Kyzir White

Chargers Place LB Kyzir White On IR

Kyzir White‘s promising rookie season has likely come to an end. The Chargers announced that they’ve placed the linebacker on the injured reserve. The team has promoted cornerback Jeff Richards from the practice squad to take the open roster spot.

White, a fourth-round pick out of West Virginia, was moved from safety to linebacker shortly after being selected in the 2018 draft. He ended up earning one of the starting gigs, and he proceeded to start each of his three games. In those three appearances, White compiled 17 tackles, two passes defended, and one interception. The 22-year-old didn’t end up playing enough snaps to earn a spot on Pro Football Focus‘ rankings, but his score would have placed him just outside the top-30 among 81 eligible linebackers.

Unfortunately, the rookie suffered a knee injury during Week 3, and he subsequently underwent surgery. The organization presumably thought that he’d be able to return to the field before the end of the season, explaining why they kept him on the active roster for so long.

Richards, a 2013 undrafted free agent out of Emporia State, has spent time in the AFL, CFL, and NFL. Besides a brief stint with the Buccaneers, he’s spent most of the past two seasons on the Chargers practice squad. He had a standout preseason, compiling 11 tackles and one pass defended.

AFC Notes: Raiders, Fins, Bengals, Chargers

If Jon Gruden had his way, safety Derwin James would be patrolling the Raiders‘ defensive backfield instead of the Chargers’. Gruden today told reporters that he preferred to select James in the first round of this year’s draft, but Oakland had already used high picks on safeties — Karl Joseph and Obi Melifonwu — in recent years, per Eric Williams of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The Raiders ultimately used the 15th overall selection on UCLA offensive tackle Kolton Miller, who is now manning Derek Carr‘s blindside. James has emerged as an early Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate with his play in Los Angeles, but Gruden’s remarks can be interpreted as a subtle dig at Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie, who reportedly hasn’t meshed with Gruden.

Here’s more from the AFC:

  • Dolphins safety Reshad Jones will be available for Week 5 after missing the previous two weeks with a shoulder injury, writes Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com. Jones was sidelined for Miami’s games against Oakland (win) and New England (loss), forcing rookie defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick to take over at safety opposite T.J. McDonald. With Jones’ return, Fitzpatrick will move back into his natural slot corner role. Jones, who entered the league as a Dolphins fifth-round pick in 2010, has been a full-time starter since his second season in the NFL. Last spring, he inked a long-term extension that should keep him in South Beach through 2021
  • Rookie Bengals center Billy Price hasn’t suffered any setbacks since suffering a foot injury in Week 2, but he’s still expected to be in a walking boot for at least two more weeks, tweets Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com. That means Price will miss games against the Dolphins and Steelers, and possibly more if his recovery timeline is extended. Cincinnati’s bye comes in Week 9, so the Bengals could potentially hold Price out through then if they want to be cautious. With Price out, the Bengals have turned to former starting guard Trey Hopkins to fill in at the pivot.
  • Chargers linebacker Kyzir White underwent a minor knee operation on Monday and will miss Week 5, head coach Anthony Lynn told reporters, including Williams (Twitter link). White isn’t expected to miss much time, however, and should be back “sooner rather than later,” per Lynn. A fourth-round rookie out of West Virginia, White has started three games for Los Angeles this season, racking up 12 tackles in the process. Jatavis Brown should see more snaps in White’s absence.

Extra Points: Manziel, Thomas, Bolts, Browns

It does not appear the Johnny Manziel saga will return to the NFL until at least the end of the decade. Manziel’s two-year contract with the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats is a binding deal, and CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora tweets no escape clause for the purposes of venturing to the NFL exists in the league’s collective bargaining agreement. The CFL previously voted on a possible escape-hatch option, but the proposal was rejected. La Canfora adds Manziel’s professional football options will come exclusively in Canada for the next two years (Twitter link). The NFL may be a faraway bridge considering how the former Heisman Trophy winner fared in his two years with the Browns and the many months that went by without any team showing significant interest.

As for Manziel’s deal, La Canfora reports (on Twitter) the 25-year-old passer will earn a $122K base salary in 2018. An additional $10K signing bonus is included, as well as an $18K housing stipend. La Canfora adds $10K escalators will trigger if Manziel hits six-, 10- and 14-game benchmarks this season. He’ll receive a $120K bonus if he plays in half the snaps, per JLC, and a $75K offseason bonus is due on March 1, 2019. Manziel’s 2019 salary spikes to $202K, and the same incentives are present.

Shifting back to the NFL, here’s the latest:

  • In supporting his former Seahawks teammate, Richard Sherman revealed a bit about Earl Thomas‘ goals for what will be his third NFL contract. “I think Earl Thomas deserves the money he’s asking for,” Sherman told former teammate and current NFL Network analyst Michael Robinson on Saturday (via NFL.com). “I think he deserves to be compensated as the top safety in the league. Whether Seattle does that or not is up to them.” Financial figures haven’t really emerged regarding this potential standoff, but if the Seahawks are to pay top dollar for their three-time All-Pro defender, it will cost them more than $13MM per year. And that could be a bridge too far for a retooling team that’s dangled Thomas in trades. When Thomas agreed to his initial Seattle extension, his $10MM-per-year salary paced NFL safeties. Five are now ahead of him.
  • Hue Jackson has repeatedly said he would like Tyrod Taylor to start throughout this season. But cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot does not see the Browns opting to re-sign Taylor after this season. She expects Mayfield to make a serious charge for the starting role at some point this season. If it turns out Taylor is a catalyst that leads the Browns to a major turnaround, Cabot expects him to hit the market as a coveted commodity — and one the Browns will not be paying for — in 2019.
  • The Chargers drafted Kevin White‘s younger brother, Kyzir White, in the fourth round. And the Bolts will move Kyzir from safety to linebacker, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. Denzel Perryman has one of Los Angeles’ linebacker spots locked down, with Kyle Emanuel and former seventh-round pick Hayes Pullard tentatively slotted in the other spots. The Bolts also drafted USC’s Uchenna Nwosu in the second round. But it doesn’t appear White will factor into the Bolts’ safety picture behind Jahleel Addae and Derwin James at this time.
  • The Saints gave UDFA tight end Deon Yelder $90K guaranteed to sign, Joel Erickson of The Advocate notes. A former wide receiver recruit at Western Kentucky, Yelder spent time behind current Rams tight end Tyler Higbee and current Seahawks left tackle George Fant while with the Hilltoppers prior to receiving plenty of playing time last season. New Orleans has struggled to replace Jimmy Graham and recently cut Coby Fleener. Yelder will try to make a team that has 37-year-old Benjamin Watson and Josh Hill atop its depth chart.
  • In a lower-stakes matter, the Patriots have $215 committed to Malcolm Butler on this year’s payroll, per Ben Volin of the Boston Globe. Apparently, one day of workout cash last offseason didn’t get tallied until now.

Chargers Sign Five Draft Picks

First-round safety Derwin James is now the only Chargers 2018 draft pick without a contract, as Los Angeles announced that the following selection have signed their rookie deals:

Third-round defensive tackle Justin Jones is also under contract, leaving James as the sole holdout. NFL rookie deals are now a breeze to negotiate thanks to the league’s most recent collective bargaining agreement, but James will likely sign his deal soon. First-rounders are often able to push for certain contractual issues, such as timing of bonus payments, but James is participating in the Chargers’ rookie minicamp even without a pact.

Most of the players signed by Los Angeles today will likely need to make their rookie mark on special teams duty, but Nwosu could have a chance at playing time in 2018. Although largely an edge rusher at USC, Nwosu probably won’t see much time as a pass-rusher given that the Chargers already employ Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. But the 6’2″, 240-pounder could find a role as a inside ‘backer, an area of weakness for the Bolts.