Kelechi Osemele

AFC North Notes: Williams, Ravens, Steelers

The Browns are once again in on a Trent Williams pursuit, but they were persistent in their efforts to acquire the Pro Bowl tackle last year. Previous GM John Dorsey called the Redskins every week about their disgruntled left tackle, according to Albert Breer of SI.com. However, the then-Bruce Allen-led front office gave Dorsey a flat no each time, per Breer. Even Baker Mayfield, like Williams an Oklahoma alum, communicated with Williams about a trade, Breer adds. Dorsey was believed to have offered a second-round pick to Washington for Williams, who ended up skipping all of last season, but the Redskins were holding out for a first. Daniel Snyder fired Allen at season’s end. Now, the Ron Rivera-run Washington front office appears willing to accept compensation less than a first-rounder for Williams. The Browns will not bring back Greg Robinson, and right tackle Chris Hubbard may be a cap-casualty candidate.

Here is the latest from the AFC North:

  • Matt Skura‘s season ended after 11 games, with the Ravens‘ top center going down with ACL, MCL and PCL tears on a Monday night in Los Angeles. Skura also dislocated a kneecap. It will understandably be a while before the fourth-year offensive lineman resurfaces, but Skura said during an appearance on Sirius XM Radio (via Alex Marvez, on Twitter) he expects to resume running in a few weeks and expressed optimism about being ready for training camp. One season remains on Skura’s rookie contract, so this rehab effort will certainly be key toward Skura securing his payday.
  • Kelechi Osemele left Baltimore when his rookie contract expired, signing a then-guard-record deal with the Raiders in free agency. Osemele played four seasons on that five-year contract but saw an injury (and subsequent grievance) end his Jets run early last year. With Osemele a free agent, Mike Garafolo notes he could be a name to watch as a replacement for the retiring Marshal Yanda (video link). Osemele, 30, underwent shoulder surgery last year and has battled injuries in recent seasons, but Garafolo adds the former All-Pro guard wants to continue playing and is expected to be ready well before Week 1. A former Ravens Round 2 pick, Osemele started 51 games at guard and tackle with Baltimore.
  • Both Ramon Foster and Mark Barron could be Steelers cap casualties, Ed Bouchette of The Athletic writes (subscription required). Foster re-signed to stay in Pittsburgh last year and has started 145 games at guard with the Steelers since 2009. A cut would save the cap-strapped Steelers $4MM. The Rams released Barron last year; he caught on with the Steelers and started nine games. Pittsburgh still has Vince Williams under contract and would save $5.25MM by dropping Barron.

Jets Release Kelechi Osemele

The Kelechi Osemele saga took another turn Saturday. The Jets released the veteran guard, who recently underwent a shoulder surgery that has been a point of contention between he and the team.

Osemele is set to miss the rest of the season, and this transaction will be a key point in an off-field battle between the eighth-year guard and the Jets. Gang Green promoted linebacker James Burgess from its practice squad to take Osemele’s roster spot.

With this move coming instead of an IR designation, a grievance will follow. A $579K fine came Osemele’s way last week, with Rich Cimini of ESPN.com reporting the Jets docked him a full game check — the maximum amount possible in this case. Osemele was set to earn $5.2MM over the rest of this season, which contained a $9.85MM base salary.

The Jets owe him the balance of his contract both under the standard injury guarantee provision of the player contract and under termination pay. We will pursue … all fines to be rescinded through grievances,” said Andrew Kessler, one of Osemele’s agents (Twitter link via Cimini).

The Jets acquired the 30-year-old blocker from the Raiders this offseason, with the move requiring only a Day 3 draft pick. The two-time Pro Bowler started in three Jets games but did so despite shoulder pain. He left the Jets’ Week 3 game due to the injury and said he needed surgery. The Jets pivoted to Alex Lewis at left guard but soon contested Osemele’s stance, with reports circulating the team and doctors believed he could play through the pain. Osemele’s camp insisted that was not the case, indicating even painkillers were not allowing him to perform effectively. A successful surgery commenced Friday.

The NFLPA announced it would back Osemele in this process, which has certainly accelerated Saturday. The former second-round pick was playing on the then-guard-record five-year, $58.5MM deal he signed with the Raiders in 2016. Osemele was due an $11.35MM non-guaranteed base salary next season, but the Jets were expected to release him after this season. Osemele’s team and the NFLPA are also considering to-be-determined actions against the Jets’ team doctors, with the surgery revealing more damage than anticipated.

This saga has not painted the Jets in the best light, with the issue raising eyebrows among current Jets players and respective agents. The team is unlikely to prevail in the forthcoming grievance, barring evidence indicating Osemele encountered the injury away from the team or sought surgery in order to preserve himself for free agency, Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap tweets.

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Latest On Jets, Kelechi Osemele

Kelechi Osemele’s Friday surgery went well, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter) hears. As a result, his season is over, but his fight in the trenches against the Jets is just getting started.

Osemele’s reps and the NFLPA are now “considering specific action against the Jets’ team doctor for violations of State Medical Board Regulations,” Schefter reports. Osemele’s camp says that the damage found in his shoulder was more extensive than anticipated and he is expected to argue that the Jets were acting irresponsibly by trying to force him back on the field prematurely.

The Jets traded for Osemele in the offseason and inherited the remaining two years on his contract. At this point, it seems like his Jets tenure will be capped at three games.

Moving forward, the Jets will deploy Alex Lewis at left guard as they duke it out with Osemele off of the field.

Jets’ Kelechi Osemele Undergoes Surgery

Even though the Jets have oddly listed Kelechi Osemele as doubtful for Week 8, the veteran guard has a clearer timetable now. Osemele followed through with the shoulder surgery he planned to have, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com tweets. He will certainly not be playing in Week 8 or for the foreseeable future.

Osemele and the Jets have been at odds over his injury, with the team taking the stance the offseason trade acquisition could play through this pain while Osemele has contended he could not. It’s certainly possible his Jets tenure will be capped at three games.

The Jets were rumored to be considering Alex Lewis to start over Osemele anyway, and the ex-Ravens guard will continue to man the team’s left guard spot. The Jets fined Osemele for not practicing last weekend, taking an unusual position on this matter — one the NFLPA will contest on Osemele’s behalf, if necessary. The Jets are expected to release the 30-year-old lineman in the offseason, doing so rather than having to pay his $11.35MM 2020 salary. None of that money is guaranteed.

The former All-Pro blocker has battled injuries over the past two years, and his camp indicates even with pain-killing assistance he could not play through this pain. The Jets’ stance may not be going over especially well with some of their roster, with Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News tweeting the team’s actions have raised eyebrows.

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NFLPA Supports Kelechi Osemele

The Jets and Kelechi Osemele disagree on the best treatment for his injured shoulder. Osemele plans to have surgery to repair it while Jets team doctors feel that it’s an unnecessary procedure and the franchise has fined the offensive lineman for conduct detrimental to the team as a result of the disagreement. Now, the NFL Players Association has weighed in (via Twitter).

“Our union supports every player’s right to a second medical opinion, workers’ compensation and the best medical care,” the statement reads. “It is not appropriate or ethical for employers in any line of work to dictate the medical care and treatment of any employee. We are considering all options to protect Kelechi Osemele, as we would for any of our members.”

Jets coach Adam Gates has refused to comment on the situation. “I haven’t been involved in this. My job is coaching the team,” Gase said (via Rich Cimini of ESPN.com). Per Cimini, Osemele hasn’t spoken to Gase in “weeks” but the guard has no beef with the coach.

Jets’ Kelechi Osemele Expects To Be Released

Kelechi Osemele says he “100%” expects the Jets to release him this offseason (Twitter link via Dennis Waszak of the Associated Press). This comes after a bitter back-and-forth between Gang Green and the guard regarding his readyness from shoulder surgery.

Meanwhile, Osemele’s agents say he will undergo surgery on Friday, with or without the Jets’ approval, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. If the Jets push back, they say “he will have all of his rights under the CBA enforced through the legal process.”

The Jets fined Osemele this week and it seems likely that the veteran will respond for a grievance. At this point, it would be surprising if the Jets didn’t also suspend Osemele for conduct detrimental to the team.

Osemele, who has been one of the game’s better interior linemen throughout his career, seems ready to move on from the Jets.

It’s been killing me,Osemele said Friday. “I’m just trying to get this done. I’ve done everything I can. I’ve been at work every day, waking up at 5 in the morning, doing all the rehab and the treatments and stuff like that. I’m like the last dude out of here at night. I’m doing everything I can. I’m working with my agent. We’re communicating with the team. There’s just not communication between the team and my doctor and my agent. It’s just been butting heads for whatever reason. Hopefully, it gets resolved soon.”

Soon, the Jets may move on from him.

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AFC East Notes: Jets, Mosley, Fitzpatrick

C.J. Mosley was one of the biggest free agent signings of the offseason. The Jets poached the inside linebacker from the Ravens for a record-setting contract. His career in New York has struggled to get underway due to injuries. Playing in just his second game of the season on Monday against the Patriots, Mosley re-aggravated his groin injury.

According to Rich Cimini of NFL.com, the organization is concerned about Mosley’s health. Head coach Adam Gase told reporters that “It might be more than the groin.” In fact, Gase’s comments suggested there is a certain level of uncertainty and that doctors are in the middle of a “deep dive” into his health.

Here is some more news from around the AFC East:

  • Jets starting quarterback Sam Darnold is limited and limping after a toe nail removal procedure, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. The report notes that the operation does not put Darnold at risk of missing any upcoming games, but the injury will limit him in practice. Darnold returned to action in Week 6 after missing over a month recovering from mononucleosis.
  • In a separate tweet, Cimini noted that there was no sign of offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele at Jets practice today. When Gase was asked the organization’s stance on Osemele, he refused to comment. Osemele has been refusing to practice with a shoulder injury that it appears the team believes he can play through. The team has since fined him and this case could very well be headed towards a grievance. Regardless, a recent update from Pro Football Talk has reported that Osemele plans to proceed with shoulder surgery this week.
  • The Dolphins hapless season has had few storylines worth following. However, after stepping in for young quarterback Josh Rosen, Ryan Fitzpatrick put up a strong performance against a very good Bills defense. Head coach Brian Flores told reporters that Fitzpatrick earned another start, according to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. Going forward, Fitzpatrick will prepare to play the Steelers next week on Monday Night Football.

Latest On Jets’ Kelechi Osemele

The Jets have followed through on their threat to fine guard Kelechi Osemele, as Ralph Vacchiano of SNY writes. Osemele refused to practice this week and, according to agent Andrew Kessler, it’s due to a dispute about his shoulder injury.

Osemele’s doctors told him that he needs season-ending surgery. The Jets, meanwhile, ordered him to retake the field. Osemele refused, hence the fine.

He only previously had been able to play this season by taking Toradol, given to him by the team doctor before every game,” a source close to the situation told NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). “Despite taking those extremely strong pain masking narcotics, he still was in a great deal of pain while playing and is no longer able to continue doing that.”

Osemele has also been open about his level of pain and frustrations with the team.

It’s been killing me,” Osemele said Friday (via Brian Costello of the New York Post). “I’m just trying to get this done. I’ve done everything I can. I’ve been at work every day, waking up at 5 in the morning, doing all the rehab and the treatments and stuff like that. I’m like the last dude out of here at night. I’m doing everything I can. I’m working with my agent. We’re communicating with the team. There’s just not communication between the team and my doctor and my agent. It’s just been butting heads for whatever reason. Hopefully, it gets resolved soon.”

With the trade deadline just days away, it stands to reason that Osemele could be shopped to clubs in need of interior line help. Or, before the Tuesday deadline, the Jets could suspend him for conduct detrimental to the team.

Jets, Kelechi Osemele Disagree On Surgery Decision?

The belief that Kelechi Osemele needs surgery does not appear to be universal at Jets headquarters. While the veteran guard said he needs to undergo a shoulder operation, the team is not in lockstep here, per Brian Costello of the New York Post (on Twitter).

The Jets have instead cleared Osemele to play, per Costello, who adds there may be consequences coming for the former All-Pro blocker. Determining this was a pre-existing injury, and deeming it as something Osemele can play through, the Jets want him to practice on Saturday. Should this not occur, Costello adds Osemele will face discipline for conduct detrimental to the team (Twitter links). A team doctor and an independent doctor have cleared Osemele, according to ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini.

Osemele, however, said those doctors informed him he did, in fact, need surgery for an injury suffered Aug. 5. He aggravated the injury in Week 3. The Jets believe Osemele initially suffered the injury when he was still a Raider, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY notes. This could become a contentious situation.

I think they just want me to play through the injury, but obviously I tried to go and I can’t go,” Osemele said Friday. “I’ve been doing everything I can and it’s just not there. I can’t control that. It’s an injury. It’s torn. So until it’s fixed, I can’t really do anything… It’s pain; it’s strength; it’s instability. I can’t lock my arm out. I can’t stop a guy from bull-rushing me. I just can’t do my job.”

This news comes on the heels of the eighth-year guard being mentioned in trade rumors. Were Osemele to be traded, he must pass a physical. The 30-year-old lineman does not believe he would do that. This obviously hurts any trade value the high-priced blocker would have.

The Jets added Osemele via offseason trade, which Mike Maccagnan orchestrated. He is signed through 2020, still tied to the massive contract the Raiders gave him in 2016. Osemele is making $9.8MM this season and is in line for a non-guaranteed $11.3MM salary — one the Jets are unlikely to pay when it comes time to determine Osemele’s place on their 2020 team. In three starts, Osemele graded as Pro Football Focus’ No. 45 overall guard, which followed an injury-plagued 2018 season that saw him fall off his Pro Bowl-caliber perch. A Joe Douglas trade acquisition, Alex Lewis has started the past two games at left guard for the Jets. He is in line to make a third start Monday against the Patriots.

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Jets’ Kelechi Osemele To Have Surgery

The Jets’ can’t seem to shake their bad luck. Guard Kelechi Osemele is set for shoulder surgery, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). 

Osemele has missed the team’s last two games, including their upset win over the Cowboys on Sunday. Just when things seemed to be turning around for Gang Green, the injury bug reared its head again. The Jets lost wide receiver for the season Quincy Enunwa due to a neck injury, they’re still waiting on linebacker C.J. Mosley‘s return, and they’ll be without one of their star lineman as they look to build on their first W.

The Jets acquired Osemele via trade with the Raiders this offseason with the hope that they would patch up their porous offensive line. So far, that hasn’t happened, and it’ll be even more challenging to open up holes for Le’Veon Bell and protect Sam Darnold‘s spleen from here on out.

The 1-4 Jets will face the Patriots in New Jersey on Monday night.

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