A’Shawn Robinson

NFC West Notes: Rams, Hopkins, Seahawks

Coming off disappointing seasons, the Cardinals and Rams may be looking to make high-profile cost cuts. DeAndre Hopkins and Jalen Ramsey may well be available in trades, with the Washington Post’s Jason La Canfora noting deals involving the two former All-Pros will come down to “when” and they are moved and not “if.” Both Ramsey and Hopkins have already been traded, each moving from the AFC South to the NFC West — Ramsey in 2019 and Hopkins in 2020. Although Ramsey required two first-round picks to be pried from Jacksonville, La Canfora adds neither player should be expected to bring in the kind of haul fans would anticipate.

Both talents are signed to lucrative extensions. Ramsey’s five-year, $100MM deal (which set the cornerback market in 2020) runs through 2025. Hopkins’ $27.25MM contract runs through 2024. Ramsey, 28, should be expected to command more in a trade compared to Hopkins, 30. Coming off a suspension- and injury-limited 2022, latter has been rumored to be a possible trade chip. Several teams called the Cardinals on Hopkins at the deadline. Ramsey, however, has been a dependable piece in L.A. His exit would leave the Rams vulnerable at corner, considering they have rotated low-cost pieces around Ramsey at the position for years.

A Ramsey trade before June 1 is not especially palatable for the Rams, who are again projected to enter the offseason over the cap. Dealing the All-Pro talent after that date, however, would save the team $17MM. The Rams having not restructured Ramsey’s deal makes a trade something to monitor, The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue notes (subscription required). Here is the latest from the NFC West:

  • This season’s Rams staff did not particularly appeal to Sean McVay by season’s end, Peter King of NBC Sports notes. Upon returning, McVay is expected to make staff changes. This may have been behind the Rams’ call to allow their position coaches to interview for other jobs without the threat of blocking the meeting. Whatever the reason, the Rams’ staff should look different in 2023. McVay also likely has a bit of regret of not taking a major TV job last year, per King, who adds no top-level gig was on the table for the six-year Rams HC this year.
  • The Rams will attempt to extend one of their UFA-to-be D-line starters (A’Shawn Robinson and Greg Gaines), Rodrigue adds, but probably will not keep both. A former sixth-round pick who has started for the past two seasons, Gaines appears likelier — per Rodrigue — to be the team’s higher priority. Robinson’s expected market value could price out the Rams, who have Aaron Donald making a cool $10MM more than any other interior D-lineman.
  • Jamal Adams, who suffered a torn quad tendon in Week 1, remains without a timetable, Pete Carroll said this week. Jordyn Brooks‘ ACL surgery is scheduled for Friday. The late-season ACL tear will make top Seahawks tackler a candidate to begin next season on the PUP list. Surgery could be in the cards for tight end Will Dissly, but he will first attempt to rehab his knee injury without a procedure (Twitter links via the Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta).
  • Despite issues in the first season under DC Clint Hurtt, the Seahawks are planning neither staff changes nor a move back to a 4-3 defense, Carroll said. Seattle, which brought in Hurtt and ex-Bears DC Sean Desai to install a Vic Fangio-style scheme, finished outside the top 20 in yards, points and DVOA this season.
  • The second-team All-Pro nod 49ers special-teamer George Odum received will increase his 2023 base salary by $250K, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Odum, who signed with the 49ers in 2022 after a Colts tenure, will also collect a $250K incentive for the All-Pro nod. Odum led the league with 21 special teams tackles. Attached to a three-year deal worth $5.7MM, Odum has become one of the NFL’s best special-teamers. He earned first-team All-Pro acclaim in 2020.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/26/22

The league’s minor moves and standard gameday elevations for Week 12:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

New York Jets

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

Injury Updates: Williams, Toney, Robinson

Injuries continue to plague wide receiver Mike Williams and the Chargers this 2022 season. After making his way back from a three-week absence, during which he missed two games, Williams left the team’s loss to the Chiefs last week after only six offensive snaps. The setback that took him out early in last week’s game will now officially keep him out for another game as Los Angeles has ruled him out for this week’s matchup against the Cardinals.

In Williams’ absence, the team will likely go with the same wide receiver mixture they did when he left last week. Keenan Allen will lead the receiving corps alongside Josh Palmer and DeAndre Carter while also getting some reserve snaps from Michael Bandy.

It was originally expected that Williams would miss four games, after the initial diagnosis of his high ankle sprain. Counting last week as an absence, this week will be his fourth missed game, hopefully giving him the rest he needs to help the Chargers make a playoff push.

Here are a few other injury updates from around the league, starting with another injured wide receiver in the AFC West:

  • Second-year receiver Kadarius Toney has been ruled out for this week’s matchup against the Rams. Toney suffered a hamstring injury in the first half of the team’s win over the Chargers last week. The former first-round pick missed seven games over his rookie season with the Giants, missing five more games due to a Week 2 injury this season before his eventual trade to the Chiefs. This will be Toney’s first missed game as a Chief, a trend that Kansas City fans will hope ends here. The good news is that the team expects JuJu Smith-Schuster to return from a concussion that held him out of last week’s game. Smith-Schuster should start alongside Marquez Valdes-Scantling with Justin Watson and Skyy Moore providing off the bench.
  • Rams starting defensive lineman A’Shawn Robinson will miss the rest of the season after suffering a torn meniscus, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. The stout run-defender had really found a home on the Rams’ line alongside Greg Gaines and Aaron Donald but Los Angeles will need to figure things out without him for the rest of the year. Marquise Copeland‘s name was called last week when Robinson left the game in New Orleans. Michael Hoecht is usually the next name off the bench while Bobby Brown III and Jonah Williams each rotate in for short periods, as well. Copeland is expected to take on Robinson’s role for the remainder of the season, though.

A’Shawn Robinson To Undergo Knee Surgery

After missing the first half of the 2020 season, A’Shawn Robinson may not start the 2021 slate on time. The Rams defensive lineman is set to miss time because of a knee surgery, Sean McVay said Thursday.

While McVay categorized this as a minor procedure, Robinson is expected to miss a few weeks. With barely two weeks remaining until the Rams’ opener, the prospect of the team needing to make an adjustment to its defensive starting lineup now enters the equation.

A backup on last season’s Rams squad, Robinson is expected to replace Michael Brockers at defensive end in this year’s Los Angeles lineup. Robinson played just 111 snaps last season, one in which he missed eight games. The sides worked out an agreement that prompted Robinson to avoid opting out due to a respiratory issue, but the former Lions starter played a minimal role upon return. The former second-round pick, however, has 37 career starts and stands to be a bigger part of this year’s Rams defense.

Los Angeles is quite light on experience behind Robinson. Among its top five backup defensive end candidates, only one — Marquise Copeland — has played an NFL game. And Copleland suited up for just one contest as a rookie. The Rams have Bobby Brown III and Earnest Brown IV as options, though both are rookies whom the team drafted on Day 3. Second-year UDFA Eric Banks did not see any action last season. Should Robinson need more recovery time, it will be interesting to see who the Rams choose to start alongside Aaron Donald and nose tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day in Week 1.

Rams Activate DT A’Shawn Robinson

Defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson could finally make his debut for the Rams this weekend. The team announced that they’ve activated the veteran to the 53-man roster.

Robinson joined the Rams this past offseason on a two-year, $17MM deal. As Mark Inabinett of AL.com explains, the 25-year-old had previously dealt with a “respiratory situation,” qualifying him as a medical opt-out amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Under that plan, Robinson could have earned $350K for the 2020 season and had his contract officially set to begin in 2021.

Instead, Robinson and the Rams agreed to a reworked deal that saw Robinson start the season on the reserve/NFI list. While the start of his two-year deal was still delayed until the 2021 campaign, Robinson will instead play the 2020 season under a deal that’s based on bonuses.

While the Rams defensive line grouping is set with Michael Brockers, Aaron Donald and Sebastian Joseph as starters, Robinson will provide the team with another depth piece (alongside Morgan Fox and Greg Gaines). Coach Sean McVay told reporters that if Robinson doesn’t play this weekend against the Dolphins, he’ll definitely return following the team’s Week 9 bye.

The 2016 second-rounder had spent the first four seasons of his career with the Lions. After starting all 16 games during the 2017 season, Robinson was limited to only 26 games (16 starts) between the 2018 and 2019 campaigns. Still, he combined for 89 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles.

Rams Make Roster Cuts

The Rams are one-upping everyone else, making a slew of roster cuts to get down to *52* players, as Adam Schefter passes along on Twitter. Presumably they’re planning on making another move imminently and not starting the year with one less player than everyone else.

Los Angeles had already made a bunch of cuts, so it’s a smaller group getting the axe now:

Deayon and Johnston have both been featured prominently on HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks’ during camp, so there will surely be some fans bummed about those cuts. Both are good bets to be back on the practice squad since Johnston was a draft pick and Deayon was on the active roster at times last year.

Perkins had plenty of electrifying moments as Virginia’s quarterback, but the UDFA apparently wasn’t ready to make it as an NFL passer. Howard and Robinson aren’t getting cut but are rather being put on IR and the non-football injury list respectively. Howard, who was supposed to play a big role on defense, will be out for the season while Robinson will have to miss at least the first six games.

Rams Sign DT A’Shawn Robinson

After losing several key defensive players, the Rams are now adding to their core. NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero reports (via Twitter) that the team is signing defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson. It’s a two-year deal worth $17MM.

The 2016 second-rounder had spent his entire career with the Lions. After starting all 16 games during the 2017 season, Robinson was limited to only 26 games (16 starts) over the past two years. Still, he combined for 89 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles.

The Rams defense will look a whole lot different in 2020. Safety Eric Weddle retired, Cory LittletonMichael Brockers, and Dante Fowler have all departed in free agency, and the team declined their option on usual slot corner Nickell Robey-Coleman. So far, the organization has added former first-rounder Leonard Floyd and re-signed Austin Blythe.

They’ve also replaced defensive coordinator Wade Phillips with Brandon Staley, so it’s safe to say that side of the ball is getting a complete makeover after Sean McVay’s dissatisfaction with the previous structure became evident.

Draft Pick Signings: Lions, Panthers, Bengals

More than 100 of the 253 draftees from this year’s class have already signed their rookie contracts, and several more are making it official with their respective teams today. Here are the latest draft pick signings from around the NFL:

  • The Lions formally announced today that they’ve signed second-round defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson, who was the 46th overall pick. Detroit had previously locked up its other nine draftees, so the team has now secured its entire 10-man draft class, becoming the third club to do so — Atlanta and Seattle have also finished signing their draft picks.
  • The Panthers have signed their third draftee, confirming today that they’ve got third-round cornerback Daryl Worley under contract. Worley’s four-year deal figures to be worth $3.123MM, with a $783K signing bonus, per Over the Cap. Carolina now needs to sign just two more draft picks, including first-round defensive tackle Vernon Butler.
  • Linebacker Nick Vigil, selected 87th overall, has formally signed his rookie contract with the Bengals, according to the team (Twitter link). Third-round picks like Vigil can sometimes take a little longer to sign, as agents and teams discuss cash flow and guaranteed money, but the Utah State product becomes the third Bengals draftee to finalize his rookie deal.

La Canfora’s Latest: Browns, Goff, Titans, Eagles

Earlier this week, we learned that a high-ranking official told Peter King of TheMMQB.com that he believes the Browns have their sights set on Jared Goff at the No. 2 overall pick, rather than fellow quarterback Carson Wentz. Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com thinks the same thing, writing today that Cleveland offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton favors Goff.

According to La Canfora, many Browns scouts prefer Wentz to Goff, so the Browns’ front office and personnel department isn’t unanimous when it comes to a QB preference. But there’s some concern about Wentz’s lack of experience against high-level opposition, and a belief that the analytics favor Goff. So if the Browns do select a signal-caller with the second overall pick, which isn’t guaranteed, La Canfora believes it will be Goff.

La Canfora’s latest piece at CBSSports.com includes plenty of other noteworthy tidbits, so let’s dive in and round them up….

  • The Titans have at least two trade offers on the table for the No. 1 overall pick that they consider “worthy starting points toward an eventual deal,” and La Canfora says rival teams expect GM Jon Robinson to eventually deal the pick. “They’ll market it up to the draft to get the best ransom they can, but they’ll move it,” said one executive for a team that has explored moving up. If the Titans do keep the first overall pick, La Canfora expects Ole Miss tackle Laremy Tunsil to be the choice.
  • The Eagles are “in love” with Ezekiel Elliott, and there’s a chance he’ll be Philadelphia’s pick at No. 8. La Canfora continues to believe the team’s interest in quarterbacks is a smokescreen, but notes that some executives think GM Howie Roseman is set on making a big splash on draft day, which could mean nabbing a QB.
  • Scouts who have talked to La Canfora uniformly prefer Clemson’s Kevin Dodd to his teammate Shaq Lawson, and like Alabama’s Jarran Reed more than A’Shawn Robinson. “I really hope there are people in this league who like Robinson more than Reed,” one top evaluator said of the Crimson Tide duo. “That just makes it easier for us.” Robinson is viewed as a player whose stock is being overstated by mock drafts, as is Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple.
  • Several teams, including the Chiefs, are very high on Louisiana Tech defensive lineman Vernon Butler, who is expected to be a first-round pick, per La Canfora.
  • La Canfora expects TCU’s Josh Doctson to be the first wide receiver to come off the board.
  • The Steelers are doing a lot of homework on cornerbacks, leading La Canfora to believe they’ll probably go in that direction in the first round.

Draft Rumors: J. Smith, Washington, Pats, Saints

If Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith gets good news on his medical re-check later this month, his chances of going in the first round of the draft will increase significantly, writes Charlie Campbell of WalterFootball.com. Campbell lists the Bengals, Chiefs, Packers, Texans and Vikings as potential landing spots for Smith, who is on the mend from a torn ACL and MCL that he suffered on New Year’s Day during the Fiesta Bowl. Prior to that catastrophic end to his college career, Smith was seen as a surefire first-rounder – and a high one at that – but his status has been in question since. February’s combine didn’t help matters for Smith, who reportedly failed multiple teams’ physicals.

More of the latest draft news:

  • Washington is bearish on a pair of prospective first-round defensive linemen from Alabama, A’Shawn Robinson and Jarran Reed, team sources told Campbell.
  • While Washington may be down on Robinson and Reed, it has a high opinion of Ohio State receiver Michael Thomas, reportedly the top wideout on its board. In addition to Washington, Thomas is drawing interest from the Cowboys, Rams and Saints, per Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (Twitter link).
  • Patriots head coach Bill Belichick worked out Maryland defensive back Sean Davis and then watched film with him Friday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter).
  • Alabama cornerback Cyrus Jones joined Davis in working out for the Patriots on Friday, a league source told Aaron Wilson of NFPost.com. The Steelers will host Jones this weekend, and he also has visits scheduled with the Bills, Ravens and Saints. He visited the Eagles earlier this week.
  • Boise State defensive end/outside linebacker Kamalei Correa will visit the 49ers and Saints in the coming days, Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.Net tweets.
  • Earlier this evening, PFR published its first mock draft of the year. Click here to read Rob DiRe’s current first-round predictions and – as a bonus – his take on New England’s back-to-back second-rounders.