Trey Pipkins

Chargers To Re-Sign RT Trey Pipkins

One of the Chargers’ top priorities in the build-up to this year’s free agency period was retaining RT Trey PipkinsThey have reportedly done just that, as ESPN’s Lindsey Thiry tweets that an agreement has been reached on a three-year deal to keep him in Los Angeles. The three-year deal is worth $21.75MM, per SiriusXM’s Adam Caplan (on Twitter).

The right tackle spot was lined with several big-name options in this year’s free agent class, and a few lucrative deals have already come about at the position as a result. Pipkins could have tested the market against the Chargers’ best offer, but he will instead remain with the team that drafted him in the third round in 2019.

The 26-year-old operated primarily as a backup across his first three seasons in the league. He took on a full-time starting role for the first time in 2022, however, logging a career-high 898 snaps in 14 regular season games. He dealt with an MCL sprain throughout the campaign, one in which he was charged with 28 pressures allowed in pass protection by PFF. As a result, he earned an overall rating of just 59.2.

It was expected, though, that the Chargers would value Pipkins more than most other teams, and he was thus at or near the top of the team’s to-do list for March. With a new deal in place, the Division II product has financial security to along with an extended opportunity to retain his starting spot on the right edge. The Chargers will now have several young options to choose from at the tackle spots.

Left tackle Rashawn Slater was limited to just three games in 2022 due to a biceps tear. That injury forced Los Angeles to turn to rookie Jamaree Salyer on the blindside, giving them an even more inexperienced tackle tandem for much of the year. While Pipkins underperformed compared to the latter, per PFF, his level of play was sufficient to earn him an extended look on the o-line. All three lineman will now be under contract for 2023 and beyond as the Chargers look to take another step forward next season.

OL Rumors: Taylor, McGlinchey, Pats, Powers

Right tackle will be one of this year’s top positional markets to monitor. One of the best players set to hit the market, Jawaan Taylor, is expected to do very well. The Jaguars blocker may move into position to command a deal worth at least $17MM on average, Jeremy Fowler of notes. The Jaguars used their franchise tag on Evan Engram, with that cost being $7MM cheaper than the O-line tag, but they are attempting to bring back Taylor. The former second-rounder has never missed a start as a pro and has earned plus grades for his pass protection. Although Pro Football Focus viewed Taylor as one of the league’s worst run-blockers last season, the advanced metrics site rates him as the eighth-best pass-protecting right tackle over the past two years.

The Jags already have Cam Robinson tied to a top-10 deal at left tackle, which will make keeping Taylor difficult. A deal at $17MM AAV would move Taylor into the top five at the position. Here is the latest from the O-line ranks:

  • Another of the top right-siders set to be hit the market, Mike McGlinchey is not expected to return to the 49ers. The Bears would be in position to outmuscle other suitors for the five-year starter’s services, holding a near-$30MM lead in cap space (at $94.7MM). McGlinchey should be expected to join Taylor on a deal north of $17MM per year, per Adam Jahns of The Athletic (subscription required). Kaleb McGary could profile as a slightly cheaper alternative, per Jahns, who notes Bears offensive line coach Chris Morgan was the Falcons’ O-line coach when they drafted the Michigan product in the 2019 first round. The Bears have gone through a few options at right tackle since releasing Bobby Massie in 2021. This represents a good year for the team to address the position.
  • Excepting their 2017 Stephon Gilmore payment and the 2021 spending frenzy, the Patriots are not known for deep dives into free agency pools. But they also look set to investigate the right tackle market. New England is seeking an upgrade here, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe notes, pointing out that the team is content on the interior (with center David Andrews and guards Michael Onwenu and Cole Strange). Trent Brown is still under contract on the left side. Beyond the top three RTs, Trey Pipkins, Kelvin Beachum and Andrew Wylie are ticketed for free agency. Isaiah Wynn is not expected back in New England, which is not exactly a surprise given his dismal contract year. The Pats hold more than $32MM in cap space, giving them some capital to use at this need area.
  • Currently carrying a $32.4MM Lamar Jackson franchise tag on their cap sheet, the Ravens should not be expected to retain their top free agent (now that Jackson is tagged). Ben Powers‘ quality contract year should lead to his Baltimore departure, Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic writes. Powers needed to win a left guard competition in training camp. Upon doing so, the former fourth-round pick proceeded to rank in the top 10 in run and pass block win rates, per ESPN. Powers, 26, will be one of the best guards available next week. The Ravens’ Jackson tag has them $9MM over the cap as of Wednesday afternoon.
  • USC tackle prospect Andrew Vorhees suffered a torn ACL while doing drills at the Combine, Tom Pelissero of tweets. While Vorhees still managed to perform 38 reps in the bench press after the injury, this setback will undoubtedly hurt the top-100 prospect’s draft stock.

Bolts GM: Team Not Trading Keenan Allen

Not long after the Bengals shot down the notion Tee Higgins is available via trade, the Chargers are effectively taking another big name off the wide receiver market. Tom Telesco put a stop to Keenan Allen trade rumors.

During an appearance on the NFL Network’s Good Morning Football, the longtime Chargers GM said there has “never been any thought” of moving Allen. Two years remain on the 11th-year veteran’s four-year, $80.1MM extension.

Keenan Allen (vertical)Keenan Allen, to me, he’s our Andre Reed. He’s our Charlie Joiner,” Telesco said (Twitter link). “He’s an incredible football player. We have a great quarterback and we need weapons around him. There’s never been any thought of [a trade].”

Allen may not be on track to join those pass catchers in Canton, but he has been one of the most important Chargers players during this era. The Chargers gave Mike Williams a three-year, $60MM contract last March and have a Justin Herbert megadeal to negotiate. These big-picture components, Allen’s age (31 in April) and the Bolts’ cap situation have pointed to a potential separation. But a Herbert extension could pair with Allen’s money ($20MM AAV) for at least another season.

As the Deshaun Watson, Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray extensions most recently showed, big-ticket QB contracts often carry low cap numbers in Year 1. Watson, Murray and Wilson all checked in below $18MM for first-year cap hits on their respective accords. Herbert’s deal following suit would complement Allen’s $21.7MM cap hit. The Chargers could look to reduce that via other methods as well.

Allen’s trade value took a hit last season as well. He missed seven games because of a recurring hamstring injury, limiting the top-shelf route-runner to 752 receiving yards. In terms of per-game impact, however, Allen’s 75.2 average was his best since 2017. The former third-round pick should have a bit more left in the tank to help the Bolts, who have relied on him for 10 seasons as a starter. With Higgins and Allen trades being squashed, that would only make the likes of DeAndre Hopkins and Brandin Cooks more valuable as part of a receiver landscape that does not feature a high-end free agency class or the kind of draft crop teams have grown accustomed to in recent years.

The Chargers are still $20MM over the cap. Allen staying on the payroll will force the team to make other adjustments. The Bolts want to keep right tackle Trey Pipkins, and The Athletic’s Daniel Popper notes linebacker and fellow UFA-to-be Drue Tranquill is likely in the team’s plans as well. Pipkins joins an intriguing right tackle market, which houses Mike McGlinchey, Jawaan Taylor and Kaleb McGary. Tranquill’s position group is one of the deepest, which should make the versatile ‘backer affordable for the Bolts. But the AFC West team still has work to do before it can make any re-signings happen.

AFC West Notes: Brown, Chargers, Raiders

Orlando Brown Jr. will command either a second franchise tag, another lucrative Chiefs extension offer or a massive free agency accord. The four-time Pro Bowler wants to stay in Kansas City, but it certainly does not sound like any hometown discount will be considered.

Yeah, absolutely, I want to stay here, but the business is the business,” Brown said, via Pro Football Talk’s Charean Williams. “Things happen. Whatever happens, man, I’ll be prepared to go.”

This stance is unsurprising, given how the franchise-tagged tackle played his 2022 negotiations. Despite acquiring Brown via trade in 2021, the Chiefs tabled extension talks until last year. Brown changed agents, hiring a representative without a football background, and said Kansas City’s offer was too light on guarantees for him to sign. The Chiefs offered Brown a six-year, $139MM deal that contained the second-most guarantees among tackles, and although a bloated final-year salary existed to increase the AAV to top Trent Williams‘ $23MM mark, Brown passed. This rankled some in the organization. Pro Football Focus viewed the mammoth left tackle as making slight improvements in 2022, slotting him as a top-20 player at the position. Barring a major injury in Super Bowl LVII, Brown will be in strong negotiating position again soon.

Here is the latest from the AFC West:

  • Justin Herbert will be taking some time off ahead of the Chargers‘ offseason program. The star quarterback underwent surgery to address a shoulder labrum injury, according to the team. Herbert underwent the procedure on his nonthrowing shoulder, which became an issue late in the season. The Chargers expect their QB to be ready in time for their offseason program, which will be a bit more important for Herbert and Co. due to the team having changed offensive coordinators.
  • On the OC topic, the Chargers will entrust Herbert’s fourth season to Kellen Moore. The 33-year-old play-caller made a quick move from Dallas to L.A., being informed he was not returning for a fifth season as the Cowboys’ OC to landing the Bolts job within a day. Prior to the Chargers moving quickly on Moore, Jeremy Fowler of notes they were leaning toward hiring Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Robinson (Twitter link). Multiple coordinator-seeking teams believed Robinson, a former Brandon Staley coworker, would land the gig. Robinson has interviewed for the Ravens’ OC position, but as of now, the young assistant is set to return to the Rams.
  • Kyzir White departed the Chargers after a productive contract year, one that led the linebacker to the Eagles. Set to start in Super Bowl LVII, White is still auditioning for a long-term payday. The Eagles gave the converted safety a one-year, $3MM deal. Despite White tallying a career-high 144 tackles and starting 17 games for the 2021 Chargers, The Athletic’s Daniel Popper notes Staley’s system not placing a high value on off-ball ‘backers led the Bolts to let him walk (subscription required). This could be relevant intel for the Bolts’ Kenneth Murray plan. The team chose Murray in the first round before Staley’s arrival; his fifth-year option will cost $12.72MM.
  • The Bolts should be expected to consider re-signing right tackle Trey Pipkins, per Popper. Winning the right-side job in training camp after making offseason improvements, Pipkins suffered an MCL sprain and aggravated the injury twice upon returning. The free agent-to-be still started 14 games. Pro Football Focus ranked Pipkins 67th among tackles, though Popper notes the Chargers will likely hold the former third-round pick in higher regard compared to the rest of the league. It will be interesting to see what Pipkins’ market produces, as starter-caliber tackles generally do well in free agency.
  • Adam Butler secured a pretty nice reserve/futures deal with the Raiders. The veteran defensive tackle’s one-year pact includes $485.8K guaranteed, Field Yates of tweets, adding the contract can spike to $2MM. A former Patriots regular, Butler did not play in 2022 after being cut by the Dolphins during training camp.

Injury Rumors: Jackson, Linsley, Johnson

Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is on the team’s injury report for the third straight week after not finishing practice today, according to Jamison Hensley of ESPN. This is not a continuation of any previous injuries and his status for the weekend is still far from determined.

Two weeks ago, Jackson sat out of a practice due to illness and followed that up with a missed practice last week because of a hip injury. The former MVP was sidelined today with a quadriceps issue that caused him to seek treatment from a trainer and miss his usual media session.

Although many have assumed Jackson’s running tendencies would lead to an increase in injuries, he has been remarkably durable. Over five years in the league, Jackson has only missed four games over a four-week stretch last year as he dealt with an ankle injury. His continuous ability to play despite being banged up is an encouraging sign for Baltimore.

The team will want their most valuable player as they prepare to face one of the league’s more stout defenses from Denver this week. If Jackson is unavailable, the Ravens will turn to Tyler Huntley, who went 1-3 as a starter in the four games Jackson had to miss last season.

Here are a few more injury rumors from around the NFL, starting with a couple of bumps and bruises on the Chargers offensive line:

  • Los Angeles could be down two offensive linemen this week as they head to Las Vegas for a divisional battle, according to Daniel Popper of The Athletic. Starting center Corey Linsley is in the league’s concussion protocol and may not be available in time to return. Trey Pipkins, who has performed as the Chargers’ starting right tackle this season, reportedly aggravated an MCL injury in his left knee. If neither player can go this weekend, Will Clapp is expected to fill in for Linsley at center and two others will contend for the open tackle position. Storm Norton is the team’s primary backup tackle, but the Chargers have given former practice squad tackle Foster Sarell an opportunity to start this season, as well.
  • The Seahawks have officially shut down outside linebacker Darryl Johnson after the fourth-year defender underwent foot surgery, according to Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times. He’s been on injured reserve since suffering a foot injury in Week 4. Johnson had earned the first start of his career in the game that saw his season come to an end. Seattle has used a combination of Darrell Taylor and veteran Bruce Irvin since Johnson went down.

Chargers WRs Keenan Allen, Mike Williams Expected To Play In Week 11

Sunday could mark the first time this season that Chargers wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams start and finish a game together. As Lindsey Thiry of reports, both players were full participants in practice on Friday and are expected to play in the Bolts’ Week 11 matchup with the division-rival Chiefs.

Allen sustained a hamstring injury in the season opener, and he has reaggravated the injury multiple times. He returned for Los Angeles’ Week 7 loss to the Seahawks, though he appeared in just 23 snaps and caught two passes for 11 yards. The hamstring problem flared up during the club’s Week 8 bye, and he has missed the last two contests as a result.

Williams, meanwhile, suffered a high ankle sprain during the above-referenced Seattle matchup and was forced to leave the game early. Like Allen, Williams has been sidelined for the last two games.

When healthy, the Allen-Williams tandem is one of the best WR duos in the league, and their compensation reflects that. In March, Williams signed a three-year, $60MM contract featuring $40MM in guaranteed money, and he was living up to that deal prior to the injury. In seven games, the Clemson product has posted 37 catches for 495 yards, putting him on pace for his second consecutive campaign of 1,100+ yards. Though his 2022 13.4 YPR rate represents a step back from his recent output, his catch percentage has increased from 58.9% in 2021 to 62.7% this year.

Allen signed his $20MM/year deal in September 2020, an accord that made him the second-highest-paid wideout in the league at the time. That marked the second extension the Chargers authorized for Allen since they selected him in the third round of the 2013 draft, and he has largely justified the team’s faith in him. From 2017-21, Allen averaged over 101 receptions and 1,180 yards per season, all of which culminated in Pro Bowl nods. He has never been the home run threat that Williams is, but he is about as reliable as a receiver can be.

Although the 2022 season has been a wash for Allen thus far, a return to his typical form would be a significant development for a Chargers club that is 5-4 and currently just outside the AFC playoff picture. Per Thiry, the team is also set to welcome back right tackle Trey Pipkins III, who missed LA’s Week 10 loss to the 49ers due to a knee injury.

Chargers DL Austin Johnson Out For Season

One of the Chargers’ key pieces in an effort to bolster their run defense this offseason, Austin Johnson will be sidelined for the rest of the year. Brandon Staley said a knee fracture will keep the veteran defensive lineman out.

Johnson also sustained MCL damage during the Bolts’ Week 9 win in Atlanta, Daniel Popper of The Athletic tweets. The seventh-year veteran is signed through 2023, having agreed to a two-year, $14MM pact early in free agency.

Thirtieth against the run last season, the Chargers reassembled their interior defensive line this year. They added Johnson, ex-Ram Sebastian Joseph-Day and fifth-round pick Otito Ogbonnia to the equation. Los Angeles still rosters Jerry Tillery, but the former first-round pick suffered a back injury weightlifting last week. Tillery missed Sunday’s game against the Falcons. Despite the upgrade efforts, the Bolts rank 29th against the run after eight games. Johnson’s injury certainly will not help matters.

Johnson, 28, elevated his value during a two-year stay with the Giants. The former Titans spot starter worked as a backup in 2020 but started all 17 Giants games last season, leading to a nice free agency payday. Johnson’s Chargers deal included $10.63MM guaranteed. While that does not ensure he will be back with the team in 2023, when an extensive rehab effort will now be required, the seventh-year vet did well to collect some guaranteed cash beyond the first year of his contract.

The Chargers also lost right tackle Trey Pipkins during their Falcons matchup. Pipkins aggravated an MCL sprain, Staley said. Pipkins still has a chance to play in Week 10, per Staley. Illustrating how no two injuries are alike, 49ers running back Elijah Mitchell has lost half the season to an MCL sprain.

A former third-round pick, Pipkins has bounced in and out of L.A.’s lineup. This year, however, he won a training camp competition against Storm Norton to commandeer the right tackle gig. Pipkins has started every Chargers game this season. Norton, last year’s primary right-side starter, replaced him Sunday. The Chargers are already playing shorthanded up front, with Pro Bowl left tackle Rashawn Slater likely out for the season due to a biceps tear.

OL Rumors: Pipkins, Packers, Vikes, Falcons

Practically the only need the Chargers did not address this offseason was right tackle, where incumbent Storm Norton and backup Trey Pipkins waged a summer competition. It looks like there will be a change up front for the Bolts. Pipkins appears to have beaten out Norton for the gig, Daniel Popper of The Athletic notes (subscription required). The two are swapping roles, with Pipkins — a 2019 third-round pick — leaving his swing tackle post to try his luck as a starter again. Norton, who replaced Bryan Bulaga early last season and made 15 starts, worked with the second team throughout practice this week and saw time as the second-string left tackle as well. Pipkins, 25, has made 10 career starts. While the Chargers demoted him in 2021, they were impressed with his left- and right-side spot starts late in the season. The University of Sioux Falls product, who is going into a contract year, will work on a line full of free agency investments (Corey Linsley, Matt Feiler) and first-round picks (Rashawn Slater, Zion Johnson).

Here is the latest from the O-line scene:

  • Staying on the right tackle topic, Elgton Jenkins is expected to settle in there when he returns, per Albert Breer of A high-end Swiss Army knife for the Packers, Jenkins made the 2020 Pro Bowl at guard and began last season as David Bakhtiari‘s left tackle fill-in. An ACL tear sidelined Jenkins in November. Jenkins would stand to command more in earnings with a quality right tackle season, though staying on the field in 2022 will position him for a lucrative deal no matter where he lines up. The Packers removed both players from the active/PUP list this month but do not yet know if Jenkins and Bakhtiari — who have not played together since December 2020 — will be ready for Week 1, Matt LaFleur reiterated Sunday. When healthy, a Bakhtiari-Jenkins duo would be one of the league’s best tackle tandems.
  • The Vikings are on the verge of having five homegrown first- or second-round picks as O-line starters. Second-round rookie Ed Ingram is “trending” toward being the Vikes’ right guard starter, Kevin O’Connell said (via the St. Paul Pioneer Press’ Chris Tomasson). Although Minnesota signed Jesse Davis and Chris Reed as potential stopgaps, Ingram has impressed since moving to first-team duty during camp. Ingram worked with Minnesota’s first team in joint practices against San Francisco, with Davis — who had taken some days off to rest a surgically repaired knee — shifting to the second team, Tomasson adds. Ingram was also held out of the Vikings’ preseason finale Saturday, and while O’Connell stopped short of locking the LSU product into the lineup, that is the likely scenario. Ingram would join 2021 first-rounder Christian Darrisaw, 2020 second-rounder Ezra Cleveland, 2019 first-rounder Garrett Bradbury and 2018 second-rounder Brian O’Neill on a fully homegrown Vikings line.
  • Free agent pickup Elijah Wilkinson looks to have commandeered the Falcons‘ left guard spot, per D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, who notes the former Broncos and Bears blocker looks set to play ahead of 2021 third-rounder Jalen Mayfield. The Michigan product struggled as a rookie, ranking as a bottom-10 Pro Football Focus guard. Mayfield did start 16 games, so a demotion is certainly notable for player who started one with the Bears last season. Wilkinson’s most relevant NFL work came in Denver, when he served as Ja’Wuan James‘ primary replacement from 2019-20. Mayfield may already be on Atlanta’s roster bubble, per Ledbetter.

Chargers Rumors: RT, Davis, Palmer

The Chargers offensive line is almost perfectly set for the regular season. They return the left-side trio of tackle Rashawn Slater, guard Matt Feiler, and center Corey Linsley, who were all very impressive in the same roles last year. They used their first-round pick this year to fill the right guard spot with rookie guard Zion Johnson out of Boston College. 

The right tackle position is currently a battle between last year’s starter Storm Norton and reserve lineman Trey Pipkins III. Norton has vastly outperformed his undrafted status, but does leave something to be desired at the position. The Chargers are really hoping, though, that Pipkins will live up to his third-round draft stock from three years ago, according to Daniel Popper of The Athletic.

Pipkins spent the offseason working out with Duke Manyweather, who works with offensive lineman in Dallas. Los Angeles will hope that Pipkins will be able to make the leap and take over the starting right tackle job to fill in their ideal offensive line. If not, they will likely rely again on Norton and focus any blocking help directly to that side of the line.

Here are a few other notes on position battles the Chargers face going into the preseason, according to Popper:

  • Cornerback Michael Davis is heading into his sixth year with the Chargers. After spending his first season and a half as a rotational cornerback in the Chargers defense, Davis took hold of a starting job and didn’t relinquish it. Not until this preseason, that is. With the free agent additions of Bryce Callahan and J.C. Jackson, Davis is facing some serious competition for his starting job. As training camp begins, it appears the Chargers have been running with Jackson and Asante Samuel Jr. on the first-team with Callahan coming in as the first option for nickel packages. It’s great news for the Chargers depth at cornerback, but tough for Davis who hasn’t been a backup since 2018.
  • With wide receivers Mike Williams and Keenan Allen set to return as quarterback Justin Herbert‘s top two receiving options, the question rises of who comes in as the third receiver. Los Angeles didn’t make any moves to acquire a new receiving threat this offseason, mainly due to the belief they hold that Josh Palmer will make a significant leap in his second NFL season. As a rookie, Palmer caught 33 balls (third-best for receivers on the team) for 353 yards (fourth-best for receivers on the team). The Chargers will continue to use running back Austin Ekeler‘s receiving abilities in the passing game and, after losing Jared Cook to free agency, they brought in Gerald Everett to start at tight end. But they hope to see Palmer really step up as a wide out so that they can terrorize opposing defenses with a three-headed monster of a receiving corps.

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