Chidobe Awuzie

Bengals To Sign Chidobe Awuzie

The Bengals have agreed to sign Chidobe Awuzie to a three-year deal (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo). Awuzie missed half of the Cowboys’ season due to injury, but the Bengals believe in his potential.

This agreement is worth $21.75MM over three years, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter). By virtue of Pro Bowl-based incentives, it can max out at $22.5MM.

Awuzie finished 2020 with 38 stops, five passes defensed, and one interception. All in all, he has 213 tackles, four interceptions, 37 pass deflections, and two forced fumbles across four pro seasons. He’s been a consistent starter for the Cowboys, though fans have been mostly lukewarm on him since he was selected in the second round of the 2017 draft.

Awuzie isn’t great in man-to-man coverage, but he’s much stronger in zone coverage. Utilized properly, he could be a solid contributor, though he definitely won’t be able to replace the production of William Jackson. Jackson, who has started at least 13 games in each of the past three seasons, is a free agent and could score a top-of-the-market deal.

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Minor NFL Transactions: 12/19/20

Here are Saturday’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/10/20

Here are Thursday’s minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: RB A.J. Dillon; Dillon had been on the Packers’ virus list since testing positive Nov. 2

Indianapolis Colts

Los Angeles Rams

  • Promoted: K Austin MacGinnis

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

Pittsburgh Steelers

Cowboys Activate Sean Lee, Joe Looney

Ben DiNucci will have more help up front than he did upon being thrust into action last week. In addition to Zack Martin returning from concussion protocol, Joe Looney is back on the Cowboys’ active roster.

The Cowboys activated Looney and Sean Lee from IR Saturday, though ESPN.com’s Todd Archer notes rookie Tyler Biadasz is expected to make another start at center. Looney has missed the past three games because of an MCL injury.

Dallas used Looney as its full-time starter in 2018, when Travis Frederick missed the season, and re-signed him this offseason after Frederick retired. Looney started the team’s first four games before his knee injury. He went down on the first play of the Cowboys’ Week 4 loss to the Browns. Pro Football Focus grades his 2020 work better than Biadasz’s thus far, with the latter ranking near the bottom of the advanced metrics site’s center hierarchy.

Lee will make his 2020 debut. The Cowboys placed the veteran linebacker on IR prior to the season starting, carrying him onto their 53-man roster so they could activate him at some point. Lee underwent pelvis surgery, forcing his latest injury-induced absence. The Cowboys re-signed Lee on a one-year, $4.5MM deal this offseason. This will be as healthy as Dallas’ linebackers have been all season, with Leighton Vander Esch also now back after missing early-season games.

The Cowboys also promoted cornerback Saivion Smith from their practice squad. Smith will help a cornerback corps that will be without Chidobe Awuzie. The Cowboys enter Week 8 ranking 30th in defensive DVOA. They jettisoned three veterans — Everson Griffen, Dontari Poe and Daryl Worley — this week.

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NFC East Notes: Ertz, Giants, Cowboys

Zach Ertz‘s high ankle sprain may well have prevented a big trade. Prior to Ertz’s injury, the Eagles were willing to part with the eighth-year tight end before the Nov. 3 deadline, multiple NFL executives informed ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler (video link). The Eagles view Dallas Goedert as a long-term cornerstone, a position Ertz previously held in Philly, and the older of the team’s two prominent tight ends became embroiled in a contract dispute with the team during camp. Ertz sought a deal in the George KittleTravis Kelce neighborhood ($14MM-plus per year) and openly questioned whether the Eagles wanted him around. Ertz’s current contract — a four-year, $42MM pact — expires after the 2021 season. He will be on IR beyond the trade deadline.

Here is the latest from the NFC East:

  • Although Joe Judge was interestingly noncommittal about Andrew Thomas‘ status earlier this week, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that the No. 4 overall pick is in good standing with the Giants and will start at left tackle Thursday night. The Giants used third-round rookie Matt Peart as their left tackle starter against Washington, making the change because Thomas violated a team rule. Thomas played just 22 snaps in Big Blue’s win. Through six games, Pro Football Focus slots Thomas 61st among tackles — behind three tackles that were taken after him in this year’s first round.
  • The Eagles will continue to incorporate Jalen Hurts into their offense. Doug Pederson said this week using Hurts in a Wildcat-type capacity is something the Eagles are “definitely going to continue to explore each week,” via Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94 WIP. The second-round rookie has played 19 snaps this season, including a career-high seven last week. Hurts has completed one pass but is averaging 7.0 yards per carry on seven attempts.
  • It is quite possible the Washington Football Team‘s mascot-less existence will continue into 2021. “There’s a pretty good chance we will be the Washington Football Team next season,” team president Jason Wright said (via John Keim of ESPN.com). The franchise made the change in mid-July.
  • Key defensive personnel could return for the Cowboys this week. Sean Lee and Chidobe Awuzie returned to practice and could be activated ahead of Saturday’s deadline. Both players went on IR after Week 1. Lee’s return from a sports hernia issue would follow Leighton Vander Esch into Dallas’ lineup, giving the embattled defense its full set of first-string linebackers. Awuzie is attempting to come back from a hamstring malady.
  • The Giants worked out a familiar player Thursday. They brought former first-round pick Corey Coleman back for an audition/checkup. The Giants re-signed Coleman in March but cut him ahead of the regular season. Coleman tore an ACL during the team’s 2019 training camp and has not played since.

Cowboys Place CB Chidobe Awuzie On IR

Chidobe Awuzie‘s hamstring injury will lead to an IR placement. The Cowboys will shelve one of their starting cornerbacks for at least three games.

One the key players in Dallas’ post-Byron Jones puzzle, Awuzie has played 86% of the team’s defensive snaps this season. He went down late in the Cowboys’ 40-39 win over the Falcons.

The Cowboys are down both Awuzie and slot cornerback Anthony Brown (also on IR) against a Seahawks offense that has been one of the league’s most explosive this season. Russell Wilson leads the league in touchdown passes (nine) and in passer rating through two games.

Dallas promoted cornerbacks Saivion Smith and Deante Burton from its practice squad, while also elevating tackle Eric Smith to its active roster. Awuzie cannot return to action until Week 6. He joins Leighton Vander Esch, Sean Lee, La’el Collins and Blake Jarwin as starters on the Cowboys’ IR list.

This is a key year for Awuzie, who joins Jourdan Lewis in being on track for free agency in 2021. A 2017 second-round pick, Awuzie has started 38 games in his career. The Cowboys were active this offseason in attempting to replace Jones, drafting Trevon Diggs in Round 2 and signing Daryl Worley. The team also brought back Brandon Carr just before the season.

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Cowboys’ Chidobe Awuzie To Miss Time

Cowboys starting cornerback Chidobe Awuzie will miss multiple games with a hamstring injury, per a club announcement. Awuzie has not been placed on injured reserve, but that would be the logical move if he’s sidelined for three or more games.

[RELATED: Jared Veldheer Turns Down Cowboys, Retires]

Awuzie went down late in the Cowboys’ win over the Falcons, adding another name to the team’s already lengthy injury list. Already, the Cowboys have cornerback Anthony Brown and linebackers Leighton Vander Esch and Sean Lee on IR. Brown hit the IR list just as fellow corner Jourdan Lewis returned to action and Awuzie’s absence marks yet another hit to the secondary.

In the interim, the Cowboys will likely turn to recent call-up Brandon Carr for support at corner. Ideally, the Cowboys wanted the veteran at safety, where he backed Darian Thompson and Daryl Worley.

On the plus side, rookie cornerback Trevon Diggs returned to the practice field after missing some time with a shoulder injury. They’ll need the Alabama product more than ever given the Cowboys’ injuries on the defensive side of the ball.

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NFC East Notes: Giants, Cowboys, Parks

The Giants are planning for Logan Ryan to help at cornerback and safety. Joe Judge confirmed Ryan will play multiple spots, and Dan Duggan of The Athletic notes the former Patriots and Titans cornerback is expected to work in a hybrid safety-slot corner capacity (subscription required). Ryan played just 22 snaps at safety — as opposed to 855 in the slot — last season, but late in his free agency stay he began to market himself as a safety. Ryan’s 113 tackles last year led all cornerbacks and would have ranked fifth among safeties. Giants DC Patrick Graham was with the Patriots during three of Ryan’s four New England seasons. Second-round pick Xavier McKinney was set to play this role, but the Alabama product suffered a broken foot. McKinney had surgery late last month and is expected to miss at least two months. But he may well return to team with Ryan later this season.

Here is the latest from the NFC East:

  • Shifting to another team’s safety situation, the Cowboys did not view Ha Ha Clinton-Dix as a starter, Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News tweets. Instead of keeping the seventh-year veteran around as a backup, Dallas cut baitDarian Thompson is expected to start alongside Xavier Woods, but Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram notes cornerbacks Chidobe Awuzie, Daryl Worley and rookie Reggie Robinson could see time there if necessary. The Cowboys could recoup $1MM if Clinton-Dix signs elsewhere via the offset language in his contract, Todd Archer of ESPN.com tweets.
  • Players like Josh McCown, Johnathan Cyprien, Dion Jordan and Matt Moore accepted jobs on teams’ practice squads in recent days. But Jon Halapio did not want to play such a role. The veteran center declined a spot on the Giants‘ P-squad, Duggan tweets. The Giants brought Halapio back last week but cut him Saturday. Halapio, who worked out for the Texans last month, is healthy after suffering an Achilles tear in Week 17. Halapio began the past two seasons as the Giants’ first-string center; he started 15 games last season.
  • Aldon Smith collected a $100K bonus from the Cowboys, per Archer. That brings his total in 2020 roster bonuses to $440K. Smith, who has not played since the 2015 season, agreed to a $910K base salary that pays out just more than $40K in per-game roster bonuses. If Smith were to reach eight sacks, he would collect $500K, Archer adds. For 10 sacks, the former All-Pro would receive a $1MM bump. In the event of a less likely 14-sack season, that total rises to $2MM.
  • The Eagles placed Will Parks on IR on Sunday. The veteran safety suffered a hamstring injury that will keep him out up to six weeks, James Palmer of NFL.com tweets. This year, teams can activate players off IR after just three missed games. Though, Parks’ timetable may run into October. The Eagles signed the former Bronco in March.

East Rumors: Giants, Fins, Jets, Cowboys

Justin Pugh‘s contract year could well include a lengthy stay at right tackle. The Giants‘ starting left guard slid to his original position on Monday night and will do the same Sunday against the Eagles. Big Blue plans to start Brett Jones at left guard and does not plan on ditching Ereck Flowers at left tackle, Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com notes. Pugh’s versatility will allow the Giants, per Ben McAdoo, to keep the “best five” on the field rather than the team having to use a swing tackle. Usual right tackle Bobby Hart will miss Week 3, and D.J. Fluker — a four-year Chargers starter — is apparently the Giants’ seventh offensive lineman. He’ll profile as the backup guard behind Jones and John Jerry, Raanan writes.

Here’s more from the Eastern divisions in advance of Week 3’s Sunday slate.

  • Lawrence Timmons‘ pre-Week 2 disappearance will be costly. The Dolphins linebacker signed a two-year, $12MM deal but will lose money because of the suspension his new team handed down this week. In addition to voiding the $4.5MM in guaranteed money attached to his 2018 salary, Timmons stands to lose as much as $235K in base salary this season — since he can only be suspended for four weeks under the CBA — and could be set to forfeit signing bonus money, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe reports. Volin adds the linebacker could be forced to refund 4/17ths of this year’s portion of his $5.5MM signing bonus. This team-imposed ban could cost Timmons $882K this season before giving Miami greater leverage over him in 2018 because of voided guarantees.
  • Jay Cutler reached out to Matt Forte about a possible Jets path, but his longtime Bears teammate couldn’t provide many details about an offensive system about to change, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports. Although the Jets and Cutler had multiple visits scheduled, neither came to fruition and the interest wasn’t heavy on either side. Cutler also talked with former Broncos and Bears quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates, Gang Green’s current QBs instructor, throughout his first free agency process, per Mehta. But with Bates not calling plays in New York, that connection didn’t have the kind of appeal that would have induced Cutler to sign with the rebuilding team. Instead, Cutler’s second wave of free agency became a Dolphins-centric odyssey.
  • Austin Seferian-Jenkins weighed over 300 pounds in the recent past, according to Calvin Watkins of Newsday. The Jets tight end dropped a staggering 60 pounds, per Watkins, and is down to 262 as he comes off his two-game suspension for substance abuse. A May report indicated Seferian-Jenkins was down 25 pounds. A year ago Saturday, Seferian-Jenkins was arrested on suspicion of DUI. The Buccaneers cut him, routing the formerly coveted prospect to the Jets. As of this week, ASJ is approaching 250 days sober, Watkins reports.
  • The Cowboys struggled to stay with Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders in a Week 2 loss in Denver, and the team will take a shorthanded cornerback group to Arizona as well. Both Nolan Carroll and Chidobe Awuzie are out for the Cowboys’ Monday-night tilt against the Cardinals, Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News tweets. A hamstring injury will shelve Awuzie, and Carroll’s in concussion protocol.

Cowboys Sign Seven Draft Picks

The Cowboys have agreed to pacts with seven draft picks, leaving third-round cornerback Jourdan Lewis as the only member of their nine-rookie class without a contract, according to Todd Archer of ESPN.com. Dallas, which reached a deal with first-round defensive end Taco Charlton on Thursday afternoon, signed this group in the evening:

Chidobe Awuzie

Awuzie was reportedly gaining momentum as a potential first-rounder in the weeks leading up to the draft, but he ultimately come off the board late in the second. The four-year starter at Colorado had his most productive seasons from 2015-16, combining for 150 tackles, eight sacks and three interceptions, and should see plenty of playing time as a rookie in Dallas. The Cowboys, who ranked a mediocre-at-best 18th in DVOA against the pass last year, lost cornerbacks Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne to free agency. The club will try to make up for the veterans’ departures with a corner group consisting of Orlando Scandrick, Anthony Brown, Awuzie and Nolan Carroll, among others.

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