Reuben Foster

West Notes: Broncos, Seahawks, 49ers

The Broncos have fallen quite a ways from their Super Bowl 50 win about two years ago. The team’s biggest question mark is obviously at quarterback, but there are a number of questions that John Elway and company will have to answer over the course of the offseason, explains Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post.

Jhabvala mentions that the Broncos wide receiver position could really change over the next few months depending on how the front office approaches some of the playmakers that could enter free agency. The big name she mentions is Demaryius Thomas who could test the open market should Denver decline his $4MM option. He’s controllable for non-guaranteed salaries for the next two seasons, but the team could save some money or re-negotiate a new contract before a decision has to be made about that option. In addition to Thomas, Cody Latimer is an unrestricted free agent, Bennie Fowler is a restricted free agent and Emmanuel Sanders is a controllable veteran that could hit the trade block if the team rather invest in Thomas long-term.

Jhabvala also focuses on veteran cornerback Aqib Talib. She notes how he’ll turn 32 in February and is set to make $11MM in 2018. Although, the Broncos would only be responsible for $1MM if he were to be released. With Chris Harris and Bradley Roby under contract as well, it’s unlikely the team would hold onto all three for next season.

The article finally keys in on Denver’s starting running back, C.J. Anderson. Anderson is paid well for his position as he’ll make $4.4MM next season. However, his last two years of his original four-year deal that he signed in 2016 are non-guaranteed, so there is definitely significant money to be saved should the team move onto the likes of Devontae Booker, De’Angelo Henderson or potentially a another running back that they draft in April.

Here’s more from the NFL’s West divisions:

  • Denver has to deal with an off-the-field problem at receiver as well. Their 2017 third-round draft pick, Carlos Henderson, was arrested this afternoon for possession of marijuana, per Brad Cesak of NBC6News (Twitter link). The 23-year-old was placed on the injured reserve with a thumb injury in the preseason, but could face league discipline for his most recent incident. This would be his first offense, but it’s not encouraging for a Broncos team potentially looking for steady contributors on that side of the ball.
  • The news that Pete Carroll would be replacing Darrell Bevell with Brian Schottenheimer as Seattle’s next offensive coordinator was met with some skepticism across the football world. However, Seahawks backup quarterback Austin Davis thinks that the change will bring some positivity to the team’s offense in 2018, reports Brady Henderson of ESPN.com. Schottenheimer coached Davis for three seasons while the two were in St. Louis. “We were very creative in St. Louis,” Davis told 710 ESPN Seattle. “We threw a lot of things at the defense, whether it was drop-back, whether it was play-action, whether it was quarterback movement, we had it all. And we were a really good screen team. If there was one thing I could pick out from last year, we couldn’t run screens.” The Seahawks offense was carried by Russell Wilson last season and is in need of a new identity as the team looks to get back into the postseason.
  • 49ers promising rookie linebacker Reuben Foster recently got in trouble with the law for having possession of marijuana, which is likely to effect his paycheck in the years to come. The 2017 first-round pick had about $2.5MM in guaranteed money from 2018-2020, but that will probably be voided because of specific wording in his contract, according to Joel Corry of CBS Sports (Twitter link). Corry explained that Foster had a clause in his contract that if he were to be fined for a violation of the NFL’s drug policy, that money would lose its guaranteed status. The former Alabama defender fell down the draft board a bit last year because of some personality issues, and his immaturity has now clearly cost him in terms of his wallet.
  • Current 49ers starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo made some extra cash after the Patriots beat the Titans to advance to the AFC Championship, according to Corry in another tweet. Corry reports that Garoppolo received an extra $51k in playoff money for the victory because he was with New England for at least eight games this past regular season.

49ers LB Reuben Foster Arrested

49ers linebacker Reuben Foster was arrested on Friday night in Alabama for possession of marijuana, reports Matt Zenitz of AL.com. Foster, who just completed his rookie campaign, was ultimately charged with second-degree possession of marijuana, and his bond was set at $2,500.

Reuben Foster (Vertical)“The San Francisco 49ers organization is aware of the matter involving Reuben Foster,” the 49ers said in a statement (via Zenitz), “and we are currently gathering all relevant facts.”

A first-rounder in last year’s draft, Foster made an instant impact on the 49ers defense. The linebacker ultimately started each of his 10 games, compiling 72 tackles. His performance earned him NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month honors in November.

Foster had a standout collegiate career at the University of Alabama, but he saw his draft stock fall following several incidents at the scouting combine. The defender was sent home early after engaging in an argument with a hospital worker, and his urine sample was diluted (which is interpreted as a positive test). As a result, Foster was entered into the league’s substance-abuse program.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC West Notes: Cardinals QB’s, Seahawks DE’s, Foster

Despite initial reports that Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer will undergo surgery on his broken arm and be out for eight weeks, the veteran signal caller may think he can return sooner than that. The 37 year-old reportedly told head coach Bruce Arians that he “may be able to return in 4-6 weeks”, according to Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com. This news conflicts with the original prognosis, and Arians didn’t seem to doubt his QB’s feeling. “That’d be great…it depends on what the surgeon says. He is a fast healer. He’s had it broken before and basically said he was back in five.” Drew Stanton will still have to hold down the fort for the time being as the team looks to regain its footing after a 33-0 beatdown at the hands of the Rams.

  • Even with the Palmer injury, it seems like the Cardinals won’t be bringing in free agent quarterback, Colin Kaepernick. Arians told Weinfuss when asked about signing the former 49ers quarterback, “We’ve never had more than two on our roster since I’ve been here. We liked Blaine Gabbert so much that we kept him this year. So, we’re really where we always are.” Although, the coach did express potential interest in “a practice squad arm”.
  • With defensive end Cliff Avril out for at least seven games, the Seahawks may be looking to bring a free agent into the fold, tweets Bon Condotta of the Seattle Times. Condotta adds in another tweet that he hears the team could look into 37 year-old Dwight Freeney. The longtime Colts star remains on the open market after suiting up for the Falcons last season.
  • Reuben Foster was rather noncommittal about when he would return from an injury he suffered this past Sunday. Now it appears that the rookie linebacker is “good to go” after tests on his ribs, reports Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. After being removed on two separate occasions in a loss to the Cowboys, it would seem that the 49ers linebacker has avoided his second long-term injury of his first professional season.

 

 

Injury Notes: Bailey, Foster, Wallace, Spence

It was a dominant win for the Cowboys in San Francisco this afternoon, but the team did not escape the contest with their special teams intact. Kicker Dan Bailey was forced out of the game with a groin injury, according to the Dallas News. Bailey was reported to have suffered the injury in warmups, but it remains to be seen whether the news will force Dallas to bring in another kicker. In one of the more entertaining aspects of this week’s action, safety Jeff Heath was the emergency fill-in for today’s game, which included him clunking an extra point off the pole and through the uprights.

  • It’s been a trying rookie season for 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster so far. After missing a few games already with an ankle injury he suffered earlier in the season, the former Alabama defender was back on the sidelines after suffering an apparent rib injury in the third quarter. Foster seemed unsure of what was to come following the game.“I really don’t know, I’ve got to come in here (get an) MRI and treatment and just see what he doctors say about it. If they clear me, they clear me. If they don’t, they don’t,” he told Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. It’s worth noting that Foster did return to the game initially, but was later taken out again for X-Rays. Barrows did add that Foster was cleared to return later in the fourth quarter by team doctors, but the coaches weren’t comfortable letting him back on the field at the end of a blowout.
  • The Ravens suffered another blow to their depleted wide receiver corps in today’s game vs. the Vikings when Mike Wallace was diagnosed with a concussion after taking a big hit on a pass over the middle of the field. However, Wallace was pleading to play following the hit, explains Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. The 31 year-old receiver was seen walking up-and-down the sideline trying to convince coaches to put him back in the game. However, head coach John Harbaugh said that Wallace staying out of the game “was a done deal”, tells Zrebiec. The Ravens play on Thursday next week, so Wallace would need to pass all the concussion protocol rather quickly in order to suit up. If not, the Ravens have just Michael Campanero, Chris Moore and Griff Whalen remaining on the depth chart.
  • Bucs rookie pass rusher Noah Spence left today’s contest with an apparent shoulder injury, reports Josh Reed of WIVB.com (Twitter Link). Reed passes along that Spence will likely require surgery and is probable to miss an extended period of time. He later added onto the initial report stating there is concern that the 2017 second round pick may end up missing the rest of the season. In his first six professional games, the linebacker had just nine tackles, including one strip sack.

NFC Notes: Eagles, Bethel, 49ers, Barr

While newcomer Ronald Darby has only played 16 snaps for the Eagles this season, Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer believes the Jordan Matthews trade still worked out for Philly. The writer mostly cites the fact that the trade provided both wideout Nelson Agholor and tight end Zach Ertz with more offensive opportunities, and the duo has more than delivered in 2017.

Agholor has hauled in 20 catches for 321 yards and four touchdowns, while Ertz has established himself as one of the top tight ends in the league, catching 34 passes for 405 yards and four scores. While Ertz was productive in 2016, Agholor has seen a drastic boost in production, which could be directly attributed to him sliding into the slot role.

“It’s been a great opportunity for me to run different routes and give a different look,” Agohlor said. “I like playing outside, inside, wherever. I just like being a guy you can get the football to, so I want to know as much as I can in terms of the route tree.

Doug Pederson decided this was a great place for me to help me get those targets and I’m very appreciative.”

Let’s take a look at some more notes from around the NFC…

  • With cornerback Justin Bethel continuing to struggle, ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss reports that the Cardinals will likely replace him in the starting lineup with veteran Tramon Williams. Pro Football Focus ranks Bethel 95th among 108 qualified cornerbacks, a far cry from his above-average rankings in 2016 and 2015. Coach Bruce Arians all but confirmed the move, noting that Williams is “in a bunch of packages, and he’ll be playing a bunch.”
  • Rookie linebacker Reuben Foster has missed the past five games as he’s recovered from a high-ankle injury, but the 49ers are confident the first-rounder will play this weekend. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets that coach Kyle Shanahan said Foster should be in the lineup this weekend against the Cowboys, barring a setback.
  • After undergoing surgery earlier this week, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was placed on the injured reserve yesterday. Well, the player who caused that injury is now trying to clear his name. Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr told ESPN.com’s Courtney Cronin that he isn’t a dirty player. “By no means was I trying to injure or take out Aaron Rodgers,” Barr said. “He’s one of, if not, the best player in this league. I’m not a dirty player. I don’t play dirty. We don’t preach that around here…It’s unfortunate, the injury. I hate to see anybody get hurt. It’s a gift and a privilege to be able to play on the field each week, so I would never try and take that away from anybody, let alone one of the best players in our game.”

Extra Points: Rodgers, Bowman, Draft

Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone last weekend, and the Packers quarterback reportedly went under the knife today. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that Rodgers had surgery this afternoon, which coach Mike McCarthy had confirmed earlier this week. The quarterback suffered the injured on Sunday after being tackled by Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr.

Yesterday, McCarthy said that he wasn’t going to pursue a move for a quarterback until the team received clarity following Rodgers’ surgery. The team elevated QB Joe Callahan from the practice squad earlier this week, but the organization could look to acquire a signal-caller if Rodgers is indeed done for the season.

Some more notes from around the NFC…

  • We have details on NaVorro Bowman‘s one-year deal with the Raiders, courtesy of ESPN.com’s Field Yates (Twitter link): $880K base salary, $120K signing bonus, $100K per game active bonus, $1MM in NLTBE (Not Likely To Be Earned) incentives. All in all, the deal can max out at $3MM.
  • Speaking of Bowman, Albert Breer of The MMQB provides some reasoning for the 49ers decision to cut the veteran. Primarily, the organization is confident that first-rounder Reuben Foster can be an every-down linebacker. While the former Alabama standout had some “off-field questions” heading into the draft, Breer notes that Foster had impressed the team with his maturity, citing the player’s “diligence” in returning from an ankle injury. “We haven’t seen any of that,” the source said of the linebacker’s reported off-field issues. “He’s a leader.”
  • Breer had “experienced NFL evaluators” rank the top quarterback prospects, and USC’s Sam Darnold barely edged out UCLA’s Josh Rosen for the top spot. Josh Allen (Wyoming), Luke Falk (Washington State), Mason Rudolph (Oklahoma State), Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma), Lamar Jackson (Louisville), and Ryan Finley (N.C. State) rounded out the list.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

NFC Notes: Cousins, Foster, Scandrick, Cards

The Redskins are using the franchise tag arrangement with Kirk Cousins once again, and some more information about how the franchise planned its negotiations this past summer has emerged. Washington submitted the offer Bruce Allen referenced — a five-year proposal worth just less than $110MM, with $53MM fully guaranteed at signing — in May, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports. But Rapoport adds the team did not do anything to sweeten its offer in the months that followed, leading to the stalemate dragging past July 17.

This lack of a notably different second offer came in spite of Allen meeting with Cousins’ agent in Chicago and the Redskins president meeting with Cousins and his father in a four-plus-hour summit Rapoport describes as friendly. Allen, per Rapoport, said he would make another proposal between then and the July 17 deadline. But it did not arrive, and the same offer ended up being a take-it-or-leave-it submission.

Washington cannot renegotiate with Cousins until after the season, when the price for a tag will skyrocket — up to approximately $34MM — and put the Redskins to a higher-stakes decision.

Here’s the latest from the NFC as the conference’s Week 1 slate winds down.

  • Orlando Scandrick broke his hand during the Cowboys‘ Sunday-night win over the Giants, Rapoport reports (on Twitter). However, the veteran slot cornerback underwent surgery on Monday and is adamant on playing in Week 2. Scandrick’s goal might have been a bit optimistic, though. The surgery was a success, per ESPN.com’s Todd Archer, but the Cowboys don’t sound like they’re counting on him next week. Week 3 looms as a target, Archer notes. Scandrick missed four games last season and struggled with foot trouble. He’s back in his primary role, though, and is a key cog on a Cowboys defense that lost multiple cornerback regulars in free agency.
  • While an official timetable for Reuben Foster‘s high-ankle sprain isn’t yet known, Kyle Shanahan is expecting the first-round pick to miss at least a month. The rookie 49ers coach said Monday, via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter), the four-to-six-week range would be the typical hiatus length. The 49ers are down to their third option at outside linebacker after Malcolm Smith tore a pectoral muscle and was lost for the season in training camp.
  • Cardinals coach Bruce Arians told reporters on Monday morning that left tackle D.J. Humphries will miss a week or two with a sprained MCL. John Wetzel is expected to start in his absence. Humphries debuted on the left side on Sunday after he and Jared Veldheer switched positions in the offseason.

Zach Links contributed to this report.

Reuben Foster Suffers High-Ankle Sprain

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan announced Monday that rookie linebacker Reuben Foster suffered a high-ankle sprain in the team’s Week 1 loss to Carolina, per Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link). Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area adds that Foster could miss four to six weeks. Reuben Foster (Vertical)

Foster went down in the second quarter Sunday, and the first-round pick initially thought he had broken his ankle.

It was pain(ful),” Foster said (via ESPN.com’s Nick Wagoner). “I was a little scared, but at the same time, trust me, if you can’t put no pressure on it, then you should be worried, but when you put enough pressure on it, then you have got some hope. That’s all I was just hoping for. It was painful, but at the same time, I knew nothing was seriously damaged.”

Foster was viewed as a potential top ten pick before injury concerns weakened his stock. The Niners were not as worried about his surgically-repaired shoulder as other clubs and landed him at No. 31 overall.

Foster’s latest setback is unfortunate, but the team now knows that it will not be a season-ender.

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com first reported the injury. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers LB Reuben Foster Medically Cleared

Although reports following the draft indicated rookie linebacker Reuben Foster could be sidelined by a shoulder injury, the Alabama product has been medically cleared and will participate in 49ers training camp, tweets Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. Barrows had reported earlier this week that Foster was expected to be a full contributor during camp.Reuben Foster (Vertical)

While other NFL clubs were worried about the condition of Foster’s shoulder — worries that surgery “didn’t take” abounded, while some teams “medically rejected” Foster — the 49ers were always prepared to select him in the first round. In fact, San Francisco likely would have taken Foster at No. 3 overall had edge rushers Myles Garrett and Solomon Thomas already been drafted. Soon after the draft, however, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan admitted Foster wasn’t a lock to play during his rookie campaign.

That view had apparently changed by June, as Shanahan by then had “no concerns” about Foster’s health status. It’s good news for the No. 31 pick, not only because he can play during his rookie season, but because his contract status will remain unaffected. Had Foster been placed on the non-football injury list, his contract may have tolled, meaning he’d be one more year further from unrestricted free agency.

Foster is expected to compete with free agent addition Malcolm Smith for the Niners’ weakside linebacker position, per Barrows. San Francisco inked Smith to a five-year, $26.5MM contract earlier this year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Elliott, Brees, 49ers, Lions

The NFL was reportedly close to ending its investigation into domestic violence allegations against Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott nearly a week ago, but his fate is still unknown. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones expects that to change soon, though. “I think we’ll have a decision imminently,” Jones told SiriusXM on Thursday (via Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk). “Of course, I don’t know what that will be and wouldn’t want to have conjecture in any way involving that.” Jones claimed over the weekend that his own review cleared Elliott of any wrongdoing, and he once again defended the superstar rusher Thursday. “What I have seen, though, is the presentation of Zeke and his people, and I’ve seen the league’s presentation. There’s no domestic violence involved here,” Jones insisted.

Elsewhere around the NFC…

  • Quarterback Drew Brees signed a one-year extension before last season to remain with the Saints through 2017, but he’s not pushing for another deal this summer, writes Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com. When asked Wednesday whether the Saints have approached him about a new contract, Brees said: “I don’t expect them to I don’t really desire them to. I just want to play football. I want to help this team.” Theoretically, New Orleans is at some risk of losing the soon-to-be 39-year-old Brees after next season, though it seems he expects to eventually ink a new deal with the club. “I know that that stuff takes care of itself,” he commented. “It takes care of itself when it’s supposed to. That shouldn’t be a priority right now.”
  • General manager John Lynch suggested Thursday that the 49ers aren’t in a rush to sign any of their contract-year veterans to extensions, telling Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group and other reporters, “We’re going to let this play out a little bit and see how they fit with what we want to do.” That’s not a surprising stance on Lynch’s part, as it’s debatable at best whether the team has any must-sign players due for free agency next offseason. Running back Carlos Hyde, safety Eric Reid, and linebackers Ahmad Brooks and Aaron Lynch are San Francisco’s headliners in contract years.
  • More on the 49ers, who got some welcome news Thursday when rookie linebacker Reuben Foster announced that he has been completely cleared to participate in training camp, per Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com. The former Alabama defensive stalwart underwent right shoulder surgery in February, which contributed to his falling draft stock and helped the 49ers land him at No. 31 (after trading up from No. 34). Adam Schefter of ESPN then reported after the draft that Foster’s surgery “didn’t take,” leading to fears that he’d miss his first season, but he’s good to go for now.
  • The Lions worked out safety Stefan McClure on Thursday, as Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com tweets. Two of the Lions’ safeties, Don Carey and Rolan Milligan, are on the physically unable to perform list, thereby opening up room at the position. Unlike Carey, McClure hasn’t seen any game action in the NFL. He went undrafted from California last year and spent some time on the Colts’ practice squad.

Zach Links contributed to this post.