Ereck Flowers

NFC East Notes: Williams, Cowboys, Giants

Trent Williams continues to hold out from Redskins camp, but the team is standing firm on the trade front. Despite acquiring Donald Penn, the Redskins have told teams they have no plans to trade Williams, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Teams continue to inquire about the 10th-year left tackle’s availability, but thus far, Washington has resisted. Williams, 31, is upset with the organization because of his contract and its handling of a health scare of his. Some around the league believe the Patriots will make a play for the seven-time Pro Bowler, but nothing is moving on this front yet. This may be an attempt for Washington to drive up the price, but for now, Williams remains a Redskins employee.

As for Washington’s left tackle situation, Penn and 2018 third-rounder Geron Christian are battling for the spot, Albert Breer of SI.com tweets. Ereck Flowers is back at guard but may be behind fourth-round rookie Wes Martin.

Here is the latest from the NFC East:

  • Deandre Baker will miss time for the Giants because of a knee sprain, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com notes (video link). However, the first-round pick’s ACL did not sustain damage, and the Giants appear to expect him back soon. Baker will likely be asked to start in his first season, with Big Blue’s cornerback corps rather thin.
  • The Cowboys gave fourth-round pick Tony Pollard just four carries in their preseason opener, but Jerry Jones may be using that to send a message to holdout Ezekiel Elliott. “He looks confident out there. We know he’s inordinately understanding what it is he does and what he can do,” Jones said, via ESPN.com’s Todd Archer. “We’ve seen him do it. We know he’s capable, if he really needs to, carry the whole load.” Pollard gained 16 yards against the 49ers. While Dak Prescott‘s negotiations have been talking points in the past two days, not much has emerged on the Elliott front. Jones said (via Jon Machota of The Athletic, on Twitter) nothing has changed regarding Dallas’ extension candidates.
  • Third-year Cowboys defensive end Taco Charlton addressed his current situation, which may not involve a full-time starting role. The 2017 first-round pick has just four career sacks and said he was not asked to rush quarterbacks as much as he did as a rookie. He mentioned discussing his NFL future with his agent recently (via Machota, subscription required). “We know my value and everything like that, so everything is good,” Charlton said. “I’m here right now working hard with this team. I will show up every day to work hard, healthy, hurt, whatever may be. Shoulder hurt, I still show up every day to work hard.” The Cowboys have DeMarcus Lawrence recovering from surgery, Robert Quinn out two games with a suspension and Randy Gregory once again banned. The defending NFC East champs will need Charlton, especially early.
  • On another NFC East defensive line, the Eagles saw their 2017 first-round pick return to 11-on-11 drills. Derek Barnett participated in team work for the first time in camp, Dave Zangaro of NBC Sports Philadelphia notes. Barnett spent the offseason recovering from a shoulder injury that sent him to IR in October. The Eagles traded Michael Bennett and lost Chris Long to retirement, pointing to a big role for Barnett.
  • The Giants lost another wide receiver for the season. Recent addition Amba Etta-Tawo tore one of his Achilles’ tendons, per NJ.com’s Matt Lombardo. In his second camp with the Giants, the Syracuse alum has yet to play in a regular-season game. Big Blue is down Sterling Shepard and Corey Coleman and will be without Golden Tate for the season’s first four games.

Donald Penn To Visit Redskins

Not much has transpired on the Donald Penn front since the Raiders released him. Trent Williams‘ holdout looks to have changed that. The Redskins will host the former Raiders and Buccaneers tackle on a visit, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Penn will work out for the team, John Keim of ESPN.com tweets.

The Raiders cut Penn more than four months ago, and other than some interest from the Texans, the 36-year-old blocker has experienced a quiet free agency stay. Washington, though, may be ready to move on bringing in a Williams replacement/stopgap. It could also be an attempt to bring the holdout back into the fold.

Washington expressed interest in Penn during his 2014 free agency, Mike Jones of USA Today tweets. Redskins president Bruce Allen was with the Bucs when they drafted Penn.

Penn profiles as a far more proven player than Ereck Flowers, who slid over to left tackle during Washington’s minicamp. Flowers has struggled at tackle throughout his career, and although the Redskins were planning to try him at guard, it looks like they will keep him on the edge for the time being, Jay Gruden said (via Les Carpenter of the Washington Post, on Twitter).

The Raiders deployed Penn as their left tackle starter for four seasons, then moved him to the right side for what turned out to be a short stay. An early-season injury shelved Penn for most of the 2018 season. Prior to that, he had started 174 of a possible 176 regular-season games since entering the league in 2007.

While the Williams situation is unique, based on the 10th-year tackle being at odds with the Redskins because of their handling of an injury, Penn has been through multiple holdouts in recent years. It’s interesting another standout’s absence could create an opportunity for Penn.

It makes sense for the Redskins to protect themselves at left tackle, but Penn coming in would point to the team considering a Williams trade. The Redskins can begin fining their nine-year left-edge blocker, who also wants a new contract, for camp absences. Williams’ contract demand also comes after he has missed extensive time in recent seasons. Regardless, Washington’s left tackle spot remains in flux. Penn’s involvement complicates this situation further.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Release Candidate: Redskins OL Ereck Flowers

With little in the way of options at the tackle position, are the Redskins really in a position to release a former first-round pick who just celebrated his 25th birthday? The short answer is no, but it’s still possible that Ereck Flowers could wind up out of work between now and September. 

The film on Flowers is not inspiring – he failed to protect Eli Manning in New York despite being given three full seasons as the team’s starter. When things fizzled with the Giants, Flowers reunited with Tom Coughlin in Jacksonville and didn’t exactly set the world on fire in his seven games as the team’s starting tackle.

With a need at guard, the Redskins inked Flowers to a one-year, $3.2MM deal to help shore up the interior. Later, their plans for Flowers were interrupted when Trent Williams pushed for a relocation, forcing Flowers to take reps at tackle in practice.

To recap: The Redskins are thin on the offensive line, Flowers is guaranteed $1.5MM for the year, and they may need someone other than Williams to hold down the most important spot on the front five. Still, Flowers hasn’t inspired much confidence since leaving the University of Miami and the left guard spot that he was supposed to fill could be occupied by fourth-round rookie Wes Martin.

Flowers could turn things around in training camp and show the Redskins that he is deserving of a major role up front. Or, if Flowers continues his so-so spring play, he could wind up on the chopping block. If Flowers doesn’t cut the mustard, the Redskins may release him to save $1.7MM and look to the trade market for veteran help.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Rumors: Flowers, Jets, Caserio

Given several chances at left tackle with the Giants, Ereck Flowers may be set to receive another NFC East starting opportunity. This one will come with the Redskins, who as of now plan to use the former top-10 pick as a starter. Offensive line coach Bill Callahan said, via Les Carpenter of the Washington Post, Flowers is pegged to start opposite Brandon Scherff at left guard. Flowers, who started 48 games at tackle with the Giants and seven with the Jaguars from 2015-18 before moving to guard in Washington, lined up back at tackle during parts of Redskins minicamp because of Trent Williams‘ absence. While the first-round bust did not fare well in the public portion of the workouts, Washington remains optimistic. The Redskins drafted fourth-round guard Wes Martin (Indiana) but appear to have him set to develop behind Scherff and Flowers.

I see a lot of potential when we’ve moved tackles inside,” Callahan said, via Carpenter. “I think it gives us size, it gives us power. He’s long; he’s square. Obviously, he can play in the short area, so those are things we kind of identified during free agency that we liked, and we are trying to fit him into that mode. So it’s been a work in progress, we got a long ways to go yet, but he’s made a nice transition.”

Shifting first to the AFC, here is the latest from some of the NFL’s Eastern Time Zone-stationed franchises:

  • Colts VP of player personnel Rex Hogan becoming the Jets’ assistant GM may nix the franchise pairing two of its GM candidates in the front office. Bears exec Champ Kelly was linked to the Jets, but Rich Cimini of ESPN.com notes (Twitter link) the recent New York GM interviewee was the favorite for the job Hogan received. With Chad Alexander coming aboard as the Jets’ player personnel director and Phil Savage having also accepted a Jets job, the Jets are running out of prominent titles. This could keep Kelly in Chicago.
  • Hogan was still under contract with the Colts, Albert Breer of SI.com tweets, but Chris Ballard gave permission to allow for one of his top lieutenants to leave. Although Hogan and Ed Dodds were hired together, Cimini notes (on Twitter) Hogan served as the Colts’ No. 3 man in their decision-making hierarchy and will move to No. 2 with the Jets. This could put Hogan, who obviously helped the Colts in their rapid rebuild, on the GM radar in the near future.
  • Moving to a far more contentious process, Nick Caserio remains with the Patriots as their player personnel director. But with Caserio preparing to leave in 2020 — perhaps to become the Texans’ GM — Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk wonders how much input Bill Belichick‘s right-hand man will have over the next several months. Caserio’s contract runs through the 2020 draft, per Florio, but will Belichick clue in a potentially departing exec on the inner workings of his plans? In a draft when the Patriots could be (again) targeting a Tom Brady successor, the uncertainty around Caserio may force the Pats to turn to other execs during that research process.

NFC East Notes: Eagles, Foles, Manning

For a minute there, the Eagles considered tagging quarterback Nick Foles. This week, owner Jeff Lurie confirmed what had been widely rumored – the tag was considered only to stop Foles from potentially leaving for the rival Giants or Redskins (Twitter link via Mike Garafolo of NFL.com). However, when it became apparent to the Redskins that Foles would be leaving the conference altogether by signing with the Jaguars, the Eagles opted against the move.

Foles was beloved in Philadelphia, but holding on to him as Carson Wentz‘s backup would have been an expensive proposition. Instead, the Eagles allowed him to fly away while putting their limited cap space into other areas.

Here’s more from the NFC East:

  • As the Giants evaluate their future at the quarterback position, they have not ruled out the possibility that Eli Manning could be their QB in 2020, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY hears. If the Giants do not draft a QB at No. 6 or No. 17 overall or trade for Cardinals QB Josh Rosen, this could be the most likely outcome. From there, the Giants would kick the can down the road into 2020, when they would (finally) select Manning’s heir.
  • The Cowboys‘ one-year deal with safety George Iloka is a minimum salary benefit contract that will count for just $735K against the cap, as Todd Archer of ESPN.com tweets. He’ll earn a $930K base salary with just $210K of that amount being guaranteed. The longtime Bengals starter is just the latest one-year addition in Dallas, joining fellow vets Randall Cobb, Kerry Hyder, Christian Covington, Cameron Fleming, Tavon Austin, and Jason Witten on deals that expire after the 2019 season.
  • The Redskins will move former Giants first-round pick Ereck Flowers from tackle to guard, as John Keim of ESPN.com tweets. They don’t expect there to be much of a learning curve, however. “With his strength and his size and his ability to move I think it will be a natural easy fit,” head coach Jay Gruden said. “[When] we drafted Brandon I remember they came out in the same class and rated right next to each other. Ereck was more a tackle and Brandon projected more of a guard. Both are athletic big and can move. It will be an easy transition.”

Contract Details: Nsekhe, Anderson, Dorsett

Let’s take a look at the details of a few recently-signed NFL contracts:

Redskins Sign Ereck Flowers

The Redskins have signed free agent offensive tackle Ereck Flowers, per Pro Football Talk (on Twitter). Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets that it will be a one-year, $4MM pact.

Washington hosted the fifth-year pro yesterday, and the club elected to pull the trigger today. Flowers, of course, was selected by the division-rival Giants in the first round of the 2015 draft, but he never lived up to his pedigree. New York cut him last October and he subsequently caught on with the Jaguars, starting seven games at left tackle for Jacksonville.

His tenure with the Giants was marred by penalties and a matador-like approach to pass blocking, and even after Big Blue switched Flowers from left tackle to right tackle, they did not see an uptick in performance. But his improved play with the Jags caught the Redskins’ eye, and John Keim of ESPN.com says the club plans to to slide Flowers inside to guard.

However, he will also serve as a swing tackle and insurance policy for left tackle Trent Williams and right tackle Morgan Moses, while 2018 third-rounder Geron Christian — whom the team prefers at swing tackle — recovers froma torn MCL.

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ereck Flowers To Visit Redskins

Free agent offensive tackle Ereck Flowers is visiting the Redskins tonight, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Flowers was selected by the division-rival Giants in the first round of the 2015 draft but never lived up to his pedigree. New York cut him last October and he subsequently caught on with the Jaguars, starting seven games at left tackle for Jacksonville.

He played decently for the Jags, and surprisingly graded out as an above average offensive tackle in 2018, per Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics. However, his tenure with the Giants was mostly a disaster, as he yielded the most quarterback pressures of any offensive lineman in the league from Week 1 of his rookie campaign to Week 2 of 2018, his last appearance with Big Blue. Even after the Giants switched Flowers from left tackle to right tackle, they did not see an uptick in performance.

But his improved play with the Jaguars has led to some interest from the Redskins. Washington, of course, has Trent Williams entrenched as its starter at left tackle, but Williams has dealt with suspensions and injuries throughout his career, and he will be 31 when the regular season starts.

Morgan Moses, the Redskins’ right tackle, has started every game for the team since the 2015 season, but he wasn’t great in 2018. Flowers could provide an insurance policy for both Moses and Williams, which the Redskins need now that their former swing tackle, Ty Nsekhe, has signed with the Bills.

If signed by Washington, Flowers would reunite with his 2015 draft mate, Landon Collins.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jaguars To Sign Ereck Flowers

Ereck Flowers has a new home. The Jaguars have signed the offensive tackle to a one-year deal, according to a team announcement. 

The Giants cut ties with the former first-round pick earlier this week, and it didn’t take him long to find work. The deal reunites Flowers with his one-time head coach, Tom Coughlin, who now serves as Jacksonville’s football czar. The Miami product also returns to the same state in which he played college football, albeit several hours away from Coral Gables.

The Giants made Flowers the No. 9 overall pick in 2015 for a reason – he has the right build for an NFL tackle and above-average athleticism for the position. Unfortunately, he hasn’t done much with those tools at the pro level. This year, the Giants tried to use Flowers at right tackle with new acquisition Nate Solder on the left side, but they got the same results.

To make room for Flowers, the Jaguars have placed tackle Josh Wells on injured reserve. Wells was starting at left tackle in place of Cam Robinson, who is out for the season. Just five weeks into the year, the Jaguars are primed to trot out their Plan C, Josh Walker, at left tackle. In time, Flowers could become the next player to get a shot at the job.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jaguars To Meet With Ereck Flowers

Former Giants tackle Ereck Flowers cleared waivers on Wednesday and will visit the Jaguars on Thursday, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Schefter hears that other teams are also interested in Flowers and want him to visit after he’s done in Jacksonville. 

The Giants waived the former first-round pick on Tuesday after they were unable to find a suitable trade for him. The lack of trade interest was not a surprise – Flowers has yet to do much of anything at the pro level and any club willing to take a flier on him was unwilling to absorb the final year of his rookie contract.

Still, the 6’6″, 329-pound tackle holds promise, and other teams are interested in seeing what he can do, particularly given the dearth of quality tackles available. In theory, a positional change could also suit Flowers, and he wouldn’t be the first mediocre tackle to find success at guard.

Flowers’ history with Jaguars football czar Tom Coughlin may have something to do with the club’s interest in him. Coughlin coached Flowers in his rookie season with the Giants before he was ousted in January of 2016.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.