Tyler Higbee

NFC West Notes: Seahawks, Higbee, 49ers

The Seahawks are conducting a thorough search for interior offensive line help. This has included three visits with veterans thus far. Following the news of Greg Van Roten and Lucas Patrick‘s visits, Ike Boettger has spoken with the team. Boettger, 29, made a trip to Seattle on Monday, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter. The former Bills starter spent last season with the Colts. The Seahawks let Damien Lewis walk in free agency and have not re-signed 2023 starter Phil Haynes. As the team transitions to Ryan Grubb as its play-caller, it appears clear a veteran free agent will be part of the equation at guard.

Considering how Boettger’s career has gone since a December 2021 Achilles tear, he would qualify as a depth-level addition. Boettger, who started 17 Bills games at guard from 2020-21, was not activated off Buffalo’s PUP list until mid-December of 2022. He only played in one game that season and was active for just two Colts contests last year.

Here is the latest from the NFC West:

  • Tyler Higbee is expected to begin training camp on the Rams‘ active/PUP list, Sean McVay said recently. Considering the timing of Higbee’s ACL tear (Los Angeles’ wild-card loss), it would not surprise to see the veteran tight end transferred to the reserve/PUP list to start the season. Higbee, 31, is going into his ninth season with the Rams. The longtime starter is on his third contract (two years, $17MM); that deal runs through 2025. If Higbee is shifted to the reserve/PUP list, he would miss the Rams’ first four games. The team added ex-Seahawk Colby Parkinson in free agency; Parkinson spent the past three seasons playing in ex-McVay staffer Shane Waldron‘s offense, making for a smooth transition.
  • The 49ers have received better injury news regarding their top tight end. George Kittle underwent core muscle surgery recently, but John Lynch said (via NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco) the All-Pro is not in danger of missing training camp time. Ditto Charvarius Ward, who also underwent core surgery early this offseason. Ward is going into a contract year, while Kittle still has two years remaining on the $15MM-per-year extension he signed in 2020. Both were All-Pros last season.
  • The Rams dived into the guard market’s deep waters this year, re-signing Kevin Dotson and adding Jonah Jackson. They also added Parkinson and brought back Darious Williams. These deals, as The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue points out, largely overlap with the rookie contracts of Puka Nacua, Kyren Williams and Kobie Turner. Players are also more interested in shorter-term deals now, as the cap spikes at record-setting levels. “I think you’ve seen that trend in the league, players want shorter deals,” Rams VP of football ops Tony Pastoors said. “It allows them to get back to free agency. As the cap continues to grow, they’re not stuck in a deal they are unhappy with because the numbers are antiquated. … I think the other part of it is probably just the evolution of Sean and Les (Snead), and wanting to be able to make moves and make adjustments and not have huge ramifications.”
  • Not long after the Steelers added Cordarrelle Patterson with an eye on the NFL’s radical kickoff change, the Seahawks have the same plan in mind for recent pickup Laviska Shenault. GM John Schneider said (via the Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta) the team signed the former second-round pick to be a return-game weapon. The 220-pound wideout, who will also serve as a Seattle backup receiver, only returned nine kickoffs while on his rookie contract. Each came with the Panthers over the past two seasons. But he showed some big-play ability in Carolina and Jacksonville. As the kickoff receives a revival (on a trial basis), the Seahawks had a target in mind to take advantage.

Rams TE Tyler Higbee Suffers Torn ACL

JANUARY 16: Higbee did indeed tear his ACL, an MRI confirmed (h/t NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport). He now faces a steep challenge with respect to recovering in full in time for the beginning of the 2024 campaign, one in which he will look to return to form and the team will aim to repeat this year’s offensive success in particular.

JANUARY 15: The Rams’ campaign came to an end on Sunday night, and Tyler Higbee is likely to face an offseason of recovery. The veteran tight end is believed to have suffered a torn ACL during the team’s wild-card loss, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports.

Higbee suffered the injury after being hit by Lions safety Kerby Joseph in the fourth quarter. He had not made a catch up to that point in the game (with the play in which he went down coming on his lone target of the contest), but his absence nevertheless dealt a blow to the Rams’ offense. Schefter notes an MRI will take place today to confirm the initial diagnosis.

The 2023 campaign was Higbee’s eighth in the NFL, all of which have come with the Rams. The former fourth-rounder has been a full-time starter since his rookie season, and he has served as a consistent option in the passing game over the course of his tenure. Higbee has played at least 15 games every year, and his durability has of course been a key factor in his success. Assuming he has indeed torn his ACL, he will face a challenging recovery period to be available for the start of next season.

Higbee recorded his fourth consecutive season with at least 521 receiving yards in 2022, seeing a career-high 108 targets along the way. His production and continued importance to the team’s passing attack earned him an extension in September. The 31-year-old is under contract through 2025 as a result, with scheduled cap hits of $11.6MM and $9.6MM. A return to form would be a welcomed development as the Rams look to build off of this year’s offensive success.

Higbee had a smaller share in the team’s overall production this year, posting a 47-495-2 statline. The emergence of fifth-round rookie Puka Nacua into one of the the league’s leading receivers played a large role in that, of course, but having he, fellow WR Cooper Kupp and Higbee healthy will go a long way in ensuring offensive production moving forward. The latter’s health situation could be a key storyline for the team in the offseason, however.

Rams, TE Tyler Higbee Agree To Extension

A key member of the Rams’ passing attack has a new deal in hand. Tight end Tyler Higbee has agreed to a three-year extension worth a base value of $27MM which includes $17MM guaranteed, per Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. The Rams have since confirmed the deal, though they have announced it as a two-year pact which will keep him signed through 2025.

Higbee has spent his entire eight-year career with the Rams, and this newest contract will be his third with the franchise. The 30-year-old’s previous pact – a four-year, $29MM accord signed in 2019 – was set to expire at the end of the season. Instead of hitting the open market in March, he will again remain in place on a multi-year agreement.

Serving as a full-time starter throughout his career, Higbee has been a constant for the team’s passing game over the past four seasons in particular. The former fourth-rounder has recorded at least 520 receiving yards each year over that span, including a career-high 734 in 2019. Higbee has added 16 touchdowns across that span as well, giving Los Angeles a consistent and productive option to compliment wideout Cooper Kupp.

Aside from the latter, the Rams have moved on from a number of skill-position players from their Super Bowl core. That includes trading Robert Woods to the Titans last March and the deal which sent his presumed replacement, Allen Robinson, to the Steelers this past April. In their absences, along with that of Kupp to start the year, Higbee has posted 132 yards on 11 catches through three games in 2023.

After missing out on the team’s Super Bowl victory due to a sprained MCL, Higbee has yet to be sidelined for a game. That durability will allow him to continue his presence as a consistent chain-mover and add to his 113 games played total, which ranks 13th in franchise history. He will likely crack the top 10 in that regard by the end of this latest pact, which Rapoport notes can max out a value of $30.5MM.

A 2022 restructure left Higbee with a cap hit of $9.13MM in 2023. It will be interesting to see how his latest deal works out on the Rams’ cap sheet, something which has undergone plenty of changes recently as the team transitions to a young nucleus at a number of positions. They will retain a steady veteran at the TE spot for a few more years, however.

Rams Notes: OBJ, Injuries, Offensive Line

Odell Beckham Jr. took to Twitter earlier today to express disappointment in the Rams’ latest offer, noting that the front office offered him “the lowest of low offers.” Despite OBJ’s public complaint about negotiations, Rams head coach Sean McVay actually expressed optimism about re-signing the veteran receiver.

“I love Odell. We have constant dialogue,” McVay said today (via The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue). “I think he also knows that certainly I don’t think that’s the last (offer) that will come from us. I’m not familiar with exactly what it is, he knows how we feel about him. We’ve got a little bit of time. Love Odell, nothing but good things coming from me.”

While OBJ has been considering overtures from various teams, the receiver did admit that the Rams “know where [he] wanted to be.” If the organization is willing to extend a bit financially, it sounds like they should have the inside track on signing the wideout.

Beckham Jr. joined the Rams midway through last season and had 305 receiving yards and five touchdowns in eight games. He added another 21 catches in four playoff games, with his postseason ending prematurely thanks to a torn ACL suffered during the Super Bowl. The Rams have continually been connected to the receiver throughout the offseason, even after extending Cooper Kupp and spending on Allen Robinson.

More notes out of Los Angeles:

  • Rams wideout Cooper Kupp (foot), defensive tackle Aaron Donald (foot), and tight end Tyler Higbee (ankle) were all held out of practice today. McVay said the three players are dealing with injuries sustained during their Week 5 loss to the Cowboys, but he doesn’t expect the ailments to impact the players’ availability for Sunday’s game against the Panthers (per NFL.com).
  • The Rams have yet to find their footing on offense, with the running game struggling in particular. McVay was asked about the team’s struggles so far, and instead of pointing the finger at Cam Akers or Darrell Henderson, he instead attributes the issues to a lack of continuity on the offensive line. “It depends on the types of concepts and things that we’re trying to activate, but we’ve been at our best when there’s an identity but enough versatility to be able to alleviate the stress off of some of your core concepts, and it takes all 11 (players),” McVay said (h/t to John Dillon of The Rams Wire). “It has been a challenge because we’ve never had the same guys up front. We’ve had backs that haven’t really practiced, we’re trying to get a bunch of different things going, all of which is an excuse that just is what I think is for weak-minded people. I’m not going to make them, but we just got to continue to keep swinging and keep plugging along and figure it out because nobody cares and we’ve got to fix it.” The Rams lost another lineman yesterday when they placed guard David Edwards on injured reserve.
  • Speaking of running backs, the Rams moved on from RB Jake Funk earlier this week, and the RB has since found a new home on the Saints practice squad. Funk saw time in 10 games with Los Angeles in 2021, mostly appearing on special teams.

Contract Details: Watt, Rams, Texans

With teams preparing their cap sheets for the start of the NFL season, we’ve seen a number of front offices rework some contracts. We’ve compiled some of the recent contract maneuverings (as well as some details on recent signings and extension) below:

  • T.J. Watt, LB (Steelers): restructured contract yesterday, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). The move opened $6.75MM in space for Pittsburgh. Watt inked a four-year deal worth up to $112MM (including $80MM guaranteed) last September.
  • Rob Havenstein, OT (Rams): three-year extension. The deal is worth $34.5MM, according to Rapoport (on Twitter). The extension includes $24.1MM guaranteed and offers $6MM in incentives.
  • Tyler Higbee, TE (Rams): restructured contract earlier this week, according to ESPN’s Field Yates (on Twitter). The team converted $4.75MM of Higbee’s base salary into a signing bonus, creating $3.8MM in space.
  • Jalen Thompson, S (Cardinals): three-year extension. The $40MM deal includes $24.5MM in guaranteed money and a $10MM signing bonus, according to Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com (on Twitter).
  • Lane Johnson, OT and Jake Elliott, K (Eagles): restructured contracts today, according to Yates (on Twitter). The Eagles converted $5.88MM of Johnson’s base salary and $2.715MM of Elliot’s base salary into signing bonuses, creating about $6.9MM in cap space.
  • O.J. Howard, TE (Texans): one-year deal. The contract is worth $1.035MM, according to Wilson (on Twitter). The tight end will receive $910K in offset from the $1.945MM guaranteed base salary he got from his previous deal with the Bills. When coupled with the $1.25MM signing bonus he got from Buffalo, Howard will earn a total of $3.25MM this year.
  • Eric Murray, S (Texans): restructured contract yesterday, per Yates (on Twitter). Specifically, the team converted $1.465MM of his contract into a signing bonus, opening $732.5K in cap space.
  • Ka’imi Fairbairn, K and Cameron Johnston, P (Texans): restructured contracts earlier this week, per Wilson (on Twitter). The two moves saved the Texans $2.1MM in cap savings.

Latest On Rams TE Tyler Higbee

Tight end Tyler Higbee has transformed into a core member of the Rams offense, and it sounds like he’ll be ready to go for the start of training camp. According to Jourdan Rodrigue, Higbee is expected to be fully cleared from his knee injury by the start of the regular season (if not sooner).

Higbee suffered a knee injury during the NFC Championship Game, landing him on injured reserve and forcing him to miss the Rams Super Bowl victory. The injury later required surgery, and while the rehab meant Higbee couldn’t immediately dive into his offseason routine, he was already back to practicing by May.

“The knee’s coming along very well,” Higbee said at the time (h/t to Cameron DeSilva of USA Today). “I’ve been staying on top of rehab and getting after it, started getting on the field a couple of weeks ago; they’re slowly working me back in, knowing we’ve got some time before the season.”

Higbee, a former fourth-round pick, has had at least 40 receptions and 500 receiving yards in each of the past three seasons. With Matthew Stafford taking over in Los Angeles, Higbee continued producing on offense, finishing the 2021 campaign with 61 receptions for 560 yards and five touchdowns. In three playoff games, he added another nine receptions for 115 yards.

Former running backs coach Thomas Brown is now taking over as the Rams TE coach. If Higbee is slowed a bit to start training camp, Brown will have some depth to turn to for reps. While the team lost number-two tight end Johnny Mundt this offseason, they’re still rostering the likes of Kendall Blanton, Brycen Hopkins, Kyle Markway, Roger Carter, Jamal Pettigrew, and Jared Pinkney.

NFC Rumors: Jenkins, Eagles, Seahawks, Rams

Offensive lineman Teven Jenkins was taken in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft last year by the Chicago Bears, but only got a small portion of his rookie season to earn a spot on the line. Well, according to Adam Jahns of The Athletic, the new Bears’ staff is giving him the best chance, alongside fellow 2021 Draft pick Larry Borom, to start at right or left tackle.

Jenkins underwent back surgery in the preseason last year and was placed on injured reserve. He returned and made his debut in early December, playing on special teams. An injury to left tackle Jason Peters opened the door for Jenkins and he subbed in for the next two weeks, returning to a reserve role after that.

New offensive line coach Chris Morgan has been pleasantly surprised by the two second-year players, so far, but remarks that “everything changes once the pads come on.” It appears, though, that, for now, the starting tackle jobs are Jenkins and Borom’s to lose.

Here are some other rumors from around the NFC, starting with a rumor out of the City of Brotherly Love:

  • The Eagles were the franchise that mercifully and excitedly put an end to the slide of presumed first-round pick Nakobe Dean. Dean ended up falling to the third round due to projections about his long-term health. The Eagles could’ve gone another route, though, according to Zach Berman of The Athletic. Berman says that Philadelphia reportedly had multiple trade offers to move back from the pick they used to select Dean. Due to their significant lack of of Day 3 picks, it would have made all of the sense in the world for them to take one of those teams up on their offers, but, lo and behold, the Eagles stood pat and drafted Dean, a testament to the confidence they have in his addition.
  • The Eagles weren’t the only team looking at the possibility of moving. According to Brady Henderson of ESPN, “the Seahawks tried to trade up into the late first round” of the 2022 NFL Draft for Penn State outside linebacker Arnold Ebiketie. Like Philadelphia, Seattle stood pat, hoping he may slide to them in the second round. Unfortunately for the Seahawks, Atlanta moved up to select Ebiketie two spots in front of them. Seattle ended up selecting Minnesota outside linebacker Boye Mafe instead. Mafe is no consolation prize but a strong pick in his own regard, having generated first-round buzz before slipping to the front of the second round. Seattle swung and missed on Ebiketie, but they most certainly did not strike out when they landed Mafe.
  • The Rams won Super Bowl LVI despite the losses before the game of tight end Tyler Higbee and safety Jordan Fuller. Fuller suffered an ankle injury in the team’s Week 18 loss to the 49ers and Higbee suffered a knee injury in the NFC Championship game. Both players underwent offseason surgery and, according to Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic, are “working their way back up to full football activity.”

Rams Move Tyler Higbee, Joe Noteboom To IR; Darrell Henderson, Sebastian Joseph-Day Back On Roster

The Rams are on track to see some familiar faces in uniform Sunday. The anticipated activations of Darrell Henderson and Sebastian Joseph-Day took place Friday.

But the NFC champions are now certain to be without Tyler Higbee and backup offensive lineman Joe Noteboom. The Rams placed both on IR to make room for Henderson and Joseph-Day. The sprained MCL Higbee suffered in the NFC championship game prevented him from practicing this week.

While the Bengals are likely to see C.J. Uzomah return to action after his championship-round injury, the Rams will be forced to use backups. Kendall Blanton and second-year cog Brycen Hopkins are the only other active-roster tight ends for Los Angeles. The former made key contributions against the 49ers, catching five passes for 57 yards. This came after Blanton scored a touchdown against the Buccaneers. Higbee’s absence will move Blanton into a key auxiliary role in the passing game.

This would have been Higbee’s second Super Bowl. He played against the Patriots in Super Bowl LIII but did not catch a pass. This season, the Rams turned to Higbee more frequently, having let Gerald Everett walk in free agency. Higbee finished with 61 receptions for 560 yards and five touchdowns this season.

Noteboom has served as Andrew Whitworth‘s backup for the past two seasons. He stepped in for the 40-year-old left tackle starter against the Bucs but did not play in the NFC championship game. A chest injury will wrap Noteboom’s season early. A 2018 third-round pick, Noteboom is set to be a free agent next month. Whitworth returned for the 49ers matchup and will make his Super Bowl debut Sunday.

Henderson also suffered an MCL sprain and has not played since Week 16. While the third-year running back started for most of this season, his role almost certainly will be minimized upon return. Sony Michel had begun to eat into Henderson’s workload late in the season, and Cam Akers has since made his return to action. Still, the Rams will soon have a deep backfield for Super Bowl LVI. It will be the first time Henderson, Akers and Michel will each be available.

Joseph-Day has not played since Week 7, having suffered a chest injury that required surgery. The third-year interior D-lineman has been a Rams starter for most of his career. Prior to going down in October, Joseph-Day had registered a career-high three sacks. This stands to bolster L.A.’s depth up front and present an embattled Bengals offensive line with another challenge.

Latest On Rams’ TE Higbee

During the NFC Championship game tonight, the Rams saw starting tight end Tyler Higbee go down with a knee injury in the first quarter. They’ll be eager to determine the severity of Higbee’s injury this week, as they prepare to host Super Bowl LVI. 

The sixth-year tight end was second on the team this year in receptions and third on the team in receiving yards and touchdowns. Coming into tonight’s game, Higbee had 7 catches for 97 yards in the Rams’ first two playoff games. He had reeled in 2 receptions for 18 yards before leaving tonight.

With backup tight ends Brycen Hopkins, Johnny Mundt, and rookie Jacob Harris all injured, Los Angeles turned to Kendall Blanton. The former undrafted free agent showed up when his name was called, catching all five of his targets for 57 yards.

The Rams will likely look into Higbee’s injury early this week and determine their course of action from there. Whether they can return him to practice immediately, need to hold him out to rest, or need to prepare to play a Super Bowl with Blanton in the starting lineup, the Rams have two weeks to come up with a plan.

NFL COVID List Updates: 12/24/21

We’ve compiled a list of players who were placed on or activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list today. In some instances, players activated from the list remain on IR:

Baltimore Ravens

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: S Chuck Clark, C Trystan Colon
  • Activated from practice squad/COVID-19 list: RB Nate McCrary
  • Placed on practice squad/COVID-19 list: QB Chris Streveler

Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: DB Jordan Fuller, TE Tyler Higbee
  • Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list: OL Cole Williamson

Miami Dolphins

  • Activated from practice squad/COVID-19 list: RB Gerrid Doaks

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: RB Travis Homer
  • Activated from practice squad/COVID-19 list: OL Pier-Olivier Lestage

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team