Eric Kush

Bears OL Eric Kush Done For Season

Bears offensive lineman Eric Kush suffered a torn hamstring and will undergo season-ending surgery, head coach John Fox announced today. Chicago has officially placed Kush on injured reserve and signed offensive lineman Brandon Greene.Eric Kush (Vertical)

Kush, 27, wasn’t going to crack an excellent Bears interior offensive line that includes Kyle Long, Cody Whitehair, and Josh Sitton, but he was set to serve as Chicago’s top reserve on the inside. In 2016, Kush appeared in eight games (four starts), playing on roughly a quarter of the club’s offensive snaps while earning solid pass-blocking grades from Pro Football Focus. He re-signed with the Bears over the offseason, agreeing to a two-year, $2.7MM deal that included $1.35MM in guarantees.

With Kush sidelined, Chicago is deploying Whitehair as a backup guard while inserting Hroniss Grasu as the starting center, tweets Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times. While that’s a temporary alignment while Long recovers from injury, it’s probably how the Bears would line up if another injury strikes along the interior. Other Chicago linemen with guard experience include Tom Compton, Cyril Richardson, and Taylor Boggs.

Greene is a rookie undrafted free agent out of Alabama who spent his collegiate time playing both offense and defense. Although he’s played offensive line in the past, Greene was a tight end only in 2016.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Giants, Vikes, Bucs, Bears, 49ers

The Giants are trying to bring back every key member of their excellent defense, and while that would include retaining Johnathan Hankins, re-signing the 325-pound defensive tackle is easier said than done, as Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com writes. Hankins managed three sacks and 10 quarterback hits from the defensive interior, and given that he’s still only 24 years old, Hankins figures to break the bank in free agency. After speaking to a panel that includes executives and agents, Raanan pegs Hankins’ value at five years, $43MM, with $18MM in guarantees.

Here’s more from the NFC:

  • The Vikings made a “strong push” for free agent cornerback K’Waun Williams, according to Ben Goessling of ESPN.com, but ultimately lost out to the 49ers. Williams, 25, didn’t play in 2016 while dealing with an ankle injury, but would have given Minnesota another slot option given that Captain Munnerlyn is a free agent. Per Goessling, Williams’ relationship with San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan and defensive backs coach Jeff Hafley heavily factored into his decision to head to the Bay Area.
  • Pending free agent quarterback Mike Glennon has left his representation at Vanguard Sports and Athletes First, but he’s expected to re-sign with Athletes First agent David Dunn, tweets Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal. Glennon, 27, hasn’t played regularly for the Buccaneers since his rookie season in 2013, but if Kirk Cousins sees the franchise tag as expected, Glennon will be the top quarterback on the market.
  • Offensive lineman Eric Kush‘s new two-year deal with the Bears is worth $2.5MM and contains $500K in full guarantees, per Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Kush, 27, started four games and played 279 offensive snaps on an injury-filled Chicago front five last year, but he’s projected to serve as depth in 2017.
  • The 49ers announced that they’ve hired Stan Kwan (assistant special teams), Vince Oghobaase (asssistant defensive line), and Adam Stenavich (assistant offensive line). While Oghobaase is a holdover from the Chip Kelly regime, Kwan and Stenavich are new additions. Kwan was relieved of his duties as a Saints assistant earlier this year after spending four years in New Orleans.

Bears Sign OL Eric Kush To Two-Year Deal

The Bears announced that they’ve reached agreement on a two-year deal with offensive lineman Eric Kush. Kush, who had been scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next month, is now locked up through the 2018 campaign.Eric Kush (Vertical)

[RELATED: Bears To Make Push For Jimmy Garoppolo]

The 27-year-old Kush just wrapped his first season with the Bears after the club claimed off waivers before last season began. Originally slated to serve as a reserve interior lineman, Kush ended up starting four games and appearing in eight total contests after injuries hit Chicago’s front five. Overall, Kush played on 279 offensive snaps for the Bears in 2016, and even chipped in with 27 special teams snaps.

Kush, a sixth-round pick in the 2013 draft, has bounced around during his NFL career, spending time with the Chiefs, Buccaneers, Panthers, Texans, and Rams before landing with the Bears. All told, Kush has played in 18 games and picked up five starts.

Chicago has 26 other free agents on its board this offseason, but only one of those players is another offensive lineman like Kush: veteran guard/center Ted Larsen.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Sunday NFL Transactions: NFC North

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four NFC North teams. Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline yesterday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters, claiming players off waivers or signing guys who clear waivers. Those transactions for the Bears, Lions, Packers, and Vikings are noted below.

Additionally, as of 12:00pm CT today, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads. You can check out our glossary entry on practice squads to brush up on those changes, as well as all the other guidelines that govern the 10-man units, whose players practice with the team but aren’t eligible to suit up on Sundays.

Here are Sunday’s NFC North transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day. All links go to Twitter unless otherwise noted:

Chicago Bears

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Minnesota Vikings

Rams Cut Akeem Ayers, Move To 53

The Rams have announced the following moves as part of moving their roster to 53 players:

Cut:

Placed On IR:

Ayers is perhaps the most surprising release, given that the 2015 free agent signee started 11 games for the club last season. Los Angeles will clear all $3.3MM of his cap charge by parting ways.

Rams Promote OT Isaiah Battle

TUESDAY, 3:45pm: The Rams have made several moves to their roster, including promoting Battle, and Nick Wagoner of ESPN (Twitter link) has the breakdown. Here are the details:

Added to 53-man roster:

Waived:

Placed on injured reserve:

MONDAY, 7:14pm: In the wake of injuries to the offensive line, the Rams will promote supplemental draft pick Isaiah Battle to the active roster, coach Jeff Fisher told reporters (Twitter link via Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch). Battle will help bolster the offensive line now that rookie offensive linemen Jamon Brown and Darrell Williams are done for the year with injuries, as Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com tweets. Brown will undergo leg surgery while Williams will have his wrist treated.

Fisher added that in addition to promoting Battle, the Rams will look for outside offensive line help. Of course, with the trade deadline in the rear view mirror, the Rams can only find out-of-house solutions via free agency or the waiver system.

Battle, who had been penciled in as Clemson’s starting left tackle for 2015, decided to enter the supplemental draft instead, citing “family” reasons, including a forthcoming child. Earlier in the year, Mike Huguenin of NFL.com had identified Battle as a candidate to play in next year’s Senior Bowl, writing that the Clemson lineman “remains somewhat raw, [but] is a good athlete who plays with some nastiness.”

Of the seven prospects eligible for the supplemental draft, Battle was considered the one most likely to be picked, with some pundits suggesting that a team could go as high as a third-rounder for the lineman. However, teams were reportedly wary of Battle due to possible off-the-field concerns, so he ultimately cost the Rams only a fifth-rounder. As it turns out, Battle was the only player taken in this year’s supplemental draft.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/7/15

Here are Saturday’s minor signings, cuts, and other transactions from around the NFL:

  • The Raiders have parted ways with veteran defensive lineman C.J. Wilson, promoting Tevin McDonald from their practice squad to take Wilson’s spot on the 53-man roster, the team announced today (via Twitter). As Scott Bair of CSNBayArea.com observes (via Twitter), Wilson will provide Oakland with an insurance policy in case T.J. Carrie is unable to play on Sunday.
  • The Giantsactivation of Jason Pierre-Paul will get the majority of headlines in New York today, but the club also made another change to its active roster. According to Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News (via Twitter), the Giants waived defensive tackle Louis Nix, elevating cornerback Tramain Jacobs from their practice squad to replace him.

Earlier updates:

  • Washington placed backup outside linebacker Jackson Jeffcoat on season-ending IR and signed Houston Bates from its practice squad, Mike Jones of the Washington Post tweets. A second-year UDFA who’s played in six games for the team this season, Jeffcoat was not listed on the team’s injury report this week.
  • The Dolphins activated rookie running back Jay Ajayi from IR-DTR and cut center Sam Brenner, James Walker of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). Brenner, an undrafted free agent who signed with the Dolphins in 2013, has played in 10 games for the team in that span, starting four in his first year.
  • The previously reported agreement between the Texans and lineman Eric Kush is worth two years and $984,706, reports Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.
  • The Jets have signed safety Rontez Miles to the active roster, reports Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News (via Twitter). To make room, the team released fifth-rounder Jarvis Harrison. The offensive guard hadn’t seen the field through the team’s first seven games.

Workout Notes: Patriots, Texans, Chargers

The latest workouts from around the NFL:

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/3/15

Here are Tuesday’s minor signings, cuts, and other non-trade transactions from around the NFL:

  • The Raiders cut wide receiver/kick returner Walter Powell, Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets.
  • The Saints signed wide receiver T.J. Graham while cutting fullback Austin Johnson and safety Akeem Davis, according to Evan Woodbery of The Times-Picayune (Twitter links).

Earlier Updates:

  • The Chargers, once again dealing with a banged-up offensive line, are re-signing veteran center J.D. Walton, per Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Chris Watt, who had seen some time at center, was among San Diego’s offensive linemen who left Sunday’s game against the Ravens due to an injury.
  • With Keenan Allen headed to the injured reserve list, the Chargers will also be signing wide receiver Javontee Herndon, who had been on the club’s practice squad, per Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune (Twitter link). Herndon certainly won’t be counted on to emulate Allen’s production, but he’ll provide some depth for San Diego’s receiving corps.
  • The Texans are signing former Chiefs sixth-round pick Eric Kush to their 53-man roster, a source tells Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). The 26-year-old interior offensive lineman will join the Houston roster in the wake of a knee injury to C/G Greg Mancz, who has been placed on IR, Wilson observes (via Twitter).
  • Former Jaguars linebacker James-Michael Johnson is signing with the Lions, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. While Johnson didn’t see much action for either the Jags or Bucs this season, he earned 18 starts for the Browns and Chiefs from 2012 to 2014.

AFC Notes: Raiders, Texans, Broncos, Workouts

As the possibility of losing the Raiders again continues to loom over the city, Oakland is continuing to formulate solutions on a path to a new stadium.

Mayor Libby Schaaf has initiated a process of bringing to light yet another stadium proposal with the goal of having it ready to present in the next couple of weeks, per Phil Matier and Andy Ross of the San Francisco Chronicle, who write this operation’s plan is to present this proposal to a special league committee — rather than the owners — by December.

Despite bringing in a consulting firm, Schaaf faces an uphill battle in procuring a land deal that will please the parties involved. The Raiders’ believing they should not have to pay for that part of the process is not sitting well with the city or Alameda County, Matier and Ross note.

The Bay Area scribes, however, hear that Oakland has the trump card in this standoff: the fact that Raiders owner Mark Davis does not have the votes to move and is lagging behind the Rams and Chargers, the latter once agreeing on a significant partnership for a Carson, Calif.-based stadium, in the Los Angeles sweepstakes.

The league desires a wealthier owner that will make an L.A. return profitable, per the Chronicle’s investigative-reporting tandem, and Davis doesn’t match up. He’s in the process of taking on a partner to help aid this potential relocation financially.

Let’s look at some additional AFC items.

  • Ryan Mallett remains eligible to collect $1.47MM from the Texans in termination pay, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle writes. The Texans are carrying this figure on their 2015 payroll after extracting themselves from the two-year, $7.01MM contract they signed Mallett to in March. The reeling signal-caller can file for his remaining 10 game checks, each totaling $147K+, but the Texans are not on the hook for any money in 2016.
  • Bill O’Brien and GM Rick Smith‘s indecisiveness on their quarterback situation should put their jobs at risk, writes the Chronicle’s Jerome Solomon.
  • In advance of a matchup with the 6-0 Packers, the Broncos‘ coaching staff was noticeably stricter this week, players told Cameron Wolfe of the Denver Post
  • The Colts kicked the tires on former free agent acquisition and starting guard Donald Thomas today, Field Yates of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link). Thomas played two games for Indianapolis in 2013 before suffering a season-ending injury. The former Patriots lineman sustained another in 2014, and the Colts cut his comeback short when they released him before the season.
  • The Jets worked out former Chiefs center and sixth-round pick Eric Kush on Friday, Wilson reports (on Twitter). Current Kansas City center Mitch Morse beat out Kush for the position this summer.
  • The Browns brought in defensive tackles Joe Vellano, Terry Williams and Toby Johnson for workouts this week, according to Wilson (on Twitter).
  • J.R. Tavai worked out for the Titans this week, Wilson tweets. The rookie outside linebacker who the Titans cut just before the season also tried out for the Packers earlier this week.