Chris Carson

Extra Points: NFLPA, Lawrence, Seahawks

Over half of the league’s teams have now issued statements saying some or all of their players will sit out in-person offseason workouts. While those standoffs continue, we’ve got an adjacent update on the NFL’s COVID-19 policies. The NFLPA told players over the weekend that they’d no longer be subject to discipline for “high-risk COVID conduct,” a source told Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link).

That includes things like going to bars and large indoor events. There some high profile discipline incidents for high-risk COVID conduct last season, perhaps most notably when Dwayne Haskins was fined and stripped of his captaincy after being photographed mask-less with strippers. As Pelissero points out, this means that the players who do decide to report to team facilities for in-person workouts won’t have to live in quarantine. Pelissero reports the NFL will still maintain the right to hand down discipline for violating protocols inside team facilities.

Here are a couple other notes from around the league on a quiet Sunday night:

  • Not that it’s any secret the Jaguars are taking Trevor Lawrence, but we’ve got some more info on what’s going down behind the scenes. Urban Meyer pretty much publicly acknowledged a couple weeks ago that the team would draft the Clemson passer first overall later this month, and it sounds like the budding relationship is going well. Jacksonville has been sharing elements of their offensive scheme and playbook with Lawrence to see what he can retain, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter video link). These zoom sessions have apparently been going well, as Lawrence has “impressed them” by “being able to talk like he’s already a member” of the team, Rapoport says.
  • There was a lot of drama surrounding Russell Wilson this offseason, which led to trade rumors, but it sounds like he’s been very engaged in the Seahawks’ offseason plans. Running back Chris Carson signed a two-year deal to stay in Seattle despite interest from a number of other teams, and he recently revealed that Wilson played a big role in recruiting him. “He was definitely in my ear,” Carson said, via John Boyle of the team’s official site. “We talked about it before the season ended that we didn’t want this to be the last year we played with each other. He definitely was in my ear during the offseason.” He also said fellow running back Rashaad Penny played a big role in recruiting him back. Wilson’s efforts here, as well as his recent reassurances to Carlos Dunlap, seem to indicate he isn’t planning on leaving the Seahawks anytime soon.

Jets, Patriots, Panthers Showed Interest In RB Chris Carson

Before he re-signed with the Seahawks, running back Chris Carson had interest from a number of teams. Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times writes that the Jets, Patriots, and Panthers were among the teams that reached out to the veteran. We previously heard that the Dolphins tried to sign the running back.

After spending the first four seasons of his career with Seattle, Carson ultimately decided to stick around with the organization. However, the veteran admitted that he had some enticing offers from those rival suitors.

“[The decision] was definitely difficult,” Carson told Condotta. “Teams made offers. Some teams made it tough to decide to sign with the Seahawks.”

Besides his familiarity with the team, Carson was also swayed by the money and the security. His two-year deal includes $5.5MM in guaranteed money and could be worth up to $10.4MM.

Despite having a pair of 1,000-plus-yard seasons on his resume, he’s expected to compete with former first-rounder Rashaad Penny for snaps next season. However, Carson isn’t concerned about the unclear roles; rather, he believes himself and Penny could emerge as one of the top two-headed monsters in the league.

“I think we can be one of the top rushing duos in the league,’’ Carson said. “We both bring a different feel to the game, like different attributes. But we complement each other so well. I feel like his limit is ridiculous once he starts getting his feet wet in the game. I think it’s going to be something special.’’

While the Panthers were probably looking for Carson to relieve Christian McCaffrey, the Patriots and Jets could have offered the veteran a larger role. The Patriots depth chart is led by Sony Michel and Damien Harris, a pair of intriguing young players who have yet to secure the definitive starting spot. The Jets depth chart is a mix of unproven young players and Tevin Coleman, although they’ll probably add to the position via the draft.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Contract Details: Trubisky, Andrews, Carson, Jones, Reiff, Joyner

Let’s catch up on the latest contract details from around the league:

  • QB Mitchell TrubiskyBills: One-year, $2MM base salary with $1.5MM guaranteed, $500K signing bonus, and $2MM available in incentives. Via Field Yates of ESPN on Twitter.
  • C David Andrews, Patriots: Four-years, $19 MM, with $6.5MM fully guaranteed. More money available in play-time incentives. Via Tom Pelissero of NFL Network on Twitter.
  • RB Chris CarsonSeahawks: Two-years, $10.425MM, $4.5MM signing bonus and $1MM guaranteed salary for 2021. $4.5MM non-guaranteed 2022 salary and $450K in per-game roster bonuses in ‘22. Up to $1.4MM in incentives in both years. Via Dan Graziano of ESPN on Twitter.
  • RB Aaron JonesPackers: Four-years, $48MM. The $13MM signing bonus is the only fully guaranteed money in the contract. A $3.5MM roster bonus is due on the first day of next league year. For 2023, a $7MM roster bonus is due on the third day of the league year. You can read the full breakdown of each year of the contract via Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com.
  • OL Riley ReiffBengals: One-year, $7.5MM. $5.5MM guaranteed. We hadn’t known the terms of this contract yet, and $7.5MM is a pretty decent price for the Bengals for a solid starting tackle. Via Yates on Twitter.
  • S Lamarcus JoynerJets: One-year, up to $4.5MM. $2.5MM is guaranteed, with a $1MM signing bonus and $1.5MM base salary. Up to $500K in per game active roster bonuses and $1.5MM in playing time and interception incentives. Via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle on Twitter.

Seahawks To Re-Sign RB Chris Carson

Chris Carson will stay in Seattle. The former seventh-round pick who beat the odds to become a long-term Seahawks starter agreed to terms on a second contract with the team Friday night.

The four-year veteran running back will sign a two-year deal worth $14.63MM, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Carson has worked as Seattle’s top running back for the past three seasons, and he will be expected to reprise that role in 2021. The Seahawks will use the increasingly popular void-year method to help with their cap, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets, noting one void year will be added to the deal. The Seahawks entered Friday up against the cap.

Carson is believed to have received interest from the Dolphins, and the Seahawks extended an offer to Leonard Fournette. Nevertheless, the status quo in Seattle’s backfield will remain. The Seahawks lost Carlos Hyde to the Jaguars but still have Rashaad Penny attached to his rookie contract. This Carson development could point Fournette back to the Buccaneers, though it remains to be seen if there are any other known suitors for the former top-five pick.

Although the Seahawks’ initial investment in Carson doubled as a final-round flier, Carson will cash in after an injury-marred season. Prior to being limited in 2020, however, Carson eclipsed 1,100 yards in each of the previous two seasons. He totaled 16 rushing TDs from 2018-19, helping the Seahawks back to the playoffs and resurrect a ground game that had dipped in quality in between the Marshawn Lynch and Carson years.

Carson, Phillip Lindsay, Marlon Mack and Kenyan Drake are now off the market, with Aaron Jones — the top UFA running back coming into the week — choosing to avoid free agency and re-sign with the Packers. Of this group, Jones is the only player to have signed for more than two seasons or to have cleared $8MM per year. Carson, however, will receive a considerable raise from his rookie contract. Russell Wilson also endorsed the move (Twitter link).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins, Chris Carson Close To Deal?

Shortly after adding Will Fuller to their receiving corps, the Dolphins are believed to be in discussions to make a big splash in their backfield.

They are discussing a deal with Chris Carson, with the Pro Football Network indicating those talks are on the cusp of producing a contract agreement (Twitter link). Carson has played all four seasons of his career with the Seahawks, and despite being a seventh-round pick, he held Seattle’s starting job for most of his rookie contract.

The Dolphins have their own seventh-round success story, in Myles Gaskin, and made a move to add ex-Rams contributor Malcolm Brown this week. It would then be interesting to see the team add two veterans to its backfield. It is unclear if the Seahawks are engaged in substantial discussions with Carson. They are believed to have an offer out to Leonard Fournette, however.

Carson has two 1,100-yard rushing seasons on his resume, amassing those totals in 2018 and ’19, but is coming off an injury-limited 2020. That stands to affect his market. But the three-year Seattle starter did average 4.8 yards per carry last season. The Seahawks have already lost Carlos Hyde and have Rashaad Penny coming off a season in which he barely played due to a 2019 knee injury.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Franchise Tag Roundup: Dupree, Seahawks, Bengals

Despite some whispers of a potential delay, the deadline for teams to place franchise tags on impending free agents was today at 5 p.m. CT. While a handful of players learned that they were slapped with the tag, a number of players naturally learned that they’ll be entering unrestricted free agency. We collected some of those notable players below:

  • The Steelers decided to not tag Bud Dupree, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). The linebacker was hit with the tag last offseason. The former first rounder had another strong season for Pittsburgh, compiling eight sacks in only 11 games.
  • A pair of popular Seahawks players didn’t get franchised: running back Chris Carson (per NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero on Twitter) and cornerback Shaquill Griffin (per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport on Twitter). The team is planning to (at least) make a pursuit at retaining Griffin, per Rapoport.
  • The Bengals didn’t franchise pass rusher Carl Lawson, per Rapoport (on Twitter). The former fourth rounder has collected 10.5 sacks over the past two seasons, with Rapoport opining that the lineman is “one of the NFL’s most underrated players” heading into free agency.
  • The Lions decided to not franchise Romeo Okwara, according to Rapoport (via Twitter). The 25-year-old had a breakout season in Detroit, setting career-highs in tackles (44) and sacks (10).
  • Despite leading the Cardinals with 12.5 sacks last season, Arizona didn’t franchise linebacker Haason Reddick (according to Schefter on Twitter). The former first-rounder also set career-highs in QB hits (16) and tackles for loss (15).
  • The Titans didn’t franchise tight end Jonnu Smith, per Schefter on Twitter. The 25-year-old has shown flashes during his brief NFL career, including a 2020 campaign where he set career-highs in receptions (41), receiving yards (448), and touchdowns (eight).

As a reminder, here are the players who have reportedly been tagged over the past 48 hours:

Seahawks Want To Re-Sign Chris Carson

In a few months, running back Chris Carson will be free to sign with any team. Head coach Pete Carroll hopes that team will be the Seahawks. 

I do know Chris has got to…look out for himself,” Carroll said (via Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times). “So he’s got to see what the situation is. We would love for him to be with us. He’s been a terrific part of our team, and hopefully we can keep that going. In my mind, I can’t imagine anything else happening.”

Carson has flashed serious ability since entering the league in 2017, greatly outperforming his seventh-round draft status. At the same time, he’s been hindered by injuries. In 2019, he notched 278 carries for 1,230 yards, both career-highs, to go along with seven touchdowns. He also tackled on 37 catches for 266 yards and two TDs though the air. Unfortunately, his season ended just before the postseason, due to a fractured hip.

Even though he lost four games to a mid-foot sprain this year, he been remarkably efficient. Heading into Week 17, Carson has an average of 4.9 yards per carry, which would edge his breakout 2018 season.

The Seahawks will have to balance their affinity for Carson with the numbers game. This year’s free agent class will also include safety Jamal Adams and cornerback Shaquill Griffin. Meanwhile, they still have 2018 first-rounder Rashaad Penny and youngsters Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas under contract.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Seahawks Promote Snacks Harrison

Damon Harrison‘s time on Seattle’s practice squad may be over for good. The Seahawks are promoting the veteran defensive tackle to their active roster.

The Seahawks signed Snacks last month and stashed him on their taxi squad for five weeks in order for the free agent to work his way into full-on game shape. Pete Carroll has expressed optimism on Harrison recently and has decided to pull the trigger on activating him.

This will mark the beginning of Snacks’ ninth NFL season. A 2016 All-Pro with the Giants, Harrison started 15 games with the Lions last season but was not especially happy in Detroit, having considered retirement. He appears to be more content in Seattle, having turned down chances at a 53-man roster spot with the Buccaneers and Dolphins this season.

While the Seahawks’ defense will need more than Harrison to bounce back from a historically dreadful start, the unit did sack Josh Allen seven times in last week’s loss in Buffalo. The Seahawks rank 29th in DVOA against the pass but are interestingly ninth in run defense. Snacks should help on that front.

Seattle also placed defensive tackle Bryan Mone on IR, activated cornerback Neiko Thorpe from IR and promoted running back Alex Collins. The latter’s elevation will help the team with backfield depth; Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde remain sidelined with injuries.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Updates: McCaffrey, Fulton, Carson, Drake

Panthers superstar Christian McCaffrey returned to practice Monday, which is certainly a welcome sign considering he hasn’t been out there since Week 2. While it’s a step in the right direction, it doesn’t mean McCaffrey will be suiting up for Carolina on Thursday Night Football this week. In fact, CMAC is a “long-shot” to play in their division game against the Falcons, a source told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link).

Mike Davis took over as the Panthers’ running back and got off to a hot start, but he’s since cooled off significantly and only had 12 rushing yards yesterday. As such, McCaffrey’s return can’t come quick enough. The Panthers are now 3-4 and desperately need a win over Atlanta if they want to stay in the NFC playoff picture. McCaffrey went down with a high ankle sprain in their Week 2 game against the Bucs and has been sidelined ever since.

Here’s more health updates from around the league:

  • The Titans lost their first game of the season on Sunday, and they also lost a key piece of their defense for a while. Rookie cornerback Kristian Fulton will miss a “few weeks” with a knee injury, according to veteran beat writer Paul Kuharsky (Twitter link). Kuharsky writes that it’s unclear if he’ll go on injured reserve, which would require him to miss at least three games. A second-round pick in April’s draft, Fulton has started the Titans’ last two games after missing one on the COVID-19 list. Tennessee’s secondary has already struggled mightily, so this is an unwelcome development for Mike Vrabel’s unit.
  • The Bengals have already had a tough time blocking for Joe Burrow, and Cincy fans everywhere were holding their breath when starting left tackle Jonah Williams went down with a neck injury yesterday. Fortunately, the “early indications” are that the injury is not “overly serious,” a source told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). Rapsheet says Williams may miss this week, but there is some optimism he could return after their Week 9 bye. The 11th overall pick of the 2019 draft, Williams missed his entire rookie season with a shoulder injury but had played every snap this year before going down.
  • Williams isn’t the only member of the Bengals’ offensive line banged up, as starting right tackle Bobby Hart also got hurt against Cleveland. Hart will miss this weekend’s game against Tennessee, head coach Zac Taylor announced Monday. Hart had also started all seven games this season, and now it looks like Burrow might be without each of his starting tackles this season. Given that he’s already been running for his life in most weeks, this could be a recipe for disaster.
  • The Seahawks also lost their first game of the season Sunday, and now it looks like they’ll be without starting running back Chris Carson for a while. Carson suffered a mid-foot sprain that will leave him week to week, Rapoport tweets. While Carson will apparently miss some time it doesn’t sound like anything too serious, and he shouldn’t be on the shelf too long. Fellow running back Travis Homer also got hurt on Sunday night, and we’re still waiting on an update on him.
  • The Cardinals beat Seattle on Sunday night, but unfortunately the recently signed linebacker Isaiah Irving suffered a serious injury and had to be carted off. Irving suffered a back injury that will likely sideline him for the rest of the season, a source told Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Signed off Denver’s practice squad a couple of weeks ago, Irving was in his first game with the Cards and was only playing on special teams, so this won’t have too much impact on Arizona’s defense. Hopefully Irving is able to make a swift and full recovery.
  • Irving wasn’t the only Cardinal to go down. Starting running back Kenyan Drake hurt his ankle, and he’s going to miss some time. Drake will miss a few weeks with a slight ligament tear in his ankle, a source told Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Chase Edmonds, the highly talented change of pace back, will now get a chance to shine in Drake’s absence. Fortunately Arizona has a bye in Week 8, which will reduce the number of games Drake has to miss. Schefter adds that the team is treating the ligament issue essentially like a high ankle sprain.
  • Chargers tight end Virgil Green came down with a crucial touchdown in Los Angeles’ win over the Jaguars, but unfortunately he hurt himself on the play. Green will miss several weeks with a lateral ankle sprain, Rapoport tweets, and he’s a candidate for injured reserve. The Chargers still have Hunter Henry of course, but this is a significant blow as they like to run multiple tight end sets. Second-year UDFA from Stetson Donald Parham also caught a touchdown from Justin Herbert on Sunday, and should be in line for more playing time moving forward. Green, in his third season with the Chargers, has always been more of a blocker than receiver during his ten-year career.

West Notes: Cards, Hawks, Raiders, Lindsay

The Cardinals‘ defensive resurgence will be tested this week. Budda Baker is dealing with a torn thumb UCL, and Kliff Kingsbury expects the high-priced safety to undergo surgery soon, Howard Balzer of SI.com notes. Baker is expected to miss at least Sunday’s game against the Panthers, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, but given that this injury sidelined Drew Brees five weeks and will shelve Jalen Reagor longer, a multiweek absence would not be surprising. Baker confirmed surgery is in the cards (Twitter link). The fourth-year safety, however, played all but one of the Cards’ defensive snaps against the Lions — despite having sustained this injury previously.

An interesting name has surfaced as a possible replacement. The Cardinals brought in T.J. Ward for a workout, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Ward interestingly played three seasons with the Broncos, serving as one of the anchors for Denver’s No Fly Zone Super Bowl-winning secondary, but did not make their 53-man roster in Vance Joseph‘s first year as the team’s head coach. The then-Joseph-led Broncos cut the veteran safety in 2017, leading Ward to the Buccaneers. Joseph is now the Cardinals’ DC. Ward, 33, has not played since the 2017 season.

Here is the latest from the West divisions:

  • Pete Carroll said during a radio interview Chris Carson has a Grade 1 knee sprain, and Adam Schefter of ESPN.com notes (on Twitter) the Seahawks‘ starting running back is in line to miss one or two games. A questionable tackle from Cowboys defensive lineman Trysten Hill, which included a post-play twist of Carson’s leg, led to the injury. Carson has dealt with injuries during his time as Seattle’s starter — including a broken leg in 2017 and a season-ending hip malady last year — but has only missed three games over the past two seasons. The Seahawks have Rashaad Penny on their PUP list, leaving free agent addition Carlos Hyde as the next man up.
  • Seahawks first-round rookie Jordyn Brooks suffered a knee injury as well, but he did not suffer ACL damage and should return this season. Brooks is recovering from an MCL sprain, per Rapoport (on Twitter). The first-year linebacker will likely miss a game or two.
  • Raiders first-round cornerback Damon Arnette is visiting a thumb specialist Tuesday, and Rapoport notes he could miss up to six weeks (Twitter link). This was an aggravation of a previous injury, with Arnette having broken his thumb prior to the regular season’s outset. Arnette fell awkwardly on the injured thumb during Sunday’s game against the Patriots.
  • Second-year Raiders safety Johnathan Abram played through an AC joint sprain Sunday, but questions about the injury persist. Abram collided with a TV cart during the Raiders’ Week 2 win over the Saints, and the NFL has engaged in discussions with ESPN about where the network’s carts can be during games, per Pelissero and Rapoport. The cart was closer to the field because of the COVID-19 pandemic restricting cheerleaders, photographers and other personnel from the sideline. Abram missed almost all of last season following an injury during the Raiders’ Week 1 game on a Monday night.
  • The Broncos are now down five of their six Pro Bowlers, after Jurrell Casey‘s season-ending biceps tear. But that number of injured standouts could be reduced to four soon. Phillip Lindsay returned to practice last week and may be on track to face the Jets on Thursday, Mike Klis of 9News notes. Lindsay has been battling turf toe since suffering the injury during Denver’s opener.
  • The stomach pains that caused Chiefs guard Andrew Wylie to be transported to the hospital prior to Monday night’s Chiefs-Ravens game are believed to have stemmed from appendicitis and not a COVID-related concern, Pelissero tweets.