Sam Tevi

Colts WR T.Y. Hilton To Miss Time; OT Sam Tevi Suffers Torn ACL

Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton is expected to miss multiple weeks due to an injury sustained in practice on Wednesday, as Stephen Holder of The Athletic reports (via Twitter). Adam Schefter of ESPN.com says Hilton is dealing with an upper back/neck malady, and it is unclear exactly how long he will be sidelined (Twitter link).

Hilton, of course, is a team icon who currently ranks third on the Colts’ all-time receiving yards list. He has spent his entire career in Indianapolis since being selected in the third round of the 2012 draft, though it appeared this offseason that a divorce may be in the cards. The team let Hilton hit the open market, and he received a strong offer from the Ravens. He was on the verge of signing with Baltimore — who offered him considerably more money — before an 11th-hour call from Colts owner Jim Irsay convinced him to change his mind.

Indianapolis was looking forward to fielding an intriguing collection of WR talent with Hilton, Michael Pittman, Parris Campbell, and Zach Pascal. Campbell, a 2019 second-rounder, has played in just nine games in his pro career due to injuries of his own, and Pittman is entering his second professional season. So Hilton’s experience will be beneficial to this group, and Holder notes in a separate tweet that he and QB Carson Wentz — whose Week 1 availability is also up in the air — were starting to build real chemistry in practice.

If Hilton is indeed forced to miss regular season action, another roster spot for players like Dezmon Patmon, Ashton Dulin, and Mike Strachan could be there for the taking. The Colts could also peruse the cuts that will soon be coming en masse for other options.

In other unwelcome news, Colts offensive tackle Sam Tevi has suffered a torn ACL and will miss the entire 2021 season, as Mike Wells of ESPN.com tweets. In Wells’ estimation, Tevi was on the roster bubble anyway. Eric Fisher, who will ultimately step in as the club’s starting left tackle, may not be ready for the start of the season, but Julie’n Davenport has taken the bulk of first-team reps at LT recently, and it sounds as if Indy prefers to deploy Davenport as the swing tackle once Fisher returns.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Colts’ Left Tackle Situation

The Colts formed an interesting post-Anthony Castonzo plan at left tackle this offseason, signing Eric Fisher to take over after his Achilles rehab concludes. But the longtime Chiefs edge protector is not certain to be ready by Week 1. Indianapolis’ stopgap options have not impressed thus far.

Julie’n Davenport, Sam Tevi and Will Holden represent the trio vying to be the fill-in while Fisher recovers and the Colts’ swing tackle once Fisher is back, and Jim Ayello of the Indianapolis Star notes all three have struggled during training camp. Colts O-line coach Chris Strausser said it is somewhat disappointing no clear-cut favorite has emerged to be the team’s stopgap solution here.

Indy signed Davenport and Tevi this offseason, while Holden arrived last December after being plucked off Baltimore’s practice squad. Davenport has taken the bulk of the first-team reps lately, per Ayello, but the Colts are planning to also give him work at right tackle to prepare for a potential swing role. Davenport, who has started for the Texans and Dolphins, began Colts camp on the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list.

Neither Tevi nor Davenport has impressed as a starter during their respective careers. The Colts gave each one-year deals, with Tevi’s guarantee ($1MM) topping Davenport’s ($388K). But one could well end up being entrusted to protect Carson Wentz — or one of his backups — come Week 1. This underwhelming left tackle competition has taken place while Quenton Nelson recovers from a foot injury. The All-Pro guard is also not a lock to be ready by Week 1.

When the Colts signed Fisher, marking a reunion between he and ex-Chiefs exec Chris Ballard, the prospect of the ninth-year veteran not being ready until October loomed. Frank Reich said recently the 30-year-old tackle looked “really good” in his solo ramp-up workouts, but the timetable here remains murky. Fisher suffered the Achilles tear in the AFC championship game.

As far as outside options go, Russell Okung remains a free agent. The veteran starter, who is 32, has been waiting for a viable offer. The Bears, who may be without rookie Teven Jenkins for the season, just signed Jason Peters to take away one option here. Beyond Okung, the free agent market is fairly lean at this position. How the Colts’ group looks in the team’s second preseason game may determine whether another outside option will be considered, though Fisher’s timetable represents the key component here.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colts Notes: Tevi, Hines, Eason

One of the biggest winners of this year’s draft was Colts LT Sam Tevi. Signed to a modest one-year pact in March, Tevi has been atop Indy’s left tackle depth chart in the wake of Anthony Castonzo‘s retirement, but it was widely expected that the team would draft a potential Castonzo replacement.

Even though Virginia Tech’s Christian Darrisaw was available for the Colts with the No. 21 overall pick, GM Chris Ballard elected to further bolster his defense by selecting Michigan DE Kwity Paye. And while this year’s draft was said to be deep in tackle talent, Ballard did not use a Day 2 or Day 3 choice on a tackle either.

It doesn’t sound like Colts brass was particularly high on the top-shelf LT prospects. “It just didn’t match up,” Ballard said (Twitter link via Stephen Holder of The Athletic). “How many true left tackles were in the draft? We’ll see. … If you’re gonna draft a guy that high, and you’re drafting him to be a left tackle, you’d like to know that he’s going to be that his whole career.”

Now for more out of Indianapolis, starting with additional notes on the team’s LT situation:

  • Even though the Colts valued Paye and second-round choice Dayo Odeyingbo over any LTs that were available at the time, owner Jim Irsay did concede that there were several tackles in the fourth and fifth rounds that they would have drafted but missed out on (Twitter links via Joel A. Erickson of the Indianapolis Star).
  • Irsay suggested that the team is comfortable with Tevi as the starting LT, though he left the door open for another acquisition. “We feel that Tevi can do a solid job there next to that line that he is joining,” he said. “There are other options that can come down the line” (Twitter link via Holder).
  • Irsay has previously indicated that the team would prefer to keep Quenton Nelson at left guard instead of moving him to LT, and perhaps one of the “options that can come down the line” that he referred to is former Chiefs LT Eric Fisher, who is still on the market.
  • We recently heard that the Colts are hoping to extend LB Darius Leonard and OT Braden Smith, and you can add RB Nyheim Hines to that mix. As Mike Chappell of Fox 59 writes, Irsay said he wants his team to explore a re-up with the NC State product, who is eligible for free agency next year. Hines is a terrific receiver out of the backfield and has developed into a quality punt returner, but the team does have second-year pro Jonathan Taylor as its RB1, and Marlon Mack is back in the fold as well. As Irsay observed, “it just depends on what the numbers are.”
  • The Colts just drafted Texas signal-caller Sam Ehlinger, adding him to a quarterback room that also includes 2020 UDFA Jalen Morton and 2020 fourth-round pick Jacob Eason. All three players will be vying to serve as Carson Wentz‘s top backup, though head coach Frank Reich said Eason will be penciled in as the QB2 for now (Twitter link via Erickson). Reich was clear that Morton and Ehlinger will get a fair shake, however.

NFL Contract Details: Fuller, Ford, Barr, Pats

As free agency’s second wave continues, here are the latest contract details from around the league:

  • 49ers DE Dee Ford: Two years, $24MM. $11.6MM guaranteed, with $4.6MM of that sum due in 2022, David Lombardi and Matt Barrows of The Athletic note (subscription required). Ford’s 2021 guarantees ($7MM) include a $4MM base salary. Ford’s contract also includes a void year (2023).
  • Dolphins WR Will Fuller: One year, $10.63MM. Contract maxes out at $13.63MM, with $3MM available in performance-based incentives, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets. Fuller will receive a $9.6MM signing bonus and is due a $990K base salary.
  • Vikings LB Anthony Barr: One year, fully guaranteed $9.4MM. $8.4MM signing bonus, $1MM base salary. Barr’s cap number will drop to $6.1MM. Contract includes $3MM in sack-based incentives and features two void years, per the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Ben Goessling (all Twitter links).
  • Patriots T Trent Brown: Fully guaranteed $6.5MM base salary, up to $2MM in per-game roster bonuses, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Contract can climb to $11MM based on the roster bonuses, $1MM for 90% playing time, $1MM for a Pro Bowl nod and $500K in weight incentives. Brown must stay under 380 pounds, Vic Tafur of The Athletic tweets.
  • Bills DE Mario Addison: $4.1MM base salary in 2021, $3.25MM of that is guaranteed, Matthew Fairburn of The Athletic tweets. Addison is also due a $1.9MM roster bonus. His contract will now void after 2021.
  • Colts T Sam Tevi: One year, $2.51MM. $1MM guaranteed, $1.5MM base salary. The deal also includes $1MM in playing-time incentives, Wilson tweets.

Colts To Sign OL Sam Tevi

Following the retirement of Anthony Castonzo, the Colts have been seeking a new left tackle. The organization has added one potential replacement, as NFL.coms’ Tom Pelissero reports (via Twitter) that Indy has signed offensive lineman Sam Tevi.

The 2017 sixth-round pick out of Utah had spent his entire four-year career with the Chargers, including three seasons as a full-time starter. After starting 29 of his 30 games at right tackle between the 2018 and 2019 seasons, Tevi started 14 games at left tackle in 2020. He finished the season having appeared in a career-high 1,025 snaps (87 percent of the Chargers’ offensive possessions).

The Colts have been relatively busy looking for players to protect Carson Wentz‘s blindside. We learned last week that the team was hosting free agent lineman Julie’n Davenport.

As Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com writes, the Chargers will likely turn to Storm Norton to replace Tevi’s spot in the lineup. The 26-year-old joined the organization last summer, and he proceeded to appear in six games (with three starts).

Extra Points: Coaches, Falk, Bibbs, Tevi

The 2019 NFL season is about halfway over (sorry for reminding you), and it won’t be long before everyone’s attention turns to the coaching carousel. It should be a busy cycle, with at least a handful of jobs opening up. The Redskins have already fired their head coach and several other teams, most obviously the Falcons, could do the same at any moment. But with several first-year head coaches disappointing, there’s also the chance we see some more ‘one and dones’ across the league. Steve Wilks, of course, was fired by the Cardinals after just one season this past cycle. With that in mind, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports took a look at all eight new head coaches, and which might be on the chopping block.

Despite the Bengals being 0-8 and the only winless team in the league, La Canfora doesn’t think Cincy owner Mike Brown would pull the plug on Zac Taylor given his penchant for loyalty. Brown gave Marvin Lewis nearly two decades, so that isn’t too surprising. Interestingly, La Canfora seems to float the possibility of a second Bruce Arians retirement after just one year in Tampa Bay. If the Buccaneers don’t show improvement and are forced to tear it all down, JLC wonders whether Arians would “want to endure a rebuild in 2020.” He adds that “this situation is being watched closely around the league.” La Canfora also seems to think there’s a real possibility the Jets and Browns move on from Adam Gase and Freddie Kitchens respectively, which isn’t all that shocking.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Just when you thought the Jets couldn’t get more dysfunctional, quarterback Luke Falk is filing an injury grievance against the team, sources told Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. New York cut Falk prior to Week 6 after he started two games for the team. Falk, who had a disastrous couple of outings under center, has a hip injury that requires surgery, sources told Mehta. Apparently Falk feels that the Jets released him outright instead of placing him on injured reserve to avoid paying him. Of course, the franchise is already dealing with an ongoing injury grievance filed by offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele.
  • Free agent running back Kapri Bibbs has been suspended for one game, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. It’s unclear exactly what he was suspended for, but obviously it’s pretty minor for it to only be one game. After spending the first three years of his career with the Broncos, Bibbs has bounced around a bit. He finished last season with the Packers, and was cut by Green Bay back in June. He worked out for the Redskins last month, who he was with earlier last season. The pass-catching back received some decent run in a few random weeks with Washington in 2018, totaling 33 touches in ten games.
  • The Chargers are going to be without starting right tackle Sam Tevi for a bit, as he underwent surgery on his knee to scope his meniscus, according to Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn said the injury isn’t season-ending, and that he’ll be back sooner rather than later. Trent Scott, a second-year UDFA, has been filling in. Scott has been dreadful in his place so Los Angeles could really use Tevi back, even though he has never been too solid either.

Chargers Sign Forrest Lamp, Three Others

After locking up their top draft pick, first-round wide receiver Mike Williams, earlier Thursday, the Chargers went to work on signing a few other selections, per Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com. The club inked four more rookies to deals, including second-round pick and former Western Kentucky guard Forrest Lamp. Here are the others:

Forrest Lamp (Vertical)

Lamp drew plenty of first-round buzz entering the draft, but the team that seemed to like him more than anyone else, Miami, cooled on him at the 11th hour. The Chargers ended up selecting Lamp 38th overall, and he could be an immediate factor – perhaps at right guard – on a line that Football Outsiders ranked among the NFL’s worst last season.

With Lamp, King, Tevi and Rochell now under contract, only two of the Chargers’ seven picks are without deals.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Draft Notes: Chargers, Buccaneers, Jets

The Chargers have been connected to a number of quarterback prospects, including DeShone KizerPatrick Mahomes and Josh Dobbs. Current signal-caller, veteran Philip Rivers, understands why his team would start looking for an heir apparent. However, the 35-year-old was also adamant that he’s not looking to give up his role anytime soon.

“I think it’s to be expected they’re going to get a young guy in the room to try and develop him and groom him,” Rivers said (via ESPN.com’s Eric D. Williams). “It doesn’t by any means really affect me. I think it’s healthy for me. … This thing doesn’t last forever. I have to get to playing better and keep this thing going as long as you can.

“As long as I do that, then whoever it is they bring in here, they’re going to sit for a while.”

Rivers finished this past season with 4,386 yards, 33 touchdowns, and a career-high 21 interceptions.

Let’s take a look at some other draft notes…

  • The Buccaneers have shown interest in a pair of safeties, according to ESPN.com’s Jenna LaineObi Melifonwu (Connecticut) and Budda Baker (Washington). The organization is also eyeing wide receivers Chris Godwin (Penn State) and Rodney Adams (South Florida), offensive tackle Julien Davenport (Bucknell), running back Kareem Hunt (Toledo), and tight end Michael Roberts (Toledo).
  • According to Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com, Ohio State linebacker Raekwon McMillan didn’t show a whole lot of speed during his school’s Pro Day, but he looked solid in positional drills. The defender previously met with the Saints, and he had dinner with the Jets on Thursday night.
  • There were a number of offensive line coaches at Utah’s Pro Day, including staff from the Jets, Browns, Jaguars, and Lions. Offensive tackle Sam Tevi was impressive during the workouts, and the big man has drawn particular interest from both the Saints and Patriots.
  • Eastern Washington doesn’t have their Pro Day until early next week, but that didn’t stop some coaches from visiting their top prospects. The Cardinals and Buccaneers reportedly visited campus to work out defensive lineman Samson Ebukam.