Marqise Lee

Jaguars To Place Marqise Lee On IR

The Jaguars are placing wide receiver Marqise Lee on injured reserve, as Mark Long of The Associated Press tweets. The Jaguars were gearing up for Lee’s return, but his shoulder injury will sideline him for at least the next eight weeks. 

It has been a frustrating couple of years for Lee, who missed the entire 2018 season with a torn ACL. Before all of that, in 2016 and 2017, he totaled 119 receptions for 1,553 receiving yards. Until his ankle – and ultimately his shoulder – did him in this year, Lee managed just three catches for 18 yards across six games.

It’s a real bummer for the Jaguars, who advanced to 4-4 with their recent win over the Bengals. The AFC South is up for grabs, but they’ll have to fight for it without Lee grabbing at passes from Gardner Minshew (or Nick Foles).

This could very well end Lee’s Jacksonville tenure. Since signing a four-year, $34MM deal, he has not been the same player. The Jags have added wideouts D.J. Chark and Chris Conley to their mix in that span. Both have become more reliable contributors. It would cost the Jags $3.5MM in dead money next year to release Lee while saving the franchise more than $5MM in cap space.

In a related move, the Jags have promoted undrafted rookie cornerback Tae Hayes from the practice squad.

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AFC South Notes: Hooker, Funchess, Lee

Colts safety Malik Hooker will be back in the lineup for the first time since Week 3, according to Mike Chappell of Fox 59. Hooker was close to returning last week against the Texans, but instead was held out to allow for a completely recovery. Now, per the report, Hooker is “a full go.”

Hooker had damaged his meniscus in Week 3 against the Falcons and was expected to miss 4-6 weeks, right in line with a return this week. Coming off an impressive victory over Houston, the Colts are in the driver’s seat in the AFC South at 4-2 and will be happy to get a starter back in their secondary.

Here is some more news from around the AFC South:

  • Colts head coach Frank Reich told reporters that wide receiver Devin Funchess should return to practice next week, according to Mike Wells of ESPN.com. Funchess was placed on injured reserve after suffering a clavicle injury in the team’s season opener. The Colts signed Funchess to a one-year, $10MM contract this offseason, but have yet to reap much on-field production for their signing. Prior to the injury, Funchess had three receptions for 32 yards.
  • The Jaguars expect a wide receiver of their own, Marqise Lee, to be back next week according to head coach Doug Marrone, via John Oesher of Jaguars.com. Lee missed all of 2018 with a torn-ACL, but had a strong track-record of success from 2017-2018, where he accumulated 119 receptions for 1,553 receiving yards. In his return this season, Lee was beginning to work his way into the rotation when he came down with an ankle injury that has had him out since Week 6.

Sprained Ankle For Jaguars’ Marqise Lee

Jaguars wide receiver Marqise Lee has a sprained ankle, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). The sprain is viewed as a minor/moderate one, so he’s considered week-to-week, but still likely to miss some time.

Lee, who turns 28 late in November, missed the Jaguars’ disappointing 2018 season with a knee injury. The Jags’ 2016 receiving leader and a key cog in 2017, Lee has not factored in prominently in this Jags receiving corps. In five games this year, he’s caught just two passes for 10 yards.

Lee, 27, was not expected to return until at least late in training camp, so the former second-round pick being a Week 1 question mark is not especially surprising. It is a bit of a blow to a Jags pass-catching corps that already faces questions, however.

The Jags drafted Jawaan Taylor in Round 2, but their optimal lineup would place the Florida alum at right tackle opposite Robinson. The team signed former Bengals first-rounder Cedric Ogbuehi and ex-Bucs UDFA Leonard Wester this offseason.

Between 2016 and 2017, Lee racked up 119 receptions for 1,553 yards and six touchdowns. In 2018, the Jaguars rewarded Lee with a four-year deal worth up to $38MM. They’re still waiting for that deal to pay off as they look to get their season back on track. Heading into Sunday’s game against the Bengals, the Jaguars are sporting a 2-4 mark.

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AFC Notes: Jaguars, Patriots, Randall

The Jaguars will be without several players on Sunday against the Texans, Michael DiRocco of ESPN recaps on Twitter. S Ronnie Harrison is listed as questionable with an ankle injury. CB A.J. Bouye, WR Marqise Lee, DE Yannick Ngakoue and LT Cam Robinson have all already been ruled out of the contest.

Last week, Jacksonville lost starting QB Nick Foles, who suffered a broken left clavicle in Week 1 and has been placed on injured reserve. The franchise’s collective health has put a damper on what should have been a bounceback year for the Jags. As the team carries on in Houston, let’s take a look around the AFC:

  • The Patriots worked out several players ahead of their game against the Dolphins, a source tells Nick Underhill of The Athletic (Twitter link). OT Caleb Benenoch, NT Carl Davis, DT Willie Henry, DB Josh Jones and DB Adarius Pickett worked out for New England.
  • Browns S Damarious Randall has been ruled out of Monday’s game, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Randall showed up to Cleveland’s facility with a concussion and was placed in the concussion protocol.
  • A.J. Green, who injured his ankle during the Bengals‘ training camp, is out of his walking boot and feels like is he ahead of schedule in his recovery, as Tyler Dragon of the Cincinnati Enquirer relays. “I’m only six weeks out and I’m already walking,” Green said. “You never know what the next two weeks or three weeks are going to bring to where I can start back putting on shoes and actually running and doing some on the field stuff. You never know.”

AFC South Rumors: Texans, Colts, Lee, Titans

Drafted to be the Texans‘ hopeful left tackle of the future, Tytus Howard has since been relocated to left guard (with Matt Kalil winning the left-edge job) and has now broken a finger. The rookie blocker suffered the break in Houston’s preseason game against Detroit on Saturday night, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets. Coming from a Division I-FCS program, and tasked with learning one of the most difficult positions at which to acclimate in the NFL, Howard needs all the reps he can get early on in his career. But this malady is not expected to keep him out of the Texans’ Week 1 game against the Saints, Wilson adds. Howard is in line to be the team’s starting left guard. This injury, in theory, could force the team to adjust those plans.

Here is the latest from the AFC South, shifting to perhaps the division’s most important player:

  • Frank Reich does not want to wait much longer on Andrew Luck‘s recovery. The second-year Colts coach wants to name his Week 1 starter shortly after the team’s third preseason game, and while Luck doing pregame drills before Indianapolis’ second August contest was a positive development, this saga may not wrap up in a week. It’s been the side-to-side movements that have bothered Luck’s ankle and calf injuries most, Mike Wells of ESPN.com notes. But Luck not only did some lateral-movement work before Saturday’s game, Wells adds the 29-year-old passer has done workouts like that in private in recent days. The Colts, who will re-evaluate Luck midweek, are cautiously optimistic he will be available for Week 1.
  • Another AFC South talent is uncertain for Week 1, but Marqise Lee returned to Jaguars practice this week. This obviously increases the sixth-year wideout’s chances for being available come September. Doug Marrone expressed doubt about this recently, but Lee — sidelined throughout 2018 due to ACL damage — returned to work Saturday.
  • The Colts‘ injury situation at receiver has helped one of their incumbents. Once thought to be a bubble player, Chester Rogers is headed back to Indy’s 53-man roster. The former Ryan Grigson-era draft choice is the Colts’ top return man, Reich said (via the Indianapolis Star’s Joel Erickson, on Twitter). Parris Campbell remains sidelined because of a hamstring injury, Erickson tweets.
  • Indianapolis’ revamped receiving corps will not include Reece Fountain. Reich confirmed the 2018 fifth-rounder underwent ankle surgery Friday and will miss the season (Twitter links via CBS4’s Mike Chappell).
  • The Titans are still deciding on their right guard. While veteran utility man Kevin Pamphile would seemingly have the inside track to start opposite Rodger Saffold next month, the team drafted Nate Davis in Round 3 and has 2017 sixth-rounder Corey Levin. Although Pamphile started opposite Saffold on Saturday, each of these players are in the mix. Former Dolphins draftee Jamil Douglas may be in the running as well. Mike Vrabel does not plan to name a starter until after the Titans’ dress-rehearsal preseason game next weekend, Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com notes. Douglas has not played in a game since 2016; Levin suited up for all 16 Titan games last season. An injury limited Pamphile to three 2018 contests (two starts).

Robinson, Lee Not Certain For Week 1

Marqise Lee missed all of the Jaguars’ disappointing 2018 season, during which Cam Robinson played just three games. The two key Jaguars are not guaranteed to be ready by the time the team debuts in 2019.

Doug Marrone said Saturday (via Hays Carlyon of 1010 XL AM, on Twitter) the veteran wide receiver and third-year tackle might not be ready by Week 1. After offseasons spent rehabbing their respective ACL tears, each remains on Jacksonville’s active/PUP list. Were Robinson and Lee to land on the team’s reserve/PUP list, each would be sidelined at least six regular-season weeks. It is not certain either is bound for that designation, however.

Robinson went down in September 2018, halting his progress after ascending quickly into Jacksonville’s starting lineup as a rookie. Lee posted two 700-yard receiving slates with the Jags and re-signed for four years and $38MM ($18MM guaranteed) during the offseason that saw the Jaguar tenures of Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns conclude.

Lee, 27, was not expected to return until at least late in training camp, so the former second-round pick being a Week 1 question mark is not especially surprising. It is a bit of a blow to a Jags pass-catching corps that already faces questions, however.

The Jags drafted Jawaan Taylor in Round 2, but their optimal lineup would place the Florida alum at right tackle opposite Robinson. The team signed former Bengals first-rounder Cedric Ogbuehi and ex-Bucs UDFA Leonard Wester this offseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Revisiting The 2018 Free Agent WR Class

The 2018 free agent class of wide receivers reshaped the market in a number of ways and set the table for lucrative extensions for players like Odell Beckham, Brandin Cooks, and Stefon Diggs. But even allowing for the premium that teams often have to pay in the first wave of free agency, the size of the contracts that the 2018 FA wideouts landed raised a lot of eyebrows throughout the league. As we look ahead to Year 2 of some of those contracts, let’s examine the early returns.

Sammy Watkins‘ three-year, $48MM deal with the Chiefs topped the class in terms of total value, average annual value, and guaranteed money at signing ($30MM). And while his talent certainly merited that type of payday, his injury history was a concern, as he had missed 10 games over the prior three seasons. He ended up missing six games during his first year in Kansas City due to a foot injury, though he did manage to suit up for both of the club’s postseason contests. His raw numbers obviously don’t look too impressive as a result of the missed time, but he did rank fifth among all qualified wideouts in Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric, meaning he was very valuable on a per-play basis. He also tallied 10 catches for 176 yards during the Chiefs’ two playoff games, and while injury problems may always plague him, he continues to be a factor whenever he’s on the field. KC is likely not regretting Watkins’ deal at this point.

The Bears doubled up at wide receiver by signing Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel last March, which allowed them to part ways with Cameron Meredith. Chicago brought in Robinson on a three-year, $42MM pact, even though he suffered a torn ACL in Week 1 of the 2017 season and had only posted one elite season in his career (which came back in 2015). And after his first year with the Bears, Robinson is still looking for his second 1,000-yard campaign.

There is some reason to hope that he can get there, especially with a fully-healthy offseason and a year of building chemistry with quarterback Mitchell Trubisky under his belt. A-Rob played in just 13 regular season games last season but was targeted 94 times, and he was brilliant in the Bears’ lone playoff game, posting 10 catches for 143 yards and a score. Football Outsiders’ metrics didn’t love him, but Pro Football Focus assigned him an above-average grade that made him the 28th-best WR in the league. He may not have quite lived up to expectations, but there is still time for him to get there.

Chicago signed Gabriel to a four-year, $26MM deal in the hopes that he could become a big-play threat for Trubisky. But while Gabriel played in all 16 games for the club and saw 93 targets, he managed a fairly modest 10.3 yards-per-reception and two touchdowns. Advanced metrics weren’t overly fond of his work either, and he will be hoping for a bounce-back year in 2019.

It’s still too early to evaluate some of the other significant contracts given to 2018 wide receivers, because the signees saw their seasons derailed by injury. Marqise Lee, who re-upped with the Jaguars on a four-year, $34MM deal, missed the entire 2018 season due to a preseason knee injury, and he is not expected to be back until the end of this year’s training camp. The Dolphins were thinking highly of their three-year, $24MM accord with Albert Wilson, who was performing well for Miami until he landed on IR in October with a serious hip injury. He is expected to be ready for the start of the 2019 regular season, but he may not see the field until then.

Likewise, Paul Richardson showed flashes in the first year of the five-year, $40MM contract he signed with the Redskins last March, but he landed on IR in November with a shoulder injury.

But at least the aforementioned players are still on their respective teams. Michael Crabtree signed a three-year, $21MM deal with the Ravens after being cut by the Raiders, but he disappeared from Baltimore’s offense when Lamar Jackson became the starter, and Baltimore sent him packing in February (as of this writing, there has been no reported interest in his services). And Donte Moncrief signed a one-year contract for a surprising $9.6MM with the Jaguars, but his mostly disappointing performance in Jacksonville had him searching for a new team this offseason. He ultimately caught on with the Steelers.

All in all, then, the 2018 class of free agent wideouts was a mixed bag. None of the contracts those players signed look like a home run at this point, and while that could change in 2019, those who were surprised by the amount of money thrown at WRs last March were right to be a little skeptical.

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Extra Points: Haden, Giants, Bolts, Jaguars

No extension discussions have commenced between Joe Haden and the Steelers, but that seems to be where this is headed. After a pre-draft report indicated a Haden re-up could be in the cards this year, the veteran cornerback said he wants to re-sign with the Steelers. Haden expects conversations to take place when or around the time the Steelers report for training camp July 25, with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac also anticipating extension talks at that point. Haden struggled with injuries and inconsistency at the end of his Browns tenure but has done well to stabilize one of the Steelers’ cornerback spots. Signing for three years and $27MM in 2017, Haden is going into his age-30 season. The Steelers, though, do not appear to have reservations about paying him for his early-30s seasons, per Dulac. Due largely to being an old-CBA first-rounder, Haden has earned more than $100MM in his career.

Let’s look at where some other teams stand exiting minicamp week:

  • After two years either marred by injuries or featuring constraints by his role, Mike Williams expects his usage rate to spike in 2019. The Chargers are thinner at wide receiver but have their 2017 first-round pick set to pick up the slack after Tyrell Williams‘ departure. “My role is going to expand with Tyrell leaving. I’m looking forward to that,” Williams said, via Chargers.com. “I feel I’m going to get a lot more opportunities than I did last year.” Williams saw the third-most snaps among Bolts wideouts last year (732, more than 100 fewer than Tyrell Williams) but still caught 10 touchdown passes (after not scoring as a rookie).
  • The Jaguars will not see their full receiving corps available for a while. Marqise Lee missed all of last season and is not expected to return until nearly the end of training camp, Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com notes. Lee led the 2016 Jaguars in receiving and posted 702 yards in 2017, but a severe knee injury wiped out his 2018 slate. He joins Chris Conley, Dede Westbrook and 2018 second-rounder D.J. Chark in a receiving corps that brings questions about the cogs’ roles.
  • An injury spoiled Jon Halapio‘s first season as the Giants‘ center starter, but it appears he stands to return to the role he held before going down last September. The former sixth-round pick started two games last season but saw the bulk of the first-team reps during Big Blue’s offseason work, with Pat Shurmur indicating (via the New York Post’s Jared Schwartz) the sixth-year blocker is back at 100%. Spencer Pulley graded as Pro Football Focus’ No. 26 center last season; he mixed in with the Giants’ first-stringers this offseason.

Jaguars WR Marqise Lee Out For Season

Jaguars receiver Marqise Lee will miss the entire 2018 season due to a knee injury suffered in Saturday night’s preseason contest against the Falcons. Lee will soon be placed on IR, opening up a spot on the club’s 90-man roster. 

It’s a devastating blow to the Jaguars, particularly after they allowed Allen Robinson to walk in free agency this year. Lee had the most catches of any Jaguars receiver in 2017 (56) and finished second in receiving yards (702). Between 2016 and 2017, Lee racked up 119 receptions for 1,553 yards and six touchdowns.

The Jaguars rewarded Lee with a new four-year deal worth up to $38MM this offseason, a pact that includes $18MM guaranteed. Unfortunately, they’ll have to wait until 2019 to see him back in action.

Without Lee, the Jaguars are left with a group that is headlined by Dede Westbrook, Keelan Cole, second-round pick D.J. Clark, and Donte Moncrief. It’s still a talented bunch, which explains why head coach Doug Marrone said he’s “comfortable” with his receivers when asked about the possibility of signing Dez Bryant (Twitter link via Mike Garafolo of NFL.com).

 

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Jaguars To Re-Sign Marqise Lee

Allen Robinson has left Jacksonville to sign with the Bears, but the Jaguars are retaining their other top free agent wide receiver. Marqise Lee has agreed to re-sign with the Jags, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). It’s a four-year deal with a maximum value of $38MM, including $18MM guaranteed, a source tells ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). 

Before this week’s free agent frenzy, few expected Lee to net a deal as strong as this. However, after fellow WRs Robinson, Sammy Watkins, and Paul Richardson netted mega contracts, the price went up for Lee and others.

Lee doesn’t offer the same tantalizing talent as Robinson, but he has been a reliable receiver for Jacksonville over the years. Heading into free agency, I rated Lee as the 27th best available player on the market.

Lee had the most catches of any Jaguars receiver in 2017 (56) and finished second in receiving yards (702). Lee does not profile as a WR1, but he’s a solid WR2 who offers familiarity with quarterback Blake Bortles. It’s a seller’s market for wide receivers this year, so Lee presumably had plenty of lucrative offers from other teams.

Between 2016 and 2017, Lee racked up 119 receptions for 1,553 yards and six touchdowns.

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