Oren Burks

Eagles To Sign LB Oren Burks

Oren Burks will remain in the NFC for 2024, but for the second time in his career he is set to join a new team. The veteran linebacker and special teamer has agreed to a one-year deal with a maximum value of $2.5MM, as first reported by Dianna Russini of The Athletic.

[RELATED: Eagles, LB Devin White Agree To Deal]

Burks, 28, began his career with the Packers, playing four seasons with the franchise. He was primarily used on special teams over that span, although he logged four starts as a rookie and three in his final year in Green Bay. Upon the conclusion of his rookie contract, Burks joined the 49ers on a two-year, $5MM deal.

The former third-rounder was still a third phase mainstay during his debut campaign in San Francisco with a special teams snap share of 77%. However, he started three games that season and saw that figure rise to five in 2023. Burks logged 326 defensive snaps last season, by far the most of his career. He parlayed that added playing time into a new career-high in tackles (46) and sacks (one) while also recording his first career interception.

San Francisco could be without Dre Greenlaw to start the 2024 campaign after he suffered an Achilles tear during the Super Bowl. The 49ers have responded by adding De’Vondre Campbell on a one-year contract and retaining Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles on a one-year pact of his own. The latter has seen sparse usage on defense to date, but Burks’ departure could open the door to a rotational role next season.

Philadelphia’s linebacker play left plenty to be desire last year, so it comes as no surprise the team has made multiple moves in the early days of free agency aimed at adding starting-caliber options. Fellow addition Devin White will likely be in line for a larger workload on defense, but Burks proved a capability to handle at least part-time duties last season. His special teams abilities will, at a minimum, allow him to carve out a role with the Eagles.

Minor NFL Transactions: 3/17/22

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Miami Dolphins

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

San Francisco 49ers

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

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

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: G Oli Udoh

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: CB Bryce Hall

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Packers Considering Veteran ILB Addition

Not big on drafting inside linebackers high or doling out notable extensions at the position, the Packers are counting on some lower-level investments on their defensive second level. Here is some non-Aaron Rodgers Packers news.

Over the past two offseasons, the team has let Blake Martinez walk in free agency and made Christian Kirksey a cap casualty. Green Bay drafted Isaiah McDuffie in Round 6, but GM Brian Gutekunst said the team is considering signing a veteran to bolster this group, Matt Schneidman of The Athletic notes (subscription required).

The Packers have Day 3 picks Kamal Martin and Ty Summers on their roster, along with recent UDFA Krys Barnes. Despite his undrafted pedigree, Barnes made 10 starts as a rookie last season. Neither he nor Kirksey, however, ranked inside the top 60 at the position, in Pro Football Focus’ view. A six-game starter, Martin fared better. But he played just 208 defensive snaps in an injury-shortened season. The Packers’ highest off-ball linebacker draftee in 15 years, former third-rounder Oren Burks, remains on the team. He is shifting back to inside linebacker after working on the edge more in 2020, Schneidman adds. Burks, however, has not played more than 100 defensive snaps since his 2018 rookie season.

As for available ILBs, a number of notable names are out there. K.J. Wright tops the list. The longtime Seahawks starter may not have a path back to Seattle, with the team having drafted Jordyn Brooks in Round 1 last year and not looking to spend much on additional free agents. PFF slotted Wright as a top-10 linebacker in 2020. Recent Saints cap cut Kwon Alexander remains available, as are ex-Falcon De’Vondre Campbell and longtime starter Avery Williamson. He of a standout rookie season (and considerable off-field baggage and an injury history), former first-rounder Reuben Foster is also unsigned.

The Cardinals have made Jordan Hicks available via trade, following the first-round selection of Zaven Collins. Hicks accepted a $3MM pay cut this offseason and is due just $2MM in base salary this season. The Packers have around $5MM in cap space but have yet to sign their first- and third-round picks (Eric Stokes, Amari Rodgers).

NFC Notes: Cowboys, Packers, Reed, Hughes

Cowboys Pro Bowl cornerback Byron Jones participated in his first practice of the offseason today after being activated from the physically unable to perform list. While the 26-year-old will be a welcome addition to the secondary, head coach Jason Garrett said the team will bring Jones along slowly.

“He’s going to slowly get back into it and just kind of see where he is,” Garrett said (via ESPN’s Todd Archer). “He’s been working really well on the side. It’s time for him to get going again, so he’ll be out there for part of practice.”

Meanwhile, offensive guard Zack Martin and offensive tackle Tyron Smith are not expected to practice this week, but the duo should be good to go for the regular season opener. The same goes for wideout Amari Cooper, who has been dealing with a heel injury.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFC…

  • Packers starting linebacker Oren Burks isn’t expected to miss an extended amount of time due to a pec injury, reports NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter). The 24-year-old won’t require surgery and should be back this season, and there’s even optimism that he’ll be able to avoid the injured reserve. The 2018 third-rounder had 23 tackles during his rookie campaign.
  • Redskins coach Jay Gruden said he expects tight end Jordan Reed to be available for the season opener at Philadelphia (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s John Keim). Reed entered the concussion protocol after a hit in Thursday’s preseason win at Atlanta. “We’re quite confident that Jordan will be fine,” Gruden said. That’s good news for a team whose passing game revolves largely around Reed.
  • The Vikings have removed cornerback Mike Hughes from the PUP list, according to a team announcement. That’s big news for Minnesota, especially with supporting cornerback Holton Hill suspended for the first half of the season. The 2018 first-round pick appeared in six games (two starts) before tearing his ACL in October. He ultimately finished his rookie campaign having compiled 22 tackles, three passes defended, a pick-six, and a forced fumble.
  • The Cowboys worked out a pair of tight ends today in Tyrone Swoopes and Zach Conque, according to Calvin Watkins of the Dallas News (via Twitter). Swoopes spent the first two seasons of his career in Seattle, appearing in two games. The 24-year-old was let go by the team earlier this month. Conque, 25, has had stints with the Texans, Jets, Jaguars, and Colts since 2017. While the team’s depth chart at tight end is pretty much set, both Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz have dealt with recent injuries.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Packers LB Oren Burks Won’t Require Surgery

Good news in Green Bay. Packers linebacker Oren Burks won’t require surgery after suffering a pectoral injury last weekend and could potentially return during the 2019 season, according to Tom Silverstein and Ryan Wood of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Burks originally thought he’d be forced to undergo an operation after injuring his pectoral during Green Bay’s first preseason game, but a second opinion revealed the issue is less serious than the initial diagnosis suggested. However, Burks did hyperextend his pectoral muscle, meaning he’s now waiting for a soft tissue injury to heal.

“I’m really hoping that Oren’s thing is going to be short term,” Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said. “We’ll get him back here quicker than I think, but right now, I’d just kind of like to get through this next game and kind of see where we’re at, see where Oren’s at.”

Gutenkunst didn’t provide a timeline for Burks’ recovery, but did indicate Green Bay won’t look into signing a free agent replacement. Instead, the Packers are giving undrafted rookie free agent Curtis Bolton a chance to replace Burks as the club’s weakside linebacker.

Burks, a third-round pick in 2018, appeared in 14 games during his rookie season but spent most of his time on special teams. He was expected to take over as a starting linebacker for the Packers this year, but as Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com recently noted, that “starting” job could essentially be a part-time role given defensive coordinator Mike Pettine‘s for “big nickel” and dime looks that employ a third or fourth defensive back at the expense of a linebacker.

Torn Pec Feared For Packers LB Oren Burks

Packers starting linebacker Oren Burks is believed to have suffered a torn pectoral muscle, ESPN’s Rob Demovsky writes. More tests are expected to determine the next course of action, Demovsky hears. 

The second-year linebacker sustained the injury, originally believed to be a shoulder injury, in the first quarter of Green Bay’s preseason opener vs. the Texans. When asked on Thursday, Packers coach Matt LaFleur did not provide an update on whether the injury would cost the linebacker significant time.

“Honestly, I don’t really know anything right now,” LaFleur said. “It’s kind of wait and see, but I hope not.”

A third-round selection in 2018, Burks appeared in 14 games as a rookie, starting four. He logged 24 tackles and was expected to take over as a starting inside linebacker alongside Blake Martinez in 2019. Though Burks was slated as a starter, it is essentially a part-time role in defensive coordinator Mike Pettine’s scheme, which calls for a hybrid safety at times to fill the role.

North Notes: Bears, Ravens, Packers, Browns

Among the offers the Raiders received for edge rusher Khalil Mack, the Bears‘ was “by far” the strongest, tweets Michael Lombardi of The Athletic. Chicago eventually acquired Mack, so it’s unsurprising their offer was the most substantial, but Lombardi’s report may indicate the Bears outbid rivals by several magnitudes. In the end, Chicago sent Oakland a 2019 first-round pic, a 2010 first-round pick, a 2020 third-round pick, and a 2019 sixth-round pick in exchange for Mack, a 2020 second-round round pick, and a conditional 2020 fifth-round pick. The Bears have since extended Mack, making him the NFL’s highest-paid defender.

Colts Trade Antonio Morrison To Packers

The Colts have traded linebacker Antonio Morrison to the Packers, per Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Demovsky hears that Green Bay will send cornerback Lenzy Pipkins to Indianapolis in return, which has since been confirmed by multiple reporters.

Morrison, whom the Colts selected in the fourth round of the 2016 draft, started 15 games for the club last year. While he showed some promise, racking up 108 tackles in the middle of the Colts’ defense, he lacks the speed and athleticism that new defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus has been stressing. He was firmly on the roster bubble, so GM Chris Ballard decided to get something for him rather than potentially letting him go for nothing.

Indianapolis does need help at corner, and the team hopes that Pipkins will provide some depth in that regard. He started one game for Green Bay last year and appeared in 12, picking up 14 tackles and a pass defensed.

The Packers, meanwhile, needed help at linebacker, as rookie Oren Burks is expected to miss time with an injury (per Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, via Twitter). Green Bay has already lost Jake Ryan for the season.

Packers Fear Serious Injury For Jake Ryan

Jake Ryan enjoyed a breakout 2017 season, but the fourth-year linebacker may not have a chance to build on it. At least, not right away.

While it’s not certain just yet, the Packers fear one of their starting inside linebackers suffered a “significant and potentially season-ending” right knee injury, Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com reports. Pro Football Focus’ No. 19 overall linebacker last season, Ryan suffered this setback during an 11-on-11 drill at Packers practice Monday.

The former fourth-round pick, who’s entering a contract year, has started 27 games with Green Bay since his rookie season. If it’s determined Ryan will miss time, Demovsky notes third-round rookie Oren Burks could be thrust into action alongside Blake Martinez. The Packers have also been impressed with rookie UDFA Greer Martini, per Demovsky.

Ryan played 506 snaps last season, and although his 79 tackles were well off Martinez’s league-leading 142, PFF preferred his coverage to Martinez’s work as Green Bay’s other primary linebacker.

Safety Kentrell Brice, whom Demovsky writes may be the leading candidate to replace Morgan Burnett, was also carted away from practice Monday. Brice was running with Green Bay’s first-string defense. Josh Jones, a 2017 second-round pick, replaced Brice with the starting defense.