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.
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.
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.
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.
January 13th, 2019 at 1:42pm CST by Dallas Robinson
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:
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.
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.
November 30th, 2018 at 12:22pm CST by Zachary Links
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 Lewiswas 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.
November 14th, 2018 at 11:06am CST by Zachary Links
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.
September 28th, 2018 at 2:36pm CST by Sam Robinson
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.