Matt Skura

Dolphins Still Searching For Center

The Dolphins made an offer to center David Andrews even after signing Matt Skura, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Andrews ultimately wound up back with the Patriots, but Jackson hears the Dolphins are still in the search for center support. 

[RELATED: David Andrews Chooses Pats Over ‘Fins]

Andrews missed all of 2019 with a pulmonary embolism, but he managed to return for the 2020 season. Even though he missed a handful of games with a thumb injury, he suited up in 72% of the Pats’ offensive snaps across 12 games.

Presumably, the Dolphins were willing to give Andrews a deal that was in the neighborhood of his new Pats contract – $19MM over four years with $6.5MM fully guaranteed. Meanwhile, Skura was signed for just $1.75MM on a one-year deal. Between Skura’s struggles and his injury history, it’s a safe bet that he won’t be handed the starting job in South Beach.

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Dolphins To Sign Matt Skura

The Dolphins are set to sign former Ravens center Matt Skura (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo). The lineman’s one-year deal is worth $1.75MM, per Garafolo on Twitter.

Skura had issues snapping the ball at times last year and wound up getting the hook in favor of Patrick Mekari. In total, he made 12 starts, giving him 51 total first-string appearances over the course of four seasons in Baltimore. Originally an UDFA out of Duke in 2016, Skura spent his rookie year on the practice squad. As a sophomore he was called on to start 12 games at guard when Marshall Yanda missed most of the season.

The following year he became the team’s center, starting all 16 games. After starting 11 games in 2019 Skura tore an ACL and had significant other damage in his knee, but he made it back in time for 2020 training camp and started the season on time.

He projects as the new starter in Miami, and it’s possible his struggles last year were due to coming off such a serious injury in such a short amount of time. He turned 28 in February.

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Ravens Place Robert Griffin III On IR

The hamstring injury Robert Griffin III suffered Wednesday in Pittsburgh will result in a prolonged absence. This could complicate matters for the Ravens.

While RG3 going on IR would not normally affect Baltimore’s starting lineup, it is not yet known if Lamar Jackson will be ready to return when first eligible to come off the Ravens’ reserve/COVID-19 list. Jackson tested positive for the coronavirus on Nov. 26 and cannot return to practice until Sunday. The Ravens will host the Cowboys on Tuesday night.

Baltimore used third-stringer Trace McSorley — who was recently activated from the COVID list — at the end of Wednesday’s loss to the Steelers. He would be in line to start for the Ravens against the Cowboys, should Jackson require more recovery time.

RG3 struggled against the Steelers but brings extensive NFL experience McSorley obviously lacks. An eighth-year NFL vet, Griffin has been Jackson’s backup for three years. Griffin cannot resume his QB2 duties until at least Week 16.

While the Ravens will be without Griffin for a while, they did receive word Friday they will have more depth available against Dallas. Baltimore activated J.K. Dobbins, Matt Skura, Patrick Mekari and Pernell McPhee from the virus list.

The Ravens held Dobbins and Mark Ingram out of their thrice-rescheduled game in Pittsburgh. Both backs tested positive for COVID-19 but would have been eligible to return for Week 12. Dobbins being back in action will be a boon to a Ravens team suddenly on thin ice with regards to playoff qualification.

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NFL Postpones Ravens-Steelers Due To COVID-19

Thursday’s game between the Ravens and Steelers has been postponed due to a rash of positive COVID-19 tests. Now, the two teams are set to meet on Sunday afternoon, though the league will continue to monitor the situation between now and then.

We learned yesterday that Baltimore was dealing with 10 total coronavirus cases, including five players. As Dan Graziano of ESPN.com reports (via Twitter), the Ravens have actually had seven players test positive over the past three days: RBs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins — which we already knew about — QB Trace McSorley, OLB Pernell McPhee, DE Calais Campbell, C Matt Skura, and G/C Patrick Mekari, all of whom will be placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. As such, the league really had no other choice but to push back the game.

Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network points out that the league did not make the decision because the Ravens would have been extremely shorthanded. After all, the players who tested positive won’t be allowed to play on Sunday either. Instead, a number of Baltimore players are (obviously) close contacts with those who tested positive, and the NFL wants to make sure the spread is contained (Twitter link).

Unfortunately, things could get worse for the Ravens. Per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the league and the team know how the outbreak began, and there is a chance more players will test positive. By Friday, the NFL expects to know if everything is under control or if the game will need to be postponed again.

If another postponement becomes necessary, this game will likely be the first one set in on the novel Week 18. The Ravens are scheduled to play the Cowboys next Thursday, so the league will not make them play a game on Monday or Tuesday before a Thursday night contest.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

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Ravens Bench C Matt Skura

The Ravens are making a bold move in advance of this afternoon’s critical matchup with the Titans. Per Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo of NFL.com, Baltimore is benching starting center Matt Skura. Second-year pro Patrick Mekari will get the nod in Skura’s stead.

Skura has had issues snapping the ball in each of the past two weeks. In a win over the Colts in Week 9, the problem was attributed to a cut on his hand, and in the team’s loss to the Patriots last week, the heavy rains throughout the game certainly didn’t help. Still, poor snaps torpedoed two second-half drives against New England, and head coach John Harbaugh said afterwards, “[the rain’s] not an excuse — we still have to make our snaps. They made their snaps.”

The Ravens’ offense has struggled to get in a rhythm this season, and the O-line play has been a big reason for that. The unit has often struggled to give QB Lamar Jackson ample time to throw, and it has generally been unable to open running lanes for Jackson and Baltimore’s stable of RBs. Losing RG Marshal Yanda to retirement in the offseason was obviously a major blow, and LT Ronnie Stanley went on season-ending IR with a severe ankle injury earlier this month. Yanda’s replacement, rookie Tyre Phillips, has also missed time due to injury.

Like the other members of the Ravens’ offensive front, Skura played well in 2019, though his season was cut short thanks to ACL, MCL and PCL tears that he suffered nearly one year ago today. The fact that he sufficiently recovered from that injury in time to participate in the team’s first padded practice this summer was remarkable, but it’s possible that he’s still not back to full strength.

Mekari has started three games at guard this year, and his move to the pivot will allow 2019 fourth-rounder Ben Powers to get his first start of his pro career at right guard, as Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic tweets. Skura, meanwhile, will have a chance to return later in the season once he has had the opportunity to clear his head.

The former UDFA out of Duke is playing out the 2020 campaign on the low-level RFA tender (though if he hadn’t gotten injured, the Ravens may have needed to use a higher tender on him). He had the chance to position himself well for a big payday this offseason, but unless things improve quickly, he may need to settle for a modest one-year pact in 2021.

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AFC North Notes: Bengals, Wilson, Ravens

After leaving for Los Angeles to care for his coronavirus-stricken son, John Ross has returned to the Bengals. The fourth-year wide receiver, however, has landed on the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com notes (video link). Ross’ son and the baby’s mother tested positive for COVID-19. Pending no positive virus tests, Ross can return to action as soon as Saturday.

Moving first to a Browns injury situation, here is the latest from the AFC North:

  • Browns linebacker Mack Wilson is awaiting word on the severity of a knee injury he suffered in practice recently. The Cleveland starter is expected to miss several weeks because of a knee hyperextension, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (video link). No tear is believed to have occurred, per Rapoport, but surgery appears to still be on the table. That would put Wilson’s season in jeopardy. With the Browns having disbanded their veteran linebacking corps over the past year and change, Wilson is now the team’s longest-tenured starter at that position. The 2019 fifth-round pick made 14 starts as a rookie.
  • Bengals safety Shawn Williams has also run into injury trouble. The eighth-year defender was carted off during a recent practice with a calf ailment. Williams has sought a second opinion, and NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero writes optimism exists the longtime starter can return in time for the Bengals’ Week 1 game (Twitter link). Williams has been a starter for the past four seasons, but the Bengals signing former Saints starter Vonn Bell could potentially cloud Williams’ role.
  • Nine months after tearing his ACL, PCL and MCL and dislocating his kneecap, Matt Skura returned to practice. The Ravens‘ first-string center passed his physical and was back in time for the team’s first padded practice, the team announced. Skura’s return, in a contract year, would be key for a Ravens team that saw potential Hall of Fame guard Marshal Yanda retire after 13 seasons.
  • It appears the Ravens will put their sixth-round pick to work quickly. Wide receiver James Proche is on track to be the team’s punt returner, but Baltimore special teams coordinator Chris Horton said (via The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec, on Twitter) the SMU product is a candidate to return kicks as well. The Ravens recently signed veteran return man Kenjon Barner, so Proche still being in contention for the kick-return role is interesting.

Ravens’ Matt Skura Ahead Of Schedule In Recovery

Center Matt Skura has made a “remarkable” recovery from his knee injury, according to Ravens head coach John Harbaugh (Twitter link via Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic). With rave reviews for his conditioning test and other exams, Skura seems on course for the 2020 season. 

[RELATED: Ravens On Jamal Adams’ Trade List]

The Ravens haven’t put a timetable on Skura’s full recovery, but the hope is that he’ll be ready to go by the start of training camp. There, he’ll compete with last year’s fill-in Patrick Mekari and possibly Bradley Bozeman, if they try the guard out at center.

Skura suffered a devastating knee injury towards the end of season, rupturing his ACL, PCL, and MCL. Before that, the 27-year-old was extremely durable. In 2018, he never missed a game or even a single snap.

After Ryan Jensen‘s departure, Skura graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 12 ranked center in the league. Up until the injury, he was likely on course for a deal that would make him one of the league’s higher-paid centers. Now, he’ll have to duke it out for his first-string gig. The Ravens, meanwhile, will likely stand pat at the position now that Skura is back.

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Ravens C Matt Skura Signs RFA Tender

Ravens center Matt Skura has inked his restricted free agent tender, according to agent David Canter (on Twitter). With that, Skura will return to the club on a $2.133MM deal for 2020.

[RELATED: Ravens GM Eric DeCosta On 2020 Draft]

Skura suffered a devastating knee injury in the final stretch of the season, forcing him to go under the knife for tears in his ACL, PCL, and MCL. Before that, Skura was remarkably durable. The 27-year-old had perfect attendance dating back to 2018 and never even missed a snap.

The Ravens turned to Skura in 2018 after Ryan Jensen left to join the Buccaneers. In his first season in the middle, Skura graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 12 ranked center in the NFL. This year, it looked like he was on course for a solid multi-year pay day, up until the fateful injury in Week 12. After that, the Ravens handed things over to rookie Patrick Mekari for the last four games, plus the divisional round loss to the Titans.

Meanwhile, the Ravens’ work on the offensive line is not done. They still need more support on the interior line and GM Eric DeCosta seems open to the idea of converting one of this year’s promising rookie tackles into a guard.

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Ravens Tender C Matt Skura

The Ravens are using the low tender on center Matt Skura, as Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. This will lock Skura in at a reasonable salary for the 2020 season, though they’ll receive no compensation if another team signs him as a restricted free agent and the Ravens do not match the offer. 

Skura is working his way back from a major knee injury, one that capped the starter at eleven games last year. After suffering ACL, MCL and PCL tears, Skura is still a few weeks away from running, though he hopes to be a participant in training camp this summer.

Before the injury, the 27-year-old had not missed a game since taking over for Ryan Jensen when he left for the Bucs in 2018. In fact, he never missed a snap. Skura played 1,889 snaps in that ’18 season and graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 12 overall center. If teams feel confident in his health, he seems likely to garner lots of interest and could even find a decent chunk of guaranteed money in an offer sheet.

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AFC North Notes: Williams, Ravens, Steelers

The Browns are once again in on a Trent Williams pursuit, but they were persistent in their efforts to acquire the Pro Bowl tackle last year. Previous GM John Dorsey called the Redskins every week about their disgruntled left tackle, according to Albert Breer of SI.com. However, the then-Bruce Allen-led front office gave Dorsey a flat no each time, per Breer. Even Baker Mayfield, like Williams an Oklahoma alum, communicated with Williams about a trade, Breer adds. Dorsey was believed to have offered a second-round pick to Washington for Williams, who ended up skipping all of last season, but the Redskins were holding out for a first. Daniel Snyder fired Allen at season’s end. Now, the Ron Rivera-run Washington front office appears willing to accept compensation less than a first-rounder for Williams. The Browns will not bring back Greg Robinson, and right tackle Chris Hubbard may be a cap-casualty candidate.

Here is the latest from the AFC North:

  • Matt Skura‘s season ended after 11 games, with the Ravens‘ top center going down with ACL, MCL and PCL tears on a Monday night in Los Angeles. Skura also dislocated a kneecap. It will understandably be a while before the fourth-year offensive lineman resurfaces, but Skura said during an appearance on Sirius XM Radio (via Alex Marvez, on Twitter) he expects to resume running in a few weeks and expressed optimism about being ready for training camp. One season remains on Skura’s rookie contract, so this rehab effort will certainly be key toward Skura securing his payday.
  • Kelechi Osemele left Baltimore when his rookie contract expired, signing a then-guard-record deal with the Raiders in free agency. Osemele played four seasons on that five-year contract but saw an injury (and subsequent grievance) end his Jets run early last year. With Osemele a free agent, Mike Garafolo notes he could be a name to watch as a replacement for the retiring Marshal Yanda (video link). Osemele, 30, underwent shoulder surgery last year and has battled injuries in recent seasons, but Garafolo adds the former All-Pro guard wants to continue playing and is expected to be ready well before Week 1. A former Ravens Round 2 pick, Osemele started 51 games at guard and tackle with Baltimore.
  • Both Ramon Foster and Mark Barron could be Steelers cap casualties, Ed Bouchette of The Athletic writes (subscription required). Foster re-signed to stay in Pittsburgh last year and has started 145 games at guard with the Steelers since 2009. A cut would save the cap-strapped Steelers $4MM. The Rams released Barron last year; he caught on with the Steelers and started nine games. Pittsburgh still has Vince Williams under contract and would save $5.25MM by dropping Barron.