Eddie Lacy

Extra Points: Cowboys, Lacy, Seahawks

As Todd Archer of ESPN.com writes, the Cowboys are $11-$13MM over the projected 2017 salary cap, but it will be fairly easy for them to clear space and to give themselves enough room to conduct their offseason business and sign a free agent or three. For instance, they could restructure the deals of Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick, and given the relative youth of those two players, such restructures should not hamstring the club in the long run. Dallas could also save a fair amount of money by restructuring Sean Lee‘s deal and giving Jason Witten an extension, and obviously the impending departure of Tony Romo will be a boon to the team’s cap situation. As such, the notion that the Cowboys are in “cap hell” and will be forced to be bystanders in free agency is more of a myth than reality.

Now let’s take a look at a few more notes from around the league:

  • It will be tempting for the Packers to let Eddie Lacy walk in free agency, but as Pete Dougherty of USA Today writes, one agent expects Lacy to get no more than a one-year, $2MM pact on the open market. Even if such a contract were loaded with incentives, it would still represent a small risk for Green Bay with the potential for a high reward, and Dougherty believes the team should make that gamble.
  • Six Seahawks players saw their 2017 base salaries become guaranteed on Saturday, as Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times reports. Those players form a major part of Seattle’s foundation: Russell Wilson, Doug Baldwin, Richard Sherman, Bobby Wagner, Michael Bennett, and Jeremy Lane. As Condotta observes, the only player on that list about whom there might have been some intrigue is Lane, who signed a four-year, $23MM deal last offseason but who failed to meet expectations in 2016.
  • Last offseason, Prince Amukamara bet on himself and took a one-year deal with the Jaguars in an attempt to prove that he could stay healthy and productive over the course of a full season. He was largely successful, as he appeared in 14 games (12 starts) and graded out as an above-average corner per Pro Football Focus. Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida-Times Union believes Amukamara thinks he should be paid as a No. 1 or 1A cornerback (an average of $8-9MM per year), but as he would be the No. 2 corner in Jacksonville behind Jalen Ramsey, it is unclear whether the Jags will meet his demands, even though they have the resources to do so.
  • Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer spoke to one high-level NFL personnel executive who believes that Mitch Trubisky has more upside than Carson Wentz and that the Browns would be wise to select him with the No. 1 overall pick. The Browns also hold this year’s No. 12 overall choice, but Trubisky will not fall that far, so if Cleveland wants him, they will need to make him the top choice in the draft.
  • Former UVA standout Ausar Walcott, who was signed by the Browns as an undrafted free agent following the 2013 draft, is resuming the pursuit of his NFL dream, as Dan Duggan of NJ.com writes. Walcott was charged with attempted murder in June 2013, and was subsequently cut by Cleveland. The charge was eventually dropped to aggravated assault, and while Walcott was free on bail, he was certainly not going to be signed by an NFL club while he was embroiled in a legal battle. But he was acquitted by a jury a few months ago, and the 27-year-old hopes to at least catch on with a CFL team as he tries to work his way back to the NFL.

Packers Notes: Thompson, Montgomery, Lacy

The idea of Packers general manager Ted Thompson taking a lesser role has come up, but it doesn’t appear it’s going to happen this offseason. Thompson is “not going anywhere,” head coach Mike McCarthy told reporters, including Jason Wilde of ESPN Wisconsin, on Thursday (Twitter link). The 64-year-old Thompson, who McCarthy acknowledged is “not the youngest cat anymore,” has been the GM in Green Bay since 2005. The team has made nine playoff trips, including eight in a row, and won a Super Bowl during Thompson’s 12-year run.

More from Green Bay, whose season ended with a 44-21 NFC title game loss in Atlanta last Sunday:

  • Tom Clements, who had been a member of the Packers’ coaching staff since 2006, was on an expiring contract this season and “is going to move on to some other interests,” according to McCarthy (via Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com). “That will be the one change to our staff,” commented McCarthy. Clements last worked as an associate head coach and had previously been Green Bay’s offensive coordinator, but McCarthy took play-calling duties from him in December 2015.
  • After a stunningly effective 2016 as a running back, Ty Montgomery will remain at the position going forward, McCarthy revealed (Twitter link via Wilde). “He’s a running back. He wants to change his number, and that’s the way we’re going,” McCarthy said of Montgomery, a former wide receiver who currently wears No. 88. Montgomery broke out in earnest as a rusher with a nine-carry, 60-yard showing against the Bears in Week 6, and the 24-year-old ultimately totaled 457 yards and three touchdowns on 77 attempts (a healthy 5.9 YPC).
  • Eddie Lacy‘s injury issues were a key reason why the Pack turned to Montgomery out of the backfield in the first place. Lacy, who only played in five games this season before ankle surgery forced him to injured reserve in late October, is scheduled to become a free agent in March. That means the four-year veteran could be done in Green Bay, but McCarthy hopes not. “I’d love to see him back,” said McCarthy, who added that the team won’t decide whether to re-sign Lacy until he “clears the medical threshold” (via Demovsky).

Eddie Lacy, Sam Shields Won’t Return For Packers

The Packers announced that they are activating cornerback Makinton Dorleant from injured reserve. The move means that running back Eddie Lacy and cornerback Sam Shields can not return this year. Eddie Lacy (vertical)

Lacy had surgery on his injured ankle roughly one month ago, but there was a glimmer of hope that he could see the field again this season. The injury was unfortunate since Lacy trimmed down this season and was boasting a career-best 5.1 yards-per-carry average on 71 attempts. The bruising tailback went down around the same time as top backup James Starks, leaving Green Bay with a major hole at running back.

This fall, Shields suffered his fourth reported concussion in the past six seasons. When healthy, Shields is regarded as one of the better cornerbacks in the entire NFL. However, given his concussion issues, it’s fair to wonder if he’ll ever return to that form. Today, the Packers opted to promote a rookie cornerback over Shields, and that is telling.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Running Back Notes: Martin, Elliott, Lacy, Bell

Buccaneers running back Doug Martin hasn’t seen the field since the second week of the season, but the 27-year-old may finally have a definitive return date. Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter told SiriusXM NFL Radio that the team is optimistic that Martin will return for next week’s contest against the Bears.

“We’re hopeful that after these three days off that maybe he has a shot at Chicago,” Koetter said (via Alex Marvez of Sporting News). “But hamstrings seem to linger a little bit. We’ll have to wait and see.

“These hamstrings are just delicate. He was 90-plus percent back and doing his rehab run one day and he tweaked it again. (Bucs trainers) kind of had to go back and start over.”

Martin rushed for 1,402 yards and six touchdowns last season, and the organization rewarded him with a five-year, $36MM extension. The former first-round pick collected 85 yards on 25 carries in 2016 before being sidelined with the hamstring injury.

Let’s take a look at some other notes pertaining to the NFL’s running backs…

  • Domestic violence accusations have surrounded Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott this season, and an incident report from the Aventura (Fla.) Police Department (obtained by USA Today’s Tom Pelissero and A.J. Perez) said the player’s ex-girlfriend/accuser also accused the athlete of abusing her back in February. The police said there were no visible signs of injury, and Elliott was not arrested. The writers say it’s unclear whether the NFL knew about these previous allegations.
  • There are several big-name running back prospects in this year’s NFL draft, but one scout believes the depth is overrated. “This was billed as some elite running back class—it’s not,” the scout told Matt Miller of Bleacher Report. [Leonard] Fournette is a freak, but everyone knows that. Dalvin Cook is exciting, but he’s not close to last year’s first-rounder [Ezekiel Elliott]. [Nick] Chubb is a third[-rounder] from what I’ve heard in our group. The big kid at Texas [D’Onta Foreman] is the one to watch if he comes out. I like him better than Derrick Henry.”
  • ESPN.com’s Field Yates previews the “biggest upcoming roster decisions” for each NFL team, and the writer points to two team’s running situations. With Eddie Lacy set to become a free agent, the Packers will have to decided whether they want to invest in the veteran or go a different route. If the team does look to replace the 26-year-old, Yates believes they’ll do so via the draft.
  • Meanwhile, Yates also looks at the situation in Pittsburgh between the Steelers and Le’Veon Bell. As the 24-year-old slowly creeps towards unrestricted free agency, the writer wonders whether the team will spend to keep one of their homegrown talents.

Mort & Schefter: Trades, Romo, Turner, Lacy

Teams have started to make “exploratory phone calls” in advance of the NFL’s November 1 trade deadline, according to Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. While the scribe duo notes that the NFL never seems the amount of trade activity that does the NBA or MLB, a few more deals could be made this season due to the influx of young general managers around the league. For a complete record of all the deals already consummated this year, check out PFR’s 2016 NFL Trade Tracker.

Here’s more from Mort and Schefter:

  • The Cowboys aren’t sure if they’ll bench rookie quarterback Dak Prescott once Tony Romo returns from injury, but Dallas has no interest in trading Romo at this time. Romo is unlikely to be healthy before the trading deadline, meaning no other club would feel safe dealing for the veteran, and the financial ramifications of such a move are untenable from the Cowboys’ perspective. Trading Romo right now would force nearly $32MM to immediately accelerate onto Dallas’ salary cap.
  • As many as two collegiate teams are eyeing Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner for a head coaching position, per Mortensen and Schefter, but it’s unclear if Turner would reciprocate such interest. Turner has never been a head coach in the NCAA, and was last involved in the collegiate ranks in 1984 as USC’s OC. He’s posted a career record of 114-122-1 as a head coach in the NFL.
  • Packers running back Eddie Lacy had ballooned back up to 255 to 265 pounds before being placed on injured reserve today, report the ESPN scribes. Lacy worked all offseason to get his weight down, but apparently the pounds had come back. Lacy will undergo ankle surgery and is likely out for the year, although he could conceivably return late in the season.

Packers To Place Eddie Lacy On IR

Running back Eddie Lacy‘s season is over. Lacy will have surgery performed on his injured ankle, likely ruling him out for the remainder of the season. Taking his place will be running back Don Jackson who is being promoted from the practice squad today. The team has confirmed both moves via press release.Eddie Lacy (vertical)

If Lacy is able to return, he would be eligible to come back for Week 15 of the regular season. Jackson will serve as Green Bay’s primary tailback tonight. In the longer term, it remains to be seen how the Packers will fill the void while Lacy is sidelined. The Packers acquired Knile Davis from the Chiefs earlier this week and they’ve also taken to using wide receiver Ty Montgomery in the backfield. While Montgomery offers great pass catching ability, they would like to have a more traditional runner available at times.

Lacy recently received a second opinion on his foot from Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte. Initially, the belief was that Lacy suffered a sprain, but it now looks like he is dealing with something more severe. Lacy, a powerful yet inconsistent tailback, suffered the injury in the Packers’ Week 5 win over the Giants. He toughed it out, running for 65 yards on 17 rushes the following week against Dallas.

The Packers will test out their makeshift backfield tonight against the 1-5 Bears. The Bears are allowing an average of 107.7 rushing yards per game this season, putting them roughly in the middle of the pack.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eddie Lacy To Miss Several Weeks?

Packers running back Eddie Lacy‘s ankle injury is more severe than a sprain and will keep him out for several weeks, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). For now, he’ll miss the Packers’ game Thursday against NFC North rival Chicago.

Lacy is is seeking a second opinion on his foot from Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. “Anything else is speculation,” a source told Schefter (Twitter link), which somewhat conflicts with Rapoport’s report.

Eddie LacyDespite hurting his ankle in the Packers’ Week 5 win over the Giants, Lacy played through the ailment and picked up an impressive 65 yards on 17 rushes in Green Bay’s loss to Dallas last Sunday.

Lacy had a disappointing 2015 as he battled weight issues, but the fourth-year man slimmed down during the offseason and has fared well in 2016. Lacy is currently sporting a career-best 5.1 yards-per-carry average on 71 attempts, though he hasn’t yet found the end zone. The 234-pounder also didn’t exceed 17 carries in any of the Packers’ first five games, in which they went 3-2.

Lacy’s absence will leave the Packers devoid of proven backfield options as they try to bounce back this week. Lacy’s main backup, James Starks, underwent knee surgery Sunday and is out for the foreseeable future. Since then, the club has promoted Don Jackson from its practice squad and acquired Knile Davis from the Chiefs. Davis, a fourth-year veteran, has 233 carries to his name, but his career YPC is a paltry 3.3.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cole’s Latest: Lynch, Carroll, Chargers, Lacy

In a series of videos today for Bleacher Report, Jason Cole tackled a handful of notable topics from around the NFL. Here’s the latest from Cole:

  • The Seahawks would like to bring back running back Marshawn Lynch in 2016, since the team feels he’s still capable of big-time production. However, Seattle isn’t interested in retaining Beast Mode at his current $9MM base salary and $11.5MM cap hit, says Cole (video link). The club will explore the possibility of a pay cut – perhaps lowering Lynch’s base salary and adding incentives to his deal – but if the two sides aren’t making much progress, Seattle may eventually have to cut the standout running back.
  • Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll is currently signed through 2016, but it’s unclear what his future holds after that. If Carroll wants to continue his coaching career, I’d expect Seattle to try to keep him around, but Cole suggests that the Rams – and the Chargers, if they move to L.A. – could make a play for the former USC head coach (video link).
  • Speaking of those Chargers, they’re still a little apprehensive about dealing with Rams owner Stan Kroenke, but the NFL has been encouraging Dean Spanos‘s franchise to take advantage of the opportunity to move to Los Angeles, according to Cole (video link). The league believes that the basic deal it has outlined for the Chargers would allow the team to make more money in L.A. than it would if it remained in San Diego.
  • Not that we needed to be told, but Cole cites Packers sources who say running back Eddie Lacy looked “sluggish” during his 61-yard run against Arizona, adding that the team was disappointed with Lacy’s lack of development and fitness level this season. There’s major uncertainty surrounding Lacy’s future with the franchise, says Cole (video link).

Packers Notes: Lacy, Matthews, McCarthy

In his end-of-season press conference, Mike McCarthy gave Eddie Lacy an ultimatum of sorts after the third-year running back endured his worst season.

Eddie Lacy, he’s got a lot of work to do. His offseason last year was not good enough, and he never recovered from it,” McCarthy told media, including ESPN.com’s Jason Wilde. “He cannot play at the weight he was at this year.”

Lacy’s yardage total decreased considerably from two upper-echelon campaigns in 2013-14, with the former second-round pick rushing for 758 yards (4.1 per carry) on 187 totes — 59 fewer than last season and 97 fewer than his offensive rookie of the year slate.

2015 also brought three games where Lacy came off the bench, once as a result of missing curfew in Detroit and being outright demoted in favor of James Starks earlier.

Here are some more takeaways from the Packers coach’s presser.

  • Green Bay will look to move Clay Matthews back to outside linebacker after spending more than a season inside, Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com reports. Matthews spent the entire season on the inside of the Packers’ 3-4 look after moving there due to thinning talent at the position in 2014. “My goal with Clay is to play outside linebacker,” McCarthy said. “The matchup part of it was really always my goal. There’s things he does at that position that he’ll continue to do. He’s an outside linebacker and we need to get back to him playing there and just playing inside when needed.” Matthews’ sack total plummeted to 6.5 after the former All-Pro accrued 10+ sacks in four separate seasons as an outside backer. Playing 16 games, Matthews graded out as Pro Football Focus’ 39th-best inside linebacker, which was still a Packers-best but well below his usual strata. Outside backers Mike Neal and Nick Perry are free agents.
  • McCarthy also won’t be delegating play-calling responsibilities like he did for most of this season, the 10th-year coach announced, via Wilde. He also plans to retain assistant head coach Tom Clements, who was given play-calling autonomy this year before McCarthy reclaimed it. “That was a big change. Different kind of change. The structure was different offensively,” McCarthy said. “What I was trying to accomplish, being balanced, that part was accomplished with special teams and defense. Offensively, the structure was part of the failure on offense.”
  • Jeff Janis did not see the field for most of the season due to early-season struggles, necessitating a meeting with McCarthy, via the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. The former Division II wide receiver caught seven passes for 145 yards against the Cardinals after hauling in just two all season. “Look for them to take a big jump second year. Jeff and Jared Abbrederis need to earn their opportunities to get on the field,” McCarthy said.

NFC Notes: Murray, Lacy, Falcons, Bears

Eagles running back DeMarco Murray and owner Jeffrey Lurie had a lengthy conversation Sunday about Murray’s role in head coach Chip Kelly‘s offense, ESPN’s Ed Werder reports. Though the Eagles pulled a 35-28 upset in New England, Murray was barely a factor – taking the field for just 14 plays and totaling 24 yards on eight carries – and he voiced his frustrations to Lurie afterward as a result. Their conversation happened on the team’s flight home, according to Werder, who adds that it’s unknown who initiated the talk.

“He’s obviously upset about what happened,” a source close to Murray told Werder.

Murray, who led the NFL in rushing last year with Dallas and then signed a big-money deal with the Eagles in the offseason, has struggled mightily under Kelly. The two-time thousand-yard rusher has just 569 this season on a paltry 3.5 per-carry average, and has been outproduced by teammate Ryan Mathews – who signed a much less valuable contract with Philly in the offseason. Mathews missed the Patriots game because of a concussion, but Murray still had to take a backseat to Darren Sproles, who accrued 90 yards on 19 touches.

“We are not trying to win a rushing championship or a passing championship or a receiving championship or anything from that stretch of the imagination,” Kelly said Monday. “We are just trying to win football games.”

More from the NFC:

  • Like Murray, Packers running back Eddie Lacy has also had a disappointing season – one that reached a low point last week. Lacy finished with a mere 1 yard on six touches in the Packers’ 27-23 win over the Lions after Mike McCarthy demoted him for missing curfew the night before, but the coach said Tuesday that the third-year man will have a chance to win back his starting role. “If Eddie or any other player wants to jump up and grab that opportunity, it’s right in front of them,” McCarthy stated, according to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. McCarthy added that he thinks the demotion rejuvenated Lacy.
  • The Falcons’ offense has hit the skids during their descent from 5-0 to 6-6, but quarterback Matt Ryan spoke favorably of coordinator Kyle Shanahan on Tuesday. “Our production hasn’t been there, but in terms of plays and all that kind of stuff, I feel really good about how Kyle and I have worked together this year,” Ryan said on 680 The Fan, per D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “Kyle’s is a little bit different from the guy’s that I’ve worked with in the past. With that said, I feel really good about it. I feel like he’s going to be a guy that I can learn a ton from. I believe we’re going to win a lot of games together.”
  • Having landed on injured reserve, tight end Martellus Bennett‘s time with the Bears could be up, ESPN’s Jeff Dickerson writes. Dickerson believes the Bears should try to trade Bennett, who has one year left on his contract and is looking for a more lucrative one – which the team is unwilling to give him. In the event they’re unable to find a taker, the Bears could release Bennett and save over $5MM on their cap in 2016.