Chris Clark

Panthers Sign OT Chris Clark

The Panthers are bringing in some offensive line help, signing tackle Chris Clark according to Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer (Twitter link).

The move is in response to Carolina placing starting right tackle Daryl Williams on injured reserve. Williams went down in the Week 1 opener against the Cowboys, a huge blow to an already depleted offensive line. They’ll now turn to Clark for help, who has plenty of starting experience if the Panthers decide to move him into the lineup.

Clark spent the last three seasons in Houston, where he started 26 games. He worked out for the Texans yesterday as they dealt with some offensive line injuries of their own. Clark came into the league as an undrafted free agent back in 2008, but didn’t appear in a game until 2010. He was able to carve out a role with the Broncos as a reserve, and eventually became a starter in Denver.

Clark’s 2017 was ended prematurely due to an ankle injury. Overall, it won’t be great for the Panthers if Clark is starting the rest of the way. He’s already 32 and hadn’t drawn much known interest before his Texans workout yesterday. Needless to say, it would be a massive downgrade from Williams.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans Work Out Austin Howard, Chris Clark

One of the Texans’ three offseason additions to their starting offensive line did not last through Week 1, and the team is auditioning Seantrel Henderson replacement options. This includes one familiar name in Houston.

Chris Clark trekked to the Texans facility on Tuesday for a workout, joining Austin Howard and Cornelius Lucas in doing so, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

An eight-year veteran, Clark spent the past three seasons with the Texans. He started 26 games, becoming an essential depth piece after injuries to Duane Brown and Derek Newton thrust him into the starting lineup. The Texans placed Henderson on IR on Monday because of an ankle injury.

Howard has bounced around lately but has given multiple teams quality right tackle work in recent years. After playing well in spots for the Raiders from 2014-16, Howard caught on with the Ravens and gave them 16 starts at right tackle. However, the 31-year-old blocker could not commandeer the Colts’ right-side job and was released before the regular season.

A former UDFA, Lucas has served as mostly a backup in his four-season NFL run — spent with the Lions and Rams.

Houston added Henderson, Zach Fulton and Senio Kelemete and may start third-round rookie Martinas Rankin at left tackle after moving Julie’n Davenport to the right side. Clark, 32, and Howard, 31, though, obviously bring far more experience.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans Place OT Chris Clark On IR

The Texans have placed left tackle Chris Clark and linebacker Ben Heeney on injured reserve, the club announced today. In related moves, Houston promoted LB Gimel President, LB LaTroy Lewis, and G Chad Slade from its practice squad to the active roster.Chris Clark (Vertical)

Clark, 32, had been serving as the Texans’ starting left tackle, a role he played while longtime starter Duane Brown was holding out and after Brown was traded to the Seahawks. Manning the blindside of a line that ranks in the bottom half of the league in both adjusted line yards and adjusted sack rate, Clark graded as a bottom-10 tackle, per Pro Football Focus.

Houston has several options to take over at left tackle: Kendall Lamm replaced Clark — who has a high ankle sprain and a bone bruise, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link) — but fourth-round rookie Julie’n Davenport could also be in the mix when he returns from his own injury (a shoulder issue that caused him to miss Week 12). Long-term, Clark probably isn’t in the Texans’ plans, as his contract expires after the 2017 campaign.

Heeney, meanwhile, is a former fifth-round pick whom Houston acquired off waivers earlier this year. Although Heeney barely played on the defensive side of the ball, he did manage 107 special teams snaps in only five games.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans OT Duane Brown Ends Holdout

Texans offensive tackle Duane Brown has ended his holdout and reported to the club, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).Duane Brown (vertical)

Brown, 32, hasn’t played a single game for Houston this season as he continues to push for a new contract. His decision to rejoin the Texans doesn’t necessarily mean the team’s front office has decided to cave on a new deal, and in fact there’s no indication that’s the case. Instead, Brown is likely reporting in order to gain credit for the 2017 season, as he needed to appear in eight games to do so.

Presuming that he’s ready to immediately step in at left tackle, Brown should provide a significant upgrade on the blindside. Houston has turned to Chris Clark (five starts) in Brown’s absence, but he’s offered a sub-par performance thus far, Pro Football Focus ranks Clark as just the No. 52 tackle among 71 qualifiers. While the Texans’ offensive line has played well in the run game, the unit is 31st in adjusted rack rate, according to Football Outsiders.

If the Texans are intent on not reaching a new deal with Brown, they could conceivably still trade him, something the club is reportedly open to doing. Cleveland currently owns Houston’s first- and second-round picks in 2018, so shipping Brown for draft capital could help the Texans recoup some of its lost assets. The Seahawks, notably, have been linked to a potential Brown acquisition.

But “barring the unforeseen,” Brown is set to play for the Texans, and not act as trade bait, tweets Rapoport. His return is coming at a fortuitous time, as Clark is now expected to miss a week or two after suffering a calf injury, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Contract Details: Osemele, Irvin, M. Jackson

Here are the latest updates on many recently agreed-upon or signed contracts from around the AFC:

AFC West:

  • Kelechi Osemele, G/T (Raiders): Five years, $58.5MM. $25.4MM fully guaranteed. Max value of $60MM via Pro Bowl incentives. Guaranteed base salaries of $6.7MM in 2016 and 2017. $6MM roster bonuses in 2016 and 2017 (Twitter links via Tom Pelissero of USA Today and Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post).
  • Bruce Irvin, OLB (Raiders): Four years, $37MM. $14.5MM fully guaranteed. $19MM total guarantee. $6MM roster bonus in 2016, $2.25MM roster bonus in 2017 (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Joe Barksdale, T (Chargers): Four years, $22MM. $10.5MM fully guaranteed. $4MM signing bonus. Fully guaranteed $3.5MM salary in 2016. $3MM of $4.5MM salary in 2017 fully guaranteed (Twitter links via Wilson).

AFC South:

  • Malik Jackson, DL (Jaguars): Six years, $85.5MM. $31.5MM fully guaranteed. $42MM total guarantee. $10.5MM of $13.5MM base salary for 2018 becomes fully guaranteed in March 2018 (Twitter links via Pelissero).
  • Dwayne Allen, TE (Colts): Four years, $29.4MM. $4MM signing bonus. $16MM total guarantee (including injury guarantee). $5.5MM roster bonus in 2016. $2MM roster bonus on fifth day of 2017 league year (Twitter links via Wilson).
  • Ben Jones, C/G (Titans): Four years, $17.5MM. $3.5MM signing bonus. $7.5MM guaranteed. $2.5MM of $3.5MM salary for 2017 is fully guaranteed. $500K roster bonus due in March 2016 (Twitter links via Wilson).
  • Chris Clark, T (Texans): Two years, $6MM. $1MM signing bonus. $750K roster bonus due on March 16 (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Adam Vinatieri, K (Colts): Two years, $6MM. $1MM of $3.25MM salary for 2016 is guaranteed. Can earn $500K in field-goal percentage incentives each year (Twitter link via Wilson).

AFC North:

  • Shareece Wright, CB (Ravens): Three years, $13MM. $4MM signing bonus. Up to $1MM annually in playing-time incentives (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • William Gay, CB (Steelers): Three years, $7.5MM. $1.9MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Ben Watson, TE (Ravens): Two years, $7MM. $2MM signing bonus. $3MM fully guaranteed. $1MM roster bonus due April 1, 2016. $1MM escalator for 2017 (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Tank Carder, LB (Browns): Two years, $2.5MM. $300K signing bonus (Twitter link via Wilson).

AFC East:

  • Mario Williams, DE (Dolphins): Two years, $17MM. $4MM signing bonus. Fully guaranteed $4.485MM salary for 2016. $3.5MM of $8.45MM salary for 2017 guaranteed for injury; becomes fully guaranteed on fifth day of 2017 league year. Deal includes incentives for sacks, playing time, Pro Bowls (all Twitter links via Wilson).
  • LaAdrian Waddle, T (Patriots): Two years, $2.35MM. $250K signing bonus. $200K annually in per-game roster bonuses (Twitter links via Wilson and Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press).

Texans, OT Chris Clark Agree To New Deal

WEDNESDAY, 7:42am: Clark’s new two-year deal is worth $6MM, according to Rand Getlin of the NFL Network (Twitter link), who observes that $3MM per year is a nice deal for Clark, assuming he’ll be Houston’s swing tackle.

TUESDAY, 7:05pm: The Texans have reached an agreement with swing tackle Chris Clark, according to Mark Berman of FOX 26 (Twitter link). Clark was set to hit the open market on Wednesday if the two sides hadn’t come to terms on a new deal.Chris Clark (Vertical)

Houston acquired Clark from the Broncos during final roster cutdowns last August, sending a seventh-round selection to Denver to bring in the offensive tackle. Clark, 30, served as a backup to Duane Brown and Derek Newton, and ultimately started four games, playing on a little over a third of the club’s offensive snaps.

A report earlier this week indicated that the Texans would like to work out a new deal with Clark. Having accomplished that goal, however, the team is still expected to draft an offensive tackle to develop as something of an insurance policy as Brown recovers from injury, per John McClain of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Wright, Tampering, Okung

The Ravens and Shareece Wright are nearing a deal to keep the cornerback in Baltimore, Jeff Zreibec of the Baltimore Sun reports (via Twitter).

Wright bounced back from being inactive during the first four games of last season, doing so in San Francisco despite the 49ers signing him in free agency last year. The soon-to-be 29-year-old corner played in 11 games for the Ravens, starting six, and ranked as the team’s best corner, according to Pro Football Focus.

The Ravens keeping Wright may be a matter of Wright arriving in Baltimore to take a physical and sign the deal, according to Zreibec (on Twitter).

Baltimore has Jimmy Smith and Lardarius Webb on its 2016 cap sheet for $9.6MM and $9.5MM, respectively, so a deal for Wright probably won’t be too costly for the Ravens, who have $11.08MM in cap space entering Monday’s legal tampering period.

Here’s more from around the league on the night before said tempering period begins.

  • Russell Okung will not be permitted to speak with teams during the tampering period even though he acts as his own agent, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports. In a memo circulated to teams earlier this week includes language that prohibits teams from discussing contracts with self-represented players during the two-day tampering period. The seventh-year tackle acts as his own agent. This could cloud the left tackle market, one that Okung is possibly atop entering his age-29 season. Although Okung’s hired a consultant, Florio notes his market may be slow to develop since the bulk of this free agent class’ linemen have agents who are well-connected in league circles and can establish asking prices for their clients. Florio anticipates Okung not hiring an agent will cost him as he enters free agency for the first time.
  • The NFL will loosen constraints on the tampering period this year, Florio reports. Despite it being slashed from three days to two, this year’s soft free agency can feature teams discussing specific contract frameworks with agents as opposed to mere negotiating. Although several deals leaked early last season, most notable Ndamukong Suh‘s record Dolphins pact, teams are prohibited from executing or announcing an agreement in principle until 3 p.m. CT Wednesday. Violations of these rules can be construed as a violation of the league’s anti-tampering procedure or conduct detrimental to the league, Florio writes. The PFT reporter, though, adds deals will indeed be negotiated to their completion during the two-day window.
  • Vernon Davis told ESPN.com’s Josina Anderson (Twitter link) he wants to play for four or five more seasons. Davis did not factor in much to the Broncos’ Super Bowl championship pursuit after being benched due to drops and a failure to grasp the offense upon midseason arrival. The 32-year-old Davis struggled the past two seasons after scoring 13 touchdowns in a Pro Bowl campaign in 2013. Davis caught 20 passes with the Broncos but none came in the team’s final five games, including its three postseason conquests. He joins Antonio Gates, Coby Fleener and Ben Watson among free agent tight ends.
  • Already expressing interest in retaining Brandon Brooks and Ben Jones, the Texans are also interested in keeping swing tackle Chris Clark, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports. Houston traded a seventh-round pick to Denver for the 30-year-old Clark, and the team’s insurance policy to a potential injury to Derek Newton or Duane Brown ended up starting four games after Brown was lost for the season.

Broncos Waive 9; Trade Chris Clark To Texans

The Broncos made a whole lot of moves today as they get set to trim their roster down to 75. Among their transactions, Denver traded tackle Chris Clark to the Texans for a seventh-round choice in 2016, as Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com tweets. The sixth-year offensive tackle appeared in 69 games (27 starts) with Denver during the last five seasons. Prior to that, Clark spent two years competing on Minnesota’s practice squad.

The team also announced a litany of transactions on Monday morning. Vested veteran Reggie Walker has been cut loose while nine other players were waived:

Released:

  • Reggie Walker, ILB

Waived:

  • Tevrin Brandon, CB
  • Andre Davis, G
  • Joe Don Duncan, TE/FB
  • Zac Dysert, QB
  • Spencer Lanning, P
  • Ross Madison, S
  • Jake Murphy, TE
  • Jeremy Stewart, RB
  • Chase Vaughn, OLB

Walker, a former special-teams standout for the rival Chargers, was signed in March but unable to win a job amongst a competitive group of inside linebackers. That batch of ILBs includes 2014 draft picks Corey Nelson and Lamin Barrow. In addition to the moves listed above, Denver also placed third-round pick Jeff Heuerman on injured reserve.

AFC West Notes: Chargers, Signings, Mack

Chargers‘ head coach Mike McCoy is excited about his team, and Kevin Acee of the UT San Diego has highlighted a few players who could back up the coach’s expectations. Acee sees Manti Te’o, Andrew Gachkar, and Melvin Ingram coming together to form a deep linebacking group (one that could exclude Larry English). He also likes third-year tight end Ladarius Green, the running game behind a strong offensive line, and a few rookies who could make an impact.

Here are some other notes from around the AFC West:

  • The Chargers have also claimed defensive tackle Chas Alecxih, according to Michael Gehlken of the UT San Diego (via Twitter). Alecxih, the former Chief, completes the team’s 90-man roster.
  • The Chiefs announced that they have signed wide receiver Mark Harrison, according to their official team Twitter page. Harrison spent 2013 with the Patriots, placed on the reserve/non-football injury list last summer.
  • Raiders‘ defensive coordinator Jason Tarver has been trying to find creative ways to use first-round pick Khalil Mack in the team’s defense this season, writes Scott Bair of CSNBayArea.com“What’s nice about Khalil is he has size and athletic ability, so that he can do some things on the edges of your defense, both in the run game and in the pass game, with his power, his length and his ability to bend and move.” said Tarver. “Those are traits that you want as many players as you can have on your defense, as many of those as we can get, the happier a coordinator is.”
  • The Broncos have solidified their roster to position themselves for a return to the Super Bowl this year, but the right tackle position is still up in the air, writes Sayre Bedinger of PredominatelyOrange.com. The team has Chris Clark, who filled in admirably for Ryan Clady on the left side last season, as the frontrunner for the role. They also drafted offensive tackle Michael Schofield out of Michigan, and re-signed Winston Justice. Bedinger also notes that 2013 sixth-round pick Vinston Painter is still valued and could be a dark horse for a starting job on the offensive line.