Kayvon Webster

Extra Points: Manziel, Saints, Broncos, Webster

Former Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel kicked off his comeback efforts today in Texas, playing two quarters in the Spring League. NFL teams took notice, with at least eight teams sending representatives, according to Yahoo’s Charles Robinson (Twitter link).

Robinson also noted that at least 17 NFL teams have caught a glimpse of Manziel this week as he ramped up activities. Though it is a long way from the NFL, the appearance marked Manziel’s first on a professional field since December 2015.

Manziel’s overall goal, of course, is to land an NFL contract and he is reportedly willing to accept a practice squad deal with no guaranteed money to prove that he belongs in the league. If he can not catch on with a team, the Heisman Trophy winner has not ruled out a move to the CFL.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • After the trade of Aqib Talib, the Broncos could use a little depth at the cornerback spot. According to Denver 7 ABC’s Troy Renck, former Denver defensive back Kayvon Webster be interested in returning to the team (Twitter link). Renck notes the Broncos are more likely to see what their options are in the draft before bringing back Webster, who played four seasons in Denver before spending time with the Rams in 2017.
  • The Lions have an opening at tight end after the departure of Eric Ebron to the Colts. The team thinks 2017 rookie Michael Roberts could fill that role, Tim Twentyman of detroitlions.com writes. Roberts only caught four passes during his first season in the league, but the fourth-round pick does offer intriguing upside. As a senior at Toledo, he hauled in a whopping 16 touchdowns.
  • In February, Michigan defensive tackle and potential first-round pick Maurice Hurst was not allowed to participate in the NFL Combine after doctors discovered a heart condition. He was not later needed for a medical recheck, a common practice in the NFL, according to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio. A recheck is only needed when further imaging or examination is deemed necessary.

 

Rams Release CB Kayvon Webster

The Rams released cornerback Kayvon Webster, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). After adding some high-profile corners this offseason, Webster has apparently been displaced from L.A. 

The Rams signed Webster to a two-year, $7.75MM deal last offseason, reuniting him with defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. Webster was excited for the opportunity to join up for Denver after being buried on the depth chart behind other corners, including Aqib Talib. Ironically, Talib’s arrival in Los Angeles has helped to push Webster out of the picture.

The Rams, who are now loaded with star power befitting their home city, will start Talib and Marcus Peters at cornerback. Nickell Robey-Coleman will man the slot while free agent pickup Sam Shields and holdovers Kevin Peterson and Troy Hill are among those in support.

Webster suffered a torn Achilles’ tendon during the Rams’ December contest against the Eagles. All in all, he started in eleven games as a Ram, but placed in the lower half of Pro Football Focus’ 121 qualified corners.

Webster will attract interest as a free agent, but teams will be taking a close look at his Achilles as well as his surgically-repaired shoulder.

By cutting Webster, the Rams save roughly $3.5MM against the cap. The move leaves them with just $500K in dead money.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Notes: Rams, 49ers, Broncos, Raiders

Two Rams defenders — linebacker Mark Barron and Kayvon Webster — recently underwent shoulder surgery, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). While Barron’s operation will allow him to be ready for training camp, Webster might not be available due to the torn Achilles which ended his 2017 campaign. Indeed, Webster had his shoulder procedure now so that he can rehabilitate both injuries at the same time, per Rapoport. Los Angeles will be counting on the 27-year-old Webster next season, as No. 1 cornerback Trumaine Johnson is scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency and won’t be franchise-tagged for a third consecutive campaign. Webster, who followed Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips from Denver last offseason, is entering his contract year.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two West divisions:

  • Daniel Kilgore‘s new three-year deal with the 49ers is worth nearly $12MM and and contains $7MM in guarantees, tweets Rapoport. Kilgore, who was roughly a month away from becoming a free agent, said he accepted a team-friendly contract so San Francisco can ink quality free agents this offseason, per Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link). The 30-year-old Kilgore was a backup or injured for much of the first five years of his career, but he’s started 29 games for the 49ers over the past two seasons. For what it’s worth, Pro Football Focus ranked Kilgore as just the 23rd-best center in the league in 2017, but San Francisco is clearly higher on him than that finish would indicate.
  • The Broncos and the Seahawks are two teams who could dictate the 2018 offseason, as Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com writes. While one recent report indicated Denver wideouts Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders are likely to stick on the club’s 2018 roster, other general mangers believe one or both will be available on the trade market. The Broncos are also trying to land a franchise quarterback and deal cornerback Aqib Talib, meaning they’ll be heavily involved in transactional machinations over the next few weeks. Seattle, meanwhile, is facing change at multiple areas along its vaunted defense, as injuries to Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor could cloud the team’s plans.
  • Free agent linebacker Michael Scherer recently worked out for the Raiders, reports veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer (Twitter link). Scherer, a Missouri product, appeared in 26 games for the Tigers from 2014-15 before a knee injury ended his senior season after seven contests in 2016. He’s yet to land an NFL contract, but he did audition for the Bears and Giants last year.

Rams Notes: Donald, Watkins, Johnson

The Rams’ offseason plans hinge greatly on getting an extension done with All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald. However, team general manager Les Snead will not specify if he is the “first or last domino to fall,” ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez writes.

“What I do know is he is an important domino,” Snead said. It is likely Donald will become the highest-paid defender at some point this offseason, and the signing will dictate much of what the Rams can do with the rest of their salary cap.

Gonzalez also notes that a deal might have to wait until after Oakland resigns Khalil Mack for talks to begin to get serious. One of the frontrunners for 2017 Defensive Player of the Year, Donald is set to make $6.89MM in 2018, which is half of what Mack, who was taken eight spots higher than him in the 2014 NFL Draft, is expected to make.

Whenever Donald does ink a deal, there is no doubt he will be worth the pay raise. In his four seasons, the Pitt product has earned four Pro Bowl selections and has been named First Team All-Pro in each of the last three seasons. In 2017, Donald tied his career high with 11 sacks and furthered his reputation as the game’s top interior pass rusher.

Here is more from the Rams:

  • Gonzalez writes that using a franchise or transition tag on Sammy Watkins makes sense. Acquired by the Rams prior to the start of the 2017 campaign, Watkins provided a decent season eight touchdown grabs but only saw 67 targets. Another year in the high-powered offense will allow the fourth-year wideout to reach his potential after developing a better rapport with quarterback Jared Goff. The Rams traded a 2018 second-round pick and E.J. Gaines to the Bills for Watkins, and it would make sense they would want to see their investment for a full year in their system.
  • Snead can definitely see a scenario in which Trumaine Johnson returns to the team in 2018, Gonzalez reports. With Kayvon Webster out with an Achilles injury, it would make sense for the Rams to explore all options with the sixth-year cornerback. Gonzalez notes they would have to pay him like a top cornerback.
  • If Donald gets an extension, Watkins and Lamarcus Joyner are tagged, and Johnson is resigned, Gonzales thinks the team would look at parting with Robert Quinn or Mark Barron to make ends meet.

Kayvon Webster Ruptures Achilles’ Tendon

Vying for position in a crowded NFC playoff picture, the Rams are likely going to have to go the rest of the way without one of the starting cornerbacks.

Kayvon Webster suffered a torn Achilles’ tendon during Sunday’s game against the Eagles, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports (on Twitter).

Sean McVay confirmed Webster ruptured an Achilles’ tendon, Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.com notes (on Twitter).

Webster went down in the first half and was deemed doubtful to return because of an ankle injury, per Vincent Bonsignore of the Los Angeles Daily News (on Twitter). But it appears the fifth-year player’s setback is far more significant. Webster sent out a somewhat ominous tweet, at least regarding his possible near-future status, during the second half.

Webster’s started all 10 games he’s played as a Ram, doing so after being a backup throughout his four-year Broncos tenure. He intercepted a pass — his first as a Ram and first since his rookie season — and deflected another.

The Rams have used a top corner trio of Webster, Trumaine Johnson and Nickell Robey-Coleman this season. They have seven cornerbacks on their 53-man roster presently.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Newton, Alonso, Rams

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is set to undergo surgery to repair a partially torn rotator cuff on his throwing shoulder, reports ESPN.com’s David Newton. The former MVP is expected to miss offseason workouts, but he should be recovered for the start of training camp. Newton originally suffered the injury during his Week 14 matchup against the Chargers.

“We developed a plan for Cam to take a period of rest, a period of rehabilitation and treatment, and then start a gradual throwing program the first part of March,” said head athletic trainer Ryan Vermillion. “Cam started his program, and the early parts of his rehab had been going well. However, as we worked to advance him into the next stage — the strengthening stage, the throwing stage — he started to have an increase in his pain level and started having pain while throwing.”

Newton isn’t the only Panthers player to be going under the knife. Defensive end Charles Johnson had back surgery earlier today, while wideout Damiere Byrd will have knee surgery later this week.

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

  • The Dolphins signed linebacker Kiko Alonso to an extension earlier today, only a few weeks after the team inked free agent linebacker Lawrence Timmons. Alonso told Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald (Twitter link) that he’s excited to play with the former Steelers defender, noting that he’d be willing to play either inside or outside linebacker.
  • New Rams cornerback Kayvon Webster believes he’ll “definitely” have a chance to start opposite Trumaine Johnson (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Alden Gonzalez). Right now, Gonzalez believes he’ll have a leg-up over E.J. Gaines thanks to his familiarity with Wade Phillips‘ system. Webster said he would also like to contribute on special teams, depending on how much work he gets on defense.
  • Embattled running back prospect Joe Mixon is set to meet with the Chargers, tweets ESPN.com’s Jim Trotter. The Oklahoma product would undoubtedly be an intriguing fit for Los Angeles, although the team is currently rostering four running backs in Melvin Gordon, Kenneth Farrow, Andre Williams, and Kenjon Barner.

Contract Details: Taylor, Cook, Willson

The latest contract details from around the NFL:

  • Tyrod Taylor, QB (Bills): Taylor earns an additional $500K if the Bills make it to the divisional round of the playoffs in 2017, which becomes $1MM if they advance to the AFC Championship, and $2MM if they advance to the Super Bowl. The same package of incentives applies to 2018 (via Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk).
  • Jared Cook, TE (Raiders): Two years, $10.6MM, $1.6MM in incentives (effectively a one-year $5.3MM deal with $800K in incentives) (Twitter link via Ben Volin of The Boston Globe).
  • Luke Willson, TE (Seahawks): One year, $1.8MM, $1MM in incentives (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle).
  • Kayvon Webster, CB (Rams): Two years, $7.75MM. Salaries of $2.75MM (guaranteed), $3MM. $1MM 2017 roster bonus guaranteed, $500K 2018 roster bonus guaranteed. (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Sean Spence, LB (Colts): One year, $2.5MM. $750K signing bonus. $500K in incentives (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Kendall Wright, WR (Bears): One year, $2MM. $250K signing bonus. $2MM in incentives (Twitter link via Wilson).

Rams To Sign Kayvon Webster

Well, it looks like Kayvon Webster only needed one visit to find a second NFL employer. The longtime Broncos cornerback will sign with the Rams, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. He’ll earn $8MM over two years and could get up to to $12MM through incentives, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Webster had trips to meet with the Eagles and Dolphins scheduled, but with his Los Angeles summit not yet complete as of tonight, the fifth-year cover man/special-teamer decided on the Rams. The team has eyed Webster for a while, and the Broncos were bracing to lose their 2013 third-round pick due to the 26-year-old’s desire for more playing time. Zach Links had Webster ranked as one of this year’s top 50 free agents.

This will reunite Webster with defensive coordinator Wade Phillips while giving the corner a chance to have a bigger defensive role and possibly put him in position for a bigger contract come 2019, should he prove he has sufficient ability to contribute on defense. The Broncos did not use him much in this capacity, with Webster sitting not only behind corners Chris Harris, Aqib Talib and Bradley Roby but behind rookie safeties Justin Simmons and Will Parks — both of whom played far more than Webster did on defense in 2016.

But Webster was a special teams captain and made multiple impact plays during the 2015 Super Bowl run. He functioned as one of the Broncos’ top specialists in lieu of a steady defensive role. Webster will join a secondary that houses Trumaine Johnson but one that isn’t deep after losing Janoris Jenkins in free agency last year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Kayvon Webster To Visit Eagles, Dolphins

Kayvon Webster may end up logging as many as three visits during his first time as a free agent. The fifth-year cornerback told Troy Renck of Denver7 (Twitter link) he has visits lined up with both the Eagles and Dolphins. These summits will follow his Rams meeting, which is ongoing, per ESPN.com’s Josina Anderson (on Twitter).

We heard about potential pursuits from Miami and Philadelphia earlier this month. Webster’s Rams visit also went “great,” per Renck (on Twitter). So despite not having much of a defensive role on probably the league’s best cornerback depth chart over the past three seasons, Webster looks to have generated significant interest.

The former third-round pick has also served as a high-end special-teamer for the Broncos, doing so after Aqib Talib and Bradley Roby commandeered cornerback jobs midway through Webster’s Denver tenure. The Broncos seem likely to lose Webster, who is eyeing more playing time.

Webster has a clear connection with the Rams, who just hired Wade Phillips as DC, but Adam Gase was on the Broncos’ offensive staff during the corner’s first two Broncos seasons. Each of the three teams possess greater cornerback needs than do the Broncos, who have Roby, Talib and Chris Harris each signed through 2018. The Eagles lost Nolan Carroll in free agency and moved on from Leodis McKelvin, thinning out their corner corps considerably. Miami has a host of young players on a Byron Maxwell-fronted depth chart.

Webster played on just 60 defensive snaps last season but made several impact plays as a punt gunner during his time with the Broncos. He started two games as a rookie prior to the team adding Talib and Roby.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Broncos Notes: Romo, Webster, Peko, OL

Connected to a high-profile quarterback acquisition for the second straight offseason, Broncos GM John Elway didn’t identify the team’s Tony Romo circumstances as being all that different from the ones that had Denver close to adding Colin Kaepernick last year.

Yeah [it’s a similar situation], because we feel good where we are. There are so many things … everything gets ratcheted. I will just tell you this: There’s been a lot of things out there that are not true as far as what’s going with our quarterbacks. So that’s what happens. Everything gets frothed up,” Elway said, via Troy Renck of Denver7.

Renck adds that the latest coming out of Dallas is Romo is growing restless with the Cowboys’ tactics, with the franchise having backtracked on its intention to release him in order to pivot back to trying to trade the 15th-year quarterback. The Broncos remain unlikely to trade for Romo, per Renck, even after the Texans’ cap space-clearing trade of Brock Osweiler. It would be a “major upset” if the Cowboys found a taker for Romo’s contract in a trade, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com.

The Broncos nearly traded for Kaepernick last year, but the sides couldn’t agree on a restructured deal. Denver then selected Paxton Lynch in the first round but turned the reins over to Trevor Siemian for most of 2016. That competition would continue for a second straight year if the franchise doesn’t acquire Romo. Vance Joseph said the franchise is in good shape with Siemian and Lynch for “the next four or five years,” per James Palmer of NFL.com (Twitter link). Lynch is under Broncos control for four more years, with Siemian’s rookie deal running through 2018.

Here’s more from the Mile High City.

  • Meanwhile, Elway said his understanding is Kayvon Webster wants to play more (Twitter link via Cameron Wolfe of The Denver Post). Webster has been public about his desire to have a larger defensive role and he won’t get that opportunity in Denver, being blocked on the cornerback depth chart. Webster, who made our list of this year’s Top 50 Free Agents, has long been expected to leave. The fifth-year corner has served as one of the Broncos’ top special-teamers, but after a rookie season in which fewer obstacles resided in between Webster and a defensive role, the Broncos’ 2014 additions of Aqib Talib and Bradley Roby effectively buried him on the depth chart for the ensuing three seasons. Now employing his previous defensive coordinator, Wade Phillips, the Rams are hosting Webster on a visit today.
  • Domata Peko also received interest from the Bengals, Vikings and Eagles prior to signing his two-year Broncos accord, Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post tweets. Peko had obvious connections to the Bengals and the Mike Zimmer-coached Vikings but chose to join the Broncos.
  • Elway said the team’s starting left tackle might not be on the roster presently, per Renck, but noted recent right tackle signings Menelik Watson and Donald Stephenson are options there. Watson served as an emergency left tackle after injuries ravaged the Raiders’ tackle corps at a point last season, but Oakland primarily utilized him on the right edge. Stephenson began the 2015 season as the Chiefs’ starting left tackle, when he took Eric Fisher‘s spot, but Andy Reid reversed course and placed Fisher back there. Stephenson didn’t get a starting job back and signed with Denver, where he struggled as the team’s primary right tackle starter.
  • Denver still has interest in re-signing backup outside linebacker Dekoda Watson, according to 9News’ Mike Klis, who confirms the team’s interest in bringing back Vance Walker (Twitter link).
  • Newly signed Kasim Edebali will likely compete for work behind Von Miller and Shane Ray at outside linebacker, Wolfe writes. He played defensive end in the Saints’ 4-3 scheme and 58.7 percent of New Orleans’ special teams snaps in 2016. The Broncos also have Shaquil Barrett as their top backup at outside ‘backer.

Zach Links contributed to this report.