Emmanuel Sanders

Injury Updates: Barkley, 49ers, Lockett

The Giants may be a long shot to make the postseason, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to shut down their star players. When asked if the team would rest running back Saquon Barkley, head coach Pat Shurmur responded with an emphatic “absolutely not” (via Ralph Vacchiano of SNY).

Shurmur had previously acknowledged that Barkley was a bit banged up, and that was evident after the running back compiled a single rushing yard on 13 carries during the Giants’ loss to the Jets on Sunday. ESPN’s Jordan Raanan reports that Barkley had an X-ray on his shoulder after the game. There was some thought that the 22-year-old was suffering from an ankle or leg injury, but Barkley acknowledged that his legs are still feeling good.

The Giants and Barkley will look to get back on track when they return from their bye week. The team will visit the Bears on November 24th.

Let’s check out some more injury notes from around the NFL…

  • We’ve got some updates on key 49ers skill players. ESPN’s Adam Schefter notes (on Twitter) that wideout Emmanuel Sanders‘s s-rays for a rib injury were inconclusive. The veteran was set to undergo an MRI today to determine the extent of the “damage.” Meanwhile, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero tweets that running back Matt Breida will get a second opinion on his sprained ankle. While the injury isn’t thought to be serious, Breida may still be sidelined for several games.
  • Seahawks wideout Tyler Lockett was at the hospital last night getting treatment for a leg contusion, but Darin Gantt of ProFootballTalk.com passes along that the receiver is alright. Coach Pete Carroll told 710 ESPN that the bruise caused a “pretty severe situation” thanks to the subsequent swelling, and Lockett didn’t return with the team to Seattle. The 27-year-old is having another productive season, hauling in 62 receptions for 793 yards and four touchdowns.
  • Some good news out of Indy: Colts coach Frank Reich told reporters that wideout Devin Funchess should return to practice this week. “Technically, he could be cleared to play the game,” Reich said (via Jim Ayello of the Indy Star). “But he’s got a few more boxes to check. We have to make sure he’s good to go because this will really be his first week of practice. Then we still have to see how much he’ll be able to do Wednesday. We’re really encouraged. I think there’s another box he has to check before we can go full boar on the practice.” Funchess landed on the IR after breaking his collarbone during the season opener.
  • Bengals tight end Drew Sample suffered a high ankle sprain this past weekend, reports NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter). The 2019 second-rounder will undergo additional tests to determine how much time he’ll miss, but Rapoport notes that he’s a candidate for the injured reserve. The rookie has hauled in five catches for 30 yards in nine games (two starts) this season.

Designated To Return: Broncos, Lions, Titans

With roughly half of the 2019 campaign in the books, NFL clubs have started to exercise their right to return players from injured reserve. Each team is allowed to bring two players back from IR, but said players must have been retained on their respective club’s initial 53-man roster. Once an IR player returns to practice, his club will have three weeks to decide whether to activate him to their 53-man roster; if he’s not activated, the player will remain on injured reserve for the remainder of the season.

Here are three players who have been designated to return from IR this week:

  • Broncos wide receiver Tim Patrick has returned to practice and has been designated to return, as Mike Klis of 9News tweets. A 2017 undrafted free agent, Patrick suffered a broken hand in Week 1 of the 2019 campaign but is now ready for action. Patrick broke out in the final month of last season, posting 19 receptions for 242 yards during the last quarter of the campaign. When he returns to game action, Patrick could see a significant role in a now Emmanuel Sanders-less receiving corps.
  • The Lions have designated defensive end Austin Bryant to return from IR, and he practiced Wednesday, the club announced today. Bryant was selected in the fourth round of the 2019 draft, so he’s yet to play an NFL snap. During his final two seasons at Clemson, Bryant posted 17 sacks and 30.5 tackles for loss. If activated, Bryant could help a Detroit defensive line that currently ranks bottom-seven in both adjusted line yards and adjusted sack rate, per Football Outsiders.
  • Defensive back Josh Kalu has been designated to return from IR by the Titans, per Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com (Twitter link). An undrafted free agent out of Nebraska in 2018, Kalu spent most of last year on Tennessee’s practice squad before being promoted in December. He played in five games and saw action on 48 special teams snaps.

Trade Notes: Browns, Broncos, Eagles, Patriots, Saints, Lions

The Patriots and 49ers strengthened their aerial groups Tuesday, and the Saints are exploring the idea of doing the same. New Orleans is pursuing pass catchers, according to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora (on Twitter). The Saints made a late-season addition of Dez Bryant last year but saw the longtime Cowboy go down before playing in a 2018 game. This Saints iteration has surprised many by going 5-0 with Teddy Bridgewater at the controls, firmly placing the team in the contention picture. This offense has long funneled through Michael Thomas, with a steep drop existing between New Orleans’ No. 1 target and its other receiving targets. A.J. Green could be available, but the Bengals wideout may not be healthy by the deadline. Robby Anderson could also be a trade candidate, as could Demaryius Thomas (again).

Here is the latest from the trade market. Seven days remain until this year’s deadline.

  • Cornerback dominoes have fallen as well, with the Rams, Ravens and Texans making plays for key cogs. The Eagles‘ shaky pass defense features a notable need at corner, and the team has contacted the Broncos about Chris Harris, Troy Renck of Denver7 tweets. The Eagles were ready to send first- and second-round picks to the Jaguars for Jalen Ramsey. Harris is five years older and in a contract year, but it will likely take a Day 2 pick to pry him from Denver. The Texans tried to acquire the 30-year-old standout as well but evidently were not amenable to the Broncos’ asking price.
  • It does not look like a Trent Williams-to-Cleveland scenario will transpire. The Browns have repeatedly inquired about the Redskins tackle, but Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com notes (via Twitter) they have accepted the fact Washington will stick to its guns and hold onto him. Washington has Williams signed through 2020 but has not seen him budge on his holdout. The Redskins are believed to prefer waiting until the offseason to trade him, in order to learn where every team’s draft capital resides.
  • The Patriots paid up to acquire Mohamed Sanu from the Falcons, parting ways with a second-round pick for the eighth-year wideout. But they were also in talks with the Broncos about Emmanuel Sanders, Mike Klis of 9News notes. The Pats signed Sanders to an RFA offer sheet in 2013, but the Steelers matched. This marked the second straight year the Patriots wanted one of the Broncos’ starting wideouts, having tried to acquire Demaryius Thomas before the 2018 deadline. San Francisco landed Sanders for third- and fourth-round picks.
  • The Lions surprised many by dealing starting safety Quandre Diggs to the Seahawks, doing so despite Diggs being signed through 2021. Lions brass viewed Diggs’ play as having fallen off, per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter link), and called multiple teams about moving him. The Lions landed a 2020 fifth-round pick for Diggs, who is now a Seahawk. The play of young safeties Tracy Walker and Will Harris helped induce the Lions to pull the trigger, Birkett adds. Walker and Harris grade as top-40 safeties, per PFF, which has Diggs slotted outside the top 60. Diggs is only 26, however. This trade gives the Seahawks access to a key part of his prime.

Broncos Notes: Sanders, Harris, Patrick

A year after trading the other half of their Super Bowl 50 starting receiver tandem, the Broncos dealt Emmanuel Sanders to the 49ers. The interest in Sanders had escalated to the point five teams were in on him, Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic notes (subscription required). John Elway hinted at a Sanders-related event occurring between the Titans and Chiefs games, with Jhabvala adding it didn’t sit well with the GM. Sanders also wanted to be traded, per Jhabvala, and expressed that desire in a meeting with Elway and Vic Fangio last week.

This Broncos return — third- and fourth-round picks — is considerably better than the one they fetched for Demaryius Thomas, whom the Texans acquired for a fourth-rounder last October. Sanders had grown into Denver’s top wideout last season and rehabbed an Achilles tear to the point he was a key factor in this Broncos offense. But over the past three games, the 32-year-old took a backseat to Courtland Sutton and had caught just seven passes for 69 yards. The Broncos now have seven picks in the first four rounds of the 2020 draft.

Here is the latest from the Broncos, who may not be done selling.

  • Interest has naturally developed for Chris Harris, but the teams that were interested added other corners in recent days, per Mike Klis of 9News (on Twitter). The Texans pursued Harris but instead acquired Gareon Conley from the Raiders for a third-rounder, pointing to the Broncos setting a higher asking price for their four-time Pro Bowler. With Wade Phillips running the Rams’ defense, it’s likely they were interested in reuniting Harris and Aqib Talib. They bet bigger on Jalen Ramsey instead. Harris will obviously be a name to watch before the Oct. 29 trade deadline.
  • The contract-year corner is expected to test the market next year, after he and the Broncos could not come to terms on an extension this offseason. But Harris said he has not approached Elway about a deal now and still wants to finish his career with the Broncos, per Jhabvala (Twitter links). The Broncos do not have an obvious replacement for Harris like they did with Sanders (DaeSean Hamilton), so a trade there would stand to limit the 2019 team more.
  • An interesting piece of the Broncos’ IR equation will take shape as a result of the Sanders trade. Elway said Tim Patrick will be one of the team’s IR-return players. Patrick, an auxiliary wideout for last season’s Denver team, cannot return until Week 11. With Drew Lock having returned to practice, this points to the Broncos’ two spots being spoken for. That would leave Theo Riddick and Jake Butt in line to miss the season. The Broncos signed Riddick for one year and $2.5MM.
  • Being without safety starter Will Parks, the Broncos auditioned veterans Marcus Gilchrist and Kentrell Brice, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets. Gilchrist spent last season with the Raiders and was a Charger from 2011-14. Brice started 10 games for the Packers last season and spent time with the Buccaneers earlier this year. Denver also worked out defensive linemen DeShawn Williams and Joel Heath.

Broncos Trade Emmanuel Sanders To 49ers

The Broncos have traded wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders to the 49ers, according to Mike Klis of 9News (on Twitter). The deal will send Sanders and a 2020 fifth-round pick to the Niners with 2020 third- and fourth-round picks going to Denver, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets

The trade talk around Sanders has been percolating for some time. The Niners, meanwhile, have been on the hunt for a game-changing wide receiver. Mohamed Sanu, one of the top available WRs leading up to the trade deadline, was snagged by the Patriots in a Tuesday morning trade. Instead, the 49ers pivoted to Sanders, who offers a lengthy playmaking resume.

Through seven games, Sanders has 30 catches for 367 yards and two touchdowns. While those aren’t bad numbers, he’ll aim to get back towards his old form. Last year, Sanders managed 71 catches for 868 yards and four touchdowns in just 12 games. In 2014, his first season with the Broncos, he set career highs of 101 grabs for 1,404 yards and nine TDs. Sanders’ best ball might be behind him, but he’s still plenty dangerous, the potential is there for him to be a difference-maker as one of Jimmy Garoppolo‘s top targets.

In this deal, the Broncos managed to acquire draft capital while giving up a 32-year-old player in the final year of his deal. It was a solid move for GM John Elway, who likely isn’t done working the phones. There’s still a week to go before the trade deadline and the Broncos are clearly willing to sell after their loss to the Patrick Mahomes-less Chiefs. At this point, all eyes are on cornerback Chris Harris Jr. Elway has implied that Harris, Von Miller, and Derek Wolfe are staying put, but he said roughly the same thing about all of the team’s big “names” just days ago, and that group certainly included Sanders.

Outside of tight end George Kittle, the Niners were lacking proven receiving talents. In fact, none of the 49ers wide receivers have eclipsed the 200-yard mark or scored more than one touchdown this season. Sanders knows a thing or two about finding the end zone, however – he’s scored 39 career touchdowns for the Steelers and Broncos across his NFL career. If Sanders can produce – and mentor Dante Pettis and Deebo Samuel – he’ll be well worth the price. The Niners will be in even better shape if Trent Taylor returns to action later this year.

Sanu and Sanders are spoken for, but A.J. Green (Bengals), Taylor Gabriel (Bears), and DeVante Parker (Dolphins) are still available for trade between now and Tuesday buzzer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Broncos Likely To Trade Emmanuel Sanders

We heard earlier today that the Broncos were going to listen to trade offers for receiver Emmanuel Sanders, and it sounds like they’re going to do more than just listen.

Denver is now “expected to deal” Sanders before the deadline, sources told Mike Klis of Denver 9 News. The Broncos lost a game to the Chiefs on Thursday, which was widely considered their last stand. Now that they’re 2-5, it looks like they’re going to become sellers. In a tweet, Klis notes that Sanders is “still in play” to suit up for Denver’s Week 8 game in Indianapolis, but that he “has likely played his last home game.” Sanders is 32 now and coming off a major injury, and it doesn’t look like the Broncos are ready to compete anytime soon.

There are a bunch of contenders out there who could use receiver help, including the Patriots, but it’s unclear what kind of compensation Denver will be able to get. Sanders missed the end of last season with an Achilles tear, but was able to make it back for the 2019 opener. He’s had a few big games but has also been completely left out of the offense at times.

Through seven games, Sanders has 30 catches for 367 yards and two touchdowns. Those are some not too shabby numbers, and he clearly has at least something left in the tank. The deadline is a week from this Tuesday, so we’ll know Sanders’ next destination soon. Sanders has been with the team since 2014, and had 1,404 yards and nine touchdowns in his first year with Peyton Manning under center. The Broncos look like they’re going to enter a rebuild, and it’ll be interesting to see what other moves they make. It’s definitely possible cornerback Chris Harris Jr. is shipped out.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Trade Rumors: Seahawks, Broncos, Beasley

In the wake of Will Dissly‘s season-ending Achilles tear, the Seahawks are in the TE trade market, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Of course, Seattle already traded Nick Vannett to the Steelers earlier this season, and the club’s TE depth chart is so thin that they used several backup DEs as blocking tight ends in practice this week and may do so against the Ravens today.

Now for more trade rumors from around the league as we approach the October 29 trade deadline

  • No surprises here, but the Broncos are getting trade calls on WR Emmanuel Sanders, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com writes. Though Denver GM John Elway has refuted the notion that any of his players are on the trade block, Schefter says the Broncos will listen to offers for Sanders, though they are expected to ask for at least a third-round draft choice in return.
  • Another member of the Broncos that could be on the move is cornerback Chris Harris Jr. The Eagles made a strong offer for Jalen Ramsey, and Harris would still be a welcome addition to Philadelphia’s secondary and would not require the team to part with nearly as much draft capital. Former NFL agent Joel Corry (among others) wonders if the Eagles will make a push for Harris (Twitter link).
  • The Falcons have put Vic Beasley on the trade block, per Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com. Beasley’s play has tapered off dramatically since his breakout 15.5-sack performance in 2016, but he’s a former first-round pick and is only 27, so he could be a low-risk, high-reward target for a team in need of pass rushing help.
  • Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com believes the Browns still have a chance of landing Redskins LT Trent Williams, but she concedes that it will take a first-round pick and more to land him.
  • Schefter tweets that the Raiders will be buyers in advance of the deadline and have already begun looking for LBs and pass rushers.

Injury Updates: Sanders, Cooper, Roby, Howard

The latest injury updates on key players around the league:

  • Emmanuel Sanders left the Broncos’ win over the Titans with a knee injury and was ruled out, but fortunately it isn’t anything longterm. The injury isn’t “at all serious,” James Palmer of NFL Network was told (Twitter link). In a follow-up tweet, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that there’s optimism Sanders will play in just a few days on Thursday Night Football against the Chiefs. Sanders is in the midst of his comeback season from a torn Achilles, so it’s great news that he isn’t seriously hurt.
  • The Cowboys have lost three straight games, including an embarrassing one to the Jets on Sunday, and the news could get even worse soon. Star receiver Amari Cooper left the game and was soon ruled out with a quad injury. Cooper was in “pretty significant pain” after the game, a source told Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com (Twitter link). Obviously that’s not an official diagnosis, but it does sound like Cooper could miss some time. That’s the last thing this suddenly struggling Cowboys team needs.
  • The Texans picked up a big win over the Chiefs Sunday, but they couldn’t escape Kansas City unscathed. Starting cornerback Bradley Roby was knocked out of the game with a hamstring injury and will have an MRI tomorrow, according to Palmer (on Twitter). As Palmer points out fellow Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph is already sidelined with a hamstring issue, so this would be a huge blow to their secondary. Roby has been a bright spot on Houston’s defense this year, so this will definitely be one to monitor.
  • Roby wasn’t the only key member of the Texans to get hurt. Rookie first-round pick Tytus Howard had to be carted off with a knee injury, but fortunately it seems like he may have dodged a bullet. It didn’t look good for Houston’s starting right tackle, but Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets the initial diagnosis is that Howard did not tear his ACL. In a separate tweet, Wilson writes that head coach Bill O’Brien said that Howard’s injury “may have looked worse than it really was.” However, O’Brien did add “hopefully we can get him back at some point,” so it sounds like he’s going to miss some significant time. That’s a big blow to Deshaun Watson‘s protection, which has been surprisingly competent this season.

GMs Expecting Active Trade Deadline

The NFL has experienced a dramatic rise in significant trades over the past several years, and there may be a few noteworthy swaps going down this month as we get closer to the October 29 trade deadline. Indeed, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports says there is a sense among general managers that we may see more trades in advance of this year’s deadline than ever before, largely because there is a larger gulf between pretenders and contenders than in seasons past (indeed, there are still six winless teams, which is the highest number at this point in the season since the 1970 merger).

La Canfora says the teams most actively laying groundwork for potential deals are the Saints, Eagles, Ravens, Chiefs, Patriots, and Seahawks. Of course, a number of those clubs have already been pursuing Jacksonville CB Jalen Ramsey, and the Saints, Eagles, Ravens, and Chiefs are casting a wide net for cornerback upgrades.

One of this year’s still-winless clubs, the Broncos, are reportedly more open to moving veteran pieces than they were last year, as La Canfora writes in a separate piece, with Derek Wolfe, Chris Harris, and Emmanuel Sanders all generating interest. Wolfe could make sense for Baltimore, and the Saints are expected to renew their pursuit of Sanders. Even Von Miller could be on the block, per La Canfora, especially since all of his major bonuses and guarantees have already been paid. Miller, 30, is reportedly open to a change of scenery at this point, but Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network says the Broncos will not trade him (video link). However, the other players mentioned above could be available if Denver continues to scuffle.

But while Denver may be willing to talk shop, rival GMs are skeptical that the 0-4 Bengals, led by old-school owner Mike Brown, will be amenable to moving big-name vets despite their fading fortunes. La Canfora’s sources say Cincinnati could net a first-round pick for WR A.J. Green if the acquiring club is able to work out a new contract with him as a condition of the trade (and if Green recovers from his foot injury soon). The Patriots and Saints could make a push for Green or Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert, and Cincy could also swing deals for players like Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap if the club is willing to listen to offers.

Like fellow winless outfits Denver and Cincinnati, the Jets could be active in shopping veteran players in advance of the deadline. La Canfora specifically names Kelechi Osemele and Leonard Williams as players who could be on the move, though he says there has been no trade chatter surrounding Le’Veon Bell at this point.

Finally, though the 0-4 Redskins have been steadfastly refusing to trade Trent Williams, some believe that the team will relent at some point and will ship Williams to a contender in need of O-line help.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Emmanuel Sanders Also Underwent Offseason Ankle Surgery

It turns out Emmanuel Sanders needed two surgeries this offseason. The veteran Broncos wideout is nearly ready to play again after his Achilles operation, and on Monday he revealed to 9News’ Miks Klis he underwent a procedure to repair his other ankle.

Sanders underwent surgeries to repair his left Achilles’ tendon and right ankle, the latter procedure to fix a troublesome injury that occurred in October 2017. Sanders missed four games that season with a high ankle sprain but did not opt for a 2018 surgery. While he was on pace for another 1,000-yard season before his December 2018 Achilles injury, the 32-year-old pass catcher said he played through ankle pain throughout. Sanders had surgery this year while he was going through Achilles rehab, undergoing Achilles surgery in December and the ankle procedure a month later, Klis notes.

My (right) ankle gave me problems all last year,’’ Sanders said. “I came to camp last year thinking, “How the hell am I going to get through this season?’ I feel like that was kind of the reason I tore my Achilles.”

Sanders is expected to return to game action in the Broncos’ third preseason contest, which is set for August 19 against the 49ers. He participated in 11-on-11 drills Monday.

The Broncos are counting on the 10th-year receiver to again be a key playmaker for at least one more season. They did not make any major investments at this position this year, adding only sixth-round pick Juwann Winfree to a group that includes Sanders and three second-year players. Sanders has been a Broncos starter for five seasons and is entering the final year of his contract.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.