Keenan Allen

AFC Injury Notes: Ravens, Watt, Bengals

J.K. Dobbins returned to practice today, with the running back hoping to make his long-awaited return to the field this Sunday. The Ravens running back admitted that his injury “wasn’t just a normal ACL,” with Dobbins explaining that he tore his ACL, LCL, hamstring, and meniscus at the end of the 2021 preseason (per ESPN’s Jamison Hensley on Twitter). It’s been just over a year since Dobbins suffered his injury.

“It would mean the world to me if I can go out there this Sunday and play well in front of a full house,” Dobbins said (via Hensley).

Fellow running back Gus Edwards also missed the entire 2021 season with a torn ACL, but thanks to his placement on PUP, he’ll have to sit out the first four games of the season. Still, Edwards took to Instagram to tell fans that he continues to progress in his recovery and eventual return to the field.

“For everybody wondering about my recovery I’m doing great and I’m very close,” Edwards wrote.

More injury notes from around the AFC…

  • The news keeps getting better for T.J. Watt and the Steelers. The star linebacker could recover from his partially torn pectoral muscle within five weeks, according to Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com. There was initial fear that Watt had completely torn his pec, which would have ended his season. The news quickly got better; we learned yesterday that Watt wouldn’t need surgery and could be back within six weeks.
  • Bengals long snapper Clark Harris is expected to miss an extended amount of time after tearing his biceps, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (via Twitter). While Zac Taylor didn’t want to rule out the LS for the season, he did acknowledge that the 38-year-old will miss at least a few months (via ESPN’s Ben Baby on Twitter). Harris, a one-time Pro Bowler, has been with the organization since 2009. Cal Adomitis will get the first shot to replace Harris at long snapper.
  • J.C. Jackson has been listed as questionable for tomorrow’s game against the Chiefs, and Chargers head coach Brandon Staley said earlier this week that the cornerback has a “50-50” shot at playing (per NFL Network’s James Palmer on Twitter). Jackson previously suffered an ankle injury that forced him to miss the team’s Week 1 victory over the Raiders. After earning a second-team All-Pro nod with the Patriots in 2021, Jackson joined Los Angeles this offseason on a five-year, $82.5MM deal. Meanwhile, both Chargers wideout Keenan Allen (hamstring) and Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker (ankle) have been ruled out for Thursday’s showdown.
  • Mac Jones dealt with back spasms following the Patriots‘ Week 1 loss to the Dolphins, but the quarterback continues to improve, according to NFL Network’s Mike Giardi (on Twitter). A source told Giardi that the QB is “doing everything he needs to” in order to be on the field for this weekend’s matchup against the Steelers. Jones and the Patriots offense struggled during the season opener, with the second-year QB guiding New England to only one touchdown.

Keenan Allen Unlikely For Week 2?

9:50pm: In a postgame interview, Allen claimed he “possibly” can play in Week 2 after today’s hamstring injury, according to Lindsey Thiry of ESPN. When reminded that the Chargers have a short week before their Thursday night matchup in Kansas City, Allen amended his “possibly” to a “small possibly.”

6:54pm: Los Angeles was rolling on offense before veteran wide receiver Keenan Allen left the game in the first half with an apparent hamstring injury. Allen pulled up in the middle of running a route, grabbed him hamstring, and limped directly off the field and to the blue medical tent. After initially being announced as questionable to return, he was quickly downgraded to “out,” according to Bridget Condon of NFL Network. 

Allen was a huge part of the Chargers’ early success on Sunday, reeling in four catches for 66 yards in less than two quarters of football. Without Allen in the second half, Los Angeles’ offense grew stagnant, allowing the Raiders to claw their way back into the game.

In Allen’s absence, quarterback Justin Herbert had to really spread out his targets. Newly re-signed Mike Williams is the obvious answer to step up with Allen out, but the Las Vegas defense mobbed Williams for much of the remainder of the game, forcing Herbert to find other targets to pass to. The running backs and tight ends got heavily involved in the passing game with Gerald Everett, Tre’ McKitty, Austin Ekeler, Joshua Kelley, and Zander Horvath reeling in 14 receptions between the five of them.

Allen has been with the Chargers for nine years dating back to their time in San Diego. Even with Williams hot on his heels, Allen has been the leading receiver for the Chargers in every healthy season of his career, except for last season when Williams outgained Allen by eight yards. It’s unknown how much time Allen is expected to miss, but, in the meantime, the Chargers will count on wideouts DeAndre Carter, Joshua Palmer, and Jalen Guyton to open up the field for Williams.

Largest 2022 Cap Hits: Offense

After the COVID-19 pandemic led to the second reduction in NFL salary cap history last year, the 2022 cap made a record jump. This year’s salary ceiling ($208.2MM) checks in $25.7MM north of the 2021 figure.

While quarterbacks’ salaries will continue to lead the way, a handful of blockers and skill-position players carry sizable cap numbers for 2022. A few of the quarterbacks that lead the way this year may not be tied to those numbers once the regular season begins. The 49ers, Browns and Ravens have made efforts to alter these figures via trades or extensions.

Here are the top 2022 salary cap hits on the offensive side of the ball:

  1. Ryan Tannehill, QB (Titans): $38.6MM
  2. Patrick Mahomes, QB (Chiefs): $35.79MM
  3. Kirk Cousins, QB (Vikings): $31.42MM
  4. Jared Goff, QB (Lions): $31.15MM
  5. Aaron Rodgers, QB (Packers): $28.53MM
  6. Carson Wentz, QB (Commanders): $28.29MM
  7. Jimmy Garoppolo, QB (49ers): $26.95MM
  8. Russell Wilson, QB (Broncos): $24MM
  9. Lamar Jackson, QB (Ravens): $23.02MM
  10. Kenny Golladay, WR (Giants): $21.2MM
  11. Garett Bolles, T (Broncos): $21MM
  12. Dak Prescott, QB (Cowboys): $19.73MM
  13. Derek Carr, QB (Raiders): $19.38MM
  14. D.J. Humphries, T (Cardinals): $19.33MM
  15. Keenan Allen, WR (Chargers): $19.2MM
  16. Taylor Decker, T (Lions): $18.9MM
  17. Sam Darnold, QB (Panthers): 18.89MM
  18. Baker Mayfield, QB (Browns): $18.89MM
  19. Matt Ryan, QB (Colts): $18.7MM
  20. Ronnie Stanley, T (Ravens): $18.55MM
  21. Donovan Smith, T (Buccaneers): $18.4MM
  22. Ezekiel Elliott, RB (Cowboys): $18.22MM
  23. DeAndre Hopkins, WR (Cardinals): $17.95MM
  24. Cooper Kupp, WR (Rams): $17.8MM
  25. Laremy Tunsil, T (Texans): $17.71MM
  • The Chiefs’ cap sheet looks a bit different this year, with Tyreek Hill and Tyrann Mathieu off the roster. But Mahomes’ cap number rockets from $7.4MM in 2021 to the league’s second-largest figure in 2022. This marks the first time Mahomes’ 10-year contract is set to count more than $10MM toward Kansas City’s cap, with the AFC West champs not yet restructuring the deal this year.
  • Tied to a few lucrative extensions since relocating to Minnesota, Cousins’ third Vikings deal dropped his cap number from $45MM. The fifth-year Vikings QB’s cap number is set to climb past $36MM in 2023.
  • Prior to negotiating his landmark extension in March, Rodgers was set to count more than $46MM on the Packers’ payroll.
  • The 49ers are aiming to move Garoppolo’s nonguaranteed money off their payroll. That figure becomes guaranteed in Week 1, providing a key date for the franchise. San Francisco is prepared to let Garoppolo negotiate contract adjustments with other teams to facilitate a trade.
  • Wilson counts $26MM on the Seahawks’ 2022 payroll, due to the dead money the NFC West franchise incurred by trading its 10-year starter in March.
  • Jackson, Darnold and Mayfield are attached to fifth-year option salaries. Jackson’s is higher due to the former MVP having made two Pro Bowls compared to his 2018 first-round peers’ zero. The 2020 CBA separated fifth-year option values by playing time and accomplishments. The Browns and Panthers have engaged in off-and-on negotiations on divvying up Mayfield’s salary for months, while a Jackson extension remains on the radar.
  • Golladay’s cap number jumped from $4.47MM last year to the highest non-quarterback figure among offensive players. The Giants wideout’s four-year deal calls for $21MM-plus cap hits from 2023-24.
  • Prior to being traded to the Colts, who adjusted their new starter’s contract, Ryan was set to carry an NFL-record $48MM cap hit this year. The Falcons are carrying a league-record $40.5MM dead-money charge after dealing their 14-year starter.
  • The Texans restructured Tunsil’s deal in March, dropping his 2022 cap hit from $26.6MM to its present figure. Because of the adjustment, Tunsil’s 2023 cap number resides at $35.2MM

Contract information courtesy of Over The Cap 

Chargers, Mike Williams Agree On New Deal

One of the top remaining franchise tag candidates has signed an big-money contract. The Chargers have inked Mike Williams to a three-year, $60MM deal, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). $40MM of the total is fully guaranteed. 

The Chargers had made it clear they were willing to tag Williams, though a long-term deal was always the preference. The 27-year-old played out last season on the fifth-year option, which earned him $15.7MM. Given his play during the campaign, it became clear a significant raise would be coming.

Williams posted 76 catches and 1,147 yards – both career highs. He also registered nine touchdowns, the second-highest total of his NFL tenure. Alongside Keenan Allen, he played a major role in the Chargers ranking second in the league in passing yards, while finishing top-five in scoring. This deal means that both Williams and Allen will next become free agents in 2025.

The $20MM per-year average is almost exactly what the franchise tag ($19.1MM) would’ve cost the Chargers in 2022 anyway, though Schefter notes that the first year of the deal includes $28MM. Unlike so many other teams, cap space was hardly an issue for Los Angeles; they entered the day with more than $56MM to work with for the upcoming season. This deal obviously takes a large bite out of that, but the medium-term pact should provide solid value for the team.

The main pieces to the Chargers’ passing attack will remain in place, something which is likely a necessity to compete in the AFC West. In a division already featuring Patrick Mahomesand that just saw the arrival of Russell Wilson – points will need to be scored early and often to keep up.

Minor NFL Transactions:  12/6/21

Today’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers

  • Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list: OL Trent Scott

Cleveland Browns

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

New York Jets

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/31/20

Here are the minor moves from 2020’s final day:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

  • Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list: C Alex Mack

Baltimore Ravens

Cincinnati Bengals

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

Philadelphia Eagles

Chargers, Keenan Allen Agree On Extension

Keenan Allen‘s consistency over the past few years will result in a massive payday. The Chargers are giving their No. 1 wide receiver a four-year deal worth more than $80MM, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (on Twitter). Officially, it’s a four-year, $80.1MM pact, Terez Paylor of Yahoo.com tweets.

This will make Allen the NFL’s second-highest-paid wideout — behind only Julio Jones. It represents the second extension of Allen’s career; he signed his first in 2016. Allen was set to enter the 2020 season as the league’s 18th-highest-paid receiver.

Illustrating how much the wideout market has changed over the past four years, Allen’s deal will come with $50MM guaranteed, per Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (on Twitter). That will place the veteran weapon seventh among wideouts. Allen’s 2016 pact was worth $24MM guaranteed.

One of the league’s premier route runners, Allen has been the Bolts’ No. 1 wideout practically since the team drafted him in the 2013 third round. He missed extensive time in 2015 and ’16 due to injuries but has shown tremendous consistency since. The 28-year-old target has made the past three Pro Bowls, playing in every game over that span, and has scored six touchdowns in each of those seasons. After a career-high 1,393 yards in 2017, Allen eclipsed 1,190 yards in 2018 and ’19.

With Mike Williams uncertain for Week 1, and the Bolts not possessing much in the way of proven targets behind their starting duo, Allen’s status on the team has never been more important. He will be essential when the Chargers hand the reins to first-round quarterback Justin Herbert.

This Date In Transactions History: Chargers’ Keenan Allen Signs $45MM Extension

Four years ago today, Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen scored a seismic pay bump. After months of negotiations, the former third-round pick agreed to a four-year add-on worth $45MM with nearly $21MM fully guaranteed at signing. Before that, Allen was playing on his rookie deal – a four-year pact worth just $2.8MM in total. 

[RELATED: Make-Or-Break Year: Titans WR Corey Davis]

Few could dispute Allen’s value to the Bolts. As a rookie in 2013, Allen eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving and scored eight touchdowns. He back down to earth in 2014, but he was on pace for the best season of his career – 67 receptions and 725 yards through only eight games, before a lacerated kidney forced him off the field. With a clean bill of health for 2016, and his 25th birthday still on the horizon, the Chargers were happy to lock Allen down for several years.

Allen’s $11MM+ average annual salary put him in the top ten at his position at the time, appropriately slotting him ahead of Jaguars receiver Allen Hurns, who had just inked a four-year, $40MM deal. From the Chargers perspective, it was a short-term cap saver – it would have cost the team $15MM to keep him for an extra year via the franchise tag.

Unfortunately, Allen’s 2016 did not go according to plan as he suffered an ACL tear in the first half of the team’s very first game. But, after that, it was mostly smooth sailing – Allen went off for nearly 1,400 yards in 2017, giving him his first of three consecutive Pro Bowl nods.

Allen is once again set to enter his walk year as his four-year extension wraps up. And, once again, he’s in position for a pay raise.

Keenan Allen Expected To Miss Rest Of Preseason

A semblance of past injury-related storm clouds are creeping onto the Chargers’ radar. Derwin James may be an IR-return candidate, and one of the contending team’s other top players will miss time as well.

Keenan Allen is expected to miss the remainder of the Bolts’ preseason slate, with Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reporting (via Twitter) the Pro Bowl wide receiver suffered an ankle injury in practice this week. This marks the second setback Allen has suffered during camp. The seventh-year wideout also ran into knee trouble during the Chargers’ joint practices with the Rams, per The Athletic’s Daniel Popper (on Twitter).

This being the Chargers, who have lost several key players to severe early-season injuries in recent years, concern is natural. But Schefter cautions Allen’s ankle ailment is not considered serious. He is expected to be ready in time for the team’s opener against the Colts.

Allen has done well to shake the injury concerns that plagued his mid-2010s run. He missed 23 games between the 2015 and ’16 seasons, the latter instance because of a Week 1 ACL tear. With Tyrell Williams now gone, the Bolts’ receiving corps is now thinner and would be less equipped to withstand an Allen absence. But the 27-year-old standout has not missed a game over the past two seasons.

Injury Updates: Allen, Beckham, Jackson, Osemele

The Chargers picked up their biggest win of the season last night against the Chiefs, but they didn’t escape Kansas City unscathed. Already dealing with injuries to running backs Austin Ekeler and Melvin Gordon, they suffered another blow when star receiver Keenan Allen went down in the first half. Allen never returned to the game, and now we have an update on his status. Allen has been diagnosed with a hip pointer, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). While it is a somewhat significant injury, Rapoport notes there is no structural damage to his hip. He writes that it isn’t a longterm injury, and although he says he could “miss some time” it sounds like Allen will be back in time for the playoffs at the absolute latest.

Here are more injury updates from around the league:

  • Odell Beckham Jr. will miss a second straight game this week, Giants head coach Pat Shurmur announced today (Twitter link). Beckham is dealing with a quad injury, but the details are murky. He apparently suffered the injury a few weeks ago, and was initially able to play through it, but seemingly it’s taken a turn for the worse. The team has been very tightlipped about what exactly happened, but more details should leak out eventually.
  • The Buccaneers are still somewhat alive in the playoff race, but they’ll be playing the Ravens this week without receiver DeSean Jackson. Jackson will be missing his third straight game with a thumb injury. While the Bucs would surely love to have Jackson out there against a stingy Baltimore defense, Chris Godwin has filled in just fine in his place across from Mike Evans. All signs continue to point toward Jackson and Tampa Bay separating at the end of the year.
  • The Raiders have suddenly come alive and played some good games the past few weeks, upsetting the Steelers as massive underdogs last week. But they’ll be facing a tough Bengals defensive line without at least one starter on their offensive line. Left guard Kelechi Osemele has been ruled out for the game, and right guard Gabe Jackson is questionable after not practicing all week. If Jackson can’t play either it would be a disaster scenario for the Raiders, as their top reserve guard was just placed on injured reserve.