Joe Thuney

AFC Notes: Ramsey, Wynn, Conner, Brady

Coach Doug Marrone confirmed at Jalen Ramsey will play for the Jaguars on Thursday Night Football, as Tiffany Blackmon of NFL Network relays (Twitter link).

“Jalen and I have always had a good open relationship,” Marrone said. “…we sat down yesterday and talked about what went on with him and I… that’s behind us right now…”

Blackmon adds that Ramsey is focused on the game against the Titans. It was reported earlier today that the team may be targeting Friday as the ideal time to trade the cornerback. While we await to see if Ramsey ends up elsewhere, let’s take a look at some notes from the AFC:

  • With LT Isaiah Wynn on injured reserve with a toe injury, the Patriots may move starting LG Joe Thuney to the tackle spot, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com writes. Wynn isn’t eligible to return for another eight weeks but it’s possible he finds his way back on the field at that point.
  • James Conners knee injury doesn’t appear to be serious, Jeff Hathhorn of 93.7 The Fan relays (Twitter link). Conner expects to play for the Steelers this Sunday.
  • Tom Brady is dealing with a “minor” calf ailment, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com passes along on Twitter. Brady was limited today in practice, though there’s been no indication that his status for the Patriots’ game this week is in jeopardy.

AFC East Notes: Jets, Patriots, Mayo, Bills

While it is not known when the Jets will make their GM decision, they do appear to be done interviewing candidates. The four executives the Jets spoke toJoe Douglas (Eagles), Scott Fitterer (Seahawks), Champ Kelly (Bears) and Terry Fontenot (Saints) — remain in contention, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets (video link) the team has since discussed salary expectations with the candidates. These follow-up talks occurred Tuesday night, per ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). The favorite since this process started, Douglas has not done anything to remove himself from that perch, but Fitterer has gained steam after a strong interview, Rapoport adds.

These meetings may have also been for the benefit of the candidates, with Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News tweeting multiple interviewees are concerned about the Jets’ atypical ownership situation. CEO Christopher Johnson is working in brother Woody Johnson‘s place, with the latter having accepted an ambassador position with the Trump administration. Woody Johnson will sign off on this GM pick, Mehta adds.

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • A Patriots contingency plan for if presumptive left tackle Isaiah Wynn is not ready: perhaps Joe Thuney sliding over one spot. The Patriots’ fourth-year left guard worked with their first-string offense at left tackle Wednesday, according to The Athletic’s Jeff Howe (subscription required). Brian Schwenke and Ted Karras have been rotating at left guard during Pats minicamp. A 2016 third-round pick, Thuney has started every game at left guard since entering the league. Wynn, a 2018 first-rounder who tore his Achilles’ tendon during camp last year, is not yet ready for team drills.
  • Bill Belichick is expected to call Patriots defensive plays this season, but the team is using minicamp to try out some other possibilities. First-year full-time assistant Jerod Mayo was calling Pats plays for a second straight day at minicamp, according to Howe. The Patriots hired their former linebacker as assistant inside ‘backers coach this offseason, and Howe adds the 33-year-old calling plays during the season is now a “serious possibility.”
  • Quinnen Williams sustained a calf injury recently and will be limited for the rest of Jets minicamp, Adam Gase said (via Mehta), calling it a scare. However, the No. 3 overall pick is expected to resume full work when the team, interestingly, holds another OTA session next week.
  • Former Buccaneers seventh-round pick Stevie Tu’ikolovatu worked out for the Bills on Wednesday, Mike Rodak of ESPN.com tweets. The former USC defensive tackle has not played since being drafted, with injuries keeping him off the field.
  • One of the Dolphins‘ 18 priority free agent signings hit the waiver wire Tuesday. The Dolphins parted ways with cornerback Tyler Horton (Boise State) via left-squad designation, veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer notes (on Twitter).

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. 

AFC East Notes: Thuney, Dolphins, Sanders, Patriots

Patriots guard Joe Thuney is expected to undergo foot surgery and is likely to miss the team’s entire offseason program but is expected to be ready for training camp, which was first reported by ESPN’s Mike Reiss and confirmed by Ben Volin of the Boston Globe (on Twitter).

Thuney is projected to start at left guard for the Patriots, where he’s started all 16 regular-season games the last two seasons since the Patriots took him in the third round of the 2016 draft. He’s missed just nine snaps since being drafted by the Patriots.

The 25-year-old is one of a select group of returning starters to the Patriots offensive line, with tackles Nate Solder and Cameron Fleming departing in free agency this offseason. The Patriots currently have Marcus Cannon, Ted Karras, Matt Tobin and James Ferentz as guard depth on the roster.

Reiss opines that recently-drafted Isaiah Wynn, who’s currently slated to take over as the team’s left tackle, could shift over to help at guard if Thuney were to miss any time in 2018. He also notes that Karras would’ve been the team’s in-house option to take over at guard had there been an injury at the position last season.

Here’s more from around the AFC East:

  • Former Florida Atlantic kicker Greg Joseph, who signed with the Dolphins after the draft, is expected to be in an open competition with Jason Sanders, who the team selected in the seventh round of the draft, per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Joseph spent time last season working with former Dolphins kicker Cody Parkey, who signed with the Bears this offseason.
  • Dolphins special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi explained some of the rationales behind drafting Sanders in the seventh round of New Mexico, despite his 71-percent conversion rate in college. Rizzi stated, via Jackson, that the team didn’t look heavily into his percentage due to faults in collegiate special teams operations, such as faulty snaps and holds.
  • The Patriots have yet to designate a defensive coordinator following the departure of Matt Patricia to the Lions, though a logical candidate seemed to be linebackers coach Brian Flores. Though he won’t have the designation of defensive coordinator, Flores will take on many responsibilities attached to the position. The Patriots have done in this in the past with assistants like Bill O’Brien, not giving assistants the job title despite performing many of the job’s functions. To his part, Flores is not focusing on his title. “I’ve never been big on titles,” Flores said, to Rich Garven of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. “I’m here to work. I’m here to help this team win any way I can. I think I’ve always said that in some form or fashion.”

AFC East Notes: Jets, Dolphins, Patriots

Kicker Chandler Catanzaro chose not to re-sign with the Jets because he didn’t want to play in the cold, Manish Mehta of the Daily News hears. Instead of braving the elements, Catanzaro opted to join the Buccaneers this offseason on a three-year, $9.75MM deal with $3.75MM guaranteed.

It would be easy to chide Catanzaro for his weather preferences, but it’s hard to blame him for his choice after a brutal winter in the tri-state area. He also came away with a solid deal from the Buccaneers that puts him just outside of the top ten on an average annual basis at his position.

Catanzaro will look to stabilize the Bucs’ kicking after two years of struggles with Roberto Aguayo, Nick Folk, and Patrick Murray. Meanwhile,the Jets will pit newcomer Taylor Bertolet against veterans Cairo Santos and Nick Rose for their vacancy.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

Patriots Reach Deals With Five Draftees

1:32pm: Patriots third-round offensive lineman Joe Thuney has also signed his rookie deal, as Ben Volin of The Boston Globe tweets. For Thuney, it’ll be a four-year deal worth $3.54MM with a signing bonus of $773K. The offensive lineman out of North Carolina State drew interest from clubs thanks to his versatility — he started all along the O-Line in college.

1:28pm: The Patriots aren’t wasting any time locking up their 2016 draft class, having already reached deals with four of their draftees from last weekend, including top pick Cyrus Jones, as Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets.New England Patriots general helmet (Featured)

Fourth-round receiver Malcolm Mitchell, sixth-round offensive lineman Ted Karras, and seventh-round wideout Devin Lucien have also agreed to terms with New England, according to reports from ESPN’s Adam Caplan, Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, and ESPN’s Mike Reiss, respectively (all Twitter links).

The rookie contracts for the four draft picks who have reached agreements with the Pats will look like this, per Over The Cap:

  • 2-60: Cyrus Jones, DB (Alabama): $4.007MM total value, $1.114MM signing bonus
  • 4-112: Malcolm Mitchell, WR (Georgia): $2.918MM total value, $578K signing bonus
  • 6-221: Ted Karras, OL (Illinois): $2.17MM total value, $100K signing bonus
  • 7-225: Devin Lucien, WR (Arizona State): $2.425MM total value, $85K signing bonus

With four draftees having agreed to terms, the Pats still have more than half of their nine-man draft class to lock up, including two third-round picks — quarterback Jacoby Brissett and defensive tackle Vincent Valentine.

Although contracts for third-rounders can sometimes be trickier to negotiate than deals for later-round picks, Brissett appears to be proceeding without any formal representation. Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald notes (via Twitter) that the signal-caller is being advised by Abe Elam, but doesn’t officially have an agent.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Draft Updates: Dolphins, Jets, Texans, Eagles

Having already worked out for the Giants, Jets, Texans, and Dolphins, Texas Tech receiver Jakeem Grant will take a pre-draft meeting with Miami on Monday, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. Grant, who ran a 4.38 40-yard dash, is expected to serve as a return man in the NFL.

Here’s the latest news on draft prospects and their visits and workouts around the league…

  • The receivers most connected with the Jets during the pre-draft process have been Corey Coleman and Will Fuller, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com tweets. La Canfora reports the Jets, who pick at No. 20, have done “extensive work” on both the Baylor and Notre Dame wideouts, respectively.
  • North Carolina State offensive lineman Joe Thuney had a private meeting with the Texans, per Wilson. Thuney, who started all along the offensive line in college, is expected to play on the interior in the NFL, but clubs are excited about his versatility, says Wilson.
  • Punters are people too: Texas Southern Cory Carter punter took part in the Texans’ local pro day and is expected to generate interest around the league, writes Wilson. Carter tells Wilson he drew rave reviews from Houston based on his hangtime and directional punting.
  • Two prospects — Penn State corner Trevor Williams and Purdue defensive tackle Ryan Watson — have been invited to Washington‘s local pro day, according to Wilson (Twitter links).
  • Kolby Listenbee will visit the Eagles on Monday after recently meeting with the 49ers, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). The TCU wide receiver. The 6-foot-1 target who blazed to a 4.35-second 40-yard dash at the Horned Frogs’ pro day amassed more than 1,300 receiving yards and nine TDs the past two seasons. Listenbee underwent sports hernia surgery, per Caplan (on Twitter), after the ailment kept him from participating in the Combine.

Sam Robinson contributed to this report

South Notes: Bucs, Ramsey, Titans, Butler

Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston knows that the odds of his club landing Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey are extremely slim, given where Tampa Bay is drafting and how early Ramsey is expected to come off the board. However, that didn’t stop Winston from lobbying GM Jason Licht to draft his former Seminoles teammate, as Mark Cook of PewterReport.com details.

“We (FSU) definitely have the best player in the world in Jalen Ramsey,” the Buccaneers quarterback said. “People talk about his position. But Jalen is the best cornerback, safety… I will take a pay cut to play with him again. He has a fierce mentality.”

Of course, Winston’s rookie contract can’t be reworked at this point in his career, and it’s a moot point anyway, but the endorsement from the Bucs QB is the latest signal that Ramsey is one of the very best players in this year’s draft.

Here’s more from around the NFL’s South divisions:

  • The Titans, who hold the first overall pick, will certainly consider Ramsey — Peter King of TheMMQB.com hears that the Florida State defensive back is one of Tennessee’s top two targets for that No. 1 pick, along with Ole Miss tackle Laremy Tunsil. However, King also writes that the Titans have received “significant” trade interest in that selection, and he believes there’s a 50-50 chance the team moves down.
  • Louisiana Tech defensive tackle Vernon Butler is set to visit the Titans today and the Panthers on Wednesday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). Those two teams hold the 33rd and 30th overall picks, respectively, so they may view Butler as a player who will be available at that point in the draft.
  • In addition to his previously-reported visits, Alabama running back Kenyan Drake also has a meeting lined up with the Colts, per Mike Wells and Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com.
  • The Buccaneers will host North Carolina State offensive lineman Joe Thuney, a probable late-round pick, for a visit next week, tweets Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times.