Nick Bosa

NFC West Rumors: Polite, 49ers, Cardinals

Jachai Polite became the only 2019 third-round pick to be booted from a roster after cutdown weekend, but the Jets Day 2 selection found his way to the Seahawks‘ practice squad. Pete Carroll said the Seahawks placed a late-first- or early-second-round grade on the Florida product, per ESPN.com’s Brady Henderson. Polite will have a chance to develop in Seattle, doing so behind Jadeveon Clowney, Ziggy Ansah and first-round pick L.J. Collier — none of whom were part of the 2018 Seahawks.

Here is the latest from the NFC West:

  • While some of the 49ers‘ injury troubles are here to stay, with Jerick McKinnon on season-ending IR again, the team received good news on other key cogs. Nick Bosa returned to practice this week and is improving daily, according to Matt Barrows of The Athletic (subscription required). Jason Verrett joined Bosa in going through a limited Wednesday practice. Dee Ford was not listed as limited. Despite John Lynch at one point being 50-50 on Bosa’s Week 1 availability, it appears much of the concern around these San Francisco’s newcomers was overblown. Though, Bosa’s spate of setbacks over the past year have, fairly or unfairly, attached an “injury prone” label to the Ohio State product for the time being.
  • The Cardinals were the only team to submit a waiver claim for offensive lineman Brett Toth, Barrows adds. The U.S. Army cleared Toth on Wednesday morning to pursue a career with the Cardinals, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Prior to signing with the Eagles midway through last month, Toth had not participated in a practice in 18 months. Under the previous guidelines, Toth would have been locked into his service requirement. However, he’ll be able to put all of that on hold as he pursues his NFL dream.
  • With the Cardinals cutting 2017 fifth-rounder T.J. Logan and former Rams All-Pro returner Pharoh Cooper, Christian Kirk expects to reprise his role as the Cardinals’ punt returner, Katherine Fitzgerald of the Arizona Republic notes. Kliff Kingsbury did not confirm as much, but Kirk returned 21 punts as a rookie. While at Texas A&M, Arizona’s current WR2 notched six punt-return TDs in three seasons.
  • Arrested on suspicion of DUI last month, Cardinals COO Ron Minegar will be suspended six weeks and fined $200K, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Steve Keim was suspended five weeks and also fined $200K last year for his “extreme” DUI. Minegar serves more as a business-side Cards exec.
  • Free agent tackle Marshall Newhouse visited the 49ers this week, Adam Caplan of Sirius XM Radio notes (on Twitter). The Saints released the 30-year-old edge blocker from IR via injury settlement last weekend. Newhouse played 14 games with the Bills and Panthers last season.

West Rumors: 49ers, Metcalf, Raiders

It’s been a rough year for 49ers injuries. A few of their key players may not be ready for Week 1. It is now possible Nick Bosa and Jason Verrett will join the likes of Garrett Celek and Jerick McKinnon (in all likelihood) as being sidelined for San Francisco’s opener. During an interview with KNBR (via Pro Football Talk), John Lynch called both Bosa and Verrett 50-50 to suit up for the 49ers’ opener against the Buccaneers. Bosa is battling a high ankle sprain — his latest in a string of maladies since his junior year at Ohio State — and Verrett is also dealing with ankle trouble. The injury-prone cornerback, who tore an Achilles’ tendon in July 2018, sprained an ankle August 7.

Shifting first to some issues the Seahawks’ Week 1 contingent may have, here is the latest from the West divisions:

  • Two key Seahawks wide receivers may not be ready for the team’s 2019 opener. D.K. Metcalf underwent knee surgery this week and is uncertain for Week 1, while Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets David Moore will not be ready for Seattle’s 2019 debut. Moore will seek a second opinion on a shoulder injury, one Pelissero notes is not expected to require surgery. But Pete Carroll confirmed Moore (26 receptions for 445 yards and five TDs in 2018) will not suit up in Week 1. Moore and Metcalf are expected to play key roles for the post-Doug Baldwin Seahawks. They may have to supplement Tyler Lockett with lower-profile players early.
  • Thought to be on the wrong side of the 49ers‘ roster bubble, Jordan Matthews may be on the verge of making the team. The 49ers held the veteran receiver out of action Monday in Denver, and Kyle Shanahan confirmed he did so to get a look at his younger talents. “Jordan’s had a hell of a camp,” Shanahan said, via Matt Barrows of The Athletic (subscription required). “He’s done very good in practice; he’s been consistent in OTAs. He’s been very consistent in training camp, and we’ve seen him a lot on tape before he got here. I’ve got a lot of confidence in Jordan, and I know we can win with Jordan.” This, of course, does not mean the 27-year-old pass catcher is a roster lock. But it does paint a picture of the 49ers potentially opting for dependability here.
  • Hard Knocks has chronicled rookie UDFA Keelan Doss‘ attempt to make the Raiders, and after three preseason games, Vic Tafur of The Athletic has the receiver making the team over Ryan Grant. As for the former Redskins and Colts talent, the Raiders held him out of action Thursday in Winnipeg. While that could mean Grant has secured a spot on Oakland’s 53-man roster, Tafur expects a trade to occur in the coming days rather than the team keeping seven wideouts.
  • The most recent Hard Knocks episode showed plenty of an irritated Jon Gruden, with the ire being primarily directed toward backup quarterbacks. But Tafur expects the Raiders to keep both Mike Glennon and Nathan Peterman, pegging Gruden as viewing the former as the more reliable player and the latter with greater upside (despite his previous regular-season resume).

49ers DE Nick Bosa To Miss Preaseason

49ers defensive end and No. 2 overall pick Nick Bosa will miss at least the preseason after suffering an ankle sprain, as general manager John Lynch told KNBR (Twitter link via Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com).

Initial reports suggested Bosa’s sprain was a minor issue, but Lynch’s comments suggests that may not be the case. Lynch called the injury a “significant” sprain, and while he noted Bosa doesn’t have a full-blown high ankle sprain, the rookie pass-rusher’s injury does have “elements” of a high ankle sprain, which can often take a while to fully heal.

It’s unclear if Bosa will be ready for Week 1 of the regular season, and Lynch seemed unsure if the Ohio State will be available. “We won’t see in the preseason and we’ll go from there. … We’ll get him right and he’ll be a great player for a long time in this league,” Lynch said, via Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area (Twitter link).

Going without their first-round pick for any amount of time isn’t ideal, but the 49ers do have depth along their defensive line. If Bosa is forced to miss regular season action, Dee Ford, Arik Armstead, and Solomon Thomas would all likely see increased snaps along the edge.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Bosa, 49ers, Cowboys, Vikings

49ers fans will have to wait a bit until they see Nick Bosa in game action. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the rookie defensive end was diagnosed with an ankle sprain. The second-overall pick had an MRI after leaving practice earlier today.

Fortunately, it doesn’t sound like the injury will linger into the regular season. Rapoport notes that Bosa might sit out the preseason as the team proceeds cautiously, but it doesn’t sound like his status for Week 1 is in doubt. The 49ers will be counting on the Ohio State product to be an every-down player from the get-go.

Meanwhile, Rapoport also reports (via Twitter) that 49ers cornerback Jason Verrett was diagnosed with a minor ankle sprain following a MRI. The veteran is likely day-to-day.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFC…

  • The Cowboys are eyeing some tight end depth. ESPN’s Todd Archer tweets that the organization auditioned Marcus Lucas today. The 27-year-old has bounced around the NFL since going undrafted out of Missouri in 2014. Dallas cut Rico Gathers last week, but the team could be looking for a fresh body in an attempt to give Jason Witten days off.
  • Cornerback Bene Benwikere‘s one-year, $1MM contract with the Vikings has an $805K base salary, tweets the Star Tribune’s Ben Goessling. The deal also includes a $90K roster bonus and up to $105K in per-game bonuses, although none of the contract is guaranteed.
  • Running back Corey Grant‘s one-year deal with the Packers is worth $895K, tweets ESPN’s Rob Demovsky and Jim Owczarski of the Journal Sentinel. The only guaranteed money comes via a $60K signing bonus, while Grant will have to earn an $805K base salary and ~$30K per-game roster bonuses. His cap charge is around $714K.

49ers Sign Nick Bosa

Done deal. On Thursday, the 49ers reached agreement with No. 2 overall pick Nick Bosa, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. The club also inked second-round pick Deebo Samuel, a wide receiver out of South Carolina.

With that, the 49ers have avoided unnecessary drama and another Bosa holdout in the NFL. Per the terms of his slot, the Ohio State defensive end will earn $33.55MM over the course of his four-year deal. After that, the Niners will hold a fifth-year option on his deal, since Bosa is a first-round pick.

Bosa might have been one of the safest best bets in this draft. The 49ers have not had an edge rusher record a seven sacks in a season since Aldon Smith in 2013, but they now have a strong pass rush featuring Bosa, Dee Ford and three first-round interior rushers in Arik ArmsteadDeForest BucknerSolomon Thomas.

Here’s the full rundown of the Niners’ draft, via PFR’s tracker:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Notes: 49ers, N. Bosa, Wagner, Benson

The 49ers have not had a high draft pick hold out of training camp since the new CBA and its rookie wage scale were instituted in 2011. However, the club’s top two 2019 draft choices, No. 2 overall pick Nick Bosa and No. 36 overall pick Deebo Samuel, have yet to sign their rookie deals. Cam Inman of the Mercury News believes that both players will be under contract by the time camp opens on Friday, but it seems that the club’s history, rather than any specific information on Bosa or Samuel, is the primary reason for that belief.

Now for more from the league’s west divisions:

  • In the same piece linked above, Inman says that new 49ers acquisitions Kwon Alexander and Jason Verrett — along with every other member of the roster — should be cleared for action when camp opens, though San Francisco may ease them back into action. Inman also suggests that the backup QB competition between Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard will be a close one.
  • This doesn’t come as much of a surprise given earlier reports that new Seahawks defensive end Ezekiel Ansah could miss at least the first month of the regular season, but Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times writes that Ansah is expected to open training camp on the PUP list. It remains to be seen if Ansah will, in fact, miss any regular season action, though Condotta says there should be more clarity on that front this week.
  • Condotta also believes that Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner will get an extension before the season begins, and it could happen as soon as this week.
  • We have taken several looks at the Broncos‘ WR corps over the past week or so, and UDFA Trinity Benson‘s name keeps cropping up. As Mike Klis of 9News.com writes, Benson took reps with the first-team offense Saturday and caught several passes from Joe Flacco. New head coach Vic Fangio said he will continue to put his unproven players on the field with the presumptive starters, and it seems that Benson has acquitted himself nicely thus far. The fact that he served as a kickoff and punt returner in college will only help his cause.

49ers Decided On Nick Bosa At Combine?

Nick Bosa has yet to sign his rookie contract and has run into more injury trouble, a grade 1 hamstring strain sidelining him for part of OTAs and the 49ers’ minicamp. The 49ers have run into a spate of injuries this year, with several carrying over from 2018. The team is not concerned about Bosa’s contract situation dragging into training camp like his older brother’s did three years ago and doesn’t appear fazed by the younger Bosa’s history (he missed most of his junior year due to a core muscle malady).

The team has been committed to the standout defensive end prospect since the Combine, with Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area reporting 49ers executive VP of football operations Paraag Maranthe telling Bosa’s agent in Indianapolis he would be the 49ers’ pick at No. 2 — provided the Cardinals did not take him first overall.

Like Joey Bosa‘s situation in 2016, offset language serves as one of this deal’s holdups, Maiocco adds. The other snag is how the money will be paid out. Nick Bosa’s slot price comes in at $33.55MM, and it will be fully guaranteed.

Nick Bosa-to-San Francisco seemed like one of the best bets in this draft. Had the 49ers not taken Bosa, it was reported the Jets would have selected him at No. 3. The 49ers have not featured an edge rusher record a seven sacks in a season since Aldon Smith in 2013. They now have Bosa and Dee Ford in a pass rush mix that still includes the three interior rusher types chosen in the first round from 2015-17 — Arik Armstead, DeForest Buckner, Solomon Thomas.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Poll: Which Top 10 Pick Has The Highest Bust Potential?

The NFL Draft is just barely in the rear view mirror, which means that teams are full of hope for their young rookies. But, of course, the NFL Draft is largely a crapshoot, and not every player will realize their full potential. 

This year’s draft had talent, but lacked a true consensus on the top player. Many evaluators pegged defensive end Nick Bosa as the player with the highest ceiling in the 2019 class, but other saw Alabama’s Quinnen Williams as the “safest bet.” The 49ers pounced on Bosa with the No. 2 pick while the Jets (and former GM Mike Maccagnan) were delighted to land Williams at No. 3 overall.

Leading up to the draft, much of the attention was on Oklahoma quarterback (and one-time MLB hopeful) Kyler Murray. When Murray announced that he would ditch the Oakland A’s, his stock exploded – Murray was considered a borderline first-round prospect in the winter, but wound up as the Cardinals’ choice at No. 1 overall. Murray has the speed that teams crave at the QB position, but questions persist about his size and overall lack of experience as a full-time starter.

The Cardinals’ long flirtation with Murray brought us the expected result, but the Raiders gave us the real first shock of the draft when they tapped Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell at No. 4 overall. Not to be outdone, the Giants snagged Duke’s Daniel Jones at No. 6 overall. Heading into the draft, neither player was thought to be anywhere near Top 10 consideration, but Mike Mayock and Dave Gettleman were unwilling to trade down and risk losing out on their guys.

The domino effect created by those picks allowed the Bucs to grab inside linebacker Devin White (No. 5 overall), the Jaguars to land outside linebacker Josh Allen (No. 6), the Lions to snag top tight end T.J. Hockenson, the Bills to draft defensive tackle Ed Oliver (No. 9 overall), and the Steelers to finish out the Top 10 with linebacker Devin Bush. Most of those picks were warmly received, but nothing is certain in the draft.

Which Top 10 pick do you think has the highest bust potential? Click below to cast your vote (link for app users) and back up your choice in the comment section.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Cardinals, Bosa, Giants

While D.J. Humphries‘ recovery from a knee injury could linger into the preseason, the rest of the Cardinals offensive line is looking healthy this spring. As Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic writes, many of the team’s projected starters are feeling good, including Justin Pugh (hand/knee), A.Q. Shipley (knee), and Marcus Gilbert (quad).

“I feel great, I’m 100 percent,” Pugh said. “Going into last year I was coming off an injury and last I broke the hand and had an MCL issue that sidelined me, but everything is 100 percent and I feel great. [Strength and conditioning coach] Buddy Morris did an unbelievable job with me this offseason, so a huge shout out to Buddy and our training staff.”

Six Cardinals linemen finished last season on the injured reserve, so the team is looking forward to meshing prior to the regular season.

“It’s amazing when you play this game and you see how guys battle back from stuff, see how everybody handles stuff and how everybody collectively comes together,” said Humphries. “We’re here to get better and that’s the fun part about it. We all went through something last season, but we’re going to figure this out, we’re going to roll with it and we’re going to be better than we were last season.”

Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFC…

  • 49ers rookie defensive end Nick Bosa suffered a Grade 1 hamstring strain and will miss the next few weeks of practice, according to Ali Thanawalla of NBC Sports Bay Area. The second-overall pick suffered the injury during Tuesday’s OTAs, and he had just returned to the field after recovering from a bilateral core muscle injury (and the subsequent surgery).
  • Giants general manager Dave Gettleman is always looking for ways to improve his defensive line, but Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com doesn’t envision the team pursuing Gerald McCoy. Dunleavy suggests former Chargers tackle Corey Liuget or former Chiefs defensive end Allen Bailey could be more realistic options.
  • Dunleavy doesn’t believe the Giants will be able to hang on to all of their young cornerbacks. The grouping, which includes Sam Beal, Grant Haley, DeAndre Baker, Corey Ballentine and Julian Love, will have a tougher time making the roster if the Giants end up holding on to one of their end-of-roster veterans. Specifically, Dunleavy notes that Tony Lippett or special teams ace Antonio Hamilton could pair up with starter Janoris Jenkins.

West Notes: Raiders, 49ers, Seahawks

After signing several lower-key free agents last year, the Raiders operated aggressively in March. After adding Antonio Brown, the team signed Trent Brown, Lamarcus Joyner, Tyrell Williams, Brandon Marshall and Vontaze Burfict. All are in line to start. But the Raiders’ most deficient area was not fully addressed until the draft. Mike Mayock did not view this year’s class of edge rushers as good fits for the Raiders, who then took three defensive ends in the draft. This perhaps affected the Raiders’ ability to sign UDFA defensive ends.

We didn’t think that free agency was going to be the answer for that,” Mayock said (via NBC Sports Bay Area’s Scott Bair) of addressing the team’s need for edge help. “I thought we did a really nice job here over the weekend to the extent that we couldn’t even sign any (undrafted) free agent defensive ends because they saw we drafted three. They’re all staying away from us.”

Most thought the Raiders reached at No. 4 to draft Clelin Ferrell, whom one league executive said (via Mike Sando of ESPN.com, ESPN+ link) was slower than an NFL quarterback of average speed. The Raiders also drafted Eastern Michigan’s Maxx Crosby in the fourth round and Prairie View A&M’s Quinton Bell in the seventh. While the Raiders did sign Benson Mayowa in free agency, they may still need assistance at this position after their 2018 pass rush recorded the fewest sacks (13) of any NFL team in 10 seasons.

Here is the latest from the West divisions, continuing with a possible Raiders need area:

  • Jon Gruden said Kolton Miller will stay at left tackle, with Trent Brown lining up on the right side and Brandon Parker now a swing player. Gabe Jackson will remain at right guard, but after the Raiders traded All-Pro Kelechi Osemele for a Day 3 pick, the team has a hole at left guard. Gruden said (via Bair) the team will still monitor outside help at that spot. As of now, 2018 waiver claim Denzelle Good is stationed with the first unit there. While Good made 20 starts with the Colts from 2015-17, the free agent market — which includes Andy Levitre, Stefen Wisniewski, Chance Warmack and Shawn Lauvao, among others — may be able to produce a better starter.
  • The 49ers will proceed cautiously with Nick Bosa. Despite the No. 2 overall pick participating fully at the Combine, the 49ers held him out of team drills at rookie minicamp this week. After Bosa missed most of his junior season at Ohio State due to a core muscle injury, the 49ers plan work him in slowly, a team official told Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area.
  • The first punter went off the board in the fourth round this year, with the 49ers making Mitch Wishnowsky being the highest-drafted punter since the Jaguars took Bryan Anger in the 2012 third round. However, the 49ers did not expect to need a punter, per Maiocco, who notes they viewed 2015 fifth-round pick Bradley Pinion as a player likely to be re-signed. Instead, the Buccaneers swooped in and landed the free agent specialist on a four-year, $11MM deal.
  • It looks like the Seahawks‘ search for backup-quarterback candidates may continue. Paxton Lynch resides on Seattle’s roster, but considering his career thus far, it’s no lock the former first-rounder will be Russell Wilson‘s primary backup. The three players who took part in the Seahawks’ rookie camp this weekend — UDFA Taryn Christion (South Dakota State) and tryout arms Troy Williams (Utah) and Michael O’Connor (University of British Columbia) — did not fare well. “I thought the quarterbacks had a hard time,” Pete Carroll said (via ESPN.com’s Brady Henderson, on Twitter). “I thought they struggled with the system and play-calling.”