CeeDee Lamb

WR Notes: Hilton, Watkins, Lamb, Tolbert

The Colts have made a number of noteworthy additions on both sides of the ball this offseason, once again leading to optimism that they will field one of the AFC’s most talented and balanced rosters. However, the wide receiver position remains one surrounded by question marks, as it has for several seasons.

Outside of Michael Pittman Jr., Indianapolis lacks proven pass-catchers. The addition of second-rounder Alec Pierce in particular represents cause for optimism that the unit will have more upside with Matt Ryan at the helm, but a veteran addition could still be in the cards. Especially if the likes of Parris Campbell and Ashton Dulin are unable to stay on the field and produce as effective complimentary wideouts at a minimum, an experienced option could be required.

If the team were to make a move, they would “likely” turn to T.Y. Hilton, as noted by Zak Keefer of The Athletic (subscription required). The 32-year-old has always been the most logical candidate to sign with the Colts, given his long history with the franchise. The door has remained open to a second straight one-year reunion between the two sides, but other receiver-needy teams could also consider him in the weeks leading up to the regular season.

Here are a couple of other WR notes from around the league:

  • Much has been made this offseason about how the Packers have re-worked their receiver room. The addition of three rookies during the draft (Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs and Samori Toure) could create a bit of a logjam at the position for veterans lower down the depth chart. That could leave Sammy Watkins on the roster bubble, as noted by ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. The 29-year-old signed a one-year deal with Green Bay looking to fill the void left by Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, but, especially if the team opts to sign another wideout, he could find himself back on the open market shortly before the season begins.
  • Another team which traded away a notable wideout this spring was the Cowboys. The absence of Amari Cooper will vault CeeDee Lamb to the role of undisputed No. 1, which could affect his special teams responsibilities. Per Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News, Lamb (who has led the team in punt returns in each of his first two seasons in the NFL) could cede those duties to another wideout. Cedrick Wilson handled the second-most punts last year, but his free agent departure leaves the top spot open to competition. So far, third round rookie Jalen Tolbert has seen the most action as a return man in practice, and could be the favorite to win the job full-time. Head coach Mike McCarthy said “he seems pretty natural back there,” so it will be worth watching come training camp to see if he can permanently win the spot.

NFC East Notes: Giants, Eagles, Lamb

The Giants‘ long-rumored James Bradberry separation leaves them thin at the cornerback position. Although Big Blue should not be ruled out of a veteran addition here, the team is turning to one of its holdovers to fill Bradberry’s spot. Aaron Robinson, a 2021 third-round pick, is the early favorite to start on the outside opposite Adoree’ Jackson, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY notes. A 2021 third-round pick out of Central Florida (by way of Alabama), Robinson played in just nine games last season and made two starts. Despite beginning the season on the PUP list due to an offseason core surgery, Robinson played 243 defensive snaps as a rookie. The Giants also have 2021 slot corner Darnay Holmes as a possible outside option in Don Martindale‘s defense, per Vacchiano, with third-round rookie Cor’Dale Flott competing with Holmes for the slot gig.

If the Giants are to pursue vets, many are available. Kevin King, Xavier Rhodes, Joe Haden and Trae Waynes remain free agents, as does ex-Martindale Ravens charge Jimmy Smith, though he has battled injuries and is going into what would be his age-34 season. Here is the latest from around the NFC East:

  • New York did make a replacement effort at tight end, after losing Evan Engram to Jacksonville. Ex-Texan Jordan Akins is a Giant, and Ricky Seals-Jones remains rostered. But fourth-round rookie Daniel Bellinger resides as a candidate to usurp both on the depth chart, Vacchiano adds. Bellinger, who played collegiately at Georgia, has taken first-team reps during OTAs. The 6-foot-6 pass catcher was a three-year Bulldogs contributor, though he only topped 350 receiving yards once (357 in 2021, a two-touchdown season).
  • Ex-Bellinger Bulldogs teammate Nakobe Dean entered the draft with more fanfare, though he nearly joined Bellinger as a Day 3 pick. The Eagles stopped the acclaimed linebacker’s freefall at No. 83 overall, doing so in part because they were high on his football IQ during the pre-draft process. In working at both the middle and weakside spots, Dean has a chance to carve out a significant role as a rookie, per NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Reuben Frank. This could mean Dean ascends to a three-down role as a rookie. The Eagles signed ex-Charger Kyzir White but nontendered 2021 regular Alex Singleton as an RFA. T.J. Edwards, however, has been a starter for the past two seasons. It will be interesting to see where Dean is once the Eagles convene for training camp.
  • Isaac Seumalo is involved in a rather high-stakes offseason. The injury-prone guard looms as a cut candidate, but he remains an option to be a Week 1 starter. This is by design, with Frank adding the veteran blocker will either be the Eagles’ right guard starter or be released. This appears a test to see if Seumalo (21 missed games since 2020) can still show the form that prompted the Eagles to give him a three-year, $17.6MM extension in 2019. Now that we are into June, a Seumalo release would create more than $5MM in cap space.
  • CeeDee Lamb has both bulked up and, strangely, grown a half-inch this offseason. The 23-year-old Cowboys wide receiver has gained 10 pounds and said he grew to 6-foot-2 1/2, Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News notes. With Jerry Jones calling Lamb a superior No. 1 option to the since-traded Amari Cooper, and Michael Gallup unlikely to be ready for Week 1, Lamb will have plenty on his shoulders to start the season.

Cowboys Re-Sign WR Michael Gallup

The Cowboys will avoid letting wide receiver Michael Gallup hit the free agent market after to a five-year, $57.5MM deal, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (on Twitter). After trading away Amari Cooper earlier this week, this moves cements that Dallas’s other three top pass catchers will be returning for the 2022 NFL season.

Gallup, 26, will collect $23MM in guarantees, with Pelissero noting this contract will max out at $62.5MM. A nice payday for Cooper’s former sidekick, whom the Cowboys have chosen over their four-year WR1.

A third-round pick out of Colorado State in 2018, Gallup broke out for 1,107 yards in 2019 alongside Cooper. The arrival of CeeDee Lamb in 2020 limited his production to a still impressive 843 yards as a number three receiver. Even in an injury-plagued 2021 season, Gallup enjoyed glimpses of success.

This news has been in the works for a while now with estimates that the Cowboys were aiming for a five-year pact with an annual average value around $10MM, but that Gallup’s camp may possibly having been pushing for a shorter commitment. Either the rumors about Gallup’s camp have been proven untrue or an annual average value of nearly $12MM was too enticing to turn down.

Regardless, the long-term, decently priced deal is a strong commitment to Gallup after he only played in nine games of his contract year due to a Week 1 calf injury and a season-ending ACL tear in Week 16. The contract seems to indicate that the Cowboys are confident in the medical information they are receiving on Gallup’s recovery.

With decisions made on Cooper and Gallup, and the franchise tag placed on Dalton Schultz, Dallas can focus its attention on the litany of other impact players set to hit the free agent market this week like Randy Gregory, Connor Williams, Leighton Vander Esch and Cedrick Wilson.

Cowboys Believe Gallup Is Done For Year

In the second quarter of today’s game against the Cardinals, Cowboys’ wide receiver Michael Gallup injured his knee while pirouetting back to the ball on a catch that resulted in a touchdown as he fell into the end zone. Upon landing, the 25-year old out of Colorado State immediately reached for his knee. Local Cowboys reporter Michael Gehlken was quick to tweet out a statement from team owner Jerry Jones after the game that Dallas believes Gallup has torn his ACL and will miss the remainder of the season. Gallup will undergo an MRI exam on Monday to confirm the early diagnosis.

Gallup missed 8 weeks earlier in the season when he was placed on IR after straining his left calf in the Cowboys’ Week 1 loss to Tampa Bay. Since rejoining the team in Week 10, Gallup quickly regained his position as WR3, behind CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper. He was looking to play a crucial role in the league’s top offense, in terms of yards per game, as they roll into the playoffs. Dallas will rely on Boise State product Cedrick Wilson to fill the empty role, as they did during Gallup’s IR stint. Behind Wilson, reserve receivers Noah Brown, Malik Turner, and Simi Fehoko have spent time on the active roster, but haven’t shown much in terms of production.

This is unfortunate timing for Gallup as he will go into the offseason as a free agent. On the bright side, Gallup has given the league a strong sample of his work in previous years. In 2019, Gallup caught 66 balls for 1,107 yards and 6 touchdowns despite only playing in 14 games. Last year, despite competing with Cooper and Lamb for targets, Gallup still recorded 59 catches for 843 yards and 5 touchdowns. He showed similar yardage per game in his limited time this year. It looks like, due to an unfortunately timed injury, someone in the league will probably get a good deal on a solid starting receiver.

Cowboys Place OT Terence Steele On Reserve/COVID-19 List

The Cowboys are dealing with a bit of a COVID problem. Per Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News, the club has placed right tackle Terence Steele on the reserve/COVID-19 list after a positive test. As Watkins’ colleague, Michael Gehlken, tweets, Dallas’ O-line coach Joe Philbin, O-line assistant Jeff Blasko, offensive assistant Scott Tolzien, and strength and conditioning coaches Harold Nash, Jr., Cedric Smith, and Kendall Smith are also on the list following positive tests.

Neither Steele nor the staffers (with the possible exception of Cedric Smith) will be available for the Cowboys’ game against the Saints on Thursday. La’el Collins will get the start at RT in Steele’s absence.

Steele, a 2020 UDFA, served as Collins’ primary replacement last season, which Collins missed due to hip surgery. This year, Collins was hit with a five-game PED suspension, and starting left tackle Tyron Smith has missed time with an ankle injury. So Steele has played both LT and RT in 2021, and Pro Football Focus’ metrics paint him as the 53rd-best offensive tackle out of 81 qualifiers.

To combat further spread of the virus, the Cowboys will be working virtually through Monday and will have daily testing through Tuesday. The good news is that WR Amari Cooper, who has missed Dallas’ last two games due to a positive COVID test of his own, should be back in action for the Saints game, as Watkins writes.

The Cowboy’s other top wideout, CeeDee Lamb, who missed the club’s Thanksgiving loss to the Raiders due to a concussion, is also expected to clear protocols and suit up against New Orleans (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com).

Cowboys’ CeeDee Lamb Ruled Out

The Cowboys won’t have their two best wide receivers for today’s game against the Raiders. CeeDee Lamb has been ruled out due to his concussion, according to Tom Pelissero and Jane Slater of NFL.com (Twitter link). Meanwhile, as previously reported, Amari Cooper will be held out per the league’s COVID-19 protocols.

[RELATED: Cowboys Designate Lawrence For Return]

Lamb hit the ground head-first last week when Chiefs cornerback Charvarius Ward drove him to the ground. After being checked out by team doctors, he was ruled out for the rest of the game. Now, he’ll miss at least one more contest, leaving Dak Prescott with Michael Gallup, Cedrick Wilson, Malik Turner and Noah Brown at WR in the interim.

Lamb, 22, has notched 50 catches for 740 yards and six touchdowns this year. Hopefully, he’ll be cleared in time for Week 13, when the Cowboys face the Saints in a Thursday night matchup.

In other Cowboys news, defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence has been designated for return. Lawrence, 29, has yet to replicate the gaudy stats that he posted in 2017 and 2018, but he should provide a boost for Dallas’ run defense. It’s also worth noting that Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics have positioned him as a top-tier edge defender, despite the dropoff in sacks.

Cowboys’ CeeDee Lamb Ruled Out With Concussion

Cowboys wide receiver CeeDee Lamb has been ruled out for the rest of today’s game vs. the Chiefs with a concussion (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com). Lamb will undergo additional testing throughout the week, but it’s unlikely that he’ll be cleared in time for the team’s Thanksgiving game against the Raiders. 

Lamb, 22, was coming off of a strong performance against the Falcons, catching six passes for 94 yards and two scores in the 43-3 rout. Ironically, while celebrating his second touchdown, he clashed his helmet against Dak Prescott‘s helmetless-head.

I realized it as soon as I did it,” said Lamb (via WFAA). “My helmet is still on. You know, man, let me take this off and apologize. I’m glad he’s all right: no concussion protocol, no nothing. I’m sorry, fans. Don’t kill me.”

Fortunately, Prescott was OK, but Lamb’s status is TBD after the first-half scare. The wide receiver hit the ground head-first when he driven to the ground by Chiefs cornerback Charvarius Ward. After initially being listed as questionable, the Cowboys ruled him out for the remainder of the game.

The Cowboys are also without Amari Cooper following his COVID-19 positive, so they’ll head into Thursday without two of their best offensive weapons. As it stands, the Cowboys are left with Michael Gallup, Cedrick Wilson, Malik Turner and Noah Brown at WR.

Through the first nine games of the year, Lamb has notched 47 catches for 726 yards and six touchdowns.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/2/21

Here are Thursday’s minor moves, with the list being updated throughout the day:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers

  • Placed on IR: WR Aaron Parker

Cincinnati Bengals

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Las Vegas Raiders

  • Released from IR with injury settlement: LB Asmar Bial

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Released from IR with injury settlement: DT Chris Okoye, OL Tyree St. Louis

Los Angeles Rams

New England Patriots

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

  • Released from IR with injury settlement: RB Brian Hill

Washington Football Team

  • Released from IR with injury settlement: OT Rick Leonard

Cowboys Place DT Neville Gallimore, CB Kelvin Joseph On IR

Two young Cowboys contributors will miss at least the team’s September portion of the season. Both defensive tackle Neville Gallimore and rookie cornerback Kelvin Joseph will begin their seasons on IR.

Gallimore is recovering from a dislocated elbow, while Joseph suffered a groin injury during Dallas’ preseason finale last week. While each is expected to return this season, neither can do so before Week 4. Gallimore’s timeline lines up with that return date.

The Cowboys made Joseph one of their top additions this offseason, one in which numerous resources went to a defensive repair effort. Dallas selected Joseph 44th overall. The 20-year-old defender who played at LSU and Kentucky was unlikely to begin the season in the Cowboys’ starting lineup, but this represents a setback to start his pro career.

Dallas also placed tackle Josh Ball, wide receiver Malik Turner and tight end Sean McKeon on IR. This batch of moves will free up roster spots for a few players coming off the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list. CeeDee Lamb, safety Damontae Kazee and defensive tackle Carlos Watkins are coming off the coronavirus list Thursday.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/23/21

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here. Teams have until 4pm ET/3pm CT Tuesday to reach the 80-man roster limit.

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts 

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Signed: OT Jonathan Hubbard
  • Released from IR via injury settlement: Sam Renner

Tennessee Titans