Phillip Lindsay

West Notes: Cards, Hawks, Raiders, Lindsay

The Cardinals‘ defensive resurgence will be tested this week. Budda Baker is dealing with a torn thumb UCL, and Kliff Kingsbury expects the high-priced safety to undergo surgery soon, Howard Balzer of SI.com notes. Baker is expected to miss at least Sunday’s game against the Panthers, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, but given that this injury sidelined Drew Brees five weeks and will shelve Jalen Reagor longer, a multiweek absence would not be surprising. Baker confirmed surgery is in the cards (Twitter link). The fourth-year safety, however, played all but one of the Cards’ defensive snaps against the Lions — despite having sustained this injury previously.

An interesting name has surfaced as a possible replacement. The Cardinals brought in T.J. Ward for a workout, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Ward interestingly played three seasons with the Broncos, serving as one of the anchors for Denver’s No Fly Zone Super Bowl-winning secondary, but did not make their 53-man roster in Vance Joseph‘s first year as the team’s head coach. The then-Joseph-led Broncos cut the veteran safety in 2017, leading Ward to the Buccaneers. Joseph is now the Cardinals’ DC. Ward, 33, has not played since the 2017 season.

Here is the latest from the West divisions:

  • Pete Carroll said during a radio interview Chris Carson has a Grade 1 knee sprain, and Adam Schefter of ESPN.com notes (on Twitter) the Seahawks‘ starting running back is in line to miss one or two games. A questionable tackle from Cowboys defensive lineman Trysten Hill, which included a post-play twist of Carson’s leg, led to the injury. Carson has dealt with injuries during his time as Seattle’s starter — including a broken leg in 2017 and a season-ending hip malady last year — but has only missed three games over the past two seasons. The Seahawks have Rashaad Penny on their PUP list, leaving free agent addition Carlos Hyde as the next man up.
  • Seahawks first-round rookie Jordyn Brooks suffered a knee injury as well, but he did not suffer ACL damage and should return this season. Brooks is recovering from an MCL sprain, per Rapoport (on Twitter). The first-year linebacker will likely miss a game or two.
  • Raiders first-round cornerback Damon Arnette is visiting a thumb specialist Tuesday, and Rapoport notes he could miss up to six weeks (Twitter link). This was an aggravation of a previous injury, with Arnette having broken his thumb prior to the regular season’s outset. Arnette fell awkwardly on the injured thumb during Sunday’s game against the Patriots.
  • Second-year Raiders safety Johnathan Abram played through an AC joint sprain Sunday, but questions about the injury persist. Abram collided with a TV cart during the Raiders’ Week 2 win over the Saints, and the NFL has engaged in discussions with ESPN about where the network’s carts can be during games, per Pelissero and Rapoport. The cart was closer to the field because of the COVID-19 pandemic restricting cheerleaders, photographers and other personnel from the sideline. Abram missed almost all of last season following an injury during the Raiders’ Week 1 game on a Monday night.
  • The Broncos are now down five of their six Pro Bowlers, after Jurrell Casey‘s season-ending biceps tear. But that number of injured standouts could be reduced to four soon. Phillip Lindsay returned to practice last week and may be on track to face the Jets on Thursday, Mike Klis of 9News notes. Lindsay has been battling turf toe since suffering the injury during Denver’s opener.
  • The stomach pains that caused Chiefs guard Andrew Wylie to be transported to the hospital prior to Monday night’s Chiefs-Ravens game are believed to have stemmed from appendicitis and not a COVID-related concern, Pelissero tweets.

AFC West Notes: Bolts, Broncos, Incognito

Tyrod Taylor could be on the verge of being benched in September for a second time in three seasons. A chest injury he was battling caused Justin Herbert to be called upon Sunday, and NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo report Taylor received a pregame injection to the area (Twitter link). Complications ensued, prompting Chargers HC Anthony Lynn to call on Herbert. While the No. 6 overall pick fared better than could be expected, given the lack of offseason prep time, Lynn has not named him the Chargers’ Week 3 starter. The fourth-year coach said he will turn back to Taylor when he is “100%” recovered from the chest setback.

Whether “100%” will be how the Bolts justify keeping Herbert in the lineup or not, it would seem difficult for the team to give the job back to its bridge starter. The Chargers drafted a quarterback in the first four rounds for the first time since 2006 and saw him throw for 311 yards in an overtime loss, making it entirely possible Taylor is benched again. The Browns sidelined Taylor after three starts in 2017.

Here is the latest from the AFC West:

  • Von Miller has not given up on returning this season. The Broncos‘ future Hall of Fame linebacker has been studying how some non-NFL athletes returned in three months from the injury he suffered — as opposed to the four- to six-month timetable he was given after suffering a dislocated peroneal tendon — and has told teammates he could return in mid-December, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports notes. However, since this report surfaced, the Broncos lost Drew Lock for perhaps more than a month and Courtland Sutton for the season. They are already down A.J. Bouye and Phillip Lindsay for the foreseeable future, making a playoff run more difficult to envision. As for Miller’s long-term future, the 31-year-old pass rusher has told teammates he is eyeing five or six more seasons, per La Canfora. This tracks with previous Miller plans.
  • Speaking of Lindsay, the Pro Bowl running back will almost certainly miss Week 3 and may be out longer. Rather than turf toe, Lindsay is dealing with a toe sprain, Rapoport notes. This represents a tough break for the UDFA success story, who was discussing an extension shortly after last season’s conclusion. However, the Broncos instead opted to sign Melvin Gordon to a two-year, $8MM deal. Lindsay is set for restricted free agency in 2021.
  • Brandon McManus‘ four-year, $17MM Broncos extension will guarantee the Denver kicker $4MM in 2021, but Mike Klis of 9News notes the deal’s final three seasons are not guaranteed (Twitter link). McManus is due to earn base salaries of $3MM (2022), $3.75MM (’23) and $3.95MM (’24) over the course of the deal, which also came with a $2.5MM signing bonus. The Broncos have used McManus as their kicker since 2014 but are not committed to him beyond 2021.
  • Richie Incognito left Monday night’s Raiders win with an Achilles issue, but the veteran guard may not miss any time. Incognito aggravated a previous injury but did not suffer a tear, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. The Raiders were already down right tackle Trent Brown, due to a reportedly not serious calf injury, and backup tackle Sam Young against the Saints.

Extra Points: Stanley, Tate, Broncos, TV

The Ravens and Ronnie Stanley began discussing an extension in February, but after taking a long break prior to an August negotiation resumption, the sides remain without a deal. An understandable reason may be holding up the talks. Buzz has emerged that Stanley is seeking a contract that pays him north of Laremy Tunsil‘s market-reshaping $22MM-per-year pact, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com notes (Insider link). Stanley has been diplomatic about the talks, but he is poised to cash in soon. Tunsil, of course, carried unique leverage after the Texans dealt two first-round picks to land him. Stanley, however, is Baltimore’s top lineman and became a top-tier tackle ahead of his contract year. The Ravens will have the option of a pricey franchise tag, in a year when the cap could plummet by a record margin, if they cannot extend Stanley by the March tag deadline.

Here is the latest from around the league:

  • In another AFC North matter, one of the Bengals‘ wide receivers may be unhappy. And it is not A.J. Green. The Bengals made Auden Tate a healthy scratch Thursday night, and his agent floated the prospect of a trade. While Deiric Jackson stopped short of saying his client has requested one, it is clear Team Tate is not content. “He was healthy and ready to go,” Jackson said, via CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin. “If they don’t know how to use him, I’m sure there are plenty of other teams that would love to have a weapon like that offensively.” Tate played 15 snaps in Cincinnati’s opener. The Bengals used the 6-foot-5 target frequently last season — when he caught 40 passes for 575 yards — but now have Green back and second-rounder Tee Higgins in the fold. Two seasons remain on Tate’s seventh-round contract.
  • The Broncos have put off major investments at inside linebacker since Brandon Marshall‘s 2016 extension, but Mike Klis of 9News notes the team considered both signing street free agent Christian Kirksey and using its first-round pick on Patrick Queen this year. This is not the first time the Broncos were linked to a first-round likebacker under Vic Fangio. Had they not executed a trade-down for Noah Fant in the 2019 first round, they would have chosen Devin Bush 10th overall. Denver, which cut longtime starter Todd Davis this month, used 2019 breakout player Alexander Johnson and 2018 draftee Josey Jewell as its three-down ‘backers Monday.
  • Phillip Lindsay will not be available for the Broncos against the Steelers. The talented running back is battling turf toe, leaving Royce Freeman as Melvin Gordon‘s top Week 2 backup.
  • Blake Bortles remains a free agent, but the former Jaguars starter and Rams backup is waiting on the right situation to open up, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. After starting for five seasons, Bortles threw just two passes in 2019.
  • NFL owners are confident they will have “groundbreaking” TV deals in place by early 2021, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports. The league was making progress during its negotiations with networks prior to the pandemic, and La Canfora adds that the contracts would likely have been finalized were it not for COVID-19. The next round of TV contracts were expected to be a game-changer for the NFL; projections of a $260MM-plus salary cap within a few years surfaced this past winter. While fanless stadiums amid the pandemic will cut into that short-term growth, teams authorizing big extensions in recent weeks points to confidence in long-term financial stability. The NFL’s ESPN contract expires after the 2021 season; its deals with the other networks are not up until the end of 2022.

West Rumors: Raiders, Henderson, Broncos

Tyrell Williams dealt with injuries to both of his feet last season, missing time because of it. The maladies took a while to recover from this offseason, but the veteran Raiders wideout believes he has nearly surmounted the nagging problems.

Shoot, it’s been a long offseason with my feet,” Williams said, via Vic Tafur of The Athletic (subscription required). “I did two months after the season of just rehab and resting them. It was still taking a long time and I started getting pretty discouraged, but … um, about two months ago, I finally got over the hump and my feet have been feeling good. I still feel it a little bit, but compared to what I had … it’s nothing compared to what I was going through during the season.”

Williams missed two games with plantar fasciitis in his right foot but said his left foot became a discomfort source after he returned. The second-year Raider then dealt with pain in both feet the rest of the way. Williams still averaged 15.5 yards per catch, but the Raiders drafted two wideouts and a gadget player (Lynn Bowden Jr.) in the first three rounds. The Raiders guaranteed Williams’ $11MM base salary earlier this year, but the ex-Charger has no guaranteed money on his deal beyond 2020.

Here is more injury news from the Raiders’ receiving corps and the latest from the rest of the Wests:

  • Las Vegas first-round pick Henry Ruggs suffered an injury helping a friend move last month but is expected to be ready for camp. While the Raiders’ newest speed merchant received stitches, he sustained no muscular damage, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Around six weeks remain until rookies report for camps.
  • The Rams are beginning a new era at running back, having cut five-year starter Todd Gurley. Darrell Henderson will be one of the players vying for the starting job. The second-year back, however, underwent ankle surgery this offseason, Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic tweets. This issue may be behind him, with Rodrigue adding that Henderson has already participated in multiple Jared Goff-conducted throwing sessions (Twitter link). Henderson, Malcolm Brown and rookie second-rounder Cam Akers represent the top options in Los Angeles’ backfield.
  • The Broncos‘ backfield has two primary options, but it’s perhaps just as muddled. Given a two-year, $16MM contract, Melvin Gordon is in line to take Phillip Lindsay‘s starting job despite the latter’s back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. New Denver OC Pat Shurmur was said to have pushed for a “bellcow” back like Gordon, but Denver’s new OC denied he did so on Thursday. “I think that (rumor) is a false narrative. I’m all for adding good players at every position. I feel like Phillip Lindsay is an outstanding player who we can hand the ball to, or throw the ball to. The fact that we have two running backs now who can be very explosive with the ball in their hands, whether they throw it or run it, is a good thing,” Shurmur said, via Denver7’s Troy Renck. “You need more than one running back. … The whole ‘pounding the table’ narrative — listen, I’m the new guy here.”
  • While Lindsay showed promise as a pass catcher at Colorado, Gordon has been more productive as a pro in that area. Gordon’s $8MM-AAV deal and Lindsay’s $750K 2020 base salary would point to the former being ticketed for a change-of-pace role. Shurmur, however, said he envisions formations that will feature both Gordon and Lindsay, Renck tweets.

Broncos Notes: Draft, Lindsay, O-Line

At pick No. 83, the Broncos drafted center Lloyd Cushenberry. The starting snapper for national champion LSU is the early favorite to be Denver’s Week 1 center. However, he may well have been the Broncos’ second choice for this role. The Broncos had a deal in place to move up to No. 79, where they would have taken Temple center Matt Hennessy, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports. The Jets were set to drop from No. 79 to No. 83 and add a Day 3 pick from the Broncos to do so, Mehta notes. The Falcons, however, scuttled these plans by drafting Hennessy at No. 78. Instead of moving up for Cushenberry, the Broncos stood pat. Interestingly, the Jets’ signing of two-year Broncos starter Connor McGovern created a Denver need at center. With the Falcons interrupting a Jets trade-down maneuver, Gang Green took defensive end Jabari Zuniga at No. 79.

Here is the latest out of Denver:

  • Melvin Gordon‘s two-year, $16MM Denver deal surprised many, with the Broncos already featuring two-time 1,000-yard rusher Phillip Lindsay. Count Lindsay as one of those surprised by the move. “It caught me off-guard,” Lindsay said during an interview with NFL.com’s Terrell Davis (video link via The Athletic’s Nicki Jhabvala). “It was like, ‘OK, I’ve put in work.’ It makes it seem like they don’t respect you enough to know the work you’re putting in. I was really upset at the beginning. I’m not gonna lie.” Lindsay said soon after he has since come around to the prospect of splitting time with Gordon, viewing the ex-Charger as another weapon in a retooled offense. As a 2018 UDFA, Lindsay is extension-eligible. He is set to make just $750K but has not indicated plans for a holdout.
  • Although the Broncos passed on Garett Bolles‘ $11MM fifth-year option, they did not draft a tackle. The team passed on both Ezra Cleveland and Josh Jones in Round 2, doing so to take Penn State speedster K.J. Hamler at No. 46. The Broncos passed on the blockers because they did not view either as having the chance to beat out Bolles or Elijah Wilkinson at left tackle, per Troy Renck of Denver7. Wilkinson, who played right tackle most of last season because of Ja’Wuan James‘ injury, is set to compete with Bolles for Denver’s starting left tackle gig.
  • Despite Bolles’ penchant for holding penalties and failure to thus far live up to his first-round billing, the Broncos are not in the market for a free agent tackle, Jhabvala notes (subscription required). Jason Peters, Donald Penn, Kelvin Beachum and Cordy Glenn are the most notable names available.

Latest On Broncos’ RB Plans

Before the Broncos decided on a Melvin GordonPhillip Lindsay backfield, they had another veteran standout on their radar. Denver was interested in trading for David Johnson, Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic reports (subscription required).

The Broncos expressed interest in the former Cardinals All-Pro at the Combine but did not wish to meet Arizona’s asking price, Jhabvala adds. Johnson is now a member of the Texans, set to collect his full $10.2MM base salary despite Duke Johnson also on tap to earn $3.6MM in 2020. While the latter’s salary is non-guaranteed, Houston’s backfield has become quite expensive. After two years of using rookie-contract running backs, Denver’s has as well.

John Elway and Vic Fangio came to an agreement on needing a better 1-2 punch in the team’s backfield compared to what it possessed in its Lindsay-Royce Freeman setup of the past two years, Fangio said. New OC hire Pat Shurmur sought a “bellcow” back, per Jhabvala. Given that David Johnson was on the radar, the Broncos were undeterred by a large salary in their backfield.

This has created a situation in which Gordon is on track to displace Lindsay as the Broncos’ top running back. Gordon is also attached to a two-year, $16MM contract. Lindsay will make $750K in 2020. Despite becoming the first UDFA to start his career with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, Lindsay denied he will seek a trade or prioritize a new deal. Elway confirmed Tuesday a new Lindsay agreement is not out of the question, but the 10th-year GM appeared to be more optimistic on this front at the conclusion of the 2019 season.

I’ve talked to Phillip’s agent and we’ll see what happens and what we can do later on,” Elway said. “That’s not a guarantee either way, but we’ll see what we can do later on.”

Lindsay’s agent, Mike McCartney, said (via Jhabvala) he hopes the Broncos will “do right by” his client after he “exceeded expectations.” No Lindsay extension discussions have occurred, however, Jhabvala adds. Lindsay cannot become an unrestricted free agent until 2022; he will be an RFA next March.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Broncos, Phillip Lindsay

With the Broncos having made Melvin Gordon the NFL’s sixth-highest-paid running back, Phillip Lindsay looks set to make the unusual transition from back-to-back 1,000-yard rusher to complementary back.

John Elway discussed the prospect of a Lindsay extension at the end of last season but said before the Gordon signing that such a deal was a back-burner issue. Now that Gordon is making $8MM per year through 2021, Lindsay stands in a strange position. But the Broncos have not ruled out a Lindsay re-up, Troy Renck of Denver7 notes (on Twitter). The Broncos hold more than $29MM in cap space.

Lindsay is set to make just $750K in 2020, the third year of his UDFA contract. He will be eligible for restricted free agency in 2021. With only one team (the Texans) presently paying more than one running back at a rate north of $3.5MM per year, this situation will be one to monitor. While the soon-to-be 27-year-old Gordon has proven to be the superior receiver, the ex-Chargers first-rounder is 1-for-5 in 1,000-yard rushing seasons.

I feel like I’ve outplayed my contract, and I deserve to take care of my family, too,’’ Lindsay told 9News’ Mike Klis. “But I’m under contract still. For me, my mindset is to play out my contract. The fact is, nothing has to be done. You can’t make anybody do something they don’t want to do. And so for me, I put pen to paper; I’ll be here. 

I love the game of football, and I love being out here. I never look at money. Money is going to come when it comes. But I was a top-five running back (in 2018) and top 15 this year so I feel like I am outplaying my contract, but at the end of the day, I’ll continue to play with the contract they gave me.”

Lindsay, 25, is the first UDFA in NFL history to start his career with consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. Although the 2018 draft class is not yet eligible for extensions, Lindsay is because of his undrafted status. Considering the narrow windows running backs have to cash in, it will be important for the Colorado alum to do so in the near future. He will enter the 2020 season as the Broncos’ third-highest-paid running back — behind Gordon and Royce Freeman.

John Elway spoke to Lindsay’s agent after the Gordon signing, Klis adds, noting the GM indicated his desire for the Broncos to carry two quality running backs. Freeman has underwhelmed since coming to Denver as a third-round pick. Lindsay also confirmed he has no desire to be traded.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Broncos’ Melvin Gordon Signing

Having seen Phillip Lindsay become the first undrafted player in NFL history to start his career with back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons, the Broncos have created interesting optics by signing Melvin Gordon. In an offseason that began with rumors of a possible Lindsay extension, the Broncos gave Gordon an $8MM-per-year deal that ranks sixth among running backs.

I know there’s people going, ‘Why do you need another horse?’ Well, when you have an opportunity for Melvin Gordon to come in here, we felt like it was an addition to the team,” Broncos GM John Elway said. “He’s a guy that obviously has had a lot of success in this league. He’s scored a lot of touchdowns and has caught the football a ton. So we feel like with him — with Melvin, as well as Phillip — that we’ve got a great one-two punch, and we’ll only get better in the backfield.

Ultimately, we have to score more points this year. We’ve struggled on the offensive side the last two, three years, and so we’ve got to get better on that side. I think Melvin will be one of those key pieces to help us get better.”

Lindsay, whose two 1,000-yard seasons are more than Gordon’s one, reached out to his new teammate but may now have an uncertain future in Denver. No team currently has multiple backs earning more than $3.5MM AAV. Lindsay is set to make just $750K in 2020 — less than Royce Freeman, whom Gordon is essentially replacing in Denver.

This arrangement would seemingly be untenable for Lindsay, but the Broncos are not prioritizing a re-up for their hometown success story at this time. Lindsay, 25, is set for restricted free agency in 2021.

Gordon’s abilities as a receiver helped influence the Broncos’ decision, with Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic noting that new OC Pat Shurmur sought a more complete back (subscription required). Lindsay caught 53 passes as a junior at Colorado but has yet to top 35 catches or 250 receiving yards as a pro. Gordon peaked at 19 grabs in a season at run-heavy Wisconsin but has caught more than 40 passes in each of his past four seasons. Gordon surpassed 400 receiving yards each season from 2016-18.

Last year, Gordon turned down a Chargers extension worth around $10MM per year. He held out into late September before reporting, and Austin Ekeler ended up outplaying him and landing a Bolts extension. Gordon said if given the choice again he would not hold out.

I probably would come back just because — more so because of my legacy and what I’m trying to do as a player, my mark that I’m trying to leave,” the former first-round pick said, via Jhabvala. “Obviously, those are games that I can’t get back. Starting out slow and being able to catch stride towards the end of the season, but then it’s too late.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Broncos’ RB Phillip Lindsay

Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay is one of the best stories of the past several seasons. The Colorado native is the first undrafted free agent to begin his career with back-to-back 1,000-yard campaigns, and although he is under contract through 2020, his UDFA status makes him eligible for an extension now.

We heard in December that Denver GM John Elway would explore a new contract for Lindsay this offseason, and Lindsay himself — who is due a considerably below-market $660K salary in 2020 — would obviously like that to happen sooner rather than later. However, Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post says a new deal for the Broncos’ RB1 is on the back-burner for the time being.

The two sides may enter into negotiations at some point before the start of the regular season, but not until after free agency and the draft. Elway wants to see how much cap space he has after the bulk of his offseason business has been conducted.

“We would like to be able to do something,” Elway said. “Obviously, Phillip’s been great. If we can do something, we’ll try.”

It doesn’t sound like there’s a ton of urgency on Elway’s end, and that makes sense to a degree. Even if a new deal is not struck before the end of the 2020 season, Lindsay would only be eligible for restricted free agency, so he could be retained with a fairly modest RFA tender.

But the diminutive Lindsay has been terrific for Denver, averaging 4.9 yards per carry over his first two seasons in the league and racking up 17 total TDs. He battled a wrist injury throughout the 2019 campaign but underwent surgery on the wrist in January. He is expected to be fully recovered in time for spring workouts.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Notes: Lindsay, Packers, DeCastro

An illness that has been going through the Green Bay locker room has claimed another victim. The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman tweets that Packers punter JK Scott is now questionable for tomorrow’s NFC Championship Game. Fortunately, the team has an open roster spot, so they won’t have to cut anybody to add some reinforcement.

Scott had a solid season for the Packers, averaging 44 yards on his 77 punts. He landed 29 punts inside the 20 yard line, earning him a spot on Pro Football Reference’s NFL All-Pro Second Team

Wide receiver Geronimo Allison was listed on the injury report with an illness this week, but he was a full participant at Friday’s practice.

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

  • Steelers guard David DeCastro underwent an ankle procedure this week, according to Yahoo’s Charles Robinson (via Twitter). The surgery provides an explanation for why the offensive lineman dropped out of the Pro Bowl. Robinson notes that the operation went well, and DeCastro isn’t expected to “miss extended time in the offseason program.”
  • Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay underwent a “simple, clean-up arthroscopic procedure” on his right wrist, according to Mike Klis of 9News in Denver. The team’s top rusher should be recovered by offseason team workouts in April. Lindsay actually suffered the wrist injury during the 2018 season, and he dealt with the ailment throughout the 2019 campaign. Despite the discomfort, the running back still managed to finished with his second-straight 1,000-yard season.
  • Chiefs safety Juan Thornhill underwent successful surgery to repair a torn ACL in his knee, tweets NFL Network’s James Palmer. The rookie second-rounder started all 16 games for Kansas City, compiling 58 tackles, five passes defended, and three interceptions. He suffered the injury during his team’s Week 17 game against the Chargers, sidelining him for the entire postseason.
  • Raiders cornerback Isaiah Johnson had back surgery this week, tweets Vic Tafur of The Athletic. The fourth-round rookie was placed on injured reserve to start the year, and he was ultimately activated in November. Johnson proceeded to appear in five games for Oakland, collecting two tackles and one pass defended.