Mark Barron

Broncos To Waive LB Mark Barron

The Broncos’ late-summer signing of Mark Barron produced only several weeks’ worth of rehab and practice time, and the team will move on from the former starting linebacker.

Denver will waive Barron to clear a roster spot for cornerback Parnell Motley, according to 9News’ Mike Klis (on Twitter). The Broncos are reeling at corner, and Barron did not make an impact with his fourth NFL team.

Although the Broncos activated Barron from IR in late November, he did not play a snap for the team. Barron signed with Denver — on a one-year deal worth $2.5MM — in the offseason, with the franchise hoping he could play a sub-package role to help out Josey Jewell. But the latter has played well this season, alongside Alexander Johnson as a three-down player, leaving Barron on the sidelines.

Hamstring and pectoral injuries felled the former Buccaneers, Rams and Steelers defender this year. Barron, 31, suffered a hamstring injury before the season, leading him to IR. He remained there longer than expected because of a subsequent pec ailment.

Both the Broncos and Steelers ended up cutting Barron in 2020. The Rams made him a cap casualty in 2019. The former first-round pick converted from safety to linebacker and from 2015-18 with the Rams, and the Steelers used him frequently last season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Broncos Activate LB Mark Barron From IR

It took much longer than expected, but Mark Barron is in position to make his Broncos debut. The team activated him from IR Wednesday.

The Broncos signed the former first-round pick during training camp, eyeing a potential part-time role for the veteran on a suddenly reshaped linebacking corps. Denver released longtime starter Todd Davis before the season and saw rookie Justin Strnad suffer a season-ending injury during camp. Barron, however, soon experienced injury troubles. But the former Buccaneers, Rams and Steelers starter is on track to play in Week 12.

Pittsburgh released Barron earlier this year, and he spent nearly six months in free agency. Upon signing a one-year, $2.5MM deal with the Broncos, Barron suffered a hamstring injury. During his rehab process, Barron then encountered a pectoral malady.

The former Bucs safety and longtime Rams linebacker will likely see time mixing in on a Broncos defense that has used 2019 backup Josey Jewell as a full-time player alongside top inside ‘backer Alexander Johnson. Jewell’s snap rate has risen from 20% last season to 93% this year. But with Pro Football Focus slotting Johnson and Jewell as 2020’s No. 10- and No. 26-ranked off-ball linebackers, respectively, Barron may not see as much time as initially planned.

To make room for Barron, the Broncos waived running back LeVante Bellamy. The latter has bounced on and off Denver’s active roster this season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC West Notes: Bell, Broncos, Nassib, Bolts

Less than an hour after Le’Veon Bell‘s Jets departure became official, rumors about his new team are surfacing. While Bell’s suitor list is not yet known, many around the league expect the Chiefs to be interested in the former All-Pro back, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. The Chiefs made a somewhat similar move last year, signing LeSean McCoy — after the Bills cut him — to play behind then-starter Damien Williams. Kansas City used a first-round pick on Clyde Edwards-Helaire but has lower-profile backs Darrel Williams and Darwin Thompson — after Damien Williams’ July opt-out — backing up the rookie. Bell, whose disappointing Jets stay secured him nearly $30MM, will prioritize his fit in an offense and a team’s chances of contending before choosing his next destination, per Fowler. Bell returned in Week 5 from a hamstring injury and averaged 4.62 yards per carry on 13 totes in the Jets’ loss to the Cardinals.

Here is the latest from the AFC West:

  • While Cam Newton‘s return to the Patriots’ active roster points to the Broncos facing him and not Jarrett Stidham this week, Drew Lock also appears on the verge of a return. The Denver starter participated fully in practice Wednesday. A Week 6 return would be in the timeframe initially set after Lock’s Week 2 shoulder injury. The Broncos used two different starters, running their post-Peyton Manning total to nine, in Lock’s absence. Were Lock to be held out another week, Brett Rypien would be in line to log a second start.
  • Mark Barron‘s Broncos debut remains on hold. On IR because of a hamstring injury, Barron suffered a pectoral malady that will delay his return to action, Mike Klis of 9News tweets. The Broncos signed Barron late in the summer, but the former first-round pick does not have a clear-cut return date.
  • The Raiders are also going to be without a rotational defender for a bit. Carl Nassib suffered a broken toe during the team’s win over the Chiefs, per Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). It is, in fact, a big toe injury. The former Browns and Buccaneers pass rusher will likely be out a while, though a concrete timetable does not exist yet. An offseason addition, Nassib has played just more than a fourth of Las Vegas’ defensive snaps this season.
  • The Dolphins recently promoted running back Salvon Ahmed to their active roster. They did so after the Chargers expressed interest in poaching Ahmed off Miami’s practice squad, per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. The Chargers are down Austin Ekeler presently and have just two backs — Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley — on their active roster. A rookie UDFA out of Washington, Ahmed has yet to dress for an NFL game.

Broncos Place Mark Barron, DeMarcus Walker On IR

The Broncos’ IR list is filling up. Mark Barron and DeMarcus Walker will join the likes of Von Miller, Courtland Sutton and A.J. Bouye on Denver’s injured reserve, Vic Fangio said Wednesday.

Barron has yet to make his Denver debut; a hamstring injury has kept the veteran linebacker off the field. Walker, a fourth-year defensive end, suffered a calf injury in the Broncos’ Week 2 loss to the Steelers. Both players are eligible to return in Week 6.

While the Broncos have been hit harder than just about any team with injuries this season — with four of the six former Pro Bowlers on their roster currently unavailable — they are not placing Drew Lock on IR. The prospect of Lock returning before Week 6 induced the team to keep its starting quarterback on its 53-man roster, Fangio said. Lock, however, could be out for close to six weeks. But the Broncos will go with three active-roster QBs for the time being. They agreed to terms with Blake Bortles on Tuesday; he will join Jeff Driskel on the roster.

Denver signed Barron after releasing Todd Davis. The former was set to work as passing-down linebacker alongside Alexander Johnson. Those plans are on hold. The Steelers released Barron earlier this year, doing so a year after the Rams made the former first-round pick a cap casualty.

Walker beat out Christian Covington for a roster spot this year, after showing some promise down the stretch last season. The Broncos drafted Walker in the 2017 second round. Although Walker has not quite lived up to his draft slot — particularly in his first two seasons — Fangio and Co. kept the Vance Joseph-era investment around as a depth player. The team now has Walker and 2019 third-round D-lineman Dre’Mont Jones on IR.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Broncos Sign Mark Barron

The Broncos have agreed to sign Mark Barron, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. The former Rams and Steelers linebacker will help fill in for rookie Justin Strnad, who will miss the year after undergoing wrist surgery. 

Barron, 31 in October, joined the Steelers on a two-year, $12MM deal last year. Barron registered 82 tackles, three sacks, and one fumble recovery in 15 games last year, but the Steelers dropped him in March to free up additional cap space.

Barron, who once played safety, played his best years with the Rams. In L.A., Barron posted at least 100 tackles, and compiled 16 tackles for loss in 2016. The former No. 7 overall pick is unlikely to live up to his draft status at this stage of his career, but he could carve out an inside linebacker role now that Strnad is out and linebacker Todd Davis is dealing with a calf injury.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steelers Cut Mark Barron, Anthony Chickillo

The Steelers have released linebackers Mark Barron and Anthony Chickillo, according to a team press release. In a related move, the club also cut wide receiver Johnny Holton.

For Barron, it’s an early end to the free agent deal he inked with the Steelers one year ago. With his two-year, $12MM deal terminated, he’ll look for work elsewhere. After coming over from the Rams, Barron registered 82 tackles, three sacks, and one fumble recovery in 15 games.

Chickillo, meanwhile, has mostly played as a reserve throughout his career in Pittsburgh. He has 65 total appearances to his credit with just nine starts. All in all, he’s logged 67 tackles, 9 tackles for loss, eight sacks, three pass defenses, three forced fumbles, and lots of time on special teams.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steelers To Sign LB Mark Barron

The Steelers have agreed to sign linebacker Mark Barron to a two-year, $12MM deal, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Barron, 29, was released by the Rams earlier this month in a move that saved Los Angeles $6.5MM in cap space. He was due a $5MM base salary and a $3MM roster bonus in 2019, so Barron won’t recoup his single-season earnings under his new contact with the Steelers.

A former safety, Barron was traded from the Buccaneers to the Rams during the 2014 campaign. In each of his first two full seasons with Los Angeles, Barron posted at least 100 tackles, and compiled 16 tackles for loss in 2016. The No. 7 overall selection in the 2012 draft, Barron has 104 appearances and 93 starts under his belt.

Pittsburgh is in need of help at inside linebacker, as neither Vince Williams nor Jonathan Bostic graded as a top-40 LB league-wide in 2018, per Pro Football Focus. Specifically, the Steelers needed to reinforce their second-level pass defense after ranking 31st in DVOA against opposing tight ends and 15th against running backs, according to Football Outsiders.

The Steelers have only ~$6.8MM in cap space, so Barron’s deal — even if it likely has a cheap cap charge in 2019 — will push them closer to the brink. Given that he was cut, Barron won’t factor into Pittsburgh’s compensatory pick formula.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams To Release LB Mark Barron

A Rams starter since their St. Louis days, Mark Barron will be looking for a new team. The defending NFC champions are releasing the veteran linebacker, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

While this move will create another need on Los Angeles’ defensive second level, it will free up $6.3MM in cap space. Barron becomes the second starter the Rams made the decision to jettison on Tuesday, joining center John Sullivan.

The No. 7 overall pick in 2012, Barron signed a five-year, $45MM deal to stay with the Rams after the 2016 season. Following the team’s trades of Alec Ogletree and Robert Quinn, Barron became the preeminent veteran on Los Angeles’ linebacking corps — a group otherwise stripped of high salaries to cover costs elsewhere. Now, with Dante Fowler also expected to hit the market, the Rams do not have a veteran contract at any linebacker spot.

No guaranteed money remained on Barron’s deal, which called for him to play for a $5MM base salary. This move also comes before Barron, who accepted a $500K pay cut last year, was due a $3MM roster bonus. The 29-year-old defender started 12 regular-season games last season and 56 as a Ram.

A former safety, Barron revived his career as a Rams linebacker, peaking between the 2015-16 seasons. He registered more than 110 tackles in each and made 16 stops for loss in 2015. The Rams have only second-year player Micah Kiser under contract at inside ‘backer, though it should be expected the team will tender and retain 2o18 starter Cory Littleton, who is an RFA.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Rams, Singleton, Pats

There is a definite post-Super Bowl lull in the NFL world right now, and while we will soon be talking about free agent rumors and the April draft in earnest, today is not that day. But there is still professional football to watch if you’re interested, and there are a few NFL items of note to discuss, so let’s get to them:

  • Vincent Bonsignore of The Athletic examines how the Rams might address some of their biggest needs this offseason. The club is projected to have about $41MM in salary cap space, and Bonsignore suggests that LA must find a dominant edge rusher to take some pressure off of Aaron Donald. Luckily, this year’s draft features quite a bit of pass rushing talent if the Rams choose to steer clear of the pricey free agent market for edge defenders.
  • Todd Gurley will obviously be back with the Rams, but given his history of knee problems, and the impact that his most recent knee injury had on the team’s playoff run, Bonsignore says LA will think long and hard about adding another back to share the load (we learned last week that the club is interested in bringing back C.J. Anderson). He also suggests that the Rams could bring back Ndamukong Suh on a two-year deal, and that Mark Barron could be a cap casualty.
  • The Bengals will hire Jemal Singleton as their running backs coach, per Jeremy Rauch of Fox 19 (via Twitter). Singleton previously served in the same capacity with the Colts from 2016-17 and with the Raiders in 2018.
  • Jenna Laine of ESPN.com examines a few free agents that the Buccaneers might consider, a list that includes safety Tyrann Mathieu — who of course has a history with new head coach Bruce Arians — and kicker Matt Bryant.
  • After the recent exodus of coaching talent, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com names a few Patriots coaching assistants who could be elevated to position-coach roles. Cole Popovich, Mike Pellegrino, DeMarcus Covington, and Brian Belichick could all be promoted in short order.
  • Pro Football Focus released its list of the top 10 players eligible for free agency in March and projected the contracts those players might land. Five of the top six players are edge rushers, including Jadeveon Clowney, the top player on the list, whom PFF expects to land a six-year, $135MM deal with $85MM in guarantees. Clowney, of course, is expected to be hit with the franchise tag, so if he gets a contract of that size this year, it will likely come from the Texans.

Injury Notes: Fournette, Ansah, Michel, Burkhead, Barron

Inactive lists for the late slate of games are starting to roll in, and are providing answers to some key injury questions. Perhaps the biggest mystery of the week was the status of Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette. We finally have clarity, as Fournette will officially miss Jacksonville’s Week 2 game against the Patriots with his hamstring injury according to Adam Schefter of ESPN (Twitter link).

It’s a big blow for the Jaguars who like to establish the running game and make things easy for Blake Bortles. They did get some good news however as Calais Campbell, who was a very late add to the injury report, will play. Here are more injury notes from around the league:

  • The Lions’ already weak defense will be without their best player, as Ezekiel Ansah will be sidelined with a shoulder injury per Michael Rothstein of ESPN (Twitter link). Ian Rapoport had previously tweeted Ansah was expected to play, so this is a bit of a surprise.
  • The Patriots’ backfield got some good news as both Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead will suit up per Ben Volin of The Boston Globe (Twitter link). Burkhead was cleared from the concussion protocol while Michel will make his NFL debut after missing most of the offseason with a knee injury.
  • The Rams will be without starting linebacker Mark Barron for a second straight week per ProFootballTalk (Twitter link). It’s bad news for Los Angeles as their linebackers were shredded over the middle last week by tight end Jared Cook for 180 yards.