James Hudson III 

NFL Injury Updates: Higgins, Turner, Palmer, Saints, Jones

The Bengals will be without their second leading receiver for their Week 10 matchup against the Texans. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Tee Higgins will miss Sunday’s game after injuring his hamstring in practice on Wednesday. He will reportedly continue to be evaluated on a week-to-week basis.

Partially due to the early struggles of quarterback Joe Burrow, Higgins is off to the worst start of his career this season. After averaging 1,009.33 receiving yards in each of his first three seasons, Higgins is currently on track to finish the season with only 703 yards. Hamstring injuries have a tendency to linger, as well, threatening to take even more away from Higgins this year.

Leading wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase has been limited this week with a back injury and is currently listed as questionable. Should he play, though, he will be joined by Tyler Boyd, Trenton Irwin, and sixth-round rookie Andrei Iosivas. With Higgins out, tight end Irv Smith may, too, continue to see an increased role in the Bengals’ passing gameplan.

Here are a few other injury updates from around the NFL:

  • The Jets will be without yet another offensive lineman this week as backup lineman Billy Turner will miss Sunday’s game in Las Vegas, per Brian Costello of the New York Post. Turner suffered a “concerning” broken bone in his hand during his first start of the season last week that head coach Robert Saleh disclosed had required surgery. Turner was starting in place of injured right guard Connor McGovern, who was placed on injured reserve before last week’s game with a dislocated knee cap. With all the current injuries on the offensive line, New York only has three linemen on the active roster – Chris Glaser, Dennis Kelly, and Carter Warren – that it can turn to as a replacement starter this weekend. They also have Jake Hanson, Xavier Newman, and Rodger Saffold, who should be available off the practice squad. Saffold and Hanson are recent signings who may have been brought in to assist with the team’s plague of injuries on the offensive front.
  • Chargers wide receiver Josh Palmer was placed on IR earlier this week without much word on the specifics of what was being called a knee injury. Daniel Popper of The Athletic provided an update on Wednesday that Palmer is dealing with a knee sprain. Popper’s report comes from head coach Brandon Staley, who relayed that Palmer will obviously be out for the next four weeks, the minimum required on IR, but he has “no expectations” after that. They will simply have to reassess once Palmer is eligible to return.
  • Two Saints rookies suffered injuries this past Sunday. Defensive end Isaiah Foskey suffered “a low-grade quad strain,” according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. Foskey’s absence, as a rotational lineman, will open the door for more potential snaps for either Tanoh Kpassagnon or Kyle Phillips, who was signed to the active roster weeks ago but has yet to make his season debut. Foskey is expected to miss a week or two, but the injury isn’t considered serious. Running back Kendre Miller was the other Saints rookie to suffer an injury, spraining his ankle against Chicago last week, per Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football. He hasn’t participated in practice all week and will also be out this Sunday. It’s unclear whether or not his injury will linger to hold him out for much longer. Miller’s usage has decreased significantly since the return of Jamaal Williams, but with Eno Benjamin on IR, the team may feel the need to elevate practice squad running back Jordan Mims to back up Williams and Alvin Kamara.
  • The Browns will be down three offensive tackles for this weekend’s trip to Baltimore. According to Jeff Schudel of The News-Herald and Morning Journal, rookie fourth-round tackle Dawand Jones has been ruled out for Sunday’s game. Starting tackles Jack Conklin and Jedrick Wills both currently reside on IR, Conklin since Week 1 and Wills just this past week. Jones had been starting across from Wills in place of Conklin. With Wills and Jones out next week, Cleveland will have to start two fresh faces at offensive tackle. Schudel reports that James Hudson III is expected to start at right tackle. Starting left guard Joel Bitonio is expected to slide out to serve as a left tackle. Backup center Nick Harris will get an opportunity to start in Bitonio’s place at left guard. A beleaguered offensive line will face a significant challenge with three new starters in new positions against a Ravens defense that leads the league in sacks.

J.C. Tretter Tests Positive For COVID-19

The Browns are set to run into more offensive line unavailability because of the coronavirus. J.C. Tretter announced (via Twitter) he turned in a positive COVID-19 test Thursday.

Barring a false positive, this will rule the Pro Bowl snapper out for the Browns’ Christmas Day matchup against the Packers. Tretter’s positive test follows Jedrick Wills and Wyatt Teller also doing so. Teller returned to play against the Raiders after testing positive, but the two-day window here would make Tretter following suit all but impossible.

Wills remains on the Browns’ virus list, but swing man James Hudson is back on the active roster, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer notes. Cleveland tinkered with its O-line as a result of Wills’ positive, sliding Pro Bowl guard Joel Bitonio to left tackle. Tretter, however, has not missed a game since signing with the Browns in 2017. The Browns also moved Grant Delpit off their virus list.

Tretter, 30, is also the NFLPA president. He said the union’s push to postpone three games last week — rather than cancel them, a path Tretter indicated the NFL preferred — led to the three Week 15 games being moved rather than players losing out on per-game salaries. His absence Saturday will certainly affect a top-tier Browns O-line in a pivotal game. The Browns’ shorthanded loss Monday dropped them to 7-7; FiveThirtyEight.com gives Cleveland a 15% chance to make the playoffs.

Browns Sign Rookie James Hudson III

The Browns have another one in the books. On Tuesday, the Browns formally inked fourth-round pick James Hudson III, per a club announcement. Per the terms of his slot, the offensive tackle will earn $4.16MM over the course of four years, including a $677K signing bonus.

The Cincinnati product began his college career as a defensive tackle. Then, the Bearcats asked Hudson to switch sides. In his lone year as the team’s left tackle, Hudson allowed zero sacks and only six quarterback pressures. Now, the No. 110 overall pick will aim to take his game to the next level behind starters Jedrick Wills Jr. and Jack Conklin.

In addition to Hudson, the Browns have already signed fellow rookies Demetric Felton (RB, sixth-round), Richard LeCounte III (S, fifth-round) and Tony Fields II (LB, fifth-round). They still have four rookies to go, including first-round cornerback Greg Newsome II and second-round linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramaoh.