Matt Paradis

OL Rumors: Fins, Meinerz, Bates, Steelers

Addressing needs at left tackle and left guard, the Dolphins are turning their attention to center. GM Chris Grier plans to bring in competition for incumbent Michael Deiter, per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. The Dolphins are looking to keep costs down here, Jackson adds, noting they are not currently on the radar for J.C. Tretter or Matt Paradis. Both have been center starters for the past several years but would qualify as replacements for Deiter rather than competition. Given Tretter’s performance in Cleveland, the NFLPA president looms as one of the top free agents available. Miami’s to-be-determined center will join Terron Armstead, Connor Williams, Robert Hunt and either Austin Jackson or Liam Eichenberg on the team’s reconfigured O-line.

Here is the latest from the offensive line ranks:

  • Although the Patriots hosted Bills restricted free agent Ryan Bates, it does not appear they were competing with the Bears for his services. Unlike the Bears, the Pats did not extend Bates an offer sheet and, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.com, the team was not overly interested. The Bills ended up matching the offer sheet to retain Bates. The Pats lost both 2021 guard starters — Ted Karras and Shaq Mason — this offseason. While swingman Michael Onwenu stands to take over at one of the positions, it is uncertain who will join he and longtime center David Andrews as the third interior man.
  • Quinn Meinerz did not open last season as a Broncos starter, but the Division III product looks set to do so in 2022. Nathaniel Hackett envisions Meinerz as the team’s starting right guard, Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post notes. “The sky is the limit” for Meinerz, said Hackett, who plans to keep Graham Glasgow‘s midseason replacement in the lineup. That leaves Glasgow’s role uncertain. The 2020 UFA addition has been the Broncos’ starting right guard when healthy over the past two seasons, but he played center for 16 games with the 2018 Lions. Broncos center Lloyd Cushenberry has not missed a snap during his initial two NFL seasons, but Pro Football Focus graded the former third-rounder as the team’s worst O-line starter last season.
  • The Steelers signed James Daniels and Mason Cole in free agency. Cole has primarily played center, while Daniels has played the position as a pro as well. Daniels has spent most of his NFL days at guard, and it is possible 2021 Steelers center Kendrick Green becomes the team’s other guard starter. Mike Tomlin is open to moving Green to guard, Mark Kaboly of The Athletic notes (subscription required). A third-round pick last year, Green started 15 games as a rookie. PFF graded him as one of the league’s worst centers. A move to guard, where he spent most of his time at Illinois, could potentially open the door to improvement and threaten Kevin Dotson‘s starting role. Dotson, a 2020 fourth-rounder, opened the season as Pittsburgh’s left guard starter but missed eight games due to injury.
  • Zach Banner‘s Steelers exit stemmed from his 2020 ACL tear remaining a deterrent, Kaboly adds. Banner opened the 2020 season as the Steelers’ starting right tackle but suffered the tear in Week 1. The 6-foot-8 blocker played seven games last season, but Kaboly adds his knee never returned to form.

Panthers Expected To Let Matt Paradis Depart In Free Agency; Latest On FA Plans

As Joseph Person of The Athletic (subscription required) writes, the Panthers are likely to part ways with center Matt Paradis, who is eligible for free agency. Pat Elflein, who opened the 2021 season as Carolina’s left guard but who moved over to center following Paradis’ injury, is likely to continue as the starting pivot despite his struggles in that role.

Paradis, 32, signed a three-year, $27MM contract with the Panthers in March 2019, and he started every game for the club from Week 1 of the 2019 season through Week 9 of the 2021 campaign. Unfortunately, a torn ACL suffered in that Week 9 contest ended his walk year prematurely, and it leaves him in a less-than-desirable position as he hits the open market for the second time in his career (interestingly, when he hooked on with the Panthers in 2019, he was coming off a serious leg injury that he sustained in November 2018, which may have limited his earnings then in the same way that his recent ACL tear will limit his earnings now).

Still, given his track record as a solid starter and the fact that he has been quite durable except when he’s playing out a contract year, he should garner a fair amount of attention from teams in need of a center. The Bengals, Jets, and Jaguars are all rumored to be interested in Bucs center Ryan Jensen, and Tampa Bay wants to retain its four-year starter. The losers of the Jensen sweepstakes could turn to Paradis, and the Ravens, who may be unable to afford a new contract for Bradley Bozeman, could also be in play.

The Panthers, meanwhile, will have plenty of work to do on the O-line. Luckily for them, this year’s college class is deep at the LT position, and Carolina could net a high-quality prospect even if it trades down from its No. 6 overall selection. In a separate piece (subscription required), Person opines that the Panthers will not be in the market for a high-priced free agent like longtime division-rival Terron Armstead, so the draft would be the place to nab a blindside blocker. Person does expect the team to sign a free agent guard, and while Brandon Scherff and Laken Tomlinson may be too pricey, old friend Andrew Norwell or Bears OL James Daniels could be viable targets.

In related news, Person says the Panthers do want edge defender Haason Reddick back, but only if the price is right. We recently heard that Reddick is likely to test the open market for the second year in a row. And while the club has not shut the door on a new contract for CB Stephon Gilmore, Person hears that the team is prioritizing a deal with fellow corner Donte Jackson, who is five years younger than Gilmore (both players are also eligible for free agency). GM Scott Fitterer is also doing his due diligence on available safeties.

Finally, the Panthers reportedly want to re-sign K Zane Gonzalez and may be eyeing P Pat O’Donnell as a replacement for Lachlan Edwards.

NFL COVID-19 List Updates: 1/3/22

Here are Monday’s activations from and placements on the reserve/COVID-19 lists:

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: OT Mike Remmers (remains on IR)

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: RB Raymond Calais (remains on IR)

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Panthers’ Matt Paradis Done For Year

Matt Paradis‘ season is over. The Panthers center has been diagnosed with a torn ACL, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (Twitter link). 

This was the expected outcome after Paradis had to be carted off the field on Sunday. The Panthers turned to Sam Tecklenburg after the seventh-year pro was forced out and they went on to lose 24-6. For now, Tecklenburg projects to start in Week 10 against the Cardinals.

The Panthers’ offensive line has been ravaged by injuries this year. While guards Pat Elflein and John Miller work their way back to the field, they’ll have to go the rest of the way without Paradis in the middle.

Following a five-year stint with the Broncos, Paradis joined the Panthers on a three-year, $27MM contract in 2019. He started in all 32 of games between 2019 and 2020, appearing in 100 percent of the team’s offensive snaps in 2020.

The center reworked his deal back in February, but he still remains on course for free agency in the spring.

Panthers, C Matt Paradis Rework Contract

After moving on from three players yesterday, the Panthers are continuing to open up cap space. ESPN’s Field Yates reports (via Twitter) that the team has reworked center Matt Paradis‘s contract. Specifically, the team converted $7.04MM of the veteran’s $8.03MM base salary into a signing bonus, opening up $4.69MM in cap space.

Following a five-year stint with the Broncos (including a 2015 campaign where he started all 16 games for the eventual Super Bowl champions), Paradis joined the Panthers on a three-year, $27MM contract in 2019. He’s started all 32 of the Panthers’ games since joining the organization, and he appeared in 100 percent of his team’s offensive snaps in 2020.

The Panthers made a handful of financial moves this week. On Tuesday, the team released defensive tackle Kawann Short, saving the team $8.6MM in space. Then yesterday, we learned the team was planning to cut safety Tre Boston ($3.5MM in savings), punter Michael Palardy ($1.9MM), and defensive end Stephen Weatherly ($5.9MM).

Carolina is now rolling with an estimated $31MM in cap space, and these recent moves have saved the team more than $24MM in space. As Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com observes, that would be more than enough extra money to slide someone like, say, Deshaun Watson onto the roster. We learned earlier this week that the Panthers were planning on making a run at the Texans quarterback.

Extra Points: McDowell, Broncos, Browns

Malik McDowell is still looking to play football again. The talented defensive lineman was taken by the Seahawks in the second round of the 2017 draft, but has never played a down in the NFL. An ATV accident before his rookie year resulted in serious injuries that up until this point have prevented him from playing. The Seahawks finally decided to move on and waived him earlier this month after he couldn’t gain clearance. He still wants to play however, and recently met with the Cowboys.

McDowell’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, revealed today that McDowell had been cleared to play again by independent doctors (Twitter link via Calvin Watkins of The Athletic). However, the Cowboys’ team doctors have been unable to clear him yet. Clarence Hill Jr. of the Forth Worth Star-Telegram tweeted that Rosenhaus also said the Cowboys remain interested his client, but it sounds like there’s still a big medical hurdle to clear. It seems Dallas’ interest is legitimate, and if their doctors are able to clear him there’s a very good chance he’d sign. He was the 35th overall pick out of Michigan State for a reason, so if he’s ever able to get back on the field it could prove to be a great pickup.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Center Matt Paradis left the Broncos this offseason, and signed a big deal with the Panthers. We heard shortly before he signed with Carolina that Denver was working to re-sign him, but that apparently wasn’t a realistic effort. The Broncos essentially lowballed Paradis, offering him a one-year “look-see” deal that they knew he wouldn’t accept, according to Mike Klis of Denver 9News. Despite the reported effort, it sounds like the Broncos never truly intended to retain Paradis, who got three years and $27MM from the Panthers.
  • Speaking of the Broncos, their ownership dispute could be inching toward a resolution. Brittany Bowlen, one of the daughters of owner Pat Bowlen vying to take over the team, will soon start a job in Denver’s front office, Broncos CEO Joe Ellis told Klis (Twitter link). There’s been a drawn out dramatic dispute playing out between members of the Bowlen family for a while now, and Brittany is believed to be the favorite of Broncos and league brass. Klis calls it a “potential huge step” toward her one day taking over the team.
  • We heard a couple of weeks ago that the Browns were shopping Emmanuel Ogbah, and that’s apparently still the case. Ogbah is still being shopped, a source told Tony Grossi of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Additionally, Grossi reports that “there’s a lot of interest” in the defensive end. Ogbah is still only 25 and on his rookie deal, so it makes sense that there’s legit interest. With Olivier Vernon now in the fold opposite Myles Garrett, the Browns don’t have much of a need for Ogbah.

East Notes: Cowboys, Crawford, Jets, Bills

The latest from the AFC and NFC East divisions:

  • Cowboys defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford was caught on camera brawling inside of a Florida bar, as TMZ details. The 6’4″, 280-pound lineman is shown fighting off four bouncers at once and holding his own. Then, the fight spilled outside, where Crawford got tangled up with multiple cops. Interestingly, Crawford was not arrested and has not been charged with a crime. However, the NFL might have something to say about the incident. After losing Randy Gregory and David Irving to indefinite bans, the Cowboys can ill afford to lose anyone else on the D-Line for the start of the 2019 season.
  • Center was a major need for the Jets this offseason, but they did not make offers to Mitch Morse or Matt Paradis, the top two centers in this year’s free agent class (via Manish Mehta of the Daily News). Instead, they re-upped Jonotthan Harrison on a two-year deal with the hope that he can compete with other versatile interior line additions to come. Brett Jones, who has drawn interest from the Jets and a quintet of other clubs, could be added to the mix.
  • Seahawks free agent Maurice Alexander, a longtime starter for the Rams, will visit the Bills on Thursday and Friday, a source tells NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter).

Extra Points: Jets, Ravens, Draft

Some assorted notes from around the NFL…

  • The Jets were reportedly interested in free agent centers Mitch Morse and Matt Paradis, tweets Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. However, the team never made an offer to either player. Morse ultimately signed with the Bills, while Paradis ended up inking a deal with the Panthers. With the Jets unable to secure either of the top two free agent centers, the front office continues to reach out to other veterans to gauge the market. Mehta notes that the draft could be another way of acquiring a center.
  • Ravens special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg is retiring, the team announced. The 63-year-old had been with the organization since 2008, winning one Super Bowl championship along the way. Rosburg previously served in the same role with both the Falcons and Browns. Assistant Special Teams coach Chris Horton is expected to take over, with Rosburg briefly sticking around as a consultant. “I will stay on for a period of time to be a resource for Chris and anyone else during that transition,” said Rosburg. “I have a lot of plans. Me and my plans center around my family. I don’t want to miss as many hockey games and volleyball games as I have. Our days are limited on this earth, and there are some things that I’m missing I don’t want to miss anymore.”
  • Rashan Gary wasn’t active in Michigan’s pro day. According to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter), the potential top-five pick only weighed in and didn’t participate in any drills or testing. Instead, the running back stuck around to support his teammates. As Pelissero notes, the defensive tackle “crushed the combine,” and he didn’t want to risk his draft stock with a lackluster outing today.

Contract Details: Paradis, Saffold, Jackson, Packers

Following another busy day around the NFL, let’s check out some contract details:

Panthers To Sign C Matt Paradis

Former Broncos center Matt Paradis agreed to terms with the Panthers on a three-year deal worth $27.03MM, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The Panthers were not previously believed to be in the running for Paradis, but the free agent season is full of surprises.

The Panthers will guarantee Paradis $13.5MM, per NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter). It’s a top-10 center pact.

Paradis drew interest from the Bills on Monday, but they preferred Mitch Morse, who is now the NFL’s highest-paid center. The Jets were also in on Paradis, and the Broncos had re-engaged in talks with their well-regarded starter Monday night.

But the Panthers came out of nowhere and will install the former sixth-round pick as Ryan Kalil‘s replacement. Kalil recently retired after 12 NFL seasons. Paradis is only four years younger than Kalil, despite coming into the league seven season later. He will turn 30 this year. But the older-than-usual first-time UFA was consistently viewed as one of the NFL’s best centers for the past three seasons.

Paradis had not missed a game until his fibula break ended his 2018 season in November. The Broncos authorized a right tackle-record contract for Ja’Wuan James on Monday night, so their ability to keep Paradis on a near-top-market deal became more difficult. The Panthers are getting Paradis for more than $2MM less than the Bills’ Morse deal, and with the veteran snapper moving along in his rehab, Carolina may not miss much of a beat from Kalil to Paradis.

The Broncos may now turn to Connor McGovern as their center. A guard to open last season, McGovern moved to the snapping role following Paradis’ injury.