Chris Hogan

NFC Notes: Giants, Panthers, Seahawks

The Seahawks waived rookie fourth-round pick Gary Jennings earlier this week, and many immediately speculated the Dolphins would claim the young receiver. That’s exactly what happened, and Miami was awarded the West Virginia product. If they hadn’t submitted a claim Jennings wouldn’t have tumbled very far though, as the Giants put in a claim for him as well, a source told Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The Giants are obviously toward the top of the waiver priority, and just barely missed him. With Sterling Shepard on the shelf for the foreseeable future, their interest makes plenty of sense. Jennings never appeared in a game for Seattle, and will likely see some run with the Dolphins, especially after Preston Williams‘ ACL tear.

Here’s more from the NFC on a quiet Friday night:

  • Even without Cam Newton the Panthers are right in the thick of the playoff race, so they have to start thinking about some late-season moves. Carolina is apparently looking for a boost to their receiving corp, as the team plans on using one of their two injured reserve-return slots on receiver Chris Hogan, according to Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic. Rodrigue notes that Hogan was out on the practice field on Wednesday. Hogan only had three catches through four games with his new team before getting put on IR.
  • Speaking of late-season returns, Seahawks rookie Demarcus Christmas won’t be making one. Seattle declined to activate the defensive lineman off the PUP list meaning he will miss the rest of the season, according to Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times (Twitter link). The Seahawks drafted the Florida State product in the sixth-round back in April, and he’ll officially be getting a redshirt year. Since he’s on PUP he isn’t allowed to practice, which means he’ll have a lot of catching up to do as he tries to crack the team next offseason.
  • Alvin Kamara is officially back. Saints head coach Sean Payton announced Thursday that he expects to have his star running back on the field when New Orleans hosts the Falcons. Kamara has missed his team’s past two games as he dealt with knee and ankle issues. This will be the first time that Drew Brees and Kamara have shared the field since back in Week 2.

 

Panthers Place WR Chris Hogan On IR, Claim OL Caleb Benenoch

The Panthers have placed wide receiver Chris Hogan on injured reserve and claimed offensive lineman Caleb Benenoch off waivers from the Patriots, Carolina announced today.

Hogan, 31, landed with the Panthers during the offseason after spending the previous three seasons with the Patriots. A deep-ball threat who led the NFL in yards per reception in 2016, Hogan wasn’t a large part of Carolina’s offense through four games, as he’d received only five targets while working behind D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel, and Jarius Wright. Per the Panthers, Hogan — who is dealing with a knee injury — has a chance to return later this year.

Benenoch will join his third team of 2019 after previously being waived by the Buccaneers and Patriots. He’ll give Carolina offensive line depth while Greg Little is in the NFL’s concussion protocol. Benenoch started all 16 games at right guard for Tampa Bay in 2018.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Notes: Giants, Eagles, Patriots

The Giants have long maintained that they will not select a QB in this month’s draft just for the sake of drafting one, but Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv believes that the team needs to identify and acquire the successor to Eli Manning immediately and cannot put it off for another year. The team has the high-end draft capital to land a top collegiate prospect in 2019, and it could still make a play for the Cardinals’ Josh Rosen. There are too many variables that could prevent New York from landing the highly-touted passers in the 2020 class — namely, Justin Herbert and Tua Tagovailoa — and if the Giants don’t get one of those players, then they will have needlessly delayed their return to contention. Vacchiano’s argument has some flaws (for instance, it assumes that a 2019 draft choice or Rosen is the long-term answer), but his point is well made.

Now for more from the league’s east divisions:

  • Not long after the Eagles hired Doug Pederson as their head coach in 2016, club owner Jeffrey Lurie said he wanted to draft a QB every year, or every other year, the way his team used to (a strategy that significantly aided roster building). As Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes, Lurie reiterated those sentiments just last month, and now that Nick Foles is out of the picture, the club may return to that approach. The Eagles appear to be plenty comfortable with Nate Sudfeld as their No. 2 signal-caller, but Sudfeld could leave for a potential starting job in 2020, when the Eagles are expected to be flush with draft picks, so Berman suggests the team could add a UDFA passer this season and draft a QB prospect next year.
  • Mike Reiss of ESPN.com sees some similarities between the end of Chris Hogan‘s tenure with the Patriots in 2019 and the end of Wes Welker‘s relationship with the club in 2013. In both cases, Reiss says that the team tried to hammer out extensions well before the players hit free agency, but the financial gap ended up being too wide to bridge. In Hogan’s case, the two sides were indeed working on an extension back in August, and even though Hogan landed a fairly modest deal with the Panthers that New England could have easily matched — and, some would say, should have matched considering the team’s WR situation — Reiss says player and team viewed a fresh start as the best approach.
  • Last August, the Patriots traded safety Jordan Richards to the Falcons for a conditional 2020 seventh-round pick. In the same piece linked above, Reiss reports that Richards was on Atlanta’s game-day roster enough times to satisfy the conditions of the swap — indeed, he ended up starting 12 games for the Falcons — so New England will get a 2020 seventh-rounder from the Falcons.
  • Rich Cimini of ESPN.com believes the Jets‘ newest QB, former AAF passer Brandon Silvers, will have a legitimate chance to win the club’s backup QB job.
  • In the same piece, Cimini expresses his belief that the Jets will select Alabama DT Quinnen Williams with the No. 3 overall selection if they don’t trade the pick. Cimini thinks Kentucky pass rusher Josh Allen fills a bigger need, but GM Mike Maccagnan cannot afford to miss on this pick, and Williams is a safer prospect who, like Allen, offers elite potential.

Panthers Sign WR Chris Hogan

The Panthers signed former Patriots wide receiver Chris Hogan to a one-year deal, according to a team announcement. Hogan will give the Panthers additional veteran experience in the WR group alongside fellow 30-year-old Torrey Smith. Mike Reiss of ESPN.com hears that Hogan will earn a $300K signing bonus and that the contract is worth a maximum of $2MM. Reiss notes that those are very modest numbers considering what Hogan was asking for in extension talks with New England last year.

Last year, Hogan hauled in 35 catches for 532 yards and three touchdowns for the Pats. Those numbers don’t exactly jump off of the page, but he did impress in 2016 when he had 680 yards and four touchdowns with a league-leading 17.9 yards per reception.

Despite the regression in production, and the shoulder injury that held him back in 2017 regular season, Hogan broke out in the Pats’ Super Bowl loss to the Eagles as he caught six passes for 128 yards and a touchdown. He also made an impact in the Pats’ AFC Championship Game win over the Chiefs in January as he caught five balls for 45 yards.

We didn’t hear a whole lot of chatter about a new deal between the Pats and Hogan this offseason. However, he did draw interest from the Giants at one point in March.

Hogan will join Smith, D.J. Moore, Jarius Wright, and Curtis Samuel on the Panthers’ WR depth chart.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants Interested In WR Chris Hogan

The Giants made the biggest move of the offseason by shockingly trading Odell Beckham Jr. earlier this week, and now they need to replace him in their receiving corp. 

The team is apparently interested in adding Patriots receiver Chris Hogan, according to a Tweet from Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News. Leonard writes that the Giants “have talked to” Hogan’s reps recently. The Patriots were apparently interested in re-signing Danny Amendola and are hosting a couple of receivers today, so it certainly sounds like they might be planning on losing Hogan.

Hogan established himself as big-name player thanks to his high-profile work in New England, where he spent the last three seasons. He had his best year in 2016, when he had 680 yards and four touchdowns, with a league-leading 17.9 yards per reception. Hogan struggled with a shoulder injury for most of the 2017 season, and appeared in only nine games with limited production.

He broke back out in the Super Bowl though, catching six passes 128 yards and a touchdown in the Patriots’ loss to the Eagles. He wasn’t utilized as much this past year as New England’s receiving group got pretty crowded, but he’s still a talented and reliable deep threat. With Beckham gone, that’s something the Giants desperately need, so their interest makes some sense. The Giants need as many weapons as they can get as they appear set to roll with Eli Manning under center for at least another year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Rumors: Flowers, Jets, Pats, Bills

Big changes have occurred in Miami, and more are coming. The Dolphins are expected to shed the contracts of Ryan Tannehill, Robert Quinn, Andre Branch and Josh Sitton (and perhaps more notable names). But the rebuilding team may look to add an impact player familiar with Brian Flores‘ philosophies. The buzz in Indianapolis has led DraftAnalyst.com’s Tony Pauline to call the Dolphins the favorites for Trey Flowers, a prospective UFA who helped the Patriots reach the past three Super Bowls. New England’s top pass rusher may stand to benefit from the likely franchise tags the Cowboys, Texans, Seahawks and Chiefs apply to DeMarcus Lawrence, Jadeveon Clowney, Frank Clark and Dee Ford. This marketplace could place Flowers in position to push for a near-$20MM-AAV deal, despite sack numbers that don’t correspond with such a pact. However, the Patriots will make a strong attempt to retain their top edge defender. It may take an atypical Patriots contract to keep him, though.

Here is Thursday’s latest coming out of the AFC East (via Indianapolis):

  • Shifting to the Jets, they again need cornerback help. Buster Skrine, the lowest-profile name in Mike Maccagnan‘s 2015 spending spree that brought Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie to New York, played out his four-year contract. Morris Claiborne‘s second one-year Jets deal is also expiring. (And Gang Green is having buyer’s remorse on Trumaine Johnson.) The Jets are looking at a slot corner to replace Skrine, and Pauline notes they are high on Bears UFA-to-be Bryce Callahan. Prior to going down with an injury, Callahan was operating as a top-tier slot corner and helping the NFL’s No. 1 DVOA defense.
  • Additionally, the Jets will examine the first- and second-tier edge rushers in free agency, per Pauline. If they are able to land one, that may intensify the team’s desire to trade down. The Jets do not own a second-round pick. However, they do now have more than $100MM in cap space. If the big four edge rushers are all tagged, Flowers, Brandon Graham, Preston Smith, Za’Darius Smith and Ziggy Ansah profile as the next-best crew. The Jets will obviously be able to outmuscle other buyers for their preference, so the team — a strong Khalil Mack bidder last year — will be a key presence on this front come March.
  • Chris Hogan did not produce for the Patriots the way he did during the 2017 and ’18 seasons, but he is drawing interest as free agency nears, Doug Kyed of NESN.com notes. The 30-year-old wideout struggled in the playoffs, at least compared to his strong performances at key moments for the previous two Patriot teams he was on, but posted 532 regular-season receiving yards, despite Josh Gordon diminishing his role. And this is not a particularly loaded wideout free agent class. Teams might be eyeing Hogan as a second-tier option come March.
  • On the subject of receivers, the Bills may not feel the need to chase big-ticket wideout options. Brandon Beane has said their offense can survive without a surefire No. 1 wideout, but the third-year GM may be looking for a new slot receiver, per Joe Buscaglia of WKBW.com. Broncos castoff Isaiah McKenzie saw time there toward the end of last season. Buffalo has one of the least inspiring receiving corps at this point. It would be a surprise if the Bills did not make attempts to augment their receiver situation in free agency and the draft.
  • Patriots cornerback Jonathan Jones hired a new agent, according to ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss (Twitter link). He is a restricted free agent, one whom Kyed opines may need to be given a second-round tender.

AFC East Notes: Jets, Harbaugh, Drake, Dolphins, Patriots, Hogan

There’s been a lot of talk about Jim Harbaugh returning to the NFL lately, with his name recently being linked to the Jets’ job. While Harbaugh has said he wants to stay at Michigan and Jets CEO Christopher Johnson denied the reports today, it still seems like a definite possibility. It’s the type of high profile job that could lure Harbaugh away, and it’s a relatively attractive landing spot with Sam Darnold entrenched as the quarterback of the future. While Harbaugh is generally very highly regarded as a coach, the Jets should be very wary of bringing him in, opines Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.

Vacchiano writes that Harbaugh is the “biggest risk” of any of this year’s head coaching candidates, and that his tenure in San Francisco was “tumultuous.” He notes that those around the 49ers organization considered Harbaugh “toxic and unbearable”, and Vacchiano is skeptical Harbaugh could get along with the Jets’ front office. With Todd Bowles a near lock to be fired next Monday, we should know a lot more about New York’s intentions soon.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • Kenyan Drake has grown a bit disgruntled with his role for the Dolphins, and wouldn’t say whether he wants to be back in Miami next year, according to Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald. Drake is a very talented running back and leads the Dolphins in yards from scrimmage this year, but the coaching staff has never used him consistently. Even with the injury to Frank Gore, his role has still decreased recently, and he got only six carries in the team’s loss to the Jaguars this past Sunday. With Ryan Tannehill and Adam Gase’s futures both increasingly uncertain, it’s looking like an offseason of change is coming for the Dolphins. The team is likely to look completely different in 2019, and Drake might not be a part of things even though he has one year left on his rookie contract.
  • Speaking of players frustrated with their playing time, Patriots receiver Chris Hogan downplayed any internal strife and said he isn’t upset about his lack of involvement in the offense, according to Doug Kyed of NESN.com. Hogan played the vast majority of snaps in the team’s win over the Bills in Week 16, but he wasn’t targeted in the game and was reportedly seen slamming his helmet in frustration during the game. He also sat away from his fellow receivers and over on the defensive side of the bench, but insisted that everybody is on the same page. Hogan’s production has varied as he’s been featured heavily one week and absent the next, but he was expected to take on a more prominent role with Josh Gordon‘s departure, although that didn’t materialize against Buffalo.
  • While Bowles is almost certain to be fired on Black Monday following the Week 17 games, the embattled head coach is insisting he isn’t worried about his job security, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN. Bowles said he had no reaction to the rumors about Harbaugh, and wouldn’t address questions about his job. After four years of leading the Jets, a new era is right around the corner in New York.

Patriots, Chris Hogan Discussing Extension

Chris Hogan and the Patriots have had negotiations regarding a contract extension, but the two sides still have a bridge to gap, a source tells Jeff Howe of The Athletic (on Twitter). Howe also notes that it is early in the process, so it’s possible that a deal can come together in the next few weeks. 

The wide receiver market has exploded for wide receivers, including No. 2 wide receivers, so it’s not surprising to hear that the two sides have some work to do. Hogan’s camp may view $8MM/year as a target for a receiver of his caliber, but the Patriots are probably reluctant to pay him more than their top receiver, Julian Edelman. Howe suggests that the Patriots could push Hogan to prove his worth by playing without the aid of Edelman in September.

For now, Hogan is slated to enter the final year of his three-year $12MM deal with the Patriots. Given his production and his increased importance in the offense after Danny Amendola‘s departure, he should be in line for a big pay bump.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Hogan, Patriots, Broncos, Lynch, Texans

Patriots wide receiver Chris Hogan was on his way to a career year in 2017 before a shoulder injury derailed his season. In a recent article, Jeff Howe of The Athletic breaks down why the Patriots will be leaning on Hogan more than ever in 2018, and how it could lead to a “big payday” for the impending free agent.

Howe points out that although Hogan missed essentially the entire second half of last regular season and was quiet in the Patriots’ first two playoff games, he exploded for 128 yards and a touchdown in the Super Bowl, showing he can still be a dynamic playmaker for the team. Howe notes that with Brandin Cooks traded to the Rams, Danny Amendola gone to the Dolphins, and Julian Edelman suspended for the first four games of the season, the Patriots will be counting on Hogan more than ever.

Howe also points out that the extra opportunity comes at a great time for Hogan, who is headed into the final year of his three-year $12MM deal. Howe thinks Hogan could earn himself “a life-altering contract in free agency” and says that “barring injury, Hogan’s floor shouldn’t be a dime less than $6.5 million per season.”

Here’s more from around the AFC:

AFC Notes: Dolphins, Grimes, Gordon, Hali, Ford, Stanley, Pats Injuries

The Dolphins season has taken a dive in recent weeks. After starting the year 4-2, the team has lost control of the final AFC Wild Card spot, losing their past three games by a combined 67 points, thanks to blowout defeats at the hands of the Ravens and Panthers. However, while their reliance on Jay Cutler and midseason trade of Jay Ajayi have’t helped, Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald opines that the secondary has been one of the major reasons why the Dolphins are not in position to be playoff contenders, particularly in regards to loss of Brent Grimes when the franchise opted to cut him before the 2016 season.

Beasley explains that the front office decided to move on from the veteran cornerback because his age, salary, 2015 performance and even his wife’s antics, but in hindsight the team misses Grimes’ steady contributions. The 34 year-old corner will face his former team for the first time since they let him walk this Sunday. Since his release, the Dolphins have failed to rectify the position with the likes of Byron Maxwell, Tony Lippett, Xavien Howard and Cordrea Tankersley. While Howard and Tankersley are still young, both aren’t guys you can lean on during a playoff run. In comparison, Grimes has played more like a middle of the pack corner this season , grading out as the 60th best corner in the league, according to Pro Football Focus. Still, in Beasley’s opinion the way the team has handled their defensive back situation has been a dud all around over the past few years.

  • Josh Gordon is back at the Browns practice facility and he has made a positive impression on head coach Hue Jackson, according to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal (Twitter link). Ulrich passes along that the second-year Cleveland head coach has stated that the wideout has been “involved” and is a “pleasure to be around”. The Browns reporter also states that Jackson expects the talented reciever to be back on the practice field on November 20. Still just 26 years old, Gordon last played for the team in 2014, and has since been suspended from the league for multiple drug violations. The former high supplemental draft pick will be a restricted free agent in 2018, so he needs to make the most of every opportunity to impress the coaching staff if he wants a real chance to continue his playing career.
  • The Chiefs will be without two key pass rushers when they travel to New Jersey to take on the Giants this Sunday. Both Dee Ford and Tamba Hali have been ruled out for the contest, according to Adam Teicher of ESPN.com (Twitter link). This is particularly interesting development in the case of Hali because the team took the cautious approach to resting him by putting him on the PUP before the start of the regular season. However, he remains on the sideline despite being placed back on the active roster. Kansas City will lean on Frank Zombo with these pass rush specialists unavailable. Getting to the quarterback has been an issue for the team, as the Chiefs currently rank in the bottom half of the league in terms of sacks, racking up just a combined 19.0 through ten weeks.
  • The Ravens have already lost their best offensive lineman for the year in Marshal Yanda and have another troubling injury situation unfolding regarding left tackle Ronnie Stanley. Even after a bye, the second-year lineman is doubtful to play with a concussion, tweets Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. Obviously, all concussions should be taken seriously, but his absence should be a concern considering that Baltimore has really had to shakeup their protection for Joe Flacco with the injuries to Yanda and second-year guard Alex Lewis. James Hurst would likely get the start in place of Stanley, which is a significant downgrade for a team that is looking to gain momentum in securing the final AFC wild card spot over the last seven weeks of the regular season.
  • The Patriots will be without two starting offensive lineman of their own when they travel to Mexico City to take on the Raiders on Sunday afternoon. Both center David Andrews (illness) and right tackle Marcus Cannon (ankle) have been ruled out, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Backup lineman Ted Karras got some snaps at center during last week’s blowout of the Broncos and the team has reserve tackles in Cameron Fleming and LaAdrian Waddle who could fill in at right tackle. Bill Belichick and co. will also be without Chris Hogan and special teams ace Matt Slater, so the team has to overcome more than just new surroundings to get out of Mexico with their eighth win of the year.