George Fant

Jets To Start Morgan Moses At RT, Tyler Kroft Could Start At TE?

On a quiet Tuesday afternoon, we’ve got news on a couple of Jets position battles to pass along. New York just signed tackle Morgan Moses on Friday, and the initial assumption was that he might compete with George Fant to be the Jets’ right tackle opposite Mekhi Becton.

Apparently, it won’t be much of a competition. “Even if the Jets tout this as a competition, Moses is the starting right tackle,” Brian Costello of the New York Post writes. He says the team “might try to sell this as a competition in training camp to soothe Fant’s ego and also avoid the embarrassing questions about paying a backup tackle an $8.5 million salary,” but that Moses will be the starter when it’s all said and done.

Moses got a $3.6MM base with incentives up to $5.3MM on his one-year deal. He was cut by Washington last month after not missing a start in six straight seasons for them. Meanwhile, Costello writes in a separate piece that Tyler Kroft may end up as the team’s starting tight end.

He says Kroft “has been one of the bigger surprises of the spring,” has received plenty of reps with the first-team in practices, and “could beat out Chris Herndon for the job if Herndon does not shake out of the funk he was in last year.”

The Jets didn’t get much from the position last year, (Herndon had 31/287/3 in 16 games), so it’s not shocking they’re considering other options. Kroft didn’t do too much with Buffalo the last couple years, but he had 42/404/7 when he was last a starter with the Bengals in 2017. He signed a one-year deal with the Jets back in March.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Notes: Haskins, Patriots, Jets

Dwayne Haskins was cut by Washington yesterday, marking one of the earliest flameouts for a first-round pick in recent NFL history. But while he won’t be taking the field for Washington again, his business with the team isn’t quite settled. As a first-rounder Haskins’ entire four-year rookie contract was guaranteed, and he’s owed around $4.2MM over the next two seasons. As a result of his mask-less partying with strippers that saw him fined $40K and his captain status revoked, Washington may have a claim to void his guarantees, as Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com writes.

Florio obtained a copy of Haskins’ rookie contract, and points out that the deal specifically says Haskins’ money can be voided even for conduct that didn’t result in a suspension. “Player shall be deemed in Default of the Contract if Player takes any action that Club determines, in its reasonable discretion, undermines the public’s respect for . . . Player’s teammates, Club’s ownership, coaches, [or] management,” it reads. As Florio notes the NFLPA would surely file a grievance on Haskins’ behalf if Washington does try to fight it, and the battle would then spill into a courtroom where an arbitrator would need to decide. The Ravens are currently locked in a similar fight with Earl Thomas while trying to void his hefty 2020 salary after a fight with a teammate caused them to release him. This saga seems a long way from finished. We should find out soon whether any team claimed Haskins on waivers.

In the meantime, here’s more from the league’s East divisions:

  • Staying in Washington for a moment, the team has been operating without a GM this season as new coach Ron Rivera essentially runs the show including the personnel department. Although Rivera will likely retain a large amount of power, that setup will change this offseason. Washington is planning on hiring an official GM after the season, sources told Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Rapsheet notes that 49ers exec Martin Mayhew and recently fired Panthers GM Marty Hurney are expected to be considered and interviewed. He also highlights former Texans GM Rick Smith, who has continuously been linked to the team, and Washington reportedly almost hired him last year. Hurney, of course, has a strong connection to Rivera from their time in Carolina together. Meanwhile current VP of player personnel Kyle Smith, who has been the top evaluator this season, will no longer be in charge of roster construction, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes.
  • The Patriots are wrapping up a very disappointing season, and they’ve got some big decisions to make this offseason. One of those decisions is what to do with stud corner J.C. Jackson, who is about to be a restricted free agent. The Pats will likely place a first-round tender on Jackson, former NFL agent and current CBS Sports analyst Joel Corry tweets. He notes they did the same with fellow corner Malcolm Butler when he became a RFA. Corry also points out that it’s virtually unheard of for a team to give an offer sheet to a player on a first-round tender, which means Jackson will almost certainly be back in New England next year unless they decide to trade him. Of course, any team signing a player on a first-round tender would have to give up their first-round pick. Last year’s first-round tender was worth around $4.6MM for the player, although we don’t have exact figures for 2021 yet.
  • Speaking of disappointing AFC East teams, the Jets have rattled off two straight wins, but major changes are still coming this offseason. One of those changes will likely be defensive end Henry Anderson, who signed a three-year, $25.2MM deal with the team in March of 2019. Anderson hasn’t lived up to that contract, playing barely over 40 percent of the defensive snaps through the first two seasons. Apparently he isn’t going to make it through the end of that pact, as Rich Cimini of ESPN.com writes “there’s little chance of him returning” since the Jets can save $8.2MM by releasing him this offseason. A fifth-round pick of the Colts in 2015, he was traded to New York before the 2018 season and had a breakout campaign with seven sacks, inspiring the team to give him the big deal. He had only one last year and just 0.5 this time around.
  • Anderson isn’t the only Jets player in danger of being cut, as Cimini writes that starting right tackle George Fant is on “the bubble.” Fant has a $9.4MM cap charge for 2021, which Cimini thinks is steep for what he deems “replacement level” play. Fant has started 13 games for the Jets so far after being a part-time starter for Seattle the previous few seasons. As Cimini notes we’ll know pretty soon what New York is going to do with him, since $4.45MM of his salary becomes guaranteed if he’s still on the roster on March 22nd.

Trade Rumors: Thomas, Njoku, Watt, Jets

Saints head coach Sean Payton has said his team has no interest in trading star receiver Michael Thomas, though Thomas’ camp was recently said to be looking for potential deals. There has been no movement towards a Thomas trade, and whether that’s because New Orleans has no interest in dealing him or because the club has not received an offer it likes, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com says Thomas will stay put.

With the trade deadline two days away, let’s round up a few more rumors on players who could be on the move:

  • The Browns don’t want to trade tight end David Njoku, but Njoku has renewed his request to be dealt, and Rapoport says Cleveland has been fielding calls on the former first-rounder. It may take at least a fourth-round pick to get a deal done, but with Austin Hooper set to return and with the emergence of rookie Harrison Bryant, the Browns may elect to move Njoku.
  • Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes that the Texans are at the center of the trade market, with one executive saying Houston could move as many as five players if it wants to. Rapoport expects the Packersinterest in Will Fuller — which dates back to the summer — to ramp up, but it will likely take a high pick to convince the Texans to move Fuller. Fellow WR Kenny Stills has also drawn some interest, though rival clubs see the contracts for Stills and Randall Cobb as prohibitive. DE J.J. Watt may be receptive to a trade, but considering his contract and age, other teams probably don’t value him like the Texans do.
  • The Jets have received calls on LB Avery Williamson, OTs George Fant and Chuma Edoga, and CB Quincy Wilson, per Albert Breer of SI.com. Rich Cimini of ESPN.com says the Steelers — who recently lost Devin Bush for the season — could be in the market for Williamson, and Edoga also seems like a good bet to be dealt since he does not look like a fit with the current regime.
  • La Canfora says teams have also called the Jets about WR Breshad Perriman and TE Chris Herndon, though Breer notes that safety Marcus Maye has not drawn much interest.
  • Rapoport names Dolphins RB Jordan Howard and Seahawks TE Jacob Hollister as two other players who could be moved. And though the Bengals are shopping disgruntled wideout John Ross, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com says there hasn’t been interest in Ross (Twitter link).

Jets Notes: Mosley, Bell, Flacco

Jets safety Jamal Adams remains a trade candidate, but count linebacker C.J. Mosley as a high-profile member of the defense that wants Adams to stick around.

“[Trading Adams] would be a crazy move,” Mosley said (via Rich Cimini of ESPN.com). “First of all, he’s one of the leaders on the team. … To have that presence in the secondary, a guy that can make plays in the passing game and also plays in the backfield — in the box — that’s always exciting.” 

Mosley himself — who played in just two games in his first year with Gang Green after signing a massive free agent contract last offseason — said he feels great and expects to be at full health for training camp (assuming there is a training camp, of course).

Now let’s take a look at a few more Jets-related items:

  • Another big-name player who looks like a trade candidate is running back Le’Veon Bell. Bell disappointed in his first season with the Jets, and many believe he will be released after the 2020 campaign, which would allow the club to realize a significant cap savings with a fairly minimal dead money charge. But if the Jets look like non-contenders at the trade deadline, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv expects them to put Bell on the trade block in the hopes of recouping some sort of draft compensation for him.
  • The Jets addressed one of their biggest needs in the first round of the draft by adding massive Louisville LT Mekhi Becton. Becton may be more raw than some of his fellow LT prospects, but he also has a tremendously high ceiling, and he could be protecting Sam Darnold‘s blind side right away. However, free agent acquisition George Fant hopes to fill that role in 2020. Per Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, Fant wants to play on the left side, though the former Seahawk also indicated he is willing to play RT if necessary (Twitter link). “Right now I’m just ready for an opportunity,” Fant said.
  • GM Joe Douglas signed WR Breshad Perriman in free agency and added a high-upside receiving prospect in Denzel Mims in the draft, but Brian Costello of the New York Post believes the Jets could look into re-signing Demaryius Thomas. Thomas, 32, wants to continue his playing career, and though he is nowhere close to the player he once was, he proved himself to be a strong locker room presence in 2019 and could be a good mentor for Mims.
  • Veteran QB Joe Flacco may not be recovered from his neck surgery until late August or mid-September, but Cimini believes he would be a good fit for the Jets. In the same piece linked above, the ESPN scribe says New York must add a veteran backup for Darnold, and Douglas — who championed Flacco as a member of the Ravens’ staff in 2008 — could take a look at the former Super Bowl MVP.
  • Betty Wold Johnson, the mother of Jets owners Christopher Johnson and Woody Johnson, has passed away at the age of 99, as Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk writes. Though Betty Johnson did not have a formal role with the team, she was considered the club matriarch and was beloved by players and execs.

AFC East Notes: Jets, Gordon, Lawson

Devoting significant resources to retooling their offensive line, the Jets have not address their edge defender situation. Jordan Jenkins remains a free agent, but the team has not made a strong effort to re-sign their sack leader of the past two years, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY notes. As far as the bigger names out there, the Jets are still not prepared to pay up for Jadeveon Clowney and do not have Yannick Ngakoue on the front burner, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com writes. The Jets have explored an Ngakoue tag-and-trade move but are not planning to pursue the disgruntled Jaguars defensive end, Cimini adds. Gang Green will need to make multiple moves outside, however. Tarell Basham resides as the top edge rusher on the Jets roster; he registered two sacks last season.

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • The Bills may or may not have expressed interest in Melvin Gordon. While 9News’ Mike Klis tweets that the Bills submitted an offer better than the Broncos’ two-year, $16MM proposal, ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter indicated Buffalo did not do so (Twitter link). Regardless of whether an offer emerged, Schefter adds (via Twitter) Gordon’s agent did contact the Bills about a deal. The Bills are all set to go with Devin Singletary again; Frank Gore is a free agent.
  • George Fant‘s three-year, $27.3MM Jets deal essentially doubles as a one-year, $9.25MM investment, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News notes. If the veteran tackle is still on the Jets’ roster by Day 5 of the 2021 league year, $4.45MM of his $8MM 2021 base salary becomes guaranteed, per OverTheCap. This still represents a nice deal for Fant, whom Mehta adds was only targeting $6MM per year before the Jets swooped in with their offer.
  • Shaq Lawson signed a three-year, $30MM Dolphins deal. While many teams prefer to backload free agency contracts, the Dolphins set Lawson’s up so he has a $10.3MM 2020 cap number, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald notes. Miami did this in order to lessen Lawson’s 2021 and ’22 cap hits, which OverTheCap lists as $9.3MM (’21) and $10.3MM (’22) figures.

Contract Details: Cooper, Hargrave, Littleton

Jonathan Bostic, (Washington): two-years, $5MM, $1.75MM guaranteed; $1.25MM signing bonus; salaries 2020: $960k ($500k guaranteed), 2021: $1.69MM; $500k roster bonus in 2020, $200k in non-guaranteed weekly roster bonuses in 2020, $400k in non-guaranteed weekly roster bonuses in 2021, an additional $800k in annual incentives available as well, according to John Keim of ESPN.

Amari Cooper, (Cowboys): five-years, $100MM deal, $60MM guaranteed; $10MM signing bonus; salaries 2020: $10MM (fully guaranteed), 2021: $20MM (fully guaranteed), 2022: $20MM (guaranteed for injury until March 2022), 2023: $20MM, 2024: $20MM, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com.

Tyeler Davison, (Falcons): three-years, $12MM, $4.55MM guaranteed; $3.64MM signing bonus; salaries 2020: $910k (fully guaranteed), 2021: $3.2MM, 2022: $3.45MM; $200k in non-guaranteed weekly roster bonuses in 2020, $250k in non-guaranteed weekly roster bonuses in 2021, $350k in non-guaranteed weekly roster bonuses in 2022, according to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.

George Fant, (Jets): three-years, $27.3MM, $8.85MM guaranteed; $3MM signing bonus; salaries 2020: $4.6MM (fully guaranteed), 2021: $8MM, 2022: $9.25MM; $1.25MM guaranteed roster bonus in 2020, $400k non-guaranteed weekly roster bonuses from 2020-2022, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.

Javon Hargrave, (Eagles): three-years, $39MM, $26MM guaranteed; $11.75MM signing bonus; salaries 2020: $1MM (fully guaranteed), 2021: $12.75MM (fully guaranteed), 2022: $12.75MM; $250k workout bonus in 2022, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.

Cory Littleton, (Raiders): three-years, $35.25MM, $22MM guaranteed; salaries 2020: $11MM (fully guaranteed), 2021: $5.5MM (fully guaranteed), 2022: $11MM; guaranteed $5.5MM 2021 roster bonus, non-guaranteed $500k weekly roster bonuses in 2020-2022, $250k workout bonus in 2020-2022, $250k annual Pro Bowl incentive, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.

Levine Toilolo, (Giants): two-years, $6.2MM, $3.25MM guaranteed; salaries 2020: $1.225MM (fully guaranteed), 2021: $2.925MM; guaranteed $2MM 2020 roster bonus, $25k annual workout bonus, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.

 

 

 

 

Jets Sign OT George Fant

The Jets have added some reinforcement to their offensive line. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (via Twitter) that offensive tackle George Fant has inked a three-year deal with the Jets. The contract is worth $30MM, including $13.7MM guaranteed.

Fant made a name for himself when he switched from the Western Kentucky basketball team to the Western Kentucky football team. Despite only appearing in two collegiate games as a tight end, Fant still got a gig from the Seahawks as an undrafted free agent in 2016.

In his four years with the organization, Fant evolved into one of Seattle’s top rotational lineman. While his 2017 season was lost thanks to a torn ACL, he’s otherwise appeared in 46 games (24 starts) during his three healthy seasons.

There’s uncertainty throughout the entire Jets offensive line, so this probably won’t be their last notable move. With Sam Darnold entering a critical third season in the NFL, the front office will surely look to put him in every position to succeed.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Seahawks Hope To Keep O-Line In Tact

The Seahawks’ entire offensive line could wind up with a face lift in March. With several key linemen headed towards free agency, head coach Pete Carroll says he wants to keep the band together. 

[RELATED: Latest On Jadeveon Clowney]

I hope we can keep our guys connected here,” Carroll said (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Brady Henderson). “I think the whole group, it could be a really solid group coming back. I’d like to see the guys that have played for us stay with us.

Carroll is aiming for continuity, because the unit “made good progress” in 2019. But, to keep the O-Line in tact, they’ll have to work out new deals with right tackle Germain Ifedi, left guard Mike Iupati, and backup left tackle George Fant, all of whom are set to be unrestricted free agents. Center Joey Hunt, meanwhile, will be a restricted free agent.

Seahawks coaches might have liked what they saw out of the offensive line, but the advanced metrics saw things differently. The Seahawks graded out 30th in pass blocking and 14th in run blocking, according to Pro Football Focus.

The individual rankings for the pending free agents weren’t so hot, either. Out of 214 qualified offensive linemen, PFF had Fant (No. 133), Iupati (No. 135), Ifedi (No. 150), and Hunt (No. 180) all positioned as below average players.

Meanwhile, the Seahawks have bigger fish to fry with six other key players headed towards the open market, including defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and defensive tackle Jarran Reed. On the plus side, they have upwards of $58MM in projected cap space this offseason, giving them the most flexibility they’ve had in seven years.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Playoff Injury Updates: Seahawks, Brown, Iupati, Fant, Titans, Brown, Packers, Clark

The latest injury news for the divisional round games:

  • The Seahawks’ offensive line is in dire shape. Starting left guard Mike Iupati is listed as doubtful, and it looks like he’ll miss his second straight game. Even more concerning, head coach Pete Carroll said both tackles Duane Brown and George Fant would be game-time decisions. Brown has missed the last few games, and Fant has been filling in for him at left tackle. Fant played 100 percent of the snaps in Seattle’s win over Philly last week, but is dealing with a groin injury. If he’s unable to go the plan is to start Chad Wheeler at left tackle, per Joe Fann of NBC Sports. Wheeler signed to Seattle’s practice squad back in October, and hasn’t appeared in a regular season game since October. He started a bunch of games for the Giants the previous two seasons, with disastrous results. If he’s forced into the lineup, the Packers’ pass-rushing duo of Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith will be licking their chops.
  • The Titans will be without a key piece of their defense as they look to pull off a second straight upset against the Ravens. Starting inside linebacker Jayon Brown has been ruled out for this weekend’s game. Brown started against the Patriots last week, but left the game with a shoulder injury. It’s a blow to Tennessee’s run defense as they look to slow down the league’s best rushing attack.
  • The Titans might not be the only team without a key defensive piece. Packers defensive tackle Kenny Clark, who started all 16 games this season, is being listed as questionable. Clark was on a tear down the stretch, racking up 4.5 sacks in Green Bay’s last four games. If he doesn’t go it’ll help mitigate some of Seattle’s offensive line losses.

NFC West Notes: Cardinals, 49ers, Fant

Cardinals executive vice president/COO Ron Minegar was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence Saturday night in Chandler, Ariz., according to Shane Dale of ABC15. The Cardinals released a statement, calling the act “inexcusable” and indicated it will bring “serious consequences” (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). This comes a year after Cardinals GM Steve Keim was arrested for DUI. Keim served a five-week suspension for that. Minegar has been with the Cards much longer than Keim, joining the franchise in 2000. He serves mostly in a business-side capacity.

Here is the latest from the West divisions:

  • Jerick McKinnon‘s 49ers debut may be further delayed. The team “seems to be drifting toward” the notion that McKinnon might not be ready to play by Week 1, Matt Barrows of The Athletic notes (subscription required). McKinnon is out for the preseason’s remainder after receiving a PRP injection in his troublesome knee, which required surgery a year ago. The former Vikings back spent the offseason rehabbing but came off the 49ers’ active/PUP list to practice Tuesday. But after soreness, the sixth-year talent is again shut down. Barrows projects the 49ers will place McKinnon on short-term IR to start the season, with the reserve/PUP list no longer being an option.
  • Veterans Malcolm Smith and Jordan Matthews may not have a place with the 2019 49ers, with Barrows predicting both will fail to make the 53-man roster. Matthews signed a one-year, $2MM deal ($300K guaranteed) with San Francisco earlier this offseason. Smith has disappointed since coming over from the Raiders, missing all of 2017 due to injury and four games last season. The Super Bowl XLVIII MVP registered just 35 tackles in 2018. Although Barrows notes the 30-year-old linebacker was having a good camp prior to tweaking a hamstring, he has rookie UDFA Azeez Al-Shaair making the team over the veteran. Smith agreed to a restructured deal in March, one that shortened his five-year contract to three years. But cutting Smith would tag the 49ers with $4.2MM in dead money.
  • Would-be 49ers swing tackle Shon Coleman suffered a season-ending ankle injury Saturday night and underwent surgery Sunday. The 49ers are searching for a potential replacement for this role, Kyle Shanahan said (via Barrows, on Twitter), naming former 49er Garry Gilliam as a possible solution.
  • The Seahawks have used George Fant as a starter in 17 games over the past three seasons and are expected to keep him around in 2019 as a swing tackle. But a second-degree ankle sprain will shelve Fant for multiple weeks, Brady Henderson of ESPN.com notes.
  • Charles Clay and Brandon Williams are cleared to return to full Cardinals practices. The veteran tight end and cornerback came off the Cards’ active/PUP list Sunday.