Ken Crawley

Saints CB Ken Crawley Signs RFA Tender

Saints CB Ken Crawley has signed his original round RFA tender, as veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer tweets. We learned last week that Crawley would be signing the tender, as he had not garnered any interest from rival clubs.

The lack of interest is not surprising, even though a team that signed Crawley to an offer sheet would not have needed to send any draft compensation to the Saints (since Crawley entered the league as an undrafted free agent). Crawley was demoted from his starting role prior to New Orleans’ Week 3 matchup last year, and although he was reinstated as a starter for the next three contests, he wound up appearing in only ten games and did not return to the starting lineup.

That was quite a contrast from his 2017 campaign, when he started all 13 games that he appeared in. But in 2018, Crawley finished as a bottom-three cornerback, per Pro Football Focus‘ advanced metrics, and although he is now under contract for 2019, his $2.025MM salary is not guaranteed, so he could be cut without any cap repercussions.

For his career, Crawley has 128 tackles, an interception, a forced fumble, and 31 passes defensed.

 

South Rumors: Texans, Falcons, Saints

The Texans have received positive health news on two offensive players, as both receiver Will Fuller and left tackle Matt Kalil are expected to be ready for the regular season after sustaining injuries in 2018, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (all Twitter links). Fuller averaged a career-high 15.7 yards per reception in seven games before suffering a torn ACL, but he’s now recovering nicely. Kalil, who inked a one-year deal with Houston after being released by Carolina, missed all of last year while dealing with a knee issue, but general manager Brian Gaine says Kalil is expected to compete with Julien Davenport to start on Deshaun Watson‘s blindside.

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

  • Alabama State offensive tackle Tytus Howard is a second-round target of the Falcons, tweets Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.net. Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com lauds Howard’s size (6’2′”, 322) and ability to “explode out of his stance,” but notes potential concerns about Howard’s level of competition in the FCS. Atlanta owns the 45th pick, so Howard could certainly be available when the Falcons make their second-round selection. Although Atlanta recently extended incumbent right tackle Ty Sambrailo, his new contract is essentially a one-year deal with multiple team options. Howard has also met with the Jets during the pre-draft process.
  • Defensive tackle Tyeler Davison‘s one-year deal with the Falcons will qualify as a minimum salary benefit contract, according to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Davison will collect an $895K base salary ($110K guaranteed) and a $90K signing bonus, but he’ll only carry the salary cap charge of a second-year veteran plus his signing bonus — a total of $660K. A fifth-round pick in the 2015 draft, Davison started 48 games over the past four seasons in New Orleans, and will now give Atlanta a run-stuffing option alongside fellow defensive tackle Grady Jarrett.
  • Saints cornerback Ken Crawley is planning to sign his original round restricted free agent tender when New Orleans begins its offseason program on Monday, as Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com writes. As of yet, Crawley has not received any interest from any rival clubs, and isn’t expected to until Friday’s deadline for RFAs to sign offer sheets. Crawley is now scheduled to earn $2.025MM for the 2019 campaign, but none of that total is guaranteed, an important distinction given that Crawley isn’t a lock to make the Saints’ roster after finishing as a bottom-three cornerback last season, per Pro Football Focus.

RFA/ERFA Tender Decisions: 3/13/19

Here is the latest news involving restricted free agents and exclusive-rights free agents, with updates coming throughout the day:

ERFA

Tendered:

Non-tendered:

RFA

Tendered at second-round level: 

Tendered at original-round level:

Non-tendered: 

Extra Points: Jets, Bowles, Seahawks, Thomas, Saints, Crawley, Raiders, Hall

Not too long ago, the Jets were riding high off their Week 1 Monday Night Football win over the Lions as they kicked off the Sam Darnold era and all was well in New York. Now things have gone south quickly, as the team has dropped two straight games to the Dolphins and Browns. And although coach Todd Bowles recently landed a contract extension that locks him up through the 2020 season, his job isn’t necessarily safe writes Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.

While Vacchiano cautions that these first couple games wont determine Bowles’ future, he writes that “the feeling around the Jets is still that the 54-year-old Bowles isn’t really that safe at all.” It’s an interesting development considering Bowles was widely praised last season for leading the team to a surprise 5-11 record. Before last season, Bowles had been thought to be on one of the hottest seats in the entire league. It will be interesting to watch play out, but it looks like Bowles might not be the coach of the future in New York.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Earl Thomas didn’t practice for the Seahawks today, and coach Pete Carroll was extremely vague about why according to Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times. Carroll said it wasn’t an injury and was something the team was dealing with, but wouldn’t commit to Thomas playing this Sunday. This immediately revived trade rumors that have surrounded Thomas all year, but it doesn’t seem like he’ll be on the move at this point. The team that was most-linked to Thomas this offseason, the Cowboys, aren’t pursuing him at the moment as EVP Stephen Jones said the team was “not exchanging any calls or any information at this time” according to Jon Machota of Dallas News (Twitter link). It’s a strange situation, and while it doesn’t seem like he’ll be traded, Condotta writes “no one will say” why he isn’t practicing.
  • The Saints’ defense, particularly their secondary, has struggled mightily this year. A large part of the problem has been cornerback Ken Crawley, who has now been benched ahead of the team’s Week 3 matchup with the Falcons according to Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com (Twitter link). Fourth-year player P.J. Williams will move into the lineup in his place.
  • Raiders cornerback Leon Hall was hospitalized after the team’s Week 2 game against the Broncos according to Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Hall has a sickle cell trait issue that can flare up at altitude. He’s expected to play for this team this Sunday in Miami.

 

Marshon Lattimore To Miss Week 13

The Saints are set for a crucial game against the Panthers, but they won’t have one of their top defenders in that game.

Marshon Lattimore will miss Week 13, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (on Twitter). The ankle injury that kept the standout rookie out of the Saints’ Week 12 game in Los Angeles will do the same today, with Rapoport noting the team is exercising caution to protect its top cornerback.

The Ohio State product tested the ankle before the home game, but it didn’t go well, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.

Lattimore’s work has been a big reason why New Orleans has been able to stampede back into the playoff race, and his team missed his presence last week in a loss to the Rams. Jared Goff‘s 327 passing yards marked the most the Saints had yielded since Week 2, a week before their eight-game win streak commenced. Ken Crawley also missed last week’s game, but Lattimore’s running mate is expected to play today. Fellow corner P.J. Williams is questionable.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Marshon Lattimore Ruled Out For Week 12

The Saints are going for their ninth win in a row this Sunday when they travel to Los Angeles to take on the Rams. However, New Orleans must try and win on the road without their outstanding rookie cornerback, Marshon Lattimore, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).

"<strongThe 11th overall pick in last May’s draft has been dealing with an ankle injury all week and just couldn’t recover enough to suit up for this weekend’s contest. Rapoport also passes along that the Saints will be without defensive back Ken Crawley as well, so the team’s secondary is about to look much different in Week 12.

Despite the injury, Lattimore is in the middle of a tremendous rookie campaign as he grades out as the fourth best corner in the entire league, accumulating a stellar 92.7 overall score from Pro Football Focus this season. The former Ohio State Buckeye was always expected to be an instant impact type of player, but has passed all expectations in his first nine games of his professional career.

Without their two top corners, the Saints will rely on backups P.J. Williams, De’Vante Harris and Justin Hardee to hold down the back-end of the defense. The team also recently agreed to bring in veteran defensive back Sterling Moore earlier in the week, probably in preparation for the news that was revealed today.

The Saints defense has been one of the better units in football, especially during the team’s winning streak, but it will certainly be tested without Lattimore locking down one side of the field.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/31/16

Here are the minor moves NFL teams made on New Year’s Eve.

  • Another Saints cornerback will head to IR, with the team placing Ken Crawley on the season-ending list, Nick Underhill of The Advocate tweets. Crawley will join Delvin Breaux, P.J. Williams, Damian Swann and Kyle Wilson as IR-stationed corners in New Orleans. The team promoted cornerback Taveze Calhoun, a rookie UDFA, from its practice squad to fill the roster spot. Crawley started in five games for the Saints this season.
  • The Bears promoted Josh Shirley from their practice squad, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reports (on Twitter). Chicago will be without Leonard Floyd and Pernell McPhee in its Week 17 game against Minnesota. Shirley resided on the workout circuit for much of this season before catching on with the Bears’ practice squad earlier this month. The 24-year-old UDFA edge defender played in five games for the Buccaneers last year.
  • The Vikings promoted wide receiver Isaac Fruechte from their practice squad, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. Minnesota moved safety Andrew Sendejo to IR (Twitter link, via Tomasson) to make room for the UDFA second-year man. Both Stefon Diggs and Laquon Treadwell are doubtful for the Vikes’ season finale, creating the need for some pass-catching depth. A knee issue will end Sendejo’s season prematurely. He finished his seventh NFL campaign with 66 tackles and a career-high two interceptions.
  • It appears the Chargers are going to finish with an even 20 players on IR this season after the team placed cornerback Craig Mager on the season-ending list, Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports (on Twitter). Inside linebacker Carlos Fields received a promotion from the practice squad as a result.

Saints Sign 19 Undrafted Free Agents

The Saints have announced the signing of 19 undrafted rookie free agents. The full list of Saints UDFAs is below:

AFC Rumors: Steelers, Patriots, Easley, Texans

The Steelers have used the majority of their pre-draft visits within the last week, and announced several more today. As Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com writes, the following players were in Pittsburgh today to meet with the club: Ole Miss defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche, Alabama cornerback Cyrus Jones, West Virginia safety Karl Joseph, South Carolina wide receiver Pharoh Cooper, Virginia Tech linebacker Dadi Nicolas, Colorado cornerback Ken Crawley, Maryland safety Sean Davis, and Boston College safety Justin Simmons.

Here’s more from the AFC:

  • Arkansas running back Jonathan Williams is visiting with the Patriots at Gillette Stadium today, sources tell Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald (on Twitter). The Pats previously met with the tailback at the combine. Williams, 22, missed the 2015 regular season after undergoing foot surgery. In 2014, he racked up 1,190 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground despite splitting carries.
  • Patriots defensive lineman Dominique Easley has hired agents Drew Rosenhaus and Michael Katz of Rosenhaus Sports for representation, as Rand Getlin of NFL.com tweets. Easley, 23, has been plagued by injuries since being selected by the Patriots in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft. In December of last season, he was placed on IR with a leg injury. In his injury-shortened sophomore year, Easley totaled 15 tackles and two sacks as a part-time player.
  • Texas Tech’s Jakeem Grant is visiting the Texans, as Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle writes. The wide receiver/kick returner has also worked out for the Dolphins, Colts, and Jets. Grant returned four kicks for touchdowns over the course of his collegiate career with the Red Raiders and caught 90 passes for 1,268 yards and 10 touchdowns last season.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.