Lorenzo Mauldin

Spring Practice Notes: Jets, Darby, Ebron

Now that mandatory minicamps have wrapped up around the league and players have returned home for a few weeks, the NFL will experience something of a lull until we get closer to the start of training camp in July. In the past couple of days, however, beat writers have shared some lessons learned during spring practices, offered some insight as to what OTAs and minicamp revealed about the upcoming season, and discussed some questions that remain unanswered. So let’s dive right in:

  • Terrelle Pryor‘s injury concerns have been well-documented, but as Darryl Slater of NJ.com observes, the Jets are also dealing with injuries to CB Morris Claiborne and OLB Jordan Jenkins. Both Claiborne and Jenkins are expected to be ready for the start of training camp, while the status of Pryor and starting free safety Marcus Maye is still up in the air. Slater also wonders who will start at OLB alongside Jenkins. David Bass and Josh Martin are candidates, as is Lorenzo Mauldin, though Slater suggests Mauldin is on the roster bubble.
  • Slater also indicates that Henry Anderson may have the leg up in the battle for the Jets‘ starting defensive end position opposite Leonard Williams — New York desperately needs someone to take double teams away from Williams — and that Andre Roberts appears to be leading the competition for Gang Green’s punt returner job. He adds that wideout Chad Hansen has impressed this spring after being a non-factor in his rookie campaign last year.
  • Rich Cimini of ESPN.com also likes what he sees from Hansen, and he says TE Neal Sterling and RB Elijah McGuire are other under-the-radar players to impress for the Jets this spring. Sam Darnold, meanwhile, is very much on the radar, and Cimini says Darnold has done nothing to suggest he cannot be a quality starter in the NFL.
  • The most important lesson learned during the Eagles‘ spring practices, per Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer, is that Carson Wentz is progressing in his recovery from an ACL tear and could be ready to go in Week 1. However, as Berman points out, the defending champs have plenty of injury concerns outside of Wentz, though no key players appear at risk of missing any regular season time at this point.
  • Berman also writes that Jay Ajayi is the Eagles’ unquestioned No. 1 running back — in stark contrast to the summer of 2017, when the team was emphasizing a committee approach to the offensive backfield — and he names De’vante Bausby, Nate Gerry, and Dallas Goedert as young talents who have stood out in the spring. Gerry, a 2017 fifth-rounder who converted from collegiate safety to professional linebacker, could compete for a starting LB job this year, Berman says.
  • Speaking of Bausby, Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com is also impressed with the 25-year-old’s work this spring, which may be enough to allow the Eagles to trade Ronald Darby.
  • Seahawks‘ 2018 seventh-round pick Alex McGough stood out this spring and has a legitimate chance to be Russell Wilson‘s backup this year, per Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. Condotta also notes that Seattle’s first-round choice, Rashaad Penny, has looked the part and has also shown improvement in his pass-blocking technique, which will help him see more of the field this year.
  • TE Eric Ebron has been perhaps the most impressive newcomer for the Colts this spring, per Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star, who also says 2018 fourth-rounder Nyheim Hines was the most exciting rookie to watch. Hines, a running back from NC State, has the explosiveness and versatility to thrive in new head coach Frank Reich‘s scheme.
  • Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com says Harold Landry, the Titans‘ second-round draft choice this year, is living up to his draft pedigree and that, while he may have a hard time unseating veterans Derrick Morgan and Brian Orakpo as a starting OLB, he should see plenty of action as a situational pass rusher to begin his career. Wyatt also says Tennessee’s cornerbacks have been the most impressive position group of the spring.

East Rumors: Redskins, Jets, Collins, Pats

One of the candidates to work as the Redskins‘ starting left guard may not be able to factor into that competition. Arie Kouandjio is believed to have suffered a torn quadriceps muscle, JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington reports. Kouandjio’s season is now in jeopardy, per Finlay, who notes this injury could sideline him for the rest of 2018. Despite not making the Redskins’ 53-man roster out of camp, Kouandjio started the final six games for Washington at guard after the Redskins signed him off the Ravens’ practice squad. The 2015 Washington fourth-round pick made two starts in 2016 as well. Washington re-signed Shawn Lauvao, and Finlay notes it’s uncertain if Kouandjio suffered this significant malady before or after that agreement occurred. The 30-year-old Lauvao’s been the Redskins’ primary left guard since the 2014 season. The team also drafted Louisville tackle Geron Christian and still has Ty Nsekhe in the backup mix.

Here’s the latest from the East divisions:

  • Cowboys third-year starter Maliek Collins underwent foot surgery on Monday, Todd Archer of ESPN.com reports. He broke a bone in his foot last week. Dallas’ goal is for its first-unit defensive tackle to be ready by the end of training camp and hopefully be in line to play in Week 1, per Archer. Collins underwent a similar foot operation in January and underwent a foot procedure in the 2016 offseason as well.
  • Lorenzo Mauldin missed all of the 2017 season because of a back injury, and Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News notes there’s an increasing feeling at Jets headquarters the outside linebacker will be a training camp cut. The 2015 third-round pick has made four starts since entering the league. That said, the Jets are thin at edge rusher post-draft. They re-signed David Bass this offseason and added other possible depth pieces in Kevin Pierre-Louis and Brandon Copeland.
  • Sean McVay‘s departure appears to have helped influence the Redskins to protect another young decision-maker. The franchise recently jettisoned longtime scout Scott Campbell, and Rich Tandler of NBC Sports Washington notes that 34-year-old exec Kyle Smith ran this year’s draft after Campbell held that responsibility in 2017. The Redskins are envisioning Smith playing a big role for the franchise in the coming years, per Tandler. Smith is the son of former Chargers GM A.J. Smith.
  • The Patriots will bring in martial arts expert Joe Kim to help as a pass-rushing consultant, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe reports. Kim’s consulted with 10 teams in the past, most recently with the 2016 Browns, but his first NFL job was with Bill Belichick when he was the original Browns’ head coach in 1992.

New York Notes: Jets, Giants, Darnold

The misdemeanor assault charge against Jets outside linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin has been dropped, as Darryl Slater of NJ.com writes. Mauldin was said to have punched a 22-year-old man in the face, but New York authorities did not find enough evidence to move forward with the case. Still, Mauldin faces a civil suit and league discipline is still possible even though he is in the clear, legally speaking.

Mauldin, a third-round pick in 2015, was in the mix for a starting job this season. Instead, he lost the entire season to a back injury. Next season is slated to be his final year with the Jets and that may mark his final opportunity to make a good impression on a regime that did not draft him.

Here’s more out of the Meadowlands:

  • Who will be the Jets‘ starting quarterback in 2018? Ralph Vacchiano of SNY profiled some candidates, including incumbent Josh McCown and top draft prospects Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen. The Gang Green beat writer gives top odds to McCown (5-1) while dismissing chances of middling prospects Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, or Baker Mayfield being the guy (500-1). At 25-1, he’s perhaps more bullish on the Jets landing Kirk Cousins than anyone else.
  • Speaking of Jackson, Manish Mehta of the Daily News hears that the Jets do not believe that Jackson can thrive as an NFL quarterback. Other teams may be higher on the Louisville product, but Mehta cannot envision the Jets investing a Round 2 or 3 pick in him.
  • In the interest of equal time, Vacchiano looks at the candidates for the Giants‘ starting job. The odds remain strong that Eli Manning will be the Week 1 starter, but Vacchiano does not completely rule out Rosen, Darnold, or in-house options Geno Smith and Davis Webb. In related news, Vacchiano hears from multiple team sources that there are no plans to play Webb the rest of the way.

Jets’ Lorenzo Mauldin Likely Done For Year

Lorenzo Mauldin‘s season has likely ended before it could even start. The linebacker was informed today that he will likely need back surgery, coach Todd Bowles told reporters. Lorenzo Mauldin (Vertical)

Mauldin was placed on injured reserve before the season opener and, at the time, there was some hope that he could return from IR. Unfortunately, that won’t be possible after he undergoes a major operation.

The Jets selected Mauldin in the third round of the 2015 draft. Although he has been a regular on defense, nagging injuries limited his production over the last two seasons. He was on the field for 34% of the Jets’ defensive plays last year, a step up from his playing time as a rookie, but he missed five games and appeared to regress. He drew subpar ranking from Pro Football Focus for the second straight year, as the outlet placed him 80th in performance among 110 qualified edge defenders.

When Mauldin returns to action in 2018, he may face league discipline for an off-the-field incident.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/4/17

Here are today’s minor moves.

  • The Browns claimed offensive lineman Zach Banner off waivers from the Colts, who cut him despite drafting him in the fourth round this year. Cleveland made room for Banner by placing offensive lineman Rod Johnson on IR. Additionally, the Browns continued their busy offseason regarding secondary turnover by releasing former safety starter Ed Reynolds from IR.
  • The Steelers re-signed linebacker Steven Johnson and waived safety Jordan Dangerfield with an injury designation. Johnson initially saw his name appear on Pittsburgh’s cut list Saturday, but the backup will return. Pittsburgh also placed cornerback Cameron Sutton, a rookie third-rounder, on IR.
  • Jacquies Smith will move from the PUP list back to the Buccaneers‘ 53-man roster. The team reinstated the defensive end on Monday. A fourth-year player, Smith is expected to be a rotational player in Tampa Bay this season.
  • The Dolphins re-signed tackle Sam Young. Miami cut the offensive lineman on Saturday but will keep him around for now. Miami guaranteed Young’s salary, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald tweets, signing Young this week instead of next because an unspecified team wanted him. This will mark Young’s eighth NFL season. The Dolphins signed him to an extension in December.
  • Quarterback Jeff Driskel will land on the Bengals‘ IR list. The former 49ers sixth-rounder has yet to play in a game.
  • A starter in three games last season, linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin landed on the Jets‘ IR Monday. To replace the third-year player, Gang Green re-signed linebacker Bruce Carter. Now a seventh-year veteran, Carter played a depth role with the Jets last season.
  • Wide receiver Chris Matthews re-signed with the Ravens, who made room on their 53-man roster by placing cornerback Maurice Canady on IR.
  • The Falcons released defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman, who resides on the Commissioner’s Exempt list as a result of misdemeanor charges from 2016. While Hageman is on that list, the Falcons will not have to pay Hageman.
  • The Chargers claimed linebacker Hayes Pullard off waivers from the Jaguars. A former Browns seventh-rounder in 2015, Pullard started two games for the 2015 Jags and played in all 16 Jacksonville contests last season.
  • Jelani Jenkins was expected to start for the Raiders, but the former Dolphins linebacker found himself on the team’s cut list Saturday. The Raiders, though, reached an injury settlement with the fifth-year linebacker, Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports (on Twitter). Jenkins suffered a groin injury during the preseason. Oakland also reached an injury settlement with Jaydon Mickens, per Gehlken, who adds Mickens suffered an ankle injury.
  • The Seahawks waived cornerback Demetrius McCray with an injury settlement, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times tweets.
  • The Redskins reached an injury settlement with center Ronald Patrick, waiving the interior blocker from IR as a result.

Lorenzo Mauldin’s Roster Spot In Jeopardy

Jets outside linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin was arrested on an assault charge in June, but it may be injury issues – not off-field troubles – that lead to his ouster from their roster, according to Laura Albanese of Newsday. Mauldin has dealt with a back injury this summer, one likely to keep him out of the Jets’ preseason game against the Giants on Saturday, while fellow OLBs Freddie Bishop, Dylan Donahue and Josh Martin have perhaps done enough to justify roster spots over the past month.

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Moving on from the 24-year-old Mauldin would mean abandoning hope on a recent high draft pick. The Jets chose Mauldin in the third round (No. 82 overall) in 2015, a class that included other disappointments in wide receiver Devin Smith (second round) and quarterback Bryce Petty (fourth round).

Mauldin has totaled 6.5 sacks across 26 games with the Jets. The majority of those sacks (four) came during Mauldin’s 15-game rookie season, though he only played 24 percent of the Jets’ defensive snaps that year. His on-field action increased last season (34 percent of defensive plays), but he missed five games and saw his production go backward. Mauldin also drew a subpar ranking from Pro Football Focus for the second straight year, as the outlet placed him 80th in performance among 110 qualified edge defenders.

Regardless of whether he plays this year with the Jets or another team, Mauldin is unlikely to face NFL-imposed discipline for his arrest until the 2018 season. He’s accused of punching a man in a New York nightclub in early April, and he allegedly broke several bones in the man’s face.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Jets, McCown, Patriots, Bills

Although Josh McCown is the heavy favorite to open the 2017 season as the Jets‘ starting quarterback, Gang Green’s signal-caller competition hasn’t been resolved just yet, as Rich Cimini of ESPN.com writes. Given that head coach Todd Bowles is unquestionably on the hot seat — and needs victories to retain his job — New York could be loathe to bench McCown if the club gets off to an (admittedly unexpected) fast start. In such a scenario, second-year quarterback Christian Hackenberg might not get the type of long audition period required to show Jets management if they need to find another passer.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • Although Jets linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin was arrested on assault charges last month (and is facing a civil suit stemming from the same incident), he’s not expected to face a suspension until at least 2018, according to Brian Costello of the New York Post. Mauldin is accused of punching a man in a New York nightclub in early April, and allegedly broke several bones in the man’s face. A third-round pick in 2015, the 24-year-old Mauldin hasn’t registered much production thus far in his NFL career, as he’s managed only 6.5 sacks as a backup in two seasons.
  • Given that the Patriots are only likely to retain six wide receivers on their initial roster, veteran Andrew Hawkins doesn’t seem likely to make the squad, as Mike Reiss of ESPN.com details. Hawkins signed a one-year, minimum salary benefit deal with New England over the offseason, so the club will experience a minimal dead money hit if it cuts ties. Brandin Cooks, Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola, Malcolm Mitchell, and special-teamer Matthew Slater are Patriots roster locks, per Reiss, so there’s no room for Hawkins barring an injury.
  • New Patriots linebacker David Harris will earn a base salary of $1MM in 2017, reports Miguel Benzan of PatsFans.com (hat tip: Reiss). He can also bring in $500K in per-game roster bonuses, plus another $750K via incentives. In 2018, Harris is scheduled to make a $1.75MM base salary, plus $500K in per-game roster bonuses, and $1.05MM via incentives. As previously reported, Harris also received a signing bonus of $1.25MM.
  • While Preston Brown, Lorenzo Alexander, and Ramon Humber served as starters during minicamp, the Bills‘ linebacking corps battle is “wide open,” per Canio Marasco of BuffaloBills.com. Reggie Ragland, the club’s second-round pick a year ago, missed his entire rookie campaign with injury, but could be in line for playing time in 2017. Buffalo also signed veteran Gerald Hodges, who posted excellent results with the 49ers last season, to a low-cost deal.

Jets Notes: Bowles, Martin, Skrine, UDFAs

Some fringe NFL players have difficulties finding a job after their NFL career has seemingly come to an end. However, Jets placekicker Ross Martin seems to have it all figured out. The former undrafted free agent out of Duke already has a job lined up at IBM if/when his football opportunities have dried up.

“Throughout my senior year, my first and foremost passion was to make it to the NFL, but I also wanted to have a contingency plan,” Martin told Ethan Greenberg of NewYorkJets.com. “I did a couple interviews with a couple different firms and ended up getting the offer from IBM with a start date in October last year. I went the whole course with the Jets through the preseason and everything. I got cut and started working for IBM in October of last year all the way up through April.”

Martin is hoping for a different outcome this time around. The 23-year-old is competing with Chandler Catanzaro in what special teams coordinator Brant Boyer described as a “wide open kicking competition.”

Let’s check out some more notes out of the Jets organization…

  • In the unlikely event that Jets coach Todd Bowles loses his job, Darryl Slater of NJ.com believes that general manager Mike Maccagnan should have a major say in hiring the team’s replacement. Bowles and Maccagnan were hired together before the 2015 season, and it’s clear that owner Woody Johnson is still running the show. However, considering the organization’s wish to rebuild next season, it seems unlikely that the team wouldn’t consider bringing Bowles back for the 2018 campaign.
  • Looking at holdovers from last season’s team, Slater makes it clear that Jets veteran running back Matt Forte will not get cut. Considering Lorenzo Mauldin‘s legal issues, the writer can envision the team moving on from the linebacker. The writer also points to cornerback Buster Skrine, who he assumes will be gone next offseason, anyway. Cutting the veteran defensive back would create nearly $6MM in cap space, which the Jets could carry over into next offseason.
  • Among all of the Jets’ undrafted free agents, Connor Hughes of NJ.com believes offensive lineman Chris Bordelon has the best chance of making the 53-man roster. While the Jets starting offensive line is seemingly set, the Nicholls State product could catch on as a reserve. The writer also lists wideouts K.D. Cannon and Gabe Marks, fullback Anthony Firkser, cornerback Xavier Coleman, and linebacker Connor Harris as potential candidates to make the team.
  • In case you missed it, free agent linebacker Zach Orr is set to meet with the Jets today.

Jets LB Lorenzo Mauldin Arrested For Assault

Jets linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin turned himself into Manhattan authorities after being charged with misdemeanor assault stemming from an incident in a New York club in early April, according to a report from TMZ.Lorenzo Mauldin (Vertical)

Jean Lopez accuses Mauldin of punching him after he spilled champagne on the Gang Green defender, reports Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. Lopez, who claims to have suffered several broken bones in his face, also filed a civil suit against Mauldin earlier this month. Both Mauldin and his lawyer have denied the charges, but Mauldin could face up to a year in prison if convicted.

Mauldin, a third-round pick in 2015, could be subject to a league-imposed suspension (even if he’s not found guilty of assault). The 24-year-old hasn’t registered much production thus far in his NFL career, as he’s managed only 6.5 sacks as a backup in two seasons. Mauldin is signed through the 2018 campaign with cap charges below $900K in each season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets’ Lorenzo Mauldin Accused Of Attacking Man At Nightclub

A man is accusing Jets outside linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin of attacking him at a New York-area nightclub earlier this year, according to Larry Celona, Paul Schwartz and Bruce Golding of the New York Post.

The alleged attack occurred on the morning of April 2, and the man, 22-year-old Jean Lopez, has filed a lawsuit against Mauldin and another man he attests was responsible for the attack. The suit alleges Mauldin attacked Lopez after the victim spilled champagne on the linebacker. Lopez, whom the Post reports stands 5-foot-7 and 145 pounds, underwent facial surgery to repair multiple fractures. The 24-year-old Mauldin, who was a third-round Jets pick in 2015, is 6-4 and weighs 259 pounds.

The Jets are aware of the situation, the Post reports. Mauldin has started four games for the Jets during his two-season tenure.

Lopez’s lawyer, Glenn Race, said Mauldin punched Lopez “without provocation.” Lopez said he was punched twice during the attack. No charges were filed at the time after Lopez couldn’t identify the attacker, the Post reports, adding that Mauldin’s lawyer said this suit is “without merit.”

Another individual struck the plaintiff,” defense attorney Mitchell Schuster told the Post, “and that will be borne out by the witnesses and other parties involved. We have a very strong case and I look forward to pursuing it. Lorenzo’s anxious to being exonerated. He was not involved.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.