Chris Long

NFC East Rumors: Long, Redskins, Cowboys

Let’s look at the latest from the NFC East, starting with how the Eagles attempt to fill the void Malik Jackson‘s injury created.

  • Jackson going down wounded one of the NFL’s top defensive lines, and it prompted Doug Pederson to address whether or not the Eagles and Chris Long had been in contact. The defensive end retired, in part because there would not be as much playing time to go around this season. But even with Jackson’s injury, Pederson said the Eagles were focused on adding a defensive tackle, Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. “We’re pretty deep at D-end right now so just the D-tackle spot,” Pederson said. The Eagles signed former Dolphins starter Akeem Spence to help on their interior. Jackson has worked as a 4-3 end, 4-3 tackle and 3-4 end but was a tackle in Philadelphia’s scheme.
  • The Redskins have declared Jonathan Allen out for their Week 2 game. He suffered an MCL sprain Sunday and is considered week-to-week, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). There is a chance Allen returns for Week 3 or Week 4, with ESPN.com’s John Keim classifying this as a grade 1 sprain (Twitter link). The third-year defensive end missed 11 games as a rookie but re-emerged with a 16-game 2018 season.
  • Moving to a third NFC East team’s defensive front, Taco Charlton has yet to reward the Cowboys for their first-round investment in him two years ago. Despite Robert Quinn being suspended, the Cowboys made Charlton a healthy scratch against the Giants. A trade would not surprise Pro Football Talk’s Charean Williams, with the veteran Cowboys reporter noting the team may still be looking for a safety. The Cowboys are the only known team to contact the Dolphins on now-available Minkah Fitzpatrick.
  • Washington placed Derrius Guice on IR earlier Friday but will not make that move with Colt McCoy. The backup quarterback is progressing to the point a return in advance of Week 4 is realistic, Keim tweets. Dwayne Haskins served as Case Keenum‘s backup Sunday; a McCoy return may shift Washington’s first-round passer to a more developmental role. McCoy also figures to work as a mentor-type figure for the young quarterback.
  • Sterling Shepard remains in the Giants‘ concussion protocol and will miss Sunday’s game against the Bills. The Giants also have Cody Latimer listed as questionable. New York brought back T.J. Jones this week and is set to deploy its lowest-profile receiving corps since the midseason games Shepard and Odell Beckham Jr. missed in 2017.

NFC Notes: Kupp, Rudolph, Lions, Eagles

Rams wideout Cooper Kupp tore his ACL back in mid-November, and the team is eyeing a Week 1 return for the 25-year-old. Kupp participated in individual drills during the Rams’ organized team activities on Monday, and he told reporters that he feels better each week.

“It’s been a long process for sure,” Kupp told ESPN’s Lindsey Thiry. “I’ve been doing what I can to get back.

“I can’t predict how I’m going to feel even a week from now. But the way that things are going, I’m happy with the way that things are trending. Each week there’s progress.”

While Kupp wouldn’t give a definitive target date for his return, coach Sean McVay told reporters said the team is hopeful he’ll be ready to go for the season opener.

“He’s like a kid standing on the sidelines that just wants to grab a ball and go play,” McVay said. “He’s one of those guys that’s right on track with where we want him to be.”

The former third-rounder followed a standout rookie campaign with a solid 2018 season. Kupp finished the year with 40 receptions for 566 yards and six scores in eight games.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFC…

  • While there’s no guarantee that he’ll be with the Vikings come the start of the season, tight end Kyle Rudolph told NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero that he’d be attending his team’s OTAs (Twitter link). We learned last week that the organization had offered the veteran a five-year extension, although there hasn’t been a lot of progress with negotiations. There were rumblings that the team could even look to move on from Rudolph after selecting Irv Smith Jr. in the second round of last month’s draft.
  • A pair of veterans won’t be attending Lions OTAs. Coach Matt Patricia told Justin Rogers of The Detroit News that nose tackle Damon Harrison and cornerback Darius Slay wouldn’t be attending the voluntary workouts (Twitter link). “Right now we are – it’s voluntary as that part of the season is concerned,” Patricia said (via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press). “Those two guys are not here. You will not see them at the practice today, but we fully expect that this time of the year, guys that are here, guys that are not. That’s totally fine. We’re working with the guys that are out there.” Both Harrison and Slay have two years remaining on their current deals, and both players are represented by agent Drew Rosenhaus.
  • Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins isn’t attending his team’s OTAs, tweets NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo. As ESPN’s Adam Schefter points out on Twitter, the absence is notable because Jenkins is “one of the NFL’s most-respected players.” The defensive back is presumably seeking a new contract, although his current deal doesn’t expire until the end of the 2020 season. Jenkins’ $8.75MM average annual salary still ranks in the top-10 at the position. The 31-year-old earned his third Pro Bowl nod last season.
  • Chris Long played alongside a number of talented defensive linemen with the Eagles this past season, leading to him appearing in a modest 59.1% of the team’s defensive plays. The veteran acknowledged that his diminishing role played a part in his decision to retire. “Philadelphia is where I wanted to play a couple more years,” Long told Peter King of Football Morning in America. “I love Philadelphia. But as a player I learned the most important thing to me is Sunday, and having a chance to be a big part of it. It seemed like player-coach was kind of the role that was going to be carved out for me—maybe playing 10, 12, 15 plays a game. I’m a rhythm player. I need to set people up, I need to be in the flow of the game. If I sit on the bench for three series, I can’t get rhythm, and I’ll get cold and maybe I’ll hurt myself. Some people think that’s great—play less and you won’t get hurt. Man, I want to play ball. In Philadelphia, it didn’t seem there was much of a chance to compete there. But they were honest with me the whole time. I appreciate the honesty.”

Eagles Notes: Long, FAs, Jenkins

Let’s round up several notes from the city of Brotherly Love:

  • DE Chris Long called it a career yesterday, and he apparently made his intentions quite clear to the team all along. Per Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Long had been in touch with the Eagles all offseason and had told them to not count on his coming back (Twitter link).
  • Long played on over half of the Eagles’ defensive snaps last season, and he may have elected to return in 2019 if the team could have assured him of a similar role. However, per Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer (via Twitter), the Eagles could not guarantee Long that his role would not be reduced, which apparently made his decision easier. Geoff Mosher of 97.3 ESPN hears the same (Twitter link).
  • In a separate tweet, Mosher suggests that the team is unlikely to acquire a veteran defensive end to replace Long. The Eagles have already brought back Vinny Curry this offseason, and they added Penn State defensive end Shareef Miller in the fourth round of the 2019 draft.
  • Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94WIP.com believes that Malcolm Jenkinsabsence from team workouts this offseason is indeed contract-related, and Shorr-Parks believes that Jenkins is justified in demanding more money. He goes on to say that a new deal for Jenkins should be the Eagles’ top priority right now.
  • We learned yesterday that the Eagles and quarterback Carson Wentz are discussing an extension.

Chris Long Announces Retirement

After debating it last season, defensive end Chris Long has finally decided to call it a career. The veteran pass-rusher posted a tweet announcing his retirement from the NFL.

“Cheers. Been a hell of a journey. Eleven years and I can honestly say I put my soul into every minute of it. Highs and lows. I’ve seen them both and I appreciate the perspective. Gratitude and love to those who lifted me up,” he wrote. Long is the second significant retirement today, after offensive lineman Travis Swanson decided to hang up his cleats earlier Saturday.

Soon after Long’s announcement, the Eagles released a statement of their own on Twitter, congratulating Long on his career. The second overall pick back in 2008, Long had a very solid career. His contributions off the field might end up surpassing anything he accomplished on it, as Long won the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award this past season, and donated his entire 2017 salary to educational charities.

A two-time Super Bowl winner, Long won back to back championships with the Patriots in 2016 and Eagles in 2017. Long spent the first eight years of his career with the Rams, before signing with New England as a free agent. He never did make a Pro Bowl, but he had several Pro Bowl caliber seasons.

In 2011 he had 13 sacks, and he followed it up with 11.5 the next year. In 13 games for the Eagles this past season, all starts, he had 6.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. The son of Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long and brother of Bears offensive lineman Kyle Long, he’ll finish his career with 70 sacks and 14 forced fumbles. After losing Long to retirement and trading away Michael Bennett to the Patriots, the Eagles’ pass-rushing group will be a little thin next season.

The Virginia product has been flirting with retirement for a while now, and at the beginning of this month the Eagles agreed to push back a roster bonus date so he could have more time to decide. All of us at PFR wish Long and his family the best as he transitions into a new chapter.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles, Chris Long Adjust Bonus Date

Chris Long still isn’t sure about whether he wants to play in 2019. This week, the defensive end worked with the Eagles to kick the can down the road. 

[RELATED: Eagles Pick Up Carson Wentz’s Option]

Originally, Long was set to earn a $1MM roster bonus on Wednesday. Instead, Long’s bonus date has been moved until the first day veterans report to training camp, as Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets.

The 34-year-old had another productive season as an Eagles reserve in 2018, compiling 23 tackles, 6.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles in 16 games. Still, he has other interests outside of playing football, and this marks at least the second straight year in which Long has considered retirement.

With two Super Bowl rings already on his hand, it’s possible that Long could call it a career before camp gets underway this summer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles Rework Chris Long’s, Nigel Bradham’s Contract

The Eagles have created a chunk of cap space. ESPN’s Field Yates tweets that the team has adjusted the contracts of defensive end Chris Long and linebacker Nigel Bradham. The move will open up about $5.032 in cap space.

Long had signed a new deal with the Eagles last offseason, but there were still whispers that the defensive end could end up calling it a career. The 33-year-old still hasn’t necessarily committed to playing, as the veteran tweeted that he’s still weighing his options.

“I love Philly so much,” Long wrote. “The fans, all of it. I’m making a football decision, though. Money moved doesn’t mean it’s been made.”

The veteran had another productive season as an Eagles reserve in 2018, compiling 23 tackles, 6.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles in 16 games.

Bradham re-signed with the Eagles last offseason, inking a new five-year, $40MM deal with the organization. However, his one-game suspension last season voided all guarantees, which were estimated to be around $14MM. The 29-year-old has emerged as one of the Eagles’ top defenders in recent years. He had another productive season in 2018, compiling 97 tackles, two sacks, and four pass defended.

The Eagles have been relatively busy so far this offseason. The team is set to sign Malik Jackson, they traded for DeSean Jackson, and they re-signed Jason Peters.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Packers, Smith, Seahawks, Janikowski, Chris Long, Eagles

The Packers have made their latest addition to Matt LaFleur’s staff, hiring Mike Smith to coach their outside linebackers, the team announced in a tweet. No, it’s not former Falcons head coach and Buccaneers defensive coordinator, but a different Mike Smith. Smith was drafted by the Ravens back in 2005, and spent three-plus seasons in the league with Baltimore. He started as a coaching intern with the Jets in 2010, and has steadily moved his way up the ranks.

He was on Andy Reid’s staff in Kansas City for the past three seasons, where he served as assistant defensive line coach and then outside linebackers coach. When the Chiefs fired longtime defensive coordinator Bob Sutton earlier this week and hired Steve Spagnuolo, it meant Smith was unlikely to be retained. Smith coached under current Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine in New York, so the reunion makes sense.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Sebastian Janikowski‘s season ended on a low note, as he was injured and unable to kick in the second half of the Seahawks’ Wild Card round playoff loss. That might’ve been his last game as a Seahawk, as Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times expects Seattle to move on from the impending free agent this offseason. Janikowski is soon to be 41, and his play has clearly declined from his peak, but teams could be interested assuming the Seahawks let him walk. As Condotta notes, the team recently signed former Rams kicker Sam Ficken to a reserve/futures contract, and they could add more competition through the draft or free agency.
  • Eagles defensive end Chris Long has flirted with retirement in the past, but he wants to keep playing, according to Dave Zangaro of NBC Sports Philadelphia. “I’d like to play football in 2019. I thought I had a strong year and felt good physically. Listen, I know I’m an older guy. But, you know, I don’t think I’ve missed a practice over the last two years. I feel like I’ve been durable and ready when called upon”, Long told a Philly radio station. He did leave the door open for a possible retirement still, saying he still “could go either way”, depending on “what the Eagles do and who they bring in or don’t bring in and how deep that room gets.” Long had 6.5 sacks this season, his highest total since 2013.
  • In case you missed it, things are progressing toward an extension for Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh.

Eagles DE Chris Long To Play In 2018

Despite rumors that he’d been considering retirement, Eagles defensive end Chris Long plans to continue his career in 2018, according to Adam Caplan of SiriusXM (Twitter link).

Long reportedly signed a new deal with Philadelphia last week, leading to speculation that he would indeed return for the upcoming campaign. Long is now guaranteed $3MM in 2018, and his base salary will increase from a non-guaranteed $1MM to $2.5MM guaranteed. Additionally, the Eagles eliminated Long’s $750K in per-game roster bonuses and $750K in incentives.

Philadelphia has revamped its defensive line this offseason, as the club added Michael Bennett and Haloti Ngata while losing Vinny Curry and Beau Allen. Bennett, though, is scheduled to turn himself into authorities on Monday after being indicted on a felony charge, so Long’s presence will be all the more important if Bennett is handed a league-imposed suspension.

Long, 32, appeared in all 16 games and saw roughly 50% playtime for the Super Bowl champion Eagles last season. In that time, Long managed 20 tackles and five sacks while grading as the NFL’s No. 30 edge defender among 106 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chris Long Signs New Deal With Eagles

Chris Long has yet to address the retirement rumors surrounding him, but the latest word indicates that he’s planning to play in 2018. Long signed the new contract that was offered to him last week, according to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer (on Twitter). 

As previously reported, the new deal guarantees Long $3MM in 2018 and includes a jump in base salary from a non-guaranteed $1MM to $2.5MM guaranteed. In theory, Long can still retire after signing the new deal, but his signature on the dotted line suggests that he intends to play.

The Eagles’ recent acquisition of Michael Bennett means that Long would be ticketed for a reserve role, but he also hasn’t been a full time starter in the last three seasons. And, with his 33rd birthday coming up on Monday, a limited snap count probably suits him well. If he continues to play, Long will be behind starters Brandon Graham and Bennett while last year’s first round pick Derek Barnett also participates in the rotation.

Long was on the field for 588 regular season snaps last year, down from 677 in the previous season with the Patriots.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles’ Chris Long Considering Retirement

The Eagles have offered to restructure defensive end Chris Long‘s contract, but it’s not a certainty that he’ll play this season. Long is mulling retirement, according to Michael Silver of NFL.com

The new deal would guarantee Long $3MM in 2018, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). That includes a jump in base salary from a non-guaranteed $1MM to $2.5MM guaranteed with the team eliminating his $750K in per-game roster bonuses and $750K in incentives.

The Eagles’ defensive line has been revamped this offseason thanks to the additions of Michael Bennett and Haloti Ngata. last year’s first round pick Derek Barnett will return as a backup defensive end, but Long still has an important role carved out for him as a situational pass rusher. Without Long, the Eagles’ D-Line would be weakened, even though it would still project to be among the best in the NFL.

Long was on the field for 588 regular season snaps last year and graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 30 ranked edge defender, higher than both Bennett and Barnett.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.