Eddie Goldman

NFC South Rumors: Bucs, Saints, Wonnum

Moving on from Shaquil Barrett after four years, the Buccaneers do have some options following that release. They saw 2023 Day 3 pick YaYa Diaby lead the team in sacks, and they signed Randy Gregory to pair with the ascending rusher and 2021 first-rounder Joe Tryon-Shoyinka. Granted, the Bucs have not seen tremendous production from Tryon-Shoyinka. Three years after that pick, the team is looking into first-round-caliber edge rushers once again. Already hosting Jared Verse on a visit, the Bucs have done “a ton” of work on UCLA’s Laiatu Latu and Penn State’s Chop Robinson, ESPN.com’s Matt Miller notes. The team was active on the pro-day circuit as well, speaking to a host of edges. The Bucs, who saw only one front-seven player (Diaby) eclipse six sacks last season, hold the No. 26 pick in this year’s draft.

Here is the latest from the NFC South:

  • Regularly investing early-round resources in their O-line, the Saints are in a bind at tackle. All-Pro right tackle Ryan Ramczyk is no longer a lock to play in 2024, and 2022 first-round pick Trevor Penning has not proven the answer yet at left tackle. The player the Saints kicked outside to replace Penning last season, Andrus Peat, is unsigned. This uncertainty has brought Saints connections to Penn State’s Olu Fashanu and Oregon State’s Taliese Fuaga, ESPN.com’s Jordan Reid offers. This is a good year to need a tackle, with several first-round-caliber options available. Daniel Jeremiah’s NFL.com big board, which slots Fuaga 10th and Fashanu 15th overall, includes seven tackles in the top 25.
  • Going into his 14th NFL season, Cameron Jordan recently underwent surgery to address a badly sprained ankle, according to NOLA.com’s Matthew Paras. The longtime Saints edge anchor suffered the injury in late November, and while he played through it, the malady limited him down the stretch. The Saints believe the ankle issue contributed heavily to Jordan’s disappointing two-sack season. Last season marked Jordan’s first with fewer than 7.5 sacks since his 2011 rookie year. Jordan, 34, joins Chase Young as Saints D-ends who will be on the mend heading into the team’s offseason program. Young, who signed a one-year deal with much of its value in per-game roster bonuses, underwent neck surgery shortly after signing with the Saints.
  • On the subject of pass rusher injuries in this division, the Panthers will not have one of their edge pickups to start the offseason. Wonnum will not be available for Carolina’s OTAs, The Athletic’s Joe Person tweets. The former Vikings contributor suffered a torn quad near the end of last season. The Panthers gave Wonnum a two-year, $12.5MM deal; of that amount, however, only $1.25MM came guaranteed at signing.
  • Antonio Hamilton‘s recent Falcons contract is worth $1.4MM, ESPN.com’s Michael Rothstein tweets. Hamilton, who played for $1.5MM last season with the Cardinals, secured $985K guaranteed in his recent Atlanta agreement. Eddie Goldman, who has vacillated on retirement since his 2022 Bears release, did not see any guaranteed money on a vet-minimum deal. The Falcons, who have ex-Bears GM Ryan Pace in their front office, are giving Goldman a third chance. The veteran nose tackle has not played since 2021.

DL Eddie Goldman Attempting Comeback With Falcons

Eddie Goldman is attempting another comeback with the Falcons. The veteran defensive tackle is signing with the Falcons, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 raised some eyebrows earlier today when he passed along that Goldman had been cut from Atlanta’s reserve/left squad list. The Falcons have since announced Goldman is back on their offseason roster.

The former Bears standout joined the Falcons during the 2022 offseason. After spending two weeks with the organization, Goldman suddenly announced his retirement.

The defensive lineman considered a comeback last offseason. The Falcons reinstated him from the reserve/retired list last March, and he reportedly looked “phenomenal” after reporting to camp in July. However, his comeback attempt was short lived, as he once again retired before being placed on the reserve/left squad list.

We’ll see if this second comeback attempt sticks, although the odds will be stacked against him. Goldman has only been active for one season over the past four years. That came during the 2021 campaign, when the defensive lineman started 10 of his 14 appearances for the Bears. He finished that season with 22 stops and half a sack, with Pro Football Focus grading him among the lowest interior defenders in the league.

Goldman was once one of Chicago’s most dependable defenders. The former second-round pick started all 46 of his appearances for the Bears between 2017 and 2019, with PFF grading him among the best at his position following his three-sack season in 2018. Goldman ended up opting out of the 2020 season before struggling in 2021.

The Falcons should return much of their interior DL depth in 2024, although Grady Jarrett‘s early-season availability is in doubt as he recovers from a torn ACL. David Onyemata and Ta’Quon Graham will both be back up the middle, but Goldman could soak up some of the snaps left by Albert Huggins, who remains unsigned.

To clear up some of their depth, the Falcons released defensive lineman Ikenna Enechukwu earlier today (per the team). The 2023 UDFA out of Rice spent his entire rookie season on injured reserve.

Minor NFL Transactions: 7/29/23

Saturday’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Cleveland Browns

  • Activated from NFI: G Colby Gossett 
  • Waived (injury designation): CB BoPete Keyes

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

  • Claimed off waivers (from Titans): OL James Empey

Houston Texans

  • Placed on IR: OL Dylan Deatherage

Indianapolis Colts

  • Waived: CB Cole Coleman

New York Giants

With Butler being moved from the NFI list to injured reserve, he is out for the season. The former first-rounder signed a futures deal with New York in January, after spending the past campaign on and off the team’s practice squad. He made just one appearance for the Giants in 2022, and will be four years removed from his career-best six-sack season with the Panthers in 2019. Butler, 29, has started 19 of his 77 career regular season games.

Falcons To Add DT Justin Ellis; DT Eddie Goldman Again Considering Retirement

Justin Ellis will have a chance to play a 10th NFL season soon. After working out for the Falcons on Friday, the veteran defensive tackle will sign with the team, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets.

The Falcons have a bit of an issue at D-tackle, with Arthur Smith confirming (via Falcons.com’s Scott Bair) Friday that the recently unretired Eddie Goldman is once again considering walking away. A 2022 signing, Goldman retired soon after joining the Falcons but reconsidered earlier this year. The longtime Bears starter rejoined the team in March and, per Smith (via The Athletic’s Josh Kendall), looked “phenomenal” upon reporting to camp this week.

Atlanta has been active in D-line moves this offseason, signing Calais Campbell and David Onyemata. Campbell has a long history of playing as an inside defender, but the 16th-year veteran is expected to be used as more of an edge presence. The Falcons also drafted D-lineman Zach Harrison in the third round.

Goldman is a nose tackle by trade. He served in that capacity for the Bears for six seasons, with a 2020 opt-out interrupting a successful tenure. The Bears gave Goldman a four-year, $42MM extension during the 2018 offseason, and he was part of a Vic Fangio-led defense that led the league while helping the team to a 12-4 record. Goldman, 29, has yet to play for the Falcons, but the team has given the veteran D-tackle multiple opportunities.

Ellis, 32, could be a contingency plan. The former Raiders draft choice has logged 117 career games, serving as a run-defending presence. After five seasons in Oakland, Ellis caught on with Baltimore during Don Martindale‘s time as DC. Ellis ended up following Martindale to New York last year, playing Giants games and starting four. Pro Football Focus assigned him a career-worst grade, but the former fourth-round pick has remained on the NFL radar.

After the Raiders gave him a three-year, $13.5MM deal in 2018, Ellis signed one-year deals from 2019-22. This agreement likely runs that streak of one-season pacts to five.

NFC South Notes: White, Falcons, Saints

Weeks after making a trade request, Devin White showed for Buccaneers minicamp this week. This was the expected outcome, but the talented linebacker did not participate. Still, Todd Bowles did not refer to this as a hold-in measure. The second-year Tampa Bay HC said (via ESPN’s Jenna Laine) the team wanted to gauge White’s readiness, though it is unclear if the former top-five pick is dealing with a specific injury. Bowles said he expects White to be ready to go for training camp. Though, that could be when a hold-in effort takes place in earnest. White, who avoided nearly $100K in fines by reporting to minicamp, is tied to an $11.7MM fifth-year option salary. Although White wants top-five ILB money and has not yet seen the Bucs show interest in signing off on such an extension, team brass said multiple times this offseason no trade desire exists on the organization’s part.

Here is the latest from the NFC South:

  • It appears the Falcons‘ big-ticket Jessie Bates acquisition will displace Jaylinn Hawkins. After the former fourth-round pick started 16 games last season, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s D. Orlando Ledbetter notes it will likely be Bates teaming with Richie Grant — a 17-game starter in 2022 — this year. Pro Football Focus’ No. 66 safety last season, Hawkins may factor in when the team uses three-safety looks. But a contract-year demotion looks set to commence.
  • Falcons defensive tackle Ta’Quon Graham missed last season’s final seven games due a full MCL tear, Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com tweets. After not participating in OTAs, the third-year defender was back on the field at minicamp. Like Hawkins, Graham might see the Falcons’ free agency moves affect his role. The team signed David Onyemata and Calais Campbell, and Eddie Goldman is attempting to return after a 2022 retirement call. Goldman, however, did not work with the team during minicamp.
  • Trevor Penning already underwent surgery to repair a Lisfranc injury sustained in Week 18. While the Saints tackle is expected to be ready for training camp, NOLA.com’s Jeff Duncan notes he is undergoing a second procedure Friday to remove hardware from the repaired foot. Penning started just one game as a rookie, seeing another injury — a torn foot ligament — delay his NFL debut by nearly three months. But the 2022 first-round pick is on track to be New Orleans’ Week 1 left tackle starter this year. James Hurst, the team’s primary blind-sider last season, shared first-team duties with third-year blocker Landon Young at minicamp.
  • After spending the past two seasons as a Saints staffer, Sterling Moore will not be with the team going forward. The Saints dismissed the former cornerback from their staff, NewOrleans.football’s Nick Underhill tweets. Moore worked as New Orleans’ assistant DBs coach last season. Moore, 33, started 12 games for the Saints in 2016 and played two seasons with the team. The Saints hired a new defensive coordinator this offseason — Joe Woods — but it is unclear if that move will directly lead to Moore’s summer exit.
  • The Saints made an addition to their scouting department recently, with InsidetheLeague.com’s Neil Stratton relaying (via Twitter) the team hired former Louisiana Tech staffer Ziad Qubti as their college scouting coordinator. This will be Qubti’s first NFL gig.

Falcons Reinstate DT Eddie Goldman From Reserve/Retired List

Eddie Goldman looks to be attempting a comeback. The longtime Bears nose tackle landed on the Falcons’ reserve/retired list shortly after signing with Atlanta last year, but he is now back on the team’s active roster.

The Falcons reinstated Goldman from the retired list Tuesday, Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com tweets. Goldman signed a one-year deal worth $1.3MM with the Falcons last summer. But he had played three seasons on a lucrative Bears extension and exercised his right to opt out due to COVID-19 concerns in 2020.

It cannot be assumed Goldman, 29, will be part of the Falcons’ 53-man roster next season. But he is back on Atlanta’s 90-man offseason roster. The former second-round pick operated as the Bears’ starting nose tackle throughout Vic Fangio‘s time with the team and continued to do so following the acclaimed DC’s exit. Former Bears GM Ryan Pace, who made Goldman his second draft choice upon taking that job back in 2015, also remains in the Falcons’ front office.

Goldman started for a No. 1-ranked Bears defense in 2018. That unit, which featured accomplished veterans at most spots, helped snap an eight-season Bears playoff drought. More pivotal to Goldman’s path, the Bears took care of him shortly before that season commenced. Goldman signed a four-year, $42MM extension during the 2018 offseason. That deal came with $25MM guaranteed. Will he end up playing on the bottom-end deal the Falcons authorized last year?

Atlanta is transitioning to Ryan Nielsen‘s defense. The six-year Saints staffer has added ex-charge David Onyemata to his defensive tackle group. With Onyemata joining Grady Jarrett, there would not appear a path — barring injury — to Goldman starting inside. Nielsen has not committed fully to installing a 4-3 defense in Atlanta; Goldman played exclusively in 3-4 schemes in Chicago. But the team is inexperienced up front beyond these two veterans. Goldman has made 73 career starts.

Minor NFL Transactions: 7/25/22

Here are today’s minor roster moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Cincinnati Bengals

Green Bay Packers

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers

Falcons Notes: QB Camp Reps, RB, NT Competitions

For the first time since 2008, the Falcons will have a starting quarterback not named Matt Ryan when the upcoming season begins. The team added Marcus Mariota as a short-term solution at the position, then drafted Desmond Ridder as a long-term option to succeed him.

The former has starting experience dating back to his time with the Titans, and will look to establish himself as a No. 1 again after two years as a backup with the Raiders. The latter, meanwhile, had an historic career at Cincinnati, leading the Bearcats to the CFP playoffs in 2021. Their lack of a track record at the NFL level made the Falcons a candidate to add a camp arm, but the team is investing fully in their top two passers.

As detailed by D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, training camp reps will be split between Mariota and Ridder, with Feleipe Franks primarily focusing on his transition to TE. “When you look at it in terms of the quarterbacks for live periods of practice, there is not a lot [of] taxing amount of periods where the ball is being thrown,” said offensive coordinator Dave Ragone when speaking about a concentrated workload for the pair. With little expected of the team in 2022, dividing the reps only two ways is a sensible step for the Falcons as they search for a new franchise signal-caller.

Here are a few other notes from the Peach State, both from Ledbetter’s positional breakdowns:

  • The Falcons ranked 31st in the league in rushing last season, so their attempts at improving their ground game will be the subject of much attention this year. Cordarrelle Patterson is set to return, after he totalled a career-best 1,166 scrimmage yards in 2021. He will not enter camp as the undisputed No. 1 back, however; RBs coach Mike Pitre said that there will be a “wide open” competition involving the veteran Swiss Army knife, free agent signing Damien Williamsand younger options like rookie Tyler Allgeier and Avery Williamswho is converting from cornerback. Head coach Arthur Smith did add, however, that the Falcons will “continue to try to enhance ” Patterson’s overall role in the offense.
  • On the defensive side of the ball, nose tackle will be another positional battle to watch. Either Vincent Taylor 0r Anthony Rush will earn a starting spot alongside Grady Jarrett in the heart of the d-line. Eddie Goldman was the most experienced option for a first-team role until his unexpected retirement decision was confirmed earlier this week. Taylor and Rush have each bounced around to multiple teams in their careers, but will have an opportunity for significant snaps in their debut seasons with the Falcons, who ranked 27th against the run in 2021.

Falcons DT Eddie Goldman To Retire

Less than two weeks ago, Eddie Goldman agreed to terms with the Falcons. But the veteran nose tackle has changed his mind. Goldman instead intends to walk away from the game, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Goldman’s one-year Falcons deal was worth $1.3MM, and it came with just more than $1MM guaranteed. Goldman, who had previously spent his entire career with the Bears, will pass on a seventh NFL season to retire at 28. The Falcons have since confirmed Goldman’s intention (Twitter link).

This news comes days from the Falcons’ training camp report date for veterans. It also marks the second time in three years Goldman has made a late-summer decision not to play football. In 2020, the former second-round pick informed the Bears he was opting out due to COVID-19 concerns. Goldman returned to play one more season in Chicago, but the Bears’ new regime released him to start this offseason.

Goldman did well for himself as a pro, starting for a No. 1-ranked Bears defense in 2018. That unit, which featured accomplished veterans at most spots, helped snap an eight-season Bears playoff drought. More pivotal to Goldman’s path, the Bears took care of him shortly before that season commenced. Goldman signed a four-year, $42MM extension during the 2018 offseason. That deal came with $25MM guaranteed. While part of that contract tolled after his opt-out choice, the Florida State alum collected most of the money from that deal.

While Goldman later teamed with Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, Danny Trevathan and Roquan Smith on one of the league’s top front sevens, he beat all of those vets to Chicago by going in the 2015 second round. Pace misfired with his first pick as Bears GM (wideout Kevin White) but hit on Goldman, who started 73 of the 81 games he played with the Bears. Though known more for run defense, Goldman finished his career with 13 sacks. One of those was a safety, coming when Goldman sacked Jared Goff to give the Bears a second-half lead in a 2019 upset win in Los Angeles.

The Bears disbanded this decorated front seven, for the most part, this year. Mack, Hicks and Trevathan are also gone, and Robert Quinn skipped minicamp as he aimed to be traded. The Falcons still have Grady Jarrett, but their defensive line still invites questions. Atlanta is starting over on the edge, having drafted two Day 3 pass rushers after signing Lorenzo Carter. Inside, Atlanta used Anthony Rush as its first-string nose tackle during the offseason. The team also has former second-round pick Marlon Davidson (one start in two seasons) as an interior D-line cog.

Falcons Sign DT Eddie Goldman

One of a handful of Bears front-seven departures this offseason, Eddie Goldman found a new home Wednesday. The Falcons signed the veteran defensive tackle to a one-year contract. The team announced this transaction and the waiving of safety Brad Hawkins.

A six-year veteran, Goldman started for nearly his entire Chicago tenure. The Falcons brought in ex-Bears GM Ryan Pace this offseason, making this a reunion for Goldman. Pace was in his first months as Bears GM when the team drafted Goldman in the 2015 second round. The veteran executive authorized a four-year, $42MM Goldman extension three years later and may well be behind the Falcons giving him another opportunity.

The Bears released their longtime nose tackle in March. That move came during a stretch in which the team parted ways with front-seven veterans Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks and Danny Trevathan. Goldman, 28, joins Hicks to have found a new home in free agency. Hicks signed with the Buccaneers last month.

While not on the Pro Bowl level like Mack and Hicks, Goldman contributed to the Bears fielding top-tier defenses — including 2018’s No. 1-ranked unit. Pro Football Focus ranked Goldman as a top-15 interior D-lineman in 2018 and had him as a top-40 player here in 2019. The accomplished run-stopper opted out of the 2020 season, and PFF graded him near the bottom at the position last season. With the Falcons, the Florida State alum should receive another chance at substantial playing time.

Atlanta will pair Goldman and longtime cornerstone Grady Jarrett, who signed an extension this offseason. The team also has some draft capital invested in its D-line, with ex-second-rounder Marlon Davidson going into his third season. Anthony Rush had slotted as Atlanta’s top nose tackle this offseason. Goldman (73 starts) figures to push the incumbent.

Goldman’s addition certainly shows Pace has some personnel sway. The Falcons have signed several ex-Bears (offensive lineman Germain Ifedi, wideout Damiere Byrd, tackle Elijah Wilkinson and running back Damien Williams) this offseason. After the Bears fired both Pace and Matt Nagy, second-year Falcons GM Terry Fontenot hired Pace in February.