Jamal Carter

Keanu Neal Tears Achilles

For the second straight season, Falcons safety Keanu Neal‘s season has ended with a devastating injury. Neal is believed to have torn his Achilles during the team’s loss to the Colts earlier today, a source told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link).

The Falcons placed Neal on IR and promoted safety Jamal Carter from their practice squad, per Howard Balzer of BalzerFootball.com (on Twitter).

Obviously, his year is over. Rapoport writes that Neal will have surgery this week, and “should be good to go well before the 2020 season.” In Week 1 of last year Neal tore his ACL, and this latest injury was to the same leg. Atlanta picked up his fifth-year option earlier this offseason, keeping him under team control through 2020. The good news for him is that option year was fully guaranteed for injury at around $6.7MM and assuming he can’t pass a physical on the first day of the new league year, he’ll get that cash no matter what.

Neal has been a good player when healthy, but he’ll now have missed 28 games over the past two seasons. It’s a tough blow for a Falcons defense that already hasn’t looked great this year and was one of the most injured units in the league last year. Atlanta drafted the Florida product in the first-round back in 2016.

He started all 16 games in 2017, racking up 113 tackles, six passes defended, and an interception. The Falcons’ secondary got diced up by Jacoby Brissett on Sunday, and now they’ll be without one of its key cogs moving forward. They currently sit at 1-2 and will host the Titans in Week 4.

A UDFA out of Miami, Carter spent two years with the Broncos. He missed all of the 2018 season and was moved to linebacker in training camp. The Broncos waived him prior to the regular season’s outset, however, leading him to the Falcons’ taxi squad. Carter is back at safety and will likely fill in as a backup for the Falcons, who also lost J.J. Wilcox to a season-ending injury earlier this year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 9/2/19

We’ll keep track of Monday’s practice squad moves here:

Atlanta Falcons

Arizona Cardinals

Buffalo Bills

Cincinnati Bengals

Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

  • Signed: WR Davion Davis

New England Patriots

New York Giants

New York Jets

Oakland Raiders

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers 

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Redskins

Broncos Trim Roster To 53

The Denver Broncos made a slew of moves today to get down to 53 players. Notably, the team will place rookie second-round quarterback Drew Lock on injured reserve, meaning he’ll have to miss at least the first eight games of the season as he recovers from his thumb injury. The team cut journeyman Kevin Hogan and UDFA Brett Rypien, leaving them without a quarterback behind Joe Flacco. GM John Elway has said they’ll sign a veteran to backup Flacco for now, and we’ve already heard they’re interested in Brian Hoyer.

There weren’t too many surprises that we didn’t already know of. Brendan Langley, a 2017 third-round pick, failed to make the team. He was drafted as a cornerback, but switched to receiver earlier this offseason after he didn’t pan out on defense.

Here’s the full list of other moves:

Waived:

FB George Aston

T Quinn Bailey

WR Trinity Benson

LB Keishawn Bierria

OL Adam Bisnowaty

OL Jake Brendel

WR Fred Brown

LB Jamal Carter

CB Rashard Causey

WR Steven Dunbar Jr.

OLB Ahmad Gooden

CB Alijah Holder

RB Devontae Jackson

CB Trey Johnson

G/C Sam Jones

OL Tyler Jones

T John Leglue

WR Kelvin McKnight

RB Khalfani Muhammad

DL Deyon Sizer

CB Linden Stephens

TE Moral Stephens

RB David Williams

DE DeShawn Williams

Waived/injured:

C Ryan Crozier

LB Joe Dineen

OLB Dadi Nicolas

S Dymonte Thomas

Released:

AFC Notes: Collins, Broncos, Raiders, Finley

Jamie Collins held the distinction of being the highest-paid off-ball linebacker for nearly two years. His new deal with the Patriots is less glamorous. Escalators exist in Collins’ one-year, $2MM contract, and Mike Reiss of ESPN.com broke them down Sunday. If the eighth-year linebacker plays 50% of the Pats’ 2019 snaps, he will obtain an additional $250K. A 60% snap clearance will mean another $250K. This goes up in 10% increments until the 80% mark, when the incentives increase but also venture into not-likely-to-be-earned territory. Should Collins wind up in the Pro Bowl, he would earn an additional $500K. Collins was making $12.5MM per year on his Browns deal.

Here’s the latest from the AFC, moving westward:

  • It should be expected that Drew Lock is the Broncos‘ backup quarterback once the regular season begins, even after a shaky preseason start. But the Broncos also moved rookie UDFA Brett Rypien into position to challenge Kevin Hogan‘s roster spot. The nephew of former Super Bowl MVP Mark Rypien received the third-team reps ahead of Hogan in practice Sunday, Mike Klis of 9News notes. Lock took the second-team snaps. Hogan served as Case Keenum‘s backup last year, after Chad Kelly‘s departure. Rypien could conceivably be a practice squad stash, but Klis views the Broncos as giving him every opportunity to unseat Hogan.
  • On the defensive side of the ball, the Broncos made a move to address their depleted inside linebacker corps. Third-year safety Jamal Carter is now an inside linebacker, with Vic Fangio indicating (via The Athletic’s Nicki Jhabvala, on Twitter) Carter sought this switch. “I’ve been wanting to play this since high school and college,’’ Carter said, via Klis. “I like being in the trenches. I’m a physical specimen. I don’t like being too deep away from arms and contact. It’s going to fit me.” Todd Davis, Josey Jewell and Joe Jones are out with injuries presently. Carter, a 2017 UDFA out of Miami, missed all of last season due to injury and is on Denver’s roster bubble.
  • Set to use Andy Dalton as their starting quarterback for a ninth season, the Bengals did draft another passer this year. Their Ryan Finley fourth-round investment has gone well as the offseason has progressed, and The Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr. (subscription required) views a Bengals final roster that only includes Dalton and Finley at quarterback. This would mean Cincinnati cutting Jeff Driskel, who was needed for five starts after Dalton’s IR trip last year. A 2016 sixth-round pick, Driskel posted a 31.6 QBR in his 2018 work.
  • The Raiders placed cornerback D.J. Killings on IR on Sunday, doing so because he tore a pectoral muscle in the team’s preseason opener Saturday. Killings, a third-year UDFA, will undergo surgery, Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal tweets.

Broncos’ Jamal Carter Done For Season

Broncos safety Jamal Carter is done for the year, according to Mike Klis of 9News (on Twitter). Carter suffered a torn hamstring in Saturday’s preseason contest against the Vikings that will require surgery. The Broncos will place Carter on IR in order to free up a roster spot.

[RELATED: Latest On Broncos’ QB Situation]

Carter played in all 16 games for the Broncos last season as a reserve. Although he was not a star for Denver, the Broncos were counting on him to serve as an important special teams player in 2018.

Luckily, the Broncos still have quality depth behind starting safeties Darian Stewart and Justin Simmons. Will Parks and Su’a Cravens figure to see a fair amount of snaps while Dymonte Thomas and Jordan Moore may have improved odds of making the final cut.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Notes: Donald, Raiders, Carter

There are a couple of critical dates coming up in the Aaron Donald saga this week, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk points out. If Donald does not report to the Rams by August 7, he will not earn a year of credit towards free agency, which means that he would be eligible for restricted free agency next offseason, but not unrestricted free agency. However, Florio says that is not a major deterrent for Donald’s camp, as the Rams would either use the franchise tag on Donald — which, of course, they could also do if he became an unrestricted free agent — or apply a first-round restricted free agent tender. If Los Angeles went with the latter option, there would be any number of teams willing to extend a massive offer sheet to Donald and to surrender a first-round pick to the Rams if the Rams elected to not match the offer sheet, so Florio suggests LA would use the franchise tag regardless of whether Donald becomes a UFA or RFA.

The more important date, then, could be August 9, when the Rams play their first preseason game. As we have written previously, Donald could be fined a game check for each preseason game he misses, and between those penalties and the penalties for missing training camp, Donald could be looking at over $3.2MM in fines if he does not show up until the eve of the regular season opener. That reality could make him rethink his holdout, but given a recent report that the standoff could easily drag into September, it appears Donald’s reps are confident that the Rams will waive any penalties when the two sides do finally come to terms (or else that Donald’s contract will be so massive that the lost money won’t really matter).

Now let’s round up a few more notes from the league’s west divisions:

  • Raiders head coach Jon Gruden says his team’s kicking competition is not over, and that either rookie Eddy Pineiro or recent veteran acquisition Mike Nugent could win the job. But Scott Bair of NBCSports.com says Pineiro remains the heavy favorite, and Bair suggests it would be a major surprise if the rookie did not open the season as the team’s kicker.
  • We have not heard anything about a potential suspension for new Raiders receiver Martavis Bryant since June, which is obviously good news for Bryant and the team, but Gruden does not seem impressed with Bryant’s on-field performance thus far. Vic Tafur of The Athletic tweets that Bryant needs to step up his game and get more out of his reps, and Gruden said that the former Steeler needs to “master the offense and be more versatile.” Bryant is eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2019 — assuming he’s not suspended, of course — and even though he is battling for the team’s No. 3 receiver job, his talent suggests he could excel in Oakland’s offense and earn himself a nice payday next year.
  • Broncos safety Jamal Carter, a 2017 UDFA, has been very impressive in this year’s training camp, as Mike Klis of 9News.com writes. Carter appeared in all 16 of the team’s games last season, primarily as a special teams contributor, but he could get more defensive snaps in 2018, especially in sub-packages.
  • The Chargers‘ starting free safety job remains up for grabs, as Eric Williams of ESPN.com tweets. Jahleel Addae, Desmond King, and Jaylen Watkins have all seen action with the starters at that position.
  • We learned earlier today that veteran cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie had to cancel his scheduled workout with the Seahawks due to a family matter. There is not yet any word on whether the visit will be rescheduled.
  • The 49ers are growing increasingly concerned about guard Joshua Garnett‘s right knee injury.

Broncos Sign 17 Undrafted Free Agents

The Broncos announced that they’ve signed the following 17 undrafted college free agents: