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NFC West Notes: Cardinals, 49ers, Fant

Cardinals executive vice president/COO Ron Minegar was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence Saturday night in Chandler, Ariz., according to Shane Dale of ABC15. The Cardinals released a statement, calling the act “inexcusable” and indicated it will bring “serious consequences” (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). This comes a year after Cardinals GM Steve Keim was arrested for DUI. Keim served a five-week suspension for that. Minegar has been with the Cards much longer than Keim, joining the franchise in 2000. He serves mostly in a business-side capacity.

Here is the latest from the West divisions:

  • Jerick McKinnon‘s 49ers debut may be further delayed. The team “seems to be drifting toward” the notion that McKinnon might not be ready to play by Week 1, Matt Barrows of The Athletic notes (subscription required). McKinnon is out for the preseason’s remainder after receiving a PRP injection in his troublesome knee, which required surgery a year ago. The former Vikings back spent the offseason rehabbing but came off the 49ers’ active/PUP list to practice Tuesday. But after soreness, the sixth-year talent is again shut down. Barrows projects the 49ers will place McKinnon on short-term IR to start the season, with the reserve/PUP list no longer being an option.
  • Veterans Malcolm Smith and Jordan Matthews may not have a place with the 2019 49ers, with Barrows predicting both will fail to make the 53-man roster. Matthews signed a one-year, $2MM deal ($300K guaranteed) with San Francisco earlier this offseason. Smith has disappointed since coming over from the Raiders, missing all of 2017 due to injury and four games last season. The Super Bowl XLVIII MVP registered just 35 tackles in 2018. Although Barrows notes the 30-year-old linebacker was having a good camp prior to tweaking a hamstring, he has rookie UDFA Azeez Al-Shaair making the team over the veteran. Smith agreed to a restructured deal in March, one that shortened his five-year contract to three years. But cutting Smith would tag the 49ers with $4.2MM in dead money.
  • Would-be 49ers swing tackle Shon Coleman suffered a season-ending ankle injury Saturday night and underwent surgery Sunday. The 49ers are searching for a potential replacement for this role, Kyle Shanahan said (via Barrows, on Twitter), naming former 49er Garry Gilliam as a possible solution.
  • The Seahawks have used George Fant as a starter in 17 games over the past three seasons and are expected to keep him around in 2019 as a swing tackle. But a second-degree ankle sprain will shelve Fant for multiple weeks, Brady Henderson of ESPN.com notes.
  • Charles Clay and Brandon Williams are cleared to return to full Cardinals practices. The veteran tight end and cornerback came off the Cards’ active/PUP list Sunday.

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We’re looking to add part-time contributors to the Pro Football Rumors Rumors writing team. The position pays on an hourly basis. Applicants must meet ALL of the following criteria:

  • Exceptional knowledge of all 32 NFL teams, with no discernible bias.
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  • Extensive writing experience, with professional experience and a background in journalism both strongly preferred.
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If you’re interested, email pfrapplications@gmail.com by August 12 (11:00pm central time) and take a couple of paragraphs to explain why you qualify and stand out. Many will apply, so unfortunately we cannot respond to every applicant.

AFC East Notes: Brady, Dolphins, Bills

A potentially important situation that has been flying a bit under the radar is Tom Brady‘s contract. The Patriots quarterback is quietly entering the final season of his deal, and there hasn’t been any word on if there’s even been any extension talks. Right now both sides appear set to let things play out, which is interesting to say the least. If they don’t get something done then, as Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com points out, New England “will have a big decision to make in early 2020.” Florio writes that the Pats will have four options, “to re-sign Brady before he becomes a free agent, whether to let him become a free agent and then try to re-sign him, whether to not even try to re-sign him at all, or whether to apply the franchise tag.”

Florio writes that in the franchise tag scenario, Brady would have “a ton of leverage,” since the tag would pay him $32.4MM, the most ever on a tag. Florio speculates that the Patriots could be hesitant to pay him that much, and he wonders whether Brady will be willing to again take a discount like he has in the past. He writes that “other teams may start poking around agent Don Yee to see if Brady wants to make a late-career change of venue, and they may start throwing around numbers that Brady would not be able to refuse.” It’s all speculative at this point, but it’s fascinating to think about. Bill Belichick can be stubborn, but the thought of him letting Brady walk is still pretty hard to believe.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • Speaking of Belichick and Brady’s contract, signing Brady to a new deal “that will pay him upwards of $30M for his 43- and 44-year-old seasons gives Bill Belichick the vapors,” writes Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports Boston. Curran writes that Brady wants an extension that ensures he retires with the Patriots but that “he’s been put off, mildly placated or — in the case of last year — downright disrespected with incentive-laden ‘sing for your supper’ incentive bonuses.” Curran seems to think that there’s real tension between the two sides, that Belichick isn’t too eager to commit anything major, and that Robert Kraft ultimately might end up intervening. Curran writes that his “feeling is that he’s going to let Kraft do this deal so that Belichick has plausible deniability in case Brady faceplants.” This will be an important situation to monitor moving forward.
  • The Dolphins fired offensive line coach Pat Flaherty earlier this week and replaced him with Dave DeGuglielmo, and DeGuglielmo has wasted no time retooling the unit. The “Dolphins made wholesale lineup changes in practice Tuesday,” to their offensive line, writes Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. In DeGuglielmo’s first day as the offensive line coach, “rookie Michael Deiter and Will Holden took over the first team left and right guard spots, replacing Chris Reed and Jesse Davis,” Jackson writes. Davis kicked over to right tackle, sending Jordan Mills to the second team. DeGuglielmo received a lot of praise for his work as the Colts’ offensive line coach last year, and it was a surprise when he was ousted in January. He’s clearly taking charge in Miami, and it sounds like the only two locked in players on the Dolphins’ line are Laremy Tunsil at left tackle and Daniel Kilgore at center.
  • Potentially troubling news for the Bills, as center Mitch Morse is still in the concussion protocol, according to Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic (Twitter link). Morse is one of the league’s best centers when healthy, but he’s dealt with concussion issues and other injuries in his last two seasons with the Chiefs. In 2018 he played in only 11 games, and in 2017 only seven. Buscaglia notes that Bills coach Sean McDermott wouldn’t comment “about the amount of concern they might have with Morse suffering a fourth documented concussion,” since the protocol won’t allow him to. The Bills had one of the worst offensive lines in football last year, and signing Morse to his huge four-year deal was supposed to help revamp the unit. Normally a concussion this time of year wouldn’t be big news, but given Morse’s lengthy history of concussion issues this could be something that lingers. It’ll be important to monitor how he progresses.

Details On Donald Penn’s Redskins Deal

Donald Penn is officially a member of the Redskins. On Friday, we learned the details of his deal, courtesy of NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). 

[RELATED: 4 Potential Landing Spots For Trent Williams]

If Penn is the starting left tackle for the Redskins, he can make $5.03MM in 2019, according to RapSheet. The deal’s $250K signing bonus, meanwhile, represents the only guarantee in the deal.

Beyond that, the veteran will also receive a base salary of $1.03MM, 46-man active roster bonuses worth $750K, and incentives that can net him $3MM more.

There’s a clear opportunity for Penn to play, start, and show that he’s still a top-tier lineman. Redskins notable Trent Williams is still holding out from the club, and the Redskins are already exploring possible trades. The Patriots have been heavily connected to Williams and the Bengals would also be a logical fit.

Pro Football Rumors Seeking Part-Time Writers

We’re looking to add part-time contributors to the Pro Football Rumors Rumors writing team. The position pays on an hourly basis. Applicants must meet ALL of the following criteria:

  • Exceptional knowledge of all 32 NFL teams, with no discernible bias.
  • Knowledge of the salary cap and transaction-related concepts.
  • At least some college education.
  • Extensive writing experience, with professional experience and a background in journalism both strongly preferred.
  • Keen understanding of journalistic principles, ethics and procedures. Completion of basic college-level journalism classes is strongly preferred.
  • Attention to detail — absolutely no spelling errors, especially for player and journalist names.
  • Ability to follow the site’s style and tone.
  • Ability to analyze articles and craft intelligent, well-written posts summing up the news in a few paragraphs. We need someone who can balance quick writing with thoughtful analysis. You must be able to add value to breaking news with your own insight, numbers or links to other relevant articles.
  • Ability to use an RSS feed reader. Ability to use Twitter. Both of these are crucial.
  • Strong weekend availability is crucial. You must be available to work between 1pm-5pm central time on Sundays and frequently be available to work between 5-11 pm CT on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
  • Flexibility. You must be available to work on short notice.

If you’re interested, email pfrapplications@gmail.com by August 12 (11:00pm central time) and take a couple of paragraphs to explain why you qualify and stand out. Many will apply, so unfortunately we cannot respond to every applicant.

NFL To Open Academy In London

In the fall, the NFL will open its inaugural football academy in London, serving 80 players ages 16 to 18 in the England capital, the Associated Press reports.

“In the last two or three years, this has been about, whilst being quintessentially American, could we be more British (and) locally relevant?” said NFL UK managing director Alistair Kirkwood. “(Can we) have grassroots and a commitment to having British players who look like you and talk like you, and then at the same time have younger kids playing the game right down to flag football?”

Similar to soccer clubs overseas, which cultivate talent at a young age through their academies, the NFL will accomplish a similar goal while growing the sport outside the United States. While it will initially be open to 16 to 18-year-olds, the program, if successful, could look to target other age groups and girls in the future.

More than 1,500 individuals applied for the program, with 150 finalists already picked. That number will be whittled down to 80 before the academy begins.

The league has been looking to expand its fanbase to Europe for years now and this looks to be the next step in that process. The NFL has been playing games regularly in London since 2007, and the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium that opened in April has a retractable field suitable for American football games going forward.

The NBA found success with its Basketball Without Borders program, and the NFL will look to find similar success at cultivating talent with this new endeavor.

Happy Fourth Of July!

Today, we celebrate the Fourth of July, the anniversary of the United States’ Declaration of Independence from the rule of the British monarchy. It’s a day for picnics, barbecues, fireworks, parades, pool parties, and talking about football, among other things. It’s a day off from work (er, for most of us), and that includes just about everyone in the football world. 

For those of you who are perusing Pro Football Rumors in between burger flips and cannonballs, we’d like to wish you a happy Fourth of July! And, to our international readers: Stay tuned, because the NFL’s offseason calendar will quickly pick up steam.

Today might not bring us news of record-breaking extensions or big-ticket signings, but July will feature plenty of breaking news and insightful analysis on PFR. Remember, we’re just 63 days away from a brand new NFL season.

Jared Lorenzen Passes Away

We have sad news today, as former NFL quarterback Jared Lorenzen has tragically passed away at the age of 38. We heard late last week that Lorenzen was battling major health issues, and he unfortunately succumbed to them. The cause of death wasn’t immediately clear, although his family had issued a statement last week saying he was battling kidney and heart problems.

Lorenzen’s family issued a statement through Matt Jones of Kentucky Sports Radio (Twitter link). “It is with heavy hearts that the family of Jared Lorenzen, would like to extend our sincere thanks and appreciation for all of your support and prayers over the past 6 days,” the statement read. “We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Jared today, July 3, 2019. Again, we appreciate all of the warm wishes and prayers, but as a family, we would request your respect and privacy. We will offer arrangement information in the coming days. Please keep Jared’s family and especially his children, in your thoughts and prayers.”

Lorenzen starred at Kentucky in the early 2000’s, and then signed with the Giants as an undrafted free agent back in 2004. He defied the odds by making the team, and would go on to serve as Eli Manning’s primary backup for a few seasons. Manning was never seriously injured so Lorenzen didn’t see the field too much, but he did win Super Bowl XLII with the team.

Shortly after, the Giants posted a statement to Twitter from Manning. “Jared was a great teammate and friend. We competed against each other in college and came to the Giants together. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family. I will always remember his competitive spirit and his good nature. Jared has left us all way too soon,” Manning said.

Lorenzen became a fan favorite in New York, and the fanbase affectionately gave him the nickname ‘Hefty Lefty.’ After being cut by the Giants he had a brief stint with the Lions, and then spent the next handful of years playing in various indoor football leagues. Lorenzen had been open about his struggles with his weight, admitting in retirement that he weighed as much as 500 pounds at one time.

He had made positive strides in dropping some of the weight, and his journey was chronicled in an ESPN E:60 feature last July. All of us here at PFR send our thoughts and condolences to the Lorenzen family.

 

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  • Customize what you see. You can create feeds for any team or player across any of our sites.
  • Notifications! For any team or player, you can set up push notifications to ensure you always get breaking news instantly. Notifications can also be set up at the sport level.
  • Commenting! You can now read and contribute comments on the app.
  • Customer service! If you find a bug, we’ll fix it. If you have a feature request, we’ll consider it. The app is continually evolving and improving.
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