Tyler Kroft

Bills TE Tyler Kroft Suffers Broken Foot

Bills tight end Tyler Kroft suffered a broken foot during OTAs on Monday, coach Sean McDermott told reporters (Twitter link via Vic Carucci of SiriusXM). The Bills inked Kroft to a three-year deal in March with plans to use him as a starter right off of the bat. Kroft’s timeframe for recovery is 3-4 months, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears, which puts him right up against the start of the season and raises the possibility of beginning the season on the PUP list.

Kroft, 27 in October, injured the same foot early last year and wound up missing the rest of the season with the Bengals. The Bills are hoping he’ll bounce back quickly and provide production similar to his 42/404/7 line in 2017.

If Kroft misses time, the Bills will be left with a tight end group consisting of blocking specialist Lee Smith and rookies Moral Stephens and Tommy Sweeney. Meanwhile, veteran Jermaine Gresham stands as the best remaining free agent tight end.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Contract Details: Collins, Morse, Graham

Let’s take a look at the details of a few recently-signed contracts from around the NFL:

  • Landon Collins, S (Redskins): Six years, $84MM deal, $45MM guaranteed. $15MM signing bonus, $6MM option bonus for 2024 (exercised between first and fifth of 2020). Deal includes $32MM guaranteed over the first two seasons. $5MM of his 2021 salary is guaranteed at signing. Salaries: $1MM (2019), $10MM (2020), $12.5MM (2021), $11.5MM (2022), $12.5MM (2023), $13.5MM (2024). All Twitter links via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, Mike Garafolo of NFL Network, and ESPN’s Dan Graziano.
  • Mitch Morse, C (Bills): Four years, $44.5MM, $26.5MM guaranteed (original story). Receives $19.5MM in 2019, $28.375MM in 2020. Twitter link via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero.
  • Brandon Graham, DE (Eagles): Three years, $40MM. $23.5MM guaranteed. $12.5MM signing bonus. Salary: $1MM (2019), $10MM (2020). Team option for 2021: $13MM salary and $3.5MM option bonus. Twitter link via Sheil Kapadia of The Athletic.
  • Danny Amendola, WR (Lions): One year, $4.5MM. $4.25MM fully guaranteed. $250K in per-game roster bonuses, $1.25MM in incentives. Twitter link via Ben Volin of the Boston Globe.
  • Tyler Kroft, TE (Bills): Three years, $18.75MM. $8.3MM guaranteed, $2.4MM signing bonus. Will earn $1.8MM salary in 2019, $4.45MM in 2020. Roster bonuses include $2.1MM (2019), $750K (2020), $750K (2021). Twitter links via Wilson and ESPN’s Mike Rodak.

Bills To Sign Tyler Kroft

After signing Frank Gore and Kevin Johnson earlier today, the Bills are making another move. Buffalo has agreed on a deal with tight end Tyler Kroft to a three-year deal, his agent Mike McCartney tweeted.

The deal is worth $18.75MM over the three years, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). Rapoport also adds that the value of the contract can increase to $21MM, presumably through incentives. That’s a pretty hefty contract for a player who doesn’t have much of a history of production, and who played in just five games last season.

Kroft comes to the Bills from the Bengals, where he has filled in as Cincinnati’s tight end the past several seasons as Tyler Eifert has dealt with numerous injuries. The Bengals took Kroft in the third round back in the 2015 draft. He broke out in 2017, starting all 16 games and catching 42 passes for 404 yards and seven touchdowns.

But he suffered a foot injury early last year, and ended up missing the rest of the season. The fact that he was able to land this type of contract shows that the limited number of tight ends available in this year’s free agency class are all about to cash in.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals Place TE Tyler Kroft On IR

Tyler Kroft will not be making a return from injury this season. The Bengals kept the tight end on their active roster in hopes he would be able to come back from his foot injury, but that won’t happen now.

The team placed Kroft on IR Friday, Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com tweets. Cincinnati will promote linebacker Brandon Bell off its practice squad to fill the roster spot.

The Bengals have been operating shorthanded at tight end for most of the season. Tyler Eifert has been on IR for weeks, while Kroft has been on the mend with a broken bone in his left foot. C.J. Uzomah‘s filled in as the starter, and that arrangement will continue.

While Kroft is expected to be healthy in time for free agency, this was not a good contract year. Kroft attempted to avoid surgery in order to play for a Bengals team contending for a playoff spot, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter), but he’ll now be out. It appears likely a procedure will occur soon.

In 2017, Kroft stepped in for an injured Eifert and caught 42 passes for 404 yards and seven touchdowns — all far and away career-high marks. Other than his ’17 contributions, Kroft has not contributed much statistically since joining the Bengals as a 2015 third-round pick.

Both Kroft and Eifert are free agents in 2019. While another Eifert injury clouds his future with the team, Kroft sought an extension this summer. That did not end up coming to pass. Kroft caught just four passes this season.

A 2015 fifth-rounder, Uzomah is also a free agent at the year’s conclusion. So, the Bengals will have decisions to make at this position and won’t have much in the way of 2018 work samples on which to do so. Although, these next several games will be key for Uzomah in this regard.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Updates: Fins, Peters, Wright, Jets

Although Brock Osweiler and some pivotal run-after-catch action from his receivers came through to help the Dolphins to key win over the Bears, Ryan Tannehill has obviously been the better quarterback since these two began their careers six years ago. But Tannehill’s dealing with another injury, a shoulder malady, after two years of knee trouble. Adam Gase did not do much to squash the notion his starter’s dealing with a long-term malady, but Miami’s third-year coach said he has “complete confidence” Tannehill will play again this season (Twitter links via the Miami Herald’s Adam Beasley). Despite being listed as one of the longest-odds Super Bowl teams coming into the season, the Dolphins are 4-2 and in early contention for a playoff berth. They host the Lions on Sunday, and Osweiler may have to prepare for another week as the starter.

Here’s the latest from injury news cycles:

  • Jason Peters is dealing with a partially torn biceps muscle but may not have to miss any games because of it. Eagles offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland (via Jeff McLane of Philly.com, on Twitter) does not expect his left tackle to miss time. The 15th-year veteran was already afflicted with quadriceps injury, missed most of the Eagles’ Super Bowl run last season and is now in his age-36 season. But Peters has started all six games for this year’s Philadelphia squad.
  • The Jets will be without their leading receiver for some time. Quincy Enunwa suffered a high ankle sprain Sunday, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News tweets. He’s likely going to miss at least three games, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). Enunwa missed all of last season because of a neck injury. In a contract year, Enunwa returned to be Sam Darnold‘s top target thus far. He’s hauled in 22 passes for 287 yards and a touchdown. The Jets have turned to Terrelle Pryor more over the past two games, with the former Browns and Redskins wideout catching a touchdown pass in each, and he’ll be relied upon more in the immediate future.
  • Pete Carroll had hoped his top outside linebacker would be ready to start his season sometime in September, despite undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery just before the season. But K.J. Wright‘s missed six games. the Seahawks coach revealed Tuesday (Twitter link via the Seattle Times’ Percy Allen) Wright encountered a setback during Week 3 practice to delay his recovery. But he’s back on track now. The Seahawks have their bye this weekend and may be ready to finally see Wright in action in Week 8. The second half of the season will be critical for the 29-year-old linebacker, who is in a contract year.
  • Shane Ray‘s also in a contract campaign and looks to be auditioning for other teams after the Broncos didn’t pick up his fifth-year option following their first-round selection of Bradley Chubb. Ray’s now run into more injury trouble, suffering a high ankle sprain in Sunday’s loss to the Rams, per Mike Klis of 9News (on Twitter). The likely free agent-to-be seems certain to miss Denver’s Thursday game in Arizona, if not more time.
  • The Bengals are now down to their third-string tight end, C.J. Uzomah, as the starter after losing both Tyler Eifert and Tyler Kroft. However, Marvin Lewis does expect Kroft — out because of a broken bone in his foot — to return this season. Kroft, too, is in a contract year.

Tyler Kroft Has Broken Bone In Foot; Latest On Preston Brown

The news keeps getting worse for the Bengals and their tight ends. After losing Tyler Eifert for the season due to a broken ankle, Cincinnati will be without Tyler Kroft for at least the next several weeks, if not the entire season, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com.

Kroft left the team’s Week 5 win over the Dolphins with a right foot injury, and as it turns out, he has a broken bone in his foot. Schefter reports that Kroft will meet with a specialist within the next several weeks to determine whether he can play through the injury or if he will need season-ending surgery.

It’s a tough blow for Kroft, who emerged during Eifert’s absence last season to post 42 catches for 404 yards and seven scores. That performance even had Kroft, who is in the last year of his rookie contract, thinking about a lucrative multi-year extension, which is probably not in the cards at this point. Before his injury, Kroft had managed just four catches for 36 yards in 2018, and he was being considerably out-snapped by C.J. Uzomah (who, like Kroft, was a 2015 draft choice). It appears that Uzomah will remain Andy Dalton‘s top tight end for the rest of the season, even if Kroft is able to come back, though Cincinnati added some depth to the position earlier this week by plucking Matt Lengel off the Texans’ practice squad.

Meanwhile, Bengals linebacker Preston Brown is dealing with a painful injury of his own. An ankle injury forced him to miss two games earlier this year — the first games he ever missed during his five-year career — and he re-aggravated that injury during last week’s Dolphins game. Paul Dehner Jr. and Fletcher Page of the Cincinnati Enquirer report that Brown will not be completely healed for some time, but he will attempt to battle through the next three games before the team’s Week 9 bye, which he is very much looking forward to.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Tyler Kroft Seeking Contract Extension

Tyler Eifert is one of the most talented receiving tight ends in the league, but he just can’t seem to stay healthy. An unrestricted free agent this past offseason, he could have earned a massive payday if he had proven to be more durable. But he missed almost all of the 2017 campaign with a back injury, and he has missed over half of Cincinnati’s regular-season games during his tenure with the club. Ultimately, he signed a one-year deal worth up to $8.5MM to stay with the Bengals in 2018, which is still a nice chunk of change, but nowhere near what his talent itself would otherwise command.

But another Tyler and tight end, Rutgers product Tyler Kroft, emerged during Eifert’s absence last year, posting 42 catches for 404 yards and seven scores. The 2015 third-round selection picked a good time to establish himself as a receiving threat, as he is entering his contract year and, much like Trey Burton this offseason, could score a lucrative free agent pact even if he plays second fiddle to Eifert in 2018.

Kroft is fully aware of his contract status, and per Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer, he would like to land a second contract from the team that drafted him. Kroft, however, does not want to dwell on the matter. He said, “[A new contract is] in the back of my head but I’m trying not to give it too much thought and try and control what I can control. That’s basically how I’ve been trying to think about it. Not get too excited or too down.”

He did, though, express confidence in his abilities and his role in the offense, which could be increased even more if Eifert — whose availability for training camp is already uncertain — once again struggles to stay on the field. If the Bengals are similarly confident in Kroft’s long-term prospects, they may want to lock him up now before his asking price continues to go up. After all, compared to his counterpart, Kroft has been a bastion of durability, having played in 46 of a possible 48 regular-season games over his first three years in the league.

In other Bengals news, Owczarski reports that Cedric Ogbuehi is (surprisingly) building momentum towards landing the team’s starting right tackle spot. Ogbuehi has been a major disappointment since the Bengals selected him in the first round of the 2015 draft, but he has looked good in spring practices and has adapted well to offensive line coach Frank Pollack‘s new scheme and techniques.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2018 Proven Performance Escalators

According to the NFL’s contractual bargaining agreement, players drafted in rounds three though seven are entitled to raises during the fourth year of their respective rookie contracts. The pay bumps are tied to playing time — a player must have played in 35% of his team’s offensive or defensive snaps in two of his first three seasons, or averaged 35% playing time cumulatively during that period.Jay Ajayi (Vertical)

If one of these thresholds is met, the player’s salary is elevated to the level of that year’s lowest restricted free agent tender — that figure should be around $1.908MM in 2018. Players selected in the first or second round, undrafted free agents, and kickers/punters are ineligible for the proven performance escalator.

Here are the players who will see their salary rise in 2018 courtesy of the proven performance escalator:

49ers: Trent Brown, T; Eli Harold, LB

Bears: Adrian Amos, S

Bengals: Tyler Kroft, TE; Josh Shaw, DB

Bills: John Miller, G

Broncos: Max Garcia, G; Trevor Siemian, QB

Browns: Duke Johnson, RB

Buccaneers: Kwon Alexander, LB

Cardinals: David Johnson, RB; J.J. Nelson, WR

Chargers: Kyle Emanuel, LB

Chiefs: Chris Conley, WR; Steven Nelson, CB

Colts: Henry Anderson, DE; Mark Glowinski, G; Denzelle Good, OL

Dolphins: Bobby McCain, CB

Eagles: Jay Ajayi, RB; Jordan Hicks, LB

Falcons: Grady Jarrett, DT

Jaguars: A.J. Cann, OL

Lions: Quandre Diggs, CB

Packers: Jake Ryan, LB

Panthers: Daryl Williams, T

Patriots: Trey Flowers, DE; Shaq Mason, G

Raiders: Clive Walford, TE

Rams: Jamon Brown, G

Ravens: Za’Darius Smith, LB

Redskins: T.J. Clemmings, OL; Jamison Crowder, WR

Saints: Tyeler Davison, DT

Seahawks: Tyler Lockett, WR

Steelers: Jesse James, TE

Vikings: Stefon Diggs, WR; Danielle Hunter, DE

OverTheCap.com was essential in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. 

Minor Moves: Thursday

Here are Thursday’s minor transactions from around the NFL, including the latest mid-to-late-round draft pick signings:

  • As first tweeted by agent Mike McCartney, third-round tight end Tyler Kroft has signed his rookie contract with the Bengals. Per Over The Cap, Kroft’s four-year pact will be worth about $2.928MM, including a $648K signing bonus. First-round offensive lineman Cedric Ogbuehi is now the only Cincinnati draftee who remains unsigned.
  • The Cowboys have also signed all their draft picks besides their first-rounder. According to Todd Archer of ESPNDallas.com (Twitter link), the club locked up fourth-round linebacker Damien Wilson today, signing him to a four-year deal that features a signing bonus worth about $466K.
  • The Jets have cut quarterback Matt Simms, the club announced today in a press release. Given the presence of Ryan Fitzpatrick, Geno Smith, and Bryce Petty, there wasn’t much chance that Simms would make the Jets’ regular season roster. According to Brian Costello of the New York Post (Twitter link), Simms asked New York to release him and the team obliged.
  • Former Oklahoma defensive back Julian Wilson, who signed with the Ravens as an undrafted free agent, was waived/injured by the team today after breaking his leg earlier this month, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. He’ll land on the injured reserve list, assuming he clears waivers.
  • The Buccaneers made a slight change to the back of their 90-man roster today, signing kicker Brandon Bogotay and waiving center Ben Gottschalk, per Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com (Twitter link).
  • Washington has added a pair of cornerbacks to its roster, signing Trey Wolfe and Tajh Hasson, per a team release. Hasson went undrafted this year out of UNLV, while Wolfe spent some time on Washington’s taxi squad in 2014.

Draft Notes: Trades, Ekpre-Olomu, Ajayi, Bengals

A few more notes on what we’ve seen from the draft so far:

  • The Jets curiously switched spots with the Jaguars to select quarterback Bryce Petty. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter), the Jets made the move because the Browns had made an offer to the Jags for the same pick, presumably so Cleveland could select Petty. However, Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal reports that the Browns were not targeting Petty with that selection (via Twitter). The Bengals also inquired about trading up for that pick, writes Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com (via Twitter).
  • The Packers made a pretty big leap to move up in the fifth round, where they targeted UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley, switching spots in the round and giving up only a seventh-round pick to do so. When asked how the deal came together, Packers Director of Player Personnel Eliot Wolf says the Patriots initiated talks, according to Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette (via Twitter).
  • Oregon cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu has dropped further in the NFL Draft than he would have liked due to an ACL injury he suffered in December, but the silver lining is that his insurance policy was triggered after he fell past the first picks of the third round, reports Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk. The policy cost Oregon $40,000, and should pay out $3 million in a loss of value policy, but Alper notes that Darren Rovell of ESPN writes that no player has ever successfully collected on a policy of this type.
  • The Dolphins added Jay Ajayi with a fifth-round pick, despite reports that the Boise State running back failed some teams’ physicals leading up to the NFL Draft, writes Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald (via Twitter). Ajayi be a one-contract player due to the results of those physicals, according to Beasley.
  • The Bengals have now added two tight ends in the 2015 NFL Draft, in Tyler Kroft of Rutgers and C.J. Azumah of Auburn. They needed depth at that position behind Tyler Eifert, who is returning from injury this season, and those picks signify that former first-round pick Jermaine Gresham will not return, writes Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer (via Twitter).