Greg Robinson

North Notes: Rudolph, Browns, Packers

Kyle Rudolph isn’t going anywhere. We heard earlier today that the Vikings had asked Rudolph to take a pay-cut, but his management team is pushing back forcefully on those rumors. Rudolph’s agent, Brian Murphy, released a statement saying “despite rumors, Vikings are not in negotiations with Kyle Rudolph, have not asked him to take a pay reduction and have told us explicitly that Rudy will not only be on the team this year, but hopefully for years to come,” via Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link).

It’s a strong statement, and it doesn’t leave much room for doubt. Rudolph is scheduled to make $7.275MM next season and the Vikings have almost no salary cap space, but they’ll apparently have to create room somewhere else. Rudolph has spent the last eight seasons in Minnesota after the Vikings took him in the second round of the 2011 draft. He hasn’t been in the top-tier of tight ends, but he’s been a solid and consistent player, and he made the Pro Bowl in 2017. Rudolph has also been very durable recently, appearing in all 16 games in four straight years.

Here’s more from around the league’s northern divisions:

  • Greg Robinson signed a one-year deal to return to the Browns a couple of weeks ago, and now we have the details on the contract. Interestingly, his new pact includes $500K in weigh-in bonuses, according to Dan Graziano of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Robinson will have weigh-ins around once a month starting in April all the way through the regular season, which suggests Cleveland wasn’t too happy with the weight he played at last year. Robinson’s deal has a base salary of $5.5MM with a $500K signing bonus, $400K in per-game roster bonuses, and a $100K workout bonus. He could face competition from a rookie, but right now the former second overall pick projects as the team’s starting left tackle.
  • Speaking of the Browns, the status of receiver Breshad Perriman is still up in the air. The former first round pick and draft bust with the Ravens revitalized his career in Cleveland last year, but is now set to be an unrestricted free agent. The “two sides aren’t close” on a deal, but Perriman “wants to be back, and realizes that Baker Mayfield helped him resuscitate his career,” according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. Kay Cabot writes that Perriman’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, “wants to let the market” set the price for the 25-year-old receiver. After joining the Browns mid-season, Perriman had 233 yards and two touchdowns the final four weeks of the year.
  • The Packers have reportedly expressed interest in Chiefs pass-rusher Dee Ford. But trading for Ford, who has been franchise-tagged by Kansas City, may prove difficult for Green Bay. Any team that trades for Ford is likely to try and sign him to a longterm deal, but the Packers don’t usually like longterm deals with a ton of guaranteed money and prefer to structure deals with large signing bonuses instead, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). That could be a problem because as Rapoport points out, Ford has the same agent as Le’Veon Bell, and the agent takes a very strong stance on the need for more guaranteed money in deals. None of this means the Packers won’t be able to trade for Ford, but it’s an interesting note nonetheless, and it could force them to turn their focus elsewhere as they look for pass-rushing help.

Browns Re-Sign Greg Robinson

The Browns have re-signed tackle Greg Robinson, according to his agents. It’s a one-year deal with a $7MM base value, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. With playing incentives, the deal could reach up to $9MM. 

Robinson, 27 in October, hooked on with the Browns on a low-cost, one-year deal last year. He wound up appearing in all 16 games and started every game in the second half of the year in Desmond Harrison‘s stead.

The former No. 2 overall pick has not come close to living up to that draft slot, but he did show something in the Browns’ first post-Joe Thomas season. Pro Football Focus graded Robinson as its No. 63 tackle (out of 80 full-time qualifiers) in 2018.

Robinson was on the fringes of the NFL when he signed with Cleveland, but his career may finally be getting back on track. The Browns will work with him to try to keep the penalties down (ten penalties from Week 10 onward), but they believe his size will help to protect quarterback Baker Mayfield in the pocket.

Before joining the Browns, Robinson started in 42 of his 46 games for the Rams and made six starts for the Lions in 2017 before suffering an ankle injury.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns Discussing Deals With Rashard Higgins, Breshad Perriman, Greg Robinson

The Browns signed former first-round picks Greg Robinson and Breshad Perriman on low-cost, one-year deals in 2018. They are interested in longer-term partnerships.

John Dorsey said (via Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com) discussions with both players’ representatives are ongoing, along with RFA-to-be Rashard Higgins.

Robinson said recently he wants to stay in Cleveland. The former No. 2 overall pick has not come close to living up to that draft slot but did start the final eight Browns games at left tackle, replacing rookie UDFA Desmond Harrison in the team’s first post-Joe Thomas season. Pro Football Focus graded Robinson as its No. 63 tackle (out of 80 full-time qualifiers) this season.

Sometimes you have to be a little patient with guys like that. You have to earn their trust,” Dorsey said of Robinson. “He did everything he was asked and everything we thought he would since we signed him in late June.”

Added after a dismal Ravens stay, Perriman averaged 21.3 yards per catch with the Browns. Two of his 16 receptions went for touchdowns. While Perriman’s stock is nowhere near what it was coming into the league, the oft-injured wideout played well down the stretch with Cleveland. He recorded two two-catch, 75-plus-yard games in the Browns’ final four contests. If retained, Perriman would fit in as an auxiliary weapon alongside Jarvis Landry and Antonio Callaway.

Although Higgins was a Sashi Brown-era investment, he may figure into Dorsey’s plans — either on a tender or longer-term pact. The former fifth-round pick enjoyed his most productive season in 2018, hauling in 39 passes for 572 yards and four touchdowns. While Higgins was the Browns’ fourth-leading receiver, each of those figures represented career-high marks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns Rumors: Gordon, Corbett, Robinson

Josh Gordon remains away from the Browns as they enter the second week of training camp, but the team remains confident its oft-unavailable wideout will show up in Berea, Ohio, at some point during camp. John Dorsey reaffirmed during a radio interview Friday that the 27-year-old pass-catcher will be at camp. But no timetable has been announced. Browns camp runs until August 15, though it’s unclear if Dorsey meant Gordon will return by camp’s conclusion or merely before the regular season begins.

I told you he’d be here, and he will be here,” the Cleveland GM said during an interview with 92.3 The Fan (via the Lorain Morning Journal). “… I haven’t talked to Josh Gordon; I’m going to respect his privacy. I admire what he’s doing here because he’s taking care of the long-term interest of his person.”

Gordon is believed to be at a rehab center in Gainesville, Fla., and his return status may not be entirely up to him. Roger Goodell could well have a say, complicating matters for a player who’s endured one of the more complicated careers in modern NFL history.

Here’s the latest out of Cleveland:

  • The Browns moving to their “Plan Z” so fast — sliding Joel Bitonio to left tackle — will prompt them to move second-round pick Austin Corbett into Bitonio’s old spot. Corbett is now working as the team’s starting left guard, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com reports. The left side of the Browns’ line is now comprised of former Nevada starting tackles, with Corbett taking over as the Wolf Pack’s left tackle for Bitonio in 2014 after he was a Cleveland draft choice. Corbett did not see time at guard in college but was considered a prospect who could make the transition inside in the pros.
  • Given the first chance to succeed Joe Thomas, Shon Coleman was not progressing like the Browns hoped, per Cabot. Cleveland’s right tackle starter last season, Coleman seems likely to now become a swing backup. But Hue Jackson suggested Greg Robinson, who’s been out for most of camp due to a concussion, may get a chance to potentially move Bitonio back to guard. Though, this move doesn’t look to be an experiment. “It’s full speed ahead with Joel,” Jackson said. “But Greg will factor into that. He hasn’t practiced enough. I don’t know enough about him yet to say if he can or he can’t.”
  • Duke Johnson would prefer to be a full-time slot receiver, rather than serving as a running back/receiver, per Dan Labbe of cleveland.com. With Jarvis Landry around, it doesn’t seem like the recently extended passing-down running back’s role will be changing anytime soon. Johnson took 82 handoffs last season but caught a career-high 74 passes.

AFC North Rumors: Gordon, Steelers, Ravens

Josh Gordon‘s present designation with the Browns is on the reserve/did not report list. The Browns likely could not have placed the 27-year-old pass-catcher on the non-football illness list, since he would have had to fail a physical for that to occur. While Gordon does not currently count toward Cleveland’s 90-man roster, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk cautions the wideout’s road back to the team may not be a matter of him merely returning to Berea, Ohio. Gordon may have to have Roger Goodell approve his request for Browns reinstatement, Florio reports. The reasoning behind this is Goodell OK’d a Gordon return last year under the terms of a treatment plan, with Florio adding that possible Goodell approval would center around whether or not the embattled receiver has violated the terms of that plan. Gordon’s believed to be at a Gainesville, Fla., treatment facility. He spent 90 days in a Gainesville rehab center last fall. While Florio doesn’t expect Goodell to stand in the way of a Gordon return, he would have the right to suspend Gordon for another year under the substance-abuse policy.

Jimmy Haslam did not comment when asked Saturday if the NFL needed to approve Gordon’s Browns reinstatement, and Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer notes the league has not provided clarity on this situation yet. Haslam added he does not have a timetable for Gordon’s return.

Here’s the latest from the AFC North, shifting to a potentially troublesome situation in Pittsburgh:

  • Ramon Foster has played more Steelers snaps than anyone since the 2009 season (h/t Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL.com), but he was carted off the practice field Saturday. During a full-contact workout, Stephon Tuitt rolled into Foster’s right leg, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport and ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler (Twitter links). Mike Tomlin did not elaborate on the issue, only saying that the 10th-year guard is being evaluated for a “lower-body” injury, per CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora (via Twitter). A Foster loss would represent a major setback for the Steelers. Foster’s a seven-season full-time starter and is in the final year of his deal. Ben Roethlisberger consoled the 32-year-old guard as he was carted away.
  • Roethlisberger has shown up to camp in noticeably better shape, with La Canfora noting the Steelers expected their quarterback to show up prepared to earn one final blockbuster extension. Although a report surfaced about the Steelers and Roethlisberger were planning to discuss a re-up this offseason, the 15th-year quarterback said he didn’t want to do a deal before this season. But he’ll be set for a contract year in 2019.
  • While the Steelers do, however, have a Chris Boswell extension slotted as a preseason priority, JLC adds the team shouldn’t be expected to make a Joe Haden-style addition before the season. Pittsburgh added the longtime Cleveland cornerback on a $9MM-per-year deal late last summer but holds barely $5MM in cap space presently. Boswell is entering a contract year.
  • Greg Robinson resides in the Browns‘ concussion protocol, Hue Jackson said Saturday (via Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal, on Twitter). The Browns brought the former No. 2 overall pick this offseason. He has a clearer path to the 53-man roster now that Donald Stephenson has retired, but Robinson has not proven reliable during his four-year career.
  • Only Ronnie Stanley and Marshal Yanda are locks to be Ravens offensive line starters, with Jeff Zreibec of The Athletic noting (subscription required) the team used numerous O-line combinations Saturday. Expected to vie for Baltimore’s right tackle job, James Hurst is working primarily at right guard while Alex Lewis — whom Zreibec projects as the left guard starter — has worked plenty at center. The Ravens’ right guard starter, Yanda remains on the PUP list. Zreibec still contends Hurst will settle at right tackle, with rookie Orlando Brown in the mix at that spot as well.

AFC North Notes: Browns, Okorafor, Bengals

Rumored to be a potential option to succeed Joe Thomas at left tackle, Joel Bitonio‘s heard an important voice that doesn’t believe this is a good idea. As a result, the Browns‘ post-Thomas battle is likely to come down to third-year player Shon Coleman, last season’s full-time right tackle, second-round pick Austin Corbett and possibly former No. 2 overall pick Greg Robinson.

He is an elite guard, one of the top 4-5 in the league,” Browns offensive line coach Bob Wylie said of Bitonio, via Terry Pluto of cleveland.com. “You put him at tackle and he becomes … what … just a tackle.”

Although Corbett succeeded Bitonio as Nevada’s left tackle and started for four years, he’s a bit behind Coleman for the job at present, Wylie said. The Browns, though, also signed Robinson this week and view him as a reclamation project. Not unlike other teams who have taken chances on underwhelming high draft picks, the Browns believe Robinson has “freakish” athletic ability and believe with proper coaching he can grow into a solid blocker, Pluto notes. In 395 snaps with the Lions last season, the former Auburn standout graded as Pro Football Focus’ fourth-worst full-time tackle.

Here’s the latest from some of the Browns’ top rivals.

  • The Bengals are set on the left side of their offensive line, with Cordy Glenn, Clint Boling and Billy Price entrenched as starters. With 2015 high draft picks Jake Fisher and Cedric Ogbuehi, along with Giants castoff Bobby Hart, involved in the right tackle competition, Cincinnati perhaps has less certainty about who will play right guard. Former UDFAs Trey Hopkins and Alex Redmond, and 2016 fifth-rounder Christian Westerman, are going to vie for that spot, Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer notes. PFF’s No. 41 tackle in 2017, Hopkins is the incumbent, playing 707 snaps last season and starting 12 games.
  • Continuing this afternoon’s theme of AFC North offensive lines, the Steelers appear to be close to slotting Chukwuma Okorafor as the swing tackle behind Alejandro Villanueva and Marcus Gilbert. The Steelers may be leaning toward placing Matt Feiler in as a backup interior lineman, Tim Benz of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes. A third-round pick, Okorafor would then be in line to replace Chris Hubbard, the new Browns right tackle, in that swing job. “Chuks, we drafted that guy for that reason,” Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak said. “Now the young guy gets a chance kind of like Al a few years ago. And last year, Chris Hubbard got the opportunity with Marcus out. We’ve got a lot of time to work with him. Right now, that’s our guy going forward.” Gilbert’s contract expires after the 2019 season, and although Ben Roethlisberger would prefer he be re-signed in advance of his walk year, the high-end right tackle has dealt with injuries and a suspension in recent years and will be 31 in February.
  • While it’s unlikely Jordan Dangerfield will be able to keep first-round pick Terrell Edmunds off the field, he exited the Steelers’ offseason program as a first-string safety, per Joe Rutter of the Tribune-Review. Morgan Burnett missed minicamp because of an injury Mike Tomlin deemed minor. Edmunds ran with the second-team defense but is expected to get looks at safety and linebacker for a Steelers team that was deficient at those spots at the end of last season. Dangerfield is a fifth-year player who hasn’t seen action since 2016.

Extra Points: Dez, Robinson, Darnold, Jets

Some assorted notes from around the NFL as we wrap up this Thursday evening…

  • A fan recently told free agent wideout Dez Bryant that he should be focused on finding a new team, prompting the veteran to respond. “The last problem I have is finding a team..I’m in a world you will never understand,” Bryant said on Instagram (via Joey Hayden of the Dallas News). The receiver has indicated that he’s received calls from teams but is waiting for the ideal fit, and his recent comments seemingly echo this sentiment. We heard earlier this month that Bryant likely wouldn’t join a new team until July.
  • The Browns signed offensive lineman Greg Robinson earlier this week, and ESPN’s Field Yates tweets some of the financial details of the deal. It will be a one-year, $790K contract for the former second-overall pick, and the deal contains no guaranteed money. Robinson started six games for the Lions last season, but he was ultimately released by the team in November. Robinson isn’t guaranteed to make Cleveland’s roster, and he’ll likely compete for a reserve role.
  • The Jets are predictably convinced that they have a “star in the making” in quarterback Sam Darnold, writes Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.TV. The coaching staff also believes that it’s only a matter of time before he replaces veteran Josh McCown, and he should supplant Teddy Bridgewater as the second-stringer sooner than later. Of course, a lot of Darnold’s 2017 stock will depend on his performance during training camp and the preseason.
  • We learned earlier today that Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson pled no contest to charges of reckless driving. As a result, he’ll get six months of “non-reporting” probation.

Browns Sign Greg Robinson

The Browns have signed offensive lineman Greg Robinson, per a team announcement. To make room on the roster, fellow lineman Roderick Johnson has been waived. 

Robinson, the former No. 2 overall pick in the 2014 draft, has been looking for work all offseason. Of course, things haven’t gone according to plan for Robinson since leaving Auburn to enter the NFL. Robinson started in 42 of 46 appearances with the Rams, but the advanced metrics at Pro Football Focus rated him among the league’s worst tackles in each of his first three seasons. Then, right around this time last year, the Rams shipped him to the Lions for a sixth-round pick.

Robinson started six games for the Lions in Taylor Decker‘s absence, but didn’t perform all that well. The Lions released Robinson in November when Decker returned to the lineup and he did not hook on with another club in 2017.

Johnson, meanwhile, was a fifth-round pick in the 2017 draft. He missed his entire rookie season with a knee injury and the new regime apparently was not interested in seeing what he could do at full health.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions Waived/Injured OT Greg Robinson

The Lions have waived-injured offensive tackle Greg Robinson. After dropping the former No. 2 overall pick in the draft, the Lions are left with an open spot on the 53-man roster. Greg Robinson (vertical)

[RELATED: Lions Waive Tim Lelito]

The Lions acquired Robinson via trade with the Rams in June after Taylor Decker suffered a torn labrum. Fortunately, Decker is on the verge of returning from the injury, so Robinson is now expendable.

Robinson, 25, appeared in six games for Detroit and started in each contest. However, he missed the last two games due to an ankle injury and his status for Sunday’s game against the Browns was up in the air prior to his release.

Before joining up with the Lions, Robinson started in 42 of 46 appearances with the Rams. The advanced metrics at Pro Football Focus rated him among the league’s worst tackles in each of his first three seasons.

Robinson was due a $3.3MM salary in 2017, the final year of his contract.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions Notes: LTs, Tabor, Quin

A few notes from Detroit:

  • In response to the serious shoulder injury stud left tackle Taylor Decker suffered during the spring, the Lions went out and acquired a pair of fill-in options in Greg Robinson and Cyrus Kouandjio. Robinson (second overall) and Kouandjio (44th) were high picks in the 2014 draft, but the former washed out with the Rams and the latter failed to stick in Buffalo. Unfortunately for the Lions, the two aren’t off to good starts in training camp, according to both Kyle Meinke of MLive.com and Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com. Robinson and Kouandjio have each dealt with injuries, but when they have taken the field, things haven’t gone well. Second-year defensive end Anthony Zettel, a sixth-rounder in 2016 who had one sack as a rookie, made “mincemeat” of the two tackles during practice Wednesday, per Meinke. Zettel has indeed held his own against the duo, confirms Rothstein, who currently tabs Kouandjio as the likely starter on the blindside. Either way, it appears the Lions are in for significantly worse play this year from the left tackle position, which isn’t exactly positive news for a team that could soon commit huge money to its quarterback.
  • Rookie cornerback Teez Tabor has also begun 2017 in less-than-stellar fashion, relays Meinke, who suggests that the second-round pick from Florida could struggle to see the field much this year at the rate he’s going. Most or all of Darius Slay, Nevin Lawson, Quandre Diggs and D.J. Hayden are in line to receive more playing time than Tabor, whom unproven receiver Jared Abbrederis “abused” on Friday, notes Meinke. Tabor also hasn’t shown much speed, which is especially troubling for a player whose draft stock fell as a result of subpar showings in the 40-yard dash.
  • Rothstein has the details on safety Glover Quin‘s two-year, $13MM extension. Initially, he was slated to earn a base salary of $4MM with a cap hit of $7.8MM in 2017. Now, his base salary is down to just $900K (fully guaranteed) with a cap hit of $6.4MM. In 2018, Quin will make $3.85MM in base salary, with $3.6MM of it guaranteed for injury only. On the third day in March, however, it becomes fully guaranteed. In 2019, the final year of his deal, Quin has no money guaranteed. Although the 31-year-old got some additional dollars and years in the extension, the Lions will still have the ability to get out of the deal before the 2018 season if his performance dips.

Zach Links contributed to this post.