Ronald Leary

Cowboys Hosting Ronald Leary On Visit

The Cowboys are planning to meet with a familiar face soon. They have scheduled a visit with veteran guard Ronald Leary, according to ESPN.com’s Field Yates (on Twitter).

Leary has already begun COVID-19 testing and is at the team’s facility Saturday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets, potentially opening the door to a reunion soon. Amid an early-season injury crisis, the Cowboys also looked at veteran tackle Jared Veldheer this week.

Prior to his lucrative deal with the Broncos in 2017, Leary worked as a Cowboys starter. Dallas landed him as a UDFA and turned to him as its primary left guard from 2013-16. Leary visited the Browns in August but left Cleveland without a contract.

Dallas has run into extensive injury trouble up front in recent days. Tackles La’el Collins and Cameron Erving are on IR, and Tyron Smith is set to be a game-time decision for Dallas’ home opener against Atlanta. Guard Connor Williams played tackle at Texas, potentially giving the Cowboys some flexibility as they navigate a difficult situation.

The Broncos made Leary a cap casualty earlier this year. He struggled to stay healthy during his three-year Denver run, ending each of those seasons on IR. Leary did, however, play in 12 games last season, helping Phillip Lindsay to another 1,000-yard season. With Dallas, Leary was a starter up front for teams that saw DeMarco Murray and Ezekiel Elliott — in 2014 and ’16, respectively — win rushing titles. The 31-year-old guard started 47 games for the Cowboys during his five-year stay.

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Browns Hope To Sign G Ronald Leary

The Browns brought in Ronald Leary for a Wednesday visit and hope to sign the veteran guard, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Leary spent the past three seasons with the Broncos and has been a starter for Denver and Dallas in an eight-year career. The Broncos cut the experienced blocker earlier this year, declining the option on the final year of his contract. In 2017, Leary signed a four-year, $36MM deal with the Broncos.

The 31-year-old lineman struggled with injuries in Denver, failing to finish the season in each of his three years with the team. He did play in 12 games last season, however, and did so after battling back from a torn Achilles’ tendon. Pro Football Focus rated Leary as a lower-end guard in both 2018 and ’19 but viewed him as a top-20 player at the position in 2016 and ’17.

Cleveland employs well-paid guard Joel Bitonio but lacks experience opposite its longtime interior-line starter. Leary would add a veteran presence — either as the Browns’ starting right guard or an experienced swing man — to the team’s line.

The Browns lost four offensive linemen, including three guards, to opt-out decisions last week. Cleveland’s $40MM in cap space leads the NFL by a wide margin. Former Bills backup Wyatt Teller started nine games at right guard for the Browns last season. PFF graded Teller 58th among guards. Adding Leary would seemingly give the Browns three new O-line starters this year, with the team already paying up for right tackle Jack Conklin and using a first-round pick on left tackle Jedrick Wills.

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Broncos Not Expected To Pick Up Ronald Leary’s Option

Ronald Leary is expected to hit the open market. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (via Twitter) that the Broncos aren’t expected to pick up the option on the offensive guard.

The 2012 undrafted rookie out of Memphis spent the first five seasons of his career with the Cowboys, starting 31 games between the 2013 and 2014 seasons. He was limited to only 17 games (16 starts) combined in 2015 and 2016, but he still managed to earn a four-year, $36MM deal ($20MM guaranteed) from the Broncos in 2017.

While Leary has started each of his 23 games during his Broncos career, he’s never surpassed 12 games played in a single season. This includes a 2018 season that was limited to only six games thanks to a torn Achilles.

Leary was set to count towards $10MM against the cap in 2020. We previously learned that the Broncos were picking up the options for kicker Brandon McManus and linebacker Todd Davis.

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Broncos To Pick Up Options On K Brandon McManus, LB Todd Davis

A pair of veterans will be back with the Broncos next season. General manager John Elway told reporters (including Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post) that Denver’s picking up the options on kicker Brandon McManus and linebacker Todd Davis. Meanwhile, the Broncos won’t be picking up lineman Ronald Leary‘s option.

McManus has been the team’s full-time kicker since 2014, and he had another solid year during his age-28 season. The veteran connected on 85.3-percent of his field goal attempts and 96.2-percent of his extra point tries last season. McManus signed a three-year extension prior to the 2017 season, and the extra option year will count $4.25MM against the cap.

Davis has also been with the organization since the 2014 season, and he’s continued to evolve into one of the organization’s most productive players. Despite appearing in only 14 games last season, the 27-year-old finished with a career-high 134 tackles. Davis has a cap number of $6MM for next season.

Leary would have counted $9.3MM against the cap next season, and the decision to avoid his option will save the organization around $8.44MM. Denver signed the offensive guard to a four-year deal back in 2017, and he’s started all 29 of his games during his stint with the team. Unfortunately, each of his three seasons with the Broncos ended on the injured reserve.

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AFC West Notes: Chiefs, Raiders, Leary

Let’s take a quick look at the AFC West, beginning with the division’s three-time reigning champion on the eve of a rather important game.

  • The Chiefs‘ New England visits over the past two seasons have included monster stat lines from their running back corps. While the player responsible for most of that production (Kareem Hunt) is long gone, the Chiefs will also be without starter Damien Williams for Sunday’s Patriots game. Kansas City’s Hunt successor remains out due to a rib injury, set to miss a second straight game. The Chiefs placed Darrel Williams on IR earlier this week and will take a LeSean McCoySpencer WareDarwin Thompson contingent to Foxborough.
  • Set for perhaps a do-or-die game, regarding their playoff aspirations, the Raiders will do so without their largest player. Trent Brown will miss Sunday’s game against the Titans with a pectoral injury. Second-year player Brandon Parker will start at right tackle. A second-round pick, Parker made 12 starts as a rookie but was replaced when the Raiders doled out a record contract for Brown.
  • When Jon Gruden pulled Derek Carr during a blowout loss against the Jets, Mike Glennon took the snaps. Should Carr go down or be benched again this season, that would not be the case. The Raiders promoted DeShone Kizer to their backup spot, Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area Notes. Kizer has been Oakland’s QB3 this season, inactive each game. He will suit up as a Raider for the first time, displacing Glennon in that role. The Raiders claimed Kizer, the Browns’ primary 2017 starter and a Packers backup last season, shortly after roster cutdown day.
  • Ronald Leary‘s 12 games this season represent his most with the Broncos, but Denver will have a new right guard Sunday. A concussion will sideline Leary and move Austin Schlottman into the starting lineup, per Mike Klis of 9News. A UDFA out of TCU, Schlottman spent last season on Denver’s practice squad and has played 10 NFL snaps. Leary will exit Week 14 having missed 16 games during his three-year Broncos tenure and looms as a cap-casualty candidate next year. The Broncos can save nearly $9MM by cutting the soon-to-be 31-year-old blocker, who has one season remaining on his contract.

Broncos Rumors: Jackson, Harris, Leary

While the cornerstone Broncos secondary cog remains away from the team, the player that helped (indirectly) create the Chris Harris situation may be slated for a hybrid role. Kareem Jackson has continued to line up at safety during Broncos OTAs, Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post notes. Given $11MM AAV in March, Jackson joins Justin Simmons as a first-string safety when the team has used its base formation thus far. However, the longtime Texans cornerback moves into his more familiar role when the Broncos shift to their sub-packages, O’Halloran adds. Jackson spent some of the 2018 offseason at safety and began the regular season there, but once Andre Hal returned after his cancer diagnosis, Jackson was shuttled back to corner.

The Broncos appear to be planning to use Harris and Bryce Callahan as base corners, with Jackson and Simmons on the back line. Denver released four-year safety starter Darian Stewart earlier this year and did not use a draft choice on a safety. Oft-used sub player Will Parks remains behind Jackson and Simmons, however, with Su’a Cravens and Jamal Carter still in the mix. But it is not known yet who Simmons’ sidekick in nickel and dime sets will be.

Shifting to the latest on Harris, here is more from Denver:

  • The ice between Harris and John Elway appears to be thawing. The sides have resumed negotiations, and the All-Pro corner’s $15MM asking price has come down a bit. It appears Harris will be receiving a raise, and Troy Renck of Denver7 tweets the Broncos and their ninth-year corner are discussing what would be a “big” 2019 salary spike. But interestingly, said big raise may just be for this season. Teams normally like to add control in exchange for salary hikes, but at this point, Harris may still be headed toward a contract year and 2020 free agency. The prospective one-year bump centers around the reality that the Broncos need Harris to contend this season, Renck adds.
  • Continuing with the Denver secondary, Simmons is entering his walk year. The 2016 third-round pick became a full-time player for the Broncos in 2017 and was their only defender to play every snap last season (1,078). Simmons is focused on a Broncos extension. “Obviously when it’s all said and done, if I had a choice I would stay here,”Simmons said (via The Athletic’s Nicki Jhabvala, subscription required), “not even a question of looking elsewhere or anything like that.” The Broncos have three starters from the 2016 draft, with Adam Gotsis and Connor McGovern 1.0 also in contract years, but it is not certain any will command lofty salaries. The Broncos’ highest-profile walk-year players are seasoned veterans (Harris, Emmanuel Sanders) rather than rookie-salary cogs on the verge of big money.
  • Ronald Leary has ended both of his Broncos campaigns on IR, last season’s Achilles injury occurring in October. But the veteran guard is set to be back as a starter, after seeing $5MM in 2019 injury guarantees kick in earlier this year. The 30-year-old blocker is on track to begin participating in OTAs next week, Alex Marvez of Sirius XM Radio tweets. The Broncos have moved Leary back to right guard, where he played in 2017. Leary was not on board with being moved to left guard last year, Marvez adds. Second-round pick Dalton Risner is expected to be Denver’s starting left guard.

Broncos Rumors: Murray, Paradis, Keenum

Although the Broncos agreed to acquire Joe Flacco, they will still be linked to this year’s top rookie quarterbacks — as they were last year. If Kyler Murray is available at No. 10, they may serve as a spot for teams looking to trade up. John Elway does not appear to believe the shorter passer would be a fit for an offense that will use plenty of under-center looks under new OC Rich Scangarello, per Mike Klis of 9News (Twitter link). The Broncos passed on Josh Allen and Josh Rosen last year and have been connected to Drew Lock. If Denver sticks at No. 10 and chooses a non-quarterback, the team will have had back-to-back top-10 picks without addressing its long-term QB need with one of them. The 2020 draft is expected to have high-profile passers, but it’s obviously no lock the Broncos will be in position to draft or trade up for one.

Here is the latest from Denver (via Indianapolis):

  • Despite the Flacco deal, Elway’s preference is to keep Case Keenum. It would take a restructured deal, though, Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic tweets. Keenum is attached an untenable $21MM cap number. With Flacco set to bring an $18.5MM figure to Denver, it is hard to see Keenum staying due to the pay cut it would require. The 30-year-old incumbent has not requested a trade, Elway said (per the Denver Post’s Ryan O’Halloran, on Twitter), adding the Broncos would allow him to seek one.
  • Matt Paradis probably looms as the Broncos’ top free agent priority. Elway has spoken with the Broncos’ center of the past four years and informed him they would like him back, Jhabvala tweets. But Paradis’ injury and price point will be a factor. The 29-year-old snapper has been expected to reach free agency, where a new market-setting deal may well await him — considering teams’ need for higher-end linemen. However, multiple executives predicted (via O’Halloran, Twitter link) Paradis will end up back in Denver on a one-year deal because of the broken fibula that ended his season last November.
  • The Broncos’ need for a cornerback is as great as it has been in five years, and Elway acknowledged (via Klis, on Twitter) the team needs to find a No. 2 corner to team with All-Pro Chris Harris. This would seem to point to Bradley Roby departing, which has been the expectation. Vic Fangio said (via Jhabvala) the Broncos will let Roby test free agency, a good sign he will not be back in 2019.
  • As for Harris, Elway said the team has not considered an extension yet and whether or not the Broncos do go in this direction will depend on their free agency period, per Troy Renck of Denver7 (on Twitter). However, Renck added earlier (Twitter link) the expectation is the Broncos will meet with Harris’ agent at the Combine. The 29-year-old corner has been one of Denver’s cornerstone players this decade, and with Roby likely to leave and Aqib Talib having been traded, Harris represents the Broncos’ only surefire option at corner. Denver is also set to let Tramaine Brock walk.
  • On its offensive line, Denver will bring back Ronald Leary, Elway confirmed (via Jhabvala, on Twitter). Leary has more than $5MM in injury guarantees due if he cannot pass a physical by March 17. It’s been previously reported the veteran guard will be unable to pass said physical by then. Leary has seen both of his Denver seasons end early because of injury. Also on the Broncos’ O-line: Elway said (per Renck, on Twitter) the team would like to re-sign right tackle starter Jared Veldheer and utility blocker Billy Turner. If Veldheer departs, the Broncos would have a sixth Week 1 right tackle starter in six years.

Broncos Notes: Harris, Flacco, LBs, Leary

With Aqib Talib having been traded and Bradley Roby likely to leave Denver as a free agent, the Broncos have work to do to repair their once-formidable cornerback corps. However, the third player from the team’s longtime trio may be in position to sign a third contract soon. Chris Harris is entering a contract year, and with the Broncos having no other foundational pieces at this position, it would seemingly behoove them to enter into extension talks with their versatile All-Pro. Harris has said he is open to signing a third Broncos contract, and Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post writes the 29-year-old defender will be on the 2019 team, as opposed to being shopped around, and is a likely target for an extension. One of this era’s premier corners, Harris nonetheless has a manageable cap number this season ($8.77MM), so an extension would stand to be more about keeping him in the fold than reducing his 2019 figure.

Denver is also expected to let Tramaine Brock walk, so cornerback — for the first time since the Broncos swapped out Champ Bailey and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie for Talib and Roby five years ago — is a major need for this franchise.

Here is the latest from Denver, shifting to its quarterback decision:

  • Joe Flacco will be the fourth Broncos Week 1 starting quarterback in the past five seasons, and thus far the reaction to Denver’s move has skewed negative. But multiple executives viewed this as potentially a short-term gain, with O’Halloran noting one called this a solid move for both the Broncos and Ravens and another seeing the 34-year-old passer having multiple good years left. One defensive assistant, however, disagreed, viewing the veteran as having little quality football left. Flacco has not ranked above 19th in QBR since the 2014 season, when he was ninth. The Broncos will attempt to place him in a similar offense to the Gary Kubiak-coordinated attack that unleashed Flacco five years ago, but with so much time passing, it’s obviously no guarantee Flacco can return to form.
  • The Broncos prioritized Brandon Marshall over Danny Trevathan three years ago, in extending the former and letting the latter walk as a free agent. But in cutting Marshall this week, the Broncos jettisoned their top coverage linebacker. They are expected to look for help on this front in the draft, Mike Klis of 9News notes. Denver still has plus run defender Todd Davis and 2018 fourth-rounder Josey Jewell, but Klis writes the team will look for a rangier addition to complement its incumbents.
  • Offensive line will also be a need for the Broncos, with free agent center Matt Paradis‘ status up in the air. But one member is in line to return. Ronald Leary will not be ready to pass a physical by March 17, Klis tweets. This would fully guarantee $5.35MM of the guard’s $8.1MM salary. Unless the Broncos want to eat a reasonable amount of dead money, as they did upon releasing Menelik Watson last year, Leary can be expected back. The 29-year-old guard has played well in Denver but finished the past two seasons on IR, a 2018 Achilles injury shelving him after seven games.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/20/18

Here are Saturday’s minor moves:

Denver Broncos

  • Signed off Jets’ practice squad: C Nico Falah
  • Placed on IR: G Ronald Leary

Los Angeles Chargers

New York Jets

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Broncos’ Ronald Leary Out For Season

The highest-paid interior lineman in Broncos history will not be available for the 2018 team’s final 10 games. The fears surrounding a possible Achilles’ tendon tear for Ronald Leary turned out to be justified.

Leary will miss the rest of the season, Vance Joseph confirmed Monday. The veteran guard went down midway through the Broncos’ 23-20 loss to the Rams on Sunday. Max Garcia and Connor McGovern had been rotating at right guard on Sunday; that duo will now comprise Denver’s starting guards.

Signed to a four-year deal worth $36MM, Leary will end a second straight season on IR. He missed the final five games of the 2017 season because of a back injury. Leary’s knees had caused him issues in the past, leading to his undrafted status and most recently requiring an arthroscopic procedure this offseason. But he returned and started Denver’s first six games and delivered quality work for a Broncos team that, despite its four-game skid, enjoyed consistent success on the ground.

The Broncos’ rushing attack figures to sustain a hit with Leary out, which will further diminish their chances of avoiding another lost season. Leary hasn’t played 16 games in a season since 2013.

Leary’s status for 2019 may now be tenuous because of another injury. He will turn 30 next year, and his contract calls for $9.375MM cap number. The Broncos would be tagged with only $1.75MM in dead money by shedding it. Garcia is a free agent after this season, while McGovern is under contract through 2019.

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