Mike Iupati

Seahawks To Re-Sign Mike Iupati

The Seahawks have agreed to a brand new deal with Mike Iupati, as Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. The veteran guard will return on a one-year deal as he looks to battle back from a neck injury. 

Iupati signed with the ‘Hawks on a one-year pact last spring, bringing him to the third NFC West team of his career. The former 49ers and Rams protector stepped in to replace J.R. Sweezy and played on the first-string unit for 15 games, up until the injury bug struck late in the year. Iupati was unable to play in either one of Seattle’s playoff games and had to watch from afar as the Seahawks fell 28-23 to the Packers in the divisional round.

Iupati, 33 in May, has four Pro Bowl appearances to his credit, but injuries have hampered him over the last few seasons. At his peak, he inked a five-year, $40MM free agent deal with Arizona.

The Seahawks managed to keep Iupati, but they’ve watched offensive linemen George Fant (Jets) and Germain Ifedi (Bears) depart in free agency this season. To help replace them, they’ve added new faces in B.J. Finney and Chance Warmack. Meanwhile, Joey Hunt remains unsigned.

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Seahawks Hope To Keep O-Line In Tact

The Seahawks’ entire offensive line could wind up with a face lift in March. With several key linemen headed towards free agency, head coach Pete Carroll says he wants to keep the band together. 

[RELATED: Latest On Jadeveon Clowney]

I hope we can keep our guys connected here,” Carroll said (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Brady Henderson). “I think the whole group, it could be a really solid group coming back. I’d like to see the guys that have played for us stay with us.

Carroll is aiming for continuity, because the unit “made good progress” in 2019. But, to keep the O-Line in tact, they’ll have to work out new deals with right tackle Germain Ifedi, left guard Mike Iupati, and backup left tackle George Fant, all of whom are set to be unrestricted free agents. Center Joey Hunt, meanwhile, will be a restricted free agent.

Seahawks coaches might have liked what they saw out of the offensive line, but the advanced metrics saw things differently. The Seahawks graded out 30th in pass blocking and 14th in run blocking, according to Pro Football Focus.

The individual rankings for the pending free agents weren’t so hot, either. Out of 214 qualified offensive linemen, PFF had Fant (No. 133), Iupati (No. 135), Ifedi (No. 150), and Hunt (No. 180) all positioned as below average players.

Meanwhile, the Seahawks have bigger fish to fry with six other key players headed towards the open market, including defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and defensive tackle Jarran Reed. On the plus side, they have upwards of $58MM in projected cap space this offseason, giving them the most flexibility they’ve had in seven years.

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Playoff Injury Updates: Seahawks, Brown, Iupati, Fant, Titans, Brown, Packers, Clark

The latest injury news for the divisional round games:

  • The Seahawks’ offensive line is in dire shape. Starting left guard Mike Iupati is listed as doubtful, and it looks like he’ll miss his second straight game. Even more concerning, head coach Pete Carroll said both tackles Duane Brown and George Fant would be game-time decisions. Brown has missed the last few games, and Fant has been filling in for him at left tackle. Fant played 100 percent of the snaps in Seattle’s win over Philly last week, but is dealing with a groin injury. If he’s unable to go the plan is to start Chad Wheeler at left tackle, per Joe Fann of NBC Sports. Wheeler signed to Seattle’s practice squad back in October, and hasn’t appeared in a regular season game since October. He started a bunch of games for the Giants the previous two seasons, with disastrous results. If he’s forced into the lineup, the Packers’ pass-rushing duo of Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith will be licking their chops.
  • The Titans will be without a key piece of their defense as they look to pull off a second straight upset against the Ravens. Starting inside linebacker Jayon Brown has been ruled out for this weekend’s game. Brown started against the Patriots last week, but left the game with a shoulder injury. It’s a blow to Tennessee’s run defense as they look to slow down the league’s best rushing attack.
  • The Titans might not be the only team without a key defensive piece. Packers defensive tackle Kenny Clark, who started all 16 games this season, is being listed as questionable. Clark was on a tear down the stretch, racking up 4.5 sacks in Green Bay’s last four games. If he doesn’t go it’ll help mitigate some of Seattle’s offensive line losses.

Contract Details: Nsekhe, Anderson, Dorsett

Let’s take a look at the details of a few recently-signed NFL contracts:

Seahawks To Sign G Mike Iupati

The Seahawks are signing guard Mike Iupati, a source tells Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). It’s a one-year deal for the former Cardinals and 49ers lineman. 

Iupati, 32 in May, is now on to his third NFC West team.He’s set to be a free agent again in 2020, so there’s hope for Iupati to complete the rounds by signing with the Rams next year. The Seahawks just lost last year’s 15-game starter at left guard, J.R. Sweezy, to the Cardinals, so Iupati could slide right into the lineup.

It’ll amount to a nice little swap of left guards between division rivals. Iupati appeared in ten games and started all of them in the desert last season. His once promising career has been derailed the past few seasons. He appeared in just one game in 2017 before an elbow injury ended his year.

He agreed to a pay cut to stay with Arizona last offseason but after another injury-plagued season they voided the final year of his deal. Iupati made the Pro Bowl four straight times from 2012 to 2015, and was a second-team All-Pro as recently as 2015, so if he can stay healthy this could prove to be a very nice signing for Seattle’s offensive line.

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Cardinals Place Kirk, Iupati On IR

The Cardinals upset the Packers on Sunday – and cost Mike McCarthy his job in the process – but the win proved to be costly. On Monday afternoon, head coach Steve Wilks announced that wide receiver Christian Kirk (knee) and guard Mike Iupati (knee) have been placed on season-ending injured reserve. 

Kirk, 22, was selected in the second round of this year’s draft out of Texas A&M. While this has been a largely forgettable season for the Cardinals, Kirk has flashed at various points during his rookie season, including four games with upwards of 70 yards receiving. His campaign will end with 43 catches for 590 yards and three touchdowns plus a 7.8 yards-per-return average on punts.

Iupati, a four-time Pro Bowler, has struggled to stay healthy in over the last two seasons. Last year, he was shelved after just one game thanks to bone spurs in his elbow. The injury could mark the end of his run in Arizona – last year, he agreed to a restructuring of his deal that will allow the Cardinals to dump him before the 2019 season with just $1.7MM in dead money.

The Cardinals’ depth on the interior line could allow them to get by without adding a guard, but they’ll almost certainly add a wide receiver to replace Kirk, who served as the No. 2 option behind Larry Fitzgerald. Chad Williams‘ status for Week 14 is in doubt due to an ankle injury, leaving Fitzgerald, J.J. Nelson, and Trent Sherfield as the club’s only healthy receivers.

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NFL Contract Restructures: 3/15/18

With the 2018 league year officially underway, a number of teams have reworked player contracts in order to create additional cap space. Here’s what moves clubs have made today:

  • Broncos: Created $12.375MM in 2018 cap space by converting $16MM of LB Von Miller‘s $18.5MM base salary into a signing bonus (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com).
  • Cardinals: G Mike Iupati accepted $3MM pay cut. 2018 base salary reduced from $7.75MM to $5MM. $250K roster bonus eliminated. 2019 contract season is now voidable (Twitter link via Field Yates of ESPN.com).
  • Cowboys: Created ~$7.5MM in 2018 cap space by restructuring C Travis Frederick‘s contract (Twitter link via Jane Slater of NFL.com).
  • Eagles: Created $5.407MM in 2018 cap space by converting $7.21MM of TE Zach Ertz‘s $8MM base salary into a fully guaranteed roster bonus (Twitter link via Yates).
  • Ravens: Created $5.625MM in 2018 cap space by converting $7.5MM of DT Brandon Williams‘ $8.5MM base salary into a signing bonus (Twitter link via Yates).

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/30/17

Here are today’s minor moves.

  • The Cardinals officially placed Mike Iupati on IR, sidelining the guard for at least eight weeks, and they filled his spot by promoting offensive lineman Vinston Painter from the practice squad. A 2013 draft pick, Painter’s bounced around. He saw action as a backup/special-teamer for the 2014 Browns and 2016 Redskins. The Cardinals added the swing lineman to their practice squad earlier this season.
  • Linebacker Thurston Armbrister will move from the Lions‘ practice squad back to their 53-man roster, Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com reports. Detroit placed offensive lineman Zac Kerin on IR. Kerin joins Joe Dahl among Lions offensive linemen to be IR-bound this week. The Lions also placed tackle Corey Robinson on IR earlier this season. A third-year veteran, Armbrister played in 14 games — starting two — for the Lions last season after seeing action in all 16 games for the 2015 Jaguars.

Cardinals To Place Mike Iupati On IR

The Cardinals will place Mike Iupati on IR because of bone spurs in the starting guard’s elbow, Bruce Arians said (via Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com, on Twitter).

Iupati has been out since Week 1 with this malady but will miss extensive time now, and this could end his season. The 30-year-old left guard will miss at least eight more weeks as a result of this decision. Iupati will undergo surgery to address this problem, and the Cardinals are short on guards right now. And offensive line is reeling.

Arians added Alex Boone will miss “a couple weeks” with a chest injury suffered Monday night. Arians, via Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic (on Twitter), didn’t seem to point to left tackle D.J. Humphries playing Sunday either.

The Iupati decision also complicates matters for the Cardinals regarding how they will manage their roster this season.

David Johnson already resides on IR with a wrist injury, and although it could be December before he’s ready to come back, the All-Pro running back profiles as an obvious IR-return candidate — especially if the team is contending for a playoff spot. As of now, Iupati would stand to occupy Arizona’s other IR-boomerang slot, but given that the Cards haven’t played their fourth game, it would be too early to proclaim their IR-return decisions set.

However, Iupati and Johnson profile as key players who would fit the bill over just about anyone else who would venture onto IR with an injury that could heal in time for late-season contributions. A four-time Pro Bowler and one-time first-team All-Pro with the 49ers, Iupati signed with the Cardinals last year and played 15 games. This will mark the first season he’s played fewer than 12. And in six of Iupati’s seven full NFL seasons, he’s suited up and started at least 13 games.

John Wetzel and rookie Will Holden would be options to replace Humphries at tackle, while rookie Dorian Johnson is an option be promoted from the practice squad. Arians said a roster move will be made to address the depth up front.

Cardinals Restructure G Mike Iupati’s Deal

The Cardinals have restructured guard Mike Iupati‘s deal, as Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. The two sides agreed to convert $2MM of his salary into a signing bonus, creating $1.5MM in 2016 cap room. Mike Iupati (vertical)

Iupati, 29, left the 49ers to join the rival Cardinals prior to the 2015 season. The deal, worth $40MM over five years with incentives, naturally eats up a good amount of cap room. The Cards don’t have any regrets about the signing, however, as Iupati earned his fourth-straight Pro Bowl nod in 2015.

Through four games this season, David Johnson is averaging 4.7 yards per carry and he owes a great deal of credit to Iupati’s blocking on the interior line. At the quarter mark, Pro Football Focus has Iupati ranked as the 12th best guard in the NFL.

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