Sheldon Rankins

Jets To Sign Sheldon Rankins

The Jets have struck a deal with Sheldon Rankins. The defensive tackle will join Gang Green on a two-year deal worth up to $17MM, according to a source who spoke with NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo (on Twitter).

Rankins, the No. 12 overall pick in the 2016 draft, saw his career sidetracked by Achilles and MCL injuries. Rankins seemed on track for superstardom up until his first Achilles tear in the 2018 playoffs. Playing from the interior, he notched eight sacks that season.

The 26-year-old (27 in April) has missed ten regular season games over the last two years. Between 2019 and 2020, Rankins has tallied just 30 stops and 3.5 sacks. But, with the Jets, Rankins has a chance to reassert himself.

The healthier I got the better I felt and the more I was able to play like me,” Rankins said recently (via Conor Orr of SI.com). “There’s no limitations. I’m ready to get back to doing the things I’m accustomed to doing.”

The Jets still have lots of work to do on defense and cornerback ranks high on their list of needs. With Quinnen Williams and promising linemen Folorunso Fatukasi and John Franklin-Myers, the Jets were already well set up front, but new head coach Robert Saleh wants to prioritize D-Line depth.

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Saints Activate DT Sheldon Rankins

One of the NFL’s best defenses will feature more defensive line talent than it has in recent weeks. The Saints activated Sheldon Rankins from IR on Saturday.

An MCL injury sidelined the contract-year defensive tackle since Week 8. While Rankins’ role has changed since his Achilles tear in the 2018 playoffs, he still represents a key depth piece for the Super Bowl-contending Saints. New Orleans has won eight straight games and now leads the league in total defense.

The Saints have used Rankins as a backup behind David Onyemata and Malcom Brown this season, but the former first-round pick was a full-time starter prior in the two seasons prior to his Achilles malady. Rankins has seen various injuries, including a 2019 ankle setback, affect his NFL status. But he will have a chance to make a final push for a reasonable free agency deal in the weeks ahead.

New Orleans placed wide receiver Marquez Callaway on IR to make room for Rankins. The team also promoted offensive lineman Will Clapp, cornerback Grant Haley, wideouts Juwan Johnson and Tommylee Lewis and defensive lineman Anthony Zettel from its practice squad.

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Minor NFL Transactions: 11/6/20

Here are Friday’s minor moves:

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Kansas City Chiefs

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

San Francisco 49ers

Saints’ Sheldon Rankins To Miss A Few Weeks

Sheldon Rankins is hitting the shelf again. The Saints’ defensive tackle suffered an MCL injury during Sunday’s win over the Bears, a source tells Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football (Twitter link).

The source told Underhill it’s expected to knock the run-stuffer out for “about three weeks.” It’s a big blow to a New Orleans defensive front that is usually elite at stopping the run. The 12th overall pick of the 2016 draft, Rankins has developed into a quality starter for the Saints. This is unfortunately his third straight year with a significant injury, as first he tore an Achilles during the 2018 playoffs.

He missed the first few games of the 2019 season while recovering from that, then missed the last few with an ankle injury. His best season was that 2018 campaign when he also made a lot of noise as a pass-rusher, notching eight sacks from the interior.

The Louisville product is playing out the exercised fifth-year option on his rookie contract, and will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year.

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Saints Sign LB Demario Davis To Three-Year Extension

Alvin Kamara isn’t the only Saint with a big new deal. New Orleans has signed linebacker Demario Davis to a three-year extension, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets. (FOX’s Erin Andrews was first to report the news).

Rapoport notes that the deal has a base value of $27MM, with $18.35MM of that being guaranteed. He’ll also have Pro Bowl incentives of $500K in each of the three seasons. Davis signed in New Orleans on a three-year, $24MM deal back in March of 2018, and had been scheduled to become a free agent after the year.

As Tom Pelissero of NFL Network tweets the Saints recently tweaked defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins’ deal to clear up $4MM in cap space, perhaps helping to facilitate this deal. A third-round pick of the Jets in 2012, Davis spent the first four years of his career in New York, then spent a year with the Browns, then went back to the Jets.

A first-team All-Pro selection last season, Davis has never missed a game in his eight-year career. In 16 starts last year he had 111 tackles, four sacks, an interception, and 12 passes defended. New Orleans’ defense looked pretty good against Tom Brady in Week 1, and Davis will be a big part of that unit moving forward.

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Sheldon Rankins Expected To Be Ready By Training Camp

Assuming that there is a training camp this year, Sheldon Rankins should be ready for it. The Saints’ defensive tackle is recovering from an operation that prevented a potential Achilles rupture, and while he would not be ready to play if the season started today, Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football (subscription required) writes that Rankins is expected to be at full strength by July.

It’s been a tough road for the 2016 first-rounder. His rookie season was delayed by a broken fibula, and while he played a full regular season in 2017 and 2018, he suffered a torn Achilles in the divisional round of the 2018 playoffs that kept him off the field for the first three weeks of the 2019 campaign. Then, he landed on IR last December with his present injury, which was apparently close to being a torn Achilles in his other leg.

When on the field, Rankins has generally been quite productive. The Saints picked up his fifth-year option last April, so he is under contract through 2020 and is scheduled to earn roughly $7.7MM this season. If he stays injury-free and performs well, he could be in line for a nice payday next offseason, but that’s a big “if” at the moment.

The Saints’ defensive front is a strong one, and it has the potential to be dominant with a healthy Rankins in the mix. In 2018, Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics considered him one of the best interior D-linemen in the game, and he racked up 40 tackles and eight sacks that season. He appeared to be returning to that same form last year before being shelved again.

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Saints Place Sheldon Rankins On IR

After learning yesterday that defensive lineman Marcus Davenport would be undergoing season-ending surgery, the Saints have been dealt another blow. Per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins has a significant ankle injury that will knock him out for the rest of the season (Twitter link). New Orleans placed Rankins on IR and signed defensive tackle T.Y. McGill, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets.

Rankins left the Saints’ difficult loss to the 49ers on Sunday with the injury, and his absence will be missed as the club tries to climb back into one of the NFC’s top two seeds. The 2016 first-rounder is unfortunately no stranger to the training room, as he has also suffered a broken fibula and a torn Achilles in his young career. He played a full 16-game slate in the 2017-18 seasons, and in 2018, he broke out with eight sacks. But he tore his Achilles in the divisional round of last year’s playoffs, and he did not return to the field until Week 4 of the 2019 campaign.

Luckily for the Saints, the defensive front is perhaps their deepest positional group. But given that linebackers A.J. Klein and Kiko Alonso also dealing with injuries, the front seven as a whole has suddenly become something of a question mark.

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Injury Notes: Big Ben, Massie, Rankins

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger underwent elbow surgery today, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). The veteran is expected to be ready for the 2020 season. This optimism is similar to what we heard yesterday when we learned about Big Ben’s impending surgery.

Schefter adds that Roethlisberger had surgery on his right elbow. The operation was done by Dr. Neal ElAttrache (in consultation with team physician Jim Bradley) in Los Angeles. ESPN’s Rob Demovsky notes (on Twitter) that this is the same surgeon who operated on Aaron Rodgers collarbone back in 2017.

“Once Ben returns to Pittsburgh, he immediately will begin working with the Steelers’ medical staff on his rehabilitation, and he is expected to make a full recovery and return to the field for the 2020 NFL season,” the Steelers said in a statement (via Schefter).

We learned yesterday that the procedure would repair a muscle tear, and it didn’t involve any ligaments or tendons. Roethlisberger is expected to begin throwing by the spring, and it sounds like he should be good to go come next season.

Let’s check out some more injury notes from around the NFL…

  • Bears right tackle Bobby Massie was forced to sit out tonight’s game against the Redskins due to a bout with vertigo, reports Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (via Twitter). The illness apparently popped up today, and it’s uncertain if this is a temporary or long-term issue for the 30-year-old. After starting each of his 46 games during his first three seasons in Chicago, Massie added another two starts to his resume this season.
  • On Saturday, the Packers placed offensive guard Lane Taylor on the injured reserve with a biceps injury, and we now have a bit more clarity on his outlook. Demovsky reports (via Twitter) that the 29-year-old will ultimately need surgery on his left bicep. While the veteran could return from the injured reserve in late November, the operation may sideline him for the rest of the season. Taylor started a pair of games this season before suffering the injury.
  • There’s a chance that Saints defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins sees this field next Sunday night, but Nick Underhill of The Athletic tweets that the 25-year-old is more likely to return in Week 5 or Week 6. The 2016 first-rounder has yet to play in a game this season as he recovers from his Achilles injury. After compiling a career-high eight sacks during the 2018 regular season, Rankins suffered the injury during the divisional round of the playoffs.

Saints To Activate Sheldon Rankins

The Saints will activate defensive lineman Sheldon Rankins from the PUP list, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). This is encouraging news for the Saints as they look to get their standout defender back on the field following an Achilles tear. 

Just four weeks ago, it was believed that Rankins would begin the season on the PUP list, which would have ruled him out for the first six games of the year. Instead, the door now appears open to Rankins suiting up sooner.

In the short term, the Saints are still a little thin up front. It still seems unlikely that Rankins will play in Week 1 and David Onyemata will also miss the opener against the Texans thanks to his one-game suspension. For now, Mario Edwards Jr. will start at defensive tackle while newcomer Malcom Brown offers support.

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NFC South Notes: Rankins, Julio, Stewart

Let’s check out a few items from the NFC South:

  • Sheldon Rankins is the only player on the Saints‘ PUP list at the moment, but Amie Just of the Times-Picayune suggests that he may remain there when the regular season starts, which would automatically rule him out for the first six games of the season. Head coach Sean Payton said Rankins is ahead of schedule in his recovery from an Achilles tear he suffered in the playoffs, but Payton conceded that Rankins is likely to miss all of training camp at least. It sounds as if Payton is expecting Rankins to miss some regular season time as well, though he could not give a precise timeline. We heard back in April that Rankins was likely to start the season on the PUP list, though there now appears to be some hope he can avoid it.
  • It’s now been over a year since the Falcons and Julio Jones renegotiated his contract, as Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com observes. That means that the two sides are free to make a new deal official, though McClure still does not think it will happen before Michael Thomas signs his extension with New Orleans.
  • Buccaneers second-year player M.J. Stewart, a second-round pick in the 2018 draft, spent most of his rookie campaign at cornerback. GM Jason Licht said in March that he wanted Stewart to play safety, but as Greg Auman of The Athletic says, the team has reversed course. Per Auman, Stewart is back at corner, and he will compete for the fifth CB job that is currently available after Ryan Smith‘s suspension (Twitter links).