Aaron Lynch

NFL Workouts: Giants, Bears, Titans, Grant

With NFL rookie minicamps coming to a close, we can take a look at some of the notable names that were invited for veteran tryouts during the rookies’ introduction to the NFL. The Giants were one of the teams with multiple veteran free agents in attendance, as noted by Pat Leonard of NY Daily News.

Two outside linebackers were auditioned this week in New York. Myjai Sanders worked out with the team after playing sparingly in seven games for the Texans last year. A former third-round pick for the Cardinals, Sanders had three sacks as a rookie but, after falling down the depth chart, found himself being auctioned off as a trade candidate before ultimately getting waived.

The other was Shaka Toney, a former seventh-round pick for the Commanders who was waived just before the draft. He’s only played major snaps in one game over his two years, his lone start out of 26 games played, but totes 1.5 sacks on his record.

The third veteran in attendance was wide receiver Jared Bernhardt.

Here are a few other notable minicamp auditions that took place around the league:

  • The Bears also hosted three veterans, even eventually signing tight end Tommy Sweeney. Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic reports that cornerback Parry Nickerson and wide receiver Freddie Swain were the other two veterans in attendance this week. Nickerson entered the league as a sixth-round draft pick in 2018 for the Jets. Since then, he’s bounced around with one season each at in Jacksonville, Green Bay, Minnesota, and, most recently, Miami. Swain had a decent start to his career after two seasons in Seattle but didn’t play in 2023 after appearing in only four games in 2022 between time in Miami and Denver.
  • The Titans were another team to host multiple notable veteran names, namely cornerback William Jackson III and pass rusher Shane Ray, per Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2 and Turron Davenport of ESPN. After playing out a rookie contract in Cincinnati, Jackson earned a three-year, $40.5MM contract with the Commanders but requested a trade that landed him with the Steelers a year in a half into the deal, though he never got to play for them. He hasn’t appeared in a game since Week 5 of 2022. Ray’s absence from the NFL has been even longer. A first-round pick for the Broncos in 2015, Ray hasn’t played in the league since 2018. He joined the Bills last offseason, reuniting with his former Denver teammate Von Miller, but he was cut before the regular season.
  • After attending the Eagles’ rookie minicamp, wide receiver and return specialist Jakeem Grant also worked out for the Saints at their rookie minicamp, per Mike Triplett of NewOrleans.Football. Grant hasn’t appeared in an NFL game since the 2021 season as he’s rehabilitated a torn Achilles and a ruptured patella tendon, but the last time he played, he earned Pro Bowl and second-team All-Pro honors.
  • Lastly, the Dolphins hosted pass rusher Aaron Lynch for a tryout, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Lynch showed promise after tallying 12.5 sacks in his first two seasons with the 49ers but never managed more than three in a season over the next five years. He hasn’t appeared in an NFL game since 2020.

Browns Work Out DE/OLB Aaron Lynch

It appears that former NFL edge defender Aaron Lynch is attempting to make a comeback. Lynch, who last suited up in an NFL game in 2020 and who has been in the business world since hanging up his cleats, had a “positive” workout with the Browns last week, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.

A fifth-round pick of the 49ers in 2014, Lynch was a useful pass rusher in the early stages of his career, racking up six sacks in his rookie campaign and 6.5 sacks the following year. Unfortunately, he was limited to just seven games in each of the subsequent two seasons due to suspension and injuries, so he hit the open market in 2018 with little momentum. He ultimately signed a one-year deal with the Bears in March 2018 and did enough in his first year in Chicago to secure multiple free agent visits the following offseason.

He returned to Chicago on another one-year accord in 2019, but his playing time and overall production took a dip that year. He nonetheless found a home with the Jaguars in May 2020, and though he announced his retirement several months later, he subsequently unretired and returned to Jacksonville. In eight games with the Jags, he recorded one sack and six total tackles.

Despite limited statistical success since his second professional season ended, Lynch managed to stay in the league for another five years without being waived or released. Given the importance of pass rushing depth in today’s NFL, it would not be terribly surprising to see a club take a low-risk flier on the USF product at some point in the coming months.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/26/20

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here:

Atlanta Falcons

Dallas Cowboys

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Aaron Lynch Unretires, Returns To Jaguars

Aaron Lynch has changed his mind on retirement. He has committed to resuming his career and is back on the Jaguars’ 53-man roster, per Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter).

The former 49ers and Bears edge rusher signed with the Jags in May but opted to retire in August, doing so as the Jags lost a few defensive linemen — including Rodney Gunter and Al Woods. A six-year veteran, Lynch will provide some experience to a defensive front relying on recent first-rounders Josh Allen and K’Lavon Chaisson. Allen missed last week’s game with an injury.

Jacksonville also lost Jabaal Sheard this week, opting to let the veteran edge rusher head to New York rather than promote him to its active roster. The Jags also have the bulk of their practice squad on the reserve/COVID-19 list, so depth is somewhat of a critical issue this week. Of course, Lynch would need to navigate the NFL’s new near-week-long bevy of coronavirus tests before returning to practice.

In four 49ers seasons and two with the Bears, Lynch has 20 career sacks and 36 tackles for loss.

Jaguars DE Aaron Lynch Retires

Jaguars defensive end Aaron Lynch will retire from the NFL, per a club announcement. Lynch, 27, leaves the Jaguars with yet another hole to fill in the front seven. 

[RELATED: Jaguars’ Gunter Announces Retirement]

On Monday, fellow Jaguars DE Rodney Gunter arrived at the same decision. Previous to that, defensive tackle Al Woods opted out of the 2020 season, pushing his three-year, $18MM deal into 2021. All three of those players were new arrivals in Jacksonville, and none of them will be playing this year. Woods and Gunter were supposed to help fill in for Marcell Dareus and Calais Campbell. Lynch, meanwhile, was set to serve as a rotational edge rusher.

Lynch entered the league in 2014 as a fifth-round pick of the 49ers. He spent his first four seasons in SF and made a dent early with 12.5 sacks through his first two pro campaigns. Suspensions and injuries limited him to only 14 games between 2016 and 2017, and he moved on to the Bears in 2018. All together, he leaves the sport with 20 career sacks.

Jaguars Sign DE/LB Aaron Lynch

Aaron Lynch is heading to Florida. The Jaguars announced that they’ve signed the defensive end/linebacker. It’s a one-year deal, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter).

The 2014 fifth-round pick spent the first four seasons of his career with the 49ers, and he compiled 12.5 sacks through his first two seasons in the NFL. Suspensions and injuries limited him to only 14 games between 2016 and 2017, and he moved on to Chicago in 2018.

The veteran has spent the past two seasons with the Bears, collecting 22 tackles and five sacks in 29 games (three starts).

Lynch will provide the Jaguars with a rotational pass-rusher, and he could be in for a bigger role if the front office finds a taker for Yannick Ngakoue.

Bears Re-Sign Aaron Lynch

The Bears have re-signed Aaron Lynch, according to a team announcement. The outside linebacker will return on a new one-year deal. 

Lynch met with the Seahawks, Raiders, and Colts this offseason, but he ultimately chose to return to the Bears for at least one more season. Lynch registered three sacks in Chicago last year, giving him 18 across five NFL seasons. However, 12.5 of those sacks came in his first two years in the league.

Lynch spent the first four seasons of his career with the 49ers and signed with the Bears last season to reunite with then-Chicago DC Vic Fangio. After playing on roughly 16% of the 49ers’ defensive snaps over his last two years in SF, Lynch saw an uptick in playing time last year, appearing in roughly one-third of the Bears’ defensive snaps.

Lynch can line up at DE or OLB, so he figures to split his time between those spots in 2019.

Aaron Lynch To Visit Colts

Aaron Lynch has enjoyed a busy free agency, and his itinerary will now include a trip to Indianapolis. The veteran edge rusher will visit the Colts on Wednesday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Lynch has already trekked to Seattle and Oakland for meetings. The Colts obviously have quite a bit more cap room than the Raiders or Seahawks; they have quite a bit more cap room than anyone at the moment. But Chris Ballard‘s trend of being selective in free agency continues nonetheless.

With the Bears last season, Lynch registered three sacks. He has 18 in five NFL seasons, 12.5 of those coming during his first two years. The 26-year-old edge defender has spent most of his career as a 3-4 outside linebacker, with a one-year stay in San Francisco’s 4-3 look in 2017, but that fit matters less and less with teams using nickel and dime sets more than base looks now. Matt Eberflus‘ defense is a 4-3 scheme.

The Colts have not made any notable front-seven additions this offseason. They reached an agreement to retain Margus Hunt but have left their group alone for the time being. Ballard has added the likes of Jabaal Sheard and Denico Autry in free agency since taking Indianapolis’ GM reins. The Colts also have 2018 second-rounders Tyquan Lewis and Kemoko Turay in the fold, creating an interesting mix of linemen.

However, the team still probably has what can be considered a need for edge help.

Aaron Lynch To Visit Seahawks

Free agent edge defender Aaron Lynch suddenly finds himself with a busy schedule. After visiting with the Raiders today, the 26-year-old is headed to Seattle to visit with the Seahawks, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter).

Lynch spent the first four seasons of his career with the 49ers and signed with the Bears last season to reunite with then-Chicago DC Vic Fangio. After playing on roughly 16% of the 49ers’ defensive snaps over his last two years in San Francisco, Lynch saw an uptick in playing time last year, appearing in roughly 1/3 of the Bears’ defensive snaps.

The former fifth-round pick offers some pass rush ability, and he did record 12.5 sacks across the 2014-15 seasons. Seattle was one of the better pass rushing teams in the league in 2018 in terms of raw sack totals, but Lynch, who can line up at either DE or OLB, would be a welcome addition to most clubs as a situational pass rusher if the price is right.

Raiders Interested In Brandon Marshall; Also Interested In Vontaze Burfict?

The Raiders are interested in former Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall, according to Mike Klis of 9News (via Twitter). Marshall, who saw his 2019 option declined by the division-rival Broncos, has attracted the attention of at least five clubs.

He does have a concerning injury history, but Oakland has very little firepower in its LB corps, and Marshall, who compiled 102 tackles and three sacks in 2017, would represent an immediate upgrade if he can stay healthy.

Vontaze Burfict would also represent an upgrade, and the Raiders, never a club to shy away from controversial players and big personalities, may also may be interested in the recently-released linebacker, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The Bengals cut Burfict today after a seven-year run that included one Pro Bowl berth and a whole host of fines and suspensions, and though he may have lost a step or two, there is clearly a need for someone of his ability in Oakland.

In addition to their interest in Marshall and their potential interest in Burfict, the Raiders have also hosted Manti Te’o and Aaron Lynch, as Rapoport observes. Te’o, who just finished a two-year pact that he signed with the Saints in 2017, saw action in just five contests (two starts) last year, compiling 18 total tackles, but he did start 11 games in 2017 and played reasonably well. Plus, he is still only 28, and he would likely welcome a chance to sign with the Raiders given the playing time that might be available for him.

Unlike Burfict and Te’o, Lynch is an edge defender who can line up at DE or OLB. He was in for about 1/3 of the Bears’ defensive snaps in 2018, and he recorded three sacks in his 13 games played (three starts). The Raiders need someone who can get after the quarterback, and Lynch did post 12.5 sacks over his first two years in the league with the 49ers. At 26, he could be a low-risk, high-reward acquisition.