Evan Engram

East Notes: Newton, Williams, Giants

Most of Cam Newton‘s 2020 earning potential will be through incentives. As for base salary, the Patriots landed a former MVP for the league minimum. Newton will earn just $1.05MM in 2020 base salary, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports (on Twitter). The Pats entered the week with the least cap space in the NFL. New England guaranteed Newton just $550K, which is notable given the veteran passer’s injury issues in recent years. Newton underwent foot surgery in December and has rehabbed that Lisfranc issue for several months. The 31-year-old standout can collect $6.45MM through incentives and pre-game roster bonuses, La Canfora adds. The contract does not prevent the Pats from franchise-tagging Newton next year.

Here is the latest from the NFC East:

  • The Giants and Leonard Williams discussed a new deal late last season and before the March franchise tag deadline, but the sides were not especially close on terms. Now franchise-tagged at $16.1MM, Williams wants a deal that will pay him between $18-$20MM per year, SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano notes. The Giants did not want to go there. Although Dave Gettleman traded for Williams in a contract year, Vacchiano adds the ex-Jet may have less support among Giants brass. While Williams is a former top-10 pick, he has 17.5 sacks in five seasons — including a half-sack last year. That sack total ranks 84th since 2015, though the interior defender’s 101 QB hits rank 12th in that span. This massive gap, along with the tag, creates an interesting negotiation.
  • Evan Engram may have missed Giants team activities in a normal offseason; the fourth-year tight end underwent foot surgery late last year. But New York’s top tight end recently posted a video featuring him running and cutting, via the New York Post. While Engram is far from a safe bet, given his injury propensity as a pro, this represents a good sign for a Giants team that did not use its top skill-position configuration — Engram-Saquon BarkleySterling ShepardGolden TateDarius Slayton — once last season.
  • Despite the Patriots waiting until late June to add their likely starting quarterback, their QB situation now looks better than the Redskins‘. Ron Rivera discussed a Newton deal earlier this offseason but said this week the fit was not right in Washington. “If the circumstances had allowed us, I would not have had an issue with that,” Rivera said during an interview with 670 The Score (via NBC Sports Washington). “I would’ve been very confident and comfortable going after him and bringing him to be part of what we’re doing here.” The Redskins are set to enter training camp with Dwayne Haskins and Kyle Allen as their top healthy QBs, though Alex Smith remains on the roster.

Giants Pick Up 2021 Options For Evan Engram, Jabrill Peppers

The Giants will extend the contracts of 2017 first-rounders Evan Engram and Jabrill Peppers through the 2021 season, the team announced.

This marks the final year fifth-year options will be guaranteed for injury only. Beginning in 2018, teams must fully guarantee players fifth-year salaries if they pick up options. The injury component will be key for Engram.

The fourth-year tight end is coming off a second straight injury-marred season. Engram underwent foot surgery in December. While the Giants would obviously prefer he stay healthy and earn the 2021 salary coming to him, they would only be able to cut Engram free of charge if he can pass a physical by the start of the ’21 league year. Engram has missed 13 games between the 2018-19 seasons.

Engram, however, has given Eli Manning and Daniel Jones an intriguing weapon when healthy. He averaged a career-high 58.4 yards per game last season but only played in eight contests. Engram’s 722 yards as a rookie were the most of any rookie tight end during the 2010s.

Drafted two spots after Engram three years ago — at No. 25 overall — Peppers came over in last year’s Odell Beckham Jr. trade. The former Browns draftee started 11 Giants games last season before suffering a transverse process fracture in his back. Pro Football Focus graded the Michigan product as a middle-of-the-pack safety in 2019. Peppers registered 76 tackles, which were only three shy of his career-high figure despite an injury-shortened season, and intercepted one pass — which he took back for a touchdown.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Evan Engram To Undergo Foot Surgery

After a promising start to the season, Evan Engram is on IR after missing most of the second half of this Giants campaign. He may miss a sizable chunk of Big Blue’s offseason program too.

Engram will undergo foot surgery Friday, according to the team. The former first-round pick said he expects to be ready by training camp. This would appear to put the rest of the tight end’s offseason availability in question.

The third-year starter described his injury as not being a full Lisfranc setback but indicated the damaged ligament has not healed properly. The injury occurred during the Giants’ rematch with the Cowboys on Nov. 4. Engram finished the season with 44 catches for 467 yards and three touchdowns. Engram has missed 13 games over the past two seasons.

The offseason availability of Engram and other Giants may be more important in 2020 than it was this year. Pat Shurmur is a candidate to be fired, with the Giants now 8-22 under his watch. If that happens, the Giants will have a new offensive system to install during the offseason program.

Engram will be going through the rehab process when the Giants must decide on his fifth-year option. While the Giants should be expected to pick up what will be an affordable 2021 option, Engram will have to shed an “injury-prone” label as he pursues a major extension.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants Place Evan Engram On IR

Evan Engram‘s season is officially over. The Giants are placing the talented young tight end on injured reserve with a couple of games left in the year, the team announced Tuesday.

To take his place on the active roster, they promoted receiver David Sills from the practice squad. Engram hadn’t played since a November 4th game against the Cowboys, but New York had been holding out hope for a late-season comeback. Engram is dealing with a foot sprain and got a second opinion on the injury about a month ago. He’ll finish his third season as a pro with 44 catches for 467 yards and three touchdowns across eight games.

A first-round pick out of Ole Miss back in 2017, the Giants will have to decide on his fifth-year option this offseason. Given his production when healthy, it seems like a no-brainer that they’ll pick it up. Engram missed five games due to injury last year, but has been one of the league’s better tight ends when available. As a rookie he had 722 yards and six touchdowns in 15 games, great numbers for a first-year tight end.

The Giants have obviously been having a disappointing season, with plenty of injuries on offense. The 23rd overall pick in 2017, Engram turned 25 in September. Sills is a rookie UDFA from West Virginia who originally signed with the Bills. After Buffalo waived him at final cuts, he latched on with New York’s practice squad.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants QB Daniel Jones Ruled Out, Eli Manning To Start

The Giants announced this morning that starting quarterback Daniel Jones has been ruled out for Monday’s game against the Eagles. This means Eli Manning will get the start for New York.

We heard rumblings earlier this week that Manning could get the start for the Giants. Jones was continuing to recover from a mild high-ankle sprain, and the injury was expected to knock the rookie out of the lineup.

So in comes Manning, who will get his (presumable) farewell tour with the organization. It was clear that the 38-year-old’s time with the organization was coming to an end when they selected Jones with the sixth-overall pick in this past year’s draft. The veteran got a pair of starts for the Giants before giving way to the 22-year-old, who has started the last 10 games.

Manning hasn’t seen the field since that Week 2 start against the Bills. Up to that point of the season, Manning had completed 62.9% of his passes for 556 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. However, in 2018, the 38-year-old raised his completion rate to a career-high 66%, and his 7.5 yards-per-attempt average was considerably higher than it was in the previous two seasons. He also dropped his interceptions total (11) to the lowest its been during his 14 seasons a full-time starter.

Manning will now have an opportunity to show teams that he’s still capable of playing in the NFL. The veteran says he plans on playing through at least the 2020 season, but it’s unlikely to be with the Giants. His $23.2MM salary limited his trade appeal this year – and Manning wouldn’t have waived his no-trade clause, anyway – but there figure to be many QB-needy teams speaking with the future Hall of Famer in March.

Jones won’t be the only Giants player missing Monday’s game. ESPN’s Jordan Raanan tweets that tight ends Evan Engram (foot) and Rhett Ellison (concussion), as well as cornerback Corey Ballentine (concussion), have also been ruled out.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Notes: Cooper, Kerrigan, Giants

Amari Cooper left the Cowboys‘ Thanksgiving Day game because of a knee injury, but it appears the wide receiver avoided a significant setback. An MRI Cooper underwent Friday revealed no structural damage in the knee, Todd Archer of ESPN.com notes. The Cowboys do not have a 10-day break, set for a Thursday-night game in Week 14 in Chicago, but Cooper looks to have avoided a multi-game injury. That will obviously be pivotal to a 6-6 team vying for the NFC East title with the 5-6 Eagles.

Here is the latest from the NFC East:

  • The Giants announced they have designated outside linebacker Kareem Martin to return from IR. A 2018 free agent signing, Martin played only in Week 1 this season. The former Cardinal has rehabbed from a knee injury and will soon be set to make it three ex-Cardinals among the Giants’ linebacking corps. New York has seen Markus Golden stand out on his one-year deal, and Big Blue added ex-Arizona first-rounder Deone Bucannon during Martin’s IR stay.
  • Evan Engram will miss his third straight game. After being declared out, the Giants’ third-year tight end will miss his 11th career game. The Ole Miss product is dealing with a mid-foot sprain. Engram was playing well prior to this injury. The Giants must decide on the 2017 first-rounder’s fifth-year option by early May. Blocking tight end Rhett Ellison will also miss New York’s 12th game, leaving the 2-9 team without much of note at this position.
  • Long out of playoff contention, the Redskins are playing only for evaluation and draft position at this point. A player the team does not need to evaluate, though, will miss his first NFL game. Ryan Kerrigan‘s 139-game streak will come to an end because of a concussion, Bill Callahan said Friday. Washington’s top edge rusher has posted double-digit sacks in each of the past three seasons but will have a tougher time running that streak to four with this news. The ninth-year outside linebacker is sitting on 4.5 sacks after 11 games.
  • The Eagles gave kicker Jake Elliott a five-year extension, keeping the former Bengals practice squad leg tied to Philadelphia’s roster through the 2025 season.

Evan Engram Getting Second Opinion On Foot

The Giants will send an MRI of tight end Evan Engram‘s foot to Dr. Robert Anderson for a second opinion, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Engram will not play on Sunday against the Jets, reports Ralph Vacchiano of SNY (Twitter link), but he hopes to return soon after that.

Speaking to reporters today, head coach Pat Shurmur didn’t sound overly optimistic on Engram’s status. Shurmur said Engram is currently in a walking boot and called the third-year tight end “day-to-day, week-to-week,” as Dan Duggan of The Athletic tweets. However, Engram says he does not have a Lisfranc injury, tweets Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post. For now, New York is calling Engram’s injury a mid-foot sprain, per Paul Schwartz of the New York Post (Twitter link).

A first-round pick in the 2017 draft, Engram broke out with 64 receptions and 722 yards in his rookie campaign, but fell back to earth in a injury-riddled 2018 season. This year, Engram was once again posting another outstanding year and had been on pace to surpass his previous career highs in catches and yards, but his most recent health issues may prevent that from happening.

The Giants have yet to field their full set of skill position players for a game, and it doesn’t appear that will occur any time soon. Not only is Engram hurt, but wide receiver Sterling Shepard is being sent to Pittsburgh to meet with concussion experts, tweets Vacchiano. Shepard has already been concussed twice this season and hasn’t played since Week 5.

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Injury Updates: Saints, Brees, Giants

Saints quarterback Drew Brees wants to return sometime before the team’s Week 9 bye, but the team wants to exercise caution and push that off until Week 10, Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports tweets. The Saints’ position makes sense, given Brees’ importance and Teddy Bridgewater‘s recent performance.

The Saints are 4-1 following Sunday’s win over the Bucs and they’ll look to make it four straight with a win over the Jaguars on Sunday afternoon.

Here’s more on some notable injuries around the NFL:

  • The Giants officially ruled out running back Saquon Barkley (ankle), tight end Evan Engram (knee), and running back Wayne Gallman (concussion) for Thursday night’s game against the Pats. The Giants showed some new signs of life following Daniel Jones‘ takeover of the offense, but they fell to the Vikings over the weekend and the odds may be stacked against them in New England.
  • Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians says edge rusher Jason Pierre-Paul will be able to resume practicing with the team next week. JPP has not missed a game over the last two seasons, but he has yet to make his 2019 debut thanks to a fractured vertebra in his neck. Recently, he restructured his deal with the Bucs, allowing him to reach free agency after the ’19 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Updates: Rams, Matthews, Giants, Engram

There’s still no official word on when Rams outside linebacker Clay Matthews will return to action, but a realistic return date for him would be after the team’s bye week, head coach Sean McVay told reporters. That would line the veteran up for a Week 10 return on Nov. 10 against the Steelers, restoring one of the Rams’ defensive stars for a second-half push.

While Matthews’ busted jaw heals up, the Rams will face the 49ers in an intrastate matchup on Sunday.

Here’s more on some notable injuries from around the NFL:

  • Giants tight end Evan Engram is dealing with a sprained MCL, a source tells ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). It’ll be a challenge for Engram to play against the Patriots on Thursday, Schefter hears, which would leave the club with Rhett Ellison, Garrett Dickerson, and Kaden Smith at TE. Meanwhile, wide receiver Sterling Shepard is out and running back Saquon Barkley is considered unlikely to play.
  • 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk suffered an MCL injury on Monday night against the Browns, a source tells NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter). The team should know more after an MRI on Tuesday. Juszczyk may not be a household name, but he’s a key part of SF’s offense.

East Notes: Zeke, Giants, McCoy

Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott managed to escape a suspension for a potentially troublesome incident in May, but Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk suggests that if Elliott should even come close to violating the league’s personal conduct policy again, the punishment will be severe. Commissioner Roger Goodell gave everyone in the league office this week off, so Florio believes the only reason for Goodell to summon Elliott to league headquarters on Tuesday was to sufficiently scare him into staying on the straight and narrow. Goodell has been less harsh with players who run afoul of league policies in recent history, but if Elliott should put another toe out of line in the future, the commissioner will likely hand out a lengthy ban, and his decision to not suspend Elliott this time will help to justify such a measure.

Now for more the league’s east divisions:

  • There do not seem to be any starting jobs up for grabs along the Giants‘ defensive line, even though the presumptive starters are young and mostly unproven. However, with that youth comes a great deal of potential, and one of the keys to Big Blue’s immediate prospects is the realization of that potential. Third-year player Dalvin Tomlinson, second-year talent B.J. Hill, and rookie Dexter Lawrence are expected to open the season atop the Giants’ D-line depth chart, as Paul Schwartz of the New York Post writes, and the addition of Lawrence allows Tomlinson to slide into a traditional nose tackle spot, to which he is better-suited.
  • In a separate 2019 positional preview piece, Schwartz examines the Giants‘ tight end group, which is headed by Evan Engram. Engram had a disappointing start to 2018, his second professional season, but when Odell Beckham missed the final four games of the season, Engram excelled and finished with some positive momentum. Now that OBJ is in Cleveland, New York will need Engram to show more of the same in a crucial year for his development. The club’s second TE, Rhett Ellison, is a favorite of HC Pat Shurmur, while returnee Scott Simonson will have to hold off C.J. Conrad — a UDFA who impressed this spring — and former Syracuse QB Eric Dungey, another UDFA who is trying to make the club as a TE/gadget player.
  • Vic Carucci of BNBlitz.com says it’s possible that Bills GM Brandon Beane and LeSean McCoy have adamantly pushed the notion that McCoy will be the team’s starter in 2019 in order to generate some trade interest. After all, the club does have a large stable of RBs, and McCoy, a 2020 free agent, appears to be nearing the end of his career. But Carucci says he has heard nothing to indicate that Buffalo is seeking to trade McCoy.
  • In the same piece, Carucci says he believes Levi Wallace will start for the Bills at cornerback opposite TreDavious White.
  • In case you missed it, we heard this morning that Cowboys edge rusher Randy Gregory will be applying for reinstatement shortly.
  • Also from this morning: the Giants may deploy safety Jabrill Peppers as their primary punt returner.