Cody Whitehair

Raiders To Sign OL Cody Whitehair

The Raiders have added a veteran presence along the offensive line ahead of the draft. Cody Whitehair has agreed to a one-year deal with Las Vegas, Adam Caplan of Pro Football Network reports.

Caplan notes that the agreement has a base value of $2.5MM, and it can reach a maximum of $3MM. Whitehair will collect $1.4MM guaranteed in his first season spent outside of Chicago.

The 31-year-old has been a mainstay along the Bears’ offensive line since his arrival in the NFL in 2016. Whitehair has started 118 of his 124 appearances, so he will offer plenty of experience to the Raiders as an interior contributor. The former second-rounder spent much of his first three years at center, and in 2018 he earned his first and only Pro Bowl nod. Since then, he has seen considerable time at left guard.

Whitehair (who drew interest from the Seahawks prior to their Laken Tomlinson addition) has been charged by PFF with three or four sacks allowed in each of the past five seasons, and he has surrendered between 14 and 33 pressures each year in that span. As a result, his overall grades have fluctuated but fallen well short of the 87.5 mark he received during his rookie campaign. The Kansas State product has drawn strong reviews in the past based on his run blocking, although that too has taken a step back recently.

In any case, Whitehair will be reunited with Luke Getsy as a result of this deal. The latter served as Chicago’s offensive coordinator for the past two years, and he now holds the same title for the Raiders. Vegas re-signed center Andre James ahead of free agency on a three-year deal, and as such the team is set at the center spot. Whitehair could see notable time at guard, though, with Jermaine Eluemunor departing on the open market, Greg Van Roten remaining unsigned and D.J. Fluker being released.

The Raiders entered Monday with over $24MM in cap space, giving them more pre-draft flexibility than most other teams around the league. This Whitehair deal will eat into that figure somewhat, but Vegas should still be able to afford its incoming draft class without issue while adding a starting-caliber lineman deep into free agency.

Seahawks Interested In Laken Tomlinson, Cody Whitehair

The Seahawks lost four-year guard starter Damien Lewis in free agency, seeing him sign a lucrative deal with the Panthers. Seattle has also not re-signed their primary 2023 right guard, Phil Haynes. Some guard work is on tap for Mike Macdonald‘s team.

A guard addition should be expected soon. The Seahawks are interested in Tomlinson, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, who adds they have also discussed bringing in Cody Whitehair for a visit.

Ex-Rams O-lineman Tremayne Anchrum signed with the Seahawks last month, but Macdonald made it clear (via ESPN’s Brady Henderson) the team was not done with its guard shopping. Tomlinson and Whitehair offer considerable experience, though neither is coming off an especially good season. The Bears benched Whitehair last year, and Tomlinson did not show his 49ers form often with the Jets. New York released its two-year guard starter before free agency.

One thing Tomlinson certainly offers is durability; over the past six seasons, the veteran blocker has missed all of one start. Tomlinson turned 32 this offseason and graded 58th and 53rd among guards, per Pro Football Focus, during his two Jets seasons. But he excelled with the 49ers, giving them guard stability for five seasons. Tomlinson earned a San Francisco extension, and his 49ers work commanded a three-year, $40MM deal from the Jets in 2022.

Whitehair, 31, spent eight seasons with the Bears. While he became an expected cap casualty this offseason, the veteran has extensive experience at guard and center. Chicago’s attempt to move Whitehair back to center — to accommodate UFA addition Nate Davis — did not pan out, but Whitehair still saw considerable time at left guard (666 snaps) last season due to injuries. Overall, the 2016 second-round pick has made 118 starts; Tomlinson, a former Lions first-rounder, exited the 2023 season with 138.

This year’s free agency class included a deep guard crop. Lewis was among those who did very well on the market. The Panthers gave Lewis a four-year, $53MM deal with $26.2MM guaranteed at signing. While the top guards are long gone, a host of veterans are still available. In addition to Whitehair and Tomlinson, the likes of Dalton Risner, Andrus Peat, Greg Van Roten and Mark Glowinski are unsigned. Anchrum signed for just $1.2MM and just $100K guaranteed, potentially putting the Seahawks in search of two new starting guards.

Seahawks Beat Out Three Teams For Sam Howell Trade

Before Sam Howell was dealt to the Seahawks, the quarterback attracted interest from a handful of other suitors. As ESPN’s Brady Henderson writes, at least three other teams negotiated a Howell trade with the Commanders.

[RELATED: Commanders To Trade QB Sam Howell To Seahawks]

One of those squads is believed to be the Rams, who have already pivoted away from Carson Wentz as Matthew Stafford‘s primary backup. When the Rams lost out on the Howell sweepstakes to their division rival, they ended up pivoting to veteran Jimmy Garoppolo, who will miss the first two games of the season after being suspended for PEDs. There was some recent chatter that the Rams could be a suitor for Jets bust Zach Wilson, and it seems pretty clear that the front office was looking to reset the QB depth chart with a veteran backup and a reclamation project.

Ultimately, the Seahawks won out, sending a third- and fifth-round pick to Washington for Howell, a fourth-round pick, and a sixth-round pick. Seattle has made it very clear that Geno Smith still sits atop the depth chart, although general manager John Schneider recently admitted that his newest acquisition could “absolutely” be a full-time starter (via Henderson).

Howell was sacked a league-high 65 times last season. As Henderson notes, part of that blame has been placed on Howell, who has been criticized for holding the ball too long. However, the Seahawks are convinced the QB was “hesitant while playing behind a struggling O-line,” and he could excel with better personnel.

With that in mind, the Seahawks still have work to do on their own offensive line, with both guard spots currently open. Henderson points to free agents Laken Tomlinson and Cody Whitehair as two potential targets for the organization.

Bears Cut Cody Whitehair, Eddie Jackson

Cody Whitehair has been in Chicago since 2016, but his time with the Bears will come to an end this offseason. The veteran offensive lineman has been released, as first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The team has since announced the move. Safety Eddie Jackson has also been let go.

One year remained on Whitehair’s deal, but none of his $10.15MM salary was guaranteed. As a result, this move will yield $9.15MM in cap savings and a dead cap charge of $4.1MM. Today’s news come as little surprise, but it will give the 31-year-old a head start on free agency.

After arriving in Chicago in 2016, Whitehair saw immediate playing time at center. He remained at that position for much of his first three seasons with the team, starting every game and earning a Pro Bowl nod in 2018. Things began to change after that point, though, as the former second-rounder started splitting his time between center and left guard. He operated as the full-time LG in 2021 and ’22, and that was his primary spot this past season.

Whitehair’s PFF evaluations have seen a decline in recent years, and his 45 mark represents a career low. He was charged with three sacks and 22 pressures allowed in pass protection, and the Bears will now move forward with other options along the interior of their O-line. Chicago made a sizable free agent investment in Nate Davis last offseason, and after being drafted as a tackle, Teven Jenkins has shown promise at both guard spots. They, along with 2023 first-rounder Darnell Wright, will be key pieces up front for Chicago moving forward.

Jackson, too, had one year remaining on his current contract but faced the possibility of being let go. He recently indicated a cut would be coming, and the news is now official on that front. Jackson started each of his 100 games with Chicago, but injuries and declining production weighed heavily as factors working against him being retained for 2024 and beyond.

The 30-year-old was due over $14MM next season, but his release will save roughly $12.5MM in cap space. Given the financial benefits, Jackson’s release also comes as little surprise. The Bears were already slated to be in a better situation with respect to cap space than many teams, but these moves will add to their flexibility. Whitehair and Jackson will collectively account for just under $9.7MM in dead money in 2024.

Jaquan Brisker has established himself as a key contributor at the safety position in the present and the future for Chicago, but the other starting spot will need filling this offseason. The Bears have a number of relatively inexperienced incumbent options to choose from, along with the free agent and draft avenues to pursue a Jackson replacement. The two-time Pro Bowler last played a full season in 2020, and he has recorded one or fewer interceptions in three of the past four years.

Still, he and Whitehair will be able to sign with an interested team at any time (as opposed to having to wait for the start of the new league year in mid-March). It will be interesting to see how much of a market they will manage to generate, though deals worth much less than what they were originally due should be expected. Chicago will move forward with roughly $67MM in cap space, the third-highest total in the league as cost-cutting season picks up.

Bears Activate G Teven Jenkins From IR

OCTOBER 5: Jenkins will be this season’s first IR activation. Despite being designated for return three days before a Thursday-night game, Jenkins will come off IR in time for the Bears’ matchup with the Commanders, Mike Garafolo of tweets. This will be welcome news for a Bears team that has seen three starting O-linemen — Jenkins, Jones and Davis — miss multiple games. Jones remains on Chicago’s IR but will be a candidate to follow Jenkins back onto the active roster down the road.

This activation will shake up the Bears’ O-line. Cody Whitehair, per the Chicago Sun-Times’ Patrick Finley, will likely return to the center position he played earlier in his career — the team’s plan upon signing Davis this offseason — while Jenkins is shifting from right guard to left guard to accommodate the ex-Titan. Center Lucas Patrick will be on track to return to a backup role.

OCTOBER 2: Teams can begin opening practice windows for players on IR and the PUP list this week. The Bears will do so with one of their starting offensive linemen.

Suffering an injury during the preseason, Teven Jenkins went on IR just after the Bears finalized their initial 53-man roster. This allowed them to make the young blocker one of their in-season activations. It looks like Jenkins will be in play to return soon, with Matt Eberflus confirming (via the Chicago Sun-Times’ Patrick Finley) the interior starter is now designated for return.

Designating a player to return from IR means a 21-day practice window is opened. This transaction means the Bears have three weeks to decide on Jenkins, who will either be activated in that span or revert to season-ending IR. With this unspecified leg injury never expecting to end his season, it should be assumed the former second-round pick will return at some point in October. With the Bears having a Thursday-night tilt, it would not surprise if Week 6 became the Jenkins target date.

After struggling as a tackle, Jenkins broke through at guard last season. He graded as a top-10 guard, in the view of Pro Football Focus, despite moving to the post during the 2022 offseason. The Oklahoma State alum returning would certainly help the Bears, who are 0-4 and have seen other availability issues plague them up front. Left tackle Braxton Jones is on IR as well, while free agent pickup Nate Davis has missed two games.

Teams have eight in-season IR activations at their disposal. Players must miss four games upon being placed on IR, but they can now be activated from the injured list twice. From 2020-21, teams enjoyed unlimited IR activations. Opting for a middle ground between the pandemic-era format and the stricter setup of previous eras, the NFL settled on eight in 2022. For Jenkins, this marks his second NFL injury hiatus. He missed much of his 2021 rookie season due to a back injury.

OL Notes: Smith, Texans, Rams, Bears

The Cowboys are going with a “best five” configuration up front, shifting course months after Jerry Jones discussed a plan of keeping Tyler Smith at tackle. Smith is back at guard, but he may not be a lock to start the season on time. The second-year blocker suffered a hamstring strain, David Moore of the Dallas Morning News tweets. Jones expects Smith to play in Week 1; the 2022 first-round pick did not miss a game last season. Dallas has lost its starting left guard in free agency in each of the past two offseasons, seeing Connor Williams and Connor McGovern defect to the AFC East.

One of the backup options, Josh Ball, is on IR. Ball is battling hip and groin pain, and the Morning News’ Michael Gehlken notes he is expected to miss around two months. A 2021 fourth-rounder, Ball is not expected to need surgery. The Cowboys kept eight O-linemen, with rookies Asim Richards and T.J. Bass joining Chuma Edoga as backups.

Here is the latest from NFL O-lines:

  • Texans right tackle Tytus Howard returned to practice earlier this week, working out with a cast on his injured left hand. While the fifth-year lineman is on the verge of returning, KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson notes George Fant is expected to play in place of Howard in Week 1. Howard, who signed a Texans extension in July, underwent surgery to repair a broken hand in early August. Fant worked as a regular Jets starter — at left and right tackle — throughout the 2020 and ’21 seasons; injuries limited him to seven games last year.
  • Josh Jones filled in for D.J. Humphries as the Cardinals’ left tackle last season, but the recently traded blocker is back at guard. The Texans have Jones in place as their starting left guard going into the season, Wilson tweets. Jones is replacing 2022 first-rounder Kenyon Green, who is on season-ending IR. Jones spent the 2021 season as a primary Cardinals starting guard. The Texans will also be without center Juice Scruggs to start the season; the second-rounder is on short-term IR with a hamstring injury.
  • The Rams gave Joseph Noteboom a three-year, $40MM deal to replace Andrew Whitworth in 2022, but after another season-ending injury, Whitworth’s would-be heir apparent lost his job. The Rams are going with Alaric Jackson at left tackle, per The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue, who adds Noteboom is back at guard (subscription required). Noteboom worked at guard early in his career and was mentioned as a guard option this offseason, but he had played on the outside since becoming Los Angeles’ swing tackle in 2020. The Rams also added Kevin Dotson from the Steelers, and while Dotson has started 30 career games (including 17 last year), Rodrigue adds the team views him as a depth piece. A former UDFA, Jackson started six games last season before becoming one of the many Ram blockers forced off the field due to health issues. Blood clots ended Jackson’s 2022 slate.
  • Previously set to shift back to center, Cody Whitehair is at guard to start his eighth Bears season. Teven Jenkins‘ injury will shift Whitehair to left guard and Lucas Patrick to center, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune notes. Recent trade acquisition Dan Feeney is in place as Chicago’s backup center. Jenkins is on IR to start the season. Whitehair spent the past four seasons at guard but began his career with three slates at center. Patrick has played both guard and center. The 2022 free agency addition was ticketed to start at center last season, but injuries limited the ex-Packer to seven games.

Dolphins To Trade OL Dan Feeney To Bears

Dan Feeney is on the move again. The former third-round pick, who signed with the Dolphins this offseason, will not be part of their 53-man roster. Instead, the Bears will acquire him via trade.

The Dolphins and Bears agreed on the deal Monday night, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune tweets. Dolphins Wire’s Jason Sarney initially reported Biggs was Windy City-bound. This will be Feeney’s fourth NFL team. He played out his rookie deal with the Chargers and spent the past two seasons with the Jets.

Despite the Dolphins guaranteeing Feeney $3.13MM this offseason, they will use him to acquire an asset. Miami will pick up a sixth-rounder from Chicago in this swap, Jason Lieser of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Miami has Robert Hunt, Liam Eichenberg and Isaiah Wynn stationed at guard and Connor Williams at center. Although the team lost Michael Deiter in free agency and dealt with rampant injury trouble along its O-line last season, Feeney will still be shipped out. Feeney had not made a serious push for a starting job, the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson tweets.

In Chicago, Feeney will have a better opportunity for playing time. Left guard Teven Jenkins is set to miss early-season time due to a leg injury. At full strength, the Bears have Jenkins set to team with Cody Whitehair and Nate Davis. Whitehair is moving back to center this season, with the Bears having signed Davis. While Lucas Patrick looms as a possible Jenkins replacement, Lieser notes the Bears have slid Whitehair back to guard to fill in for Jenkins. Feeney, 29, brings considerable experience at guard as well, and Patrick and Davis have each missed some time recently due to injury.

The Chargers used Feeney as a guard starter for most of his Los Angeles run. The Indiana alum displayed durability with the Bolts, starting 16 games in each season from 2018-20. The Chargers moved on in 2021, signing Matt Feiler. The Jets did not use Feeney as a regular starter. While Feeney continued his run of good health in New York, missing only one game, he only started seven. Still, Feeney will bring plenty of experience to a Bears team that has seen its revamped O-line take an early hit.

This will be a homecoming for Feeney, who is a Chicago-area native. The Bears came into Monday night with just more than $12MM in cap space. After showing potential as a guard last season, Jenkins will not be able to mount an immediate follow-up. The injury he sustained could sideline him for around six weeks. Chicago cut Alex Leatherwood, after claiming him just after cutdown day last year, but still rosters 2022 seventh-round pick Ja’Tyre Carter as a backup option inside.

NFC North Notes: Hooker, Bears, OL, Packers

Hendon Hooker‘s age (25) likely served as one of the factors for his fall into Round 3. The ACL tear the Tennessee product sustained in November undoubtedly led to him tumbling out of the second round, his widely viewed floor. The Lions now have a developmental quarterback who, despite being drafted seven years after Jared Goff, is barely three years younger than the Detroit starter. Dan Campbell did not view Hooker’s age as a major issue.

We did go into this offseason saying that we wanted to bring in some competition at quarterback,” Campbell said during an appearance on Green Light with Chris Long podcast (h/t Pro Football Talk). “We didn’t know exactly where that might be, who that would be at the time, but we did like Hooker. We knew he was coming off the injury, but there was something about him that was appealing. He’s very mature; he looks the part; he’s got a big arm. H’s just got to learn to play in the NFL. He’s a pro, now, and I like the fact that he was older. We all kind liked the fact that he was older. I think you want your quarterback to be more mature.”

The Lions have begun discussions on a Goff extension. For now, the third-year Detroit starter is tied to his Rams-constructed deal that runs through 2024. Although Hooker should not be viewed as an heir apparent just yet, his rookie deal runs through 2026. Here is the latest from the NFC North:

  • The Bears are set to hold a center competition between Cody Whitehair and Lucas Patrick. GM Ryan Poles said he is comfortable with either the longtime guard — who began his NFL career as a center — or the 2022 free agency pickup at center, Courtney Cronin of tweets. Whitehair, 31 in July, has started 107 games for the Bears, who drafted him in the 2016 second round. He spent the first three seasons of his career at center and has been on the radar to move since the Nate Davis free agent signing. A two-year Packers starter, Patrick started only five Bears games during an injury-plagued 2022 season.
  • Chicago will also move Teven Jenkins from right guard to left guard, Cronin adds (on Twitter), to accommodate Davis. The free agent pickup worked as the Titans’ starting right guard from 2019-22. Jenkins will soon move to a fourth O-line position. The Bears tried him at both tackle spots and dangled him in trade talks last year, but they saw the 2021 second-rounder show promise at guard last season. The other new Bears full-timer up front last season, Braxton Jones, is not moving from left tackle. Despite the addition of first-rounder Darnell Wright, Bears O-line coach Chris Morgan said (via Cronin) the team will keeping Jones at left tackle going into training camp. Wright logged more starts at right tackle (27) than left tackle (13) at Tennessee.
  • Set to hold their rookie minicamp later this week, the Lions will arrange for XFL return man Darrius Shepherd to try out. The XFL announced Shepherd, who also caught 48 passes for 519 yards with the St. Louis BattleHawks this season, will attend the Lions’ rookie camp. The 27-year-old wideout, a former UDFA out of North Dakota State, played for the Packers from 2019-20 but did not see NFL game action over the past two years.
  • One of the signees from this year’s International Pathway Program, the PackersKenneth Odumegwu, has never played organized football, Matt Schneidman of The Athletic tweets. The program, which expanded to two divisions (NFC North, AFC West) for the first time this year, provides an extra practice squad spot for an international player.

Bears Pursued Mike McGlinchey; Latest On Cody Whitehair, Teven Jenkins

Even after acquiring D.J. Moore, the Bears entered free agency with the NFL’s most cap space. But they stood down when it came to the top offensive linemen available.

Jawaan Taylor, Mike McGlinchey and Orlando Brown Jr. each signed for at least $16MM per year last week. The Bears could have obviously competed with the Chiefs, Broncos and Bengals for these blockers, but Ryan Poles‘ club did not. The team did try to land McGlinchey, however, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, with The Athletic’s Kevin Fishbain confirming it was in on the new Broncos right tackle (subscription required).

As expected, McGlinchey landed a deal on Day 1 of the legal tampering period. The Broncos convinced the five-year 49ers right tackle to sign a five-year deal worth $87.5MM deal (fourth among right tackles), but McGlinchey did well to essentially secure three guaranteed years. His 2025 salary becomes fully guaranteed shortly after the 2024 league year begins, virtually locking in $52.5MM at signing. The Bears were not willing to go there, and the Broncos came from a place of desperation considering their track record at right tackle. Barring injury, McGlinchey will be Denver’s 11th Week 1 right tackle starter in 11 seasons.

Chicago pivoted from Larry Borom to Riley Reiff last season, but Reiff has since joined the Patriots on a one-year, $5MM deal. Reiff’s Pats pact includes $4.15MM guaranteed, per’s Doug Kyed (on Twitter). The deal includes up to $4MM in play-time incentives, Kyed adds. Borom would again be projected to start at right tackle, but the Bears will be connected to right-side options in the first round, The Athletic’s Adam Jahns adds.

This year’s draft includes top-10 tackle options Peter Skoronski, from nearby Northwestern, and Paris Johnson (Ohio State). The Bears have not drafted a tackle in Round 1 since Gabe Carimi in 2011, but Poles was with the Chiefs when they used the No. 1 overall pick on Eric Fisher two years later. With right tackle looking like the weak spot for Chicago up front, the team could use its No. 9 overall pick on one or trade down (again) to nab one of the other three first-round tackle prospects (Georgia’s Broderick Jones, Tennessee’s Darnell Wright, Oklahoma’s Anton Harrison). Mel Kiper Jr.’s latest mock sends Johnson to Chicago.

On the interior, the Bears may be prepared to move Cody Whitehair to solve the guard logjam they created by Nate Davis‘ three-year, $30MM deal. Poles said Whitehair will be an option to move back to center, citing the seven-year veteran’s nearly 4,000 snaps at the position. Whitehair played center primarily to start his career, working as Chicago’s snapper over his first three seasons before moving to guard in 2019 to accommodate a James Daniels position switch.

Whitehair shifting to center would allow the Bears to have he, Davis and Teven Jenkins as interior starters. While Davis played right guard with the Titans, the Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs predicts Jenkins will stay at that position after showing considerable promise in 2022. Pro Football Focus rated Jenkins, whom the Bears tried at both tackle spots and dangled in trades last year, as the league’s No. 3 overall guard.

Bears Activate G Cody Whitehair From IR

Cody Whitehair did not need an extensive practice ramp-up period to return from IR. Two days after being designated for return, the veteran guard will be back in the Bears’ starting lineup.

Chicago activated its longest-tenured offensive starter Friday. Whitehair had been out since suffering a knee injury in Week 4. He ended up missing the minimum game total; this Bears transaction will be their third injury activation this season. The team can activate up to five more players from IR this year.

[RELATED: Week 9 Injured Reserve Return Tracker]

Although they have been without their top offensive lineman for half the season, the Bears have climbed to a high perch offensively. They will enter their Week 9 game as the NFL’s top rushing team. Chicago’s Justin Fields-, David Montgomery– and Khalil Herbert-driven ground attack is averaging 188.4 yards per game — nearly 23 more yards than the second-place Ravens — and has led the team to back-to-back games with at least 29 points.

The Bears did not let a recent rout of the Patriots in Foxborough cloud their long-term plan, sending Robert Quinn to the Eagles and Roquan Smith to the Ravens. But they also added Chase Claypool, a move aimed at giving Fields a piece for this year and beyond. Whitehair returning stands to bolster this intriguing Chicago offense.

Whitehair, 30, is in the third season of a five-year, $51.25MM extension. He has been with the Bears since joining the team as a 2016 second-round pick. The Kansas State product has been a starter, at either center or guard, throughout his career. This four-game absence marked his longest layoff as a pro.