Marlon Mack

Colts To Re-Sign Marlon Mack

Almost everybody had expected these two sides to move on, but they just can’t quit each other. The Colts are re-signing running back Marlon Mack, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network tweets.

It’s a one-year deal for $2MM, Pelissero reports. Mack began last season as Indy’s starter, but unfortunately tore his Achilles in Week 1. The saving grace of the timing of his injury was that it at least allowed him to get an early start on recovery for 2021. After Mack’s injury and the emergence of rookie Jonathan Taylor as the team’s new lead back, it had been widely assumed that Mack would be playing elsewhere next season.

In January, Colts GM Chris Ballard said “Marlon Mack deserves a contract, unequivocally. He deserves a good contract. I don’t know if we are going to be able to do that here.” Many understandably interpreted that as a sign that divorce was likely. Over the weekend we heard that Mack was progressing well in his recovery and was expected to be ready to go for training camp.

In all likelihood Mack tested the waters the past couple days, didn’t generate as much interest as he was hoping for, and opted to return to Indy on a cheap deal. A running back coming off an Achilles tear is enough to give anybody pause, but in 2019 Mack rushed for 1,091 yards and eight touchdowns in 14 games.

The South Florida product also only just turned 25 earlier this month, so he should have plenty left in the tank. With Mack, Taylor (who looked phenomenal down the stretch in 2020), and Nyheim Hines, the Colts will have one of the league’s best backfields in 2021.

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Latest On FA RB Marlon Mack

After tearing his Achilles back in September, Marlon Mack is getting healthy and is ready for his next opportunity. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports (via Twitter) that the running back is “progressing well in his rehab” from the injury and is expected to be ready in time for training camp. The running back is also expected to test free agency.

The 25-year-old isn’t far removed from two impressive seasons with the Colts. Between the 2018 and 2019 seasons, Mack compiled 2,184 yards from scrimmage and 18 touchdowns, and he added another 200 yards and one touchdown in a pair of playoff games. However, he was limited to only a single game and seven touches after tearing his Achilles in Week 1 of the 2020 campaign.

The Achilles injury was unfortunate timing for the impending free agent, who will probably have to settle for a prove-it deal during his comeback season. Either way, it doesn’t sound like he’ll immediately be re-signing with the Colts.

Even before Mack suffered his injury, there was uncertainty surrounding his future in Indy. The team drafted Jonathan Taylor in the second round of last year’s draft, and they used a pair of 2018 draft picks in Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins.

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Colts Preparing To Let Marlon Mack Walk?

Prior to Marlon Mack‘s Achilles tear ending his season after one game, the Colts had not entered extension discussions with the veteran running back. They may well be prepared to let Mack walk in free agency.

The Colts saw second-round pick Jonathan Taylor finish his rookie year strong, and the team has Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins under contract for one more season apiece. This already pointed to Mack needing to find a new team this year, and GM Chris Ballard is not sure the Colts will be able to provide the contract the four-year veteran will seek.

Marlon Mack broke my heart. That sucked,” Ballard said of Mack’s injury, via the Indianapolis Star’s Joel Erickson (on Twitter). “I watched him work his butt off here all season to get back. Marlon Mack deserves a contract, unequivocally. He deserves a good contract. I don’t know if we are going to be able to do that here.”

A few members of the standout 2017 running back draft class received extensions thus far. The Panthers (Christian McCaffrey), Saints (Alvin Kamara), Vikings (Dalvin Cook) and Bengals (Joe Mixon) authorized new deals for their starters. But Mack, Aaron Jones and Chris Carson are unsigned for 2021. Cardinals transition-tagged back Kenyan Drake is set to join this trio in unrestricted free agency. Broncos back Phillip Lindsay will also be a restricted free agent, adding to a crowded interesting marketplace.

Mack, 25 in March, reeled off a 1,000-yard season (in 14 games) in 2019 and surpassed 900 yards (in 12 contests) as Indianapolis’ starter the year prior. However, the Achilles injury may force the former fourth-round pick to accept a one-year deal and would figure to lower his price on a multiyear pact. That could keep him in play for the Colts, but their backfield depth points to Mack playing elsewhere next season.

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Colts’ Marlon Mack Suffers Torn Achilles

The Colts’ fears have been confirmed. On Monday morning, doctors diagnosed running back Marlon Mack with a torn Achilles (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero). Mack will be placed on injured reserve and shut down for the remainder of the season. 

Mack went down in the middle of the Jaguars’ 27-20 upset win over the Colts. His game – and his season – came to an end after four carries for 26 yards plus three grabs for 30 yards. For Mack, it’s devastating for obvious reasons, but also for contractual reasons. The tailback is in his walk year and he was aiming for a big payday in the spring.

Last year, Mack went off for a career-high 1,091 yards despite missing a pair of games. The Colts, meanwhile, didn’t engage in serious extension talks before the start of the season. Instead, they drafted Jonathan Taylor in the second round, an indication that they were already thinking about going younger/cheaper. Taylor and Nyheim Hines figure to lead the way for Indy’s backfield moving forward while Mack concentrates on rehab.

Philip Rivers and his new-look backfield will try to get in the win column on Sunday when they face the Vikings.

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Colts Fear RB Marlon Mack Has Torn Achilles

The Colts were upset by the Jaguars in embarrassing fashion on Sunday, but that might not even be the worst of it. Indianapolis appears to have lost their starting running back for the season, as the team fears Marlon Mack tore his Achilles during the loss to Jacksonville, sources told Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link).

While it’s a brutal blow this early in the season, the Colts at least have a deep backfield. Rookie second-round pick Jonathan Taylor will now be counted on for an even bigger role, and Nyheim Hines should see his snaps increase as well.

It’s devastating for Mack personally, as he’s set to become a free agent at the end of the season and will now likely see his market severely deflated. A fourth-round pick out of South Florida in 2017, Mack was the Colts’ starter the past two seasons.

He had 1,091 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground in 14 games last year. He averaged a solid 4.4 yards per carry, but the drafting of Taylor indicated they weren’t sold on him as the longterm starter anyway. The Philip Rivers era hasn’t gotten off to a great start in Indianapolis.

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AFC North Notes: Colts, Mack, Ravens, Stanley, Humphrey

After his first season with more than 1,000 yards rushing, Marlon Mack isn’t assured the starting role in the Colts‘ backfield. Head coach Frank Reich says he’ll have a leg up on second-round pick Jonathan Taylor, but he also says that fans shouldn’t get too hung up on the RB1 designation.

There’s definitely inherent respect for the starter returning,” Reich said (via Kevin Bowen of 105.7 The Fan). “I see it as a 1-1 (punch). The way the league has gone and the way role playing has been elevated in our league, it’s made it prominent. We used to say in San Diego that when we had Danny Woodhead. He was not our starter, he was our ‘role playing’ starter. He played such a significant role. He had 80 catches in a year. You look at a guy like Nyehim Hines. We talk about Marlon and Jonathan, but what about Nyheim? He’s such a good third-down back that he’ll play a prominent (role). In some ways, (Hines) is a starter. He’s a role-playing starter.”

Right now, it seems like Mack will have to prove himself all over in camp as he gets set for his final year under contract. As it stands, he’s set to make $2.13MM in base salary before reaching the open market in March of 2021.

Here’s more from the AFC North:

  • After turning in a stellar season, Ravens left tackle Ronnie Stanley could become the league’s highest-paid non-quarterback, ESPN.com’s Jamison Hensley writes. Currently, Bears edge rusher Khalil Mack ($23.5MM per year) leads the way, followed by Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald ($22.5MM). This year, fellow left tackle Laremy Tunsil ($22MM/year) put himself in that neighborhood, but Stanley is likely to leapfrog him. In 2019, Stanley allowed Lamar Jackson to be pressured just six times, the lowest total of any offensive tackle in 14 years.
  • The Ravens have other deals on their agenda, of course, including a new contract for Marlon Humphrey. With all due respect for Stanley, Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic argues that the cornerback should actually be priority No. 1. When it comes to Stanley, his comp has already been set, thanks to the Tunsil deal. Meanwhile, time is of the essence with Humphrey – the top of the CB market will be reset soon with Jalen Ramsey, Marshon Lattimore, and Tre’Davious White all due for new deals.
  • The Browns went ahead with their gradual re-opening plan with Phase 1 beginning on Monday (Twitter link). Meanwhile, other clubs are still working on alternative plans. The Raiders, who were set to hold camp in Napa, California, may shift to their new headquarters in Henderson, Nevada.

Jim Irsay On Luck, QBs, Castonzo, RBs

After Andrew Luck‘s retirement created the most uncertainty the Colts have faced at the quarterback position since Peyton Manning‘s career-threatening injury in 2011, they now project to be one of the key players in this offseason’s complex quarterback derby.

Presenting a quarterback market that features Tom Brady, Philip Rivers and Teddy Bridgewater as free agents — along with nominal UFAs Drew Brees and Dak Prescott — to go with Cam Newton and Andy Dalton as likely trade chips, 2020 brings unusual uncertainty at the NFL’s glamour position.

Colts owner Jim Irsay addressed several topics Sunday but focused on the quarterback position, where the team’s current starter — Jacoby Brissett — is not a lock to stay in that role.

I won’t talk about specific players; I would just say all options are open,” Irsay said, via Mike Chappell of Fox 59. “We have challenged each other to keep the ancient enemy of rationalization out of the room. The quarterback position, the three of us (Irsay, GM Chris Ballard and HC Frank Reich) will make it. We have to. It’s too big of a decision. All options are on the table. I’ve never quite seen a year when this was so unusual if you will. It’s exciting. I look at it as a challenge.”

The Colts, who hold this year’s No. 13 overall selection, have also been linked to making a first-round quarterback pick. While calling Indianapolis’ Brissett-Brian Hoyer depth chart “better than probably half the league,” Irsay will keep the draft avenue open. Although, the Colts are extremely unlikely to be in position to draft one of this year’s top three quarterback prospects at No. 13.

We’ll keep evaluating that position. I know we’ll find the right answer and Jacoby can have a much higher ceiling that he has now. That’s a possibility,” Irsay said. “We could draft someone. That’s a possibility. Doesn’t have to be the first round. There’s a lot of good players out there.

“I know we were going to take Russell Wilson the year (2012) we took Andrew in the fourth round, but he was gone in the third. We would have taken him, but that’s a long story.”

As for who will be Brissett or his replacement’s blindside protector, Irsay is confident Anthony Castonzo will be back. The nine-year veteran is considering retirement. Ballard believes the former first-round pick has several years left in the tank.

“I haven’t talked to Anthony personally, but he’s a Pro Bowl left tackle and we want him to come back,” Irsay said. “I think there’s a strong likelihood that he will, but I think Chris will have more on that in the coming weeks.”

Irsay added that the Colts have not discussed an extension for Marlon Mack. While indicating the Colts like Mack and want him to stay beyond his 2020 contract year, the longtime owner mentioned how much the organization likes 2018 draftees Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines.

Lastly, Irsay did get around to Luck. The owner said both Ballard and Reich still have dinner with the retired passer and that he has not given up on the prospect of the former No. 1 overall pick returning to the Colts at some point.

I try to make the argument (with him) also, ‘What about the $700MM (seems high) you’re leaving on the table?‘” Irsay said, after noting he respects Luck’s decision to retire. “I think we’ll have an outstanding decade, and I think Andrew will have an outstanding life. Will those things meet? It’s very possible, but it’s also not possible. … We have to go on with the assumption that he’s not going to be back. If he comes back, that’s easy.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Updates: Cook, Mack, Staley, Ford, Kendricks

All the latest injury updates as we await kickoff in the morning:

  • Vikings fans were left holding their breath on Monday night, when Stefon Diggs and Dalvin Cook went down with injuries on the same play. Diggs soon returned to the game, and it looks like Cook is alright as well. The star running back aggravated a pre-existing injury during Minnesota’s loss to Seattle, but he was removed from the final injury report on Friday and is all systems go for Sunday’s game against the Lions. It’s still possible the Vikings seek to lessen his workload, in which case promising backup Alexander Mattison would pick up the slack.
  • Speaking of banged up running backs, the Colts’ Marlon Mack got back to a full practice and will make his return Sunday against the Bucs. Mack has missed the past two games with a hand injury, and Indianapolis could really use him as they’ve lost four of their past five games. Mack had minor surgery on his hand a few weeks back.
  • Joe Staley is returning from injury for the second time this season. The 49ers’ left tackle has missed nine games this year due to various ailments, but is returning for this weekend’s pivotal game against the Saints. San Francisco has obviously been getting by just fine without him, but his presence will be a huge boost as they go up against a really tough New Orleans defensive front. Staley isn’t the only key piece the 49ers are getting back, as pass-rusher Dee Ford will also make his return to the lineup. Ford, who signed a massive five-year, $85MM deal with his new team after getting traded from the Chiefs, has missed each of the past two games with a quad injury.
  • The Seahawks’ defense looks like it’ll be a bit shorthanded, as Mychal Kendricks is being listed as doubtful for their Sunday Night Football game against the Rams. This will be the linebacker’s first missed game of the season, and he has started all 12 for Seattle. Rookie third-round pick Cody Barton could get his first career start as a result, tweets Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times.

Extra Points: Colts, Dolphins, JPP, Broncos

The Colts are expecting Devin Funchess to return soon, but head coach Frank Reich didn’t want to say anything definitive when talking with reporters on Monday.

“Yeah, we’re gonna monitor him as we go,” Reich said (via Andrew Walker of the team’s website). “You know, we’ve already talked about his injury a bunch; I mean we’ve gotta make sure that thing’s 100 percent healed, so we’ll monitor it this week and see how it goes.”

Reich did note that wideout T.Y. Hilton didn’t suffer a setback with his calf injury during Thursday’s night loss to the Texans, and he also revealed that receiver Parris Campbell could return this week from a fractured hand. Running back Marlon Mack won’t play this weekend against the Titans, according to the head coach.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFL…

  • The Dolphins will likely be on the hunt for wide receiver help, according to ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe (via Twitter). Jakeem Grant (ankle) and Albert Wilson (rib) both suffered injuries during Sunday’s loss to the Browns, leaving the team with only two healthy receivers in DeVante Parker and Allen Hurns. Head coach Brian Flores noted that he’s uncertain if Grant or Wilson would end up missing the rest of the season due to their injuries (via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald).
  • Buccaneers linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul played 76-percent of his team’s defensive snaps this weekend, earning him another $600K. As Greg Auman of The Athletic tweets, the veteran has already earned $3MM in bonuses in five games, and he could earn another $3MM through his team’s final five games. Pierre-Paul has a $3MM base salary this season.
  • Take this for what it’s worth, but Vic Fangio told reporters that Broncos quarterback Drew Lock could “possibly” be on the roster this Sunday and could “possibly” start vs. the Chargers (via Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post on Twitter). The second-round rookie has been on the IR since September, but he was designated to return earlier this month.
  • Former NFL running back Karlos Williams has signed with the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL, the team announced on Twitter. Williams ran for 517 yards and seven touchdowns as a rookie, but he was later slapped with three separate suspensions. The 26-year-old was reinstated from his indefinite suspension last February, and he’s finally found his next gig.

Injury Notes: Redmond, Moore, McManis, Mack

The Bengals season of bad luck just continues getting worse. According to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com, the team fears offensive lineman Alex Redmond suffered a torn biceps during warmups for yesterday’s game. If true, the already depleted Cincinnati offensive line will have to move forward with another man down.

Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2016, Redmond worked his way onto the Bengals roster and eventually earned a starting spot along the team’s front. In 2018, Redmond started 15 games for Cincinnati and was expected to be the team’s starting right guard entering the season. A four game suspension for violating the league’s PEDs policy and a series of injuries, however, have limited him to just two starts on the year.

Here’s some more injury notes from around the league:

  • Defensive end Damontre Moore suffered a fractured forearm in the 49ers dominating 37-8 victory over the Packers on Sunday Night, according to Matt Maioco of NBC Sports Bay Area. Head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters that Moore’s season was over and that the team would add defensive lineman Jeremiah Valoaga from the practice squad to take his roster spot. Moore was one of a handful of players in the now defunct Alliance of American Football (AAF) signed by NFL teams after the AAF season concluded. The 49ers originally released Moore at the start of the season, but signed him a couple weeks ago to deal with injuries along their defensive line. He accrued five tackles, one quarterback hit, and a forced fumble over two games prior to his injury.
  • Bears brass fear defensive back and special teams ace Sherrick McManis suffered a season ending groin injury in Sunday’s victory over the Giants, according to Brad Biggs of The Chicago Tribune. McManis has appeared in 131 games over a ten-year career as one of the better special teams players in football. Last season, the Bears relied on McManis for rotational depth in their secondary as well. It appears the team will need to find a replacement for the versatile veteran.
  • Colts head coach Frank Reich revealed that running back Marlon Mack will not play this week, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. The news does not come as a surprise. Mack suffered a fractured right hand in Indianapolis’ Week 11 victory over the Jaguars and was expected to miss several weeks of action. Mack had been one of the Colts most dynamic weapons. The South Florida alum was averaging 4.5 yards per carry and recorded 938 yards from scrimmage over the team’s first ten games.