Cole Holcomb

Minor NFL Transactions: 7/24/24

Wednesday’s minor transactions:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Las Vegas Raiders

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

Philadelphia Eagles

  • Placed on active/NFI list: T Gottlieb Ayedze, WR Shaquan Davis
  • Placed on active/PUP list: S Sydney Brown

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Washington Commanders

In New Orleans, Young has officially made the comeback from offseason neck surgery, passing his physical today alongside Olave, who is no stranger to offseason injuries.

Treadwell will join his eighth team in nine years after only making one catch in five games with the Ravens last season.

Brown is working his way back from an ACL tear that he suffered in the final game of his rookie season last year, so it’s no surprise that he will start the offseason on PUP.

Steelers LB Cole Holcomb In Danger Of Missing 2024 Season?

Cole Holcomb proved to be an effective contributor following the Steelers’ efforts at reshaping their linebacking corps last offseason. The sixth-year veteran served as a full-time starter before his debut Pittsburgh campaign came to an abrupt end.

Holcomb suffered a major knee injury in November, shutting him down for the rest of the season. An update last month provided by Mark Kaboly of The Athletic indicated the 27-year-old was a likely candidate to begin the season on the reserve/PUP list. That designation would require at least a four-week absence to begin the season, but the latest on his situation is not encouraging.

Kaboly writes that any contributions the Steelers receive from Holcomb in 2024 “would be a bonus” (subscription required). That leaves open the possibility of the former fifth-rounder missing most or all of the campaign, a development which would be acutely felt at the second level of Pittsburgh’s defense. Holcomb signed a three-year, $18MM deal last spring and as such faced considerable expectations upon arrival. The former Commander racked up 54 tackles and a pair of forced fumbles across eight games with his new team prior to the injury.

Of course, the linebacker spot has received further attention from the Steelers in recent months. Pittsburgh signed Patrick Queen in free agency to provide a new face in the starting lineup. The team also added Payton Wilson in the third round of the draft. The NC State alum enters the league with injury concerns but high upside given his college production.

In addition to those two, Pittsburgh has the likes of Elandon Roberts and Mark Robinson in place at the LB spot. The former was also a 2023 free agent signing, and he logged a heavy workload in his debut Steelers season. Roberts totaled 101 tackles and 2.5 sacks, and he could reprise a starting role alongside Queen if Holcomb were to miss considerable time. Robinson primarily played on special teams last year, and further injuries on the depth chart would likely be needed for him to take on notable defensive responsibilities.

Once training camp opens, the Steelers will make a decision with respect to placing Holcomb on the active/PUP list. Players can be activated from there at any time, but it appears availability of any kind close to the start of the 2024 campaign (and perhaps well beyond that point) should not be expected.

Steelers DL Isaiahh Loudermilk On Roster Bubble?

Isaiahh Loudermilk has seen an inconsistent role in Pittsburgh since being selected in the fifth round of the 2021 draft. With the defensive lineman being pushed even further down the depth chart this offseason, there’s a chance he doesn’t reach Week 1 with the Steelers. As Mark Kaboly of The Athletic writes, training camp may “force a decision on Loudermilk,” with the reporter hinting that the fourth-year pro could ultimately earn his walking papers.

The defensive lineman had a productive college career at Wisconsin, including a 2020 campaign where he earned third-team All-Big Ten honors. That production hasn’t translated to the pros, where Loudermilk has started only five of his 42 regular-season appearances. The six-foot-seven, 293-pound defensive tackle got into 29 percent of his team’s defensive snaps as a rookie, but that number fell to 19 percent in 2022 before bottoming out at 18 percent in 2023.

In total, the 26-year-old has collected 46 tackles and one sack, and he added another three stops to his resume in a pair of postseason appearances. Loudermilk has shown some talent on special teams, culminating in a 2023 campaign where he appeared in a career-high 82 ST snaps. Still, that might not be enough to save the player’s job heading into the 2024 campaign.

Cameron Heyward, Larry Ogunjobi, and Keeanu Benton are secure atop the DL depth chart. However, the Steelers have to start preparing for an uncertain future on their defensive line. As Kaboly notes, Heyward is set to hit free agency next offseason, and Ogunjobi will be an obvious cut candidate prior to the 2025 campaign.

Loudermilk’s impending free agency means he doesn’t have a definitive spot on future iterations of Pittsburgh’s roster, and the organization started to add some youth to the unit this offseason. The team used a sixth-round pick on Logan Lee, and assuming the rookie makes the roster, that would only leave a handful of DL spots for veteran backups. Loudermilk’s ST experience could give him a leg up in that competition, although there’s a chance the team opts for more recent draft picks like 2022 third-round pick DeMarvin Leal.

Elsewhere on Pittsburgh’s defense, it sounds like linebacker Cole Holcomb could begin the 2024 season on the physically unable to perform list. As Kaboly notes, the linebacker will only be eight months removed from a serious knee injury by the time training camp opens up, and the team could look to buy themselves some time by keeping him off the field for at least the first four games of the 2024 season.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/6/23

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Steelers LB Cole Holcomb To Undergo Season-Ending Knee Surgery

Cole Holcomb suffered a frightening knee injury in last night’s Steelers victory. As a result, the linebacker will see his debut season in Pittsburgh come to a premature end.

Holcomb was carted off the field in the first quarter after suffering the injury, one which head coach Mike Tomlin confirmed after the game was “serious.” He remained in hospital overnight but has since been discharged, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reports. Holcomb will nevertheless require surgery, Pelissero adds, and he will miss the remainder of the campaign as a result.

The 27-year-old was part of Pittsburgh’s renovations at the inside linebacker spot, signing a three-year, $18MM deal in free agency. That pact marked an end to Holcomb’s four-year run in Washington, despite the interest the Commanders had in retaining him. A starting spot and a healthy workload was provided upon arrival with the Steelers, as the former fifth-rounder logged a 77% snap share. He posted 54 tackles (tied for the team lead) and a pair of forced fumbles across eight games.

As a result, Holcomb’s loss will be acutely felt on a Pittsburgh defense which has already put up underwhelming numbers in several categories. The North Carolina product posted a career-best PFF grade of 72.2 in run defense for 2023, so his absence will deal a blow to a unit surrendering an average of 133 yards per game on the ground. The Steelers will rely more heavily on Elandon Roberts and Kwon Alexander, the other members of the team’s three-man rotation at the LB spot.

While that pair will be counted on to close out the season, Holcomb will turn his attention to the rehab process after his surgery. Fortunately, Pelissero adds that a full recovery is expected, but his ability to return to full health in time for 2024 will be crucial given his importance to the Steelers’ defense. Holcomb is due $6MM in each of the next two years, with scheduled cap hits of $7.64MM for both of those seasons.

Latest On Steelers’ ILB Situation

The Steelers will have quite a different look at inside linebacker in 2023 than they had in 2022. Free agency took a toll on the room in the offseason but still helped them to reload a bit at the position. In a mailbag Q&A this week, Mark Kaboly of The Athletic addressed the question of whether or not Pittsburgh did enough to address the position this spring.

First, let’s address the losses. All three of the team’s top contributors at inside linebacker departed in free agency in the offseason. Myles Jack was heading into the second year of the two-year contract he had signed to join the Steelers last year, but the team, instead, decided to release the veteran linebacker to open up about $8MM of cap space. After being allowed to test his market in free agency, Devin Bush signed a one-year contract in Seattle. Lastly, Robert Spillane, who served as a spot starter and factored heavily into the defensive rotation last year, also found his way to free agency, departing for Las Vegas.

That left three holes atop the roster at inside linebacker, including two starting spots. For one spot, the team signed former Commanders linebacker Cole Holcomb. A fifth-round pick for Washington back in 2019, Holcomb was an immediate starter as a rookie. This wasn’t the first time that Holcomb had surpassed expectations as, in college, he earned a scholarship after initially walking on at North Carolina. He’s now started 48 of the 50 games he’s appeared in, but injuries have kept him from appearing in a possible 16 additional games. Most crucially, he missed 10 games in 2022 due to a knee injury in November and foot surgery that ended his season in December. If healthy, though, Holcomb can certainly perform as the team’s top linebacker. His best season saw him rank as the league’s 23rd best linebacker, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), in 2020, and despite his injuries, he ranked 35th in 2022.

Another spot was filled by former Patriots and Dolphins linebacker Elandon Roberts. An eighth-year veteran, Roberts had a bit of a breakout year in 2022. After seeing his role diminish over his final years with the Patriots, Roberts found a way to improve over each season in Miami. Finally starting in every game of the season in 2022, Roberts recorded career-highs in total tackles (107), tackles for loss (10), and sacks (4.5) and tied a career-high in quarterback hits (6). He’s never graded out highly by PFF standards as a full-service linebacker, but last year, Roberts topped all NFL linebackers with an 89.2 pass rushing grade.

Pittsburgh is planning on filling the third hole internally by putting more responsibility on the shoulders of Mark Robinson to fill Spillane’s role from last year. A seventh-round pick for the team in 2022, Robinson only appeared in four games last season, making two starts in the final two games of the year. The Steelers have taken their time with Robinson, who had only played one season at linebacker in college after switching from running back. The team seems confident in Robinson’s ability to step up in Year 2. They relied on him last year in the team’s last two games against the Ravens and Browns, two run-heavy teams, and he may play a similar role this year.

For depth at inside linebacker, the team brought in Nick Kwiatkoski and Tanner Muse. Kwiatkoski has past experience as a full-time starter but hasn’t started a game since the 2020 season. Muse is primarily a special teamer.

So, did the Steelers do enough to address the losses at the position? It may be too soon to say whether they’ve successfully filled the holes in the roster. They did a lot, and the holes are filled, but whether they’ve been filled effectively has yet to be determined. Kaboly does think that the team has done enough to at least satisfy the demands of the roster. He doesn’t believe that the team will continue to pursue Kwon Alexander or other free agents, barring injury to the three players above. Unless Holcomb, Roberts, and Robinson make it clear that they can’t handle the duties of the position, Kaboly believes that “the 90 they have is the 90 they will bring to camp.”

Steelers To Sign LB Cole Holcomb

In on the Leighton Vander Esch market, the Steelers will instead end up with another linebacker who spent his rookie-contract years in the NFC East. They are signing former Commanders linebacker Cole Holcomb, Tom Pelissero of tweets.

The Commanders wanted to bring back the former fifth-round pick, John Keim of adds (on Twitter), but the sides were too far apart on value. Holcomb, 26, is heading to Pittsburgh on a three-year deal. Holcomb’s contract is worth $18MM, Tom Pelissero of tweets.

Although Holcomb is coming off an injury-abbreviated contract year, he started throughout his four-year Washington tenure. He finished the 2021 season with 142 tackles, two interceptions — one of them a pick-six — and seven pass deflections, and Pro Football Focus graded the ex-North Carolina Tar Heel as a top-25 off-ball linebacker that year. He will join a Steelers team that ultimately did not see enough from former first-round pick Devin Bush, who is now a free agent.

Last year, Holcomb suffered a foot injury that ultimately required surgery. He underwent the procedure in December, but that did not impede a multiyear contract. The Commanders have already agreed to terms with ex-Seahawks linebacker Cody Barton, though Keim notes the team is still aiming to add another piece at that position.

Many ILBs have come off the board already, though a few options remain. Lavonte David and Bobby Wagner may be eyeing roles with surefire Super Bowl contenders, but Bush, Deion Jones, Zach Cunningham, Denzel Perryman and Rashaan Evans are available heading into the 2023 league year.

Pittsburgh still rosters 2022 free agency pickup Myles Jack, who is going into the second season of his two-year deal, but lost Robert Spillane to the Raiders on Tuesday. Spillane started 15 games over the past three seasons with Pittsburgh, which did not pick up Bush’s fifth-year option in 2022.

Giants Rumors: Lawrence, Edwards, WRs, Love

The Giants have been eyeing an extension for star defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence for a while now and, following a breakout season, the team has made it a priority. New York started preliminary conversations with Lawrence about two weeks ago, but Jonathan Jones of NFL on CBS claims he wouldn’t be surprised to see a new deal done “sooner than later.”

Despite the ever-growing markets for every position, the league’s market for defensive tackles has never been near the contract of generational talent Aaron Donald. It appears that this will continue to be the case as we see the defensive tackle market reestablished this offseason. Washington has already made Daron Payne the new second-highest paid defensive tackle in the NFL behind Donald with a four-year, $90MM contract. Payne’s average annual value of $22.5MM is still well short of Donald’s $31.67MM per year.

It will be interesting to see where the Giants go from Payne’s deal. Payne established himself as a premier pass-rushing defensive tackle in the league this season but struggled in run defense. Lawrence didn’t have the pass rush production that Payne did but still excelled in the area while also being strong against the run.

Lawrence graded out as the second-best defensive tackle in the league this year, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). It would make perfect sense for the Giants to reward Lawrence with a contract that surpasses that of Payne’s new deal, but will Lawrence be able to come anywhere close to the heights reached by Donald?

Here are a few more rumors surrounding the Giants’ priorities at the start of the new league year:

  • Starting the offseason with 21 unrestricted free agents, New York had a laundry list of names and positions to take care of. One of those positions that has been getting some chatter is inside linebacker. Specifically, the Giants have continuously been connected to Eagles pending free agent linebacker T.J. Edwards, according to Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post. The four-year Philadelphia defender has had two increasingly impressive breakout seasons, recording career-highs last year in total tackles (159), tackles for loss (10), sacks (2.0), quarterback hits (5), and passes defensed (7). Aside from Edwards, the top name expected to be available at the position is Tremaine Edmunds from Buffalo. Other names of interest for the G-Men include the Commanders’ Cole Holcomb, the Bengals’ Germaine Pratt, the Cowboys’ Leighton Vander Esch, the Lions’ Alex Anzalone, and the Chargers’ Drue Tranquill.
  • The wide receivers position has been an obvious need on the Giants’ roster for some time now, but it doesn’t appear that the Giants intend to address that through free agency, according to Pat Leonard of New York Daily News. With their focuses in free agency and the draft reportedly on inside linebackers, defensive linemen, cornerbacks, and interior offensive linemen, thoughts are that the trade market may make more sense for New York. If the Bills aren’t able to reach an extension agreement with Gabriel Davis, the Giants could be strong contenders to acquire his talents. The Rams have granted receiver Allen Robinson permission to seek a trade. Cardinals star receiver DeAndre Hopkins appears to be available for a price, as well. There are other names that could be interesting additions to the trade market such as Cincinnati wideout Tyler Boyd or Denver’s Jerry Jeudy. The team might still make free agency moves for veterans like Cole Beasley or Odell Beckham Jr., but the trade market could be a more attractive way to bring in established talent to New York.
  • There is reportedly optimism that the Giants will be able to come to an agreement to re-sign pending free agent safety Julian Love. After two seasons of relatively down play, Love had a bounce-back, breakout season in a contract year. He led the team in tackles by a mile with 124 total and tacked on two interceptions for good measure. Love may not be expected to make top money at the position, but after playing out his rookie contract, it appears Love is on the right track to remaining in New York long-term.

Commanders LB Cole Holcomb Out For Season

DECEMBER 5: Holcomb has undergone surgery on his foot, and will miss the remainder of the season as a result (Twitter link via Tom Pelissero of NFL Network). The news will leave Washington shorthanded for the stretch run and postseason if they make it. In encouraging news regarding Holcomb’s impending free agency, Pelissero adds that he will be recovered in full by March.

NOVEMBER 25: Cole Holcomb‘s injury absence will extend into January. The Commanders placed the starting linebacker on IR on Friday, mandating he miss four more games.

The fourth-year defender has been out with a foot injury since Week 7. Ron Rivera said earlier this week Holcomb was scheduled to visit a foot specialist. It is uncertain if Holcomb has an injury that will prevent him from playing again this season, but he is down until at least Week 17 — because of Washington’s late bye — as a result of this transaction.

[RELATED: Commanders Designate Carson Wentz For Return]

This injury has prevented Holcomb from following up on his team-leading (by a mile) 142 tackles last season. Holcomb, 26, has been a Washington starter nearly throughout his career. Despite being a fifth-round pick, the North Carolina alum started 15 games as a rookie and has settled in as a key defender since.

This season, Pro Football Focus rates Holcomb 32nd among off-ball linebackers. Illustrating the impact Holcomb has when available, his 69 tackles are still 11 more than any other Commander this year. His contract is up at season’s end.

Additionally, Washington used one of its injury activations to bring linebacker Milo Eifler off IR. A second-year UDFA, Eifler has been a backup during his seven-game run with the team over the past two seasons. Because the Commanders also activated Chase Young off the PUP list earlier this week, they now have four injury activations remaining. The team would undoubtedly save an IR-return slot for Holcomb, in the event he will be ready to come back when first eligible on New Year’s Day.

NFL COVID List Updates: 12/22/21

We’ve compiled a list of players who were placed or activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list today. In some instances (including Christian McCaffrey and Travis Etienne), players activated from the list remain on IR:

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

  • Placed on list: T Le’Raven Clark

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team