Michael Schofield

Panthers Send Players And Coaches Home After Positive COVID-19 Test

UPDATE, 5:10pm: The Panthers placed Michael Schofield on the reserve/COVID-19 list Monday, which would seem to indicate he’s likely the positive test. The reserve interior lineman started two games at guard earlier this year.

12:30pm: There could be a new COVID-19 case in the league. The Panthers announced Monday that they had sent all players, coaches, and staff home for the day following an unconfirmed positive test.

That test is now being re-ran to make sure it isn’t a false positive. The Panthers were under stricter protocols this past week since they played against the Falcons and Marlon Davidson in Week 5, who later tested positive. It’s unclear who the positive within the Panthers organization is, or if it’s related to that contact with Davidson. Carolina did say that they were hoping to all be back in the building on Wednesday, which would mean they wouldn’t miss any real practice time.

Hopefully it turns out to be a false positive or at least an isolated case, but this isn’t what the 3-3 Panthers needed as they prepare for a big divisional game against the Saints where they are big underdogs. Carolina is coming off a disappointing home loss to the Bears on Sunday. We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear more on the situation.

Panthers To Sign Michael Schofield

The Panthers have reached agreement on a one-year deal with offensive lineman Michael Schofield, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

A third-round pick of the Broncos in 2014, Schofield spent three seasons in Denver before latching on with the division rival Chargers via a waiver claim. Schofield became a full-time starter for Los Angeles in 2018, and went on to start 32 consecutive games.

Although he was drafted as a tackle, Schofield now plays guard, and that’s an area of need in Carolina. The Panthers traded Trai Turner to the Chargers earlier this year in exchange for tackle Russell Okung, and while they’ve already added free agent John Miller to play on the right side, Carolina could use help on the left, where Dennis Daley is currently projected to start.

Schofield’s last deal with the Chargers paid him $2.5MM annually on a two-year term. After two seasons as a full-time starter, it shouldn’t be a surprise if he sees a pay bump as he moves to the Panthers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Chargers, Schofield, Vaccaro, Titans, Jets

The Chargers are seemingly never able to stay healthy, and this year hasn’t been any different. They’ve already lost Hunter Henry and Jason Verrett to season ending injuries. Last year’s second round pick, guard Forrest Lamp, has been expected to start for the team in 2018, but has been very slow in recovering from a knee injury that cost him his whole rookie season.

Michael Schofield is filling in for now, and in a recent interview with Dan Woike of the San Diego Union-Tribune, talked about his role. “I’m kind of a plug-and-play guy. I can play guard. I can play tackle. Right now, they need me at guard, so that’s where I’m going to be.” Woike echoes the sentiment many Charger fans have felt about Lamp, writing “even if Lamp is healthy, he still has much to prove, considering he essentially has not practiced since being drafted in the second round a year ago.”

Given Lamp’s history, it’s entirely possible Schofield ends up being a starting guard for the Chargers this year. Here’s more from the AFC:

  • Kenny Vaccaro only signed with the Titans earlier this week, but is already operating as the team’s starter according to Turron Davenport of ESPN (Twitter link). Davenport writes that Vaccaro has “taken pretty much all of the first-team reps” since signing with the team in the wake of Johnathan Cyprien’s season ending injury.
  • “Things aren’t looking great” for Juston Burris‘ roster chances, according to Matt Stypulkoski of NJ.com. The Jets’ fourth round pick in 2016, Burris hasn’t shown much through two seasons and appears likely to be cut at this point.
  • “It wouldn’t be a total shock to see the Jets in the mix” if the Raiders decide to shop Khalil Mack, writes Stypulkoski. Stypulkoski writes that the Jets “are looking to bolster the pass rush” so it sounds like whether it’s Mack or someone else, the Jets may be making a move soon.

Chargers Re-Sign OT Michael Schofield

The Chargers have agreed to a two-year deal with tackle Michael Schofield, according to James Palmer of NFL.com (on Twitter). Schofield was ticketed for free agency, but he’s now under contract through the 2019 season. 

[RELATED: Chargers Depth Chart]

Schofield, 28 in November, appeared in 15 games with five starts for the Bolts last season. Before that, he started for the Broncos at right tackle in 2015 and at right guard in 2016.

The Bolts claimed him off waivers in September of last year, but they weren’t the only team after him. The Lions, Redskins, Vikings, and Saints all tried to snag him, but the Chargers won out due to their higher position in the waiver order.

Schofield graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 61 ranked tackle last year, per Pro Football Focus. His best season, by their measure, was in ’16 when he was playing on the interior.

While it’s possible Schofield could return as a starter, that’s only likely to occur if Los Angeles parts ways with right tackle Joe Barksdale. The Chargers do have other offensive line free agents, including Matt Slauson, Kenny Wiggins, and Michael Ola, so Schofield will serve as critical depth, at the least.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Notes: Ward, Donald, Hawks, Schofield

John Elway spoke with T.J. Ward‘s agent earlier this summer and informed him the team did not intend to sign the veteran safety to an extension, with the GM telling media (including Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post) a Ward re-up was not in the team’s plans “at that point of time.” The Broncos made Ward one of the highest-profile cuts of the roster-slashing weekend, but Jhabvala reports the team did not come to a decision on Ward until last week. The rise of second-year safeties Justin Simmons and Will Parks, along with Ward’s injury history, played a role in the departure.

Citing a lack of clarity during the process, Ward on Monday called the Broncos “completely unprofessional” regarding the separation. The divorce came with one season remaining on the 30-year-old defender’s four-year contract. The eighth-year safety will earn up to $5MM with the Buccaneers this season. Ward missed all of Denver’s preseason games with a hamstring injury and missed six games due to injury in three Broncos campaigns — two of which producing Pro Bowls. Mike Klis of 9News described the process as Simmons — a 2016 third-round pick who served as Denver’s third safety last season — Wally Pipp’ing Ward (Twitter link). Klis notes Elway gave Ward “every chance” to make this year’s team.

Here’s the latest from the West divisions, shifting to Seattle, which just made the biggest trade in a week full of them.

  • The injury to rookie Malik McDowell prompted the Seahawks to trade for Sheldon Richardson, Pete Carroll said, via the Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta (on Twitter). Currently on the NFI list, McDowell does not have a timetable for a return, Condotta adds (via Twitter). Carroll said the team could still look to add another defensive tackle (Twitter link, via Condotta).
  • Richardson will play the three-technique position in the Seahawks’ 4-3 scheme, the fifth-year defensive lineman said Monday (via Condotta, on Twitter). He will line up inside of Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril, giving the Seahawks one of the most talented defensive fronts in football. Richardson primarily played 3-4 defensive end with the Jets but also saw time at outside linebacker. He played 4-3 defensive tackle at the University of Missouri, though.
  • Aaron Donald remains a holdout as the Rams begin their Week 1 preparations, but Sean McVay won’t impose a deadline on how late the All-Pro defensive lineman can report to the team and still play Sunday, Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.com reports. Rams reps flew to Atlanta to meet with Donald, but the sides reportedly aren’t close to a deal. Gonzalez adds McVay nonetheless remains “optimistic” about a solution.
  • A two-position starter for the Broncos during the past two seasons, Michael Schofield attracted widespread interest on the waiver wire. The Chargers won out due to their position in the waiver hierarchy, but the Lions, Redskins, Vikings and Saints also put in claims on the fourth-year guard/tackle, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. A 2014 third-rounder, Schofield started for the Broncos at right tackle during their Super Bowl season and lined up at right guard throughout 2016. While Denver didn’t sport particularly effective O-lines during those seasons, Schofield clearly has believers out there.
  • Speaking of waivers, the Seahawks hoped they’d have a chance to stash wide receiver Kasen Williams on their practice squad, Carroll said (via Condotta, on Twitter), but the Browns swooped in with a claim. The Seahawks will move on without Williams and Jermaine Kearse, traded to the Jets in the Richardson deal. Paul Richardson and Tyler Lockett are now Seattle’s top complementary wideouts, and Lockett (per Condotta, on Twitter) is expected to play in Week 1 after breaking his fibula late last season.

Sunday NFL Transactions: AFC West

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four AFC West 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 Broncos, Chiefs, Chargers, and Raiders 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 West transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day:

Denver Broncos

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

Oakland Raiders

Chargers Claim Michael Schofield Off Waivers

Michael Schofield was claimed by the Chargers, as Nicki Jhabvala of The Denver Post tweets. The Broncos waived the offensive lineman on Saturday as they cut down to a 53-man roster.

Schofield has appeared in and started in 29 contests for the Broncos over the last two years. This summer, he asked for a trade when it became clear that he would not make the cut. The Broncos tried, but could not find any takers.

Last year, Schofield finished out as the No. 48 ranked guard in the NFL out of 75 qualified players. He’s not a world beater by any means, but the Bolts need all the help they can get on the offensive line. Second round pick Forrest Lamp is out for the year with a torn ACL and interior lineman Max Tuerk is suspended through Week 4 after violating the league’s PED policy.

Broncos Down To 52-Man Roster

The Broncos are down to a 52-man roster. Why 52, you ask? That’s because their signing of quarterback Brock Osweiler is not yet official. Once he’s inked, they’ll be at the 53-man max.

The Broncos also have Shane Ray on the active roster as of this writing. If they place him on IR, they’ll have another spot to work with.

Here’s the full look at their roster:

Released:

Waived:

Waived/Injured:

  • LB Kevin Snyder

Placed On IR:

Reserve/NFI:

Broncos Waive OL Michael Schofield

The Broncos parted ways with another of their recent offensive line investments. A day after trading Ty Sambrailo to the Falcons, the Broncos cut Michael Schofield, Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post tweets.

Jhabvala adds (via Twitter) the fourth-year offensive lineman asked to be traded after it became clear there wasn’t a spot for him on the roster. The Broncos shopped Schofield, per Jhabvala, but evidently couldn’t find a willing suitor like they did for Sambrailo.

Schofield started at two positions with Denver the past two years — right tackle in 2015 and right guard last season — but the Broncos have again made significant changes in hopes of improving an offensive line that’s been shaky during this span.

The 2014 third-round pick will venture onto waivers and has enough experience to generate interest, despite being graded as a below-average blocker by Pro Football Focus since becoming a regular up front.

Schofield essentially redshirted his rookie year, but following injuries to Ryan Clady and Sambrailo in 2015, was summoned to play right tackle. He started 13 games for the Super Bowl champion Broncos iteration and moved inside to guard with Denver’s first unit for all 16 last season.

Denver, though, acquired Ronald Leary, Allen Barbre and Menelik Watson this offseason to make Schofield’s place on the roster uncertain. Max Garcia looms as guard depth, and Donald Stephenson — after twice reworking his contract — looks to be safe as a result of this move and the Falcons’ trade for Sambrailo.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2017 Proven Performance Escalators

According to the NFL’s contractual bargaining agreement, players drafted in rounds three though seven are entitled to raises during the fourth year of their respective rookie contracts. The pay bumps are tied to playing time — a player must have played in 35% of his team’s offensive or defensive snaps in two of his first three seasons, or averaged 35% playing time cumulatively during that period.Donte Moncrief (Vertical)

If one of these thresholds is met, the player’s salary is elevated to the level of that year’s lowest restricted free agent tender — that figure should be around $1.8MM in 2017. Players selected in the first or second round, undrafted free agents, and kickers/punters are ineligible for the proven performance escalator.

Here are the players who will see their salary rise in 2017 courtesy of the proven performance escalator:

49ers: Aaron Lynch, LB; Marcus Martin, OL

Bears: Charles Leno, T; Will Sutton, DT

Bengals: Russell Bodine, C

Bills: Preston Brown, LB; Seantrel Henderson, T

Broncos: Michael Schofield, OL

Browns: Christian Kirksey, LB

Buccaneers: Kevin Pamphile, G

Cardinals: John Brown, WR

Chiefs: Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, G; Zach Fulton, G; Phillip Gaines, CB

Colts: Donte Moncrief, WR

Cowboys: Anthony Hitchens, LB

Falcons: Devonta Freeman, RB

Giants: Devon Kennard, LB

Jaguars: Aaron Colvin, CB; Brandon Linder, G; Telvin Smith, LB

Lions: Nevin Lawson, CB; Travis Swanson, C

Packers: Corey Linsley, C; Richard Rodgers, TE

Panthers: Tre Boston, S; Trai Turner, G

Raiders: T.J. Carrie, CB; Justin Ellis, DT; Gabe Jackson, G

Rams: Maurice Alexander, S; E.J. Gaines, CB

Redskins: Bashaud Breeland, CB; Spencer Long, G; Morgan Moses, T

Texans: C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE; Andre Hal, S

Titans: DaQuan Jones, DL; Avery Williamson, LB

Vikings: Shamar Stephen, DT

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.