Kareem Hunt

AFC Notes: Broncos, Jets, Chargers, Chiefs

John Bowlen, the younger brother of Broncos majority owner Pat Bowlen, is aiming to sell his minority stake (30-35%) in the club, sources tell Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post. John Bowlen’s decision to sell wouldn’t necessarily affect the day-to-day operations of the Broncos, as Pat Bowlen — who stepped down as principal owner in 2014 due to Alzheimer’s disease — would still hold the majority of the team and be entitled to designate one of his children as his successor. But John Bowlen reportedly believes the Bronocs are “not being run the way Pat would have run it in many, many capacities” and wants a new owner in charge, per Jhabvala.

Here’s more from the AFC as Week 4 draws to a close:

  • Although the Jets re-signed offensive Ben Ijalana to a two-year deal this spring, they’ve barely used him through four weeks of the 2017, leading Rich Cimini of ESPN.com to wonder if Gang Green could place Ijalana on the trade block. An acquiring club would only be responsible for the rest of Ijalana’s $1MM base salary this season plus $4.75MM (all non-guaranteed) in 2018. New York, meanwhile, would take on $2.5MM in dead money over the next two seasons by dealing Ijalana. Now in his age-28 campaign, Ijalana started 13 games in 2016 and is capable of playing either left or right tackle, but he’s played only five offensive snaps this season.
  • Under the terms of his four-year deal with the Chargers, edge rusher Melvin Ingram can collect a $1MM bonus if registers 12.5 sacks or earns a Pro Bowl nod, tweets veteran NFL reporter Adam Caplan. Through four games, Ingram has already posted 5.5 sacks (though he didn’t manage any against the Eagles today), so he should have a good shot at collecting that bonus. Ingram is Pro Football Focus‘ No. 9-rated edge defender thus far in 2017.
  • Rookie running back Kareem Hunt was advised to return to college following the 2015 season before entering the draft and being selected by the Chiefs in the third round in 2017, as Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com writes. Hunt, of course, leads the NFL in rushing yards through three games and would arguably be the favorite for MVP if the season ended today. As La Canfora details, Hunt re-tooled his body prior to his senior season at Toledo and posted more than 1,800 yards from scrimmage in his final collegiate campaign.
  • The Ravens had planned to promote fullback Ricky Ortiz from their practice squad and integrate him as a large part of their offensive gameplan in Week 4, but an Ortiz injury prevented that transaction from going through, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Baltimore doesn’t currently have a fullback on its roster, but it did use Kyle Juszczyk enough in 2016 that he became the NFL’s highest-paid FB with the 49ers. Ortiz is a 2017 undrafted free agent out of Oregon State.

Chiefs RB Spencer Ware Injures PCL, LCL

It certainly didn’t look good when Chiefs running back Spencer Ware was carted off the field during his team’s preseason game against the Seahawks last night. Fortunately, the injury doesn’t sound as bad as it looked.

According to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter, Ware suffered a PCL injury and will undergo a MRI today to determine the damage and how much time he’ll miss. Schefter notes that the recovery timetable could range anywhere from two to eight weeks, although he also notes that Ware avoided injuring his ACL, so the injury shouldn’t be season-ending.

Ware also damaged his LCL, Ian Rapoport notes (on Twitter), adding the tests on his knee proved inconclusive. This stands to further complicate the presumptive Chiefs starter’s status.

Spencer Ware“Ware sprained his knee,” coach Andy Reid said after the game (via Matt McMullen of Chiefs.com). “The X-rays were negative and he’ll have an MRI tomorrow. We’ll just see how that turns out.”

The 2013 sixth-round pick had a breakout campaign last season, leading the Chiefs running game with 921 yards and three touchdowns on 214 carries. The 25-year-old was also productive in the passing game, hauling in 33 receptions for 447 yards and two scores. After the team released veteran Jamaal Charles back in February, it was assumed that Ware would be the team’s bona-fide top running back heading into the season.

Now, the team will at least have to eye some alternative options for the time being. The Chiefs are rostering a pair of veterans in Charcandrick West and C.J. Spiller, although it sounds like rookie Kareem Hunt may be the favorite for the interim starter role. The third-round pick was relatively productive in last night’s preseason loss, compiling 39 rushing yards on nine carries.

“Kareem got good work last week and he learned how fast this thing can change where all of a sudden you become that starter and in a position to do that,” said Reid, perhaps confirming that Hunt will indeed be the starter.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Draft Pick Signings: 6/5/17

Today’s draft pick signings:

  • Third-round pick Kareem Hunt signed his rookie deal with the Chiefs. This comes three days after Kansas City cut Jeremy Maclin, a surprising move but one that freed up additional funds for the team to sign its highest draft picks. First- and second-round selections Patrick Mahomes and Tanoh Kpassagnon remain unsigned. Hunt could compete for time quickly in a Chiefs offense that could be more run-oriented after Maclin’s release. After releasing Jamaal Charles, Kansas City still has starter Spencer Ware and backup Charcandrick West back. But Hunt (1,475 rushing yards as a senior; 8.0 yards per carry and 16 touchdowns as a sophomore) figures to factor in.
  • Continuing the third-round theme, the Patriots and tackle Antonio Garcia agreed to terms on his four-year rookie accord. The Troy product looks to be a backup behind Nate Solder and Marcus Cannon as a rookie, but with Solder’s contract expiring after 2017, the Patriots likely will use this season to evaluate if Garcia could be a possible heir apparent. New England chose Solder in the first round a year before Matt Light retired. The team still has Cameron Fleming and used a sixth-round pick on tackle Conor McDermott.
  • More third-round negotiation conclusions: No. 72 overall pick Taywan Taylor, a wide receiver out of Western Kentucky, signed his Titans deal. Only Corey Davis is unsigned out of Tennessee’s nine draft picks. The lesser known of the Titans’ two low-major wideout rookies, Taylor recorded 17 touchdown receptions in each of his final two years with the Hilltoppers. Taylor’s 1,730 air yards last season ranked third in Division I-FBS, and his 17 TD grabs were third also. Davis’ 19 tied for first, so the Titans will have two stat-stuffing pass-catchers in the fold this season.

Chiefs Acquire Vikings’ No. 86 Pick

The Chiefs have traded for the Vikings No. 86 pick, which they will use to select Toledo running back Kareem Hunt. Minnesota will pick up No. 104, No. 132 and No. 245.

Hunt will give the Chiefs another option at running back, where veteran Jamaal Charles has been released. Hunt will team with Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West.

Draft Notes: Chargers, Buccaneers, Jets

The Chargers have been connected to a number of quarterback prospects, including DeShone KizerPatrick Mahomes and Josh Dobbs. Current signal-caller, veteran Philip Rivers, understands why his team would start looking for an heir apparent. However, the 35-year-old was also adamant that he’s not looking to give up his role anytime soon.

“I think it’s to be expected they’re going to get a young guy in the room to try and develop him and groom him,” Rivers said (via ESPN.com’s Eric D. Williams). “It doesn’t by any means really affect me. I think it’s healthy for me. … This thing doesn’t last forever. I have to get to playing better and keep this thing going as long as you can.

“As long as I do that, then whoever it is they bring in here, they’re going to sit for a while.”

Rivers finished this past season with 4,386 yards, 33 touchdowns, and a career-high 21 interceptions.

Let’s take a look at some other draft notes…

  • The Buccaneers have shown interest in a pair of safeties, according to ESPN.com’s Jenna LaineObi Melifonwu (Connecticut) and Budda Baker (Washington). The organization is also eyeing wide receivers Chris Godwin (Penn State) and Rodney Adams (South Florida), offensive tackle Julien Davenport (Bucknell), running back Kareem Hunt (Toledo), and tight end Michael Roberts (Toledo).
  • According to Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com, Ohio State linebacker Raekwon McMillan didn’t show a whole lot of speed during his school’s Pro Day, but he looked solid in positional drills. The defender previously met with the Saints, and he had dinner with the Jets on Thursday night.
  • There were a number of offensive line coaches at Utah’s Pro Day, including staff from the Jets, Browns, Jaguars, and Lions. Offensive tackle Sam Tevi was impressive during the workouts, and the big man has drawn particular interest from both the Saints and Patriots.
  • Eastern Washington doesn’t have their Pro Day until early next week, but that didn’t stop some coaches from visiting their top prospects. The Cardinals and Buccaneers reportedly visited campus to work out defensive lineman Samson Ebukam. 

Extra Points: Packers, Meyer, Draft

Some assorted notes from around the NFL (and several from the NCAA)…

  • Besides the previously-reported trio of players, the Packers also worked out three receivers yesterday, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter): Jamel Johnson, Deon Long and Kevin Vereen.
  • Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said through a school spokesman that he doesn’t have interest in any job besides his current position (via Tim May of the Columbus Dispatch on Twitter). The NFL Network’s Albert Breer believes this to be sincere, tweeting that he’s heard Meyer isn’t “considering the NFL right now.”
  • A lot has been made of Jared Goff out of Cal declaring for the 2016 NFL Draft as the potential top quarterback available, but one of his favorite targets Kenny Lawler could also declare, according to Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net (via Twitter).
  • Pauline also notes that Toledo running back Kareem Hunt has been meeting with agents, signifying a likeliness to declare for the NFL Draft (via Twitter).
  • South Carolina’s standout receiver Pharoah Cooper will unsurprisingly enter the NFL Draft, as Neil Stratton of Inside The League writes that multiple sources have indicated his intentions (via Twitter). Cooper will be represented by CAA.

Rob DiRe contributed to this post.