Joe Haeg

Steelers To Sign OL Joe Haeg

The Steelers are making a second Saturday-afternoon signing. They agreed to terms with veteran offensive lineman Joe Haeg, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets.

Haeg will come over from Tampa, where he worked as a swing backup and spot starter for the Super Bowl champion Buccaneers. However, most of Haeg’s NFL experience came in Indianapolis (though his most notable NFL play came when he dropped a Tom Brady pass in the end zone last month). The Colts drafted Haeg in the 2016 fifth round and retained him throughout his rookie contract.

One of Carson Wentz‘s O-linemen at North Dakota State, Haeg was a regular starter from 2016-17. But the Colts demoted him the following season, with Braden Smith taking over at right tackle. However, Haeg brings experience at guard and tackle. That stands to help a Steelers O-line that has more questions at present than it has faced in many years.

Thus far this offseason, the Steelers have lost perennial Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey and versatile starter Matt Feiler. Left tackle Alejandro Villanueva is a free agent. Pittsburgh, however, has made three midlevel signings to compensate. Prior to securing a Haeg commitment, the Steelers reacquired center B.J. Finney and re-signed tackle Zach Banner.

It is uncertain as of now how Pittsburgh will configure its new line around stalwart guard David DeCastro, but it appears likely at least one of these low-cost signings will be called upon to start. Perhaps more.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bucs Notes: Brown, David, Mickens

Bucs wide receiver Antonio Brown caught three passes for 31 yards in his Tampa Bay debut last week, a shocking 38-3 defeat to the Saints. And while he tries to focus on returning to form on the field, his ongoing civil case continues to evolve. Per Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, Britney Taylor, who has sued Brown for sexual assault and rape, has filed a motion seeking to amend her complaint to include a claim for punitive damages (Twitter link).

As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk details, Taylor filed a three-page affidavit along with the motion reiterating her allegations. She avers that in June 2017, Brown masturbated in her presence and ejaculated on her back without her knowledge or consent, and that he raped her less than a year later.

The trial is presently set for December, but it is likely that it will be postponed, which means that Brown will be available for Tampa Bay through the end of the season and into the playoffs. However, the league has consistently maintained that it will suspend Brown again for any evidence that comes to light as a result of the litigation, and if a jury ultimately finds that Brown committed the offenses that Taylor alleges, the NFL will almost certainly levy additional punishment. But by that time, the Bucs may no longer be interested in Brown’s services.

Now for more on the Bucs:

  • Tampa’s loss to the Saints has triggered a shakeup to the team’s O-line. As Ian Rapoport of NFL.com was first to report (via Twitter), the club is shifting Ryan Jensen from center to left guard, while A.Q. Shipley — a longtime favorite of HC Bruce Arians — will get the nod at center. As James Palmer of the NFL Network tweets, there was significant miscommunication last week between LT Donovan Smith and LG Joe Haeg, which led to the change. Regular LG Ali Marpet is still sidelined with a concussion.
  • The Bucs were said to be exploring an extension for LB Lavonte David this summer, and the last we heard, the two sides had not made much progress. Greg Auman of The Athletic says both player and team still want to continue their relationship, but with a number of players eligible for free agency this offseason, Tampa cannot just write a blank check (Twitter link).
  • Return specialist Jaydon Mickens was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list yesterday, but it sounds like he was in contact with someone who tested positive and did not test positive himself. Mickens took to Instagram to say “I ain’t hurt. Ain’t nothing wrong with me. If you don’t understand why I ain’t playing, just go look it up. It’s some bulls—. But look, we’re about to go ahead and win this game” (h/t Jenna Laine of ESPN.com on Twitter). Assuming he did not test positive, Mickens could be back on the field next week.
  • DC Todd Bowles has drawn rave reviews for his work with the Bucs’ defense, and for good reason. His unit ranked sixth in defensive efficiency in 2019 and is currently the top defense in the league in that metric for 2020, despite last week’s blowout loss. Although Bowles was ousted as the Jets’ HC following the 2018 season, league-wide respect for his abilities did not diminish, and as Dan Pompei of The Athletic writes, there were eight teams interested in his services before he joined the Bucs. If his defenses continue performing at a high level, he could get another crack as a head coach in the near future.

Contract Details: Davis, Roberts, Haeg

Let’s take a closer look at the details of a few recently-signed free agent contracts:

AFC

NFC

  • Sean Davis, S (Redskins): One year, $4MM. $2MM guaranteed (Twitter link via John Keim of ESPN.com).
  • Seth Roberts, WR (Panthers): One year, $3.75MM (Twitter link via Mike Garafolo of ESPN.com).
  • Zach Kerr, DT (Panthers): Two years, $3MM. Unknown incentives available (Twitter link via Garafolo).
  • B.J. Goodson, LB (Browns): One year, $2.4MM. $2.25MM guaraneed. $1.25MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com).
  • Joe Haeg, T (Buccaneers): One year, $2.3MM. $1.5MM guaranteed. Up to $1MM available via playtime incentives (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Cedric Ogbuehi, T (Seahawks): One year, $2.3MM. $500K guaranteed. $500K signing bonus (Twitter link via Brady Henderson of ESPN.com).
  • Will Parks, S (Eagles): One year, $1.5MM. $1.375MM guaranteed. $375K signing bonus. Up to $125K in per-game roster bonuses (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Tajae Sharpe, WR (Vikings): One year, $1MM. $675K guaranteed. $175K signing bonus. Max value of $1.5MM (Twitter link via Pelissero).
  • Sharrod Neasman, S (Falcons): One year, $950K. $40K signing bonus. Veteran salary benefit (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Joe Walker, LB (49ers): One year, $900K. Max of $75K in per-game roster bonuses (Twitter link via Wilson).

Buccaneers To Sign Joe Haeg

The Buccaneers will sign guard/tackle Joe Haeg, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). The former fifth-round pick will help protect new quarterback Tom Brady, who finalized his deal earlier today. It’s a one-year pact worth $2.3MM that can inflate to $3.3MM if he hits incentives, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets.

[RELATED: Bucs Make Tom Brady Deal Official]

Haeg, who just turned 27, appeared in all 16 games for the Colts last year. Over the last four years, he’s suited up for 55 games with 35 of those contests coming as starts. He was a full-time starter in 2016 and 2017, but operated as Indy’s backup reserve tackle last year due to the strength of their offensive line.

At 6’6″ and 298 pounds, Haeg offers valuable size and versatility. He’ll likely remain as a reserve in Tampa, but an important one that can be used on the outside and on the interior.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2019 Proven Performance Escalators

According to the NFL’s contractual bargaining agreement, players drafted in rounds three though seven are entitled to raises during the fourth year of their respective rookie contracts. The pay bumps are tied to playing time — a player must have played in 35% of his team’s offensive or defensive snaps in two of his first three seasons, or averaged 35% playing time cumulatively during that period.

If one of these thresholds is met, the player’s salary is elevated to the level of that year’s lowest restricted free agent tender — that figure should be around $2MM in 2019. Players selected in the first or second round, undrafted free agents, and kickers/punters are ineligible for the proven performance escalator.

Here are the players who will see their salary rise in 2019 courtesy of the proven performance escalator:

Bears: RB Jordan Howard, LB Nick Kwiatkoski

Bengals: LB Nick Vigil

Broncos: G Connor McGovern, S Will Parks, S Justin Simmons

Browns: S Derrick Kindred, LB Joe Schobert

Buccaneers: G Caleb Benenoch, DE Carl Nassib, CB Ryan Smith

Chargers: LB Jatavis Brown

Chiefs: CB Kendall Fuller, WR Tyreek Hill, S Eric Murray, WR Demarcus Robinson

Colts: QB Jacoby Brissett, T Joe Haeg

Cowboys: CB Anthony Brown, DT Maliek Collins, QB Dak Prescott

Dolphins: RB Kenyan Drake

Eagles: CB Jalen Mills, T Halapoulivaati Vaitai

Falcons: LB De’Vondre Campbell, TE Austin Hooper, G Wes Schweitzer

Jaguars: DE Yannick Ngakoue

Jets: LB Jordan Jenkins, CB Rashard Robinson, T Brandon Shell

Lions: C Graham Glasgow

Packers: LB Kyler Fackrell, DE Dean Lowry, LB Blake Martinez, LB Antonio Morrison

Patriots: G Joe Thuney, LB Elandon Roberts

Rams: G Austin Blythe, TE Tyler Higbee

Ravens: DE Matt Judon, OL Alex Lewis, CB Tavon Young

Saints: DT David Onyemata

Steelers: DT Javon Hargrave

Texans: DT D.J. Reader

Titans: S Kevin Byard, WR Tajae Sharpe

OverTheCap.com was essential in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. 

Colts Activate OL Joe Haeg

The Colts will be getting some reinforcement on their offensive line. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the team has activated Joe Haeg from the injured reserve. To make room on the roster, the team has waived Denzelle Good.

Haeg, a 2016 fifth-round pick out of North Dakota State, had started 29 of his 31 games through his first two seasons in the NFL. The 25-year-old started the Colts’ first three games this season, but he landed on the injured reserve towards the end of September. His versatility (he’s previously played right guard, right tackle, left tackle and left guard) will make him a valuable depth piece down the stretch.

The Colts offensive line has been solid this season, so Haeg might not immediately earn his previous starting role (Indy has been rolling with a starting line of Anthony CastonzoQuenton Nelson, Ryan KellyBraden Smith, and Le’Raven Clark). Considering Haeg’s starting experience, he’ll likely see backup reps ahead of Mark GlowinskiEvan Boehm, and Josh Andrews.

Good has been with the Colts since the team selected him in the seventh round of the 2015 draft. The 27-year-old has started 20 of his 26 career games, including one of his two appearances this season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colts To Activate Joe Haeg

The Colts will activate tackle/guard Joe Haeg in advance of Sunday’s game against the Jaguars, the team announced. Haeg was designated for return two weeks ago and has looked healthy enough in practice to warrant a return to the field.

The third-year pro was placed on IR in late September after suffering an ankle injury in the Colts’ Week 3 loss to the Eagles. Prior to that, Haeg started the team’s first three games of the season at right tackle.

Even without Haeg, the Colts’ offensive line has been dominant over the last two months. From Weeks 5 through 12, Andrew Luck attempted 239 passes without being sacked, which was the third-longest such streak in NFL history. All in all, the front five has allowed just eleven sacks on the year, which is the lowest total in the NFL.

Haeg is the second of two players activated off of IR by the Colts this season, meaning that they cannot bring anyone back from IR again this year. The first slot was burned earlier this month when second-round pick Tyquan Lewis was brought onto the 53-man roster.

The Colts, who are riding a five-game winning streak, will look to stay on the right path when they face the Jaguars in Jacksonville on Sunday. According to Five Thirty Eight, they still have a 29% chance of reaching the playoffs with a 10% shot at capturing the AFC South title.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colts’ Joe Haeg Designated For Return

The Colts’ offensive line is about to get even stronger. Tackle/guard Joe Haeg has been designated as the team’s second and final player to return from IR this year, per a team announcement. 

The third-year pro was placed on IR Sept. 28 after suffering an ankle injury in the Colts’ Week 3 loss to the Eagles. Prior to that, Haeg had started Indy’s first three games of the season at right tackle.

Even without Haeg, the Colts’ offensive line has been dominant as of late. Quarterback Andrew Luck has not been sacked in four straight games, and the Colts racked up 200 rushing yards in consecutive games against the Bills and Raiders.

Haeg’s skill set and versatility should only help to further bolster the Colts’ front five. The former fifth-round pick will probably spend the bulk of his time on the outside, but he can also move around a bit. As a rookie, he started games at left guard, right guard, and right tackle.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colts To Place OL Joe Haeg On IR

While the Colts have been hesitant about placing yet-to-debut left tackle Anthony Castonzo on IR, they will move another of their key offensive linemen off the active roster.

Starting right tackle Joe Haeg will head to IR because of a high ankle sprain, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (on Twitter). The Colts do not believe this is a season-ending injury. The hope is the third-year blocker can return by November, per Rapoport. Haeg cannot come off IR for eight weeks.

Haeg started three games for the Colts this season, serving as their right tackle. The team used multiple players during the preseason in an attempt to fill this role, but Haeg — who played on the right edge at times during his two previous Indianapolis seasons — ended up staying there. Austin Howard and second-round rookie Braden Smith were tried on the right side during the preseason.

A fifth-round pick during Ryan Grigson‘s final draft, Haeg has started 32 games for the Colts. He will be an IR-return candidate. This puts the Colts down two tackles for Sunday, with Frank Reich having already declared Castonzo will miss a fourth straight game due to his persistent hamstring trouble.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

South Notes: Panthers, Colts, Texans, WRs

An offensive line that already lost a first-team All-Pro this offseason became beleaguered by injuries in training camp. Andrew Norwell left the Panthers for the Jaguars, and Carolina then lost Daryl Williams, Amini Silatolu and Matt Kalil to injuries. However, Carolina’s receiving good news on this front entering Week 1. Williams returned to Panthers practice, per Bill Voth of Panthers.com, despite being barely a month removed from an MCL injury and a dislocated patella. The contract-year right tackle was believed to be an IR-return candidate in August, but the Panthers still have him on their active roster. He hasn’t been ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Cowboys, but the Panthers may be cautious with their right tackle starter.

Silatolu is also back on the field. The veteran blocker tore one of his menisci in mid-August but said he’s 100 percent, per Joe Person of The Athletic (on Twitter). Voth adds Silatolu may be available for the Panthers’ opener. Greg Van Roten took over as the team’s starting left guard after Silatolu went down.

Here’s the latest from the South divisions:

  • D’Onta Foreman wasn’t as fortunate with his rehab process, though the Texans‘ backup running back was rehabbing a more severe injury this offseason. The Texans placed Foreman, who tore his Achilles’ tendon in November 2017, on the Reserve/PUP list to shelve him for six weeks. And Bill O’Brien said (via Deepi Sidhu of Texans.com, on Twitter) the second-year back “no question” needed the time to finish his recovery from the malady. Foreman is expected to be Lamar Miller‘s top backup again, but it’s uncertain how quickly he’ll be able to return to that role.
  • The Colts may have identified their starting right-side offensive linemen. For now, as this team-issued depth chart is unofficial, Indianapolis is going with veterans to man those spots. Matt Slauson is listed as Indy’s starting right guard, and third-year starter Joe Haeg is the first-string right tackle. Second-round rookie guard Braden Smith was tried at right tackle, but for now he will learn from the sideline as his career begins. Haeg started as a Colts right guard and right tackle the past two seasons. The Colts cut Austin Howard, the Ravens’ starting right tackle last season, over the weekend.
  • The Titans will worked out a pair of wide receivers on Tuesday. Devin Lucien and Drew Morgan auditioned for the team, per NESN.com’s Doug Kyed and the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson (Twitter links). The Patriots cut Lucien last week, and Morgan didn’t make the Dolphins’ 53-man roster.
  • Recent Seahawks wide receiver cut Malik Turner is in Houston working out for the Texans today, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets.