Jihad Ward

COVID-19 Latest: Ravens, Tuitt, Colts

Multiple standout defensive linemen will be back in action in Week 13, and although the Ravens still have several players on their reserve/COVID-19 list, their roster is no longer as depleted as it was Wednesday.

  • Baltimore’s coronavirus list still houses 10 players, including Lamar Jackson, but the team will have multiple starters back at practice soon. The Ravens activated Calais Campbell, Mark Ingram and defensive lineman Jihad Ward from their virus list. Ingram was eligible to play against the Steelers on Wednesday, but the Ravens held him out. A five-time Pro Bowler, Campbell has not played since Nov. 8 due to a calf strain.
  • The 11-0 Steelers will have Stephon Tuitt back in action when they face Washington on Monday. They activated the seventh-year starter from their reserve/COVID list. Three Steelers remain on the virus list, including starters James Conner and Maurkice Pouncey.
  • Pricey trade acquisition DeForest Buckner came off the Colts‘ virus list as well. Buckner landed on Indianapolis’ COVID list after testing positive for the virus in late November. The Colts, who allowed the Titans to rush for 229 yards in Buckner’s absence last week, also removed Jonathan Taylor from their virus list.
  • The Ravens announced Saturday that four strains of the coronavirus were present in their building. While the team believes it contained three of those strains, the fourth ended up spreading to the point it forced the NFL to postpone the team’s Steelers rematch three times. Ten straight days commenced with at least one Raven testing positive for the virus, and the team had as many as 23 players on its reserve/COVID list at the height of the outbreak. Four straight days, however, have passed without a Ravens positive test.

Contract Details: Lawson, Trufant, Shelton, Witten,

Kyler Fackrell (Giants), One year, $4.6MM, $3.5MM guaranteed, base salary 2020: $2.6MM, $2MM roster bonus, according to Jordan Raanan of ESPN.

Antonio Hamilton (Chiefs), One year, $1.047MM, $887.5k guaranteed, $137.5k signing bonus; salary 2020: $910k ($750k guaranteed), according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.

Shaq Lawson (Dolphins), Three years, $30MM, $21MM guaranteed, $4MM signing bonus; salaries 2020: $6.4MM (fully guaranteed), 2021: $7.9MM (fully guaranteed), 2022: $8.9MM; $2.5MM fully guaranteed roster bonus in 2020, $100k workout bonus in 2020-2021, potential $2MM in annual incentives, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.

John Miller (Panthers), One year, $4MM, $2MM guaranteed, $2MM signing bonus; salary 2020: $1.79MM; $160k in per-game roster bonuses, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.

Danny Shelton (Lions), Two years, $8MM, $4MM guaranteed, $2.5MM signing bonus; salaries 2020: $1.5MM (fully guaranteed), 2021: $4MM, according to Michael Rothstein of ESPN.

Desmond Trufant (Lions), Two years, $20MM, $14MM guaranteed, $5MM signing bonus; salaries 2020: $4.5MM (fully guaranteed), 2021: $9.5MM ($4.5MM guaranteed for injury at signing); $500k in annual per-game roster bonuses, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.

Jihad Ward (Ravens), One year, $1.047MM, $637.5k guaranteed, $137.5k signing bonus; salary 2020: $910,000 ($500,000 guaranteed), according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.

Jaylen Watkins (Texans), Two years, $3MM, $300k guaranteed, $300k guaranteed; salaries 2020: $1.1MM, 2021: $1.4MM; 200k first-game roster bonus in 2020, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.

Jason Witten (Raiders), One year, $4MM, $3.5MM guaranteed; salary 2020: $3.5MM (fully guaranteed); $500k in per-game roster bonuses, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com.

Ravens To Re-Sign Jihad Ward

The Ravens are finalizing a new contract for OLB/DE Jihad Ward, per Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic (Twitter link). Ward was one of the handful of free agents Baltimore added to its defense in the middle of the 2019 season who helped fortify the unit and keyed the club’s 14-2 finish.

The Raiders selected Ward in the second round of the 2016 draft, which gives some clue as to his upside. He was traded to the Cowboys in April 2018, but he did not make Dallas’ roster that year and ultimately caught on with the Colts’ taxi squad. He played in six games for Indy in 2018 and recorded three sacks, but his season was cut short due to an ankle injury.

He saw action in three games for the Colts in 2019 before being waived, and the Ravens, in need of pass rush help, picked him up. Though he recorded just one sack in 11 games in Baltimore, he, like fellow under-the-radar pickups Josh Bynes and L.J. Fort, brought much-needed stability to the team’s front seven.

He also accounted for 23 pressures in only 398 snaps, which is even more valuable since some of those pressures came from the interior. He will turn just 26 in May, so it makes sense for the Ravens to keep him around at what will probably be a low-cost deal and to see if he can’t stay healthy and start converting those pressures into sacks.

AFC North Notes: Berry, Ravens, Mixon

Let’s take a quick swing around the AFC North:

  • The Browns hired former Eagles’ VP of Football Operations Andrew Berry to be their GM and EVP of Football Operations today, and he will report directly to owner Jimmy Haslam, just like new head coach Kevin Stefanski and chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta. However, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk thinks it’s fair to wonder whether Berry will really have final say over roster decisions, as his contract says he will. Of course, in order to pry Berry away from Philadelphia, Cleveland needed to give him such power contractually, but whether Berry will be permitted to fully use that power is another story. Stefanski and DePodesta may not be keen on consistently yielding to Berry, who was probably the team’s No. 2 choice behind Vikings exec George Paton.
  • In 2019, the Ravens made a number of in-season signings to bolster their defense that ended up paying major dividends. Baltimore has already inked one such acquisition, L.J. Fort, to a two-year extension, and Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic believes the club could also look to re-sign OLB/DE Jihad Ward and DT Justin Ellis.
  • Many have noted the Ravens‘ need to add pass rushing talent, and much of that discussion has focused on edge rushers. But in the same piece, Zrebiec says Baltimore will think long and hard about selecting a quality pass-rushing interior defensive lineman if one is available near the end of the first round. The Ravens haven’t really had such a player since the heyday of Haloti Ngata.
  • Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic lays out a number of moves he believes the Bengals should make this offseason. The entire piece is worth a read for Cincy fans, but one move that Dehner thinks is especially likely to come to fruition is an extension for running back Joe Mixon. We recently heard that director of player personnel Duke Tobin would explore a new contract for his RB1, and such a deal won’t be cheap.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/7/19

Here are today’s minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Cincinnati Bengals

Houston Texans

Washington Redskins

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/1/19

We don’t dance now, we make minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Los Angeles Chargers

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

New York Jets

Oakland Raiders

Philadelphia Eagles

Washington Redskins

Colts Place DT Jihad Ward On IR

The Colts placed defensive tackle Jihad Ward on the injured reserve list, according to an announcement from the team. To fill his place on the roster, the Colts elevated wide receiver Steve Ishmael from the practice squad. 

Ward, a 6’5″, 290-pound lineman, saw time in six games for the Colts this year. Unfortunately, a serious ankle injury cut his season short after he tallied a new career high of three sacks.

The former Raiders second-round pick was traded to the Cowboys back in April. However, he failed to make the roster, and he caught on with the Colts practice squad in early September. Days later, he earned a promotion to the varsity squad.

In his limited sample of work this year, Ward gave talent evaluators reason to believe that he can perform at a high level when healthy. Durability remains a concern, but he showed something after losing much of 2017 to a foot ailment.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colts Waive TE Erik Swoope

Erik Swoope‘s tenure with the Colts has come to an end. Adam Caplan tweets that Indy has waived the tight end. Defensive tackle Jihad Ward has been promoted from the practice squad to take the open roster spot.

The Colts were hoping they landed the next Jimmy Graham or Antonio Gates when they signed the undrafted free agent back in 2014. Up to that point, Swoope had never played organized football, but the six-foot-five forward did play 110 games for the Miami Hurricanes basketball team over four seasons.

After appearing in only a single game as a rookie, Swoope proceeded to play in 16 games (four starts) in 2015, hauling in 15 catches for 297 yards and one touchdown. However, he sat out all of the 2017 campaign after undergoing minor knee surgery, and he found himself behind Jack Doyle and Eric Ebron on the depth chart heading into 2018. With Ryan Hewitt on the roster and Ross Travis sitting on IR, the Colts decided it was time to move on from the 26-year-old.

Ward, a second-round pick by the Raiders back in 2016, was traded to the Cowboys back in April. However, he failed to make the roster, and he caught on with the Colts practice squad earlier this month. The 24-year-old showed promise as a rookie, compiling 30 tackles in 16 games (13 starts). Unfortunately, a foot injury limited him to only five games last season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 9/3/18

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

Atlanta Falcons

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

  • Signed: DE Christian LaCouture

Chicago Bears

Signed:

Cleveland Browns

Signed:

Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Signed:

Los Angeles Chargers

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New York Jets

Signed:

New York Giants

Oakland Raiders

San Francisco 49ers

  • Signed: OL Zack Golditch

Seattle Seahawks

Signed:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Signed:

Tennessee Titans

Cowboys Announce Roster Cuts

In addition to releasing veteran kicker Dan Bailey, the Cowboys have made several other moves in order to move their roster to 53 players:

Cut:

Green, a former third-round pick, has struggled mightily in his effort to become Dallas’ third offensive tackle. Ward, for his part, was acquired in exchange for wide receiver Ryan Switzer earlier this year.