Isaiah Wynn

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/16/21

The Week 6 Saturday minor move blitz:

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New York Giants

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Washington Football Team

Patriots Move T Trent Brown To IR

Trent Brown has not played since Week 1 due to a calf injury. The Patriots’ right tackle starter is now guaranteed to miss at least three more games; the team placed Brown on IR Saturday, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets.

Since his first stint with the Patriots ended, Brown has been unable to stay healthy. He did make the 2019 Pro Bowl, becoming the rare right tackle invitee that year, but played in just 11 games. Last year, a calf injury in Week 1 sidelined him before multiple stints on the Raiders’ reserve/COVID-19 list wrecked his season.

The Patriots reacquired Brown for a Day 3 pick but have not been able to deploy him much. As part of a redone contract, Brown is only signed through the end of this season. The 6-foot-8 blocker’s value has taken a major hit since the Raiders gave him a four-year, $66MM deal early in free agency two years ago.

In addition to Brown’s extended absence, the Patriots are set to be without three other offensive line starters against the Texans. Left tackle Isaiah Wynn and guards Shaq Mason and Michael Onwenu are out. Mason is injured but not on IR; Wynn and Onwenu are on the team’s coronavirus list. This will leave center David Andrews as New England’s lone first-string O-lineman available Sunday in Houston.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots Pick Up Isaiah Wynn’s Option

As we continue to inch closer to the deadline, another player just locked in a big payday for 2022. The Patriots are picking up the fifth-year option on Isaiah Wynn‘s contract, a source told Albert Breer of SI.com (Twitter link).

Wynn will now earn a guaranteed $10.413MM in 2022. Wynn is the 22nd player from the 2018 draft class to get his option picked up, Breer tweets. Interestingly, many assumed that fewer options would get picked up since they’re fully guaranteed for the first time under the new CBA, but that hasn’t been the case. Breer writes that 22 is the second-most that have been picked up since the option system went into place.

Wynn was the 23rd overall pick in that draft out of Georgia. He devastatingly tore an Achilles in his first preseason and missed his entire rookie campaign, and has also struggled with injuries the past two seasons. He’s never played in more than 10 games, but those health issues weren’t enough to scare Bill Belichick away.

Wynn has played well when on the field, starting all 18 games that he’s appeared in. He’s mostly played left tackle but has also played a bit of guard.

The injury issues are concerning, but $10.413MM isn’t all that much for a quality starting left tackle if he can stay healthy.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2022 NFL Fifth-Year Option Tracker

NFL teams have until May 3 to officially pick up their options on 2018 first-rounders who are entering the final year of their rookie deals. In a change from years past, fifth-year option seasons are fully guaranteed, rather than guaranteed for injury only. Meanwhile, salaries are now determined by a blend of the player’s position, initial draft placement, and specific performance metrics:

  • 2-time Pro Bowlers (excluding alternate Pro Bowlers) will earn the same as their position’s franchise tag.
  • 1-time Pro Bowlers will earn the equivalent of the transition tag.
  • Players who achieve any of the following will get the average of the 3rd-20th highest salaries at their position:
    • 75%+ snaps in two of their first three seasons
    • 75%+ average across all three seasons
    • 50%+ in each of first three seasons
  • Players who do not hit any of those benchmarks will get the average of the 3rd-25th top salaries at their position.

With the deadline looming, we’ll use the space below to track all the option decisions from around the league:

Updated 4-30-21, 4:24pm CT

  1. QB Baker Mayfield, Browns: Exercised ($18.858MM)
  2. RB Saquon Barkley, Giants: Exercised ($7.217MM)
  3. QB Sam Darnold, Panthers (via Jets): Pending ($18.858MM)
  4. CB Denzel Ward, Browns — Exercised ($13.294MM)
  5. LB Bradley Chubb, Broncos — Pending ($12.716MM)
  6. G Quenton Nelson, Colts — Pending ($13.754MM)
  7. QB Josh Allen, Bills: Pending ($23.106MM)
  8. LB Roquan Smith, Bears: Exercised ($9.735MM)
  9. OT Mike McGlinchey, 49ers: Exercised ($10.88MM)
  10. QB Josh Rosen, Cardinals: N/A
  11. S Minkah Fitzpatrick, Steelers (via Dolphins): Exercised ($10.612MM)
  12. DT Vita Vea, Buccaneers: Exercised ($7.638MM)
  13. DT Daron Payne, Washington — Exercised ($8.529MM)
  14. DE Marcus Davenport, Saints: Exercised ($9.553MM)
  15. OT Kolton Miller, Raiders — N/A (extension)
  16. LB Tremaine Edmunds, Bills: Pending ($12.716MM)
  17. S Derwin James, Chargers: Exercised ($9.052MM)
  18. CB Jaire Alexander, Packers: Exercised ($13.294MM)
  19. LB Leighton Vander Esch, Cowboys: Pending ($9.145MM)
  20. C Frank Ragnow, Lions: Exercised ($12.657MM)
  21. C Billy Price, Bengals: Declined ($10.413MM)
  22. LB Rashaan Evans, Titans: Pending ($9.735MM)
  23. OT Isaiah Wynn, Patriots: Pending ($10.413 MM)
  24. WR D.J. Moore, Panthers: Exercised ($11.116MM)
  25. TE Hayden Hurst, Falcons (via Ravens): Pending ($5.428MM)
  26. WR Calvin Ridley, Falcons: Pending ($11.116MM)
  27. RB Rashaad Penny, Seahawks: Pending ($4.523MM)
  28. S Terrell Edmunds, Steelers: Pending ($6.753MM)
  29. DT Taven Bryan, Jaguars: Pending ($7.638MM)
  30. CB Mike Hughes, Vikings: Pending ($12.643MM)
  31. RB Sony Michel, Patriots: Pending ($4.523MM)
  32. QB Lamar Jackson, Ravens: Exercised ($23.106MM)

This Date In Transactions History: Patriots Trade Brandin Cooks To Rams

When Brandin Cooks was traded to the Patriots in 2017, there was hope that the wideout would stick around New England as one of Tom Brady‘s top targets. About 13 months later, Cooks tenure with the team had come to an end. On this date in 2018, the Patriots traded the wide receiver to the Rams.

Cooks was plenty productive during his lone season in New England, with the wideout leading the air attack (alongside Rob Gronkowski) following Julian Edelman‘s season-ending injury. The receiver finished the regular season having hauled in 65 receptions for 1,082 yards and seven touchdowns, and hee continued producing in the postseason, catching another 19 receptions for 292 yards.

That performance apparently wasn’t enough, as the Patriots sent him out on April 3, 2018. Perhaps the team was wary of Cooks’ impending free agency following the 2018 campaign, or perhaps they thought Brady and Bill Belichick‘s clout would land them a comparable (and/or cheaper) receiver via free agency. Either way, New England ultimately sent Cooks and a fourth-rounder to the Rams in exchange for a first-rounder (a pick that eventually turned into lineman Isaiah Wynn) and a sixth-rounder. The Rams subsequently signed the receiver to a pricey five-year, $81MM extension (including $50.5MM guaranteed).

Even though Cooks didn’t last all that long is Los Angeles, it’s hard to be too critical of the Rams. Cooks had a 1,200-yard season during his first year with the Rams, but he fell off in 2019, compiling only 635 yards from scrimmage in 14 games. Following the season, the Rams paired Cooks with a fourth-rounder and sent him to the Texans for a second-rounder (which ultimately turned into receiver Van Jefferson).

Similarly, it’s hard to be too critical of the Patriots; after all, Wynn is a fine consolation. However, the Patriots’ motivation for the trade has never really been explained. While the financial reasons were obvious, it was assumed that the organization would subsequently replace Cooks spot in the lineup. The team was also especially shallow at wideout after Danny Amendola signed with the Dolphins.

While New England would be connected to a number of receivers throughout that 2018 campaign, the team never did anything to significantly improve their receiver corps. That 2018 squad finished without a 1,000-yard receiver, with running back James White leading the squad in receptions. Per usual, that didn’t end up mattering all that much; the Patriots still won the Super Bowl that season after beating (you guessed it) the Rams. While the Patriots selected receiver N’Keal Harry in the first round of the 2019 draft, they never really added another veteran receiver like Brady desired, an issue that was exacerbated after Gronkowski’s sudden retirement. That 2019 campaign would ultimately be Brady’s final season in New England.

Is there any takeaway from this trade? Maybe, but I’ll probably end up pulling something with this stretch. Brady was clearly dissatisfied with his weapons during his final seasons in New England. At the time of this trade three years ago, there were already whispers of tension within the Patriots organization. We can only assume that the quarterback wasn’t happy about the trade made on April 3, 2018, and it could have been one of the many reasons (or at least a contributing factor) that ultimately led Brady to walk away from the organization.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL’s Fifth-Year Option Salaries For 2021

The NFL’s 2021 salary cap has been set at $182.5MM, marking the league’s first reduction in a decade. With that, the league has also ironed out the value of this year’s fifth-round option for 2018 first-round picks.

Here’s the full rundown, via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter):

1. Baker Mayfield, Browns, QB — $18.858MM (playing time)

2. Saquon Barkley, Giants, RB — $7.217MM (1x Pro Bowl)

3. Sam Darnold, Jets, QB — $18.858MM (playing time)

4. Denzel Ward, Browns, CB — $13.294MM (1x Pro Bowl)

5. Bradley Chubb, Broncos, LB — $12.716MM (1x Pro Bowl)

6. Quenton Nelson, Colts, G — $13.754MM (2x Pro Bowl)

7. Josh Allen, Bills, QB — $23.106MM (1x Pro Bowl)

8. Roquan Smith, Bears, LB — $9.735MM (playing time)

9. Mike McGlinchey, 49ers, OT — $10.88MM (playing time)

10. Josh Rosen, Cardinals, QB*

11. Minkah Fitzpatrick, Steelers, S (drafted by Dolphins) — $10.612MM (2x Pro Bowl)

12. Vita Vea, Buccaneers, DT — $7.638MM

13. Daron Payne, Washington, DT — $8.529MM (playing time)

14. Marcus Davenport, Saints, DE — $9.553MM

15. Kolton Miller, Raiders, OT — $10.88MM (playing time)

16. Tremaine Edmunds, Bills, LB — $12.716MM (1x Pro Bowl)

17. Derwin James, Chargers, S — $9.052MM (1x Pro Bowl)

18. Jaire Alexander, Packers, CB — $13.294MM (1x Pro Bowl)

19. Leighton Vander Esch, Cowboys, LB — $9.145MM

20. Frank Ragnow, Lions, C — $12.657MM (1x Pro Bowl)

21. Billy Price, Bengals, C — $10.413MM

22. Rashaan Evans, Titans, LB — $9.735MM (playing time)

23. Isaiah Wynn, Patriots, OT — $10.413MM

24. D.J. Moore, Panthers, WR — $11.116MM (playing time)

25. Hayden Hurst, Falcons, TE (Drafted by Ravens) — $5.428MM

26. Calvin Ridley, Falcons, WR — $11.116MM (playing time)

27. Rashaad Penny, Seahawks, RB — $4.523MM

28., Steelers, S Terrell Edmunds — $6.753MM (playing time)

29. Taven Bryan, Jaguars, DT — $7.638MM

30. Mike Hughes, Vikings, CB — $12.643MM

31. Sony Michel, Patriots, RB — $4.523MM

32. Lamar Jackson, Ravens, QB — $23.106MM (1x Pro Bowl)

* Rosen was released from his original contract and, therefore, is not option-eligible 

As a refresher, the fifth-year option year is now fully guaranteed. In the past, it was guaranteed for injury only. The values are also dependent on certain performance metrics:

  • Two-time Pro Bowlers (excluding alternate Pro Bowlers) will earn the same as their position’s franchise tag.
  • One-time Pro Bowlers will earn the equivalent of the transition tag.
  • Players who achieve any of the following will get the average of the 3rd-20th highest salaries at their position:
    • 75%+ snaps in two of their first three seasons
    • 75%+ average across all three seasons
    • 50%+ in each of first three seasons
  • Players who do not hit any of those benchmarks will get the average of the 3rd-25th top salaries at their position.

Patriots Place OL Isaiah Wynn, RB Rex Burkhead On IR

A trio of Patriots players landed on injured reserve today. ESPN’s Field Yates reports (via Twitter) that New England has placed running back Rex Burkhead, left tackle Isaiah Wynn, and nose tackle Carl Davis on IR.

The Burkhead move isn’t overly surprising; the veteran RB suffered a torn ACL last weekend, ending his season. Now in his fourth year with New England, the veteran was having another solid season as a change-of-pace back. Through 10 games, the 30-year-old collected 274 yards and three touchdowns on 67 carries. He had another 25 receptions for 192 yards and three scores.

While the Patriots will surely miss Burkhead’s veteran presence, the team does have a number of options at running back. Damien Harris has emerged as a solid option in the running game, and Cam Newton can still turn to pass-catcher James White. The team is also rostering former first rounder Sony Michel, who could return this weekend after having been sidelined since Week 3.

Wynn, a 2018 first-rounder, was limited to only eight games through his first two seasons in the NFL. However, in 2020, he’s emerged as one of New England’s best offensive lineman, and he’s shown versatility by playing both offensive tackle and offensive guard. The 24-year-old suffered a knee injury during last weekend’s loss to the Texans, but the lineman could theoretically return before the season is over.

Davis, 28, joined the Patriots after being signed off the Jaguars practice squad in October. The defensive lineman has seen time in three games for New England this season, collecting three tackles. He’s appeared in 39 career games (13 starts) with the Patriots, Ravens, Browns, Jaguars, and Colts.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

This Date In Transactions History: Patriots Trade Brandin Cooks To Rams

With all of the action we’ve seen this offseason, it’s easy to forget that April blockbusters are also relatively common. In fact, we had a significant trade go down two years ago today. On April 4th, 2018, the Rams acquired wideout Brandin Cooks and a fourth-rounder from the Patriots for a first-rounder and sixth-rounder.

Cooks had actually been acquired by New England only 13 months before the Rams/Pats deal. While the former first-rounder had a solid season as one of Tom Brady‘s main targets, he didn’t match his production with the Saints from 2015 or 2016. Cooks ultimately finished the 2017 regular season with 65 receptions, 1,082 yards, and seven scores. While the receiver had a standout performance during that year’s AFC Championship, he was limited to only a single catch in the Super Bowl before exiting with a concussion.

With Cooks set to hit free agency following the 2018 season, the Pats decided to ship the receiver to Los Angeles. The Rams immediately inked the wideout to a five-year, $81MM extension, and that looked to be a good decision at first. Despite playing alongside Robert Woods, Todd Gurley, and Cooper Kupp, Cooks finished that year with 80 receptions, five touchdowns, and a career-high 1,204 receiving yards. He was productive during the Rams’ run to the Super Bowl, finishing with 292 receiving yards in three games.

However, the wheels somewhat fell off in 2019. Cooks battled several ailments, including a concussion that knocked him out of the lineup for several weeks. When all was said and done, Cooks put up some of his lowest numbers since his rookie campaign, finishing with 42 receptions for 583 yards and two touchdowns in 14 games.

With $12MM guaranteed in 2020 and his contract lasting through the 2023 season, there were rumblings that the Rams could look to trade the receiver this offseason. However, following the organization’s decision to move on from Gurley, it sounds like Cooks isn’t on the block.

On New England’s side, the team used that first-rounder to select offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn. The Georgia product sat out his entire rookie campaign, and he landed on IR following Week 2 of the 2019 season. However, he managed to return in Week 12, and he proceeded to start each of the Patriots’ remaining regular season and postseason games. In true New England fashion, they traded the sixth-rounder for a pair of seventh-rounders.

Both Cooks and (to a lesser extent) Wynn have been productive for their teams so far. However, their future performance will go a long way in determining who won this specific trade. For the time being, we’re comfortable grading both squads as “incomplete.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots To Activate T Isaiah Wynn

Isaiah Wynn will make another return to the Patriots’ active roster. The second-year tackle missed the past eight games due to turf toe, but Field Yates of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter) the Patriots will move him from IR back into their starting lineup.

The 2018 first-round pick’s NFL odyssey has not gone smoothly. After an Achilles tear wiped out his would-be rookie season, Wynn suffered an injury in Week 2 that sent him to IR. But the Patriots are set to give him another try. Considering their unusually shaky left tackle situation, Wynn staying healthy this time would represent a key development for the defending Super Bowl champions.

New England has used in-season signing Marshall Newhouse at left tackle for the past eight games. While Pro Football Focus slots the journeyman as a middling tackle this season (No. 48 overall), he’s been an obvious downgrade from Trent Brown. The Pats have benefited from a steady succession at left tackle for nearly 30 years, going from Bruce Armstrong to Matt Light to Nate Solder to Brown. The franchise had designs on Wynn continuing that pipeline, but the North Carolina State product’s injury trouble has put his future in question.

The Pats used the first of their two 2018 first-round picks on Wynn. While he’s only played 82 snaps as a pro, PFF did rate his limited work as positive. He will have a chance to build on that soon, likely this week against the Cowboys.

To make room for Wynn on their 53-man roster, the Pats placed wide receiver Gunner Olszewski on IR. Olszewski is battling ankle and hamstring injuries.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Gronk, Jets, O-Line, Enunwa

Although Rob Gronkowski issued another reminder he will not come back this season, the former Patriots tight end has not closed the door on a 2020 comeback or beyond.

I wouldn’t say ‘never coming back,'” Gronkowski said Tuesday, via ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss. “I’m 30 years old. I’m young. I still stay fit, still watch the game whenever I can, still enjoy it. I’m feeling good, but you know, one year off could possibly be the case. Or maybe two years off, man. It’s always an option in the back of my head.”

Robert Kraft was hopeful Gronkowski would return this season. He would need to do so by November 30, due to league rules. The Patriots, who have struggled to generate consistent offense against the better teams on their schedule, have certainly missed perhaps their future Hall of Famer this season. Gronk jokingly acknowledged this, but it looks like the will-he/won’t-he rumors will continue into next year.

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • It is possible every Jets offensive line starter from Week 1 will not be part of the 2020 team. The Jets cut Kelechi Osemele, and the rest of that September group — Kelvin Beachum, Ryan Kalil, Brian Winters and Brandon Shell — are either free agents (Beachum, Kalil, Shell) or players without any guaranteed money left (Winters). It would not be a surprise if all were elsewhere next year, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com notes. Third-round pick Chuma Edoga can be expected to start next season, and trade-acquisition guard Alex Lewis has intrigued the team. But beyond that, GM Joe Douglas will be looking to overhaul the unit. The Jets’ $61MM in projected cap space is less than they’ve possessed in recent years, however.
  • Quincy Enunwa‘s fines for missing rehab sessions involved some shaky communication, per Cimini, who adds that the wide receiver was told to talk to three different staffers — wideouts coach Shawn Jefferson, HC Adam Gase and then Douglas — before receiving clarity on this matter. While Enunwa’s second neck injury in three years puts his career in jeopardy, this process and the one that led to Osemele’s exit may factor into how free agents view the Jets.
  • Isaiah Wynn can come off IR this week, and Bill Belichick confirmed (via NESN.com’s Zack Cox, on Twitter) the Patriots do plan on activating him when he’s ready. The 2018 first-round pick has played in only two games, missing all of last season with an Achilles tear and the past eight weeks because of turf toe.
  • Kamu Grugier-Hill has become an Eagles linebacker starter, but the former sixth-round pick was once in the Patriots’ plans. The Pats drafted Grugier-Hill in the 2016 sixth round but cut him before that season. They wanted to pass the Eastern Illinois alum through to their practice squad, viewing him as a developmental piece (per Reiss), but the Eagles claimed him.
  • The Dolphins recently agreed to an extension with Allen Hurns, making every member of their current receiver nucleus signed through at least 2020.