Oshane Ximines

NFC Rumors: Giants, Saints, Adams, Bears

Part of 2019’s Odell Beckham Jr. trade, Jabrill Peppers is going into his fifth-year option season. However, the Giants‘ three-year, $31MM extension for Logan Ryan back in December may well have signaled they are OK moving on from the former first-round pick after this season, Dan Duggan of The Athletic writes (subscription required). The Giants signed Ryan shortly after Xavier McKinney suffered a broken foot and extended him toward the end of the year. By season’s end, the team had Ryan, Peppers and McKinney available. Ryan and McKinney are signed through 2023, though Ryan has no guarantees beyond this year. While Peppers (25 starts as a Giant) would attract interest as a 2022 free agent, his role and performance this season will go a long way toward determining his long-term value.

Of the players that changed teams in that 2019 deal, Peppers, Beckham and Dexter Lawrence — the first-round pick the Browns sent to the Giants — remain with their teams. Kevin Zeitler and Olivier Vernon are not. With Beckham’s long-term status in Cleveland uncertain and Peppers in a contract year, Lawrence may be the only holdover from this trade come 2022. Here is the latest from the NFC:

  • Despite Lorenzo Carter going down with an Achilles tear in October, the Giants are prepared to reinstall him as a starter, Duggan notes. Carter returned for the Giants’ offseason program. The former third-round pick out of Georgia has 9.5 career sacks and, like Peppers, is entering a contract year. The Giants have not been especially aggressive at outside linebacker during Dave Gettleman‘s GM tenure, but they did use a second-round choice this year on USC’s Azeez Ojulari. He, 2019 third-rounder Oshane Ximines and fourth-round rookie Elerson Smith are in the mix to start opposite Carter, per Duggan. The Giants added veterans Ryan Anderson and Ifeadi Odenigbo as well, but they appear to be competing for rotational work.
  • Marcus Williams is one of this year’s seven remaining franchise-tagged players. The Saints surprised most when they created cap space to tag the talented safety, but if they cannot complete an extension by July 15, they should not be expected to entertain a second tag in 2022, Joel Corry of CBS Sports writes. Marshon Lattimore playing this season on his fifth-year option would make him a higher-priority free agent come March, and whoever wins New Orleans’ quarterback job — set to be a Jameis WinstonTaysom Hill competition — could fall into the 2022 tag mix as well.
  • One factor complicating the SeahawksJamal Adams talks: the Pro Bowl safety wanting not only to become the highest-paid player at the position but seeking to end up on his own financial tier. Adams does not want to be viewed as a pure safety, and thus be confined to the position’s salary range, Corry adds. Adams does not rate as a top-tier coverage safety, but he is a historically productive pass rusher for the position and is used in myriad capacities. With Seattle having traded two first-rounders for him, a deal is expected to come to fruition soon.
  • The Bears made a couple of changes to their scouting staff. They promoted Jeff King to the pro scouting director post. King joined the team as a pro scout in 2016. The former NFL tight end interviewed for the Panthers’ assistant GM job in May. Chicago also promoted Sam Summerville from area scout to national scout. The Fritz Pollard Alliance named Summerville, a Bears scout since 2012, as its NFC scout of the year in 2019.

IR/Activation Notes: Njoku, 49ers, Rams, Giants

David Njoku is back. The Browns announced this morning that they’ve activated the tight end from the injured reserve.

The 24-year-old suffered a knee injury during Cleveland’s season opener, and he was subsequently placed on IR. He was designated for return earlier this week, and coach Kevin Stefanski indicated that Njoku would see the field sooner than later. The tight end had three receptions for 50 yards and one touchdown in Week 1, surpassing some of the totals he compiled during his injury-plagued 2019 campaign.

Njoku requested a trade back in July, only to rescind it in early August. While the former first-rounder sits behind free agent addition Austin Hooper on the depth chart (and has to battle the likes of Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, and Kareem Hunt for targets), Njoku should still see a role in the offense going forward.

Let’s check out some more IR/activation notes from around the NFL…

  • The 49ers‘ injury woes continue, as Matt Barrows of The Athletic reports (via Twitter) that defensive end Ezekiel Ansah (biceps) and cornerback K’Waun Williams (knee/hip) are heading to the IR. Ansah joined San Francisco in late September, and he’s proceeded to appear in two games. He spent the 2019 campaign with the Seahawks, finishing with 18 tackles, two forced fumbles, and 2.5 sacks. Williams has spent the past three-plus seasons with the 49ers, and he’s started two of his four appearances this season. Fortunately, there is some good news out of San Francisco, as head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters that quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will start Sunday against the Dolphins (via ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Twitter). Garoppolo has missed the past two-plus games, with the team mostly turning to Nick Mullens in his stead.
  • 2020 third-round pick Terrell Lewis could make his debut for the Rams this weekend. Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic tweets that the rookie linebacker has been activated off the IR. Following a stint on the reserve/COVID-19 list, Lewis underwent a knee scope just before the start of the season. The former Alabama standout could immediately see some time on the edge for the Rams.
  • The Giants placed linebacker Oshane Ximines on IR with a shoulder injury, reports SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano (via Twitter). The 2019 third-rounder saw time in all 16 games as a rookie, finishing with 4.5 sacks. He started three of the Giants first four games in 2020, collecting five tackles.

Giants To Sign Oshane Ximines

The Giants have an agreement in place with 2019 third-round linebacker Oshane Ximines, per Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com (via Twitter). The Old Dominion product is expected to sign his rookie deal Monday morning, when rookies report for training camp.

Big Blue is in dire need of pass rush help, having jettisoned Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon over the past two years. To that end, the club signed Markus Golden to a low-risk, high-reward free agent contract this offseason, and they drafted Ximines, whose sack production steadily increased throughout his collegiate career.

Ximines posted 11.5 sacks and 18 tackles for loss for Old Dominion in 2018, and while it’s difficult to read too much into raw numbers for players at smaller programs, he does have a fairly complete repertoire of pass rushing techniques. He will need to improve his run defense to become an every-down force, but he should at least get plenty of burn on passing downs as he works to refine the rest of his game.

With Ximines about to be under contract, only No. 6 overall pick Daniel Jones remains unsigned. Ximines’ contract will be a four-year deal worth $3.56MM and will feature an $833K signing bonus.

Dolphins Eyeing Defensive Ends Via Draft?

The Dolphins have moved on from Robert Quinn, Cameron Wake, and Andre Branch this offseason, so the team is predictably in the market for defensive ends. It sounds like the organization may try to fill those holes via the draft, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes that the Dolphins have scheduled workouts with a number of prospects.

Jackson writes that Dolphins defensive line coach Marion Hobby recently gave a private workout to Louisiana Tech lineman Jaylon Ferguson, who has been graded as a second-round pick. The Dolphins have also scheduled visits with TCU’s L.J. Collier and Old Dominion’s Oshane Ximines, a pair of players who are also expected to be selected in the second or third round. Miami is currently armed with one second-rounder and one third-rounder: the 48th-overall pick and 78th-overall pick, respectively.

It sounds like the Dolphins may even consider opting for a defensive end in the first round, where they’re currently holding the 13th pick. Jackson notes that the team has also shown interest in Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell, FSU’s Brian Burns, and Mississippi State defensive end Montez Sweat. If the Dolphins want Sweat, it might require a trade, as the lineman is currently projected to go in the top-10.

The Dolphins are currently only rostering four defensive ends with any NFL experience. That grouping includes Charles Harris, Tank CarradineJonathan Woodard, and Jeremiah Valoaga.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.