Chargers Rumors

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/1/20

Teams continue to move their rosters toward 80 players, which will be the maximum by the time full practices begin. Here are the latest minor moves, with the list being updated throughout the afternoon:

Baltimore Ravens

Dallas Cowboys

  • Waived: LS Joe Fortunato
  • Waived/injured: LB Azur Kamara

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

  • Signed: LS Rex Sunahara

New York Giants

  • Claimed off waivers (from Browns): WR Tony Brown

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Chargers Sign Joey Bosa To Five-Year, $135MM Deal

It’s officially official. On Tuesday night, the Chargers announced their brand new deal with Joey Bosa to keep him under contract for the next six seasons. The five-year add-on will pay the defensive end $135MM, including $78MM guaranteed at signing and $102MM in overall guarantees, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. 

Bosa’s deal is an absolute record smasher. His full guarantees and overall guarantees are the highest of any defensive player in NFL history. On the whole, it’s the largest contract the Chargers have ever given to a player in the history of their franchise. Before the Bosa extension, no Chargers player had reached $100MM.

It’s even more of a jaw-dropper when considering the current economic climate and the possibility of a sharply reduced cap in 2021. Still, as GM Tom Telesco has pointed out, the Chargers have more flexibility for next year’s books than most teams. The deal is an outlier for this offseason, but not an anomaly. Just a couple weeks ago, Browns defensive end Myles Garrett signed five-year, $125MM deal with $100MM in total guarantees.

Bosa’s deal has leapfrogged Garrett, Bears outside linebacker Khalil Mack, and Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald in every category. Previously, Mack was the financial kingpin of the defensive end group with Mack $23.5MM per year, followed by DeMarcus Lawrence of the Cowboys ($21MM/year) and Frank Clark of the Chiefs ($20.8MM/year).

In his first two pro seasons, Bosa racked up a combined 23 sacks and 111 tackles. In 2019, Bosa missed the bulk of the season with a bone bruise, but still managed 5.5 sacks and 23 tackles in seven games. Last year, he turned in a complete 16-game season, and he met every lofty expectation – 11.5 sacks, 67 stops, and a forced fumble en route to his second career Pro Bowl nod.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chargers Sign Justin Herbert, Wrap Draft Class

The Chargers have wrapped up their 2020 NFL Draft class, per a club announcement. Quarterback Justin Herbert was the first reported signing, and the rest of the crop followed soon after. The full rundown, per our tracker:

1-6: Justin Herbert, QB (Oregon): Signed
1-23: Kenneth Murray, LB (Oklahoma): Signed
4-112: Joshua Kelley, RB (UCLA): Signed
5-151: Joe Reed, WR (Virginia): Signed
6-186: Alohi Gilman, S (Notre Dame): Signed
7-220: K.J. Hill, WR (Ohio State): Signed

Herbert was a polarizing prospect. Those that are high on the Oregon product believe that his elite arm strength will allow him to succeed as a starter. Others are concerned about his pension for holding on to the ball for too long. The debate between Herbert and Tua Tagovailoa was fierce, but, ultimately, the Dolphins made the decision for the Chargers by selecting the Alabama star No. 5 overall. At No. 6, GM Tom Telesco said that he would have been perfectly happy with either passer.

Herbert will have the unenviable task of eventually stepping into Philip Rivers’ shoes. For now, the 6’6″ rookie will likely begin the year as the QB2 behind Tyrod Taylor.

NFL Draft Pick Signings: 7/22/20

Here are the latest draft pick signings. With rookies set to report to teams’ training camps this week, teams are busy on this front.

  • The Vikings were the busiest team in the draft, making 15 picks this year. They have been active signing them Wednesday. Beyond first-rounder Justin Jefferson, Minnesota has agreed to terms with second-round tackle Ezra Cleveland, fourth-round linebacker Troy Dye, fourth-round defensive tackle James Lynch and seventh-round offensive lineman Kyle Hinton. Cleveland, rumored as a possible late-first-round selection, will be groomed to become a near-future starter for the Vikings.
  • The Broncos began signing some of their picks, most notably getting third-rounders Michael Ojemudia and McTelvin Agim under contract. A cornerback, Ojemudia is set to compete for a starting job opposite A.J. Bouye; Agim profiles as D-line depth behind established starters this season. Denver also signed fourth-round tight end Albert Okwuegbunam, a Mizzou alum set to rejoin his former quarterback (Drew Lock) in the Mile High City. The Broncos also reached an agreement with seventh-round outside linebacker Derrek Tuszka.
  • Despite having T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree under contract, the Steelers used a third-round pick on outside linebacker Alex Highsmith. The Charlotte alum agreed to terms on his four-year rookie deal. Highsmith recorded 15 sacks at the mid-major program last season.
  • Packers third-round pick Josiah Deguara also agreed on his four-year rookie contract. Green Bay eschewed its wide receiver need throughout the draft, using Day 2 to add a running back (A.J. Dillon) and Deguara, who profiles as a tight end/fullback. The Cincinnati product surpassed 900 yards between his final two college seasons, totaling 12 touchdown grabs in that span.
  • Tennessee third-round running back Darrynton Evans signed his rookie deal as well. Evans looks set to replace Dion Lewis as the TitansDerrick Henry change-of-pace back. The Appalachian State alum rushed for 1,480 yards and 18 touchdowns last season. He added five receiving TDs.
  • The Giants used first- and third-round picks on tackles. The latter selection, UConn’s Matt Peart, agreed to the terms of his rookie deal Wednesday. Peart profiles as a developmental lineman, working behind expected starters Nate Solder and Andrew Thomas. He stands to join Cameron Fleming as depth for Big Blue.
  • Washington has agreed to terms with third-round running back/wideout Antonio Gibson, fourth-round receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden and fifth-round center Keith Ismael. Gibson and Gandy-Golden figure to be key parts of a Washington offense that is limited, beyond Terry McLaurin, in the passing game. Gibson totaled 1,104 yards from scrimmage at Memphis last season, while Gandy-Golden caught 20 touchdown passes in two years at Liberty.
  • Fourth-round Cowboys pick Reggie Robinson agreed to terms as well. The Tulsa cornerback joins a Cowboys team that lost Byron Jones in free agency. Dallas was active in an effort to replace the Pro Bowler, drafting Trevon Diggs in Round 2 and signing Daryl Worley.
  • Sixth-round Chargers safety Alohi Gilman, a Notre Dame alum, signed his Chargers contract Wednesday. Gillman joins a deep Bolts safety corps.
  • The Buccaneers drafted two running backs this year. On Wednesday, they agreed to terms with the second of those picks — seventh-rounder Raymond Calais. In addition to his work as a running back at Louisiana, Calais was a four-year kick returner for the Rajin’ Cajuns.

COVID-19 Latest: Cases, Testing, Physicals

The NFL is a week away from beginning training camps amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is the latest from the league’s defining storyline in the final days of the offseason:

  • Ninety-five players have thus far tested positive for the coronavirus, the NFL announced Tuesday. This number, roughly 3.2% of players, will increase when the league begins to test every player. The NFL on Monday agreed on daily testing for the first two weeks of camp.
  • Players will not be permitted to enter their respective team’s facility until they test negative twice. The league revealed a schedule for player testing this week. Players will be tested August 1 before self-quarantining for the next two days before being tested again August 4. The daily testing period will begin August 5, when players can enter team facilities for the first time. The NFL can expect to spend about $75MM on coronavirus testing across the season, Andrew Beaton of the Wall Street Journal reports. BioReference Laboratories, the company set to conduct testing, will charge a flat fee for up to 120 tests per day per team. Any additional tests will cost $125 per test, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports.
  • Team doctors are expected to resume conducting physicals soon, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Teams have not been able to examine players throughout the 2020 league year. Physicals will not take place, however, until health and safety precautions are fully in place, per Rapoport. Only eight teams’ infectious disease emergency response plans have been approved; the other 24 franchises’ plans are under review. Rookie physicals taking place would represent a key step toward free agents being permitted to visit teams.
  • The Rams announced SoFi Stadium’s debut season will feature limited capacity or a no-fan environment. The Rams and Chargers will begin play at the new Inglewood, Calif., stadium this year.
  • Two Division I-FCS conferences will not play football this fall. The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and the Colonial Athletic Association announced they will not play this fall. Both conferences have not ruled out tabling their seasons until the spring. The CAA and MEAC will follow the Ivy and Patriot Leagues in nixing their fall seasons. Junior college football is on track to take place in the spring.

No Deal For Chargers, Hunter Henry

The Chargers and Hunter Henry won’t have an extension in place by the afternoon deadline, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears. There was strong mutual interest in a long term arrangement, but the current economic client scuttled any potential deal.

Henry has already signed his one-year, $11MM tender, so he’s locked in for the upcoming season. Back in April, Henry said he was “close” to inking an extension at some point, but a deal never came together. Now, he’s playing on a prove-it deal, and he mostly needs to prove that he can stay healthy.

The former second-rounder missed all of 2018 with a ACL tear and also missed time last year with a knee injury. At the same time, 2019 was a career year for Henry – he tallied 55 catches for 652 yards and five touchdowns in just 12 games.

It’s not an ideal outcome for Henry, but he does have the honor of being the first tight end to receive the franchise tag since 2014, when the Saints used it to cuff Jimmy Graham. For now, Henry says he’s focused on the present.

“To me, I have so much to prove,” Henry said recently. “Honestly, everybody knows my history of injuries. Unfortunate injuries that have happened in my career and I feel like that has held me back a little bit sometimes. I’m just eager to kinda get through something that I haven’t been able to do for a full season…I feel the best I’ve felt in probably a couple years, for sure. I’m excited.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Poll: How Many Tagged Players Will Land Extensions?

A day away from the deadline for franchise-tagged players to sign extensions, the NFL finally saw a player from this year’s group do so. The Chiefs’ Chris Jones extension represents the outlier move thus far. Discounting Jones’ deal, how many more tagged players will sign by the 3pm CT deadline Wednesday?

The 14 remaining tagged players reside in limbo for various reasons — from uncertainties about their career trajectories to the pandemic clouding the NFL’s financial future. There could be plenty of players going through the 2020 season on guaranteed one-year deals, which would both table key negotiations for several months and add to the 2021 free agent market.

Here is how everything looks with the tagged group as of Tuesday afternoon:

Already Signed Tag

*Received transition tag (vs. franchise tag)

Hasn’t Signed Tag, Won’t Hold Out

Hasn’t Signed Tag, Threatening Holdout

More players were tagged this year than in 2018 and ’19 combined. This represents the largest contingent of tagged performers since 2012, when 19 were tagged. That also came in an era when of salary cap stagnancy. After steady cap growth since 2014, the league’s best hope may be for the 2021 cap to plateau. The coronavirus has threatened to keep fans out of stadiums, with limited capacity being the likely best-case scenario. That will cost the league upwards of $3 billion, and the NFL-NFLPA talks about how to manage this have transpired for several weeks without a resolution.

But deadlines, per the cliche, incite action. Will this year be the exception? Are teams willing to carry big tag salaries on their books? Or will they prefer that to signing off on long-term extensions before the cap reality clears up? Vote in PFR’s latest poll (link for app users) and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Suspends Chargers S Roderic Teamer

The Chargers have assembled one of the NFL’s best secondaries, but one of its youngest members will not suit up until at least the team’s fifth game.

Second-year safety Roderic Teamer drew a four-game suspension Monday, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. A UDFA out of Tulane, Teamer received the suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.

Teamer made six starts last season and played on 39% of the Bolts’ defensive snaps, seeing action on 377 defensive plays as one of last year’s most active UDFAs. Teamer intercepted a pass, recorded a sack and registered 40 tackles as a rookie. Pro Football Focus, however, ranked him 78th out of 85 full-time safeties.

For a Los Angeles secondary that now houses four All-Pros, Teamer projects as a depth piece — now that Derwin James and Nasir Adderley are healthy. The Bolts also return fourth-year safety Rayshawn Jenkins and used a sixth-round pick on safety Alohi Gilman.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chargers TE Hunter Henry Not Expecting Extension

With only four days to go until the extension deadline for tagged players, tight end Hunter Henry doesn’t see himself signing a deal with the Chargers.

“I don’t think anything will get done, but we’ll see,” Henry told Gilbert Manzano of the OC Register.

[RELATED: Status Of Tagged Players Prior To July 15 Extension Deadline]

“I’m not worried about it,” Henry added. “I’m just going to go out there. I get a chance to play this year and do my thing this year. I’m pretty locked in on what I got ahead of me in the 2020 season. That’s what I’m locked in for, you know, I don’t like to look too far ahead.”

The Chargers slapped Henry with the franchise tag earlier this offseason, and the tight end subsequently signed the $11MM tender. Back in April, Henry said he had been “close” to inking an extension with the organization, but a deal never materialized.

The former second-rounder has struggled to stay healthy throughout his career, but he’s been productive when he’s seen the field. 2019 was a career year for Henry, as he hauled in 55 receptions for 652 yards and five scores in 12 games. As Manzano explains, the 25-year-old’s pseudo-one-year contract is effectively a “prove-it deal,” and Henry has the opportunity to earn a significant payday if he improves his numbers in 2020.

“To me, I have so much to prove,” Henry said. “Honestly, everybody knows my history of injuries. Unfortunate injuries that have happened in my career and I feel like that has held me back a little bit sometimes. I’m just eager to kinda get through something that I haven’t been able to do for a full season.

“I think that’s the biggest thing I’m focusing on. Just trying to stay healthy. I’ve just had some unfortunate injuries come my way. I feel the best I’ve felt in probably a couple years, for sure. I’m excited.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Status Of All 15 Tagged Players Prior to July 15 Extension Deadline

The clock is ticking for tagged players to sign extensions with their teams, per the league calendar.

July 15: At 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for any club that designated a Franchise Player to sign such player to a multiyear contract or extension. After this date, the player may sign only a one-year contract with his prior club for the 2020 season, and such contract cannot be extended until after the club’s last regular season game.

With less than nine days remaining until the deadline, let’s take a look at where each of the 15 tagged players stand.

Already Signed Tag

*Received transition tag (vs. franchise tag)

Haven’t Signed Tag, Won’t Hold Out

Haven’t Signed Tag, Threatening Hold Out