Jamaal Charles

Saints’ Terrance West Signing Not Certain?

The Saints’ search for an Alvin Kamara sidekick during Mark Ingram‘s suspension has operated in high gear this week, with several running backs contacted for workouts. But the one they’ve reportedly agreed to sign — Terrance West — may not be New Orleans-bound just yet.

West’s deal is not finalized, Mike Triplett of ESPN.com and The Advocate’s Nick Underhill report (Twitter links). While Triplett notes a deal could come to fruition, it hasn’t yet despite a report of the sides reaching an agreement emerging Wednesday afternoon.

Additionally, Triplett reports Shane Vereen worked out for the Saints on Wednesday. He joins West, Jamaal Charles and Tim Hightower among UFA backs to audition for New Orleans. DeMarco Murray declined to be a part of this process.

Charles also could be a candidate for the Saints, assuming their West accord doesn’t come to fruition. The two-time All-Pro enjoyed a good workout, Herbie Teope of NFL.com tweets, and the injury-prone runner passed his physical. Teope adds a signing didn’t make sense for either side but could be revisited down the road. This would be Charles’ 11th season, should he land with a team.

This is the first known workout Vereen’s participated in since his Giants contract expired after the 2017 season. Vereen’s skill set is somewhat similar to Kamara’s; he’s functioned as a passing-down back in New England and New York. But nevertheless, the 29-year-old has seven years’ experience. However, he only posted 417 yards from scrimmage last season and missed 11 games in 2016.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jamaal Charles To Visit Saints

Running back Jamaal Charles will visit the Saints on Wednesday, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). We haven’t heard much about Charles since the end of the season, but he may finally get a chance to find an NFL home for 2018. 

After an exceptional, albeit injury-riddled, career with the Chiefs that included four Pro Bowl selections and two First Team All-Pro nods, Charles signed a one-year deal with the Broncos last year. Coming off multiple knee surgeries, he joined a crowded backfield that included C.J. Anderson and second-year back Devontae Booker and never established himself as the dominant force of years past.

Last year, Charles tallied 69 carries for 296 yards and a touchdown. The 31-year-old was a healthy scratch to close out the year and expressed his frustration with the team.

In addition to Charles, the Saints are also looking at old friend Tim Hightower, according to Nick Underhill of The Advocate (on Twitter). Hightower was spotted on the practice field Tuesday morning as he auditioned with the team’s running backs.

The Saints will be without Mark Ingram for the first four games of the season thanks to his suspension. The Saints have said that they’re comfortable with their remaining group – which includes Alvin Kamara, Trey Edmunds, Daniel Lasco, and roster hopefuls Boston Scott and Jonathan Williams – but they are giving some thought to adding some veteran reinforcement.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Notes: Reid, Broncos, Carroll, Rams

Eric Reid looks set to become a UFA for the first time. The fifth-year safety’s 49ers contract expires after Week 17, and should the former first-round pick hit the market, he’ll be doing so at age 26 and with five seasons of full-time starter work. However, Reid is aware his protest participation over the past two years could play a role in his market.

I wouldn’t use the word ‘concerned.’ I’d say I understand that that’s a possibility,” Reid said, via Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee, when asked about his potential UFA market diminishing because of his participation in the Colin Kaepernick-led protest movement. “And I’m completely fine with that. The things that I’ve done, I stand by. And I’ve done that for my own personal beliefs. Like I said I’m fine with whatever outcome comes because of that.”

Pro Football Focus rates Reid as a middle-of-the-pack safety this season. He’s suffered injuries in back-to-back years as well. But the ex-LSU cog started for an NFC championship game entrant as a rookie, earning Pro Bowl recognition, and has gone on to play both safety spots in San Francisco.

Here’s the latest from the Western divisions as the majority of those coalitions’ teams prepare for their seasons’ final games.

  • Vance Joseph‘s bid at a second Broncos season is suddenly at risk. After ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter reported the rookie HC was facing longer odds at returning, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes that the growing sense is Joseph will be canned after today’s finale. Several Broncos players have come out in support of Joseph, and a report earlier this month said Joseph was likely to earn a second season. But eight of Denver’s 10 losses have been by double digits, putting Joseph in line to possibly become the franchise’s first one-and-done coach.
  • Pete Carroll‘s obviously earned protection against being fired, but the eighth-year Seahawks coach doesn’t sound like he’s close to leaving the sideline especially soon. Seemingly in response to a rumor about a possible retirement floated by Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer, the 66-year-old HC said (on Twitter) “I ain’t old enough to think about retiring.”
  • Trumaine Johnson is finishing out his second franchise-tagged season, but he’s unsure the Rams will bring him back. The cornerback said at the beginning of the season it didn’t sound like he was in the team’s long-term plans, but he’s played a big role for a contending team this season. And Johnson, who turns 28 on Monday, pointed out this week he would like to stay in Los Angeles. “I’d love to be around,” Johnson said, via Rich Hammond of the Los Angeles Daily News. “But again, I understand the business side of it, so we’ll see. We’ll see in these next couple months.”
  • Sean McVay (via Hammond) isn’t sure Mark Barron will return for the Rams’ playoff opener next weekend. The linebacker’s battling an Achilles’ tendon injury and will be one of many players the Rams will rest today.
  • Jamaal Charles is inactive for the Broncos‘ season finale, and the 10th-year running back will fall just short of a $100K incentive, the Denver Post’s Nicki Jhabvala notes (on Twitter). Charles was to earn that bonus if he reached 500 yards from scrimmage, which was one of many thresholds in his incentive-laden contract. The 31-year-old back looked like a lock to get there at midseason, but he fell out of Denver’s rotation and will end his season with 425 yards. This could be the end for the two-time All-Pro, although he said earlier this season he wanted to play two more seasons.

Jamaal Charles Wants Release From Broncos

After being held out of the Broncos’ Week 16 matchup with Washington, running back Jamaal Charles told Nicki Jhabvala of The Denver Post the team “might as well” release him. Jamaal Charles (Vertical)

“I ain’t playing. Might as well,” he said. “No reason for me to just sit around and look at people play. It is what it is. I’m still going to be supportive of everyone on the team no matter what. I mean, they got my rights right now.”

The Broncos declared the veteran back inactive to get a look at rookie De’Angelo Henderson and could do the same when they take on Kansas City, Charles’ former team, in the season finale.

After an exceptional, albeit injury-riddled, career with the Chiefs that included four Pro Bowl selections and two First Team All-Pro nods, Charles signed a one-year deal with the Broncos in the offseason. Coming off multiple knee surgeries, he joined a crowded backfield that included C.J. Anderson and second-year back Devontae Booker and never established himself as the dominant force of years past. Through Week 16, Charles has tallied 69 carries for 296 yards and a touchdown.

Turning 31 years old on Wednesday, Charles is in the twilight of his career and hoping for a shot to catch on with a playoff-bound team. Broncos head coach Vance Joseph said releasing Charles has “not been a thought for us.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jamaal Charles Hopes To Play 2 More Years

After knee injuries threatened to end his career, Jamaal Charles has resurfaced as a quality complementary part for the Broncos this season. And he doesn’t plan on making it his last.

The 30-year-old running back said Thursday (via Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post, on Twitter) he wants to play two more seasons.

Charles signed a one-year deal with the Broncos in April but mentioned (via James Palmer of NFL.com, on Twitter) two teams told him he should retire after examining him. Jhabvala mentioned the Seahawks and 49ers examined his knees prior to the Broncos doing so (Twitter link). This is the first reported 49ers interest in the former All-Pro running back.

The Broncos have deployed Charles as an off-the-bench complement to C.J. Anderson, and the NFL’s career yards-per-carry leader is averaging 4.7 per tote through six games. Denver’s offense has struggled lately, but Charles has done well to show he can still contribute after receiving just 12 carries for the Chiefs last season. He underwent procedures on both of his menisci in 2016 after a second ACL surgery stopped his 2015 season. Palmer notes the Broncos are set to increase Charles’ workload soon after maxing him out at 10 touches on three occasions this season.

Charles is playing on an incentive-laden contract this season and stands to be a 2018 free agent. Even as running backs continue to be devalued as UFAs, the soon-to-be 31-year-old runner would seemingly generate interest regarding a possible 11th season in 2018 if he can make it through this year healthy. Despite being in Year 10, Charles only has 1,373 career carries. That’s eighth among active running backs, despite several players ahead of Charles on that list having begun their careers after his began in 2008.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

RB Notes: Charles, Abdullah, Collins, Texans

Two starting running backs received some unfortunate news Monday, with Dalvin Cook having suffered a confirmed ACL tear and Chris Carson suffering multiple lower-leg injuries that will shelve him for an extended time period — if not the rest of his season. These setbacks stand to weaken Vikings and Seahawks’ rushing attacks, although both teams have veteran insurance. However, prior to these rookies’ arrivals, each team struggled to gain ground yards last season. Latavius Murray and Eddie Lacy — two fifth-year backs who relocated this offseason, one that featured a slow market for running backs — figure to play more prominent roles with their new teams now.

Here’s the latest from NFL backfields, continuing to another player who spent extensive time in free agency this year.

  • A bruised knee limited Jamaal Charles to just one series in the second half of the Broncos‘ Week 4 win over the Raiders, Mike Klis of 9 News tweets. That’s a bit scary given Charles’ injury history, but the good news is that it is not serious. It also helps that the Broncos are on bye and will not play again until Oct. 15.
  • Lions running back Ameer Abdullah rolled his ankle early in the fourth quarter on Sunday, but he says he feels “good” and has been cleared by doctors (link via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press). Abdullah, who missed the majority of the 2016 season with a foot injury, finished the day against Minnesota with a career-high 94 yards on 20 carries. If not for the ankle, he might have become the first Lion to have a 100-yard rushing game since Reggie Bush. The Lions have now gone 58 games since Bush gained 117 yards in a Thanksgiving win over Green Bay in 2013.
  • Alex Collins broke off two long runs on Sunday, but the new Ravens starter is already on a short leash because of ball-security issues. Collins has now fumbled twice since debuting with the Ravens in Week 2. “He won’t get any more opportunities [if the fumbling continues] — the leash isn’t going to be long on that,” John Harbaugh said, via Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com. “When you come in here and drop the ball however many times he has dropped, I’m not going to tolerate it. I like him. He’s a good kid, and he makes plays, but he has to hold onto the football.” Collins fumbled twice as a rookie last season in limited Seahawks action and 17 times while at Arkansas.
  • Fellow second-year runner Tyler Ervin won’t have a chance to contribute on the field again this season. The Texans back suffered a torn patellar tendon, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports. Ervin was operating as a depth piece in a Lamar Miller– and D’Onta Foreman-fronted backfield. Ervin’s expected to have surgery Monday and land on IR, Wilson reports.

Zach Links contributed to this report.

AFC Notes: Eifert, Edelman, Charles

Let’s take a quick swing around the AFC as the early afternoon slate of games gets underway:

  • Bengals TE Tyler Eifert‘s most recent injury has further clouded his free agent case, as Paul Dehner, Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes. Eifert, who is in a contract year, is again experiencing back problems, and it is uncertain when he will return to the field. As Dehner observes, the Notre Dame product is in something of a catch-22. He either suits up at less than full health, which could hurt his performance and therefore his next contract, or he could wait until he is 100% healthy but not be on the field at all, thereby reinforcing his injury-prone reputation. Dehner says the franchise tag could still be in play for Cincinnati, as it would come at a relative bargain ($9-10MM) considering Eifert’s ability, but even a one-year deal at that value might be too much for the Bengals to stomach in light of Eifert’s health concerns. He may ultimately have to settle for a one-year “prove-it” deal to reestablish his value in 2018.
  • Julian Edelman underwent surgery to repair his torn right ACL within the past week, as Mike Reiss of ESPN.com writes. Reiss adds that everything went according to plan for the Patriots wideout, who expects to return at full strength in 2018.
  • Jamaal Charles had his best game with the Broncos last week, rushing nine times for 56 yards and a score, and his surprising success, along with the imminent return of Devontae Booker, have created a good problem for the Broncos, as Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post writes. Denver OC Mike McCoy said all three of his top backs — C.J. Anderson, Charles, and Booker — will get their fair share of reps, and there will not be a set number of carries for any of them.
  • Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link) says Ravens RB Alex Collins will get an increased workload in the team’s contest against the Steelers today. Collins, who was promoted off Baltimore’s taxi squad several weeks ago, has looked like the most explosive back on the roster in his limited reps, so he will get an opportunity to show what he can do in a more featured role.

Broncos Rumors: Charles, Stephenson, Butt

Jamaal Charles reportedly has a “50/50” shot to make the Broncos‘ final roster, and his only chance to earn a spot on the club will come in Saturday’s preseason game against the Packers, tweets James Palmer of NFL.com. Charles, 30, signed a one-year deal with Denver that contained only $100K in guarantees, and he hasn’t yet participated in a preseason game. The veteran back, who’s been injured for much of the past two years, won’t play in the Broncos’ final preseason contest, so he’ll need to show he’s worth a roster spot this weekend. Denver’s other running backs includes C.J. Anderson, Devontae Booker, Juwan Thompson, Stevan Ridley, and De’Angelo Henderson.

Here’s more from the Mile High City:

  • Denver will soon face a decision on the status of offensive tackle Donald Stephenson, as Adam Caplan of ESPN.com details (Twitter links). Stephenson isn’t expected to start, as the Broncos plan to play rookie Garret Bolles at left tackle and free agent addition Menelik Watson at right tackle. That combination would leave Stephenson as an extremely overpaid backup, as Stephenson will earn a fully guaranteed $2MM base salary and another $2MM bonus if he makes Denver’s Week 1 roster (all part of a contract restructuring agreed to earlier this year). While Stephenson’s salary is clearly a sunk cost, the Broncos could save the other $2MM by releasing him before the regular season gets underway.
  • Rookie tight end Jake Butt will “probably” begin the 2017 season on the physically unable to perform list, as Broncos head coach Vance Joseph explained to reporters, including Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post (Twitter link). Butt, recovering from a torn ACL suffered in his final collegiate contest, would be forced to miss the first six games of the year if placed on PUP. Denver selected Butt in the fifth round, using the 145th overall pick to secure the Michigan product.
  • The Broncos have had a relatively busy week, as they’ve announced Trevor Siemian as their starting quarterback over Paxton Lynch, and learned fourth-year edge rusher Shaquil Barrett could be available for Week 1.

Latest On Jamaal Charles

It was said earlier this offseason that Broncos RB Jamaal Charles may only have a 50-50 chance to make Denver’s roster, and no one seems to know when he will make his preseason debut. He did not participate in the team’s first preseason matchup Thursday night, and head coach Vance Joseph said, “I’m not sure yet,” when asked if Charles would play against the 49ers next Saturday, as Nick Kosmider of the Denver Post writes.

Jamaal Charles (Vertical)

If Charles did not have a history of injury problems, his not participating in any preseason games would not be a big deal. After all, he is entering his tenth professional season and his track record of production (when healthy) speaks for itself. But he has undergone multiple knee surgeries over the past several years, and he has seen limited practice time this offseason as he continues to recover.

That reality, combined with Charles’ fairly modest contract, helped generate the earlier reports that Charles’ roster status was up in the air. But the fact that Joseph said several weeks ago that the team would continue to proceed cautiously with Charles even though he was fully cleared from a medical standpoint indicated that Charles was going to make the club, and as Kosmider reports, his full-team repetitions have been elevated during the past week. Devontae Booker‘s recent injury has also given Charles a little job security.

Nonetheless, Joseph did say that he would “probably” need to see Charles participate in a preseason game before he makes a final decision. While it currently seems as if Charles has a good chance to make the team and be a significant contributor to boot, it’s fair to wonder if injuries and age have caught up with him, especially given that his game is predicated on speed and elusiveness.

For his part, Charles said he has had no setbacks, even though he has made a concerted effort to test his knee as much as possible. He said, “I don’t think I have to prove anything. People know what I can do. I feel confident. Whatever Coach Vance and the trainers say, that’s their direction. I’m just out here every day just getting healthy and getting my craft ready and preparing to play whenever.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Steelers, Bengals, Broncos

Contract extensions may be in the offing for Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert and head coach Mike Tomlin, writes Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Colbert’s contract will expire after next year’s draft, while Tomlin is still under wraps for two more seasons. That’s typically when the Steelers have worked to extend their head coaches in the past, observes Bouchette. They’ve had just three since 1969, the year of Chuck Noll‘s hiring. Bill Cowher also came before Tomlin, who has mimicked those two with a resoundingly successful run in Pittsburgh. The Tomlin-led club has made the playoffs seven times out of 10, including last year, and hasn’t finished with fewer than eight wins in a season. Overall, the Steelers have gone 103-57 with a Super Bowl victory and two AFC championships under Tomlin.

More from the AFC:

  • One of Tomlin’s AFC North rivals, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, seems less secure in his role. Lewis is in a contract year, but owner Mike Brown indicated Tuesday that he’ll go at his own pace on a potential extension for the coach, per Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com. Still, Brown is satisfied with Lewis, who trails only the Patriots’ Bill Belichick in tenure among head coaches. “That should tell you how I feel about him. He has my respect, my regard, my confidence,” said Brown. “We’ve been through this before. Sometimes it was an additional prod. Heck, we all know how it went last year. We wish it had gone better, so maybe we’ll see a better year this year and things will sort out then.” The Bengals stumbled to a 6-9-1 mark in 2016, snapping a five-year playoff streak and giving them a 118-103-3 record during Lewis’ 14-season stint. Amazingly, the team has lost all seven of its postseason games with Lewis at the helm.
  • Even though he has been cleared for everything, Broncos coach Vance Joseph says that the team will be approaching things cautiously with Jamaal Charles in an effort to keep him fresh for the season. That makes James Palmer of NFL.com (on Twitter) wonder if that means Charles has already made the team. For all of his career accomplishments, it has been said that Charles may only have a 50/50 shot of making the final cut.
  • The executive who signed Charles in free agency this year, John Elway, received a promotion when the Broncos awarded him a contract extension Monday, reports Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post. The Hall of Fame quarterback is now Denver’s president of football operations/general manager. He had been their executive VP of football operations/GM since 2011.
  • The Ravens had expressed interest in running back Bobby Rainey even before Kenneth Dixon went down with a meniscus injury, according to Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com. Baltimore had been in contact with Rainey throughout the summer, per Hensley, but news of Dixon’s impending operation presumably sped up contract talks and led to his signing Tuesday. Rainey, who had also drawn interest from the Jets earlier this year, joins a backfield that includes Terrance West, Danny Woodhead, Buck Allen, and Lorenzo Taliaferro.

Dallas Robinson and Zach Links contributed to this post.