Malcolm Brown

Ramsey, Gurley Expected To Play In Week 7

Jalen Ramsey‘s expected quick recovery from a back injury that kept him out of his final three Jaguars games appears set to commence. Sean McVay expects the recently acquired cornerback to play Sunday, per ESPN.com’s Lindsey Thiry (on Twitter).

It’s not certain if Ramsey will be available for a full workload, but he’s expected to suit up against the Falcons. So is Todd Gurley, per McVay. Both have been removed from the Rams’ injury report. This represents big news for a Rams team seeking to snap a three-game skid.

The Rams send two first-round picks and a fourth-rounder to the Jaguars for Ramsey, who has not played since Week 3. But with many believing the All-Pro corner’s absence was related to his trade request, and not necessarily the back injury that cropped up, it should come as no surprise the 24-year-old standout will be available in his first Rams game.

Gurley got through a limited practice Friday. The All-Pro running back missed Week 6 because of a quad injury. Rams backup running back Malcolm Brown is doubtful to play this week, leaving Gurley and rookie Darrell Henderson in position to share time Sunday.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams Retain RB Malcolm Brown

Malcolm Brown isn’t going anywhere. On Friday, the Rams matched the Lions’ offer sheet for the running back, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets

Brown will earn $3.3MM in base salary across his two-year deal. The pact includes $2.1MM in “practical guarantees” between his $1MM base salary and $1.1MM roster bonus, which will be paid on April 15.

Brown ended the 2018 season on injured reserve, but the Rams believe in his potential after he averaged 4.9 yards per carry. He obviously won’t start with Todd Gurley in front of him, but the Rams can use the insurance given Gurley’s ongoing knee trouble.

A 2015 UDFA, Brown has been with the Rams his entire career. Unfortunately, a clavicle injury that prevented him from playing in the team’s three playoff games. C.J. Anderson had a nice run upon joining the Rams, but Brown is now primed to resume his role as Gurley’s understudy.

Meanwhile, the Lions will have to look elsewhere for backup RB help. They’ve re-signed Zach Zenner and they still have pass-catching specialist Theo Riddick, but it sounds like they want a strong traditional runner behind star Kerryon Johnson.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions Sign Rams’ Brown To Offer Sheet

Rams reserve running back Malcolm Brown agreed to the terms of an offer sheet with the Lions, Field Yates of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). The Rams have until Monday to match it and retain Brown.

The Lions’ offer sheet is worth $3.25MM over two years, with $1MM guaranteed and a $100K signing bonus, Albert Breer of SI.com tweets.

A 2015 UDFA, Brown has been with the Rams his entire career. However, the restricted free agent visited the Lions last week. Since Los Angeles placed an original-round tender on the back, Detroit will not need to surrender any draft compensation in order to pry Brown away.

Brown suffered a clavicle injury that prevented him from playing in the team’s three playoff games. The Rams then signed C.J. Anderson, and the well-traveled-in-2018 back thrived behind Todd Gurley. Anderson remains a free agent, but given his quick assimilation in Sean McVay‘s offense, he would be a candidate to return and back up Gurley — especially given the injury-related uncertainty surrounding the starter. The Rams also have 2018 sixth-round pick John Kelly on their roster, so this process may end up with Brown in Detroit.

The Lions re-signed Zach Zenner and still have Theo Riddick, but Brown may profile as a better run-downs backup for Kerryon Johnson.

Brown, 25, averaged 4.9 yards per carry last season. He received 63 and 43 carries, respectively, the past two seasons, playing behind a first-team All-Pro. With Johnson coming off a rookie season limited to 10 games, it would stand to reason Brown would receive more work in Detroit.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions To Host RB Malcolm Brown, WR/KR Tommylee Lewis

The Lions are hosting a pair of offensive players on visits. Ben Volin of the Boston Globe reports (via Twitter) that wideout/returner Tommylee Lewis and running back Malcolm Brown will be visiting Detroit.

Brown was tendered by the Rams earlier this week. As a former undrafted free agent, the Lions wouldn’t be required to give up any compensation for signing the running back. The 25-year-old has spent his entire four-year career with the Rams organization, and he’s spent the better part of the past two seasons serving as the top backup to Todd Gurley. In 2018, Brown ran for 212 yards on 43 carries, good for a career-high 4.9-yard average. His season ended on the injured reserve, leading to the team’s signing of veteran C.J. Anderson.

In Detroit, Brown would likely slide into a depth chart that’s currently led by Kerryon Johnson, Theo Riddick, and Zach Zenner. The team has also added a pair of running backs in Kerwynn Williams and Mark Thompson.

Lewis was non-tendered by the Saints the other day. The 26-year-old does have 20 career receptions, but he’s spent the majority of his three-year career on special teams. Lewis averaged 22 yards on kick returns and 9.3 yards on punt returns during his stint in New Orleans. The Lions recently added one potential returner in Danny Amendola, and they’re also rostering Jamal Agnew, who had 40 combined returns for Detroit in 2018.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams Tender LB Cory Littleton, Others

Cory Littleton established himself as a surefire Rams starter last season. He figures to be a key component of Los Angeles’ 2019 defense.

The Rams placed a second-round tender on Littleton. That will come out to a $3.1MM salary for 2019, should no extension be reached before June’s RFA signing deadline.

A fourth-year UDFA, Littleton broke out for a 125-tackle, four-sack season in 2018 — his first as a full-time starter. With so many big contracts on the Rams’ roster, it helps they can get quality production from players with rookie-deal salaries. While the $3.1MM will take Littleton to a slightly higher tax bracket, that is a manageable figure for the Rams.

In addition to Littleton, the Rams made the following moves with other restricted and exclusive-rights free agents:

RFAs tendered at original-round level: DB Blake Countess, RB Malcolm Brown, CB Troy Hill

ERFAs tendered: DE Morgan Fox, CB Dominique Hatfield, WR KhaDarel Hodge, CB Kevin Peterson, WR JoJo Natson

Rams Expected To Place RB Malcolm Brown On IR

The Rams are expected to be without their backup running back for the remainder of the regular season and playoffs, as Los Angeles head coach Sean McVay told reporters today that Malcolm Brown is likely to be placed on injured reserve after suffering a clavicle injury last week (Twitter link via Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com).

Once he is formally moved to IR, Brown’s 2019 campaign will officially end, for a few reasons. One, the Rams have already designated the NFL-maximum two players to return from injured reserve in cornerback Aqib Talib and return man Pharoh Cooper. Two, Brown’s recovery is expected to take eight-to-ten weeks, so even if league rules didn’t prevent him from coming back this season, Brown wouldn’t be ready until — maybe — the NFC Championship Game or the Super Bowl.

Brown didn’t see many snaps behind All-Pro Todd Gurley, but he did produce when called upon. Brown has averaged 4.9 yards per carry this season, while Football Outsiders ranks him as a top-10 back in DVOA among runners with fewer than 99 carries, meaning he was extremely efficient on a per-play basis. Meanwhile, Pro Football Focus assigned him a pass-blocking grade of 90.0, which would rank first among NFL running backs if he had enough snaps to qualify.

Brown, 25, is scheduled to become a restricted free agent next spring. While he almost certainly won’t be offered a first-round tender, a second-round tender (which should be worth approximately $3MM) isn’t out of the realm of possibility. If the Rams don’t believe Brown will have much of an RFA market, they could opt to use the right of first refusal tender, which will only be worth ~$2MM.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams RB Malcolm Brown To Miss Time

Rams running back Malcolm Brown will miss the rest of the regular season with a clavicle injury, sources tell Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). However, there is hope that Brown could heal up in time for the playoffs. 

Brown is the primary backup to star Todd Gurley, so the Rams will be in a tough spot if Gurley goes down in the next few weeks. Beyond Brown, who has averaged 3.6 carries per game this season, the Rams have a pair of inexperienced backs in Justin Davis and 2018 sixth-round pick John Kelly. Brown is not a starter for the Rams, but head coach Sean McVay deemed his injury to be a “huge loss” since he is the team’s top insurance policy behind the MVP candidate.

They’ve already clinched the division, but a win will officially slot them in for a first-round bye.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Notes: Foles, Giants, Breeland

The Eagles and reigning Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles just agreed to a reworked contract that gives Foles a $2MM raise for 2018, plus a whole host of incentives. The deal also includes a mutual option for 2019, though if Foles were to decline the option, he would have to give back the $2MM he just received.

Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com examines why Philadelphia, which is tight against the cap this year and will be again in 2019, made the move. The reworked deal probably had little to nothing to do with the Eagles’ wanting to reward Foles for his postseason heroics, so Shorr-Parks speculates that Foles and his camp could have put some pressure on the team, and he also suggests the new contract may come with a lower cap hit.

The chances that the Eagles exercise the 2019 option are very slim, as Foles would be owed a $20MM salary under that scenario. But, if the two sides want to continue their relationship beyond 2018, this gesture will certainly buy the Eagles some goodwill when it comes time to negotiate again. It also guarantees that Philadelphia, which already had the best QB insurance policy in the game, will keep that policy perfectly content this season, and even if Carson Wentz cannot stay healthy, the team has given itself a chance to deploy a capable signal-caller for at least the next two years.

Now let’s take a quick swing around a few other east division clubs:

  • Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com says the Giants could look to trade offensive tackle Ereck Flowers during the draft, though that will probably be a difficult trick to pull off. Raanan also says Big Blue has done a lot of pre-draft work on punters this year, and he believes the team could bring in a UDFA punter to compete with Riley Dixon. Dixon was recently acquired from Denver for a conditional seventh-round pick, so if he does not make the club, the Giants will likely not need to surrender the pick.
  • Former Redskins cornerback Bashaud Breeland was set to sign a three-year, $24MM pact with the Panthers last month, but Carolina scuttled the deal due to a “non-football incident” in which Breeland cut his foot. The foot became infected, and at the time, it was reported that Breeland was a few months away from being able to pass a physical. He will surely garner some interest this summer once he is healed, but JP Finlay of NBCSports.com says Washington is not expected to bring Breeland back into the fold. Indeed, Breeland himself indicated on Instagram that the Redskins never had interest in retaining his services.
  • The Patriots are in the unique position of having three fifth-year options to either exercise or decline before May 3, and Mike Reiss of ESPN.com says the team will almost certainly exercise those options on defensive tackles Danny Shelton and Malcom Brown (at a little over $7MM apiece). However, the team is unsurprisingly not expected to exercise the $9.387MM option for receiver Phillip Dorsett.
  • The Cowboys are expected to exercise Byron Jones‘ fifth-year option.

Minor NFL Transactions: 4/17/18

Today’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Green Bay Packers

Los Angeles Rams

New York Jets

Seattle Seahawks

RFA/ERFA Tender Decisions: 3/12/18

Here are today’s restricted free agent and exclusive-rights free agent tender decisions, with the list being updated throughout the day.

RFAs

Tendered at second-round level:

Tendered at original-round level:

Non-Tendered:

ERFAs

Tendered:

Non-Tendered: