A.J. Cann

Texans To Acquire G Shaq Mason From Buccaneers

It was learned yesterday that the Buccaneers would be moving on from veteran guard Shaq Mason in the immediate future, via either a trade or release. The former route will be taken; Tampa is trading Mason to the Texans, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link).

Pelissero’s colleague Ian Rapoport tweets that the deal will see Houston and Tampa Bay swap sixth- and seventh-round picks. By moving on from Mason, the Buccaneers will see $5.3MM in cap savings while incurring a dead money charge of $4.3MM. The Texans, meanwhile, will acquire a consistent performer at right guard who has one year remaining on his current contract.

Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 reports (via Twitter) that Mason is likely to be extended upon his arrival with the Texans. That would come as little surprise, as the 29-year-old is set to carry a cap hit of just over $9.5MM in 2023. A new contract aimed at lowering that figure would help the team’s cap situation and secure his future there over the course of multiple years.

Mason logged 98 starts during his seven-year stint with the Patriots to begin his career. He was traded to Tampa Bay last offseason, and started every game as part of the Buccaneers’ revamped interior o-line. His 1,200 snaps were a welcomed sight considering the multitude of injuries the team had to deal with over the course of the season. Mason was charged with 25 pressures allowed by PFF, however, which resulted in an overall grade of 68.9, the second-lowest of his career.

In addition to agreeing to acquire Mason, the Texans are moving on from A.J. Cann, Wilson reports. A longtime Jaguars starter, Cann signed with the Texans last season and immediately became a full-time starter for the team. Cann started 16 games with Houston and has been an NFL first-stringer throughout his eight-year career, lining up at guard and center. The veteran guard joins center Justin Britt as O-line starters who will not be in the Texans’ 2023 equation. The team released Britt, its starting center for the past two seasons, ahead of free agency. Britt is expected to retire.

Houston used a first-round pick on Kenyon Green last April, and he served as their left guard. Presuming Mason is extended on a new multi-year deal, that pair will serve as the Texans’ guard tandem for at least the intermediate future. With center Scott Quessenberry having just been re-signed, the interior of Houston’s offensive line is firmly in place.

Bengals Make Three Waiver Claims

SEPTEMBER 2: To no surprise, the Bengals are indeed re-signing Allen, Thomas and Williams now that they have the open roster spots to do so, per a team announcement. Cincinnati is also placing safety Tycen Anderson and tackle Isaiah Prince on IR.

AUGUST 31: The Bengals have made some notable additions in the aftermath of yesterday’s roster cutdowns. Per the waiver wire, they have claimed tight end Devin Asiasiguard Max Scharping and defensive tackle Jay Tufele.

[RELATED: Bengals Expected To Sign TE Howard]

Asiasi came to New England with significant expectations, given his draft status and the organization’s success at the position. The third-rounder made just 10 appearances in his first two seasons, though, recording only a pair of receptions. The Patriots made a substantial free agent investment in Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith last offseason, limiting his future with the team. In Cincinnati, he will face steep competition for playing time from Hayden Hurst and, in all likelihood, O.J. Howard.

Scharping is in a similar situation to Asiasi in terms of being an underwhelming high draft choice yet to finish their rookie contract. A 2019 second-rounder, the 26-year-old started 33 of the 48 contests he appeared in with the Texans, moving from the left to right guard spot this past season. Regardless of where he lined up, the Northern Illinois alum graded out in the mid-to-high 50s with respect to PFF rating, leaving him on the roster bubble. Scharping’s vacated spot is likely to be filled by A.J. Cann; he will challenge for a backup role behind top free agent addition Alex Cappa with the Bengals.

Tufele, meanwhile, has seen the least playing time of the new trio. As a rookie last season, he made just four appearances in Jacksonville, totaling two tackles. His PFF pass rush grade of 77 indicates some upside on third downs, which dates back to his time in college. Moving on from the USC alum so soon may have come as a surprise, though the additions of Folorunso Fatukasi and Adam Gotsis along the d-line were likely to significantly lessen his chance of seeing significant playing time with the Jaguars. The Bengals lost Larry Ogunjobi in free agency, but re-upped B.J. Hill, whom Tufele will look to provide depth behind his new home.

The defending AFC champions will return many of the members of last season’s team, but these additions could prove effective at areas of relative need. Among the cuts necessary to accommodate the new arrivals is veteran quarterback Brandon Allen. The 29-year-old signed a one-year deal for the third consecutive offseason to remain in Cincinnati.

For now, Allen’s departure leaves the Bengals with only Joe Burrow under center. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo tweets, however, that Allen “will be back.” Cincinnati is also parting ways with safety Michael Thomas and running back Trayveon Williams.

Texans To Sign OL A.J. Cann

The Texans continue adding to their offensive line. The team has signed A.J. Cann, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter). It’s a two-year, $8.5MM deal ($10.5MM max, $4.5MM guaranteed) for Cann, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter).

[RELATED: Texans To Re-Sign C Justin Britt]

Cann was a third-round pick by the Jaguars in 2015, and he spent the next seven seasons in Jacksonville. The lineman started 94 of his 95 games during his stint with the Jaguars, and he inked a three-year, $15MM extension with the organization in 2019.

The 30-year-old was limited to only four games in 2021 after suffering an MCL injury. He appeared in 78 percent of his team’s offensive snaps in those four contests.

While we’re uncertain who will be under center for the Texans next season, that hasn’t stopped the team from adding to their offensive line. We heard moments ago that the team inked center Justin Britt to a new contract.

Jaguars Place DJ Chark On IR

The Jaguars have placed D.J. Chark on the injured reserve list following his ankle fracture. They’ve also done the same with offensive lineman A.J. Cann (knee injury) while activating offensive tackle Walker Little from the COVID-19 list. 

Chark’s ankle bent backwards in last week’s game against the Bengals. Afterwards, he was unable to put weight on his leg and ultimately had to be carted off the field.

Chark, a former second-round pick, enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2019, finishing with 1,028 yards from scrimmage and eight touchdowns. His numbers took a step back in 2020, and through the first three games of the 2021 campaign, he hauled in only seven receptions for 154 yards and two touchdowns. There’s no word yet on his timetable, but it’ll be a while before he retakes the field. In the meantime, Trevor Lawrence will feed to top receivers Marvin Jones and Laviska Shenault.

Cann has spent his entire career with the Jags, serving as a starter in each of his seven seasons. He’s hardly missed time along the way, but his Thursday night injury left him with no other choice.

Now at 0-4, the short-handed Jaguars will try their luck against the Titans this week.

AFC Notes: Stidham, Jags, Browns, Bolts

Although Tom Brady continuing to play at a high level into his early 40s has allowed the Patriots to table their need to identify a long-term successor for many years, their recent extension/2019 pay raise brings this issue back to the forefront. The Pats, however, are pleased with their latest quarterback draft pick. Fourth-round rookie Jarrett Stidham has “blown away expectations” this offseason, Jeff Howe of The Athletic notes (subscription required), adding that he is ahead of where Jimmy Garoppolo was at this point during his first NFL summer. Stidham has taken first-team reps in camp and moved the Patriots to move Danny Etling to wide receiver. He finished 14-for-24 for 179 yards and a touchdown in New England’s preseason opener Thursday. While the Auburn alum does not profile as a classic Brady successor type, the Patriots certainly appear encouraged by their developmental prospect.

As we wind down preseason Week 1, here is the latest from the AFC:

  • A.J. Cann has served as the Jaguars‘ starting right guard since his rookie season in 2015. He is not a lock to reprise his role in 2019. Cann is battling converted tackle Will Richardson for the spot, with Doug Marrone indicating (via Hays Carlyon of 1010 XL, on Twitter) Brandon Thomas is also in the mix here. A 2018 fourth-rounder, Richardson looks like the favorite to win this job thus far, Carlyon adds (via Twitter). Richardson has yet to play an NFL down; he hit IR in October of his rookie year. Thomas has hung around for six NFL summers, with the 2014 third-round 49ers pick having never played in a regular-season game. He’s bounced on and off the Jaguars’ roster and practice squad since 2017. Cann has three years remaining on a contract he signed in 2018.
  • With Cam Robinson potentially set to have a delayed start to the season, Marrone said the Jaguars are considering free agent additions Cedric Ogbuehi and Leonard Wester at left tackle. Longtime Jags backup Josh Wells is vying for that temp job as well. Second-round rookie Jawaan Taylor is set to start at right tackle.
  • Had Antonio Callaway not received a four-game suspension, the second-year Browns wideout might not have been able to go in Week 1 anyway. Callaway suffered a high ankle sprain in Cleveland’s preseason opener, per Freddie Kitchens (via ohio.com’s Nate Ulrich, on Twitter). The Browns will now be without two of their 2018 pass catchers, with Duke Johnson having been traded and Callaway out until at least October. Fortunately, they acquired Odell Beckham Jr. this offseason.
  • Chargers tight end Andrew Vollert suffered ACL damage in the team’s preseason opener, and Anthony Lynn said (via ESPN.com’s Eric Williams, on Twitter) the second-year UDFA will miss the season. The Bolts signed Vollert in May.

Jaguars To Re-Sign A.J. Cann

The Jaguars will re-sign guard A.J. Cann to a three-year contract worth just more than $15MM, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).

Jacksonville has attempted to fix its offensive line in each of the past two offseasons, first drafting left tackle Cam Robinson in 2017 before signing left guard Andrew Norwell last year. Despite those changes, the Jaguars still ranked in the bottom half of the NFL in Football Outsiders‘ run- and pass-blocking metrics.

Cann, at the least, will give the Jaguars some level of continuity on the right side of its front five. Jacksonville released right tackle Jermey Parnell earlier this month, so Cann will lining up next to a new starter in 2019. That could potentially be 2018 fourth-round pick Will Richardson, or the Jags could add another option.

High-quality interior offensive line options were not plentiful in this year’s free agent class, and Cann — at age-27 — represents one of the younger choices at the position. He’s been a full-time starter in Jacksonville ever since entering the league as a third-round pick in the 2015 draft, starting 60 games over the past four years. In 2018, Pro Football Focus graded Cann as roughly league-average, ranking him No. 44 among 77 qualified guards.

2018 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.Jay Ajayi (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 $1.908MM in 2018. 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 2018 courtesy of the proven performance escalator:

49ers: Trent Brown, T; Eli Harold, LB

Bears: Adrian Amos, S

Bengals: Tyler Kroft, TE; Josh Shaw, DB

Bills: John Miller, G

Broncos: Max Garcia, G; Trevor Siemian, QB

Browns: Duke Johnson, RB

Buccaneers: Kwon Alexander, LB

Cardinals: David Johnson, RB; J.J. Nelson, WR

Chargers: Kyle Emanuel, LB

Chiefs: Chris Conley, WR; Steven Nelson, CB

Colts: Henry Anderson, DE; Mark Glowinski, G; Denzelle Good, OL

Dolphins: Bobby McCain, CB

Eagles: Jay Ajayi, RB; Jordan Hicks, LB

Falcons: Grady Jarrett, DT

Jaguars: A.J. Cann, OL

Lions: Quandre Diggs, CB

Packers: Jake Ryan, LB

Panthers: Daryl Williams, T

Patriots: Trey Flowers, DE; Shaq Mason, G

Raiders: Clive Walford, TE

Rams: Jamon Brown, G

Ravens: Za’Darius Smith, LB

Redskins: T.J. Clemmings, OL; Jamison Crowder, WR

Saints: Tyeler Davison, DT

Seahawks: Tyler Lockett, WR

Steelers: Jesse James, TE

Vikings: Stefon Diggs, WR; Danielle Hunter, DE

OverTheCap.com was essential in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. 

AFC Notes: Kizer, Jackson, Bowles, Whitehead, Jags, Grissom

The Browns are in the midst of another season in the cellar of the league and while the 49ers are also winless, the teams’ quarterback situations have Cleveland looking like a much less hopeful franchise moving forward. The Browns struggles in finding a franchise quarterback have been been well documented over the years, but despite a botched midseason trade for A.J. McCarron, head coach Hue Jackson still believes that current rookie starter DeShone Kizer has the ability to end the team’s long QB issues, reports Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal.

“I think this guy is going to be a really good player in time, but there’s work to be done,” Jackson said. “We all want the instant success, but it’s going to take a little bit of time because I think it’s not just him. I think the whole offensive team has to do their part, too. But does he have to play better? Yes, he does.

Ulrich relays that while Jackson did push for the McCarron trade, it was was a move that the head coach wanted to make in order to help better his team in the short-term, full knowing that Kizer still had a lot of development to do this season.

“My job as a head coach is to always push for better talent on this football team,” “You’re talking about a young player in the National Football League who has had [seven] starts, compared to other players who have either played for me or players that I have seen that have done it week in and week out. I don’t think that’s a knock on DeShone.”

  • Sticking with the Browns quarterback situation, Mark Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com explained the team’s potential interest in some veteran signal callers this offseason in a video posted to the website. Cabot didn’t shoot down the notion that the Browns could conceivably after names such as Eli Manning, Kirk Cousins and Alex Smith, which would be a major upgrade over what the franchise has this season. The reporter even threw out Andrew Luck as being a potential target if the Colts were to make him available if they have interest in a QB prospect at the top of the draft. She does also note that the team could look at taking another signal caller high in the 2018 NFL Draft. There will be many quarterback options available, but it’s looking likely that the Browns may have a few new faces on the QB depth chart by the time their 2018 training camp begins.
  • While the Browns have performed close to their already low expectations, the Jets have been one of the bigger surprises in the NFL thus far. After seemingly starting the year trying to tank, the Jets are right in the thick of the AFC wild card race after beating the Bills last week for their fourth victory of the season, which has Ralph Vacchiano of theJetsBlog already saying that head coach Todd Bowles has proven that he’s the man to lead this team into the future. Vacchiano argues that although the Jets are just sniffing the playoff hunt, this season was never really about winning, but instead proving to the front office that he is the right head coach for the years to come. He notes that Bowles has the team playing loose and free after a tumultuous 2016 season. The third-year head coach has one more year left on his current deal, but Vacchiano states that he thinks the Jets should invest longer than even 2018 given the way the team has overachieved over the first nine weeks. There is still lots of games to be played and the Jets schedule does get tougher from here, but there is no doubt that the team is playing harder and better even with so many unproven players all over the roster.
  • The Jets will have to shake up special teams return unit for this Sunday’s game with wide receiver Jeremy Kerley suspended. To potentially remedy this, the team will bring in veteran return man Lucky Whitehead in for a visit on Saturday, according to Howard Balzer of Sports on Earth (Twitter link). Whitehead, 25, fielded 25 punt returns for Dallas last season and would make for an easy slot-in given his experience level with returning in his third year in the league.
  • The Jaguars have three starting lineman listed as questionable for Sunday’s affair vs. the Chargers, according to the team’s website. Guards Patrick Omameh and A.J. Cann, along with tackle Jermey Parnell are uncertain to play, which would make it much more difficult for the team to establish a ground game even with Leonard Fournette likely returning after missing the team’s last two games with an injury and suspension due to team rules. Jacksonville has five reserve offensive lineman on the roster, so depth is not a huge issue even if the offense is missing 3/5th’s of its normal group up front.
  • Recently released Patriots defensive end/special teamer Geneo Grissom has cleared waivers, tweets Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. Grissom was removed from the active roster to make room for new signee Martellus Bennett, who made some interesting comments today with how he perceived the Packers medical staff misguiding him with his injury. Meanwhile, Reiss notes that New England can now bring Grissom back to the practice squad if they so choose.

AFC South Notes: Mahomes, Titans, Jack

Earlier today, Deshaun Watson‘s Texans visit schedule became known. He will have some company, it appears. Patrick Mahomes is also meeting with Texans brass, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports. Mahomes is already in Houston and will be visiting with the Texans tonight and on Monday, John McClain of the Chronicle adds (via Twitter).

The Texas Tech product is one of the fastest-rising commodities in this draft. He’s had 18 visits and private workouts thus far, but this one is among the more interesting for the high-volume college passer because of the Texans’ status as a two-time reigning division champion and void at quarterback.

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports noted earlier this month Mahomes was unlikely to slip past the Texans at No. 25, and the team is now doing some work on him. Houston would have a better shot at drafting the strong-armed former Big 12 signal-caller at No. 25 than Watson, but the former looks to have gained extensive ground and could be a priority for a team holding a higher pick — or one that trades up in front of the Texans — at this point.

Here’s more from the AFC South.

  • Corey Davis made a trip to Nashville, Tenn., today to visit with the Titans, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Davis will meet with the Titans tonight and Monday before flying to Baltimore for a Monday-Tuesday Ravens summit, per Rapoport. The Titans recently met with fellow first-round wideout prospects John Ross and Mike Williams. The franchise holds two first-round picks (Nos. 5 and 18) and is believed to be targeting wideout help. Their aggressive Brandin Cooks pursuit made this rather apparent.
  • The Jaguars will have some movement at linebacker, it appears. Last year’s second-round pick, Myles Jack has already learned middle and strong-side linebacker and is set to supplant Paul Posluszny in the middle, relocating the career-long middle ‘backer to the strong side. But the Jags view Jack as a natural fit on the weak side long-term, according to Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union. Telvin Smith currently occupies that position and is expected to start there again in 2017. However, Smith is slated to be a 2018 UFA, and another Jack move would stand to impact Jacksonville’s decision on Smith. O’Halloran adds that Smith extension talks could pick up after the draft, but the fourth-year linebacker’s spot could be tenuous if Jack is viewed as the future at that position.
  • The Jags could also be exploring the idea of moving A.J. Cann to left guard, per O’Halloran. A third-year player, Cann’s been the Jags’ right guard starter the past two seasons. Recently re-signed Patrick Omameh and former Cardinal Earl Watford are the team’s other top guards presently. Jacksonville made a push for Kevin Zeitler but saw him sign with the Browns.
  • After picking up his fifth-year option, the Texans are expected to pursue an extension for Jadeveon Clowney. But they are waiting to see if he can deliver a repeat showing of last year’s Pro Bowl campaign.

Jags Sign A.J. Cann, Lock Up Draft Class

The Jaguars have signed third-round offensive lineman A.J. Cann, the last of the team’s 2015 draft picks to officially ink his rookie contract, the team announced today (via Twitter). With Cann under contract, Jacksonville becomes the 27th club to finish locking up its draft class.

Cann, the 67th overall pick in this year’s draft, was one of a handful of players selected at the start of the third round who had yet to sign their contracts heading into June minicamps. Raiders tight end Clive Walford, the 68th overall pick, put pen to paper yesterday. Meanwhile, Colts cornerback D’Joun Smith (No. 65) and Titans offensive lineman Jeremiah Poutasi (No. 66) remain unsigned.

According to Over the Cap’s data, Cann will get a four-year contract of about $3.082MM, including a signing bonus worth just shy of $802K. He’ll count for approximately $635K against Jacksonville’s cap for the 2015 league year.

Now that the Jaguars have finished signing their draftees, only the Colts, Patriots, Giants, Raiders, and Titans need to do the same, per our tracker.