Jesse Davis

Steelers Notes: Reed, Pickens, Bush

Pass-rush depth had long been something the Steelers were reported to be seeking this offseason. Pittsburgh addressed the issue earlier this week by acquiring Malik Reed and a 2023 seventh-round pick from the Broncos in exchange for a sixth-rounder. It appears that Reed’s destination was no coincidence.

When speaking about the decision to trade the 26-year-old, Broncos GM George Paton said, via Kyle Newman of the Denver Post“We have a lot of really talented outside backers who can rush. We thought it would be best to trade Malik and trade him to somewhere where he’s going to fit in… He wanted to go to Pittsburgh, and we found a home for him. I think it’s a win-win for both sides.”

Reed will enter his contract year slated to operate as the team’s third outside linebacker behind T.J. Watt and Alex HighsmithWith 15 sacks and an equal number of tackles for loss during his three seasons in Denver, the Nevada product should give his new team the productivity off the edge they were looking for.

Here are some other notes from the Steel City:

  • Immediately following the trade, Reed agreed to re-work his contract. His base salary has dropped from $2.43MM to $1.5MM, as noted (on Twitter) by ESPN’s Field Yates. With a productive season, he will no doubt earn a raise over that figure, but for 2022 he projects as a highly cost-effective option off the bench for a Steelers team which already led the league in sacks last season.
  • One of the stars of training camp and the preseason has been rookie wideout George Pickensto the point where many have wondered how the Steelers were able to land him at No. 52 in the draft. Per PFF’s Doug Kyed, the Georgia standout was viewed by many around the NFL as the top receiver prospect after the 2020 college season, and that things only changed after his ACL tear the following spring and the rise of character concerns. As a so-called ‘wild card’ prospect, he was ultimately the 11th WR to hear his name called, but he could have a productive rookie season alongside Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool, and has the upside to outperform most (if not all) of the pass-catchers chosen ahead of him.
  • Much of the talk surrounding the team this offseason has been the expectations placed on linebacker Devin Bush. The team’s decision to decline his fifth-year option has left many believing the former top-10 pick will be playing elsewhere in 2023. One pundit of that opinion is Mark Kaboly of The Athletic, who wrote last month that Bush is “nowhere near where he should be” considering his experience and draft pedigree. Kaboly adds that the team may need to alter its personnel packages based on whether or not Bush is on the field – a far cry from the every-down, playmaking defender the Michigan alum was drafted to become.
  • In addition to reinforcements along the defensive edges, the Steelers were active in seeking o-line depth. In fact, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Pittsburgh was “the team that came up most often” in trade talks (Twitter link). Fowler names Dennis Daley (who was dealt to Tennessee) as one of the team’s targets; they ultimately acquired Jesse Davis from the Vikings hours after the Reed deal. The 30-year-old was a starter on the Dolphins’ underwhelming offensive front last season, but could provide experienced depth for a unit the Steelers hope will take a step forward in 2022.

Steelers To Acquire OL Jesse Davis From Vikings

Another trade for the Steelers is going down. Hours after acquiring Malik Reed from the Broncos, the Steelers are landing Jesse Davis from the Vikings, per Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo of (via Twitter).

Davis had seen second-round rookie Ed Ingram move into position to leapfrog him on the Vikes’ depth chart. The veteran will head to a team with more questions up front. Pittsburgh also released veteran O-lineman Joe Haeg on Tuesday, Garafolo adds (on Twitter). The Steelers will send a conditional 2025 seventh-rounder to the Vikings, Rapoport tweets.

Minnesota signed Davis earlier this year, bringing him in on a one-year deal worth $3MM ($2.75MM guaranteed). The Vikings also signed former Colts and Panthers blocker Chris Reed and drafted Ingram. While Davis began Vikings training camp as the frontrunner to start at right guard, Ingram progressed to the point the team did not require a stopgap.

This marks another Steelers move to land an ex-Viking (technically) O-lineman. Although Davis did not end up playing with the Vikings, ex-Minnesota center Mason Cole is positioned to start in Pittsburgh. So is ex-Bears guard James Daniels. The Steelers had held a Kevin DotsonKendrick Green competition at left guard, with Dotson expected to keep his job. Davis does bring veteran insurance, having spent extensive time at both guard and tackle in Miami. It would also not surprise if he is starting for the Steelers soon. That has been his primary role.

Davis, who turns 31 next month, has been a starter for the past five seasons. Although he spent time on practice squads prior to making a leap into Miami’s front five in 2017, the former UDFA has made 72 starts in that span. He worked as Ja’Wuan James‘ primary successor at right tackle in recent years but played alongside James at right guard as well. The Dolphins used Davis at left tackle at points as well, but the right side represented his primary domain.

OL Rumors: Pipkins, Packers, Vikes, Falcons

Practically the only need the Chargers did not address this offseason was right tackle, where incumbent Storm Norton and backup Trey Pipkins waged a summer competition. It looks like there will be a change up front for the Bolts. Pipkins appears to have beaten out Norton for the gig, Daniel Popper of The Athletic notes (subscription required). The two are swapping roles, with Pipkins — a 2019 third-round pick — leaving his swing tackle post to try his luck as a starter again. Norton, who replaced Bryan Bulaga early last season and made 15 starts, worked with the second team throughout practice this week and saw time as the second-string left tackle as well. Pipkins, 25, has made 10 career starts. While the Chargers demoted him in 2021, they were impressed with his left- and right-side spot starts late in the season. The University of Sioux Falls product, who is going into a contract year, will work on a line full of free agency investments (Corey Linsley, Matt Feiler) and first-round picks (Rashawn Slater, Zion Johnson).

Here is the latest from the O-line scene:

  • Staying on the right tackle topic, Elgton Jenkins is expected to settle in there when he returns, per Albert Breer of A high-end Swiss Army knife for the Packers, Jenkins made the 2020 Pro Bowl at guard and began last season as David Bakhtiari‘s left tackle fill-in. An ACL tear sidelined Jenkins in November. Jenkins would stand to command more in earnings with a quality right tackle season, though staying on the field in 2022 will position him for a lucrative deal no matter where he lines up. The Packers removed both players from the active/PUP list this month but do not yet know if Jenkins and Bakhtiari — who have not played together since December 2020 — will be ready for Week 1, Matt LaFleur reiterated Sunday. When healthy, a Bakhtiari-Jenkins duo would be one of the league’s best tackle tandems.
  • The Vikings are on the verge of having five homegrown first- or second-round picks as O-line starters. Second-round rookie Ed Ingram is “trending” toward being the Vikes’ right guard starter, Kevin O’Connell said (via the St. Paul Pioneer Press’ Chris Tomasson). Although Minnesota signed Jesse Davis and Chris Reed as potential stopgaps, Ingram has impressed since moving to first-team duty during camp. Ingram worked with Minnesota’s first team in joint practices against San Francisco, with Davis — who had taken some days off to rest a surgically repaired knee — shifting to the second team, Tomasson adds. Ingram was also held out of the Vikings’ preseason finale Saturday, and while O’Connell stopped short of locking the LSU product into the lineup, that is the likely scenario. Ingram would join 2021 first-rounder Christian Darrisaw, 2020 second-rounder Ezra Cleveland, 2019 first-rounder Garrett Bradbury and 2018 second-rounder Brian O’Neill on a fully homegrown Vikings line.
  • Free agent pickup Elijah Wilkinson looks to have commandeered the Falcons‘ left guard spot, per D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, who notes the former Broncos and Bears blocker looks set to play ahead of 2021 third-rounder Jalen Mayfield. The Michigan product struggled as a rookie, ranking as a bottom-10 Pro Football Focus guard. Mayfield did start 16 games, so a demotion is certainly notable for player who started one with the Bears last season. Wilkinson’s most relevant NFL work came in Denver, when he served as Ja’Wuan James‘ primary replacement from 2019-20. Mayfield may already be on Atlanta’s roster bubble, per Ledbetter.

NFC North Notes: Bears, OL, Vikings, Barrett

Mentioned in trade rumors to start the week, Teven Jenkins has not practiced with the Bears since Day 1 of training camp. Due to the unknown ailment he is currently battling and last year’s back injury, Jenkins has participated in just one training camp practice since being chosen in the 2021 second round. He does not look to be factoring into Chicago’s first-string tackle mix. Recently signed veteran Riley Reiff does, and Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune expects the 11th-year blocker to be the team’s left tackle starter. Reiff spent most of his career as an NFC North left tackle but played on the right side for the Bengals last season. Larry Borom, Chicago’s primary right tackle during his 2021 rookie season, should be considered the favorite to stay in that role, Biggs adds. The Bears ditched their five-year tackle setup last summer, cutting Bobby Massie before the ’21 draft and releasing Charles Leno after selecting Jenkins. Leno has since signed a three-year, $37.5MM extension with the Commanders.

Here is the latest from the NFC North:

  • Irv Smith Jr. worked his way back from the knee injury that wiped out his 2021 season, but the third-year Vikings tight end has run into more trouble. Smith underwent thumb surgery, Kevin O’Connell said. While the first-year Minnesota HC added Smith should be back by Week 1, he will miss the preseason. Having let Tyler Conklin hit the market and defect the Jets, the Vikings are counting on Smith to be their starter this season.
  • Jesse Davis has worked as the Vikings’ first-string right guard to start training camp, Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star Tribune notes. The Vikings used fellow free agent signing Chris Reed as the primary first-stringer here during a recent Davis day off. Minnesota is also incorporating second-round pick Ed Ingram into this competition, per O’Connell. Davis, who shuttled between guard and tackle with the Dolphins for years, signed for one year and $3MM. Reed, a recent Colts backup, signed a two-year, $4.5MM pact. Reed has also worked at center in his initial months with the Vikes.
  • The Packers promoted Jon-Eric Sullivan recently. The veteran executive is now serving as the team’s VP of of player personnel. A Packers staffer since 2004, Sullivan has worked his way up from the regional scouting ranks. When Brian Gutekunst was hired as GM in 2018, Sullivan became the team’s co-player personnel director alongside John Wojciechowski. Green Bay also promoted Chris Gaines and Sean Linton to college scouts.
  • J.T. Barrett is breaking into the coaching ranks. The former Ohio State quarterback is now on the Lions‘ staff as an offensive assistant. Barrett, 27, caught on with the Saints, Seahawks and Steelers as an NFLer but never saw regular-season time. He also spent time with the CFL’s Edmonton Elks.

Contract Details: Brown, Mack, Woods

Here are some details on deals recently signed around the NFL:

  • Trent Brown, OL (Patriots): two-year, $11.5MM deal. Brown’s deal includes a $750K weight bonus in 2022 and 2023, per ESPN’s Mike Reiss. He’ll earn $150K if he shows up to the first day of offseason program at 385 pounds or less, another $75K if he’s at or under 375 pounds by June 1, another $75K if he’s at or under 365 pounds by July 15, and $25K weekly bonuses if he’s at 365 pounds or less each Thursday during the season.
  • Marlon Mack, RB (Texans): signed. It’s a one-year, $2MM deal, according to Aaron Wilson of (on Twitter). The deal includes a $250K signing bonus, a $1.25MM base salary, and $29K in per-game roster bonuses.
  • Auden Tate, WR (Falcons): one-year deal. The deal includes a $1.03MM base salary and only counts $930K against the cap, according to ESPN’s Michael Rothstein (on Twitter). Tate can also earn $5K per-game roster bonuses.
  • Xavier Woods, S (Panthers): three-year, $15.75MM deal. Deal includes more than $6MM in guaranteed money, per Aaron Wilson of (on Twitter). The deal includes a $5MM signing bonus. Woods can earn $250K for each Pro Bowl he makes. The safety will be owed a $1MM roster bonus on the third day of the 2023 league year.
  • Solomon Thomas, DL (Jets): one-year deal. The deal is worth $2.25MM, including $1.9MM in guaranteed money, tweets ESPN’s Rich Cimini (on Twitter). Thomas can earn another $2.5MM in incentives.
  • Will Hernandez, OL (Cardinals): one-year deal. The deal is worth $1.18MM, with $1.04MM in guaranteed money, according to veteran reporter Howard Balzer. The deal includes a $152K signing bonus. As a veteran qualifying contract, the deal counts $1.04MM against the cap.
  • Jesse Davis, OL (Vikings): one-year, $3MM deal. The deal includes a $1.5MM signing bonus, a $1.25MM fully guaranteed base salary, a $50K workout bonus, and up to $200K in per-game roster bonuses, tweets Ben Goessling of the Star-Tribune.. There’s also a void year in 2023.
  • Randy Bullock, K (Titans): signed. It’s a two-year deal worth $4.68MM, plus additional money for incentives, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter).

Vikings Sign OL Jesse Davis

A longtime starter for the Dolphins, Jesse Davis visited the Vikings on Monday. That meeting is expected to lead to a signing, Ian Rapoport of tweets. The Vikings have announced the move. It is a one-year deal worth $3MM, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets.

Davis has worked extensively as a first-stringer over the course of his career, seeing time at tackle and guard during his five-season run with the Dolphins. The Vikings are looking at Davis at right guard, with Tomasson noting he is now viewed as the top candidate to start there (Twitter links). The Dolphins cut Davis last week.

The Vikings brought in Bills restricted free agent Ryan Bates for a visit, but Bates signed an offer sheet with the Bears — one the Bills matched. While Minnesota has a few positions solidified up front, the team is in need at right guard. Pro Football Focus viewed it as by far the team’s weakest spot in 2021.

Despite having five years’ experience, Davis will turn 31 this fall. The Idaho product spent two years developing without seeing game action, entering the NFL as a 2015 UDFA. But he moved into a starting role with the Dolphins in 2017 and logged 72 starts over the past five years, spending full seasons at both guard and tackle. The Dolphins gave Davis a three-year, $15MM deal in 2019.

Last season, the Dolphins moved Robert Hunt to guard and slid Davis back to right tackle. PFF did not view Davis’ latest right-edge work well, but the veteran made 16 starts for Miami in 2021. He has also seen left tackle time, giving the Vikings an ideal swingman if they opt to further address their right guard spot this offseason. Longtime Vikings swingman Dakota Dozier signed with the Bears earlier this month.

Minnesota has Christian Darrisaw, Ezra Cleveland, Garrett Bradbury and Brian O’Neill on track to continue as up-front starters, giving the team a solid outlook up front as begins a new regime. The team returns its primary 2021 right guard, Oli Udoh. But Davis should be expected to, at worst, provide strong competition for the job.

Dolphins Cut Jesse Davis, Allen Hurns

In the aftermath of making two sizeable moves to bolster their offensive line and wide receiver corps, the Dolphins are making a pair or related moves at those positions. The team announced they have cut Jesse Davis and Allen Hurns

Davis, 30, had been with the Dolphins for his entire five-year career. He spent time at various spots across the offensive line, starting 72 of 80 total games. His best campaign, in terms of PFF grade, came in 2020 when he received a rating of 62.6. This past season, he surrendered eight sacks in 1,063 snaps.

The move comes after Davis played a large role in the Dolphins’ overall struggles along the offensive line, and at the tackle spots in particular. With left tackle Terron Armstead being signed to solidify that position, moving on from Davis seemed an inevitability to some.

The same could be said with regards to Hurns. The 30-year-old was placed on IR this past August due to a wrist injury which cost him a second consecutive season. For that reason, the Dolphins released him with a failed physical designation. During his only campaign in Miami, the former Hurricane posted 32 catches for 416 yards and two touchdowns.

Given yesterday’s trade for Tyreek Hill, though, Hurns could be seen even more so as being expendable. The team now has Hill at the top of the depth chart, along with standout rookie Jaylen Waddle and recent signee Cedrick Wilson.

As Pro Football Network’s Adam Beasley notes (on Twitter), the pair of moves saves the Dolphins $6.2MM in cap space. That financial room became much more needed with the two massive deals the team just made, while also streamlining the roster at two positions they needed to upgrade this offseason. Both Davis and Hurns, meanwhile, will look to find at least depth roles on new teams.

Dolphins Make Changes On Offensive Line

Trading for 2019 second-round pick Greg Little, the Dolphins continue to shuffle their offensive line group. But they are making more changes among their in-house personnel as well.

They have shifted second-round pick Liam Eichenberg from tackle to guard, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. While Dolphins offensive line coach Lemuel Jeanpierre initially said the move was to give the Notre Dame product experience at guard, Adam Beasley of notes the Dolphins view versatile veteran Jesse Davis as a better option to start at right tackle this season than Eichenberg. Davis, a former UDFA, was the Dolphins’ primary right tackle in 2019. Eichbenberg was an All-American left tackle with the Fighting Irish, starting there for three years.

Eichenberg is working as Miami’s first-string left guard, however. The team’s directions with Davis and Eichenberg have resulted in two starters from last season — Robert Hunt and Solomon Kindley — vying for the starting right guard role, Beasley adds. The Dolphins moved Hunt from tackle to guard this offseason. While they have been high on the 2020 second-round pick, viewing him as a possible Pro Bowler inside, the Louisiana product is currently battling for a starting spot in camp.

Additionally, Miami appears to be moving toward giving 2019 third-round pick Michael Deiter — a full-time guard starter as a rookie but a backup in 2020 — its starting center position over free agent acquisition Matt Skura, per Beasley. Skura represents a veteran presence on a group that lost D.J. Fluker early in camp, but Davis could end up being the only seasoned starter tabbed to be part of the Dolphins’ O-line in Week 1. Deiter played more games at guard at Wisconsin but was a 16-game center starter with the Big Ten program.

Pro Football Focus ranked the 2020 Miami O-line 28th, and it is possible only one player — left tackle Austin Jackson — will end up in the same position he primarily played last season. The team traded 2020 guard starter Ereck Flowers this offseason as well, and that change may be one of many at this Dolphins position group this year. It will certainly be interesting to see how Miami’s O-line configuration looks come Week 1.

AFC East Notes: Newton, Tua, Fins, Bills

The Patriots made a big splash last night when they signed former league MVP Cam Newton to a one-year contract. The assumption is that Newton will be the team’s starting signal-caller, but Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network says the Pats made no promises in that regard. Still, while there is technically an open competition between Newton and second-year pro Jarrett Stidham, it would be stunning if Newton did not win the job (video link). Garafolo also points out that Newton still has to pass a physical, but the Patriots are confident he will do so.

Garafolo also passes along a fun fact (via Twitter): New England is the third team in NFL history to lose one MVP and sign another in the same offseason. The 2000 Dolphins parted ways with Dan Marino and brought in Thurman Thomas, and the 2005 Cardinals bid farewell to Emmitt Smith and signed Kurt Warner.

Now for more from the AFC East:

  • The Dolphins drafted Tua Tagovailoa with the belief that he will be the franchise signal-caller the team has been seeking for the past 20 years. He may not start right away, but Albert Breer of believes the southpaw will be put into the starting lineup at some point this season. While the 2020 Dolphins should be an improved squad over last year’s iteration, Miami is still probably at least a year away from playoff contention, so the team will have no reason to keep Tagovailoa on the sidelines for the entire campaign.
  • Miami is set at the LG and C spots with Ereck Flowers and Ted Karras, respectively. Beyond that, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald says the Dolphins are still undecided as to whether second-round rookie Robert Hunt would be a better fit at RG or RT in 2020. If Hunt gets a shot at RT and performs well, that could bump 2019 starter Jesse Davis back to the interior or to the bench. Meanwhile, Michael Deiter will compete for the starting RG and backup C slots.
  • In the same piece linked above, Jackson notes that the Dolphins are working out WR Gary Jennings in the slot — where he thrived in college — and on the outside. Jennings was a fourth-round pick of the Seahawks in 2019, but Seattle waived him in November and Miami scooped him up. He played in just one game for the ‘Fins before getting hurt, but his draft pedigree and upside will give him a good chance to make the club as the fifth or sixth WR.
  • In a minor trade last summer, the Bills acquired OL Ryan Bates from the Eagles in exchange for DE Eli Harold. Philadelphia subsequently cut Harold, but Buffalo hung on to Bates, who was active for nine games. Per Adam Caplan of, the Bills view Bates, a 2019 UDFA, as a viable right tackle, guard, and center, so they expect him to be a key backup in 2020 who may take on a bigger role down the road.
  • Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic, meanwhile, views Bates as a potential trade candidate. Buscaglia also looks at a few other players that the Bills could put on the trade market, a list headed by WR Robert Foster and TE Jason Croom.

AFC East Rumors: Bell, Dolphins, Patriots

Le’Veon Bell‘s first season with the Jets could not have gone much worse. The two-time All-Pro averaged just 3.2 yards per carry and, despite playing in 15 games, failed to clear 800 rushing yards. Bell’s contract points him toward a second Jets season, but Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News notes this will almost certainly be his last with the team. A report surfaced last offseason that Adam Gase did not want Bell in the first place, and Mehta adds that Gang Green’s HC repeatedly voiced frustrations about the running back behind the scenes last season. While Gase would also assign blame to the offensive line — one that ranked 31st in Football Outsiders’ adjusted line yards metric — he shifted between blaming that injury-plagued group and Bell throughout the year. The Jets also believed Bell put on weight as the season progressed.

Other than all of this, the Bell-Jets pact has gone great. The 28-year-old back’s four-year, $52.5MM deal runs through 2022, but the Jets can save $9.5MM in cap space by cutting Bell in 2021. Let’s move on to some other situations in the AFC East:

  • Some slotted Louisiana offensive line prospect Robert Hunt as a better guard fit than tackle in the NFL, but the Dolphins will station their second-round pick at right tackle to start his career, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald notes. Hunt would then compete with incumbent Jesse Davis — who graded outside Pro Football Focus’ top 60 tackles last season — at right tackle and then slide inside to guard if the Dolphins decide he’s not a good tackle fit. Davis will be the Dolphins’ first-stringer when camp opens, per Salguero. Should Hunt prove to be a better fit at guard, he could compete for the spot opposite recently signed Ereck Flowers.
  • As could be expected based on Austin Jackson‘s age (20), Julie’n Davenport is expected to begin as Miami’s left tackle, Salguero adds. Included in the Laremy Tunsil trade, Davenport suffered an injury that landed him on IR early last season. He returned at the midway point and started the Dolphins’ final seven games. With Jackson being drafted 18th, it should be expected he will be in the lineup at some point in 2020.
  • This could be anticipated based on the Patriots‘ offseason decisions — not drafting a quarterback and not signing either Jameis Winston or Andy Dalton to low-level contracts — but they are not believed to be inclined to add another veteran passer, Mike Reiss of writes. Their (virtual) quarterback room consists of 2019 fourth-rounder Jarrett Stidham, on-again/off-again Patriot Brian Hoyer set for his age-34 season and two UDFAs (Michigan State’s Brian Lewerke and Louisiana Tech’s J’Mar Smith).