Damien Williams

2020 NFL Opt Out Tracker

Per an agreement between the NFL and the NFLPA, players with COVID-19 health concerns can opt out of the 2020 season. Initially, the deadline was believed to be Tuesday, August 4. Talks between the league and the union have pushed it to August 6.

Chiefs guard and medical school graduate Laurent Duvernay-Tardif was the first player to officially opt out. Scores of players followed.

Here’s the rundown, so far:

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • T Brad Seaton

Tennessee Titans

  • OL Anthony McKinney

Washington Football Team

Free agents

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chiefs RB Damien Williams Opts Out

The Chiefs will lose another starter from their Super Bowl champion team to an opt-out decision. Damien Williams informed the team he will not play this season.

This news follows longtime Kansas City guard starter Laurent Duvernay-Tardif‘s decision, which preceded several players’ choices to bypass 2020 amid COVID-19 concerns. Williams became the Chiefs’ starting running back shortly after the team waived Kareem Hunt in 2018. He was again set for a key role this season.

Williams, 28, delivered an inconsistent regular season; the Chiefs ranked 23rd in rushing offense. But the former Dolphins backup again produced in the playoffs. Williams scored six playoff touchdowns and had the best non-Patrick Mahomes claim to the Super Bowl LIV MVP award after totaling 133 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns. He scored four TDs in the 2018 postseason.

Kansas City, however, has some interesting options in its backfield. First-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire will now be on track to start this season. The LSU product was one of college football’s most difficult tackling assignments last season and will join a high-powered Chiefs offense — one now in need of a starting running back. Edwards-Helaire is the only running back an Andy Reid-led team has selected in Round 1 during the future Hall of Fame coach’s 21 years as a head coach. The Chiefs also have young backs Darwin Thompson and Darrel Williams as options beyond Edwards-Helaire.

Williams’ contract ran through 2020. He was to make $1.85MM in base salary this season on a deal that will now toll to 2021.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Fine Updates: Simmons, Fisher, Williams, Bosa

The NFL will not fine Titans defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons for conduct during Tennessee’s 28-12 victory in the divisional playoff round, according to Jamison Hensley of ESPN. After the contest, Ravens offensive guard Marshal Yanda accused Simmons of spitting on him during the contest. Per Hensley, the NFL found no evidence to substantiate those claims.

For what it’s worth, Simmons did not deny spitting on Yanda when he was asked about it on Wednesday. Had the NFL prooved that Simmons had indeed spit in his opponent’s face, he would have been subject to an unsportsmanlike conduct fine of $14,037.

A few other players were unable to avoid hits to their checkbooks:

  • Chiefs offensive tackle Eric Fisher went viral online after he celebrated by pouring beer over himself during Kansas City’s divisional round victory over the Texans. While the NFL shared Fisher’s celebration on its official Twitter account, it appears the NFL’s marketers and executors of the codes of conduct are not on the same page. Fisher was fined $14,037 by the league on Saturday, when the league announced this week’s round of fines, according to Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk.
  • Fisher was not the lone Chiefs player to receive a fine for a celebration, running back Damien Williams received a $10,527 fine for taunting, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com. After he scored his third touchdown in last week’s game, he placed the ball directly in front of a Texan defensive lineman, which cost the team a fifteen-yard penalty and now will cost Williams more than ten thousand dollars.
  • Defensive end Nick Bosa was fined $28,025 for an illegal blindside block in the 49ers 27-10 victory over the Vikings in last week’s divisional round, according to Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk. Normally a defensive player would not be subject to such a fine, but after his defensive teammate, Richard Sherman, intercepted one of Kirk Cousins passes, Bosa got overzealous in a block on offensive tackle Brian O’Neill that forced O’Neill to leave the game for a couple of series.

AFC West Notes: Chiefs, Raiders, Leary

Let’s take a quick look at the AFC West, beginning with the division’s three-time reigning champion on the eve of a rather important game.

  • The Chiefs‘ New England visits over the past two seasons have included monster stat lines from their running back corps. While the player responsible for most of that production (Kareem Hunt) is long gone, the Chiefs will also be without starter Damien Williams for Sunday’s Patriots game. Kansas City’s Hunt successor remains out due to a rib injury, set to miss a second straight game. The Chiefs placed Darrel Williams on IR earlier this week and will take a LeSean McCoySpencer WareDarwin Thompson contingent to Foxborough.
  • Set for perhaps a do-or-die game, regarding their playoff aspirations, the Raiders will do so without their largest player. Trent Brown will miss Sunday’s game against the Titans with a pectoral injury. Second-year player Brandon Parker will start at right tackle. A second-round pick, Parker made 12 starts as a rookie but was replaced when the Raiders doled out a record contract for Brown.
  • When Jon Gruden pulled Derek Carr during a blowout loss against the Jets, Mike Glennon took the snaps. Should Carr go down or be benched again this season, that would not be the case. The Raiders promoted DeShone Kizer to their backup spot, Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area Notes. Kizer has been Oakland’s QB3 this season, inactive each game. He will suit up as a Raider for the first time, displacing Glennon in that role. The Raiders claimed Kizer, the Browns’ primary 2017 starter and a Packers backup last season, shortly after roster cutdown day.
  • Ronald Leary‘s 12 games this season represent his most with the Broncos, but Denver will have a new right guard Sunday. A concussion will sideline Leary and move Austin Schlottman into the starting lineup, per Mike Klis of 9News. A UDFA out of TCU, Schlottman spent last season on Denver’s practice squad and has played 10 NFL snaps. Leary will exit Week 14 having missed 16 games during his three-year Broncos tenure and looms as a cap-casualty candidate next year. The Broncos can save nearly $9MM by cutting the soon-to-be 31-year-old blocker, who has one season remaining on his contract.

West Rumors: Clowney, 49ers, Chiefs

Jadeveon Clowney returned to practice Friday, and Pete Carroll expects his top defensive end to play against the Vikings. But it looks like the former No. 1 overall pick will have to battle some pain the rest of the way. The Seahawks defender practiced for the first time since suffering a core muscle injury, and Tom Pelissero of NFL.com notes (via Twitter) the sixth-year defender believes he can put off surgery until the offseason. But another surgery appears likely for Clowney, who missed all of the Texans’ 2018 offseason program because of a knee surgery. He also underwent microfracture surgery earlier in his career. While this core issue likely will not impact Clowney’s potential free agency much, his ability to play through this malady should be something to monitor for the rest of this season.

Here is the latest from around the NFL:

  • Joe Staley missed last week’s 49ers blowout because of a broken finger, but the veteran left tackle returned to practice Friday and worked through a limited practice Saturday. Staley has only played in three games this season, missing most of San Francisco’s resurgence with a broken leg. He’s questionable to face the Ravens.
  • Sunday’s marquee game will not include Dee Ford, who remains out with a quad and hamstring injuries. Boasting one of the deepest defensive lines in recent NFL history, the 49ers are uniquely covered on this front. Ford’s stretch run, though, could be pivotal to his future. The 49ers signed the ex-Chief to a frontloaded deal that does not contain any guaranteed money after this season.
  • The Chiefs have not enjoyed much backfield consistency this season, and that trend will continue Sunday. Starter Damien Williams will miss the Raiders rematch with a rib injury, leaving LeSean McCoy and second-year back Darrel Williams set to man the backfield in Kansas City.
  • Drew Lock is now on the Broncos’ active roster. The second-round rookie has been out for more than three months due to a thumb injury.
  • Although the Cardinals have yet to approach Patrick Peterson about another extension, the All-Pro cornerback would welcome such discussions.

AFC Rumors: Chiefs, Colts, Burfict, Allen

Although Tyreek Hill returned to practice this week, the Chiefs‘ offense will continue to operate without its premier wide receiver Sunday. The Chiefs ruled out Hill, but Damien Williams is expected to return to action, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Kansas City’s starting running back missed the past two games with a knee injury, leading to LeSean McCoy and second-year back Darrel Williams splitting time in the backfield. Damien Williams amassed 154 scrimmage yards and scored in the Chiefs’ divisional-round win over the Colts last season. Signs point to Hill returning in Week 6.

Shifting first to the team traveling to Missouri for this week’s Sunday-nighter, here’s the AFC’s latest:

  • Darius Leonard will miss his third consecutive game due to a concussion. Both Colts starting safeties will be out, with Clayton Geathers (concussion) joining Malik Hooker on the mend. Hooker is recovering from a knee injury. T.Y. Hilton got in a second straight limited practice, putting Indianapolis’ top wideout in line to return, but rookie receiver Parris Campbell underwent a procedure on his knee and will be out for an unknown time period, Mike Wells of ESPN.com notes. Campbell has played in each Colts game this season but missed preseason time with a hamstring malady.
  • The Bengals were expected to take their lumps this season. The Broncos‘ 0-4 start has surprised. But executives around the league are not anticipating a firesale for either franchise. “I agree they absolutely should be shopping players (ahead of the Oct. 29 trade deadline), but I have my doubts,” an NFL exec told CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora. “We’re applying reason and logic, but I’m not sure those teams will fully embrace what needs to be done.” Denver, which did trade Demaryius Thomas before last season’s deadline, has standouts from its previous Super Bowl team on expiring contracts — Chris Harris and Emmanuel Sanders. The Bengals house veterans A.J. Green, Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap. But Green is still recovering from injury and the latter two are early into 2018 extensions.
  • Josh Allen logged a full practice Friday, putting the Bills‘ starter on a path toward returning Sunday against the Titans. Allen suffered a concussion against the Patriots. Matt Barkley would start if the Bills, who have a Week 6 bye, play it safe with their offensive centerpiece.
  • Vontaze Burfict faces a rest-of-the-season suspension that could well end his career. The polarizing Raiders linebacker’s appeal is scheduled for Tuesday, and ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler tweets his argument will be based around the lack of precedent for a 13-week suspension ensuing because of one hit. However, the NFL said in its letter to the oft-suspended linebacker this ban was issued for a pattern of on-field decisions, rather than merely his collision with Jack Doyle. This considered, Burfict’s argument may not be successful.

Injury Roundup: Hilton, Lions, Bolts, Rams

It’s looking like the Colts‘ passing attack will have to operate without its top weapon Sunday. T.Y. Hilton drew a doubtful designation on Indianapolis’ Friday injury report. He did not practice all week. The eighth-year wideout left the Colts’ Week 3 win with a quadriceps injury, and although the Raiders enter Week 4 ranked 30th in pass defense DVOA, the Colts went 0-2 without Hilton last season. They are already down previous starter Devin Funchess, who sits on IR. The Colts also ruled Darius Leonard out for a second straight week. The All-Pro linebacker remains in concussion protocol.

Here is the latest from the Week 4 injury front:

  • Matthew Stafford popped up on the Lions‘ injury report Friday; he’s listed as questionable with a hip malady. While Stafford should be expected to play, given that he’s played through injuries in recent years and holds the league’s third-longest active start streak among QBs with 131, this is a less-than-ideal scenario going into a key inter-conference matchup with the Chiefs. Rookie UDFA David Blough has been Stafford’s backup this season, though Jeff Driskel is now on Detroit’s 53-man roster.
  • That matchup will not include Chiefs starting running back Damien Williams, who will miss a second straight game with a knee ailment. LeSean McCoy put together two full practices this week and will likely team up with Darrel Williams, as he did last week, in Detroit.
  • Good news for the Rams‘ offense. Sean McVay said both Austin Blythe and Tyler Higbee will be available against the Buccaneers on Sunday, per Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Blythe missed Los Angeles’ Week 3 game with a sprained ankle, while Higbee has been sidelined with a lung contusion.
  • Another Chargers game will unfold without their primary kicker option. The Bolts ruled out Michael Badgley for a fourth straight contest. Punter Ty Long‘s multipurpose afternoons will continue. Long made both of his field goal tries last week after missing two in Week 2.
  • Additionally for the Bolts, they will be without Mike Williams. He’s been declared out with a back injury. Travis Benjamin will head to Miami as doubtful to play, meaning Dontrelle Inman and Geremy Davis stand as the Chargers’ only two healthy auxiliary wideouts. This marks Williams’ second injury of the season. A knee problem plagued the third-year target earlier this month but did not force him to miss any time.
  • The Vikings‘ No. 2-ranked rushing attack will be tested in Chicago this week, and right guard starter Josh Kline will not play a part in the NFC North contest. The free agent acquisition will miss Sunday’s game with a concussion that kept him out of practice this week. This will end Kline’s 49-start streak. Veteran Dakota Dozier will start, per Mark Craig of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Dozier has started eight games in his six-season career, which included a Week 2 start in place of Pat Elflein.

Chiefs Damien Williams Ruled Out For Week 3

Damien Williams has been ruled out for the Chiefs‘ Week 3 contest against the Ravens, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (Twitter link). The running back suffered a knee injury during last week’s battle against the Raiders.

Kansas City is dealing with a bevy of injuries, including LT Eric Fisher and WR Tyreek Hill. LeSean McCoy is nursing an ankle injury but is expected to play.

While McCoy is expected to carry a heavier load, Darwin Thompson could see action as well. Darrell Williams, who played a role for the Chiefs last postseason is also a candidate to earn touches.

Chiefs Notes: Hill, Fisher, Williams, McCoy

Tyreek Hill‘s three-year, $54MM Chiefs extension comes with a host of conditions that protect the team, and more Chiefs-friendly stipulations in the controversial wide receiver’s deal have come to light. The All-Pro talent received $22MM-plus in full guarantees, but this contract would allow the Chiefs to void those if any additional trouble comes Hill’s way, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports. Were Hill to be suspended or placed on the commissioner’s exempt list at any point, his guarantees will void. Hill’s fully guaranteed figure ranks behind 11 wideouts’, including Sammy Watkins‘ $30MM.

The Chiefs have made this a year-to-year proposition, with Hill’s deal calling for league-minimum base salaries from 2019-21. The bulk of this deal’s money stands to come via bonuses. Hill has a $15.2MM roster bonus for the 2020 season, but JLC notes that money is not due until February 2021 — near the end of the 2020 league year. This would allow the team to avoid that bonus payment, should Hill encounter more off-field issues. The same structure is in place in 2021, with a $9.75MM roster bonus due in February 2022. The Chiefs hold an option for Hill’s 2022 season.

Hill pleaded guilty to striking his pregnant girlfriend, Crystal Espinal, while at Oklahoma State and fell to the fifth round as a result. The Chiefs were set to negotiate what would almost certainly have been a more player-friendly deal in March of this year, but Hill’s ensuing trouble (for which he was not suspended) sidetracked those plans and led to this complex contract.

Here is the latest out of Kansas City:

  • Eric Fisher will miss his first start in six years on Sunday. The Chiefs left tackle underwent core muscle surgery this week in Philadelphia, Adam Teicher of ESPN.com tweets. Fisher, who suffered a groin injury in practice last week but started against the Raiders, will miss Sunday’s game against the Ravens and likely more time as he recovers. He has not been placed on IR. Cam Erving will start at left tackle against the Ravens, though Andy Reid has said standout right tackle Mitchell Schwartz could move to the left edge if need be. The 2013 No. 1 overall pick, Fisher has not missed a start since his rookie season.
  • Damien Williams has now missed two practices with a knee injury, pointing to either a Week 3 absence or a game-time decision. Making matters more complicated for the three-time defending AFC West champions, LeSean McCoy is also battling an injury. Shady is dealing with ankle trouble and did not practice Wednesday. He looks to have a better chance of playing Sunday, however. The Chiefs have Darrel Williams and rookie Darwin Thompson on their roster as well.
  • The Chiefs are one of a few teams that have made “substantive inquiries” on Jalen Ramsey.

AFC West Rumors: Chargers, Chiefs, Brown

The Chargers are holding firm on their approximate $10MM-per-year offer to Melvin Gordon, and the fifth-year running back moved to request a trade. But with the market for running backs not exactly booming, the Bolts do not appear to believe they will get the value they would seek in a trade, Albert Breer of SI.com notes (on Twitter). This is understandable, given the state of the running back position’s state in the modern game and Gordon’s injury history. He has missed time due to maladies in three of his four seasons, including 2018. Chargers backup Austin Ekeler led the team last season with 5.2 yards per carry (on 106 totes); the third-year back and 2018 seventh-rounder Justin Jackson sit atop the Bolts’ depth chart without Gordon.

Here is the latest from the AFC West, first moving to the divisional kingpin’s running back situation.

  • A hamstring injury has shelved Chiefs RB1 Damien Williams throughout the team’s training camp, and it has created some uncertainty about who will primarily line up behind Patrick Mahomes. “I can’t tell you exactly when,” Andy Reid said, via the Kansas City Star’s Blair Kerkhoff, of Williams’ potential return. “He’s missed quite a bit, missed a lot of plays but it’s been great for the other guys. Carlos has done a nice job. He’s getting a lot of reps and he’s taking advantage of them.” The Chiefs signed Hyde to a one-year, $2.6MM deal this offseason. Williams is attached to a two-year, $5.1MM contract.
  • Despite Antonio Brown‘s trip to see a Bay Area foot specialist, the Raiders wide receiver remains categorized as “day to day,” Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The 10th-year wideout has yet to go through a full Raiders training camp practice.
  • Russell Okung‘s uncertain situation has led the Chargers to try guard Forrest Lamp at left tackle, Breer tweets. Lamp has not yet lived up to his second-round draft status, seeing a rookie-year ACL tear impact his career. However, the third-year guard may have a future at tackle. Although, that would leave Los Angeles’ guard group thinner. The Bolts are experimenting with various personnel up front, arguably their weakest area.
  • The Broncos placed Billy Winn on IR this weekend and did so because of a torn tendon in his arm, Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post tweets. A veteran defensive lineman, Wynn was attempting to play in his first regular-season game since 2016.