Shawn Lauvao

NFC Notes: Vernon, Seahawks, Buccaneers, Redskins

As part of new defensive coordinator James Bettcher‘s blitz-happy, aggressive 3-4 defense, the Giants will be moving Olivier Vernon from a defensive end to a pass-rushing outside linebacker. As a result of this change, Matt Lombardo of NJ.com believes the 27-year-old will end up being the key to a successful Giants defense.

“We know [Olivier Vernon] is a dynamic guy,” Bettcher said. “He’s a guy that can rush from different angles, a guy that you can move around and put in different matchups. And he’s embraced everything that we’ve done to this point. I’ve loved working with him and I think he’s making some great progress, not just in this scheme, but I think as I’ve looked at him as a player, he’s sharpening his tools right now.”

Since joining the Giants prior to the 2016 season, Vernon has compiled 15 sacks. While the defender averaged more sacks during his final three seasons with the Dolphins, Lombardo believes the position change should boost the former third-rounder’s numbers.

Let’s take a look at some more notes from around the NFC…

  • If the Seahawks want to push for a playoff spot next season, ESPN’s Brady Henderson believes five players will have to lead the way: quarterback Russell Wilson, free safety Earl Thomas, linebacker Bobby Wagner, defensive end Frank Clark, and receiver Doug Baldwin. Thomas is a particularly surprising inclusion considering his uncertain status for next year. However, consider the losses of Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor, Thomas’ savvy could be particularly valuable to a younger Seahawks defense.
  • Meanwhile, ESPN’s Jenna Laine looked at the players who would be crucial to a Buccaneers playoff run: quarterbacks Jameis Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick, wideout Mike Evans, defensive tackle Vita Vea, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, and cornerback Vernon Hargreaves. The 6-foot-4, 347-pound Vea is of particular intrigue, as Tampa Bay will be eyeing match-ups with a handful of notable quarterbacks and running backs next season.
  • Rich Tandler of NBC Sports Washington says no one would be surprised if the Redskins add an offensive guard before the regular season begins. If their supplemental picks go as planned, the organization should be armed with 11 selections in next year’s draft, so the writer believes the team could bail on one of the picks for some reinforcement on the offensive line. Following an underwhelming season, guard Shawn Lauvao would probably be the current member of the line who is most at risk of losing his starting gig.

East Rumors: Collins, Fins, Bills, Lauvao

Landon Collins has yet to practice with the Giants this offseason. He underwent a second surgery on the forearm he broke late last season. The latest operation delayed the fourth-year safety’s timetable, but he’s hoping to be back on the field in time for Giants minicamp next month, Tom Rock of Newsday notes. Collins expects to be cleared in a few weeks, per Rock. It’s possible the Giants could hold him out until training camp, with the standout defender having essentially nothing to prove in June workouts, but the holdover Giant defenders are adjusting to James Bettcher‘s new scheme. That makes OTAs and minicamp more important than they were a year ago. However, Collins said he’s running currently and will push the new coaching staff to let him work with his teammates in a few weeks.

Here’s the latest from the East divisions:

  • Raekwon McMillan‘s 2017 injury came at a worse time than Collins’ and was far more severe. But the Dolphins linebacker is back in action. McMillan is participating in Miami’s OTAs, per Shandel Richardson of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. The former Ohio State ‘backer and Ryan Tannehill underwent surgeries for ACL tears on the same date last summer and are each progressing accordingly. Both are working with their teammates at OTAs. McMillan was slated to be the Dolphins’ starting middle linebacker prior to his preseason setback.
  • The Redskins opted to bring back veteran guard Shawn Lauvao for what will be a fifth season with the team, doing so possibly because of Arie Kouandjio‘s significant injury. Lauvao’s deal will be a one-year pact worth up to $2.39MM, John Keim of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). The 30-year-old lineman will earn $950K in base salary, per Keim, who adds this agreement includes a $300K signing bonus and a $200K roster bonus. While only $300K is guaranteed, Keim categorizes the $1MM incentive package as “likely to be earned.”
  • After being benched early last season, John Miller is back working as the Bills‘ first-unit right guard, Joe Buscaglia of WKBW notes. Departures of Richie Incognito, Eric Wood and Cordy Glenn have the Bills’ line in an interesting place, but Miller has started all 32 games in which he’s played since Buffalo used a third-round pick on him in 2015. Vlad Ducasse usurped him after the guards’ offseason competition, which Miller won, continued into the regular season. Miller did not see action after this post-Week 4 demotion, but Buffalo is giving him another chance entering his contract year. If Miller sticks at right guard, Ducasse would be in line to fill Incognito’s left guard position.

Redskins Re-Sign G Shawn Lauvao

The Redskins have agreed to re-sign guard Shawn Lauvao, according to his agency (via Twitter). Lauvao has been hampered by injuries in recent years, but he could serve as Washington’s starting left guard once again in 2018. 

Lauvao has missed 22 games over the last three seasons, including seven missed games in 2017. Last year, Pro Football Focus ranked him as one of the ten worst guards in the NFL out of 77 qualified players. Those advanced metrics haven’t rated him well since his first year with Washington in 2014, but the Redskins clearly like what he offers.

The Redskins also have Arie Kouandjio, Kyle Kalis, Tyler Catalina, and guard/center Tony Bergstrom as options to play across from starting right guard Brandon Scherff. They did not use any of their eight picks this year to draft a guard, though they did select Louisville tackle Geron Christian in the third round.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Notes: Redskins, Lauvao, Giants

Rich Tandler of NBC Sports Washington wonders whether the Redskins‘ starting left guard for 2018 might already be on their roster.

At the moment, Arie Kouandjio looks to be the team’s projected starter at the position. He was Washington’s fourth-round pick in the 2015 draft and was cut prior to last season, only to be signed to the team’s practice squad mid-season, appearing in eight games (six starts). He allowed three sacks in those eight appearances, though.

Along with Kouandjio, the team re-signed guard Tony Bergstrom, 31, last week. He appeared in nine games at center for the Redskins last season, starting three.

The answer at left guard for the Redskins in 2018 may ultimately be decided through the draft, though. Tandler notes that the team has been linked to Ohio State center Billy Price in the second round. Veteran guard Alex Boone is also still unsigned.

Here’s more from around the NFC East:

  • The Redskins have also been in contact with free-agent guard Shawn Lauvao, according to ESPN’s John Keim. Injuries limited Lauvao to nine starts at left guard for Washington last season. The 30-year-old started 14 games at the position for the Redskins in 2016.
  • Ryan Dunleavy of NJ Advanced Media looks into the possibility of the Giants picking someone other than Sam Darnold or Saquon Barkley with the No. 2 overall pick of the upcoming draft. Dunleavy notes that reports have indicated that the team is deciding between the two, depending on whom the Browns go with at No. 1. North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb or Notre Dame Guard Quenton Nelson could also be options. Dunleavy points out the draft is light on pass-rushers and Giants general manager Dave Gettleman didn’t seem to be scared off by the idea of taking a guard that high. “Is it ever too early to take a great player? You know my philosophy: Big men allow you to compete and you have to build your lines. I’m going to build this team from the inside out,” Gettleman said to Dunleavy.
  • Paul Schwartz of the New York Post opines that Mason Rudolph could be an enticing option for the Giants in the second round. He also doesn’t expect the team to take a kicker late in the draft. Aldrick Rosas — an undrafted rookie last season who 18 of 25 field goals and 20 of 23 extra points — is currently projected to start at the position.

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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NFC East Rumors: Redskins, Brown, Giants

The Redskins‘ decision to re-sign Mason Foster to a two-year deal last week won’t preclude the club from pursuing a new contract with fellow linebacker Zach Brown, sources tell John Keim of ESPN.com, who recently reported Washington has opened negotiations with Brown. Indeed, despite reports that the Redskins had opened talks with a “lowball offer,” they’re still conversing with the 28-year-old Brown, tweets J.P. Finlay of NBC Washington. Per Keim, Brown could potentially looking for a top-of-the-market linebacker pact, which could require $10MM annually and nearly $20MM in guarantees. However, Brown was only able to garner a one-year, $2.5MM deal last season when he was younger and coming off an arguably more productive campaign.

Here’s more from the NFC East:

  • While the Redskins are engaged in talks to bring back Brown, the team may not be interested in a reunion with offensive lineman Spencer Long and Shawn Lauvao, according to Rich Tandler of NBC Washington. Long and Lauvao split time at guard in 2017, but neither earned positive grades from Pro Football Focus. If Washington does opt to re-sign one of its two free agent lineman, Long could speculatively have the advantage given that he’s three years younger than Lauvao. However, Tandler expects the Redskins to instead bring in a free agent or a draft pick to compete with former fourth-round pick Arie Kouandjio, who started six games a season ago.
  • The Giants are searching for a new offensive coordinator under new head coach Pat Shurmur, and while former Cardinals OC Harold Goodwin has been mentioned as a candidate for the position, there’s a possibility he could hired as a combination offensive coordinator/offensive line coach, per Ralph Vacchiano of SNY. Goodwin held the same dual role in Arizona, and given that New York hasn’t yet hired an OL coach to replace Mike Solari, Goodwin could potentially join the G-Men in a similar capacity. Other contenders for the Giants’ offensive coordinator include Vikings quarterbacks coach Kevin Stefanski and Eagles running backs coach Duce Staley.
  • Although the Giants still need an offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, the club’s coaching staff is mostly set, as Vacchanio writes. Shurmur has filled most of the team’s vacancies and retained a number of incumbent coaches, including coaching assistant Chris Pridy, reports Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com.

Washington Signs Mason Foster, Places Shawn Lauvao On IR

Washington has announced a series of roster moves, confirming today (via Twitter) that they’ve added a pair of new players to the 53-man roster, signing free agent linebacker Mason Foster and promoting cornerback Quinton Dunbar from the practice squad.

In order to make room for the incoming additions, Washington has placed two players on the injured reserve list. Starting left guard Shawn Lauvao and cornerback Justin Rogers have both landed on IR. Rogers has been battling foot problems, while Lauvao suffered an ankle injury during the club’s Week 3 game against the Giants.

Of the two new players on Washington’s 53-man squad, Foster is the more interesting name. The 26-year-old appeared in 10 games for the Buccaneers last season and started all of them. In that time, he recorded 62 total tackles and three pass deflections. The former third-round pick also impressed with 105 tackles in 2012, and 92 tackles – to go along with three interceptions and two sacks – in 2013. However, after signing with the Bears in March, he failed to earn a spot on Chicago’s regular season roster.

As for the two players heading to IR, Lauvao will be the more noteworthy loss for Washington, since he was a key piece of an offensive line that looked very effective in the running game during the season’s first couple games. Josh LeRibeus is expected to replace Lauvao going forward, though he’s dealing with an injury of his own. Tom Compton and Spencer Long could also be in the mix.

Redskins To Sign Shawn Lauvao

The Redskins have reached agreement with guard Shawn Lauvao on a four-year deal, tweets Adam Schefter of ESPN. The former Browns offensive lineman can earn up to $17MM on the deal.

The 26-year-old was a third round pick of the Browns in the 2010 draft and his new deal should give him a significant pay bump over his previous one.