Clinton McDonald

West Rumors: Chiefs, Hawks, Rams, Tryouts

With Patrick Mahomes being arguably the NFL MVP through two weeks, the Chiefs are exiting a tough two-game stretch — road assignments against the Chargers and Steelers — at 2-0. They’ve done this without their defensive centerpiece. Eric Berry‘s been bothered by a nagging heel injury and hasn’t practice since early August. However, the three-time All-Pro safety is improving in his recovery and may be ready to practice this week, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The cancer survivor was already trying to surmount his second severe NFL injury, having also missed most of the 2011 season prior to tearing his Achilles’ tendon in Week 1 of last year, and is important for a Chiefs defense that’s struggled in shootout wins.

Here’s the latest out of the Wests entering the Seahawks-Bears Monday tilt.

  • Mychal Kendricks will play plenty in his Seahawks debut Monday night, John Schneider said (Twitter link via Stacy Jo Rost of ESPN 710). Austin Calitro will be Seattle’s middle linebacker in place of the injured Bobby Wagner, Schneider said, and Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times expects Kendricks to primarily play on the weak side (Twitter link). He’s working with the starters in warmups, per Condotta (on Twitter). Kendricks is facing an NFL suspension for his insider trading charge but is appealing and is thus allowed to play tonight.
  • Rams practice squad center Aaron Neary‘s run into trouble. He was arrested Sunday for suspicion of DUI and hit and run charges, Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com reports. Neary’s blood-alcohol level of .17 was more than twice the legal limit, and Thiry adds he was booked into the Ventura County Jail. Neary came to the Rams recently, after being waived by the Browns to create roster space for Anthony Zettel. He spent most of last season on the Rams’ practice squad, playing in one 2017 game, but may have trouble keeping that spot.
  • Clive Walford ventured to Kansas City for a Chiefs workout on Monday, Rapoport tweets. The former Raiders tight end was a Jets cut this summer. After being a regular in Oakland’s passing game in 2015-16, the one-time third-round pick only caught nine passes for 80 yards last season.
  • The Raiders‘ affinity for 30-somethings this offseason should be well known, and Jon Gruden said the team would have signed Clinton McDonald in March had a medical issue not intervened, per Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal (on Twitter). McDonald signed with the Broncos, but they reworked his contract because of an injury. He’s now with the Raiders, having made his Raider debut in Denver.
  • Joe Callahan was among a contingent that worked out for the Raiders on Monday, Gehlken tweets. The now-well-traveled backup quarterback was most recently with the Eagles during the preseason. Quarterback Kyle Allen, tight end Billy Brown, running back Orleans Darkwa, wide receivers Roger Lewis and Hunter Sharp also auditioned for the Silver and Black, per NFL reporter Howard Balzer (on Twitter). The Colts, Jets, Bills, Patriots (twice) and Redskins have brought in Darkwa for workouts this year.
  • Former Broncos backup inside linebacker Zaire Anderson will work out for the Cardinals on Tuesday, Mike Klis of 9News tweets. Anderson spent three years with the Broncos — 2015-17, being on Denver’s practice squad during its Super Bowl season — before being a post-preseason cut. Also working out for the Cardinals: linebacker Nigel Harris, per Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times (on Twitter).

AFC Notes: Jets, Johnson, Patriots, Michel, Cannon Raiders, Hankins

When Jets owner Woody Johnson accepted the role as ambassador to the U.K., he left the team under the leadership of his brother Christopher. Given the relative success and cultural improvements the organization has seen under Christopher’s watch, there’s been a lot of speculation about what will happen when Woody returns from his political appointment.

Christopher himself is being quite open about the fact that he wants to stay on with the Jets, saying “no question, I’m hoping to have a larger role” even after his brother returns according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News (Twitter link). He added that he thinks Woody will be receptive to it, saying “I think he’d welcome that. I know that he would. I think that I have a new perspective at this point that would be valuable for the franchise.” Whatever happens, it’ll be interesting to watch it unfold as Christopher is reportedly well liked by the players.

Here’s more from around the AFC:

  • It looks like Sony Michel could be making his NFL debut this week. The first round pick of the Patriots missed most of the offseason and Week 1 due to a knee ailment, but has “made a lot of progress this week” and “the progress has been encouraging” for his Week 1 prospects according to Jeff Howe of The Athletic (Twitter link).
  • Speaking of Patriots injuries, starting left tackle Marcus Cannon is looking unlikely to play and the team has “prepared LaAdrian Waddle this week to start” according to Howe (Twitter link). It’d be a big blow to the Patriots’ offensive line against Jacksonville’s dominant defensive front.
  • The details are in for the Raiders’ two recent defensive tackle signings. Johnathan Hankins will get $2MM for the season and Clinton McDonald will get $1.75MM according to Tom Pelissero (Twitter link). Pelissero notes that almost every other recent veteran signing has been for the veterans minimum.

Raiders To Sign DT Clinton McDonald

Add another 30-something to Jon Gruden‘s offseason haul. Clinton McDonald will join the Raiders, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (on Twitter).

Cut by the Broncos after the preseason, McDonald appeared on the Raiders’ radar Wednesday. Despite the team visiting with 26-year-old Johnathan Hankins, one of the NFL’s top interior defenders in 2017, they’ll go with the 31-year-old McDonald for the time being.

A Hankins addition may not be off the table, but McDonald will attempt to fill the void created by Justin Ellis‘ foot injury. McDonald has served as a starter for two seasons, with the 2016 Buccaneers and NFC champion Seahawks in 2014, but has mostly been a backup contributor. He recorded five sacks for the Bucs last season, despite starting only three games. McDonald’s posted three five-plus-sack seasons, the other two coming with both recent NFC champion Seattle teams.

In addition to Ellis having strained multiple foot ligaments, rookie interior defender P.J. Hall was wearing a walking boot at Wednesday’s practice, per Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com (Twitter link). He suffered an injury during the first series of the Raiders’ loss to the Rams.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Rumors: Prosise, Cards, Rams, Raiders

After a promising flash as a rookie, C.J. Prosise has not contributed much to the Seahawks‘ cause. He’s picked up 17 touches since December 2016 and is behind Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny and Mike Davis on the Seattle running back depth chart. However, the team is discussing a position change for the third-year back. Pete Carroll said (via Pro Football Talk) his coaching staff is examining a possible Prosise switch to wide receiver, citing his background at the position in college. Prosise was a wideout at Notre Dame before being switched to the backfield. He caught 29 passes for 516 yards in 2014. The Seahawks are down Doug Baldwin for perhaps multiple weeks, and they have just four healthy wide receivers.

Here’s the latest from the West divisions, shifting to a running back who is also quite adept at the receiver role.

  • David Johnson is now the NFL’s second-highest-paid running back, holding a substantial lead over the No. 3 player in this hierarchy, and ranks close to the top in terms of fully guaranteed money, too. Johnson’s three-year, $39MM Cardinals extension will come with $24.682MM fully guaranteed at signing, Joel Corry of CBS Sports tweets. Adding in the amount guaranteed for injury increases the deal’s guarantees to $31MM, per Corry, who adds offset language is included in this contract. Johnson’s $24MM-plus full guarantee leads all running backs on veteran contracts, surpassing Todd Gurley‘s $21.9MM in guarantees.
  • Martavis Bryant is indeed back with the Raiders, as Jon Gruden suggested he could be. An illness and general inconsistency during camp led to Bryant being a preseason cut, Gruden said (via Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic, on Twitter). Gruden said the perpetual suspension risk, who may or may not be facing another ban, is more focused and may suit up for the team on Sunday in Denver.
  • In addition to the Raiders’ interest in signing top free agent Johnathan Hankins, Gruden said they’re also interested in adding Clinton McDonald, per Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Hankins is visiting the Raiders on Wednesday. The Broncos released McDonald after the preseason slate. If signed, McDonald would add yet another 30-something to Gruden’s free agency haul. He’s 31.
  • The Raiders are in need of help at defensive tackle because of a Justin Ellis injury. The fifth-year veteran defensive tackle strained ligaments in his foot, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. He’s week-to-week, prompting Oakland to pursue outside help.
  • Adam Jones signed with the Broncos late in the preseason, appearing to represent an upgrade at punt returner and No. 4 cornerback. However, the 35-year-old defender appears to have usurped Tramaine Brock for the nickel job, Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com notes. Brock didn’t fare poorly in the preseason and graded as an upper-echelon corner during his last season of full-time work, with the 2016 49ers, but Jones has more experience in Vance Joseph‘s defense from their time together in Cincinnati. If he’s been demoted, it would mark a second straight season the 30-year-old defender’s resided out of a nickel picture. The Vikings carried Brock as a depth piece in 2017.
  • The Rams are going to need a new return man. Pharoh Cooper suffered an ankle injury and will be out for “some time,” Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com notes. Backup return man Michael Thomas is out for a few weeks, Sean McVay said, to prompt Los Angeles to seek alternative options. Cooper served as the Rams’ kick- and punt-return man last season, soaring to All-Pro honors.

Broncos Make Roster Moves

The Broncos have trimmed their roster to 53 players by making the following moves:

Waived:

Waived/injured:

Released:

Placed on injured reserve:

Placed on PUP:

Broncos To Release Clinton McDonald

Despite being one of the Broncos’ first free agent additions this offseason, Clinton McDonald will not be part of the Broncos’ 53-man roster.

They’ve released the former Seahawks and Buccaneers defensive lineman, Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic tweets.

McDonald signed a two-year, $7MM deal with Denver but restructured it because of an injury he was recovering from at the time. By converting $3MM in salary into per-game bonuses, McDonald did not receive any guaranteed money. It won’t cost the Broncos anything in dead money to part with the veteran defender.

Denver has slowly built some depth on its defensive line, with players like Shelby Harris and Zach Kerr in line to see time as second-stringers ahead of McDonald. The 31-year-old interior defender started for the 2014 NFC champion Seahawks and 2016 Buccaneers but otherwise has mostly functioned as an NFL reserve.

The Raiders, who have signed an NFL-high number of players in their 30s this offseason, were previously interested in McDonald, Mike Klis of 9News notes (on Twitter).

AFC West Notes: Raiders, Mack, Broncos

Could the Raiders conceivably trade Khalil MackPaul Gutierrez of ESPN.com feels that they would be wise to listen if another team blows them away with an offer of, say, two first-round picks for the 2016 Defensive Player of the Year.

Within the blurb, Gutierrez also references an exchange in March with GM Reggie McKenzie in which he asked (perhaps jokingly) if the writer had an extra $100MM on hand to help pay Mack. That may be an indication that the Raiders do not have the cash necessary to make Mack one of the highest-paid non-quarterbacks in the NFL, though there is no direct evidence of financial trouble in Oakland at this time.

Here’s more from the AFC West:

  • Former Raiders wide receiver and current NFL Network analyst James Jones hears that wide receiver Martavis Bryant is having trouble picking up the team’s playbook (via PFT). In a conversation with Jones, Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson indicated that Bryant has impressed with his natural talent, but his inability to grasp the team’s playbook has been a source of frustration for the club. Despite the hiccups, the Raiders traded a third-round pick for Bryant earlier this year, so it would be a shocker if he is not on the Week 1 roster.
  • Broncos defensive tackle Clinton McDonald is dealing with a shoulder issue that may be related to his previous shoulder woes, Mike Klis of 9News hears. It’s a source of concern for the Broncos, though the team is awaiting further tests to get a complete understanding of the situation. McDonald, who signed a two-year deal with Denver earlier this year, missed the club’s entire offseason program while recovering from an infection. He was also forced to accept a pay cut as a result of the issue, although he can earn the $3MM he gave up by appearing in all 16 games for the Broncos this year.

West Rumors: Gurley, Broncos, Raiders

The base value of Todd Gurley‘s four-year extension with the Rams in $57.5MM, tweets Tom Pelissero of NFL.com, who confirms previous reports that Gurley can max out at $60MM from 2020-2023. Gurley is now the NFL’s second-highest-paid running back to the Steelers’ Le’Veon Bell, as Gurley will earn $14.375MM annually compared to Bell’s franchise tag value of $14.544MM. Of course, Bell is only playing on a one-year tag, so Gurley now holds the most lucrative multi-year deal in the league. Gurley reportedly received $45MM in guarantees, although it’s unclear whether that total refers to injury guarantees or full guarantees at signing.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two West divisions:

  • The Broncos had a first-round grade on wide receiver Courtland Sutton before eventually landing him on Day 2 of the draft, according to Nicki Jhabvala of the Athletic. Sutton, an SMU product, ultimately fell to the top of the second round (pick No. 40), so Denver did not have to sacrifice capital in order to move up for its preferred target. “He has a huge catch radius and he’s got great ball skills,” Broncos head coach Vance Joseph said of Sutton. “As a route runner, it’s coming, but he’s so big and strong that if he doesn’t win with the route, he wins with his body.” Sutton is likely too large to see much time in the slot, but veteran pass-catcher Emmanuel Sanders could move inside in three-wide sets if Sutton wins a starting role. He’ll be competing with fellow rookie DaeSean Hamilton, whom Denver selected out of Penn State in the fourth round. Over his final two collegiate campaigns, Sutton averaged 72 receptions, 1,166 yards, and 11 touchdowns per year.
  • Given that Marshawn Lynch and Doug Martin sit atop the Raiders‘ running back depth chart, Oakland will likely decide between keeping Jalen Richard or DeAndre Washington, as Scott Bair on NBC Sports Bay Area writes. The only problem? Richard and Washington are extremely similar players, with close physical statures (each stands 5’8″ and 205 pounds) and overall production. Both Richard and Washington averaged greater than five yards per carry during their respective rookie seasons in 2016, but each took a backseat in 2017 after Lynch was acquired from the Seahawks. Making the decision even more difficult is that both Richard and Washington return punts and kicks (in 2017, they both played exactly 33.4% of Oakland’s special teams snaps!). Whichever player is ultimately cut is sure to quickly find another home, possibly through the wavier system.
  • Broncos defensive tackle Clinton McDonald is “good to go” for training camp after suffering from a bacterial infection related to a 2015 shoulder operation, reports Mike Klis of 9News. McDonald, who signed a two-year deal with Denver earlier this year, missed the club’s entire offseason program while recovering from the infection. He was also forced to accept a pay reduction as a result of the health issue, although he can earn the $3MM he sacrificed back by appearing in all 16 games for the Broncos during the upcoming campaign. McDonald, 31, appeared in 14 games for the Buccaneers a season ago, will join fellow interior defender Domata Peko on a Denver defensive line that already ranked fourth in Football Outsiders’ adjusted line yards in 2017.

Broncos’ Clinton McDonald Takes Pay Cut

Broncos defensive tackle Clinton McDonald accepted a pay cut of $3MM for 2018, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. However, he can earn that back via $2MM in base salary and a $1MM roster bonus by being on the 53-man roster ($140,625/game) and 46-man roster ($46,875/game) for the full season. 

The Broncos’ likely requested the pay cut because of the shoulder injury that has kept the veteran from participating in OTAs. Per the terms of his free agent deal with Denver, McDonald had to pass a physical on or before June 11 in order to guarantee his $4MM salary for 2018. Because he was unable to get the medical greenlight, he is guaranteed just $1MM this year.

McDonald, 31, split time with Chris Baker in Tampa last year and recorded five sacks with 18 tackles. The sack total is impressive, though the advanced analytics at Pro Football Focus were not high on him.

The Broncos project to start Domata Peko in the middle with McDonald and Zach Kerr and/or Kyle Peko in support. DeShawn Williams, who signed a futures deal with the club in January, will also fight to make the final cut, but his path to the 53-man roster may be challenging unless McDonald is unable to play up to par this summer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC West Notes: Chiefs, Ingram, Raiders

Having funneled their pass offense through Travis Kelce for several seasons and having not invested much in their No. 2 wide receiver job in many years, the Chiefs surprised most observers by authorizing a monster contract for Sammy Watkins. The fifth-year wideout’s three-year, $48MM deal — with $30MM guaranteed — is having a league-wide effect, Joel Corry of CBS Sports writes. Julio Jones, who is signed to a $14.25MM-per-year deal, is now seeking additional dollars. And Corry adds Odell Beckham Jr.‘s hopes to become the league’s first $20MM-AAV wide receiver is not a crazy demand anymore now that Watkins has signed a top-five contract without supplying production to justify it. Corry adds that Watkins’ $16MM-AAV contract will become Brandin Cooks‘ floor, assuming he fares well in Los Angeles this season.

As for the Chiefs, Watkins justifying the contract could be difficult, as Corry writes, since the newcomer may be the No. 4 option in his next offense. Kelce and Kareem Hunt are entrenched as the top components of Kansas City’s attack, and Tyreek Hill put together a strong 2017 featuring 1,183 air yards and seven touchdowns. Watkins caught 39 passes for 583 yards last season, and his career-best numbers were 1,047 and nine with the 2015 Bills. Hill becomes extension-eligible after this season and his contract expires after 2019. Those talks could be tricky if he outproduces Watkins this season. Only two teams — the Packers and Broncos — are paying two wideouts eight figures annually, and the Chiefs could be set to encounter an interesting dilemma once Hill talks begin.

Here’s the latest from the AFC West:

  • Melvin Ingram may not be attending the Chargers‘ OTA sessions. The star pass rusher missed Tuesday’s session and is training in Florida, Eric Williams of ESPN.com reports, adding that Ingram cleared his absence with Anthony Lynn. Ingram skipped the start of these workouts last year, but he was not under contract because he had yet to sign his franchise tender. He’s now signed a long-term Bolts deal.
  • Bruce Irvin played as a 4-3 outside linebacker the past two seasons with the Raiders, but new DC Paul Guenther is moving him to defensive end, Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com notes (on Twitter). Irvin often played end during his first two seasons in Oakland, but did so in sub-packages while lining up as a stand-up ‘backer in most base sets, similar to the Broncos’ usage of Von Miller from 2011-14. Irvin began his career as a defensive end before the Seahawks relocated him. Now that Irvin is at end, Gutierrez notes Tahir Whitehead and Emmanuel Lamur lined up as outside linebackers with the Raiders’ first-stringers at Tuesday’s OTA session.
  • Also at Raiders OTAs, Gareon Conley participated fully, per Gutierrez. A shin injury wiped out most of the 2017 first-rounder’s rookie season, and only recently did the former Ohio State standout receive full clearance.
  • Donald Penn will be limited during these workouts, with Gutierrez noting the longtime Oakland left tackle is still recovering from Lisfranc surgery. Penn is not expected to be ready to participate fully until training camp. For now, second-year player David Sharpe took the reps in 11-on-11 work while Breno Giacomini opened with the starters at right tackle. The Raiders are planning to have Kolton Miller train as a left tackle to start his career.
  • The Chiefs will be without their backup tight end in Week 1. Demetrius Harris received a one-game suspension for a 2017 marijuana arrest that induced a multi-day jail stay, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Harris established new career-high marks last season with 18 receptions for 224 yards. The Chiefs added former Jets second-rounder Jace Amaro this offseason, but Harris has been with the team for the past four seasons. Amaro hasn’t played since 2016.
  • Clinton McDonald did not participate in Broncos OTAs on Tuesday, and Mike Klis of 9News notes the veteran defensive lineman is still recovering from a March shoulder operation. The Broncos knew of this procedure when they signed him in March, per Klis. He adds McDonald is expected to be ready for camp.