Joe Looney

Joe Looney Retires From NFL

The Giants are sending players into retirement left and right. Just a few days after signing with New York, veteran linebacker Todd Davis elected to retire. Now offensive lineman Joe Looney is doing the same.

Looney will retire from the NFL as well, a source told Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com (Twitter link). It’s another puzzling turn of events, as Looney only signed with the team on July 31st. He started practicing right away, and was reportedly getting plenty of reps. An interior lineman who can play both guard and center, Looney is still only 30 so he should have plenty left in the tank physically.

His signing with the Giants was a reunion of sorts, as Looney played under current Giants OC Jason Garrett in Dallas. A fourth-round pick of the 49ers in 2012, Looney spent his first three seasons in San Francisco. He was a 16-game starter for the Cowboys in 2018, then hit the bench in 2019, and then started 12 games last season at center.

The initial expectation from Giants beat writers was that he would compete for a starting job, but apparently his heart was elsewhere. Assuming he’s really done, the Wake Forest product will hang up his cleats with 104 career appearances and 42 starts under his belt.

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Giants To Sign Joe Looney

Joe Looney and Jason Garrett are getting back together. The Giants are signing the veteran offensive lineman, a source told Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (Twitter link).

Garrett, now the Giants’ offensive coordinator, was Looney’s head coach for several years in Dallas. As Garafolo points out, Looney almost signed with New York last offseason before he ended up back with the Cowboys on a one-year deal. He ended up starting 12 games in Dallas last season. Originally a fourth-round pick of the 49ers in 2012, Looney spent his first three seasons in San Francisco.

Cut before 2015 he latched on with the Titans before signing with the Cowboys in 2016, with whom he would spend the next five years. He was a reserve in 2016 and 2017, then a 16-game starter in 2018, then hit the bench again in 2019.

It’s unclear what exact role the Giants envision for him. New York currently has Nick Gates slated to start at center, although Dan Duggan of The Athletic tweets that he thinks it’s possible the team could switch Gates to guard if they think Looney will give them a better starting five in the trenches. Looney also has played a lot of guard in the past. Either way, it’s a decent depth signing this late in the process as Looney has a good amount of starting experience and familiarity with Garrett’s offense.

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Cowboys Activate Sean Lee, Joe Looney

Ben DiNucci will have more help up front than he did upon being thrust into action last week. In addition to Zack Martin returning from concussion protocol, Joe Looney is back on the Cowboys’ active roster.

The Cowboys activated Looney and Sean Lee from IR Saturday, though ESPN.com’s Todd Archer notes rookie Tyler Biadasz is expected to make another start at center. Looney has missed the past three games because of an MCL injury.

Dallas used Looney as its full-time starter in 2018, when Travis Frederick missed the season, and re-signed him this offseason after Frederick retired. Looney started the team’s first four games before his knee injury. He went down on the first play of the Cowboys’ Week 4 loss to the Browns. Pro Football Focus grades his 2020 work better than Biadasz’s thus far, with the latter ranking near the bottom of the advanced metrics site’s center hierarchy.

Lee will make his 2020 debut. The Cowboys placed the veteran linebacker on IR prior to the season starting, carrying him onto their 53-man roster so they could activate him at some point. Lee underwent pelvis surgery, forcing his latest injury-induced absence. The Cowboys re-signed Lee on a one-year, $4.5MM deal this offseason. This will be as healthy as Dallas’ linebackers have been all season, with Leighton Vander Esch also now back after missing early-season games.

The Cowboys also promoted cornerback Saivion Smith from their practice squad. Smith will help a cornerback corps that will be without Chidobe Awuzie. The Cowboys enter Week 8 ranking 30th in defensive DVOA. They jettisoned three veterans — Everson Griffen, Dontari Poe and Daryl Worley — this week.

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Cowboys Place C Joe Looney On IR, Activate CB Anthony Brown

The Cowboys will have one of their top cornerbacks in uniform Sunday against the Giants. They are activating slot corner Anthony Brown from IR.

Brown has missed the past three games, joining Chidobe Awuzie in that regard. Dallas, however, will be without its starting center for a while. Dealing with an MCL malady he suffered on the first play of the Cowboys’ Week 4 game against the Browns, Joe Looney is now on Dallas’ injured reserve list.

Dallas re-signed Brown this offseason, bringing back the fifth-year veteran after allowing Byron Jones to leave in free agency. Brown played all 73 of the Cowboys’ defensive snaps in Week 1, but a rib injury sidelined him for the team’s past three games.

The Cowboys made Brown part of their standout 2016 draft class, adding him in Round 6. He has played 57 games with the team since. No. 58 will come Sunday against the Giants, helping the NFL’s last-ranked scoring defense. Awuzie, however, remains on the Cowboys’ IR.

Looney must miss at least three games. While he is not expected to miss the rest of the season like starting tackles Tyron Smith (now on IR as well) and La’el Collins, this is an obvious setback for an injury-riddled Dallas offensive line. The Cowboys will turn to rookie Tyler Biadasz as their starting center Sunday.

The Cowboys also promoted linebacker Francis Bernard, center Marcus Henry and defensive back Steven Parker from their practice squad.

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Injury Updates: Chubb, Looney, Darnold, Fant,

It’s been a bad year for injuries, and unfortunately we’ve already heard reports of significant ones to guys like O.J. Howard and Austin Ekeler this Sunday. Here’s the latest batch of updates as Week 4 winds down:

  • Browns running back Nick Chubb got rolled up on in scary fashion, with his knee twisting under a Cowboys defender. Fortunately it looks like Cleveland dodged a bullet, as a source told Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com that the team is “cautiously optimistic” he didn’t suffer a torn ACL. He’ll have an MRI on Monday to tell the full story, but it looks like he isn’t going to be done for the year.
  • Chubb wasn’t the only one to go down with a knee injury in the same game. Cowboys center Joe Looney also hurt his knee and was quickly ruled out, which had Dallas fans holding their breath. Like with Chubb however it appears it could’ve been worse, as Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News tweets that there’s “hope the injury is not of season-ending variety.” Dallas is already banged up on the offensive line, and starting right tackle La’el Collins was just ruled out for the year due to hip surgery, so this would be a big loss. Rookie fourth-round pick Tyler Biadasz filled in after Looney got hurt.
  • Sam Darnold hurt his shoulder early in the Jets’ Thursday Night Football game, and although he was able to return to the loss to the Broncos and keep playing, it appears he isn’t out of the woods yet. Darnold has a sprained AC joint in his shoulder and is in danger of missing New York’s Week 5 game against the Cardinals, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. “We just need to make sure we lay everything out and kind of see where we go from here, what’s best for him, not just next week but long term,” head coach Adam Gase explained. Darnold has struggled mightily in his third season, and considering this is clearly the Jets’ easiest game for the foreseeable future, it would be great if he could play. If he’s unable to go, veteran Joe Flacco would draw the spot start.
  • Broncos tight end Noah Fant also went down on Thursday night, suffering an ankle injury. Although he was carte to the locker room it fortunately isn’t a season-ending broken ankle or anything of the sort. That being said he will be week to week and is expected to miss Denver’s Week 5 game against the Patriots, a source told Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). You’re probably well aware of the Broncos’ injury woes this season, as players have been going down left and right. At 1-3 and without practically half of their starting lineup, it’s looking like a lost season for Denver. The 20th overall pick of last year’s draft had been playing well, with 19 catches for 219 yards and two scores through three and a half games before going down.

Cowboys Not Targeting Centers?

Don’t expect the Cowboys to find their replacement for Travis Frederick in the draft. Coach Mike McCarthy told reporters that he’s optimistic about his current options at center, including Joe LooneyConnor McGovern, and Connor Williams.

“I think Travis is a player that’s had a great career,” McCarthy said (via Michael Gehlken of DallasNews.com). “Obviously, he’s to be commended on that. But when we look at our current depth with the offensive line, you start off with Joe Looney and the two Connors. I think we’ve got great competition, great depth. We’ve got Marcus Henry there, also Adam Redmond.

“We have some really good flexibility, some really good numbers. So the fact that we’re able to get started and just start going through the language and how we’re going to call things, I think the fact that we have that much experience with the veteran group that we have here, I feel very good about moving forward.”

That probably takes the Cowboys out of the running for Michigan’s Cesar Ruiz, although the team could shift their focus to LSU’s Lloyd Cushenberry, Wisconsin’s Tyler Biadasz and Temple’s Matt Hennessy. After the 17th-overall selection, the Cowboys won’t be picking again until No. 51.

After seven years with the organization, Frederick announced his retirement last month.

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NFC East Notes: Redskins, Eagles, Giants

After failing to pry Amari Cooper away from the Cowboys, the Redskins are still on the prowl for help at wide receiver, as John Keim of ESPN.com writes. However, while the 2020 draft is historically loaded with pass-catchers, Washington certainly won’t use the No. 2 overall selection on a wideout, and the club doesn’t own a second-round pick. The Redskins could theoretically pursue a trade for someone like the Rams’ Brandin Cooks, or look to the free agent market, where options such as Robby Anderson and Breshad Perriman still lurk.

Here’s more from the NFC East:

  • Veteran safety Malcolm Jenkins wasn’t aiming for top-end money on a reworked deal with the Eagles, reports Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Instead, Jenkins — who was due $7.6MM in 2020 — wanted a two-year commitment at a slightly higher salary. The Eagles rebuffed that request, per McLane, and attempted to trade Jenkins before cutting him. Jenkins, of course, agreed to a reunion with the Saints after leaving Philadelphia.
  • The Giants pursued free agent center Joe Looney before he re-signed with the Cowboys, according to Ralph Vacchiano of SNY. New York will continue to look for help at center, where Spencer Pulley is currently the projected starter as Jon Halapio recovers from an Achilles tear. Looney, for his part, may now be a starter in Dallas following the retirement of Travis Frederick.
  • The Eagles are hoping 2019 undrafted free agent T.J. Edwards is the club’s starting middle linebacker during the upcoming campaign, as Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94 WIP writes. Edwards, a 23-year-old Wisconsin product, played only 112 defensive snaps a year ago, but earned an exemplary 83.4 overall grade from Pro Football Focus.

Contract Details: Mayo, Patriots, Bailey

A handful of contract details to pass along:

  • LB David Mayo, Giants: three-year extension. $8.4MM deal, including $3.5MM guaranteed. Salaries: $1.5MM guaranteed (2020), $2.25MM (2021), $2.5MM (2022). Via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle on Twitter.
  • WR Damiere Byrd, Patriots: one year, $2.5MM. $1MM base salary, $350K signing bonus, $900K in receptions incentives. Via ESPN’s Field Yates on Twitter.
  • S Adrian Phillips, Patriots: two years. Deal worth up to $7.5MM, $3MM guaranteed, $1.5MM signing bonus. Can earn up to $4MM in 2020. Via Yates on Twitter.
  • K Dan Bailey, Vikings: re-signed. Three-year deal worth up to $12MM. $5MM guaranteed, $3.15MM signing bonus. Via Yates on Twitter.
  • OL Joe Looney, Cowboys: signed. One-year, $2.4375MM deal. As Mike Garafolo of NFL Network tweets, one of the new CBA’s veteran benefits is that the deal will count $1.25MM less on the cap than it would have last season.
  • OT Shon Coleman, 49ers: one-year extension. Worth $962.5K, including $825K base salary and $137.5K signing bonus. Via ESPN’s Nick Wagoner on Twitter.
  • DB Jaylen Watkins, Texans: signed. Two-year deal worth $3MM, per Wilson.
  • OT Roderick Johnson, Texans: re-signed. One-year deal worth $1.75MM, per Wilson.

Joe Looney To Rejoin Cowboys

Interior offensive lineman Joe Looney has agreed to a deal to stay with the Cowboys for at least one more season, according to Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network. With a new coaching staff in Dallas and Looney’s former head coach now with the Giants it was unclear whether Looney would remain with the team, but it appears, at least for now, that the team is happy with a reunion.

An eight-year veteran, Looney has been a solid rotational lineman with the flexibility to play anywhere on a line’s interior. In 2018, Looney started every Cowboys game at center, but otherwise, he has never started more than 6 games in a season.

Looney spent the first three years of his pro career in San Francisco before the 49ers waived him prior to the 2015 season. After a one year stint with the Titans, Looney joined America’s Team in 2016 and has appeared in every Cowboys game since.

Cowboys Pick Up Options On C Joe Looney, LB Joe Thomas

The Cowboys picked up an option on receiver Allen Hurns earlier today, and that wasn’t the only one they exercised. The team is also picking up their options on center Joe Looney and linebacker Joe Thomas, a source told Calvin Watkins of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Looney has been with the Cowboys the past three seasons, and was a backup interior lineman the first two. After starter Travis Frederick missed the entire 2018 season, Looney ended up starting all 16 games. He signed a two-year deal with the team last March, but the second year was a team option that needed to be decided on by March 13th.

Looney will get paid a base salary of $1MM in 2019 with incentives worth up to $500k, according to Mike Fisher of 105.3 The Fan. Assuming Frederick is able to return in 2019, which looks to be the case, Looney should return to a reserve role. He received poor marks from Pro Football Focus last year, and was ranked the 32nd best center in the league by PFF.

Thomas played sparingly on defense last season, but was a contributor on special teams. He signed a two-year deal worth up to $3.6MM last March.

 

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