Dean Lowry

Packers Place DL Dean Lowry On IR

Dean Lowry‘s streak of 101 straight regular-season games will come to an end. The Packers placed the veteran defensive lineman on IR on Tuesday.

The seventh-year defender suffered a calf injury against the Dolphins. To replace him on the roster, the Packers signed wide receiver Bo Melton from the Seahawks’ practice squad; Seattle drafted Melton in this year’s seventh round out of Rutgers. He has not seen any game action yet. The Packers also released linebacker Tipa Galeai from IR, weeks after opting against using one of its IR activations on him.

In order for Lowry to be activated, the Packers would need to reach the NFC championship game. While Green Bay has accomplished this twice under Matt LaFleur, the team is 7-8 and still has an uphill battle to make the playoffs. FiveThirtyEight gives the Pack a 27% chance to secure a wild-card spot. Tuesday’s transaction is likely to end Lowry’s season.

Lowry, 28, has been with the Packers since they drafted him in the 2016 fourth round. He has started 80 career games, becoming a primary starter during LaFleur’s time in Green Bay. The Northwestern product recorded five sacks last season but has only a half-sack this year. Still, Lowry has maintained a regular role on a defensive line housing Kenny Clark, Jarran Reed and first-round pick Devonte Wyatt. Lowry has played 53% of the Packers’ defensive snaps this season.

Pro Football Focus ranks Lowry just outside the top 60 interior D-linemen (out of 125 qualified players), after slotting him 33rd overall last season. Lowry’s three-year, $20.3MM extension expires after this season, though three void years are tacked on for cap purposes. Wyatt saw his highest snap share against the Dolphins, being on the field for 24 defensive plays. While the Packers have eased the Georgia product into action, he stands to see more time in the team’s final two regular-season games.

Restructure Details: Woods, Lowry

Here are some details on recent contract restructures in the NFL:

  • Robert Woods, WR (Titans): Halfway through his first season in Tennessee, Woods has agreed to a restructure of his contract that opens up a bit of salary cap space for a team that sorely needs it, according to ESPN’s Field Yates. The new agreement converts a portion of his base salary into a signing bonus, freeing up $2.6MM in cap space for the Titans. The team has been among the bottom-five teams in the NFL in regard to cap space this year and is poised to be in a bad position next year, as well. The move shows that general manager Jon Robinson is starting to plan for the impending offseason and making sure that Tennessee is set up well for the future.
  • Dean Lowry, DE (Packers): Lowry agreed to make his contract a bit more team-friendly after seven years in Green Bay, according to Yates. The team will convert approximately $1.5MM in base salary into a signing bonus, similar to Woods’ agreement. The move will clear up about $1.1MM in cap space for the Packers. Lowry is in the final year of his second contract with the team. Helping Green Bay find a little cap space puts Lowry in a favorable position heading into negotiations for a potential third deal.

Minor NFL Transactions: 7/27/22

Today’s minor NFL transactions:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

Miami Dolphins

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

  • Signed: OL Keenan Forbes, G Eric Wilson

Packers Place Nine Players On PUP To Start Camp

Sat, 4:07pm:

As mentioned as a possibility last night, the Packers made an addition to their PUP list today, placing star left tackle David Bakhtiari on the list after not including him in their first moves last night, according to ESPN’s Field Yates.

Bakhtiari missed all but one game last season as he recovered from an ACL tear that he suffered in Week 16 of the 2020 NFL season. He spent most of 2021 rehabilitating before finally making his season-debut in a Week 18 game that had no bearing on the team’s playoff positioning. He was inactive for Green Bay’s playoff loss to San Francisco.

Reiterating what was said yesterday, there is no need for Packers fans to fret quite yet. This is a natural process for NFL teams, especially concerning players returning from a major injury. As long as Bakhtiari comes off the PUP list in the preseason, he should have no restrictions going into regular season play.

Fri, 9:52pm:

As many teams are making necessary adjustments to their injury lists, the Packers joined in today, adding twelve players overall, nine to the physically unable to perform list and three to the non-football injury list, according to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. 

The biggest surprise on the list was rookie second-round pick Christian Watson. An injury has not been disclosed for the wide receiver, who recently signed his rookie contract. Similarly, undrafted rookie defensive tackle Hauati Pututau was placed on the list for an undisclosed reason.

Four players placed on the PUP list were expected, as they are returning from major injuries. Tight end Robert Tonyan missed half of last season after tearing his ACL in late-October. The same game saw then-rookie running back Kylin Hill suffer a season-ending knee injury. Shortly after, tackle Elgton Jenkins tore his ACL, as well, ending his season after only eight starts. Linebacker Randy Ramsey also suffered an season-ending injury before the season even began after serving in 2020 as a core special teamer.

The three remaining players, kicker Mason Crosby, defensive lineman Dean Lowry, and running back Patrick Taylor, were all placed on the list with no information as to what has put them there.

That’s five expected starters, Watson, Tonyan, Jenkins, Lowry, and Crosby, on the PUP. Packers’ fans will be relieved not to see left tackle David Bakhtiari placed on the PUP list a year after missing all but one game last year recovering from an ACL tear suffered in late-2020.

There could always be additions to the list, as it isn’t official until Tuesday. Additionally, a player can come off of the list anytime during the preseason and can’t be on the list once they’ve practiced with the team. Any players still on the PUP list at the start of the regular season will be required to sit out a minimum of six games, but they won’t count against the roster as the team trims to 53 players.

While the number of players on the list may be alarming, there’s little to worry about as of right now for these Packers. As long as they come off of the list before the season starts, there will be no league-restrictions on their participation.

Latest On Packers’ DL Competition

The Packers have made a few notable investments into their defensive line this offseason, as they try to bolster what has been one of the team’s weaker position groups in recent years. For both the short- and long-term future, there is cause for optimism. 

Green Bay still has Pro Bowler Kenny Clark as an anchor for the unit. The former first-rounder has totalled 22.5 sacks in the past five seasons, and figures to be a mainstay of the team’s defense for years to come. Another key veteran returning in 2022 is Dean Lowry, another 2016 draftee who has been a starter since his second NFL season.

The Packers have a few options to consider in terms of who joins those two as a first-team member. Many may have expected Devonte Wyatt to take on that role, given his status as a first round pick and his college production. A key member of Georgia’s lights-out defense, Wyatt teamed with fellow top pick Jordan Davis on the interior of the Bulldogs’ d-line and totalled 2.5 sacks and seven tackles for loss in 2021.

However, Matt Schneidman of The Athletic notes that Wyatt has strictly seen second-team reps so far this offseason (subscription required). He will likely begin his pro career as a backup to the likes of 2021 fifth-rounder TJ Slaton and free agent addition Jarran Reed. The latter had an underwhelming season in Kansas City last year, but displayed significant pass-rush ability during his time as a Seahawk.

Still, Schneidman adds that it wouldn’t come as a surprise if Wyatt sees himself “playing meaningful snaps not long from now.” He, along with the rest of Green Bay’s re-tooled defensive front could be in line for a productive campaign, something which would go a long way towards helping the team’s Super Bowl aspirations.

Packers Restructure Dean Lowry’s Deal

The Packers have restructured the contract of defensive lineman Dean Lowry (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Field Yates). Lowry will have $3.11 million of his $4.1MM salary converted into a signing bonus, giving Green Bay an additional $2.5MM in cap room. That’s a welcome break for Brian Gutekunst, who was sweating Lowry’s scheduled $6.3MM cap hit.

[RELATED: Aaron Rodgers Won’t Attend Packers’ OTAs]

The move provides the Packers with some extra space to add to the roster between now and Week 1. In theory, the extra dollars could be allocated towards a big splash, like trading for Falcons star Julio Jones, but they’ll need more than a few mil to make that happen. Jones will earn a guaranteed $15.3MM this year and already has ~$2MM of his 2022 salary ($15.5MM) locked in.

Lowry, a 2016 fourth-round pick out of Northwestern, inked a three-year, $20.325MM extension towards the end of his rookie deal. He broke out as a part-time starter in 2018 with 57 tackles (seven for loss), three sacks, three passes defensed, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, two QB hits, and 14 QB pressures. Last year, he delivered three sacks and 36 total stops while starting in all 16 contests.

Packers Likely To Restructure Aaron Rodgers’ Contract

The Packers cleared over $10MM of cap space by releasing Christian Kirksey and Rick Wagner several days ago. However, Green Bay is still about $13MM above the cap floor of $180MM, so there is plenty of work to do before the 2021 league year officially begins on March 17.

According to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com, the Packers will almost certainly restructure quarterback Aaron Rodgers‘ contract in an effort to create additional cap room. The 37-year-old signal-caller is due a $14.7MM base salary in 2021, along with a $6.8MM roster bonus that will come due in March. Green Bay could convert some of that base salary into a signing bonus, a common maneuver that the club already executed with left tackle David Bakhtiari.

Of course, Rodgers said shortly after the Packers’ NFC Championship Game defeat in January that his future with the Packers was “uncertain,” which naturally led to plenty of speculation. Some reports suggested that his comments were an effort to secure a new contract that would represent a strong commitment from the franchise, whose selection of Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 draft clearly irked Rodgers. And another report indicated that the comments — which Rodgers later tried to downplay — were not contractually-motivated and that player and team were headed for a bitter divorce.

Meanwhile, Packers brass has insisted that Rodgers is not going anywhere, and Demovsky says the club certainly could undertake a more comprehensive restructuring of Rodgers’ contract beyond a simple base salary-to-bonus conversion. Green Bay selected Love on the heels of three consecutive “down” years from Rodgers (by his standards), but in 2020, Rodgers was nothing short of sensational. He set career highs in completion percentage (70.7%), QBR (84.4), and TD passes (48), so it makes sense that the team would be amenable to a new contract that gives its superstar additional security (financially and otherwise).

Demovsky also names OLB Preston Smith and DE Dean Lowry as potential cap casualties.

Packers, Dean Lowry Agree To Extension

The Packers have agreed to a contract extension with DE Dean Lowry, according to a team announcement. Tom Pelissero of NFL.com reports that it will be a three-year, $20.325MM extension (Twitter link).

Lowry, a fourth-round pick out of Northwestern in 2016, was heading into the last year of his rookie deal and was scheduled to earn $2.025MM this year. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that the $20.325MM (which includes a $6MM signing bonus) will be new money on top of that $2.025MM.

Lowry has quietly put together a very strong start to his professional career, and 2018 was his best season to date, as he recorded 57 tackles (seven for loss), three sacks, three passes defensed, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, two QB hits, and 14 QB pressures in 16 games (eight starts).

He is, at the very least, a solid piece of the club’s D-line, and now that he is in the fold for the foreseeable future, Green Bay may turn its attention to fellow DE Mike Daniels, who is also entering the last year of his current contract.

2019 Proven Performance Escalators

According to the NFL’s contractual bargaining agreement, players drafted in rounds three though seven are entitled to raises during the fourth year of their respective rookie contracts. The pay bumps are tied to playing time — a player must have played in 35% of his team’s offensive or defensive snaps in two of his first three seasons, or averaged 35% playing time cumulatively during that period.

If one of these thresholds is met, the player’s salary is elevated to the level of that year’s lowest restricted free agent tender — that figure should be around $2MM in 2019. Players selected in the first or second round, undrafted free agents, and kickers/punters are ineligible for the proven performance escalator.

Here are the players who will see their salary rise in 2019 courtesy of the proven performance escalator:

Bears: RB Jordan Howard, LB Nick Kwiatkoski

Bengals: LB Nick Vigil

Broncos: G Connor McGovern, S Will Parks, S Justin Simmons

Browns: S Derrick Kindred, LB Joe Schobert

Buccaneers: G Caleb Benenoch, DE Carl Nassib, CB Ryan Smith

Chargers: LB Jatavis Brown

Chiefs: CB Kendall Fuller, WR Tyreek Hill, S Eric Murray, WR Demarcus Robinson

Colts: QB Jacoby Brissett, T Joe Haeg

Cowboys: CB Anthony Brown, DT Maliek Collins, QB Dak Prescott

Dolphins: RB Kenyan Drake

Eagles: CB Jalen Mills, T Halapoulivaati Vaitai

Falcons: LB De’Vondre Campbell, TE Austin Hooper, G Wes Schweitzer

Jaguars: DE Yannick Ngakoue

Jets: LB Jordan Jenkins, CB Rashard Robinson, T Brandon Shell

Lions: C Graham Glasgow

Packers: LB Kyler Fackrell, DE Dean Lowry, LB Blake Martinez, LB Antonio Morrison

Patriots: G Joe Thuney, LB Elandon Roberts

Rams: G Austin Blythe, TE Tyler Higbee

Ravens: DE Matt Judon, OL Alex Lewis, CB Tavon Young

Saints: DT David Onyemata

Steelers: DT Javon Hargrave

Texans: DT D.J. Reader

Titans: S Kevin Byard, WR Tajae Sharpe

OverTheCap.com was essential in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. 

Draft Pick Signings: Eagles, Packers, Bears, Colts

Checking in on the latest rookie signings from around the NFL…

  • Two offensive linemen – third-rounder Isaac Seumalo and fifth-rounder Halapoulivaati Vaitai – have agreed to deals with the Eagles, the team tweeted. Seumalo went 79th in the draft after playing various positions, mostly center, along Oregon State’s O-line. Vaitai, the 164th pick, made 30 starts at tackle (primarily on the right side) during his TCU tenure.
  • The Colts have signed fourth-round linebacker Antonio Morrison, the 125th overall choice, according to a team press release. Morrison was a four-year starter at Florida.
  • Packers general manager Ted Thompson announced the signings of four draftees — fourth-rounders Blake Martinez (linebacker, Stanford) and Dean Lowry (defensive end, Northwestern), fifth-rounder Trevor Davis (receiver, California) and sixth-rounder Kyle Murphy (offensive tackle, Stanford). Those four were Green Bay’s final picks of this year’s draft. The team still has to lock up its top three selections, including first-round defensive lineman Kenny Clark.
  • The Bears inked fourth-round defensive back Deiondre’ Hall to a four-year deal worth $2.85MM, including a $510,982 signing bonus, reports Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (on Twitter). Hall, the 127th pick, piled up 13 interceptions during his four years at Northern Iowa.
  • The Vikings have signed fourth-round offensive lineman Willie Beavers and fifth-round linebacker Kentrell Brothers, per a team press release. Beavers was a stalwart at left tackle for Western Michigan before the Vikings grabbed him with the 121st choice, while Brothers – the 160th selection – was a prolific defensive playmaker at Missouri.
  • The Steelers announced the signing of sixth-round linebacker Travis Feeney, a former University of Washington standout and the 220th overall pick.