Montae Nicholson

NFC East Notes: Elliott, Eagles, Redskins

The Cowboys‘ strategy of prioritizing extension for Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper over Ezekiel Elliott have seemingly influenced the two-time rushing champion to consider a holdout. While Elliott is signed through the 2020 season and can be controlled on a 2021 franchise tag, a path the Cowboys appear to be pondering, Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap tweets the team’s best move would be to extend Elliott now in order to have the remaining $12.9MM on his contract become part of the extension’s guarantee structure. The Cowboys should structure a deal that would enable them to cut bait after the first year of the extension, which if done now would be 2021, Fitzgerald adds (on Twitter). That would be unlikely to happen if Elliott heads into 2020 without an extension. Having not yet met the service-time requirements for free agency, Elliott must report to the Cowboys by Aug. 6. This gives the team considerable leverage against a 2019 holdout. A 2020 holdout would become more complicated.

With the NFC East teams wrapping up their offseasons, here is the latest out of this division:

  • Several Redskins players missed out on some cash this offseason. By either not showing up, in Trent Williams‘ case, to the offseason program (or failing to be there for 90% of it), Williams, Josh Norman, Landon Collins, Paul Richardson, Quinton Dunbar and Vernon Davis missed out on some bonus cash, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Norman led the way on this front, seeing $200K docked from his 2019 salary. Collins was docked $175K, with Williams and Richardson down $150K.
  • Staying with Washington, their free safety job still figures to be Montae Nicholson‘s to lose, J.P. Finlay of NBC Sports Washington notes. This comes despite the Redskins suspending him in December, for an off-field arrest that resulted in dropped charges, and Jay Gruden expressing annoyance Nicholson missed the early portion of Redskins OTAs. Washington did not draft a safety, and Pro Football Focus graded Nicholson as its fifth-worst back-line defender last season. Still, Finlay expects the third-year player to have a major say in who starts alongside Collins.
  • Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders and Corey Clement will be on the Eagles‘ 53-man roster, leaving recent draft picks Wendell Smallwood, Josh Adams and Donnel Pumphrey in danger of the waiver wire. Despite the Eagles investing in each of these players out of college, Saints 2018 sixth-round pick Boston Scott looks like the early favorite to be the Eagles’ fourth running back, Dave Zangaro of NBC Sports Philadelphia writes. Possessing a Darren Sproles-type physique at 5-foot-6 and 203 pounds, Scott has yet to take a regular-season handoff. But his experience as a punt returner may give him the edge, per Zangaro. Adams (511 yards) and Smallwood (364) were Philadelphia’s two leading rushers last season.
  • The Giants will join the Eagles in having a project offensive lineman in camp. After Philly drafted tackle Jordan Mailata in last year’s seventh round, the Giants signed college shot putter Austin Droogsma. The Giants signed Droogsma, who last played football as a high-schooler 2012, in May and will try the 6-4, 345-pound track convert as a guard, Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com notes. While at Florida State, Droogsma won the 2018 ACC indoor and outdoor titles and finished both seasons as an All-American. Mailata, a rugby standout, spent most of last season on the Eagles’ practice squad; the Giants’ P-squad would seem like the best-case scenario for Droogsma in 2019.

NFC East Rumors: Redskins, Eagles, Scherff

It was reported in February the Redskins and guard Brandon Scherff were discussing an extension but no news had trickled out since then. Scherff, however, confirmed earlier this week that talks were ongoing, NBC Sports’ JP Finlay writes.

“We’ve been talking, but I’m not really worried about that,” Scherff said. “I’m here for another year, so that’s all I’m worried about right now. Everything will take care of itself.”

Signed through 2019 via his fifth-year option, Scherff is set to make $12.5MM this season, but an extension could very well help lower Washington’s cap number heading into the season. An extension could see Scherff paid like Zack Martin and Andrew Norwell, who recently became the first guards to sign for $13MM-plus per year.

The fifth-overall pick in 2015, Scherff has justified the high-draft slot by earning two Pro Bowls in his first four seasons in the league. Though durable in his first three seasons, playing all but two possible games, the Iowa product suffered a torn pectoral in Week 8 of 2018 and was lost for the season.

Here’s more from around the NFC East:

  • Sticking with the Redskins, safety Montae Nicholson skipped the early sessions of the team’s OTAs, NBC Sports’ Peter Hailey writes. Though he showed up later, the safety’s absence turned some heads and coach Jay Gruden reportedly seemed annoyed by the situation. Nicholson is in a batter for the starting safety spot opposite the newly signed Landon Collins.
  • Though the Eagles added Cody Kessler and rookie Clayton Thorson, Nate Sudfeld is still expected to fill the No. 2 quarterback role, NBC Sports’ Andrew Kulp writes. Early in the offseason, Philadelphia gave Sudfeld a second-round tender as an RFA, which should indicate that the backup gig is his to lose despite the additions.
  • Remaining with the Eagles, it appears Jordan Mailata is ahead of Halapoulivaati Vaitai on the depth chart at tackle, NBC Sports’ Reuben Frank writes. Expected to enter 2019 as the team’s top backup tackle option, Mailata was thrown for a loop when the team took Andre Dillard in the first round. The former rugby player, however, is penciled in as the No. 2 at right tackle and Vaitai, a starter at left tackle in the Super Bowl just over a year ago, is now hoping to carve out a role at guard.

Assault Charges Against Redskins’ Montae Nicholson Dropped

The assault and battery charges against Redskins safety Montae Nicholson have been dropped, as Kareem Copeland of the Washington Post tweets. Nicholson was cuffed late last year and the video of the incident appeared to show him brutally assaulting another man and knocking him unconscious. 

That wasn’t Nicholson’s first off-the-field incident, either. In 2017, cops arrested Nicholson under suspicion of driving while impaired. Still, Nicholson made seven starts for Washington last year and showed promise while on the gridiron. He could still face league suspension from the November arrest, but for now, he appears poised to be a part of the Redskins’ plans for 2019. He projects to see playing time in a safety group headlined by new addition Landon Collins.

Last year, Nicholson recorded 41 stops and one pass defensed in his 14 appearances. And, as a rookie, he notched his only interception to date in Week 3 against the Raiders.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Redskins Place Montae Nicholson On Reserve List

Redskins safety Montae Nicholson has been placed on the reserve list following his arrest for assault and battery. The move may have been prompted by the leaked footage (via TMZ) which appears to show Nicholson brutally assaulting another man and knocking him unconscious. 

Police say Nicholson and a female assaulted two people — a man and a woman. Nicholson alleged assault put the male victim in the hospital with serious injuries, though they are not believed to be life-threatening.

Nicholson, 23, was drafted in the fourth round of the 2017 draft. TheMichigan State product started six games as a rookie and the Redskins’ first seven this year. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix replaced Nicholson in the Redskins’ starting lineup midseason, but the second-year player has played in each of Washington’s 14 games, making 41 tackles.

It seems likely that Nicholson will face league suspension for the incident and his future with the team may be in jeopardy.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Redskins S Montae Nicholson Arrested

A 13-game starter for the Redskins over the past two seasons at safety, Montae Nicholson was arrested Tuesday morning on an assault and battery charge, Trevor Baratko of the Loudoun (Va.) Times reports.

Authorities allege Nicholson and a female, Sydney Maggiore, assaulted two people — a man and a woman. Nicholson allegedly assaulted the male victim, while Maggiore struck both, according to police. Nicholson was also hit with a drunk in public charge, while Maggiore is facing malicious wounding and assault and battery charges. The two victims were hospitalized with serious injuries, though they were not considered life-threatening, Baratko reports.

This incident occurred shortly after 2 a.m., and began when either Nicholson or Maggiore honked a horn at the victims. Verbal and physical confrontations followed, per authorities. The 23-year-old Nicholson was released from Loudoun County Adult Detention Center today.

Washington drafted Nicholson in the 2017 fourth round out of Michigan State. The defensive back started six games as a rookie and the Redskins’ first seven this year. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix replaced Nicholson in the Redskins’ starting lineup midseason, but the second-year player has played in each of Washington’s 14 games, making 41 tackles.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/19/17

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Buffalo Bills

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

  • Signed off Broncos‘ practice squad: OL Dillon Day
  • Waived: FB Joe Kerridge

New York Giants

New York Jets

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Redskins

  • Promoted to active roster: S Fish Smithson
  • Placed on injured reserve: S Montae Nicholson

Redskins Sign Jonathan Allen

The Redskins have signed first-round pick Jonathan Allen along with eight of their other nine draft picks. The lone holdout, so to speak, is third round cornerback Fabian Moreau. The full list of signed rookies is below: Jonathan Allen (vertical)

Allen, an Alabama product, was regarded by many prognosticators as a top five talent in this year’s class. However, on draft night, he slipped all the way to Washington at No. 17. His slide might have been tied to his medical situation as he is said to have symptoms of arthritis in both of his shoulders. Allen says that the shoulders are not an issue now, but he did concede at the combine that the issue could cause trouble down the road. As a senior, Allen had 69 tackles, including 16 tackles for a loss. He also had 10.5 sacks, nearly matching his 12 sack total from 2015.

Sprinkle made headlines for all the wrong reasons when he shoplifted from a Belk department store days before Arkansas played in the Belk Bowl. Despite the embarrassing incident, teams still viewed the tight end as an NFL talent after he had 33 catches for 380 yards and four touchdowns in eleven starts for the Razorbacks. We could see Sprinkle in two tight end sets with top TE Jordan Reed this season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.