Haason Reddick

Extra Points: Kalil, Cardinals, Giants, Bucs

Ryan Kalil‘s decision to come out of retirement and sign with the Jets was a shock to everybody around the league, but it wasn’t that sudden for him. The center decided that last season would be his last after battling injuries, but by March he was already feeling the itch to play football again, he told Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. He started lifting weights then, and was working out fully by May, so he won’t be coming in completely cold. His weight had dropped all the way down to 260 pounds, but he’s already back up to 297.

Cimini also reports that the Jets reached out to Kalil before camp even started, so it sounds like this comeback has been in the works for a little while. Kalil has often been one of the league’s better centers, and his presence will be a huge boost to New York’s offensive line and Sam Darnold’s development. He hasn’t been slacking off during his time away from the game, so it sounds like Kalil will easily be ready to man the pivot for the Jets come Week 1.

Here’s more from around the league on Hall of Fame induction night.

  • Things haven’t gone too smoothly for Cardinals linebacker Haason Reddick during his first couple of years in the league. The 13th overall pick of the 2017 draft has had his position changed multiple times, and is in his third defensive system in three years. He also apparently hasn’t been fully healthy, as he recently underwent “minor surgery,” according to Mike Jurecki of the team’s official site (Twitter link). We don’t have many details on the injury, but Reddick said he’d be ready for the opener. There were rumors last year that Reddick was on the trade block, and we’ve heard recently 2019 will be a pivotal year in determining his future with the team. The Temple product has been moved back to inside linebacker for this season.
  • The Giants conducted a minor workout, bringing in cornerback DeJuan Neal for a visit, a source told Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Neal is an undrafted rookie from D-II school Shepherd University, and the fact that he hasn’t already latched on somewhere tells you all you need to know.
  • The Buccaneers added to their staff, hiring Dave Hamilton as director of performance science, according to Greg Auman of The Athletic (Twitter link). Hamilton had been working at Penn State, and Auman notes that he’ll be “helping team’s focus on innovation in optimal preparation/health for their players.”

NFC West Notes: Rams, Woods, Fowler

The Rams are facing a potential cap crunch, as Vinny Bonsignore and Rich Hammond of The Athletic write. An eventual extension for quarterback Jared Goff will cost the Rams upwards of $25MM per year, meaning that tough decisions could on the way.

Edge rusher Dante Fowler, who re-signed with L.A. on a one-year deal, could very well play his way out of town in 2019. Wide receiver Robert Woods, who is slated for a $9.1MM cap hit in 2021, could be pushed out in advance to create breathing room for Brandon Cooks, who will count for $16.8MM against the cap. Cornerback Marcus Peters might not be long for the Rams either – the club can cuff him with the franchise tag for 2020, but his cost may be prohibitive beyond that point.

From a financial perspective, Andrew Whitworth‘s expected retirement after the 2019 season should help matters. When/if the 37-year-old hangs ’em up, that’ll take $10.7MM off of the books.

Here’s more from the NFC West:

Cardinals Not Shopping Haason Reddick?

Contrary to some reports, the Cardinals are not shopping linebacker Haason Reddick, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link). The club is shopping linebacker/safety Deone Bucannon, however, which is consistent with what we’ve heard in recent weeks

[RELATED: Cardinals GM Downplays Trade Rumors]

The Cardinals drafted the former Temple standout with the 13th overall pick in the 2017 draft in the hopes that his explosive athleticism would serve him well as a pass rusher and as a run stopper. So far, his development has not gone as planned, but the Cardinals are not ready to give up on him just yet. The 24-year-old recently regained his spot in the starting lineup and has two sacks in the last three weeks, so he seems to be trending in the right direction.

The Cardinals fell to 1-5 after Sunday’s 27-17 loss to the Vikings. While Reddick apparently won’t be on the table, you can expect GM Steve Keim to pitch rival clubs on Bucannon and others as the Cardinals look to build for the future.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals GM Downplays Trade Rumors

The Cardinals are reportedly shopping Deone Bucannon and Haason Reddick, but GM Steve Keim is doing his best to throw cold water on the hot stove talk. In a radio interview on Friday, Keim issued a general denial towards trade speculation regarding his team. 

One part of my job is to have dialogue with other teams,” Keim said said on 98.7, Arizona’s Sports Station (via the team website). “The one thing I won’t do, I won’t confirm or deny those things in public, I think you do those things behind the scenes. But it’s a lot of gossip, people enjoy it, it’s water-cooler talk, and a lot of stuff you’ll read is certainly false. Wednesday I woke up to three different names that were brought to my attention and those conversations never happened. So I would just say, for most fans, tread lightly, because very rarely are those accurate.”

It would make plenty of sense for the Cardinals to explore the trade market between now and Oct. 30. With a 1-4 record, the Cards are the current odds-on favorite to wind up with the worst record in the draft. The defense is in the bottom third of the league in both yards allowed and scoring, and the offense has failed to properly utilize one of the league’s most talented offensive weapons in David Johnson, so this would be the logical time for a reboot.

Keim knows this, and that’s why he is looking to preserve team morale without explicitly ruling out any deal.

Some of the names brought up to me will do nothing but bring a chuckle out of me,” Keim said. “You have to listen. You never know what the compensation is going to be. It might be something you couldn’t resist. You look back at the Heschel Walker trade with Dallas, you can never say never. … Sometimes, there’s a lot of procrastination, where you’ll call and there are a lot of conversations that go nowhere, unfortunately. But it’s part of the business and a fun one for fans to follow.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Haason Reddick, Deone Bucannon On The Trade Block?

The Cardinals drafted former Temple standout Haason Reddick with the 13th overall pick in the 2017 draft in the hopes that his explosive athleticism would serve him well as a pass rusher and as a run stopper. But Reddick’s development has not gone as planned, as he has played just 30 defensive snaps in the first four weeks of the 2018 season and has struggled to grasp new head coach Steve Wilks‘ defense.

Reddick lost his job as the team’s starting strong side linebacker to veteran journeyman Gerald Hodges, and Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports says that there does not appear to be any change in that regard moving forward. As such, La Canfora writes that other teams are considering a possible trade for Reddick, whose potential is still quite high. While it does not sound as though the Cardinals are actively shopping Reddick, La Canfora says they are generally “willing listeners,” so they may be fielding a lot of calls as we get closer to the October 30 trade deadline.

Another former first-round pick, Deone Bucannon, enjoyed plenty of success during his four-year run with the Cardinals from 2014-17. But like Reddick, Bucannon is not being utilized very much in Wilks’ scheme, which is not a great fit for his smaller body type and his hybrid safety/linebacker skills. Bucannon is eligible for free agency this offseason, and he would probably welcome a trade to a team that can make better use of his skill-set during this pivotal year in his career. Indeed, La Canfora says Bucannon will generate a lot of trade interest as well in the next few weeks.

The 0-4 Cardinals will not be competing for a playoff spot this year, and if they are committed to Wilks in the long-term, it may make sense for them to move Reddick and Bucannon in exchange for draft capital that they can use in their rebuild.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Notes: Seahawks, Reddick, Chiefs

Despite failing to live up to his first-round status with the Eagles, Marcus Smith said he generated considerable interest during his brief stay in free agency. Prior to signing with the Seahawks in late July, Smith said he had offers from the Packers, Chiefs and Colts, via Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. However, this Seahawks regime being interested in the then-Louisville product during the 2014 draft — with Condotta noting the team traded out of the first round after he went off the board to Philly at pick No. 26 — and former college assistant Clint Hurtt now Seattle’s defensive line coach made it a better fit than those other teams would have, Smith said.

Condotta adds Smith will now serve as the Seahawks’ first end off the bench now that Frank Clark will take the injured Cliff Avril‘s place in the starting lineup. Smith finished with 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble in his new team’s Sunday-night win over the Colts.

Here’s more out of the Pacific Northwest and other West locales in advance of Week 5.

  • Despite being hospitalized for what was viewed at the time as a scary injury, Rees Odhiambo may return to action without missing a game. Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable expects his starting left tackle to play on Sunday against the Rams, Condotta tweets. Odhiambo was hospitalized for what was called a chest contusion (or bruised heart) Sunday night. He’s the second Seattle left tackle starter to suffer a serious injury, joining George Fant (ACL tear) in that regard. But this serious-sounding setback may not force the Seahawks to make another change on their starting O-line.
  • One of the Cardinals‘ fallout solutions for replacing Markus Golden, lost for the season with a torn ACL, will be to experiment with first-round pick Haason Reddick at outside linebacker. Defensive coordinator James Bettcher said (via Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com) there are packages set to be unveiled Sunday featuring Reddick as an outside linebacker. Bettcher wouldn’t confirm if Reddick is being moved outside full-time, but Weinfuss notes these packages with the rookie on the edge will be part of the solution to replacing Golden. Reddick started Arizona’s first three games at inside linebacker but went to the bench after Deone Bucannon reclaimed his job in Week 4. Bucannon and veteran Karlos Dansby are the Cards’ starting inside ‘backers, and with the team not considering a Dwight Freeney reunion, it’s possible they’re looking at this outside-the-box solution seriously.
  • The Chiefs have added interesting wrinkles to their unorthodox offense this season, and while this misidirection-based scheme resulted in some zany college-style plays and has helped the team to 4-0, it’s also probably led Alex Smith being on the injury report with an ankle issue. While Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes the fifth-year Chiefs starting quarterback is expected to start Sunday against the Texans, past experience — i.e. playing well prior to a 2012 injury costing him his job once Colin Kaepernick emerged — should accelerate Smith’s drive to stay on the field. That said, the polish gap between Smith and Mahomes is likely considerable at this point. A permanent switch in 2017 — one Kansas City’s brass ruled out before the season — would be considerably different than Tom Savage losing his job to Deshaun Watson, especially considering how well Smith is playing thus far.
  • The Seahawks worked out guards Willie Beavers and Cole Toner, along with tackle D.J. Tialavea, Howard Balzer of SportsOnEarth tweets. The Bengals cut Toner from their practice squad late last month. Beavers has been on the workout circuit since the Patriots cut him from theirs in early September.
  • Holding an apparent defensive backs-only audition, the Raiders worked out several secondary cogs this week. Cornerback Brian DixonDemetrius McCray and Deji Olatoye participated. As did ex-Giants safety Mykkele Thompson, per Balzer (on Twitter). Dixon is the biggest name of this contingent, having spent three seasons with the Saints.
  • Linebacker Josh Keyes visited both the Chargers and Colts this week, Balzer tweets. These are the first known workouts for Keyes since the Falcons cut him prior to the season.

Cardinals Sign Rookie Haason Reddick

The Cardinals announced that they’ve signed first round pick Haason Reddick. The linebacker was selected with the No. 13 overall pick. Haason Reddick (Vertical)

Reddick, a Temple product, was one of the most incredible stories of this year’s draft class. Reddick first came to school as a preferred walk-on and eventually blossomed into a starter by the time his junior season came around. As a senior, he turned in his best season ever, tallying 65 tackles and 9.5 sacks for the Owls. Reddick even added one interception, three passes defensed, and a fumble recovery. In the months leading up to the draft, Reddick shot up draft boards everywhere to the point where he had some top ten buzz.

As Deone Bucannon recovers from ankle surgery, it seems possible that Reddick could crack the Week 1 starting lineup. The Cardinals project to start Chandler Jones and Markus Golden at the OLB spots with free agent pickup Karlos Dansby and Bucannon in the middle. Free agent outside linebacker Jarvis Jones also figures to see a decent number of snaps.

The Cardinals have now signed all seven members of their draft class. Here’s the complete list of Arizona’s 2017 draft picks:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Redskins, Allen, Steelers

The Redskins are high on Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). The Redskins currently own the No. 17 pick in the draft, so they’ll likely need to move up to get him. Then again, Allen might not make it out of the top five.

Here’s more news before the draft gets underway:

  • Washington defensive backs Kevin King and Budda Baker are on the Steelers‘ “radar”, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com. Pittsburgh has used early picks on secondary help over the past few seasons, as Artie Burns, Sean Davis, and Senquez Golson have all been added to the defensive backfield since 2015. Golson, however, hasn’t been able to get on the field due to injuries, and the Steelers could use more help in the back end. King would give the club a physical corner to play outside, while Baker can play deep safety and the slot.
  • Some folks in the Dolphins organization are really high on linebacker Haason Reddick, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald hears. His fans in Miami believe that he can be a great weakside linebacker right off of the bat and they like his explosive pass rush skills.
  • An official from one team tells Matt Miller of Bleacher Report (on Twitter) that Gareon Conley will go in the first round.
  • Colts defensive lineman David Parry will avoid jail time after reaching a plea agreement this week, Stephen Holder of the Indy Star writes. Originally, he was facing felony charges stemming from a February arrest in Arizona. It remains to be seen whether he’ll face team or league punishment.

Bills Aiming To Trade Down

The Bills are “pushing hard” to trade down from the No. 10 pick, according to Vic Carrucci of the Buffalo News (Twitter link). The club doesn’t see enough value where they’re currently sitting, and could look to pursue Temple linebaker Haason Reddick if they are able to trade back, per Carrucci.Haason Reddick (Vertical)

Buffalo has been linked to a possible quarterback selection at 10th overall, but if the Browns are able to leap ahead of them to take UNC’s Mitch Trubisky, the Bills might lost their top target. The club has also been tied to Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, but as Carrucci notes, the 2017 class is viewed as exceptionally deep, meaning Buffalo may believe it can move back, acquire more draft assets, and still land a quality prospect.

Reddick has steadily risen up draft boards in recent weeks, and is now considered a lock to be drafted within the top-20 picks. He’d give the Bills and new head coach Sean McDermott a Luke Kuechly-esque option at linebacker, while Reddick is also versatile enough to rush the passer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Schrager’s Latest: RBs, Trubisky, Howard

Two running backs, LSU’s Leonard Fournette and Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey, are likely to be among the top eight players selected in this year’s NFL draft, reports Peter Schrager of FOX Sports (Twitter links). The expectation is that Fournette will come off the board first, per Schrager. Speculatively, the 49ers (No. 2), Jaguars (No. 4), Jets (No. 6) and Panthers (No. 8) could be logical fits for either Fournette or McCaffrey. Of those four clubs, only San Francisco’s starting running back (Carlos Hyde) had a strong year in 2016, but the team’s new management reportedly wants to make a change in the backfield.

More from Schrager on the eve of the draft (all links via Twitter):

  • If the Browns don’t take North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky first overall, they could use their second first-rounder (No. 12) in a package to move up for him. Should that happen, Schrager lists the Jaguars and Titans (No. 5) as potential trade partners for Cleveland. Jacksonville is reportedly considering taking a QB at No. 4 to replace Blake Bortles, but that could be a smokescreen. Meanwhile, the Titans are set under center with Marcus Mariota, and they are indeed motivated to move down and collect more picks.
  • Alabama tight end O.J. Howard is poised to be the first pass catcher off the board, beating out wide receivers John Ross, Corey Davis and Mike Williams, according to Schrager. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported Wednesday (on Twitter) that Howard received an A-plus medical report, adding that he’s “a very clean, complete prospect.”
  • A pair of linebackers, Temple’s Haason Reddick and Florida’s Jarrad Davis, are entering the draft with soaring stock, relays Schrager. Reddick probably won’t last beyond the first 11 picks, while Davis should go anywhere from 15th to 25th. “Tremendous interviews” helped make Davis a first-round lock.