Kevin White

NFC Notes: Bears, OBJ, Rodgers, Kaepernick

Bears wide receiver and 2015 first-round pick Kevin Whitecan’t be a lock to make the 53-man roster coming out of preseason,” according to the Chicago Tribune’s Bradd Biggs.

Briggs continues by saying, “White is guaranteed a little more than $2.69MM this season. While there is offset language in his contract, there’s no way another team would pay him that kind of money, so the Bears would be on the hook for at least a portion if they were to release him. It’s not enough money to say he’s locked into a spot.”

The sentiment is not a shocker. After the Bears overhauled their receiving corps with Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel and rookie pass catcher Anthony Miller, the injury-prone wideout will have to make an impact on the field to assure his roster spot.

The second receiver taken in 2015, behind Amari Cooper, White boasted an impressive combination of size, speed and strength that projected the West Virginia product to be Chicago’s future No. 1 receiver. Instead, he has been ravaged by injuries that have limited him to just five games in three seasons. He flashed signs of progress in 2016 with back-to-back six-catch games, but he immediately suffered a high ankle sprain that resulted in a fracture and sidelined him for the remainder of the season.

Briggs notes that he has made progress and all signs are pointing positive early at OTAs. “The coaches are saying the right things about him. They like the way he looks. They like his work ethic and approach.”

If White is able to produce at even a fraction of his potential in 2017, Mitch Trubisky will have plenty of weapons to operate with in his sophomore campaign.

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • The Giants and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. could be nearing a contract showdown, writes Ralph Vacchiano of SportsNet New York. Once the Pro Bowl pass catcher is cleared to fully practice he could opt for a holdout since he has yet to publicly dismiss an earlier report that he “will not set foot on a field without a contract extension.” Though that option is not a certainty, Vacchiano notes Beckham’s leverage is rather strong, in that the Giants are in win-now mode with an aging quarterback who has struggled without his go-to receiver. Holdouts rarely go the way of the player, but we’ll see if Beckham tries to buck the trend.
  • When the Packers sit down at the negotiating table with Aaron Rodgers on an extension, one thing the quarterback will be looking for is a possible out on his deal, reports NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo (Twitter link). “Another aspect that I’m told is extremely important to [Rodgers] is player control — How much control can he have on his future,” Garafolo said. The All-Pro quarterback will almost assuredly become the highest-paid player in the league when he signs a deal, which seems like a slam dunk at this point, but his ability to have an out in the deal is one thing to keep an eye on. 
  • The attorney for former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and safety Eric Reid, Mark Geragos, told reporters, “I would stay tuned because this case is about to take a dramatic turn.” Asked about the claim, Geragos added, “somebody has decided they were to dime out the NFL for what they were doing.” This implies there being a witness who can contradict the NFL’s stance that each team decided neither player can help their roster. There is sure to be more to develop in this case in the coming days.

Bears Won’t Exercise Kevin White’s Option

The Bears won’t pick up wide receiver Kevin White‘s option for 2019, a source tells Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). This was the expected move since White has been plagued by injuries so far in his young career. 

As a wide receiver taken in the top ten of the 2015 draft, the extra year for White would have cost a whopping $13.9MM. He is now officially entering his contract year, which could give him an opportunity to line up a nice payday in Chicago or another city. Last year, the Bears declined cornerback Kyle Fuller‘s option due to his up-and-down performance and he responded with a strong showing in 2018 that resulted in a new four-year deal worth $56MM with $18MM in guaranteed money.

Before White can dream of a substantial multi-year deal, however, he’ll have to focus on his health. The talented West Virginia product missed his entire rookie season due to injury and has appeared in a combined five games over the last two years.

Wednesday marks the deadline for teams to exercise the fifth-year option for eligible players. To keep track of all 32 decisions, check out PFR’s 2019 Fifth-Year Option Tracker.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC North Notes: Vikings, Teddy, Bears

There has been a lot of talk about whether Teddy Bridgwater will start for the Vikings upon his return, but GM Rick Speilman says the team is only focused on his health (link via Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com).

All we’re concerned about is where he is this week,” Spielman said. “I know we’re evaluating him in practice every day. And then we’ll have to make a decision coming up next week — not if he’s going to start or not start, but if he’s going to come up to the 53. That’s the next step. And then, from there, the coaches will determine the rest of the way.”

The 6-2 Vikings have a Week 9 bye. After that, the team will assess where Bridgewater is in his recovery.

Here’s more from the NFC North:

  • The Vikings didn’t make any moves at the trade deadline but GM Rick Spielman indicated that several teams reached out about some of the team’s younger players (Twitter link via Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com). Leading up to Halloween, Spielman said that the Vikings had some concerns about their depth at running back beyond Jerick McKinnon and Latavius Murray. However, they feel pretty set after claiming Mack Brown off of waivers from Washington.
  • The Bears have not seriously discussed bringing wide receiver Kevin White back from injured reserve this season, coach John Fox told reporters (Twitter link via Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune). White, unfortunately, was never viewed as an IR-DTR candidate, so Fox’s announcement doesn’t come as a big surprise.
  • The Packers‘ interest in Brian Hoyer was “cursory, at best,” according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). After Hoyer signed with the Pats, it was reported that Green Bay had interest in signing the QB. Either way, the Packers will forge ahead with Brett Hundley as their No. 1 quarterback while Aaron Rodgers nurses a broken collarbone.

Bears To Place Kevin White On IR

Bears coach John Fox confirmed to reporters on Monday morning that Kevin White has suffered a fractured scapula. White will be placed on injured reserve, though it’s currently unclear whether he’ll be a candidate to return later in the year. Kevin White (vertical)

Fox says that surgery is a possibility for White. An operation, presumably, would knock him out for the year. If White can avoid surgery, then he may be able to take advantage of the league’s newly modified IR-DTR rules. Teams can bring two players off of IR during the season each year, though players must spend a minimum of eight weeks on the sidelines.

This is yet another frustrating setback for White, who has played in just five games in three seasons thus far. White, a West Virginia product, was selected with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2015 draft. Although he is immensely talented, it’s not clear if he’ll ever be able to stay healthy.

With White sidelined, the Bears are hoping that Markus Wheaton will be ready to go in Week 2. The former Steeler was not able to go in the season opener as he recovers from finger surgery. Another free agent addition, Kendall Wright, could be in line for additional targets while White is out.

Bears’ Kevin White To Have Surgery?

The Bears fear wide receiver Kevin White has a broken bone in his shoulder and will require season-ending surgery, reports Dan Graziano of ESPN.com. Kevin White (vertical)

If confirmed, White’s latest injury will be simply another health-related setback for the former No. 7 overall pick. White, who missed the entirety of his rookie campaign, has appeared in only five games through two-plus NFL seasons. In 2016, White started four games and managed 19 receptions for 187 yards.

White, 25, is signed through 2018, and will fully guaranteed salaries of $1.9MM and $2.7MM over the next two years. The Bears hold a 2019 fifth-year option on White, but it will almost assuredly be declined. Not only has White not been available to post the kind of production that would make the option worthwhile, but his injury history could easily result in the option becoming fully guaranteed, an untenable outcome from the team’s perspective.

Chicago had already lost one wideout earlier this year, as Cameron Meredith went down with a torn ACL during the preseason. Markus Wheaton, Kendall Wright, Josh Bellamy, Deonte Thompson, and Tre McBride now comprise the remaining Bears’ receivers. Tanner Gentry, currently on Chicago’s practice squad, is conceivably a candidate to be promoted to the active roster.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bears’ Kyle Fuller To Return From IR

Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller is primed to come back from injured reserve, perhaps early next week, head coach John Fox said Friday.

Kyle Fuller (Vertical)

“I’d be pretty surprised depending on how it goes after [Friday] because he had a pretty brisk workout [Friday], if he’s not practicing Monday,” Fox told Adam L. Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Fuller underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in August and has been on IR since Sept. 27. Once the Bears designate him to return, they’ll have a three-week window to activate the 24-year-old. At 2-8, Chicago’s hopes for 2016 are dashed, but it would be beneficial for the team to continue evaluating Fuller in advance of the offseason. The Bears have to decide on Fuller’s fifth-year option for 2018 by the spring, though they’re unlikely to exercise it, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune wrote in September. A 2014 first-round pick, Fuller has started in 30 of 32 games – including all 16 last year – and intercepted six passes.

When Fuller comes back, the season will officially end for another of the Bears’ recent first-rounders, receiver Kevin White. The second-year man landed on IR on Oct. 5 with a fractured fibula. Injuries have limited White to just four games since the Bears chose him seventh overall in 2015.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bears To Bring CB Kyle Fuller Back?

The Bears may be looking to designated cornerback Kyle Fuller for return from injured reserve, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune (on Twitter). Fuller will take his first step towards game action when he practices on Wednesday. If everything checks out, he may get to play again this season.Kyle Fuller (Vertical)

Teams are only permitted to bring one player back from IR during the season, but it sounds like Kevin White‘s season is through either way. From what Biggs hears (Twitter link), it sounds like it will be either Fuller returning or no one returning. The team was hoping that White could return from leg surgery, but he was not able to recover in time for this season. To date, White has only 191 NFL snaps to his credit.

It will be interesting to see how the increased uncertainty around White affects the Bears’ offseason plans. The Bears cannot reasonably give Alshon Jeffery a franchise tag for the second year in a row and a long-term deal may be ill-advised after his recent positive test for PEDs. However, White was supposed to be the heir apparent at wide receiver. If they cannot trust White to stay upright for a full season, they may have to bite the bullet and work out a new deal with Jeffery.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bears To Place Kevin White On IR

The Bears announced that they are placing Kevin White on IR. White suffered a severe high-ankle sprain over the weekend that resulted in a fractured fibula. Kevin White (vertical)

The second-year wide receiver – who is effectively in his first year after missing his whole rookie season – will weigh his options over the next couple of months. If he can avoid surgery, then White may be a candidate to return for the final month or so of the season. If he goes under the knife, then he’s likely done for the year. The team also will have to weigh the prospect of bringing White back against bringing another player off of IR. Cornerback Kyle Fuller, another first round talent, is also considered to be a candidate to return.

White asserted himself as a part of the offense with Jay Cutler early on in the season. When Cutler suffered a thumb injury, he showed that he had a good rapport with Brian Hoyer as well. White drew a whole bunch of targets in the last two weeks of action, but it will be a while before we see him on the field again.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Bears WR Kevin White

Bad news for the Bears. Wide receiver Kevin White will be out for an extended period of time with his ankle injury, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweetsKevin White (vertical)

After missing his entire rookie season with a shin injury, losing White for multiple games would sting extra hard. This was supposed to be White’s breakout campaign and the Bears were eager to see what the No. 7 overall pick in the 2015 draft could do this year.

White, 24, caught 19 passes for 187 yards in four games this year. Things were ramping up for White in the last two weeks as he caught passes from Brian Hoyer. Between the games against the Cowboys and Lions, the second-year receiver saw a total of 23 targets.

The Bears already have six wide receivers on the depth chart, so they don’t necessarily have to add anyone to fill in for White. Alshon Jeffery leads that WR group with Eddie Royal, Deonte Thompson, Joshua Bellamy, and Cameron Meredith in support.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/3/16

Today’s minor moves:

  • Tackle Matt Pierson signed with the Texans, and the team cut cornerback Cleveland Wallace to make room, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports (Twitter links).
  • The Bengals announced that they have signed cornerback Corey Tindal. The Marshall product initially joined the Bengals as a UDFA in May. Tindal should give the Bengals some extra depth in practice as they deal with injuries to their other corners.
  • The Saints announced that they have added UDFAs safety Jamal Golden and guard Jordan Walsh. In a corresponding move, the Saints waived defensive tackle Lawrence Virgil and waived/injured wide receiver Kyle Prater and safety Alden Darby.
  • The Ravens have signed running back Stephen Houston, as Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun tweets.
  • The Ravens released punter Michael Palardy, as Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com tweets.
  • The Jets waived defensive back Kendall James, who had been on the PUP list, with an injury designation, as Darryl Slater of NJ.com tweets. They signed running back Terry Williams to replace him.
  • The Steelers signed tight end Jake Phillips and cornerback Kevin White, according to Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (on Twitter). To make room, the Steelers waived/injured tight end Mandel Dixon and wide receiver Shakim Phillips.
  • Former South Carolina defensive lineman Gerald Dixon Jr. is signing with the Cowboys, Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times tweets.
  • The Dolphins have waived wide receiver Tyler Murphy, as Ben Volin of The Boston Globe tweets.
  • The Redskins announced the signing of free agent offensive lineman Isaiah Williams, Mike Jones of The Washington Post tweets.
  • The Bears are expected to sign veteran fullback Darrel Young, Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune tweets. Young is an experienced blocker in the zone scheme and also plays special teams.
  • Wide receiver Ryan Spadola has reverted to the Lions‘ IR after going unclaimed on waivers, as Justin Rogers of The Detroit News tweets.