The Panthers will have Jeremy Chinn back in uniform in Week 11. They activated the veteran safety from injured reserve Saturday. Chinn has missed more than the four-game IR minimum, having last played in Week 4.
Unlike that batch of recent first-round picks, Chinn has missed much of this season. He went down six plays into Carolina’s Week 4 game with a hamstring injury he later admitted was more severe than he initially realized. This abbreviated season stands to stall Chinn’s run of 100-tackle campaigns. He joins only linebackers Luke Kuechly and Jon Beason among Panthers who have begun their careers with consecutive 100-stop slates.
In addition to the Chinn activation, the Panthers signed linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe to their active roster from the practice squad and made cornerback T.J. Carrie and defensive tackle Phil Hoskins their two gameday elevations. Iyiegbuniwe will take the roster spot of linebacker Arron Mosby, whom the team waived Saturday.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter), the Rams shopped Terrell Burgess prior to the trade deadline. The former third-round pick has struggled to carve out a role in the NFL, although he did get into 16 games last year (plus another four games (two starts)) en route to a Super Bowl championship. This season, Burgess has collected 11 tackles in seven games.
After dealing Robbie Anderson and Christian McCaffrey, the Panthers seem unwilling to strip away pieces from their homegrown young core. Brian Burns‘ name has headlined this group, but teams have still discussed the fourth-year defensive end with the Panthers.
The Panthers look to have made it known they do not want to deal Burns, and Adam Schefter of ESPN.com noting the team turned down an offer of two first-round picks for the Pro Bowl pass rusher. Burns would make for a lower-profile addition to the exclusive club of defenders dealt for two first-round picks in recent years. Khalil Mack, Jalen Ramsey and Jamal Adams each had an All-Pro nod on their respective resumes by the time they were moved for packages fronted by two first-rounders. Burns is a one-time Pro Bowler.
That report also surprised various teams around the league. A high-ranking exec said the Panthers wanted first- and second-round picks for Burns during his team’s talks with Carolina, per Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post. Other evaluators surveyed here believe that if the Panthers were indeed offered two firsts for Burns they should take it, JLC adds. Burns, 24, is moving toward a second Pro Bowl season, but the former first-rounder has yet to cross the 10-sack barrier in a campaign.
Still, the Panthers should be considered unlikely to deal Burns, D.J. Moore or Jeremy Chinn. The Panthers have also told teams they are not trading Derrick Brown or Jaycee Horn, Schefter adds. Brown can be controlled through 2024 and Horn through 2025, via the fifth-year option. The Panthers have madeShaq Thompson available, but the Burns-Chinn-Moore-Brown core — which is naturally more appealing to teams due to the performers’ ages — is being protected. The Panthers continue to discuss Moore with teams, however, La Canfora adds. Thus far, the team is resisting this trade interest.
The Rams are viewed as a team likely to have made a strong offer for Burns, La Canfora adds, with The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue indicating the team should be expected to pursue edge players before the deadline (Twitter link). Los Angeles has acquired Ramsey, Von Miller and Dante Fowler at recent trade deadlines, using Day 1 and Day 2 picks to land these defenders. The Fowler and Miller moves helped those respective Rams editions to Super Bowls. The Rams do not have their 2023 first-round pick. That would seem to impact any Burns pursuit, though the team could likely land other potentially available edges without a first-rounder being necessary.
Miller choosing the Bills in free agency set back the Rams’ pass rush, however. Leonard Floyd entered the season as the defending champions’ top edge rusher; the $16MM-per-year sack artist is sackless through six games. Although Ramsey and off-ball linebacker Bobby Wagner have two sacks apiece, Aaron Donald (four) is the only Rams rusher to have registered more than one sack this season.
Carolina has added three 2023 picks, two 2024 choices and a 2025 selection for dealing McCaffrey and Anderson. Moving Thompson, 28, would add to this growing draft arsenal. But Carolina’s collection of young talent — on display during the team’s 21-3 Week 7 win over the Buccaneers — figures to still come up in conversations ahead of the Nov. 1 deadline. Trading one of those players could move the needle further for GM Scott Fitterer, a Matt Rhule-era hire who should not be considered — based on how David Tepper proceeded with former GM Marty Hurney during Rhule’s time — a lock to be the one making these draft picks. That said, Tepper backed Fitterer in the wake of Rhule’s firing.
Although the Panthers have stopped short of full fire-sale mode, the trade of Christian McCaffrey does send off signals big names can be obtained. But Scott Fitterer attempted to cool off any rumors of that sort in the wake of the All-Pro running back’s departure.
“There’s players on this team that I really don’t want to trade, I know this organization does not want to trade,” Fitterer said Friday. “It would have to take something astronomical. But I think moving forward, we like where we’re at. We like our young players.”
It is fairly safe to assume D.J. Moore and Brian Burns qualify for the “astronomical” classifier. The Panthers view Moore as a foundational piece, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Burns could be in play, but Albert Breer of SI.com tweets it would take something like two first-round picks to pull off such a deal.
This year further educated the football-following public on wide receiver availability. Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill, A.J. Brown and Marquise Brown went for packages headlined by first-round picks. Given the buzz attached to Moore since Rhule’s firing, the Panthers likely would hold out for a compensation haul featuring a first-rounder and then some. Moore, 25, has back-to-back-to-back 1,100-yard seasons on his resume, reaching this benchmark consistently despite Carolina’s quarterback inconsistency. The Panthers gave him a three-year, $61.9MM extension in March.
Burns’ profile (one Pro Bowl) would not put him in the club of recent non-quarterbacks who commanded two first-round picks. Khalil Mack, Jalen Ramsey and Jamal Adams each had an All-Pro notch on their respective belts when they were traded for two first-rounders. Laremy Tunsil was moved without this accolade, however. Still, it is difficult to see a team betting that much on Burns at this point. He has not hit double-digit sacks in a season yet. The Panthers have been ready to re-up Burns for a bit now, though the team held off on doing an extension this year. Burns, 24, can drive up his extension price by continuing on his current pace.
More players being sent away would naturally increase the chances the Panthers score a top-five draft choice. Carolina has not held such draft real estate since 2011, when it chose Cam Newton first overall. Hired during Rhule’s second offseason, Fitterer expects to be around when the team finds Rhule’s successor, Cameron Wolfe of NFL.com tweets. David Tepperendorsed Fitterer this week and said he wants more balance regarding HC-GM decision-making, after Rhule held roster control during his tenure. Though, it probably cannot be considered a lock the second-year GM is back. Tepper fired GM Marty Hurneymonths after greenlighting a Rhule-Hurney arranged partnership. But Fitterer is running the show regarding Panthers trades. The longtime Seahawks exec has doubled the Panthers’ 2023 draft arsenal over the first four rounds, running it to six via the McCaffrey swap.
The Panthers have lost one of their top defenders for at least the next four weeks. The team announced that safety Jeremy Chinn has landed on injured reserve. Veteran Juston Burris was signed off the practice squad to take the open roster spot.
Chinn led all rookies with 117 tackles in 2020, and he ended up finishing second in Defensive Rookie of the Year voting. He followed that up with 107 tackles during his sophomore campaign, making him only the third player in franchise history to top 100 tackles in each of their first two seasons (along with Luke Kuechly and Jon Beason).
The 24-year-old started each of Carolina’s first four games this season, collecting 20 tackles and one sack. Pro Football Focus also graded him as one of the NFL’s best pass-rushing safeties this year. He appeared in only six snaps on Sunday before exiting the contest with a hamstring injury.
Chinn’s versatility will be hard to replace; besides safety, he’s also lined up at safety, linebacker, and in the slot this season. However, Burris at least provides six years of NFL experience, and the veteran even started 20 games for the Panthers over the past two years. He re-signed with the organization this offseason but was cut at the end of the preseason. He subsequently landed on the Panthers practice squad.
Trevor Penning is slotted to be the Saints‘ long-term Terron Armstead replacement, but a stopgap may be required ahead of that succession. The Northern Iowa alum is not a lock to open the season as New Orleans’ left tackle, Mike Triplett of ESPN.com notes. The Saints expected the Division I-FCS product to be raw coming in, and it does not appear he has seized the job for which he’s ultimately ticketed just yet. If Penning is on the bench to start the season, swingman James Hurst would be in line to get the call. The former Ravens starter was a 15-game first-stringer with the Saints last season.
Here is the latest from the NFC South:
Departure rumors have encircled Deion Jones for a stretch now, but the well-paid Falcons linebacker is on the shelf after undergoing shoulder surgery. Jones is set to count $20MM toward the Falcons’ cap this year — the highest figure on the rebuilding team. The Falcons should be considered unlikely to cut Jones, Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com writes. They would be slammed with $18MM-plus in dead money, saving barely $1MM, by releasing the seventh-year veteran. Jones could potentially be an in-season trade chip, once the Falcons pay out part of his $9.6MM base salary. At just 27, the off-ball linebacker would be an upgrade for many teams. Atlanta signed ex-Dean Pees charge Rashaan Evans, has Mykal Walker returning, and the team drafted Troy Andersen in Round 2. The Arthur Smith–Terry Fontenot regime appears to have a post-Jones plan in place.
New Panthers secondary coach Steve Wilks, returning to Charlotte after a few notable stops, is not planning to have Jeremy Chinn play much linebacker, per David Newton of ESPN.com. Despite the team signing free agent safety Xavier Woods, the plan is for Chinn to stick at his listed position. The third-year defender saw extensive run on Carolina’s defensive second level as a rookie, and while Newton notes Chinn will still move around, the Woods addition will not lead to extensive Chinn linebacker burn. Having already totaled 224 tackles in two seasons, the former second-round pick has a big year in front of him. Chinn will become extension-eligible in 2023.
The Panthers are on the lookout for a veteran edge rusher, but the team has plans for the recently extended Frankie Luvu. The fifth-year linebacker is on a new Carolina deal because the coaching staff believes he can contribute on the edge, according to Newton. In his first Panthers season, Luvu started four games but worked mostly as a backup. Among players who saw the bulk of their snaps as off-ball linebackers, Luvu graded as Pro Football Focus’ No. 2-ranked pass rusher — behind only Micah Parsons— last season. Granted, this came on just 249 snaps and produced just 1.5 sacks, but the American Samoa native earned a two-year, $9MM deal to stay.
Panthers defensive lineman Daviyon Nixon is not expected to be full-go when training camp starts, Joe Person of The Athletic notes (subscription required). The former Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year-turned-Carolina fifth-rounder is still recovering from the knee injury that ended his rookie season. With Matt Ioannidis in the fold alongside Derrick Brown, Nixon is in line to be a rotational presence in his second season.
Here are some additional updates from NFL secondaries:
A.J. Bouye broke out as an outside corner with the Texans and made the Pro Bowl as a boundary defender with the Jaguars. The Broncos used Bouye on the outside as well last season. The Panthers have a different plan. Carolina DC Phil Snow told Bouye the team needs him in the slot, Joe Person of The Athletic notes (subscription required). After signing Bouye to a two-year, $7MM deal, the Panthers picked Jaycee Horn eighth overall. Horn and Donte Jackson are on track to be Carolina’s outside corners this season.
Panthers safety Jeremy Chinn underwent surgery for an injury that has bothered him since college. The second-year defender had what Matt Rhule described as a minor knee operation this offseason, but Carolina’s HC said the injury Chinn dealt with in 2020 had bothered him dating back to his Southern Illinois days (Twitterlinks via Person). Despite the injury, Chinn proved to be one of the NFL’s top rookies last season.
Richard Shermansurfaced on the Seahawks‘ radar recently, but he is taking his time on deciding his next team. The three-year 49ers corner did advise ex-teammate Ahkello Witherspoon to move to Seattle, however. The former Legion of Boom member told Witherspoon he would fit in well with the Seahawks, Michael-Shawn Dugar of The Athletic notes. Witherspoon signed a one-year, $4MM contract with the Seahawks in March. A third-round 49ers pick in 2017, Witherspoon made a 30 visit to Seattle ahead of the draft four years ago.
The Cowboys did not use Reggie Robinson on defense in his rookie season, but they moved the 2020 fourth-round pick from cornerback to safety during training camp last year. While that change did not end up mattering during regular-season games, Robinson is now back at corner, Jon Machota of The Athletic notes.
Marvell Tell opted out of the 2020 season, but the former fifth-round pick is back at work with the Colts. Tell has joined the run of secondary position changes this offseason; the Colts have moved him from safety to corner, Stephen Holder of The Athletic writes. As a safety in 2019, Tell played 252 snaps and started one game. The Colts have crowded their cornerback contingent this offseason, re-signing both Xavier Rhodes and T.J. Carrie. Both veterans are on one-year contracts. Tell’s rookie deal tolled from the COVID-19 opt-out; he is under contract through 2023.
Kyle Rudolph is expected to undergo foot surgery soon, and he may be in for extensive rehab. The new Giants tight end is believed to be dealing with a Lisfranc injury, Dan Duggan of The Athletic tweets. The troublesome foot malady can be difficult to shake, but Rudolph expects to be ready for Week 1. This injury is similar to what Evan Engram dealt with in 2019. Engram underwent surgery to address his Lisfranc issue in December 2019 and was ready for training camp last year. Rudolph’s timetable is considerably more condensed, which likely led to the delay in the veteran tight end signing his Giants contract. Engram and Rudolph would give the Giants one of the NFL’s top tight end tandems, but the former’s injury history and the latter’s current issue cloud that situation to some degree.
Here is more from the NFC East:
GM Howie Roseman and Eagles scouts had differing opinions on which players to select with the team’s top two draft choices last year. The veteran GM and Eagles coaches’ preference for Jalen Reagor won out over the consensus scouts’ preference: Justin Jefferson. Roseman also veered from his scouts’ recommendation in Round 2, tabbing Jalen Hurts over safety Jeremy Chinn, Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes. The Eagles will bank on the latter move this season, having since traded Carson Wentz and seemingly signed Joe Flacco to back up Hurts. Chinn went to the Panthers at No. 64 — 11 picks after Hurts — and finished second in the Defensive Rookie of the Year voting. Going to the Vikings one pick after Reagor, Jefferson finished second in the Offensive Rookie of the Year voting.
Frank Reich‘s future took a major turn in 2018, when Josh McDaniels‘ backtracking on his Colts commitment ended up re-routing the Eagles OC to Indianapolis. This came shortly after Reich played a key role in the Eagles’ first Super Bowl championship. Reich nearly saw his status change in 2017, however. A front office push for Reich’s firing existed, according to McLane, who adds Doug Pederson managed to save Reich’s job. In Wentz’s first season — a 7-9 Eagles campaign, which was also Reich’s first as Eagles OC — the team ranked 22nd in total offense. They rose to seventh in 2017, with Wentz finishing first in QBR. The Eagles, who promoted Mike Groh to replace Reich and then fired Groh after the 2019 season, have since hired Reich’s top Colts protégé (Nick Sirianni) as head coach.
Brandon Graham agreed to restructure his deal to provide the Eagles with additional cap space last month. Graham’s adjusted contract can be classified as a one-year extension, with Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweeting the new deal is worth nearly $20MM over two years. The Eagles converted Graham’s salaries into prorated bonuses, with the 11-year veteran set to earn barely $1MM in base salary in each of the next three seasons. The team tacked on three void years to the contract, per OverTheCap, which indicates each of Graham’s cap numbers over the life of this through-2023 contract are south of $10MM.
After hiring Dan Quinn as defensive coordinator, the Cowboys brought both Keanu Neal and Damontae Kazee over from Atlanta. The latter’s deal will be worth the veteran minimum, according to ESPN.com’s Todd Archer (on Twitter). Kazee will count just $988K against the Cowboys’ cap. Attempting to return from an Achilles tear, Kazee will collect $250K guaranteed.
The Panthers have signed their entire 2020 NFL Draft class, per a club announcement. First-round pick Derrick Brown got the party started in the spring, but the rest waited until this week to put pen to paper. The full rundown:
Gross-Matos stood out with 17.5 sacks and 37 hurries over the last two seasons, plus solid work against the run. On the flipside, some evaluators had concerns about his bulk. He’ll have to put some more muscle on his 6’5″, 265-pound frame in order to be a reliable three-down defensive lineman.
On the other side of the ball, the Panthers say they’ll be hanging on to wide receiver Curtis Samuel, despite an offseason full of trade rumors.
Known to trade down from time to time, the Seahawks are at it again. They will send their No. 64 overall pick to the Panthers, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets.
In sliding down to No. 69, the Seahawks will pick up the Panthers’ No. 148 overall choice — at the top of Round 5. The Seahawks now have a seventh pick in this draft. Based on John Schneider‘s M.O., it should be expected they will attempt to pick up more.
A 6-foot-3, 221-pound defender out of Southern Illinois, Chinn was one of Division I-FCS’ best players last season. Chinn intercepted 13 passes with the Salukis. He will join a Panthers team that moved on from Eric Reid this offseason and has an opening opposite the recently re-signed Tre Boston.