D'Onta Foreman

AFC Notes: Mason, Herndon, Foreman

Zack Martin just inked a massive extension with the Cowboys, and Mike Reiss of ESPN.com wonders what effect Martin’s contract will have on Shaq Mason‘s future with the Patriots. Mason is not on the same level as Martin or Andrew Norwell — who signed a similarly large deal with the Jaguars this offseason — but he is still a very good guard and should command upwards of $10MM per year when he hits free agency at the end of the 2018 campaign. Reiss is skeptical that New England will pony up that much cash for a guard, so this could be Mason’s last year in Foxborough.

Reiss also observes that other key players, like DE Trey Flowers and K Stephen Gostkowski, are entering the last year of their respective contracts, but he does not offer an opinion as to how those negotiations will play out.

Now for more notes from the AFC:

  • More details have emerged regarding the arrest of Jets‘ rookie TE Chris Herndon. Herndon, a fourth-round pick in this year’s draft, was charged with driving while intoxicated several weeks ago, and per Rich Cimini of ESPN.com, an eyewitness told New Jersey State Police that an SUV believed to be driven by Herndon was traveling at least 100 mph. Herndon’s SUV flipped after colliding with another vehicle, which caught fire, and the SUV slid approximately 700 feet after initial contact. Eyewitness reports are notoriously shaky, but if this one is accurate, it will not bode well for Herndon, either from an NFL or legal perspective.
  • The Bills‘ WR corps is pretty thin overall, so second-year wideout Zay Jones — whom the team selected in the second round of the 2017 draft — is generally considered to have a stranglehold on Buffalo’s No. 2 wideout job opposite Kelvin Benjamin. However, Jones has dealt with some issues this offseason, as he was arrested in March and underwent knee surgery, and new GM Brandon Beane said the East Carolina product will not be handed anything. During an interview with WGR 550 (via Ryan Talbot of NewYorkUpstate.com), Beane said, “He’s not just going to necessarily go right to the top of the line. He’ll have to earn his way. Part of that will just be just getting his feel. He’s only played with Nathan Peterman. He has not got to play with Josh Allen or A.J. [McCarron] yet. So that bond there will just have to form.”
  • Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle provides an in-depth look at Texans RB D’Onta Foreman‘s recovery from a torn Achilles, which ended his rookie campaign prematurely in November. There is still no specific date for Foreman’s return, and it is unlikely he will be a full participant at the beginning of training camp next month (even the 2018 regular season opener is up in the air at this point). However, the former Texas standout remains confident that he will eventually regain the form that made him a 2017 third-round pick and the heir apparent to Lamar Miller.
  • The Ravens have some depth along their offensive line, part of which is last year’s fourth-round pick, Nico Siragusa. Siragusa suffered a brutal injury last August, as he tore his ACL, MCL, and PCL. Of course, that ended his rookie campaign before it began, but as Childs Walker of the Baltimore Sun writes, Siragusa was able to fully participate in last week’s minicamp. He will compete for a backup role this year and could soon become a starting guard or center if he can remain healthy. Alex Lewis, who also missed the entire 2017 season, is expected to start somewhere along the O-line this year — either at left guard, center, or right tackle — but he was held out of minicamp due to back spasms. Head coach John Harbaugh said Lewis should be ready for training camp, but the Nebraska product’s injury history will be cause for concern until he can manage to stay out of the training room for an extended period of time.
  • Tyler Matakevich, a 2016 seventh-round pick, will be given every opportunity to win the Steelers‘ starting ILB job alongside Vince Williams, per Will Graves of the Associated Press. Pittsburgh has a gaping hole at that spot due to Ryan Shazier‘s horrific injury, but the team is confident Matakevich is ready to take the reins. He will need to fend off veteran Jon Bostic, whom the team signed this offseason.

South Rumors: Melvin, Saints, Foreman, Jags

After bouncing around during the 2014 and ’15 seasons, Rashaan Melvin found stability with the Colts over the past two years. He would like to stay in Indianapolis and added the Colts have informed him they would like to have him back as well.

I’m waiting to see exactly where we stand,” the impending UFA said of he and the Colts during a Sirius XM Radio interview (Twitter link). “I know it’s all positive. They told me they want me to be back. That’s where my career blossomed, so I wouldn’t mind going back there. There’s a lot of potential there.”

Melvin started 19 games between the 2016 and ’17 seasons with the Colts and was the team’s best corner last season. A hand injury halted Melvin’s breakout campaign after 10 games, but the work he did prior to that will make him a sought-after player on the market. The Colts are projected to hold $74MM-plus in cap space, a figure that currently sits third in the league, so they could afford Melvin. But the team now has a new coach in Frank Reich and new DC in Matt Eberflus. That could complicate Melvin staying in Indianapolis, but it’s obviously not a deal-breaker.

Here’s the latest from the South divisions:

  • The Saints have some key free agents, both RFAs and UFAs, to possibly retain. But Kenny Vaccaro looks to be on his way out of New Orleans, Larry Holder of NOLA.com writes. Vaccaro was the subject of rampant trade rumors prior to the 2017 deadline, with the Cowboys being mentioned as a team discussing a deal for the safety. Vaccaro’s Saints run may have ended with an IR trip in December. He will join a talented safety UFA contingent, one that also features Eric Reid, Tre Boston and Morgan Burnett. Vaccaro started for five seasons with the Saints and turned 28 in January.
  • Holder could see the Saints offering an RFA tender to neither Willie Snead nor Brandon Coleman and creating a need at wideout. An original-round tender would cost the team $1.9MM. While that would seem like an insult to Snead given his 2015 and ’16 production, he disappeared from the Saints’ offense last season after returning from an early-season suspension. The sides were in talks about an extension last summer, but Snead ended up playing on an ERFA tender. He then caught just eight passes for 92 yards; that came after two seasons of at least 895 air yards. Holder estimates the Saints will not tender Coleman but could see the sides reuniting for a lower amount. He does not envision Snead staying in New Orleans for a lower amount if the Saints non-tender him.
  • Despite tearing his Achilles’ tendon in late November, Texans running back D’Onta Foreman is expected to be ready for the start of the 2018 season, Sarah Barshop of ESPN.com reports. Foreman’s ongoing rehab could give Miller one more chance, but if the second-year ball-carrier can come back healthy, Barshop could see this being closer to a timeshare going forward rather than a starter-complement situation.
  • The JaguarsBlake Bortles extension, despite being an $18MM-AAV pact, doubles as a way for the team to seek more UFA help this offseason while looking in the draft for a developmental passer to possibly succeed the incumbent, Mike Kaye of First Coast News writes. Kaye notes a tight end would be high on the Jags’ list of possible upgrades via free agency. The Julius Thomas pact did not work out for the team, and Marcedes Lewis has one year left on his deal and would be entering his 13th season. Bortles’ deal being for low-end starter money would allow the team to draft a quarterback soon while Bortles either develops or flounders. That said, Jacksonville is taking a risk in the short term considering how close it was to its first Super Bowl berth and the limitations associated with a Bortles-led offense.

Texans RB D’Onta Foreman Has Charges Dropped

All charges stemming from D’Onta Foreman‘s 2017 arrest have been dismissed, reports Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter). The Texans rookie running back was arrested last July in Austin and was facing marijuana and gun charges.

D'Onta Foreman (Vertical)Foreman ultimately pleaded no contest to “misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct for making unreasonable noise,” tweets Wilson. These charges will be dismissed if the player avoids legal issues for 90 days. Foreman was also required to pay a $500 fine and turn in the gun that was found in his car.

“Everybody’s happy,” attorney Chip Lewis said“They dismissed the cases and let him plea to the disorderly conduct charge. D’Onta is relieved. He’s learned a great deal from this. You have to be very cognizant of what you do and who you do with it.”

According to the attorney, the NFL told Foreman and his agent that he wouldn’t face any disciplinary action if the charges were dismissed (Twitter link).

The former Texas star was selected in the third round of the 2017 draft, and he proceeded to play in 10 games (including one start). Serving as Lamar Miller‘s backup, Foreman ultimately ran for 327 yards and two touchdowns on 78 carries. The rookie’s season ended prematurely after he suffered a torn Achilles in mid-November.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans Fear D’Onta Foreman Tore Achilles

Fresh off the best game of his career, Texans rookie running back D’Onta Foreman is expected to miss the remainder of the season with a torn Achilles, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).D'Onta Foreman (Vertical)

A third-round pick out of Texas earlier this year, Foreman had served as the backup to Lamar Miller, and had posted 68 rushes heading into Week 11. Today’s contest against the Cardinals was the top performance of Foreman’s short NFL tenure, as he handled 10 carries for 65 yards and scored two touchdowns, including one that proved decisive in Sunday’s victory.

Houston, of course, is no stranger to injury luck this season, as the club had already lost superstar rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson to a torn ACL. Wideout Will Fuller missed today’s game with a rib injury, while the Texans are also playing without stalwart left tackle Duane Brown, whom the team dealt to Seattle earlier this month. Without that talent present, Houston has only a nine percent chance to earn a postseason berth even after winning today, per FiveThirtyEight.

The Texans don’t necessarily need to add another running back to their roster, as the club boasts Alfred Blue and Jordan Todman in addition to Miller. Still, a free agent addition isn’t out of the question, and options such as Ryan Mathews, Shaun Draughn, DeAngelo Williams, or Stevan Ridley could make sense.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Texans, Patriots, Jets

After Texans running back D’Onta Foreman‘s arrest on charges of marijuana and unlawful gun possession last Sunday, his attorney, Chip Lewis, claimed that the rookie didn’t “use or possess” the drug. To help clear himself of wrongdoing, Foreman was voluntarily tested for marijuana, and the results came back negative, according to Lewis (via Mark Berman of FOX 26). “It makes it clear that he was telling the truth,” Lewis said of the outcome. “He was not using marijuana.” Foreman has a July 31 court date, though there’s reportedly a strong likelihood of a postponement because the Texans will be at training camp in West Virginia then.

  • Patriots running back Dion Lewis may have to fight for a roster spot this summer, Mike Giardi of CSNNE.com points out, but colleague Tom Curran says it would be a mistake for the team to cut him if he’s healthy (video link). Fellow back Brandon Bolden should be in greater jeopardy, as he offers little offensively, opines Curran. Lewis has provided solid production as both a runner and pass catcher when on the field during his two-year New England stint, having averaged 4.6 yards per carry on 113 attempts and totaled 53 receptions, but he hasn’t appeared much. A torn ACL in 2015 and the subsequent recovery process kept Lewis out of action for nine games in each of the previous two regular seasons. Releasing Lewis would save the Pats all but $200K of his $1.49MM cap hit, and they’d still have a capable group of backs with Mike Gillislee, James White and Rex Burkhead leading the way.
  • Having moved on from a cavalcade of veterans in recent months, it may look as though the Jets are tanking, but it’s just a full-scale rebuild, contends Ralph Vacchiano of SNY. Tanking is “almost impossible” to pull off in the NFL, argues Vacchiano, who writes that a top 10 to 15 selection in next year’s draft may be the best-case scenario for the club. Picking that late could mean the Jets found an answer at quarterback in Christian Hackenberg, a second-rounder in 2016 who didn’t take the field as a rookie, and saw a slew of other young players emerge as legitimate building blocks. It’s more likely, though, that they’ll end up with a top five pick, potentially putting them in position to find a franchise QB, observes Vacchiano.
  • More on the Jets, whose deal with first-round pick Jamal Adams contains offsets, according to Albert Breer of The MMQB (on Twitter).

Zach Links contributed to this post.

AFC Notes: Steelers, Jets, Cousins, Texans

Having not yet signed his exclusive rights free agent tender, Steelers left tackle Alejandro Villanueva training camp status is in question, writes Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Villanueva signed a waiver that enabled him to participate in voluntary practices during the spring, but he indicated at the time that he’ll follow his agent’s advice regarding camp. With that in mind, the former Army Ranger captain could sit out if his representative, Jason Bernstein, suggests it. As Fittipaldo points out, though, Villanueva doesn’t have much leverage and will have no recourse but to play for the ERFA tender amount ($615K) if the Steelers don’t take it upon themselves to award him a raise. Unfortunately for the O-line stalwart, he won’t be eligible to cash in as an unrestricted free agent until after the 2018 season, when he’ll already be 30 years old.

More from the AFC:

  • “It’s hard to argue with” the idea that the Jets are tanking “when everybody else sees all the stuff that’s going on,” wide receiver Quincy Enunwa admitted on Sunday (via Zach Braziller of the New York Post). Whether the Jets actually are tanking is debatable, but it’s clear they’re rebuilding. The team has released a slew of veterans, including receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, since last season. When healthy, those two were above Enunwa on the team’s depth chart. Enunwa is now the Jets’ clear-cut No. 1 option, having broken out as a third-year man in 2016 with 58 receptions, 814 yards and four touchdowns.
  • With Josh McCown, Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty as the Jets’ choices under center, Enunwa seems unlikely to benefit from high-end quarterback play this year. But with the Redskins unable to lock up Kirk Cousins beyond the upcoming season, that could change in 2018. The Jets will have upward of $80MM in cap space next offseason, which could make them a suitor for Cousins if he becomes a free agent, notes Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. However, considering Cousins will be entering his age-30 season in 2018, Cimini doesn’t see him as a fit for the young Jets.
  • Texans running back D’Onta Foreman has a July 31 court date in Texas stemming from his arrest this past weekend on misdemeanor drug and gun charges, but a postponement is likely, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. Foreman will be out of state then with the Texans, who begin training camp in West Virginia on July 25.

Texans RB D’Onta Foreman Arrested

Texans rookie running back D’Onta Foreman was arrested early this morning and charged with marijuana possession of two ounces or less and unlawful carrying of a weapon, per Brian Davis of the Austin American-Statesman. The weapon in question was a firearm.

Foreman’s lawyer, Chip Lewis, released a statement (Twitter link, via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com) that indicates the handgun was purchased legally and registered in Foreman’s name, and Lewis notes the running back alerted police he had a gun in his vehicle before police searched it. The statement also says Foreman did not “use or possess” the marijuana found.

D'Onta Foreman (vertical)

Needless to say, this is a disappointing start to Foreman’s career. Houston selected Foreman, a Texas product, in the third round (No. 89 overall) of this year’s draft, and they signed him to his rookie contract just two days after minicamp ended last month. During his final season with the Longhorns (his only season as a starter), Foreman put on a show, rushing for 2,028 yards and 15 touchdowns. He was the eighth running back selected in the draft.

Foreman is expected to compete with Alfred Blue and 2016 fourth-round pick Tyler Ervin for carries behind starter Lamar Miller. Foreman’s upside and draft status, though, suggest that he could carve out a significant role sooner rather than later.

But his arrest could delay the start of his professional career, as the league could suspend Foreman even if the criminal charges are favorably resolved. As Davis writes, the arresting agency was the University of Texas police department, which released the following statement:

“[Officers] responded to a report of the smell of marijuana coming from three occupied vehicles near the southwest side of San Jacinto residence hall on campus. Officers arrived on the scene discovered marijuana in each vehicle and also discovered a firearm in one of them. The owner of the firearm, D’Onta Foreman, was arrested for Unlawful Carrying of Weapons and Possession of Marijuana and booked into Travis County Jail. Six other male suspects were cited and released for Possession of Marijuana.”

Foreman was released on bond around noon today. The Texans, meanwhile, issued a statement of their own indicating that they are aware of the situation, are gathering information, and will have no further comment at this time (Twitter link via Mark Berman of Fox 26).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans Sign D’Onta Foreman

Two days after their minicamp wrapped up, the Texans signed D’Onta Foreman, John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reports. The team and the third-round running back agreeing to terms completes the negotiating process with the 2017 draft class.

The Texans drafted seven players, and all are under contract. Foreman arrived via pick No. 89 and signed for the customary four years. The deal is worth $3.259MM and comes with a $759K signing bonus, McClain reports.

Foreman participated in Houston’s minicamp this week and will vie for time behind Lamar Miller come training camp. During his only season as a college starter, the Texas product rushed for 2,028 yards and 15 touchdowns. He was the eighth running back selected, following third-rounders Alvin Kamara (Saints) and Kareem Hunt (Chiefs).

The Texans also have Alfred Blue and 2016 fourth-round pick Tyler Ervin as candidates to fill the backup job behind Miller.

The third round having the murkiest language regarding rookie contracts, there are still four unsigned players chosen in that round. Cowboys cornerback Jourdan Lewis, Lions wideout Kenny Golladay, Packers defensive tackle Montravius Adams and Raiders defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes remain unsigned.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Draft Notes: Mixon, Raiders, Dolphins

Some assorted draft notes from around the AFC…

  • Half the league didn’t have embattled running back Joe Mixon on their draft board, tweets NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport. Meanwhile, other evaluators believe he was the best overall running back if they were only evaluating on-field skills. ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter adds that only four teams said they would consider drafting Mixon. We can assume that one of those four organizations was the Bengals, who selected the running back in the second round.
  • The Raiders selected UConn safety Obi Melifonwu in the second round, although Rapoport tweets that the organization was close to selecting the defensive back in the first.
  • The Dolphins ultimately selected defensive end Charles Harris with the 22nd pick on Thursday night. However, if the Missouri product hadn’t been available, the Miami Herald’s Armando Salguero says (via Twitter) that the team would have selected Michigan defensive end Taco Charlton.
  • The Broncos were rather committed to selecting Florida State defensive end DeMarcus Walker. In fact, general manager John Elway revealed that he was willing to trade up if he needed to. “We made a lot of attempts to get up in (second round) to trade for Walker,” Elway told Troy Renck of Denver7 (Twitter link). “Things worked out.” Walker was selected by the Broncos with the 51st overall pick.
  • Good news out of Houston: Rapoport tweets that the Texans don’t believe running back D’Onta Foreman needs surgery on the stress fracture in his foot. The team found “no progressions in the injury at rechecks,” which apparently made them comfortable enough to select him in the third round.

Draft Notes: Fournette, Cook, Peppers

Here’s the latest from the NFL combine:

  • LSU running back Leonard Fournette had a lackluster 28 1/2″ vertical leap today the fifth-worst vertical for a running back since 1999. However, moments later, he wowed scouts with a 4.5 second 40-yard-dash time. The posting was roughly the same as Florida State’s Dalvin Cook, but Fournette is 30 pounds heavier than him at 240 lbs. Speaking of Cook, his 30 1/2″ inch vertical wasn’t much better than Fournette’s.
  • Fournette had the fastest 40-time at the combine among all running backs weighing 240 lbs or more, dating back to 2003 (Twitter link via NFL Media).
  • Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers will working out with linebackers on Sunday and defensive backs on Monday, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. As Matt Miller of Bleacher Report (on Twitter) notes, it’s an uncommon move. Some guys have worked out with both defensive linemen and linebackers, but not linebackers and defensive backs.
  • Former Texas running back D’Onta Foreman was held out of today’s Combine workout due to a small stress fracture in his foot, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com tweets. He’ll wait until UT’s Pro Day to audition for clubs. Foreman is considered to be one of the best RBs in this year’s class.