Tarik Cohen

Tarik Cohen Expected To Sign With Panthers Practice Squad

Tarik Cohen is on the comeback trail. The veteran running back intends to sign with the Panthers practice squad, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Jordan Schultz was first with the news. Joe Person of The Athletic notes that Cohen will sign assuming he passes his physical tomorrow.

Cohen hasn’t seen the field for an NFL game since the 2020 campaign, when he tore his ACL and MCL and fractured his tibial plateau during Week 3. He spent the subsequent 2021 season on PUP before hitting free agency in 2022. While training last May, Cohen ruptured his Achilles tendon, delaying his comeback another year. Last month, the RB indicated that he was ready to continue his NFL career, and the Panthers are the team to give him the shot.

It didn’t take long for the former fourth-round pick to emerge as a productive offensive weapon. Following a rookie season where he collected more than 700 yards from scrimmage, Cohen earned an All-Pro nod with the Bears in 2018 after finishing with 1,169 yards from scrimmage and eight touchdowns. Cohen was also a standout on special teams that season, leading the NFL with 411 punt return yards.

His yards-per-touch dropped to 4.7 during the 2019 campaign, but Cohen still managed to produce 669 yards from scrimmage. The Bears ended up rewarding him for his three productive years, signing the RB to a three-year, $17.25MM deal prior to the 2020 campaign. Cohen boosted that aforementioned yards-per-touch number to 5.8 in the first two-plus games of the 2020 campaign before suffering his career-altering injury.

In Carolina, he’ll be joining a backfield that’s still finding itself in a post-Christian McCaffrey era. The Panthers handed out one of free agency’s largest RB contracts when they inked Miles Sanders to a four-year, $25.4MM deal. The team also still has Chuba Hubbard as their top backup, but they lack experienced depth behind their top duo. Former UDFA Raheem Blackshear is on the active roster, while Spencer Brown and Jashaun Corbin are stashed on the practice squad.

RB Rumors: Cowboys, Eagles, Mattison

Letting Ezekiel Elliott sign with the Patriots and not making a known entrance into the Jonathan Taylor sweepstakes, the Cowboys are still planning to give one of their in-house running backs the backup job to Tony Pollard. Last year’s third-stringer behind Elliott and Pollard, Malik Davis, may be fighting an uphill battle to merely make Dallas’ 53-man roster. With Rico Dowdle the favorite to be Pollard’s top backup, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Clarence Hill notes Davis may be facing a cut. Dowdle and elusive rookie Deuce Vaughn have outplayed Davis during camp, per Hill, with the latter — a 5-foot-5 sixth-rounder out of Kansas State — flashing in games. Vaughn starred with the Wildcats for three seasons, excelling as both a runner and receiver, and continues to make a case for a role on offense.

Dowdle arrived in the NFL as a 2020 UDFA; Davis joined the Cowboys as a UDFA last year. Dowdle has not logged a regular-season carry since 2020, but it looks like the South Carolina product is poised to change that pattern this season. Here is the latest from the running back scene:

  • The Eagles have a deeper cast of running backs, at least in terms of experience. Philly added both Rashaad Penny and D’Andre Swift this offseason, and Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott are on track to maintain roles in the defending NFC champions’ crowded backfield. This leaves Trey Sermon as the likeliest odd man out, per The Athletic’s Zach Berman (subscription required). The Eagles added Sermon, a 2021 third-round pick, following his 49ers cut last year but only used him in two games. Sermon could be a practice squad option; he spent much of his first Eagles year as part of that 16-man unit. But the Eagles’ present backfield configuration adds another hurdle for a player once projected to be the 49ers’ Week 1 starter.
  • The Vikings guaranteed 90.7% of Alexander Mattison‘s two-year, $7MM contract — a deal that replaces Dalvin Cook‘s as the top running back pact on the team’s payroll — but incentives will allow the fifth-year back to add to that total. If Mattison clears 750 rushing yards, he would pick up $250K. This applies to each season on the contract, ProFootballNetwork.com’s Adam Caplan notes. That number would bump up to $500K in each year if Mattison notches 1,000 yards. While Mattison has never eclipsed 500 yards in a season, he was never in realistic position to do so. With Cook cut, the longtime RB2 is set for his first season as Minnesota’s starter. The Vikings see Mattison, 25, as a three-down player, Caplan adds, noting the team is determining its RB2. Ty Chandler, kick returner Kene Nwangwu and seventh-round rookie DeWayne McBride are in place behind Mattison.
  • Tarik Cohen is coming off two season-nullifying injuries. The former Bears running back/return man suffered ACL and MCL tears in 2021, and less than a week after Chicago cut him (in May 2022), Cohen suffered an Achilles tear. The former Pro Bowl returner is healthy and ready to work out for teams, ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets. The Bears used Cohen regularly as an outlet option for Mitch Trubisky. In 2018, the 5-6 back totaled 725 receiving yards and led the NFL in punt-return yardage. Although RB value has tanked in 2023, Cohen could represent an interesting flier as a passing-down option. Granted, this is not a good time for a back to be seeking a job coming off two season-ending maladies.

Nine Teams Gain Cap Space From Post-June 1 Cuts

Although early June no longer serves as a stretch in which a wave of veterans are released for cap-saving purposes, June 2 still serves as an important calendar date for certain teams annually. Nine teams qualify as beneficiaries this year.

Eleven players were designated as post-June 1 cuts this year, via CBS Sports’ Joel Corry. Due to a longstanding CBA provision, teams that designate players as post-June 1 releases see the dead-money burden lessened for that year. Teams can designate up to two players as post-June 1 releases each year.

Here are 2022’s post-June 1 cuts, along with the belated cap savings the teams picked up Thursday:

Arizona Cardinals

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Las Vegas Raiders

Philadelphia Eagles

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

As detailed in PFR’s glossary, post-June 1 cuts spread dead-money hits over two years. These teams will be taking on dead money this year and next. A few of the 2023 hits are substantial, but the league’s cap-space hierarchy changed significantly Thursday as well.

Because of multiple restructures, Raiders will carry $9.9MM in Littleton dead money next year. The Cowboys will take on $8.7MM in 2023 for cutting Collins, while the Titans will be hit with $8.4MM for their Jones release. Cleveland, which just gave David Njoku a $14.2MM-per-year deal, will carry a $7.5MM dead-money cost next year due to shedding Hooper’s eight-figure-AAV deal early. The Eagles will be tagged with $11.5MM for their Cox cut, with Corry noting that is the net difference because of a $3.2MM salary cap credit regarding Cox’s 2022 bonus proration. Philadelphia re-signed the perennial Pro Bowler on a one-year, $14MM deal.

Hooper’s release pushes Cleveland’s cap space to beyond $40MM; the Browns’ overall cap-space edge is now a whopping $15MM. That should help the team address multiple needs ahead of training camp. Other teams have more options now, too. As of Thursday, the Raiders hold the NFL’s third-most cap space ($22.5MM, per OverTheCap). The $10MM the Cowboys saved moves them up to fourth in cap space ($22.49MM), while the Bears ($22.2MM), Commanders ($18.4MM) and Seahawks ($17MM) now sit fifth, sixth and seventh.

A handful of this year’s post-June 1 cut crop joined Cox in taking advantage of the modern setup, which allows these cap casualties to become free agents immediately — rather than waiting until June to hit the market. In place since the 2006 CBA, this adjustment let veterans loose early while keeping their cap figures on teams’ payrolls through May. Collins quickly joined the Bengals, while Littleton landed with the Panthers, Hooper signed with the Titans, and Phillips returned to the Bills. The remainder of this group remains unsigned. The savings this lot of teams inherited Thursday may help some of these players’ causes in free agency.

RB Tarik Cohen Appears To Suffer Leg Injury

7:24pm: An MRI has confirmed that Cohen ruptured his Achilles, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter).

5:54pm: After missing most of the 2020 NFL season with a torn ACL and MCL, as well as a tibial plateau fracture, and missing the entire 2021 season recovering from those injuries, former-Bears running back Tarik Cohen may be looking at another unfortunate setback. According to Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports, Cohen looks “to have suffered a serious lower-leg injury during a workout (that he was) streaming on IG Live.” 

Cohen was a fourth-round draft pick for Chicago in 2017 after an outstanding career at the HBCU North Carolina A&T. Splitting carries with now-Eagles running back Jordan Howard as rookie, Cohen worked mostly as the team’s receiving back. In his sophomore year in Chicago, Cohen blossomed in his assigned role breaking out for 725 receiving yards and 5 receiving touchdowns, in addition to his 444 yards rushing and 3 rushing touchdowns. He also threw two touchdown passes in his first two years with the Bears.

In his third year, Cohen was only able to see three games of action before suffering his major knee injuries. They sidelined him for the rest of the year and he sat out the following year, as well, in an effort to work back to full health.

Cohen was released by the Bears two months ago and was working towards finally making a comeback from his injuries as a free agent. Unfortunately, if the reports are accurate, it appears that Cohen’s comeback bid may have to wait a bit longer.

Bears To Cut Tarik Cohen

The Bears are cutting running back Tarik Cohen (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com). Cohen has been unable to pass a physical on his knee injury, so the move will come with an injury designation. 

[RELATED: Latest On Bears’ Grant]

The Bears will save $2.25MM in cap room by releasing Cohen, the sure-handed running back who starred in Chicago’s offense for years. Unfortunately, injuries have taken his career off track — he’s missed 30 straight games since his torn ACL.

Cohen, a 2017 fourth-round pick, spent his entire career in Chicago up until this point. Some of his finest work came in 2018, when he finished with 1,169 yards from scrimmage and eight touchdowns. On top of that, he was a beast in the return game with a league-leading 411 punt return yards. That showing earned him both All-Pro and Pro Bowl nods.

He later started a career-high eleven games in 2019, but he was limited to just 669 all-purpose yards. Now, the Bears’ new regime led by Ryan Poles is moving on from the rest of his three-year, $17.25MM deal.

The Bears’ return game is now led by Jakeem Grant, an impending free agent who is expected to have a “robust” market next week. Grant, acquired by the Bears midway through the season, totaled 309 punt return years between Miami and Chicago.

Bears Place Tarik Cohen On PUP

The Bears announced that they have placed Tarik Cohen on the Physically Unable to Perform list. It’s a sign that the running back may be behind schedule as he looks to recover from last year’s ACL injury. 

At this rate, it doesn’t sound like the Bears should expect to have Cohen for Week 1. Cohen, who turns 26 on Monday, has spent his entire career in Chicago. That includes his 2018, a season with 1,169 yards from scrimmage, eight touchdowns, and tons of highlights as a returner. He led the league with 411 punt return yards in ’18, capturing All-Pro and Pro Bowl nods.

Things haven’t been quite the same since. Cohen started a career-high 11 games in 2019, but he was limited to just 669 yards from scrimmage. Last year he limited by the ACL, but he ceded the top job to David Montgomery before the injury even happened.

Cohen is still an important part of the Bears’ offense, so they want him on the field and healthy ASAP. Beyond that, there are also some financial considerations — it’s been less than a year since he signed his three-year, $17.25MM extension.

If Cohen misses time, the Bears will open the year with Damien WilliamsRyan Nall, Artavis Pierce, and rookies Khalil Herbert and CJ Marable behind Montgomery.

Latest On Bears RB Tarik Cohen’s ACL Recovery

Bears running back Tarik Cohen missed most of the 2020 campaign after suffering a torn ACL, and it sounds like the veteran still hasn’t fully recovered from his injury. Per Adam H. Beasley of ProFootballNetwork.com, Cohen is a candidate to open training camp on the PUP, and the delayed start to his preseason could impact his availability for the beginning of the regular season.

The 2017 fourth-round pick has spent his entire career in Chicago. This included a 2018 campaign where he finished with 1,169 yards from scrimmage and eight touchdowns, although it was his returning prowess (a league-leading 411 punt return yards) that earned him both an All-Pro and Pro Bowl nod. Cohen started a career-high 11 games in 2019, but he was limited to a (then) career-low 669 yards from scrimmage.

The 25-year-old didn’t start any of the Bears’ first three games of the 2020 season, with the running back collecting only 115 offensive yards. He suffered his ACL injury in Week 3 and was subsequently placed on IR.

Cohen is still an important part of the Bears’ offense, and if the team wants to make noise in the NFC, they’ll surely want one of their top skill players to be healthy. Further, the team also has some financial reasons for wanting Cohen on the field; it’s been less than a year since he signed a three-year, $17.25MM extension that will kick in this season.

Fortunately for the Bears, the team does have some depth to overcome a hypothetical Cohen absence. David Montgomery is still sitting atop the depth chart, and the team also added veteran free agent Damien Williams this past offseason. The team is also rostering the likes of Ryan Nall, Artavis Pierce, and rookies Khalil Herbert and CJ Marable.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/29/20

Here are Tuesday’s minor moves:

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Indianapolis Colts

  • Signed off Cowboys’ practice squad: DT Ron’Dell Carter
  • Released from IR: RB Bruce Anderson

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

  • Signed off Buccaneers’ practice squad: TE Daniel Helm

Seattle Seahawks

Washington Football Team

Bears Fear Tarik Cohen Has Torn ACL

Hopefully this week (or any week) aren’t as bad as last week was for injuries around the NFL, but unfortunately we already have our first report of a season-ender to pass along today. The Bears fear running back Tarik Cohen has a torn ACL, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

Needless to say, Cohen will be done for the season. It unfortunately dampens the mood a bit around a team that’s otherwise feeling great on the heels of their latest comeback victory. Chicago is now 3-0 on the year, although there’s now officially a quarterback controversy with Nick Foles and Mitchell Trubisky.

Cohen’s role didn’t look like it was going to be huge this year, but he did have a handful of touches in each of the first two games. He was a big factor in the passing game before going down on Sunday, drawing six targets. Cohen just signed a three-year extension worth $17.25MM in new money exactly a week ago, so obviously his timing couldn’t have been any better.

It’s still a tough blow for the North Carolina AT&T product, but he should be able to make a full recovery in time for the 2021 season since it happened early enough. Cohen’s best season was in 2018, when he rushed for 444 yards and three touchdowns and added another 725 and five through the air.

He was also a first-team All-Pro as a return specialist that year. His production dipped last season as his yards per reception went from 10.2 to 5.8, but his absence will still leave a big hole for whoever is under center moving forward.

Bears, RB Tarik Cohen Agree To Extension

The Bears and running back Tarik Cohen have hammered out an extension, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com was first to report (via Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com). We heard yesterday that the two sides were working on a new contract and hoped to have one completed before today’s game, and they managed to do just that.

According to Schefter, it will be a three-year extension worth $17.25MM in new money, for an average annual value of $5.75MM. Cohen can bump that number up to $18.25MM with incentives, and $9.5MM is fully guaranteed at signing.

The 2017 fourth-round selection was in the final year of his rookie contract, so his new deal will keep him tethered to the club through the 2023 season. And while Cohen does get a nice influx of cash, the contract looks pretty reasonable for a player of his capabilities. He has never topped 100 carries in a season, but he does boast a solid 4.2 YPC average in his career, and he has averaged nearly 70 receptions per season over his first three professional campaigns.

Cohen has also served as Chicago’s primary punt returner during that time, and he earned a 2018 Pro Bowl nod for his special teams acumen. The Bears need all the play-makers they can get, and they will be happy to keep the diminutive speedster in the fold for the next few seasons.

The club may now focus its full attention on a new contract for wide receiver Allen Robinson.