Bradley Bozeman

Panthers, C Bradley Bozeman Have Mutual Interest In New Deal

The Panthers signed Bradley Bozeman to a modest one-year, $2.8MM contract last offseason, which was something of a surprise given that the Alabama product was coming off a productive season as the Ravens’ full-time starter at center and seemed primed for a more robust market. After an uncertain start to his Carolina tenure, however, both player and team are interested in continuing their relationship, as David Newton of ESPN.com tweets.

Bozeman and Pat Elflein battled for the Panthers’ starting center gig last summer, and the ankle injury that Bozeman suffered in August gave Elflein a leg up in that competition. Indeed, Elflein started the first six games of the 2022 season at the pivot while Bozeman saw only a handful of special teams snap in each of those contests. Elflein was then forced to undergo season-ending hip surgery, which opened the door for Bozeman to take over.

Bozeman played in every offensive snap for the Panthers over the final 11 games of the campaign, and his mauling style of play certainly helped a rushing attack that finished 10th in the league in yards per game despite losing Christian McCaffrey in advance of the trade deadline. Bozeman’s advanced metrics were unspectacular, though, as Pro Football Focus considered him the 20th-best center in the game out of 38 qualified players, and his 63.1 overall grade represented a step back after a strong 73.6 mark in his final season in Baltimore.

Still, the 28-year-old blocker has proven that he is at least a competent starter, with the potential to be more. He also has the ability to play guard at a passable level, which is not insignificant in light of Brady Christensen‘s so-so season at LG.

Elflein — who also has guard experience but who has never been a world-beater — could become a cap casualty (though that is simply speculation at this point). He is under club control through 2023, but the Panthers would realize $4.2MM of cap savings if they were to release him this offseason, money that could certainly go towards a second Bozeman contract.

Panthers C Pat Elflein Expected To Miss Rest Of Season

It sounds like Pat Elflein‘s season has come to an end. The Panthers center is set to undergo season-ending hip surgery, coach Steve Wilks told reporters today (via Darin Gantt of NBC Sports on Twitter).

Elflein landed on injured reserve on Saturday. The veteran had reportedly been dealing with a hip injury that forced him to miss practice time leading up to Week 7. The IR stint meant the offensive lineman would have been sidelined until at least Week 11, but the veteran will ultimately miss the rest of the season.

The center started 42 of his first 43 NFL games with the Vikings between 2017 and 2019. After splitting the 2020 campaign with the Vikings and Jets, he joined the Panthers on a three-year, $13.5MM deal. He was limited to nine starts during his first season with the Panthers thanks to a hamstring injury that knocked him out for a few months. After Pro Football Focus graded him towards the bottom of the center position in 2021, Elflein ranked 21st among 37 qualifiers in six starts this year.

Bradley Bozeman will likely take over in the starting lineup for the Panthers. The offensive lineman started 48 games for the Ravens between 2019 and 2021, but he’s been limited to a backup role during his first season in Carolina, starting only one of his seven appearances.

NFL Preseason Rumors: Workout, Injuries

The Texans released defensive end Jordan Jenkins this week and there will likely be plenty of interest in the six-year veteran as rosters start to come together. The first bite on the line came rather quickly as Jenkins went to Las Vegas to work out with the Raiders today, according to Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network.

Jenkins was a five-year starter for the Jets after being selected in the third-round of the 2016 NFL Draft. It took some time for Jenkins to find his footing, but he exploded onto the scene over the 2018 & 2019 seasons. After only recording 5.5 sacks, 7.0 tackles for loss, and 12 quarterback hits in his first two seasons, Jenkins broke out with 15.0 sacks, 15.0 tackles for loss, and 28 quarterback hits over the next two years. Jenkins also has a tendency for causing turnovers over his career with seven forced fumbles and five recoveries to date.

The Raiders are strong atop the depth chart with Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones starting and Clelin Ferrell coming off the bench. The depth behind those three, though, could be significantly improved if they can add the best version of Jenkins. Jenkins didn’t start any games for the Texans last year and struggled with injuries during his final year in New York. But if he can bounce back to his 2018-19 form, Jenkins and the Raiders might be a perfect match.

Here are a couple of updates surrounding some injuries from around the NFL this preseason:

  • Panthers center Bradley Bozeman suffered an ankle injury in practice yesterday and may lose out on the starting job because of it. After starting the last three years on Baltimore’s offensive line (the first two at left guard and the third at center), Bozeman was brought in to compete with Pat Elflein for the starting center job in Carolina. It seems he’ll lose some ground in that battle as head coach Matt Rhule announced that Bozeman will likely be out two to three weeks because of the injury, according to Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus.
  • Texans cornerback Tavierre Thomas is out indefinitely after suffering a pulled quadriceps muscle, according to a tweet from Wilson. Thomas started eight games last year for the Texans after coming over from Cleveland. The former special teams ace has begun to carve out a role in the secondary during his time in Houston. When given the opportunity last year, Thomas recorded his first two interceptions, one returned for a touchdown, and four passes defensed.
  • A promising rookie season for Colts’ sixth-round pick Andrew Ogletree ended today before it could even begin after the tight end tore his ACL at practice, according to the Indy Star’s Joel A. Erickson. The 24-year-old out of Youngstown State impressed in camp this summer and was hoping to compete for the backup tight end job behind Mo Alie-Cox.

Contract Details: Watson, Adams, Stafford, Jones, Maye, Reed, Joseph-Day, Bozeman

Here are the latest details from contracts recently agreed to across the league, starting with the Browns’ fully guaranteed deal for their new quarterback.

  • Deshaun Watson, QB (Browns): Five years, fully guaranteed $230MM. Everything else about Watson’s Cleveland arrival is complicated; his contract is not. Following the 2022 season, in which the Browns reduced his salary to $1MM due to the likely forthcoming suspension, Watson is set to make $46MM in base salary from 2023-26, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes.
  • Matthew Stafford, QB (Rams): Four years, $160MM. The Rams are keeping Stafford’s base salaries down in the near future; they reside at $1.5MM for both 2022 and ’23, per OverTheCap. The team gave its quarterback a $60MM signing bonus, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. There are no void years on this deal, which includes $49.5MM, $50.5MM and $49.5MM cap numbers from 2024-26.
  • Davante Adams, WR (Raiders): Five years, $140MM. Adams’ deal surpasses DeAndre Hopkins‘ $27MM-per-year pact, but it is essentially a three-year, $67.5MM accord, Florio notes. Only $22.75MM is guaranteed at signing, but by early 2023, $42.9MM in injury guarantees shift to full guarantees. The Raiders have Adams tied to a $3.5MM 2022 base salary, helping for cap purposes, with a $20MM roster bonus representing part of that $42.9MM guarantee in 2023. Adams’ 2023 salary is set to be $6MM. His 2025 and ’26 salaries — $35.6MM apiece — are nonguaranteed.
  • Chandler Jones, OLB (Raiders): Three years, $51MM. The Raiders guaranteed Jones $32MM, with SI.com’s Howard Balzer noting the deal includes an $8.5MM roster bonus (Twitter link). The Raiders, who have Jones tied to base salaries of $4MM in 2022 and $7.5MM in 2023, tacked on two void years for cap purposes.
  • D.J. Reed, CB (Jets): Three years, $33MM. Reed collected $10.5MM guaranteed at signing and will count just $4.6MM against the Jets’ cap this year, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com tweets. Reed is set to count $14.2MM against the Jets’ 2023 and ’24 caps.
  • Marcus Maye, S (Saints): Three years, $22.5MM. Originally reported as three years and $28.5MM, Maye’s deal does include $14.5MM guaranteed, per Spotrac (on Twitter). Maye’s 2022 cap hit is just $2.6MM, and the Saints included two void years. Maye’s cap hits for 2023 and ’24 are $8.6MM and $8.7MM, respectively.
  • Sebastian Joseph-Day, DT (Chargers). Three years, $24MM. Joseph-Day will receive $16.5MM guaranteed, which is up from initial reporting here. His 2022 and ’23 base salaries — $2.5MM and $6.5MM — are guaranteed, Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com tweets.
  • Bradley Bozeman, OL (Panthers): One year, $2.8MM. Bozeman will receive a $1MM signing bonus and a $1MM base salary, Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com tweets.

Panthers Sign C Bradley Bozeman

The Panthers continued to remodel their interior offensive line Friday. They agreed to a one-year deal with Bradley Bozeman. The team has announced the move.

A three-year starter with the Ravens, Bozeman has experience at both guard and center. The former sixth-round pick was part of each offensive line of Baltimore’s full-fledged Lamar Jackson era, being a full-time starter from 2019-21. Bozeman joins guard Austin Corbett as new additions for Carolina up front.

Bozeman, 27, brings experience and durability. The Alabama alum has missed just one start over the past three seasons. He entered free agency as one of the top centers available. The Panthers now have two highly flexible interior O-linemen, with ex-center Pat Elflein still in the fold at guard as well.

At one point, the Ravens eyed an extension for Bozeman. The Bengals also had the veteran inside blocker on their radar this offseason, before opting to add other interior players. Bozeman could well be tabbed to take over for Matt Paradis, the Panthers’ center of the past three seasons. Paradis is a free agent.

Bengals Eyeing C Bradley Bozeman In Free Agency?

It’s no secret that the Bengals will be aiming to upgrade their offensive line this offseason. It appears one of their targets could be Ravens center Bradley Bozeman, according to Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network (Twitter link). 

[Related: Jessie Bates Looking To Avoid Franchise Tag]

Wilson notes that Cincinnati is one of “multiple NFL teams” that could be in competition for Bozeman if he reaches the open market. The 27-year-old’s rookie deal is set to expire in March, which has him well positioned to cash in this offseason.

A two-time national champion with Alabama, Bozeman was a sixth-round pick of the Ravens in 2018. He established himself as a full-time starter in 2019, the first of two straight campaigns occupying the left guard spot. He shifted to his natural center position this past year, and delivered the best play of his career to date. In 16 games, he committed one penalty and surrendered three sacks according to PFF, which assigned him an overall grade of 73.3.

The Bengals ranked third in the league with 55 sacks allowed; while the Ravens were actually one of the two teams above them on that list, Bozeman could still represent a consistent presence along the interior. Current Bengals starter Trey Hopkins is 30, and has one year remaining on his current contract with a scheduled cap hit of $7.1MM. Releasing him would save Cincinnati just under $6MM, clearing up room to go after Bozeman, or perhaps fellow center Ryan Jensen.

While Bozeman isn’t likely to command the type of contract that Jensen will, he is younger and should have plenty of free agent suitors. The Ravens, for their part, have expressed a desire to re-sign him, as part of their general aim to bolster the offensive front. They are facing a tight salary cap situation, tough, and also have fellow 2018 draftee DeShon Elliott to re-sign, not to mention a long-term deal to be worked out with quarterback Lamar Jackson.

AFC North Rumors: Ravens, Jackson, Browns, Steelers

Ravens’ general manager Eric DeCosta‘s end-of-season press conference touched on a number of subjects, including the contract extension negotiations with star quarterback Lamar Jackson. While The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec does note that head coach John Harbaugh and DeCosta make it seem as if the deal is imminent, it isn’t guaranteed that Jackson signs an extension before the start of the 2022 NFL season.

“I would say that we’re working at Lamar’s pace. He’s comfortable with where we are right now,” DeCosta stated. He did call negotiations “unusual” with Jackson essentially acting as his own agent. There doesn’t seem to be any rush to get a deal done, though. DeCosta acknowledged that the Ravens are fine with Jackson playing on his fifth-year option, and Jackson seems more focused on the team’s unfinished business after being the AFC’s number one-seed in 2020 but failing to make it to a Super Bowl yet.

Here are a few more notes on the AFC North, starting with another item out of Charm City:

  • DeCosta spoke a bit, as well, about the team’s plan to focus on offensive line this offseason. One of the things that they fear they’ll need to address is the free agency of center Bradley Bozeman. Bozeman moved from guard to center after Matt Skura signed with the Dolphins in free agency last year, and they’re afraid Bozeman’s play has priced him out of Maryland. Baltimore saw Ryan Jensen leave to become the highest paid center in football in 2018, so they’re certainly used to replacing centers. They currently have utility lineman Patrick Mekari, who has started games at all three offensive line positions throughout his young Ravens’ career, and who signed an extension late in the season.
  • Odell Beckham Jr. and Von Miller became close friends as they rehabbed together in Colorado Springs last offseason, dreaming about eventually playing together. According to George M. Thomas of the Akron Beacon Journal, Beckham made it clear that if they were to make it a reality, it couldn’t be in orange and brown. Miller informed Thomas that Beckham told him straight up, “Don’t come to Cleveland.” In the end, Miller was traded to the Rams and, following a nasty separation from the Browns, Beckham signed to join him in Los Angeles. The pair are now set to play in Super Bowl LVI against a team Beckham knows all too well from his time in the AFC North.
  • With longtime quarterback Ben Roethlisberger retiring last week, head coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert represented Pittsburgh at Senior Bowl practices this week. Despite the quarterback group leaving much to be desired through some injury concerns and bad weather, Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus reports that buzz around the event is that the Steelers like Liberty quarterback Malik Willis. Willis has shown the best combination of athleticism and arm strength at practices this week and a source informed Kyed that he’s impressed in interviews, as well. The Steelers currently hold the 20th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft and could easily see Willis fall to them, as he’s been seen as a borderline first round pick since declaring. They could also risk potentially missing out on him and trade back later in the first round or early in the second and try to maximize need and value.

Ravens Hope To Extend Bradley Bozeman, Patrick Ricard

The Ravens are looking to extend the contracts of center Bradley Bozeman and fullback/tight end Patrick Ricard, according to league sources who spoke with Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com. However, they’ve yet to make real progress on either front. 

[RELATED: Ravens’ Jackson Out For Week 11]

The Ravens want to keep both players, but they’re up against a tight cap situation already with less than $900K in room, according to Over The Cap. Meanwhile, they also have to prioritize Lamar Jackson‘s next contract. Reportedly, the star quarterback wants something in the range Patrick Mahomes‘ $45MM/year deal with the Chiefs. The Ravens can probably shave a few million off of that total — without matching KC’s ten-year commitment to Mahomes — but it’ll be a whopper of a contract no matter what.

The Ravens could consider the transition tag for Bozeman, but he’d be lumped in with the league’s highest paid tackles with the offensive lineman designation. That’d mean a ~$15M salary for next year, which is outsized even for this year’s No. 9 ranked center (per Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics). The same goes for Ricard — whether he’s classified as a tight end or a running back, the ~$10MM transition tag would be far too pricey, despite his blocking ability. For now, he’s playing out the remainder of his two-year, $7.3MM pact.

Bozeman, who turns 27 later this week, could probably garner upwards of $10MM/year on the open market. For reference, there are are currently eight centers in the eight-figure per annum club: Frank Ragnow (Lions), Corey Linsley (Chargers), Ryan Kelly (Colts), J.C. Tretter (Browns), Ryan Jensen (Buccaneers), Brandon Linder (Jaguars), Chase Roullier (Washington), and Rodney Hudson (Cardinals).

AFC Notes: Simmons, Newton, Ravens

Broncos safety Justin Simmons has still not signed his franchise tender, and like most players seeking new contracts, Simmons’ negotiations have been impacted in a big way by the pandemic. As a result, Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post believes Simmons is more likely to play out the 2020 campaign on his $12.7MM tender than land a multi-year pact. The one caveat to that would be if Simmons is willing to give Denver a hometown discount, but there have been no real indications that he is willing to do so.

However, O’Halloran does not expect the process to be an ugly one, and he fully believes Simmons will sign his tender and report to camp if there is no new deal in place by the July 15 deadline.

Let’s take a quick trip around the AFC:

  • Much has been made of the minimal guarantee and base salary that 2015 MVP Cam Newton stands to earn under his new one-year pact with the Patriots. 49ers CB Richard Sherman took to Twitter to express his outrage over the deal, calling it “disgusting” that a player like Newton would have to settle for such chump change (and ignoring the myriad injury concerns that led to the contract). But Newton himself, in his first public comments about the financial details (via Instagram), said simply “[t]his is not about money for me. It’s about respect.” A productive season in Foxborough would lead to Newton’s market rebounding in a big way in 2021, though the Pats may be inclined to use the franchise tag on him if that happens.
  • The Ravens lost future Hall-of-Fame RG Marshal Yanda to retirement this offseason, and though the club has a number of young players who could replace him, the pandemic will likely give veterans a leg up over less experienced talents. As such, Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic expects D.J. Fluker to win the starting right guard gig, while 2019 left guard Bradley Bozeman is the clear favorite to reprise his role in 2020.
  • In the same piece linked above, Zrebiec notes that the Ravens, who recently cut veteran LB Jake Ryan, did so because both sides realized that Ryan — who has only played in two games since 2017 — still wasn’t healthy and wouldn’t have enough time to get healthy and learn the team’s defense.
  • In case you missed it, Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue may be prepared to sit out the entire 2020 season if he does not get traded.

Ravens Sign 8 Draft Picks

Of the 12 draft choices the Ravens made this year, eight are now under contract. The Ravens signed the final eight of their 2018 draft picks on Saturday. Here’s the full rundown:

Baltimore’s unsigned contingent consists of Hayden Hurst, Lamar Jackson, Orlando Brown and Mark Andrews.

Scott and Lasley made it a four-pass-catcher draft for the Ravens, who used first- and third-round picks on tight ends. The Ravens have overhauled their receiving corps this offseason, cutting Jeremy Maclin, letting Mike Wallace depart in free agency and signing John Brown, Michael Crabtree and Willie Snead.

Averett and Elliott will attempt to carve out positions in Baltimore’s secondary, while Sieler becomes the third Division II front-seven piece on the Ravens’ roster, joining Brandon Williams and Matt Judon.