Greg Olsen

NFC Notes: Olsen, Suh, Remmers, 49ers

We now have some details on Mike Remmersrelease from the Vikings earlier today. Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle points out (on Twitter) that the offensive lineman was cut with a “failed physical designation.” ESPN’s Courtney Cronin notes (via Twitter) that the 29-year-old was listed on Minnesota’s final injury report of the season with a back injury, but he proceeded to play the entire game.

This provides a bit of reasoning for why the Vikings decided to bail on Remmers after inking him to a five-year, $30MM in 2017. In fact, it sounds like Minnesota is actually considering bringing Remmers back. Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press tweets that the team would considering re-signing the lineman on a lesser deal.

The move ultimately saved the organization $4.55MM against $1.8MM in dead cap. The veteran has experience playing both offensive guard and offensive tackle, so a team will surely bite on his versatility.

Let’s check out some more notes out of the NFC…

  • Ndamukong Suh isn’t expected to stick with the Rams, but it sounds like the hulking defensive lineman wants to stay on the West Coast (via Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com). As the writer points out, that’d leave Suh with three options: the 49ers, Chargers, or Seahawks. The 32-year-old signed a one-year, $14MM deal with the Rams last offseason, and he proceeded to compile 59 tackles and 4.5 sacks in 16 starts.
  • It sounds like some networks were working hard to add Panthers tight end Greg Olsen. Joe Person of The Athletic tweets that both ESPN and Fox made offers to the veteran, but it wasn’t enough to convince Olsen to retire. Person warns that Monday Night Football “could still come calling, but nothing imminent.” The 34-year-old battled injuries for a second straight season, finishing with 27 receptions for 291 yards and four scores in nine games.
  • Bradley Roby isn’t the only cornerback the 49ers are eyeing. According to Matt Barrows of The Athletic (via Twitter), the team is also showing interest in Colts cornerback Pierre Desir. The 28-year-old has a breakout season with Indy in 2018, finishing with 79 tackles, eight passes defended, two forced fumbles, and one interception.

NFC South Rumors: Coleman, Panthers, Olsen

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff gave an indication on the future status of running back Tevin Coleman, ESPN’s Vaughn McClure writes.

“Tevin’s going to do well, wherever he is,” he said.

The stumble of words just goes to confirm what many have expected: That Coleman will not be back with the Falcons in 2019. Projected as the No. 2 free agent running back behind Le’Veon Bell, the Indiana product is due for a big payday. That wasn’t likely to come from the Falcons, who already have the league’s third-highest-paid running back on the roster in Devonta Freeman.

The Falcons also have a capable backup ready to take Coleman’s role in Ito Smith, who gained 315 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie. While it won’t be with the Falcons, Coleman is sure to command a primary back role with another team after showcasing a dual-threat skill set in his time in Atlanta.

Here’s more from around the NFC South:

  • If the Panthers are to bring in a new quarterback in 2019, head coach Ron Rivera said it is more likely to come through the draft rather than free agency, Panthers team writer Bill Voth tweets. That would take them out of the hunt for a proven veteran backup to Cam Newton, who dealt with injuries throughout the 2018 season.
  • Sticking with the Panthers, tight end Greg Olsen has met with ESPN about opportunities but that does not include the Monday Night Football post that was vacated yesterday when Jason Witten returned to the Cowboys, The Athletic’s Joseph Person writes. Those talks could eventually come, but the Panthers fully expect the veteran tight end to return to the field in 2019.
  • The Falcons view Ty Sambrailo as the team’s starting right tackle over Ryan Schraeder, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s D. Orlando Ledbetter writes. Sambrailo moved past Schraeder on the depth chart last season and started the final game at right guard. He will stay at right tackle because it’s easier to find guards and Sambrailo’s ability to pass protect, head coach Dan Quinn said.
  • The Saints have hired Declan Doyle to be an offensive assistant coach, Josh Katzenstein of the Times-Picayune writes. Doyle previously worked as an offensive student assistant at the University of Iowa.

ESPN, Fox Pursuing Panthers TE Greg Olsen

Panthers tight end Greg Olsen has already begun preparing for his post-playing career, having auditioned to be an analyst on ESPN’s Monday Night Football last March. At the time, it was also reported that Olsen could be in the mix for FOX’s Thursday Night Football.

Instead, Olsen signed a two-year extension with the Panthers that keeps him under club control through the 2020 campaign. However, his 2018 season was derailed by a foot injury for the second year in a row, and both ESPN and FOX are once again attempting to bring him on board.

Per Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, both networks have extended multi-million dollar offers to Olsen. Neither offer would match the $3.4MM that Olsen could earn from the Panthers this year if he continues playing, and Marchand suggests that the soon-to-be 34-year-old is presently leaning towards putting retirement on hold. But that could change if the networks increase their offers a bit or if they present him with a clear path to even more opportunities. For instance, Marchand reports that FOX is prepared to put Olsen in the booth as a color commentator, but it would probably need to put him on the No. 2 or No. 3 broadcast team to convince him to sign on.

Olsen’s prospective role with ESPN is less clear, though the worldwide leader did recently drop Charles Woodson from its “Sunday NFL Countdown” program and could be looking at Olsen as a replacement. Marchand also says that CBS met with Olsen but is not pursuing him at this time.

Olsen suited up for only nine games last year after playing in just seven in 2017, and the injuries are doubtlessly taking a toll on him. But he appeared in all 16 regular season games for the Bears and Panthers from 2008-16, and he can still be a productive player when healthy. The three-time Pro Bowler has been one of the best tight ends in the league since joining Carolina via trade in 2011, and he topped 100 targets every year from 2012-16.

He finished the 2018 season with 27 catches for 291 yards and four touchdowns.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Greg Olsen Expects To Return Next Season

Foot injuries have sidetracked the past two seasons of Greg Olsen‘s career, and it’s fair to wonder if he will be able to stay healthy enough to be consistently available going forward.

But the veteran Panthers tight end plans to try. While Olsen did not say (via The Athletic’s Joe Person, on Twitter) he will absolutely be back with the Panthers in 2019, the 33-year-old tight end expects to return next season.

He underwent another foot surgery this year, a procedure that ended his season, and said (via ESPN.com’s David Newton) he faces a three- to four-month recovery timetable. These foot problems have limited Olsen to just 16 games over the past two seasons.

Having signed an extension in April, Olsen is under contract through the 2020 season. He is set to count only $6.6MM toward the Panthers’ 2019 cap. While the three-time Pro Bowler acknowledged the franchise could go in a different direction, and that other opportunities may present themselves (Olsen auditioned for ESPN earlier this year), he believes he can still play at a high level into his age-34 season.

The former first-round pick has only caught 34 passes since the start of the 2017 season. He earned his three Pro Bowl bids from 2014-16, surpassing 1,000 yards in each. The Panthers selected Ian Thomas in the fourth round this year, but having signed Olsen to an extension barely eight months ago, the team will likely be ready to carry his contract on the books for at least one more season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Eagles, Collins, Gurley, Panthers

Providing an interesting flashback, Nick Foles engineered the Eagles to a big win Sunday night. He is going to be Philadelphia’s starter next week against the Texans, Doug Pederson said Monday. However, unlike last season, Carson Wentz is not headed to IR after what is viewed as a season-ending injury, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The third-year starter is expected to miss the rest of the season because of a back problem, so an IR trip would make sense — unless the Eagles want Wentz around in case he can make a surprise recovery or be an emergency quarterback. Pederson added that the Eagles will not put Wentz in harm’s way. The Eagles remain committed to the former No. 2 overall pick, who is eligible for an extension at season’s end. Foles, though, has started during the team’s biggest wins the past two years and will have another chance to build a unique free agency case. Foles’ contract expires after the season.

The latest from the NFC here, continuing with a key Giants offseason decision:

  • Landon Collins is rehabbing an injury that is expected to impact him well into the offseason. The Giants safety said he risked further damage to his injured shoulder by continuing to play, though he said during an appearance on The Michael Kay Show (via ESPN.com’s Jordan Raanan, on Twitter) he would have considered staying on the field if the Giants had beaten the Eagles to stay in a more realistic playoff pursuit at the time. Collins’ contract expires soon, and the Giants are not believed to have engaged in extension talks with him yet. Collins, though, would prefer to stay in New York and is, as of now, expecting to return (Twitter link via Raanan). The franchise tag — expected to be worth approximately $11.2MM for safeties — is likely, Raanan adds.
  • Another high-profile player might not be back with his current employer. Matt Kalil signed a somewhat surprising five-year, $55MM Panthers contract in 2017, and that deal still has guarantees going into 2019. The Panthers would be tagged with $14.7MM in dead-money charges if they released Kalil next year — and such a move would not net Carolina anything in cap savings — but The Athletic’s Joe Person notes (subscription required) the current sense is Kalil will be released. The Panthers have a new owner in David Tepper, and the GM that authorized the Kalil contract, Dave Gettleman, is now with the Giants. So, a cut-your-losses maneuver would add up more compared to if the decision-makers behind the contract were still in place. Kalil has spent all season on IR.
  • Todd Gurley‘s knee injury surely terrified millions of fantasy owners, and it would throw another wrench in a slumping Rams attack. But Sean McVay said Monday (via ESPN.com’s Lindsey Thiry, on Twitter) Gurley is day-to-day with knee inflammation. This does not mean the All-Pro running back is a lock to face the Cardinals on Sunday, but it appears Gurley has dodged a multi-week injury and will be fine for the playoffs at the latest.
  • Greg Olsen underwent foot surgery on Monday, Person tweets. The Panthers’ Pro Bowl tight end said the procedure went well. Olsen is signed through the 2020 season, but the foot trouble that’s plagued him may not make it a lock he returns next year.

Panthers TE Greg Olsen Done For Season

Panthers tight end Greg Olsen is expected to miss the rest of the season after rupturing the plantar fascia on his right foot, according to David Newton of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Olsen, 33, already missed three games earlier this season after suffering a fracture in his right foot. That foot has been a serious issue for Olsen over the past two seasons, as an injury to that extremity also cost him nine games in 2017. He came back incredibly quickly this year, but it’s unclear if that accelerated return contributed to Olsen re-injuring his foot today.

Olsen will finish the 2018 campaign having appeared in eight games, managing 26 receptions for 278 yards and four touchdowns during that time. While he’s been among the league’s best tight ends since joining the Panthers via trade in 2011, Olsen isn’t necessarily a lock to return next season, especially given his injuries. Carolina, which could be making changes to its decision-making structure, would save $3.4MM by making Olsen a post-June 1 cut in 2019.

The Panthers, now on the outside looking in as far as the playoff picture goes, will turn to Chris Manhertz and Ian Thomas at tight end for the rest of the season. If Olsen is placed on injured reserve, Carolina could promote Jason Vander Laan from its practice squad.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Olsen, Eagles, Breida, Giants

Greg Olsen opted against undergoing surgery on his refractured foot this season, but the Panthers tight end does expect to need a corrective procedure done on it. The Pro Bowl tight end said (via The Athletic’s Joe Person, on Twitter) he likely will need a surgery to fix his Jones fracture. However, he will try to make it through the season before doing so. Olsen’s missed the past four Panthers games but could be in line to return on Sunday, Ron Rivera said. He’s been ramping up his workouts in recent weeks and views Wednesday as the key day in determining his Week 6 availability, per the Charlotte Observer’s Jourdan Rodrigue.

As one of the finest quarterbacks in the NFC’s history continues his coronation night, here’s the latest from the conference:

  • The ACL Jay Ajayi tore is in his left knee, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane reports (on Twitter). This is key because Ajayi’s past issues have been with his right knee. Ajayi tore his right ACL while at Boise State, and his draft stock took a hit because of reports of chronic issues with that knee. The Eagles running back will undergo surgery on Thursday, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). He’s not believed to have torn any additional knee ligaments. Rapoport adds this injury came while Ajayi was working in pass protection, but the fourth-year veteran played through it until game’s end.
  • Philadelphia has engaged in “exploratory” conversations regarding Le’Veon Bell, according to Rapoport (video link), but those talks haven’t really gotten off the ground. The Bell-to-Philly subject has been a disputed topic thus far this month, with some outlets reporting the Eagles aren’t going down that road and others indicating they have strongly considered doing it.
  • Fletcher Cox‘s restructured contract gave the Eagles $6.5MM in 2018 cap space, pushing that total to around $10MM. The veteran defensive tackle will see $8.19MM in base salary converted to a roster bonus, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets, adding that his 2019 base will be reduced to $930K. An option bonus of $14.76MM will be included in Cox’s contract now, per Yates, though it’s unclear when that option would vest. But Cox accepting the restructure would indicate he’s not in danger of losing that money he transferred from his 2018 and ’19 base salaries.
  • The 49ers will likely have another starting running back when they take the field against the Packers on Monday night. Matt Breida is going to be doubtful to suit up in Green Bay, Kyle Shanahan said (via the San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch, on Twitter). The good news on Breida, though, is he didn’t suffer a high ankle sprain. Instead, it’s a less severe mid-ankle sprain, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area reports. Alfred Morris would be in line to start, with Raheem Mostert possibly backing him up. Shanahan said the team will consider bringing Jeff Wilson up from the practice squad. The 49ers intended to deploy Jerick McKinnon as their starter, and they turned to Breida after the initial first-stringer’s season-ending injury. But Breida should be expected to return fairly soon.
  • Pat Shurmur wants to add a kicker to the Giants’ practice squad, Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com tweets. Big Blue will need another offensive tackle soon as well, being set to end the Ereck Flowers era on Tuesday. Aldrick Rosas serves as the Giants’ kicker, and the second-year UDFA is 100 percent (11-for-11) on field goals thus far.
  • Prior to signing Bryan Witzmann, the Bears visited with offensive lineman Willie Beavers, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune tweets. Beavers was a fourth-round Vikings pick in 2016.

Panthers’ Greg Olsen Nearing Return?

Greg Olsen was out on the practice field in a shell a helmet on Thursday, as Bill Voth of Panthers.com tweets. It’s a huge step forward for Olsen after fracturing his foot less than a month ago.

Olsen opted against having surgery and the team chose not to place him on injured reserve, which opened up the possibility of him returning before Week 9. At the time, it seemed like an ambitious plan, but Olsen seems to be inching close to recovery. The tight end has already been ruled out for this week’s game against the Giants, but he could theoretically be available for the club’s Oct. 14 game against the Redskins.

Olsen inked an extension with the Panthers this spring, tying him to the team through the 2020 season. He’s been among the league’s best tight ends since arriving in Carolina in 2011 and topped 1,000 yards receiving in each season from 2014-2016. The 33-year-old was held back by injury last year, so he’s understandably eager to return to football and reassert himself as an elite pass-catcher.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers TE Greg Olsen “Way Ahead Of The Curve” In Recovery

Panthers tight end Greg Olsen says his recovery from a fractured foot is progressing extremely well, according to David Newton of ESPN.com.

“Yeah, I’m way ahead of the curve,” Olsen said. “Last year at two weeks I was laying in my bed in a cast. I couldn’t do anything. I’m way ahead of the curve from that standpoint. It’s just a matter of seeing each week how your foot responds and just try to add a little more, a little more. What that time frame is, we’re optimistic. Hopefully, it’s sooner rather than later.”

Nearly every report since Olsen broke his foot in the season opener has indicated the positive nature of his recovery. Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reported in early September that Olsen would return in a “few weeks,” while Ian Rapoport of NFL.com indicated Olsen was facing a four-to-five week timeline. Either way, it doesn’t appear Olsen will be absent for anywhere near the nine games he missed in 2017, when he suffered the same foot injury.

Olsen, who in April signed an extension through 2020, has been among the league’s best tight ends since joining the Panthers via trade in 2011. From 2014-16, Olsen earn Pro Bowl honors while topping 75 receptions and 1,000 yards in each campaign.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Notes: Wentz, Bosa, Mariota

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports that Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz could be cleared for contact this week, and that may put him on track to make his 2018 debut in Week 3, as was suggested last Sunday. But Rapoport says the team is in no rush to have Wentz return to game action, because it is more concerned about the next 10 to 15 years, not the next 10 to 15 minutes. As such, if the Eagles need to keep Wentz out longer to make sure he is fully recovered from his torn ACL and LCL, they are fully committed to doing so.

However, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports that Wentz is indeed on track to be back under center for the Eagles against the Colts next week, and he suggests that Philadelphia will have no issue in deploying Wentz as soon as he is cleared for contract.

Now let’s take a look at a few more reports concerning injuries to some of the league’s biggest names:

  • This is not much of a surprise given a report from earlier this week, but Schefter reports that Chargers DE Joey Bosa is expected to be sidelined until at least October. Bosa is continuing to rehab his foot with the hope that the swelling goes down and the foot stabilizes, but surgery is still very much in play if that does not happen.
  • Titans QB Marcus Mariota has not yet regained complete feeling in his fingers, per Rapoport (Twitter link). Schefter adds (via Twitter) that Mariota is still unable to grip the football normally as a result, which means that Blaine Gabbert may be starting under center for Tennessee for at least Week 2.
  • Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette is unlikely to play against the Patriots today, per Schefter, but it sounds as though Fournette is making good progress in his recovery from the hamstring injury he suffered last week. Even if the second-year back is unable to suit up today, he could be back in action next week.
  • Rapoport confirms (via Twitter) a report from Tuesday that Panthers TE Greg Olsen is hoping to return much sooner than was originally anticipated when he fractured his foot in the team’s season-opening win over the Cowboys. Rapoport says that Olsen hopes to be back on the field in four to five weeks, and he will have the foot — the same one he broke last year — reevaluated after the season.
  • We received a status update on Packers QB Aaron Rodgers earlier today.