Jon Bostic

Saints To Audition LBs Kiko Alonso, Anthony Hitchens, Jon Bostic

Former Saints linebacker Kiko Alonso is attempting to catch on with the team again. The 2013 second-round pick has not played in a game since spending the 2019 season with the Saints, but Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets the Saints are holding an audition.

This workout also includes former Washington starter Jon Bostic and veteran Anthony Hitchens. The Saints were interested in Anthony Barr as well, but the longtime Vikings starter signed with the Cowboys.

Alonso, Hitchens and Bostic each have at least seven years’ experience. Hitchens and Bostic both worked as starters last season, but an early-season pectoral injury cut Bostic’s run short. The Chiefs released Hitchens earlier this offseason, cutting bait four years into a five-year contract. Alonso was last with a team in 2020, but his 49ers stay — which ended in November of that year — did not come with any regular-season action.

[RELATED: Saints Sign LB Eric Wilson]

The Saints moved on from Alonso in 2020, trading him to the 49ers in the Kwon Alexander in-season swap. Set to turn 32 next week, Alonso has not been on a team since the 49ers cut him weeks after that deal. While Alonso began the 2020 season on the Saints’ PUP list, stemming from his January 2020 ACL tear, he played 13 games for the Saints in 2019 and started four. Prior to his New Orleans arrival, the Oregon alum strung together back-to-back-to-back seasons of at least 115 tackles with the Dolphins.

Hitchens, 30, kept his Chiefs starting job despite the presences of Nick Bolton and Willie Gay. The former Cowboys draftee nearly played out the five-year, $45MM contract he signed with the Chiefs in 2018. Hitchens started in two Super Bowls, though his Kansas City usage rate dropped after the 2018 season. The run-stopping ‘backer went from an 85% defensive snap rate in 2018 to sub-70% in each of his final three Chiefs slates.

After reviving his career in Washington, Bostic saw the pec injury blunt his momentum. After one-year stints as a starter with the Colts (2017) and Steelers (’18), Bostic spent the past three seasons with Washington. In his most recent full season, the ex-second-round pick totaled 118 tackles and three sacks. Bostic, now 31, landed a two-year, $5MM extension from Washington in 2020.

Demario Davis still leads New Orleans’ linebacking corps; he signed a one-year, $12MM extension earlier this summer. The Saints used second- and third-round picks at this position over the past two years, drafting Pete Werner and Zack Baun on Day 2. The Saints let Alexander walk this offseason; the veteran signed with the Jets last week. Any member of audition group to sign would vie for time alongside the two Day 2 picks and Wilson, who signed with the team in May.

WFT’s Jon Bostic Suffers Pec Injury

WFT linebacker Jon Bostic suffered a pec injury on Sunday (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com). He’ll undergo an MRI today to determine the severity, but Washington is bracing for bad news.

Bostic was ruled out in the fourth quarter, following early exits for tight end Logan Thomas (hamstring), wide receiver Cam Sims (hamstring), and guard Brandon Scherff (knee). They went on to beat the Falcons 34-30 in Atlanta, but it was a costly victory.

Bostic never lived up to his second-round draft status in Chicago and barely played in New England. But, when he resurfaced with the Colts in 2017 and the Steelers in 2018, he found his footing as a starter. His best work has come in D.C. Bostic has did not miss a game between 2019 and 2020, starting in all but one of his games. Last year, he finished out with 118 tackles — a new career best — plus three sacks, six tackles for loss, three passes defensed, and one interception.

Now at .500, the WFT will travel to New Orleans to take on the Saints in Week 5.

Redskins Re-Sign LB Jon Bostic

As the free agency frenzy continues, the Redskins are re-upping one of their own. Washington is re-signing linebacker Jon Bostic on a two-year deal, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Yates reports the deal with have a base value of $5MM, and that Bostic will get $1.75MM guaranteed. The full details of the contract are base salaries of $960K and $1.69MM, a $500k first-day 2020 roster bonus, and $200K in per-game roster bonuses for 2020, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets. There will then be $400K in 2021 per-game active roster bonuses, and $800K annually in playing-time incentives. Considering Bostic signed a one-year deal worth only $895K last offseason, this is a pretty nice pay bump for the Florida product. Bostic originally entered the league as a second-round pick of the Bears back in 2013.

He never lived up to his draft status in Chicago and although he started 17 games across his first two years, he was made a healthy scratch for the first few games of 2015. He was soon shipped off to the Patriots for a sixth-round pick, and barely played in New England. He missed the entire 2016 season with a foot injury, but then resurfaced with the Colts in 2017 and became a starter. He started 14 games with the Steelers in 2018, with middling results.

He landed with the Redskins last year and ended up starting all 16 games, playing reasonably well.The inside linebacker finished with 105 tackles, a sack, and an interception. He’s reached true journeyman status in recent years, but it sounds like he might’ve finally found a more permanent home in Washington.

Redskins Place Reuben Foster On IR, Sign LB Jon Bostic

Reuben Foster‘s season is officially over. On Wednesday, the Redskins placed the linebacker on IR and filled his spot on the roster by adding Jon Bostic

Foster went down during the very first drill of OTAs and the seriousness of the injury was immediately apparent after medical staff placed an air cast on his knee. It’s a bad blow for the Redskins, who were left with only late-round picks at the position after the release of Zach Brown.

To help fill the void, the Redskins signed Bostic, who ranked as one of the best off-ball ‘backers left on the market. Bostic doesn’t offer the same upside as Foster, but he did start in 14 games for the Steelers in 2018 before falling out of favor down the stretch. Last year, Bostic tallied 73 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and three passes defended while earning average marks from Pro Football Focus.

Ravens Work Out Jon Bostic

The Ravens have signed Pernell McPhee and Shane Ray, but they could still add to their front seven. On Friday, the Ravens auditioned a group of free agents, including linebacker Jonathan Bostic (Twitter link via The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec). 

Bostic appeared in all 16 games for the Steelers in 2018 and started 14, but he fell out of favor with the coaching staff down the stretch. The journeyman said back in February he was hoping to stay in Pittsburgh in 2019, but the Steelers opted to instead draft Michigan’s Devin Bush and send the veteran packing.

Last year Bostic tallied 73 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and three passes defended while earning average marks from Pro Football Focus. If signed by the Ravens, he’ll look to improve on those numbers while getting opportunities to exact revenge on his former team.

Still only 28, Bostic still has time to prove that he was a worthwhile second-round pick back in 2013.

Steelers Release LB Jon Bostic

Right after the draft ended, the Steelers made a signifiant move. Pittsburgh is releasing linebacker Jon Bostic, the team announced in a tweet.

Bostic signed a two-year, $4MM deal with the team last March, but was unable to make it all the way through the pact. The Steelers traded up to draft inside linebacker Devin Bush from Michigan, which meant they no longer had any need for Bostic. After Ryan Shazier suffered his horrific injury during the 2017 season, inside linebacker became a huge need for the Steelers. They signed Bostic last offseason hoping he would be able to help vill the void, but things didn’t work out.

Bostic appeared in all 16 games last season and started 14, but he fell out of favor with the coaching staff down the stretch. The journeyman had said back in February he was hoping to stay in Pittsburgh in 2019 even with his reduced role. The Steelers wanted to address the position more permanently, and made the move up to get Bush.

Last year Bostic had 73 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and three passes defended while earning average marks from Pro Football Focus. Wherever he ends up signing next, it’ll be his fifth team. Bostic was originally drafted in the second round by the Bears back in 2013, but has bounced around ever since. He’s spent time with Chicago, New England, Detroit, and Indianapolis, and always seems to end up starting games while underwhelming.

Still only 27, he should resurface somewhere else before too long. Ever since Shazier went down, Pittsburgh’s run defense has been very vulnerable. They moved up to the tenth overall pick in order to get Bush, and the hope is he’ll stabilize things for the foreseeable future.

As for the financial implications, Mark Kaboly of The Athletic tweets that the Steelers will save $1.8MM in cash by cutting Bostic. There will be $700K of dead money, so they’ll only save $1.1MM against the cap. Kaboly points out that the Steelers now have a whopping $26.5MM of cap space committed to players not currently on the roster.

AFC Notes: Tomlin, Bengals, Dolphins

Michael Lombardi of The Athletic takes a deep dive into the Antonio Brown saga, and he is pretty straightforward with his thoughts on the entire situation. He certainly puts much of the blame for the acrimonious relationship between Brown and the Steelers on Brown himself, saying that the talented wideout has a tremendous combination of selfishness, all-about-me attitude, and hostility towards the only team he has ever known. As one GM recently said, Brown is a a “[g]reat talent, but a huge pain in the ass.”

However, Lombardi also says that while Brown’s behavior has driven down his price on the trade market, interested teams are doing their homework to get to the true essence of the problem. Lombardi believes the Steelers’ culture is lost, and that head coach Mike Tomlin, despite his impressive 57-29-1 record over the last five seasons, loses critical games because he and his teams fail to handle small details and do not exhibit the physical and mental toughness they need in key situations. The Rooney family does not overreact, but Lombardi suggests the imminent departures of Brown and Le’Veon Bell will lead to a thorough evaluation of Tomlin, who will need to fix his team’s culture in order to secure his future in Pittsburgh.

Now for more out of the AFC:

  • Linebacker Jon Bostic would like to return to the Steelers, but Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says the club has no interest in re-signing Bostic. The Steelers could look to the draft to fortify their inside linebacker position, but this year’s collegiate crop of ILBs is a bit thin. Pittsburgh also needs to address its cornerback depth chart, but Dulac suggests the free agent market could be a better option in that regard given the club’s poor history of drafting CBs under Tomlin. Of course, the Steelers will use much of their time at this week’s Scouting Combine to explore the trade market for Brown.
  • The Bengals have historically been pretty conservative on the free agent market under owner Mike Brown, and Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com does not believe that will change going forward, even though Cincinnati has a new head coach for the first time in 16 years (Twitter link). That is in keeping with a piece that the Cincinnati Enquirer published several days ago.
  • The Dolphins have plenty of holes to fill during this year’s draft, and as Adam H. Beasley of the Miami Herald writes, Clemson’s Clelin Ferrell could be a perfect fit for the team’s pass rush if the Fins do not use their first-round pick on a QB. Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, citing the NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah, says Miami should be able to build its O-line throughout the draft, and that the team was not particularly impressed by West Virginia signal-caller Will Grier. Jackson also explores the Dolphins’ other options for their No. 13 overall pick, including trade-back scenarios.
  • Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com expects the Titans to sign a wideout and an interior lineman in free agency and to address those positions in the draft as well. The team may be getting Delanie Walker back in time for OTAs, but Wyatt also believes the Titans will add at least one TE to the mix, and he expects Tennessee will try to re-sign Luke Stocker.

Extra Points: Cowboys, Chiefs, Darkwa

Jerry Jones only helped add fuel to the fire today regarding Earl Thomas potentially joining the Cowboys. When asked if the organization would pursue some help at safety, the team’s owner made his answer pretty clear.

“Yes,” Jones told ESPN’s Todd Archer (Twitter link). “That’s about all I’ll say, but yes.”

Of course, it’s important to note that Jones never explicitly mentioned Thomas, but it’s pretty easy to assume that the organization will pursue the veteran defensive back. The mutual interest between the two sides has been covered extensively, although the NFL recently made it clear that the Cowboys didn’t tamper when it came to the 29-year-old.

Of course, Dallas ultimately may look to leverage Thomas’ interest in joining the Cowboys. The team is projected to have around $50MM in cap space, but a solid portion of that total will go towards a DeMarcus Lawrence franchise tag and other extensions. As a result, the team may not have a whole lot of money to give Thomas.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFL…

  • The Chiefs have finalized their defensive coaching staff under new coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. As Brooke Pryor of KansasCity.com writes, the biggest addition was defensive line coach and run game coordinator Brendan Daly, who previously served in that role with the Patriots. The organization has also added linebackers coach Matt House, defensive backs coach Dave Merritt, defensive backs/cornerbacks coach Sam Madison, linebackers coach Britt Reid, defensive quality control coach Terry Bradden, and defensive assistant Alex Whittingham.
  • Steelers linebacker Jon Bostic may have appeared in all 16 games this season, but his role was reduced as the season went on. While the journeyman may be able to find a bigger role elsewhere, he’s still hoping to stay in Pittsburgh. “Obviously this is my first year here and whatnot; hopefully we can make this place a home,” Bostic told Chris Adamski of TribLive.com. “It’s been a fun year; definitely didn’t go the way we would have planned (missing the playoffs). But that’s football. You can’t plan everything out. But I do (feel like the Steelers’ organization can be home).” Bostic is set to earn $1.8MM next season, and the team would be left with only $700K in dead cap if they released the 27-year-old.
  • It sounds like we now have an explanation for why Orleans Darkwa never joined an NFL team last season. The veteran running back told ESPN’s Jordan Raanan that he tore the Achilles tendon in his right leg during an October audition with the Jaguars. The 26-year-old was coming off his most productive NFL season in 2017, rushing for 751 rushing yards and five touchdowns on 171 carries. The Giants had offered him a contract that would have kept him in New York, and he also received interest from the Redskins, Patriots, and Bills.

NFL Draft Rumors: Chubb, Bucs, Steelers

Long considered to be a top-three pick, Bradley Chubb might be sliding down mock drafts after the Jets traded with the Colts to get to No. 3 in the upcoming NFL Draft. The move, which could signal a run on quarterbacks early in the draft, isn’t slowing down the N.C. State pass rusher, however.

According to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, who spoke with Chubb’s agent, the top defensive end in the rookie class already has meetings scheduled with five teams between Sunday night and Monday before his pro day. All of those teams currently are slated to pick in the top seven spots in the draft.

Florio also spoke with longtime assistant coach Jim Washburn, who praised the defensive end as a potential perennial double-digit sack producer if he ends up in the right system. “If I was the team in need I would be very, very careful on passing on him,” Washburn said.

The flurry of moves could push down one of the top talents in the draft past the top five and to a team like the Buccaneers at pick No. 7. The move would be a steal for Tampa Bay, who is already locked in to Jameis Winston as the team’s franchise quarterback and ranked dead last in the NFL in sacks a year ago.

Regardless where he goes, Chubb is slated to be an impact performer from the moment he steps on the field.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Earlier in the week, the Steelers signed linebacker Jon Bostic to a two-year deal to potentially replace Ryan Shazier, who is recovering from a devastating injury in 2017. Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, however, tweets the former Colts linebacker is merely just a seat warmer for whoever the team drafts in the first two rounds. One of those players who could be available is Boise State’s Leighton Vander Esch, who Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller projected to Pittsburgh in his latest mock draft. On Vander Esch, Miller writes: “Boise State’s Leighton Vander Esch is a 6’4″, 256-pound linebacker with good speed (4.65 in the 40) who possesses the ability to take on tailbacks in run support, the speed to pursue on the edge and the instincts to cover pass-catchers over the middle.”
  • The Browns signed one of this year’s top free agent running backs in Carlos Hyde, but they have not ruled out selecting Penn State star Saquon Barkley.

AFC Contract Details: Butler, Johnson, Bridgewater

Here are figures on some of the recent contracts signed around the NFL, with all links going to Twitter unless noted otherwise.