Micah Parsons

NFL COVID-19 List Updates: 1/12/22

Today’s updates for the reserve/COVID-19 and practice squad/COVID-19 lists:

Arizona Cardinals

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: TE Maxx Williams (remains on IR)

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Dallas Cowboys

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Placed on practice squad/COVID-19 list: TE Mark Vital

New England Patriots

San Francisco 49ers

  • Restored from practice squad/COVID-19 list: QB Tyler Bray

Seattle Seahawks

Washington Football Team

  • Restored from practice squad/COVID-19 list: DT David Bada

NFL COVID-19 List Updates: 1/4/22-1/5/22

Here are Tuesday and Wednesday’s activations from and placements on the reserve/COVID-19 lists:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: TE Jared Cook, LB Damon Lloyd (remains on IR)

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Cowboys Place Micah Parsons On Reserve/COVID-19 List

Micah Parsons landed on the Cowboys’ reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday due to a positive test. With this news coming four days before the Cowboys’ recently rescheduled Week 18 matchup, Parsons’ regular season is likely over.

The NFL slid the Cowboys’ regular-season-ending Eagles matchup to Saturday. Even with the NFL’s revised protocols, Parsons will likely not be in uniform again until his team’s playoff opener. Week 18 stands to be Parsons’ first absence this season.

While the Cowboys’ Week 17 loss prevented them from vying for the NFC’s No. 1 seed, the NFC East champions could still obtain the conference’s Nos. 2 or 3 seeds. However, they would need to win and see the Rams and Buccaneers lose to move up. A win and a Rams loss to the 49ers would vault the Cowboys to the No. 3 slot. The Bucs are less likely to drop, having opened as 9.5-point home favorites against the Panthers.

As for Parsons, he has likely sewn up the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year honor. The Penn State product has been a revelation for the Cowboys, registering 13 sacks and an NFL-leading 20 tackles for loss while playing both linebacker and defensive end. No rookie has won Defensive Player of the Year acclaim since Lawrence Taylor in 1981. Oddsmakers peg sack leader T.J. Watt as the favorite for that award. Parsons, who has helped the Cowboys vault from 28th to seventh in scoring defense from 2020 to this season, has the second-best odds for the award.

The Cowboys will have a bit more help at linebacker in Philadelphia. They activated Keanu Neal from their virus list Wednesday. Neal missed Week 17 due to COVID-19.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Notes: Parsons, McAdoo, Giants

The Cowboys are more than happy that they landed on linebacker Micah Parsons with the 12th-overall pick in this year’s draft. Parsons has started each of his 11 games for Dallas, collecting 67 tackles, nine sacks, and two forced fumbles, and he’s the runaway favorite to win Defensive Rookie of the Year. However, if the Cowboys had had their way, they would have used their selection on a cornerback.

As Jon Machota of The Athletic writes, the team’s “original plan” was to select either South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn or Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II. However, those cornerbacks were scooped up at No. 8 and No. 9 respectively, forcing the front office to pivot. They ended up landing on the Penn State linebacker (after trading down), and the organization couldn’t be happier with how it all turned out.

Parsons explained to Machota how he continues to improve throughout his first season in the NFL.

“People always talk about the rookie wall,” Parsons said, “but I just keep climbing and climbing because I’m excited to see what’s on the other side of that wall.

“I love what we have here. I’m just so honored and blessed to represent the star and have an opportunity to be a star here.”

Some more notes out of the NFC East…

  • The Cowboys are dealing with COVID-19 cases throughout their staff, so they’ll be temporarily promoting Ben McAdoo to a coaching role, tweets NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. McAdoo, who had been serving as a “consultant to the coaches” in Dallas, will be in the coaches booth for tomorrow’s game against the Saints. The 44-year-old spent two years as the Giants head coach between 2016 and 2017, and he returned to the NFL last season when he was hired as the Jaguars QBs coach.
  • Guess who else liked Horn and Surtain? The Giants, according to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post, but the Eagles’ decision to trade up (with the Cowboys, no less) to select wideout DeVonta Smith was the move that really threw New York’s draft into disarray. With the organization’s targets off the board, the team ultimately decided to trade with the Bears, with the Giants selecting wideout Kadarius Toney at No. 20.
  • Another Cowboys/Giants connection: Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv writes that the Joe Judge/Jason Garrett pairing in New York was always an “arranged marriage.” Co-owner John Mara was the one who pushed to add Garrett as the team’s offensive coordinator, and the former Cowboys head coach was an “outlier” on a staff that generally had connections to their head coach. Garrett was ultimately canned by Judge and the Giants in late November after the team had collected a league-low 42 touchdowns.
  • Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports opines that the Giants should go all out on Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson this offseason. The writer cites the organization’s draft capital (which, at the moment, includes picks No. 6 and No. 7), Daniel Jones‘ disappointment in New York, and Wilson’s supposed desire to play in the Big Apple. Assuming GM Dave Gettleman is out after the season, this would be a bold way for a new GM to begin their tenure, but the writer believes this would be preferable to rolling with Jones or drafting a quarterback in a weak class.

Cowboys Move Micah Parsons To DE

The Cowboys could not resist selecting Micah Parsons with the No. 12 overall pick of the 2021 draft, despite their existing depth at linebacker. Parsons was widely regarded as the best off-ball LB in this year’s class, but recent losses along Dallas’ D-line have forced the team to move its top draft choice to DE, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com writes.

The club’s top pass rusher, DeMarcus Lawrence, will be sidelined for the next six to eight weeks due to a broken foot, and fellow DE Randy Gregory has found himself on the reserve/COVID-19 list, leading to an immediate need for reinforcements. Luckily, one of Parsons’ key attributes is his ability to get after opposing quarterbacks, and the Cowboys trained him as a designated pass rusher during offseason workouts.

Depending on how long Parsons remains at defensive end, and how successful he is in his new role, the transition could theoretically impact Dallas’ future plans. Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch is eligible for free agency following the 2021 campaign since the Cowboys declined his fifth-year option, and Gregory is also in his platform year. Dallas does not plan to entertain extension talks with either player during the season. Plus, free agent acquisition Keanu Neal is being deployed as a linebacker, and LB Jaylon Smith is signed though 2025, though the Cowboys could get out of his contract after this season if they choose.

In short, there are a lot of ways Dallas could go with respect to its front seven. Obviously, the expectation is that Parsons will eventually move back to the position that he was drafted to play, but a successful stint as a DE could change things and will only enhance his value.

In related news, Terence Steele is expected to get the nod at right tackle while La’el Collins is serving his five-game suspension (Twitter link via Todd Archer of ESPN.com).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys Sign First-Round LB Micah Parsons

The Cowboys have their first-round pick under contract. They agreed to terms with No. 12 overall selection Micah Parsons on Wednesday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Parsons is set to make more than $17MM on his rookie pact.

Parsons’ four-year rookie deal, featuring the customary fifth-year option, is fully guaranteed. Despite being an off-ball linebacker and opting out in 2020, the Penn State product became this year’s first front-seven defender drafted. That obviously points to a key role early on a Cowboys team that has some big investments at this position.

Dallas used a first-round pick on Leighton Vander Esch three years ago and has Jaylon Smith signed long-term. But the former has battled injuries since his breakout rookie year. Smith also entered the offseason on shakier-than-usual ground, though he has managed to stay healthy despite sitting out his rookie season due to a severe college injury. Parsons will change Dallas’ equation at linebacker, however.

The Cowboys traded back two spots but still landed Parsons at No. 12. As a sophomore in 2019, the Nittany Lions ‘backer dominated by registering 109 tackles (14 for loss) and forcing four fumbles. Parsons showed pass-rushing ability that season, recording five sacks, and displayed coverage chops. The versatile defender became a consensus All-American in his second college season. The Cowboys have been using Parsons at all three linebacker spots during their offseason program, per The Athletic’s Jon Machota (subscription required).

After the COVID-19 pandemic affected the Big Ten’s schedule, Parsons opted out and began preparing for the draft. This move did not ding his stock much. Parsons’ arrival figures to shake up the Cowboys’ Vander Esch-Smith long-term partnership. The Cowboys passed on LVE’s fifth-year option shortly after the draft.

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NFC Notes: Bucs, AB, Parsons, Bears

Antonio Brown just won a Super Bowl and then inked a new one-year deal worth up to $6.25MM with the Buccaneers last month, but his off-field issues don’t appear to be over just yet. The oft-embattled receiver is dealing with yet another lawsuit, Matt Baker of the Tampa Bay Times writes. As Baker notes, this stems from an already settled criminal case where a moving truck driver alleged assault and battery.

Brown was arrested for the incident last year, and he pleaded no contest in June, receiving two years of probation. Brown broke the driver’s car key and “proceeded to verbally and physically attack (Tumanov), causing severe personal injuries,” the lawsuit, which is seeking more than $30K in damages, alleges. Brown’s attorney issued a statement decrying the suit and painting it as nothing more than cash-grab. Since the criminal matter was already resolved, this shouldn’t have any impact on Brown’s standing with the league or status with the Buccaneers.

Here’s more from around the NFC as we wrap up the week:

  • The Cowboys just drafted Micah Parsons 12th overall, and it sounds like they’re planning a diverse role for the Penn State linebacker. Parsons has been working at middle linebacker so far during the offseason program, Jon Machota of The Athletic tweets. Parsons told the media that coaches plan on using him in the box as more of a run defender on first and second down, and have him rushing the passer on third down. Parsons opted out of the 2020 season, but he had five sacks in 2019, so he definitely has some pass-rush upside. Dallas hasn’t gotten very much pass-rush help from fellow highly drafted linebackers Leighton Vander Esch (1.5 sacks in 35 career games) or Jaylon Smith (nine sacks in 64 career games), so it sounds like they want to do things a bit differently with Parsons.
  • The Bears announced a significant change to their offseason program on Sunday night. Chicago revealed they will “no longer hold” previously scheduled OTAs from May 25th-27th. They’ll now begin OTAs on June 1st. Since only two sets had been planned, this means the OTAs are getting cut in half. This could be a sort of compromise between the players and the team to ensure that the second set has “strong participation,” Brad Briggs of the Chicago Tribune suggests in a tweet. As you’re surely aware by now, there’s been widespread opposition among players to many of these voluntary workouts, so it’s not surprising to see teams adapting and making gestures like this.

Cowboys VP: Micah Parsons Pick Doesn’t Impact LVE’s Option

When the Cowboys’ preferred cornerbacks were off the board, they pivoted to Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons. Despite the speculation, Cowboys EVP Stephen Jones says that the pick doesn’t necessarily rule out Leighton Vander Esch beyond 2021. 

I don’t think it affects it,” Jones said (via the Cowboys’ website). “We’ll make a decision on Leighton — we’ll make that decision when the time comes. We’ve got some discussions to have on that, period.”

The Cowboys have a few more days — and six more rounds of the draft — before they have to make their call on LVE’s fifth-year option. The Cowboys can extend the linebacker’s contract for an extra year at a rate of $9.145MM in 2022. Of course, that add-on would be fully guaranteed, which may give the Cowboys pause in light of Vander Esch’s injury history.

Over the last two seasons, Vander Esch has missed a combined 13 games. Still, he’s remained a productive part of the starting lineup when healthy. Last year, the 25-year-old finished out with 60 stops, one sack, and one forced fumble in ten games.

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Cowboys Select Penn State LB Micah Parsons At No. 12

The Cowboys have added to the middle of their defense. After trading back to No. 12, Dallas has selected Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons.

[RELATED: Eagles Acquire No. 10 From Cowboys]

We heard during the pre-draft process that the Cowboys were zeroing in on cornerbacks, with the organization deciding between Jaycee Horn (South Carolina) and Patrick Surtain II (Alabama). Well, both of those players were off the board by No. 10, so Dallas decided to trade back, pick up an extra late-round pick, and still add a major piece to their defense.

Despite working as an off-ball ‘backer, Parsons registered 14 tackles for loss and five sacks as a sophomore in 2019, resulting in him being named a consensus All-Americans. The 6-foot-3, 244-pound defender also forced four fumbles in his second college campaign. The linebacker sat out the 2020 season, but that didn’t cause Parsons to plummet down the draft board; the player was always projected to be a surefire first-round pick, and that ultimately proved to be the case.

Speed and versatility should provide the rookie with plenty of playing time in 2021. Parsons has been lauded for his ability to cover running backs and tight ends, and his ability to impact the passing game makes him a unique player at his position.

Parsons will join a depth chart that’s highlighted by Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith, a pair of players who have shown potential but struggled in 2020. While Parsons may not possess the ability to cover receivers (a skill set the Cowboys have reportedly been seeking) he’ll still provide a formidable run-stuffing, tight-end-stopping and pass-rushing option.

 

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Ohio State CB Shaun Wade Opts Back In; Latest On Other Big Ten Opt-Outs

With the Big Ten now on track to begin its season in late October, Ohio State will have one of its top players back. Standout cornerback Shaun Wade said during an appearance on ESPN’s SportsCenter (via ESPN.com’s Field Yates, on Twitter) he changed his mind on opting out of the 2020 season. He is now set to play as a senior.

Set to follow the likes of Bradley Roby, Eli Apple, Marshon Lattimore, Gareon Conley and Jeff Okudah as an Ohio State corner to hear his name called in the first round, Wade will do so after playing a fourth Buckeyes season. He ranks as the No. 7 player on Mel Kiper Jr.’s latest 2021 big board.

Wade hired an agent but did not file any paperwork, according to ESPN.com. He is not the only one of the Big Ten opt-outs to reconsider. Ohio State offensive lineman Wyatt Davis, a potential first-round pick, also reversed course and opted back in (Twitter link).

First-round prospects Micah Parsons (linebacker, Penn State), Rondale Moore (wide receiver, Purdue), Jalen Mayfield (tackle, Michigan) and Rashod Bateman (wide receiver, Minnesota) opted out before Wade initially decided to pass on 2020. Not all are committed to skipping the season, though some still are.

Penn State coach James Franklin said the door is open for Parsons to play as a junior, according to PennLive.com, while Purdue HC Jeff Brohm intends to check on Moore’s status now that the conference timetable has changed. Bateman, however, does not plan to opt back in, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. The Golden Gophers standout wideout has asthma and cited health concerns as a reason he will skip the COVID-19-altered season to prepare for the draft. Despite playing just one full season with the Wolverines, Mayfield plans to stick with his decision to bypass his junior season, per the Detroit Free Press.

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