned in Week 5 from a hamstring injury and averaged 4.62 yards per carry on 13 totes in the Jets’ loss to the Cardinals.

Here is the latest from the AFC West:

  • While Cam Newton‘s return to the Patriots’ active roster points to the Broncos facing him and not Jarrett Stidham this week, Drew Lock also appears on the verge of a return. The Denver starter participated fully in practice Wednesday. A Week 6 return would be in the timeframe initially set after Lock’s Week 2 shoulder injury. The Broncos used two different starters, running their post-Peyton Manning total to nine, in Lock’s absence. Were Lock to be held out another week, Brett Rypien would be in line to log a second start.
  • Mark Barron‘s Broncos debut remains on hold. On IR because of a hamstring injury, Barron suffered a pectoral malady that will delay his return to action, Mike Klis of 9News tweets. The Broncos signed Barron late in the summer, but the former first-round pick does not have a clear-cut return date.
  • The Raiders are also going to be without a rotational defender for a bit. Carl Nassib suffered a broken toe during the team’s win over the Chiefs, per Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). It is, in fact, a big toe injury. The former Browns and Buccaneers pass rusher will likely be out a while, though a concrete timetable does not exist yet. An offseason addition, Nassib has played just more than a fourth of Las Vegas’ defensive snaps this season.
  • The Dolphins recently promoted running back Salvon Ahmed to their active roster. They did so after the Chargers expressed interest in poaching Ahmed off Miami’s practice squad, per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. The Chargers are down Austin Ekeler presently and have just two backs — Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley — on their active roster. A rookie UDFA out of Washington, Ahmed has yet to dress for an NFL game.

Contract Details: Nassib, Alonso, Jefferson

Some more contract details from around the league:

  • DE Carl Nassib, Raiders: signed. Three-year, $25MM deal with $17MM guaranteed, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter). The deal has a max value of $28MM.
  • LB Kiko Alonso, Saints: restructured contract. Base salary reduced from $6.4MM to $1.7MM, $4.7MM available in incentives. Already has $1.45MM roster bonus, meaning he can still hit his previous $7.85MM total via playing-time bonuses. All notes via ESPN’s Mike Triplett on Twitter.
  • DE Quinton Jefferson, Bills: two-year deal. Contract worth $13.5MM total, according to ESPN’s Dan Graziano on Twitter.
  • FB Derek Watt, Steelers: signed. Three-year deal worth $9.75MM, according to ESPN’s Brooke Pryor on Twitter.
  • LB Kamu Grugier-Hill, Dolphins: one-year deal. Contract worth $3MM, including $2MM signing bonus, according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo on Twitter. Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets that there’s up to $500K in playing time incentives.

Raiders Agree To Terms With Carl Nassib

The Raiders are staying busy, this time bolstering their pass-rush. Las Vegas has agreed to terms with free agent defensive end Carl Nassib, Jerry McDonald of the Oakland Tribune tweets.

Nassib originally became widely known to football fans as a ‘Hardknocks’ star during training camp with the Browns in 2018 when they were featured on the hit HBO series. He was waived by Cleveland at final cuts, but was quickly claimed by Tampa Bay. He thrived with the Buccaneers, racking up 6.5 sacks that year. This past season he had six more in 14 games while playing around 55 percent of the defensive snaps.

It will be interesting to see what the terms are, but it’s likely that Vegas didn’t have to break the bank for him. Overall, it’s a nice under the radar signing. Nassib was originally a walk-on at Penn State, and played sparingly his first few years. He came out of nowhere to dominate in his senior season, racking up 15.5 sacks and winning the Hendricks Award for the nation’s top defensive end.

The Raiders have struggled to generate a consistent rush in recent years, and they had only 32 sacks as a team last season. They also agreed to terms with defensive tackle Maliek Collins Tuesday to further bolster the defensive front.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bruce Arians Talks Buccaneers’ Offseason Priorities

While impending free agent quarterback Jameis Winston may be stealing headlines, Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians is more focused on retaining his team’s top defenders.

“Oh, yeah. To me, it’s the whole defense,” Arians told ESPN’s Jenna Laine. “You can’t get ’em all, but … those young guys grew. We can’t let that go. I don’t care who’s my quarterback. We’ve gotta have a defense.”

Outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett is the most notable defender hitting free agency, and he should be in line for a lucrative payday after compiling an NFL-high 19.5 sacks last season. Many of Barrett’s defensive teammates are also set to hit the open market, including players Jason Pierre-PaulCarl NassibNdamukong SuhBeau Allen and Rakeem Nunez-Roches.

On the offensive side of the ball, it doesn’t sound like Arians is all that concerned about who’s under center. The head coach did admit that it’s tough to have any clarity on the quarterbacks position considering the uncertainty of free agency.

“You don’t know who’s available,” Arians said. “You just sit there and wait to see, is there someone available. If not, is this a better option. That’s the problem. You get about two days to decide in the legal tampering period.”

One of the team’s options will naturally be Winston, who spent the first five seasons of his career in Tampa Bay. Winston set career-highs in passing yards (5,109) and touchdowns (33) in 2019, but he also set a career-high (and led the NFL) with 30 interceptions.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2019 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.

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 $2MM in 2019. 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 2019 courtesy of the proven performance escalator:

Bears: RB Jordan Howard, LB Nick Kwiatkoski

Bengals: LB Nick Vigil

Broncos: G Connor McGovern, S Will Parks, S Justin Simmons

Browns: S Derrick Kindred, LB Joe Schobert

Buccaneers: G Caleb Benenoch, DE Carl Nassib, CB Ryan Smith

Chargers: LB Jatavis Brown

Chiefs: CB Kendall Fuller, WR Tyreek Hill, S Eric Murray, WR Demarcus Robinson

Colts: QB Jacoby Brissett, T Joe Haeg

Cowboys: CB Anthony Brown, DT Maliek Collins, QB Dak Prescott

Dolphins: RB Kenyan Drake

Eagles: CB Jalen Mills, T Halapoulivaati Vaitai

Falcons: LB De’Vondre Campbell, TE Austin Hooper, G Wes Schweitzer

Jaguars: DE Yannick Ngakoue

Jets: LB Jordan Jenkins, CB Rashard Robinson, T Brandon Shell

Lions: C Graham Glasgow

Packers: LB Kyler Fackrell, DE Dean Lowry, LB Blake Martinez, LB Antonio Morrison

Patriots: G Joe Thuney, LB Elandon Roberts

Rams: G Austin Blythe, TE Tyler Higbee

Ravens: DE Matt Judon, OL Alex Lewis, CB Tavon Young

Saints: DT David Onyemata

Steelers: DT Javon Hargrave

Texans: DT D.J. Reader

Titans: S Kevin Byard, WR Tajae Sharpe

OverTheCap.com was essential in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. 

Buccaneers Claim DL Carl Nassib

One of the stars of this year’s Hard Knocks has found a home. Carl Nassib was claimed by the Buccaneers off waivers, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN (Twitter link). 

Nassib made the Browns’ initial 53-man roster, but was waived the next day to make room for the Browns’ waiver claims. Nassib was a third round pick in 2016, and never was terrible with the Browns, but the team decided to move on because of their increased depth at the position.

Last year Nassib, appeared in all 16 games for Cleveland, making 12 starts. He had 19 tackles with three sacks and five passes defended. He finished his career in Cleveland with 34 tackles, 5.5 sacks, and nine passes defended total.

He’ll now join a unit in Tampa Bay where he should have the opportunity to make an immediate impact. The Bucs’ pass-rushing group isn’t nearly as deep as Cleveland’s is, so it’s a great landing spot for Nassib. The former Penn State Nittany Lion, who set a school record with 15.5 sacks his senior season, should get a chance to re-invent himself.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link), the Bucs are releasing veteran defensive end Will Clarke to make room for Nassib on the roster.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Sunday NFL Transactions: AFC North

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four AFC North teams. Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline yesterday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters, claiming players off waivers or signing guys who clear waivers. Those transactions for the Ravens, Bengals, Browns, and Steelers are noted below.

Additionally, as of 12:00pm CT today, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads. You can check out our glossary entry on practice squads to brush up on those changes, as well as all the other guidelines that govern the 10-man units, whose players practice with the team but aren’t eligible to suit up on Sundays.

Here are Sunday’s AFC North transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day:

Baltimore Ravens

Practice squad:

Cincinnati Bengals

Signed:

Practice squad:

Cleveland Browns

Claimed:

Cut:

Pittsburgh Steelers

Practice squad:

* = international player
** = practice squad exception

AFC North Notes: Browns, Shazier, Harrison

Myles Garrett‘s recent trouble with left leg maladies returned this week, with the Browns announcing the No. 1 overall pick sprained his left foot. Although he’s expected to be ready for training camp in just more than five weeks, the fact that Garrett’s junior season at Texas A&M was interrupted by left ankle trouble is not a good sign. But the Browns have invested heavily in their edge rushers over the past few years.

The Browns have some additional options at defensive end this season to supplement Garrett, with recent draft picks now firmly stationed there. Whereas the team moved Emmanuel Ogbah from outside linebacker to end in the team’s previous 3-4 scheme last season, the 2016 second-round pick is a more natural 4-3 end, Terry Pluto of cleveland.com notes. This applies to 2016 third-rounder Carl Nassib as well, with Nate Orchard now lining up there too. Prior to becoming a 3-4 outside ‘backer with the Browns after being taken in the 2015 second round, Orchard registered 18.5 sacks at Utah as a senior while at end.

Cleveland’s defensive end contingent also features Desmond Bryant, who is returning from a torn pectoral muscle that erased his 2016 season. Bryant has not played 4-3 end since he was with the Raiders, and he also saw time as a defensive tackle with the Silver and Black. The 31-year-old Bryant would be a good bet to be one of the players the Browns could shift to tackle in sub-packages.

Here’s the latest from the North divisions.

  • Had Ryan Shazier been a second-round pick in 2014 instead of going in the first, he would be entering a contract year. But the Steelers picked up the inside linebacker’s fifth-year option in April to tie him to the team through 2018. Shazier is not on board with this setup. “Yeah, that kind of sucks,” Shazier said, via Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com, of the system that can tie first-rounders to their rookie deals for five years. “Sometimes guys have to wait five years. Other guys don’t. But that’s what they agreed on in the past. Next time (during CBA negotiations) we’ve just got to do a better job of structuring what we want to do.” Also weighing in on the positions 2014 draft class mates Odell Beckham and Aaron Donald are in, Shazier said rookies should have the opportunity to renegotiate their deals before they accrue three years of service time. “At the end of the day, that’s between you and the team. If the team wants to do that, it’s great,” Shazier said. “… If you play at that level, you should be able to re-up whenever you want to.” Shazier is signed through 2018, with a guaranteed-against-injury ’18 salary of $8.78MM set.
  • It doesn’t sound like James Harrison will be going through a regular training camp. The Steelers know what they have in the 39-year-old veteran, and he knows the team’s system. In minicamp, Pittsburgh gave the league’s oldest defender freedom to prepare on his own, giving his reps to first-rounder T.J. Watt, per Fowler. Notorious for conducting unusual workouts in the offseason, Harrison enters his 14th Steelers season. Fowler notes Harrison will work participate in 11-on-11 drills on some days but will be excused during others. “It’s good for the young guys to get the reps,” linebackers coach Joey Porter said at minicamp. “Right now, we’re not going to ask him to do a whole lot. The defense is learning, getting comfortable.”
  • It’s looking more like the latest hip injury Dennis Pitta suffered, one that led to the Ravens releasing the longtime tight end, will end his career.

Injuries For Browns’ Nassib, Erving

This has been a rough Monday morning for the Browns. Browns defensive end Carl Nassib suffered a broken hand yesterday and will undergo surgery, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Meanwhile, starting center Cameron Erving suffered a bruised lung (Twitter link via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com). Meanwhile, as we learned earlier, the Browns fear that they will be without quarterback Josh McCown for quite some time. Carl Nassib (vertical)

Nassib, a Penn State product, put himself on the NFL map in 2015 when he racked up 15.5 sacks, 46 tackles, and 19.5 tackles for a loss. Cleveland had high hopes for the defensive end after snagging him in the third round of this year’s draft, but this latest setback could keep him out for a while. Nassib suffered the injury during the second half of Browns’ 25-20 loss to the Ravens on Sunday.

There’s currently no timetable for Erving, but the expectation is that he’ll be out for at least a month. Thankfully, the center was released from the hospital earlier today. Erving was selected with the No. 19 overall pick in the 2015 draft. As a rookie, Erving appeared in all 16 regular season games with four starts.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles Notes: Johnson, Wentz, Fullbacks

The Eagles are entering their Week 1 matchup with the Browns in an interesting position on their offensive line. Since the NFL has yet to announce the expected suspension for Lane Johnson, the team shelved a plan that included an alternate route at right tackle and will instead start Johnson on Sunday, Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Getting ready to play, man,” Johnson told media after Friday’s practice. “I didn’t think this day would come. This has been the biggest mental hurdle of my career.”

Johnson faces a 10-game suspension after his A sample tested positive for a banned substance. The delay for the league appears to stem from the results of his B sample not being retrieved. The fourth-year tackle intends to appeal any suspension, and with that process taking as many as several weeks, he may be available longer than expected this season. However, the loss of an appeal could sideline Johnson during more second-half games than anticipated since the ban won’t be starting Week 1 as he anticipated.

Here’s the latest coming out of Philly.

  • Hours before the Eagles’ third preseason game, wide receiver Jordan Matthews told Howie Roseman that Carson Wentz was ready to see play now instead of being a quarterback-in-waiting, Zach Berman of the Inquirer reports. The rookie was then relegated to personal throwing sessions while recovering from injury, and while the third-year pass-catcher’s statement probably wouldn’t have proved as significant for the purposes of Week 1 had Teddy Bridgewater not gone down, the comment looks somewhat prescient now that Wentz is the starter and Sam Bradford‘s in Minnesota.
  • Some in the Eagles’ organization are surprised by the Browns’ comments regarding Wentz, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. Paul DePodesta recently revealed the Browns’ brass did not consider the North Dakota State product a potential top-20 NFL quarterback, and young defenders Carl Nassib and Ibraheim Campbell respectively called Wentz’s delivery and inexperience into question this week after it became known he would start the season for the Eagles. Wentz had read DePodesta’s comments before he was named the Eagles’ starter, Cabot writes.
  • It doesn’t look like Doug Pederson‘s offense will be housing a pure fullback for a while, Dave Zangaro of CSNPhilly.com writes. The team cut potential options Ryan Mueller and Chris Pantale. Many teams obviously go without pure fullbacks in today’s NFL, but the Andy Reid– and Pederson-run Chiefs employed one in Anthony Sherman during the three seasons that duo coordinated Kansas City’s attack. The Eagles have Andrew Bonnet on their practice squad and could use third tight end Trey Burton there, per new OC Frank Reich.
  • Earlier today, former Eagles running back Brian Westbrook said some Philadelphia veterans aren’t on board with the Bradford trade.