Cody Latimer

AFC Notes: Pats, Gronk, Brady, Dolphins

The Patriots‘ decision to deactivate Rob Gronkowski for Thursday night’s game could cost him major money at the end of the season, ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss points out. Gronkowski has played in 70.5% of the team’s snaps this season, which puts him on pace for the lowest possible incentives tier of $6.75MM. He can still reach the first ($10.75MM) and second tiers ($8.75MM) based on receptions, receiving yards, touchdowns, or All-Pro selection, but those markers will also be hard to reach without a certain volume of snaps.

Here’s more from around the AFC:

  • Patriots quarterback Tom Brady suffered what is thought to be an AC joint sprain in his left, non-throwing shoulder, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). He says he’ll play on Sunday against the Jets.
  • The Dolphins are expected to bring back assistant Dave DeGuglielmo to take over as the team’s new offensive line coach, Jeff Darlington of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link).
  • Despite some recent optimism, it’s premature to say that Chargers first-round pick Mike Williams will be ready to make his NFL debut next week, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.
  • Cody Latimer, one of the Broncos‘ top special teamers, underwent a blood injection procedure in his right knee and could be out for the next game or so, Mike Klis of 9 News writes. Latimer has excelled as a kick returner so far this year with an average of 28.4 per attempt. He’s also a gunner on punt and kickoff coverage.
  • Former NFL safety Taylor Mays has signed with the CFL’s Roughriders, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The former second-round pick was most recently with the Bengals.

West Rumors: Raiders, Broncos, Cards, Rams

The Raiders have activated rookie cornerback Gareon Conley from the active/PUP list, the club announced today, adding that Conley is practicing for the first time on Tuesday. Conley, of course, slid to the 24th overall selection in the draft following rape allegations, but he was eventually cleared and won’t face charges. While he still needs to get up to speed, it’s possible Conley could become a starter sooner rather than later. Fellow cornerback Sean Smith –who’s facing his own legal troubles — has been demoted from Oakland’s starting lineup, meaning Conley could see expanded action during his rookie campaign.

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

  • Veteran safety T.J. Ward may not be the only player the Broncos are open to trading, as the club could also listen to offers for fourth-year receiver Cody Latimer. speculates Troy Renck of Denver7 (Twitter link). Latimer, a second-round draft choice in 2014, has never broken out in Denver, as he’s posted 16 receptions over three seasons. However, he’s still young (25), plays special teams (41% of the Broncos’ ST plays a year ago), and offers intriguing measurables (here’s his MockDraftable profile). And perhaps most importantly, Latimer could be had for minimal cost, especially given the rise of fellow receivers Jordan Taylor and Kalif Raymond in Denver, as Renck details.
  • While Cardinals linebacker Deone Bucannon was recently removed from the active/PUP list, it’s an open question as to whether he’ll be ready Week 1, writes Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic. The Cardinals have the depth to withstand a short Bucannon absence, as they signed Karlos Dansby, Josh Bynes, and Philip Wheeler and drafted Haason Reddick this offseason. But a Bucannon injury will be felt, as he played on nearly three-quarters of Arizona’s defensive snaps last season, managing 89 tackles in the process. He’s signed through 2018 under the terms of his fifth-year option.
  • Rams tight end Temarrick Hemingway will require surgery for a fractured fibula and is out indefinitely, tweets Vincent Bonsignore of the Los Angeles Daily News. Hemingway, who appeared in eight games last season after being drafted in the sixth round, has been challenging for a rotational role behind fellow tight ends Gerald Everett and Tyler Higbee, per Bonsignore, which makes Hemingway’s injury all the more devastating. Los Angeles could conceivably sign another tight end before the season begins, although high-profile free agents like Gary Barnidge or Ladarius Green probably aren’t a fit.
  • On Monday, the California Supreme Court ruled that special taxes may be raised via citizen’s initiative through a simple majority, instead of the two-thirds majority that was previously required, according to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union Tribune. While those new rules won’t help bring the Chargers back to San Diego, it could allow the city to eventually lure another club to the region. However, the Chargers’ 2016 stadium measure received only 43.64% of the vote, per Acee, meaning taxes wouldn’t have been raised even under the new conditions.

Video Shows Cody Latimer Striking Bouncer

Broncos WR Cody Latimer was already in danger of losing his roster spot, and this probably won’t help. Per TMZ.com, Latimer was attempting to enter the Diamonds Cabaret strip club near Dayton, Ohio, earlier this year when he and the club’s bouncer had a “disagreement” about the club’s dress code. Latimer was accompanied by his uncle and a friend, and after the disagreement, Latimer and his group asked to speak to the club’s manager and then stepped outside.

Jan 1, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Cody Latimer (14) reacts after a play in the third quarter against the Oakland Raiders at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

There is footage of what transpired after the group went outside. It initially appears as if Latimer is attempting to keep the peace between the other members of his party and the bouncer, but then Latimer slaps the bouncer, who retaliates by pepper spraying Latimer. That compelled Latimer’s uncle to lunge in the bouncer’s direction, and the bouncer promptly struck the uncle and knocked him to the ground.

Latimer and his group then left the scene, and the police were never contacted about the incident. Latimer concedes that he was involved, but he said he was simply trying to deescalate the situation. The 24-year-old receiver said that he has moved on and is preparing for training camp.

It was initially a disagreement (between my uncle and the bouncer) and I was trying to break it up,’’ Latimer said, via Mike Klis of 9News on Sunday. “It happened six months ago. It was February 20. It had nothing to do with a dress code. There’s not much to say about it. There weren’t any cops called. I didn’t want trouble so we got out. That’s it. It happened six months ago.”

Latimer also took to Twitter to discuss the situation, one he said is a bigger story than it should have been. As Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post tweets, the Broncos were already aware of the altercation and have discussed it with Latimer. Per Jhabvala (via Twitter), the league declined to comment on the situation.

As indicated above, the contract-year wideout is going to need to have a strong training camp to crack the Broncos’ roster. Denver is nine deep at the wide receiver position, which means that Latimer, who has totaled just 16 receptions for 158 yards and one score since Denver chose him in the second round of the 2014 draft, could be on the way out. He has become a solid special-teamer for the Broncos, but given his draft status and upside, the club certainly expected him to have accomplished more at this point in his career.

Latimer was arrested last year for failing to pay a year-old traffic ticket.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Bengals, Raiders, Broncos

You’re not likely to see the Bengals drop Brandon LaFell from the roster, Katherine Terrelle of ESPN.com tweets. While there is lots of young talent at wide receiver, cutting LaFell would require a $3MM+ dead money hit just after re-signing him this year. He also has a strong mentor/mentee relationship with A.J. Green that coaches do not want to bust up. The Bengals have Green, speedy rookie John Ross, Tyler Boyd, LaFell, and fourth-round pick Josh Malone as their top five receivers. Youngsters Cody Core, Alex Erickson, Jake Kumerow, and Chris Brown are left to fight for a spot that may or may not be available.

More from the AFC:

  • Raiders starting defensive lineman Jihad Ward recently underwent left foot surgery, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). The procedure was minor and should keep Ward out until mid-August, adds Rapoport. The second-year man suffered the injury during practice on June 6, per Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. As a rookie last season, Ward tallied 13 starts in 16 appearances, though Pro Football Focus gave his performance the worst grade among the NFL’s 127 qualified interior defensive linemen.
  • Receiver looks to be the most competitive position on the Broncos’ depth chart, observes Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com. Given that the Broncos are nine deep at wideout, head coach Vance Joseph has described the position as “crowded.” That could spell doom for Cody Latimer, who has totaled just 16 receptions since Denver chose him in the second round of the 2014 draft. While Latimer has emerged as a reliable special teamer for the Broncos, his roster spot is in jeopardy suggests Legwold.
  • Earlier Thursday, we rounded up the latest from the AFC East.

AFC Rumors: Steelers, Broncos, Titans

Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey‘s career could end when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger‘s does, relays Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com. Pouncey’s still young (he’ll turn 28 in July), but it’s possible the seventh-year man and five-time Pro Bowler would rather hang it up than continue with someone other than Roethlisberger, who mulled retirement after last season and is entering his age-35 campaign. “It will be hard for me to come back if he’s not here,” Pouncey said of Roethlisberger. “Whenever you’re playing with that level of quarterback, to try to switch that up would be a different mojo for everybody on the team. … I’m glad he came back. We need him to win a championship around here.”

More on Pittsburgh and two other AFC clubs:

  • Three Broncos who have gone high in recent drafts, wide receiver Cody Latimer, offensive tackle Ty Sambrailo and tight end Jeff Heuerman, will have to fight for their roster spots in training camp, observes Cameron Wolfe of the Denver Post. Latimer, a second-rounder in 2014, hasn’t made much of an impact as a receiver (16 career catches), and he’s not in position to change that with Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Carlos Henderson and Isaiah McKenzie ahead of him on the depth chart. As such, his best hope is to make the Broncos as a special teamer, posits Wolfe, who expects that to happen. Sambrailo, meanwhile, went in the second round a year later and has only totaled 13 appearances and seven starts. Even if he cracks the Broncos’ roster, Sambrailo seems likely to serve as primarily a backup again, as the team spent a first-rounder on tackle Garett Bolles this year after adding fellow bookend Menelik Watson on a three-year, $18.3MM deal in free agency. And then there’s Heuerman, a 2015 third-rounder who missed his entire rookie year with a torn ACL and then caught nine passes in 12 games last season. He’ll have to fend off Henry Krieger-Coble to make the team, notes Wolfe. Denver’s other tight end options include Virgil Green, A.J. Derby and fifth-rounder Jake Butt, a former Michigan standout who’s working back from the torn ACL he suffered in his final college game last December.
  • As a rookie last season, fifth-rounder Tajae Sharpe finished second among Titans wide receivers in catches (41), targets (83) and yards (522) in 2016. Nevertheless, it seems he’ll enter camp with a weak hold on a roster spot, writes Jason Wolf of the Tennesseean. The Titans used two valuable picks on receivers – Corey Davis in the first round and Taywan Taylor in the third – in the spring and then signed established veteran Eric Decker last week. Those additions combined with Sharpe’s questionable health (he recently underwent surgery for a stress fracture in his right foot) and a police investigation over an alleged assault have the 22-year-old in limbo, according to Wolf.
  • The fact that the Steelers have a deep receiving corps means third-year man Sammie Coates will have to battle for a spot in camp, suggests Fowler. Coates was a relatively high selection in 2015, when he went in Round 3 of the draft, but the ex-Auburn star has totaled just 22 receptions in 21 games as a Steeler. A broken finger and a groin injury likely contributed to Coates’ underwhelming output last season (21 catches on 49 targets, two touchdowns), and he indicated that he’s nearing full health with camp approaching. “I’m getting there. It’s a process,” said Coates, who underwent sports hernia surgery over the winter. “That’s what this process is for, to get your body back so you can compete during camp.”

Broncos Notes: Siemian, Marshall, Latimer

Although Mark Sanchez and Paxton Lynch are generating the vast majority of attention at quarterback for the Broncos, the door is also open for second-year man Trevor Siemian to start. “I think Trevor has a maturity to him. He’s kind of the sleeper, I would say. Trevor knows the offense. He’s very comfortable and can throw the ball too,” head coach Gary Kubiak said (via Troy Renck of the Denver Post). Kubiak added that he “wouldn’t sleep on Trevor to win the job.” A seventh-round pick from Northwestern in 2015, the strong-armed Siemian appeared in one game as a rookie, but he didn’t attempt a pass.

Here’s more on the defending Super Bowl champions:

  • Linebacker Brandon Marshall told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Tuesday that negotiations on a long-term contract “are going well,” though he’s prepared to sign his one-year, $2.533MM restricted free agent tender if a deal isn’t struck. “I have no problem playing the deal out, I have no problem with doing that. But I do want to be here long-term, so that’s what I’m working towards, but I have no problem playing it out,” he stated. Earlier this month, PFR’s Sam Robinson examined what a new contract might look like for Marshall.
  • Third-year receiver Cody Latimer was arrested Monday in Colorado for failing to pay a year-old traffic ticket, according to KUSA. Latimer called the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office to report a domestic dispute, accusing his girlfriend, Jaimee Rando, of putting “her hands on” him. A background check revealed that Latimer didn’t show up for an April 2015 court date regarding a ticket, which led police to arrest him. He settled the matter by paying $311.50. Rando, meanwhile, was arrested for assault and disturbing the peace, and Latimer bailed her out of jail Tuesday.
  • In case you missed it, Sanchez spoke Monday about how he’s fitting in with the Broncos thus far.

West Links: Rams, Raiders, Harbaugh

Prior to the Jaguars adding Stefen Wisniewski on Saturday, the Rams researched the former Raiders center and maintained interest in him as an option to become their starting center, reports Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Now, the Rams could opt to look in-house for their next snapper.

Unrestricted free agent Scott Wells regressed badly last season in 16 games for the Rams, rating as the worst center in the league, per Pro Football Focus (subscription required). Entering his third season, Barrett Jones will likely receive the first shot at succeeding Wells after arriving in St. Louis as a fourth-round pick in 2013, per Thomas. But he’s actually less-experienced than in-house competitor Tim Barnes, who started four games for an injured Wells in ’13. The tandem combined for just 32 snaps last season.

Thomas also notes the team’s brought in nine offensive linemen for visits, including Florida State’s Cameron Erving, with holes to fill at center, guard and right tackle.

Here are some more items from the Western divisions.

  • Despite being staunch in his position that there was no rift between former 49ers head coach and the players, Alex Boone admitted that Jim Harbaugh wore out his welcome in San Francisco, according to the staff at CSNBayArea.com“I think he just pushed guys too far. He wanted too much, demanded too much, expected too much. You know, ‘We gotta go out and do this. We gotta go out and do this. We gotta go out and do this.’ And you’d be like, ‘This guy might be clinically insane. He’s crazy,’” Boone said. “I think that if you’re stuck in your ways enough, eventually people are just going to say, ‘Listen, we just can’t work with this.’”
  • The Seahawks have their starting quarterback position settled, with Russell Wilson ingrained as the starter for the foreseeable future, but the rest of the depth chart is still up in the air. Currently, B.J. Daniels and R.J. Archer remain on the roster, but Tarvaris Jackson could very well return as the team’s primary backup, according to Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. He picks Wilson-Jackson-Daniels as his most likely trio for the final roster.
  • The issue of whether Oakland and Alameda can come up with a solution on keeping the Raiders long-term could generate some clarity in the next two weeks, report San Francisco Chronicle reporters Phil Matier and Andy Ross. The NFL is reportedly pressing for answers on this matter, which is coming down to how a new Bay Area stadium will be financed. NFL representatives met with city officials in Oakland and the Raiders on Wednesday while also taking summits with team executives and Carson officials a day later, according to the report. Both the Raiders and Oakland city and county officials have expressed they cannot afford to pay for a stadium costing around $1 billion on their own.
  • Expected to claim the Broncos‘ No. 3 wide receiver job behind Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders this season, Cody Latimer admits he fell behind in his quest to learn how to play in a Peyton Manning-paced offense last season, reports Troy Renck of the Denver Post. “I was in the playbook, but I could have done even more. When I actually got it, it was too late. It was just way different (than college),” Latimer told Renck. “I would know the play, then Peyton would change it.”Rob DiRe contributed to this report

Poll: Which Rookie WR Will Have Best Season?

They say there are some things you can’t teach in sports. One of them is size. Another is the ability to make a jaw-dropping one-handed catch after tripping just one second prior. Bills rookie wide receiver Sammy Watkins is lacking in the first department but he’s got the latter down pat.

With top-level speed, excellent agility, and soft hands, Watkins was almost universally regarded as the top WR talent in the 2014 class. So, he’s a lock to win this poll, right? Maybe not. Second-year quarterback EJ Manuel boasts a strong arm but he’s far from elite and one has to wonder how many quality balls he can deliver to Manuel. The Clemson product is also working through a rib injury which could possibly hamper him to start the season.

Moving further down the draft board, there are plenty of other wide receivers with an opportunity to make a name for themselves in year one. The Panthers overhauled their entire receiving corps this offseason and many are expecting big things out of FSU’s Kelvin Benjamin. In New Orleans, many are skeptical of what the once solid Marques Colston can do and the hype around Brandin Cooks is reaching a fever pitch. And, without DeSean JacksonJordan Matthews could see a lot of balls thrown his way in Philadelphia. Beyond those guys, there are even more promising WR’s from this year’s receiver-heavy draft. Who among them will have the best 2014 season?

Extra Points: Titans, Jags, Graham, Broncos

The Titans have a number of veterans that are coming to the end of their contracts after 2014, and Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean gives his opinion of who the Titans should work to extend and who they should wait until after next season to decide on. Wyatt wants the team to extend Jurrell Casey and Brett Kern sooner rather than later, but asks the team to show patience with some of their other veteran players.

Here are a few other stories from around the NFL:

  • The Jaguars‘ pass rush is set to be much improved in 2014, and Ryan O’Halloran of Jacksonville.com is absolutely buying into they hype. His reasoning for believing in this unit is simple. The pass rush can’t get any worse, and the key additions should be able to make a difference immediately. Although Dekoda Watson only had three sacks in 60 games for the Buccaneers, the Jaguars believe he has unique pass-rushing skills, and Chris Clemons will be able to provide some pressure as well. While Red Bryant is not known as a sack artist, his contributions in the running game will put the team in better shape on passing downs, another area where they struggled recently.
  • While there has not been a lot of positivity surrounding Saints‘ tight end Jimmy Graham since losing his grievance regarding his franchise tag, Drew Brees hasn’t forgotten Graham’s value to the league, writes Julie Boudwin of NOLA.com.Jimmy Graham has revolutionized the position,” said Brees. “He’s a guy who is so talented at so many things you know and obviously he’s a big part of our offense and I hope that they’re able to reach a long-term agreement here sooner than later. At the end of the day, this is part of the process and I think we all understand that.”
  • The Broncos had the best offense in the NFL by a wide margin in 2013, and the only pieces not returning this season are receiver Eric Decker who signed with the Jets, and tailback Knowshon Moreno who is now with the Dolphins. Even still, Sayre Bedinger of PredominantlyOrange.com has highlighted five dark horse candidates to impact the offense in 2014. His top five are tight ends Virgil Green and Gerell Robinson, rookie wideout Cody Latimer, and running backs Ronnie Hillman and C.J. Anderson.

Broncos Sign Cody Latimer, Two Others

3:50pm: Paradis has also signed his four-year deal, the team announced in a press release. The offensive lineman is the 200th of 256 total draftees to reach an agreement.

3:38pm: One of the NFL’s two teams that had yet to sign any draftees coming into the day, the Broncos have sprung into action, locking up a pair of picks and working on deals with two more. Second-round receiver Cody Latimer announced on Twitter that he has signed his rookie contract with Denver, and the club confirmed in a press release that seventh-round linebacker Corey Nelson has also inked his deal.

In addition to the pair of draftees who already signed, the Broncos are also closing in on agreements with fifth-round linebacker Lamin Barrow and sixth-round center Matt Paradis, according to Mike Klis of the Denver Post. Klis adds that the club’s other two drafted players – first-round cornerback Bradley Roby and third-round tackle Michael Schofield – are expected to complete their respective deals within the next 10 days or so.

Latimer will be in line for a signing bonus worth about $1.017MM, while Nelson’s will be a more modest $48.6K, per Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap. Now that Denver has secured two of its draftees, the Rams are the league’s only club without any draft picks under contract. As our tracker shows, only 57 players remain unsigned, and 11 of those are St. Louis’ picks.