Chris Boswell

Steelers, K Chris Boswell Agree To Extension

The Steelers and kicker Chris Boswell have agreed to an extension, the team announced on Thursday. Four years have been tacked onto Boswell’s deal at a value of $19.72MM, as Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets

Boswell will still play out his 2018 tender, worth $2.97MM. After that, the new four-year deal will begin. All in all, he’s under club control through the 2022 season.

The new pact makes Boswell the sixth highest-paid kicker in the NFL. It only makes sense after Boswell nailed 35 of 38 field goal attempts and 37 of 39 extra point tries last year. His 35 field goals set a franchise single-season record and marked the first time a Steelers kicker has made at least 30 field goals since Shaun Suisham did so in 2013.

Five other kickers earn at least $4MM annually, and the most recent member of that club — the Panthers’ Graham Gano — signed a deal in March that came in above Justin Tucker‘s 2015 contract.

In his career Boswell has connected on 85 of 95 field goal attempts, with the long being his 53-yard game-winning field goal against the Packers last year. He’s also converted 99 of 102 extra points.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steelers, Chris Boswell Talking Extension

The Steelers applied a second-round RFA tender to Chris Boswell in March but don’t appear to want their kicker back under that arrangement this season.

Boswell said negotiations between his camp and the Steelers began this week, Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. The fourth-year kicker’s only played for the Steelers, and he stands to be an unrestricted free agent in 2019.

A report last week tabbed Boswell as an extension priority, and the Steelers are following through in hopes of keeping their kicker in the fold long-term. Boswell’s coming off a Pro Bowl season, having made 35 of 38 field goal attempts (including four game-winning tries). He saw all four of his 50-plus-yard attempts sail through the uprights as well.

It will probably take a $4MM-per-year deal (or close to it) for Pittsburgh to lock up the 27-year-old Boswell. Five kickers earn $4MM annually, and the most recent member of that club — the Panthers’ Graham Gano — signed a deal in March that came in above Justin Tucker‘s 2015 contract.

Boswell is attached to that $2.9MM RFA tender price presently. The Steelers, who couldn’t agree to an extension with Le’Veon Bell to reduce his $14.5MM 2018 cap hold, currently have just more than $4MM in cap space.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC North Rumors: Gordon, Steelers, Ravens

Josh Gordon‘s present designation with the Browns is on the reserve/did not report list. The Browns likely could not have placed the 27-year-old pass-catcher on the non-football illness list, since he would have had to fail a physical for that to occur. While Gordon does not currently count toward Cleveland’s 90-man roster, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk cautions the wideout’s road back to the team may not be a matter of him merely returning to Berea, Ohio. Gordon may have to have Roger Goodell approve his request for Browns reinstatement, Florio reports. The reasoning behind this is Goodell OK’d a Gordon return last year under the terms of a treatment plan, with Florio adding that possible Goodell approval would center around whether or not the embattled receiver has violated the terms of that plan. Gordon’s believed to be at a Gainesville, Fla., treatment facility. He spent 90 days in a Gainesville rehab center last fall. While Florio doesn’t expect Goodell to stand in the way of a Gordon return, he would have the right to suspend Gordon for another year under the substance-abuse policy.

Jimmy Haslam did not comment when asked Saturday if the NFL needed to approve Gordon’s Browns reinstatement, and Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer notes the league has not provided clarity on this situation yet. Haslam added he does not have a timetable for Gordon’s return.

Here’s the latest from the AFC North, shifting to a potentially troublesome situation in Pittsburgh:

  • Ramon Foster has played more Steelers snaps than anyone since the 2009 season (h/t Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL.com), but he was carted off the practice field Saturday. During a full-contact workout, Stephon Tuitt rolled into Foster’s right leg, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport and ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler (Twitter links). Mike Tomlin did not elaborate on the issue, only saying that the 10th-year guard is being evaluated for a “lower-body” injury, per CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora (via Twitter). A Foster loss would represent a major setback for the Steelers. Foster’s a seven-season full-time starter and is in the final year of his deal. Ben Roethlisberger consoled the 32-year-old guard as he was carted away.
  • Roethlisberger has shown up to camp in noticeably better shape, with La Canfora noting the Steelers expected their quarterback to show up prepared to earn one final blockbuster extension. Although a report surfaced about the Steelers and Roethlisberger were planning to discuss a re-up this offseason, the 15th-year quarterback said he didn’t want to do a deal before this season. But he’ll be set for a contract year in 2019.
  • While the Steelers do, however, have a Chris Boswell extension slotted as a preseason priority, JLC adds the team shouldn’t be expected to make a Joe Haden-style addition before the season. Pittsburgh added the longtime Cleveland cornerback on a $9MM-per-year deal late last summer but holds barely $5MM in cap space presently. Boswell is entering a contract year.
  • Greg Robinson resides in the Browns‘ concussion protocol, Hue Jackson said Saturday (via Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal, on Twitter). The Browns brought the former No. 2 overall pick this offseason. He has a clearer path to the 53-man roster now that Donald Stephenson has retired, but Robinson has not proven reliable during his four-year career.
  • Only Ronnie Stanley and Marshal Yanda are locks to be Ravens offensive line starters, with Jeff Zreibec of The Athletic noting (subscription required) the team used numerous O-line combinations Saturday. Expected to vie for Baltimore’s right tackle job, James Hurst is working primarily at right guard while Alex Lewis — whom Zreibec projects as the left guard starter — has worked plenty at center. The Ravens’ right guard starter, Yanda remains on the PUP list. Zreibec still contends Hurst will settle at right tackle, with rookie Orlando Brown in the mix at that spot as well.

Steelers K Chris Boswell Signs RFA Tender

Steelers kicker Chris Boswell has signed his second-round restricted free agent tender, according to Mark Kaboly of the Athletic (Twitter link). Boswell will now be paid $2.914MM for the 2018 season.

Boswell was one of 14 NFL restricted free agents to be tender at the second-round level, and he’s the fifth — following Falcons guard Ben Garland, Jaguars running back Corey Grant, Seahawks cornerback Justin Coleman, and Jets receiver Quincy Enunwa— to officially sign his tender. There was no rush for Boswell to ink his tender, as RFAs have until April 20 to work out offer sheets with other clubs. However, it was always unlikely that any NFL team would have been willing to sacrifice a second-round pick in order to land Boswell.

Boswell, 27, is now entering his fourth season as the Steelers’ placekicker. In 2017, Boswell earned his first Pro Bowl berth after 92.1% if his field goal attempts, including a perfect four-for-four from 50+ yards. Football Outsiders ranked Boswell seventh in the NFL with 8.4 points added via field goals and extra points.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steelers Apply Second-Round Tender To K Chris Boswell

The Steelers are applying the second-round tender to kicker Chris Boswell, as Adam Caplan of SiriusXM tweets. By applying the tender to Boswell, the Steelers have placed a one-year, $2.914MM placeholder on him for 2018.

In theory, another team can sign the restricted free agent away, but that’s unlikely to occur. An unmatched offer sheet would mean surrendering a second-round pick to the Steelers. As good as Boswell is, no kicker is truly worth that amount.

It stands to reason that the Steelers will work to hammer out a lengthier deal with Boswell from here. Last year, Boswell earned his first ever Pro Bowl nod after connecting on 35 of 38 field goal attempts. He also made all but two of his extra point tries.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 2/2/17

Today’s minor moves:

  • The Steelers announced that they’ve signed long snapper Greg Warren to a one-year deal. While there’s word on the financial details, Warren has signed a minimum salary benefit contract in each of the past few offseasons, so it’s fair to assume he’s agreed to a similar pact. Warren, 35, has served as Pittsburgh’s long snapper since 2005, and has played in 180 career games.
  • The Steelers weren’t done inking new deals with special teamers, as the club has also agreed to a one-year contract with exclusive rights free agent Chris Boswell, tweets James Palmer of NFL.com. As an ERFA, Boswell lacked the ability to negotiate with any other teams unless Pittsburgh waived its rights of first refusal. Acting as the Steelers’ placekicker for the past two seasons, the 25-year-old Boswell has managed an 87.7% career success rate on field goals, and converted all of his extra point attempts in 2016.
  • Former NFL quarterback Ryan Lindley announced (via Twitter) that he’s signed with the Ottawa Redblacks of the Canadian Football League. Lindley, 27, started six regular season games in two seasons with the Cardinals, and was memorably under center during Arizona’s 2014 playoff contest. After a brief stint with the Colts in 2015, Lindley was out of the league last year.
  • The Jets have agreed to sign former Sacramento State long snapper Josh Latham, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Tanner Purdum is New York’s current long snapper.

AFC North Notes: Steelers, Suisham, Manziel

Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham is supposed to be in a roster battle with Chris Boswell, but there might not be much of a fight if Suisham doesn’t get healthy soon, as Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes. Suisham says he has yet to recover from a torn ACL that he suffered last year and he has not attempted a kick since then. Now, Suisham isn’t sure if he will be ready for training camp at the end of July.

Any sort of a battle is not an issue with me right now because I am not healthy,” Suisham said. “I will continue to work to get there, but I don’t know when that will be. I don’t have a time frame. Hopefully, it is for training camp.”

Suisham signed a four-year, $12.5MM extension in 2014, making him one of the top 10 highest-paid kickers in the NFL. The Steelers would save $2.4MM by releasing him. Boswell, meanwhile, makes the NFL minimum $525K.

Here’s more from the AFC North:

Steelers Notes: Suisham, Boykin, Colbert

Shaun Suisham spent the season on IR and while he was out, kicker Chris Boswell sank 29 of 32 field goal tries. Will it be out with the old and in with the new for the Steelers? Not quite. Steelers GM Kevin Colbert says the team won’t cut Suisham anytime soon and instead the team will have a kicker competition, as Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review tweets.

We feel very fortunate we have two kickers to work with. We should have a great competitive situation,” Colbert said (Twitter link via Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review).

Here’s more on the Steelers:

  • Colbert said that cornerback Brandon Boykin didn’t play as much as the player and the team anticipated, Dulac tweets. When asked about the free agent, Colbert said, “He helped us down the stretch. He’ll definitely be an option [to re-sign] for us” (link).
  • The feeling is mutual, as Boykin says he’d consider a return. “At the end, the organization said they appreciated how I went about it, being a pro, not really talking about it,” Boykin said (via Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com). “I don’t have any hard feelings toward Pittsburgh. Absolutely, under the right circumstances, for sure [I’d return].” Boykin, Pro Football Focus’ 10th-ranked free-agent cornerback (sub req’d), was mainly relegated to special teams duty in 2015. That was a big step down for Boykin who recorded six interceptions with the Eagles in 2013.
  • Colbert says his focus is on keeping talent in-house rather than acquiring it elsewhere (Twitter link via Dulac). “If there is a guy on outside who makes us better we’ll plug him in. Our big play is keeping our own,” the GM said.
  • Colbert says the team’s cap situation “relative to other years is pretty good,” (Twitter link via Dulac). He went on to say that the team doesn’t have to “make a lot of drastic changes.”
  • Earlier today, Colbert indicated to reporters that James Harrison is in the team’s plans for 2016. Soon after, the linebacker’s agent hinted that his client plans to be in camp with Pittsburgh, though other reps of his say things are still up in the air.

Steelers Sign Chris Boswell

1:47pm: Boswell’s deal runs for two years, with the Steelers retaining his rights through the end of 2016, according to Caplan (on Twitter). Although he’s obviously no lock to make it to the end of 2016, considering the volatile status of this spot.

1:35pm: Pittsburgh made it official in cutting Scobee and signing Boswell, per CBSSports.com’s Jason La Canfora (Twitter link). The Steelers will now have more than $6MM worth of commitments to kickers no longer on the active roster, according to ESPN.com’s Field Yates (on Twitter).

12:04pm: The Steelers are set to sign kicker Chris Boswell, reports ESPN’s Adam Caplan (via Twitter). It’s uncertain what the signing will mean for incumbent kicker Josh Scobee, who missed a pair of crucial field goals on Thursday night. As Caplan notes in a separate tweet, Boswell will be the team’s fourth kicker this season, as Shaun Suisham and Garrett Hartley are both on the injured reserve.

Boswell has yet to make an NFL appearance after going undrafted out of Rice in 2014. He previously spent time on both the Texans and Giants practice squad. During his four seasons at Rice, the 25-year-old converted 51 of his 67 field goal attempts and 117 of 123 extra point chances.

Scobee was traded to Pittsburgh this offseason after having spent his entire career with the Jaguars. The 2004 fifth-round pick has made over 80-percent of his field goal attempts during his career, which is 23rd among active kickers. In his first season with the Steelers, Scobee has made six of ten field goal attempts and six of his seven extra point chances.

Steelers Release Josh Scobee

1:41pm: Since no offset language existed in Scobee’s contract, the 12-year veteran is free to recoup the $1.91MM left on his deal on top of whatever he would receive if he signed with another team, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.

1:26pm: The other end of the Steelers’ addition of Chris Boswell came down in the form of the team releasing Josh Scobee, according to ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler (on Twitter).

Boswell will serve as Pittsburgh’s fourth kicker in two months, after Shaun Suisham and Garrett Hartley both wound up on injured reserve, inducing the team’s September trade for Scobee.

The longest-tenured kicker in this merry-go-round, Scobee did not have a successful Steelers stint, which culminated in two missed field goals in Thursday night’s overtime loss to the Ravens. Those nationally televised misfires on a windy night led to Mike Tomlin eschewing longer tries for fourth-down conversion attempts, both of which failed.

Scobee, an 11-year member of the Jaguars and the north Florida franchise’s all-time scoring leader, also missed two field goals in the Steelers’ opening-night loss to the Patriots. He missed just eight kicks from 2011-13, but has now missed 10 since the start of the 2014 season.

He fetched a sixth-round pick in the trade, but after a sputtering start will now give way to the least-experienced kicker in this shuffle.