Kyle Fuller

NFC Notes: Panthers, Bears, Eagles, Cards

Multiple concussions have felled superstar Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly this season, though the 25-year-old unsurprisingly told media Wednesday that he isn’t mulling retirement. “I’m holding off that retirement word for a little ways down the road,” he said (via Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk). “It’s something you appreciate everybody concerned with how you’re doing, but whenever my opportunity comes back I’ll be back out there.” Kuechly has recovered from the concussion that he suffered Nov. 17, but the Panthers haven’t cleared him to return to action. Considering they’re 6-8 and all but out of playoff contention, it would behoove the defending NFC champions to keep Kuechly out until next season.

More from the NFC:

  • The Bears designated cornerback Kyle Fuller to return from injured reserve last month, but it turns out they won’t activate him, as Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune writes. There’s now a belief within the organization – including from defensive coordinator Vic Fangio – that Fuller wasn’t eager to come back this season from August knee surgery, per Biggs. Head coach John Fox addressed that, saying, “That’s hard to measure. Looking inside people is not real easy.” The likelihood now is that Fuller – a 2014 first-round pick – has played his final game with the organization, suggests Biggs, who notes that the Bears would take a late-round choice for him. Fuller, who appeared in all 32 games (30 starts) in his first two years and racked up six interceptions, is under contract next season for a relative pittance ($1.74MM-plus). He’s also controllable for 2018 by way of a fifth-year option, but it’s likely his employer – whether it’s the Bears or another team – will decline to exercise it by next spring’s deadline.
  • After Eagles left tackle Jason Peters earned his ninth Pro Bowl selection Tuesday, head coach Doug Pederson spoke out against the idea that the soon-to-be 35-year-old could be an offseason cap casualty. “I love him,’’ Pederson said (per Paul Domowitch of Philly.com). “I want him on the team. I don’t want him to go anywhere. I want him to be an Eagle for the rest of his career. Once we get through these next two games, we’ll address all of that.” Notably, Howie Roseman – not Pederson – has final say when it comes to the Eagles’ roster. Further, releasing Peters in order to avail the left tackle position for well-compensated right tackle Lane Johnson would free up $9.2MM in cap space against $2MM in dead money next year. Moving on from Peters would also significantly weaken the Eagles’ line, though, evidenced by his ninth-place ranking among 79 qualifying tackles at Pro Football Focus.
  • The Cardinals have an impressive class of 2017 free agents on the horizon, and general manager Steve Keim says he’s already touched base with the agents for many of those players, a list that includes Chandler Jones, Calais Campbell, Tony Jefferson, Andre Ellington, and Jermaine Gresham, among others. “One thing public does not generally know, we have spoken to many agents regarding players whose contracts expire after the season and some whose contracts do not expire after the season that we’d just like to try to extend,” Keim told Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com. “There are several players we’d like to have back, but it takes two sides.”
  • The Packers worked out former Aggies punter Taylor Symmank on Wednesday, according to a source who spoke with Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle (on Twitter).
  • The 49ers plan to sign former Texas kicker Nick Rose to a reserve-future deal in the the offseason, tweets Wilson.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

NFC North Notes: Bears, Fuller, Vikes, Peterson

The Bears announced last week that defensive back Kyle Fuller would be their IR/return player, and Fuller is practicing today for the first time since he was placed on injured reserve in late September. This opens the 21-day window for the team to evaluate the former first-round pick. Chicago head coach John Fox said last week he would be “surprised” if Fuller wasn’t participating in workouts soon, and that level of optimism could be an indication that Fuller could return to game action quickly.

Here’s more out of Chicago:

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 Place Kyle Fuller On IR

The Bears have lost another key defender, as the club announced that cornerback Kyle Fuller has been placed on injured reserve. Fuller could return from IR at some point, down the line, but he’ll have to miss a minimum of eight weeks.Kyle Fuller (Vertical)

[RELATED: Bears Sign Joique Bell]

Fuller, 24, hasn’t played yet this season while battling a knee injury. The third-year pro underwent a knee scope last month, and his recovery has gone much slower than expected. A full-time starter in each of his first two seasons, Fuller’s loss is just another blow to a Chicago defense that can’t afford many more hits. For now, the Bears will lean on Tracy Porter, Jacoby Glenn, Bryce Callahan, Deiondre’ Hall, and others to hold down the fort in the secondary.

Chicago sits at 0-3 on the season, and their lackluster play on the defensive side of the ball has contributed to the club’s woes, as the Bears’ defense ranks 27th in DVOA. The Bears have already lost Lamarr Houston for the season, while Danny Trevathan and Eddie Goldman will miss several weeks with their own injuries.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Updates: Sunday

Several big names who have been contending with injuries are expected to suit up for their Week 7 matchups today. Be sure to check back here when the games begin to keep an eye on any significant injuries that may arise over the course of today’s action:

  • Falcons‘ offensive lineman Peter Konz will have an MRI tomorrow, but a source has said that the injury is considered to be severe and will cost him the trip to London if not more, reports Vaughn McClure of ESPN (via Twitter).
  • Bills‘ running back Fred Jackson‘s injury is thought to keep him out of the lineup for a maximum of four weeks, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). He notes that four weeks is the worst-case scenario.

Earlier Updates:

  • Fred Jackson suffered a groin injury during today’s game, and he will miss at least two weeks, per La Canfora (on Twitter). The Bills have a bye during Week 9, so it’s possible the veteran running back could return for Week 10.
  • Bears first-round cornerback Kyle Fuller has suffered a broken hand in addition to a hip pointer, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (Twitter link). There’s no word on how long the rookie will be sidelined, but as La Canfora notes, “it’s hard to play corner [with one] hand.”
  • In an unfortunate turn of events, Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman broke his foot during warmups, head coach Pete Carroll told reporters, including Terry Blount of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
  • Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict had already been dealing with concussion issues during recent weeks, and now head coach Marvin Lewis tells reporters, including Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer (Twitter link), that Burfict has a “cervical neck strain.”
  • Having recovered from a minor groin injury, Chargers cornerback Brandon Flowers was forced from today’s game against the Chiefs with a concussion, tweets Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star.
  • Ravens long-snapper Morgan Cox tore his ACL, head coach John Harbaugh told reporters, including Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter link). Harbaugh confirms the team will immediately begin looking for a new LS.
  • Saints center Jonathan Goodwin had to be helped off the field during Sunday’s loss to the Lions, according to Marc Sessler of NFL.com. Tim Lelito is Goodwin’s direct backup.
  • Also per Sessler, Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo suffered a pectoral injury today, and will undergo an MRI tomorrow. A significant injury to Orakpo could mean more playing time for rookie Trent Murphy.
  • ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets that Bengals WR A.J. Green will not play against the Colts.
  • Saints TE Jimmy Graham is expected to take the field against the Lions today, but he wants to test his shoulder prior to the game before officially declaring himself ready, tweets ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Schefter adds (via Twitter) that even if Graham does play, he is not expected to start, and NFL Network’s Albert Breer tweets that he expects the Saints to use Graham in red-zone packages as they have done when he has been banged up in the past.
  • NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets that Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin, who has been dealing with a concussion, has been cleared to play against the Packers this afternoon.

OTA Previews: Panthers, Bears, Seahawks

It’s the calm before the storm tonight, as most teams are set to begin OTAs either tomorrow or Wednesday. Given that, let’s take a quick look at some of the main storylines to follow as we inch ever closer to training camp:

NFC Roundup: Suh, Cowboys, Bears, Eagles

Despite the fact that he will be attending organized team activities this week, Ndamukong Suh continues to be the subject of trade rumors. According to Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report, teams are still contacting the Lions to inquire about Suh, despite Detroit claiming that no teams have shown interest (Twitter links). A trade of the All-Pro defensive tackle would yield almost $3MM in cap space for the Lions, but Suh’s 2014 $12.55MM base salary would probably prove too costly for any team looking to acquire him. In order for a trade to take place, it would probably take a willingness from Suh to restructure his deal, along with a first- or second-round pick heading to Detroit.

More news from the NFC:

  • The Cowboys have a fondness for Boise State players, so it was logical that the team surrendered its second- and third-round picks to move up and select BSU linebacker Demarcus Lawrence, writes Rainer Sabin of the Dallas Morning News. “We like Boise guys,” said Dallas head coach Jason Garrett. “We always take a hard look at where the player has played, what kind of program [it is] and what that program is all about. They do a great job up there. It’s a very competitive program. The players that come out of there compete; they play hard. We’ve got two of them,” he said, referencing Orlando Scandrick and Tyrone Crawford.
  • Jason Witten was pleased with the Cowboys draft, as he believes the selection of guard Zack Martin shows Dallas wants to improve to the running game, according to Carlos Mendez of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I think it says a lot about where our football team’s headed,” said Witten. “It was huge for us, because for a long time, we didn’t have that solidified. I think it speaks volumes for where we’re at and where we’re trying to go.”
  • Despite the presence of veteran corners Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings, Bears first-rounder Kyle Fuller is expected to contribute in 2014, specifically because of the spread offense. “Typically, at least half of the snaps that you’ll play in the season will be with five defensive backs in the game,” said defensive coordinator Mel Tucker. “And sometimes you’ll go into game weeks or games and almost every snap will be in sub personnel…A third corner is like a starter. A third corner plays as much if not more than your third linebacker in a 4-3″ (per Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times).
  • Eagles second-rounder Jordan Matthews is expected to replace Jason Avant in the slot, and fellow rookie receiver Josh Huff isn’t thought of as a field-stretcher, but that hasn’t stopped the DeSean Jackson comparions, writes Martin Frank of USA Today.
  • 49ers coach John Harbaugh is known as a quarterback guru, and after San Francisco added Josh Johnson to compete for the third QB role, Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com ran through the extensive list of signal-callers that Harbaugh and company have brought in over the past three seasons.

Bears, Kyle Fuller Agree To Terms

The Bears continue to lock up their 2014 draft picks faster than any other team in the league, becoming the first club to reach an agreement with a first-rounder. According to the team (via Twitter), Chicago and cornerback Kyle Fuller have agreed to terms on a four-year contract, which includes a fifth-year club option.

Fuller, the 14th overall pick in the draft, should be in line for a signing bonus worth about $5.365MM, according to Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap, who projects the overall four-year value of the corner’s contract at $9.687MM.

The Bears now have just one draftee left to sign, having locked up all their picks except for Arizona State’s Will Sutton. I’d expect the club to announce a deal for Sutton within the next few days.

NFC Notes: Eagles, 49ers, Giants, Packers, Saints, Gettleman

Eagles GM Howie Roseman met with the media following the first-round selection of Marcus Smith 26th overall, and Philly.com’s Jeff McLane had seven follow-up thoughts. Most notably, Roseman shared his initial plan of attack. Plan A entailed the team having a list of six players likely to be gone by No. 22 (where the Eagles originally were position prior to the trade down) but worth moving up for. To the best of McLane’s knowledge, that list included Anthony Barr, Odell Beckham Jr., Kyle Fuller, Ryan Shazier, Brandin Cooks and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.

When those players were gone, Roseman was prepared to move down, pick up an additional pick and choose the best player available. McLane is ” not convinced Smith was at the top of that list, but of the players there he played a premium position of need and thus was moved to the front.” McLane also spoke to other teams’ representatives whose grades on Smith ranged from second to fourth round.

Here’s several more quick-hitting, NFC news and notes:

  • The Eagles place on emphasis on college graduates, says Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer (via Twitter).
  • The Giants drafted Weston Richburg 43rd overall last night, and what made him attractive to the team was his ability to not only block effectively, but handle the responsibility associated with the position, says ESPN’s Dan Graziano. [Tom] Coughlin and GM Jerry Reese both said the center’s responsibility for handling line and protection calls will increase under new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo. Giants VP of player evaluation Marc Ross said Richburg scored an impressive 31 on the Wonderlic test and impressed the Giants in his combine interview with his intelligence.”
  • The 49ers were very active Friday night, making five trades that netted veteran receiver Stevie Johnson as well as running back Carlos Hyde (No. 57), center Marcus Martin (No. 76), linebacker Chris Borland (No. 77) and offensive lineman Brandon Thomas (No. 100). Eric Branch at sfgate.com recaps the team’s busy day here. The 49ers also have seven picks in the final four rounds.
  • The 49ers deep stable of running backs now includes Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter, LaMichael James, Marcus Lattimore and Hyde. James wants more playing time and is open to a trade, but the team has no plans to move him, says ESPN’s Bill Williamson.
  • The Packers are confident Davante Adams is the next in a long line of productive receivers drafted in the second and third round, writes Bob McGinn in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
  • Redskins second-rounder Trent Murphy, whom the team expects to contribute right away as a nickel rusher, “protects the team’s long-term interests at OLB,” tweets NFL Network’s Albert Breer.
  • With the selection of big cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste 53rd overall, the Saints continue to build a “Seattle-like secondary,” writes Larry Holder of Nola.com.
  • The Panthers announced via Twitter that GM Dave Gettleman will draft remotely via Skype today so he can be present for his son’s college graduation.