Senquez Golson

North Notes: Golson, Browns, Lions

In the past few drafts, the Steelers have made a concerted effort to bolster their defensive backfield, an area that has been something of a weakness in the second half of the Ben Roethlisberger era. The team selected a cornerback on the first or second day of the last three drafts (Cam Sutton in 2017, Artie Burns in 2016, and Senquez Golson in 2015), and safety Sean Davis was selected in the second round of the 2016 draft. Pittsburgh’s secondary was improved last season, but after it was gashed by the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game, the Steelers’ coaching staff plans to implement more man coverage in 2017, as Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes. Dulac says the team is confident that Sutton and Burns can handle those concepts, but the staff is openly pessimistic about Golson, who has not played in a preseason or regular-season game in his two years in the league due to injuries. Golson, who is at least healthy enough to practice at the moment, seems to be on the verge of losing his roster spot altogether, and he may need to prove his worth on special teams just to make the club.

Now for more from the North:

  • Kenny Britt and Corey Coleman sit squarely atop the Browns‘ wide receiver depth chart, but the No. 3 job is wide open, and there are a number of second-years players who could fill that role. However, Dan Labbe of Cleveland.com says the team hopes Ricardo Louis, last year’s fourth-round selection, can be the guy. Though Louis appeared in all 16 games for the club last season, he caught just 18 passes for 205 yards, but given the big-play potential he flashed at Auburn, Cleveland will give him every opportunity to earn a key role this summer.
  • Speaking of Coleman, Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com says he will be eased into the grind of training camp, and he may not be a full-go from the first day of camp. The same is true of 2017 No. 1 overall selection Myles Garrett, who suffered a left lateral foot sprain in minicamp.
  • Lions safety Miles Killebrew, a fourth-round selection in 2016, was a fixture in the team’s dime package last season, but as Kyle Meinke of MLive.com writes, Killebrew could be in for a much bigger role in 2017. The Southern Utah product is currently listed as the third safety on the depth chart behind Glover Quin and Tavon Wilson, but Meinke believes Killebrew could push Wilson for the starting strong safety job with a solid training camp. As we learned yesterday, the Lions and Quin are discussing a new contract.
  • Jake Rudock lost the Lions‘ backup quarterback competition to Dan Orlovsky last season because of Orlovsky’s experience and knowledge of the team’s offense, but now Rudock himself is the player with the experience advantage. As Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com writes, Rudock’s grasp of OC Jim Bob Cooter’s scheme is miles ahead of rookie Brad Kaaya‘s, thereby making Rudock almost a lock for the backup job.

Steelers Notes: Brown, Bell, Timmons, Jones

The Steelers have a number of to-do items on their offseason docket, and today general manager Kevin Colbert addressed the media with a focus on what Pittsburgh plans on doing over the next few months. Let’s take a look at the highlights from Colbert’s press conference, courtesy of Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

  • Stating that he wants both wide receiver Antonio Brown and running back Le’Veon Bell to remain Steelers for life, Colbert said the club has opened extension talks with Brown, the only player with whom Pittsburgh has discussed a new deal, according to Dulac. Brown is signed through 2017 with a cap charge of roughly $13.6MM, while Bell is an unrestricted free agent but will likely be retained via the franchise tag. Colbert specifically called reaching a new contract with Brown an offseason “priority,” although a recent report indicated that talks between the two sides will move slowly.
  • Re-signing veteran linebacker Lawrence Timmons could also be in the cards for the Steelers, but negotiations with Timmons won’t be as cut-and-dry as talks with Brown and Bell. “Would you like to have him stay? Absolutely,” Colbert said. “Does it all fit? We can make it work, but at what cost? He’s never been a free agent. I’d like to see him finish his career here and he would too.” Timmons, 30, has spent a decade in Pittsburgh, and is coming off a 78-tackle, 2.5-sack season.
  • The Steelers aren’t counting on former second-round cornerback Senquez Golson, who has missed his first two seasons in the NFL with injury, for anything more than potential depth. “I’m a little more apprehensive,” said Colbert. “Just from sitting out two years, where you haven’t played at all, it’s not real easy to just step out there and catch up.” As such, Colbert said Pittsburgh could consider selecting a cornerback in this year’s draft.
  • Because Golson is a question mark, the Steelers could be open to re-signing cornerback Justin Gilbert, who was released last week, tweets Dulac. Gilbert has become a massive draft bust since being selected eighth overall in 2014, and played only 11 defensive snaps last season. He’s still just 25 years old, however, and would make for an interesting (if uninspiring) depth peice.
  • Despite reports of a possible retirement, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is expected to return in 2017, and the Steelers hope to re-sign backup signal-caller Landry Jones, as well, as Dulac writes. “We’d like to have Landry stay in the mix,” Colbert said. “Will we add a guy? Absolutely. When? It’s hard to say. Sooner or later we will have to address that.” If Pittsburgh doesn’t view Jones as the long-term replacement for Roethlisberger, the club could look to draft a QB at some point.

Steelers Place Golson, Harris On IR

Senquez Golson‘s Steelers debut might have to wait until 2017, depending on what happens with the team’s injury situation this season.

Pittsburgh placed the second-year cornerback on IR, where he will join backup tackle Ryan Harris, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (on Twitter). A preseason foot injury sidelined Golson, but the Steelers previously kept him on their active roster. The 2015 second-round pick spent the entirety of last season on IR.

This move isn’t entirely unexpected since Golson underwent foot surgery in early August, with the procedure’s rehab timeline hovering around four months. He missed all of last season due to an August shoulder operation. The Steelers can bring Golson back later in the year, but Golson has to miss at least eight weeks’ worth of games and six weeks’ worth of practices, per the tweaked IR rules.

Harris was injured against the Chiefs while starting for the ailing Marcus Gilbert at right tackle. He’d been the swing man behind Gilbert and Alejandro Villanueva this season after signing for two years and $3.9MM this offseason. The 31-year-old Harris began 2015 as the Broncos’ starting right tackle before injuries elsewhere relocated him to the left side, where he started the final 15 games for the Super Bowl champions.

Harris’ injury leaves Chris Hubbard as the Steelers’ starting right tackle Sunday against the Jets. Maurkice Pouncey took reps at right tackle this week despite having never played there in a game.

The Steelers replaced Harris and Golson on their roster with offensive lineman Matt Feiler and cornerback Al-Haj Shabazz, via practice squad promotions.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steelers’ Senquez Golson Undergoes Surgery

AUGUST 8: Golson underwent surgery today and is expected to miss four months, tweets Dulac.

AUGUST 2, 7:47pm: The timeline on Golson is closer to four months, according to Ed Bouchette and Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and if Goldon requires surgery, he’ll likely miss the entire season.

11:21am: Bad news for the Steelers as cornerback Senquez Golson has a lisfranc injury which could sideline him for 12 weeks, according to Ian Rapoport and Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL.com (on Twitter). Golson is now a candidate to be placed on IR-DTR, according to Rapoport.Senquez Golson (vertical)

[RELATED – Impact Rookies: Pittsburgh Steelers]

Golson, a 2015 second-round pick, missed all of last season after undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery last August. This time around, the injury doesn’t appear to be as severe, but it is still troubling for the Ole Miss product who has yet to see time in an NFL game. The injury could also prompt Pittsburgh to take a look at available cornerbacks on the open market. Behind projected starters William Gay and first-round pick Artie Burns, the Steelers also have Ross Cockrell, 2015 fourth-round pick Doran Grant, Montell Garner, and Al-Hajj Shabazz on the cornerback depth chart. Antonio Cromartie and Leon Hall are among the cornerbacks still available at this stage of the offseason.

Golson was selected with the No. 56 overall pick in last year’s draft. The 5’9″ athlete started 33 of his 49 games in college and recorded 136 tackles and 16 interceptions. His 16 picks led all NCAA active defensive players and tied for third most in school history. Golson led the SEC with ten interceptions in 2014, second-most in the NCAA, and tied an Ole Miss single-season record.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

North Notes: Kalil, Bears, T-Rich, Golson

The Vikings have not received the return they’d hoped after investing their highest first-round pick since 1985 on Matt Kalil, but the team kept him for just more than $11MM on a fifth-year option. The former No. 4 overall selection hopes to reward the team this season and wants to finish his career in the Twin Cities, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press writes.

Despite an inconsistent career, Kalil is set to out-earn every left tackle in football this season on his $11.09MM fifth-year salary. Tomasson writes that an extension for the 27-year-old blocker could happen, as could a re-signing after the season. Kalil owns one more Pro Bowl nod than Eric Fisher, 2013’s No. 1 overall pick who just inked a four-year, $48MM extension with the Chiefs despite middling production to date, and has started all 65 of the Vikings’ games the past four years. So, that kind of agreement could conceivably be in Kalil’s future if he can elevate his game this season.

The Vikings signed Andre Smith this offseason but saw Phil Loadholt retire. They do not have a long-term tackle option at this point. Last month, PFR’s Dallas Robinson checked in on the Vikings’ offensive front.

Here’s the latest from the North divisions, beginning with one of the Vikings’ top rivals.

  • Willie Young‘s extension with the Bears is worth $13.55MM and runs through the 2018 season, Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun Times reports (on Twitter). That includes $9MM in guaranteed money, per Jahns. Young will make $5.85MM in 2016, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune (on Twitter). That total includes a $2.7MM signing bonus, a $2.3MM roster bonus and an $800K base salary. Young will hold cap figures of $4.1MM in 2017 and $5.4MM in ’18, according to Jahns. The Bears will owe Young a $2.2MM roster bonus on the fifth day of the 2017 league year, Biggs tweets. The steady pass-rusher is due a $1MM roster bonus in ’18, per Biggs (via Twitter), and includes incentives for sacks — thresholds that aren’t likely to be crossed, according to Jahns (Twitter link).
  • Bears cornerback Brandon Boykin is dealing with a pectoral injury that might be “problematic,” and that is expected to prompt Chicago to sign a cornerback soon, Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune tweets.
  • The Ravens released Trent Richardson because they needed a wide receiver to practice, Ed Werder of ESPN.com tweets. They believe he’s talented and his return is possibility, Werder adds. Coach John Harbaugh told reporters, including Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun (on Twitter) that both he and GM Ozzie Newsome spoke to Richardson about getting healthy and possibly coming back to the team.
  • Mike Tomlin confirmed Senquez Golson has a Lisfranc injury and that surgery is a likely course of action, Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review tweets. Golson could land on IR-DTR, but the Steelers may reserve that spot for another player since the second-year cornerback will be out up to four months. The 2015 second-rounder has yet to play in a regular-season game after missing his entire rookie slate. As Roster Resource shows, 2016 first- and second-rounders Artie Burns and Sean Davis represent the top depth behind William Gay at a position the Steelers invested in heavily this offseason.
  • Wide receiver Alonzo Russell and interior lineman Alex Redmond represent two of the top choices to continue the Bengals‘ run of UDFAs making the 53-man roster, Cincinnati.com’s Paul Dehner Jr. writes. The 6-foot-4 Russell was a four-year contributor at Toledo, recording 3,076 yards and 24 receiving TDs from 2012-15. A UCLA product, Redmond will be competing with the likes of fifth-round rookie Christian Westerman and 2013 seventh-rounder T.J. Johnson for a spot as a backup interior blocker.

Zach Links contributed to this report

Steelers Reduce Roster To 75 Players

The Steelers added one player to their roster today, acquiring Josh Scobee in a trade with the Jaguars, but most of the day’s transactions for the team involve removing players onto reserve lists, or cutting them from the team entirely.

Here are the rest of the moves completed today by Pittsburgh in order to get the roster down to 75 players, according to the club’s transactions log:

Placed on reserve/PUP list:

  • T Mike Adams

Placed on injured reserve:

  • CB Senquez Golson
  • K Garrett Hartley

Waived/injured:

  • TE Cameron Clear
  • DE Niko Davis
  • TE Ray Hamilton

Cut:

  • G Miles Dieffenbach
  • WR Kenzel Doe
  • WR C.J. Goodwin
  • RB Braylon Heard
  • DE Joe Kruger
  • DT Joe Okafor
  • OL Collin Rahrig
  • CB Jordan Sullen
  • T Kevin Whimpey
  • S Ian Wild

AFC Notes: Dareus, Grimes, Golson, Dixon

Bills’ superstar defensive tackle Marcel Dareus is unhappy about his current contract, and is itching to hit free agency and chase some of that Ndamukong Suh money. Unfortunately for him, Suh was in a much better position in terms of leverage that allowed him to reach free agency. For Dareus, he will likely be subject to the franchise tag not once but twice before he is in position to get a Suh-like game-changing contract, writes Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.

Here are some notes from around the AFC:

  • Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes has decided to change agents, and will now be represented by Tom Condon of CAA, reports Rand Getlin of the NFL Network (via Twitter). Grimes was formerly represented by Ben Dogra of Relativity Sports.
  • At the beginning of August, we learned that Steelers’ second-round pick Senquez Golson might require shoulder surgery that at the time was thought to be season ending. Golson tried to play through the injury, but ultimately decided to have the surgery this morning, reports Chris Adamski of TribLive.com. However, Golson and head coach Mike Tomlin have not announced whether or not he will miss the 2015 season.
  • The Raiders have brought in safety Ahmad Dixon for a workout, accorting to Adam Caplan of ESPN (via Twitter). Dixon was a seventh-round pick for the Cowboys in 2014.

AFC North Notes: Steelers, Golson, Boykin

Here’s a look at the AFC North..

  • Steelers rookie cornerback Senquez Golson may require season-ending shoulder surgery, Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes. Golson’s injury might explain the Steelers’ pursuit and acquisition of cornerback Brandon Boykin over the weekend. The second-round pick out of Ole Miss opened up camp on the PUP list and now it appears that his NFL debut may have to wait until 2016.
  • Boykin should give the Steelers additional options in the secondary, Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes. Boykin not only is a viable candidate to contribute at corner, he also might be a Week 1 starter. Boykin played in all 48 games since being drafted by the Eagles in 2012, but he became expendable when they signed Byron Maxwell to a lucrative deal in the offseason, signed veteran Walter Thurmond, and drafted three cornerbacks.
  • Browns receivers coach Joker Phillips says Terrelle Pryor, who is making the transition from quarterback to wide receiver, has made a good first impression on coaches. “It’s hard to say right now,” Phillips said, according to Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer. “I’m not going to put that kind of pressure on him or myself. I can tell you this, he’s very, very — and I’ll say it two times — very, very talented. There’s no question about that. The guy’s talented, and talent wins ball games. Now, we’ve got to challenge that talent with the techniques that we have and give him a chance to be successful out wide.”

Steelers Sign Senquez Golson

The Steelers have signed second-round pick Senquez Golson, according to Ed Bouchette of the Post-Gazette (on Twitter). Golson is the highest draft picked signed by Pittsburgh so far.

Golson, an Ole Miss product, was selected with the No. 56 overall pick in the draft. The 5’9″ athlete started 33-of-49 of his games in college and recorded 136 tackles and 16 interceptions. His 16 picks led all NCAA active defensive players and tied for third most in school history. Golson led the SEC with ten interceptions in 2014, second-most in the NCAA, and tied an Ole Miss single-season record.

With Golson signed, the Steelers have four of eight draft selections still to go.

AFC Notes: Steelers, Ravens, Chargers

Before drafting Mississippi cornerback Senquez Golson with the 56th overall pick, the Steelers tried to move up and take Minnesota tight end Maxx Williams, tweets Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh-Tribune Review. The Steelers were unable to pull it off, however, and Williams ended up going 55th to the AFC North rival Ravens, who traded up to get ahead of Pittsburgh. Not surprisingly, that displeased the Steelers, according to Kaboly.

While the Steelers may not have been happy to see their division rivals land Williams, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (Twitter link) doesn’t think they were going to take the tight end themselves in that spot — according to La Canfora, Pittsburgh was “locked in” on Golson at No. 56.

Here are a few more draft-related leftovers from day two, from around the AFC…

  • Speaking of the Ravens, they’re eyeing some of the draft’s remaining cornerbacks, per Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter).
  • The Chargers had discussions with multiple teams about moving down in the second round, but they decided to stay put because they wanted Miami linebacker Denzel Perryman, Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune tweets. The Bolts took Perryman 48th overall.
  • Broncos general manager John Elway didn’t consider taking a quarterback in the third round, tweets Troy Renck of the Denver Post. The Broncos instead used the 92nd overall pick on Ohio State tight end Jeff Heuerman.
  • Discussing the teams’ day two draft picks, Texans GM Rick Smith said linebacker Benardrick McKinney was the highest-rated player on the club’s board when the second round began, and added that Jaelen Strong‘s injured wrist was medically cleared by the Texans’ staff prior to the draft (Twitter links via Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle).
  • Josh Cribbs became expendable for the Colts when the team drafted Phillip Dorsett in the first round, and Indianapolis released Cribbs earlier today. According to GM Ryan Grigson, the club wanted to give the veteran returner a chance to find “greener pastures,” tweets Mike Chappell of RTV6.