Matt Skura

AFC North Notes: Steelers, Ravens, Taylor

Mike Tomlin addressed the contract status of his top running back and is hopeful that the key players being in the same room will bring about a long-awaited resolution to the Le’Veon Bell impasse. The 12th-year Steelers coach believes everyone involved in this process wants this deal finalized.

Now it’s just about negotiators getting into a room and doing what it is they need to do,” Tomlin told WAVY-TV’s Bruce Rader (Twitter link via Jeremy Fowler of ESPN). “I’m excited and hopeful. Hopefully we’ll have some exciting news before Monday.”

Earlier Saturday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported some late progress has emerged here after previously it was looking like a strong possibility existed of Bell hitting the 2019 free agent market. The deadline for franchise-tagged performers to sign extensions is 3pm CT Monday. If Bell does not reach a deal, he’s not expected to show up at the Steelers’ facility until after the preseason concludes.

Aside from the division-dominating Bell saga, here’s what’s going on in the AFC North heading into training camps:

  • After losing Ryan Jensen to the Buccaneers, the Ravens are in need of a new center. Going into camp, the hope is second-year Raven and former UDFA Matt Skura commandeers the job, Edward Lee of the Baltimore Sun notes. A Duke product who entered the league two years ago, Skura started 12 games in relief of Marshal Yanda last season at right guard. Pro Football Focus didn’t view those starts as particularly memorable, placing Skura’s 2017 work near the bottom of the guard hierarchy. Lee adds that while Alex Lewis will be tried at left guard, the part-time 2016 Baltimore starter also hovers as a center option.
  • A scenario where Tyrod Taylor sees another year in Cleveland by holding off Baker Mayfield into 2019 has been discussed by some this offseason. It just doesn’t seem realistic, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com said (video link). Cabot does not see a scenario that Taylor is on the 2019 Browns, partially because he may have a starting opportunity elsewhere next season as Baker Mayfield ascends to claim the Browns’ job. Even if Taylor leads the Browns to a surprise playoff berth, Cabot can see John Dorsey following his former organization’s example by moving on from the starter that got them there and installing the first-round pick the following year.
  • The Steelers drafted James Washington in the second round because they “love” his ability to adjust on deep targets and make contested catches, Tim Benz of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review notes. Washington’s ability to win 50-50 balls will make him credible in an area in which Martavis Bryant didn’t display a reliable skill last season, Benz writes, though conceding the former Oklahoma State star doesn’t have Bryant’s athleticism.

Minor NFL Transactions: 4/17/18

Today’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Green Bay Packers

Los Angeles Rams

New York Jets

Seattle Seahawks

RFA/ERFA Tender Decisions: 3/14/18

Here are today’s restricted free agent and exclusive-rights free agent tender decisions, with the list being updated throughout the day. All links go to Twitter unless otherwise noted:

RFAs

Tendered at the second-round level ($2.914MM):

Tendered at original round level ($1.907MM):

Non-tendered:

ERFAs

Tendered:

Non-tendered:

AFC North Notes: Steelers, Big Ben, Ravens

Following yesterday’s five-interception against the Jaguars, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger offered a concise report of his performance. “Maybe I don’t have it anymore,” Roethlisberger told Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL.com (Twitter link). While Roethlisberger could have been hoping for levity after a brutal loss, the comments do call into question just how much longer Roethlisberger will play, especially given that he’s contemplated retirement on multiple occasions. As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes, the idea of forfeiting bonus money could have swayed Roethlisberger into continuing his career in 2017, but that concept will continue in the next few years. If Roethlisberger hangs up it after this season, for example, he’d owe the Steelers $12.4MM in bonus money (of course, Pittsburgh isn’t obligated to collect that total).

Here’s more from the AFC North:

  • Ravens running back Terrance West is expected to miss time after suffering a calf injury on Sunday, but he won’t facing a lengthy absence, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). West, 26, had been splitting carries with Javorius Allen and Alex Collins, and had managed 39 rushes for 138 yards and two touchdowns this season. With West sidelined, Allen figures to see even more work (he toted the ball 21 times on Sunday) while Collins could also see increased usage. But Baltimore may need to add a running back, as Allen and Collins are the only healthy runners on the roster. Practice squader John Crockett is a candidate for promotion.
  • Tyler Boyd will also be out for a few weeks, as the Bengals receiver sprained his MCL in Week 5, tweets Rapoport. Boyd, who is facing a possible legal situation and was mysteriously a healthy scratch in Week 2, has been almost completely phased out of Cincinnati’s offense this season. The former second-round pick has been targeted only nine times, and managed just six receptions for 43 yards.
  • The Ravens will be without yet another offensive lineman for the next several weeks, as guard Matt Skura suffered a sprained MCL and will miss two-to-four games, reports Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter link). Skura, who has started three games for the Ravens this season, will likely give way to rookie Jermaine Eluemunor at right guard. Baltimore has already lost front five players Marshal Yanda, Alex Lewis, and Nico Siragusa to injury.
  • Free agent safeties Harold Jones-Quartey and Malik Smith, plus offensive tackles Korren Kirven and Victor Salako, worked out for the Browns, per veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer (Twitter link). Of that foursome, only Jones-Quartey has NFL experience, as the 24-year-old started 12 games for the Bears in 2016.

Ravens Sign Two Offensive Linemen

The Ravens have added two offensive linemen to the 53-man roster. Center/guard Matt Skura was internally promoted from the practice squad while offensive tackle Dieugot Joseph was signed off of the Bears’ practice squad. They’ll fill the roster spots vacated by guard Marshal Yanda (ankle) and inside linebacker Bam Bradley (ACL) now that they’re on IR and done for the season. Matt Skura (vertical)

Skura started in all four preseason games for the Ravens over the summer. The Duke product first joined the Ravens in May of 2016 but has yet to get his first taste of NFL action. Joseph, meanwhile, is an undrafted rookie out of Florida International.

In related news, the Ravens also re-signed running back Jeremy Langford to practice squad, along with guard Arie Kouandjio and linebacker Nicholas Grigsby. Langford was promoted to Baltimore’s 53-man roster after Danny Woodhead was placed on IR, but he was released late last week to make room for the promotion of tailback Alex Collins. Kouandjio, a former standout at Maryland high school powerhouse DeMatha, was a fourth round pick of the Redskins in 2015. This marks his first employment since missing Washington’s 53-man cut in early September.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 9/5/17

Today’s practice squad transactions:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

  • Signed: CB Tony McRae, C Matt Skura

Buffalo Bills

  • Signed: LB Eric Lee
  • Released: S B.T. Sanders, CB Marcus Sayles

Carolina Panthers

  • Signed: FB Alex Armah

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Houston Texans

  • Signed: LB LaTroy Lewis

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Signed: CB Raysean Pringle

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

  • Signed: TE Johnny Mundt, CB Kevin Peterson
  • Released: OL Michael Dunn, DL Louis Trinca-Pasat

New England Patriots

New York Giants

New York Jets

San Francisco 49ers

Tennessee Titans

  • Signed: CB Kenneth Durden

Ravens Set 53-Man Roster

The Ravens have announced their 53-man roster and made the following transactions:

Cut:

Waived/injured:

Placed on IR:

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/2/17

Here are today’s reserve/futures contract signings from around the NFL. These deals will go into effect on the first day of the 2017 league year, with players joining their respective clubs’ offseason 90-man rosters.

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Read more

Sunday NFL Transactions: AFC North

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four AFC North 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 Ravens, Bengals, Browns, and Steelers 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 AFC North transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day. All links go to Twitter unless otherwise noted:

Baltimore Ravens

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Pittsburgh Steelers

Ravens Get Roster To 53

The Ravens have announced the moves that take their roster to 53:

Placed On IR:

Lewis-Moore, the Ravens’ sixth-round pick out of Notre Dame in 2013, had a tough beginning to his professional career, landing on IR in each of his first two seasons with the club. He finally made cracked the 53-man roster last year, appearing in five games for the Ravens. Baltimore has always liked his upside as a pass rusher, but he found himself squeezed out of a deep defensive line group this season.

Cutting Brooks was a bit of a surprise, as the former third-rounder was playing well early in the preseason. There was some optimism that Brooks would be able to leapfrog former first-rounder Matt Elam on the depth chart, but the 25-year-old was unable to carve out a role during his two years (plus preseason) on the team.

Zach Links contributed to this post