John Kuhn

NFC Notes: Hawks, Falcons, Pack, Saints

The Seahawks had been in danger of losing a second-round pick for failing to disclose cornerback Richard Sherman‘s “significant” MCL injury during the season, but the NFL decided Monday to let them off with a warning, tweets Mike Garafolo of NFL.com. The league concluded that the Seahawks merely misinterpreted its rules, per Garafolo. The news that Seattle is escaping punishment isn’t particularly surprising, as one of Garafolo’s NFL.com colleagues, Ian Rapoport, reported earlier this month that Seattle wasn’t going to face serious discipline for its violation.

More from Seattle and a few other NFL cities:

  • The Falcons have hired Bush Hamdan as their quarterbacks coach, reports Sporting News’ Alex Marvez (Twitter link). The younger brother of former NFL quarterback Gibran Hamdan, Bush Hamdan spent the previous two seasons as the University of Washington’s wide receivers coach and pass game coordinator. He’s taking over in Atlanta for Matt LaFleur, now the Rams’ offensive coordinator. In doing so, Hamdan will reunite with head coach Dan Quinn, notes Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times (via Twitter), as the two worked together at the University of Florida in 2012.
  • The Packers have a decision to make on pending free agent defensive back Micah Hyde, who could seek $4MM-plus per year on his next contract, writes Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Hyde, who’s coming off an 11-start, three-interception season, has been with the Packers since they selected him in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. If Hyde moves on, Green Bay could turn to Kentrell Brice and Marwin Evans, Demovsky suggests. Elsewhere in the secondary, the team will either extend safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix or exercise his fifth-year option for 2018, as Demovsky opines that the Pro Bowler could be general manager Ted Thompson‘s best first-round pick since he chose Aaron Rodgers in 2005. Clinton-Dix made a strong case for that honor as a third-year pro in 2016, when he played every defensive snap for the Packers and picked off five passes.
  • Newly signed Seahawks kicker Blair Walsh‘s single-year contract is worth $1.1MM and includes no guaranteed money, per Sheil Kapadia of ESPN.com. Walsh stands to earn an $800K salary and could make another $300K in bonuses. The Seahawks are likely to bring in another kicker to compete against Walsh for the job this summer. Odds are that won’t be soon-to-be free agent Steven Hauschka, observes Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times, considering the five-year Seahawk will likely be out of their price range.
  • Continuing a Seahawks-heavy set of notes, defensive end Cliff Avril tweeted that he underwent successful surgery Tuesday. Avril didn’t specify which type of surgery he underwent, though Condotta points out that the physician who performed the procedure – Dr. William C. Meyers – specializes in core and sports hernia operations. Regardless, Avril should be fine for 2017 and will attempt to build on his first Pro Bowl season – an 11.5-sack, five-forced fumble campaign.
  • Fullback John Kuhn‘s one-year pact with the Saints is a minimum salary benefit deal worth $1.08MM, tweets Nick Underhill of The Advocate. Kuhn will earn a $1MM salary and count $695K against New Orleans’ cap in 2017.

Saints To Re-Sign John Kuhn

Last year, John Kuhn lingered on the market until August. This time around, he has everything ironed out in early February. The Saints are re-signing Kuhn to a one-year deal with an $80K bonus, a source tells Herbie Teope of The Times-Picayune (on Twitter). John Kuhn (vertical)

The fullback spent the majority of his career with the Packers where he was a fan favorite. He had to adjust to a new system in New Orleans, but he handled everything quite well, grading out as Pro Football Focus’ ninth-best fullback in 2016. The veteran’s 79.7 score was roughly in line with his career average leading into last season. In addition to blocking, he also got some touches including four rushing touchdowns and 16 catches for 70 yards and one passing TD.

Kuhn will celebrate his 35th birthday before Week 1 of the 2017 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

South Notes: Saints, Moore, Dotson, Kuhn

Given that the Saints first-round rookie Sheldon Rankins will be out for six-to-eight weeks after suffering a broken fibula, New Orleans could look to the free agent market to augment a defensive line interior that currently includes John Jenkins, Nick Fairley, C.J. Wilson, and Tyeler Davison. One potential replacement — Tony McDaniel — came off the board this weekend when he signed a deal with the Seahawks, but Cullen Jenkins, Henry Melton, C.J. Mosley, and Sammie Lee Hill are among the veteran options that could be on the Saints’ radar, as Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com suggests. One other candidate, from my vantage point, might be former Brown Randy Starks, whom Pro Football Focus assigned the highest grade among unsigned interior defenders.

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

  • Colts linebacker Sio Moore has a “pretty significant” hamstring injury, according to head coach Chuck Pagano, the fourth-year pro figures to be sidelined for a meaningful amount of time, writes Kevin Bowen of Colts.com. As such, D’Qwell Jackson and Nate Irving will probably serve as Indy’s starting inside linebackers in the club’s 3-4 scheme. As Roster Resource shows, the Colts have several other options on their depth chart, including Josh McNary, Antonio Morrison, and Junior Sylvestre.
  • As part of his three-year extension, Buccaneers right tackle Demar Dotson scored $4.25MM in full guarantees, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter links). Another $4.25MM, presumably guaranteed for injury only, becomes fully guaranteed on March 13 of 2017. Dotson’s new pact has a total value of $16.5MM, and will keep the 30-year-old in Tampa through 2019.
  • Titans offensive lineman Josue Matias will require season-ending knee surgery and will be placed on injured reserve, head coach Mike Mularkey told reporters (link via the Associated Press). Matias, a 2015 undrafted free agent who spent last year on Tennessee’s practice squad, is facing a six-month recovery.
  • John Kuhn‘s one-year deal with the Saints is worth $985K with no signing bonus, Nick Underhill of the Advocate tweets. As such, the veteran fullback is eligible for the minimum salary benefit, meaning he’ll only count for $600K on New Orleans’ cap.

Saints To Sign John Kuhn

Free agent fullback John Kuhn has agreed to a one-year deal with the Saints. The four-time Pro Bowler had been on the market since it opened in March, but he has finally found a new home just over a month before the beginning of the regular season.

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Kuhn, 33, signed with the Steelers in 2005 as an undrafted free agent from Division II Shippensburg University. He appeared in nine games in Pittsburgh, all in 2006, before joining Green Bay. While fullbacks aren’t exactly high-impact players these days, Kuhn nonetheless factored into the Packers’ game plan during his nine years with the organization. All told, he appeared in 148 regular-season games (32 starts) and scored 23 combined touchdowns as a runner and receiver, adding seven more scores in 15 playoff contests.

The Saints rarely made use of a fullback last season, so they seem like a curious fit for Kuhn. However, starter Austin Johnson suffered a knee injury Thursday, the severity of which remains unknown.

New Orleans involved Johnson in its offensive attack on just 7.9 percent of snaps in 2015, though he did appear in 38.9 percent of special teams plays. Kuhn, on the other hand, partook in 26.6 percent of Green Bay’s offensive plays last year and lined up on special teams 34.7 percent of the time. He now joins the 27-year-old Johnson as one of two fullbacks on New Orleans’ roster, as its depth chart shows.

Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com first reported the agreement. Nick Underhill of the New Orleans Advocate reported the length of the deal. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Kaepernick, Gabbert, Kuhn

Let’s round up some news from around the league on our last Sunday before full training camp practices begin:

  • Current Vikings guard Alex Boone spent the first seven seasons of his professional career with the 49ers before signing with Minnesota this offseason, and he tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk that Blaine Gabbert will beat out Colin Kaepernick for San Francisco’s starting quarterback job. Boone said, “To be honest I think that Blaine did a great job last year, and from what I know of Blaine, I think he’s probably gonna take the reins. I mean I think he’s a good guy, he knows what he’s doing out there, and he just has the support of the group so I think that’s one of the things to look forward to.” Boone’s comments, of course, are in keeping with recent reports from the Bay Area.
  • Longtime Packers fullback and current free agent John Kuhn told Pat Kirwan and Jim Miller on SiriusXM NFL Radio several days ago that he is still waiting for an NFL team (preferably the Packers) to give him a call. A full-length piece from SiriusXM staff provides more details of that conversation, in which Kuhn explains why he expects to continue playing in 2016. Kuhn believes the variety of sub-packages that defenses deploy in today’s game create a need for two-back sets, and he added, “If not this week, if not next week, sometime in August, somebody’s going to have a need for somebody who’s willing to come in, work hard, do some of the dirty work that not everybody does anymore.”
  • The Ravens put six players on the PUP list Saturday, as Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com reports, including big names Terrell Suggs, Steve Smith, Sr., Elvis Dumervil, and Breshad Perriman. All of those players, of course, can return to practice when activated, but they would have to miss at least the first six weeks of the season if they remain on the PUP list when Week 1 rolls around. Conspicuously absent from that list is Joe Flacco, who can participate in the first full-team training camp practice on Thursday.
  • Kyle Meinke of MLive.com says the Lions‘ hottest training camp battle could be at wide receiver, where a host of veterans and unproven youngsters will compete for playing time behind Marvin Jones and Golden Tate.
  • Greg Auman of The Tampa Bay Times tweets that the Buccaneers have 12 receivers currently on the roster, 10 of whom are 25 or younger. Of that group, Auman expects five to make the 53-man roster (or six if the group includes the return specialist). In a separate tweet, Auman indicates that the Bucs will also carry four tight ends.

Free Agency Notes: Beatty, Welker, Kuhn, 2017

The latest on a few NFL veterans who are currently without contracts and a look ahead to the 2017 class of free agents:

  • Eugene Monroe’s retirement is a significant blow to teams that need offensive tackles, tweets NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, who regards Will Beatty as the best one remaining on the market. Beatty, 31, has 63 starts on his resume, but he missed 2015 with a torn pectoral muscle and the Giants then released him in February.
  • In an interview with SiriusXM (Twitter link) on Friday, receiver Wes Welker reiterated that he has not retired. After catching 13 passes for 102 yards in eight games with the Rams in 2015, the 35-year-old has gone back and forth on the state of his career several times this offseason.
  • Fullback John Kuhn told SiriusXM on Friday that he continues to work out and wait for someone to call him with an offer, and he hopes the Packers are that team (Twitter link). Kuhn spent 2007-15 in Green Bay, made four Pro Bowls – including earning a Hawaii trip the past two years – and totaled 30 touchdowns between the regular season and playoffs. The 33-year-old appeared in 26.6 percent of the Packers’ offensive snaps and 34.7 percent of their special teams plays in 2015.
  • In a class that could also feature the likes of Drew Brees, Tyrann Mathieu, Jamie Collins, Le’Veon Bell, Eric Berry and Alshon Jeffery, among other household names, the best prospective 2017 free agent is Panthers defensive lineman Kawann Short, opines John Clayton of ESPN.com (Insider required). Short has expressed dissatisfaction this offseason with his current deal, one that will pay him just over $1MM in base salary in 2016, but Clayton expects the 315-pounder to land a $100MM-plus payday next year – if the Panthers don’t franchise tag him, that is. The three-year veteran led the Panthers in sacks (11), forced three fumbles and ranked a stellar eighth among 123 qualifying interior defenders at Pro Football Focus (subscription required) last season.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Packers Open To Re-Signing John Kuhn

In recent weeks, we have heard conflicting reports on whether the Packers intend on bringing back fullback John Kuhn. Earlier this month, one report cited an NFL source claiming that “mutual interest” remained between the two sides with ongoing talks. However, the next day, a separate report cited a Packers source saying the team had “moved on” from the veteran. This week, coach Mike McCarthy went on the record and indicated that the team has not ruled out a reunion with Kuhn. John Kuhn

Player acquisition is year round so I would never say doors are closed, especially on any of our former players, especially John Kuhn,” McCarthy said (link via the Journal-Sentinel). “As far as his situation, we’re still focused on the players we have right now. So as far as John and his future, those are probably questions for other people. But I don’t think you ever close the door. But guys filled out our roster and right now we’re working and focusing on these young players.”

The Packers don’t necessarily need Kuhn after selecting fullback Aaron Ripkowski in the sixth round of the 2015 draft. Beyond the second-year man, Green Bay also added undrafted free agent Alstevis Squirewell this offseason. Still, Kuhn has an intimate knowledge of the team’s offense and he’s a popular figure within the Packers’ locker room. The 33-year-old has spent the last nine seasons with the Packers, a stretch that is topped only by quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who has been with the club for eleven seasons.

Kuhn was also in limbo last offseason despite being the fullback on the 2014 All-Pro first team. Ultimately, he agreed to play for the league minimum in April 2015. In total, Kuhn played in 23.4% of the Packers’ offensive snaps last season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

North Rumors: Kuhn, Lions, Browns, Bears

As Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk points out, there have been conflicting reports lately about the possibility of fullback John Kuhn returning to the Packers for another season, with one outlet suggesting the team has moved on, while another says there’s “mutual interest” between the two sides. Kuhn has been a Packer since 2007 and has earned Pro Bowl nods in each of the last two years, but he’s no lock to be on Green Bay’s roster in 2016.

Let’s check in on a few more odds and ends from around the NFL’s North divisions…

  • Former Saints scout and Jets pro personnel director Brendan Prophett is joining the Lions as their new director of pro scouting, according to Neil Stratton of Inside The League (Twitter link). The move isn’t official yet, but it appears to be the latest change that new GM Bob Quinn is making to Detroit’s personnel department.
  • The Browns agreed to terms with 11 undrafted free agents last week, but only 10 ultimately signed deals, according to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal, who tweets that the club’s agreement with Missouri defensive back Kenya Dennis fell through. In addition to the 32 players on Cleveland’s roster who will participate in the team’s rookie minicamp, the Browns are also bringing in 14 tryout players — one of those players is former fifth-round quarterback Ricky Stanzi.
  • The Bears have also brought in several veteran free agents to participate in their weekend minicamp, including four offensive lineman, reports Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune (all Twitter links). Veteran offensive lineman Jeff Linkenbach, who has started 36 career games in Indianapolis and Kansas City, is the most notable name of the group.
  • Former Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds, who expects to play wide receiver in the NFL, will receive permission from the Navy to join the Ravens this season, as Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com details.
  • Western Kentucky defensive tackle Jontavius Morris worked out for the Lions on Thursday, Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle tweets.

NFC North Notes: Kuhn, Vikings, Lawson

The Packers have discussed bringing back fullback John Kuhn but haven’t decided to keep their longtime backfield blocker in the fold as of yet, Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

Kuhn’s agent, Kevin Gold, has talked with the Packers and other teams about the three-time Pro Bowl fullback, but Silverstein reports no decision is imminent on the eve of Green Bay’s start to its offseason program.

The 33-year-old Kuhn has played 156 games for the Packers, suiting up in green and gold for 10 of his 11 years in the league. Kuhn played ahead of 2015 sixth-rounder Aaron Ripkowski last season and made his third Pro Bowl. The Packers, who are also expected to sign Don Barclay on Monday, have $10.6MM in cap space currently.

A Division II product, Kuhn has been in this situation in recent years. Despite Kuhn being the fullback on the 2014 All-Pro first team, the Packers were able to re-sign him for the league minimum last April after agreeing to a similar one-year pact in advance of the ’14 season. Kuhn played in 23.4% of the offensive snaps last season, per Silverstein.

Here’s the latest coming out of the Packers’ top rivals’ camps.

  • This season will almost certainly be Chad Greenway‘s Vikings farewell tour, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. The 33-year-old outside linebacker signed a one-year, $2.75MM deal (with $750K guaranteed) to remain in Minnesota for an 11th season recently. “I have sort of that direction that, yeah, I want to walk away a Minnesota Viking in sort of on my own terms,” Greenway told media Sunday, including Tomasson. “Few NFL players get to do that and have the opportunity to do that. This organization and my career has allowed me to do that and kind of be in the situation.” Greenway has started 140 regular-season and playoff games with the Vikings since being taken by the team in Round 1 of the 2006 draft. He remains the favorite to start alongside Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks this season.
  • Linval Joseph has nearly recovered fully from the turf toe that shelved the emerging defensive tackle late last season, Ben Goessling of ESPN.com tweets. Pro Football Focus’ best interior defender not named Aaron Donald or J.J. Watt, Joseph missed four Vikings games with the malady last season.
  • The Vikings do not expect Adrian Peterson to attend the start of voluntary portion of their offseason workouts Monday, Tomasson reports. Peterson has been training near his home in Houston and rarely shows for the start of these gatherings.
  • Shaq Lawson drew a lofty comparison during his Lions workout, according to Chase Goodbread of NFL.com (on Twitter). During one drill, Lions defensive line coach Kris Kocurek told the former Clemson pass-rusher during an explosiveness drill he’d only seen one player flash more during that particular drill, 2014 No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney. Lawson accumulated 45.5 tackles for loss in his three years at Clemson, 24.5 last season — his only as a starter.

NFC Rumors: Treadwell, Giants, Packers, Rams, Britt

Here’s a look at the NFC:

  • Ole Miss wide receiver Laquon Treadwell identified the Giants and Bears last month as two teams that had shown interest in him. Now, he’ll visit both of those clubs. Rand Getlin of the NFL Network tweets that Treadwell will visit the Giants on Monday, then the Bears after that.
  • With seven members of the Packers‘ 2016 free agent class still unsigned, Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com explores whether or not Green Bay will eventually re-sign players like fullback John Kuhn, linebacker Mike Neal, and others.
  • Rams wide receiver Kenny Britt has signed with agent Fadde Mikhail for representation, as Liz Mullen of Sports Business Journal tweets. Britt, a Rutgers product, was formally repped by SportsTrust Advisors. Britt, 28 in September, caught 36 passes for 681 yards and three touchdowns in 2015. That was a step back from 2015 when he hauled in 48 passes for 748 yards and three scores. Britt is scheduled to carry a cap number of $4.85MM this season before hitting the open market.
  • The Cardinals met with Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott on Thursday, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.
  • Texas-El Paso defensive end Roy Robertson-Harris is set to visit the Packers next, Rand Getlin of NFL.com tweets.
  • Linebacker Leonard Floyd has been visiting the Bears over the past two days, Rand Getlin of NFL.com tweets.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.