Greg Olsen

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.

Panthers TE Greg Olsen To Return In A “Few Weeks”

The timeline on Panthers tight end Greg Olsen‘s return from a fractured foot isn’t as dire as it originally appeared. Olsen says he’ll rest his foot for a “few weeks” and then return to play out the season, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

That’s an incredibly more positive outlook for Olsen, whom reports earlier today would be evaluated on a month-to-month basis. Olsen missed significant time in 2017 — and was eventually placed on injured reserve — after breaking the same foot, so a lengthy absence appeared likely. But Olsen won’t undergo surgery, as he’s confident an operation can wait until this offseason.

A quick return means Olsen will be viewed as an injury risk for the remainder of the year, as both his age (33) and his foot issue give reason for concern. But his presence will undeniably be essential for the Panthers, as the club doesn’t have the tight end depth to withstand a missing Olsen. With longtime Carolina tight end Ed Dickson now in Seattle, the Panthers will turn to rookie Ian Thomas and veteran Chris Manhertz until Olsen can get back on the field.

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.

Panthers’ Greg Olsen Fractures Foot

For the second straight season, Greg Olsen‘s going to miss time because of a foot fracture. The Panthers confirmed the Pro Bowl tight end’s exit from Sunday’s win was because of another fractured foot.

Olsen will be evaluated on a monthly basis. It appears the Panthers are preparing for the veteran pass-catcher to miss extensive time. An IR stay was required because of a similar occurrence in 2017. It’s the same right foot Olsen broke last season.

The team announced no plans are in place for Olsen to undergo surgery, but he’s almost certainly out for the foreseeable future nonetheless. Olsen missed nine games last season as a result of his foot injury; a similar absence appears likely for Cam Newton‘s top target.

This throws a wrench into the Panthers’ plans. They signed the 33-year-old tight end to a two-year extension this offseason. And Carolina does not have the depth at this position that existed on its 2017 roster. Ed Dickson defected as a free agent. Former waiver claim Chris Manhertz and fourth-round rookie Ian Thomas, an Indiana product, comprise the Panthers’ backup contingent.

The Panthers also revealed Daryl Williams will undergo knee surgery, and the Charlotte Observers’ Jourdan Rodrigue tweets it’s the same knee the right tackle injured during training camp. Although, it’s a different injury. Williams damaged his MCL and dislocated his patella during camp. Rodrigue notes Williams had an MRI done Monday morning and sought a second opinion before deciding to undergo surgery. It’s unclear precisely what the contract-year blocker is dealing with now.

An IR decision looms for the Panthers, with two players seemingly posing as candidates. Though, that’s not a choice the Panthers would want to make after Week 1, when other injuries could surely occur down the line. But Williams does appear headed there, per Rodrigue (on Twitter). The current line of thinking, though, points to Olsen avoiding the injured list. Of course, Williams was believed to be an IR candidate after his last knee injury only to avoid it and play in Week 1.

It’s unclear how long he will be out, but Amini Silatolu looks to be the next man up, per ESPN.com’s David Newton, who adds Thomas will get the first crack at replacing Olsen as the Panthers’ tight end starter. While Silatolu will get a look, the Panthers are expected to be on the lookout for tackle help, Newton adds.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers Sign Greg Olsen To Extension

Panthers tight end Greg Olsen has landed a new contract. The veteran is signing a two-year extension worth $17.1MM that could be worth as much as $20.1MM, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. If Olsen nails his incentives, he’ll edge Jimmy Graham as the league’s highest-paid player at the position. 

Olsen flirted with the idea of transitioning into TV this offseason and even auditioned for ESPN’s vacant color commentary role on Monday Night Football. His new and improved contract will keep him out of the broadcast booth, at least for now.

My preference would be to know my future here in Carolina past this year, if I’m being honest. Whether or not that happens, we’ll see,” Olsen said earlier this month. “But that would be the ideal situation and then that would answer a lot of these unknown questions.”

Olsen has some questions of his own to answer after injuries slowed him in 2017. Olsen reeled off three straight 1,000-yard seasons from 2014-16 and pushed hard for a new contract before last season. In 2017, he was limited to just seven games and he totaled less than 200 yards receiving.

The Panthers retooled their receiving group a bit this year by adding Torrey Smith and Jarius Wright. Still, Olsen projects to serve as one of Cam Newton‘s favorite targets once again in 2018.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.