“I would say that we’re working at Lamar’s pace. He’s comfortable with where we are right now,” DeCosta stated. He did call negotiations “unusual” with Jackson essentially acting as his own agent. There doesn’t seem to be any rush to get a deal done, though. DeCosta acknowledged that the Ravens are fine with Jackson playing on his fifth-year option, and Jackson seems more focused on the team’s unfinished business after being the AFC’s number one-seed in 2020 but failing to make it to a Super Bowl yet.
Here are a few more notes on the AFC North, starting with another item out of Charm City:
DeCosta spoke a bit, as well, about the team’s plan to focus on offensive line this offseason. One of the things that they fear they’ll need to address is the free agency of center Bradley Bozeman. Bozeman moved from guard to center after Matt Skura signed with the Dolphins in free agency last year, and they’re afraid Bozeman’s play has priced him out of Maryland. Baltimore saw Ryan Jensen leave to become the highest paid center in football in 2018, so they’re certainly used to replacing centers. They currently have utility lineman Patrick Mekari, who has started games at all three offensive line positions throughout his young Ravens’ career, and who signed an extension late in the season.
Odell Beckham Jr. and Von Miller became close friends as they rehabbed together in Colorado Springs last offseason, dreaming about eventually playing together. According to George M. Thomas of the Akron Beacon Journal, Beckham made it clear that if they were to make it a reality, it couldn’t be in orange and brown. Miller informed Thomas that Beckham told him straight up, “Don’t come to Cleveland.” In the end, Miller was traded to the Rams and, following a nasty separation from the Browns, Beckham signed to join him in Los Angeles. The pair are now set to play in Super Bowl LVI against a team Beckham knows all too well from his time in the AFC North.
With longtime quarterback Ben Roethlisbergerretiring last week, head coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert represented Pittsburgh at Senior Bowl practices this week. Despite the quarterback group leaving much to be desired through some injury concerns and bad weather, Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus reports that buzz around the event is that the Steelers like Liberty quarterback Malik Willis. Willis has shown the best combination of athleticism and arm strength at practices this week and a source informed Kyed that he’s impressed in interviews, as well. The Steelers currently hold the 20th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft and could easily see Willis fall to them, as he’s been seen as a borderline first round pick since declaring. They could also risk potentially missing out on him and trade back later in the first round or early in the second and try to maximize need and value.
September 16th, 2021 at 9:26am CST by Zachary Links
The Giants have promoted offensive lineman Matt Skura to the 53-man roster (Twitter link via agent David Canter). Skura will be eligible to play tonight against the Washington Football Team, providing depth in the wake of Shane Lemieux‘s knee injury.
Lemieux, the starting left guard, was replaced by Ben Bredeson last week. Nick Gates could also step in at LG if former Bengals first rounder Billy Price is shifted to the middle. In any scenario, Skura offers some upside as a supporting cast member.
Skura spent four seasons as a Ravens starter, working at center and guard. He operated as Baltimore’s starting center for most of Lamar Jackson‘s tenure, helping the team to historic rushing totals. The Giants added him to their taxi squad earlier this month after he was dropped by the Dolphins.
Skura, 27, comes with 51 games of starting experience and a serious medical file. The veteran started 16 games for the Ravens in 2018 but tore his ACL, MCL and PCL towards the end of the 2019 season. He didn’t bounce back all that well last year — Pro Football Focus graded him as one of the league’s worst centers before he lost his starting job in Baltimore.
The offensive line has been a sticking point for the Giants for years, so they’re eager to find solutions. After falling 27-13 in the season opener against the Broncos, they’ll aim for the .500 mark tonight against Washington.
The Giants continue to scoop up former AFC North O-linemen. After making two trades to bolster their front, they are planning to add Matt Skura to their practice squad, Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com tweets.
Skura spent four seasons as a Ravens starter, working at center and guard. He operated as Baltimore’s starting center for most of Lamar Jackson‘s tenure, helping the team to historic rushing totals. The Ravens, however, did not re-sign him in free agency this year.
The Dolphins released Skura earlier this week, doing so after acquiring Greg Mancz from the Ravens. The Giants will give Skura, 27, another opportunity. This move comes after the Giants acquired center Billy Price from the Bengals and guard Ben Bredeson from the Ravens.
Although Skura is a Duke alum, his last year as a Blue Devils blocking cog (2015) came before Daniel Jones became the team’s starting quarterback. Still, this will bring a 51-game starter to Big Blue’s practice squad. Skura lost his starting job late last season, when Pro Football Focus graded him as one of the league’s worst centers, but he was coming off a severe 2019 setback. Skura, who started 16 games for the Ravens in 2018, tore his ACL, MCL and PCL late in the 2019 regular season.
The offensive line has been a sticking point for the Giants for years, and this preseason was no exception. At center, the team has Nick Gates in place as a starter, with Price on the active roster as a backup. Price has not been a full-time starter at center since his 2018 rookie season.
Skura had issues snapping the ball at times during his final season with the Ravens and wound up getting the hook in favor of Patrick Mekari. In total, he made 12 starts, giving him 51 total first-string appearances over the course of four seasons in Baltimore. Originally an UDFA out of Duke in 2016, Skura spent his rookie year on the practice squad. As a sophomore he was called on to start 12 games at guard when Marshal Yanda missed most of the season. The following year he became the team’s center, starting all 16 games. After starting 11 games in 2019 Skura tore an ACL and had significant other damage in his knee, but he made it back in time for 2020 training camp and started the season on time.
The Ravens have made their second trade of the week. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that Baltimore has traded offensive lineman Greg Mancz to the Dolphins for a late-round draft pick. ESPN’s Jamison Hensley clarifies (on Twitter) that Mancz and a seventh-round pick (acquired from the Patriots earlier this week) will head to Miami, with the Dolphins sending the Ravens a sixth-round pick.
Mancz, a former undrafted free agent, spent six years with the Texans, starting 13 of his 28 games. However, the veteran struggled to get on the field during his final two seasons in Houston, combining for only 13 games played. This included a 2020 campaign when he saw time in only four games, with the majority of his snaps coming on special teams.
The 29-year-old joined the Ravens practice squad late last season, and he inked a reserve/futures contract with the team in January. However, as the preseason went on, most pundits dropped the veteran from their roster predictions.
Now, Mancz will have a chance to stick around Miami. The veteran could be useful thanks to his versatility; he’s lined up at center, guard, and right tackle throughout his career. The Dolphins’ offensive line appears to be just about set, but the team could be looking for some reinforcement after second-round rookie Liam Eichenberg suffered an injury during this week’s practice. Adam Beasley of ProFootballNetwork.com speculates that today’s move could also cost veteran Matt Skura his roster spot. The veteran center already found himself behind Michael Deiter on the depth chart, and cutting the 28-year-old could save Miami $1.4MM against the cap.
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.
Andrews missed all of 2019 with a pulmonary embolism, but he managed to return for the 2020 season. Even though he missed a handful of games with a thumb injury, he suited up in 72% of the Pats’ offensive snaps across 12 games.
Presumably, the Dolphins were willing to give Andrews a deal that was in the neighborhood of his new Pats contract – $19MM over four years with $6.5MM fully guaranteed. Meanwhile, Skura was signed for just $1.75MM on a one-year deal. Between Skura’s struggles and his injury history, it’s a safe bet that he won’t be handed the starting job in South Beach.
The Dolphins are set to sign former Ravens center Matt Skura (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo). The lineman’s one-year deal is worth $1.75MM, per Garafolo on Twitter.
Skura had issues snapping the ball at times last year and wound up getting the hook in favor of Patrick Mekari. In total, he made 12 starts, giving him 51 total first-string appearances over the course of four seasons in Baltimore. Originally an UDFA out of Duke in 2016, Skura spent his rookie year on the practice squad. As a sophomore he was called on to start 12 games at guard when Marshall Yanda missed most of the season.
The following year he became the team’s center, starting all 16 games. After starting 11 games in 2019 Skura tore an ACL and had significant other damage in his knee, but he made it back in time for 2020 training camp and started the season on time.
He projects as the new starter in Miami, and it’s possible his struggles last year were due to coming off such a serious injury in such a short amount of time. He turned 28 in February.
The hamstring injury Robert Griffin III suffered Wednesday in Pittsburgh will result in a prolonged absence. This could complicate matters for the Ravens.
While RG3 going on IR would not normally affect Baltimore’s starting lineup, it is not yet known if Lamar Jackson will be ready to return when first eligible to come off the Ravens’ reserve/COVID-19 list. Jackson tested positive for the coronavirus on Nov. 26 and cannot return to practice until Sunday. The Ravens will host the Cowboys on Tuesday night.
Baltimore used third-stringer Trace McSorley — who was recently activated from the COVID list — at the end of Wednesday’s loss to the Steelers. He would be in line to start for the Ravens against the Cowboys, should Jackson require more recovery time.
RG3 struggled against the Steelers but brings extensive NFL experience McSorley obviously lacks. An eighth-year NFL vet, Griffin has been Jackson’s backup for three years. Griffin cannot resume his QB2 duties until at least Week 16.
The Ravens held Dobbins and Mark Ingram out of their thrice-rescheduled game in Pittsburgh. Both backs tested positive for COVID-19 but would have been eligible to return for Week 12. Dobbins being back in action will be a boon to a Ravens team suddenly on thin ice with regards to playoff qualification.