Rashaan Evans

Eagles’ Avonte Maddox To Undergo Surgery On Torn Pectoral Muscle

SEPTEMBER 18: After undergoing an MRI and receiving a second opinion, Maddox will indeed have surgery, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports. As a result of the procedure, the Eagles will be without a starter in their secondary for an indefinite stretch, or potentially the remainder of the season. Maddox is on the books through 2024, but none of his scheduled base salary for that year ($6.85MM) is guaranteed.

SEPTEMBER 15: Letting their starting safeties and linebackers walk in free agency, the Eagles paid up to keep their cornerback contingent intact. The new deals for Darius Slay and James Bradberry kept them in the fold with slot corner Avonte Maddox, who signed an extension back in 2021.

Slay and Bradberry are unlikely to have Maddox alongside them for a while. Another injury has cropped up for the experienced inside defender, with NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark reporting the team fears Maddox suffered a torn pectoral muscle. Maddox is seeking a second opinion, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The final diagnosis confirming this fear would almost definitely sideline Maddox for the rest of the season. This continues a trend for Maddox, the longest-tenured member of the Eagles’ secondary. The 2018 fourth-rounder missed time because of hamstring, ankle and toe injuries last season. The ankle setback prompted Philly to place Maddox on IR; the toe injury sidelined him for three late-season games. Maddox ended up missing nine of the Eagles’ 20 games last year.

Maddox, 27, left Thursday night’s game in the second quarter. Second-year UDFA Mario Goodrich replaced him in the slot. The injury-relief cameo doubled as Goodrich’s first NFL action. The Clemson product spent last season on the Eagles’ practice squad, and the team retained him via reserve/futures deal in February. The Eagles kept Goodrich on their 53-man roster this year; he may be needed to play extensively going forward.

Joining the Eagles just after their Super Bowl LII-winning season, Maddox has been a regular on their defense since his rookie slate. Despite the team trading for Slay and extending him in 2020, the Eagles paid Maddox not long after. Maddox’s three-year, $22.5MM extension runs through 2024. He is due a $6.85MM base salary next season.

The Eagles already went into last night’s game without defensive starters Reed Blankenship and Nakobe Dean. Additionally, Philly released one of its recent linebacker pickups — Rashaan Evans — from its practice squad Friday. The team also reached an injury settlement with running back Trey Sermon, who landed on season-ending IR — after being waived with an injury designation — last month. This will sever ties between the former third-round draftee and the Eagles, who had claimed Sermon off waivers from the 49ers in August 2022.

Evans requested to be released off the Eagles’ P-squad, Schefter tweets. He has received interest from other teams. While clubs can poach players off P-squads, the player’s options are limited. Evans, who spent several months in free agency this offseason, will try his luck back on the market.

Eagles Place LB Nakobe Dean On IR, Promote LB Nicholas Morrow

SEPTEMBER 12: Dean’s absence will lead to an IR placement, the team announced. In a corresponding move, the Eagles signed Morrow to their active roster. Morrow signed with the Eagles this offseason but did not land on their 53-man roster. The former Raiders and Bears starter landed on the Eagles’ practice squad; he is now back on the active roster. Dean is not eligible to come back until Week 6.

SEPTEMBER 11: The Eagles came away with a win in Week 1, but their middle linebacking unit suffered a notable blow. Nakobe Dean is set miss multiple weeks with a foot injury, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

No surgery will be required to address the issue, but the injury is serious enough that an IR stint is a possibility, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler notes. An IR designation would require an absence of at least four games and the team using one of its eight in-season activations, so a decision on that front will be worth watching. Geoff Mosher of Inside the Birds reports that the injury is expected to sideline Dean for four weeks.

With Dean not in the picture for the time being, an Eagles LB corps which was already thin will be without a starter. Expectations were high for the Georgia alum after he served in a rotational capacity as a rookie last year and was set up for a first-team role beginning in 2023. Christian Elliss is likely to fill in with the starting lineup for the time being, and the reigning NFC champions also have Nicholas Morrow available on the practice squad.

The team has moved quickly in finding another contributor at the position, though. Fowler’s colleague Adam Schefter reports that Rashaan Evans has been added to the practice squad. The former Titans first-rounder spent his first four seasons in Tennessee before heading to Atlanta last year. He started all 17 games for the Falcons, posting 159 tackles and a pair of sacks. That led to mutual interest in a re-up, but Evans remained on the open market throughout the offseason.

Now, the 27-year-old will join an Eagles team in need of depth at the linebacker spot and likely see time on gamedays in short order. Players can be elevated to the active roster up to three times in a season, but veterans in Evans’ situation often sign from the taxi squad to a full-time position relatively quickly. Evans would be hard-pressed to see action in the Eagles’ upcoming Thursday night contest, but he may be on the field not long after that.

Mutual Interest Between Falcons, Rashaan Evans On Re-Signing

The Titans did not pick up Rashaan Evans‘ fifth-year option in 2021, and tepid interest came the linebacker’s way in free agency last year. But the former first-round pick started for the Falcons throughout last season.

Dean Peesretirement would stand to cloud Evans’ future with the Falcons, given their two-city history, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes there is mutual interest between the five-year veteran and the Falcons about another deal.

Evans played on a one-year pact worth $1.75MM. He ended up leading the Falcons — by a wide margin — in tackles with 159. That total bested Evans’ previous career-high mark by 38. The Alabama product added two sacks and a forced fumble; Pro Football Focus ranked Evans just outside the top 50 among off-ball linebackers this season.

Evans, 27, started all 17 Falcons games for this Falcons edition. It is safe to say the former No. 22 overall pick will command a deal worth a bit more than $1.75MM in 2023, but Ledbetter adds the sides only recently began negotiations.

The Falcons have hit on a few linebackers in recent years. In addition to longtime starter Deion Jones, the team drafted De’Vondre Campbell and Foye Oluokun. Atlanta did not re-sign either player, after having reupped Jones in 2019. The team also dealt Jones before last year’s deadline, incurring a sizable dead-money hit in the process. It will be interesting to see how new defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen views Atlanta’s holdover ‘backers. Nielsen spent the past six seasons coaching a 4-3 scheme in New Orleans; Atlanta used a 3-4 alignment (when in base sets, that is) under Pees over the past two years.

A second Evans accord factors into an equation involving contract-year inside ‘backer Mykal Walker, a former fourth-round pick who moved into the starting lineup following Okuokun’s defection to Jacksonville. The Falcons also drafted Troy Andersen in last year’s second round. A number of notable off-ball linebackers are on track to hit free agency. Evans joins Tremaine Edmunds, ex-Titans teammate David Long, Lavonte David, Bobby Okereke, T.J. Edwards, Germaine Pratt, Kyzir White, Leighton Vander Esch and Azeez Al-Shaair as free agents-to-be.

AFC South Rumors: Jordan, Titans, Shenault, Radunz

After allowing tight end Jordan Akins to walk in free agency, the Texans are expected to turn to second-year tight end Brevin Jordan to lead the position-group in 2022, according to ESPN’s Sarah Barshop.

Pharaoh Brown started the most games of any tight end on the roster last year but mostly serves as the team’s primary run-blocking tight end. Jordan, though, has seemingly passed Brown on the depth chart in the passing game as he looks to make a big leap during his second year in Houston.

Last season, Jordan caught 20 passes for 178 yards and three touchdowns, comparable with Brown’s 23 receptions for 171 yards. Jordan will look to improve those numbers in his sophomore season. The former Miami Hurricane is set up nicely to do so as the newly re-signed Antony Auclair and newly drafted Oregon State rookie Teagan Quitoriano are, like Brown, both well-known for their blocking abilities.

Here are a few more rumors from around the AFC South, starting with a rumor out of Nashville:

  • In a report on the future of Titans linebacker David Long Jr., Terry McCormick of Titan Insider made an interesting claim that, after claiming linebacker Zach Cunningham off of waivers from the Texans in December, Tennessee didn’t feel pressed at all to re-sign former first-round pick Rashaan Evans. This may be mainly due to how Tennessee values the inside linebacker position. Evans, now with the Falcons, had started 39 games, only missing one week of football in his first three seasons, when the Titans declined his fifth-year option. Evans’ best season came in 2019 with his stats falling slightly in 2020. An injury-affected 2021 season sealed his fate in Tennessee as they let him walk in free agency.
  • After bringing in wide receivers Christian Kirk and Zay Jones on big money deals, ESPN’s Michael DiRocco reports that Jacksonville still has wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. in their plans. Shenault has stayed consistent over his first two years in the league catching 58 balls for 600 yards as a rookie and 63 passes for 619 yards in his second season. The big difference was in his touchdown totals as he went from five touchdown catches in 2020 to zero in 2021. The Jaguars also like to use Shenault sparingly in the running game, which might be where Shenault’s role lies in the future: as a dual-threat offensive weapon alongside running back Travis Etienne. If not, he’ll be competing for snaps with Kirk, Jones, and Marvin Jones Jr. in the receiving game.
  • According to Turron Davenport of ESPN, rookie offensive lineman out of North Dakota State Dillon Radunz is expected to earn the starting right tackle job in Tennessee. While the position group still has some question marks, the second-round rookie is set to bookend the line opposite veteran Taylor Lewan. This leaves Jamarco Jones, Ben Jones, Nate Davis, Aaron Brewer, and others to compete over the three inside positions over training camp and the preseason as the Titans look to cement their offensive line.

Falcons, LB Rashaan Evans Agree To Deal

Rashaan Evans‘ Falcons visit produced an accepted contract offer. The former Tennessee linebacker agreed to a one-year deal with Atlanta, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

This move will reunite Evans with Falcons defensive coordinator Dean Pees, who formerly worked as the Titans’ DC. Pees and Arthur Smith will deploy a familiar face to address the latest linebacker defection in free agency.

The Falcons lost Foyesade Oluokun last month; the breakout tackler signed with the Jaguars. This came two years after the Falcons let De’Vondre Campbell walk in free agency. Evans should be expected to line up alongside Deion Jones in Atlanta.

A 2018 first-round pick, Evans started 50 games for the Titans. He did not miss a start during the 2019 or ’20 seasons and, after a midseason IR stay last year, returned to help Tennessee secure the AFC’s No. 1 seed. The Titans did not pick up Evans’ fifth-year option in 2021, routing him to free agency.

Evans’ Titans run ended meekly. The Titans made the former Alabama standout a healthy scratch for their divisional-round game and had used him on fewer than 40% of their snaps in Weeks 17 and 18. Evans has a 100-plus-tackle season on his resume (2019); he added 2.5 sacks that year. Evans, 26, intercepted two passes and forced a fumble in his abbreviated 2021 season. This Falcons pact represents an opportunity for the former top prospect to re-establish some momentum in a familiar defensive system.

Falcons Hosting Kemoko Turay, Rashaan Evans

The Falcons could be in line for two notable additions on defense. The team is holding free agent visits with edge rusher Kemoko Turay and linebacker Rashaan Evans 

[RELATED: Falcons Sign WR Tate]

NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported the Turay visit (on Twitter). The 26-year-old was a second round pick of the Colts in 2018. He saw the most playing time in his rookie season, registering his only three starts. It was in 2021, however, that he posted a career-high 5.5 sacks and five tackles for loss. He could at least provide depth behind the likes of Lorenzo Carter and Adetokunbo Ogundeji, while providing a boost to the team’s pass rush.

The Evans visit, meanwhile, was reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). The former first-rounder has played four seasons with the Titans, starting 50 of 59 games. His best year came in 2019, where he totalled 111 tackles and 2.5 sacks. Tennessee declined his fifth-year option, however, leading him to free agency this offseason. Evans met with the Jaguars one week ago.

Either of those two options could help add not only experience, but also, potentially, upside to the Falcons’ defense. That would certainly be welcomed, as the team ranked at or near the bottom in almost every major category on that side of the ball in 2021.

Rashaan Evans Visits Jaguars

The Jaguars could soon be making another addition to their linebacking corps. Rashaan Evans has met with Jacksonville, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). 

[RELATED: Jaguars To Sign LB Oluokun]

Evans, 26, has spent all four of his NFL seasons with the Titans, becoming a starter almost immediately. His most productive campaign was in 2019, when he totalled 111 tackles and 2.5 sacks. He continued as a starter, but the door was opened to a departure when the Titans declined the former first-rounder’s fifth-year option.

That move saved the Titans cap space for future investments in the position, such as Zach Cunningham, whom the team claimed off waivers this past December. If Evans does depart in free agency, they will have a hole to fill opposite the former Texan in the middle of their defense.

Jacksonville, meanwhile, has already made a sizeable addition at the position. They signed former Falcon – and 2021 NFL tackle leader – Foye Oluokun to a deal averaging $15MM per season. Not surprisingly, that move led to the release of Myles Jack, creating some financial flexibility after the team’s free agent spending spree, but also an opening for another veteran off-ball linebacker.

If Evans does land with the Jaguars, he would of course get the opportunity to play his former team twice per season. It would also represent another move by Jacksonville to upgrade a defensive unit which ranked in the bottom third of the league in almost every major category last year. To that point, the team has also added the likes of defensive tackle Folorunso Fatukasi and cornerback Darious Williams.

Titans Decline Rashaan Evans’ Option

The Titans have turned down Rashaan Evans‘ fifth-year option, according to agent Drew Rosenhaus (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). The linebacker would have cost the team $9.735MM in 2022.

According to Rosenhaus, the Titans still want to discuss an extension with Evans between now and when his contract expires next year. Evans, the 22nd overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft, has started all 16 games for the Titans across the last two seasons. However, his 2019 effort was much stronger than last year.

The Titans tapped Georgia’s Monty Rice on Friday, giving them a younger and cheaper alternative to Evans. They also have 2019 sixth-round pick David Long in the mix, giving them a few inside linebacker options to pair with Jayon Brown.

In 2019, Evans notched 111 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and a fumble return for a touchdown. Last season, he recorded 96 tackles, good for third on the team.

2022 NFL Fifth-Year Option Tracker

NFL teams have until May 3 to officially pick up their options on 2018 first-rounders who are entering the final year of their rookie deals. In a change from years past, fifth-year option seasons are fully guaranteed, rather than guaranteed for injury only. Meanwhile, salaries are now determined by a blend of the player’s position, initial draft placement, and specific performance metrics:

  • 2-time Pro Bowlers (excluding alternate Pro Bowlers) will earn the same as their position’s franchise tag.
  • 1-time Pro Bowlers will earn the equivalent of the transition tag.
  • Players who achieve any of the following will get the average of the 3rd-20th highest salaries at their position:
    • 75%+ snaps in two of their first three seasons
    • 75%+ average across all three seasons
    • 50%+ in each of first three seasons
  • Players who do not hit any of those benchmarks will get the average of the 3rd-25th top salaries at their position.

With the deadline looming, we’ll use the space below to track all the option decisions from around the league:

Updated 4-30-21, 4:24pm CT

  1. QB Baker Mayfield, Browns: Exercised ($18.858MM)
  2. RB Saquon Barkley, Giants: Exercised ($7.217MM)
  3. QB Sam Darnold, Panthers (via Jets): Pending ($18.858MM)
  4. CB Denzel Ward, Browns — Exercised ($13.294MM)
  5. LB Bradley Chubb, Broncos — Pending ($12.716MM)
  6. G Quenton Nelson, Colts — Pending ($13.754MM)
  7. QB Josh Allen, Bills: Pending ($23.106MM)
  8. LB Roquan Smith, Bears: Exercised ($9.735MM)
  9. OT Mike McGlinchey, 49ers: Exercised ($10.88MM)
  10. QB Josh Rosen, Cardinals: N/A
  11. S Minkah Fitzpatrick, Steelers (via Dolphins): Exercised ($10.612MM)
  12. DT Vita Vea, Buccaneers: Exercised ($7.638MM)
  13. DT Daron Payne, Washington — Exercised ($8.529MM)
  14. DE Marcus Davenport, Saints: Exercised ($9.553MM)
  15. OT Kolton Miller, Raiders — N/A (extension)
  16. LB Tremaine Edmunds, Bills: Pending ($12.716MM)
  17. S Derwin James, Chargers: Exercised ($9.052MM)
  18. CB Jaire Alexander, Packers: Exercised ($13.294MM)
  19. LB Leighton Vander Esch, Cowboys: Pending ($9.145MM)
  20. C Frank Ragnow, Lions: Exercised ($12.657MM)
  21. C Billy Price, Bengals: Declined ($10.413MM)
  22. LB Rashaan Evans, Titans: Pending ($9.735MM)
  23. OT Isaiah Wynn, Patriots: Pending ($10.413 MM)
  24. WR D.J. Moore, Panthers: Exercised ($11.116MM)
  25. TE Hayden Hurst, Falcons (via Ravens): Pending ($5.428MM)
  26. WR Calvin Ridley, Falcons: Pending ($11.116MM)
  27. RB Rashaad Penny, Seahawks: Pending ($4.523MM)
  28. S Terrell Edmunds, Steelers: Pending ($6.753MM)
  29. DT Taven Bryan, Jaguars: Pending ($7.638MM)
  30. CB Mike Hughes, Vikings: Pending ($12.643MM)
  31. RB Sony Michel, Patriots: Pending ($4.523MM)
  32. QB Lamar Jackson, Ravens: Exercised ($23.106MM)

NFL’s Fifth-Year Option Salaries For 2021

The NFL’s 2021 salary cap has been set at $182.5MM, marking the league’s first reduction in a decade. With that, the league has also ironed out the value of this year’s fifth-round option for 2018 first-round picks.

Here’s the full rundown, via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter):

1. Baker Mayfield, Browns, QB — $18.858MM (playing time)

2. Saquon Barkley, Giants, RB — $7.217MM (1x Pro Bowl)

3. Sam Darnold, Jets, QB — $18.858MM (playing time)

4. Denzel Ward, Browns, CB — $13.294MM (1x Pro Bowl)

5. Bradley Chubb, Broncos, LB — $12.716MM (1x Pro Bowl)

6. Quenton Nelson, Colts, G — $13.754MM (2x Pro Bowl)

7. Josh Allen, Bills, QB — $23.106MM (1x Pro Bowl)

8. Roquan Smith, Bears, LB — $9.735MM (playing time)

9. Mike McGlinchey, 49ers, OT — $10.88MM (playing time)

10. Josh Rosen, Cardinals, QB*

11. Minkah Fitzpatrick, Steelers, S (drafted by Dolphins) — $10.612MM (2x Pro Bowl)

12. Vita Vea, Buccaneers, DT — $7.638MM

13. Daron Payne, Washington, DT — $8.529MM (playing time)

14. Marcus Davenport, Saints, DE — $9.553MM

15. Kolton Miller, Raiders, OT — $10.88MM (playing time)

16. Tremaine Edmunds, Bills, LB — $12.716MM (1x Pro Bowl)

17. Derwin James, Chargers, S — $9.052MM (1x Pro Bowl)

18. Jaire Alexander, Packers, CB — $13.294MM (1x Pro Bowl)

19. Leighton Vander Esch, Cowboys, LB — $9.145MM

20. Frank Ragnow, Lions, C — $12.657MM (1x Pro Bowl)

21. Billy Price, Bengals, C — $10.413MM

22. Rashaan Evans, Titans, LB — $9.735MM (playing time)

23. Isaiah Wynn, Patriots, OT — $10.413MM

24. D.J. Moore, Panthers, WR — $11.116MM (playing time)

25. Hayden Hurst, Falcons, TE (Drafted by Ravens) — $5.428MM

26. Calvin Ridley, Falcons, WR — $11.116MM (playing time)

27. Rashaad Penny, Seahawks, RB — $4.523MM

28., Steelers, S Terrell Edmunds — $6.753MM (playing time)

29. Taven Bryan, Jaguars, DT — $7.638MM

30. Mike Hughes, Vikings, CB — $12.643MM

31. Sony Michel, Patriots, RB — $4.523MM

32. Lamar Jackson, Ravens, QB — $23.106MM (1x Pro Bowl)

* Rosen was released from his original contract and, therefore, is not option-eligible 

As a refresher, the fifth-year option year is now fully guaranteed. In the past, it was guaranteed for injury only. The values are also dependent on certain performance metrics:

  • Two-time Pro Bowlers (excluding alternate Pro Bowlers) will earn the same as their position’s franchise tag.
  • One-time Pro Bowlers will earn the equivalent of the transition tag.
  • Players who achieve any of the following will get the average of the 3rd-20th highest salaries at their position:
    • 75%+ snaps in two of their first three seasons
    • 75%+ average across all three seasons
    • 50%+ in each of first three seasons
  • Players who do not hit any of those benchmarks will get the average of the 3rd-25th top salaries at their position.