Dennis Kelly

South Rumors: Dez, Buccaneers, Conklin

Friday’s top news thus far affected Dez Bryant. The veteran wide receiver and Saints employee for barely a day is feared to have torn one of his Achilles’ tendons. This would put him out for the season and impact his free agency. This reality appears to be in motion. The Saints are “pretty sure he tore it,” Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. While Michael Crabtree did buck the trend of Achilles injuries taking up to a year and more to recover from when he came back in six months to join the 2013 49ers late that season, Bryant is now 30 and was already dealing with damaged stock based on his recent work. Bryant doesn’t appear to be considering retirement and sounds ready to go through a rehab process (Twitter link). It’s possible Bryant could have to accept another one-year deal in the event he recovers from this injury, and that contract may not arrive until he recovers. He may well be back in a similar situation he was this year, when the Cowboys irked him by releasing him well after potential free agency suitors had spent on wideouts.

Here’s the latest from the South divisions:

  • Jack Conklin won’t be available for the Titans on Sunday. The third-year right tackle has not cleared concussion protocol and has been downgraded to out for Tennessee’s game against the Patriots. Swing tackle Dennis Kelly will start on the right side, Turron Davenport of ESPN.com notes.
  • The Buccaneers won’t have Vinny Curry in uniform against the Redskins. The first-year Bucs defensive end is out because of an ankle injury that prevented him from practicing all week. Carl Nassib started opposite Jason Pierre-Paul when Curry was previously out, in Weeks 7-8, and figures to do so again. Nassib’s three sacks are second on the Bucs, though well behind JPP’s eight.
  • Speaking of the Bucs, they could create an immense amount of cap space this offseason while not incurring much dead money to do so. Tampa Bay could create more than $100MM in cap space and incur barely $12MM in dead-money charges, according to Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap, by cutting several veterans. Mentioning Jameis Winston (guaranteed-for-injury fifth-year option of $20.9MM), Curry ($8MM savings, no dead money), DeSean Jackson ($10MM savings, no dead money) and Gerald McCoy ($13MM, no dead money), Fitzgerald sees a path for Tampa Bay to move into better spending position. Of course, some of these players — almost certainly McCoy — will still be around to help the Bucs, the organization’s lack of signing bonuses increases its flexibility. As of now, the Bucs are projected to hold just $10MM in cap room next year.

Extra Points: Davis, Vea, Pats, Lamp, Colts

Prior to Vontae Davis‘ now-infamous halftime retirement, the 10-year NFL veteran cornerback told Bills defensive backs coach John Butler, “I’m done” while he was in uniform late in the first half. This one-sided conversation, per Davis (via The Undefeated’s Domonique Foxworth), occurred in the final minute of the half. Lafayette Pitts replaced Davis in the game and ended up having to play a larger role after halftime once Davis did not return for the second half.

I didn’t expect them to understand,” Davis said, via Foxworth, of his teammates’ reaction to his abrupt NFL exit. “That moment was shocking to me as well. … My intention was not to hurt my teammates. In that moment, my intuition was telling me I don’t belong on that field anymore.”

The Bills received a roster exemption after the 30-year-old defender’s retirement, and they placed Davis on the reserve/left squad list, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports. While Davis sounds about as far away from a player who’d attempt a comeback, his placement on this list would not allow it — with the Bills or another team — this season.

Shifting back to some active NFLers, here’s what’s new going into Week 3:

  • Jack Conklin‘s 2018 debut is unlikely to take place Sunday, Titans insider Paul Kuharsky tweets. In the final part of his recovery process from a torn ACL sustained in January, Conklin appears likelier to suit up in Week 4 against the Eagles than Sunday against the Jaguars. The Titans didn’t have Conklin nor Taylor Lewan in Week 2, but Tennessee’s left tackle has been cleared to return from a concussion he sustained in the season opener. Swing tackle Dennis Kelly, however, remains out. An illness forced Kelly to be hospitalized before last weekend’s game.
  • Another AFC South tackle won’t play Sunday, but Anthony Castonzo‘s second hamstring setback in as many months has not caused the Colts to consider placing him on IR. Indianapolis’ left tackle remains week-to-week in his recovery, Frank Reich said (via the Indianapolis Star’s Zak Keefer, on Twitter). Were Castonzo to land on IR, he would not be able to return for eight weeks.
  • Three Patriots deemed unlikely to play will, in fact, sit out New England’s Week 3 game in Detroit. The Patriots announced Trey Flowers, Patrick Chung and Eric Rowe are out against the Lions. The team did not declare Marcus Cannon or Josh Gordon out. Cannon returned to practice this week and made progress, pointing to the right tackle’s return.
  • Vita Vea‘s calf strain will delay his debut for another week. The Buccaneers‘ first-round pick is out for Monday night’s Steelers game, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. Vea did practice on Saturday, doing so for the first time in a month, so the defensive tackle’s NFL debut appears imminent.
  • The Chargers continue to bring Forrest Lamp along slowly. The 2017 second-round pick has not yet debuted, and Anthony Lynn said (via Jeff Miller of the Los Angeles Times) Lamp isn’t ready for action yet. “It’s just that Forrest was an athletic guard,” Lynn said. “He moved a lot and we pulled him in space. He doesn’t feel that speed yet. He feels like he’s a step behind.” Lamp tore an ACL a few days into his rookie training camp and underwent an arthroscopic procedure in May. The Bolts are already down Joe Barksdale for another week. They’ve been playing guard-tackle Michael Schofield in Lamp’s spot, and Sam Tevi started in Barksdale’s right tackle position last week in Buffalo.

Contract Details: Griffen, Casey, Kelly

This week, two defensive linemen signed landmark extensions with their franchises. Here’s how their contracts are structured.

  • Everson Griffen‘s four-year, $58MM Vikings extension included $18.8MM fully guaranteed at signing, and that will pay out over the next two years, Andrew Krammer of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. Griffen’s 2017 cap number rises to $8.6MM, and in 2018, that figure comes in at $11.6MM. The 29-year-old defensive end’s cap figures from 2019-22 are as follows: $11.9MM in ’19, $13.9MM (’20), $14.4MM (’21) and $15.5MM (’22). Griffen received a $2MM signing bonus. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports Griffen’s $3.9MM base salary for 2018 is guaranteed for injury at signing and becomes fully guaranteed on the third day of the next league year. His $10.9MM base in ’19 becomes fully guaranteed on Day 3 of the 2019 league year. After ’19, though, the guarantees are partial. $4.3MM of Griffen’s 2020 base ($12.9MM) is guaranteed for injury only at signing. Griffen has no guarantees attached to the 2021 or ’22 seasons, leading Florio to tab this a two-year deal with extra injury protection in the following two seasons.
  • Jurrell Casey‘s four-year, $60.4MM Titans re-up contains $22MM fully guaranteed at signing, Florio reports. Over the next two years, the interior defender will make $25.2MM — $11.27MM of which will be new money, per Florio. Most of Casey’s 2017 wages come through bonuses; he will earn $1.4MM in base salary. In 2018 and ’19, Casey will earn $10.6MM base salaries. The 2018 base is over $4MM more than he was set to earn under the terms of the initial Titans extension he signed in 2014. That rises to $11.25MM in 2020 and climbs to $11.68MM in ’21. By 2022, which would be Casey’s age-31 season, the two-time Pro Bowler is set to earn $13.25MM.
  • The Titans agreed to extend offensive lineman Dennis Kelly as well. It’s a two-year deal worth $3.05MM, with $400K guaranteed, per Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The swing backup will earn base salaries of $775K (2017), $1.1MM (’18) and $1.35MM (’19), per Terry McCormick of TitansInsider (via Twitter).

Titans Extend Dennis Kelly

The Titans have agreed to a multiyear contract extension with offensive lineman Dennis Kelly, reports Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com. It’s a three-year deal that runs through 2019, tweets Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com.

Dennis Kelly

The 27-year-old Kelly is entering his second season with the Titans, who acquired him in a trade with the Eagles for wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham in August 2016. Kelly went on to log career highs in appearances (16) and starts (six) last season, when he lined up as an extra tight end and only played 145 snaps on offense. Despite his limited playing time, Kelly showed enough to the Titans for them to lock up the 304-pounder and keep him in the fold behind stalwart tackles Taylor Lewan and Jack Conklin.

A fifth-round pick in 2012, Kelly spent the first four years of his career in Philadelphia, where he started in 15 of 30 appearances.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC South Notes: Orr, Titans, Texans, Colts

A number of teams are interested in Zach Orr, with his agent relaying that about half of the league has contacted him regarding the linebacker. Some teams are standing pat, though. The Titans appear to be one of them. Tennessee is content with its linebacker situation, and according to Terry McCormick of TitansInsider.com (on Twitter), has not reached out to Orr. The Titans have Avery Williamson and Wesley Woodyard penciled in to start on the inside of their 3-4 scheme. That’s been the team’s arrangement inside for the past three seasons, since Woodyard migrated east from Denver, and it looks like the team will roll with this duo for a fourth campaign as Williamson enters his contract year.

Orr’s Lions visit concluded Friday, and he subsequently made the trip to Indianapolis to meet with the Colts. The fourth-year linebacker’s Jets powwow will occur after the Colts summit ends.

Here’s more regarding Orr and the latest out of the AFC South.

  • Orr told SiriusXM (Twitter links) that he feels great, despite his condition. Orr explained that he’s dealing with a birth defect, but not something that is necessarily an injury. Orr also responded to talk of him cherry-picking medical opinions in an effort to get the diagnosis that he wanted. The 25-year-old says that he retired after seeing only one doctor, but the rest of doctors he spoke with say he’s not a greater risk.
  • ESPN.com’s Field Yates recalls Jon Robinson enduring scrutiny for only getting reserve offensive lineman Dennis Kelly from the Eagles in last summer’s Dorial Green-Beckham trade (Twitter link). Now that Philly cut Green-Beckham after one season, the second-year Titans GM’s decision doesn’t look so short-sighted. A former fifth-round pick of the Andy Reid-era Eagles in 2012, Kelly played in 145 snaps last season and suited up for all 16 Titans games. DGB’s talent will make him one of the more interesting waiver cases in recent years, but he’s now seen two NFL teams give up on him after one season. This comes after he transferred to Oklahoma only to sit out his junior year in 2014. The last time Green-Beckham played for the same team in consecutive seasons was during his freshman and sophomore campaigns at Missouri.
  • The Colts‘ early-season schedule and Chris Ballard‘s presence make Chuck Pagano a hot-seat candidate if the sixth-year Indianapolis leader doesn’t get the team off to a strong start, ESPN.com’s AFC South reporters posit. The Colts have started three straight seasons 0-2 but this year have the Rams, Browns, 49ers and Jaguars in their first seven games. Pagano not being Ballard’s handpicked coach figures to have him as a lame-duck candidate if the Colts are unable to return to the playoffs, however.
  • The Texans want Will Fuller to concentrate on developing as a wide receiver instead of focusing on the return game, John McClain of the Houston Chronicle notes. The speedster out of Notre Dame averaged 15 yards per punt return (11 returns) and took back one punt for a touchdown as a rookie. McClain notes backup running back Tyler Ervin has a chance to be a double-duty specialty player. Fuller’s status and kick returner Akeem Hunt‘s uncertainty to make Ervin a candidate to serve as Houston’s kick- and punt-return man.

Zach Links contributed to this report.

Eagles Acquire WR Dorial Green-Beckham

The Eagles have acquired wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham in a trade with the Titans for offensive lineman Dennis Kelly, according to announcements from both clubs. "<strong

Not to speak on Philly’s behalf but they inquired about it,’’ Titans GM Jon Robinson told the team website. “They thought it was a good opportunity for him, and we thought adding Dennis would be good for our football team. We are moving on. I appreciate everything Dorial did when he was here. He bought in to what we were trying to do. But in the end we felt like this was the best decision for the team.”

In high school, Green-Beckham was considered to be one of the best wide receivers in the nation. However, off-field red flags pushed him into the second round of the 2015 draft, where the Titans snagged him with the 40th overall pick. That selection was made by the old regime in Tennessee and the new front office apparently wasn’t thrilled with what they’ve seen on him. DGB still has serious talent, but his work ethic in the NFL has been suspect.Green-Beckham hauled in 32 catches for 549 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie last season.

The Eagles’ wide receiver group is headlined by Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor with support from free agent pickups Chris Givens and Reuben Randle plus Chip Kelly holdover Josh Huff. The arrival of DGB could drastically shake up the Eagles’ WR depth chart.

Kelly, entering his fifth NFL season, has appeared in 30 games with 15 starts for the Eagles. The former fifth-round pick has appeared at both tackle and guard and should provide the Titans with some O-Line depth.

I like his versatility,’’ Robinson said. “He has really good size, he’s versatile, he’s played a lot of positions. He embodies the traits we look for in an offensive lineman – smart, tough, and dependable.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles Extend OL Dennis Kelly Through 2017

11:37am: Kelly’s deal includes $225K in fully guaranteed money, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter links). Caplan writes that Kelly will have $150K of his 2016 base salary guaranteed, and will get a fully guaranteed $75K roster bonus in 2017.

10:51am: The Eagles’ offseason of extensions continues. After locking up several high-profile players earlier in the offseason, Philadelphia’s latest signing won’t turn many heads, but the team has extended the contract of offensive lineman Dennis Kelly by a year, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (via Twitter).Dennis Kelly

Kelly, whose deal had been set to expire at the end of the 2016 season, will now be under contract through 2017. According to Yates, the 26-year-old’s new one-year extension is worth $880K in new money. Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer adds (via Twitter) that Kelly will receive a $775K base salary in 2017, which will represent the minimum salary for a player with his NFL experience.

A fifth-round pick out of Purdue in 2012, Kelly started 10 games for the Eagles in his rookie season, spending time at right guard and right tackle. Since then, however, he has battled injuries and has played primarily as a reserve, starting just five of the 17 games he appeared in over the last two years.

With the Eagles having fortified their offensive line in the offseason by signing veteran free agents Brandon Brooks and Stefen Wisniewski, Kelly figures to return to a backup role in 2016 and will likely only be pressed into action if one or two starters suffer injuries.

Earlier this offseason, Philadelphia extended the contracts of quarterback Sam Bradford, tight ends Zach Ertz and Brent Celek, defensive end Vinny Curry, and offensive tackle Lane Johnson. The team also remains in discussions with defensive tackle Fletcher Cox about a lucrative new deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/9/15

Today’s minor signings, cuts, and other moves..

  • The Eagles have signed reserve offensive lineman Dennis Kelly to a one-year extension through 2016, according to a league source who spoke with Field Yates of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Kelly will earn a $760K base salary with a $30K workout bonus.
  • The Seahawks waived running back Robert Turbin off of their IR with an injury settlement, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com tweets. The 25-year-old Turbin was a fourth-round pick of Seattle in 2012. Since then, he’s amassed 928 yards on 231 carries (4.0 YPC), also adding 43 catches and two receiving touchdowns. Seattle waived Turbin shortly after adding Fred Jackson last week.
  • Washington gave wide receiver Evan Spencer (concussion) an injury settlement and released him from injured reserve, Zac Boyer of The Washington Times tweets.
  • The following players reached injury settlements with their respective teams, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (on Twitter): Jerome Smith (Falcons), D.J. Tialavea (Falcons), Josh Martin (Chiefs), Christion Jones (Dolphins), Melvin Meggs (Chargers), Josh Allen (Buccaneers).
  • The Seahawks worked out an injury settlement with Triston Wade, Wilson tweets.