Mohamed Sanu

Extra Points: Sanu, Brown, Bears, Lock

The Patriots‘ revolving receiver cast may be set for more adjustments. Mohamed Sanu may well be battling a high ankle sprain, according to Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston. While that is not confirmed, the recent trade acquisition did not practice Wednesday and is listed on New England’s injury report. A high ankle sprain would stand to sideline Sanu for multiple games. The Pats have cycled through numerous receiver combinations this season, with Julian Edelman being the only constant. Phillip Dorsett is in the Pats’ concussion protocol, meaning Edelman’s supporting cast against the Cowboys may be fronted by rookies N’Keal Harry and Jakobi Meyers.

Here is the latest from around the NFL, moving first to a player not currently in the league.

  • Antonio Brown launched a countersuit against Britney Taylor, the first of two women to make sexual misconduct claims against the free agent wide receiver. Taylor filed a civil suit against Brown earlier this year, alleging sexual assault, and Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com reports Brown’s case will center around defamation and interference with NFL contract and endorsement opportunities. Brown remains hopeful the NFL will clear him soon; he met with the league last week. But a recent report gave Brown a long-odds chance of playing again this season.
  • Mitchell Trubisky was a full participant at Bears practice Wednesday, despite being removed from Sunday night’s game with a hip injury. Matt Nagy said he does not intend to bench his starter and plans to play him this week against the Giants. “We want him to be out there this week as the starter,” Nagy said, via J.J. Stankevitz of NBC Sports Chicago. “I’m hoping that’s the case. … These types of injuries, you get to a point where they are literally day to day and it becomes about where you’re at with the pain and how we manage that.”
  • Brandon Allen has helped spark the Broncos‘ offense, but the team would stand to benefit from Drew Lock debuting soon. Vic Fangio added an interesting stance Wednesday, indicating he does not think it’s “vitally important” the rookie passer plays this season, via Mike Klis of 9News. However, the Broncos do plan to activate Lock from IR either next week or in Week 14, per Klis. Denver selected Lock in Round 2 but saw its Joe Flacco investment fail, leading to more uncertainty at a long-troublesome position for the franchise. The Broncos could again be linked to top quarterbacks in the 2020 draft, just as they were in 2018 and ’19.
  • One of the Falcons‘ IR-return slots will go toward a punter. Longtime punter Matt Bosher returned to practice, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com notes (on Twitter). Atlanta’s ninth-year punter cannot return to action until Week 13.
  • After placing fullback Nick Bawden on IR, the Lions worked out several fullbacks. Tommy Bohanon, Derrick Coleman, Tre Madden, Aaron Ripkowski auditioned for the Lions, per Sirius XM’s Adam Caplan (on Twitter).

AFC East Notes: Pats, Gostkowski, Jets, Bell

Mohamed Sanu joined the Patriots in late October, but the veteran receiver believed he was going to land with the organization much earlier. As Jeff Howe of The Athletic writes, the Rutgers product expected to be drafted by New England during the 2012 draft, and he later opted for a lucrative payday from the Falcons when he hit free agency in 2016. Now, during his ninth year in the NFL, he’s finally on the Patriots.

“The draft, free agency, and now it happened – it’s kind of been like a long time coming, like it was almost meant to happen,” Sanu told Jeff Howe of The Athletic.

The 30-year-old also discussed his chances of sticking with New England for his entire career.

“That’d be cool,” Sanu said. “You never know. I just go where everything falls, take it day by day. Whatever happens, happens. I do my part, do my best, be a great teammate and do my part, whenever I can to help this team win…Now that I’m here, it’s time to go to work. I’m very excited.”

Sanu had a standout game for the Patriots during last night’s loss, hauling in 10 receptions for 81 yards and one touchdown.

Let’s check out some more notes from the AFC East…

  • Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski underwent successful hip surgery and was back at the team’s facilities last week. Meanwhile, it was revealed that third-round offensive lineman Yodny Cajuste will likely miss the entire season as he recovers from quadriceps surgery. Offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia told reporters (including ESPN’s Mike Reiss) that the rookie would likely have a redshirt season: “That’s probably a pretty good way of approaching or saying it. He’s probably not ready to do anything and probably won’t be until next year. That’s the way I see it.”
  • Elandon Roberts has had to fill in at fullback for the Patriots following injuries to James Develin and Jakob Johnson. However, the linebacker isn’t planning on making a permanent position change; Reiss writes that Roberts is still a “full-time participant in defensive and linebacker meetings.” While the 25-year-old indicated that he’s willing to do whatever it takes to win, he views the fullback position as an “extra” priority.
  • Jets running back Le’Veon Bell is set to undergo an MRI on his injured knee, coach Adam Gase told reporters (via SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano on Twitter). The coach also acknowledged that he’s uncertain when the veteran suffered the injury, as Bell only reveled the ailment this morning.
  • While Jets cornerback Darryl Roberts has love for “the loyal fans,” he wasn’t too happy with those who criticized the team following their loss to the Dolphins yesterday. You can check out the Instagram rant for yourself thanks to Joseph Staszewski of the New York Post.

AFC East Notes: Brady, Pats, Jets

With the departures of both Josh Gordon and Antonio Brown, Tom Brady has grown increasingly “frustrated” with the turnover at wide receiver, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. It has been no secret that Brady invested a large amount of time in trying to mesh with both Gordon and Brown and get them up to speed with the offense. At one point, Brady even offered to have Brown stay at his house after he was signed.

With the recent trade for Mohamed Sanu, Brady is now left with having to get yet another receiver up to speed with the offense. The two already sound like they’re already building a strong connection, and ultimately Sanu should prove to be a much better fit in the offense than Gordon ever was, and much more reliable and durable than him or Brown could have been. Through seven games, Sanu has 33 receptions for 313 yards and a touchdown.

With the reports that Brady’s future with the Patriots after this year is uncertain, this “frustration” is sure to add fuel to the fire that the six-time Super Bowl winner may be elsewhere at the start of the 2020 season.

Here are some more developments from the AFC East:

  • Although it is common for some players to still take part in team meetings and be around their club while being on IR, that will not be the case for Josh Gordon, according to ESPN’s Mike Reiss. Sources told Reiss that there were multiple factors that ultimately led to Gordon being placed on IR, with what was viewed as an overall decline in his dependability as part of the tipping point for Belichick to make the decision.
  • C.J. Mosley, who has missed the majority of the season with a groin injury, is expected to be out a few more weeks, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. It has been speculated that Mosley, who signed a big deal with the Jets this past offseason, could end up missing the rest of the season if the groin injury does not improve. In the two games he’s played this season, Mosley has compiled nine tackles, with one interception and a fumble recovery.
  • With the release of Kelechi Osemele after he elected to undergo an unapproved shoulder surgery, the way the Jets handled the situation has raised some eyebrows around the league, according to ESPN’s Rich Cimini. One personnel executive told Cimini that: “It’s a bad optic for the team and it sends a bad message to the locker room. What are they thinking?” It remains to be seen what effect, if any, this saga has on future players signing with the Jets.

49ers Also Pursued Mohamed Sanu

Some key wide receiver dominoes fell Tuesday, and the 49ers were involved in both. Prior to acquiring Emmanuel Sanders from the Broncos, the 49ers were “heavily” in on Mohamed Sanu, according to Matt Barrows of The Athletic (subscription required).

The Patriots ended up outbidding the 49ers for the Falcon wideout, sending a second-round pick to Atlanta. San Francisco already unloaded its 2020 second-rounder, sending it to Kansas City for Dee Ford in March. Sanu is 30 and signed through 2020; Sanders is 32 and in a contract year.

While Sanders has accomplished more than Sanu, it’s understandable why the 49ers pursued the latter. Sanu’s first Atlanta season came when Kyle Shanahan was running a historically great Falcons offense, which led the team to Super Bowl LI. The third-year 49ers HC was seeking a “big-bodied” wideout in the offseason, per Barrows. Sanu would have filled that role better than Sanders, who ended up costing the 49ers 2020 third- and fourth-round picks.

San Francisco is now without second-, third- and fourth-round picks in next year’s draft. But the 49ers exited Week 7 with their leading wide receiver (Marquise Goodwin) having totaled 181 receiving yards. Sanders, who has 367, should be able to assimilate quickly after playing in ex-49er OC Rich Scangarello‘s offense.

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Falcons Trade Mohamed Sanu To Patriots

The Falcons have traded Mohamed Sanu to the Patriots in exchange for a second-round pick, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The deal gives the 7-0 Patriots even more offensive firepower and brings them a wide receiver that they’ve long coveted.

The Patriots were one of several teams looking to trade for Sanu during the draft. The Falcons brushed those clubs off, but things changed after their 37-10 loss to the Rams dropped them to 1-6 on the year. With days to go before the trade deadline, the Falcons jumped at the chance to build for 2020 and beyond.

Sanu missed out on a New Jersey homecoming when the Patriots steamrolled the Jets on Monday night, but he will get to reunite friends in New England, including former Rutgers teammates Jason McCourty and Devin McCourty. He also figures to pad the stat sheet. So far this year, Sanu has 33 catches for 313 yards and one touchdown. It stands to reason that with nine games to go on New England’s slate, he could top last year’s career high of 838 yards and find pay dirt many times over.

Speaking of pay – Sanu has two years to go on his current deal. The Pats will have him at a $7.65MM cap figure this year and a $7.9MM number in 2020, though they could theoretically release him without fiscal penalty next year.

With Sanu, the Patriots boast one of the scariest receiver groups in the NFL and enough weapons to (almost) make Tom Brady forget that Rob Gronkowski isn’t around anymore. The WR depth chart, at present:

Meanwhile, the Falcons figure to continue their fire sale between now and next Tuesday’s deadline. They’d like to move defensive end Vic Beasley and they figure to field offers for the likes of edge rusher De’Vondre Campbell and tight end Austin Hooper.

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Latest On Falcons’ Trade Chips

If the Falcons had their way, they’d trade defensive end Vic Beasley. However, it sounds like wideout Mohamed Sanu might be tougher to pry away. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that rival teams could pursue either of these players from the 1-6 Falcons, but one would naturally be easier to acquire than the other.

According to Rapoport, teams tried to acquire Sanu during the draft, but the Falcons resisted those overtures. With the team struggling and Sanu playing in the second-to-last season of his contract, some have wondered if the receiver could be available. The 30-year-old would naturally be attractive to teams that need a wideout. After setting a career high with 838 receiving yards last season, Sanu has hauled in 33 receptions for 313 yards and one score in seven games this season.

Beasley’s availability makes a lot more sense, as the 27-year-old is still set to make more than $6.5MM through the rest of this season. Plus, his onfield production hasn’t justified the money; after Pro Football Focus graded Beasley as its worst full-time edge defender in 2018, the former first-rounder is struggling again in 2019. In seven games, Beasley has compiled 14 tackles and 1.5 sacks.

We heard earlier this month that impending free agents like Beasley, De’Vondre Campbell and Austin Hooper are on some teams’ radars. Projected to be more than $10MM over the 2020 cap, the Falcons will almost certainly have to let some of these UFAs-to-be walk if they are not traded. However, the Falcons could fetch 2021 compensatory picks for them, potentially complicating trade talks.

The trade deadline is next Tuesday, October 29th.

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Falcons WR Mohamed Sanu To Miss Time

Falcons wide receiver Mohamed Sanu is expected to miss two-to-three weeks with a hamstring injury, reports Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com, while defensive lineman Jack Crawford has a biceps issue which “doesn’t look good,” a source tells McClure. Atlanta is “planning on moving forward” without Crawford, tweets D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, an indication Crawford could be done for the season.Mohamed Sanu (Vertical)

Sanu’s injury is doubly concerning given that Falcons No. 1 wideout Julio Jones left the club’s Week 4 loss with a hip flexor. Jones is not expected to miss any games, but his health history isn’t exactly promising. Without Sanu, Atlanta will turn to Taylor Gabriel, Justin Hardy, Andre Roberts, and Nick Williams to play more snaps. Through four games, Sanu had managed 16 receptions for 163 yards and one touchdown.

Atlanta’s defensive line hardly withstand another loss, as Vic Beasley will be sidelined for another three weeks or so while Courtney Upshaw is also dealing with injury. Crawford, who signed as a free agent this offseason, has played on roughly 40% of the Falcons’ defensive snaps, but graded as just the No. 82 interior defender among 120 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus.

Head coach Dan Quinn will meet with Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff about adding defensive line reinforcements, per McClure (Twitter link). The obvious free agent solution could speculatively be Dwight Freeney, who appeared in 15 games for Atlanta in 2016. Quinn said last month that the Falcons are still in contact with Freeney, but the club had no interest in signing him at that time.

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Free Agent Rumors: Wisniewski, Jaguars, Giants, Sanu

The latest free agent rumors:

  • Center Stefen Wisniewski remains an option to return as a starter for the Jaguars, but he is still shopping himself around, Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports tweets. The Jaguars, meanwhile, continue to seek out depth on the offensive line. Cowboys free agent guard Mackenzy Bernadeau is visiting the Jaguars, Todd Archer of ESPN.com tweets.
  • New Falcons receiver Mohamed Sanu says that his agent indicated that the Giants, Chargers, Patriots, Bucs, Titans, and Washington were all interested in him, as Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com tweets.
  • The Raiders sniffed around Jerrell Freeman but they seem closer to signing a different inside linebacker in Erin Henderson, Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. The Jets are also after Henderson, he adds.
  • Browns free agent linebacker Craig Robertson is on his way to visit the Seahawks, Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer tweets.

Contract Details: Sanu, Lane, Harris, Jones

Here are some of the latest details on recently agreed-upon or signed contracts from around the NFL.

  • Mohamed Sanu, WR (Falcons): Five years, $32.5MM. $14MM guaranteed. $7MM signing bonus. Base salaries of $1MM, $6MM, $6MM, $6MM, $6.5MM. (via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, on Twitter). Can earn additional $1.25MM based on receptions, per ESPN.com’s Vaughn McClure (on Twitter).
  • Jeremy Lane, CB (Seahawks): Four years, $23MM. $11MM guaranteed. $5MM signing bonus. Base salaries of $2MM, $4MM, $6MM, $6MM (Twitter link via Wilson). $7MM fully guaranteed. Lane’s $4MM salary in 2017 guaranteed in February 2017, per Tom Pelissero of USA Today (via Twitter).
  • Mike Harris, OL (Vikings): One year, $2MM. $500K of $1.9MM base salary fully guaranteed. $100K workout bonus. (via Wilson, on Twitter). Can earn $1.05MM in incentives, per Pelissero (on Twitter).
  • Mason Foster, ILB (Washington): Two years, $2.5MM. $350K signing bonus. Can earn $1.6MM in playing-time incentives, per Pelissero (on Twitter).
  • Adam Jones, CB (Bengals): Three years, $24MM. $16MM in 2016-17, according to Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports (on Twitter).
  • Kellen Clemens, QB (Chargers): One year, $1.065MM. $80K roster bonus, per Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune (on Twitter).

Falcons To Sign Mohamed Sanu

1:36pm: It’s a five-year, $32.5MM deal for Sanu, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The receiver will earn $14MM fully guaranteed.

1:30pm: The Falcons agreed to terms with former Bengals wide receiver Mohamed Sanu on a five-year deal, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Agent Mike McCartney confirmed the agreement on Twitter"<strong

Sanu, a third round pick of the Bengals in the 2012 draft, totaled 152 receptions and 15 touchdowns in Cincy. Eleven of those scores came as a receiver, while he also ran and passed for two apiece. The 26-year-old took a backseat in the Bengals’ passing game last season to A.J. Green, Tyler Eifert and Marvin Jones, catching 33 passes for 394 yards and no TDs. He was far more productive in 2014, though, putting up career bests in catches (56), receiving yards (790), YPC (14.1) and TDs (five).

He’s a good bet to return to similar form as the Falcons’ top option behind Julio Jones. That spot has been cleared for him now that the Falcons have released Roddy White. White made four Pro Bowls and was a first-team All-Pro in 2010, when he caught a career-high 110 passes for 1,389 yards and 10 touchdowns. However, the 34-year-old’s production has fallen off in recent years, leading Atlanta to seek out alternatives.

Sanu is the second Bengals wideout to depart Cincinnati this week, joining M. Jones – who’s headed to the Lions on a five-year, $40MM accord. Prior to free agency, Sanu ranked as PFR’s seventh-best available receiver, putting him behind M. Jones, Travis Benjamin, Rishard Matthews, Rueben Randle, Anquan Boldin, and Jermaine Kearse. He earned honorable mention on PFR’s Top 50 List of NFL Free Agents.

Prior to signing with the Falcons, Sanu was also pursued by the Patriots.

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