Michael Burton is heading to the AFC. The veteran full back is signing with the Chiefs, reports Herbie Teope of the Kansas City Star (via Twitter). It’s a one-year deal for the 29-year-old worth $1.27MM, including more than $700K guaranteed, per Aaron Wilson (on Twitter).
Despite playing for four different organizations, Burton has spent his entire career in the NFC. He entered the NFL as a fifth-round pick out Rutgers in 2015, and following a pair of seasons with the Lions to begin his career, he spent another two years with Chicago between 2017 and 2018. After spending the 2019 campaign with Washington, Burton joined the Saints last offseason, marking it his second stint with the organization (the fullback had spent the 2019 preseason with the team).
During his lone season in New Orleans, Burton appeared in 19 percent of his team’s offensive snaps, his highest percentage since 2017. While the veteran is generally known for his blocking prowess, he did manage to compile a career-high 46 (yep, that’s it) yards from scrimmage. He added another 15 yards in two postseason games.
The Chiefs have presumably been hunting for a fullback since Anthony Sherman, their starter for the previous eight years, announced his retirement. Burton will now have the responsibility of protecting quarterback Patrick Mahomes and starting running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
After three blissfully uneventful weeks in the NFL — at least as far as COVID-19 is concerned — the virus has begun to rear its ugly head. Let’s get you up to date with all the pandemic-related happenings in the league:
One more Titans player and one more Tennessee personnel member tested positive, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets, bringing the total to 20 positive tests (10 players and 10 personnel). Since the Titans have now had positive tests on six straight days, the soonest they could reopen their facilities would be Wednesday, October 7 (Twitter link via Schefter). Tennessee is scheduled to play the Bills next Sunday, October 11.
Schefter says in a full-length piece that the league and union are investigating whether the Titans violated COVID-19 protocols, and the team has been asked to turn over multiple videotapes of team activities. At least one source believes Tennessee failed to follow the protocols, and if that turns out to be true, the club could face punishment in the form of fines or draft pick forfeiture. Another source thinks that the league will ultimately look to make an example out of the Titans.
Luckily, no other team had a positive test from yesterday’s round of testing, as Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network observes (via Twitter). That includes the Patriots and Chiefs, both of whom recently had a player test positive (starting QB Cam Newton of New England, and practice squad QB Jordan Ta’amu of Kansas City). But as Schefter cautions, the virus has an incubation period, and Newton was in the huddle all week with teammates (Twitter link). There will be another round of testing today, but if the tests come back negative, the plan is to have the Pats and Chiefs play each other on Monday night, per Dianna Russini of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Newton, of course, will miss that game, and his availability for Week 5 is also in doubt.
There was a scare last night when ProFootballTalk reported (via Twitter) that a Saints player had tested positive. Subsequent reports indicated that the player was fullback Michael Burton, but as Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football tweeted, Burton’s retest came back negative, so the Saints’ game against the Lions will go on today as scheduled.
Hopefully the league will be able to recover from these scares, but Mark Maske of the Washington Post says the NFL is looking into the possibility of adding a Week 18 to the regular season schedule to accommodate postponed games (Twitter link). ProFootballTalk adds that multiple coaches have discussed the possibility of temporarily suspending the season, reconfiguring the schedule to allow for 12 total games, and then putting teams in hotels for the nine games that would remain (Twitter link).