Corey Linsley

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 12/28/20

We’ll keep track of today’s practice squad moves here:

Atlanta Falcons

Cleveland Browns

Green Bay Packers

Kansas City Chiefs

Packers Activate C Corey Linsley From IR

The Packers will have their standout center back in action Sunday night. They activated Corey Linsley from IR in advance of their key matchup against the Titans.

Linsley will end up having missed only the minimum three games because of a knee sprain. His return will be a boon to a Green Bay squad that has the inside track to earn the NFC’s lone bye.

When Linsley went down in late November, he was playing at a high level. The longtime Packers center will enter Week 16 as Pro Football Focus’ No. 1-ranked snapper — by a significant margin. In the final weeks of his second Packers contract, Linsley will now have a chance to make a final push for either an extension or a monster free agency payday.

As of last month, no extension talks had transpired between Linsley and the Packers. He joins Aaron Jones as key Packers free agents-to-be. Although the salary cap is expected to decline for only the second time in the cap era, high-level offensive linemen are coveted annually in free agency. Linsley, 29, would have a chance to top Ryan Kelly‘s new high-water salary mark for centers ($12.4MM per year) were he to reach free agency. The Packers recently authorized a record-breaking extension for left tackle David Bakhtiari.

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Packers Place C Corey Linsley On IR

While Corey Linsley required a cart to leave Lambeau Field on Sunday night, he is not believed to be out for the season. That said, the Packers will be without their starting center for some time.

Linsley’s knee sprain prompted the Packers to move him to IR on Saturday. This will be a blow to both the Packers and the contract-year blocker, who has enjoyed a strong age-29 season.

Pro Football Focus slots Linsley on a separate tier from other centers this season, grading the seventh-year Green Bay snapper as by far its No. 1 player at the position. While the Packers have versatile lineman Elgton Jenkins capable of taking over at center, this will be a setback for the team’s top-tier O-line.

Notable extension talks between the Packers and Linsley have not yet come to pass. The team recently made standout left tackle David Bakhtiari the league’s highest-paid left tackle and by far the highest-paid O-lineman in franchise history. As of now, Green Bay is projected to be more than $16MM over the reduced 2021 cap. That will complicate matters for a team that has Linsley and Aaron Jones as UFAs-to-be. Linsley signed his first Packers extension in 2017.

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Injury Updtes: Callahan, Broncos, Jones, Giants, Linsley, Packers, Hamilton, Jaguars

We’ve got a batch of next-morning injury updates to pass along. Starting in Denver, where Broncos cornerback Bryce Callahan went down with a foot injury. Unfortunately, that injury will sideline him for a “significant” amount of time, head coach Vic Fangio said Monday, via Mike Klis of Denver 9 News (Twitter link). Fangio said it was too early to tell if it would knock him out for the rest of the season, but that certainly sounds possible.

It’s a big blow for a Broncos team that has already been besieged by injuries. Callahan is an every down guy and one of their best players on defense. He’s in the second year of a three-year, $21MM deal he signed in March of 2019. He missed all of last season with a foot injury, although this new issue thankfully appears to be unrelated.

Here are some more health updates from around the league:

  • We heard last night that Giants quarterback Daniel Jones was feared to have a significant hamstring injury that could cause him to miss some time, but it sounds like things aren’t quite as bad as they seemed. Jones avoided major injury and has an “outside shot” at playing this Sunday, sources told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). It appears it won’t be anything long-term, although Colt McCoy still seems like the favorite to be under center this coming weekend against the Seahawks. Every game is pivotal for Big Blue as they jockey for position in the pitiful NFC East.
  • Packers center Corey Linsley had to be carted off with a knee injury during the team’s win over the Bears last night, and fortunately it looks like a worst case scenario was avoided. That being said he’s not entirely out of the woods, as a source told Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com that Linsley will miss some time with a knee sprain (Twitter link). Matt LaFleur told reporters he hopes Linsley can make it back for some of the regular season, but it sounds like he should at least be ready for the playoffs. Linsley has been the guy snapping balls to Aaron Rodgers for every game of the last four seasons, so this is a big loss.
  • The Jaguars fell to 1-10 yesterday, and the hits keep on coming. Rookie defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton had to be carted off against the Browns and while head coach Doug Marrone said today it wasn’t as bad as was initially thought, he’ll still be going to injured reserve with a knee issue, via Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Hamilton was the 73rd overall pick of April’s draft. The Ohio State product had been playing a big role in his first pro season, starting the last six games and playing around 60 percent of the defensive snaps.

Latest On Packers, Corey Linsley

When the Packers gave left tackle David Bakhtiari a record-setting extension last week, GM Brian Gutekunst said that he would like to extend another of his pending free agents, as Jason Wilde of the Wisconsin State Journal writes. But there are a handful of key players on expiring contracts, and though the structure of Bakhtiari’s deal could help facilitate another sizable extension, it’s unclear if Green Bay will be able to pull that off.

After all, the salary cap is expected to drop considerably in 2021, and players like RB Aaron Jones, RB Jamaal Williams, CB Kevin King, and C Corey Linsley will all be eligible for unrestricted free agency. The Packers and Jones have been discussing a new deal for some time, but nothing has come together just yet, and there have been no reports concerning extensions for Williams, King, or Linsley.

Given King’s injury history and Williams’ status as the Packers’ RB2, it would seem like Linsley would be either the team’s top priority for an extension, or else the second priority behind Jones. He is arguably the best center in football, and while he has yet to make a Pro Bowl in his career, that could certainly change this year.

The 29-year-old has a strong case to top the center market, which would mean a contract paying him around $13MM per season. Thus far, however, it doesn’t sound like any progress has been made on that front.

“I’ve had a wonderful experience, and if it continues, that’s awesome,” Linsley said. “If it doesn’t, that’s the nature of the game. There’s 31 other teams out there, so hopefully it’ll happen here or happen somewhere else. I don’t know. How I’m looking at it is, I’m just playing ball.” 

Linsley and his family make their full-time home in Green Bay, and his wife, Anna, has already begun to wonder about what a move to another city will look like, as Wilde writes. While it might be too early to order a moving van, it is certainly possible that Linsley will be suiting up for a different club in 2021.

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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.

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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

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