Kai Forbath

NFC Notes: Griffin, Stafford, Forbath, 49ers

The Seahawks defense continues to take hits on the injury front as the team has now learned that starting cornerback Shaquill Griffin has been ruled out for Sunday’s game vs. the 49ers with a concussion, according to Gregg Bell of The News Tribune (Twitter link). Bell adds that lineman Oday Aboushi will miss the matchup with a shoulder injury as well, so Seattle will once again have to expose backups to expansive playing time.

It would seem that cornerbacks Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane will get the starts on the outside, with either rookie Ethan Pocic or third-year lineman Mark Glowinski filling in for Aboushi at right guard.

Seattle’s roster looks a whole lot different without the likes of Griffin, Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor in the starting lineup, which has contributed greatly to the Seahawks up-and-down sort of season. The team still has an outstanding defensive line and is right in the thick of the playoff race, but is currently facing a lot of adversity as it continues to lose quality players as the season wears on.

  • In what was a tremendous show of resiliency on Thanksgiving, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford actually finished the game after he suffered what looked to be a serious leg injury. However, even though the talented QB was able to return, you can clearly see that he is not 100% in a video posted to Instagram by Davie Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, depicting Stafford hobbling away after his postgame press conference. It remains to be seen whether Stafford can continue to play in the weeks to come, but we should learn more about the overall severity of the injury next week.
  • Vikings kicker Kai Forbath apparently cut his foot on the nullified block field goal, but should not miss any time moving forward, according to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (Twitter link). Forbath had been one of the best kickers in the league up until the last few weeks when he missed two field goals against the Rams and suffered the aforementioned blocked kick yesterday.
  • The 49ers are as expected not in playoff contention this year, but still await some key decisions on potential free agents at season’s end. Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle, looked at six impending free agents who could be on the way out after the 2017 season is over. Branch noted running back Carlos Hyde, safety Eric Reid, center Daniel Kilgore, defensive end Aaron Lynch, defensive lineman Tank Carradine and cornerback Dontae Johnson as all guys that seemed primed to test the open market. There are a variety of factors that go into these decisions, but it’s interesting to see how the team may approach these players in the final six weeks of the season given their impending free agency.

North Notes: Browns, Ravens, Lions, Vikings

Browns edge rusher Myles Garrett, the first pick in this year’s draft, suffered a left foot injury Wednesday that left him in “obvious pain,” reports Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland. A day later, Garrett sat out practice as team doctors evaluated his foot, a club spokesman announced. The Browns won’t provide further details on Garrett’s ailment, per Cabot, who relays that the injury likely isn’t serious. Meanwhile, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that Garrett should be “fine.” Foot issues are nothing new for Garrett, who dealt with soreness throughout organized team activities and battled a high ankle sprain during his final year at Texas A&M last season. Fortunately, though, it looks as if he and the Browns will escape relatively unscathed in this instance.

More from the NFL’s North divisions:

  • Unsurprisingly, it appears injured tight end Dennis Pitta‘s release from the Ravens last week will bring an end to his career. When speaking with reporters Thursday, Pitta didn’t announce his retirement, but he conceded, “I’m not delusional” (Twitter link via Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun). Hip problems limited Pitta to seven games from 2013-15, but he returned last season to post a 16-game campaign and catch a team-high 86 passes. The soon-to-be 32-year-old suffered a hip dislocation earlier this month, though, leading the Ravens to cut ties after seven seasons.
  • In his first meeting with the Detroit media on Thursday, newly acquired Lions offensive tackle Greg Robinson called the trade that sent him from Los Angeles to the Motor City “a big surprise,” per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. Robinson busted with the Rams, who selected him second overall in 2014, and acknowledged that things “haven’t really went the way I would like” to this point. The 24-year-old expects to jump-start his career in Detroit, however. “I plan on benefiting from (my fresh start) tremendously,” Robinson declared. “It’s really refreshing and I plan to make the most out of it.”
  • Browns quarterback Brock Osweiler has been “very happy” with his performance this spring, and the ex-Texan explained Wednesday why his play has improved from his disastrous 2016 in Houston. “The best part is I’m getting coached hard on my fundamentals,” Osweiler said, via Nate Ulrich of Ohio.com. “And I believe firmly that when your fundamentals and your feet are right as a quarterback, you’re going to make great decisions and you’re going to throw accurate footballs.” Osweiler added that his “fundamentals slid” last year, but he declined “to go into great detail” on why. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk interprets Osweiler’s remarks as a shot at the Texans’ coaching staff, particularly Bill O’Brien, who didn’t get along well with the signal-caller last season.
  • Defensive back Lardarius Webb experienced a “tepid market” during his month of unemployment before re-signing with the Ravens in May, as Zrebiec details. The only club known to have expressed interest in the 31-year-old Webb was the Vikings, although Baltimore reportedly had interest in bringing Webb back almost instantly after releasing him. The Ravens saved $5.5MM in cap space by originally cutting ties with Webb, who has since inked a new three-year deal worth $6.3MM (with another $1.4MM available annually via incentives).
  • Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer indicated Wednesday that both kicker Kai Forbath and punter Ryan Quigley will have to fight for their jobs this summer, telling reporters that “there’s an open competition” at both spots (via Mark Craig of the Star Tribune). Forbath, whom the Vikings signed last November after releasing Blair Walsh, made all 15 of his field goal attempts with Minnesota in 2016 but will battle second-year man Marshall Koehn to stay with the club. “He’s got the stronger leg,” Priefer said of Koehn. “This kid is coming on strong. It’s a great competition.” Quigley, an April signing, will try to fend off another second-year player, Taylor Symmank, after averaging a career-worst 41.6 yards per punt on 34 attempts with the Cardinals last season.

Dallas Robinson contributed to this post.

Extra Points: Anderson, Branch, Logan, Lions

Broncos running back C.J. Anderson is ahead of schedule in his recovery from a torn meniscus, tweets Troy Renck of Denver7. Anderson was placed on injured reserve in late October, but Denver could choose to designate him as their IR returner if it so chooses. Anderson must miss a minimum of eight games, meaning he could come back for important late-season divisional contests against the Chiefs and Raiders, then presumably stay on the roster for a potential playoff run.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Andre Branch is enjoying a career resurgence with the Dolphins and he says he would like to continue in Miami beyond this year. “One hundred percent,” the pending free agent told Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald when asked if he wants to re-sign. “We got something going here, and it’s fun. I wake up every morning, and you have a reason to wake up. It’s not just, ‘I woke up to another one.’ The coaching staff brings energy each and every day. The players bring energy each and every day. And if anyone’s slacking, you’re going to know. I’m my biggest critic, and I never want to let my brothers or my coaches down. So for me, it’s starting to feel like family. It’s a lot of things that when you wake up, I haven’t felt in a very long time. So I’m happy here.” After playing out his one-year, $2.75MM deal, Branch will be seeking a pay bump and a longer commitment on his next deal. While there will be (presumably) mutual interest between him and the Dolphins, money may be a factor.
  • When asked about a potential extension for defensive tackle Bennie Logan, Eagles executive Howie Roseman said he “would love to keep Bennie, ” according to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). Logan, 27 next month, will become a free agent next spring. Through six starts this season, Logan ranks the No. 44 interior defender among 122 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus.
  • Kai Forbath‘s contract with the Vikings is for two years at minimum salary, according to Ben Goessling of ESPN.com (Twitter link). However, the deal contains no guaranteed money, so Minnesota will easily be able to escape the pact if Forbath struggles to close the 2016 campaign. Forbath was signed to replace Blair Walsh, who was finally waived after missing several kicks this season.
  • The Lions worked out wide receiver Tyler Murphy today, according to a source who spoke with Aaron Wilson of he Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Murphy, a 2015 undrafted free agent, was waived off Miami’s injured reserve list in August and hadn’t been heard from since.

Vikings Sign Kai Forbath

The Vikings officially announced the signing of kicker Kai Forbath. It was widely reported yesterday that Forbath would be signed after Blair Walsh was handed his pink slip. Kai Forbath (vertical)

Forbath was one of several kickers to audition for the Vikings earlier this month, along with veteran Randy Bullock. He left Minnesota without a contract, but the Vikings felt compelled to make a move roughly one week later after Walsh’s latest slip up. On Sunday against Washington, Walsh missed an extra point, his fourth missed XP of the season.

Forbath split the 2015 season with the Saints and Redskins and made only 10 of his 15 attempts. He has only three missed extra points out of 127 tries, but he has yet to kick one from the new 33-yard range. Over the course of four NFL seasons, Forbath has nailed 84.1% of his field goal tries. His career-long came last year when he sank a 57-yarder.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Vikings Release Kicker Blair Walsh

After weeks of speculation, the Vikings have given Blair Walsh his walking papers. The Vikings have released the veteran kicker, and are likely replacing him with Kai Forbath, as Tom Pelissero of USA Today Sports tweetsBlair Walsh (vertical)

Walsh’s struggles have been well-documented and they reach back to last season’s unfortunate mishap in the playoffs. This year, Walsh missed more “easy” field goals and the team decided that they cannot wait any longer for him to get over the yips. Walsh leaves Minnesota with a 75% field goal percentage including one miss inside of 39 yards and two misses inside of 49 yards. Walsh has also missed four extra points from the league’s new extended range. His latest XP miss came during this past weekend’s loss to the Redskins.

Last week, special-teams coordinator Mike Priefer expressed optimism that the team’s kicker tryouts would light a fire under Walsh. He did improve in practice, but the on-field results were still shaky. Now, Forbath will try to do better as he joins his third NFL team.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Vikings To Audition Kickers

The Vikings are set to audition a group of kickers on Tuesday, according to Tom Pelissero of USA Today (on Twitter). The workout will include Kai Forbath, tweets Matt Vensel of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Randy Bullock is also likely to be a part of that group, but it’s not clear who else will be participating. In total, there should be four or five kickers in attendance, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (on Twitter).Randy Bullock (vertical)

On Sunday, Blair Walsh missed an extra point attempt and had a field goal blocked as the Vikings lost to the Lions 22-16. This year, Walsh is just 12-16 on field goal attempts, though it should be noted that three of those misses came from more than 40 yards away.

Bullock was part of a group of kickers that worked out for the Bengals recently, along with Zach Hocker and Forbath. As of right now, the Bengals have not made a change at kicker and are forging ahead with Mike Nugent. Bullock served as the Giants’ kicker in the season opener while Josh Brown served his (initial) one-game suspension.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Staley, Turner, Chiefs, Bengals

Joe Staley‘s name was among the centerpieces of the 2016 trade deadline, one that ended with just one major deal. The 10th-year 49ers left tackle did not expect to be traded, reports of his availability notwithstanding.

I’m an old man. My name is going to come up every year,” Staley said, via Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News. “I know no other place than this place. I didn’t even worry about it. I wasn’t going anywhere.”

The 32-year-old Staley added he did not check with Trent Baalke or another 49ers personnel executive after a Pro Football Talk report put his name on the trade block, with San Francisco hoping for a first-rounder in return, per Inman.

Here’s more from around the league, which is taking a backseat tonight to baseball’s 2016 finale.

  • Norv Turner‘s surprising resignation from his post as Vikings OC caught Mike Zimmer off-guard, but the veteran play-caller said he thinks this could spark a bottom-tier Minnesota offense. “I got the utmost respect for Mike. I think he’s as good a coach as I’ve been around. But it just got to the point where I didn’t think it was going to work with me. So I removed myself,” Turner said, via Mark Craig of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “I truly think this move may end up being a positive thing for the Vikings. I just think they got a chance to get on the same page now. I don’t know how to describe that, but I think it could be the case.” A veteran of 42 years in the NFL, the 64-year-old Turner did not say he was retiring from coaching, telling Craig he will return to San Diego and weigh his options.
  • With Alex Smith banged up, Chiefs coach Andy Reid announced that Nick Foles will get the start on Sunday. The fourth-year Chiefs starter is symptom-free, according to Reid, who maintains the 32-year-old passer did not suffer a concussion. Foles has started 35 games in his five-year career, with the first six of those coming for the Reid-coached Eagles in 2012. The then-rookie went 1-5 in those starts. Against the Colts Sunday, Foles ignited Kansas City’s deep passing game, completing 3-of-4 passes of at least 21 yards. Smith’s 5-for-17 by that measure this season.
  • Some contributors who were afterthoughts upon catching on with their current teams in 2016 are poised to sign life-changing contracts in the coming offseason, with CBSSports.com’s Joel Corry identifying Terrelle Pryor and Zach Brown as two players who have transformed their stocks at midseason. Joining a Corry-constructed contract-year list that includes Kenny Britt, Dont’a Hightower and Kawann Short, Pryor and Brown are making less than $3MM between them this season. Corry tabs the Browns wideout as being able to set Allen Hurns‘ $10MM-AAV deal as his benchmark, with the Bills’ — and the NFL’s — leading tackler looking in Corry’s view like he’ll be able to score a Danny Trevathan-esque deal (four years, $28MM). Brown signed a one-year, $1.25MM deal with the Bills and just turned 27.
  • A group of kickers including Zach Hocker, Kai Forbath, and Randy Bullock worked out for the Bengals this week, Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com tweets. That’s a noteworthy audition given Mike Nugent‘s struggles. For now, it seems that Cincinnati is just updating its lists should Nugent’s issues continue.
  • The Jaguars worked out punter Cody Webster today, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com tweets. Webster worked out for the Bears earlier this season. The former Purdue punter last kicked in a game for the 2013 Boilermakers.

Zach Links contributed to this report

Saints Cut Kai Forbath

The Saints have cut kicker Kai Forbath, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The writing was on the wall for Forbath after the team signed fellow kicker Wil Lutz earlier today. Kai Forbath (vertical)

The Saints signed Forbath in October of 2015 after the Redskins released him a month earlier. Forbath went on to make 9-of-13 field goal attempts — including a 57-yarder — and 33-of-34 extra points. In March, the Saints re-upped him. Now, he’s on the open market once again.

Forbath was locked in what was said to be a tight kicking battle with Connor Barth all summer. Barth was cut days ago, but the team has decided to overhaul the position entirely for reasons that are not quite clear.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC South Notes: Saints, Short, Panthers

The Saints will ultimately have to choose between kickers Kai Forbath and Connor Barth. Unfortunately, as Evan Woodbury of NOLA.com notes, making that decision is easier said than done.

The duo have incredibly similar career numbers, and their performances during OTAs have also been rather even. Therefore, coach Sean Payton can’t solely rely on the raw numbers to make his final decision.

“These two guys are almost identical all the way back through their college years,” Payton said.

The two will have an opportunity to separate themselves during training camp, but so far, the organization is content with what they’ve seen from the pair.

“Both have experience and we feel like we’ve got a real good opportunity to come away from training camp with a good measuring stick,” Payton said. “We feel good about the way both of them are hitting it.”

Let’s check out some more notes from the NFC South…

  • As RosterResource.com shows, the Saints‘ running back depth chart is rather packed right now. Featuring Mark Ingram, C.J. Spiller, Tim Hightower, Travaris Cadet, Daniel Lasco and Marcus Murphy, coach Payton could have some disgruntled players if he ultimately keeps all six running backs. “I would be disappointed if somebody wasn’t a little ticked off,” Hightower told the Associated Press. “I’m a competitor. I don’t want to come off the football field.”
  • The Eagles recently signed defensive tackle Fletcher Cox to a six-year, $103MM deal, including $55.5MM in guaranteed money. As Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Observer writes, this could complicate negotiations with Panthers defensive lineman Kawann Short. The 27-year-old sat out the majority of OTAs in pursuit of a new contract, although he did attend the mandatory minicamp earlier this week. For what it’s worth, Cox and Short finished with similar numbers in 2014, and Short actually rated better in Pro Football Focus’ ranking of interior defenders (subscription required).
  • The Panthers certainly recognize the difficulties of finalizing a Short extension, as coach Ron Rivera indicated the other day. “I heard about that one,” he said. “(Someone) wrote that it’s going to complicate things. And it probably will. So we’ll see how things unfold.”
  • After having seen a breakdown in contract talks with former Panthers (and current Redskins) cornerback Josh Norman, Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports sees similarities in the Short negotiations. While the writer doesn’t necessarily envision the team letting go of another starter, the presence of first-round pick Vernon Butler could make Short expendable.

Contract Details: Forte, Lewis, Rey

Here are a few of the latest contract details for players who have agreed to new deals and/or signed them in recent days. Unless otherwise specified, all links are courtesy of Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle…

NFC:

AFC:

  • Donald Stephenson, OT (Broncos): Three years, $14MM. $10MM guaranteed. $3MM signing bonus. $3MM salary for 2016 fully guaranteed. $4MM salary for 2017 guaranteed for injury at signing. Otherwise, Stephenson’s 2017 salary is guaranteed if he’s on the Broncos’ roster on the fifth day of the league year (Twitter links).
  • Matt Forte, RB (Jets): Three years, $12MM. $9MM guaranteed. $3MM signing bonus. $1M roster bonus due March 15. $1MM salary for 2016 and $4MM salary for 2017 guaranteed. $2MM stat escalator for 2017 and ’18 (Twitter link).
  • Marcedes Lewis, TE (Jaguars): Three years, $12MM. $5MM guaranteed. Jags must exercise $3.5MM club option for 2018 before 22nd day of the league year (Twitter link).
  • Vincent Rey, LB (Bengals): Three years, $10.5MM. $3MM guaranteed as a roster bonus on March 15. $500K roster bonus due on the fifth day of the 2017 league year. $500K playing-time escalator in 2017 and ’18. $12,500 per-game active roster bonus each year. (Twitter links).