K.J. Wright

West Notes: Peterson, Broncos, Raiders

The Cardinals and Patrick Peterson appear to be moving forward together, despite the All-Pro cornerback’s trade request. A key part of Peterson reaffirming his commitment to the franchise was a 30-minute meeting with team president Michael Bidwill, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com notes (on Twitter). The parties discussed ways the Cardinals could improve, with Bidwill assuring Peterson the franchise is committing to winning, per Schefter.

I think we definitely have a clear understanding and I have two years left under my contract, so I’m here,” Peterson said, via ESPN.com’s Josh Weinfuss (on Twitter), who adds the cornerback didn’t exactly exude much happiness during his remarks Wednesday, which could be understandable given the state of the Cardinals (Twitter link).

Peterson also responded to a question about why he wanted to be traded by saying (via Weinfuss, on Twitter), “You see the record.” He’s signed through the 2020 season but has little guaranteed money left on an extension he agreed to in 2014.

Here’s the latest out of the West divisions:

  • The Broncos do not plan to sign a backup quarterback in the near future. While Mike Klis of 9News notes the team likely will add another signal-caller to either the active roster or practice squad, expect that player to now work behind previous No. 3 passer Kevin Hogan. “Kevin is the backup right now,” Vance Joseph said. “We’ll see as time progresses here. Kevin is fine. Kevin has played in games. He’s a smart guy; he’s picked it up quick and we have full confidence in Kevin.” Hogan is a career 59 percent passer who started one game and saw action in eight with the Browns from 2016-17. The Redskins waived him before the season began, and the Broncos’ subsequent claim led to Paxton Lynch‘s departure.
  • Addressing the trade that sent Amari Cooper to the Cowboys, Jon Gruden said (via the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Michael Gehlken, on Twitter) this was more about acquiring a valuable draft pick than the Raiders being dissatisfied with the wide receiver. Reggie McKenzie said Monday that Dallas offering a first-rounder was a proposal he could not pass on.
  • Both K.J. Wright and Ed Dickson are expected to make their season debuts for the Seahawks on Sunday, Pete Carroll said (via ESPN.com’s Brady Henderson). An arthroscopic knee surgery and a setback kept Wright out for this long. Dickson’s spent time on the NFI list because of a quad injury. The Seahawks signed Dickson to a three-year, $10.7MM deal this offseason.
  • The Seahawks placed safety T.J. Green on their exempt list, and Carroll said (via the Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta, on Twitter) Green simply didn’t want to play football anymore. The former second-round pick out of Clemson hadn’t seen action with the Seahawks. He’d started 11 games prior to the Colts cutting him two months ago.
  • Citing Gruden’s inconsistent draft history with the Buccaneers, CBS Sports’ Joel Corry wonders how well the Raiders coach will fare in rebuilding this team that now has three 2019 first-round picks. Gruden assumed full Bucs control during the 2003 season, and only one of his draft choices (2006 first-rounder Davin Joseph) made a Pro Bowl as a Buccaneer (although, 2008 first-rounder Aqib Talib made several after leaving Tampa Bay). Both Michael Clayton and Cadillac Williams started strong before failing to match their rookie seasons’ excellence, with Corry adding Gruden’s draft work in Tampa Bay does not measure up to McKenzie’s high-end 2014 haul of Khalil Mack, Derek Carr and Gabe Jackson.

Injury Updates: Fins, Peters, Wright, Jets

Although Brock Osweiler and some pivotal run-after-catch action from his receivers came through to help the Dolphins to key win over the Bears, Ryan Tannehill has obviously been the better quarterback since these two began their careers six years ago. But Tannehill’s dealing with another injury, a shoulder malady, after two years of knee trouble. Adam Gase did not do much to squash the notion his starter’s dealing with a long-term malady, but Miami’s third-year coach said he has “complete confidence” Tannehill will play again this season (Twitter links via the Miami Herald’s Adam Beasley). Despite being listed as one of the longest-odds Super Bowl teams coming into the season, the Dolphins are 4-2 and in early contention for a playoff berth. They host the Lions on Sunday, and Osweiler may have to prepare for another week as the starter.

Here’s the latest from injury news cycles:

  • Jason Peters is dealing with a partially torn biceps muscle but may not have to miss any games because of it. Eagles offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland (via Jeff McLane of Philly.com, on Twitter) does not expect his left tackle to miss time. The 15th-year veteran was already afflicted with quadriceps injury, missed most of the Eagles’ Super Bowl run last season and is now in his age-36 season. But Peters has started all six games for this year’s Philadelphia squad.
  • The Jets will be without their leading receiver for some time. Quincy Enunwa suffered a high ankle sprain Sunday, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News tweets. He’s likely going to miss at least three games, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). Enunwa missed all of last season because of a neck injury. In a contract year, Enunwa returned to be Sam Darnold‘s top target thus far. He’s hauled in 22 passes for 287 yards and a touchdown. The Jets have turned to Terrelle Pryor more over the past two games, with the former Browns and Redskins wideout catching a touchdown pass in each, and he’ll be relied upon more in the immediate future.
  • Pete Carroll had hoped his top outside linebacker would be ready to start his season sometime in September, despite undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery just before the season. But K.J. Wright‘s missed six games. the Seahawks coach revealed Tuesday (Twitter link via the Seattle Times’ Percy Allen) Wright encountered a setback during Week 3 practice to delay his recovery. But he’s back on track now. The Seahawks have their bye this weekend and may be ready to finally see Wright in action in Week 8. The second half of the season will be critical for the 29-year-old linebacker, who is in a contract year.
  • Shane Ray‘s also in a contract campaign and looks to be auditioning for other teams after the Broncos didn’t pick up his fifth-year option following their first-round selection of Bradley Chubb. Ray’s now run into more injury trouble, suffering a high ankle sprain in Sunday’s loss to the Rams, per Mike Klis of 9News (on Twitter). The likely free agent-to-be seems certain to miss Denver’s Thursday game in Arizona, if not more time.
  • The Bengals are now down to their third-string tight end, C.J. Uzomah, as the starter after losing both Tyler Eifert and Tyler Kroft. However, Marvin Lewis does expect Kroft — out because of a broken bone in his foot — to return this season. Kroft, too, is in a contract year.

Injury Notes: Lang, Wright, Cravens, Peterson

Lions offensive guard T.J. Lang is still in the concussion protocol after having suffered his sixth career brain injury, but the team is still expecting the veteran to be back at some point this season. The 31-year-old was even in the building last week helping the team prepare for their matchup against his former team, the Packers.

“He was in the room to be able to talk through some of the Green Bay stuff,” offensive line coach Jeff Davidson told Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “I try to talk to him about some of the personnel things that he knows. That’s the only thing I had to do as far as commenting on T.J. Looking forward to him going forward.”

The offensive lineman previously said that he’ll continue to play football as long as his body holds up. Lang has also dealt with back, ankle and shoulder injuries during his tenure in Detroit.

Let’s check out some more injury notes from around the NFL…

  • While there’s still optimism surrounding Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright‘s return to the field, it won’t happen this weekend. ESPN’s Brady Henderson writes that the veteran will miss this weekend’s London matchup against the Raiders. Wright is still recovering from knee surgery, and head coach Pete Carroll said there’s no use in rushing him back. “He’ll run all throughout the week,” said Carroll. “It’s going to be too much to ask of him to get him back this game. I think we’ve got to make sure and take care of him and get him strong and confident and all that … I think we just need to maximize his opportunity to be at full strength, really recovered and confident and all that.”
  • Su’a Cravens is currently sitting on the injured reserve with a knee injury, but Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic tweets that the Broncos safety is expected to return to practice next week. The 23-year-old is eligible to return following his team’s game against the Rams this weekend, and the organization will have three weeks to activate him. The 2016 second-round pick was acquired from the Redskins back in March, and he’ll be looking to crack a depth chart that already includes Darian StewartJustin Simmons, and Will Parks.
  • There seemed to be a difference in opinions when it came to Adrian Peterson‘s injury. ESPN’s John Keim tweets that the Redskins running back described the injury as a dislocation, while head coach Jay Gruden simply referred to it as a strain. Peterson underwent an MRI earlier today, and the tests ultimately revealed a strain (via USA Today’s Mike Jones on Twitter). The 33-year-old has compiled 242 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 60 carries this season.

Seahawks Notes: Tight End, Penny, Wright

With Will Dissly on the injured reserve and Nick Vannett dealing with a lower-back injury, the Seahawks may be forced to get creative at tight end. As Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com writes, one of the options could be offensive lineman George Fant, who played three snaps at the position last Sunday.

Vannett, who played 54 of 66 offensive snaps last weekend, seemed to all but confirm Fant’s role in the offense.

“If we go 12 personnel [one running back and two tight ends], we’ll probably have George Fant be the big tight end and me be in my usual [pass-catching and blocking] role,” Vannett said. “So I don’t think it will be too different [this week]. But I think just the 11 personnel [one back, one tight end] stuff I’ll obviously be having to take on a bigger role.”

Besides Vannett, Darrell Daniels is the only other healthy tight end of the roster. The 23-year-old was acquired in a trade with the Colts back in September. Ed Dickson is also sitting on the NFI, and he’s expected to return in Week 8.

Let’s take a look at some more notes out of Seattle…

  • Despite using a first-round pick on Rashaad Penny, the Seahawks have seemingly settled on a rotation at running back. Despite the rookie’s talents, Seattle will apparently lean mostly on Chris Carson and Mike Davis, and Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com thought it was telling that offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer didn’t mention Penny when discussing the position. “I think we have a number of backs that can challenge you different ways,” Schottenheimer said. “That’s why it’s hard to get guys rolling sometimes but I think we’ve figured that out the last two weeks, that you go in with a mindset of ‘Okay, this is the guy that we’re going to start with,’ and if things don’t work out that way then you adjust but Chris the week before got significantly most of the touches and then this last week, the plan was to let Mike go. A veteran player, let him get started, see how he does and he didn’t disappoint.” Through four games, Penny has compiled 92 rushing yards on 29 carries. For comparison’s sake, Davis had 101 rushing yards on 21 carries last weekend.
  • K.J. Wright will miss this weekend’s game against the Rams, but head coach Pete Carroll sounded optimistic that the linebacker will return soon. “He has had a great few days,” Carroll said (via John Boyle of Seahawks.com). “He’s going to be off today, then the next three days will be solid days back to back to back, see how he tolerates that. He’s working his way back in hopes that that kicks him into high gear next week.” The 29-year-old has missed his team’s first four games as he recovers from knee surgery.
  • After Earl Thomas went down with a season-ending injury, the Seahawks signed Maurice Alexander to take his place on the roster.

NFC Rumors: Rodgers, Hawks, Linehan, Bucs

The Aaron Rodgers watch now includes a practice return. The Packers saw their best player resurface at Saturday’s practice after he’d missed all week of workouts. Although NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero points out Rodgers is still questionable (Twitter link) and the Packers will see how he looks Sunday morning, now that he’s gotten in a practice it’s a bit difficult to see the 34-year-old quarterback not suiting up Sunday against the Vikings. Swelling in Rodgers’ left knee remains an issue, per Pelissero (on Twitter), and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Silverstein tabs it as unlikely the Packers will give their centerpiece a green light if he’s still sore or experiencing swelling from Saturday’s workout. But the 14th-year passer has dealt with myriad left knee trouble at several points in his career. That said, the Vikings’ defense may be the toughest unit he faces all season; and Minnesota’s front seven will be facing a surely less mobile Rodgers than it ordinarily would.

Here’s what’s new out of the NFC going into Week 2 Sunday.

  • Bobby Wagner serves as the anchor for the Seahawks‘ front seven, having played in 42 straight games. That streak will end on Monday night after the Seahawks declared their top linebacker out for their Bears game. K.J. Wright also will not play. Wagner is battling a groin injury, while Wright is still recovering from a knee scope. Perhaps this explains the team’s need to make the controversial decision to sign Mychal Kendricks, who may face prison time after pleading guilty to insider trading. Barkevious Mingo is the only starting linebacker Seattle will have available in Chicago.
  • Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan saw increased latitude this offseason in the team’s effort to restructure its offense, with Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News writing the fourth-year Dallas OC was involved in the decisions to release Dez Bryant and move on from four offensive assistants. Linehan signed an extension in 2017 that calls for him to be paid approximately $2MM per season, George notes. This makes the Cowboys’ OC one of the NFL’s highest-paid assistants. George adds Linehan could well be on the chopping block if Dallas’ offense nosedives. The Panthers did not see much from Linehan’s unit in Week 1.
  • DeSean Jackson appears set to have another chance to face his original team. The Buccaneers wide receiver is expected to surmount concussion protocol and be on the field against the Eagles on Sunday, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. Jackson had his best game as a Buccaneer last week, hauling in five passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns.

Reactions, Notes On Mychal Kendricks Signing

The Mychal Kendricks saga took an interesting turn this evening, as the free agent linebacker signed a deal with the Seahawks. The 27-year-old recently pleaded guilty to insider trading after profiting more than $1MM from non-public investment information.

Even with the news that Kendrick was working out for Seattle earlier today, there was skepticism that the free agent would be able to secure a deal. After all, the charge would seemingly fall under the NFL’s personal-conduct policy, meaning the league could impose their own, separate punishment. “NFL PR Guy” Brian McCarthy told NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport that no decision has been made regarding a potential suspension (Twitter link).

“The matter is under review,” McCarthy said. “He is currently permitted to sign and participate in activities including games.”

Let’s take a look at some more notes and reactions to the Kendricks signing…

  • ESPN’s Adam Schefter provides some clarification (via Twitter) on Kendricks’ sentencing and potential punishment. While the player was originally scheduled to be sentenced in December, Schefter says the date has been moved to late January. This is important when it comes to Kendricks’ playing status, as it’d mean he’d be able to play the entire season (barring a suspension). Schefter also notes that the linebacker is facing 30 to 37 months in prison, a far cry from the 25 years that was originally suggested.
  • Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times writes that Kendricks pleading guilty to the charge likely contributed to the Seahawks decision to sign him. In fact, admitting to the crime was a bit shocking, and it led the judge to question whether he was coerced into the plea. “…I know I was wrong,” Kendricks said. “I know that I made the decision to accept information, secret information, and it wasn’t the right thing to do.”
  • The reason to add another linebacker could be partly attributed to K.J. Wright‘s absence, as the veteran has been recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery. While he’s expected to miss this weekend’s game, Pete Carroll sounded optimistic that the 29-year-old will return soon. “He’s running today,” Carroll said (via ESPN.com) .“He felt pretty good. We’ll see how he goes. He’s going day-to-day. He ran yesterday and he’s working out again today so — he hasn’t done that yet, but he’s making progress. He’s feeling pretty good.”

West Rumors: Raiders, Bosa, Chiefs, Griffin

With Jon Gruden and Mark Davis leading the charge to trade Khalil MackReggie McKenzie‘s premier draft choice — it could signal a separation of the Raiders‘ power structure soon. Davis gave Gruden power via the 10-year, $100MM contract, but McKenzie’s remained in his GM role. That could change soon, with Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports expecting the Raiders to part ways with McKenzie and bring in one or two younger evaluators to work under Gruden as the franchise transitions to Las Vegas. Some around the league didn’t expect Gruden and McKenzie to coexist for long, and the Raiders making one of modern NFL history’s biggest trades could further drive the decision-makers apart. Gruden has also expressed doubt about McKenzie’s recent draft classes, and the transactions involving those players signal the new coach’s dissatisfaction with the classes.

Here’s the latest from the West divisions:

  • Mack’s contract sets up Joey Bosa as the player best-positioned to eclipse it, Joel Corry of CBS Sports said (via Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune). Bosa’s floor will be Mack’s $23.5MM-AAV Bears deal, per Corry, who adds he wouldn’t be surprised to see the Chargers‘ young pass rusher sign for $25MM per year and shoot for $100MM guaranteed. The Chargers have Bosa under team control through 2020 via the fifth-year option, and as teams showed with the 2014 first-round crop, procuring an extension with two years left on a rookie contract is difficult. Todd Gurley provided a recent exception, however. Bosa, 23, becomes extension-eligible after this season and will be much younger than Mack or Donald was when they became eligible. The Bolts also have Philip Rivers signed through 2019, and the veteran quarterback has not indicated he’s considering near-future retirement. So, the Chargers might have to build for the prospect of having two $20MM-per-year players on a payroll. No team’s cap sheet currently features that.
  • Shaquem Griffin will make a Week 1 start. The inspirational Seahawks fifth-round rookie will start in place of K.J. Wright against the Broncos this week, Pete Carroll said. Wright underwent recent knee surgery and has a best-case scenario of being ready by Week 2.
  • Despite being away from the Chiefs all offseason, Ron Parker has multiple avenues back into the starting lineup in time for Week 1. Eric Berry is questionable to face the Bolts with a heel injury, and Andy Reid said Berry’s longtime wingman could start regardless of the All-Pro’s status (Twitter link via the Kansas City Star’s Brooke Pryor). Parker’s started all but one Chiefs game for the past four seasons but was released in March for cap concerns. He’s now back for the league minimum, per OverTheCap. The Chiefs lost projected starter Daniel Sorensen to an August injury; he’s currently on IR.

NFC West Rumors: Donald, Wright, Cards

The Rams seem to be preparing their fans for a contract coronation soon, continuing to declare they’re near the goal line of the Aaron Donald negotiations. After Sean McVay made comments about the Donald deal being close to completed, Rams GM Les Snead confirmed this two-offseason saga is nearing completion. He added, via Pro Football Talk, nothing’s been agreed to just yet. After Donald reported into the regular season and won defensive player of the year acclaim despite being in a new defense, the fifth-year player’s late arrival probably won’t mean much to the Rams. But the results of this process will be plenty important for Khalil Mack and others seeking to raise a defensive salary ceiling that’s remained stagnant for two years as quarterbacks’ wages have skyrocketed.

Over the past year alone, the top of the QB market has climbed by 24 percent, with Joel Corry of CBS Sports tweeting Donald or Mack will have to sign for a $23.66MM deal to match that kind of increase. Von Miller‘s $19MM-AAV agreement — signed in July 2016, when the highest-paid quarterback wasn’t yet making $25MM per year — remains the top defender contract.

More from the NFC West, moving to another longtime defensive starter, here:

  • A Seahawks defense that already jettisoned four Super Bowl-era starters this offseason may be without another in Week 1. K.J. Wright underwent surgery on Monday and probably won’t be ready when the Seahawks face the Broncos next Sunday, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times notes. Pete Carroll categorized this procedure as a “cleanup” but said a couple of weeks would be the most optimistic timeline. Shaquem Griffin‘s first start, then, figures to occur sooner than expected. Condotta confirms the fifth-round rookie will start if Wright can’t go.
  • Jonathan Cooper went from signing a near-$5MM contract with the 49ers this spring to possibly being a post-preseason casualty. A slow recovery from knee surgery has Cooper on the 49ers’ bubble, Corry notes. Cutting Cooper, who is behind Mike Person and Joshua Garnett at right guard, would cost the team $4.48MM in dead money.
  • Two notable names appear to be competing for the final Cardinals receiver spot. Former Cowboys rotational cog Brice Butler signed a two-year Cardinals deal but is not a lock to make the team. He and one-time Browns second-round pick Greg Little, who hasn’t played since 2014, may be vying for one job, with Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com writing he wouldn’t be surprised if Little beats out Butler. He has Butler making the team ahead of Little, however. A Butler cut would cost the Cards $500K in dead money.

West Notes: Seahawks, Cardinals, Raiders

Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright is entering the final year of his contract and is quietly hoping for an extension.

I want to be here, of course,’’ Wright said (via Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times). “The Seahawks know that. Whatever they want to do, they’ll do. It’s my job to be the best that I could be, to make sure that K.J. and this defense is good. They know what it is and let’s get something done.”

Wright is set to earn $7.2MM this offseason before reaching unrestricted free agency. With his 30th birthday coming on July 23, he recognizes that this could be his last chance at a big payday.

Wright has certainly earned a new contract with his on-field performance in recent years. Last year, he racked up 108 total tackles and an interception as he started in all 15 of his games. Last year, he ranked as Pro Football Focus’ No. 18 ranked linebacker and has routinely been a top-20 LB per the advanced metrics since becoming a full-time starter in 2012.

Here’s more from the West divisions:

  • Odds are the Cardinals will sign wide receiver Greg Little after minicamp, Kent Somers of The Arizona Republic tweets. Little likely would have signed with the club after his first tryout, but a hamstring injury got in the way. Little, a second-round of the Browns in 2011, spent three seasons in Cleveland before being waived. Since then, he has had stints with the Raiders, Bills, and Bengals. Little, 29, has played in 54 games with 42 starts over the course of his career. His most productive season came as a rookie when he had 61 catches for 709 yards and two scores. He followed that up with 53 catches for 647 yards and four scores as an NFL sophomore.
  • The Raiders‘ kicking competition close between Giorgio Tavecchio and Eddy Piñeiro is extremely close, as Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area writes. Tavecchio stands as the only incumbent specialist left on the Raiders’ 2018 offseason roster after the team parted ways with punter Marquette King, long snapper Jon Condo, and longtime kicker Sebastian Janikowski, but it’s possible that they’ll clean house in that department under new head coach Jon Gruden. “I believe we’ll go in through some of the preseason games for sure and give them both an opportunity to kick in game-like situations,” special teams coach Rich Bisaccia said. “We’ll try to create as many situations in practice as we possibly can and certainly when we get to pads. It’s a process and everything matters. … Right now, they’re nip and tuck.”

NFC Notes: Seahawks, Thurmond, Giants

Some assorted notes from around the NFC…

  • The 2016 base salaries for several Seahawks players will be guaranteed today, tweets Joel Corry of CBSSports.com. The list includes Richard Sherman ($12.569MM), Russell Wilson ($12.342MM), Cliff Avril ($6MM) and K.J. Wright ($5.25MM). $6MM of Earl Thomas‘ $8MM 2016 salary is also guaranteed today (via Corry).
  • The Eagles and free agent safety Walter Thurmond haven’t started discussions on an extension, tweets Geoff Mosher. The two sides are expected to start talking at the NFL Combine.
  • Jordan Raanan of NJ.com puts the Giants chance of retaining cornerback Prince Amukamara at “40 percent.” With the 26-year-old expected to fetch a contract of at least $10MM annually, Raanan isn’t convinced that the team is willing to spend at the position.
  • Raanan also believes the Giants should pursue Dolphins defensive end Olivier Vernon. The 25-year-old is younger than Mario Williams (who is expected to be released) and he’s more dependable than Jason Pierre-Paul.