Laken Tomlinson

West Rumors: Raiders, Chargers, Broncos

The 49ers aren’t the only club with interest in former Colts general manager Ryan Grigson, as the Raiders also want to speak to the ex-Indy exec about a front office role, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (Twitter link). Oakland is rebuilding its front office after firing general manager Reggie McKenzie and top lieutenant Joey Clinkscales. Grigson would join a front office that now includes first-time GM — and former NFL Network analyst — Mike Mayock, who was hired earlier this week. The 46-year-old Grigson was fired by the Colts in 2016 after a tumultuous five-year term as GM, and has since worked with the Browns and Seahawks’ front offices.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two West divisions:

  • Two of Sean McVay‘s top assistants will take their interviews with the Bengals on Friday. Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor and pass game coordinator/tight ends coach Shane Waldron will meet with Cincinnati ownership tomorrow, tweets Tom Pelissero of NFL.com. Nearly every candidate in which the Bengals have expressed interest thus far have come from the offensive side of the ball, with the only exception being former Broncos head coach (and ex-Cincy defensive backs coach) Vance Joseph. The Bengals were turned down by Josh McDaniels, but they’ve also asked to meet with Bucs OC Todd Monken and Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy, among others. Bieniemy’s interview with the Bengals — originally scheduled for Friday — will now take place on Saturday, tweets Pelissero.
  • After being designated for return from injured reserve and participating in seven-on-seven drills at the end of December, Chargers tight end Hunter Henry took first-team snaps in practice this week, Los Angeles announced. However, Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn still declined to commit to Henry playing against the Ravens in the first round of the NFL postseason, as Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com tweets. If Henry does play, he’ll be on a “pitch count,” meaning fellow tight ends Antonio Gates and Virgil Green will still see time. Henry tore his ACL in May, but Los Angeles held out hope he’d be available if the club made it to the playoffs.
  • Rams center John Sullivan collected a $1MM bonus by being active for at least 15 games and Los Angeles ranking as a top-five scoring offense and making the playoffs, per Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Sullivan, 33, actually started all 16 games for the Rams in 2018, and has started 31 contests since joining the club last offseason. LA’s line was elite in 2018, finishing No. 1 in adjusted line yards and No. 6 in adjusted sack rate, but Sullivan graded as just the NFL’s No. 32 center, per Pro Football Focus. The Rams hold a 2019 option on Sullivan which would pay him $1.75MM in base salary in addition to a $2.5MM roster bonus.
  • Currently being run by a trust headed by team president Joe Ellis, the Broncos are in need of a permanent owner. That’s likely to eventually be Pat Bowlen‘s youngest daughter, Brittany Bowlen, tweets James Palmer of ESPN.com, who notes Brittany will join the organization “at some point.” Bowlen, 28, could potentially take over in 2021 after a new collective bargaining agreement is put into place, speculates Mike Klis of 9News.
  • 49ers left guard Laken Tomlinson suffered a torn MCL on Sunday, according to a team announcement. That’s relatively good news since the longtime starter was carted off of the field, leading to fears that he had suffered a torn ACL. Tomlinson will not need surgery, so he should be good to go for offseason activities. Tomlinson is under contract with San Francisco through 2021 thanks to the three-year, $18MM extension he signed last summer.

49ers Sign OL Laken Tomlinson To Extension

The 49ers agree to three-year extension with offensive lineman Laken Tomlinson, a source tells Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). The deal is worth a maximum of $18MM with $10MM in guarantees. 

Earlier this year, the Niners declined Tomlinson’s fifth-year option for 2019, which would have cost the team $9.6MM (guaranteed for injury only). Instead, the Niners have opted to extend their period of control over Tomlinson while giving him a guarantee that is roughly in the same range.

The new deal is an indication that Tomlinson has performed well in practice this spring. In all likelihood, he’ll be starting at left guard in September, between left tackle Joe Staley and high-priced center Weston Richburg. First-round pick Mike McGlinchey will hold down the right tackle job while Joshua Garnett, Jonathan Cooper, and Mike Person battle for the top right guard spot.

Tomlinson, 26, was made the No. 28 overall pick in the 2015 draft by the Lions. He started the first two years of his career at left guard for the Lions and served in the same capacity for the Niners after coming over in a trade last summer. Tomlinson missed the 2017 season opener, but played in the next 15 games.

Last year, Tomlinson earned the best marks of his career from Pro Football Focus. He graded out as the league’s No. 32 ranked guard, per PFF, which shows that he is clearly a starting caliber player. Still, the Niners opted to turn down his fifth-year option in order to lock him up at a lesser rate going forward.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers To Decline Laken Tomlinson’s Option

The 49ers are not exercising fifth-year option on left guard Laken Tomlinson, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area tweets. However, he adds that the team still views him as a starter. With that in mind, the Niners will try to keep him around on a deal that will cost less than the $9.6M option.

Tomlinson, 26, was made the No. 28 pick in the 2015 draft by the Lions. He started the first two years of his career at left guard for the Lions and served in the same capacity for the Niners after coming over in a trade last summer. Tomlinson missed the 2017 season opener, but played in the next 15 games.

Last year, Tomlinson earned the best marks of his career from Pro Football Focus. He graded out as the league’s No. 32 ranked guard, per PFF, which shows that he is clearly a starting caliber player. Still, the Niners believe that they can lock him up at a lesser rate going forward.

For now, he’s under contract for one more season as a part of an overhauled Niners offensive line. The Niners project to start three newcomers – guard Jonathan Cooper, center Weston Richburg, and first-round tackle Mike McGlinchey – along with Tomlinson and left tackle Joe Staley.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers To Pass On Laken Tomlinson’s Option?

The 49ers made the decision to pick up the fifth-year option of their own 2015 first-round pick, signifying Arik Armstead is under control for two more seasons. However, they have another decision to make by Thursday — on the Lions’ 2015 first-round choice — and it doesn’t look like such a move will be in the cards.

San Francisco is set to pass on Laken Tomlinson‘s 2019 option, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area reports. While the team has until Thursday to finalize its decision, Maiocco and the Sacramento Bee’s Matt Barrows (Twitter link) don’t believe that will happen.

It would cost the 49ers $9.625MM to pick up Tomlinson’s option. That’s slightly more than what Armstead’s will cost, but Tomlinson has been a better bet to be on the field during his career. He started 32 regular-season games for the Lions from 2015-16 and broke with the 49ers’ starters in 15 games last year.

This would make 2o18 a contract year for Tomlinson, who played well for the 2017 49ers and would be an interesting name on the 2019 UFA market if, in fact, he made it there. San Francisco has big money tied to Joe Staley, but his career is winding down. The 49ers signed Weston Richburg this offseason, however, and added Jonathan Cooper on a cheaper veteran accord.

The 49ers are projected to possess more than $54MM next offseason. While it’s too early for that amount to matter too much, it would appear the team could afford to keep Tomlinson in 2019. But it’s not certain he’ll have the same role by then, with Maiocco noting he, Cooper, Zane Beadles and 2017 UDFA Erik Magnuson will compete for the guard spots this summer. However, Tomlinson — acquired for a fifth-round pick in this year’s draft — may have the inside track considering how he performed last season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC West Rumors: 49ers, Suh, Seahawks

Because of the lack of a solidified position, Jimmie Ward has enjoyed a unique start to his career. He’s been shuttled between cornerback and safety throughout his run with the 49ers, and despite returning to play for the same defensive coordinator in a second consecutive for the first time as a pro, Ward still doesn’t have a surefire position. Robert Saleh used him at safety last season after Jim O’Neil stationed him at cornerback in 2016. He saw action at both spots under Eric Mangini in 2015. Now, the 49ers are again ready to see if he can play outside corner again.

Jimmie Ward is a guy who’s played some outside corner in his career,” John Lynch said, via Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com. “We’re going to experiment with that this offseason and see if that’s viable and give him some time there.”

The 49ers have Richard Sherman and Ahkello Witherspoon penciled in as cornerback starters, and Maiocco reports they don’t intend to re-sign Eric Reid. So, keeping Ward at safety would make more sense from a personnel standpoint. But the team nevertheless intends to persist experimenting with the fifth-year player as a corner. However, Maiocco notes the 49ers view 2017 seventh-rounder Adrian Colbert as a possible starting-caliber safety alongside Jaquiski Tartt.

Here’s the latest from the NFC West:

  • Speaking of positioning, the Rams will play Ndamukong Suh at nose tackle in their 3-4 base set, Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.com reports. Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers will play outside in Wade Phillips‘ base set, and Suh will play a position at which he’s lined up around 3 percent of his career, per Gonzalez. “Those are things that we talked about with Ndamukong,” Sean McVay said earlier this week. “We wanted to make sure, ‘Hey, do you feel good about the way we envision you?” Suh, who’s played only for teams that utilized 4-3 sets in his eight-year career, will see plenty of time as a 4-3 defensive tackle once the Rams are in sub packages. Los Angeles used sub sets 70 percent of the time last season.
  • Expected to be in the mix for wide receivers this offseason, the 49ers instead backed off of this year’s top UFA targets. Maiocco reports they weren’t interested in either Sammy Watkins or Allen Robinson but are expected to target a wideout in the draft. “What you don’t want to do is have a bunch of guys who are OK but are paid like the best,” Kyle Shanahan said. “That’s where you get in trouble and have to stay away from in free agency. It’s usually why the draft is the best way to go.” San Francisco extended Marquise Goodwin this offseason and has Pierre Garcon due back as well.
  • UFA signee Jonathan Cooper will line up at right guard initially for the 49ers. Laken Tomlinson will slot in at left guard, per Maiocco, who adds a slimmed-down Joshua Garnett will compete with Cooper for the right guard job. Tomlinson started 15 games at left guard for the 49ers last season. Last year’s right guard, Brandon Fusco, left in free agency. A 2016 first-rounder, Garnett started 11 games as a rookie.
  • The Seahawks are again in need of a backup quarterback. The team waived Trevone Boykin, and Austin Davis remains unsigned. Colin Kaepernick does not appear to be in the team’s plans, per Brady Henderson of ESPN.com. Kaepernick visited the Seahawks last year before the team signed Davis. Geno Smith met with the team this week, and Mark Sanchez has also been linked to Seattle. Sanchez’s former backup with the Jets, Kellen Clemens, also has ties to new Seahawks OC Brian Schottenheimer. The 34-year-old backup could interest the Seahawks, per Henderson. Clemens also worked under Schottenheimer with the Rams.

Extra Points: Landry, Dolphins, Steelers, Bell

The latest from around the NFL:

  • The NFL has video of the alleged domestic incident that took place between Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry and his girlfriend earlier this year, Andy Slater of WINZ writes. Afterwards, Landry’s girlfriend refused to cooperate with authorities and later called it a false story. Still, the matter is under scrutiny from the Broward County State Attorney’s office as well as the league office.
  • In 2016, Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell demanded $15MM per year in a rap song he made. In a recent freestyle, Bell indicated that he wants $17MM per year, as Adam Bitner of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes. This offseason, Bell turned down a multi-year contract offer worth $12MM per season, opting instead to earn $12.12MM on the franchise tender. He’s been staying away from the team, but he will end his holdout on Friday.
  • 49ers guard Joshua Garnett appears destined for injured reserve to open the season, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area tweets. Barring any further setbacks, it sounds like he’ll be able to return from IR midseason, however. The news on Garnett likely explains the team’s acquisition of Laken Tomlinson on Thursday morning.

NFC Notes: Rams, Peterson, Lions, Bucs

The Rams have made some major changes to their scouting department. According to Jason La Canfora (via Twitter), the team has informed four evaluators that they won’t be back next season. This includes Director of Pro Personnel Ran Carthon, who had held that role for the past five seasons.

Meanwhile, Neil Stratton of InsideTheLeague.com reports (via Twitter) that area scouts Danton Barto, Evan Ardoin and Sean Gustus have also been dismissed. The trio had spent a combined 17 years with the organization.

While the timing may be curious, Michael Gehlken of ProFootballTalk.com notes that the Browns made a similar move around this time last season.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFC…

  • Free agent running back Adrian Peterson has confirmed to ESPN.com’s Josina Anderson that he will indeed be meeting with the Saints (Twitter link). The veteran will travel to New Orleans on Monday and visit with the Saints on Tuesday. The 32-year-old appeared in only three games last season, compiling 72 yards on 37 carries. The Saints are currently rostering four running backs in Mark IngramTravaris Cadet, Daniel Lasco, and Marcus Murphy.
  • Laken Tomlinson, the Lions‘ first-round pick in 2015, started 14 games as a rookie and entered the 2016 campaign as the club’s starting left guard. However, he eventually lost his job to rookie Graham Glasgow and only returned to the starting lineup when Glasgow was shifted to center to fill in for the injured Travis Swanson. Glasgow will enter 2017 as the favorite to be the starting left guard, and given that Detroit is also high on guard Joe Dahl, who was selected in the fifth round of last year’s draft, Tomlinson may be fighting just to stay on the roster, as Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com writes. Making things more difficult for him is the fact that Glasgow and Dahl were selected by current GM Bob Quinn, who inherited Tomlinson from the previous regime. Just last week, Quinn indicated that Tomlinson would not be cut prior to training camp, but a poor performance over the summer could certainly lead to his ouster.
  • We learned earlier today that running back Doug Martin has met with the Buccaneers and is expected to be present for the beginning of the club’s offseason program on Monday.

Rory Parks contributed to this post.

Extra Points: Lions, Long, Bush

Some assorted notes from around the NFL this morning…

  • There were rumors that veteran defensive tackle Haloti Ngata could consider retirement, but the 33-year-old decided to return to the Lions for the 2017-18 campaign. Coach Jim Caldwell is certainly happy that the defensive lineman will be sticking around. “Obviously, when you get to (have) played as many years as he has, you never know,” Caldwell said (via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press). “And I think once a guy gets about eight, nine years (in), that’s certainly always a possibility. But certainly we’re glad that he’s coming back.”
  • Lions offensive lineman Laken Tomlinson may have lost his starting gig last season, but general manager Bob Quinn made it sound like the first-round pick will be returning. “Laken’s still here,” Quinn told Birkett. “Laken’s going to compete at the left guard spot, and we’ll head into training camp and OTAs with really good depth and really good competition across the board.”
  • Chris Long‘s contract with the Eagles includes options from the 2018 to 2021 season, reports Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter). The total deal could max out at $11.25MM, and he’ll essentially earn $2.25MM each season from 2019 through 2021.
  • Safety Rafael Bush‘s one-year deal with the Saints is worth $885K, reports Wilson (via Twitter). $775K of that will come via the player’s salary (with $100K guaranteed), with another $80K coming via a signing bonus.

NFC North Notes: Cutler, Kalil, Lions

After Monday night’s ugly loss to Philadelphia, Rich Campbell of The Chicago Tribune writes that the end of Jay Cutler‘s tenure with the Bears felt as real as it ever has. Each year since former head coach Lovie Smith was fired at the end of the 2012 season, the Bears have asked themselves whether they prefer Cutler to an alternative, and each year, the answer has been yes.

However, after looking at the success that rookie Carson Wentz had against them last week, and as they prepare for rookie signal-caller Dak Prescott this week, the Bears’ quarterback calculus could change sooner rather than later. After all, it could be tough for GM Ryan Pace and head coach John Fox to continue with a 33-year-old quarterback who has a 50-49 record and only one playoff victory in seven-plus seasons in Chicago, particularly a quarterback they inherited who has no more guaranteed money left on his deal as of 2017.

The problem is that a quarterback has not been the best player on the board when the Bears have been on the clock in the past two seasons, and it would not have made sense for the team to reach for a signal-caller when they had a solid quarterback on the roster with guaranteed money still to be paid. But with no succession plan in place, the Bears may have no choice but to grab a QB in the 2017 draft and hope they can find someone to lift them out of their cycle of mediocrity.

Now let’s take a look at a few more notes from the NFC North:

  • With Matt Kalil on IR, many have wondered if the Vikings–who demonstrated they were “all in” on the 2016 season with the Sam Bradford trade–could deal for a replacement left tackle, like Cleveland’s Joe Thomas. However, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that Minnesota will not make such a trade.
  • Earlier today, we learned there is a good chance that Adrian Peterson could return to the Vikings next year, despite much speculation to the contrary.
  • Lions DE Ziggy Ansah is expected to be out through at least next week as he continues to battle a high ankle sprain, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). Ansah will get a second opinion on that injury later this week.
  • Lions LG Laken Tomlinson has had a very disappointing start to the season, but Kyle Meinke of MLive.com believes Detroit has no other choice but to continue relying on last year’s No. 28 overall selection, as 2016 fifth-rounder Joe Dahl does not appear ready to step into the starting lineup.

Extra Points: Attaochu, Bowman, Bridgewater

Earlier today, Rory Parks gave us a roundup of some notes from some early Sunday NFL news, including an update on Chris Borland‘s post-NFL life, Marcus Mariota’s potential holdout, and a couple of notes on the Saints, Browns, and Broncos.

Now, for anyone who was too busy watching the USA defeat Japan 5-2 in the World Cup, here are a couple more pieces of NFL news that trickled across the landscape this evening:

  • Second-year pass rusher Jeremiah Attaochu only had two sacks in limited snaps as a rookie, but is focused on improving that number in 2015, writes Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com. He writes that Attaochu trained in combine-related drills for much of last offseason, but is focused on football-specific drills and getting reps in practice to prepare him for an increased role with the Chargers this year.
  • The Dolphins signed Zackary Bowman this offseason to compete for the starting cornerback job across from Brent Grimes, but right now the leader for that spot is Jamar Taylor, writes James Walker of ESPN. Bowman hasn’t stood out in minicamps, and Walker writes he has about a 50 percent chance of making the final roster, depending on how many cornerbacks the team keeps on the depth chart.
  • The Vikings are excited about Teddy Bridgewater and how he got stronger as the season went on in 2014, especially offensive coordinator Norv Turner, writes Tom Pelissero of USA Today in his offseason report. With Adrian Peterson, Kyle Rudolph, Matt Kalil, and Brandon Fusco all back healthy on available, and Mike Wallace added to the fold, Bridgewater is ready to break out as leader of the offense.
  • Detroit Lions’ beat writer Dave Birkett addressed a number of issues on a Q&A with Ste Hoare of TheRouteTree.com. Birkett believes that Ameer Abdullah will begin the season as a complement to Joique Bell in the role Reggie Bush filled, but expects him to eventually emerge as the feature back. He also addresses the concern that first-round pick Laken Tomlinson’s interest in the medical field could leave him to an early retirement in the vain of Borland, but Birkett does not believe the team is worried and writes that the Lions encourage his interests off-the-field.