September 25th, 2021 at 3:43pm CST by Sam Robinson
Richie Incognito‘s latest injury will move him to injured reserve for the second straight September. After missing the Raiders’ first two games with a calf injury, Incognito is heading to IR, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets.
This designation will sideline the veteran guard for three more games. The Raiders had already ruled Incognito out for Week 3, after he missed another week of practice. Las Vegas used John Simpson and Jermaine Eluemunor as its starting guards in Week 2.
Incognito’s extended absence follows Denzelle Good‘s IR placement. Good, however, does not have a chance to return this season after suffering an ACL tear during the team’s opening-night victory. Good replaced Incognito after his early-season injury in 2020. Incognito suffered a foot injury that knocked him out for most of last season.
The Raiders made wholesale changes on their offensive line this offseason, and while they initially released Incognito, they kept the 38-year-old blocker around after bringing him back on a pay cut. Incognito was productive for the Raiders in 2019, helping the team deploy one of the league’s best rushing attacks. But the polarizing interior lineman has not been available much since.
The Raiders are tracking to have two starters from their 2020 Week 1 offensive line setup back, with Kolton Miller signed long-term and Richie Incognito back on a lower-cost deal. But spillover from another training camp battle may affect Incognito’s standing. Denzelle Good and John Simpson will vie for the starting right guard spot, but Vic Tafur and Tashan Reed of The Athletic note Raiders coaches have informed the team’s guards the loser of this competition may still wind up replacing Incognito at left guard (subscription required). Incognito, 38, played well in 2019 but missed 14 games due to an Achilles injury last season. The Raiders cut him in March but re-signed him weeks later on a one-year, $2.12MM deal. Good replaced Incognito last year, and the Raiders are hoping Simpson — a 2020 fourth-round pick out of Clemson — can win the right guard competition.
Here is more on the Raiders’ O-line and the latest from some other offensive fronts around the league:
Elsewhere on Las Vegas’ O-line, the center spot may not be much of a competition. Despite offseason addition Nick Martin having started four full seasons with the Texans, the former second-round pick appears to be clearly behind former UDFA Andre James, according to The Athletic. After trading Pro Bowl center Rodney Hudson to the Cardinals, the Raiders gave James an extension. James has played 116 offensive snaps as a pro; all came in 2019.
Nate Solder has moved to the Giants‘ roster bubble, according to Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com. The 6-foot-8 veteran worked as New York’s starting left tackle in 2018 and ’19, after signing a then-record tackle contract in free agency, but opted out in 2020. The Giants can spread out Solder’s cap hit over multiple years, but they would face a $13.5MM cumulative dead-money charge by cutting Solder. Andrew Thomas has taken over as New York’s left tackle, with Raanan adding that Solder will compete with second-year blocker Matt Peart for the right tackle job. Solder has not been a full-time right tackle since his rookie season in 2011.
Although former UDFA Daniel Brunskill provided some stability amid 49ers injury chaos last season, starting 16 games, the team plans to return him to a utility role. The 49ers are eyeing second-round pick Aaron Banksas their starting right guard, Matt Barrows and David Lombardi of The Athletic note. Brunskill worked as a swing backup as a rookie in 2019, primarily filling in for left tackle Joe Staley. The 49ers selected Banks 48th overall; the 325-pound rookie started in part of his sophomore season and throughout his junior and senior years at Notre Dame.
Rather than stockpile depth at tackle, the Eagles may look to trade the loser of the Andre Dillard–Jordan Mailata left tackle competition, Eliot Shorr-Parks writes. While keeping both would provide insurance, Shorr-Parks notes moving Mailata in a contract year would make sense and Dillard may lose more value if he goes through this season as a backup. A 2019 first-round pick, Dillard missed all of last season due to injury and has logged just four career starts. A rugby convert chosen as a project in the 2018 seventh round, Mailata spent two full seasons in development but broke into Philadelphia’s starting lineup for 10 games last season.
On this date in 2018, the Bills moved on from their bizarre saga with Richie Incognito. They released the offensive lineman from the reserve/retired list, paving the way for him to play for another team. At the time, no one knew whether the veteran would get that opportunity.
Incognito, a four-time Pro Bowler and one of the league’s best guards, made headlines for all the wrong reasons throughout his career. In 2013, he was alleged to have bullied and disparaged Dolphins teammate Jonathan Martin, which prompted Martin to leave the team and the NFL to suspend Incognito. After missing half of ’13 and all of ’14, he returned to the league with the Bills.
On the field, Incognito continued his excellence. He played every single snap for the Bills in 2015, earned a fresh ~$16MM deal prior to 2016, and graded out as one of the league’s best guards in 2017. The advanced metrics showed that Incognito was elite throughout those three years in Buffalo – he placed No. 2, No, 7, and No. 12 in the league in each of those seasons, according to Pro Football Focus.
Then, things turned once again. In March of 2018, Incognito agreed to rework the remainder of his contract, cutting his base salary in half. Weeks later, he fired his agent via Twitter. Then, Incognito retired, citing health issues and dissatisfaction with his deal.
“It pisses me the [expletive] off,” Incognito said. “The contract and all that pissed me [off] and all that, but (retiring) has nothing to do with that.”
The Bills placed Incognito on the retired list on April 12, 2018. On April 15, 2018, he requested his release. Then, on May 21, 2018 – about six weeks after Incognito announced that he was done with football – the Bills granted his request. Two days after that, Incognito caused a scene at a gym in Florida and told police that he believed he was being tracked by FBI agents for his possession of secret NSA documents. One psychiatric hold and a few months later, Incognito was arrested at an Arizona funeral parlor for threatening employees who refused to cut off his father’s head, which he wanted for research purposes.
Most in the football world figured that would mark the end of Incognito’s career, but Jon Gruden gave him another chance to play in 2019. Towards the end of another strong season, the Raiders inked the veteran to a new two-year, $14MM deal. Now, the veteran is in free agency limbo after missing all but two games last year due to injury. There was early chatter that the Raiders could bring him back, but that might not happen in the midst of their OL revamp. It’s not clear how much Incognito has left in the tank, but he’s not far removed from ’19 when he ranked as PFF’s 14th best guard.
The Raiders bid adieu to three high-profile offensive linemen this offseason — center Rodney Hudson, right guard Gabe Jackson, and right tackle Trent Brown — and they didn’t do much to replace them outside of selecting RT Alex Leatherwood with the No. 17 overall pick in the draft, which was probably the most curious of this year’s first-round choices. But Vegas feels good about its young O-line talent, including 2020 fourth-rounder John Simpson.
As Vic Tafur of The Athletic writes, the team would like Simpson to replace Jackson as the starter at right guard (the article was written before the draft, but given that the team’s only high-level OL pick was used on Leatherwood, the club’s expectations with respect to Simpson presumably haven’t changed). The Raiders did re-signDenzelle Good as a fallback plan if Simpson isn’t ready, and Good also provides some insurance at RT in case Leatherwood should struggle.
Like many 2020 rookies, Simpson was hurt by the lack of offseason workouts last year. He ended up appearing in seven games (two starts), for a total of 252 snaps. The Clemson product did not fare well by Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics, finishing with below-average grades in both run-blocking and pass-blocking. Good, though, wasn’t much better, and it’s easy to envision a downturn in the team’s overall O-line performance in 2021.
In the same article, Tafur notes that Richie Incognito — who played in only two games in 2020 due to an ankle injury — is back to full strength. The soon-to-be 38-year-old blocker is the team’s projected starter at left guard, and his experience should be beneficial to presumptive center Andre James, a 2019 UDFA who didn’t play a single offensive snap last year. 2021 seventh-rounder Jimmy Morrissey will also compete for playing time at the pivot.
The Raiders are taking over the NFL’s Wednesday headlines, with their offensive line being the key focus. While they are retooling up front, the team is now expected to have potentially three starters back.
Going into his age-38 season, Incognito will rejoin left tackle Kolton Miller and fellow guard Denzelle Good, whom the Raiders also agreed to re-sign Wednesday. Incognito had previously signed a Raiders extension, but after missing 14 games last season due to injury, the team shed that contract. It is likely the polarizing veteran’s latest accord comes in at a lower rate.
While Incognito has missed two full seasons, largely because of off-field issues, he has played well when available. Pro Football Focus has graded the journeyman blocker as a top-25 guard in each of the seasons he has played since 2010. Incognito was 3-for-3 in Pro Bowls with the Bills and helped the Raiders assemble one of the NFL’s best lines upon signing with Oakland in 2019. Despite missing extensive time last year and undergoing a late-season foot surgery, Incognito is believed to be healthy ahead of the Raiders’ offseason program.
6:01pm: It is not out of the question Incognito returns to the Raiders on a new deal, however. The expectation is the veteran guard re-signs with the team on a lower-cost accord, Vic Tafur of The Athletic tweets.
Incognito played well in 2019, when the Raiders ended the second of his NFL sabbaticals, and signed an extension late in that season. However, an early-season injury shelved the veteran guard in 2020. Incognito is believed to be healthy and wants to play in 2021, per Rapoport.
An Incognito release will save the Raiders $5.5MM. He was signed only through the 2021 season. The controversial O-lineman played only two games last season, suffering a foot injury that ended up requiring surgery two months later. The Raiders entered Friday with barely $3MM in cap space.
While Incognito is better known for his off-field reputation — the bullying scandal that led him out of Miami and out of the league for the 2014 and another incident that preceded him being out of football in 2018 and left him suspended to start his Raiders tenure — the 37-year-old blocker has been a productive player when available. Pro Football Focus has graded him as a top-25 guard in every season he has played since 2010. Incognito made the Pro Bowl in each of his three Bills seasons — 2015-17 — and helped the Raiders’ 2019 O-line rate as one of the league’s best. That group has splintered this week.
In addition to releasing their Week 1 guard starters from last season, the Raiders are shopping right tackle Trent Brown. The player who took over for Incognito, Denzelle Good, is a free agent. Only left tackle Kolton Miller and standout center Rodney Hudson appear to be on solid ground among Las Vegas’ first-string blockers.
Incognito landed on IR in late September after suffering an Achilles injury. The veteran avoided a tear, so there was some optimism he’d return to the lineup once his stay on the IR ended. Instead, the 37-year-old decided to go under the knife.
“I hate to admit that, but we’ve tried everything we can,” Gruden said. “Richie’s tried everything he can to get back on the field. His season is over.”
The Raiders took a risk on the polarizing Incognito last offseason, and Incognito’s impressive performance ultimately earned him a two-year $14MM extension. As Gutierrez points out, the organization has only seen three snaps from their pricey offensive line grouping (which also includes Kolton Miller, Rodney Hudson, Gabe Jackson, and Trent Brown).
Fortunately, the Raiders have received solid production from Incognito’s backup, Denzelle Good. Gruden referred to the former seventh-rounder as the team’s “unsung hero,” while quarterback Derek Carr declared him the team MVP (per Gutierrez).
Incognito left Monday night’s game with an Achilles injury and will be out until at least Week 6. The Raiders moved rookie John Simpson into Incognito’s left guard spot against the Saints, pointing to the fourth-round Clemson product making a Week 3 start.
The Raiders gambled on the polarizing Incognito in free agency last year and were rewarded when the experienced blocker helped the team form one of the league’s top offensive lines. The Raiders then extended the 37-year-old guard through the 2021 season.
Viewed as a potential player who could replace offseason trade chip Gabe Jackson, Simpson instead saw time opposite Jackson in New Orleans. Pro Football Focus rated Incognito as one of its better guards last season, viewing him as an elite pass-blocking guard, and again had him off to a good start in 2020. Prior to Incognito missing the 2018 season amid more off-field trouble, he went to three straight Pro Bowls as a member of the Bills.
Las Vegas will fill Incognito’s roster spot with Patrick Omameh, a veteran guard who has made 57 career starts in eight NFL seasons. The Raiders added Omameh to their practice squad ahead of their Week 2 game.
September 22nd, 2020 at 2:53pm CST by Sam Robinson
Tyrod Taylor could be on the verge of being benched in September for a second time in three seasons. A chest injury he was battling caused Justin Herbert to be called upon Sunday, and NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo report Taylor received a pregame injection to the area (Twitter link). Complications ensued, prompting Chargers HC Anthony Lynn to call on Herbert. While the No. 6 overall pick fared better than could be expected, given the lack of offseason prep time, Lynn has not named him the Chargers’ Week 3 starter. The fourth-year coach said he will turn back to Taylor when he is “100%” recovered from the chest setback.
Whether “100%” will be how the Bolts justify keeping Herbert in the lineup or not, it would seem difficult for the team to give the job back to its bridge starter. The Chargers drafted a quarterback in the first four rounds for the first time since 2006 and saw him throw for 311 yards in an overtime loss, making it entirely possible Taylor is benched again. The Browns sidelined Taylor after three starts in 2017.
Here is the latest from the AFC West:
Von Miller has not given up on returning this season. The Broncos‘ future Hall of Fame linebacker has been studying how some non-NFL athletes returned in three months from the injury he suffered — as opposed to the four- to six-month timetable he was given after suffering a dislocated peroneal tendon — and has told teammates he could return in mid-December, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports notes. However, since this report surfaced, the Broncos lost Drew Lock for perhaps more than a month and Courtland Sutton for the season. They are already down A.J. Bouye and Phillip Lindsay for the foreseeable future, making a playoff run more difficult to envision. As for Miller’s long-term future, the 31-year-old pass rusher has told teammates he is eyeing five or six more seasons, per La Canfora. This tracks with previous Miller plans.
Speaking of Lindsay, the Pro Bowl running back will almost certainly miss Week 3 and may be out longer. Rather than turf toe, Lindsay is dealing with a toe sprain, Rapoport notes. This represents a tough break for the UDFA success story, who was discussing an extension shortly after last season’s conclusion. However, the Broncos instead opted to sign Melvin Gordon to a two-year, $8MM deal. Lindsay is set for restricted free agency in 2021.
Brandon McManus‘ four-year, $17MM Broncos extension will guarantee the Denver kicker $4MM in 2021, but Mike Klis of 9News notes the deal’s final three seasons are not guaranteed (Twitter link). McManus is due to earn base salaries of $3MM (2022), $3.75MM (’23) and $3.95MM (’24) over the course of the deal, which also came with a $2.5MM signing bonus. The Broncos have used McManus as their kicker since 2014 but are not committed to him beyond 2021.
Richie Incognito left Monday night’s Raiders win with an Achilles issue, but the veteran guard may not miss any time. Incognito aggravated a previous injury but did not suffer a tear, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. The Raiders were already down right tackle Trent Brown, due to a reportedly not serious calf injury, and backup tackle Sam Young against the Saints.
The Raiders and veteran guard Richie Incognito have agreed to an extension, as Jay Glazer of FOX Sports first reported (via Twitter). Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that it will be a two-year, $14MM pact, including $6.35MM guaranteed.
It has been quite the turnaround for the 36-year-old, who, in 2018, agreed to a pay cut with the Bills only to “retire” for a short time and force his release from Buffalo. Days after his release, Florida police placed Incognito in a mental hospital after he hurled weights at a gym and told officers that the government is spying on him. Incognito pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct stemming from his August 2018 arrest for an incident at an Arizona funeral home, and that’s not to mention the bullying scandal that led to his exit from the Dolphins and a season (2014) out of football.
The Raiders took a chance on Incognito by signing him to a veteran minimum pact in May, and they got a strong return on their investment. After missing the first two games of the 2019 campaign due to a suspension for his off-field behavior, Incognito turned in an excellent season, paving the way for rookie RB Josh Jacobswhile keeping QB Derek Carr clean. Advanced metrics were especially fond of his work, rating him as one of the best guards in the league.
As they move to Las Vegas, the Raiders will hope that the four-time Pro Bowler can stay on the straight and narrow and continue to be a force on their O-line.