Richie Incognito

Richie Incognito Still Hopes To Play In 2018

After a strange couple of months, former Bills offensive lineman Richie Incognito says he still hopes to play in the NFL this year. Two weeks after being placed on psychiatric hold by Florida police, Incognito says he remains focused on resuming his career. 

Incognito hit the free agent market last month when he was released by the Bills. The lineman, who has already flip-flopped on the possibility of retiring this year, will have some explaining to do to NFL teams. Two weeks ago, police placed Incognito in a mental hospital after he reportedly toss weights at a Florida gym and told officers the government is spying on him.

On the field, Incognito has been nothing short of stellar in recent years. The veteran has earned three consecutive Pro Bowl trips and, from a talent perspective, profiles as the best interior lineman on the open market today. It remains to be seen whether clubs will give Incognito what is essentially his second chance following the Dolphins bullying scandal of 2013.

Last year, Incognito graded out as the 12th best guard in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus. He ranked seventh amongst all guards in 2016 and second in ’15, making him the Bills’ top-rated offensive lineman of the last three years.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Raiders, Incognito, Steelers

After the NFL recently announced their new national anthem policy, more details about the owners’ process are trickling out. There apparently was no official vote on the new anthem policy, only an informal polling of owners by league executives, according to Seth Wickersham of ESPN (Twitter links). Wickersham added that Raiders owner Mark Davis abstained from the vote and was “one of the most eloquent speakers on the social justice issues.” Davis joined 49ers owner Jed York, who made his abstention public yesterday, in abstaining from the vote.

Here’s more from around the AFC:

  • Free agent offensive lineman Richie Incognito apparently believed he was being followed by FBI agents and was in the possession of secret NSA documents when he was placed on an involuntary psychiatric hold yesterday (Twitter link via USA Today’s A.J. Perez). Incognito recently announced his retirement from the league, but has since wavered and indicated he’d like to continue playing with a team other than the Bills, who he played the last three seasons with. Incidents like this certainly won’t help Incognito’s quest to latch on with another team.
  • Steelers defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt played with a torn bicep during the 2017 season, according to Mark Kaboly of The Athletic (Twitter link). Tuitt made clear that he’s fully healthy now, saying the injury “is back healed again and strong and I can’t wait to stick people in the mouth with it.” Tuitt was signed to a $60MM extension before last season, and will be counted on to play a big role this year.
  • Bengals star defensive end Carlos Dunlap missed the beginning of OTAs, according to Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Although Bengals coach Marvin Lewis called it “not a big deal,” Dunlap will miss out on a $300K workout bonus. Dunlap, a two-time Pro-Bowler, is entering the final year of his contract and is apparently angling for an extension.

Richie Incognito Placed On Psych Hold

Richie Incognito was involved in an altercation at a Florida gym and was subsequently placed on an involuntary psychiatric hold by police, according to TMZ Sports. The alleged victim says the free agent offensive lineman threw a tennis ball at him for no reason and also tossed a dumbbell. 

In the midst of all of this, the alleged victim claims Incognito was rambling about the government and screaming at the man to “get off” his “[expletive] playground.” Cops came to the scene and took the lineman away, but did not formally arrest him. Instead, he was taken into custody under Florida’s “Baker Act,” which allows officers to submit a person for psychiatric evaluation when it is believed that they may harm someone else. The state’s laws stipulate that Incognito could be held for mandatory psychiatric evaluation for up to 72 hours.

Incognito hit the free agent market this week when he was released by the Bills. The lineman is reportedly looking to play in 2018 – a reversal from his retirement announcement earlier this year – but teams will do some digging into this incident before offering him a deal.

On the field, Incognito has been nothing short of stellar in recent years. The veteran has earned three consecutive Pro Bowl trips and profiles as the best interior lineman on the open market today.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills Release Richie Incognito

The Bills have released offensive lineman Richie Incognito from the reserve/retired list, per a team announcement. The move could pave the way for the veteran to quickly sign with another club. 

This year’s Incognito saga has been strange, to say the least. After making his third straight Pro Bowl appearance, he agreed to take a pay cut for the 2018 season. Weeks later, the lineman fired his agents via Twitter. Incognito announced his retirement in April, but he requested his release days later, which is an indication that he wants to continue playing.

On the surface, Incognito’s retirement threat looked to be an attempt to recoup that lost money. At the time, the 34-year-old (35 in July) said he was prioritizing his health over future earnings, citing issues with his liver and kidneys. Now that he’s eligible to sign, teams will probably want to take a close look at his medicals before making a commitment.

Under the terms of his revised deal, Incognito was set to earn $3.65MM in base pay plus a $1MM bonus, down from his originally scheduled $6.325MM salary. It stands to reason that Incognito could fetch more than $3.65MM for the upcoming season, though many clubs have already filled their interior line vacancies and allocated the bulk of free agent dollars.

Richie Incognito Seeks Release From Contract

The Richie Incognito saga might not be over just yet. On March 15, Incognito agreed to rework his contract with the Bills, which ultimately resulted in a fairly sizable pay cut. But, given that the Bills rank in the top half of the league in available cap space — which means they did not really need to save the $1.675MM of cap room they picked up with the restructure — and given that Incognito is coming off his third consecutive Pro Bowl season, it seems that Incognito quickly came to resent his new deal.

Indeed, he fired his agent via Twitter about three weeks after he agreed to the reworked contract, and just a few days later, he announced he was going to retire. Although he initially suggested that he could be convinced to come back for one more season at the right price, he later indicated that his health is declining and that he would be better served walking away from the game.

On Thursday, Buffalo placed Incognito on the reserve/retired list, furthering the notion that the 34-year-old guard has played his last snap. Yesterday, however, Incognito tweeted to the Bills and asked them to release him from his contract. Interestingly, he requested that Buffalo contact Athletes First, the agency that he recently fired, for details.

The tweet no longer appears on Incognito’s Twitter page, but it is preserved on a post from Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk. As Smith notes, Incognito would have to pay back the $1MM signing bonus he received as part of his new deal if he officially retires, which he would not have to do if he were released. Plus, he may be able to land a more favorable contract with a different club if he hits the free agent market.

Or, as Smith observes, Incognito could simply “un-retire” and show up to Buffalo’s offseason program, which starts tomorrow. Incognito did send out an interesting tweet on Friday saying, “That was a short lived retirement” and suggesting that he may indeed appear for the first day of the offseason program. That same tweet, however, also included a laughing emoji and a #madeyalook hashtag, so the Bills probably aren’t expecting to see him walk through the door tomorrow.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills Place Richie Incognito On Reserve/Retired List

The Bills have placed Richie Incognito on the reserve/retired list. Things can always change, but this is a sign that Incognito will be following through on his decision to walk away from football. 

On Tuesday morning, Incognito indicated that the Bills could talk him out of retirement if they were to rework his contract. Hours later, he told a different reporter that he would be retiring for health reasons and a pay raise would not be enough to change his mind.

After three straight Pro Bowl seasons, Incognito agreed to take a pay cut for the 2018 season. Weeks later, he fired his agents on Twitter. Apparently, Incognito is not interested in returning, even if the Bills are willing to restore his original deal.

Incognito leaves the game months before his 35th birthday in July. Aside from the bullying scandal in Miami, Incognito had an excellent career as a whole. In eleven seasons with the Rams, Bills, and Dolphins, Incognito earned four Pro Bowl selections and reguarly ranked as one of the best players at his position.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Rumors: Dolphins, Bills, Incognito

On Monday, it was reported that the Broncos and Dolphins agreed to a deal sending running back C.J. Anderson to Miami in exchange for right tackle Ja’Wuan James trade before Miami 86’d the deal. However, Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald (on Twitter) hears that the Dolphins did not want to make that deal and there was no such agreement in place. In any case, James remains on board as the Dolphins’ starting right tackle and the Broncos have since acquired Jared Veldheer from the Cardinals via trade.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • Bills guard Richie Incognito says that he is done playing football, but LeSean McCoy badly wants him to stay on board. On Instagram, the Buffalo running back offered up a $300K check if Incognito stays with the team and helps him reach 1,500 yards. It would be highly unorthodox – and possibly a violation of league rules – if Incognito were to take McCoy up on his offer. However, McCoy’s pitch illustrates Incognito’s importance to the team. The Bills may be compelled to offer Incognito a better deal to continue playing, though the guard’s latest comments indicate that he cannot be talked out of retirement.
  • The Bills are entitled to recover $2.15MM from Incognito if he really is done playing, Joel Corry of CBSSports.com (on Twitter) notes. That sum represents the $1.15MM 2018 signing bonus proration from his 2016 deal and the $1MM signing bonus in his recently renegotiated contract.
  • The Jets now have a whopping 17 wide receivers on the roster. Calvin Watkins of Newsday ran down every WR in the mix with a quick evaluation of each player’s chances of making the final cut.

Richie Incognito Says He Will Follow Through On Retirement

On Tuesday morning, Bills offensive lineman Richie Incognito indicated that he is considering retirement. His latest comments now suggest that it’s a done deal.

It pisses me the [expletive] off. The contract and all that pissed me [off] and all that, but (retiring) has nothing to do with that,” Incognito said (Twitter link via Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News), which marks a shift from his previous stance that a pay raise could entice him to play one more season.

When asked whether there was a chance he’d change his mind, Incognito said, “Absolutely not.” Just hours earlier, Incognito said that he had until Sunday to figure out his football future, so it’s still a situation worth monitoring.

Incognito, fresh off of a third consecutive Pro Bowl appearance, agreed to take a pay cut for the 2018 season. Weeks later, he fired his agents via Twitter. On the surface, Incognito’s retirement threat looked to be an attempt to recoup that lost money. For his part, the veteran says that he is simply prioritizing his health over future earnings. Incognito told Carucci that his liver and kidneys are “shutting down,” so his best option might be to walk away from football.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills OL Richie Incognito May Retire

This could be the end of the line for Bills guard Richie Incognito. Days after firing his agents via Twitter, Incognito has told Peter King of The MMQB (on Twitter) that he is strongly considering retiring, though he might be willing to return for one last season at the right price. Meanwhile, he sounded more definitive about the decision in his conversation with another reporter. 

I’m done. That’s it,” Incognito tells Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News (on Twitter). “It’s been a long career. Went to the doctor. My liver and kidneys are shutting down. The stress is killing me. It’s just about doing what’s right. I just want to be in the Hall of Fame.”

Incognito, who does not seem likely to reach the Hall of Fame after the Jonathan Martin controversy in Miami, is talking to the Bills about his contract and has until Sunday to change his mind about retiring, King adds (on Twitter).

Incognito may also be motivated by a desire to to turn the tables on the Bills. This offseason, the Bills asked Incognito to accept a reduced base salary, bringing him down to $3.65MM from $6.325MM. The Bills gave him a $1MM bonus in the process, but it was still a significant step back for the veteran.

That sort of contract restructuring is not uncommon in the NFL, but it’s a bit unusual for a player who is coming off of a third consecutive Pro Bowl nod. The advanced metrics also project Incognito as a top performer. Last year, Incognito placed as the 12th best guard in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus. He ranked seventh amongst all guards in 2016 and second in ’15, making him the Bills’ top-rated offensive lineman of the last three years.

Incognito will turn 35 in July.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills OL Richie Incognito Fires Agent

Richie Incognito has fired his agent in unusual fashion. The Bills guard, apparently, dismissed his representative via Twitter on Thursday.

“You are fired!,” Incognito wrote in a tweet at-mentioning agency Athletes First. “I wish you guys nothing but the best moving forward. Thank you for all of your help and guidance along the way. It’s time for me to go in a new direction.”

The fashion in which Incognito has chosen to dismiss his agency is notable, but so is the timing. After delivering three straight Pro Bowl seasons since landing in Buffalo, Incognito agreed to rework his contract in March to reduce his base salary from $6.325MM to $3.65MM. In the process, he picked up a $1MM bonus, though that doesn’t quite bridge the full gap. The move allowed the team to create an additional $1.675MM in cap space.

It’s possible that Incognito feels that he received poor advice from his agents this offseason. Last year, Incognito graded out as the 12th best guard in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus, which doesn’t exactly scream pay cut. In any case, the 34-year-old (35 in July) will enter his contract year with new representation.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.