Kendall Fuller

East Notes: Williams, Mills, Flowers

Trent Williams has been one of the most-discussed players in the NFL for about a year now, and it presently does not sound like the Redskins are close to trading their disgruntled left tackle. One of the more overlooked talking points, however, is what happens if a trade is not completed?

We recently heard that the team does not plan to release Williams, which means he would remain under contract with the Redskins through 2020. And holding out wouldn’t earn him any leverage with the Redskins or with a team interested in trading for him, so as Albert Breer of SI.com writes, Williams would have no choice but to play for Washington next season. He clearly does not want that to happen, but at this point, his clearest path to a lucrative new deal may be to stick it out for one more season with the ‘Skins and prove he is still a top-tier LT.

Let’s round up a few more items from the league’s east divisions:

  • CB Kendall Fuller is back with the Redskins on a four-year deal, and he tells John Keim of ESPN.com that a number of factors brought him back to D.C. The Baltimore native played his collegiate ball at Virginia Tech and was drafted by the Redskins in 2016, so Washington is home for him. He also cited new head coach Ron Rivera and Rivera’s reputation for developing CBs as a draw, along with the defensive staff as a whole. Fuller indicated that he does not know if he will play primarily in the slot or outside the numbers (Twitter links).
  • The Eagles brought back Jalen Mills on a one-year, $4MM pact, and the club plans on transitioning him from cornerback to safety in the wake of Malcolm Jenkins‘ departure. Mills says that Philadelphia was the only team that wanted to move him to safety (Twitter link via Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94 WIP), but obviously that switch was agreeable to the 2016 seventh-rounder. It’s fair to wonder, however, exactly how much interest Mills was generating as a CB on the open market.
  • Ereck Flowers couldn’t hack it as an offensive tackle in the NFL, but he has reinvented himself as a guard and parlayed a strong showing at LG with Washington in 2019 into a surprising three-year, $30MM contract with the Dolphins last month. This will not come as much of a surprise, but Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald says Miami intends to have Flowers line up at guard, though his experience at tackle made him attractive to head coach Brian Flores, who clearly targeted FAs with positional versatility.
  • The Bills opted against giving WR/KR Isaiah McKenzie an RFA tender, but they did re-sign him to a one-year pact just the same. McKenzie told Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News that he did have other free agent offers, but despite the fact that he is unlikely to see more playing time with the Bills in 2020 than he did in 2019, his preference was to return to Buffalo (Twitter link).

Redskins Sign Kendall Fuller

Kendall Fuller is headed back to D.C. The Redskins have reached agreement with the cornerback on a four-year deal worth $40MM, as NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets

The Redskins selected Fuller in the third round of the 2016 draft and shipped him to the Chiefs in 2018 in the Alex Smith deal. Now, he’s coming back to where it all started and he’ll help fill the gap after the club moved on from Josh Norman.

Fuller, 25, appeared in eleven games for KC last year and tallied 49 tackles. For his career, he’s appeared in 55 games for the Redskins and Chiefs. Fuller has usually garnered strong marks from Pro Football Focus, and he had the game-sealing interception of Jimmy Garoppolo to give the Chiefs their Super Bowl LIV victory.

Washington has clearly made upgrading the defense a priority under new head coach Ron Rivera, and they’ve already made several moves on that side of the ball. Fuller should be a building block in the secondary for years to come.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Notes: Broncos, Chiefs, Johnson

The Bryce Callahan situation is moving closer toward the Broncos not seeing him on the field this season. After a report surfaced indicating the offseason signing now may miss the season, Vic Fangio said (via the Denver Post’s Ryan O’Halloran, on Twitter) seeing Callahan on the field this year has become a 50-50 proposition. Fangio said earlier this week he was hopeful his former Bears pupil would suit up in 2019. The Broncos signed both Callahan and Kareem Jackson to patch up their secondary, but the former continues to struggle to shake off the foot trouble that ended his 2018 season early. With contract-year standout Chris Harris still a trade candidate, though a player that may end up staying, the Broncos’ long-term cornerback situation is in as bleak of a place since before the franchise’s 2004 Champ Bailey acquisition.

Here is the latest from the West divisions, shifting first to another key Broncos signing:

  • Denver’s Ja’Wuan James investment has gone almost as poorly as its Callahan addition. James suffered an injury in the first quarter of the Broncos’ Week 1 game and has missed every snap since. However, the well-paid right tackle is expected to start this week, Troy Renck of Denver7 tweets. James is believed to be set to play in a part-time capacity, with a three-tackle rotation between he, Garett Bolles and Elijah Wilkinson in the cards. Wilkinson has started the past six Broncos games at right tackle.
  • In addition to Patrick Mahomes‘ Week 8 absence, the Chiefs will be without Frank Clark. The team declared its top defensive end out with a neck injury. Chris Jones, Kendall Fuller and Eric Fisher will miss another game as well. Clark broke out for a dominant performance against Bolles in Kansas City’s Week 7 win, but the offseason acquisition will have to wait until at least Week 9 to build on that performance.
  • However, the Chiefs will have Sammy Watkins back. The oft-injured wide receiver suffered a hamstring injury in Week 5, but ESPN.com’s Adam Teicher notes he will play against the Packers. In Year 2 of a $16MM-AAV deal, Watkins has not caught a pass since Week 4.
  • David Johnson enters this week’s Cardinals game in the same place he did the past two games: as a game-time decision. Kliff Kingsbury said (via AZCardinals.com’s Darren Urban, on Twitter) the former All-Pro back does not need practice to suit up for a game, but with Chase Edmonds playing well in relief, this shapes up as a true game-time call. Johnson suited up for Week 7 but spent most of his afternoon on the sideline. Both Christian Kirk and Jordan Hicks are game-day calls as well.

AFC Notes: Dareus, Broncos, Green, Chiefs, Darnold

Marcell Dareus will undergo surgery today to repair a core muscle injury, sources tell Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). The defensive lineman is expected to miss 4-6 weeks for Jaguars.

Here’s more around the AFC:

  • Broncos coach Vic Fangio said it was “possible” that CB Bryce Callahan will miss the rest of the season, Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic tweets. Callaham underwent stem cell treatment on his foot last month and the original projection was 4-to-6 weeks.
  • A.J. Green did not practice today for the Bengals and isn’t expected to play against the Rams in London, Ben Baby of ESPN.com tweets. LT Cordy Glenn will also not play in the contest.
  • DE Frank Clark (neck), DT Chris Jones (groin), LB Darron Lee (illness) and CB Kendall Fuller (thumb) all missed practice for the Chiefs today, Herbie Teope of Kansas City.com tweets. Patrick Mahomes is practicing again for the second-straight day.
  • Sam Darnold was limited in practice today, Brian Costello of the New York Post relays (Twitter link). Darnold was a non-participant for the Jets on Wednesday because of a toe ailment.

2019 Proven Performance Escalators

According to the NFL’s contractual bargaining agreement, players drafted in rounds three though seven are entitled to raises during the fourth year of their respective rookie contracts. The pay bumps are tied to playing time — a player must have played in 35% of his team’s offensive or defensive snaps in two of his first three seasons, or averaged 35% playing time cumulatively during that period.

If one of these thresholds is met, the player’s salary is elevated to the level of that year’s lowest restricted free agent tender — that figure should be around $2MM in 2019. Players selected in the first or second round, undrafted free agents, and kickers/punters are ineligible for the proven performance escalator.

Here are the players who will see their salary rise in 2019 courtesy of the proven performance escalator:

Bears: RB Jordan Howard, LB Nick Kwiatkoski

Bengals: LB Nick Vigil

Broncos: G Connor McGovern, S Will Parks, S Justin Simmons

Browns: S Derrick Kindred, LB Joe Schobert

Buccaneers: G Caleb Benenoch, DE Carl Nassib, CB Ryan Smith

Chargers: LB Jatavis Brown

Chiefs: CB Kendall Fuller, WR Tyreek Hill, S Eric Murray, WR Demarcus Robinson

Colts: QB Jacoby Brissett, T Joe Haeg

Cowboys: CB Anthony Brown, DT Maliek Collins, QB Dak Prescott

Dolphins: RB Kenyan Drake

Eagles: CB Jalen Mills, T Halapoulivaati Vaitai

Falcons: LB De’Vondre Campbell, TE Austin Hooper, G Wes Schweitzer

Jaguars: DE Yannick Ngakoue

Jets: LB Jordan Jenkins, CB Rashard Robinson, T Brandon Shell

Lions: C Graham Glasgow

Packers: LB Kyler Fackrell, DE Dean Lowry, LB Blake Martinez, LB Antonio Morrison

Patriots: G Joe Thuney, LB Elandon Roberts

Rams: G Austin Blythe, TE Tyler Higbee

Ravens: DE Matt Judon, OL Alex Lewis, CB Tavon Young

Saints: DT David Onyemata

Steelers: DT Javon Hargrave

Texans: DT D.J. Reader

Titans: S Kevin Byard, WR Tajae Sharpe

OverTheCap.com was essential in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. 

Chiefs CB Kendall Fuller Unlikely To Miss Time

Although Chiefs cornerback Kendall Fuller underwent surgery for a fractured wrist, he’s not expected to miss much — if any — game action. Kansas City head coach Andy Reid says Fuller’s injury is a “short-term thing,” and indicated Fuller has a “good chance” to play against the Seahawks on Sunday night, as Brooke Pryor of the Kansas City Star tweets.

The Chiefs are still the heavy favorites to secure both the AFC West and the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC playoffs, but neither outcome is assured. Kansas City still controls its own destiny — if it defeats Seattle and Oakland to close out the season, KC will win the AFC West. However, if the Chiefs drop one of their games and the Chargers win out, Los Angeles will take the division and the No. 1 seed.

Fuller, whom the Chiefs acquired along with a third-round pick in exchange for quarterback Alex Smith, is arguably Kansas City’s best cornerback (although contract year Steven Nelson is giving him a run for his money). While the Chiefs’ defense hasn’t been great overall, that’s largely reflective of their struggles against the run. Fuller & Co. rank 15th in pass defense DVOA, while Kansas City is last in rush defense DVOA.

The 23-year-old Fuller has played nearly every defensive snap (98.4%) for the Chiefs this season, so the club will certainly be affected if he’s forced to miss even a single contest. Pro Football Focus has been a fan of Fuller’s 2018 work, grading him as the league’s 30 cornerback among 116 qualifiers. If Fuller can’t go on Sunday, Kansas City would likely move nickel corner Orlando Scandrick into the starting lineup.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chiefs’ Kendall Fuller To Have Wrist Surgery

Chiefs cornerback Kendall Fuller is believed to have a fractured wrist that will require surgery, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. There’s no word on Fuller’s timetable for recovery, but it’s likely that he will miss the final two games of the regular season and his availability for the playoffs is very much in question. 

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Fuller valiantly played through the pain in Thursday night’s loss to the Chargers, but he’ll have to miss at least a couple of games after going under the knife. It’s a bad blow to a pass defense that already ranks dead last in the league.

Even with Fuller on the field, and help from Eric Berry in the first half, the Chiefs’ secondary was less than stellar on Thursday. Fuller personally picked up two penalty flags at inopportune times: a five-yard holding penalty in the second quarter and a defensive pass interference call in the end zone with seconds left in the game. After each penalty, the Chargers scores.

The Chiefs will move forward with Steven Nelson starting on one side. To replace Fuller, they’ll draw from a group that includes Orlando ScandrickCharvarius Ward, and Tremon Smith.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chiefs To Acquire CB Kendall Fuller

The Chiefs will receive cornerback Kendall Fuller from the Redskins as part of the Alex Smith trade, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Kansas City is also acquiring a 2018 third-round pick from Washington.Kendall Fuller (Vertical)

The Redskins’ decision to part with Fuller in exchange for Smith is fairly surprising given that Fuller is still only 22 years old and performed like one the NFL’s best cornerbacks in 2017. Fuller played two-thirds of Washington’s defensive snaps a season ago and graded as the league’s No. 6 cornerback, per Pro Football Focus. Football Outsiders was also a fan of Fuller’s work, as the former third-round pick ranked second in success rate and eighth in yards per pass allowed.

Fuller’s contract situation is also appealing, as he still has two years left on his rookie deal. While the Redskins have agreed to a four-year, $94MM extension with Smith, Fuller will earn less than $1.5MM from 2018-19. That’s incredibly important for the Chiefs, who were projected to be nearly $10MM over the cap when the 2018 league year began in mid-March.

Now that he’s in Kansas City, Fuller figures to step immediately into the club’s starting lineup opposite fellow cornerback Marcus Peters. The Chiefs ranked just 23rd in pass defense DVOA in 2017, but they now have the opportunity to revamp their secondary, as Terrance Mitchell, Kenneth Acker, and Phillip Gaines are all scheduled to hit free agency in roughly six weeks. Veteran Darrelle Revis is technically under contract for 2018, but he’ll be released before his $10MM guarantee kicks in on March 14.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Cowboys’ Jaylon Smith

The Cowboys and Jaylon Smith have received some good news. The linebacker’s damaged nerve is regenerating, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). He has a long way to go, but he can now lift is foot and is getting back muscle control.Jaylon Smith (vertical)

Earlier this offseason, word was that Smith’s nerve would not be coming back to life and that he would be forced to play football with drop foot. The plan was for the Notre Dame product to play the season with a brace that would stabilize his leg, making him the first NFL player to ever attempt to take the field with the condition. However, the latest developments are a positive sign for Smith and may allow him to play at 100% – or something close to it.

Over the weekend, word emerged that Smith could be ready in time for team OTAs. This could be wishful/premature thinking, but there’s certainly reason for hope now in Dallas.

In his final season at Notre Dame, Smith compiled 115 tackles, one sack, and one forced fumble. Prior to his unfortunate injury, Smith was widely projected as a top 10 pick in the 2016 draft. Instead, he fell to the Cowboys in the second round. If he’s able to make a recovery, Dallas’ risk could pay major dividends in 2017.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Redskins Sign Third-Round Pick Kendall Fuller

The Redskins have signed third-round cornerbackKendall Fuller, as Master Tesfatsion of The Washington Post tweets. With Fuller signed, the Redskins have now inked every member of their 2016 draft class. Kendall Fuller (vertical)

Heading into the draft, some teams had concerns over Fuller’s injured knee, but a medical re-check in April yielded positive results. Fuller, the fourth member of his family to play at Virginia Tech, went pro in lieu of playing out his senior season. If Fuller did not have injury concerns attached to him, it’s conceivable that he could have gone somewhere in the second-round.

Here’s the full rundown of the Redskins’ 2016 draft class:

Washington Redskins

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