Quincy Enunwa

AFC Notes: Broncos, Brady, Jets, Dunlap

Bill Musgrave, who was elevated to Broncos‘ offensive coordinator once Mike McCoy was dismissed after Week 10 of the 2017 campaign, could not effectuate many wholesale changes to the offense midseason. But as Mike Klis of 9News.com writes, Musgrave is installing an almost completely different offense this year. “Yeah, it’s pretty much all different,” Musgrave said.

Denver ranked 27th in the league in scoring last season, and everyone from the front office down believed that McCoy’s complex system was a big reason for that, although the team’s offense has been in a funk since the second half of the 2014 season. However, the Broncos hope that Case Keenum will bring much-needed stability to the quarterback position, and that Musgrave’s more streamlined offense — which was developed along with GM John Elway, head coach Vance Joseph, and personnel advisor Gary Kubiak — will lead to improved results in 2018.

Now let’s take look at a few other AFC notes and rumors:

  • Although Tom Brady has not announced when he will return to the Patriots, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, just like owner Robert Kraft, expects him to be present for the team’s mandatory minicamp this week. Brady’s backups, Brian Hoyer and Danny Etling, have gotten increased work in Brady’s absence, and it remains unclear as to how Brady will be received by head coach Bill Belichick when he returns. While Brady will likely not have much trouble making up for lost time, his absence has created plenty of buzz in the NFL world, and it is not helping the already palpable tension between him and his coach.
  • Mike Reiss of ESPN.com says Patriots second-year TE Jacob Hollister, who made the team as a UDFA last year, has added some noticeable weight and strength and has looked good in OTAs. Hollister will compete for No. 3 TE reps with free agent signee Troy Niklas, who comes with a better draft pedigree but who has not done much in his first few professional seasons.
  • Jets CEO Christopher Johnson‘s pro-player stance on the national anthem issue will likely not be a major factor when it comes to luring free agents, but Rich Cimini of ESPN.com says it is suggestive of a player-friendly environment, which could be a selling point if a player has narrowed his choice to a couple of teams. In the same piece, Cimini notes that the team is rededicating itself to a physical and prominent running game, which free agent signee Isaiah Crowell will lead, and that Quincy Enunwa still expects to be ready for the start of training camp.
  • Steelers‘ 2018 second-round choice James Washington is the presumptive favorite to assume the team’s No. 3 WR job following the draft-day trade of Martavis Bryant. But as Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com writes, Justin Hunter — a former second-round pick of the Titans whose star never rose like some expected — has been getting a few first-team reps during this year’s OTAs, and he is making the most of them. Hunter, like Bryant, is a lanky deep threat capable of making plays downfield, and he hopes to become a consistent target for Ben Roethlisberger.
  • Both Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap are entering the final year of their respective contracts, and as Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer notes, the Bengals clearly want to keep Atkins around long-term. Whether or not they want to keep Dunlap could hinge not only on the performance of the young defensive lineman already on the roster, but on next year’s crop of rookies. 2019 is already being labeled “the year of the defensive lineman,” and if the 2019 crop of collegiate prospects lives up to its billing, Cincinnati could be perfectly content to let Dunlap walk. We learned yesterday that Dunlap would end his short-lived holdout and report to the team.
  • In the same piece linked above, Dehner names Bengals‘ 2018 fifth-round choice Darius Phillips as the late-round pick who has stood out the most thus far. Phillips has been deployed as a slot corner in spring practices and has looked sharp and instinctive. He also has been getting a shot at punt returner, as he is reportedly electric with the ball in his hands.

AFC East Notes: Jets, Enunwa, Patriots

A neck injury sidelined Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa for the entire 2017 season, but it’s an issue that he’s been dealing with for years, as Manish Mehta of the Daily News writes. Enunwa says the pain dates all the way back to 2015 when the Jets beat the Titans in Week 14.

Interestingly, the 26-year-old says that he has not done any post-surgical rehab over the last eight months.

I had the surgery. I had a brace for a little bit. I didn’t have the brace for long,” Enunwa said. “I had to sleep a certain way for a few days. After that, it was nothing. I wasn’t allowed to run (in the beginning). Otherwise, there was no rehab. Everything I did was for my legs, so when I got back I could run.”

This year, Enunwa says that his goal is to be a “difference maker” for Gang Green. A big year could also make a difference in his wallet. Enunwa is slated to earn $2.91MM on his restricted free agent deal and will be eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2019.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • Patriots guard Shaq Mason could be one year away from becoming one of the league’s highest-paid guards, Jeff Howe of The Athletic writes. Mason probaly won’t approach Andrew Norwell‘s five-year, $66.5MM deal ($30MM guaranteed), but Howe estimates that he should see no less than $9MM/year with about 40% of his deal fully guaranteed. Right now, there are eleven guards who make at least $9MM per season, so it’s fair to assume that Mason – who will turn 26 just before the ’19 season – will hit that mark if he performs in 2018. Last year, Mason graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 10 ranked guard in the NFL.
  • With seven running backs on the Patriots‘ roster, something has to give. Doug Kyed of NESN can envision a scenario in which Mike Gillislee is cut in favor of former Bengal Jeremy Hill. First-round pick Sony Michel is obviously safe and the same goes for pass-catching specialist James White. After that, Hill, Gillislee, Rex Burkhead, and Brandon Bolden are competing for no more than three spots. Burkhead had a productive first year with the Pats and Bolden has been tremendous on special teams, so Hill and Gillislee are probably squaring off for one final place on the roster. The seventh running back under contract, undrafted free agent Ralph Webb, seems unlikely to make the cut.
  • On Thursday, the Bills reached an injury settlement with retired center Eric Wood.
  • The Dolphins were one of five teams to utilize the post-June 1 release designation this year.

Jets WR Quincy Enunwa Signs RFA Tender

Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa has signed his second-round restricted free agent tender, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Enunwa will now be paid $2.914MM for the 2018 season.

Enunwa was one of 14 NFL restricted free agents to be tender at the second-round level, and he’s the fourth — following Falcons guard Ben Garland, Jaguars running back Corey Grant, and Seahawks cornerback Justin Coleman — to officially sign his tender. There was no rush for Enunwa to ink his tender, as RFAs have until April 20 to work out offer sheets with other clubs. However, it was always unlikely that any NFL team would have been willing to sacrifice a second-round pick in order to land Enunwa.

A second-round pick is a steep price for any restricted free agent, but even more so for Enunwa given his recent health issues. Enunwa, 25, is coming off neck surgery for a bulging disc, and while Schefter reports the fourth-year wideout is experiencing full range of motion, no club was likely to take a risk on Enunwa while giving up a second-rounder.

That’s not to say Enunwa isn’t talented, as the former sixth-round pick broke out for 58 receptions, 857 yards, and four touchdowns in 2016 before missing all of last season. If healthy, he’ll be part of a Jets wide receiver depth chart that includes two new additions in Terrelle Pryor and Andre Roberts, plus holdovers Jermaine Kearse, Robby Anderson, Chad Hansen, and ArDarius Stewart, among others.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

RFA/ERFA Tender Decisions: 3/14/18

Here are today’s restricted free agent and exclusive-rights free agent tender decisions, with the list being updated throughout the day. All links go to Twitter unless otherwise noted:

RFAs

Tendered at the second-round level ($2.914MM):

Tendered at original round level ($1.907MM):

Non-tendered:

ERFAs

Tendered:

Non-tendered:

Jets Use Second-Round Tender On Quincy Enunwa

The Jets announced that they have used a second-round tender on wide receiver Quincy Enunwa.

With the move, the Jets have put a one-year, $2.91MM placeholder on him. In the event of an unmatched offer sheet, the Jets will receive a second-round pick. However, it seems unlikely that another club would pony up a second-round pick for Enunwa given that he missed the entire 2017 campaign with a neck injury.

Enunwa broke out in 2016 with 58 catches for 857 yards and four touchdowns, and he should still have a role with the Jets going forward, especially given the legal troubles of fellow pass-catcher Robbie Anderson. Other wideouts on the Jets’ roster include Jermaine Kearse, Chad Hansen, and ArDarius Stewart,

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Rumors: Jets, McCown, Giants, Redskins

Wide receiver Quincy Enunwa will be a restricted free agent next spring, and though he missed the entire 2017 season with a neck injury, the Jets will likely still offer him a RFA tender, tweets Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. The 25-year-old Enunwa broke out for 58 receptions, 857 yards, and four touchdowns a season ago, so New York is apparently comfortable tendering him despite his recent injury history. Given those health questions, however, Enunwa will likely receive only an original round tender, which should be worth roughly $2MM next year. If he is re-signed, Enunwa will add another dimension to a Jets receiving corps that also includes Robby Anderson and rookies Chad Hansen and ArDarius Stewart.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two East divisions:

  • The Jets have been open about their willingness to re-sign quarterback Josh McCown, but the veteran signal-caller hasn’t officially decided if he’ll return for another NFL season, according to Bob Glauber of Newsday. McCown, 38, has four children who don’t live in the New York area, meaning family concerns will play a role in McCown’s future. Given that he’s arguably posting the best season of his career, McCown is expected to start the Jets’ remaining games even though the club has several younger options on the roster. For what it’s worth, New York offensive coordinator John Morton has been vocal his desire to continue working with McCown, writes Daniel Popper of the New York Daily News.
  • Rookie quarterback Davis Webb‘s status with the Giants is now uncertain following the firing of general manager Jerry Reese and head coach Ben McAdoo, especially given that Webb was considered “McAdoo’s guy,” tweets Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com. McAdoo reportedly “pushed for [Webb] in every round” of the 2017 draft, and New York ultimately selected Webb in the third round. The Giants turned to veteran backup Geno Smith in Week 13, but will apparently start Eli Manning for the remainder of the season, leaving open the question of whether Webb is in the club’s long-term plans.
  • Former Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan‘s arbitration hearing against the team will begin next week, reports Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com, who adds owner Daniel Snyder, team president Bruce Allen, and head coach Jay Gruden could be required to testify. Washington will reportedly attempt to use McCloughan’s history of alcohol abuse as a fireable offense, while McCloughan will argue that he rarely drank while employed with the Redskins.

Jets Cut 10, Place Quincy Enunwa On IR

The Jets have moved their roster to 76 players in advance of Saturday’s cutdown deadline. New York has announced the following transactions:

Waived:

Placed on IR:

Placed on reserve/NFI:

Jets To Place WR Quincy Enunwa On IR

This is shaping up to be a long season for Jets fans. The team is expected to place wide receiver Quincy Enunwa on injured reserve, ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link) hears. "<strong

[RELATED: Josh McCown All But Certain To Start Week 1]

Enunwa re-aggravated a neck injury during practice on Saturday night and it appears that tests have confirmed the worst. The 25-year-old was one of the team’s few bright spots in 2016 and was slated to be the team’s clear No. 1 wide receiver following the departure of Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker‘s release.

With Enunwa out of the equation, former Bears receiver Marquess Wilson stands as the team’s No. 1 WR. Robby Anderson and rookies ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen round out the supporting cast. Jalin Marshall won’t be with the team until after he serves his four-game suspension and it remains to be seen how waiver additions Lucky Whitehead and Bruce Ellington will factor into the equation. Neither Whitehead nor Ellington are guaranteed a 53-man roster spot and both players profile more as return specialists than receivers.

Last year, Enunwa had 58 catches for 857 yards and four touchdowns.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Quincy Enunwa Suffers Neck Injury

Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa, the most experienced wideout on the team, suffered a neck injury during last night’s practice/scrimmage, as Daniel Popper of the New York Daily News writes. The injury occurred during 7-0n-7 drills, when Enunwa dove for a pass from Christian Hackenberg and hit his head on the ground. He attempted to get to his feet, but fell immediately on his face.

Jan 1, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (81) attempts to make a catch but drops the ball during the game against Buffalo Bills in the 3rd quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

[RELATED: Jets Waive Bruce Ellington]

Head coach Todd Bowles indicated that he is uncertain of the severity of the injury at this point. He did say, however, that it is the same shoulder and neck issue that kept Enunwa out of all three minicamp practices, which makes the injury even more concerning.

If Enunwa is out for any length of time, it will seriously weaken an already thin receiving corps. Gang Green, of course, has initiated a full rebuild and jettisoned veteran wideouts Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker this offseason, leaving Enunwa — who broke out in 2016 with 58 catches for 857 yards and four touchdowns — as the No. 1 wideout by default. Behind him is a mix of rookies and castoffs from other clubs, none of whom have stood out in camp thus far. Assuming Hackenberg takes over the starting quarterback role at some point this season, the lack of weapons he has at his disposal will make it tough for the Jets’ front office to fairly evaluate him.

After trainers tended to Enunwa for several minutes, he was able to get to his feet and walk slowly off the field.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Steelers, Jets, Cousins, Texans

Having not yet signed his exclusive rights free agent tender, Steelers left tackle Alejandro Villanueva training camp status is in question, writes Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Villanueva signed a waiver that enabled him to participate in voluntary practices during the spring, but he indicated at the time that he’ll follow his agent’s advice regarding camp. With that in mind, the former Army Ranger captain could sit out if his representative, Jason Bernstein, suggests it. As Fittipaldo points out, though, Villanueva doesn’t have much leverage and will have no recourse but to play for the ERFA tender amount ($615K) if the Steelers don’t take it upon themselves to award him a raise. Unfortunately for the O-line stalwart, he won’t be eligible to cash in as an unrestricted free agent until after the 2018 season, when he’ll already be 30 years old.

More from the AFC:

  • “It’s hard to argue with” the idea that the Jets are tanking “when everybody else sees all the stuff that’s going on,” wide receiver Quincy Enunwa admitted on Sunday (via Zach Braziller of the New York Post). Whether the Jets actually are tanking is debatable, but it’s clear they’re rebuilding. The team has released a slew of veterans, including receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, since last season. When healthy, those two were above Enunwa on the team’s depth chart. Enunwa is now the Jets’ clear-cut No. 1 option, having broken out as a third-year man in 2016 with 58 receptions, 814 yards and four touchdowns.
  • With Josh McCown, Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty as the Jets’ choices under center, Enunwa seems unlikely to benefit from high-end quarterback play this year. But with the Redskins unable to lock up Kirk Cousins beyond the upcoming season, that could change in 2018. The Jets will have upward of $80MM in cap space next offseason, which could make them a suitor for Cousins if he becomes a free agent, notes Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. However, considering Cousins will be entering his age-30 season in 2018, Cimini doesn’t see him as a fit for the young Jets.
  • Texans running back D’Onta Foreman has a July 31 court date in Texas stemming from his arrest this past weekend on misdemeanor drug and gun charges, but a postponement is likely, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. Foreman will be out of state then with the Texans, who begin training camp in West Virginia on July 25.