Corey Linsley

NFC North Notes: Diggs, Lions, Packers

There’s been a lot of drama with the Vikings this season, as their offense has once again been a disappointment. Minnesota bounced back with a big win over the Giants in Week 5, but it’s unclear if that will be enough to smooth things over. Adam Thielen publicly called out Kirk Cousins, and Stefon Diggs has made it clear he hasn’t been happy with his role. There’s been plenty of trade speculation surrounding Diggs, but it appears it’s little more than just speculation. Speaking recently on a WEEI radio appearance, Peter King of NBC Sports said he’s been told it’s “highly unlikely,” that Diggs gets dealt.

Just earlier today we heard that the Patriots were hoping to pry Diggs away, but it sounds like they’ll have to look elsewhere for receiver help. Diggs is still only 25, under contract through the 2023 season, and the Vikings don’t have any clear replacement for him on the roster, so it makes sense why they’re insistent on keeping him. Minnesota is attempting to establish a run-first identity in 2019, and Diggs has grown frustrated with his usage. The Maryland product has only topped three catches once this season, and he only has put up more than 50 yards on one occasion as well.

Here’s more from around the NFC North:

  • The Lions have been doing something pretty unusual with their offensive line this year. Instead of sticking with their five-man unit at all times for chemistry purposes, Detroit has been rotating three guards in all of their games. Graham Glasgow has been starting at right guard, Joe Dahl has been starting at left guard, and Kenny Wiggins has been mixing in for series’ here and there at both positions. The system was the idea of offensive line coach Jeff Davidson, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “There came a time, obviously in that first week (of the season that) I’m sitting here trying to agonize over who’s winning the starting job and all that stuff there,” Davidson said. “To me, it was clear who owned the starting jobs, but I also believed that Kenny Wiggins earned the right to be on the field and it’s just a way to be able to get that done also.” As Birkett points out both Glasgow and Dahl have received strong marks from Pro Football Focus, but the team doesn’t plan on changing things anytime soon. The Lions have gotten off to a better start than just about anybody expected, so it’s understandable why.
  • The Packers will be playing Detroit on Monday Night Football in a pivotal divisional game, and they’ll be a little shorthanded. We already know they’ll be without top receiver Davante Adams, but they also just ruled out starting safety Darnell Savage, who picked up an ankle injury in their win over the Cowboys. The rookie first-round pick from Maryland has been an every-down player for Green Bay, so it’s a big loss. Fortunately for them, starting center Corey Linsley has cleared the concussion protocol and will play here after leaving the Dallas game early.
  • Speaking of Monday Night Football injuries, Lions defensive tackle Mike Daniels will have to wait a bit longer for his revenge. The longtime Packer was released in July and signed with Detroit shortly after, but he’s going to miss his second straight game with a foot injury. Daniels signed a one-year, $9.1MM deal with the Lions just two days after getting cut.

Extra Points: Browns, Pryor, Jets

In a reply to on an Instagram post by Duke Johnson, Terrelle Pryor seemed to hint at having interest in returning to the Browns, as ESPN.com’s Pat McManamon writes. The Browns did express interest in reuniting with Pryor before the trade deadline, but it’s not clear whether new GM John Dorsey would want to sign him.

Pryor, who is scheduled to be a free agent in March, had a breakout season with the Browns in 2016, catching 77 passes for 1,007 yards and four touchdowns. This past year, however, he had only 20 catches for 240 yards and one score in nine games.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Jets tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins has hired Doug Hendrickson as his agent in advance of free agency, according to Manish Mehta of the Daily News (on Twitter). Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times (on Twitter) wonders if ASJ could be a fit for the Seahawks and notes that Hendrickson has gotten deals done for Michael Bennett, Marshawn Lynch, Dion Jordan, and other players in Seattle.
  • The Seahawks could be looking to replace kicker Blair Walsh and punter Jon Ryan, as Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times writes. This week, the team is meeting with kicker Jason Myers and punter Jeff Locke. Myers was with the Jaguars from 2015 through the first six games of the 2017 season. He was released after missing three pivotal field goals, though they were all from 52 yards or longer. All in all, he connected on 64-of-79 field goal attempts (81%) and 76-of-88 extra points (86.4%) in 38 games with the Jags. Locke, meanwhile, appeared in five games for Detroit.
  • Center Corey Linsley‘s new three-year deal with the Packers is worth $27.3MM and includes an $8MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Tom Silverstein of the Journal-Sentinel). His cap numbers are: $3.85MM in 2017, $4.85MM in ’18, $8.15MM in ’19, and $10.5MM in ’20.

Packers Sign Corey Linsley To Extension

A day after signing wideout Davante Adams to an extension, the Packers have locked up another key impending free agent. The team announced this morning that they’ve signed center Corey Linsley to a contract extension. Mike Garafolo of NFL Network tweets that it’s a three-year, $25.5MM deal for the lineman.

Corey Linsley (Vertical)Linsley has started each of the 53 games he’s played in since entering the league as a fifth-round pick in 2014. The Ohio State product has played a significant role in the Packers’ successful running game in 2017, which ranks fifth in the NFL in yards per carry (4.52). Despite Green Bay’s success, Pro Football Focus hasn’t been particularly fond of his performance, ranking him 23rd among 37 eligible center candidates. However, over the previous three years, Linsley has earned an above-average grade.

Despite PFF’s underwhelming grade, Linsley still earned a relatively lucrative contract extension. The $25.5MM contract value and $8.5MM average annual salary will both rank ninth among centers. With both Linsley and Adams locked up, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets that the Packers will shift their focus to extending quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Packers, OL Corey Linsley Talking Extension

The Packers are negotiating an extension with center Corey Linsley, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (Twitter link).Corey Linsley (Vertical)

[RELATED: Packers Sign DL Quinton Dial]

Linsley, a fifth-round pick in 2014, started 16 games during his rookie campaign, but split time with fellow interior lineman J.C. Tretter over the past two seasons. After being activated off the physically unable to perform list last November, Linsley started Green Bay’s remaining nine regular season contests. With Tretter out of the picture after signing a free agent deal with the Browns, Linsley is the Packers’ clear primary option at the pivot.

While Green Bay has let Tretter, Josh Sitton, and T.J. Lang depart from its offensive line over the past two years, the club has also paid up from time to time. Both of the club’s tackles — David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga — are on long-term deals, while guard Lane Taylor received a three-year extension earlier this week.

Entering his age-26 campaign, Linsley will earn a base salary of $1.797MM in 2017 after qualifying for the proven performance escalator.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2017 Proven Performance Escalators

According to the NFL’s contractual bargaining agreement, players drafted in rounds three though seven are entitled to raises during the fourth year of their respective rookie contracts. The pay bumps are tied to playing time — a player must have played in 35% of his team’s offensive or defensive snaps in two of his first three seasons, or averaged 35% playing time cumulatively during that period.Donte Moncrief (Vertical)

If one of these thresholds is met, the player’s salary is elevated to the level of that year’s lowest restricted free agent tender — that figure should be around $1.8MM in 2017. Players selected in the first or second round, undrafted free agents, and kickers/punters are ineligible for the proven performance escalator.

Here are the players who will see their salary rise in 2017 courtesy of the proven performance escalator:

49ers: Aaron Lynch, LB; Marcus Martin, OL

Bears: Charles Leno, T; Will Sutton, DT

Bengals: Russell Bodine, C

Bills: Preston Brown, LB; Seantrel Henderson, T

Broncos: Michael Schofield, OL

Browns: Christian Kirksey, LB

Buccaneers: Kevin Pamphile, G

Cardinals: John Brown, WR

Chiefs: Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, G; Zach Fulton, G; Phillip Gaines, CB

Colts: Donte Moncrief, WR

Cowboys: Anthony Hitchens, LB

Falcons: Devonta Freeman, RB

Giants: Devon Kennard, LB

Jaguars: Aaron Colvin, CB; Brandon Linder, G; Telvin Smith, LB

Lions: Nevin Lawson, CB; Travis Swanson, C

Packers: Corey Linsley, C; Richard Rodgers, TE

Panthers: Tre Boston, S; Trai Turner, G

Raiders: T.J. Carrie, CB; Justin Ellis, DT; Gabe Jackson, G

Rams: Maurice Alexander, S; E.J. Gaines, CB

Redskins: Bashaud Breeland, CB; Spencer Long, G; Morgan Moses, T

Texans: C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE; Andre Hal, S

Titans: DaQuan Jones, DL; Avery Williamson, LB

Vikings: Shamar Stephen, DT

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Packers Activate Corey Linsley

The Packers offensive line will receive some reinforcement for this weekend’s game against the Colts. According to NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo (via Twitter), the team has activated center Corey Linsley from Corey Linsleythe physically unable to perform list. ESPN’s Rob Demovsky tweets that the 25-year-old will start for the Packers tomorrow.

Linsley, a fifth-round pick in 2014, has spent his entire three-year career with the Packers, and the 25-year-old has started all of his 29 NFL appearances. As a rookie, Linsley filled in for an injured J.C. Tretter at center, and the lineman didn’t relinquish the job over the next two season. The lineman was placed on the PUP in early September after tearing his hamstring twice.

Tretter had done an admirable job filling in for Linsley, as the 25-year-old ranks as the league’s fifth-best center according to Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics (subscription required). The Packers offensive line has also allowed the fewest rushing yards in the league, although they’ve allowed a mediocre 19 sacks through seven games.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Issues Performance-Based Bonuses

The NFL has announced and issued its performance-based pay bonuses for the 2014 season, according to a press release from the league. The bonuses, which are based on a player’s playing time relative to his salary level, come from a pool of $3.633MM per team. Here are the top performance-based pay amounts for the past season:

  1. Seantrel Henderson, T (Bills): $373,671
  2. Corey Linsley, C (Packers): $339,566
  3. Russell Bodine, C (Bengals): $318,612
  4. Avery Williamson, LB (Titans): $315,120
  5. E.J. Gaines, DB (Rams): $308,338
  6. Zach Fulton, G (Chiefs): $303,352
  7. Kelvin Beachum, T (Steelers): $297,687
  8. Preston Brown, LB (Bills): $293,179
  9. Michael Wilhoite, LB (49ers): $292,406
  10. Paul Worrilow, LB (Falcons): $287,413

Draft Signings: Chiefs, Cards, Texans, Cowboys

We’ve already rounded up several draft pick signings a couple times today, but with teams and players motivated to hammer out deals, there are another handful of updates to pass along this afternoon. Let’s dive right in….

  • The Chiefs have locked up third-round cornerback Phillip Gaines, his reps tell ESPN.com’s Adam Caplan (Twitter link). Meanwhile, ESPN.com’s James Walker reports (via Twitter) that fourth-rounder De’Anthony Thomas has also signed with Kansas City. According to Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com, Gaines should receive a signing bonus worth about $549K, while Thomas’ will be worth around $420K.
  • The Cardinals have agreed to terms with third-round pick Kareem Martin, a source tells Caplan (Twitter link). That would make Martin the first Arizona draftee to sign so far.
  • After signing Ben Gardner earlier today, the Cowboys have agreed to terms with two more draftees, according to Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, who writes that seventh-round linebacker Will Smith has agreed to his deal, and tweets that seventh-round cornerback Terrance Mitchell has done the same.
  • The Texans have agreed to terms with quarterback Tom Savage, tweets John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. Houston’s fourth-round pick will be in line for a bonus of just over $300K, according to Fitzgerald.
  • A couple agents broke their clients’ own news this afternoon, with Mike McCartney tweeting that Princeton DT Caraun Reid has signed his contract with the Lions, while Blake Baratz announced (via Twitter) that sixth-rounder Zach Moore is the first draftee to sign with the Patriots.
  • The Colts have signed sixth-round linebacker Andrew Jackson, the team announced today in a press release.
  • According to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter), the Packers have signed fifth-round pick Corey Linsley. Linsley’s signing bonus should be worth $185K, based on Fitzgerald’s figures at OTC.
  • The Seahawks have signed Kiero Small to his rookie contract, a source tells Curtis Crabtree of KJR in Seattle. The seventh-round fullback is the second of nine Seahawks draft picks to sign.
  • The Texans and Eagles have signed seventh-rounders, according to various reports. Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston has the details on Texans cornerback Andre Hal, while Geoff Mosher of CSNPhilly.com tweets the new on Eagles defensive tackle Beau Allen.