Senio Kelemete

Wednesday NFL Transactions: NFC West

Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline Tuesday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters. In addition to waiver claims, teams can begin constructing their 16-man practice squads today. These CardinalsRamsSeahawks and 49ers moves are noted below.

Here are Wednesday’s NFC West transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day.

Arizona Cardinals

Signed to practice squad:

Los Angeles Rams

Signed to practice squad:

San Francisco 49ers

Signed:

Placed on IR: 

Signed to practice squad:

Seattle Seahawks

Claimed:

Signed:

Released/Waived:

Signed to practice squad:

49ers Get Roster Down To 53

The 49ers made a long list of transactions today to get down to 53 players. Several of these moves have previously been reported, but for posterity’s sake, we’ve listed them all below.

Placed on reserve/PUP list

Placed on IR

Released

Waived

Placed on Reserved/Suspended List

49ers To Cut Senio Kelemete

The 49ers will release offensive lineman Senio Kelemete en route to the 53-man deadline (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero). He’ll likely reappear on the Niners’ 16-man practice squad, Pelissero hears.

Kelemete joined the Niners in June to provide some much needed OL depth in the wake of Justin Skule‘s season-ending ACL tear. However, the 49ers prefer the rest of their options at tackle and guard, including incumbent backup guard Tom Compton.

Kelemete came into the league as a fifth-round pick of the Cardinals in 2012. After one year in the desert, he spent the next five years with the Saints followed by three years with the Texans. He still had one year to go on his Texans deal, but they released him in February to save $1.73MM against the 2021 salary cap.

Kelemete appeared in 14 games with five starts for the Texans last season. For his career, he’s made 42 total starts at different positions along the offensive line. His versatility could make him an appealing pickup for other clubs, which would rule him out for the Niners’ taxi squad.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers To Sign Senio Kelemete

The 49ers have agreed to sign offensive lineman Senio Kelemete (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo). Kelemete will provide the Niners with some much needed depth in the wake of Justin Skule‘s season-ending ACL tear. 

[RELATED: Justin Skule Done For Year]

Kelemete appeared in 14 games with five starts for the Texans last season. For his career, he’s made 42 total starts at different positions along the offensive line. His versatility will be a major bonus for the Niners, who can plug him in at guard or tackle depending on their needs.

Kelemete came into the league as a fifth-round pick of the Cardinals in 2012. After one year in the desert, he spent the next five years with the Saints followed by three years with the Texans. He still had one year to go on his Texans deal, but they released him in February to save $1.73MM against the 2021 salary cap.

The veteran will still have to earn his spot on the Week 1 roster, but the odds are in his favor. If all goes well, he’ll serve as a top backup behind Trent Williams and Mike McGlinchey while also seeing some reps on the interior.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans Release OL Senio Kelemete

Less than a year after extending Senio Kelemete, the Texans will part ways with the veteran offensive lineman. The Texans released Kelemete on Tuesday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Houston will save $1.73MM by making this move. The franchise is also cutting linebacker Peter Kalambayi, which will create nearly $1MM in cap space.

Kelemete came over from the Saints in 2018. He started 14 games at guard that season, one in which Deshaun Watson was sacked 62 times, but only opened six games in Houston’s lineup over the past two years. Kelemete, 30, suffered a season-ending injury in September 2019 but returned to play in 14 games last season.

The Texans drafted Kalambayi in the 2018 sixth round and used him exclusively as a backup and special-teamer during his three seasons. One season remained on his rookie contract.

Given the state of the Texans, Kelemete certainly will not be alone among cap casualties this offseason. The Texans are set to hold barely $7MM in cap space after making these moves. With Nick Caserio now presiding over the roster, more starters acquired by previous GMs will be in jeopardy of being cut.

Texans, Senio Kelemete Agree To Extension

The Texans have reached agreement on a one-year extension with guard Senio Kelemete, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (on Twitter). The new deal will keep the veteran under contract through the 2021 season.

Kelemete, 30, has spent the last two years with the Texans, though the 2019 season was basically wiped out by a wrist injury. He joined Houston in 2018 on a three-year free agent deal and served as the team’s go-t0 left guard that year.

Kelemete won’t necessarily be in the starting lineup this year – he may wind up supporting Max Scharping on the left side and Zach Fulton on the right side.

The move created a bit of cap space for the Texans, as Wilson reports in a full-length piece that Kelemete’s cap number dropped from $3.5MM to $2.3MM. He agreed to reduce his 2020 base salary from $2.75MM to $1.3MM, though he did receive a $500K signing bonus and can earn up to $200K in per-game active roster bonuses, so his 2020 pay will max out at $2MM. It sounds as if Houston may have been prepared to cut him, so he elected for a bit of a decrease in exchange for some security.

In 2021, he is scheduled to earn a base salary of $1.3MM, though he can rack up $4.2MM in per-game active roster bonuses.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans Place Senio Kelemete On IR

The Texans’ offensive line just took a blow. Houston is placing guard Senio Kelemete on injured reserve, a source told Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link). In a corresponding roster move the team has promoted linebacker Tyrell Adams from the practice squad to the active roster, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.

A fifth-round pick back in 2012, Kelemete has been with the Texans since 2018. He spent a handful of seasons with the Saints as a part-time starter before signing a three-year deal with Houston last offseason. He was the team’s primary left guard last year, starting 14 games. He started their opener against the Saints in Week 1, but picked up a wrist injury. He practiced last week, so this is a bit of a surprise.

Kelemete will now have to miss at least the next eight games before he is eligible to return. Rookie first-round pick Tytus Howard filled in at left guard in Week 2, then flipped to right tackle. Rookie second-round pick Max Scharping started at left guard this past week, and appears to have that job secured moving forward. Adams is a journeyman who has bounced around a ton of teams’ practice squads and offseason rosters since entering the league as an undrafted free agent in 2015. He’ll be depth only.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans’ Tytus Howard To Open At Guard

The Texans deployed one of the NFL’s worst offensive lines last season and are likely to return multiple starters from the group that yielded 62 an NFL-most sacks. But the team looks to be planning on getting a key addition into the lineup in an unexpected fashion.

Tytus Howard is the frontrunner to open the season as Houston’s starting left guard, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle notes. A first-round tackle out of Alabama State, Howard would replace 2018 starter Senio Kelemete if this plan ends up coming to fruition. Recent signing Matt Kalil is in place as the team’s left tackle, Wilson adds.

Although Howard was viewed as a bit of a reach as a first-rounder, the Texans — despite firing GM Brian Gaine, who oversaw this year’s draft — clearly believe the former high school quarterback has a chance to play immediately. Gaine said after the draft the college tackle could play both guard positions, and Bill O’Brien‘s staff is testing that stance.

Additionally, the Texans are considering second-round guard Max Scharping as a Week 1 starter on the right side. But Wilson adds 2018 starter Zach Fulton is firmly in the mix to keep his job to start this season. Seantrel Henderson, who re-signed after suffering a season-ending injury in Week 1, is expected to start at right tackle.

Deshaun Watson took the most sacks any NFL passer has since Jon Kitna in 2006. The Texans were quiet in free agency on this front, despite entering the marketplace with more than $80MM in cap space. They added the oft-maligned Kalil and used first- and second-round picks on a Division I-FCS tackle (Howard) and mid-major guard (Scharping, out of Northern Illinois). All three additions could be Week 1 starters, doing so after 2018’s batch of newcomers frequently failed to protect Watson.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans To Sign OL Senio Kelemete

The Texans are signing former Saints offensive lineman Senio Kelemete, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). It’s a three-year, $12MM deal with $5.5MM guaranteed.

Kelemete has a chance to start for the Texans given his experience at four different offensive line positions. He’s the third new significant newcomer to that unit, joining guard Zach Fulton and tackle Seantrel Henderson.

The 27-year-old spent the past five seasons in New Orleans, and he’s missed only a single game over the past three years. In 2017, Kelemete appeared in all 16 games with eight starts. Pro Football Focus pegged the veteran as a middle-of-the-road lineman, ranking him 41st among 77 eligible offensive guards.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Top 2018 NFL Free Agents By Position: Offense

NFL free agency will get underway on Wednesday, March 14th, and while the list of free agents will change between now and then, we do have some idea of who will be available when free agency kicks off. The frenzy is right around the corner and it’s time for us to break down the outlook for each position. We’ll start today on offense, before getting to defense and special teams later this week.

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each offensive position. The rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts that each player is expected to land in free agency, they are simply the players we like the most at each position, with both short- and long-term value taken into account. Restricted and exclusive-rights free agents are not listed here since they are unlikely to actually reach the open market. The same goes for players who have been franchise tagged or transition tagged.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some guys than you are, so we encourage you to make your voice heard in our comments section to let us know which free agents we’ve got wrong.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by offensive position for 2018:

Quarterback:

  1. Kirk Cousins
  2. Drew Brees
  3. Case Keenum
  4. A.J. McCarron
  5. Sam Bradford
  6. Teddy Bridgewater
  7. Colin Kaepernick
  8. Josh McCown
  9. Mike Glennon
  10. Drew Stanton
  11. Jay Cutler
  12. Chase Daniel
  13. Ryan Fitzpatrick
  14. Brock Osweiler
  15. Tom Savage

There were many difficult calls when putting this list together, but ranking Kirk Cousins as the No. 1 QB available was not among them. Cousins is the best quarterback to reach free agency in recent history and he’ll become the highest-paid player of all-time – at least, for some period of time – in mid-March. Who will make history with Cousins? That’s anyone’s guess right now. The Browns have more cap room than any other team, but a recent report from Adam Schefter of ESPN.com listed the Broncos, Cardinals, Jets, and Vikings as the final suitors for Cousins. Of those four, the Jets have the most money to work with, but they’re concerned about the Vikings winning out and Cousins’ desire to win could point him in another direction. If the Broncos and Cardinals want in on the Cousins sweepstakes, they’ll have to get creative with the books.

Drew Brees is included here, but by his own admission, he’ll be re-signing with the Saints rather than testing the open waters of free agency. Unless the Saints lowball their franchise QB, it’s hard to see him leaving New Orleans.

Case Keenum put together a tremendous season for the Vikings, but he doesn’t have a history of success beyond 2017. There will be plenty of interest in Keenum, but only after QB-needy teams strike out on Cousins. The incumbent Vikings could re-sign Keenum, but right now, it seems like they are intent on exploring the Cousins waters first.

There isn’t a ton of footage on A.J. McCarron, which made his placement on this list awfully tricky. We know this much: McCarron did well in place of Dalton in the home stretch of the 2015 season and his former offensive coordinator Hue Jackson was salivating at the chance of landing him before the Browns bungled the trade with the Bengals. McCarron’s relative youth is a plus (he won’t turn 28 until September) and his lack of experience can be looked at as a positive. Unlike some of the other names on this list, he hasn’t run up his NFL odometer.

What will NFL teams make of Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford this offseason? Not long ago, both seemed like quality starting options. However, there are serious injury questions about both players and any team signing them will either look to backstop them with another decent option or ask them to come onboard as a QB2. With that in mind, one has to wonder if Bradford would consider retirement if asked to hold the clipboard for another signal caller. Bradford has earned upwards of $110MM over the years in the NFL, so it’s safe to say that he has enough money in the bank to call it quits if he wants. For now, he’s intent on playing.

Colin Kaepernick‘s placement on this list is sure to draw some strong reactions from his fans and detractors alike. Looking purely at his football ability, there’s no question that he belongs on someone’s roster. At minimum, Kaepernick profiles as a high-end backup, even after a year out of the game.

Quarterbacks coaches have long believed that Mike Glennon is capable of great things, due in part to his height. At 6’7″, he can see over any defensive line, but he hasn’t done much on the field to prove that he is a quality Week 1 starting option. Josh McCown, who is a decade his senior, edges him here for his surprisingly strong performance in 2017 at the helm of a weak Jets offense.

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