Nick Folk

Patriots Waive DT Albert Huggins, Re-Sign K Nick Folk

Albert Huggins‘ stint with the Patriots lasted less than one week. The Patriots waived the rookie defensive tackle this morning, according to ESPN’s Field Yates (via Twitter). The team will use the roster spot on kicker Nick Folk, who the team officially re-signed.

Huggins joined the Texans as an undrafted free agent out of Clemson. He landed on Houston’s practice squad at the end of the preseason, and he was later signed to the Eagles active roster. The 22-year-old ended up appearing in four games for Philly, compiling three tackles. He was waived by the Eagles last weekend, and the Patriots claimed him on Monday. ESPN’s Mike Reiss suggests that Huggins could be a candidate for New England’s practice squad (Twitter link).

Folk was cut last week after undergoing an appendectomy, but the team’s decision to waive fill-in Kai Forbath indicated that the veteran would be ready for tomorrow’s matchup against the Chiefs. However, the Patriots practiced two straight days without a kicker, leading some to wonder whether the team was actually going to go in a different direction.

We heard last night that the deal had been agreed to. With the Pats, Folk has connected on 7-of-9 field goal tries and all three of his extra point attempts across three games. Two of those misses came last month against the Cowboys, but the Pats still came away with the 13-9 win, with Folk’s 42-yard connection in the fourth quarter helping to seal the deal. In total, the Pats have used four kickers this season: Stephen GostkowskiMike Nugent, Folk, and Forbath.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots To Re-Sign Nick Folk

Nick Folk is back. On Friday, the Patriots worked out the veteran kicker after one week away from the team and agreed to re-sign him (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). The deal will be formally signed on Saturday. 

Folk missed last week due to an appendectomy, but he’s all healed up from the minor surgery and ready to retake the field. Kai Forbath was signed as a one-game replacement for Folk against the Texans, but received his pink slip earlier this week.

With the Pats, Folk has connected on 7-of-9 field goal tries and all three of his extra point attempts across three games. Two of those misses came last month against the Cowboys, but the Pats still came away with the 13-9 win, with Folk’s 42-yard connection in the fourth quarter helping to seal the deal.

In total, the Pats have used four kickers this season: Stephen GostkowskiMike Nugent, Folk, and Forbath. Even after Sunday’s loss to the Texans, they’re 10-2 on the year with yet another AFC East title all but sealed.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots’ Nick Folk To Miss Time

The Patriots, once again, are in search of a new kicker. Nick Folk recently had an appendectomy that will prevent him from playing this week, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Word of Folk’s surgery was first reported by Mike Petraglia of CLNS (on Twitter). 

The surgery was done laparoscopically, which should mean a short recovery time and only one missed game for Folk. Still, the Pats will need a leg to fill in for Sunday’s game against the Texans.

The Patriots’ kicker role has been in flux ever since Stephen Gostkowski‘s season-ending hip surgery. After Gostkowski hit the IR, the club turned to Mike Nugent, but he was replaced by Folk after missing two field goal tries against the Browns. Even though the Pats won that game to advance to 8-0, Bill Belichick bounced him in favor of Folk.

With the Pats, Folk has connected on 7-of-9 field goal tries and all three of his extra point attempts across three games. Two of those misses came on Sunday against the Cowboys, but the Pats still came away with the 13-9 win, with Folk’s 42-yard connection in the fourth quarter helping to seal the deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Gronkowski, Darnold, Folk, Dolphins

It’s no secret that the Patriots have been searching for a weapon to replace the production they received from now retired tight end Rob Gronkowski. Wide receivers Josh Gordon and Antonio Brown both looked like solutions at various points earlier in the season, but neither remain on New England’s roster. However, it appears the team’s owner Robert Kraft still hopes to get Gronkowski back on the field.

When Gronkowski was cleaning out his locker after announcing his retirement in March, Kraft told him the team would remain hopeful that he would return late in the season for another playoff run, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. While it has been known that the organization hoped Gronkowski would change his mind, no one had reported Kraft’s involvement.

Rapoport notes in his story that, according to sources, Gronkowski remains content with his decision, but if he wants to return this season he has to decide soon. The deadline for retired players to return during the season and play is November 30. New England will obviously plan ahead without him, but they surely will be hoping for a change of heart.

Here more from around the AFC East:

  • Kicker Nick Folk has meshed into the Patriots locker room well, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. Folk already knew the man he replaced, Stephen Gostkowski, and offensive lineman Joe Thuney and Ted Karras. All four had been enrolled in some of the same classes as they worked toward master’s degrees in past offseasons. Folk was signed after Gostkowski suffered a torn labrum in his left hip. Reiss also notes that Folk suffered the same injury in 2009 and could offer Gostkowski valuable insight during his recovery.
  • Jets quarterback Sam Darnold is “taking charge” in the locker room, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. After Darnold’s poor performances against both the Jaguars and Patriots, he has become more assertive in meetings with the coaching staff. Cimini reports that Darnold had previously been very deferential to head coach Adam Gase, but now offers feedback and his own opinion more readily.
  • NFL draft experts and scouts were watching this weeks game between LSU and Alabama closely. The Dolphins sent an especially large contingent, which included two scouts and general manager Chris Grier, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter. Miami has long been tied to Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa through the #Tank4Tua trend. However, even if Miami does have the top pick in the draft, some experts are beginning to place LSU’s quarterback Joe Burrow above Tagovailoa. It appears Miami’s top brass got an up-close look at both players on Saturday.

Patriots To Sign K Nick Folk

Hours after cutting Mike Nugent, the Patriots have a deal with a new kicker. Nick Folk and the Pats agreed to terms, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. He has not kicked in an NFL game since 2017.

Folk worked out for the Patriots earlier this month, but they opted to sign Nugent instead. The unbeaten squad will turn to Folk, whose 2019 work has consisted of games with the Alliance of American Football.

Most known for his work with the Jets, with whom the 34-year-old played from 2010-16, the 34-year-old kicker also played for the Cowboys and Buccaneers. He will become the third Patriots kicker this season, following Nugent and Stephen Gostkowski.

Folk kicked in four Bucs games in 2017. In his last full season, with the ’16 Jets, Folk made 27 of 31 field goals and 24 of 26 extra points. Nugent kicked in four Pats games but went 5-for-8 on field goal tries, missing an extra point as well.

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NFL Workout Updates: 10/16/19

Here is the latest from the workout circuit:

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Redskins

Veteran K Nick Folk Joining AAF

The Alliance of American Football has recruited another veteran kicker. ESPN’s Michael Rothstein reports that the Arizona Hotshots have signed former Pro Bowler Nick Folk. The 34-year-old will be joining fellow veteran kicker Nick Novak in the inaugural season of the league.

“The biggest thing, I still have a passion to play. I still want to prove I can play,” Folk told ESPN on Saturday night. “And it’s a good opportunity for me to show that. I ended my time in Tampa with that injury, and my last game being hurt I wasn’t able to perform at my best, and I want to show people that I’m back to kicking well.”

The former sixth-rounder will now have an opportunity to return to Arizona, where he played in college. He’ll also have a chance to return to competitive football after having sat out the entire 2018 campaign. Folk last appeared in four games with the Buccaneers during the 2017 season, converting six of his 11 field goal attempts and seven of his nine extra point tries. He was placed on the injured reserve after his knee tendinitis required surgery, and he was released several months later.

While the injury was more severe than anticipated, Folk told ESPN that he’s been healthy for a bit more than a year. The veteran had previously discussed joining the AAF, but he kept his options open during the NFL’s regular season. The veteran was among a group of kickers to audition for the Bears earlier this week.

Folk is 50th on the NFL’s all-time points list, and he’s the second-leading scorer in Jets history. He’s converted 98.8-percent of his extra point attempts in his career; however, as Rothstein notes, this won’t matter much in the AAF, as there are no extra points (nor kickoffs) in the league.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bears To Audition Several Kickers

The Bears are leaving no stone unturned in their efforts to upgrade the kicker position. On Friday, they’ll work out a group of six or seven kickers including Nick Folk, Blair Walsh, and Austin MacGinnis, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter links). 

Parkey missed a potential game winner against the Eagles in the opening round of the playoffs, putting him on thin ice. His 43-yard try off the upright was a heartbreaker, though it wasn’t exactly Parkey’s fault as it was tipped by defensive tackle Treyvon Hester.

The 26-year-old kicker (27 in February) may have put his job in further jeopardy when he made a guest appearance on NBC’s Today show to discuss the miss. The lighthearted segment rubbed head coach Matt Nagy the wrong way and drew the ire of many Bears fans.

For me, you understand that we always talk about a ‘we’ and not a ‘me’ thing,” Nagy said (via ESPN.com). “We always talk as a team, we win as a team, we lose as a team. You know, I just, I didn’t necessarily think that that was too much of a ‘we’ thing.”

It certainly sounds like the Bears want to replace Parkey, but his contract complicates matters. Parkey joined the Bears on a four-year, $15MM deal last offseason which calls for a $4.4MM dead cap hit if he is released before the 2019 season. Earlier this month, GM Ryan Pace indicated that the contract will not necessarily keep them from moving on.

We talk about those things [the financial ramifications], but the most important thing is performance,” Pace said.

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Top 2018 Free Agents By Position: Defense

NFL free agency will get underway on Wednesday, March 14th, and while the list of free agents will change between now and then, we do have some idea of who will be available when free agency kicks off. The frenzy is right around the corner and it’s time for us to break down the outlook for each position. After looking at offense on Monday, we’ll tackle defense and special teams today.

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each defensive position. These rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts – or the amount of guaranteed money – that each player is expected to land in free agency. These are simply the players we like the most at each position, with both short- and long-term value taken into account.

Restricted and exclusive-rights free agents, as well as players who received the franchise tag, aren’t listed here, since the roadblocks in place to hinder another team from actually acquiring most of those players prevent them from being true free agents.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some free agents than you are, so feel free to weigh in below in our comments section to let us know which players we’ve got wrong.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by defensive position for 2018:

Edge defender:

  1. Julius Peppers
  2. William Hayes
  3. Trent Murphy
  4. Pernell McPhee
  5. Aaron Lynch
  6. Alex Okafor
  7. Adrian Clayborn
  8. Kony Ealy
  9. Connor Barwin
  10. Jeremiah Attaochu
  11. Junior Galette
  12. Derrick Shelby
  13. Barkevious Mingo
  14. Kareem Martin
  15. Erik Walden

As a positional group, pass rushers comprise interesting market on the defensive side of the ball. It’s not often that a list of best available players is topped by a 38-year-old, but Peppers is the top free agent edge defender after the Cowboys and Lions deployed the franchise tag on Demarcus Lawrence and Ezekiel Ansah, respectively. As with quarterbacks, NFL clubs are extremely reluctant to allow pass rushers to hit the open market, so top-tier options are rarely ever truly “available.” Peppers, for his part, hasn’t even declared whether he’ll return in 2018, but indications are that he’ll suit up for a 17th campaign after posting 11 sacks last year.

Alongside Peppers, other veterans populate the edge market, and while William Hayes may not be a household name, he’ll be a contributor for whichever team signs him. A stout run defender, Hayes is also capable of generating pressure despite managing only one sack in 2017. The Dolphins used Hayes on only 271 defensive snaps a season ago, and have since replaced him by acquiring fellow defensive end Robert Quinn from the Rams. Now that he’s entering his age-33 season, Hayes should come cheap, but will almost assuredly outplay his contract.

Nearly every other available pass rusher has some sort of flaw which will likely limit his market next week. Trent Murphy is only 27 years old and put up nine sacks in 2016, but he missed the entirety of the 2017 campaign with injury. Pernell McPhee, Alex Okafor, Junior Galette, and Derrick Shelby have also been plagued by health questions in recent seasons. And Adrian Clayborn famously registered the majority of his 2017 sacks (and 20% of his career sack total) in one game against overwhelmed Cowboys backup Chaz Green.

The two names that I keep coming back to are Aaron Lynch (49ers) and Jeremiah Attaochu (Chargers). Yes, Lynch has been suspended for substance abuse, struggled with his weight, and was reportedly in danger of being waived prior to last season. He’s also extremely young (he won’t turn 25 years old until Thursday) and ranked fifth in the league with 34 pass pressures as recently as 2015. Attaochu, a 25-year-old former second-round pick, also has youth on his side, and while he hasn’t quite flashed as much as Lynch, he’s also been buried on LA’s depth chart for much of his career.

Interior defensive line:

  1. Sheldon Richardson
  2. Dontari Poe
  3. Muhammad Wilkerson
  4. Star Lotulelei
  5. DaQuan Jones
  6. Beau Allen
  7. Denico Autry
  8. Justin Ellis
  9. Tom Johnson
  10. Bennie Logan
  11. Chris Baker
  12. Kyle Williams
  13. Dominique Easley
  14. Haloti Ngata
  15. Jay Bromley

Interior rushers are getting more respect in today’s NFL, but that still hasn’t translated to them being paid on the level of edge defenders — the 2018 franchise tag for defensive tackles, for example, is roughly $3MM cheaper than the tender for edge rushers. While the 2018 crop of interior defenders boasts some impressive top-end talent, none of the available players figure to earn a double-digit annual salary. Sheldon Richardson may have the best chance to do so, but Seattle determined he wasn’t worth a one-year cost of $13.939MM, so is any other club going to pay him $10MM per year? I’d guess he comes in closer to $9MM annually, which would still place him among the 25 highest-paid defensive tackles.

Dontari Poe will be an intriguing free agent case after setting for a one-year deal last offseason, but the most interesting battle among defensive tackles will take place Star Lotulelei and Muhammad Wilkerson, and I’m curious to see which player earns more on the open market. Both are former first-round picks, and it’s difficult to argue Wilkerson hasn’t been the more productive player — or, at least, reached higher highs — than Lotulelei. Wilkerson also won’t affect his next team’s compensatory pick formula given that he was released, but his off-field issues, which include a reported lack of effort and problems with coaches, could limit his appeal.

While Beau Allen and Denico Autry are potentially candidates to be overpaid based on their youth, there are bargains to be had at defensive tackle. Tom Johnson is 33 but he’s offered consistent pressure from the interior for years — his last contract was for three years and $7MM, so he shouldn’t cost much this time around. Haloti Ngata was injured in 2017 but plans to continue his career, and he can still stop the run. And Dominique Easley was outstanding as a 3-4 end in 2016 before missing last season with a torn ACL, meaning the former first-round pick could be a value play for any number of teams.Read more

Buccaneers Release K Nick Folk

Nick Folk is officially ticketed for free agency. On Thursday, the Buccaneers announced that they have released the kicker. Nick Folk (vertical)

The move doesn’t mean a whole lot for Folk since his one-year, $1.75MM deal was already set to expire this offseason. However, it is an indication that the team will be moving forward with a new place kicker.

Earlier this week, Folk received medical clearance from doctors, allowing him to get back on the practice field. If Folk can demonstrate that he is healthy, he figures to receive attention from teams in search of a veteran leg. In 2016, Folk nailed 27 of 31 field goal attempts and connected on 24 of 26 extra points. He was released by the Jets for cap reasons, which ultimately paved the way for him to join up with the Bucs. Unfortunately, things did not go as planned in Tampa Bay.

Before an undisclosed injury ended his season in October, Folk converted just six-of-eleven field goal attempts and seven-of-nine extra points. In his final game of the 2017 campaign, the 33-year-old missed three field goals as the Patriots went on to win by five points.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.