Michael Mayer

Minor NFL Transactions: 1/6/24

The last week of pregame transactions and gameday callups for several teams this season:

Arizona Cardinals

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

  • Placed on IR: T Mike McGlinchey
  • Activated from IR: T Alex Palczewski
  • Signed to active roster: CB Art Green
  • Elevated: S Devon Key

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

  • Placed on IR: TE Hunter Henry
  • Signed to active roster: TE La’Michael Pettway
  • Elevated: TE Matt SokolOL Andrew Stueber

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

Several teams whose season is set to come to an end tomorrow have elected to move injured players to injured reserve in order to create roster spots for practice squad options, particularly those who have had their three gameday elevations exhausted. In the case of the Broncos, McGlinchey will see his debut campaign in the Mile High City come to a premature end. Signed to a five-year, $87.5MM deal, the 28-year-old was part of a revamped O-line which did not produce the desired rebound on offense. Manning his usual right tackle spot, McGlinchey was charged with eight sacks and 49 pressures allowed by PFF, resulting in an overall grade of 67.5.

While the Giants will have an interesting decision to make with respect to Xavier McKinney‘s future, they will have Pinnock on the books for at least one more season. The latter’s rookie contract is set to expire following the 2024 campaign, one in which he will no doubt remain a vital member of New York’s secondary. Pinnock has recorded 85 tackles, two interceptions (including a 102-yard pick-six), six pass deflections and a pair of forced fumbles while logging over 1,000 defensive snaps this season. A return to health and a continuation of his 2023 level of play will be sorely needed next fall.

Raiders Sign Second-Round TE Michael Mayer

The Raiders came one step closer to completing the signing of their 2023 rookie class today, announcing the signing of former Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer, whom they drafted in the second round of this year’s draft.

After being named a Freshman All-American in 2020, Mayer followed his first college season up with two more stellar performances. In his final year with the Fighting Irish, Mayer was named a first-team All-American after leading all FBS tight ends with nine touchdown catches. He was the only FBS tight end to eclipse 800 receiving yards in each of the past two years, as well.

For much of the pre-draft process, Mayer was considered the top tight end on the board. While others may have projected higher as a large pass catcher, Mayer was easily viewed as the most well-rounded tight end prospect. Instead, he slid slightly down the board into the second round as the third tight end drafted, following Utah’s Dalton Kincaid (1st round, 25th pick by Buffalo) and Iowa’s Sam LaPorta (2nd round, 34th pick by Detroit).

Over his three years in South Bend, Mayer set program records for a tight end in receptions (180), receiving yards (2,099), and receiving touchdowns (18). With such recent successes as Kyle Rudolph, Tyler Eifert, Cole Kmet, and several others coming out of Notre Dame, that’s no small feat. Mayer is set to add to a tight end alumni group that rivals the success of schools like Iowa and Miami (FL).

In Las Vegas, Mayer should have a bit of time to adjust to the speed of the NFL game. The Raiders currently roster two experienced veterans in Austin Hooper and O.J. Howard, whom, together, can easily hold down the position until Mayer is NFL-ready. That’s if he needs any time at all. Given how quickly Mayer adjusted and became a major contributor at the college level, Mayer may be pushing for snaps by the season opener.

With Mayer’s contract in the books, the Raiders have signed eight of their nine draft selections. Only fourth-round Maryland cornerback Jakorian Bennett remains unsigned in Las Vegas’s rookie class.

Cardinals Made Offer For Raiders’ No. 7 Overall Pick

The Cardinals made three trades during the draft’s first 33 picks, moving down twice and climbing up to land Paris Johnson. The middle trade came together late, with the Cardinals’ late offer evidently stopping the Lions from making a shocking pickJahmyr Gibbs at No. 6 overall.

Before GM Monti Ossenfort made a successful trade proposal to Detroit counterpart Brad Holmes, the rookie Arizona front office boss made an offer to the Raiders. The GMs discussed the No. 7 overall pick in a deal that would have moved the Raiders down to No. 12, NBC Sports’ Peter King reports. Arizona’s proposal would have sent Las Vegas the No. 33 overall pick, it appears, which would have given the Raiders three picks between Nos. 12 and 38.

Although the Raiders met with this draft class’ top five quarterbacks, Josh McDaniels said just before the draft (per King, granted war-room access) the Raiders had four non-quarterback prospects targeted at No. 7, but the team mulled the Cardinals’ offer for the pick. As McDaniels and GM Dave Ziegler considered the move down to 12, the Cardinals ended up making the trade with the Lions.

The Raiders ended up with Texas Tech defensive end Tyree Wilson at 7, but King adds McDaniels pondered the prospect of the team adding draft capital and then selecting Oklahoma tackle Anton Harrison at No. 12. The Raiders were high on both Harrison and Johnson, which makes the draft route they ended up taking rather interesting. Not only did the Silver and Black not select a tackle over the weekend, they did not draft any offensive linemen. Harrison ended up 27th overall to the Jaguars.

Vegas made a move up at No. 35 to select Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer, and by the time Round 3 ended, the Raiders had added both Mayer and wide receiver Tre Tucker. (The Raiders had attempted to trade back into Round 1 with Mayer in mind, per King, who adds the Chiefs discussed No. 31 with their rivals briefly.) They have now used two premium picks on pass catchers and gave Jakobi Meyers $16MM fully guaranteed. As of now, the Raiders would be set to field an offensive line consisting entirely of players on the 2022 roster. Though, the team did re-sign Brandon Parker, a tackle who missed last season due to injury. While considerable doubt existed about the Raiders’ O-line going into last season, the blockers helped Josh Jacobs become the first Raider to win the rushing title since Marcus Allen in 1985. Pro Football Focus rated Las Vegas’ O-line 10th last season, though McDaniels’ Harrison reference points to the team targeting that position.

Regarding the player the Raiders took in Round 1, teams voiced concerns regarding the talented pass rusher’s injury past. The Raiders are one of the teams to clear Wilson medically, Ziegler confirmed, joining the Cardinals and Texans (likely among others). Not all teams cleared the former Big 12 standout. Several teams said, via the Washington Post’s Jason La Canfora, they would not have taken Wilson due to the Lisfranc fracture that ended his senior Red Raiders season. Wilson, who also dealt with back trouble last year, needed two surgeries to repair the fracture.

Our board was right. We needed three quarterbacks to go, and we’re so happy we got one of the four non-quarterbacks who were our top-rated guys on the board,” McDaniels said (via King) in the war room after the team chose Wilson. “Look, we gotta rush the passer. We gotta go get [Patrick] Mahomes and [Justin] Herbert. That’s four games a year for the next few years against these great young quarterbacks. And the AFC is full of these great young quarterbacks. This is a great outcome for us.”

The Raiders have Maxx Crosby signed long term, and while Chandler Jones‘ $17MM-per-year deal runs through 2024, it is certainly possible the team moves on from the former All-Pro after this season. Jones’ guarantees only cover this season. Wilson will mix in with the veterans this season but could be Crosby’s top bookend soon.

Raiders Move Into Colts’ No. 35 Slot, Draft TE Michael Mayer

Trades are coming swiftly to start Round 2. The Colts are sending No. 35 overall to the Raiders in exchange for Nos. 38 and 141, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets.

With the pick, the Silver and Black drafted tight end Michael Mayer. The Notre Dame product hovered as a potential first-rounder, and he did not last long on the board tonight.

Only one member of this year’s vaunted TE class was selected on Thursday (Dalton Kincaid, by the Bills). Mayer is already the second to hear his name called tonight, though, joining Lions addition Sam Laporta. Mayer was considered by many to be the most well-rounded option at the position, and he will have the opportunity to showcase his skillset with the Raiders.

The 6-4, 249-pounder had two years of high-end production with the Fighting Irish. Between 2021 and ’22, he totaled 16 touchdowns while operating as a dependable red zone threat. He earned consensus All-American honors last year after posting 67 catches and 809 yards while serving as an effective blocker in the run game.

The Raiders traded away Darren Waller earlier this offseason in a move which has left a vacancy at the position, one which was the source of considerable production when he was available. Vegas added veterans Austin Hooper and O.J. Howard, but Mayer should be able to carve out at least a backup role early on in his rookie season. Over the long-term, he could develop into an impactful starter.

In the build-up to the draft, the Packers and Cowboys were named as suitors for Mayer on Day 1. Both teams elected to add on the defensive side of the ball last night, however, leaving them in the market for a seam-stretcher at some point in the remainder of the weekend. Plenty of options will be available given the depth of the class, but Mayer will be well-positioned in his new home to put together a successful NFL career.

Packers, Cowboys Eyeing TE Michael Mayer?

The 2023 wide receiver class is relatively lacking compared to recent drafts, but this year will provide teams with a number of high-end options at the tight end position. One of the top prospects is being connected to a few different teams in the first round order.

Michael Mayer is widely seen as the most well-rounded tight end in this year’s celebrated class. The Notre Dame product had high-end production in each of the past two seasons in particular, totaling 138 catches, 1,649 yards and 16 touchdowns. Over that time, he also demonstrated a strong run blocking ability, setting him apart from other seam-stretchers who were primarily tasked with playing a role in the passing game. Mayer was named a consensus All-American in 2022.

That has earned him interest from several teams in the pre-draft process, and led to the expectation that he will be a first-round lock. The Packers have frequently been connected to a pass-catcher of some kind with their top pick – which now sits at No. 13. Selecting a tight end could put them in consideration for Utah alum Dalton Kincaid, but SI’s Albert Breer notes that Green Bay has most often been named as a team interested in adding Mayer. The latter is likely to have a more immediate impact in the NFL given his skillset, something which could be of particular benefit for an offense transitioning to Jordan Love under center.

Should Mayer slide into the 20s on Thursday, he can still be considered a lock to hear his name called that night. Veteran NFL reporter Mike Giardi tweets that the Cowboys are high on the former Fighting Irishman, and Dallas represents his floor. The Cowboys own the No. 26 pick, and have a need at the TE spot after losing Dalton Schultz in free agency. Kincaid may represent a more direct comparison for Schultz, but Dallas has ton “a ton of work” on Mayer, per Giardi.

A number of other tight ends beyond Mayer and Kincaid are projected to be drafted on Day 2 and make a considerable impact, meaning Green Bay and Dallas will both have secondary options to choose from. It would appear their preference, however, would be to acquire Mayer on Thursday as part of their offensive re-tooling.

NFL Draft Rumors: Richardson, TEs, Wright

Every year come draft time there are prospects that divide scouts and analysts. Never has that been more apt than this year with Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson. We reported this dichotomy back when Richardson first announced his intentions in December, and nearly four months later, teams are still torn.

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler went on NFL on ESPN to discuss first-round quarterbacks and the conversation eventually fell to Richardson. Fowler reported that he’s never seen “a bigger variance leaguewide on a feeling about a” quarterback, saying that while some talent evaluators have him as a first-round talent, others (sometimes on the same team) aren’t thinking to look for him until the fourth round.

Fowler believes that Richardson is a bit of a project who will need to find a situation in the NFL where he can sit for a year and develop but notes an NFL executive who calls Richardson a combination of Cam Newton and Justin Fields. Quoting NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah, Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 asserts that some teams have Richardson as the second-best quarterback on the board. I’ve personally seen a mock draft by Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports that has the Bears trading Fields and taking Richardson at No. 1 overall.

All this to reiterate sentiments from our breakdown of his initial draft announcement. Teams are evaluating Richardson off of 13 games of film of the one-year starter in Gainesville. That single season saw him complete only 54.2% of his passes for 2,631 yards, 17 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. He added 680 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on 115 rush attempts. He went 6-7 as a starter for the Gators. The college stats aren’t great, but there’s so little to work with that scouts are still betting on the potential he held as a four-star recruit coming out of high school.

Last year, experts predicted as many as four quarterbacks would be taken in the first round. Only Kenny Pickett actually heard his name on Day 1 of the draft. Evaluators are equally bullheaded this year on quarterbacks going early and often, but with nearly two months until Draft Day, there is still much that we don’t know.

Here are a few other quick notes on upcoming prospects:

  • Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer has long been thought of as the 2023 NFL Draft’s best prospect at the position. Well, according to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, one tight end made a strong case for himself at the Senior Bowl. Oregon State tight end Luke Musgrave made a lasting impression on scouts at the all-star event. Musgrave measured at 6-foot-5 and 255 pounds and impressed with his physicality, speed, route-running, and hands. Breer posits that Musgrave did enough to earn the top spot on position rankings.
  • Another prospect who may be higher than initially thought is Tennessee offensive tackle Darnell Wright. The O-lineman also attended the Senior Bowl with many believing that he had a lot that he still needed to prove. According to Matt Miller of ESPN, Wright may have already done enough. Miller claims Wright is a top-32 prospect and finds it hard to believe that he’ll slip past the first round. The Volunteers didn’t expect to keep the consensus five-star out of West Virginia for all four years and the fact that they did had many thinking Wright is not a first-round talent. An impressive performance at the Senior Bowl and a first-team All-SEC selection in 2022 should prove otherwise as Wright continues to work towards the goal of hearing his name called on the first night of the draft.

Notre Dame TE Michael Mayer Declares For Draft

This year’s draft did not see a tight end go off the board until No. 55, when the Cardinals selected Colorado State’s Trey McBride. This position seems likely to have at least one first-rounder in 2023.

The best bet for such status will be Notre Dame’s Michael Mayer, who made it known Wednesday (via ESPN.com’s Pete Thamel) he is bypassing his senior season and entering the 2023 draft. Mayer will not play in the Fighting Irish’s Gator Bowl tilt against South Carolina. Gamecocks cornerback Cam Smith is also skipping that game.

Topping 800 receiving yards in each of the past two years, Mayer has been one of the most productive Division I-FBS tight ends in recent memory. His 180 receptions, 2,009 career receiving yards and 18 touchdowns rank first in Notre Dame history among tight ends. Those 180 catches rank third in Notre Dame history regardless of position. The 6-foot-4, 249-pound pass catcher ranks eighth on Mel Kiper Jr.’s most recent big board.

The first reason I picked Notre Dame was the NFL; it was on my mind a very, very long time,” Mayer said, via Thamel. “I saw a lot of good tight ends in in the NFL from Notre Dame. That was one of the main reasons I went there.

Kyle Rudolph, Cole Kmet, Durham Smythe and Tommy Tremble are currently carrying the Notre Dame banner among NFL tight ends, and the program has produced the likes of Dave Casper and Mark Bavaro. No Fighting Irish tight end has gone in the first round since the Bengals chose Tyler Eifert in 2013. Considering the dearth of reliable NFL receiving tight ends at present, Mayer stands to be quite the prize in 2023.