Matt Prater

NFC Notes: Reed, Redskins, Lions, 49ers

Just days after Terrelle Pryor was placed on season-ending injured reserve, the Redskins’ pass catchers received another blow on Wednesday. The team’s star tight end Jordan Reed was ruled out for the team’s Thanksgiving tilt with the Giants, according to Kimberly Martin of the Washington Post (Twitter link).

The oft-injured Reed, who was labeled as questionable by head coach Jay Gruden an hour before the announcement, will miss his sixth game of the year. Reed also missed four games in 2016 and two during his breakout 2015 season.

There are few better tight ends than Reed when he is on the field. Of the 11 players at his position to record 250 receptions since 2013, he is the only one to average at least five receptions per game. The team will once again turn to Vernon Davis in the division clash on Thursday night.

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • Though the 49ers will start C.J. Beathard again on Sunday, team general manager John Lynch is convinced Jimmy Garoppolo is going to be the team’s future starting quarterback writes Cam Inman of The Mercury News“We really, genuinely believe that this guy’s got the makings of a guy who could be our guy for years to come,” Lynch said. “That’s all got to come to fruition on the field.” 
  • Staying with San Francisco, Lynch also believes defensive end Arik Armstead has a bright future with the team despite missing 18 of 32 career games with an injury, according to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee“We think he’s a fit with what we are and who we are going forward,” Lynch said. Though he is a fit, Armstead will need to find a way to stay on the field to stay in the 49ers’ plans.
  • Matt Prater has been the Lions’ most valuable free agent signing in the last five seasons, writes ESPN’s Michael Rothstein. Though he has stiff competition from Golden Tate and Glover Quin, the veteran kicker is without a doubt in the mix for the honor.

NFC Notes: Redskins, Cowboys, Eagles

The Redskins placed linebacker Mason Foster on the injured reserve yesterday, and the veteran certainly isn’t happy with the move. In a series of tweets earlier this morning, Foster noted that he had been “done dirty” by the organization.

“All I know is [former GM] Scot [McCloughan] wouldn’t have done me like that,” Foster wrote (via Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com). “I have played 3 weeks with a completely torn labrum. Lay everything on the line for someone just to have that same person slap you in the face. Business is business tho right. They don’t care about us.”

As the writer notes, Foster is set to be a free agent following the season, and it sounds like the veteran could be looking for a new home. In five games this season, the former third-rounder compiled 31 tackles. 0.5 sacks, and one interception.

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

  • The Cowboys promoted tight end Blake Jarwin from the practice squad earlier this week. ESPN.com’s Todd Archer writes that part of the organization’s motivation for making the move had to do with the interest Jarwin was garnering from around the NFL, particularly from the Eagles.
  • The Eagles may be in the hunt for some offensive line help, but Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com warns (via Twitter) that the team might not want to acquire an expensive player. After all, the writer believes the team is focused on rolling their current cap space over to the offseason, and trading for a pricey lineman could compromise that future financial flexibility.
  • Dan Bailey may be out for a while. Cowboys Director of Player Personnel Stephen Jones told Clarence Hill Jr. of the Star-Telegram that the veteran kicker is expected to miss at least four games (Twitter link). The 29-year-old was perfect on field goal and extra point attempts this season.
  • Speaking of kickers, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press has details on Matt Prater‘s three-year extension with the Lions. The deal includes a $3.6MM signing bonus and $5MM in guaranteed money, raising his 2017 cap hit to $5.225MM. The contract hits a $2.7MM base salary in 2020.

Lions To Sign Matt Prater To Extension

The Lions and kicker Matt Prater have agreed to terms on a new deal. It’s a three-year deal worth $11.4MM, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter links). Factoring in the bonuses, Prater’s deal can reach a maximum value of $12.15MM. The deal, which could keep Prater in Detroit through the 2020 season, also includes a $3.6MM signing bonus. Matt Prater (vertical)

Prater was cut by the Broncos in 2014 right after he served a four-game ban for violating the substance abuse policy. The Lions were happy to give Prater a second chance at that point since neither Nate Freese nor Alex Henery could hit the broad side of a barn that year. It proved to be a worthwhile gamble for Detroit as Prater has avoided trouble and sank 85.7% of his field goal tries.

Prater has made a name for himself with long distance kicks and, as Kyle Meinke of MLive.com notes, he is responsible for the four longest field goals in Lions franchise history, with the top one coming from 59 yards out. He’s also tied for the fifth-longest FG in Detroit with a 56-yarder (Jason Hanson, the previous record-holder with the Lions, has connected from that distance twice). All in all, Prater has made field goals from 50 yards or more 19 times since joining the Lions.

The 33-year-old kicker will celebrate his 36th birthday before the final year of his new contract. Prater has shown no real signs of slowing down, so he could still be booming those long-range kicks for the Lions at that point.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions Exercise Matt Prater’s 2017 Option

The Lions exercised their 2017 contract option on kicker Matt Prater earlier this spring, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press tweets. However, the decision didn’t change much for the veteran (Twitter link). Prater received his $750K as a bonus this year instead of base salary and his contract for 2017 is non-guaranteed. So, despite triggering Prater’s option, the Lions could part ways with him without penalty, if they so choose. Matt Prater (vertical)

[RELATED: Lions Work Out Jimmy Clausen]

Prater, 32 in August, re-signed with the Lions on a two-year, $4.55MM deal which included a third-year team option. With the third year factored in, the overall value of the pact is believed to be roughly $9MM.

Prater began the 2014 season by serving a four-game suspension in Denver for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, and was ultimately cut by the Broncos, ending a seven-year tenure with the club. After signing with the Lions, Prater was a little shaky in his first few games, but settled down and ended up making 21 of 26 field goal attempts. In 2015, Prater sank 22 of his 24 field goal attempts while connecting on 36 of 39 extra point tries.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Contract Details: Maxwell, Murray, McPhee

Here are some key details on some of the notable contracts agreed to or signed around the NFL this week:

NFC deals:

  • Byron Maxwell, CB (Eagles): Six years, $63MM base value. $25MM fully guaranteed. $6MM signing bonus (Twitter links via Tom Pelissero of USA Today and Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun).
  • DeMarco Murray, RB (Eagles): Five years, $40MM base value. $42MM max value. $18MM fully guaranteed (Twitter link via Albert Breer of the NFL Network).
  • Pernell McPhee, OLB (Bears): Five years, $38.75MM base value. $8.675MM fully guaranteed (Twitter link via Pelissero).
  • Antrel Rolle, S (Bears): Three years, $11.25MM base value. $4.9MM guaranteed. $3.9MM roster bonus in 2015 (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Tom Johnson, DT (Vikings): Three years, $7MM base value. $2.75MM guaranteed. $1.5MM roster bonus in 2015 (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Matt Prater, K (Lions): Two years, $4.55MM base value. Third-year team option for 2017 (Twitter link via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press).

AFC deals:

Matt Prater, Lions Agree To Three-Year Deal

After running through a gauntlet of inconsistent kickers early in the 2014 season, the Lions settled on veteran Matt Prater, and now the team is prepared to roll with Prater for 2015 and beyond. According to Mike Klis of the Denver Post, the two sides have agreed to terms on a three-year contract. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (via Twitter) that Prater’s three-year deal will be worth $9MM.

“I am thankful for this opportunity and excited to come back to Detroit,” Prater said in a statement, via a team release confirming the agreement. “I hope to do my part to help this team win. … I am also looking forward to returning and working with both Sam [Martin] and Mule (Don Muhlbach). We had to adjust quickly to each other in the middle of the season, and this off-season will be valuable in our preparation for the coming year.”

Prater, 30, began the 2014 season by serving a four-game suspension in Denver for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, and was ultimately cut by the Broncos, ending a seven-year tenure with the club. After signing with the Lions, Prater was a little shaky in his first few games, but settled down and ended up making 21 of 26 field goal attempts. In 2013, he was a Pro Bowler, making all but one of 26 field goal attempts for the Broncos.

NFC Mailbags: Cowboys, Panthers, Lions, Rams

We took a look at ESPN.com’s AFC mailbags earlier this morning. Let’s now shift our focus to the NFC…

Combine Pressers: Washington, Lions, Chargers, Ravens

Head coaches and general managers continue to speak to the media at press conferences in Indianapolis, and we’ve already rounded up the highlights from several of them so far today. Here are a few more noteworthy comments from some NFL decision-makers, with all links go to the Twitter accounts of various reporters in attendance:

Washington head coach Jay Gruden:

  • In perhaps the most newsworthy moment of any of today’s pressers so far, Gruden said that Robert Griffin III will open the 2015 campaign as Washington’s starting quarterback. There’s still plenty of time for things to change between today and September, but on a day when Jay Cutler couldn’t get a vote of confidence from the Bears, it’s notable that Washington seems committed to RGIII.
  • According to Gruden, the Washington front office is in contact with the reps for high-priced players like Pierre Garcon, Barry Cofield, and Stephen Bowen about possible contract restructures. Discussing Garcon specifically, the head coach stressed that the veteran wideout is still very much in the club’s plans.
  • Echoing the mantra of new GM Scot McCloughan, Gruden said Washington’s philosophy will be to target the best available players in the draft.

Lions GM Martin Mayhew:

  • While he admitted that a new deal with Ndamukong Suh isn’t done, Mayhew remains confident that the two sides will work something out. According to the GM, the defensive scheme, coaches, and players are all a good match for Suh, and the club will definitely “keep working on it.”
  • The Lions still haven’t decided whether or not they’ll resort to the franchise tag if the team and Suh don’t reach an agreement by March 2. Detroit also remains undecided about the fifth-year option for offensive tackle Riley Reiff, and hasn’t yet made any final determinations on any free agents except center Dominic Raiola, who won’t be re-signed.
  • Mayhew can envision a situation where both Suh and Nick Fairley return to Detroit, but he can also imagine a scenario in which neither player is back. The Lions aren’t sure yet how seriously they’ll pursue Fairley, but will meet with his agent, Brian Overstreet, this week.
  • The general manager also has a combine meeting lined up with the agent for free-agent-to-be Matt Prater.
  • According to Mayhew, the team is engaged in dialogue with some players about contract restructures to clear some cap room. Although the GM didn’t identify anyone specifically, one of those players could be Reggie BushMayhew said the team hasn’t determined yet what the running back’s future with the team is.

Chargers GM Tom Telesco:

  • The Chargers plan to meet with the agent for free agent running back Ryan Mathews at the combine this week, according to Telesco. The GM added that the Chargers are “a different team” when Mathews is healthy and on the field.
  • The team is currently planning for D.J. Fluker to play right tackle in 2015, rather than continuing to try him at guard. San Diego figures to have some holes to fill on its offensive line this offseason, so having a set plan for Fluker should help identify the spots that need to be addressed.

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh:

  • According to Harbaugh, the team’s free agents want to return to Baltimore, and the team wants them back. “That bodes well for us,” Harbaugh said.
  • It’s not clear if the head coach’s comment applies to every Ravens free-agent-to-be, but when he was asked specifically about Torrey Smith, Haloti Ngata, and Lardarius Webb, Harbaugh said, “They want to be back [and] we want them back, so we should have a good chance.” Smith is eligible for free agency, while Ngata and Webb are candidates for contract restructures or pay cuts.
  • Harbaugh also expects wide receiver Steve Smith to be back with the Ravens in 2015. The former Panther has two years left on his contract, but will turn 36 in May, so retirement may be a viable option soon.

NFC Mailbags: Newton, Lions, McCarthy, Giants

We checked out ESPN.com’s AFC mailbags earlier this morning. Let’s now shift our focus to the NFC…

  • If quarterbacks like Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco can average $20MM annually, David Newton believes Cam Newton could certainly be included in that group. Ultimately, the writer believes the Panthers quarterback will receive a contract totaling about $100MM.
  • Kicker Matt Prater and defensive back Rashean Mathis want to return to the Lions next season, according to Michael Rothstein. There has been some contact between the organization and the agents for the team’s multiple free agents, but the writer cautions that nothing’s been “locked down.”
  • Despite Mike McCarthy‘s interest in the personnel aspect of the league, the Packers head coach does not want to be the team’s general manager, writes Rob Demovsky. The writer says the coach’s recent shuffling of the coaching staff indicates that he’d like to get involved in other areas of coaching.
  • Dan Graziano doesn’t see any incentive for the Giants to pursue Ray Rice over any other running back.
  • Considering the linebacker’s age and injury history, John Keim can’t envision Washington investing too much money in Brian Orakpo. Meanwhile, the writer could see the team bringing back quarterback Colt McCoy, tight end Niles Paul, and “perhaps” running back Roy Helu and wideout Leonard Hankerson. Santana Moss is among the players Keim would be surprised to see return.

North Notes: Big Ben, Browns, Prater

After the Steelers were eliminated from the playoffs on Wildcard Weekend, one more year in Ben Roethlisberger‘s career had come and gone and Pittsburgh was no closer to its seventh Super Bowl victory than it was when Tim Tebow dispatched the Steelers in the first round of the 2011 playoffs. However, as Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes, there is plenty of room for optimism in the Steel City.

Roethlisberger, who started every game in consecutive seasons for the first time, enjoyed the best statistical season of his career, which helped to dispel the notion that he would break down sooner than other quarterbacks. With the continued growth of Martavis Bryant, Markus Wheaton, and Le’Veon Bell, along with All-Pro wideout Antonio Brown, there is no reason to think Roethlisberger will not continue to thrive for at least another five years. Therefore, Bouchette believes the team should hammer out the much-discussed extension with Roethlisberger quickly, even though it will likely be a six-year pact worth about $120MM or so, with a $30MM signing bonus and even more in guaranteed money.

Now for some more links from around the league’s north divisions:

  • Even though the Steelers have been justly criticized for their poor salary cap management in recent years, Bouchette writes in a separate piece that the team is actually in pretty good shape for 2015, especially after it works out the extension for Roethlisberger and sheds the contracts of some aging veterans. Bouchette notes that the Steelers will not only have room to retain some of their own key free agents, but also to pursue players from other clubs.
  • Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com looks at a number of issues facing the Browns this offseason, including their offensive coordinator search, which has taken a disappointing turn thus far, their quarterback concerns, and what they will do about a kicker.
  • Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune writes that new Bears head coach John Fox is not a quarterback expert, but he handles them well, which will benefit the team regardless of whether it keeps Jay Cutler or moves in a different direction.
  • Lions kicker Matt Prater has reiterated that he would like to remain in Detroit next season, writes Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press. Prater is an unrestricted free agent and has not had talks with the Detroit front office, but he believes the team is aware of his desire to return.