Lucas Patrick

Bears Place OL Alex Leatherwood On Reserve/NFI List

Alex Leatherwood‘s NFL career encountered another setback Wednesday. The recent Bears waiver claim will be placed on the team’s reserve/non-football illness list, according to Matt Eberflus.

This will sideline the 2021 first-round pick for at least four games. The Bears are bringing back Michael Schofield, who was with them in training camp, to replace Leatherwood on the 53-man roster, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune tweets. Leatherwood is believed to have contracted mononucleosis, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Eberflus said Leatherwood is not at the team’s facility today. He did not play in the Bears’ Week 1 game. A 17-game Raiders starter last year, Leatherwood caught on with the Bears via waiver claim. The Raiders’ new regime bailed on the Jon GrudenMike Mayock-era O-line investment after this year’s training camp.

The Bears exited their camp with some questions on their O-line, and the team is attempting to salvage Leatherwood. The Alabama prospect, who was not expected to go in last year’s first round, has been working at right tackle with the Bears, Biggs adds. Leatherwood began his pro career as the Raiders’ right tackle starter, but the team moved him to guard early in his rookie year. McDaniels’ staff slid Leatherwood back to right tackle this offseason, and while the Raiders have significant questions at that particular position, they could not find a spot for the second-year blocker on their 53-man roster.

As expected, Chicago used fifth-round rookie Braxton Jones and 2021 fifth-rounder Larry Borom as its Week 1 tackle starters. Riley Reiff, 33, remains on the team as a swingman. Leatherwood’s hopes at competing for playing time will have to wait a while now. Three years remain on his rookie contract.

Schofield, 31, initially signed with the Bears just before training camp. The Illinois native has extensive experience at right guard and right tackle, having transitioned to guard after being a right tackle starter for the Broncos’ 2015 Super Bowl-winning team. The Chargers used Schofield as their primary right guard over the past five seasons; he joins Reiff as a 30-something second-stringer on the rebuilding Bears.

Teven Jenkins started at right guard for the Bears on Sunday, rotating with would-be center Lucas Patrick. The latter is poised to be Chicago’s center, but a July hand injury has altered that plan for now. Sam Mustipher started at center for the Bears against the 49ers.

Bears Searching For O-Line Help?

The Bears’ offensive line has generated a number of questions this offseason, and resolutions have not come just yet. Buzz around the NFL connects the team to pursuing outside help in trades, Adam Jahns of The Athletic writes (subscription required).

An effort to obtaining guard help, in particular, has circulated, per Jahns, even though Teven Jenkins may be moving close to becoming the starter at right guard. The former second-round pick has gone from tackle to trade rumors to guard this offseason, but Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com notes the Bears have been pleased by the second-year blocker’s transition thus far (Twitter link). The team also signed veteran Michael Schofield, who could be a backup at multiple spots given his tackle past, just before training camp.

Chicago also added Riley Reiff at the start of camp, but Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune notes the veteran has ceded the first-string right tackle spot to Larry Borom — an eight-game 2021 starter. The latter, a 2021 fifth-round pick, has worked opposite fifth-round rookie Braxton Jones in recent days. Despite being a rookie out of Division I-FCS Southern Utah, Jones is being given “every opportunity” to win Chicago’s blindside job, though Biggs wonders if the two young blockers are competing against one another for a spot opposite Reiff.

Reiff, 33, counts just $3MM against Chicago’s cap, but that amount is fully guaranteed. No guarantees are present in Schofield’s veteran-minimum deal. Reiff has started 139 career games, working mostly as a left tackle. Although, he did slide to the right side to accommodate Taylor Decker in 2016 and play RT in Cincinnati last season.

The two other veterans in this mix — Cody Whitehair and Lucas Patrick — are not vying for roles. Whitehair is locked in as Chicago’s left guard, and Patrick — one of a few ex-Packers OC Luke Getsy brought with him this offseason — is in place at center. Patrick, however, is still recovering from thumb surgery. He is not a lock to be ready by Week 1, with Biggs adding the Bears expect him back sometime in September. Patrick being sidelined into the regular season could intensify Chicago’s interest in adding interior help.

Holding the No. 7 waiver priority spot, the Bears will be in a good position to land O-linemen Wednesday — after teams’ rosters are trimmed from 80 to 53 — but new GM Ryan Poles looks to be seeing what it will take to add a veteran upgrade ahead of that point.

Latest On Bears’ Offensive Line

Previously a possibility at left tackle, Riley Reiff now looks to be settling in on the right side. The Bears moved the longtime NFC North left tackle-turned-Bengals RT off the blind side recently, with Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com noting rookie Braxton Jones has taken most of the left-side reps over the past several days.

Reiff, 33, played right tackle with the Bengals last season, prior to going down with a mid-December ankle injury that shelved him for the team’s unlikely Super Bowl run, and moved to the right side in 2016 to accommodate Lions first-round pick Taylor Decker. In every other season, Reiff has primarily been a left tackle.

Jones and Reiff starting would leave Chicago with two new tackle starters. The team’s top 2021 left tackle, Jason Peters, remains a free agent. The player the previous regime hoped would commandeer that post, Teven Jenkins, has not done so. The 2021 second-round pick has battled injuries throughout his career. While Jenkins has returned to practice, he has lined up with the Bears’ second- and third-string lines since doing so, Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic tweets.

As Jones began to show starter readiness during the Bears’ offseason program, Jenkins has already popped up in trade rumors. The Bears chose Jones 168th overall out of Division I-FCS Southern Utah. This would obviously be a big jump from his 2021 gig.

Larry Borom worked as Chicago’s primary right tackle last year, but the 2021 fifth-round pick is playing behind Reiff presently. Pro Football Focus graded Borom outside its top 60 tackles last season. Although O-line development usually takes some time, the Bears’ new coaching staff may be prepared to let the Mizzou product learn from the bench behind Reiff (139 career starts). Borom has been working at both tackle spots, suggesting a potential path as the team’s swing backup.

The team exited the 2020 season with one of the league’s most stable tackle tandems, with Charles Leno and Bobby Massie having started together for five years. The Bears, however, released Leno and did not re-sign Massie during the 2021 offseason. Leno is now with Washington, tied to an extension signed earlier this year, while Chicago searches for long-term replacements. The Bears are not expected to contend this season, but Justin Fields preparing for his first full campaign as the team’s starting quarterback certainly makes tackle performance important through a longer-term lens.

Additionally, late-July pickup Michael Schofield is ticketed to be the team’s top right guard, Cronin adds. Mainstay Cody Whitehair remains the Bears’ other guard starter, while ex-Packer Lucas Patrick is poised to be the Bears’ new center. A former Super Bowl starter at right tackle with the Broncos, Schofield has been a serviceable guard in the years since. The Chargers used him as a guard starter in 49 games over the past five years.

NFL Injury Updates: Woods, Patrick, Adams, Stingley

With Tennessee trading wide receiver A.J. Brown during the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft in order to select Arkansas wide receiver Treylon Burks, the Titans will now look to former Bills and Rams wide receiver Robert Woods to serve as the team’s No. 1 receiving option. This puts lots of pressure on Woods as he continues to recover from a torn ACL suffered in practice last November

While Woods was acquired for a sixth-round pick and Burks was acquired with a first (via the Brown-trade), Woods nine years as a starter and veteran experience places him atop the depth chart over the rookie, Burks, for now. Woods had been experiencing a run of the best football of his career over the last four years. Since 2018, Woods has recorded season receiving totals of 1,219 yards, 1,134 yards, and 936 yards, all higher than any totals from his first five years in the league. He also reached six receiving touchdowns twice in that span, setting new career highs there, as well. At a pace of 61.78 receiving yards per game before his injury last year, Woods was set for his third 1,000-yard season in four years, and, with five total touchdowns, was on pace to set a new career high in scoring, as well.

The good news is that Woods has been full-go at Titans camp so far this month, according to Ben Arthur of The Tennessean. Not only is Woods out there taking live reps at practice, but he’s using the off-periods to work with quarterback Ryan Tannehill on timing and chemistry.

“It’s strong enough. It’s repaired. It’s healed,” Woods said in regards to his knee. “So my mentality going out here and practicing is push it and go. You almost want to like push it to the limit and see what you can do and that’s what I’m trying to do.”

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NFL this preseason, starting with an update out of the Windy City:

  • It appears that Bears center Lucas Patrick will require surgery on his right hand, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. The former Packer is expected to start for new Chicago offensive coordinator Luke Getsy, as he did during their time together in Green Bay. While surgery will take him out of the lineup for a few weeks, the hope is that, by treating it this early in training camp, Patrick will be able to possibly return before the season opener.
  • While it was originally expected that Seahawks safety Jamal Adams would miss time while dealing with previous hand injuries, further reports reveal that he is expected to return to practice soon, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Adams has been dealing with finger injuries for quite some time and, recently, broke a finger when it got stuck in a helmet during practice. Any surgery that may be required will be pushed to the offseason and, for now, he will return to the field “with a club and a special cast for games.”
  • The Texans’ No. 3 overall pick in this year’s draft, LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr., is attempting to bounce back from nagging injuries that limited him to only 10 games of action in his final two years of college. Houston was impressed enough with his freshman year numbers of six interceptions and 21 passes defensed to make him the first cornerback off the board from an impressive group of defensive backs. They also are hoping his injury woes have ended as head coach Lovie Smith said he expects the 21-year-old to be ready for the regular season opener, according to Mark Berman of Fox Sports.

Bears To Sign OL Lucas Patrick

The Bears have added a starting offensive lineman. Chicago is signing former Packers interior lineman Lucas Patrick, reports NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter). It’s a two-year, $8MM deal ($4MM guaranteed), according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler (on Twitter).

Patrick was an undrafted free agent out of Duke in 2016, and he carved out a nice role for himself in Green Bay. The lineman served mostly as a backup through his first four seasons in the NFL, but he found himself starting in 2020.

Patrick started 15 games for the Packers in 2020 and 13 games in 2021. He saw time in 82 percent of his team’s offensive snaps this past season, and he continued to contribute on special teams.

The 28-year-old’s ability to play both offensive guard and center should make him a valuable asset in Chicago. The Bears saw lineman James Daniels leave for Pittsburgh earlier today, but they’re replacing him with a player who has some familiarity with the system. Patrick played under Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy when the two were in Green Bay.

NFL Reserve/COVID-19 List Updates: 1/18/22

Here are Tuesday’s reserve/COVID-19 list additions and subtractions:

Buffalo Bills

  • Placed on practice squad reserve/COVID-19 list: DL Eli Ankou

Green Bay Packers

San Francisco 49ers

  • Activated from practice squad reserve/COVID-19 list: FB Josh Hokit

 

NFL COVID-19 List Updates: 1/12/22

Today’s updates for the reserve/COVID-19 and practice squad/COVID-19 lists:

Arizona Cardinals

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: TE Maxx Williams (remains on IR)

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Dallas Cowboys

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Placed on practice squad/COVID-19 list: TE Mark Vital

New England Patriots

San Francisco 49ers

  • Restored from practice squad/COVID-19 list: QB Tyler Bray

Seattle Seahawks

Washington Football Team

  • Restored from practice squad/COVID-19 list: DT David Bada

Latest On Packers’ Injured Players

Despite many of their top players not seeing much action this season, the Packers secured the NFC’s No. 1 seed for a second straight year. Green Bay’s injured players have additional time to prepare for the playoffs, thanks to the first-round bye, and some are rounding into form.

David Bakhtiari has not played since suffering an ACL tear during practice on New Year’s Eve 2020. However, the All-Pro left tackle practiced fully for the first time this season Friday. He is questionable for Sunday’s game in Detroit. Matt LaFleur said the ninth-year veteran blocker looked “really good” in practice this week, and although the third-year HC will not commit to playing him Sunday, a return for the Packers’ first playoff game should now be expected (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky).

Out since suffering a shoulder injury in Week 4, Jaire Alexander is ramping up after being activated from IR recently. LaFleur said the Pro Bowl cornerback will not play in Week 18. Alexander returned from the reserve/COVID-19 list Friday, and the lack of practice time this week led to LaFleur’s decision to keep him on ice another week. Signs point to Alexander returning for Green Bay’s first playoff game.

Center Josh Myers will return against the Lions, LaFleur said. The Packers officially activated Myers from IR, and he has no injury designation going into Sunday’s game. The second-round rookie has been out since suffering a knee injury on the first drive of the Packers’ Week 6 game.

Lucas Patrick has taken over at center and is in line to keep that first-string gig this week, but LaFleur is not ruling out Myers returning as a starter in the playoffs, Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets. A scenario in which both are in the team’s starting lineup will almost certainly be in play.

Although the team designated Randall Cobb for return last week, the veteran slot receiver will not come back against the Lions. This adds up, with Cobb’s core injury requiring several weeks’ worth of rehab. Cobb is tracking toward a playoff return, Demovsky tweets. Regarding Aaron Rodgers‘ status for the Detroit rematch, he will start. LaFleur did not necessarily plan to start the MVP favorite, indicating he does not believe Rodgers needs to play Sunday. But the QB prefers to start, Silverstein tweets.

Packers Sign OL Lucas Patrick To Extension

This morning, Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst announced that the team has signed offensive lineman Lucas Patrick to an extension. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets that it’s a two-year deal worth $3.6MM. The guard will receive a $350K signing bonus.

The lineman has come a long way since going undrafted out of Duke in 2016. Patrick spent his rookie campaign on Green Bay’s practice squad before becoming a rotational lineman in 2017. He re-signed with the team the following offseason, and he proceeded to appear in 14 games (two starts) in 2018.

Patrick has appeared in 13 games this season for the Packers. The 26-year-old has primarily served as a backup center and backup offensive guard.

The Packers front office has been busy this week. Yesterday, the team reworked Aaron Rodgers‘ contract, opening up more than $11MM in 2020 cap space.

Minor NFL Transactions: 3/20/19

Today’s minor moves:

Chicago Bears

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

  • Waived: WR Jimmy Williams

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Los Angeles Chargers

New York Giants

New York Jets