Ryan Kalil

Jets Notes: Bell, Clowney, Johnson, Kalil, LBs

For a player without a major injury, Le’Veon Bell has gone through a historically light amount of organized football work over the past 19 months. Bell’s game-action delay will continue until Week 1, with Adam Gase indicating (via Rich Cimini of ESPN.com, on Twitter) his top running back will be held out from Jets preseason games. Bell has not played in a game since the Steelers’ divisional-round loss to the Jaguars in January 2018. His most recent regular-season game was Week 16 of that season. Gase had slammed the door nearly shut on Bell seeing preseason reps, but the first-year Jets coach said Avery Williamson‘s season-ending injury finalized that conversation (Twitter link via SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano). For a player who based his ’18 holdout on conservation, this should go along well with his late-2010s M.O.

Here is the Jets latest:

  • Despite the Jets devoting extensive resources to positions that are not typically tabbed as high-value areas, with Bell and C.J. Mosley making out great in free agency, the team largely left its persistent need for edge rushers alone. While Jadeveon Clowney would obviously start for the Jets, were they to make a move for the disgruntled Texans outside linebacker, Cimini writes no trade should be expected. A way it could work: the Jets trade a mid-round pick — worse value than the Texans would have received before the franchise tag extension deadline — and then flip Clowney in a 2020 tag-and-trade. The Jets hold $14.7MM in cap space, so they would have to perform some slight reorganization mechanisms to fit Clowney’s $15.9MM cap figure on their books. For now, the team will head into another season with Brandon Copeland and Jordan Jenkins on the edge.
  • On the inside, Neville Hewitt received the first crack at replacing Williamson. At the Jets’ Green and White scrimmage Sunday night, the four-year veteran — who played 16 Jets games (four starts) last season — lined up in Williamson’s inside ‘backer spot, per Vacchiano (on Twitter). Hewitt’s high-water mark for starts came with the Dolphins in 2016, when the former Miami UDFA started five games.
  • It still appears Bilal Powell, Trenton Cannon and Eli McGuire are competing for two spots. Although the Jets re-signed Powell this offseason, the 30-year-old not playing special teams stands to work against him, Cimini writes. Cannon remains the leading Jets kick-return candidate, pointing to a Bell-McGuire duel for New York’s final running back slot. McGuire is not a key Jets special-teamer, either, and only averaged 3.0 yards per carry last season.
  • Trumaine Johnson‘s adjusted timetable: Week 1. Gase said he is targeting his top cornerback for a return in time for the Jets’ opener. Johnson is dealing with a hamstring injury. He missed six games with leg trouble last year.
  • Not that Ryan Kalil‘s timetable is in question, but the recently signed center had yet to practice with his new team. The Jets deployed him with their first unit (which had some second-stringers sprinkled in) on Sunday night, Cimini adds (via Twitter). The former Panthers snapper has started in the past 12 Week 1s.

East Notes: Belichick, Patriots, Jets, Giants

Patriots coach Bill Belichick is known for finding diamonds in the rough. He’s turned MAC quarterback Julian Edelman into a star receiver, and made numerous other brilliant discoveries. The draft apparently isn’t the only place he looks for these unheralded gems, as Zach Cox of NESN.com pointed out in a recent interesting piece. The Patriots are holding joint practices with the Lions right now, and Cox points out that Belichick always uses these joint practices to scout the opposing team’s players for guys he might want to pick up when they’re later cut.

“From 2012 to 2017, New England participated in 11 rounds of joint practices with seven different opponents. In all 11 cases, at least one member of the opposing team went on to sign with the Patriots,” Cox writes. That’s a pretty incredible streak, and it shows that the Patriots are paying extremely close attention during these joint sessions. It’ll be interesting to see which current member of the Lions ends up signing with New England later this year.

Here’s more from the league’s eastern divisions:

  • We’ve got the full details on Ryan Kalil‘s contract with the Jets, courtesy of Rich Cimini of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The one-year, $8.4MM pact includes a $3MM signing bonus, 2.4MM in base non-guaranteed salary, and a $3.4MM roster bonus. The total guarantee is just the $3MM signing bonus. Kalil recently came out of retirement, and the veteran center’s presence should be a huge boost to the rest of the offensive line and Sam Darnold‘s protection. Even though the majority of his money is non-guaranteed, it would take something truly shocking for him not to end up collecting it all.
  • The Giants have had a brutal stretch of luck with their receivers. Just in the past few weeks, Corey Coleman tore his ACL, Sterling Shepard suffered a broken thumb, and Golden Tate was suspended for the first four games of the season. Shepard will likely be back for Week 1, but the options after him aren’t too appealing. As of right now it looks like Cody Latimer will be the second receiver to open the season, while Bennie Fowler will be the third, according to Matt Lombardo of NJ.com. Latimer is a former second-round pick of the Broncos who is looking to reinvent himself with the Giants. He spent last year in New York, catching 11 passes for 190 yards in only six games. Fowler is also a former Bronco who caught 16 balls for 199 yards in his first season with the Giants last year. Eli Manning (or Daniel Jones) won’t be in an easy situation when the season opens.
  • In case you missed it, the Dolphins signed former Cardinals first-round pick Robert Nkemdiche

Ryan Kalil Addresses Decision To Join Jets

In January 2018, Ryan Kalil announced he would retire after the upcoming season. The five-time Pro Bowl center had missed 18 games between the 2016 and ’17 seasons. But after a 16-game 2018 slate, the 34-year-old pivot is back in the league as a member of the Jets.

The 13th-year blocker addressed his decisions to retire, and then return, in a lengthy interview with The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue (subscription required).

I think a lot of that stemmed from the fact that I had two tough injuries back to back that were keeping me off the field,” Kalil said, via Rodrigue, referencing the respective shoulder and neck maladies in 2016 and ’17. “I think I sort of saw it as a sign that maybe it was time to move on, and maybe make peace with that. (In 2018), I had one year left on my deal. And so I kind of wanted to force myself to really enjoy my time there.

And then … what happened was I felt good. I felt great. I finished the season, and I didn’t miss a game. And obviously that was not how I envisioned the end there, and it just kind of stuck with me.'”

The Jets exited last season with the NFL’s worst adjusted line yards figure, per Football Outsiders, but did not make many moves to upgrade their front. They traded for Kelechi Osemele, but going into camp, Gang Green was potentially set to return four starters from a maligned front. Jonotthan Harrison, whom since-fired GM Mike Maccagnan re-signed on a low-cost deal, was the favorite to reprise his role as the Jets’ first-string center. Until Joe Douglas began talking to Kalil’s agent.

I expressed interest in maybe wanting to do another year, be one of those mercenary players that comes in and fills a role, and so I just mentioned it to my agent and told him to keep his ears on the ground to see if anything came up,” Kalil said. “I said it had to be the right situation. … And the Jets came up. (My agent) called me about a month later, and we started talking about it. Then, we started talking with the general manager for the Jets, and it started manifesting into something that might possibly be real, as I continued to train and get stronger and back into playing shape.”

Kalil has gained back almost 40 pounds, after dropping to 260 during his retirement phase, and spoke to several former Panthers teammates about joining another team. The reported value of Kalil’s deal is $8.4MM, but incentives comprise an unknown portion of the contract. The Jets, though, carried considerable cap space (more than $20MM) into camp.

This will also mark the fourth straight year the Jets will deploy a new starting center, with Kalil following Nick Mangold (2016), Wesley Johnson (’17) and Spencer Long (’18). Harrison filled in toward the end of last season. That may or may not extend to five centers in five years in 2020, with Kalil tabling retirement talk this time around.

Well, that’s the one lesson I’ve learned — I’m going to stay in the moment. I think it’s a fair question, but I’m going to see how I feel at the end of the year,” Kalil said.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Kalil, Cardinals, Giants, Bucs

Ryan Kalil‘s decision to come out of retirement and sign with the Jets was a shock to everybody around the league, but it wasn’t that sudden for him. The center decided that last season would be his last after battling injuries, but by March he was already feeling the itch to play football again, he told Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. He started lifting weights then, and was working out fully by May, so he won’t be coming in completely cold. His weight had dropped all the way down to 260 pounds, but he’s already back up to 297.

Cimini also reports that the Jets reached out to Kalil before camp even started, so it sounds like this comeback has been in the works for a little while. Kalil has often been one of the league’s better centers, and his presence will be a huge boost to New York’s offensive line and Sam Darnold’s development. He hasn’t been slacking off during his time away from the game, so it sounds like Kalil will easily be ready to man the pivot for the Jets come Week 1.

Here’s more from around the league on Hall of Fame induction night.

  • Things haven’t gone too smoothly for Cardinals linebacker Haason Reddick during his first couple of years in the league. The 13th overall pick of the 2017 draft has had his position changed multiple times, and is in his third defensive system in three years. He also apparently hasn’t been fully healthy, as he recently underwent “minor surgery,” according to Mike Jurecki of the team’s official site (Twitter link). We don’t have many details on the injury, but Reddick said he’d be ready for the opener. There were rumors last year that Reddick was on the trade block, and we’ve heard recently 2019 will be a pivotal year in determining his future with the team. The Temple product has been moved back to inside linebacker for this season.
  • The Giants conducted a minor workout, bringing in cornerback DeJuan Neal for a visit, a source told Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Neal is an undrafted rookie from D-II school Shepherd University, and the fact that he hasn’t already latched on somewhere tells you all you need to know.
  • The Buccaneers added to their staff, hiring Dave Hamilton as director of performance science, according to Greg Auman of The Athletic (Twitter link). Hamilton had been working at Penn State, and Auman notes that he’ll be “helping team’s focus on innovation in optimal preparation/health for their players.”

Jets Sign Ryan Kalil Out Of Retirement

The Jets have signed five-time Pro Bowler Ryan Kalil, according to a team announcement. Kalil retired after the 2018 season, but the Jets have convinced the center to suit up at least one more time. 

It’s a one-year, $8.4MM deal for the Jets and Kalil, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). However, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News tweets $8.4MM is the maximum value of Kalil’s pact, which contains incentives. The agreement is still pending a physical, which may be more than a formality – Kalil was limited to just six regular-season games in 2017 by a neck injury.

The former USC standout played in just 14 games between 2016 and 2017. Prior to that, he suited up for at least 15 contests six times in a seven-year span — with five Pro Bowls and two All-Pro distinctions having occurred during that time. And, in 2018, he started in all 16 of Carolina’s contests.

A second-round pick in 2012, Kalil has been one of the best players in team history. He served as the pivotman during the Panthers’ Super Bowl 50 run and played every game of the Panthers’ 2008, ’13 and ’14 playoff seasons.

With the Jets, Kalil will supplant Jonotthan Harrison as the team’s man in the middle.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ryan Kalil To Retire After 2018 Season

Ryan Kalil‘s 12th NFL season will be his last. The decorated Panthers center informed the Charlotte Observer’s Joe Person that this upcoming campaign will mark the conclusion to his NFL career.

A two-time first-team All-Pro performer, Kalil was limited to just six regular-season games in 2017 by a neck injury. He said the Panthers’ medical staff and a specialist he saw after the season cleared him to return to action, so the Panthers can pencil him back into their starting lineup.

That hasn’t been a surefire proposition, with the former USC standout playing just 14 games over the past two seasons. Prior to that, he’d suited up for at least 15 contests six times in a seven-year span — with five Pro Bowls and two All-Pro distinctions having occurred during that time.

Ryan and Matt Kalil will play a second season alongside one another, per Person, and the elder Kalil will have an offseason to prepare after being limited in 2017 because of a shoulder surgery.

I’m excited about is to actually have an offseason to train because I haven’t had that. I didn’t get that last year and I think that’s part of what contributed to my injury this last season,” said Ryan Kalil, who will turn 33 in March. “I didn’t get to start training until right around training camp, like actually football training. I just felt way behind and I didn’t feel as physically ready for the season as I would have liked to have been.”

The Panthers drafted Kalil in the second round in 2012, and he’s been one of the best players in team history. Kalil served as the pivotman during the Panthers’ Super Bowl 50 run and played every game of the Panthers’ 2008, ’13 and ’14 playoff seasons. He will earn $4.5MM in base salary next season and take up $9.575MM of Carolina’s cap.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ryan Kalil Planning To Play In 2017

Longtime Panthers center and two-time First Team All-Pro Ryan Kalil said he plans to play at some point in 2017, Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer writesRyan Kalil (vertical)

Kalil, who suffered a neck injury in Week 2 that he called “pretty serious,” has played just five quarters all season. He made a return to the field in Week 7 but had to leave in the first quarter after aggravating the injury. He was active in Week 12 vs. the Jets in the case of an emergency and has been a limited participant at practice this week.

The 11-year center said he thinks the Panthers expects him to make a return sooner rather than later. “I don’t think they’d let me take up a roster spot if they didn’t think I would be able to,” he said.

Despite being without their mainstay in the middle, Carolina has still rushed for the fifth-most yards through Week 12 and are atop the NFC South with an 8-3 mark. Kalil’s return, however, could clear more running lanes for Christian McCaffrey and Jonathan Stewart. Second-year center Tyler Larsen has manned Kalil’s position in his absence.

Kalil also noted he plans to play beyond this season. He is signed through 2018.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers Rumors: Davis, Olsen, Kuechly

Thomas Davis provided some clarification about his health this week, making a slight correction to his wife’s assessment of an injury with which he’s dealing. During a TV interview, Kelly Davis said her husband was broken “completely broken ribs” for several weeks. The longest-tenured Panthers player said (via David Newton of ESPN.com) his wife didn’t lie and he is dealing with a broken bone in that area, but only one rib is affected. The 13th-year linebacker added the injury has healed to the point he doesn’t have to treat it any further. The Panthers called Kelly Davis’ comments “heartfelt” but “overstated,” noting Thomas Davis did appear on the team’s injury report for multiple weeks due to a rib ailment. Having started each of Carolina’s seven games this season, the linebacker is not in danger of missing Sunday’s game against the Buccaneers.

Here’s the latest out of Charlotte.

  • Greg Olsen says he’ll test his surgically repaired foot on the field next week, Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer writes. That’s when Olsen will first become eligible to resume practicing after going on IR in Week 3. If he’s healthy enough, Olsen could suit up again in mid-November. League rules dictate that players can return from IR after spending eight weeks on the list.
  • Ryan Kalil has played in just two of Carolina’s seven games this season and is unlikely to see action Sunday, although Ron Rivera said the longtime center could play in an emergency situation. Kalil’s dealing with a neck injury, one he aggravated in Week 7 after returning to the lineup. Rivera said (via Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer, on Twitter) the Panthers are not ready to discuss an IR move for the 11th-year snapper. Tyler Larsen has started in Kalil’s place.
  • Luke Kuechly is in the final stage of concussion protocol, needing to be cleared by an independent doctor in order to play this week. The All-Pro middle linebacker practiced fully all week, per Newton, and is just more than two weeks removed from the latest concussion he suffered. Signs point to Kuechly playing against the Bucs. Should Kuechly return after missing just one game, it will mark his shortest concussion-induced absence as an NFLer. He missed three games in 2015 and six last season because of head injuries.
  • Rivera added the Panthers will get Kurt Coleman back after three missed games. The safety missed time because of a knee injury.

Zach Links contributed to this report.

Panthers Place Ryan Kalil, Gino Gradkowski On IR

The Panthers announced that they have placed centers Ryan Kalil and Gino Gradkowski on injured reserve. Kalil is being shut down because of a shoulder issue while Gradkowski is being shut down with a knee injury. Ryan Kalil (vertical)

Kalil, a five-time Pro Bowler, was forced to exit the Week 11 game against the Saints. Since then, the team left him home for West Coast games against the Raiders and Seahawks. After thorough evaluation, the Panthers have decided that he will not be able to play again this year. Kalil is tied with the Saints’ Max Unger as the 15th best center in the NFL, according to the advanced numbers at Pro Football Focus. Kalil’s overall grade puts him ahead of notables like Maurkice Pouncey, Nick Mangold, and Ryan Kelly.

Gradkowski, Kalil’s understudy, was forced to leave Sunday’s loss to the Raiders with his own knee injury. Tyler Larsen took over at center when Gradkowski went down and he may continue in that role for the rest of the season.

To fill the two spots on the active roster, the Panthers signed center Ryan Wendell and offensive tackle Dan France, France could see significant playing time this week after right tackle Daryl Williams‘ recent ankle injury.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Vikings, Smith, Panthers, Short

Harrison Smith got a big deal with the Vikings on Monday in part due to his agent’s familiarity with the Minnesota brass, Ben Goessling of ESPN.com writes. The agent likened his relationship with the Vikings to the give-and-take of marriage.

When you first do a negotiation with a new person, you’re very careful in everything you say. You don’t give up an inch until you know you can get an inch back. It’d be like in marriage, you don’t say you’re going to take out the trash on Thursdays unless you know they’ll load the dishwasher on Fridays,” Brian Murphy said. “As you negotiate more and more deals, my whole philosophy is, there’s no room for bluffing. There’s certainly no room for lying. … I think that (Vikings VP of football operations) Rob [Brzezinski] is very, very good in that, in terms of saying what he means. And we say what we mean. But it takes a couple negotiations to realize, ‘Hey, when he said this, he really does mean this.'”

Murphy also represents John Sullivan, who has done two deals beyond his rookie contract. Kyle Rudolph, who signed a five-year deal in 2014, is also a Murphy client, as is Everson Griffen, who got $42.5MM over five years from Minnesota after the 2013 season. 2014 first-round pick Trae Waynes is also repped by Murphy and he could be the latest to add to the ~$180MM worth of deals that GM Rick Speilman has inked with Murphy guys.

Right now, it seems to be a happy marriage between the safety and the Vikings. Smith will earn more per year than any other safety in the NFL while the Vikings have the star locked down for years to come.

Here’s more out of the NFC:

  • Panthers coach Ron Rivera has repeatedly said that he wasn’t concerned by the absence of Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kawann Short during OTAs, but David Newton of ESPN.com is confident that both he and GM Dave Gettleman are irked by it. “The thing I appreciate, for most part, everybody has told me what’s been going on with the exception of one person,” said Rivera, who was very possibly referring to the defensive tackle. Short’s 11 sacks last season were tied for the most by anyone at his position. He is currently scheduled to count for just $1.473MM against the 2016 cap.
  • Ryan Kalil‘s extension with the Panthers calls for him to make $13.25MM in 2016 instead of the originally planned $7.75MM, but he’ll make just $3.75MM in ’17, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. That affordable salary pretty much secures his ’17 roster spot, he adds. Following the extension, Kalil’s cap numbers are as follows (Twitter link via Jonathan Jones of The Charlotte Observer): $11.83MM in 2016, $5.33MM in 2017, and $5.78MM in 2018.
  • If former 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh got his way, the 49ers would have drafted Julio Jones, as Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com writes. Recently, Harbaugh (now the coach at Michigan), caused a stir when he was spotted wearing a Jones jersey at a satellite camp. “I’ve always had a ton of respect for Julio Jones,” Harbaugh said in this video on Scout.com. “When I was with the San Francisco 49ers, we were hoping to draft Julio. Always have had tremendous respect for him, competed against him. … I’m just a big fan of a lot of pe0ple. And I’m a jersey guy. I like jerseys.”