Derek Newton

NFL Workout Updates: 10/30/18

Here’s the latest from the workout circuit. All links to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter account, unless otherwise specified.

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Derek Newton Works Out For Jets

Two years after suffering one of the most career-altering injuries to ever affect an NFL player, Derek Newton has not given up on returning to the league. And the Jets gave the former Texans right tackle a chance on Tuesday.

The Jets worked out Newton today, USA Today’s Mark Jones reports (on Twitter), adding the former Houston starter looked good during the audition. No deal is imminent.

Nevertheless, Newton being in this position is an accomplishment considering he suffered multiple patella tendon tears during an October 2016 game in Denver. He’s attempting to become the first player to suffer bi-lateral patella injuries and return to the NFL, Jones notes.

The Texans released Newton in April. He has a $500K grievance pending against his former employer. Newton will turn 31 next month. He was a five-year starter for the Texans, who have not found a suitable replacement for him yet. Newton signed a five-year deal to stay with the Texans in 2015, but the severe knee injuries a year and a half later sidetracked both parties’ plans.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Bengals, Iloka, Kaepernick

The Bengals surprised many with their release of safety George Iloka, but it has been in discussion ever since the drafting of Jessie Bates III in the second round, according to Kat Terrell of ESPN.com (Twitter links). Despite Iloka’s past performance, the Bengals are ready to move ahead with the rookie and give him the playing time he needs to develop. The Bengals were also wary of using a roster spot on a veteran who doesn’t fit on special teams.

Iloka wasn’t a fit for the 2018 Bengals, but there are plenty of other teams who are interested in his services. He’s already on the radar of the Raiders and Cowboys, and it stands to reason that other teams will get on the horn with him in the coming days.

Here’s more from the AFC:

  • Broncos GM John Elway violated the gag order issued in Colin Kaepernick‘s collusion case when he spoke about the quarterback last week, his agent alleges. “Mr. Elway, clearly he violated the protective order that the NFL has been wielding like a club at me,” attorney Mark Geragos said on his podcast (via Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports). “And he’s apparently suffering from some real brain trauma.”
  • It was widely reported that Jon Gruden‘s deal with the Raiders will pay him a guaranteed $100MM over ten years, but Gruden says that’s not true (via Mike Florio of PFT). The truth may be somewhere in between. It’s believed that Gruden’s $100MM is not fully guaranteed, Florio hears. The structure of the contract is believed to be more along the lines of $25MM over the first five years, and $75MM over the final five years. If that’s the setup of the deal, then it’s possible that the final five years are not fully guaranteed or even largely guaranteed.
  • Former Texans offensive tackle Derek Newton filed a grievance seeking payment of a $500K roster bonus, according Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. Newton was officially released in April 12 with a failed physical designation, but his roster bonus was due April 1. The Texans held Newton on the roster past the bonus date, but he didn’t pass the physical. Therefore, Newton is seeking $200K from the team. For now, that number is held against the Texans’ cap.

Patriots Notes: Mayfield, Gillislee, Brady

We recently heard that the Patriots were just one of two teams to rate Baker Mayfield as the best quarterback in this year’s draft, and Mayfield’s agent, Jack Mills, indicated that New England may have been willing to move up to the No. 2 overall pick to land his client. However, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com is not so sure. He thinks the Patriots wanted to meet with Mayfield as part of their thorough scouting process, but if they did not sell Mills on the potential that they could make a big move up, Mills would not have wasted Mayfield’s time with a New England visit. Reiss does not believe the Pats would have jumped from No. 23 to No. 2 even if Mayfield was still on the board.

Now for more notes out of Foxborough:

  • The Patriots have not officially announced their 2018 crop of UDFAs, but as Reiss observes, they have signed Vanderbilt running back Ralph Webb and gave him a $70K guarantee, which clearly makes him a priority signing with a decent chance of making the final roster. In a separate piece, Reiss says that Mike Gillislee, who opened the 2017 campaign as New England’s No. 1 back, is now fighting for a roster spot. With new first-round pick Sony Michel and veterans Rex Burkhead and James White considered locks, Gillislee will battle Webb, Jeremy Hill, and Brandon Bolden for one or two spots. The former Bill could be cut with no dead money ramifications.
  • When he was recently asked if he felt appreciated by Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft, Tom Brady replied with a joke/non-answer. It is unclear whether Brady actually feels underappreciated by the other two most important figures within the organization, but Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk believes the club should ante up and pay Brady a salary more in line with the top of the market. Brady’s $20.5MM AAV is now 16th among all quarterbacks, and Florio believes the Pats should rectify that to some degree.
  • The news continues to be good for 2017 third-rounder Derek Rivers. Reiss says Rivers, who tore his ACL last August and missed his entire rookie campaign, is expected to be ready for the start of training camp.
  • Earlier this week, ESPN’s Mel Kiper named Patriots’ sixth-round WR Braxton Berrios as one of the 2018 late-round selections most likely to make an immediate impact.

Texans Rumors: Watson, Martin, Mathieu

Despite tearing an ACL in November, Deshaun Watson looks like he’ll have some involvement in the Texans‘ offseason program. The one-time offensive rookie of the year favorite is ahead of schedule in his recovery process, just as Bill O’Brien anticipated he would be coming into the offseason program, James Palmer of NFL.com reports (video link). Watson will be throwing some during the offseason. Although Watson is currently working out in a brace on the injured knee, Palmer notes the second-year quarterback may not have to wear a brace once he returns to game action. The former national championship-winning passer will not participate in the team portions of the Texans’ OTAs but will throw during the seven-on-seven and passing portions of the workouts, per Palmer.

Here’s the latest out of Houston.

  • The Texans are considering moving center Nick Martin to guard, Palmer reports. The third-year player started in 14 Texans games at center last season, his first as a healthy NFLer after he missed all of his would-be rookie year due to injury. Having reached an agreement with another former Chiefs offensive lineman in Zach Fulton, it’s possible the Texans could slide Martin to guard and Fulton to center — where he played at times in Kansas City. O’Brien said as many as four new starters could be set to block for Watson this coming season. Senio Kelemete and Seantrel Henderson are now in the fold as well. Houston’s highest-paid lineman remains Jeff Allen, who has not lived up to the $7MM-per-year deal he signed in 2016. Martin’s brother, Zack, of course, is arguably the best guard in the game.
  • Tyrann Mathieu may be gradually pushed into a versatile position with his new team. Palmer notes the Texans plan to initially just play him at safety but do want him working at cornerback and as a blitzer. This hybrid job description helped Mathieu to an All-Pro perch in 2015 and a then-record safety contract before another injury sidetracked him and eventually re-routed him to Houston.
  • Joe Webb will make $915K in base salary and will carry a $720K cap figure this season, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports. The wide receiver/quarterback received a $90K signing bonus.
  • Defensive lineman Christian Covington has been fully cleared after his torn biceps injury in October ended his 2017 season, per Wilson. Covington started two games last season and played in seven, doing so after making five starts in 2016.
  • The Texans released right tackle Derek Newton earlier on Thursday and did so with a failed physical designation, Wilson tweets. Newton had not played since October 2016, when he sustained two severe knee injuries on one play.

Texans Release OT Derek Newton

The Texans have informed right tackle Derek Newton that he is being released, Mike Jones of USA Today tweets. His business with Houston isn’t necessarily finished, however, as he’ll be filing a grievance to recoup his roster bonus. 

Per the terms of his deal, Newton was due to receive a $500K roster bonus from the team on April 1. For now, Houston is refusing to pay that out, even though a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews ruled that he could take part in next week’s workouts.

Newton started in all 16 games for Houston in in 2013, 2014, and 2015 before tearing both patellar tendons in 2016 and missing all of 2017. Newton wasn’t rated favorably by Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics (subscription required) during his first two years as a starter, but his stats improved as he turned a corner in 2014. He was PFF’s top-ranked right tackle in run blocking in 2014 and went on to crack the top-25 in pass blocking in 2015.

From 2012-2016, Newton played on 4,473 snaps for the Texans. That was good for the second-most in Houston over that span, second only to left tackle Duane Brown.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans’ Derek Newton Accepts Pay Cut

Texans offensive tackle Derek Newton has restructured his contract, as Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle writes. Newton has already been ruled out for 2017 thanks to torn patellar tendons suffered during the 2016 season. Now, he’ll remain with the team at an adjusted rate while he rehabs. Derek Newton (Vertical)

The deal will lower Newton’s base salaries in each of the next three seasons. Newton was originally due $4.75MM in base salaries each year, but he’ll now get a base of just $1.75MM this year (guaranteed) and $2.25MM (non-guaranteed) in 2018 and 2019.

for 2018, 2018 and 2019. Newton is now due a guaranteed $1.75 million base salary this year and non-guaranteed base salaries of $2.25 million and $2 million in 2018 and 2019. Newton is now looking at a three-year, $10MM deal over the next three years the rest of the way in a modification of his original five-year, $26.5MM deal inked in 2015. If the contract plays out in full, he’ll carry salary cap figures of $3MM in 2017, $5.5MM in 2018, and $3.75MM in 2019.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans Place Newton On Reserve/PUP List

Derek Newton wasn’t expected to be ready to play by the 2017 season, and the Texans made that official on Friday. The team placed its primary right tackle starter on the Reserve/PUP list to shelve him for the entire ’17 season, according to Field Yates on ESPN.com (on Twitter). The Texans confirmed the move.

Derek Newton (Vertical)

The veteran tackle suffered a brutal injury during a game in October 2016, tearing both his patellar tendons. He was unable to walk for a three-month period and will now spend this season rehabilitating in a possible effort to return to the field.

Three years remain on Newton’s five-year, $26.5MM deal. The 29-year-old started for four full seasons before suffering this rare setback, but it’s obviously uncertain as to whether the former seventh-round pick will be able to surmount this and return to his spot in Houston’s starting lineup.

The Texans still have veteran Chris Clark under contract, but in Newton’s stead last season, Clark rated as Pro Football Focus’ sixth-worst full-time tackle last season. Houston drafted Bucknell tackle Julien Davenport in the fourth round, but the small-school product profiles as more of a project than a player who could conceivably contribute quickly.

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Derek Newton Unlikely To Play In 2017

After tearing patellar tendons in both legs last October, Texans right tackle Derek Newton is not expected to play during the 2017 campaign, according to Sarah Barshop of ESPN.com.Derek Newton (Vertical)

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Newton, 29, was facing a lengthy recovery process that included time in a wheelchair and an inability to walk for three months. Fellow Houston offensive lineman Duane Brown said Newton is “in great spirits” and is “doing everything he can to get back as quickly as possible,” but also confessed Newton has “a long road ahead of him,” reports Barshop. At the time Newton went down, former NFL doctor David Chao described the incredibly serious nature of the veteran tackle’s injury.

“I am not aware of an NFL athlete, who came back to play at a similar level after this injury,” said Chao.. “The injury is very rare. It’s not a once-a-year injury. This is a once-every five years. This is harder to come back from than a torn ACL. To have two of them is devastating, but, yes, he should be walking in three months. There’s a big difference between walking and playing.”

Chris Clark, Newton’s replacement at right tackle, graded as the league’s sixth-worst tackle in 2016, according to Pro Football Focus, so the Texans could possibly invest in an offensive lineman with pick No. 25. Ryan Ramczyk (Wisconsin), Garett Bolles (Utah), and Cam Robinson (Alabama) are among the best tackles that could be available near the end of the draft’s first round.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans OT Derek Newton Undergoes Surgery

SUNDAY, 10:59am: Wilson solicited the opinion of several highly-respected doctors on the severity of Newton’s injury. The entire piece is worth a read, but the upshot is that Newton should be able to resume his career and regain nearly full recovery of knee motion. Unsurprisingly, however, the injury could prevent him from reaching his former level of performance, although he should be able to at least come close to that standard.

THURSDAY, 7:50pm: After suffering a gruesome injury on Monday Night Football, Texans offensive tackle Derek Newton underwent surgery today to repair his two torn patellar tendons, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. Luckily, Newton did not tear either of his ACLs, but still faces a lengthy recovery that will include time in wheelchair. He’s unlikely to walk again for three months.Derek Newton (Vertical)

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“I am not aware of an NFL athlete, who came back to play at a similar level after this injury,” said former Chargers doctor David Chao, per Wilson in a separate article. “The injury is very rare. It’s not a once-a-year injury. This is a once-every five years. This is harder to come back from than a torn ACL. To have two of them is devastating, but, yes, he should be walking in three months. There’s a big difference between walking and playing.”

Torn patellar tendons have derailed the careers of other NFLers — including defensive back Gary Baxter and wide receiver Wendell Davis — in the past, as Wilson notes. But the Texans reportedly are expressing “guarded optimism” about Newton’s ability to resume playing, thanks both to advances in injury science and Newton’s work ethic.

Newton, who will be replaced at right tackle by veteran Chris Clark, signed a five-year extension prior to the 2015 season that contained $10MM in guarantees. The 28-year-old Newton has been a full-time starter for the Texans since 2012, and has 82 career appearances under his belt.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.