Lance Kendricks

Chargers Sign Lance Kendricks

The Chargers have signed veteran tight end Lance Kendricks, the organization announced.

Kendricks comes to the Chargers after spending the first part of this season with the Patriots. Fresh off a one-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, he was recently released to make room for Antonio Brown last week.

The 6-foot-3 tight end has appeared in 125 career games, catching 241 passes for 2,505 yards and 19 touchdowns. The Wisconsin product posted a career-high 50 catches and 499 yards in 2016 while with the Rams. He caught 19 passes for 170 yards and a touchdown last season with Packers.

Since Hunter Henry went down with injury, the Chargers have been rolling out a combination of Virgil Green and Sean Culkin at tight end. This duo combined for only one catch for nine yards in last week’s loss to the Lions.

Patriots To Cut Kendricks, Melifonwu

For the time being, the Patriots will have eight wide receivers on their roster. Their move to bring aboard Antonio Brown will not be cutting a wide receiver, but instead, one of their defensive backs received word he’s out.

The Patriots will waive safety Obi Melifonwu, according to ESPN.com’s Field Yates (on Twitter). Additionally, the Pats are releasing Lance Kendricks. The tight end was suspended for Week 1 and did not count against New England’s 53-man roster.

Melifonwu was also a former Raider, though the one-time second-round pick was with New England throughout the Brown debacle in Oakland. Jon Gruden jettisoned Melifonwu, a Reggie McKenzie draft choice, last year. Melifonwu, a UConn product, played in two games for the Patriots last season.

Kendricks was one of the many tight ends the Patriots added this offseason. The former Rams and Packers pass catcher/blocker drew a one-game suspension. While it shouldn’t be ruled out Kendricks could return, as the Patriots will be without Benjamin Watson until Week 5, the defending Super Bowl champions did not exactly miss him in their Week 1 romp over the Steelers.

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Patriots TE Lance Kendricks Suspended

Another Patriots tight end will not be available to start the season. Lance Kendricks drew a one-game suspension for a violation of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

Kendricks will join Ben Watson in being shelved for Week 1. The latter will be out four games with a suspension. In December 2017, Kendricks was charged with marijuana possession, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (via Twitter) the veteran tight end was given probation in July for it. This short ban will not help Kendricks as he attempts to make the Patriots’ 53-man roster.

The Patriots only guaranteed Kendricks $50K, and although they are thin at tight end, they have not hesitated to cut veteran pass catchers in the recent past. As for tight ends set to be available in Week 1, the Pats have Matt LaCosse, recently acquired Eric Saubert, former Texan Stephen Anderson, 2018 seventh-round pick Ryan Izzo and rookie UDFA Andrew Beck. Barring a trade or a veteran pickup, Week 1 will feature the Pats’ least recognizable tight end group in decades.

New England signed Kendricks just before training camp, and he was on track to make the team. That decision becomes slightly more complicated, though the Pats’ issues at tight end may ensure the 31-year-old veteran will be in uniform for Week 2. The ninth-year tight end caught 37 passes for 370 yards in two Packers seasons.

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Contract Details: Sproles, Kendricks, Hawks

A look at the details on recent deals from around the NFL:

  • Darren Sproles, RB (Eagles): One year, $1.33MM. $600K fully guaranteed, including a $300K signing bonus. $650K in performance bonuses, classified as NLTBE incentives, exist in Sproles’ contract for a Pro Bowl appearance and unspecified yardage totals, Adam Caplan of Sirius XM Radio tweets.
  • Lance Kendricks, TE (Patriots): One year, $1.02MM. Kendricks’ $50K signing bonus represents this deal’s only guarantees. If he makes the team, he will earn a $930K veteran minimum base salary. Kendricks, who can also earn $40K worth of per-game roster bonuses, will count $735K toward New England’s cap, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe tweets.
  • Earl Mitchell, DT (Seahawks): One year, $930K. $90K signing bonus. Mitchell will carry a $735K cap number, Brady Henderson of ESPN.com notes.

Patriots To Sign TE Lance Kendricks

The Patriots have signed tight end Lance Kendricks, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Kendricks, they hope, will help to fill the void after Rob Gronkowski‘s retirement. 

Kendricks, of course, is not as accomplished as Gronk, though no other tight end in the NFL can make that claim. However, Kendricks did have 19 catches for the Packers last year and offers the experience of 125 career games for the Rams and Packers.

Kendricks’ best recent season came in 2016 when he hauled in 50 catches for 499 yards and two touchdowns for L.A. Earlier in his career, he had a 42/519/4 campaign for St. Louis as an NFL sophomore.

In addition to Kendricks, the Pats have Ben Watson, Matt LaCosse, Andrew Beck, Stephen Anderson, Ryan Izzo, and Jakob Johnson at tight end. With Watson set to start the year on suspension, LaCosse may open the year as the club’s No. 1 tight end, unless Kendricks has something to say about it in the coming weeks.

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NFC North Notes: Packers, Rodgers, Bears

Here’s a look at the NFC North:

  • Packers coach Mike McCarthy says quarterback Aaron Rodgers looks good throwing a football just seven weeks after shoulder surgery (Twitter link via Ryan Wood of the Press-Gazette). “He’s back there slinging it around and throwing with great velocity,” McCarthy said. “The recovery has been impressive.” A Rodgers return could be right around the corner as the team hopes to get him back on the field for Week 15.
  • Packers tight end Lance Kendricks has been charged with marijuana possession stemming from his traffic stop earlier this fall, Michael Cohen of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes. Initially, the 29-year-old believed that he would not face any charges related to the pot that cops found when he was pulled over for speeding. Because there is a drug offense involved, Kendricks could face league discipline for the incident. However, it stands to reason that the NFL will wait for the legal situation to resolve itself before coming down on the tight end. If there’s any suspension to be served, it won’t happen until the 2018 season, at the earliest. So far this year, Kenrdricks has just 11 catches for 151 yards and one touchdown. Last year, he had a career high 50 catches for 499 yards and two TDs with the Rams.
  • The Giants and Browns held key members of the organization accountable for their losing this week. John Mullin of NBC Sports Chicago wonders when the Bears will do the same. Coach John Fox and GM Ryan Pace find themselves on the hot seat, but it’s possible that the Bears will give them each one more year to turn things around. The team’s final four games against the Bengals, Lions, Browns, and Vikings obviously won’t have any playoff implications for the Bears, but the results could factor into the futures of both Fox and Pace.
  • The Fritz Pollard Alliance released its list of candidates for coaching and GM jobs this week. Packers exec Alonzo Highsmith is a recommended GM candidate while Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin and Vikings DC George Edwards were both offered up as potential head coaches.

NFC North Notes: Packers, Rodgers, Bears

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has recovered faster than expected, according to teammate and amateur doctor Clay Matthews.

This past week, being a part of that rehab group, to watch Aaron, what he’s been doing in there, I think we probably should have kept him off IR,” Matthews said (via Tom Silverstein of the Journal Sentinel). “The way he’s coming along, some of the balls he’s throwing, accuracy-wise, everything a quarterback has to do, is pretty remarkable. So, it would be really neat to see him out there, but unfortunately, he’ll have to wait two weeks prior to coming back.”

While we wait on a potential Rodgers return, here’s more from the NFC North:

  • Packers tight end Lance Kendricks says he was not cited for having marijuana and drug paraphernalia in his car during a traffic stop this fall, despite a report claiming that he was. Instead, Kendricks says he was actually given a warning for a speeding ticket (via Paul Srubas and Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press Gazette). Kendricks was also told by the NFLPA that he will not face suspension for the incident since there was no arrest or citation.
  • Some reports have indicated that wide receiver Tre McBride was waived by the Bears because of an argument with teammate Josh Bellamy. Coach John Fox didn’t directly confirm the rumblings about the rumble, but he hinted at that being the case. “I didn’t hear it, but I can just say that that happens on the sideline, that happens in meetings, that happens all the time,” Fox said, according to Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune. “I just think that [meeting] room is closer to y’all than I probably would have designed it. I think that’s par for the course in football. That’s not the first argument I’ve ever experienced.”
  • The Bears made some moves on Thursday morning. First, safety Chris Prosinski was re-signed. Then, the team brought safety Quintin Demps back off of IR.

Packers TE Lance Kendricks Facing Charges

Packers tight end Lance Kendricks is eyeing a pair of charges stemming from a traffic stop back in September. TMZ reports that the 29-year-old is facing charges for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Lance KendricksKendricks was clocked going at least 10 over in a 70 mph zone when he was headed home from a Wisconsin Badgers game in early September (the player also received a warning for speeding). When officers subsequently pulled him over, they “could smell a strong odor of marijuana emitting from the vehicle.” Kendricks initially denied that he was in possession of any drugs, but he eventually admitted to having marijuana in his glove box. Cops also found a bad containing a “”green leafy substance,” 2 packs of rolling papers, and a blue grinder.” The Outagamie County District Attorney will now handle the case.

After having spent the first six seasons of his career with the Rams organization, Kendricks signed a two-year deal with the Packers this past offseason. After finishing the 2016 season with a career-high 50 receptions, Kendricks has only hauled in 10 catches for 140 yards and one touchdown this season. With Martellus Bennett now out of the picture, Kendricks sits atop the team’s tight end depth chart.

As our own Zach Links noted earlier this week, Kendricks likely won’t face any punishment from the NFL during the 2017 season, as the league office typically waits for a legal resolution. However, we could hear more about potential discipline prior to the 2018 campaign.

Kendricks isn’t the first Packers players to face charges for marijuana possession. Earlier this week, we heard that running back Aaron Jones was facing similar charges, including operating a vehicle with a controlled substance in his system (along with speeding and driving without a valid license).

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North Notes: Packers, Williams, Bengals

The Packers made a rare foray into the non-street free agent portion of the offseason waters by signing Martellus Bennett. That move figures to pay off, in the eyes of some anonymous NFL personnel men.

Bennett is way better than Jared Cook,” one personnel director said, via Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in an expansive piece. “And he’s smarter. And he’s not as selfish. He’s going to be loud, but you’ve got to live with that.”

Chiming in on this debate, a scout told McGinn: “Cook is faster straight-line, yes, but their body type is totally different. When you walk up on Bennett, that is a man. Cook can’t block you or me. Bennett can. He can seal an edge.”

While these evaluators said the deal for Bennett comes with risk because of the pass-catcher’s age (30) and recent injury struggles. Bennett injured an ankle last season and reinjured it to the point he might require offseason surgery. One GM also mentioned 12 tight ends he would rather have than Bennett next season — a list that included Jack Doyle, Jermaine Gresham and Kyle Rudolph — but the same GM told McGinn he would only take two of those tight ends (Rob Gronkowski and Rudolph) over Bennett as a blocker.

Here’s more from the Norths as free agency nears its third week.

  • Lance Kendricks‘ two-year Packers accord will be worth $4MM, with $1.2MM guaranteed, per McGinn. This could prove to be a value-re-establishing pact for Kendricks, who saw the Rams get out of a four-year, $18.5MM deal by cutting him.
  • Brandon Williams received interest from beyond Baltimore, but the Ravens succeeded on a persistent push to retain him. The fifth-year nose tackle wasn’t keen on being the latest impact Ravens UFA defection. “I wanted to come back. I tried to kind of leave hints,” Williams said, via Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Ravens signed their former Division II find to a five-year, $52.5MM deal. That pact includes a $12.5MM signing bonus. The Bills’ decision to revert back to a 4-3 look will make Williams the league’s highest-paid nose tackle by a wide margin.
  • Despite Kevin Minter pledging to come to Cincinnati for the 2017 season, Reuben Foster remains an option for the Bengals with their No. 9 overall pick, Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer tweets. Minter signed a one-year deal, and Foster — if taken at No. 9 overall — would be under team control for five. Plus, Minter has positional versatility that would allow him to play alongside the Alabama middle linebacker.
  • Ricky Jean-Francois left his Bears visit without a contract, and the UFA defensive lineman will make his way to Seattle for a scheduled Seahawks summit, Josina Anderson of ESPN.com tweets. Anderson added

Packers To Sign Lance Kendricks

The Packers have agreed to sign free agent tight end Lance Kendricks, according to Adam Schefter and Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com (Twitter link)."<strong

Green Bay has now added two tight ends in two days, as the club inked Martellus Bennett to a three-year pact on Friday. Kendricks, 29, should slot in behind Bennett as the Packers’ No. 2 tight end, joining a position group that also includes Richard Rodgers. But don’t worry, Ted Thompson: Kendricks was released by the Rams this week, so he won’t count against the compensatory pick formula.

Kendricks was in the midst of a contract that was supposed to pay him $18.5MM over four years. Instead, the Rams got out of the deal two years early. Kendricks had a career-high 50 receptions last year for 499 yards and two scores in 2016, but the new regime didn’t feel he was worth keeping.

A Milwaukee native who played collegiately at Wisconsin, Kendricks is now experiencing something of a homecoming.

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