Mario Edwards Jr.

Saints Expected To Sign DE Mario Edwards Jr.

The Saints are adding a defensive end. Nick Underhill of The New Orleans Advocate tweets that the team is expected to sign Mario Edwards Jr. today. It will be a two-year, $5MM deal with $1.5MM “upside for sacks,” according to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com (via Twitter).

The 25-year-old was claimed off waivers by the Giants in September after having spent the first three seasons of his career with the Raiders. The former second-rounder proceeded to play in 15 games for the Giants, compiling 14 tackles, two sacks, and one forced fumble.

While Edwards didn’t play enough snaps (232) to earn a spot on Pro Football Focus‘ interior defender rankings, his grade indicates that he performed as an above-average lineman in 2018.

We heard earlier this week that the Saints had interest in Edwards. The lineman would likely play a backup role behind Cameron Jordan and Marcus Davenport. Edwards would also be competing with Trey Hendrickson and Tomasi Laulile for reps.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: WRs, Steelers, Edwards, Cook

Some assorted notes from around the NFL:

  • The Saints, Seahawks, and Patriots are continuing to monitor the wide receiver market, per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports (via Twitter). Golden Tate is the best receiver still unsigned, but there are a number of other notable names available. New Orleans is reportedly interested in bringing back Dez Bryant, and veterans like Michael Crabtree and Randall Cobb still have some value.
  • The Steelers are working to re-sign linebacker L.J. Fort, as Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. Fort was primarily deployed on passing downs in 2018 and was an underrated part of Pittsburgh’s defense last season, racking up 48 tackles and a sack. Fowler notes that Fort has generated interest from other clubs.
  • Defensive lineman Mario Edwards is set to visit with the Saints tonight, tweets Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com. The 25-year-old was claimed off waivers by the Giants in September after having spent the first three seasons of his career with the Raiders. The former second-rounder proceeded to play in 15 games for the Giants, compiling 14 tackles, two sacks, and one forced fumble.
  • The Raiders continue to monitor free agent tight end Jared Cook, writes Scott Bair of NBCSports Bay Area. The writer cautions that it’s “hard to imagine” the veteran returning, as he’s visited with the Saints and received interest from the Patriots. The 31-year-old started 14 of his 16 games last season, hauling in 68 receptions for 896 yards and six scores.
  • Trent Brown isn’t all that concerned about his role with the Raiders, tweets Bair. After playing left tackle for the Patriots in 2018, Brown said he’d be receptive to a switch to right tackle. As of right now, Kolton Miller is expected to start on the opposite side of the offensive line.

Sunday NFL Transactions: NFC East

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four NFC East teams. Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline yesterday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters, claiming players off waivers or signing guys who clear waivers. Those transactions for the Cowboys, Giants, Eagles, and Redskins are noted below.

Additionally, as of 12:00pm CT today, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads. You can check out our glossary entry on practice squads to brush up on those changes, as well as all the other guidelines that govern the 10-man units, whose players practice with the team but aren’t eligible to suit up on Sundays.

Here are Sunday’s NFC East transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day:

Dallas Cowboys

Claimed:

Cut:

Practice squad:

New York Giants

Claimed:

Cut:

Practice squad:

Philadelphia Eagles

Claimed:

Cut:

Practice squad:

Washington Redskins

Practice squad:

Giants Claim Mario Edwards

The Giants have claimed DE Mario Edwards off waivers from the Raiders, per Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network (via Twitter). The Raiders had been shopping Edwards, whom they selected in the second round of the 2015 draft, but they could not find any takers. Edwards has not lived up to his draft status yet, but he will get a fresh start in the Big Apple.

Edwards entered the league very young as a 21-year-old rookie and missed most of his second season with a hip injury. Edwards bounced back a bit last year, as he started in each of his 14 appearances and set a new career high with 3.5 sacks. However, he never impressed new Oakland head coach Jon Gruden, and the team was reportedly frustrated with him.

In New York, Edwards will certainly have a chance to show off the pass rushing ability that made him a second-round draft choice, as rookie B.J. Hill and second-year player Dalvin Tomlinson are currently penciled in as the team’s starting defensive ends.

In addition to Edwards, the Giants have also claimed the following players, per Albert Breer of TheMMQB (via Twitter):

Raiders Cut DE Mario Edwards Jr.

The Raiders have cut defensive end Mario Edwards Jr., according to Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area (Twitter link). The 2015 second round pick lasted just three years in Oakland. 

It was reported yesterday that the Raiders were shopping Edwards, but obviously found no takers. Edwards has battled injuries and never shown the pass-rushing prowess he did in college that made him such a high draft pick.

Edwards entered the league very young as a 21-year-old rookie and missed most of his second season with a hip injury. Edwards bounced back last year as he started in each of his 14 appearances, and he set a new career high with 3.5 sacks. Apparently, he never impressed new head coach Jon Gruden this offseason and the team has now cut ties.

Due to his draft status and his age, Edwards should get another shot relatively quickly. While it’s not the end of the road for the former 35th overall pick, he’ll definitely need to start producing soon. The former Florida State Seminole will likely go unclaimed on waivers, as he carries a $1.255MM salary for this season under his current contract.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Shopping Mario Edwards

The Raiders are shopping former second-round pick Mario Edwards, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com hears (on Twitter). The Raiders have been frustrated by him, Rapoport hears, and he may be on the roster bubble heading into Saturday’s deadline. 

The Raiders had high hopes for Edwards when they selected him with the No. 35 overall pick in 2015. However, he struggled to get going as a 21-year-old rookie and a hip injury set him back as an NFL sophomore.

Edwards bounced back last year as he started in each of his 14 games, and he set a new career high with 3.5 sacks. Apparently, he hasn’t impressed new head coach Jon Gruden in camp, so he could be on his way out of Oakland.

If another team acquires Edwards, they’ll have him under contract for one more season with a base salary of $1.255MM. That would be a fairly low-risk move, and Edwards will surely cost a lot less than a second rounder.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Activate Mario Edwards

The Raiders exchanged edge defenders on their active roster in advance of their Week 16 game against the Colts, activating Mario Edwards and placing Shilique Calhoun on IR, Scott Bair of CSNBayArea.com tweets.

Edwards appears ready at long last to make his 2016 debut after an arduous road back from a preseason hip injury initially thought to be closer to minor in nature than a four-month-negating malady. The second-year defensive end played in the Raiders’ first preseason game but has not seen regular-season time since Week 15 of the 2015 season.

Oakland carried Edwards on its IR list all season, seeing Edwards return to practice earlier this month, and will potentially receive a boost for a 30th-ranked defense.

An edge player in Oakland’s 4-3 but an interior presence on passing downs, the former second-round pick graded as a top-10 run-stopper, per Pro Football Focus, last season among edge defenders. But he’s been a non-factor for more than a year due to this slow-progressing hip ailment and the neck injury from last December that caused him to miss several months. Edwards wasn’t cleared until May to participate in Raiders OTAs.

Edwards registered 41 tackles, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble as a rookie and figures to, if able to contribute on a part-time basis in all likelihood, factor into the Raiders’ defensive line mix. Denico Autry, Stacy McGee and Jihad Ward have done the bulk of the work in this role opposite Khalil Mack. With Mack and Bruce Irvin being the edge players on passing downs, it’s been on the aforementioned trio to rush from the inside — something Edwards did fairly effectively last season.

A third-round rookie, Calhoun played in 10 games for the Silver and Black this season but did not contribute much statistically, registering five tackles and a pass deflection as a reserve pass-rusher.

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Palmer, Edwards Jr., Trubisky

Which quarterbacks will be available this offseason? NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal has you covered. Besides listing the impending free agents (including Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins), the writer also takes a look at several trade and release candidates.

The writer’s list of potential trade candidates is led by Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, while Tony Romo (Cowboys), Tyrod Taylor (Bills), and A.J. McCarron (Bengals) also earn mentions. Meanwhile, Rosenthal’s release candidates include Jay Cutler (Bears), Colin Kaepernick (49ers), Robert Griffin III (Browns), and Nick Foles (Chiefs).

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

  • Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer has struggled for stretches this season, but the veteran doesn’t sound like he’s considering retirement. “Haven’t thought about next year but I expect to play in 2017,” the 36-year-old said today (via Mike Jurecki of Fox Sports 910 on Twitter).
  • UNC QB Mitch Trubisky still hasn’t decided whether he’ll forego his senior season and declare for the NFL draft, reports ESPN.com’s Adam Caplan (via Twitter). Trubisky has had a breakout campaign, compiling 3,468 yards, 28 touchdowns, and four interceptions.
  • Raiders defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. said he had a “very solid workout” yesterday, and Caplan reports (via Twitter) that the second-year player could make his season debut next week. Edwards hasn’t played since injuring his hip during the preseason.
  • As organization’s begin to look at potential general manager candidates for next season, ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss says that Patriots director of college scouting Monti Ossenfort could be pursued. Reiss cites the success of four current NFL general managers who “cut their teeth” in New England: Bob Quinn (Lions,) Jon Robinson (Titans), Thomas Dimitroff (Falcons), and Jason Licht (Buccaneers).

Raiders’ Mario Edwards Jr. To Return From IR

The Raiders have designated defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. as their player to return from injured reserve, tweets Scott Bair of CSNCalifornia.com, who adds that Edwards is expected to practice tomorrow. Oakland now has three weeks to place Edwards on the active roster, or he will stay on IR for the remainder of the season. The Raider expect Edwards to return to action for their December 19 game against the Chargers, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).Mario Edwards Jr.

[RELATED: Aldon Smith Pushing For Return]

Nearly a certain lock to make the playoffs following yesterday’s win over the Bills, the Raiders are still fighting to win the AFC West and face a massive contest against the Chiefs on Thursday night. But the one area of the Oakland roster that could use a boost is the club’s defense, and Edwards will certainly provide a spark if he’s able to get back on the field. By DVOA, the Raiders’ defense ranks just 26th, and the team’s defensive line places only 28th against both the run and pass.

When healthy, Edwards served as a bright spot for the Raiders last year, racking up 42 tackles, three forced fumbles and two sacks in 14 games. He worked at both end and tackle along the way and rated as one of Pro Football Focus’ best run-stoppers among edge defenders. Edwards figures to complement superstar Khalil Mack and first-year Raider Bruce Irvin in an attempt to improve Oakland’s front four during the stretch run.

Oakland’s decision to bring Edwards off injured reserve means that tight end Lee Smith and linebacker Ben Heeney — both of whom have could have potentially returned this year — will remain on IR from the rest of the season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Green, Broncos, Raiders

Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green is progressing in his recovery from the hamstring injury he suffered Nov. 20, but he’ll miss Sunday’s game against the Eagles, according to Bob Holzman of ESPN. Although the 3-7-1 Bengals are all but out of playoff contention, the five-time Pro Bowler has no plans to shut himself down for the season. “I want to get back,” he told Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer“No matter what type of season we have, I’m not the type of guy to cash it in. So, whenever it’s ready, I’ll be ready to go. But, I’m not going to rush it because I’m not going to have this be a continuing issue.”

More from the AFC:

  • Safety Darian Stewart‘s four-year, $28MM extension with the Broncos includes $13MM in fully guaranteed money, per Mike Klis of 9NEWS. He has already received $3.5MM of a $7MM signing bonus, the other half of which he’ll collect March 15. Stewart’s $6MM base salary for 2017 is fully guaranteed, while his $4.5MM salary for 2018 is guaranteed for injury only and will convert to a full guarantee on the fifth day of the 2018 league year.
  • Raiders coach Jack Del Rio still expects defensive lineman Mario Edwards Jr. to return this year, Scott Bair of CSNCalifornia.com tweets. Del Rio is uncertain when Edwards would come back, however. The second-year man went on injured reserve with a hip ailment prior to Week 1 and still hasn’t played this season. If the Raiders designate Edwards to return from IR, they’ll have a three-week window to activate him.
  • The latest on the Jets, including a Christian Hackenberg update.