Dean Lowry

Vikings To Move DL Dean Lowry To IR, Activate OL Chris Reed

Dean Lowry signed with the Vikings this offseason and has been a starter up front, but the veteran defensive lineman will be out of the picture for a while. For the second straight year, the former ironman will head to IR.

A pectoral injury sustained Sunday night will lead Lowry to surgery, Kevin O’Connell said Monday. The Vikings will bring offensive lineman Chris Reed off their reserve/NFI list to fill Lowry’s roster spot, ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert tweets.

This injury will require surgery, according to O’Connell, pointing to the eighth-year veteran being shut down for the season. That is not confirmed just yet, but pectoral tears generally produce such an outcome — especially those sustained during the second half of a season. Lowry is in the first season of a two-year, $8.5MM contract.

A longtime Packers starter, Lowry had played in 101 straight regular-season games before a Christmas Eve injury last year. The Packers placed Lowry on IR ahead of Week 17, ending his Green Bay tenure. The team had drafted Devonte Wyatt in the 2022 first round, and the Georgia product ended up replacing Lowry. Minnesota gave the former fourth-round pick another opportunity, and Lowry had both started and worked as a rotational D-line presence in Brian Flores‘ defense.

In his second year with the Vikings, Reed has not played this season. Minnesota parked the veteran interior O-lineman on its NFI list in July and moved him to the reserve edition a month later. A Minnesota State alum, Reed played in seven games as a backup last season. The 31-year-old blocker restructured his contract twice this offseason; the former Colts spot starter started in Week 18 for the Vikes last season, filling in for center Garrett Bradbury.

Minnesota has used Harrison Phillips and Jonathan Bullard more frequently than Lowry up front this season. Lowry had played 237 defensive snaps for his new NFC North employer. The Vikings have Khyiris Tonga and Jaquelin Roy as backup options but will undoubtedly add to their D-line corps before their Week 12 game.

Vikings To Add DL Dean Lowry

Brian Flores‘ first Vikings defense will feature one of the Packers’ longtime contributors. Veteran defensive lineman Dean Lowry is leaving for a two-year Vikings deal, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.

An 80-game Green Bay starter from 2016-22, Lowry will head to Minneapolis on a two-year deal worth $8.5MM, Pelissero adds (on Twitter). Lowry will join a Vikings defensive line that just lost two-year standout Dalvin Tomlinson.

Prior to suffering a Christmas Day calf injury that ended his season two games early, Lowry had played 101 straight games. The Packers had previously extended the Kenny Clark sidekick — on a three-year, $20.25MM deal — back in 2019, but the team used one of its two first-round picks on defensive tackle Devonte Wyatt last year. With Lowry going into a contract year, that draft investment pointed him out of Wisconsin.

While Lowry only contributed a half-sack to the Packers’ cause last season, he totaled five — to go with a career-high nine QB hits and four pass batdowns — in 2021. Pro Football Focus ranked Lowry outside the top 70 last season. Although Lowry is not on Tomlinson’s level, the former fourth-round pick is still just 28 and makes sense as a starter or a rotational piece alongside Harrison Phillips up front for the Vikings.

Minnesota is attempting to bounce back from a woeful defensive season in its first post-Mike Zimmer campaign. Flores will be tasked with leading the charge, but the Vikes passed on going to the place the Browns went — four years, $57MM — for Tomlinson. While the Vikings wanted to re-sign Tomlinson and will be hit with a few million in void-years charges after not extending him, they will instead regroup with Lowry. The Packers still have Clark and Wyatt signed, with the veteran’s deal running through 2024. Still, Lowry’s 111 games played are tied for 10th by a defensive lineman in Packers history.

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.