D.J. Fluker

AFC East Notes: Dolphins, Jets, Thornton

The 2019 draft produced several long-running partnerships between defensive tackles and the teams that chose them in the first round. Four of the six DTs selected in Round 1 that year signed extensions this offseason. Quinnen Williams, Ed Oliver, Dexter Lawrence and Jeffery Simmons have new deals in hand. Jerry Tillery did not work out for the Chargers, but he was the only first-round DT from the ’19 class not to negotiate an extension this offseason. Christian Wilkins spent months discussing a deal with the Dolphins, but the sides have tabled matters to 2024, when the former No. 13 overall pick will be on the cusp of free agency.

Guarantees represented a sticking point for Wilkins, but Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald offers that the Dolphins appeared to be skittish about authorizing a Williams-level deal for a player without much in the way of sack production. Wilkins’ camp undoubtedly pushed for terms in the Williams-Lawrence-Simmons-Daron Payne neighborhood ($22.5-$24MM per year), as the Clemson alum led all DTs with 98 tackles last season. Wilkins, who produced 89 tackles in 2021, has never topped 4.5 sacks in a season. He has also eclipsed seven QB hits in just one of his four NFL slates (13 in 2021). Wilkins has not requested a trade, per Jackson, and the Dolphins — despite trade interest emerging — are not interested in moving him.

The Dolphins will have the option of franchise-tagging Wilkins next year. The Commanders used the tag as a bridge to a Payne deal, but the D-tackle tag number will likely come in north of $20MM in 2024. The Dolphins are currently projected to be $27MM over the cap next year (29th in the league), though much will obviously change between now and then. Here is the latest from the AFC East:

Patriots To Host OL D.J. Fluker

The Patriots already have one high-profile free agent visit scheduled for this week, but DeAndre Hopkins is not the only veteran the team will take a look at. New England is hosting offensive lineman D.J. Fluker on Monday, per Jordan Schultz of the Score (Twitter link).

The Patriots have a number of veteran options available at the tackle spot, with Trent Brown and free agent additions Riley Reiff and Calvin Anderson in place. Each of those three have experience at both the left and right tackle spots, so much is yet to be determined with respect to where they will line up this season and how the pecking order shakes out.

Fluker could factor into New England’s tackle competition if he were to land a roster spot in time for training camp. The 32-year-old last played in 2020, but has made a push to return to NFL action this offseason; Schultz notes that Fluker dropped 40 pounds recently, which has no doubt played a part in the interest he has received on the free agent market. The Eagles hosted him earlier this offseason.

The former first-rounder put up fairly consistent performances in terms of PFF evaluation throughout his career. Fluker bounced around after the conclusion of his rookie contract, though, spending time with the Giants, Seahawks, Ravens, Dolphins, Raiders and Jaguars. New England would represent another team on that list, but their uncertainty up front could yield competition for playing time.

The Patriots saw Isaiah Wynn depart in free agency, leaving either an opening on the blindside or at the RT spot if Brown remains on the left side, where he was in 2022. Fluker could look to play his way into at least a backup role in New England if today’s workout goes well, as he looks to find a footing in the NFL once again and the Patriots aim to sort out their best pairing at tackle for the season.

Eagles Worked Out OL D.J. Fluker

Despite not having played since 2020, D.J. Fluker is considering a comeback. The veteran offensive lineman worked out for the Eagles yesterday, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter).

While the former first-round pick didn’t necessarily live up to his draft stock, he still put together a solid eight-year stretch. He started all 59 of his appearances for the Chargers to begin his career, and he later had stints with the Giants, Seahawks (two years), and Ravens.

After starting eight of his 16 appearances for Baltimore in 2020, Fluker signed with the Dolphins, but a torn meniscus ultimately led to his release. He was later slapped with a six-game suspension, and he had brief stints with the Raiders and Jaguars to end the 2021 campaign. The veteran remained unsigned for the 2022 season.

When we last saw him in 2020, Pro Football Focus pegged Fluker as an average offensive tackle, favoring his run-blocking ability over his pass-blocking ability. The site was never particularly fond of the lineman’s performance, and they most recently graded him as an above-average player at his position in 2016.

Still, Fluker could make some sense for the Eagles. The Eagles mostly have inexperienced depth behind their starters, so Fluker would provide some reinforcement in that regard. Plus, it wouldn’t take long to catch him up to speed; he played for OL Jeff Stoutland when the two were at Alabama, and he played for head coach Nick Sirianni when the two were in San Diego. Plus, for what it’s worth, reports out of Fluker’s camp indicate that he’s been working nonstop and has lost nearly 40 pounds.

NFL Workout Notes: Giants, Campbell, Edwards, Neal, Carter, Fluker

As the initial surge of free agency has died down a bit, there are still several assets available on the market. The Giants have been fairly active in free agency and have had quite a few free agents visit for evaluations.

After allowing starting center Jon Feliciano to depart for San Francisco in free agency, the team decided to kick the tires on center J.C. Hassenauer, according to Jordan Raanan of ESPN. The former Steeler has some starting experience and would add some depth and competition behind Ben Bredeson.

The team also decided to check out a potential depth piece for the secondary in former Vikings cornerback Kris Boyd, according to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News in Minnesota. Boyd was able to provide some defensive depth as a seventh-round draft pick out of Texas for the Vikings, but his true value in Minnesota came on special teams, an added benefit that should help him find a roster spot moving forward.

If you thought the Giants had enough receivers, they clearly don’t agree as they reportedly hosted former Raiders and Falcons wideout Bryan Edwards, according to Jordan Schultz of theScore. Edwards barely played last year after getting traded to Atlanta and signing to the Chiefs’ practice squad, but he gets a chance to compete for serious snaps in New York. The Giants have a bevy of wide receivers but lack any sure-handed starters. The team returns Darius Slayton, Isaiah Hodgins, Wan’Dale Robinson, Sterling Shepard, David Sills, and Collin Johson but has added Parris Campbell, Jamison Crowder, and Jeff Smith in free agency. It looks like a collection of strong No. 3 and 4 receivers that lacks the talent of a strong No. 1 or 2. This provides Edwards a window to perform well and earn playing time.

Lastly, according to ESPN’s Field Yates, the team hosted linebacker Justin Hollins, who started five games for the Rams last year. Hollins would be another potential depth piece for the Giants’ defense.

Here are a few other workout rumors from around the league:

  • After getting released by the Ravens for cap purposes, the former “Mayor of Sacksonville” could be poised for a return to the Jaguars. According to Demetrius Harvey of the Florida Times-Union, defensive lineman Calais Campbell visited his former team this past week. After an earlier visit with the Falcons, the veteran also has future visits planned with the Bills and Jets, according to Tiffany Blackmon of 92.9 The Game.
  • The Seahawks may be looking to replace some defensive line depth after losing defensive end L.J. Collier to free agency. Seattle hosted veteran defensive end Mario Edwards earlier this week, according to Yates. Edwards is looking to join potentially his sixth franchise since entering the league. He started seven games for the Titans last year.
  • After losing safety Marcus Epps to free agency, the Eagles continue to look at safety options. Philadelphia hosted safety Keanu Neal earlier this week, according to Yates. Unfortunately for Neal, the team signed former Steelers first-round pick Terrell Edmunds yesterday, adding him to the addition of Justin Evans. Neal has experience playing linebacker, though, which may afford him an additional chance to make a roster as free agency continues.
  • While the wide receiver waters have been fairly stagnant, former Chargers wideout DeAndre Carter‘s market is starting to heat up. After a career year, the 29-year-old visited the Raiders yesterday, according to Schultz. The Raiders have added Jakobi Meyers, Phillip Dorsett, and Steven Sims after losing Mack Hollins. Carter would likely be competing for WR3 snaps behind Davante Adams and Meyers.
  • Offensive lineman D.J. Fluker, who last appeared in an NFL game in 2020 with the Ravens, is seeking a return to the NFL. Fluker spent 2021 on three different teams’ practice squads, but after getting released from the Jaguars’ on New Year’s Eve 2021, he has remained a free agent for over a year. According to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network, Fluker worked out at Alabama’s pro day this year with top prospects Bryce Young and Will Anderson. The workout drew some attention from NFL teams and could help Fluker make it back to the league.

Minor NFL Transactions: 1/1/22

The first minor moves of 2022:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texas

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 Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Football Team

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 12/31/21

Today’s taxi squad moves:

Denver Broncos

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

New Orleans Saints

  • Signed: C Cohl Cabral

FA OL D.J. Fluker Suspended Six Weeks

If D.J. Fluker hopes to see the field this season, his debut won’t come until at least early October. The free agent offensive lineman has been suspended for the first six weeks of the season, reports ESPN’s Field Yates (via Twitter).

This development doesn’t necessarily doom Fluker’s chances of catching on with a team. After all, he was already expected to miss at least a month while recovering from recent meniscus surgery, although it’s a bit telling that the Dolphins weren’t willing to keep him around while he got healthy.

After inking a one-year deal with the Dolphins during the offseason, Fluker was expected to provide the Dolphins with a veteran presence on their offensive line. However, he was placed on IR before the conclusion of the preseason, assuring he wouldn’t play for Miami in 2021. The team released him with an injury settlement shortly thereafter, allowing him to sign elsewhere.

Fluker, 30, spent last season with the Ravens, with whom he started eight games. Prior to that, Fluker spent two years as a Seahawks guard starter. He previously played with the Giants and Chargers, who chose him in the 2013 first round. His latest injury and suspension (couple with reports about his underwhelming conditioning) certainly doesn’t bode well for the 30-year-old. However, with 96 career regular season starts on his resume, the offensive lineman will surely find another gig once he’s healthy.

Dolphins Release OL D.J. Fluker With Injury Settlement

D.J. Fluker‘s stint in Miami has already come to an end. After being placed on injured reserve last week, the veteran offensive lineman was released with an injury settlement today (per Adam Beasley of Pro Football Network on Twitter).

The Dolphins assured that Fluker wouldn’t play for the team this season when they placed him on IR. However, it was suspected that an injury settlement could take place, in which case Fluker would be free to sign (and play) elsewhere. While the former first-round pick underwent meniscus surgery on Thursday, he’s expected to be ready to play within a month. We also heard that a conditioning issue could have led to Fluker’s demise in Miami, and Beasley tweets that the offensive lineman showed up to camp eight pounds heavier than his 2020 weight.

The Dolphins could have four rookie-contract starters on the offensive line, and Fluker was expected to provide a veteran presence to that grouping. Now, the young offensive line corps will have to turn to veterans like Matt Skura, who is vying for the Dolphins’ starting center role, and versatile lineman Jesse Davis.

Fluker, 30, spent last season with the Ravens, with whom he started eight games. Prior to that, Fluker spent two years as a Seahawks guard starter. He previously played with the Giants and Chargers, who chose him in the 2013 first round. His latest injury (and the note about his conditioning) certainly doesn’t bode well for the 30-year-old. However, with 96 career regular season starts on his resume, the offensive lineman will surely find another gig once he’s healthy. He signed for the veteran minimum without any fully guaranteed money earlier this offseason, so the lineman won’t be looking to break the bank.

Dolphins Place G D.J. Fluker On IR

Signed to be a veteran presence on the Dolphins’ offensive line, D.J. Fluker will not play for the team this season. The Dolphins placed the experienced guard on IR Thursday.

The Dolphins signed the former first-round pick just before the draft. While Fluker signed for the veteran minimum without any fully guaranteed money, this is a bit of a blow to Miami’s depth up front. The Dolphins are set to go young on the offensive line this season.

This move will not KO Fluker for the season, however. While Thursday’s transaction prevents him from playing for the Dolphins this year, the eight-year vet could play elsewhere if an injury settlement is reached. That scenario is likely, with Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweeting Fluker underwent meniscus surgery today but is expected to be ready to play within a month. The Dolphins, evidently, did not want to wait on Fluker’s recovery. A conditioning issue also cropped up with Fluker, per the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson.

Fluker, 30, spent last season with the Ravens, with whom he started eight games. Prior to that, Fluker spent two years as a Seahawks guard starter. He previously played with the Giants and Chargers, who chose him in the 2013 first round.

Miami, which traded Ereck Flowers back to Washington earlier this year, may have four rookie-contract starters up front this year. Ex-Fluker Raven teammate Matt Skura, however, is vying for the Dolphins’ starting center role, and versatile veteran Jesse Davis remains in the mix.

To replace Fluker on their roster, the Dolphins signed former UDFA guard Ross Reynolds.