Menelik Watson

NFL Workout Updates: 11/13/18

Here’s the latest from the workout circuit. All links go to NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter account, unless otherwise noted.

Arizona Cardinals

Detroit Lions

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Oakland Raiders

Tennessee Titans

NFL Workout Updates: 11/6/18

Today’s workout updates, with all links going to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter account unless otherwise noted:

Arizona Cardinals

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

  • LB Christian Kuntz

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

Oakland Raiders

  • T Roubbens Joseph (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle)

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Redskins

NFL Workout Updates: 10/1/18

Today’s tryouts:

Buffalo Bills

Cincinnati Bengals

Chicago Bears

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

 

Jets Work Out 5 Tackles

The Jets’ Tuesday workout schedule proved to be quite specific. Only one position was brought through for Jets brass in advance of the team’s Thursday-night game against the Browns.

Five tackles auditioned for Gang Green today, with Field Yates of ESPN.com tweeting Menelik Watson, Will Beatty, Cyrus Kouandjio, Cornelius Lucas and Chaz Green comprised the quintet.

New York already has Ben Ijalana on IR, and Kelvin Beachum entered the week with a foot injury. So did guard James Carpenter. However, both upgraded to full practices by Tuesday.

Watson and Kouandjio both went to camp with the Broncos. Neither former second-round pick made Denver’s 53-man roster, although Watson pocketed some additional money thanks to guarantees in his 2017 free agent contract with the team. He made seven starts with the 2017 Broncos.

Beatty is now 33 and hasn’t been an NFL regular since his run as the Giants’ left tackle ended after the 2014 season. He did play in one game for the Eagles last season and in six for the 2016 Giants, however, and is trying his hand at latching on with a team for another season.

A third-round Cowboys pick in 2015, Green started four games last season but experienced consistent trouble blocking Adrian Clayborn during the then-Falcons defensive end’s six-sack day. A four-year veteran, Lucas started one game for the Rams last season and worked out for the Texans last week.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/8/18

Here are Saturday’s minor moves.

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

New York Jets

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Broncos To Cut OL Menelik Watson

The Broncos will release offensive lineman Menelik Watson, Mike Klis of 9News tweets. The Broncos will be left on the hook for his $5.5MM guarantee. 

Technically, Watson will first be placed on injured reserve with a pectoral injury. Then, when he’s healthy, he’ll be released and permitted to sign with any team. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears that Watson’s pec strain should be cleared up in a couple of weeks, so it sounds like he’ll be able to catch on with another team before the season begins.

Watson came to Denver on a three-year, $18.75MM contract last year. Although he is talented, injuries have plagued him throughout his career. Last year, a foot injury shut Watson down in November, meaning that he has missed 48 career games out of 80 possible appearances for the Raiders and Broncos. The former second round pick has yet to play in more than 12 games in any given campaign.

This year, the Broncos were giving some thought to moving Watson from right tackle to guard, but they bailed on that experiment with a few weeks to go before the start of the season. Instead, the Broncos will start Ronald Leary and Connor McGovern at the guard spots with the likes of Max Garcia and Billy Turner in support. Tackle Cyrus Kouandjio and center Sam Jones may also be asked to play guard, if necessary.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Rumors: Taylor, Carrie, Broncos, Hawks

The trade that will send Jamar Taylor to his third NFL team will come with an adjusted contract. Taylor will make less for the Cardinals this year than he was supposed with the Browns, with Kent Somers of AZCentral.com reporting (on Twitter) the veteran cornerback will earn $3.5MM in base salary — down from $4.25MM. The additional $750K will be pushed onto the Cards’ 2019 balance sheet. The Cardinals and Browns have been discussing a Taylor deal since the draft, Mike Jurecki of ArizonaSports.com tweets, adding that the Bashaud Breeland avenue is likely closed after this trade. Taylor is under contract for two more seasons. Finding a capable Patrick Peterson counterpart has been a problem in Arizona for a while, and Taylor will have a decent chance to earn that No. 2 job. Now-well-traveled Bene Benwikere, former Jets corner Marcus Williams and one-time third-round pick Brandon Williams represent the top competition.

Here’s the latest from the West divisions, keeping with the subject of cornerbacks who have worn Browns colors recently.

  • Taylor and T.J. Carrie were Browns teammates for a little more than two months, and Cleveland has now traded both of its 2017 starting corners as John Dorsey enters his first full season as Browns GM. Carrie will factor in prominently in the Browns’ 2018 secondary, but Jon Gruden would have preferred the Raiders retain Carrie, per Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area. It’s unclear how much the Raiders were willing to offer their 2017 slot corner, but Gruden and some members of his new staff did meet with Carrie just prior to free agency. And the Bay Area native wanted to stay. However, Bair mentions money guided him to northeast Ohio. It’s unlikely the Raiders’ offer was especially close to the Browns’ four-year, $31MM proposal.
  • It appears the Broncos are going to try Menelik Watson at guard. After the former Raiders tackle struggled mightily before his latest injury, allowing a career-worst 7.5 sacks despite playing in just seven Broncos games last season, the team’s putting him in competition with as-of-now starter Connor McGovern for its right guard job, Mike Klis of 9News notes. A sixth-year player, Watson is a career tackle. Denver, which has entered the past five seasons with five different right tackle starters, traded for Jared Veldheer to replace Watson on the edge. McGovern himself is a notable inclusion into the lineup, since Max Garcia has started at guard for two seasons. McGovern worked his way into Denver’s starting mix after being an injury replacement for Ronald Leary late last season.
  • After the Seahawks lost pro personnel director Dan Morgan to the Bills, they will replace him with Nolan Teasley. A former running back at Division II Central Washington, Teasley began his career as a scouting intern in 2013 but rose to the position of assistant pro personnel director in 2017.
  • By giving Patrick Mahomes a top-flight arsenal to work with as he begins his run as the Chiefs‘ starting quarterback, Andy Reid is taking a better approach to developing his most recent prized passing prospect compared to his work with Donovan McNabb, Geoff Mosher of The Score writes. McNabb was not given many notable pass-catchers early in his career, but Mahomes has plenty. With the $16MM-AAV Sammy Watkins deal representing a notable Chiefs about-face regarding their No. 2 wideout position, the franchise now has a quartet of weapons — Watkins, Travis Kelce, Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill — that rivals any it’s ever assembled. While the Chiefs’ defense may have some work to do after the Marcus Peters trade, Mahomes has far more to work with offensively than Alex Smith did when he arrived in Kansas City five years ago.

Latest On Broncos, Kirk Cousins

Now that the Vikings are expected to be in the mix for Kirk Cousins, the Broncos’ chances of acquiring him likely lessened compared to what they were before Minnesota became a serious contender. But Denver has no plans to bow out.

John Elway said the team would explore all options this offseason to upgrade at quarterback, and Charles Robinson of Yahoo.com reports Cousins is far and away the option the Broncos prefer. Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune adds (via Twitter) the Cousins-to-Broncos rumors are flowing in Indianapolis.

Robinson notes the Vikings and Jets are expected to be the other top Cousins pursuers. Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv noted “rampant speculation” around the Combine is sending Cousins to Minnesota.

The Broncos do not possess the cap space the Jets do, with New York now holding more than $90MM. The Vikings also stand to sit with nearly $50MM as of Friday. But Robinson reports the team is looking at ways it increase its cap room. Denver is currently sitting on just less than $25MM, according to OverTheCap, but Robinson notes the Broncos are conjuring scenarios they can increase that to north of $40MM and perhaps as high as $50MM. Denver is likely parting with Aqib Talib ($11MM in cap savings), and Elway did not give assurances C.J. Anderson ($4.5MM) would be back for a fifth season as the Broncos’ starting running back.

However, Elway said Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and Derek Wolfe would return. He also indicated (via Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post, Twitter link) embattled right tackle Menelik Watson ($4.5MM in possible savings with $2.7MM in dead money) would be back. That’s somewhat surprising given that Watson allowed the third-most sacks in the league despite playing in only seven games. Beyond restructures, and high-profile restructures haven’t been too common in Elway’s GM tenure, there aren’t other obvious avenues to create notable space.

Robinson notes a Cousins deal might be closer to a three- or four-year agreement and adds a shorter-term deal — one that would allow him to be in line to sign a new deal before his age-33 season — would be attractive for the passer. The Broncos are likely going after Cousins to help their Super Bowl core, and with those players being in their late 20s or early 30s, a three- or four-year Cousins agreement would line up with that. Although, a shorter-term doesn’t provide the kind of security a franchise would presumably seek in being involved in this kind of pursuit.

Cousins is expected to take visits to meet with teams, and Robinson writes the Broncos’ experience signing Peyton Manning after he made Denver his first visit in 2012 could provide an edge for the Colorado franchise. The Yahoo reporter compares the Broncos’ level of interest in Cousins to Manning.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Broncos Place OT Menelik Watson On IR

The Broncos announced that they have placed right tackle Menelik Watson on injured reserve with a foot injury. To take his place, they have signed Cyrus KouandjioMenelik Watson (vertical)

Watson came to Denver on a three-year, $18.75MM contract this offseason. Although he is talented, he is no stranger to missing time. Heading into 2017, Watson had already missed 37 of a possible 64 regular-season games due to various injuries over the course of four seasons, including an entirely lost 2015. With his 2017 over, the tally is now up to 48 missed games out of 80 possible appearances.

Watson lost a significant amount of weight in the offseason in an attempt to stay healthy, but he is still in search of his first complete season. The former second round pick of the Raiders has yet to play in more than 12 games in any given campaign.

The Broncos have first-round pick Garett Bolles starting at left tackle with Donald Stephenson and Elijah Wilkinson in reserve. Stephenson has been sidelined thanks to a calf injury he suffered prior to Week 7, so Wilkinson or Kouandjio could conceivably draw the next start at RT.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Rumors: Conley, Broncos, Cardinals

It took the Raiders until their training camp eve to reach an agreement with first-round pick Gareon Conley. Although no legal clarity has come after a woman accused the cornerback of sexual assault in April, the Raiders did not design Conley’s contract with that alleged incident in mind. Conley’s deal contains 90 percent guaranteed money, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets, adding the language in the four-year contract is standard despite the legal cloud surrounding the ex-Ohio State defender presently. The Raiders also agreed to terms with second-rounder Obi Melifonwu this week. Titans first-rounder Corey Davis is the only unsigned pick remaining.

Here’s the latest from the West divisions on opening camp weekend.

  • The Broncos opened 2016 with a dominant outside linebacker corps, with DeMarcus Ware, Shane Ray and Shaquil Barrett joining Von Miller in the fold. Miller has none of those sidekicks available for the time; Ray and Barrett may both be out throughout the preseason. Vance Joseph discussed the early replacement hierarchy here Saturday, calling recent UFA signing Kasim Edebali the top edge rusher alongside Miller (via Mike Klis of 9News, on Twitter). Edebali played three years with the Saints but wasn’t offered an RFA tender in March, leading to his one-year deal with the Broncos.
  • Bruce Arians said Justin Bethel and Brandon Williams could be battling for the Cardinals‘ No. 2 cornerback job until the final week of the preseason, but Williams and others will have some additional opportunities to build a case early. Bethel suffered a hyperextended knee and will be out for the coming days, Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com reports. Arians did not believe this injury was serious, but given this position duel likely coming down to the wire, it stands to raise Bethel’s degree of difficulty here.
  • Regarding Williams, the second-year man has evidently been usurped on the depth chart by Ronald Zamort — a 2016 UDFA who spent last season on Arizona’s practice squad — according to Kent Somers of AZCentral.com (on Twitter). The Cardinals have been connected to Brandon Flowers and Tramon Williams this week, and Arians’ status on his own corners looks to have changed. Somers notes he now wants to add a veteran.
  • The Raiders‘ handling of Donald Penn‘s holdout will be key to how future free agents view the team, Jerry McDonald of the San Jose Mercury News writes. The Raiders relied immensely on free agency in recent years, Penn being one of the key signings. On a two-year deal worth $6.25MM AAV, the 34-year-old Penn is now by far the fourth-highest-paid offensive lineman on his own team, after the Raiders made Gabe Jackson an $11MM-per-year man in June. Penn saw a host of less proven tackles sign for more than him this offseason, and he’s seeking top-10 left tackle money. His per-year wages rank 20th presently. The Raiders have just more than $14MM in cap space. Oakland lined up Marshall Newhouse at Penn’s left tackle spot and second-year man Vadal Alexander at right tackle on Saturday.
  • Menelik Watson has missed 37 of a possible 64 regular-season games due to various injuries through four seasons, and the Broncos‘ projected right tackle starter dropped a lot of weight in an attempt to stay on the field. The former Raiders right tackle is close to 315 pounds after playing in the 340s earlier in his career, per Troy Renck of Denver7 (Twitter links), noting Watson told him the reduction is because of the slew of setbacks he encountered.
  • Joseph won’t have 5-foot-7 rookie Isaiah McKenzie return kicks due to his slight frame, Klis tweets. Carlos Henderson and Cody Latimer are vying to handle those duties for the Broncos while McKenzie has the inside track to return punts. This is a deviation of sorts for a Broncos team who received high-end kick-return production from 5-5 Trindon Holliday in 2012-13. The team has not had much success in this area since, leading to the selection of McKenzie in the fifth round.