Dion Dawkins

AFC East Notes: Williams, Bills, Sauce, Jets

Mentioned as dangling Preston Williams in trades earlier this month, the Dolphins have not ruled out adding an asset for the young wide receiver. Williams is generating some trade interest, Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com tweets, but this looks like a situation that will either produce a deal for a late-round pick or Williams being waived before rosters are finalized Tuesday. Teams have until 3pm CT tomorrow to cut to 53. The Dolphins made some adjustments at receiver this offseason, trading for Tyreek Hill and adding Cedrick Wilson Jr. The team already cut Mohamed Sanu on Monday, however, potentially keeping the door open for Williams to stick as a backup. Williams emerged as a key target for the skeleton-crew 2019 Dolphins edition, but his rookie-year ACL tear threw his career off course. He has just 359 receiving yards over the past two seasons.

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • In the wake of the Bills jettisoning embattled punter Matt Araiza, they have gotten to work on finding his replacement. Michael Palardy, Ty Long, Tyler Newsome and Joseph Charlton worked out for the team, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. None have been signed. Two of these punters, as it often goes with the Bills, have Panthers histories. Though, Palardy — a Carolina punter from 2016-19 — is the only one with ties to Buffalo’s Brandon BeaneSean McDermott duo. Charlton was Carolina’s punter in 2020, long after the Bills had hired Beane and McDermott. These workouts also came before two veteran punters — Brett Kern and Sam Martin — were informed of their respective releases by the Titans and Broncos. The Colts signed the punter the Bills recently waived (Matt Haack) last week.
  • Bills left tackle Dion Dawkins created some cap space for his team recently, restructuring his contract. Dawkins’ reworking created more than $5.6MM in space for the Bills, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. The Bills moved Dawkins’ 2022 base salary down to $1MM and added two void years to spread out his cap hits, per OverTheCap. Dawkins remains signed through 2024; the Bills hold just more than $11MM in cap space.
  • The Jets will not spend any regular-season time developing Sauce Gardner as a backup. The No. 4 overall pick will be a Week 1 starter, Robert Saleh said. Gardner’s expected ascent will move Bryce Hall to a backup role, with the Jets also having signed D.J. Reed in free agency.
  • Isaiah Wynn looks to remain available in trades for a Patriots team that has moved him to right tackle. Additionally, when Trent Brown re-signed with New England, he was not made aware the organization was planning to move him back to the left side.

NFL COVID List Updates: 12/25-12/26/21

We’ve compiled a list of players who were placed on or activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list on Christmas and today. In some instances, players activated from the list remain on IR:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Green Bay Packers

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 Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Placed on practice squad/COVID-19 list: WR Steven Sims

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Bills’ Dion Dawkins Tests Positive For COVID-19

Bills left tackle Dion Dawkins has tested positive for COVID-19, head coach Sean McDermott tells WGR 550 (Twitter link via Albert Breer of The MMQB). Unless Dawkins can pass a follow-up test between now and Sunday, he’ll be held out of this week’s game against the Panthers.

[RELATED: NFL Updates COVID-19 Protocols]

At 7-6, the Bills are jockeying for a Wild Card spot and still chasing the Patriots for the AFC East crown. Playing without Dawkins, the team’s starting left tackle since 2017, would obviously put them at a disadvantage.

Dawkins could be cleared in time, thanks to the league’s new protocols, but his medical history could also be a factor. The 6-foot-5, 320-pound lineman was hospitalized for four days this summer after developing severe COVID-19 symptoms. He lost 16 pounds during that stretch, so he may prefer to exercise caution.

Dawkins has been first string for all 13 of his games this year, giving him 72 career starts for Buffalo out of 77 total games. Even though this is his worst year to date, per the metrics at Pro Football Focus, he’s still ranked 45th among all qualified tackles. Last year, Dawkins placed 14th with an overall score of 80.6.

Bills’ Dion Dawkins Not Close To Full Strength After COVID-19 Hospitalization

Dion Dawkins has not participated in team drills throughout Bills training camp, and Sean McDermott said the team’s starting left tackle is not close to being ready to return to full work. Dawkins landed on the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list July 28 and required hospitalization after contracting the virus, Marcel Louis-Jacques of ESPN.com reports.

The 6-foot-5, 320-pound lineman was hospitalized for four days after developing severe COVID-19 symptoms. Dawkins lost 16 pounds and may have an uphill battle to be ready by the time the Bills begin their season.

He’s not close to where he needs to be to play and help us,” McDermott said. “So he’s got a long road here. … He’s going to control what he can control, and so are we. He’s got to continue to work hard to get himself back to where he’s — I mean, this is what, going on Week 4 of training camp at this point, so he’s missed a lot of time.”

The Bills activated Dawkins off their reserve/COVID list late last week, and he has begun doing conditioning work. Dawkins, 27, was not considered fully vaccinated at the time of the hospitalization. Dawkins’ hospitalization marks another rough step for the Bills on the virus front. Tight end Tommy Sweeney missed all of the 2020 season after developing myocarditis, a heart condition associated with COVID-19.

Dawkins’ status, of course, will have a bigger impact on the Bills. He is in the first season of a four-year, $68MM extension and has been the team’s left tackle starter since 2017. Buffalo has given third-round rookie Spencer Brown the bulk of its left tackle reps during camp. The team drafted Brown out of Northern Iowa with the No. 93 overall pick.

Bills, LT Dion Dawkins Agree To Extension

The Bills and left tackle Dion Dawkins have agreed to terms on a four-year, $60MM extension, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (via Twitter). Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that the pact includes $34MM in guaranteed money.

Dawkins was under club control through 2020, the last year of his rookie contract, and as Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic notes, the extension will be tacked onto the preexisting deal (Twitter link). So the 2017 second-rounder is now tethered to Buffalo through the 2024 season.

In a recent full-length piece, Buscaglia mentioned Dawkins as a potential franchise tag candidate next offseason, so the Bills will be happy to avoid the protracted negotiations and salary cap uncertainty that discussions with tagged players often engender. And while Dawkins has yet to make a Pro Bowl, he is already a solid starter with room to grow, so the $15MM AAV — which is presently the fifth-highest figure on the LT market — feels like a reasonable price.

The Temple product is often lauded for his athleticism, which makes him an especially valuable protector for QB Josh Allen, whose mobility is one of his defining characteristics. Dawkins graded out as a top-30 tackle in 2019 per Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics, which praised his pass-blocking ability but indicated that he has a little work to do with his run-blocking. On the other hand, his receiving skills are first-rate for a big man, as he has two receiving TDs to his credit.

Dawkins is a member of the first draft class for HC Sean McDermott and GM Brandon Beane, and he is the first player from that class to sign an extension. With his deal in the books, the club may start exploring new contracts for other 2021 free agents, like linebacker Matt Milano.

McDermott, of course, just signed an extension of his own yesterday, and Beane is in line for one soon. Those two have built a strong foundation in western New York, and Dawkins is a big part of it.

Bills Discussing Extensions With Dion Dawkins, Matt Milano

Still in Josh Allen‘s rookie-contract window, the Bills operated aggressively this offseason by adding Stefon Diggs, Josh Norman and a host of defensive linemen. They are turning their attention to extensions for some of their own players, however.

GM Brandon Beane confirmed Wednesday he has discussed long-term deals for both left tackle Dion Dawkins and linebacker Matt Milano, who share an agent.

Matt and Dion, they have the same representative so that’s a one-call, one-stop shop,” Beane told Steve Tasker during an appearance on One Bills Live (viaNewYorkUpstate.com). “Yeah, definitely have been in contact. You know, I don’t really like to get into negotiations too much, but I’ve definitely been in contact with their representatives giving them timelines of when we would look at things like that.”

Beane hinted at the post-draft offseason period being the window for potential re-ups for Dawkins and Milano. The Bills have an additional year to work on a Tre’Davious White deal, thanks to their 2017 first-rounder having a fifth-year option in his rookie contract.

Dawkins, a 2017 second-round pick, and Milano (a fifth-rounder that year) have been key to Buffalo’s recent rise. Each has been a starter since his rookie season. Milano racked up a career-high 101 tackles last season, and Dawkins rated as a top-30 tackle last season (per Pro Football Focus).

AFC Rumors: Osweiler, Flacco, Bills, Jaguars

Earlier this week, Joe Thomas was asked if he could name all 18 quarterbacks the Browns have started during his tenure. The perennial All-Pro left tackle passed the test, and with Cody Kessler having been demoted to third string for now, that number figures to expand to at least 19 this season. Thomas believes the other veteran in the clubhouse will be the Week 1 starter.

I might be going out on a limb here, but I think they’re grooming Brock (Osweiler) to be the starter in Week 1 based on what I’ve seen,” Thomas said, via the Associated Press’ Tom Withers. “It is a competition, but I would expect Brock to win because of his experience.”

Osweiler’s primary competition is now DeShone Kizer, the team’s second-round pick who fared well against Saints backups in the Browns’ preseason opener. Kizer remains in the mix due to a combination of physical skills and instincts for the position, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com notes.

Here’s the latest out of the AFC:

  • John Harbaugh, per Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com, said Joe Flacco won’t practice this coming week as the Ravens starting quarterback continues to recover from a back injury. This will mean four straight weeks without practice for the 10th-year passer, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport points out (via Twitter). The plan remains for Flacco to start in Week 1 against the Bengals, but if the 32-year-old signal-caller doesn’t practice during Week 3 of the preseason, the Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zreibec notes (on Twitter) Flacco will get two weeks at most of work before the Baltimore opener. And Zreibec is skeptical he will get that much work (Twitter link).
  • Reggie Ragland has yet to assimilate well into Sean McDermott‘s scheme, and Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News expects the Bills to attempt to trade the ex-Alabama stalwart. Carucci notes a trade to a team that uses a 3-4 defense would make sense. Buffalo has shifted to a 4-3, and the 2016 second-round pick’s current status — stationed on the third team — is not exactly acceptable for such a big recent investment. PFR’s Dallas Robinson put Ragland on his list of trade candidates.
  • Should Cordy Glenn‘s foot trouble linger much longer, Carucci expects the Bills to target outside tackle help. Specifying the waiver wire as the player-procurement practice of choice to add a tackle, Carucci notes second-round rookie Dion Dawkins would be the top in-house option to start there if Glenn is unable to man his post. After Austin Pasztor‘s Falcons agreement, the tackle market looks thin. McDermott said (via Mike Rodak of ESPN.com) he’s not quite ready to relocate Dawkins from the right tackle competition, where he’s battling incumbent Jordan Mills. However, Dawkins took left-edge reps Friday in practice, while Seantrel Henderson — suspended for the season’s first five games — lined up at right tackle.
  • Tom Coughlin‘s brought some old-school training techniques to Jaguars camp. Albert Breer of SI.com observed the Jags doing up-downs following their joint practice with the Patriots, and this didn’t sit well with some Jacksonville players. One told Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio the rarely utilized conditioning method will shorten his career “by at least two years.” While that may be an extreme estimate, Florio adds other Jaguars have grumbled about the throwback conditioning style. Florio notes Coughlin is believed to have pushed for a greater conditioning emphasis.

Draft Pick Signings: 5/19/17

The latest draft picks to sign their first NFL contracts:

  • The Colts have signed third-round defensive end Tarell Basham, the 80th overall pick, meaning all eight members of their draft class are now under contract. Basham starred the previous four years at Ohio, where he amassed 38.5 tackles and 27 sacks, and could help upgrade a Colts pass rush that finished a mediocre 19th in sacks last season.
  • The Bears have locked up second-round tight end Adam Shaheen, leaving first-round quarterback Mitch Trubisky as the only member of their five-pick class who hasn’t signed yet. Shaheen – formerly with Ashland – is one of three Bears picks who attended a small school, and plucking players from relatively anonymous institutions has led to criticism of general manager Ryan Pace. But Shaheen is a “special talent,” according to Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com.
  • A day after inking their top two picks to contracts, the Bills have signed their third selection, second-round offensive lineman Dion Dawkins (No. 63 overall). The former Temple Owl should be a factor on the right side of the Bills’ offensive line in 2017, perhaps as a Day 1 starter at tackle, after the team traded up to land him. The Bills’ veteran options at right tackle, Jordan Mills, Cyrus Kouandjio and Seantrel Henderson, have failed to impress on the field. Further, both Kouandjio and Henderson have dealt with off-field issues. Henderson will miss the first five games of the year on account of a suspension.
  • Former North Carolina State safety Josh Jones has signed his deal with the Packers. Jones, the 61st pick, was one of two second-rounders for Green Bay in this year’s draft. The higher selection of the two, ex-Washington cornerback Kevin King (No. 33 overall), signed last week. Jones, who wrapped up his college career in 2016 with a 109-tackle, three-interception season, joins a safety corps that also includes Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Morgan Burnett. With Burnett scheduled to become a free agent next offseason, Jones could be the Packers’ long-term answer at strong safety.
  • Seahawks third-rounder Nazair Jones, the 102nd pick, is now under contract. The former North Carolina defensive tackle, more of a run-stopping factor than a pass rusher, produced 22 tackles for loss and five sacks in three seasons with the Tar Heels. Jones is one of two interior D-linemen the Seahawks used a high pick on, as he followed second-rounder Malik McDowell.
  • The Cardinals have signed fourth-round guard Dorian Johnson, the 115th pick. Johnson was a dominant guard at Pittsburgh, starting in 39 straight games and capping off his Panthers career in 2016 with first-team All-America honors. Arizona already has an established starter at Johnson’s college position, left guard, in Mike Iupati, but it’s not nearly as well off on the right. As of now, 2016 fifth-rounder Cole Toner is penciled in as the starter.
  • One of Johnson’s college teammates at Pitt, offensive tackle Adam Bisnowaty, officially became a member of the Giants on Friday. The 200th overall pick started at left tackle in each of his four years at Pitt, where he earned a first-team all-ACC nod last season. Bisnowaty is likely to end up on the right side in the pros, per NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein, who notes that he has the ceiling of a low-end starter.

Bills Acquire Falcons’ No. 63 Pick

The Bills have traded up for the Falcons’ No. 63 pick, tweets Joe Buscaglia of WKBW. Buffalo will select Temple offensive lineman Dion Dawkins.

In order to move, the Bills gave up pick Nos. 75, 149, and 156, the Falcons announced. Dawkins, meanwhile, figures to act as insurance all along Buffalo’s offensive line, but will likely slot in at guard for the most part. He can also play right tackle to replace Cyrus Kouandjio if need be.

Draft Rumors: Fournette, Falcons, Broncos

There’s a belief that LSU running back Leonard Fournette is “driven by stardom” and may lack a commitment to football, sources tell Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com. Of course, the quickest way to achieving fame in the NFL is by producing results on the field, so concerns about Fournette’s makeup may be overblown. Recent reports indicate Fournette is still a candidate to go No. 1 overall, but that seems incredibly unlikely, and I sent Fournette to Baltimore in PFR’s first 2017 mock draft.

Here’s more on the 2017 draft: