David Andrews

AFC Notes: Dolphins, Grimes, Gordon, Hali, Ford, Stanley, Pats Injuries

The Dolphins season has taken a dive in recent weeks. After starting the year 4-2, the team has lost control of the final AFC Wild Card spot, losing their past three games by a combined 67 points, thanks to blowout defeats at the hands of the Ravens and Panthers. However, while their reliance on Jay Cutler and midseason trade of Jay Ajayi have’t helped, Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald opines that the secondary has been one of the major reasons why the Dolphins are not in position to be playoff contenders, particularly in regards to loss of Brent Grimes when the franchise opted to cut him before the 2016 season.

Beasley explains that the front office decided to move on from the veteran cornerback because his age, salary, 2015 performance and even his wife’s antics, but in hindsight the team misses Grimes’ steady contributions. The 34 year-old corner will face his former team for the first time since they let him walk this Sunday. Since his release, the Dolphins have failed to rectify the position with the likes of Byron Maxwell, Tony Lippett, Xavien Howard and Cordrea Tankersley. While Howard and Tankersley are still young, both aren’t guys you can lean on during a playoff run. In comparison, Grimes has played more like a middle of the pack corner this season , grading out as the 60th best corner in the league, according to Pro Football Focus. Still, in Beasley’s opinion the way the team has handled their defensive back situation has been a dud all around over the past few years.

  • Josh Gordon is back at the Browns practice facility and he has made a positive impression on head coach Hue Jackson, according to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal (Twitter link). Ulrich passes along that the second-year Cleveland head coach has stated that the wideout has been “involved” and is a “pleasure to be around”. The Browns reporter also states that Jackson expects the talented reciever to be back on the practice field on November 20. Still just 26 years old, Gordon last played for the team in 2014, and has since been suspended from the league for multiple drug violations. The former high supplemental draft pick will be a restricted free agent in 2018, so he needs to make the most of every opportunity to impress the coaching staff if he wants a real chance to continue his playing career.
  • The Chiefs will be without two key pass rushers when they travel to New Jersey to take on the Giants this Sunday. Both Dee Ford and Tamba Hali have been ruled out for the contest, according to Adam Teicher of ESPN.com (Twitter link). This is particularly interesting development in the case of Hali because the team took the cautious approach to resting him by putting him on the PUP before the start of the regular season. However, he remains on the sideline despite being placed back on the active roster. Kansas City will lean on Frank Zombo with these pass rush specialists unavailable. Getting to the quarterback has been an issue for the team, as the Chiefs currently rank in the bottom half of the league in terms of sacks, racking up just a combined 19.0 through ten weeks.
  • The Ravens have already lost their best offensive lineman for the year in Marshal Yanda and have another troubling injury situation unfolding regarding left tackle Ronnie Stanley. Even after a bye, the second-year lineman is doubtful to play with a concussion, tweets Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. Obviously, all concussions should be taken seriously, but his absence should be a concern considering that Baltimore has really had to shakeup their protection for Joe Flacco with the injuries to Yanda and second-year guard Alex Lewis. James Hurst would likely get the start in place of Stanley, which is a significant downgrade for a team that is looking to gain momentum in securing the final AFC wild card spot over the last seven weeks of the regular season.
  • The Patriots will be without two starting offensive lineman of their own when they travel to Mexico City to take on the Raiders on Sunday afternoon. Both center David Andrews (illness) and right tackle Marcus Cannon (ankle) have been ruled out, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Backup lineman Ted Karras got some snaps at center during last week’s blowout of the Broncos and the team has reserve tackles in Cameron Fleming and LaAdrian Waddle who could fill in at right tackle. Bill Belichick and co. will also be without Chris Hogan and special teams ace Matt Slater, so the team has to overcome more than just new surroundings to get out of Mexico with their eighth win of the year.

 

Extra Points: Pats, Packers, Vikes, Panthers

NFL owners passed a resolution today that will no longer allow clubs to block prospective general manager candidates from interviewing elsewhere simply because the new role doesn’t come with final 53-man roster authority, reports Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com (Twitter link). Earlier today, the league’s owners also voted to eliminate the 75-man roster cutdown and allow teams to bring two players — instead of only one — off the injured reserve list during the season. One rule change that wasn’t voted on: granting clubs a roster exemption for players who’ve suffered a concussion, per Ben Volin of Boston Globe (Twitter link), who adds that proposal could be reintroduced next year.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Packers are working out former Texas Southern wide receiver Derrick Griffin today, tweets Mark Berman of FOX 26. Griffin was a two-sport athlete during his collegiate days, but was dismissed from the football team and left the basketball in order to prepare for the NFL draft, as Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reported earlier this year. Griffin, who stands 6’6″, 240 pounds, auditioned for the Texans during their local prospect day and also landed a tryout at the Vikings’ rookie minicamp. Green Bay drafted two wideouts — Purdue’s DeAngelo Yancey and LSU’s Malachi Dupre — and also added two undrafted pass-catchers.
  • Offensive lineman David Andrews‘ three-year, $9MM extension with the Patriots contains $2.1MM ($700K annually) in playing time incentives) that can bring the maximum value of the deal to $11.1MM, according to Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap. The pact also contains a $1.6MM signing bonus — the only fully guaranteed portion of the contract — plus per-game roster bonuses of $300K in 2017 and $400K in 2018-2020. Andrews’ extension places him within the top half of the league’s highest-paid centers.
  • The NFLPA is advising members of the Vikings‘ rookie class to not sign their contract until certain procedural language is cleared up, reports Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press. While Minnesota maintains that it’s offering standard rookie deals with no changes from years prior, the players’ union is concerned with language dealing with offsets and anti-tampering. None of the 11-member Vikings class is under contract, but they’re each participating in offseason activities after signing protective waivers.
  • Now that former assistant general manager Brandon Beane has taken the reins in Buffalo, the Panthers have restructured their scouting staff, as the club announced Monday. Mark Koncz is Carolina’s new director player personnel, Jeff Morrow is the new director of college scouting, and Matt Allen has been named the team’s new director of pro personnel. Meanwhile, Don Gregory, who was reportedly on the Bills’ general manager candidate list, is now a senior executive scout who will work in both the pro and college arenas.

Patriots, David Andrews Agree To Extension

The Patriots and center David Andrews have agreed to a contract extension that will keep him with the team through the 2020 season, tweets Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. Michael Giardi of CSNNE first reported (on Twitter) that an extension was on the way for Andrews, who had been slated to become a restricted free agent next offseason. The three-year extension will be worth up to $11MM with a base value of $9MM, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL.com, Giardi, and Reiss (Twitter link).

David Andrews

The 24-year-old Andrews is one of seemingly countless under-the-radar pickups that have worked out well for the Bill Belichick-led Patriots, who signed the ex-Georgia Bulldog as an undrafted free agent in 2015. Andrews ousted Bryan Stork to become the Patriots’ primary option at center as a rookie, starting 11 of 14 games, and then served as the Super Bowl champions’ No. 1 for all of last season. Appearing in each of the Patriots’ 16 regular-season games, Andrews earned solid marks from Pro Football Focus, which ranked his performance 22nd among 38 qualified centers.

Thanks in part to Andrews’ extension, 80 percent of New England’s starting offensive line is under contract for at least the next two seasons. The lone exception is left tackle Nate Solder, who’s scheduled to become a free agent next March.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Notes: JPP, Kerley, Andrews

One thing that has become apparent in the Jason Pierre-Paul drama is that the team and the player have very different ideas about JPP’s health and his ability to take the field. As NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets, if the Giants and Pierre-Paul remain divided, an independent doctor could wind up making the final call.

As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes, that would only happen if Pierre-Paul files a grievance against the team for failing to agree that he’s ready to play. Florio says that JPP could sign his franchise tender and then file the grievance. At that point, if an independent doctor clears Pierre-Paul, the Giants would be forced to take him back. Of course, JPP could also file the grievance without signing the franchise tender. If he were to then receive clearance from an independent doctor, the Giants could rescind his tender, thereby allowing Pierre-Paul to seek his fortunes elsewhere.

In a separate piece, Florio opines that the best way for Big Blue and its star pass rusher to resolve the matter is to agree on a new contract for 2015 that pays Pierre-Paul a reduced amount per week with the ability to make up the difference based on performance. The team could also agree to not use the franchise tag again in 2016. As of yet, however, there have been no publicized talks of such a resolution, and the stalemate continues.

Let’s take a look at a few more links from the league’s east divisions:

  • Aside from Pierre-Paul’s long-term outlook in the NFL and the possible outcomes of his contract negotiations with the Giants, Ebenezer Samuel of The New York Daily News says JPP must also solve the challenges of the weight room. Samuel details how JPP’s injury will force him to adapt his approach to his usual training regimen, and although he should be able to get himself into good enough shape to perform well, experts are skeptical that he will be able to return to his old self.
  • Jeremy Kerley‘s role on offense has all but disappeared, and Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com believes the Jets should look to trade the player who has become little more than a high-priced punt returner. Cimini lists the Cowboys as a logical trade partner, but he notes that Kerley’s contract could be a major obstacle to any trade talks. Kerley’s $2MM base salary this year is guaranteed, and beyond 2015, he has three years and $9MM remaining on the deal he signed last fall.
  • Rookie David Andrews, whom the Patriots signed as an undrafted free agent in May, was the only player outside of Tom Brady to play every offensive snap in the team’s Week 1 win against Pittsburgh. Adam Kurkjian of The Boston Herald details Andrews’ journey to this point and what the future may hold for the promising young center.

East Notes: Brady, Giants, G. Smith

Lawyers for the NFL and NFLPA are meeting today for more settlement talks regarding Tom Brady‘s situation, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Judge Richard M. Berman wants the two sides to compromise and reach a settlement, but Brady can’t concede to the NFL’s terms without committing perjury, argues Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports.

As Robinson explains, the league wants the Patriots quarterback to admit guilt, but Brady testified under oath that he was innocent. So if a settlement is to be reached, the NFL will likely have to give more ground than Brady and the NFLPA to make it happen.

Here’s more on the Brady situation, along with several more notes from out of the East divisions:

  • Judge Berman has made next Wednesday’s settlement conference optional for Brady and commissioner Roger Goodell, and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk thinks the judge may be trying to discern whether Goodell and Brady view the case as sufficiently important to attend the meeting.
  • Free agent guard Evan Mathis may be on the verge of signing with an NFL team, according to a recent report, but Dan Graziano of ESPNNewYork.com (on Twitter) says he doesn’t think it’ll be the Giants, since he doesn’t believe they’re interested.
  • Graziano (on Twitter) also doesn’t see Jason Pierre-Paul staying with the Giants beyond 2015.
  • Geno Smith and IK Enemkpali are both to blame for the unrest in the Jets‘ locker room, Kristian Dyer of Metro NY writes. Meanwhile, Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link) suggests there’s a belief that Smith lacks respect within the Jets organization and may have been on his way to losing the starting job even before his injury. The quarterback underwent surgery today and had plates and screws put in, though his jaw won’t be wired shut, per Brian Costello of the New York Post (Twitter link).
  • Don’t blame Jets coach Todd Bowles for the Smith-Enemkpali smackdown and the recent Sheldon Richardson transgressions, but start judging him now, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com writes. How Bowles handles the team’s latest road bumps will determine what type of coach he becomes for the Jets.
  • Undrafted center David Andrews out of Georgia is a top candidate among the Patriots‘ four UDFAs to land a roster spot, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com tweets.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Pats Sign Seven Draftees, Seven UDFAs

The Patriots announced the signings of a number of rookies today, announcing in a press release that they’ve signed eight of their 11 draft picks, and another seven undrafted free agents. Two of those draft picks – fourth-rounder Tre’ Jackson and seventh-rounder Xzavier Dickson – had their deals previously reported, but six of the names are new, and Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun tweets that a ninth draftee has signed his contract as well.

The following picks have signed their contracts, per the team and Wilson:

  • Jordan Richards, DB (second round)
  • Geneo Grissom, DE (third round)
  • Trey Flowers, DE (fourth round)
  • Shaq Mason, OL (fourth round)
  • Matthew Wells, OLB (sixth round)
  • A.J. Derby, TE (sixth round)
  • Darryl Roberts, CB (seventh round)

Of New England’s 11 draft picks, only first-rounder Malcom Brown and fifth-round long snapper Joe Cardona remain unsigned. In addition to locking up most of their draft class, the Pats have formally inked seven undrafted free agents to deals. Here are those players:

  • David Andrews, C, Georgia
  • Devin Gardner, WR, Michigan ($5K bonus, plus $10K guaranteed salary, per Dave Birkett)
  • Chris Harper, WR, California ($15K bonus, plus $5K guaranteed salary, per Aaron Wilson)
  • Jimmy Jean, DB, Alabama-Birmingham
  • Brandon King, DB, Auburn
  • Eric Patterson, DB, Ball State
  • Vince Taylor, DL, Vanderbilt ($2.5K bonus, per Jeff Howe)