Kraig Urbik

NFL Workout Updates: 9/27/17

Today’s workout updates, with all links going to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter account:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Detroit Lions

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

  • LSs Andrew East and Anthony Kukwa (link)

Washington Redskins

Dolphins Release Kraig Urbik

Kraig Urbik‘s knee injury was expected to keep him out of Week 1, but the malady may either be more severe or the Dolphins have decided not to wait it out. Miami released the guard with an injury settlement, Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald tweets.

Urbik was expected to start at guard after Ted Larsen‘s biceps injury, but the former Bills starter will not factor into that equation as of now. The recent knee setback Urbik sustained was only supposed to keep him out for a few weeks, post-arthroscopic surgery, but he will be on his own for the time being.

While Urbik could conceivably be brought back after he recovers, this will move the Dolphins to younger players as they continue to search for answers at guard.

The 31-year-old Urbik signed with the Dolphins in 2016 after six seasons with the Bills. He started six games last season and was expected to be the team’s No. 2 option at guard after Larsen’s setback. Now, that could fall to third-year man Jesse Davis or fourth-year player Anthony Steen. A seven-game starter last season at center, Steen started in Miami’s third preseason game. Davis entered the game after a few possessions.

A third-round Steelers pick in 2009, Urbik was a full-time Bills starter from 2011-13.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins Sign Kraig Urbik

3:29pm: Urbik’s deal with the Dolphins is now official, the team has announced (via Twitter).

2:00pm: The Dolphins and Urbik have agreed to terms, tweets Rand Getlin of the NFL Network.

12:14am: The Dolphins are bringing free agent guard Kraig Urbik to team headquarters in Davie and plan on signing him to a contract if everything – including medical tests – goes well, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.Kraig Urbik

Urbik, 30, was selected by the Steelers in the third round of the 2009 draft, but never appeared in a regular season game for Pittsburgh and was waived a little over a year after being drafted. Upon landing with the Bills in 2010, Urbik got the opportunity to see the field, and spent the next six seasons in Buffalo, starting 57 of the 84 games he played for the club.

In 2015, Urbik started four games for the Bills but was relegated primarily to reserve duty. With free agent signee Richie Incognito and 2015 third-rounder John Miller manning the guard spots, Urbik became somewhat expendable in Buffalo, particularly with the team needing to create every bit of cap space it could. He was released at the start of March.

Because Urbik was cut prior to the free agent period, he won’t count toward the compensatory draft pick formula if Miami signs him. For the Dolphins, Urbik would be the second veteran free agent added to the mix at guard. The team also signed former Bears left tackle Jermon Bushrod, intending to move him inside.

Out of 81 qualified guards in 2015, the Dolphins’ two starters – Dallas Thomas and Billy Turner – both ranked in the bottom 15 based on Pro Football Focus’ grades, so it’s no surprise that the team has made it a priority this offseason to add players capable of potentially beating out Thomas and Turner for starting jobs.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills Release Mario Williams, Kraig Urbik

With the Bills prepared to use their franchise tag on left tackle Cordy Glenn, the team is clearing cap room to accommodate today’s move and future offseason business. According to Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (via Twitter), the Bills have let defensive end Mario Williams know that he has been released. Additionally veteran guard Kraig Urbik posted a farewell message to the team and its fans on Twitter, suggesting he has also been cut.Mario Williams (vertical)

[RELATED: Bills place franchise tag on Cordy Glenn]

Williams indicated last week that he would be open to discussing a pay cut to remain with the Bills, but even when he made those comments, he hinted at some concerns about the team’s defensive scheme, suggesting that he would want the team’s coaches to meet the players halfway. The veteran defensive end struggled mightily during his first and only season under new Bills head coach Rex Ryan and defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman, and his released had long been viewed as likely.

In addition to his steep drop in his production this season – he had 19 tackles and five sacks after recording 42 and 14.5 in 2014 – Williams would have been one of the priciest defensive players in the NFL in 2016. His cap charge was set to increase to $19.9MM, which was accompanied by an $11.5MM base salary. Releasing the veteran pass rusher will save the Bills nearly $13MM in cap room, leaving the club with only $7MM in dead money on its books.

Although Williams will be entering his age-31 season in 2016, I imagine many teams will chalk up his 2015 struggles to a poor scheme fit, rather than a possible decline in talent. Given how many clubs will be in the market for pass-rushing help this offseason, Williams should be in high demand on the open market, and he’ll get a week’s head-start on the rest of this year’s pending free agents.

As for Urbik, the 30-year-old has spent his entire six-year career in Buffalo, starting 57 games over the last six years for the Bills. He’s the victim of a cap crunch in Buffalo, with the team in need of every bit of flexibility it can get. The Bills will free up $1.775MM in cap space by releasing Urbik, who wrote on Twitter that he is “excited about my next opportunity.”

Like Williams, Urbik is a vested veteran, so both players will become unrestricted free agents without having to pass through waivers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

New Deals For Kraig Urbik, Bryan Braman

The Bills and Eagles have made minor cap adjustments, modifying the contracts for Kraig Urbik and Bryan Braman, respectively, according to reports. Urbik’s new deal involves him accepting a pay cut, while Braman receives a one-year extension as part of his reworked contract.

According to Mike Rodak of ESPN.com (all Twitter links), the Bills have reduced the 2015 base salary for Urbik – the team’s starting left guard for most of 2014 – by $1.5MM, and sliced his 2016 base salary by $1.7MM. Urbik had been set to receive a $300K roster bonus this month, and likely would have been cut if he hadn’t agreed to the pay cut — instead, he’ll get that $300K in the form of a new signing bonus, and will receive another $150K roster bonus if he spends at least one game on the 53-man roster this fall.

The move reflects Urbik’s new status on the roster, as he appears poised to head into the 2015 season as a backup rather than a starter. The Bills’ addition of Richie Incognito earlier this offseason ensures that Urbik will likely slide down the depth chart at least one spot.

As for Braman, he’ll also take a pay cut for 2015, with the Eagles reducing his salary from $1.2MM to $745K, per Field Yates of ESPN.com (via Twitter). The team added an extra year to the linebacker’s contract as part of the agreement, and he’ll have a $900K base salary for 2016, tweets Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Braman, who contributes almost exclusively on special teams, likely received some modest bonus or guarantee as part of the move.

AFC Links: Manning, Ngata, Hughes, Incognito

Even with a coaching change and big decisions to make on Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas, the Broncos’ offseason will more or less be about whether or not Peyton Manning returns in 2015.

If Tony Dungy is correct, Manning will be back next year, according to the Associated Press on IndyStar.com.

“I was with him last week and he didn’t give me any indication one way or another, but he certainly didn’t say anything to me that led me to believe he wouldn’t be playing,” said Dungy. “My gut feeling is that he’ll be back unless he really has a health-related problem. He enjoys the team. He enjoys his teammates. I think he really wants to come back and play well and not let that be the last game of his career.”

Here are some more links from around the AFC:

  • The Ravens have asked star defensive tackle Haloti Ngata to restructure his contract in the past, but for the first time they have leverage to make such a request this offseason, writes Mike Preston of the Baltimore Sun. Ngata is owed $8.5MM in base salary and will count for $16MM against the cap. Considering the Ravens need to free up money for free agency, the declining Ngata could have to look for a new team if he refuses to restructure his deal, and coming off a four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy, the team holds all the cards.
  • The top priority for the Bills this winter should be figuring out a way to bring back Jerry Hughes, who has developed into one of the league’s most productive pass rushers, writes Jason Fitzgerald in his preview of Buffalo’s offseason at OverTheCap.com.
  • The Bills will host Richie Incognito for an official visit and physical on Saturday, reports James Walker of ESPN (via Twitter). Incognito has not played since being suspended as part of the bulling investigation with the Dolphins. The team needs help at guard, with Erik Pears and Kraig Urbik unlikely to return to the team, writes Mike Rodak of ESPN (via Twitter). The meeting may be merely a formality, as the team is expected to sign Incognito should he pass his physical, according to Tim Graham of the Buffalo News (via Twitter).
  • Cornerback Curtis Brown, a former Steelers third-round pick, will have a workout with the Jets on Tuesday, according to Rand Getlin of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter).
  • Malcolm Butler may be a Super Bowl hero, but the undrafted Patriots cornerback isn’t going to get hung up on one play. He is already concerned with continuing to improve and become a fixture in the NFL, writes Tom Curran of CSNNE.com“I’m going to probably enjoy this moment, I’ll never forget it,” said Butler. “Probably for a couple more days or whatever, however it dies down. Have a little time to relax and then get back to work and just try to prove my point that this one play doesn’t [define] me. I don’t want to be known as a great player for one play, so I’ve got more to prove. So, I’ll have a little relax time and get back to work.”

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

AFC Notes: Cody, Manziel, Hightower, Bills

The Ravens made their release of defensive tackle Terrence Cody official today, cutting ties with him just weeks before he was scheduled to hit free agency. The timing of the move can be explained by Cody’s off-field legal troubles — according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter links), the Baltimore County Police Dept. announced today that Cody has been indicted for animal cruelty by a grand jury, and was processed and released on a $10K bail. In a series of tweets, Zrebiec details the charges against Cody, which include multiple counts of animal abuse or neglect involving a dog, illegal possession of an alligator, and marijuana possession. A former second-round pick, Cody figured to draw some interest in free agency, but the charges against him figure to diminish his value significantly.

Here’s more from around the AFC:

  • The fact that Johnny Manziel has entered rehab does not mean he must be placed in the NFL’s substance abuse program, but the league would have the power to do so. League spokesman Greg Aiello has declined to confirm one way or the other whether the Browns quarterback will enter into the program, according to Mike Wilkering of Pro Football Talk.
  • Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower will undergo labrum surgery now that the team’s season is over, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). Hightower should be ready to go for the 2015 season.
  • Mike Rodak of ESPN.com takes a look at potential release candidates on the Bills, predicting that the team will at least think about cutting linebacker Keith Rivers, guard Kraig Urbik, and cornerback Leodis McKelvin.
  • Prior to hiring Joker Phillips as their new wide receivers coach, the Browns interviewed former Alabama State head coach Reggie Barlow for the position, tweets Adam Caplan of ESPN.com.
  • Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap previews the Chargers‘ offseason, suggesting that the team should do what it can to re-sign free agents like King Dunlap and Brandon Flowers.
  • Titans fans could surely be frustrated by the production of former player (and current Patriots linebacker) Akeem Ayers, but ESPN.com’s Paul Kuharsky believes the organization missed out on another defender who played last night. Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett gave the Patriots fits during the Super Bowl, and Kuharsky wonders what could have been had Tennessee pursued him in free agency in 2013.

Ben Levine contributed to this post.

Latest On Doug Marrone, Bills’ Front Office

2:39pm: A league source tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk that the cause of the heated exchange between Marrone and team officials was the Bills’ decision to sign Kyle Orton so late in the preseason to a contract that suggests he may see playing time this season. As Florio points out, for Buffalo to have a good season, E.J. Manuel will likely need to play well, and bringing in a highly-paid veteran backup a week before the season begins may not be the best approach for building his confidence.

2:06pm: According to a report from Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com, Bills head coach Doug Marrone was recently involved in a “loud verbal altercation” with various members of the team’s front office, including director of player personnel Jim Monos. La Canfora reports that the incident between Marrone and Monos resulted in general manager Doug Whaley and team president Russ Brandon to get involved as well.

La Canfora continues by writing that Marrone has clashed with a few players during the preseason, and that the coach and the front office disagree about the value of certain players, and how they’re being used — that includes guard Kraig Urbik, whom the club reportedly shopped as trade bait recently. According to the CBSSports.com scribe, Marrone also has a “strained relationship” with Monos, and told team execs to “go ahead and fire me” during the aforementioned verbal spat.

While La Canfora’s report seems damning, a pair of Bills beat writers have suggested it may not be entirely accurate. Per Tim Graham of the Buffalo News (via Twitter), a source says Monos wasn’t even present for the reported altercation, and that Marrone’s “go ahead and fire me” comment was made over beers at another time, and was being laughed about in a matter of minutes.

Meanwhile, Joe Buscaglia of WGR 550 has a response from Marrone himself, who indicated that the report is “very much” overblown.

Hey, did we have a discussion? Absolutely. I confirm that absolutely,” Marrone said. “Are we great? We talk every day, three times a day. We talk about a lot of things. We’re competitive and I couldn’t be happier with those guys, I really couldn’t. And then the thing about Jim is great, too, because I was one of the ones that recommended Jim to come here. So there’s a lot of things in that that I think I’ll probably catch a lot of heat on from my friends because it’s just not true.

It makes sense that Marrone would deny, or at least downplay, any tension between him and the front office, so it’s hard to know exactly how much truth there is to La Canfora’s initial report. With expectations on the rise following the addition of wideout Sammy Watkins this offseason, another last-place season in 2014 might mean Marrone’s days in Buffalo are numbered, regardless of whether or not there’s friction amongst the team’s ranks.

As La Canfora notes, it’s also possible that a shake-up could be in the works when the sale process is finalized and the franchise’s new owners take over. However, Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula continues to look like the clear-cut favorite to buy the team, and La Canfora hears that a Pegula win would make it less likely that the franchise is overhauled immediately.

AFC East Rumors: Bills, Urbik, Patriots

We heard yesterday that the Bills had been dangling wide receiver T.J. Graham as a trade chip for several months, but Graham apparently isn’t the only player Buffalo is willing to move. According to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (via Twitter), the Bills have also been gauging potential trade interest in offensive lineman Kraig Urbik, who is set to earn a $2.275MM base salary in 2014 and is seemingly falling out of favor with the team.

As we wait to see if the Bills can find a taker for Graham or Urbik, here are a couple more Bills notes, along with an update on one of their divisional rivals:

  • After having parted ways with Thad Lewis earlier in the week, the Bills are on the lookout for a No. 2 quarterback to back up E.J. Manuel, says ESPN.com’s Adam Caplan (via Twitter). Jordan Palmer was also cut by the team today, so it appears Jeff Tuel will head into the season as Manuel’s backup if Buffalo doesn’t make another move, but the team would prefer someone with more experience, according to Caplan, who identifies Kyle Orton as a possible target (Twitter link)
  • Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk explores the reported bids on the Bills, trying to deduce why the figures cited so far have ranged so significantly. One report, for instance, suggested Jon Bon Jovi‘s Toronto group had bid $809MM for the franchise, while another reported placed the bid between $1 and $1.1 billion.
  • According to Jason La Canfora (via Twitter), there have been “rumblings” that the Patriots may part with Stevan Ridley this week, or that the team may keep just two quarterbacks, which presumably would mean trading or cutting Ryan Mallett. La Canfora adds that he’d be “very surprised” if either of those actually happens, though as we saw with this week’s Logan Mankins deal, the Pats won’t shy away from making unexpected roster moves.

East Notes: Barbre, Pryor, Colon

We learned yesterday in a series of Twitter posts that Eagles‘ offensive lineman Allen Barbre would be given the first opportunity to replace suspended right tackle Lane Johnson but that Barbre would be pushing for more playing time even if Johnson had never been suspended. Today, Geoff Mosher of CSNPhilly.com and Zach Berman of The Philadelphia Inquirer flesh out those thoughts in full articles, noting that Barbre’s strong performance as a reserve in 2013 and the three-year extension he signed last month suggest that he may remain a starter somewhere on the line–he has more experience on the left side than the right–even when Johnson returns.

Now for some more notes from the league’s east divisions:

  • Jeff McLane of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes that the only real positional battle in Eagles‘ camp this year is between Nate Allen and Earl Wolff at strong safety.
  • John Keim of ESPN.com writes that former Redskins running back Tim Hightower was in attendance at Redskins practice on Saturday and would like to return to the league.
  • We also learned yesterday that Jets‘ rookie Calvin Pryor suffered a head injury and possible concussion during practice. Although Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com writes that it was a good sign that Pryor returned to the field on Saturday to watch the remainder of practice, Brian Costello of The New York Post tweets that there was no sign of him when practice began this morning. Costello also tweeted that, since the team will not hold practice tomorrow, it makes senses to give Pryor two consecutive days of rest as a precaution.
  • In better news for the Jets, Costello tweets that Willie Colon is in full pads and appears to be ready to play.
  • Ben Volin of The Boston Globe writes that, despite all the hype that comes with every training camp, the only real goal for the Patriots this summer is to stay healthy.
  • Mark Gaughan of The Buffalo News writes that the battle between Chris Hairston and Kraig Urbik for the Bills’ starting right guard spot will be an intriguing one to keep an eye on as training camp unfolds.