Maliek Collins

Extra Points: Packers, Collins, Broncos

The Packers selected Washington State offensive guard Cole Madison in the fifth round of this past year’s draft. However, the rookie has sat on the did not report list and hasn’t attended training camp. While his absence isn’t encouraging, general manager Brian Gutekunst is confident that he’ll be able to contribute eventually.

“We’re fully supportive of what’s going on,” Gutekunst told ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. “He’s dealing with a [personal] issue, when that issue is resolved we’ll get back to the football part of it.”

Gutekunst added that he believes Madison wants to continue playing, and he even hinted that the rookie could end up returning to the team at some point during the preseason.

Let’s take a look at some more notes from around the NFL…

  • The Cowboys received some good news today. Howard Balzer tweets that Maliek Collins has passed his physical and been activated from the physically unable to perform list. The 23-year-old has undergone a pair of surgeries over the past four months to repair a fractured fifth metatarsal in his left foot. With several weeks to go before the end of the preseason, the Cowboys are confident Collins can return for the start of the regular season. “He’s just progressing,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said earlier this week (via Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com). “He’s done a really good job with his rehab, and we’re taking him day-by-day, we’ll see if he’s available at some point to come practice here in the next week or so.” Collins finished last season with 22 tackles and 2.5 sacks.
  • The Broncos signed A.J. Johnson earlier today, and it sounds like the organization has high hopes for the embattled linebacker. Ben Volin of the Boston Globe tweets that the organization is giving the rookie $50K in guaranteed money, more than they gave to any of their other undrafted rookies. The former Tennessee star, who has dealt with his share of off-field issues, hasn’t played organized football in more than four years.
  • Denver wasn’t the only suitor for Johnson. Volin tweets that the Dolphins (along with a “couple other teams”) had expressed interest in the rookie linebacker before he joined the Broncos.
  • The Cowboys worked out a number of players today (via Jon Machota of the Dallas News on Twitter): receiver Darren Carrington, offensive linemen Jacob Alsadek and Daronte Bouldin, and safeties Dominick Sanders, Ryan Murphy, and Deron Washington. The team ended up signing Alsadek and Carrington later in the day.
  • Former Southern Miss wide receiver Allenzae Staggers worked out for the Redskins today, reports Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter). Following a breakout 2016 campaign where he hauled in 63 receptions for 1,165 yards and seven touchdowns, the wideout took a step back in 2017, finishing with 44 catches for 471 yards.

Extra Points: Giants, Eli, Chiefs, Cowboys

To the dismay of many analysts, the Giants didn’t use the second overall pick on a franchise quarterback, instead opting to select running back Saquon Barkley, who figures to make a more immediate impact. Incumbent signal-caller Eli Manning, however, was — perhaps obviously — pleased with New York’s decision not to draft his successor. “It was kind of a vote of confidence in that they trusted in me that I can play at a high level, can win games, take us deep in playoffs and win championships and win championships still,” Manning said, per SiriusXM NFL Radio. “And you know what? I want to prove them right and I want to make them look smart and make them to have made the right decision in doing that.” The Giants are going all-in with Manning under center, and are hoping new head coach Pat Shurmur can do for Manning what he did for journeyman Case Keenum in Minnesota in 2017. Last year, the 37-year-old Manning finished just 23rd in both adjusted net yards per attempt and passer rating.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Chiefs second-round defensive end Breeland Speaks had been on Kansas City’s radar for awhile, as general manager Brett Veach explained (link via Josh Norris of Rotoworld). After initially grading Speaks as a third-round pick, the Chiefs quickly realized that not only would Speaks likely be off the board by the time their third-rounder came up, but he might not even be available when Kansas City selected at No. 54 in the second round. Therefore, the Chiefs sent a third-round pick to the Bengals for the right to move up to No. 46, and took Speaks — an Ole Miss product — there instead. Speaks, whom Veach characterized as a “high-motor, intense player,” will vie for rotational snaps in Kansas City’s 3-4 scheme behind starters Chris Jones and Allen Bailey.
  • Defensive tackle Maliek Collins isn’t a lock to return for the Cowboys‘ Week 1 contest after breaking his foot in May, and if the third-year interior defender doesn’t recover quickly, he could lose his starting job to trade acquisition Jihad Ward, according to Jori Epstein of the Dallas Morning News. Collins underwent a similar foot operation in January and underwent a foot procedure in the 2016 offseason as well, so he’s no stranger to lower extremity issues. Collins, who was selected in the third round of the 2016 draft, is even more critical given that fellow defensive tackle David Irving is suspended for the first four games of the season. Ward, meanwhile, managed to play in only five games a season ago before being shipped to Dallas in exchange for wideout Ryan Switzer.
  • The Alliance of American Football will offer players non-guaranteed three-year, $225K contracts, which puts them in line with the XFL’s pay scale, writes Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. Additionally, AAF players will be allowed to leave their contracts in order to join the NFL, indicating a policy which differs from that of the Canadian Football League. The AAF will allocate players to rosters based on where they attended college, which should help draw fans. “If the Birmingham teams has [former Alabama running back] Trent Richardson, we think that will be something that would be a significant gate attraction,” league co-founder Bill Polian said.

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.

East Notes: Cowboys, Smith, Collins, Patriots, Jets

After sitting out his rookie year with ACL and LCL injuries in his left knee and playing last season in an AFO brace for drop foot, Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith has confirmed that he is no longer wearing the brace, the Star-Telegram’s Clarence Hill writes.

Smith said he has not worn the brace since he began working out in February. “Getting that flexion back is going to help tremendously … speed, quickness, explosiveness,” Smith said. “I have been feeling great. Everything is about getting back to 100 percent. Every day I am improving.”

A highly touted prospect coming out of Notre Dame, Smith fell to the second round in 2016 after suffering the serious knee injury in his final collegiate game. He returned to the field in 2017 and finished second on the team with 99 tackles despite inconsistent performances.

After a subpar showing in 2017, the Cowboys decided to address the linebacker group in the first round of the 2018 Draft by selecting Boise State’s Leighton Vander Esch. The rookie is expected to slide right in at middle linebacker, while Smith and Sean Lee man the outside spots.

Here’s more from around the East:

  • Sticking with the Cowboys, it was reported earlier in the week that third-year defensive tackle Maliek Collins broke his foot during the team’s offseason program. The Dallas Morning News’ David Moore now reports the run-clogging lineman is likely to undergo surgery early next week (Twitter link). The injury is expected to sideline him for around three months, and the hope is he will return around the middle of training camp.
  • The Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels spurned a head-coaching gig with the Colts to return to New England in 2018. Though head coach Bill Belichick has said he would take his mentorship “to the next level,” McDaniels told the Providence Journal’s Mark Daniels that his role remains the same in 2018. Though his role will stay the same, McDaniels is surely being groomed to take over once the future Hall of Fame coach decides to call it quits.
  • Jets CEO Christopher Johnson is convinced first-round pick Sam Darnold will be a turning point in the franchise’s history, the New York Post’s Brian Lewis writes. “I honestly think they’re going to look back 20 years from now and say this is the moment the Jets shifted into a new year, that they became a great team,” Johnson said. Darnold was heralded by many as the top quarterback in the draft but fell to New York when the Browns opted for Baker Mayfield at No. 1.
  • Also with the Jets, the teams lost its director of college scouting, Matt Bazirgan, who left to become the Texans’ director of player personnel, the New York Post’s Brian Costello writes. He had been with the Jets since 2004 as a college scout. This marks the second straight year the team has had to replace the position.

Cowboys DT Maliek Collins Breaks Foot

A starter since coming into the league as a third-round pick in 2016, Maliek Collins has encountered an offseason obstacle that could threaten playing time this season.

Collins suffered a broken foot on Thursday while working with the Cowboys in their offseason program, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. No definite timetable exists for Collins’ recovery just yet. Collins is going to need surgery after sustained a fractured fifth metatarsal in his left foot, Todd Archer of ESPN reports. He underwent a similar surgery on this foot in January, per Archer, who adds the hope at this point is for Collins to be ready by the middle of training camp.

While there isn’t a certain timeline here, Collins has been down this road before. Essentially this exact road. The former Day 2 pick broke his right foot two summers ago and was sidelined for 10-12 weeks. However, he returned to action in time to start 14 games that season after undergoing a similar surgery to what he will now undergo this week. Archer reports this procedure could happen as soon as Friday.

The Cowboys worked out their other 2016 defensive tackle starter Thursday in Terrell McClain and may be on the verge of bringing him back. The Redskins released McClain in April. Now that Collins could be on the shelf for a while, the team would have a much bigger need at defensive tackle.

Cowboys Sign Third-Rounder Maliek Collins

The Cowboys became the latest team to solve the third-round negotiation matrix, reaching an agreement to sign Maliek Collins on Wednesday night, Todd Archer of ESPN.com reports.

A defensive tackle from Nebraska, Collins signed his customary four-year agreement with the Cowboys, one that includes an $881K+ signing bonus. The Cowboys now have their entire draft class signed after the previous eight selections had all agreed to deals by May 31.

Language in the CBA makes third-rounders’ contracts more complex than players chosen in the other rounds, inducing the delay for many talents taken off the board late during Day 2 of the draft. However, just one now remains unsigned, Titans defensive back Kevin Byard.

Collins, though, may have to wait longer than his brethren to suit up for his team. The former Cornhusker broke his foot and underwent surgery more than five weeks ago. He’s expected to miss training camp for a team that’s already quite depleted on its front seven. Demarcus Lawrence, Randy Gregory and Rolando McClain are out due to suspensions, and the Cowboys opted not to bring back Greg Hardy.

Collins enjoyed a strong sophomore season at Nebraska, making 45 tackles — 13 of which behind the line of scrimmage — and 4.5 sacks. As a junior in 2015, though, the 300-pound interior lineman did not have quite the same statistical impact, making 29 stops and seven of those coming for loss.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Seven Rookies Remain Unsigned

Updated on June 25th, 2016 3:32pm CT

The overwhelming majority of the rookies in the 2016 draft class have officially signed. However, as we approach July, we still have a small group of stragglers. Seven rookies have yet to put pen to paper with their respective teams and that group includes three first-rounders: Joey Bosa (Chargers, No. 3), Darron Lee (Jets, No. 20) and Joshua Garnett (49ers, No. 28). Joey Bosa (vertical)

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Bosa, of course, stands as the most high-profile player yet to sign his rookie pact and his negotiations are also the most public of the bunch. This week, agent Todd France and team president of football operations John Spanos both discussed the negotiations in radio interviews and it appears that the two sides aren’t even in agreement as to what the disagreement is all about. Spanos says the two sides are hung up on the idea of offset language. France, meanwhile, says there are other reasons behind the protracted talks, including cash flow.

The latest Collective Bargaining Agreement has made rookie contracts much simpler than they used to be. Every rookie from No. 1 through (roughly) No. 256 receives a four-year deal with varying salary amounts based on where they are selected. However, offset language is among the key clauses which may be discussed. If a player with offset language in his contract his released midway through the deal, the original team is only on the hook for the difference in salary between the two contracts. Without offset language, the player can effectively double dip and collect two paychecks. Naturally, there are many player agents who are disinclined to forfeit that potential earning power.

Of the seven players without signed deals, four of those players are third-round picks. That’s because contracts in the third round are, for some reason, far less regulated than the rest of the draft. While third round picks have slotted signing bonuses like everyone else, the base salaries can be brokered and that’s probably at least part of the holdup for these four rookies. However, one pattern to note is that first-rounders Bosa, Lee, Fuller, and Garnett are all represented by powerhouse agency CAA.

Here is the complete list of 2016 rookies who have yet to complete their contracts with signatures and initials:

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

New York Jets

San Diego Chargers

San Francisco 49ers

Tennessee Titans

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys DT Maliek Collins Has Broken Foot

The Cowboys announced that rookie defensive tackle Maliek Collins has suffered a broken right foot. Collins has already had surgery on the injured foot and is expected to be sidelined for 10-12 weeks. Maliek Collins (vertical)

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The Cowboys are now a little thin on the defensive line without the third-round pick, but Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter) hears that the Cowboys won’t add anyone immediately to fill the void. For now, they’ll only look in-house for solutions.

While Collins will be missed, the Cowboys do have backup Terrell McClain on hand to support interior line starters Tyrone Crawford and Cedric Thornton. Also, defensive linemen Jack Crawford and David Irving have experience at both tackle and end. Of course, defensive end is where the Cowboys are thin thanks to the four-game suspensions handed to Randy Gregory and Demarcus Lawrence.

Collins, a Nebraska product, was taken with the No 67 overall pick in this year’s draft. In his sophomore year, Collins turned heads when he recorded 45 tackles, including 14 tackles for a loss, and 4.5 sacks. Last year, however, Collins took a step back in terms of production, recording only 29 tackles, seven for loss, and 2.5 sacks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Draft Notes: Collins, Clark, Howard

Defensive tackle Maliek Collins announced that he is entering the NFL Draft and foregoing his senior season at Nebraska, as Sam McKewon of the World-Herald writes.

It’s always been a dream of mine, and I got a good grade back (from the NFL’s draft advisory board),” Collins said when asked why he’s headed to the NFL one year early. “I talked it over with my teammates and I talked it over with Coach (Mike) Riley and it seems like the best decision for me.”

Collins, a team captain in 2015, racked up 29 total tackles with 2.5 sacks this season. Many have projected that Collins will go in the first round of the NFL Draft this season and his grade from the NFL draft advisory board likely supported that forecast.

Here’s the latest NFL Draft news:

  • UCLA Bruins junior defensive tackle Kenny Clark announced on Twitter that he will skip his senior year to declare for the draft. NFL talent evaluators are high on the 6’3″, 310-pound junior and he could wind up being a late first-round pick. Clark recorded a sack and season-high eight solo tackles in UCLA’s bowl loss to Nebraska on Dec. 26. For the season, he had 47 tackles and six sacks.
  • Indiana junior running back Jordan Howard announced that he will forego his senior season and enter the 2016 Draft. A first team All-Big Ten selection, Howard entered the bowl season second in the Big Ten with 134.8 rushing yards per game (9th nationally) and 146.6 all-purpose yards per game (15th). Injuries have been an issue for Howard in the past, but he is considered by some to be one of the five best tailbacks in this year’s class. One has to imagine that his medical exams will play a big factor in where he lands.
  • University of Miami junior cornerback Artie Burns announced that he has elected to forgo his final year of college eligibility and declare for the draft. “After considering all the options, and looking into my future, I feel it is in my best interest to forego my senior year and declare for the NFL Draft,” Burns said in a statement. “I can’t put into words what these past three years have meant to me in my development as a football player but even more importantly as a man.” Burns could wind up as a consensus top five corner in this year’s class depending on what others at his position do.
  • Arizona Wildcats wide receiver Cayleb Jones took to Twitter to announce that he is going pro. The 6’3″ athlete is rated as the No. 23 junior wide receiver prospect by NFLDraftScout.com and he appears to be taking a risk by jumping to the NFL. Jones originally committed to the Texas and played in 10 games as a frosh before transferring to Arizona and sitting out for one year. While at Texas, Jones picked up a felony assault charge that was ultimately reduced to a misdemeanor.
  • The Texas Longhorns announced that junior defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway has decided to go pro. An honorable mention All-Big 12 selection in 2015, Ridgeway played in 36 career games with 18 starts. In that time, he recorded 92 tackles with 9.5 sacks, 18.5 tackles for loss and two fumble recoveries. Ridgeway is rated as the No. 5 nose tackle by WalterFootball.com and his stock could rise if any of the three underclassmen ranked ahead of him opt to stay in school.
  • Washington junior running back Dwayne Washington will forgo his senior season and enter the NFL Draft, as Adam Jude of the Seattle Times writes. Washington did not play in UW’s final four games because of a knee injury, an issue which required minor surgery. The tailback started six games for UW this season and finished as UW’s second-leading rusher with 282 yards. His seven total touchdowns were also second-most on the team. Washington garnered attention in 2014 when he converted from wide receiver to running back, though his frame still looks like that of a receiver.