Terry McLaurin

NFC East Notes: Dak, Howard, Giants

Dak Prescott bet on himself and will finish with statistical benchmarks in several categories this season — including touchdown passes (26) and passing yards (4,599). The fourth-year Cowboys quarterback has a good chance of eclipsing his previous single-season passing high by over 1,000 yards. Despite Dallas’ disappointing season, team brass remain bullish on a long-term Dak re-up. Prescott and the Cowboys have been negotiating for months.

I’m just not surprised,” Prescott said, via Pro Football Talk’s Charean Williams, of the lack of a new contract. “… It’s the business. It’s my first time going through it. Not surprised by anything that comes from it — from the league, from the team, from whatever. Learning as I go.”

With March 10 being the deadline for franchise tenders to be applied, the Cowboys not reaching an extension with their quarterback opens the door to the prospect of tagging Prescott and letting Amari Cooper hit free agency. As of now, with no CBA in place, teams would be permitted to use both their franchise and transition tags come March. Just as they were throughout this past summer, the Cowboys’ negotiations will be a key component of the upcoming offseason.

One of two divisions still up for grabs, the NFC East features the Eagles and Cowboys vying for the division’s 50th championship. Here is the latest from the two contending teams, along with the Giants and Redskins.

  • With the Eagles cutting Jay Ajayi, the expectation was they’d have Jordan Howard back in the fold for Week 17. But that’s not necessarily the case. The fourth-year back met with doctors on Thursday, per Mike Garafolo of NFL.com, who adds Howard has not yet been cleared for contact (Twitter link). Howard has not played since Week 9 due to a shoulder injury. The Eagles are using Miles Sanders and Boston Scott as their primary backs, but Howard was the team’s rushing leader before going down.
  • The Redskins have already seen several starters’ seasons end early; they may see their breakout wide receiver miss the season finale as well. Terry McLaurin is in Washington’s concussion protocol, John Keim of ESPN.com tweets. McLaurin (919 receiving yards) is just seven yards away from Gary Clark‘s 34-year-old franchise record for most by a rookie. A loss to Dallas would lock Washington in the No. 2 draft slot, which could well be Ohio State edge-rushing dynamo Chase Young.
  • Markus Golden‘s value-reestablishing Giants season included another positive development for the contract-year pass rusher. A stat correction turned a Golden half-sack into a full sack, giving him 10 for the season and a $1MM incentive bonus, per Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com. The Giants gave Golden a one-year, $3.75MM deal this offseason. After two lost seasons, due largely to a 2017 ACL tear, Golden has his second 10-plus-sack campaign. He profiles as a Giants extension candidate and an intriguing UFA pass rusher, should he hit the market.

AFC East Notes: Patriots, Bell, Dolphins

Add the Patriots to the list of teams who were high on promising Redskins wideout Terry McLaurin. In addition to the Raiders, the Patriots were intrigued by the Ohio State alum, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com notes. The Pats considered McLaurin with the No. 73 pick but instead dealt the selection to the Bears in exchange for a 2020 fourth-round choice and drafted Damien Harris at No. 87. Washington nabbed McLaurin at No. 76, and he’s become the team’s top wideout. Part of the reason the Patriots sought the ex-Buckeye was his potential for special teams work, responsibilities he might not become too familiar with due to his high-value role in Washington.

Here’s the Week 6 latest out of the AFC East, moving from one might-have-been Patriot to one of the longest-tenured players in franchise history:

  • Stephen Gostkowski is under contract through the 2020 season, but with his salary rising from $1.1MM to $3.5MM, Reiss adds that the Patriots will examine that figure and determine if it’s worth it to bring the veteran back. The team also stands to look at other options in the draft. The Pats have not drafted a kicker since taking Gostkowski in the 2006 fourth round. New England made a change at punter this year, moving from longtime incumbent Ryan Allen to fifth-round rookie Jake Bailey. Gostkowski will be recovering from hip surgery but would surely generate interest elsewhere if the Patriots jettison him.
  • Le’Veon Bell‘s 2018 absence stemmed largely from fear the Steelers would continue to overwork him and thus diminish his value on the 2019 market. Bell is on pace for 299 carries, which would be his second-highest single-season total. However, now that he’s secured $28MM in guarantees, the Jets starter is not worried about workload issues, per Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. Bell is averaging just 2.9 yards per carry on a shaky Jets offense.
  • Do not look for the 0-4 Dolphins to cut Josh Rosen‘s audition short. Brian Flores said (via the Miami Herald’s Armando Salguero, on Twitter) his quarterback situation is “settled” for the rest of 2019, with Rosen set to keep the job that once belonged to Ryan Fitzpatrick. Rosen played well in the first half against the Chargers, and even though the Dolphins have been outscored 81-0 in four second halves this season, the 2018 No. 10 overall pick does not have to worry about looking over his shoulder.
  • It does not sound like one of Rosen’s former Cardinals teammates, Robert Nkemdiche, is ready to return from the Dolphins’ PUP list. But Miami DC Patrick Graham expects the defensive tackle to be back on the field by early November, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Nkemdiche’s 2018 season ended because of an ACL tear.
  • Look for running back Mark Walton and tackle Isaiah Prince to see more time for the rebuilding Dolphins soon, with Jackson noting Miami’s staff wants to integrate Walton into its Kenyan DrakeKalen Ballage rotation and was impressed by some of Prince’s Week 4 start against the Chargers. While Jesse Davis is back at practice this week after missing the Bolts game, pointing to his return at left tackle, the Dolphins figure to get Prince — a sixth-round rookie — plenty of reps this season on the right side as they continue in evaluation mode.

NFC East Notes: Maddox, Cowboys, Redskins

Avonte Maddox was released from a Green Bay-area hospital with movement in all of his extremities. The Eagles cornerback was discharged and is back in Philadelphia with his teammates, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). Maddox and safety Andrew Sendejo collided during a scary fourth-quarter sequence Thursday night, requiring the second-year cornerback to be stretchered off the field. Maddox has been diagnosed with a concussion and a neck injury, the Eagles announced. No return timetable has surfaced, but the Eagles regular will undergo additional testing.

Here is the latest from the NFC East:

  • Previously ruled out for Week 4, Michael Gallup may need a few more weeks to fully recover from the arthroscopic surgery he recently underwent. The Cowboys wide receiver has experienced swelling post-surgery, according to Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (on Twitter). Gallup now appears unlikely to play in Week 5 against the Packers, per Hill. The second-year wideout missed Dallas’ Week 3 game.
  • Xavier Woods has, however, recovered from his injury and will be in uniform Sunday night in New Orleans. One of the Cowboys’ two starting safeties missed Week 3 due to a high ankle sprain. It is not certain Woods will reclaim his starting job immediately, with the third-year defender having not been told if he or spot starter Darian Thompson will trot out with the Cowboys’ first-stringers Sunday, per Todd Archer of ESPN.com.
  • The Redskins will have two key game-time decisions in their offensive lineup Sunday against the Giants. The hamstring injury Terry McLaurin suffered in practice this week has the emerging standout questionable to face the Giants. He joins Brandon Scherff in that regard. The Redskins have ruled out Jordan Reed for a fourth straight game due to a concussion. Jay Gruden, however, does expect Washington’s longtime starting tight end to be back this season.
  • While Golden Tate‘s return will boost the Giants’ receiving corps in Week 5, the team endured another receiver setback this week. Big Blue placed Russell Shepard on IR.

AFC Notes: McLaurin, Bolts, Steelers, Roby

Had the Raiders not traded for Antonio Brown (or had they known he wouldn’t last the summer with them), Vic Tafur of The Athletic notes they would have “definitely” drafted a wide receiver early (subscription required). The Raiders did not take a wideout until Hunter Renfrow in Round 5, but Tafur adds they were “in love” with Ohio State’s Terry McLaurin. Washington nabbed McLaurin in Round 3, and he’s quickly risen to the role of the team’s top aerial threat. In adding Brown, Tyrell Williams, J.J. Nelson and Ryan Grant, Oakland went the veteran route to patch up its receiver needs. It seems a good bet the Raiders will look to bring more rookie help at this position in 2020.

Here is the latest from the AFC:

  • It looks like the Chargers will be without their kicker for a third straight week. Los Angeles has listed Michael Badgley as doubtful to face the Texans. This will point to a third Ty Long kicking assignment. After being named AFC special teams player of the week in Week 1, the Bolts’ punter missed two field goals in their loss to the Lions.
  • When the Chargers face the Texans, they will see a reconfigured cornerback corps. After spending five years as a boundary corner with the Broncos, Bradley Roby is now the Texans’ slot defender. The Texans cut slot incumbent Aaron Colvin after Week 1 and have moved second-round pick Lonnie Johnson into the starting lineup at outside corner, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle notes. Houston gave Roby a one-year, $10MM deal. This slot assignment now serves as a critical component in another Roby contract year.
  • As Mason Rudolph makes his first start, the Steelers are going with their younger receivers. Pittsburgh’s Week 2 benching of Donte Moncrief will continue into Week 3, with Mark Kaboly of The Athletic indicating James Washington and rookie Diontae Johnson will play ahead of the underperforming veteran against the 49ers (subscription required). Washington and Johnson will primarily play on the outside, with JuJu Smith-Schuster manning the slot. Given a two-year, $9MM deal, Moncrief has dropped five passes through two games.

Redskins Sign Terry McLaurin

The Redskins have officially wrapped up their 2019 NFL Draft class. On Thursday, the club announced the signing of third-round wide receiver Terry McLaurin.

McLaurin’s 35 catches for 701 yards last year don’t necessarily jump off of the page, but he proved to have a presence in the red zone with eleven touchdowns. After selecting Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins in the first round, the Redskins are hopeful they can keep the chemistry going at the pro level. For now, he projects to sit somewhere behind Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson, Trey Quinn, and Cam Sims on the wide receiver depth chart. Fellow rookie receiver Kelvin Harmon will also battle for playing time, but McLaurin’s special teams acumen should work in his favor.

Here’s the full rundown of the Redskins’ draft class, courtesy of PFR’s tracker:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.