Charles Omenihu

Chiefs Activate WR Skyy Moore, Place DE Charles Omenihu On IR

As the Chiefs continue to prepare for their second consecutive Super Bowl appearance (their fourth in five years) and attempt to become the first team to win consecutive Super Bowls since the Patriots did it in the ’03 and ’04 seasons, the team continues to tinker with its roster. Today’s adjustment saw Kansas City activate wide receiver Skyy Moore off of injured reserve and place defensive end Charles Omenihu on IR in his place.

After a fairly pedestrian rookie season last year, Moore was expected to take on a bigger role in his sophomore campaign. Unfortunately, Moore was only barely outpacing his rookie numbers when he suffered a knee injury in a Week 15 victory in New England that would land him on IR and force him to miss the remainder of the regular season.

After the team’s Wild Card win over the Dolphins, Kansas City opened the young wide out’s 21-day practice window, allowing him to return in time for the Super Bowl if possible. Today was the last possible day that the Chiefs were able to activate him off of IR. Moore was a full participant in practice today, so he should be able to step in as a second-string receiver should things continue to trend in the right direction.

Omenihu, third on the team in sacks this season (7.0), suffered a torn ACL in the Chiefs’ AFC Championship win over the Ravens. With his season officially over, it was only a matter of time before he found himself on IR. As it turns out, Kansas City was waiting until it could add a new name to the active roster in his place. The injury means Omenihu will miss a grudge match against his former team on the biggest stage possible.

As for the rest of the Chiefs’ injury report, all but two players were full participants at today’s practice, meaning running back Isiah Pacheco and cornerback L’Jarius Sneed, who both were limited participants for most of the week before the AFC title game, are in better shape heading into the season finale. Today’s sole limited participant was running back Jerick McKinnon, who has served as the team’s second receiving back throughout the season.

The only non-participant at today’s practice was first-team All-Pro guard Joe Thuney. Thuney missed the team’s win in Baltimore with a pectoral injury and isn’t expected to make a comeback this weekend. Head coach Andy Reid told reporters that he “would probably bet towards (Nick) Allegretti playing” in the Super Bowl, per Adam Schefter of ESPN. Allegretti made his second start of the season a week and a half ago as an injury replacement for Thuney and is expected to make his third on Sunday.

Chiefs DL Charles Omenihu Suffers ACL Tear

The Chiefs’ defense played a central role in the team’s AFC title game victory on Sunday. The unit will be shorthanded in the Super Bowl, however. Defensive lineman Charles Omenihu suffered a torn ACL in the win over the Ravens, per Jordan Schultz of Bleacher Report.

Omenihu exited the game with a knee injury and was not able to return. More importantly, today’s update means he will not be available for the Super Bowl. The news deals a major blow to Kansas City’s pass rush given the role he had been playing in 2023, his debut campaign with the Chiefs.

The former fifth-rounder played in 11 regular season games with Kansas City, logging a career-high 56% snap share. Omenihu used that increased playing time to set new personal bests in a few categories, including tackles (28) and sacks (seven). He totaled a pair of forced fumbles during the season, and added another in the Chiefs’ postseason run. His impressive campaign has now come to an end, though.

Omenihu began his career with the Texans, failing to establish himself as a full-time starter. He was dealt to the 49ers midway through the 2021 season. In San Francisco, the Texas alum recorded 4.5 sacks in 26 games (adding another 3.5 in six postseason contests), showing his ability to serve as at least a complementary edge rush option. He joined the Chiefs in free agency on a two-year, $16MM deal. Instead of preparing for a title game against his former team, he will turn his attention to a lengthy recovery process.

The 26-year-old was issued a six-game suspension to start the season stemming from a domestic violence incident which took place during his time with the 49ers. His play upon return showed his value to the Chiefs’ defense, a unit which posted strong numbers in several categories this year. Kansas City’s offense has not been as prolific as usual during the Patrick Mahomes era this year, and the team will no doubt require a strong showing on defense against San Francisco.

With Omenihu out of the picture, the Chiefs will continue relying on Chris Jones as the anchor of their defensive front. Recent first-round picks George Karlaftis and Felix Anudike-Uzomah could be counted on in an additional capacity, although the latter has not played in the postseason to date. In any case, Kansas City’s build-up to Super Bowl LVIII has not started in ideal fashion.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/21/23

Here are the minor moves made around the league in advance of the Week 7 slate of Sunday games:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos 

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Restored to active roster (from suspension exemption): DE Charles Omenihu

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

New York Giants 

Seattle Seahawks

Washington Commanders

Dulcich already had one IR stint this season due to an aggravation of last year’s hamstring injury. The 2022 third-rounder has appeared in only two contests so far this season, and in the most recent one he suffered yet another setback. As a result, he will once again be shut down for at least four weeks.

The Giants’ decision to again promote DeVito points to starter Daniel Jones missing another game. Indeed, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports Jones is considered a “longshot” to play tomorrow against the Commanders. It will in all likelihood be Tyrod Taylor under center for New York in Week 7 while Jones continues to recover from his neck injury.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/13/23

Friday’s minor moves:

Detroit Lions

Kansas City Chiefs

Paschal has missed the last four games due to a knee injury, but he could be back after sitting the minimum amount of time required by an IR designation. The 2022 third-rounder returned to practice on Friday, opening his 21-day window to be activated. He could be brought back as early as tomorrow, which would allow him to suit up in Week 6. Paschal recorded a pair of sacks as a rookie and will look to carry on in a rotational role as part of Detroit’s deep edge rush contingent. The Lions have seven IR activations remaining.

Omenihu was given a six-week suspension to start the season, his first with the Chiefs. Now that his ban has been served, he has been given a one-week roster exemption to allow Kanas City time to find a permanent roster spot for him. The former third-rounder has 61 appearances with the Texans and 49ers, and he will add at least a depth presence along the defending champions’ D-line.

AFC Rumors: Quessenberry, Jones, Meyers, Anudike-Uzomah

The Bills seemingly signed veteran offensive tackle Brandon Shell with the intention that he would plug in as a full-time starter, much like he had done in Miami, Seattle, and New York over his career. Shell’s sudden retirement decision days ago threw a bit of a wrench in those plans.

At left tackle, Dion Dawkins slots in as the obvious left tackle starter, as he has since his rookie year. The starter across from him, for right now, is currently Spencer Brown. Brown has started 24 games over his first two years in the league, but the ability of the former third-round pick to start long term has yet to be proven.

If Brown struggles or if he or Dawkins go down with injury, Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic reports that David Quessenberry is expected to slot into the primary backup, swing tackle role. Buffalo doesn’t have a ton of depth beyond Quessenberry, and this late in the season, that’s not too likely to change.

Tommy Doyle and Ryan Van Demark both sit on the depth chart behind Quessenberry and should make a push for the initial 53-man roster, if not solely due to the lack of depth. But Quessenberry should be the first name off the bench in the case that Brown or Dawkins aren’t there for any reason.

Here are a few other rumors coming out of the AFC, starting with another team in the AFC East:

  • The Patriots have been operating the past two weeks without veteran starting cornerback Jonathan Jones. The long-time staple in New England’s secondary has been absent with an undisclosed injury. Luckily, whatever the ailment is, Karen Guregian of MassLive reports that Jones is expected to be back for the team’s regular season opener. The Patriots are reportedly being careful with him, but the plan is for him to be starting a couple Sundays from now.
  • Last month, the Raiders concluded a deal that would eventually help them bring in veteran cornerback Marcus Peters. According to ESPN’s Field Yates, the team converted $3.92MM of wide receiver Jakobi Meyers‘s base salary for 2023 into a signing bonus and added two voidable years. The move takes his base salary down from $5MM in 2023 to $1.08MM but freed up $3.14MM of cap space, helping Las Vegas to continue building their roster this offseason.
  • Staying in the AFC West, the rich got richer when the Super Bowl Champion Chiefs added Kansas State pass rusher Felix Anudike-Uzomah at the end of the first round this past April. Most of the team’s pass rushing comes from interior lineman Chris Jones, but with Frank Clark gone, a starting role was open across from George Karlaftis III. Kansas City signed Charles Omenihu to potentially fill that role, but he is set to serve a six-game suspension to start the season. Still, according to The Athletic contributor Nate Taylor’s recent update, the plan for Anudike-Uzomah appears to be for him to appear out of a rotation. The team may explore adding an additional veteran pass rusher to help holdover the role in Omenihu’s absence, but in the long run, they don’t want to rush Anudike-Uzomah out on the field until he’s ready.

Chiefs DE Charles Omenihu Handed Six-Game Suspension

The Chiefs will be without one of their defensive ends for a while. Charles Omenihu received a six-game suspension Friday, Ian Rapoport of tweets.

Omenihu, who signed with the Chiefs in March, was arrested on a misdemeanor domestic violence charge in January. While Omenihu played out the season with the 49ers, he will be in line to miss a chunk of his first Chiefs campaign.

Suspended under the NFL’s personal conduct policy, Omenihu will be eligible to complete Kansas City’s training camp and preseason. But he will not be able to rejoin the team until Week 7. The Chiefs signed the former 49ers auxiliary rusher to a two-year, $16MM deal. This suspension puts the $8.6MM guaranteed Omenihu received at risk.

The arrest occurred after a woman told police her boyfriend, Omenihu, pushed her to the ground during an argument. The 25-year-old defender was booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail. This came days before the NFC championship game. With the NFL still conducting its investigation, Omenihu played 38 defensive snaps in the 49ers’ loss to the Eagles. The arrest also did not do too much to minimize Omenihu’s market, with it requiring an $8.6MM guarantee — more than Leonard Floyd or ex-Chief Frank Clark received when they eventually found new homes — to complete the signing. But this suspension could void that guarantee.

The Chiefs have not been afraid to take risks on players with checkered pasts, as the Clark trade and Tyreek Hill draft choice best illustrate. The Chiefs also gave cornerbacks DeAndre Baker and Damon Arnette their first opportunities after off-field incidents led to each becoming available. Clark, who had a domestic violence incident in his past prior to his NFL career, played four seasons with the Chiefs but found himself a cap casualty this offseason. Received a two-game suspension last year after being arrested twice on gun charges in 2021, Clark played four seasons with the Chiefs following the 2019 blockbuster trade. Clark has since signed with the Broncos.

Since acquiring Omenihu from the Texans before the 2021 trade deadline, the 49ers used him as one of their Nick Bosa sidekicks. Omenihu recorded 1.5 sacks during the 2021 postseason and dropped Geno Smith twice during the 49ers’ wild-card win over the Seahawks last year. During the 2022 regular season, Omenihu registered 4.5 sacks and totaled 16 quarterback hits. When the suspension ends, he will be expected to team with recent first-round picks George Karlaftis and Felix Anudike-Uzomah on Kansas City’s Chris Jones-fronted defensive line.

Carlos Dunlap served as Clark’s top D-end complementary piece in Kansas City last season. With an Omenihu ban long expected, the Chiefs may be considering re-signing the 13-year veteran. Dunlap joins Jadeveon Clowney, Robert Quinn and multiple ex-Chiefs — Justin Houston and Melvin Ingram — as the top edge defenders available. The defending Super Bowl champions also roster Mike Danna, a 2020 fifth-round pick who tallied five sacks last season, as a veteran piece alongside its recent first-round investments.

Chiefs To Sign DE Charles Omenihu

MARCH 19: Thanks to Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2, we now have some details on Omenihu’s new contract. The contract is a two-year, $16MM deal now confirmed to have that maximum value of $20MM. The deal has a guaranteed amount of $10.6MM partially consisting of a $7.5MM signing bonus and the first year’s base salary of $1.08MM. Omenihu’s deal includes annual incentives worth up to $2MM per year based on playing time and playoffs. Lastly, the deal includes a per-game active roster bonus of $30K that could add a season total of $510K in 2023.

MARCH 14: The Chiefs are adding a pass rusher. The team is signing defensive end Charles Omenihu, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter). It’s a two-year deal worth up to $20MM.

Omenihu spent the first three-plus seasons of his career with the Texans, collecting seven sacks through his first two seasons with the organization. He was traded to the 49ers during the 2021 for a sixth-round pick and played sparingly down the stretch.

He took on a larger role in 2022 and had a career season. Omenihu appeared in a career-high 54 percent of his team’s defensive snaps while finishing with career-highs in sacks (4.5) and QB hits (16). Pro Football Focus ultimately ranked him 44th among 119 qualifying edge defenders, including a top-20 grade in pass rushing. He’ll provide the Chiefs with some extra depth on the edge (plus some insurance in case Carlos Dunlap signs elsewhere).

The 49ers, meanwhile, will watch as yet another key defender walks out the door. So far in free agency, the team has lost Samson Ebukam, Emmanuel Moseley, Azeez Al-Shaair, Jimmie Ward, and now Omenihu.

2023 Top 50 NFL Free Agents

Super Bowl LVII provided the latest example of the value free agency can bring. The Chiefs revamped their receiving corps on last year’s market, while the Eagles acquired three defensive starters — including sack leader Haason Reddick. The Jaguars also used a March 2022 splurge to ignite their surprising surge to the divisional round.

Beginning with the legal tampering period, which starts at 3pm CT on Monday, and continuing with the official start to free agency (3pm Wednesday), the next several days represent a highlight on the NFL calendar. Which teams will change their 2023 outlooks for the better next week?

While the 2023 free agent class has absorbed its share of body blows and indeed lacks depth at certain spots, a few positions will bring waves of starter-level talent. Right tackle will invite some big-money decisions, and the safety and off-ball linebacker positions feature considerable depth. A few ascending talents and hidden gems appear in this class as well.

This list ranks free agents by earning potential. In terms of accomplishments, Bobby Wagner, Fletcher Cox and Lavonte David would lap most of the players included here. With each defender going into his age-33 season, however, the standouts’ ability to command big contracts is certainly not what it once was.

In terms of possible destinations, not every team is represented equally. Some teams will bring more needs and cap space into this year’s marketplace than others. With some help from Adam La Rose, here is this year’s PFR top 50 free agents list, along with potential landing spots for each player.

1. Orlando Brown Jr., T. Age in Week 1: 27

As the 49ers did two years ago with Trent Williams, the Chiefs will let Brown hit the market. This could end up benefiting the veteran tackle, who was offered a deal with an average annual value north of Williams’ tackle-record $23MM per year before last July’s franchise tag deadline. Citing insufficient guarantees, Brown turned it down. Kansas City’s offer did contain a bloated final year to bump up the AAV to $23.1MM, but will Brown – a quality left tackle but not a top-shelf option at the position – do as well this year? He will soon find out.

Brown has now made four Pro Bowls and carries positional versatility that would intrigue were he open to a return to right tackle, which by all accounts he is not. The 363-pound blocker can struggle against speed-rusher types, but he is set to be the rare accomplished left tackle in his prime to hit the market. The Chiefs sent a package including a first-round pick to the Ravens for Brown, whose bet on himself led to a $16.6MM tag and an open market. The bidding will run high, though it might not reach the places the Williams pursuit did in 2021.

The Chiefs’ exclusive negotiating rights with Brown end March 13; they have had nearly two years to complete a deal. The market will determine if the league views the sixth-year blocker as an elite-level left tackle or merely a good one. Then again, bidding wars drive up the prices for O-linemen on the market. O-line salary records have fallen four times (Williams, Corey Linsley, Joe Thuney, Brandon Scherff) in free agency since 2021. This foray could give Brown the guaranteed money he seeks, and it puts the Chiefs at risk of seeing their two-year left tackle depart. The Ravens also passed on this payment back in 2021, in part because they already had Ronnie Stanley on the payroll.

The defending champions have Brown and right tackle Andrew Wylie eligible for free agency; some of their leftover funds from the Tyreek Hill trade went to Brown’s tag. Although some among the Chiefs were frustrated Brown passed on last year’s offer, the team will be hurting at a premium position if he walks. Given the importance the blindside position carries, fewer teams are in need compared to right tackle. The Titans losing Taylor Lewan and continuing to clear cap space could point to a run at Brown, though the team has a few needs up front. The Jets likely have needs at both tackle spots. Would the Bears relocate Braxton Jones to the right side? Ryan Poles was with the Chiefs when they traded for Brown, and the Bears could outmuscle anyone for cap space.

Best fits: Titans, Chiefs, Commanders

2. Mike McGlinchey, T. Age in Week 1: 28

Teams in need of right tackles will participate in one of the more interesting markets in recent memory. Above-average-to-good offensive linemen do well in free agency annually, and this year will send three experienced right tackles in their prime to the market. A five-year starter in San Francisco and former top-10 pick, McGlinchey has a good case as the best of this lot. The five-year vet’s run-blocking craft eclipses his pass-protection chops exiting Year 5, but he will walk into a competitive market. The former Notre Dame left tackle should have a lucrative deal in place during next week’s legal tampering period.

Although mutual interest existed regarding a second 49ers-McGlinchey agreement, John Lynch acknowledged the only viable path for McGlinchey to stay in San Francisco would be his market underwhelming. That seems unlikely, so right tackle-seeking teams – and there are a handful – will jockey for the sixth-year veteran. McGlinchey turned 28 in January, making this his obvious window to cash in. He rated fifth in ESPN’s run block win rate stat last season, bouncing back from the quadriceps injury that ended his 2021 season.

There is no shortage of Kyle Shanahan– or Sean McVay-influenced schemes around the league. The Bears employ Luke Getsy as their play-caller; Getsy worked for Shanahan/McVay tree branch Matt LaFleur, and the Bears’ cap space dwarfs every other team’s. After fielding a shaky O-line (on a team full of substandard position groups), Chicago needs a better idea of Justin Fields’ trajectory. Outbidding the field for the top right tackle available is a good start. The Patriots want a right tackle – on a line without a big contract presently – and the Raiders might have a say here as well. In need at multiple O-line spots, Las Vegas will have cash as well if it passes on a big QB investment.

Best fits: Bears, Patriots, Raiders

3. Jawann Taylor, T. Age in Week 1: 26

As expected, the Jaguars took Evan Engram off the market via the franchise tag. The tight end tag being $7MM cheaper than the $18.2MM offensive lineman tag always pointed Taylor toward free agency, and after never missing a start in four Duval County seasons, Taylor will be tough for the Jags to retain. They already drafted Walker Little in the 2021 second round, and no team that is currently paying a left tackle top-10 money (Cam Robinson is seventh) has a top-10 right tackle contract on the books. Taylor is expected to land at least a top-10 right tackle deal, with a $17MM-AAV figure being floated. That would place the former Florida Gator in the top five at the position, depending on how McGlinchey fares next week.

Taylor resembles the genre of player that usually populates the top of a position’s free agency market: a dependable performer who checks in below the top tier at his job. Taylor enjoyed his strongest year in his platform campaign. The former second-round pick dropped his hold count from 11 in 2021 to two in 2022. While PFF charged Taylor with five sacks allowed, Football Outsiders measured his blown-block rate at a career-low 1.3%. Offering a disparate skillset compared to McGlinchey, Taylor has fared better as a pass protector than in the run game. PFF slotted him as a top-10 pass protector among right tackles but viewed him as a dismal run-blocker.

The Jags have presumably made Taylor an offer, but other teams will probably top it. The Dolphins gave Terron Armstead a five-year, $75MM deal in 2022 but have needed a right tackle ever since Ja’Wuan James’ 2019 exit. They were forced to start in-season pickup Brandon Shell for much of the year and have cleared more than $45MM in cap space over the past two days. The team just picked up Tua Tagovailoa‘s fifth-year option, and the league’s lone southpaw starting QB needs better blindside protection after a season in which he suffered at least two concussions. Overspending on O-linemen is not the Patriots’ M.O., but they have a need at right tackle and do not have big dollars devoted to quarterback or any position up front. New England is on the hunt for a right tackle upgrade, and the team’s 2021 free agency showed it would spend when it deemed expenditures necessary.

Best fits: Dolphins, Patriots, Jaguars

4. Jimmy Garoppolo, QB. Age in Week 1: 31

The quarterback market cleared up this week, seeing Geno Smith and Daniel Jones extended and Derek Carr’s lengthy street free agency stretch end with $70MM in practical guarantees. Garoppolo’s injury history will affect his value, but teams kind of make it a priority to staff this position. The former Super Bowl starter is in his prime and on the market for the first time. How high this market goes will depend on what the Raiders want and what Aaron Rodgers decides.

The 49ers’ 12-game win streak that included Brock Purdy’s stunning displays began with Garoppolo at the controls. Guiding San Francisco to four straight wins, Garoppolo was at or close to his best when he suffered a broken foot in Week 13. He sported a 7-0 TD-INT ratio during that win streak and closed the season 16th in QBR. He would have walked into a better market had the injury not occurred; the setback came after a string of health issues. He tore an ACL in 2018, missed 10 games in 2020 after an ankle sprain and was significantly limited by the end of the 2021 slate due to a three-injury season. Garoppolo’s March 2022 shoulder surgery hijacked his trade market.

Ideally for Garoppolo, Rodgers returns to Green Bay or retires. While that is looking unlikelier by the day, it would put the Jets in a desperate position following Carr’s decision. The Raiders represent the other wild card. Garoppolo would slide into Josh McDaniels’ system seamlessly, given the parties’ three-plus years together in New England. The Raiders have operated a bit more stealthily compared to the Jets; they have been connected to Rodgers, Garoppolo and rolling with a rookie. Plan C here would be a tough sell given the presences of 30-year-old skill-position players Davante Adams and Darren Waller, but Las Vegas’ plans cloud Garoppolo’s market. If the Raiders pass and Rodgers chooses the Jets, Garoppolo’s earning power could drop.

McDaniels not fancying a Garoppolo reunion opens the door for the Texans, who hired ex-49ers pass-game coordinator Bobby Slowik as OC, and others. Houston’s situation may not appeal to Garoppolo, but Slowik and Nick Caserio being in Houston make this connection too clear to ignore. The Buccaneers and Commanders are in win-now positions but are giving indications they do not want to spend much at QB. The Commanders were deep in talks for the then-49ers QB last year, however. Garoppolo will test those squads, along with the Falcons, who are entering Year 3 of the Terry FontenotArthur Smith regime. The Panthers’ acquisition of the No. 1 pick likely takes them out of the running, and Carolina not being in the mix could also affect how high the Garoppolo price goes.

Bottom line, there should be enough teams interested in staffing their 2023 QB1 spots that the best free agent option should do OK no matter what happens with Rodgers.

Best fits: Raiders, Texans, Commanders

5. Jamel Dean, CB. Age in Week 1: 26

The Buccaneers retained Carlton Davis last year, but their dire cap situation should force a Dean departure. Dean’s age/performance combination should make him this year’s top cornerback available. With corner a position of need for many teams, the former third-round pick stands to do very well. Dean has only been a full-time starter in one season, however, seeing his defensive snap share jump from 67% in 2021 to 90% last season.

Excelling in press coverage, Dean played a major role for the 2020 Super Bowl champion Bucs iteration and overtook fellow free agent Sean Murphy-Bunting last year. Dean did perform better in 2021 compared to 2022, allowing no touchdowns and limiting QBs to a collective 50.0 passer rating; those numbers shot up to four and 86.0 last season. Still, PFF rated Dean as last year’s 10th-best corner. J.C. Jackson did not break into the top five among corners upon hitting the market last year; Dean should not be expected to do so, either. But many teams will be interested.

The Patriots have paid up for a corner previously, in Stephon Gilmore (2017), but Jonathan Jones – forced to primarily play a boundary role in 2022 – wants to re-sign and will be far cheaper than Dean. The Falcons need help opposite AJ Terrell and trail only the Bears in cap space. Although a Terrell payment is coming, it can be tabled to 2024 due to the fifth-year option. The Dolphins are clearing cap space and now have a corner need, with Byron Jones no longer with the team after his missed season.

Best fits: Dolphins, Falcons, Patriots

6. Jessie Bates, S. Age in Week 1: 26

Bates stands to be one of this free agency crop’s safest bets, combining extensive experience – the final two years as a pillar for a championship threat – with a host of prime years remaining. Beginning his career at 21, the Wake Forest product has started 79 games and anchored the Bengals’ secondary for most of his tenure. The Bengals did not tag Bates for a second time, passing on a $15.5MM price. With the team planning to let Bates test the market, it looks like the sixth-year defender will leave Cincinnati.

The Bengals and Bates went through two offseasons of negotiations, ending in the 2022 tag. The Bengals have some big payments to make at higher-profile positions. Safety does not qualify as such, but Bates has been a cornerstone in Lou Anarumo’s defense and will be handsomely rewarded. Bates finished as Pro Football Focus’ No. 1 overall safety in 2020 and, after a shakier 2021 in which he admitted his contract situation affected his play, Bates came through with impact plays in the postseason. He graded as a top-25 safety, via PFF, in 2022.

Safety is one of this year’s deeper positions in free agency. Of the top 10 safety contracts, however, only one went to a free agent (Marcus Williams in 2022). Bates should be expected to join the Ravens defender, who signed for $14MM per year. It will be interesting if he can climb into the top five at the position; Justin Simmons’ $15.25MM-AAV accord sits fifth. Bates should be expected to approach or eclipse that, though moving to the Derwin JamesMinkah Fitzpatrick tier will be more difficult. Still, after the Bengals offered Bates less than $17MM guaranteed last summer, he should depart for more guaranteed money.

The Browns are interested in Bates, who will cost more than John Johnson cost Cleveland two years ago (three years, $33.75MM). Clear of the record-setting Matt Ryan dead-money hit, the Falcons have cash to spend and a Terry FontenotArthur Smith regime entering Year 3. The Falcons need to make progress, and they do not have much in the way of talent or costs at safety. The team has not featured much here since the Keanu NealRicardo Allen tandem splintered. Bates would be a way to remedy that.

Team fits: Falcons, Browns, Raiders

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49ers DE Charles Omenihu Arrested On Domestic Violence Charge

JANUARY 25: Kyle Shanahan said Omenihu is on track to play against the Eagles on Sunday, noting the team will let the legal process play out. While the optics here are not great, teams do not generally make a habit of suspending players. The NFL will review the Omenihu incident, and if a suspension is to come, it likely will affect Omenihu’s availability next season.

JANUARY 24: San Jose police arrested 49ers defensive end Charles Omenihu on a misdemeanor domestic violence charge Monday afternoon, according to the San Jose Mercury News’ Robert Salonga.

A woman told police her boyfriend, Omenihu, pushed her to the ground during an argument Monday, Police booked the 25-year-old defender into the Santa Clara County Main Jail, but he has since posted bail. The 49ers announced they are gathering further information about the incident.

Officers “did not observe any visible physical injuries,” Salonga adds, and the woman, despite mentioning pain in her arm, did not seek medical attention. The woman requested an emergency protective order, Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle adds, and Omenihu must stay away from her while it is in effect.

The arrest could produce a future suspension for Omenihu under the NFL’s personal conduct policy, and although the 49ers are not obligated to suspend the rotational edge defender, Monday’s incident clouds his availability for the NFC championship game.

The 49ers acquired Omenihu ahead of the 2021 trade deadline, sending a 2023 sixth-round pick to the Texans for the former fifth-round draftee. The former Texas Longhorn has played a steady role off the bench for San Francisco, totaling 4.5 sacks this season. Omenihu, who left the 49ers’ divisional playoff game early with an oblique injury, notched two sacks in the team’s wild-card win over the Seahawks and finished with 1.5 in last year’s wild-card victory in Dallas. Omenihu returned to the 49ers’ Sunday win over the Cowboys, and prior to the arrest report, Kyle Shanahan expected him to play against the Eagles.

49ers S Jimmie Ward Expected To Miss Multiple Games

After missing the 49ers’ first four games with a hamstring injury, Jimmie Ward came off injured reserve and returned to his starting post alongside emerging talent Talanoa Hufanga. Ward then suffered another injury on San Francisco’s first defensive play. Another absence is on tap.

The ninth-year safety, whom the 49ers brought back from IR when first eligible, is looking at a multiweek shutdown after his latest injury, according to Kyle Shanahan. The sixth-year HC said (via the San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch) Ward could return “in a few weeks.” Ward suffered a broken left hand and has already undergone surgery.

[RELATED: Emmanuel Moseley Suffers Torn ACL]

Ward, 31, is guaranteed to miss this week’s game against the Falcons, with a re-evaluation scheduled for next week to determine how effectively he can play with a cast. The former first-round pick came into the season having enjoyed an improved run of health. He only missed six games from 2019-21, anchoring San Francisco’s safety group as Jaquiski Tartt was more frequently absent. But Ward experienced extensive early-career injury misfortune, playing more than 10 games just once in his first five seasons.

The 49ers have Tashaun Gipson on hand as Ward’s replacement. With Gipson starting the team’s first four games, when Ward was on IR, the 49ers plugging the veteran back in alongside Hufanga makes for a simple transition. But injuries are continuing to pile up for the 49ers, depleting what might be the NFL’s premier defense.

Arik Armstead will miss another game due to foot and ankle issues, while Nick Bosa is uncertain to suit up against Atlanta after suffering a groin injury in Week 5. Shanahan said Bosa has a chance to play in Week 6, though he did not practice Wednesday. Charles Omenihu is likely to start if Bosa cannot go, Matt Barrows of The Athletic notes (subscription required). Javon Kinlaw, who has followed Ward in encountering early-career injury trouble, has missed the past two games due to lingering pain in his surgically repaired left knee. Kinlaw, who has not yet adequately filled the DeForest Buckner void for which he was drafted, is expecting to play through some pain this season.

Moseley’s injury could reopen the door for Jason Verrett, a talented player but one who has cleared the six-game barrier just twice in eight seasons. The 49ers designated Verrett for return and look to view him as a starter if he is healthy. In total, however, the 3-2 team has sustained a concerning number of injuries to start this season.