A report surfaced Sunday indicating the Eagles were preparing to extend core players. While their long snapper might not qualify for such a label, that position is now locked down long-term.
The Eagles signed long snapper Rick Lovato to a four-year extension Tuesday. Although terms are not yet disclosed, the league’s 17 highest-paid long snappers earn between $1MM and $1.3MM annually. Lovato’s deal will undoubtedly fall in or around that price range.
After two seasons of part-time work with the Packers and Redskins, Lovato caught on with the Eagles in 2016 and became their full-time snapper in 2017. The Eagles used the Old Dominion alum as their deep snapper during their Super Bowl campaign and have deployed him in the same role since. Lovato, 27, is now signed through the 2023 season.
The Eagles locked up a pair of specialists today on one-year deals. Both Elliott and Lovato were exclusive-rights free agents, meaning they weren’t going anywhere and their re-signing was somewhat of a formality, as long as the Eagles wanted them back. Both players will now be restricted free agents next year.
Monday’s been oddly populated by long-snapping news, and the Eagles and Saints jumped into the fray toward the end of the day.
Philadelphia traded long snapper Jon Dorenbos to New Orleans in exchange for a 2019 seventh-round pick, the Eagles announced Monday night.
Dorenbos spent 11 seasons with the Eagles and has been snapping since 2003. The 37-year-old figures to take over the Saints’ specialty snapping duties. The longest-tenured Eagle, Dorenbos made two Pro Bowls — in 2009 and 2014 — and made enough of an impact for owner Jeffrey Lurie to release as statement (via Geoff Mosher of FanRag Sports, on Twitter) thanking him for his contributions over the past decade.
The 15th-year snapper signed a three-year extension in 2016, and $500K of his $1MM base salary is fully guaranteed, as Adam Caplan of ESPN.com points out (on Twitter). Caplan adds (via Twitter) $500K of Dorenbos’ 2018 salary ($1.015MM) becomes fully guaranteed on March 18.
Rick Lovato will take over the Philly gig. The 24-year-old Lovato snapped in seven games with the Packers, Redskins and Eagles between 2015-16. The younger specialist was likely going to supplant Dorenbos, Jeff McLane of Philly.com tweets.
The Saints re-signed their longtime snapper, Justin Drescher, earlier this month. Dorenbos figures to be the favorite to win this job, though. Drescher, 29, has snapped with the Saints for seven straight seasons. Sean Payton said just before Drescher’s return he was unhappy with the team’s inconsistent long snapping but noted last week he was pleased with Drescher’s work during the preseason.
Drescher was outfitted with a walking boot on Monday, Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com reveals (on Twitter). That would help explain the decision.
This is the second trade involving a long snapper today. The Jets and Colts made a lower-profile swap earlier. The Ravens and Bears also signed long snappers today.
The Eagles’ running back corps continues to take hits and will be without one of its members for the rest of the season. Among a host of Monday moves, Philadelphia placed rookie Wendell Smallwood on IR.
To begin filling this trio’s roster spots, the team signed former Jaguars cornerback Dwayne Gratz and long snapper Rick Lovato. Gratz’s deal is for two years, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). Both the Jaguars and Rams cut Gratz this season. The former third-round pick played in three games for both teams this season, recording five tackles. He started in 17 games for the Jags in 2014 and ’15 but did not show enough to stick around through what began as his contract year.
A knee injury will close Smallwood’s initial NFL campaign. The fifth-round pick rushed 77 times for 312 yards, receiving multiple carries in 11 of the Eagles’ 13 games. This news comes after it became known Darren Sproles is in the concussion protocol, leaving the Eagles with Ryan Mathews, who returned last week from his latest injury to rush for 60 yards, and Kenjon Barner as healthy backfield options.
Tobin, a fourth-year ex-UDFA, started one game this season after breaking with the first unit in 20 games in ’14 and ’15. He played 31 snaps against Washington on Sunday but will miss the season’s remainder with a knee injury.
Lovato has been something of a snapper-on-call during his two-year career, with the Old Dominion product catching on with the Packers to close last season and joining the Redskins for a two-game stint in November. He’ll likely snap for the Eagles in their final three games.
December 6th, 2016 at 8:22pm CST by Dallas Robinson
The Broncos worked out a dozen players today, including quarterbacks Sean Renfree and T.J. Yates, running backs Bernard Pierce and Zac Brooks, and wide receivers Keshawn Martin and Corey Washington, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter links). Yates, 29, has only started seven games during his regular season career, but has somewhat miraculously managed two playoff starts, both for Houston. Each of the tryouts conducted by Denver today were for futures contract consideration, tweets Mike Klis of 9NEWS.
Here’s more from the workout front:
Searching for emergency interior line options, the Patriots tried out OL James Stone and Chris Watt today, reports Mike Reiss of ESPN.com (Twitterlinks), who adds that New England also took a look at wide receiver Dez Stewart. As Reiss wrote earlier today, the Pats could be forced to make a move at WR following an injury to Danny Amendola, and Stewart could potentially fill that void.
November 29th, 2016 at 7:00pm CST by Dallas Robinson
Today’s minor moves:
The Buccaneers have waived wide receiver Louis Murphy from the Reserve/PUP list, the club announced today. Murphy is recovering from an ACL tear suffered in October 2015, and wasn’t going to get on the field for Tampa Bay after being kept on PUP. However, the fact that he’s been released likely indicates that the two sides have agreed to some sort of settlement, allowing Murphy to hit the open market. He had been scheduled to earn a $2MM base salary in 2017.
The Redskins announced that they have promoted defensive tackle A.J. Francis from the practice squad. To create a roster spot, long snapper Rick Lovato was waived, likely signalling that fellow LS Nick Sundberg is once again healthy.
November 19th, 2016 at 11:54am CST by Sam Robinson
With their regular long snapper ailing, the Redskins signed former Packers specialist Rick Lovato, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
This points to Nick Sundberg not being available for Washington’s Sunday-night game against Green Bay, which deployed Lovato last season. The second-year long snapper will venture to Washington, D.C., after being one of the Packers’ final cuts out of training camp.
This move prevents what would have been an interesting, if slightly unrealistic, scenario. Jay Gruden insisted Colt McCoy resided as his team’s emergency long snapper, but his status as Kirk Cousins‘ top backup intervened to induce an outside hire.
Washington’s long snapper since 2010, Sundberg injured a muscle in his back while lifting weights. He’s been active for each of the Redskins’ nine games this season and snapped in all 16 of the franchise’s regular-season contests in 2014 and ’15. Originally a Bears UDFA in 2015, Lovato caught on with the Packers last season and snapped in their final two regular-season games and in both of the subsequent playoff contests — including Green Bay’s wild-card win in Washington.
With playoff seeds potentially set to be finalized across the NFC this weekend, let’s look at some news coming out of some of the conference’s locales.
The Packers‘ decision to sign rookie long snapper Rick Lovato instead of a veteran special teams presence surprised some coaches, Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel writes. “I want a veteran,” an NFC special teams coach told McGinn. “Try a rookie in camp, not on a playoff run.” Another coach called Lovato’s game tape “terrible” but saw marketed improvement at his pro day this past spring, and the rookie agreed with that assessment. Two AFC special teams coaches didn’t rank Lovato among their top four draft-eligible snappers, McGinn writes.
Mason Crosby could command a deal that pays him $4MM per year and guarantees him $8MM this offseason, Tom Silverstein of the Journal-Sentinel writes. The Packers’ patience with Crosby after a 2012 season where he missed 12 field goals has paid off, with the ninth-year kicker missing just 14 over the past three seasons. “Obviously, I want to be a Packer. I love playing here. This is all I know. It’s home to me,” Crosby told media, including Silverstein. “It’s a special place. I would love nothing more than to just continue my career here.”Stephen Gostkowski is the only kicker who makes more than $4MM per year. Justin Tucker and Adam Vinatieri are a couple of the notable kickers that comprise the upcoming free agent class.
Marques Colston, Jahri Evans and Zach Strief could be part of the next batch of Saints veterans cut for salary cap relief, Jeff Duncan of NOLA.com writes. The Saints are again in cap turmoil, residing $4MM+ over the 2016 cap presently. Set to play on an $8.2MM cap number, and $7.1MM worth of dead money, Evans has the best chance of sticking around, Duncan notes, due to a potential release of the perennially durable guard netting the team barely $1MM in cap savings. Cutting Colston, who’s been usurped by Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead, would save $3.2MM. A Strief release, however, would save the Saints just $1.3MM.
Embattled Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff‘s penchant for allowing his coaches significant input in key personnel decisions has led to some slip-ups in recent years, Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. Mike Smith preferred the Falcons select Ra’Shede Hageman in the second round last year, and then-defensive coordinator Mike Nolan convinced the GM to build a 3-4 defensive front around Paul Soliai and first-round bust Tyson Jackson a year earlier, Schultz writes.