Chris Board

AFC Notes: Hill, Funchess, Ravens, Jets

In May, Roger Goodell said the NFL would not interfere with the Kansas Department for Children and Families’ Tyreek Hill investigation, indicating the league would interview the Chiefs wide receiver “whenever we have permission to.” It is unclear if the Kansas DCF’s investigation has concluded, but if it has not, the news about NFL investigators meeting with Hill represents a reversal and, per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, perhaps an acknowledgement by the league something needs to transpire on this front by the time the Chiefs report to training camp July 23. While the investigation is likely covering the bruises and welts that appeared on the body of Hill’s 3-year-old son, Florio notes Hill’s history of violence, and the comment his fiance needing to worry about more possible violence, will almost certainly result in a Hill suspension. Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith was suspended four games in 2018 for threatening and the mother of his child and “engaging in emotional abuse.” With audio evidence having surfaced in this case, and Hill not being punished for his admitted 2014 violence against Crystal Espinal, that would seem to be the baseline for his potential punishment.

Here is the latest out of the AFC:

  • John Harbaugh has committed to Patrick Onwuasor returning as a starting linebacker for a revamped Ravens defense, but the 12th-year HC has not made a decision on C.J. Mosley‘s successor. While former UDFA Chris Board has impressed, Harbaugh indicated a committee is the likely post-Mosley plan. Harbaugh said (via Ryan Mink of BaltimoreRavens.com) Board will probably join 2018 fourth-rounder Kenny Young and hybrid safety Anthony Levine alongside Onwuasor in sub-packages. Young led the trio with 381 linebacker snaps last season; Board played just 21.
  • Onwuasor may be the best bet for the young defender who signs a Ravens extension, per Jeff Zreibec of The Athletic (subscription required). With emerging sack artist Matt Judon perhaps in line to continue a trend of edge rushers pricing themselves out of Baltimore and nose tackle Michael Pierce coming to Ravens minicamp at least 25 pounds overweight, in Zreibec’s view, the Ravens preventing their top inside linebacker from following Mosley out of Maryland seems logical. A former UDFA, Onwuasor has started 26 games. He graded as Pro Football Focus’ No. 40 linebacker last season.
  • Devin Funchess has put together an inconsistent career thus far and went through most of the Colts‘ offseason program without working with Andrew Luck, who was sidelined with a strained calf. But Frank Reich said (via Kevin Bowen of 107.5 The Fan) he is “very encouraged” by Funchess’ route-running, for a player his size, and his overall progress in his system. Reich lobbied early for Funchess in March, and the former Panthers target will almost certainly play a big role for the Colts this season.
  • Another AFC free agent signing, Brian Poole, looks aimed toward a big role in his first AFC season. The Jets have used the former Falcons slot cornerback both inside and outside this offseason, Brian Costello of the New York Post notes. Gang Green did not bring in a proven outside starter opposite Trumaine Johnson, and Morris Claiborne remains a free agent. While another corner will have to step up to join the duo in nickel sets, Poole appears set for a steady gig in New York.

AFC Notes: Ngakoue, Jets, Board

After passing along a few NFC items earlier tonight, let’s round out the evening with some news and notes from the AFC:

  • Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue skipped minicamp as part of his push for a new contract, and Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com expects the Maryland product’s efforts to pay off. Speaking to Phillip Hellman of the Florida Times-Union, Fitzgerald says Ngakoue will land a deal with an AAV of at least $21MM and total guarantees of at least $65MM. That would put Ngakoue, who is entering the last year of his rookie contract, at the top of the DE market, but the 24-year-old sack artist has a strong case for that type of payday.
  • New Jets GM Joe Douglas was hired after all of the big free agency bucks were spent, but Matt Stypulkoski of NJ.com looks at the assets Douglas will have at his disposal in 2020. Gang Green is expected to have roughly $46MM in cap room, just 17th-most in the league, though Stypulkoski examines a few ways for the club to easily create more space. He names guard Kelechi Osemele and linebacker Avery Williamson as potential cap casualties next offseason.
  • Now that C.J. Mosley is in New York, the Ravens have a void at inside linebacker, and 2018 UDFA Chris Board could fill it. Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic says Board has shot up the team’s depth chart and has a legitimate shot at opening the season as Baltimore’s weak-side ‘backer.
  • Now that Christian Covington is in Dallas, the Texans expect third-year DE Carlos Watkins to have a significantly increased role in 2019, as Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle writes. The 2017 fourth-rounder played in just four games last year, but he is 13 pounds lighter, and defensive line coach Anthony Weaver said he has “sky-high” expectations for Watkins.

Minor NFL Transactions: 6/1/18

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

  • Signed: TE Jaeden Graham
  • Waived/injured: DL Joey Ivie

Baltimore Ravens

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Waived from injured reserve: TE Zach Conque