Morgan Moses

NFC East Notes: Giants, Redskins, Jones

Now that the Giants front office and coaching staff is set to go through a number of changes after the firing of Jerry Reese and Ben McAdoo, there’s a ton of speculation of who could be the person put in charge to bring the franchise back to perennial success.

While many people think the hire will come outside the organization, Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network thinks interim GM Kevin Abrams should not be overlooked as the Giants begin their search.

Garafolo notes that Abrams is a “cap guy by trade”, but has worked on his scouting ability in recent years and has “attended multiple NFL seminars” to prepare to lead a football operations department. A number of names are likely to be floated for the job given that the team will likely have a high pick and has a track record of winning, but Abrams seems like he might get a realistic shot at turning his interim tag into a full-time position.

Here’s more from around the NFC East:

  • Apart from Abrams, Mike Sando of ESPN.com speculated a few candidates from outside the organization who could be contenders for the Giants general manager and head coaching gigs. Sando names front office guys like Nick Caserio from the Patriots, former Panthers GM Dave Gettleman and former Colts President Bill Polian. He also highlights many well known up-and-comers such as Eric DeCosta (Ravens), George Paton (Vikings), Eliot Wolf (Packers) and Terry McDonough (Cardinals) among many others. Sando added that former GM’s Scott Pioli (Falcons) and John Dorsey (free agent) could be intriguing hires as well. In terms of potential head coaching candidates, Sando names guys who were on the teams original list back before they hired McAdoo prior the 2016-17 season. This would include current coordinators like Teryl Austin (Lions) and Mike Smith (Buccaneers). An under-the-radar name to watch is Texans defensive coordinator, Mike Vrabel, who is best known for his time leading the Patriots defense to Super Bowl titles.
  • While the Redskins are out of the NFC playoff race after losing to the Cowboys last Thursday, that doesn’t mean that team will start resting their players, states John Keim of ESPN.com. He passes along that Head coach Jay Gruden said that he wouldn’t rest some of their injured starters just because the games don’t have postseason implications for the team. “They’re all trying to get back in the lineup,” Gruden said. “They’re going to play hard because they want to win and want to do well. That’s the reason they’re all here. We try to target guys that love football, are passionate about the game and are going to play hard no matter what. For the most part, we’ve got that here. So whether you are on one year left or five years left, doesn’t really matter.” Starters like left tackle Trent Williams, right tackle Morgan Moses and tight end Jordan Reed have all dealt with nagging injuries this season, but it appears that the Redskins won’t just solely be resting key players hoping that could lead to a better draft pick.
  • Eagles cornerback Sidney Jones has not played in a game this season as he’s continued to rehab the achilles that he had torn back in March. However, the rookie has yet to participate in practice, reports Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). Jones has been eligible to start practicing since the beginning of Week 7, but has just a 21 day time period to be activated to the roster once he does begin to take part in practice. It’s important to note that Berman explains in a follow-up tweet, Jones could just use the last three weeks of the regular season to get extra reps and get a head start on his offseason training. The Eagles currently have corners Jalen Mills, Patrick Robinson, Ronald Darby and Rasul Douglas patrolling the defensive backfield.

NFC Injury Notes: Sturgis, Elliott, Redskins, Vaccaro, Swaim

The Eagles picked up kicker Jake Elliott from the Bengals’ practice squad to replace the incumbent Caleb Sturgis after he suffered a hip injury the first week of the season. The team hasn’t looked back since then and it looks like Philadelphia has no plans to change their special teams unit moving forward. While Sturgis is eligible to come off the disabled list this week, Eagles special teams coach Dave Flipp told reporters today that, “right now there’s no reason to make a change,” reports Zach Berman of The Inquirer. It’s understandable why the team would not feel the need to mess with the status quo. Elliott has made 17-20 of his field goal attempts this season, but is best known for his 61 yard bomb he hit to beat the Giants in Week 3.

  • The Redskins have a few big names that are questionable to play for the team’s game this Sunday. Defensive lineman Matt Ionanidis has already been ruled out for the team’s affair vs. the Vikings, but offensive stalwarts Trent Williams and Jordan Reed are listed as questionable to play too, according to Jonah Keim of ESPN.com. Washington has 11 players listed as 50-50 for Sunday with other offensive lineman Morgan Moses (ankles), Brandon Scherff (knee), Spencer Long (knee/quad) and Ty Nsekhe (core muscle). It’s unlikely that the majority of the Washington offensive line will miss the game, but the team’s depth is something to keep an eye as we get closer to kickoff.
  • The Saints will be without a key member of the defense vs. the Bills this Sunday. Saftety Kenny Vaccaro will miss the contest with a groin injury, but expressed optimism that the situation will be more of a short-term issue, reports Mike Triplett of ESPN.com. The 26 year-old defensive back told the reporter, “Oh, yeah, I’ll be fine,” when referring to the timeline of the groin issue. Meanwhile, while New Orleans will certainly miss their starting safety, the team has a considerable amount of depth at the position with the likes of Vonn Bell, Rafael Bush and Chris Banjo all likely getting playing time in his absence.
  • Cowboys third-string tight end Geoff Swaim missed practice on Friday with a right knee injury and as is waiting on MRI results that should bring light to what his recovery may look like, reports Todd Archer of ESPN.com. Archer opines that Swaim could miss Sunday’s game and may be in line for arthroscopic surgery, which would sideline him for a few weeks. Swaim just has two receptions on the season with Jason Witten and James Hanna getting most of the reps in two tight-end sets.

NFC Notes: Panthers, Redskins, Lions, Giants

Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin showed up to voluntary workouts overweight, which is concerning to head coach Ron Rivera (via Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer). Rivera did say that he has spoken with Benjamin and that the wideout is doing everything he has been asked to do to lose weight. Benjamin has battled weight problems throughout his collegiate and professional career, and Rivera believes Benjamin’s previous hamstring issues can be at least partially attributed to his poor conditioning and extra pounds.

More on Carolina and a few other NFC teams:

  • Redskins right tackle Morgan Mosesfive-year extension contains a $40MM base value and a $42.5MM maximum worth, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. It also features $20MM in guarantees. Moses now has the third-richest deal among RTs, trailing only the Eagles’ Lane Johnson and the Lions’ Rick Wagner, and is second to Johnson in guaranteed money.
  • Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports that Lions GM Bob Quinn has been in contact with free agent wideout Anquan Boldin. Quinn said that the “door is open” should Boldin wish to return to Detroit. The 36-year-old does want to play next season, which would be his 15th in the NFL, but he’s unlikely to sign until training camp nears. Boldin took that approach last year, when he didn’t ink a deal with the Lions until July 30. He went on to haul in 67 passes and eight touchdowns, though he also posted a career-worst yards-per-catch average (8.7).
  • Giants GM Jerry Reese revealed Monday that he wants to add a veteran kicker (Twitter link via James Kratch of NJ.com). Considering the only kicker on the Giants’ roster is Aldrick Rosas, who has never played an NFL game, Reese’s desire to bolster the position isn’t surprising. Free agency isn’t exactly teeming with options, though, with Dan Carpenter and Zach Hocker representing the most experienced unsigned kickers.
  • The Panthers withdrew an offer to Washington State defensive tackle Robert Barber, an undrafted free agent, after learning that he’s facing a trial on second-degree felony assault charges, reports Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer. Barber accepted Carolina’s offer Saturday, but the team pulled it off the table Sunday.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Redskins, Morgan Moses Agree To Extension

The Redskins and tackle Morgan Moses reached agreement on five-year extension, according to Adam Schefter and Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The new deal will make him NFL’s second-highest paid right tackle. Exact terms of the deal are not yet known."<strong

Moses was set to play out the final year of his deal before potentially hitting the open market next March. The Redskins theoretically could have drafted his replacement this weekend, but this isn’t a strong year for offensive tackles and the team has larger needs to address. Also, the Redskins had the cap room necessary to get a deal done. Preferring not to sweat things out at the end of the 2017 season, Washington has paid big bucks to lock Moses down for the foreseeable future.

The 26-year-old has made a great case for a raise in 2016. He’s coming off his second consecutive 16-start season, one in which he ranked as Pro Football Focus’ 17th-best tackle among 78 qualifiers. Left tackle Trent Williams finished first, giving the Redskins an elite pair of tackles.

Lane Johnson of the Eagles has the most lucrative deal of any right tackle in the NFL. His $56.25MM deal is set to run through the 2021 season. We’re waiting on the full numbers but Moses’ deal, presumably, will surpass Ricky Wagner‘s five-year, $47.5MM free agent deal signed with the Lions this offseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Lions, Saints, Cards, Redskins

Quarterback Matthew Stafford told reporters Tuesday that he “would love” to sign an extension with the Lions, but further comments indicate he’s looking to cash in – not take any kind of a discount – writes Kyle Meinke of MLive.com. Stafford addressed whether a mega-deal with the Lions would hinder their ability to build a quality team around him, saying: “I know every year teams find good ways to put good teams around good quarterbacks. You see it every year. So I’m not too worried about that. I know that the salary caps and all that kind of stuff is as malleable as you want it to be, so I think you just go and try and make a good decision for not only the player but the team and go from there.” Only four of the NFL’s 10 highest-paid quarterbacks were on teams that made the playoffs last season, with top-compensated signal-caller Andrew Luck among those whose clubs didn’t qualify. Thanks to the ever-rising cap, Stafford, 17th in QB salary in 2016, could be in line to supplant Luck as the league’s richest passer on his next deal.

More from the NFC:

  • The fact that quarterback Drew Brees is entering his age-38 season is a good reason for the Saints to swing a deal for New England cornerback Malcolm Butler, argues Mike Triplett of ESPN.com. Butler would occupy a hefty chunk of New Orleans’ cap room with an extension and would likely cost the team the 32nd overall pick, but he’s young enough (27) and has proven enough to make a trade a worthwhile move for a win-now team whose best player, Brees, might not have much time left, Triplett suggests. Butler signed his restricted free agent tender Tuesday, making him eligible for a trade. The Saints have shown significant interest in Butler this spring, even engaging in productive contract talks with him last month.
  • If the Cardinals were to draft a quarterback, that player would step into a “unique” situation, head coach Bruce Arians told Darren Urban of the team’s website (Twitter link). The Cardinals will rest aging starter Carson Palmer each Wednesday during the season, enabling the rookie to helm the first-team offense in practice once a week and perhaps expedite his development. Arizona owns the 13th overall pick and has shown interest in several draft-bound QBs, including prospective first-rounders Mitch Trubisky, Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, Davis Webb and DeShone Kizer.
  • The way the Redskins approach the offensive tackle position in the draft could be a sign of how extension talks are going with Morgan Moses, observes Rich Tandler of CSN Mid-Atlantic. The right tackle is set to play a contract year, so it’s possible the Redskins will spend an early pick on a potential replacement. On the other hand, if they only address the position late or not at all, it may bode well for a new Moses deal. Washington has the money to get a deal done, opines Tandler, who expects Moses to earn $6MM to $7MM annually on his next pact. The 25-year-old has certainly made a case for a raise – he’s coming off his second consecutive 16-start season, one in which he ranked as Pro Football Focus’ 17th-best tackle among 78 qualifiers.
  • Meanwhile, Tandler senses that Redskins outside linebacker Trent Murphy and safety Bashaud Breeland are inclined to wait on discussing extensions (though it’s unclear whether the team is pursuing deals with either). While Murphy tallied a career-high nine sacks last season, his contract year has already gotten off to an inauspicious start with a four-game suspension. Breeland just switched agents, but judging by Tandler’s report, he’s not ready to put his new rep’s negotiating skills to the test quite yet.

NFC Notes: 49ers, Cowboys, Redskins, Rams

General manager John Lynch confirmed Sunday that the 49ers have met with Buccaneers restricted free agent defensive end Jacquies Smith, though they haven’t offered him a contract (via Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area). The Niners did have Smith take a physical during his visit, as the 27-year-old missed nearly all of last season with a torn ACL. “We wanted to get him checked out medically, and we’ll see,” said Lynch. If the 49ers do sign Smith to an offer sheet and the Bucs don’t match it, Tampa Bay won’t receive compensation because it only gave the former undrafted free agent an original-round tender.

More from the NFC:

  • The Cowboys have seen notable defenders in Morris Claiborne, Brandon Carr, Barry Church, J.J. Wilcox, Terrell McClain and Jack Crawford leave in free agency this year, but CEO Stephen Jones doesn’t expect those to be crippling departures. “Even though we lost some numbers on defense, some of them we were ready to move on from,” Jones told David Moore of the Dallas Morning News (Twitter links). Jones also noted that this year’s draft “is inordinately strong on the defensive side of the ball.” Based on Jones’ comments, the Cowboys figure to target a defender with their top pick, No. 28 overall.
  • It wouldn’t be a surprise if the Redskins extended 25-year-old right tackle Morgan Moses prior to training camp, writes Rich Tandler of CSN Mid-Atlantic. Moses, who’s set to enter a contract year in 2017, is fresh off his second straight 16-start season. The three-year veteran also ranked a terrific 17th among Pro Football Focus’ 78 qualified offensive tackles in 2016. Left tackle Trent Williams finished first, giving the Redskins an elite bookend duo with him and Moses.
  • The Rams have hired Tyrone McKenzie as a special teams assistant to work under John Fassel, per Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.com. The 31-year-old McKenzie isn’t far removed from his career as an NFL linebacker, which ran from 2009-13 with the the New England, Tampa Bay and Minnesota organizations. He’s familiar with the Rams, having assisted with their outside linebackers and special teams players last summer, Gonzalez notes.

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.

Extra Points: Spiller, Scherff, Lanning, Giants

C.J. Spiller became the latest key performer to have an injury end his preseason and potentially put the start of his regular season in doubt.

The Saints‘ presumed passing-down back underwent arthroscopic knee surgery Friday but is expected to make his Saints debut in Week 1, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, on Twitter.

Spiller, who did not play in the Saints’ initial preseason game, joins Zach Ertz, Julius Thomas and Jonathan Cyprien among the contingent that’s seen injuries make August a rehabilitation month.

Here are a few other items from around the league, beginning in Washington.

  • No. 5 overall pick Brandon Scherff may no longer play a position worthy of that kind of draft expense, with Washington coach Jay Gruden noting the Iowa product’s future will be at guard, per the Washington Post’s Mike Jones (on Twitter). Scherff’s currently slotted at right guard on Washington’s depth chart to accommodate 2014 third-rounder Morgan Moses, who sits atop the right tackle pecking order despite starting just one game last year. Gruden told media, including Jones (Twitter link), Scherff’s permanent move inside is due to Moses’ progression, not the decorated rookie’s inability to stick at right tackle.
  • Jones also points out Zach Miller isn’t a realistic option for Washington’s tight end crisis, with the former Raiders and Seahawks starter still not fully recovered from the ankle injury that ended his 2014 season (Twitter link).
  • Tom Coughlin confirmed Mykkele Thompson‘s Achilles’ tendon tear and noted higher-profile Giants rookie safety Landon Collins has a sprained MCL, per NJ.com’s Jordan Raanan. Collins is expected back by Week 1 but will probably miss most of the preseason, according to Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News (via Twitter). Vacchiano, on Twitter, also offers that Collins being back for the start of the Giants’ season isn’t a lock, with the recovery time for MCL sprains being 2-6 weeks.
  • Vying for the Broncos‘ kicker job after each had it for parts of last season, Brandon McManus and Connor Barth combined to go 5-for-5 in field goals Friday night, but Mike Klis of 9News notes that the Denver kicking competition now includes Spencer Lanning, should the team opt to go with one kicker and Lanning as a punter/kickoff specialist. The Browns’ punter before June’s Andy Lee trade, Lanning also poses a threat to longtime punter Britton Colquitt, who seemed safe after agreeing to reduce his salary by $1.4MM earlier this month.
  • Fifth-year outside linebacker Gabe Miller will work out for the Browns, tweets Adam Caplan of NFL.com. A fifth-round pick of the Chiefs in 2011, Miller’s only played in seven games in four years, each coming last season with Washington.

Minor Moves: Thursday

As NFL teams around the league make minor tweaks to their 53-man rosters and practice squads, we’ll round up those transactions in this post, with the latest moves added to the top of the list throughout the day:

  • The Chargers signed cornerback Greg Ducre to the practice squad, according to Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego (via Twitter). Ducre, who gained a lot of fans within the Bolts organization during his time in camp, was waived by Washington just a few days ago. To make room, the Chargers waived former San Diego State University offensive lineman Bryce Quigley.
  • The Saints have filled the two openings on their practice squad, signing fullback Toben Opurum and wide receiver Willie Snead, per Mike Triplett of ESPN.com (Twitter links).
  • After placing Morgan Moses on IR, as noted below, Washington promoted running back Chris Thompson to the active roster, then signed tackle Edawn Coughman to the practice squad (Twitter link). According to Zac Boyer of the Washington Times (via Twitter), the club had been telling Thompson for weeks that he’d be promoted by the end of the season.

Earlier updates:

  • The Bengals used the open spot on their practice squad to add another Geathers to the mix — defensive tackle Kwame Geathers joins the organization that also employs his brother Robert Geathers, the team announced today (Twitter link).
  • Washington head coach Jay Gruden told reporters today that rookie offensive lineman Morgan Moses is being placed on injured reserve due to a Lisfranc injury suffered in practice (Twitter link). So far, the club hasn’t added a player to its 53-man roster to take Moses’ spot.
  • The Seahawks have now officially signed defensive lineman David King, in a move reported yesterday, tweets Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. Condotta adds that the corresponding move sees the team release linebacker Allen Bradford.
  • The Saints have filled the lone opening on their 53-man roster by promoting receiver Seantavius Jones from their practice squad, a source told Ramon Antonio Vargas of The Advocate today. Adding a wideout to the roster makes sense, considering the open spot was created by the release of Joe Morgan.

Redskins Notes: Jackson, Hocker, Minnifield

Rumors of gang connections surrounded DeSean Jackson following his release from the Eagles. The current Redskins wideout previously distanced himself from the accusations, and Jackson again hushed the gossip in an interview with ESPN The Magazine’s Cord Jefferson.

Jackson said that he knows people in gangs, but has never been affiliated. Furthermore, the alleged gang signals the wideout has displayed in games were purely shoutouts to his friends.

“If I score a touchdown or make a play and my boys at home can see me throwing up the area we’re from, that’s me showing them love,” Jackson said. “They weren’t fortunate enough to make it where I’m at. All my friends wanted to be in the NFL growing up, but they weren’t able to do that, and I was. That doesn’t mean I forgot about them. They’re my boys, I grew up with them, and I’m going to give them love.”

Gayle Jackson, DeSean’s mother, weighed in on the outside influences.

“Those guys gravitated toward him because he had structure in his life,” she said. “A lot of time I was trying to chase these cats away. I told him it would catch up with him and that people don’t understand, so he should leave those guys alone. He told me, ‘Mom, you can’t treat people like that.'”

Let’s check out some more Redskins notes, all via the mailbag of ESPN.com’s John Keim

  • If the Redskins decide to roll the dice with rookie kicker Zach Hocker, Keim believes it will be a gamble. However, Hocker’s main opponent, Kai Forbath, had never attempted a kick in the NFL prior to signing with the team in 2012.
  • Keim says Chase Minnifield‘s chances of making the Redskins will come down to whether the team decides to keep six cornerbacks. Of course, injuries could help his chances. Reversely, the presence of Richard Crawford could hurt those chances.
  • In regards to backups on the offensive line, Keim sides with Mike McGlynnMorgan MosesSpencer Long and Josh LeRibeus. If the team carries an additional lineman, Tom Compton could also make the roster.
  • Assuming the defensive line starters are Chris BakerBarry Cofield and Jason Hatcher, Keim chooses Jarvis JenkinsStephen Bowen and Kedric Golston as the three backups.