Rashawn Slater

NFL COVID List Updates: 12/20/21

A long list of players were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. We listed the players who landed on the list today, as well as those who were activated off the list:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Las Vegas Raiders

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

New York Giants

New York Jets

  • Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list: DE John Franklin-Myers, DB Sharrod Neasman

Philadelphia Eagles

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Chargers’ Rashawn Slater Placed On COVID-19 List

The Chargers will be without a key piece of their offense for their upcoming Thursday night game against the Chiefs. Left tackle Rashawn Slater has been placed on the Reserve/Covid-19 list, per the Athletic’s Daniel Popper

The 13th overall pick in the 2021 Draft, Slater has helped stabilize the Chargers’ offensive line – something that was sorely needed, given its performance last year. He has appeared in every game so far this season and has graded out well according to PFF, earning a 79.9 overall grade.

Coming off their 37-21 win over the Giants on Sunday, the Chargers will hope to have Keenan Allen back in time on a short week. At 8-5, they only sit one game behind the division-leading Chiefs, and need a win to further cement their hold on at least a Wild Card position.

Chargers Sign Rashawn Slater 

Northwestern alum Rashawn Slater is officially in the fold. Per a team press release, the Chargers’ first-round offensive lineman has formally signed his rookie deal. 

[RELATED: Vikings Wanted Slater At No. 14]

The Bolts took Slater No. 13 overall, beating the Vikings and other interested clubs to the punch. The son of former eight-year NBA veteran Reggie Slater, Rashawn started 37 games at either left or right tackle between 2017 and 2019. This included a sophomore season where he earned Third-team All-Big Ten honors. Slater also fared well against Chase Young in their final matchup of the 2019 campaign, not allowing the ex-Buckeyes phenom to record a quarterback hit when they were matched up. Despite shifting from right to left tackle as a junior, Slater did not allow a sack in eleven games that year.

Slater managed to maintain his high draft stock despite sitting out the 2020 campaign. Some say the 305-pounder lacks the elite length needed for the outside. The Bolts disagree — they’ll use him at left tackle. They’ll be counting on him big time after watching quarterback Justin Herbert eat 32 sacks last year.

Latest On Unsigned First-Round Rookies

After the Falcons inked first-round tight end Kyle Pitts to his rookie deal earlier today, there are eight first-round rookies who remain unsigned:

1) Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB (Clemson)
2) New York Jets: Zach Wilson, QB (BYU)
3) San Francisco 49ers (from Texans via Dolphins): Trey Lance, QB (North Dakota State)
13) Los Angeles Chargers: Rashawn Slater, OT (Northwestern)
14) New York Jets (from Vikings): Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL (USC)
15) New England Patriots: Mac Jones, QB (Alabama)
25) Jacksonville Jaguars (from Rams): Travis Etienne, RB (Clemson)
26) Cleveland Browns: Greg Newsome II, CB (Northwestern)

This isn’t a huge cause for concern, as first-round contracts are pretty standard and by-the-book. However, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler has an explanation for why at least a handful of these players still haven’t put pen to paper. According to the reporter (via Twitter), there are still some “wrinkles to work out” for the notable quarterback deals. This sentiment would presumably apply to each of the top-three picks, and it could even be referring to Patriots first-round quarterback Mac Jones.

There’s a number of minor details that agents could be pushing for, including signing bonus terms or any other contract language that goes beyond the standard, boilerplate options. On the other side, teams could be pushing for some type of offset language, meaning the organization would get some financial flexibility if the player for some reason doesn’t finish their rookie contract with the team.

When it comes to the quarterbacks, most of the agents are probably waiting to see how Lawrence’s deal unfolds in Jacksonville. Alternatively, if Bill Belichick and the Patriots (somehow) give in to any demands from Jones camp, you can bet the top-three QBs would argue for similar benefits. While there are a number of reasons why the other, non-QB players have yet to sign, one could guess that the two offensive lineman may be pushing for similar terms (Vera-Tucker could also simply be waiting for his teammate to sign their contract). Etienne is in a unique position as one of only two first-round running backs (or, like Vera-Tucker, he could be waiting for his teammate), while Newsome recently fired his agent.

The teams and the players will want the contracts settled prior to training camp in late-July, but that still leaves a few weeks for negotiating.

Ten First-Round Picks Remain Unsigned

This year, NFL teams have been quick to tackle their rookie paperwork. Still, there are a decent number of unsigned draft picks remaining, including ten of this year’s first-rounders: 

In a sense, this is a sign that things are back to normal in football following the pandemic. For example, by June 12th of 2019, 22 first-round picks had put pen to paper, with 222 rookies inked on the whole. However, around this time last year, there were just two first-round picks officially in the fold – Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and Panthers defensive lineman Derrick Brown.

Offset language and similar minutia could be holding these ten deals up, but there’s no reason to panic. In all likelihood, these rookie contracts will be squared away before the start of training camp this summer.

Vikings Discussed Trading Up For Justin Fields

Justin Fields will begin his NFL career in the NFC North, with the Bears having traded up to land the Ohio State passer with hopes of ending their run of quarterback struggles. But one of Chicago’s top rivals was monitoring this situation.

After seeing Fields drop past the Panthers and Broncos at Nos. 8 and 9, the Vikings contacted teams about moving up for a quarterback. Fields was the primary target, according to ESPN.com’s Courtney Cronin. Although Minnesota has Kirk Cousins locked in through 2022, the team wanted to draft one of this year’s top QBs.

The Cowboys traded their No. 10 overall pick to the Eagles, who moved up for DeVonta Smith, and the Giants shipped their 11th overall choice to the Bears, scuttling the Vikings’ Fields hopes. While the Vikes sought to acquire one of the first-round-caliber QBs that did not go in the top three, they were not willing to give up the draft capital necessary for a player who would sit for at least one season, per Cronin.

[RELATED: Vikings Tried To Trade Up Twice In First Round]

A Vikings coach briefed Cousins ahead of the draft to prepare him for the prospect of a quarterback selection, Cronin adds. The team was prepared to select Fields, had he fallen No. 14. The Bears, however, beat them by three picks. It cost them a 2022 first-round pick to move up nine spots to No. 11, but it also denied their rivals a chance to create a Cousins-to-Fields QB transition.

That reality would have likely meant Fields sitting for at least one season. While the Bears hope to execute this strategy as well, it is unlikely Andy Dalton will keep Fields off the field for too long. The Vikings ended up selecting Kellen Mond near the top of the third round. Mond was the seventh quarterback off the board, with the Buccaneers ending Round 2 with their Kyle Trask selection. Mond is viewed as more of a developmental player than Fields and may not end up being a starter-level NFLer.

Rick Spielman said the Vikings tried to trade up from No. 14, and although he declined to specify the target, Cronin notes the team — presumably after Fields went to the Bears at 11 — eyed tackle Rashawn Slater. The left tackle-needy Chargers nabbed Slater at 13. Minnesota traded down to No. 23 and selected Virginia Tech tackle Christian Darrisaw.

Thanks to a clause in Cousins’ 2020 extension, his being on the roster on Day 3 of the 2021 league year guaranteed him $45MM in 2022. His run as Minnesota’s starter will almost certainly stretch to at least five seasons.

Chargers Draft Northwestern T Rashawn Slater No. 13 Overall

With the No. 13 overall pick, the Chargers selected Rashawn Slater. The Bolts weren’t sure if the Northwestern tackle would be available at this stage, but they managed to get one of the top players on their board without mortgaging their remaining draft ammo.

The son of former eight-year NBA veteran Reggie Slater, Rashawn started 37 games at either left or right tackle between 2017 and 2019. This included a sophomore season where he earned Third-team All-Big Ten honors. Slater also fared well against Chase Young in their final matchup of the 2019 campaign, not allowing the ex-Buckeyes phenom to record a quarterback hit when they were matched up. Despite shifting from right to left tackle as a junior, Slater did not allow a sack in 11 games that season.

Slater managed to maintain his high draft stock despite sitting out the 2020 campaign. While the 305-pound offensive lineman stands at 6-foot-3, he lacks the elite length of top offensive tackles. While Slater seems to offer the explosiveness to excel at the position, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if a team looks to develop him as an offensive guard.

Slater can be an immediate contributor on the Chargers offensive line. Justin Herbert looked the part of a franchise quarterback during his rookie season, but he had to tolerate 32 sacks this past year. Slater will certainly keep the signal caller upright.

This is one down for the Bolts, but the Bolts still have eight picks to go this weekend:

  • Round 2: No. 47
  • Round 3: No. 77
  • Round 3: No. 97
  • Round 4: No. 118
  • Round 5: No. 159
  • Round 6: No. 185 (from Jaguars through Titans)
  • Round 6: No. 198
  • Round 7: No. 241

Draft Trade Rumors: Bears, Falcons, Bengals

Here’s a few of the latest draft rumors, with a focus on teams that could be moving up or down the board in the first round:

  • The Bears, who hold the No. 20 overall pick, have been rumored as a team that could be climbing up the draft board to grab a QB, but as Albert Breer of SI.com writes, they haven’t been particularly active in trade discussions just yet. A lot can happen in a week, and Breer says rival clubs do expect Chicago to at least consider a bold trade to land a top passer. On the other hand, such a deal will be very expensive in terms of draft capital, and Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune hears from some sources that GM Ryan Pace might try to protect his draft assets to fill his club’s multiple needs. Still, Pace’s job and HC Matt Nagy‘s job are very much in jeopardy, and unless the duo is particularly high on a second-tier QB like Florida’s Kyle Trask, expect the team to exhaust all possible avenues for a trade up.
  • The Falcons may be open to all options when it comes to their No. 4 overall pick, but Breer is getting the sense that Atlanta is perfectly content to stay right where it is. Whether the Falcons take a QB with that pick or the top non-QB prospect in the draft remains an open question, but they have put a very high price on their selection, and it sounds like they will need to be overwhelmed by a trade offer to move it.
  • The buzz around the Bengals has pointed towards the team keeping its No. 5 overall pick and selecting LSU WR Ja’Marr Chase. Director of player personnel Duke Tobin said that he has engaged in talks with teams looking to move up to No. 5, but he wants to stay put and select a premier talent (Twitter link via Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com).
  • Other teams are expecting the Dolphins to keep the No. 6 selection, but GM Chris Grier says that he will continue listening to trade offers up until the pick is in (Twitter link via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald). If he does get an offer that convinces him to move down, he won’t want to slide too far.
  • Connor Hughes of The Athletic says Jets GM Joe Douglas could try to engineer a trade up from the No. 23 overall pick, especially if an OL like Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater or USC’s Alijah Vera-Tucker should start to fall. However, he doesn’t see Douglas moving into the top-15.

Giants Leaning Toward Edge Rusher In Round 1?

Having needed an edge rusher for a few years now, the Giants may be set to address this need with their top offseason resource.

They have done a lot of work on the top edge defenders in this year’s draft, and sources informed SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano the current sense is this will be the direction the team takes with its No. 11 overall pick. The Giants have spent big to fill needs at wide receiver and cornerback, in adding Kenny Golladay and Adoree’ Jackson, but have lacked a long-term, starter-caliber edge rusher since trading Olivier Vernon in 2019.

The Giants could be faced with a major decision — not exactly uncommon for them in recent drafts — if Alabama wide receiver prospects DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle remain on the board. Five quarterbacks may well go in the top 10, pushing down this offense-heavy draft’s top non-QB talents. The Giants have Golladay, Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton penciled in as their top three receivers, but it should not be considered a lock the team would pass on potential value here in one of the ex-Crimson Tide stars.

New York is believed to be high on Michigan’s Kwity Paye and Georgia’s Azeez Ojulari, Vacchiano adds. The former ranks as Scouts Inc.’s top draft’s top pass-rushing prospect. With Ojulari ranked outside the top 20 overall, it may be difficult to envision the Giants going in that direction over a higher-value player at 11. Mel Kiper Jr.’s most recent mock has the Giants taking Waddle. A trade-down maneuver seems unlikely, given that GM Dave Gettleman‘s streak of never trading down has now lasted eight drafts — five in Carolina, three with New York.

Should the Giants stay at 11, they are also high on Northwestern tackle Rashawn Slater, per Vacchiano. The Giants went tackle at No. 4 overall last year and used a third-round pick on tackle Matt Peart. Nate Solder is also in line to return.

The Giants pursued Leonard Floyd, but he re-signed with the Rams. They passed on the rest of the 2020 pass rusher lot, which was rather crowded for the big-ticket position, and only kept Markus Golden via the rarely used UFA tender last year. The Giants waited until Round 7 to draft a pass rusher in 2020 and have since traded Golden and let 2020 signing Kyler Fackrell sign with the Chargers.

Gettleman passed on edge talent Josh Allen in 2019, drafting Daniel Jones instead and lost out on Chase Young thanks to a late-season win over Washington in 2019. The Giants’ need at outside linebacker has persisted, though the emergence of Leonard Williams as a sack artist may lessen the desperation at this spot to some degree.

Northwestern T Rashawn Slater To Opt Out

One of the top tackle prospects set to be eligible for the 2021 draft will begin his pre-draft training early. Northwestern tackle Rashawn Slater is opting out of the 2020 season, Pete Thamel of Yahoo.com reports.

Slater’s decision comes when a few notable Big Ten names — from Purdue wideout Rondale Moore to Ohio State cornerback Shaun Wade to fellow tackle prospect Jalen Mayfield (Michigan) — reversed course on their opt-outs after the Big Ten’s call to begin its season in October. But Slater has played 38 college games and may not have too much to gain from a strong senior season amid uncertain circumstances brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

I didn’t think a winter or spring season allows for optimal recovery or training to have a great rookie year,” Slater said, via Thamel. “I talked about it with everyone. Everyone at Northwestern has been extremely supportive. They’ve had open and honest conversations with me. I can tell they wanted the best for me.”

The son of former eight-year NBA veteran Reggie Slater, Rashawn has started 37 games at either left or right tackle. However, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. slots the 6-foot-4, 308-pound blocker as the No. 3 draft-eligible guard. Slater fared well against Chase Young in their final matchup last season, not allowing the ex-Buckeyes phenom to record a quarterback hit when they were matched up. Shifted from right to left tackle as a junior, Slater did not allow a sack in 11 games last season.

Changing course from its previous decision to consider a late-winter or spring start to the season, the Big Ten is now set to begin play Oct. 24.