Terron Armstead

NFC Notes: Winston, Wilson, Lane, Saints O-Line

We now know that the NFL is investigating an incident regarding Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston and an uber driver from last year. The female uber driver claimed that the former number one overall pick groped her during a ride, but Winston has denied those allegations. but adding onto this story, Steve Wyche of NFL.com reports in a Twitter video, that the 23 year-old signal caller will not go on the exempt list because no charges have filed as of yet.

However, it might not be long until the quarterback faces suspension from the league, according to Roy Cummings of Florida Football Insiders. Cummings says that while Winston may avoid suspension for the rest of the year because the investigation could take some time, but notes that sexual assault allegations have resulted in missed time in the past. The writer points to when Ben Roethlisberger was suspended for four games back when he faced similar charges in 2010.

The story is still unfolding, so while Winston’s playing outlook is in flux given his current injury, this situation adds an unexpected twist to his 2017 season and perhaps even in 2018.

  • Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson shed some light on the jaw injury that he suffered vs. Arizona last Thursday in a session with the media today. The signal caller said that while he wasn’t concussed in the game, his jaw injury forced him to undergo some drastic treatment in the days after, according to Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times.  Condotta relays that Wilson was forced to wear a mouthguard and could not eat solid foods for the three days following the midweek contest. “Basically, the game was on Thursday, so Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, I was pretty sore,” he said. “Tons of ice and treatment and all of that, so I feel good now. … the first two-and-a-half, three days, I couldn’t really eat anything. I was just doing smoothies and all that kind of stuff.” While the injury does sound painful, it looks like Wilson is going to tough it out for Monday night’s game vs. the Falcons.
  • While Wilson will remain in the starting lineup, another team leader in Richard Sherman will miss the rest of the season. With that news finally settling in for Seahawks fans, Condotta also passes along that cornerback Jeremy Lane will replace him in the defensive backfield (Twitter link). Lane was notably rescinded in the Duane Brown trade because he failed the Texans physical, and now finds himself as a key cog to Seattle staying afloat in a competitive NFC playoff picture.
  • The Saints have been one of the hottest teams in football winning their last seven games after dropping their first two at the start of the regular season. A big reason for this has been the emergence of arguably the league’s best 1-2 backfield punch that includes veteran Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara. However, Joel Erickson of the New Orleans Advocate notes that the team has been helped by some notable early returns on their offensive line. Erickson states that three of the team’s starting lineman have returned sooner than expected, including guard Larry Warford, center Max Unger and left tackle Terron Armstead. Warford returned this past Sunday from an abdominal strain, missing only two games, Unger progressed ahead of schedule from offseason Lisfranc surgery and Armstead’s return was premature after suffering a torn labrum. All three lineman have helped the Saints offense change it’s identity to a more ground and pound style, which has been on full display in the past seven weeks.

Saints OT Terron Armstead Avoids PUP List

Lost in the shuffle of Saturday’s roster cutdown madness was left tackle Terron Armstead‘s inclusion on the Saints’ initial 53-man roster. Armstead suffered a torn labrum in June and was facing a four-to-six month recovery timeline, but New Orleans didn’t place him on the physically unable to perform list, which would have required a minimum six-game absence to begin the season.Terron Armstead

Armstead is still expected to miss several games, according to Mike Triplett of ESPN.com, but he clearly won’t be sidelined for as many as six contests (or else New Orleans simply would have kept him on PUP). Head coach Sean Payton hinted last week that Armstead was ahead of schedule, and allowed that the veteran blindside protector might sneak onto the Saints’ active roster.

New Orleans will roll with first-round rookie Ryan Ramczyk at left tackle until Armstead is able to return to the field. Health has never been a strong point for Armstead, who’s missed 14 games over the the past three seasons. But when he’s right, Armstead has consistently ranked as a top-15 NFL left tackle per Pro Football Focus, which gave him an excellent 90.6 overall grade in 2015.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Donald, Brees, Elliott

It’s “probably a safe assumption” the Rams will play their Sept. 10 season opener without defensive tackle Aaron Donald if he doesn’t end his holdout this week, general manager Les Snead told Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.com and other reporters Tuesday (Twitter links here). The executive added that the Rams have tried to “come up with creative scenarios” regarding Donald’s contract in their negotiations with the back-to-back first-team All-Pro. Snead otherwise didn’t have much to offer regarding Donald, admitting that he doesn’t know if the 26-year-old will report without having received a new deal. As of now, it appears the Rams will at least go without Donald when they take on the Colts in Week 1.

The latest on a couple other NFC franchises:

  • Saints quarterback Drew Brees said Tuesday that he texted “Wow” to agent Tom Condon after Lions signal-caller Matthew Stafford signed a five-year, $135MM extension Monday (via Mike Triplett of ESPN.com). Stafford’s deal will pay him $27MM per year – a figure the highly accomplished Brees could rival when he signs a new pact in the next eight months or so. Of course, the 38-year-old Brees’ age will prevent him from approaching Stafford’s pact in length or total value. Brees, who’s on the one-year, $24.25MM extension he signed last summer, has indicated that he won’t worry about his next contract until after the season.
  • Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott‘s appeal hearing with the NFL regarding his six-game suspension will last through Thursday, Adam Schefter reports (Twitter links). Final briefs are due Friday, notes the Washington Post’s Mark Maske, who adds that a ruling probably won’t come until next week.
  • Saints cornerback Delvin Breaux is likely to begin the season on injured reserve and come off IR later in the year, Herbie Teope of NOLA.com writes. Breaux, who fractured his fibula in mid-August, won’t be eligible to return until Week 9 if he does head to IR. Teams are allowed to designate two players to return from IR during the season. Meanwhile, it’s possible left tackle Terron Armstead will avoid spending the first six weeks of the season on the reserve/physically unable to perform list because he “might be ready earlier” than that time frame, head coach Sean Payton said Tuesday. Armstead went down with a torn labrum in mid-June and is currently on the active/PUP list.

NFC Notes: Giants, Redskins, Saints, ‘Boys

The Giants’ decision to hand defensive end Devin Taylor a minimum salary benefit deal last month has mostly generated positive reviews around the NFL, with one source calling it a “great signing,” reports Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com. One NFC source took a less enthusiastic tone, however, calling Taylor “just a guy.” But, considering what they’re paying him, the Giants aren’t expecting Taylor to do much more than provide passable depth behind stars Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon. Taylor, who started in all 16 of the Lions’ games last season and piled up a respectable 4.5 sacks (down from seven in 2015), will rotate at defensive end with the Giants and could see time as an interior rusher on passing downs, according to Raanan.

More from the NFC:

  • Late-March free agent signing Brian Quick won’t be long for the Redskins’ roster if he doesn’t impress in training camp, writes Rich Tandler of CSNMidAtlantic.com. Quick didn’t perform well during offseason practices, and the team has a few locks at wide receiver, leaving the 28-year-old on the bubble as camp nears, per Tandler. The 2012 second-round pick spent his first five years as a member of the Rams, with whom he exceeded the 20-catch plateau only twice. To his credit, though, Quick posted a career year in 2016, hauling in personal highs in catches (41), targets (77), yards (564) and touchdowns (three).
  • Saints left tackle Terron Armstead underwent successful surgery for a torn labrum on Monday, reports Herbie Teope of NOLA.com. While that’s a relief for Armstead and the Saints, it’s not going to change his expected recovery timeline. He’s still set to miss between four to six months, which will leave the club without arguably its best offensive lineman until sometime in the fall.
  • Cowboys receiver Brice Butler will head into camp with his roster spot in jeopardy, relays David Moore of the Dallas Morning News. Butler could face a challenge from rookie seventh-round pick Noah Brown, notes Moore, and the Cowboys also have shoo-ins to make the roster in fellow wideouts Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley and fourth-rounder Ryan Switzer. Butler was a seventh-rounder himself not long ago, in 2013, and put up his first 16-game campaign last year. All told, he caught 16 passes for 219 yards and a career-high three scores.

Saints LT Terron Armstead Suffers Injury

Bad news for the Saints. Left tackle Terron Armstead has suffered a torn labrum and will require surgery, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The timetable to return is 4-6 months. Terron Armstead

The Saints can be expected to explore out-of-house options now that their starting left tackle will be out for at least the early portion of the season. Ryan Clady is perhaps the best free agent tackle left in free agency. Will Beatty and the versatile Austin Pasztor are also available.

Alternatively, the Saints could promote from within and move first round pick Ryan Ramczyk from the right side to the left. Zach Strief, who was supposed to be the main backup to Armstead and Ramczyk, could slide into the starting role at right tackle. However, in a year where the Saints are hoping to get back into the championship picture with Drew Brees and Adrian Peterson, it stands to reason that they will want some better protection on the O-Line.

Armstead, 27 in August, missed nine games due to injury in 2016. However, he still graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 21 tackle on the year. In 2015, Armstead played in 13 of 16 possible regular season games and earned one of the highest scores of any tackle in the NFL.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Rams, Eagles, Cards, Saints

Connor Barwin‘s decision to sign with the Rams last week came thanks in part to the presence of new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, the edge rusher told the Associated Press. “Wade did a lot for me in the two years I was with Houston,” said Barwin, who played under Phillips as a Texan from 2011-12. “He taught me so much about being a pro, enjoying being around the game every single day, and he really elevated my game as a pass rusher.” Barwin only hit free agency in the first place because the Eagles released him, which came after he rejected a pay cut. While the 30-year-old said in December he’d be open to reducing his $7.5MM salary for 2017 to remain with the Eagles, their offer was “far below” what he thought he’d get on the market, per the AP. Ultimately, the Rams gave Barwin a one-year deal worth a max of $6.5MM.

More from the NFC:

  • Cardinals general manager Steve Keim likes North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky, according to the Arizona Republic’s Dan Bickley, who writes that the executive is facing a dilemma entering the draft. The Cardinals need a long-term answer under center, meaning choosing Trubisky or another signal-caller with the 13th overall pick is a possibility. However, using a first-rounder on a player who won’t help in 2017 isn’t going to benefit a team whose window could be closing as starting QB Carson Palmer, top wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and head coach Bruce Arians near the end of the line. At the same time, though, Keim doesn’t want to be left without a potential successor to the soon-to-be 38-year-old Palmer if he retires after next season. That might end up being the case if Keim doesn’t grab a quarterback in the early rounds.
  • The Eagles have picked up two established receivers in Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith this offseason, but Paul Domowitch of Philly.com could still envision the team selecting a wideout in Round 1 of the draft. Jeffery and Smith might not be Eagles beyond next season, for one, while Jordan Matthews is on track to hit free agency next March. So, while Philadelphia’s receiving corps looks like a strength right now, it lacks long-term certainty.
  • The Saints converted left tackle Terron Armstead‘s $5MM roster bonus to a signing bonus, thereby creating $4MM in cap room for 2017, reports Field Yates of ESPN (Twitter link). The move doesn’t come without a penalty, though, as the Saints will add $1MM in cap charges in each season from from 2018-21 – the final four years of Armstead’s contract.
  • Defensive tackle Jordan Hill‘s contract with the Lions is a minimum salary benefit deal worth $775K, tweets Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com. The pact comes with $45K in guarantees, a $40K signing bonus, and another $40K if he makes the Lions’ 53-man roster.

Saints Place Terron Armstead On IR

The Saints have placed left tackle Terron Armstead on injured reserve, according to Nick Underhill of the New Orleans Advocate. To take Armstead’s roster spot, the club signed linebacker Jason Trusnik.

Terron ArmsteadArmstead inked a five-year, $64.5MM extension with the Saints last May, but knee and quad injuries limited him to just seven appearances this season. The 25-year-old was once again a bright spot for the Saints when on the field, as he’s currently Pro Football Focus’ 15th-ranked tackle out of 78 qualifiers. Armstead will ultimately miss nine games this year, running his career total up to 25 in four seasons.

The 32-year-old Trusnik hasn’t played this season, though he previously garnered vast experience as primarily a reserve with the Jets, Dolphins, Browns and Vikings from 2007-15. Trusnik has 117 appearances and 25 starts on his NFL résumé.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Jets, Bills, Glenn, Patriots

A decorated Division II college quarterback, Jason Vander Laan is attempting to make the Jets as a tight end, as Brian Costello of the New York Post writes.

It’s a different perspective,” said Vander Laan, who has never played tight end before. “It’s different being in the huddle and not calling out the play. It’s different lining up and not touching the ball every play. But I’m having a great time and having fun out here. There’s still plenty of learning to be done. I’m just trying to get the hang of things and pick up the system.”

The former Ferris State star won D2’s equivalent of the Heisman Trophy in each of the last two years. In 2015, he threw for 2,626 yards and 27 touchdowns and rushed for 1,542 yards and 24 touchdowns. Now, he’ll try and apply that athleticism to a brand new position.

Here’s more out of the AFC East:

  • Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap was surprised by the big money contracts given to Terron Armstead and Cordy Glenn. While both players came away with sizable deals, Fitzgerald believes that Glenn is the bigger winner of the two with cap hits in ’17 and ’18 that could very likely be restructured. As for the Bills‘ side of things, Fitzgerald isn’t sure why the team traded its future financial flexibility for immediate cap relief when it wasn’t necessary.
  • Malcolm Butler‘s rise from undrafted free agent to Pro Bowler has made other UDFAs want to join up with the Patriots, as Mike Reiss of ESPN.com writes. This year, the Pats signed three undrafted corners in Illinois’ V’Angelo Bentley, Auburn’s Jonathan Jones and Florida Atlantic’s Cre’Von LeBlanc. “Clearly when a tryout guy like Malcolm Butler ends up where he does, it’s an example of how they play the best players and it’s truly an open competition, no matter how you got there,” said Joe Linta, who represents Jones. Jones is a particularly interesting prospect – he posted a 4.3 second 40-yard-dash time, but teams were concerned about his 5’9″ height.
  • On Saturday, the Dolphins and Cameron Wake reached agreement on a two-year, $15MM extension. The seven-year veteran made only seven appearances last season due to a torn ACL, but the team ostensibly believes that he has fully recovered from that injury.

NFC Notes: Ansah, Stafford, Bradford, Giants

Defensive end Ziggy Ansah, who is now under contract through 2017 after the Lions picked up his fifth-year option for 2017, won’t say whether he’s interested in signing a multiyear extension to remain in Detroit long term.

“As of right now, I think you’ve got to take it step by step,” said the standout Lions defender, according to Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press. “You’ve got to see how this season goes, and I’m just looking forward as far as having a great season for the team.”

In 2016, Ansah will earn a modest $2.94MM salary, but that 2017 option will pay him $12.734MM, so he’s in line for a nice raise eventually, whether or not he inks a long-term deal with the Lions. The former first-round pick, who recorded 14.5 sacks in 2015 on his way to his first Pro Bowl nod, was the league’s 27th-best edge defender out of 110 qualified players, according to Pro Football Focus’ metrics (subscription required).

Here’s more from out of the NFC:

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Saints Sign Terron Armstead To Extension

WEDNESDAY, 8:07am: Armstead’s five-year deal will be worth $64.5MM, with $38MM guaranteed for injury and $25MM fully guaranteed, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). The average annual value on the contract is $12.9MM, which makes Armstead the league’s third highest-paid tackle, behind Trent Williams ($13.2MM) and newly-extended Bills tackle Cordy Glenn ($13MM).

TUESDAY, 3:35pm: Armstead has officially signed his new deal, according to Josina Anderson (Twitter link).

2:19pm: The Saints have reached an agreement on a contract extension with one of the most important players on their offense — not quarterback Drew Brees, but left tackle Terron Armstead. According to Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (via Twitter), Armstead will be signing a five-year extension with the Saints today, locking him up through the 2021 season.Terron Armstead

Armstead, 24, was selected 75th overall in the 2013 draft by the Saints, and after appearing in just six games in his rookie year, he emerged as the team’s full-time left tackle in 2014. For his career, he has made 29 starts for the club, including 27 within the last two seasons.

Since entering New Orleans’ starting lineup, Armstead has developed into one of the more reliable left tackles in the NFL. In 2015, Pro Football Focus ranked him third overall out of 77 qualified tackles, assigning him top-three grades as both a run blocker and a pass blocker. Only Joe Thomas of the Browns and Tyron Smith of the Cowboys placed ahead of Armstead.

As a member of the 2013 draft class, Armstead has outperformed most of the tackles who were selected ahead of him that year, including first-rounders like Eric Fisher and Luke Joeckel. Because he was a third-round pick, Armstead didn’t have a fifth-year option attached to his rookie contract, so while the Chiefs and Jaguars were deciding whether to pick up 2017 options on their respective 2013 draftees, the Saints were working to extend their player.

Armstead’s old contract had called for a $1.671MM base salary in 2016, as a result of the proven performance escalator he earned for his performance to date. The new agreement may not increase his 2016 salary, but it certainly figures to increase his 2016 earnings, via signing and/or roster bonuses.

Saints head coach Sean Payton said back in December that he wouldn’t trade Armstead for any other lineman in the league, a comment the tackle’s agent probably brought up once or twice during negotiations. In his preview of New Orleans’ offseason earlier this year, PFR’s Dallas Robinson suggested that an extension for Armstead might not be quite as expensive as long-term deals for fellow tackles Tyron Smith ($12.2MM) and Trent Williams ($13.2MM). We should soon find it whether that’s indeed the case.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.