Drue Tranquill

LB Drue Tranquill Addresses Chargers Departure, Chiefs’ Pursuit

Drue Tranquill was part of an impressive inside linebacker free agent class, but he was only able to land a one-year contract on the open market. It came from the Chiefs, making his move an intra-divisional one after he began his career with the Chargers.

When speaking about his first foray into free agency, the 27-year-old reflected on his time in Los Angeles and the failure of talks for a new deal to materialize. That led him to head elsewhere, with Kansas City representing an appealing destination given their recent Super Bowl successes. The prospect of joining the defending champions was aided by the personal push made by their head coach.

“I poured my heart out there for four years in L.A. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out,” Tranquill said during an appearance on NFL Total Access (h/t Kevin Patra of NFL.com). “I was really honored by the way the Chiefs pursued me, all the way from the front office down to the coaching staff. Andy Reid literally texted me the morning of [when] I was going to make my decision… I just felt really valued over there, felt like they really had a role for me and really wanted me over there.”

The Notre Dame product served in a rotational capacity for his first three seasons, but he thrived as a starter in 2022. Tranquill racked up 146 tackles, five sacks and four pass breakups, the latter figure demonstrating his strength dropping back into coverage. In his absence, the Chargers will have free agent addition Eric Kendricks and third-round rookie Daiyan Henley in place alongside 2020 first-rounder Kenneth Murray at the linebacker position.

The Chiefs, meanwhile, still have 2022 starters Willie Gay and Nick Bolton on their rookie contracts. The pair were productive last season, combining to make 300 tackles between the regular and postseason. Despite having 2022 third-rounder Leo Chenal (who contributed both on defense and special teams) in the fold as well, Kansas City elected to bring in Tranquill on a $3MM pact. It will be interesting to see how the latter fits into Steve Spagnuolo‘s defense given the unit’s incumbent members.

Tranquill’s remarks illustrate how widespread support for signing him was throughout the Chiefs organization, though, so he will likely enter the 2023 season with a signficant workload and high expectations. A repeat of his success from last season could lead his new team to another title, while boosting his free agent value in the process.

LB Drue Tranquill To Join Chiefs

Drue Tranquill posted a career year in 2022, leading the Chargers’ linebacking corps while contributing heavily to the team’s largely Joey Bosa-less pass rush. But a strong market does not appear to have formed for the productive defender.

The Chiefs are picking up the fifth-year veteran on a one-year deal, Jordan Schultz of The Score tweets. One of many intriguing off-ball linebackers to hit free agency this year, Tranquill will stay in the AFC West and join a Chiefs team that returns both its top linebackers. Tranquill’s deal is worth up to $5MM, Schultz adds (on Twitter).

Nick Bolton and Willie Gay remain on their respective rookie contracts, but Tranquill will join the defending Super Bowl champions and bolster their already-strong defensive second level. Tranquill did not match Bolton in tackles last season, with the emerging star posting a stunning 180 stops, but Bolton’s new teammate shined during his contract year. Tranquill racked up 146 tackles and five sacks while adding four pass deflections, an interception and a forced fumble.

A part-time player in the past, Tranquill wore the green communication dot for the Bolts last season and started 16 games. The former fourth-round pick out of Notre Dame has bounced back from a season-ending broken ankle sustained in the Bolts’ 2020 opener, but unlike a few other ILBs, he could not cash in this offseason.

Tremaine Edmunds‘ $18MM-per-year deal lapped the linebacker field, as expected, but the Giants gave Bobby Okereke a four-year, $40MM pact. Germaine Pratt scored $6.75MM per year to stay with the Bengals, while Alex Anzalone, Alex Singleton and Cole Holcomb reached $6MM-per-year agreements. Eric Kendricks, David Long, T.J. Edwards and Kyzir White landed in that neighborhood as well. Tranquill may not have as many three-down opportunities as he did in Los Angeles, so this stands to be an interesting audition season. It will also be interesting to see if he pushes Gay for playing time; both will be in contract years in 2023.

Kansas City also made the move to re-sign guard Nick Allegretti on Friday. Kansas City has used the former seventh-round pick mostly as a backup in recent years. Allegretti did start Super Bowl LV for an offensive line missing both tackles and having seen guard starter Laurent Duvernay-Tardif opt out before the season, but he has started just three games since. He will opt to stick around as a swingman up front.

Bolts GM: Team Not Trading Keenan Allen

Not long after the Bengals shot down the notion Tee Higgins is available via trade, the Chargers are effectively taking another big name off the wide receiver market. Tom Telesco put a stop to Keenan Allen trade rumors.

During an appearance on the NFL Network’s Good Morning Football, the longtime Chargers GM said there has “never been any thought” of moving Allen. Two years remain on the 11th-year veteran’s four-year, $80.1MM extension.

Keenan Allen (vertical)Keenan Allen, to me, he’s our Andre Reed. He’s our Charlie Joiner,” Telesco said (Twitter link). “He’s an incredible football player. We have a great quarterback and we need weapons around him. There’s never been any thought of [a trade].”

Allen may not be on track to join those pass catchers in Canton, but he has been one of the most important Chargers players during this era. The Chargers gave Mike Williams a three-year, $60MM contract last March and have a Justin Herbert megadeal to negotiate. These big-picture components, Allen’s age (31 in April) and the Bolts’ cap situation have pointed to a potential separation. But a Herbert extension could pair with Allen’s money ($20MM AAV) for at least another season.

As the Deshaun Watson, Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray extensions most recently showed, big-ticket QB contracts often carry low cap numbers in Year 1. Watson, Murray and Wilson all checked in below $18MM for first-year cap hits on their respective accords. Herbert’s deal following suit would complement Allen’s $21.7MM cap hit. The Chargers could look to reduce that via other methods as well.

Allen’s trade value took a hit last season as well. He missed seven games because of a recurring hamstring injury, limiting the top-shelf route-runner to 752 receiving yards. In terms of per-game impact, however, Allen’s 75.2 average was his best since 2017. The former third-round pick should have a bit more left in the tank to help the Bolts, who have relied on him for 10 seasons as a starter. With Higgins and Allen trades being squashed, that would only make the likes of DeAndre Hopkins and Brandin Cooks more valuable as part of a receiver landscape that does not feature a high-end free agency class or the kind of draft crop teams have grown accustomed to in recent years.

The Chargers are still $20MM over the cap. Allen staying on the payroll will force the team to make other adjustments. The Bolts want to keep right tackle Trey Pipkins, and The Athletic’s Daniel Popper notes linebacker and fellow UFA-to-be Drue Tranquill is likely in the team’s plans as well. Pipkins joins an intriguing right tackle market, which houses Mike McGlinchey, Jawaan Taylor and Kaleb McGary. Tranquill’s position group is one of the deepest, which should make the versatile ‘backer affordable for the Bolts. But the AFC West team still has work to do before it can make any re-signings happen.

Chargers Move Joey Bosa Off COVID-19 List

SATURDAY: This short Bosa saga does not look like it will result in him missing any time. The Chargers activated him off the reserve/COVID-19 list Saturday. However, Tillery will miss Week 11’s Steelers tilt, as he remains on the Bolts’ COVID list. Los Angeles also moved linebacker Drue Tranquill from the virus list to the active roster.

WEDNESDAY: Bosa still has a chance to play Sunday. The standout pass rusher did not test positive for the virus but qualifies as a high-risk close contact, Brandon Staley said (via NFL.com’s Taylor Bisciotti, on Twitter). This means Bosa is unvaccinated. He must be away from the team for a five-day period. But since Bosa did not test positive, he would be eligible to return Sunday night and play without practicing this week.

TUESDAY: The Chargers may well be without their best pass rusher Sunday night. Joey Bosa is now on the Bolts’ reserve/COVID-19 list, with Field Yates of ESPN.com adding (via Twitter) defensive tackle Jerry Tillery joins Bosa in that regard.

Unless Bosa is unvaccinated and qualifies as a high-risk close contact, which would allow for a return after five days, he faces an uphill battle to play against the Steelers in Week 11. Although vaccinated players who test positive can return with negative tests two days apart, returning to play in the same week of a positive test has not been a common occurrence this season. If unvaccinated, Bosa testing positive would sideline him for at least 10 days.

Having battled injury issues in the past, Bosa has not missed any time this season. The highly paid edge defender leads the Chargers with 5.5 sacks and 11 quarterback hits. Tillery’s 2.5 sacks from his defensive line spot is second among Chargers this season. The former first-round pick has been a starter for the past two seasons.

Bosa and Tillery join Minkah Fitzpatrick in having landed on the COVID list this week. Ben Roethlisberger is also uncertain to play in Week 11, having experienced symptoms after testing positive for the coronavirus Saturday. Mike Tomlin has said Big Ben would play if cleared, regardless of his practice time this week, but it is not certain the 18th-year quarterback will be cleared in time. As such, Sunday night’s game could be missing a few star players due to the virus.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/11/21

Today’s minor NFL transactions:

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Los Angeles Chargers

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/15/20

Today’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Cincinnati Bengals

Dallas Cowboys

Houston Texans

Los Angeles Chargers

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Tennessee Titans

Chargers LB Drue Tranquill Likely Has Broken Ankle

The Chargers escaped with a narrow victory over the Bengals in Week 1, but they didn’t make it out unscathed. Linebacker Drue Tranquill was carted off with an ankle injury, and the initial belief is he broke his ankle, a source told Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Assuming that’s the case, then his season is likely over. It’s a tough break for the young Notre Dame product, who was drafted in the fourth-round last year. He started three games while appearing in 15 and playing around 40 percent of the defensive snaps. He was ticketed for an even bigger role this time around, which makes this a devastating blow.

The Chargers’ defense is loaded with talent on the defensive line and in the secondary, but linebacking is the one question mark. Guys like Kyzir White and first-round rookie Kenneth Murray will be even more important now.

The unit played well and mostly held Joe Burrow in check Sunday, but this isn’t the first significant injury to the defense. All-Pro safety Derwin James, of course, was just lost for the season with a knee injury. Another year, another crop of health issues for the Chargers…

Chargers Sign Four Draft Picks

The Chargers inked half of their draft class to contracts this morning. The team announced (via Twitter) that they’ve signed four rookies:

Tranquill has the best shot of establishing a role with the Chargers in 2019. While Los Angeles did add free agent Thomas Davis, the team is only rostering 11 linebackers at the moment (not including undrafted rookies). Plus, Tranquill previously played safety in college, and defensive coordinator Gus Bradley will surely look for creative ways to capitalize on the rookie’s versatility. The Notre Dame product finished the 2018 season having compiled 86 tackles and 3.5 sacks.

Egbule should also have a chance to rise up the linebackers depth chart. At the very least, the sixth-rounder out of Houston should contribute on special teams, and his speed will put him in position for plenty of tackles. Egbule wrapped up his collegiate career with 69 tackles and two sacks.

Stick is another intriguing prospect, but mostly because of his position. Philip Rivers and Tyrod Taylor will start the season atop the Chargers’ depth chart, but Stick will have an opportunity to compete with Cardale Jones for that third spot. Last season, Stick completed a career-high 62.3-percent of his passes for 2,752 yards, 28 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. He also added another 677 rushing yards.

Following today’s moves, the Chargers still have three unsigned draft picks: first-round defensive tackle Jerry Tillery, second-round safety Nasir Adderley, and third-round offensive tackle Trey Pipkins.

AFC Draft Pick Signings: 5/10/19

The latest 2019 draft pick signings from around the AFC:

  • The Jets agreed to terms with two more rookies, signing fifth round linebacker Blake Cashman and sixth round cornerback Blessaun Austin. Cashman had 104 tackles at Minnesota last year, including 15 for a loss. He earned a second-team All-Big Ten selection for his work last year. Only third overall pick Quinnen Williams and third-rounders Jachai Polite and Chuma Edoga remain unsigned for New York.
  • The Chargers inked two more players to their rookie deals, signing fifth round quarterback Easton Stick and fourth round linebacker Drue Tranquill. Stick, a North Dakota State product, was highly productive as a runner in college and many analysts projected a potential position change in the pros. That being said, the Chargers have said they plan on keeping Stick at quarterback. Tranquill is now wrapped up, and the Chargers can hopefully get his Notre Dame teammate, Jerry Tillery, signed soon. Most of the Chargers’ draft class remains unsigned as they just inked their first player earlier today.
  • The Bengals signed a crop of five players, representing half of their class. They wrapped up fourth-rounders Renell Wren and Michael Jordan, sixth round running backs Trayveon Williams and Rodney Anderson, and seventh round cornerback Jordan Brown. Jordan, a Miami product, has some potential upside and could help replenish Cincinnati’s secondary. Williams, from Texas A&M, and Anderson, from Oklahoma, will be battling it out for a role behind Joe Mixon in the Bengals’ backfield. Anderson used to be seen as one of the nation’s top running backs, but injuries have derailed his career. This draft class will always be a monumental one for the Bengals, as it represents the first year of the post-Marvin Lewis era.