Brian Allen

Panthers To Sign OL Austin Corbett

7:32pm: The Panthers have agreed to terms with Corbett, Jeff Howe of The Athletic reports. Carolina lands a guard with 40 starts’ worth of experience. Corbett agreed to a three-year contract worth $29.25MM, per Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). The deal contains $13.6MM in guaranteed money, per ProFootballNetwork.com’s Aaron Wilson (on Twitter). The first two years of his deal are fully guaranteed.

6:49pm: The Rams reached agreements to retain center Brian Allen and swing tackle Joseph Noteboom, but they may be ready to see their other free agent offensive lineman of note depart.

Austin Corbett is close to an agreement with the Panthers, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. Carolina has multiple needs up front, one of those being at guard.

After a midseason trade in 2019, the former Browns second-round pick became a regular Rams starter. Corbett started every game for the past two Rams squads, including all 21 during the team’s Super Bowl-winning campaign. Operating as Los Angeles’ right guard, Corbett provided some stability at that spot as the Rams transitioned to Matthew Stafford under center and used three primary running backs last season. PFF assigned Corbett a 69.6 regular-season grade, which ranked tops among the Rams’ guards.

Carolina struggled consistently at guard, deploying John Miller (52.1) and Michael Jordan (50.8) as their primary first-stringers last season. While the Panthers encountered steady quarterback issues, their O-line did not do this collection of passers many favors.

The Panthers saw Pat Elflein play just nine games last season, though they restructured the would-be starter. Elflein-Corbett would likely be the team’s direction at guard, should the latter end up finalizing this agreement.

Rams To Re-Sign Brian Allen

Another one of this year’s top free agent centers is staying put. The Rams are bringing back Brian Allen on a three-year, $24MM contract (Twitter link via ESPN’s Adam Schefter).

[RELATED: Rams To Re-Sign Joe Noteboom]

Allen, 26, took over as the full-time starting center in 2019. An MCL injury cut that year short, however, and kept him sidelined for the entire 2020 season. This year, he returned healthy enough to start in all 16 games he played in.

Despite allowing five sacks in just over 900 snaps, PFF viewed Allen favorably. He earned a grade of 80.2, making him one of the top options on the center market, even before the recent re-signings of Ryan Jensen and Ben Jones. It made him a strong candidate to re-up with the team, despite their limited cap space.

With this signing – along with that of presumed new starting left tackle Joe Noteboom – there will be a good deal of continuity along the Rams’ offensive line. That will be significant, as the team tries to keep as many pieces of their Super Bowl-winning roster as possible. The most notable of those on offense, of course, remains Odell Beckham Jr.

With Jensen, Jones and now Allen no longer options for outside teams, even more attention will turn to Bradley Bozeman. After one season at his more comfortable center position, his play in Baltimore may very well have earned him a lucrative second contract. Los Angeles, which could have been a suitor for him had Allen departed, will now move forward with their in-house option.

Latest On Rams’ Pending Free Agents

If the Rams hope to repeat as Super Bowl champions, they face a number of key decisions in the coming days. They have money still to be shed, but a number of free agents left to re-sign. 

The biggest names amongst said free agents are Von Miller and Odell Beckham Jr. The former made an impact on the Rams’ defense after being traded for mid-season. He registered five sacks in eight regular season games in L.A., adding another four in the playoffs. The 32-year-old earned himself a hefty payday, regardless of where he ends up.

According to Jordan Rodrigue of The Athletic (subscription required), the Rams may be able to keep both in the fold. She writes that the team is “confident” their offer to Miller “will be enough to convince him to stay”. She adds that said proposal is thought to be worth between $14MM and $16MM per year over a span of “perhaps” two years, though that salary figure “doesn’t seem to have a hard ceiling”. The three-time All Pro has expressed an interest in staying, but he also plans to at least test the open market, which could very well include a return to Denver.

As for Beckham, Rodrigue notes that the team is staying flexible with respect to contract offers, though it does seem inevitable he will remain there, as was previously reported. She names center Brian Allen as one more significant pending free agent the Rams could try to find the money to retain.

On the other hand, there are noteworthy players who seemed destined to land deals elsewhere, in no small part as a result of the team’s preference to keep Miller and Beckham. Among those Rodrigue predicts will find new homes is defensive tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day. The 26-year-old played a career-high 69% of snaps this year, notching three sacks. Another is cornerback Darious Williams, whom she reports could land a deal valued at upwards of $10MM per season despite a down year in 2021.

Projected to be more than $20MM over the cap at this point, the Rams clearly have work to do. If all goes according to plan, however, they could still field one of the most talented teams in the NFL next year.

Minor NFL Transactions: 1/8/22

Here are Saturday’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Browns’ Baker Mayfield, Case Keenum Ruled Out

Baker Mayfield and Case Keenum weren’t able to test out of the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols in time for today’s game (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero). With that, Nick Mullens is set to start for the Browns against the Raiders today.

[RELATED: Raiders-Browns Moved To Monday]

The Browns were able to activate safety John Johnson III from the list, but the bulk of their COVID-19 positive players from last week will be held out. To fill the roster, the Browns have elevated cornerbacks Brian Allen and Herb Miller, safeties Tedric Thompson and Jovante Moffatt, defensive end Joe Jackson, guard Hjalte Froholdt, and running back John Kelly for tonight’s game.

Without their top two QBs, the Browns will need a big day out of their running backs. Unfortunately, that group won’t include Kareem Hunt, who also finds himself on the COVID-19 list. Instead, they’ll look to Nick Chubb, who has 5.5 yards per carry on the year, and D’Ernest Johnson, the reserve who turned in a couple of impressive performances earlier this year.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 12/16/21

Today’s taxi squad moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Houston Texans

  • Placed on COVID-19 list: DB Cre’von LeBlanc

Indianapolis Colts

Los Angeles Rams

New York Giants

New York Jets

Rams Shuffle Offensive Line

Rams HC Sean McVay did not play most of his projected starters in last night’s preseason tilt against the Chargers, but when his starters do take the field for live action, there will be a notable shakeup on the O-line. Earlier this week, Austin Corbett — who took almost all first-team reps at center during the spring — was shifted to right guard, and Brian Allen was inserted at the pivot, as Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic writes.

Allen served as the Rams’ starting center for nine games in 2019 before an MCL injury ended his season prematurely. He spent all of last season recovering, and Austin Blythe took over the center position. But Blythe signed with the Chiefs in March, so Los Angeles moved Corbett, 2020’s right guard, to center for spring practices. He stayed there throughout the early stages of training camp, but Allen has done enough to show that he can be trusted as QB Matthew Stafford’s snapper.

Because Corbett offers more size than Allen, whose body type lends itself more to the wide-zone concepts than the gap-power looks that McVay started to favor with RB Cam Akers, it was believed that Corbett might be the better option at center for the Rams’ offense. But McVay thinks Allen will allow the team to do everything it wants to do in the run game (especially now that Akers has been lost for the season due to a torn Achilles).

“We’ll be able to do the same things,” McVay said. If you look at Brian Allen, he looks physically impressive. He’s strong, he’s sturdy. You can see all of the work that he has really put in. I think you can see that he’s feeling really good being another year removed from that knee injury.” 

Corbett’s move to right guard could put Bobby Evans on the bubble. Evans did play extensively in last night’s game — which clearly suggests he has fallen down the depth chart — and he struggled. He entered the spring as the projected starter at RG, but one wonders if he will even make the final roster at this point.

West Notes: Carr, Broncos, Rams, 49ers

Derek Carr left Thursday night’s AFC West matchup early because of what Jon Gruden called a “significant” groin injury. The veteran Raiders quarterback’s rest-of-season status can be considered in doubt. Carr is facing a 10- to 14-day return timetable, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes. This puts his availability for next week’s pivotal Dolphins game in question, though Rapoport adds Carr will push to return for what could be an elimination game against another fringe AFC contender. Carr has not missed a game due to injury since 2017. The former MVP vote-receiving passer has only missed two regular-season games in seven years. Marcus Mariota played well in relief of Carr on Thursday, and Carr’s status going into next weekend stands to give the Dolphins some extra work due to the differences in the Raiders QBs’ skill sets.

Here is the latest from the West divisions, moving first to another team’s quarterback situation.

  • Drew Lock has shown some potential as a long-term answer this season — including last week in Charlotte — but ranks 28th in QBR and has thrown 13 INTs in 10 games. The Broncos sat out this year’s veteran QB market, but Troy Renck of Denver7 notes the team is likely to bring in a veteran to compete with Lock (or potentially replace him) next year. A similar batch of vets — Andy Dalton, Cam Newton, Jameis Winston — on track to be available again would qualify as competition, and the Broncos were also high on Sam Darnold in 2018. A trade for Matthew Stafford, a scenario Renck mentions, would be to replace Lock. The Broncos have used four different Week 1 starting QBs since Peyton Manning‘s retirement, moving from Trevor Siemian to Case Keenum to Joe Flacco to Lock.
  • Sean McVay is not ruling out an Andrew Whitworth regular-season return, and it sounds like the Rams having their left tackle back for the playoffs is realistic. “Andrew is doing great,” McVay said. “He continues to amaze me. He’s somebody we could potentially really push to have him play whether it’s the (Week 17) Cardinals game or next week. If we’re fortunate enough to get an opportunity to play after the regular season, I think that’s the goal, but nothing’s guaranteed for us.” Whitworth suffered MCL and PCL tears Nov. 15 but was believed to be ahead of schedule on his recovery timetable.
  • A Rams positive COVID-19 test resulted in offensive lineman Bobby Evans and safety Nick Scott landing on the reserve/COVID list; they will miss Week 15, McVay said (via ESPN.com’s Lindsey Thiry, Twitter links). The Rams also held starting center Brian Allen and rotational pass rushers Justin Hollins and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo out of practice Friday, though McVay expects the latter trio to play Sunday.
  • The 49ers‘ Arizona arrangement will extend through season’s end. Santa Clara county extended COVID-19 restrictions that have prevented the 49ers from playing at Levi’s Stadium, but the Cardinals will permit their division rival to use the stadium for their Week 17 game against the Seahawks, Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com notes. The 49ers will also be in Glendale next week but will do so as the road team against the Cardinals.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 11/3/20

Today’s practice squad moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Cincinnati Bengals

Green Bay Packers

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Seattle Seahawks