Tyler Biadasz

NFC Rumors: Bears, Biadasz, Cowboys, Vikings

The Bears made Kyle Fuller a surprise cap casualty shortly after free agency’s outset, and while the team did sign Desmond Trufant, the former well-paid Falcon has struggled with injuries in each of the past two seasons. Chicago has resisted adding more help at the position, and Trufant may not have the inside track to start opposite Jaylon Johnson at outside cornerback. After a strong minicamp, Kindle Vildor may be ahead of Trufant on the track toward a starting job, Adam Jahns of The Athletic notes (subscription required). Although the 2020 fifth-round pick out of Georgia Southern only played 135 defensive snaps as a rookie, new DC Sean Desai mentioned him as an in-house solution to replace either Fuller or departed slot corner Buster Skrine. The Bears going with Vildor alongside Johnson will certainly represent an experience step back, with Fuller and Skrine having combined to play 17 seasons.

Here is the latest from the NFC:

  • On a similar note, the Cowboys appear set on a 2020 Day 3 pick taking over at center. Travis Frederick‘s retirement initially thrust Joe Looney into Dallas’ starting lineup, and after fourth-round pick Tyler Biadasz replaced an injured Looney early last season en route to four starts, the veteran reclaimed his job after a Biadasz pregame hamstring injury. Biadasz played just one offensive snap in Dallas’ final eight games, but Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News notes the Cowboys plan to use the Wisconsin product as their starter this season. Looney, 30, remains a free agent, while OC Kellen Moore has talked up Biadasz this offseason. Biadasz started three years at center for the Badgers, winning the Rimington Award — given to college football’s top center — in 2019.
  • Some additional details have surfaced on Sheldon Richardson‘s second Vikings contract. The well-traveled defensive tackle agreed to return to Minnesota on a one-year, $3.6MM deal. The Vikings included some incentives in the former Defensive Rookie of the Year’s contract as well. Richardson can collect $250K if he reaches five sacks this season, Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star Tribune tweets. If Richardson gets to seven sacks, a $500K bonus will await. The team included another $250K bonus if the 30-year-old D-tackle makes the Pro Bowl. Richardson has two five-plus-sack seasons (2014 and ’15) and one Pro Bowl on his resume.
  • The Saints have included an interesting incentive in Ryan Ramczyk‘s extension, but it only will benefit the All-Pro right tackle if he moves to the left side.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/12/20

Here is Saturday’s usual barrage of minor moves:

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

  • Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list: LB Jachai Polite; Polite tested positive for the coronavirus, according to ESPN.com’s Field Yates (via Twitter)

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/21/20

Here is Saturday’s usual flood of minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Washington Football Team

Injury Updates: McCaffrey, Minshew, Biadasz

Christian McCaffrey finally made his highly anticipated return from his ankle injury yesterday against the Chiefs, but unfortunately the Panthers superstar picked up another minor ailment toward the end of the game. McCaffrey hurt his shoulder on the final drive of the game, and head coach Matt Rhule is labeling him day to day moving forward. But McCaffrey is apparently in a great deal of pain and his status for this Sunday’s game against the Bucs is “very much in doubt,” reports Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter video link). It doesn’t sound like anything long-term, but this could once again become Mike Davis‘ backfield, at least for this weekend.

Here are more health updates from around the league:

  • The Jaguars nearly picked up an upset win over the Texans in Jake Luton‘s NFL debut, and he’ll get another crack at it in Week 10. Head coach Doug Marrone told the media that Gardner Minshew is unlikely to be available this weekend due to his thumb injury, and that Luton will likely start once again. Luton had a pretty impressive debut for a sixth-round rookie, passing for 304 yards and a touchdown with an interception while coming very close to leading a comeback. It’s no guarantee Minshew gets his job back even when he’s healthy.
  • Speaking of the Jaguars, they at least did get some good news back on rookie receiver Laviska Shenault. Shenault left yesterday’s game with a hamstring injury and was ruled out, but Rapoport tweets that he received good news from his MRI, and a source told him Shenault has a good chance to play this week against the Packers. The 42nd overall pick of April’s draft has been a consistent contributor, with at least three catches in every game that he’s finished.
  • The Cowboys on the other hand weren’t quite as fortunate. Rookie center Tyler Biadasz hurt his hamstring during pregame warmups, and EVP Stephen Jones said on 105.3 The Fan this morning that he’ll be out 2-3 weeks with the injury. It’s another brutal blow to a Dallas offensive line that has been decimated by injuries. The fourth-round pick from Wisconsin had been the Cowboys’ center for the past 5.5 games. Joe Looney started the first few games, and he’ll now get his starting job back for the time being.
  • Colts tight end Jack Doyle is in the concussion protocol and likely won’t be able to be cleared in time for Indy’s Thursday Night Football AFC South showdown with the Titans, head coach Frank Reich announced Monday. Doyle had touchdowns in back to back weeks before going down on Sunday, and his absence will limit Indy’s ability to run the multi-tight end sets they like so much with Mo Alie-Cox and Trey Burton.

Cowboys Activate Sean Lee, Joe Looney

Ben DiNucci will have more help up front than he did upon being thrust into action last week. In addition to Zack Martin returning from concussion protocol, Joe Looney is back on the Cowboys’ active roster.

The Cowboys activated Looney and Sean Lee from IR Saturday, though ESPN.com’s Todd Archer notes rookie Tyler Biadasz is expected to make another start at center. Looney has missed the past three games because of an MCL injury.

Dallas used Looney as its full-time starter in 2018, when Travis Frederick missed the season, and re-signed him this offseason after Frederick retired. Looney started the team’s first four games before his knee injury. He went down on the first play of the Cowboys’ Week 4 loss to the Browns. Pro Football Focus grades his 2020 work better than Biadasz’s thus far, with the latter ranking near the bottom of the advanced metrics site’s center hierarchy.

Lee will make his 2020 debut. The Cowboys placed the veteran linebacker on IR prior to the season starting, carrying him onto their 53-man roster so they could activate him at some point. Lee underwent pelvis surgery, forcing his latest injury-induced absence. The Cowboys re-signed Lee on a one-year, $4.5MM deal this offseason. This will be as healthy as Dallas’ linebackers have been all season, with Leighton Vander Esch also now back after missing early-season games.

The Cowboys also promoted cornerback Saivion Smith from their practice squad. Smith will help a cornerback corps that will be without Chidobe Awuzie. The Cowboys enter Week 8 ranking 30th in defensive DVOA. They jettisoned three veterans — Everson Griffen, Dontari Poe and Daryl Worley — this week.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys Place C Joe Looney On IR, Activate CB Anthony Brown

The Cowboys will have one of their top cornerbacks in uniform Sunday against the Giants. They are activating slot corner Anthony Brown from IR.

Brown has missed the past three games, joining Chidobe Awuzie in that regard. Dallas, however, will be without its starting center for a while. Dealing with an MCL malady he suffered on the first play of the Cowboys’ Week 4 game against the Browns, Joe Looney is now on Dallas’ injured reserve list.

Dallas re-signed Brown this offseason, bringing back the fifth-year veteran after allowing Byron Jones to leave in free agency. Brown played all 73 of the Cowboys’ defensive snaps in Week 1, but a rib injury sidelined him for the team’s past three games.

The Cowboys made Brown part of their standout 2016 draft class, adding him in Round 6. He has played 57 games with the team since. No. 58 will come Sunday against the Giants, helping the NFL’s last-ranked scoring defense. Awuzie, however, remains on the Cowboys’ IR.

Looney must miss at least three games. While he is not expected to miss the rest of the season like starting tackles Tyron Smith (now on IR as well) and La’el Collins, this is an obvious setback for an injury-riddled Dallas offensive line. The Cowboys will turn to rookie Tyler Biadasz as their starting center Sunday.

The Cowboys also promoted linebacker Francis Bernard, center Marcus Henry and defensive back Steven Parker from their practice squad.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Notes: Redskins, Smith, Cowboys, Prescott

With graphic details and graphic images, ESPN.com’s Elizabeth Smith and Stephania Bell bring us the story of Alex Smith‘s gruesome injury and his road to recovery.

“Our first priority is we’re going to save his life,” a hospital worker said to Alex’s wife, Elizabeth, just days after the injury. “And then we’re going to do our best to save his leg. And anything beyond that is a miracle.”

Smith said that he feels “very much lucky to be alive” after the horrific injury and ensuing sepsis infection. And, after celebrating his 36th birthday in May, the Redskins quarterback is working towards an NFL return. Mrs. Smith, meanwhile, is conflicted.

When I think about Alex returning to football, there’s part of me that wants him to do whatever he has the inner drive to do. If that means stepping back on the football field and throwing on those pads, then I want him to prove that to himself. But obviously there’s part of me asking, “‘Is it worth ever doing that again? Do you know what we just went through?'”

Here’s more on the Redskins, the Redskins’ quarterback situation, and the rest of the NFC East:

  • Talk of Tua Tagovailoa going to the Redskins didn’t bother starter Dwayne Haskins.“Throughout the whole process Ron [Rivera] was just telling me to trust him,” Haskins said (via JP Finlay of NBC Sports). “I did so it worked out.” The Redskins were long expected to take Chase Young with the No. 2 pick, but there were Tua rumblings on draft week. Ultimately, they took the Ohio State edge rusher and passed on the Alabama star.
  • If the Cowboys can’t work out an extension with Dak Prescott by July 15th, they’ll have to wait until after the 2020 season to resume negotiations. That deadline puts some serious pressure on the team to get something done with their beloved QB, but COO Stephen Jones says he won’t break the budget. “There’s all sorts of analytics out there that show if your quarterback takes up too big a percentage of your salary cap, it decreases your chances to win,” Jones said (via PFT). “We’re just trying to figure out the right fit. No one wants to sign Dak to a longer term deal more than Jerry and myself. We’re on the record time and time again on what we think of him as a leader. He has the ‘it’ factor. He’s a fierce competitor. He wants to win as well, and it’s just gotta be right for him and right for us.”
  • The Cowboys are feeling really, really good about their Day 2 and Day 3 haul in the draft, Todd Archer of ESPN.com writes. Before the draft, they had a “high-second-round” grade on cornerback Trevon Diggs – they landed him at No. 51 overall. They assigned a second-round grade to defensive tackle Neville Gallimore, and snagged him in the third. In the fourth round, they see yet another steal – the scouting department gave center Tyler Biadasz a high-third-round score and snagged him with the last pick of the fourth round. Time will tell, but the Cowboys are doing cartwheels over their 2020 middle-round choices.
  • Carlos Hyde, who racked up 1,000+ yards rushing in Houston last year, is still available. The Eagles are interested, but they only want him at the right price.
  • Recently, the Giants reworked Cooper Rush‘s contract to dial down his base pay but also give him a chunk of guaranteed money. That may bode well for his odds of making the roster, but he’s got lots of competition.