Lane Johnson

Eagles’ Alshon Jeffery Done For Year?

The Eagles topped the Giants in overtime on Monday night, but the win may prove to be costly. Offensive lineman Lane Johnson is “week to week” with a sore ankle and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery suffered a foot injury that is more significant than Johnson’s, head coach Doug Pederson told reporters. 

With only three games left in the regular season, it sounds like Jeffery might be done for the season. That would be a bad blow for the Eagles as they fight for the NFC East crown and an opportunity to capture another Super Bowl ring.

Jeffery hauled in 65 catches for 843 yards and six touchdowns in 2018. Before Monday’s game, and his early exit to the medical tent, he had 43 catches for 430 yards and four touchdowns for the 2019 season.

Johnson, 29, was on the field for every offensive snap in ten of his twelve games this year. The Eagles will hope to have him back this Sunday against the Redskins as he plays out his recently-inked four-year, $72MM extension, which includes a staggering guarantee of $54.595MM.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles, Lane Johnson Agree To Extension

The Eagles and Lane Johnson agreed on a record extension Friday. In a year featuring several re-ups for Eagles offensive linemen, Johnson agreed to a four-year, $72MM deal, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com reports (on Twitter).

Johnson will receive a staggering $54.595MM guaranteed in this contract, per Garafolo. In terms of per-year value ($18MM), this is the most lucrative contract given to an offensive lineman. The seventh-year lineman’s guarantee also tops the league, making this a banner day for Johnson and the oft-overlooked right tackle position.

This marks a near-$7MM-per-year raise for Johnson, who was previously signed to a five-year, $56.25MM deal that ran through the 2021 season. The 29-year-old blocker is now signed through 2025.

This pact follows a spree of 2019 extensions, with the Eagles planning far ahead with their O-line. Philadelphia has extended Johnson, Brandon Brooks, Jason Kelce and Isaac Seumalo this year. Four members of Philly’s current front five are locked up into the mid-2020s, with only 37-year-old Jason Peters on a year-to-year setup at this point. While the Johnson deal represents the biggest number, the Eagles are showing tremendous faith in their current blockers.

Philly now employs the highest-paid tackle and guard in the league, with Brooks’ $14MM-per-year deal edging Zack Martin‘s pact earlier this month. Johnson’s new contract eclipses Trent Brown‘s $16.5MM-AAV price set earlier this year. The NFL’s two highest-paid offensive linemen, interestingly, now each play right tackle. The highest-paid left tackle, Taylor Lewan, signed for $16MM annually last year. Johnson’s deal figures to move that market, however.

Taken in a 2013 draft that produced several top-10 busts, Johnson is the rare Pro Bowl right tackle. Twice given the honor that almost exclusively goes to left tackles, Johnson has helped the Eagles form one of the league’s top lines. Pro Football Focus grades Johnson as this season’s No. 2 overall tackle.

He has dealt with suspension and injury issues, however. Johnson has missed 14 career games due to two PED bans, the most recent of which in 2016. He earned first-team All-Pro honors the next year and helped the Eagles to their first Super Bowl title. Helping to explain the record-smashing contract: in Carson Wentz‘s four-year career, his QBR figure drops by more than 20 points without Johnson in the lineup. He is set to return to Philadelphia’s lineup this week after missing Week 12 with a concussion.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles Lane Johnson Will Start Sunday

Eagles starting right tackle Lane Johnson was cleared from the league’s concussion protocol and will return to the lineup on Sunday, according to Jeff McLane of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Johnson sustained a concussion in Philadelphia’s Week 11 matchup against the Patriots and missed last week’s 17-9 loss to the Seahawks.

Johnson’s return will be a sign of relief for the Eagles, who were without the entire starting right side of their offensive line last week. Philadelphia’s offense, especially quarterback Carson Wentz, have appeared in disarray in recent weeks, but playing some of the best defenses in football without full strength along their offensive front just added to a perfect storm of problems.

While the team is surely disappointed with a 5-6 start to the season, the rest of the division’s struggles leaves them within striking distance of a playoff spot. After the Cowboys loss on Thanksgiving dropped them to 6-6, Philly is only a half-game back for the division lead in the NFC East. Furthermore, the Eagles will host the Cowboys in Week 16 and have a much easier schedule than their division foe. Dallas’ opponents, aside from the Eagles, have a combined 14-20 record while Philadelphia’s have just a combined 8-36 record.

Tackle Notes: Saints, Bulaga, Bolles, Eagles

The Saints have encountered more offensive line injury trouble, and it comes at a bad time. Left tackle Terron Armstead is believed to have suffered a high ankle sprain, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The standout blocker will miss Thursday’s game against the Falcons, and while New Orleans’ subsequent mini-bye would give the seventh-year blocker a chance to return against the 49ers, these are usually multi-week injuries. With left guard Andrus Peat sidelined with a broken arm, the Saints may be missing the left side of their high-end offensive line when they face the 49ers’ dominant pass rush in Week 14. Journeyman Patrick Omameh, whom the Giants cut after his short run as one of their guard starters, replaced Armstead on Sunday.

A lot of news affecting tackles around the league has emerged. Here is the latest:

  • Bryan Bulaga‘s knee injury appears to be a minor issue. The Packers‘ longtime right tackle left Sunday night’s game in San Francisco, but Rapoport notes (via Twitter) he is believed to be battling an MCL sprain instead of ACL trouble. Bulaga will likely miss some time but looks to be able to return this season.
  • As an Eagles season with Super Bowl aspirations veers closer to one of the more disappointing campaigns in recent NFL history, Philadelphia at least will likely have its Pro Bowl right tackle back this week. Lane Johnson expects to be cleared from concussion protocol on Tuesday, Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. Johnson missed Sunday’s loss against the Seahawks.
  • Vic Fangio appears ready to either bench underwhelming left tackle Garett Bolles or minimize his playing time. The Broncos’ first-year coach said Monday he’s going to shake up left tackle, Mike Klis of 9News tweets. This will be contingent on right tackle Ja’Wuan James‘ availability. Fangio said the seldom-seen free agent signing has been cleared from his latest injury, but it doesn’t look like James is a lock to return to action. He would likely play right tackle, with current right tackle Elijah Wilkinson shifting to the left side. If James returns, Bolles may be set for the first benching of his three-year career. The former first-round pick has not come especially close to living up to expectations, and the Broncos are unlikely to pick up his fifth-year option.
  • The Bears will be without their right tackle for a bit. Bobby Massie suffered a high ankle sprain against the Giants and will miss a few weeks, Rapoport tweets. This is Massie’s fourth season as Chicago’s starting right tackle; he re-signed this offseason on a four-year extension. Massie has only missed two games in his Bears tenure.
  • After their third straight 34-point game, the Jets are likely to have to again reconfigure their offensive line. Rookie right tackle Chuma Edoga suffered an MCL sprain, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News (on Twitter). Adam Gase confirmed the 2019 draftee is dealing with an MCL issue and is week-to-week. The Jets have made numerous changes on their offensive front this season. Benched right tackle Brandon Shell, who came in for Kelvin Beachum after he suffered an ankle malady Sunday, may be called upon to re-enter the lineup. Beachum suffered a sprained ankle but may not miss any time.

Injury Updates: Rams, Clowney, Brady

Rams wideout Brandin Cooks is set to return from the fifth known concussion of his six-year career. While the veteran has continually been sidelined by the dangerous head injury, he told reporters that his latest concussion didn’t make him consider retirement.

“Absolutely not,” Cooks told ESPN’s Lindsey Thiry. “When it happened, that never went through my mind. Even now, it’s not going through my mind.”

Cooks suffered a pair of concussions in a 25-day span, and he traveled to Pittsburgh twice to meet with the director of the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program. Following those meetings, Cooks felt comfortable returning to the field.

“One of the biggest things that I learned, concussions is a case-by-case thing,” said Cooks. “Mine was very unique, and just thankful once again to be able to go and get answers.”

Cooks won’t be the only Rams receiver returning to the lineup. Thiry writes that Robert Woods returned to practice this week after missing last week’s contest due to “personal issues.” The 6-4 Rams will take on the Ravens on Monday night.

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

  • Seahawks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is a game-time decision after missing three practices this week due to a hip injury, tweets ESPN’s Brady Henderson. Coach Pete Carroll told reporters that Clowney didn’t travel with the team to Philadelphia as he gets his hip checked out. Clowney suffered the injury during Monday’s win over the 49ers. In his first season with Seattle, the 26-year-old has compiled 25 tackles, three sacks, and three forced fumbles.
  • The Eagles will be dealing with injuries of their own, as Lane Johnson is set to miss the matchup against Seattle. The veteran right tackle suffered a head injury during last weekend’s loss to the Patriots, and he remains in the concussion protocol. Rookie first-rounder Andre Dillard will slide into the starting lineup.
  • No surprise here, but NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will play vs. the Cowboys tomorrow. The 42-year-old was listed as questionable on the injury report thanks to an elbow injury. Brady hasn’t missed a game due to injury since the 2008 campaign.
  • Some good news on the Giants injury front: the team announced that wideout Sterling Shepard, cornerback Janoris Jenkins, and offensive lineman Nate Solder have all cleared concussion protocol and will play Sunday against the Bears. Jenkins and Solder both left the Giants’ Week 10 loss to the Jets, while Shepard hasn’t seen the field since Week 5.

Eagles Notes: Johnson, Ajayi, Mills

Let’s take a quick look at a few items from the City of Brotherly Love:

  • Eagles starting RT Lane Johnson is in the concussion protocol, as Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. Johnson suffered a head injury during Sunday’s loss to the Patriots, and while he tried to play through it, the injury worsened and he was ultimately forced to exit (Twitter link via McLane).
  • The Eagles can ill afford to lose Johnson, arguably the best right tackle in football, as they fight for the NFC East title. But if they are without Johnson for any period of time, they could turn to rookie Andre Dillard rather than veteran Halapoulivaati Vaitai, as McLane tweets.
  • Jay Ajayi finally found an NFL home for 2019 when he signed with the Eagles on Friday. Interestingly, the deal includes a right of first refusal for 2020, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. So if it wants, Philadelphia can match any offer Ajayi receives on the open market, which could be significant if the team lets Jordan Howard walk in free agency.
  • Cornerback Jalen Mills is eligible for free agency this offseason, and while he is not perfect, he has been very good since returning from injury in Week 7, and McLane says Mills may be playing his way into a second contract with the Eagles (Twitter link).
  • Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94WIP.com believes the Eagles need to completely overhaul their WR corps this offseason, and he offers a few names the club could target in free agency and the draft. He also says the Eagles could find a trade partner for Alshon Jeffery and/or DeSean Jackson, though obviously the returns on either player would be minimal.

Eagles Looking To Extend Core Players

Before the 2019 season ends, the Eagles are going to make a strong push to secure several core players, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. After inking key offensive lineman Brandon Brooks to a four-year extension on Monday, the Eagles are also in discussions to extend the contracts of tight end Zach Ertz, tackle Lane Johnson, and safety Malcolm Jenkins, league sources tell La Canfora.

All players have formed a stout and very effective core for Philadelphia, and Ertz and Johnson have been critical to the success of quarterback Carson Wentz, along with being a big part of their surprising Super Bowl LII win.

Ertz, 29, signed his last contract extension in January of 2015, one of several players to do so with the team prior to the end of that season, and has emerged as one of the best tight ends in the NFL. He has also been a vital weapon for Wentz, particularly this season due to the injuries to their receivers. Ertz set a new single-season record for tight end receptions just last year and is currently under contract until 2021. 

Johnson, 29, is considered by some to be the best right tackle in football. He is powerful, athletic, and a critical player for the franchise. He has the ability to play left tackle if needed as well and is dominant in pass protection and run blocking. Signed until 2021, there is still some risk associated with signing Johnson, however, as he will be suspended for 32 games if he fails another PED test. Johnson failed his second, most recent PED test back in 2016, and was suspended for 10 games.

The soon to be 32-year-old Jenkins has emerged as a leader on the defense and is a proven play maker. The Eagles would undoubtedly like to keep him, however his age may play a role if the Eagles ultimately decide to not extend him. The three-time Pro Bowler has made his desire for an extension well-known, as he said point blank that he feels like he has “outplayed” his contact back in June. In a down year, Jenkins has 39 tackles, without an interception, and is currently signed through 2020.

Johnson, Goedert To Miss Rest Of Preseason

Eagles tackle Lane Johnson and tight end Dallas Goedert are expected to miss the rest of the preseason with injuries, Reuben Frank of NBC Sports writes

Johnson, the two-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle, didn’t play in the Eagles’ preseason opener vs. the Titans but is listed with a knee injury on the team’s report. Frank adds that it isn’t a serious concern and if the season opener vs. the Redskins was this week, Johnson would likely be on the field.

Goedert, the second-year tight end, did participate in Thursday’s game against the Titans and logged three catches for 50 yards on just 12 snaps. During that run, however, he also suffered a calf injury. Like Johnson, though, Goedert isn’t expected to miss any time in the regular season.

Both players figure to feature prominently in 2019, as the Eagles enter the campaign as one of the favorites in the NFC to contend for a spot in Super Bowl LIV. Johnson has appeared in 15 games in each of the last two seasons, during which he emerged as one of the league’s top all-around linemen. Though he plays behind star Zach Ertz, Goedert impressed as a rookie in 2018, logging 33 catches for 334 yards and four touchdowns.

The Eagles suffered another injury on Thursday, when backup quarterback Nate Sudfeld broke a bone in his left wrist. He underwent surgery on Friday and is expected to be out for at least six weeks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Contract Details: Smith, Kelce, Johnson

Let’s take a look at the details of a few recently-signed contracts from around the NFL:

  • Donovan Smith, T (Buccaneers): Three years, $41.25MM. $27MM fully guaranteed. Guaranteed 2019 base salary of $7MM with a $5.5MM roster bonus. Guaranteed $14.5MM base salary in 2020. Non-guaranteed $14.25MM base salary in 2021. $5MM of 2019 salary deferred until 6/15/20. $3MM of 2020 salary deferred until 3/5/21. Deferrals have no impact on salary cap (Twitter link via Dan Graziano of ESPN.com).
  • Jason Kelce, C (Eagles): Extended through 2021. $7.57MM signing bonus. 2019 base salary reduced from $6.5MM to $930K. 2020 base salary reduced from $7MM to $1.5MM with a $2MM roster bonus. $500K playing time escalator available in 2020 for playing 90% of offensive snaps. 2021 base salary of $5.5MM (Twitter links via Reuben Frank of NBC Sports Philadelphia).
  • Denzelle Good, OL (Raiders): Extended through 2019. One-year, $1.7MM. $500K signing bonus. $200K per-game roster bonuses. $100K workout bonus. $1.2MM available via playtime incentives (Twitter link via Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review Journal).
  • Lane Johnson, T (Eagles): Restructured contract. Created $8.2MM in cap space by converting $10.045MM of his 2019 base salary into a signing bonus. Base salary is now $805K (Twitter link via Field Yates of ESPN.com). Added voidable years in 2022-23 (Twitter link via Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer).
  • Mike Person, OL (49ers): Three years, $8.25MM. $2.45MM fully guaranteed. $1MM roster bonus, $1.45MM fully guaranteed 2019 base salary. $250K in per-game roster bonuses (Twitter link via Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com).
  • Romeo Okwara, DE (Lions): Two years, $6.8MM. $2.705MM signing bonus. 2019 base salary of $720K fully guaranteed. $500 workout bonus in 2019 (Twitter link via Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com).

Eagles Restructure Lane Johnson’s Deal

The Eagles have restructured Lane Johnson‘s contract for cap purposes, a source tells Adam Caplan of SiriusXM (on Twitter). Details on the new deal are not yet known. 

Johnson, 29 in May, also restructured his deal with the Eagles roughly one year ago. After earning his second straight Pro Bowl appearance in 2018, the Eagles are happy to keep him in the fold.

Johnson was tied for No. 12 (with Alejandro Villanueva of the Steelers) on Pro Football Focus’ rankings for offensive tackles last season. The 78.1 overall score was technically his lowest since 2013, but it was still a fine showing in terms of the advanced metrics and more or less consistent with his previous work.

The biggest blip on Johnson’s career was a ten-game ban for performance enhancing drugs in 2016. Johnson, who was suspended as a repeat offender, said the ’16 test was the result of an NFLPA-approved supplement. He took action against both the league and the union in 2017.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.