Vinny Curry

Eagles Activate Vinny Curry, Will Parks

Some good injury-related news came out of Philadelphia on Saturday. This change of pace comes in the form of Vinny Curry and Will Parks being activated off injured reserve.

The Eagles placed Curry on IR after Week 1; Parks landed there prior to his new team’s season opener. The Philadelphia native will make his Eagles debut Sunday.

Curry and Parks were part of the brigade of NFLers who suffered hamstring injuries in September, which came after the league canceled its preseason slate because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This will bring some reinforcements for an Eagles defense tasked with supporting an injury-ravaged offense.

The Eagles signed Parks in free agency. The four-year Broncos supporting-caster is on track to be a depth piece with the Eagles. Curry is in his second season back in Philly. The longtime defensive line contributor spent the 2018 season in Tampa Bay but returned after one season in south Florida.

While the Eagles will be down four offensive line starters in Week 6, they still have their array of talented defensive linemen ready to go. The team also promoted tight end Jason Croom and defensive back Elijah Riley ahead of its game against the Ravens.

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Eagles Place Vinny Curry On IR

The Eagles have placed defensive end Vinny Curry and cornerback Craig James on injured reserve, per a club announcement. Both players will miss a minimum of three weeks. 

Curry went down with a hamstring injury in the Eagles’ season opener, leaving the Birds without one of their best pass rushers. Playing in all 16 regular season games last season, Curry notched five sacks and 27 total tackles. Four of those sacks came after Week 12, helping him to finish with one of the highest pressure rates in the league among edge rushers. When he returns, he’ll continue on his one-year, $1.3MM deal, though he might not achieve the sack totals required to realize much of his $700K incentives package.

James managed a fumble recovery in the Eagles’ Week 1 contest against the Washington Football Team before his early exit. His injury has not been disclosed, though head coach Doug Pederson says it’s “significant”.

To fill one of the two open spots on the roster, the Eagles have promoted guard Sua Opeta from the practice squad.

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Minor NFL Transactions: 9/15/20

Today’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Cincinnati Bengals

Dallas Cowboys

Houston Texans

Los Angeles Chargers

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Tennessee Titans

North Notes: Browns, Ravens, Decker

Before Vinny Curry reached an agreement to sign with the Eagles, he received a better offer from the Browns, Geoff Mosher of InsidetheBirds.com tweets. Curry wanted to stay in Philadelphia, per Mosher, but one-year Eagles exec Andrew Berry — now the Browns GM — made a push to bring the veteran defensive lineman to Cleveland. This does not mark the first time the Browns have submitted what was believed to be the best multiyear offer for a defensive lineman only to wind up not signing him this offseason. They represented Jadeveon Clowney‘s best offer, but the former No. 1 overall pick did not go for it and remains a free agent. The Browns redid Olivier Vernon‘s deal, seemingly taking them out of the Clowney sweepstakes, but still appear to be in the market for D-line help. Cleveland did add Adrian Clayborn earlier this offseason, and he stands to be the top backup to Vernon and Myles Garrett.

Here is the latest from the North divisions, shifting first to a more famous Browns cog:

  • Odell Beckham Jr. made some comments recently that indicated he would not be especially upset if the 2020 season did not happen. “I just feel like the season shouldn’t happen,” Beckham said during an interview with the Wall Street Journal, “and I’m prepared for it to not happen and I wouldn’t mind not having it.” These comments, however, came before the NFL finalized its safety protocols. Beckham did not opt out and is set for his second season with the Browns. After skipping most of the Browns’ voluntary activities last year, Beckham has been engaged in the process this year, Berry said, via the AP’s Tom Withers.
  • The pre-Lamar Jackson Ravens routinely rostered two quarterbacks, but they again plan to carry three this year, John Harbaugh said. The Ravens have Robert Griffin III signed up for a third season in Baltimore, while Trace McSorley enters his second NFL season. Harbaugh indicated the team kept three passers last year because it did not believe McSorely would pass through waivers to the Ravens’ practice squad.
  • Two-plus months after the last Taylor Decker contract update, the Lions are not believed to have discussed an extension with the fifth-year left tackle. They have prioritized a Kenny Golladay re-up over Decker’s, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press notes. Decker indicated this week the Lions have not made him an offer yet. A new Decker deal would likely cost the Lions north of $16MM annually. Both players are going into contract years. Decker making it through his fifth season without a new deal would make him a franchise tag candidate, though tags will not be as easy to apply next year if the cap plummets as expected.
  • The Packers announced they will not have fans at their first two home games. However, the team will re-evaluate the situation after those two September dates.

Eagles Re-Sign Vinny Curry

The Eagles have brought Vinny Curry back into the fold. The veteran defensive end will sign a one-year deal worth up to $2MM, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). The pact includes $1.3MM in fully guaranteed cash, plus $700K in incentives tied to sack totals and playoff bonuses. 

Curry has thrived as a situational pass rusher. Curry had a rocky 2018 with the Bucs, but he did well in his 2019 return to Philly when he was deployed on passing downs. Playing in all 16 regular season games, Curry notched five sacks and 27 total tackles. Four of those sacks came after Week 12, helping him to finish with one of the highest pressure rates in the league among edge rushers.

The Jets gave Curry some consideration in March, but his market has been quiet for much of the offseason. That’s been the case for many of this year’s edge rushers – Jadeveon Clowney, Everson Griffen, and Ezekiel Ansah are just a few of the notable names who have been left hanging on the telephone.

The Eagles came into Friday morning with $23.7MM in cap space. Even after signing Curry, they still have more flexibility than at least 20 other teams in the NFL. The Birds’ real numbers crunch will come in 2021, especially if the salary cap is slashed significantly.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Top Edge Rushers Still Available

Putting pressure on the opposing quarterback is critical to a team’s success in today’s NFL, and there are a number of players still languishing on the free agent market who are capable of doing just that. While the pandemic has understandably made teams leery of authorizing big-money contracts, some of the available talent can be had for a fairly minimal commitment, and it would not be surprising to see them come off the board as we get closer (hopefully) to training camp.

So let’s take a look at the best of the unsigned pass rushers.

  1. Jadeveon Clowney: Not many players have been in the news more than Clowney this offseason. By now, everyone knows that Clowney was seeking a multi-year deal with an AAV of at least $20MM when free agency opened, but he has had to modify his demands in a big way. The Browns are believed to have two offers on the table: a one-year pact worth $15MM, and a multi-year contract worth around $12MM/year. Cleveland does not seem to be high on Clowney’s list of preferred destinations, but the club does have the makings of a postseason contender. It will be interesting to see if another team tries to top the Browns’ proposals to land a potentially game-changing talent.
  2. Everson Griffen: Back in May, Griffen was rated as our No. 3 best available free agent, and he would be the No. 2 talent on that list today now that Cam Newton has signed with the Patriots. Shortly after the list was published, we heard that the Cardinals may be interested, but nothing has transpired on the Griffen front in the last six weeks. The 32-year-old showed that he still has plenty left in the tank after registering eight sacks in 2019, and the fact that he is still unsigned may indicate that his contract demands are too high right now.
  3. Ezekiel Ansah: The Seahawks paired Clowney with Ansah in 2019 with the hopes of creating a true two-headed pass-rushing monster. That did not exactly work out as planned, as Clowney managed just three sacks and Ansah posted 2.5 while playing in 11 games. Ansah just couldn’t regain the form that he displayed during his best years with the Lions, and it certainly seems as if he does not have another double-digit sack campaign in him. Still, he is another year removed from the shoulder injury that marred his 2018 season and delayed his 2019 debut, so he will surely get a chance to be a part of someone’s pass rush rotation in 2020.
  4. Michael Bennett: Bennett wants to play in 2020, but thus far, it doesn’t sound as if there has been much interest in his services. The three-time Pro Bowler enjoyed a nine-sack effort with the Eagles in 2018, but he was traded to the Patriots in March 2019 and clashed with New England brass. In October, the Pats shipped him to the Cowboys, for whom he posted four sacks in nine games. In total, he collected 6.5 sacks last year while playing fewer snaps than he is accustomed to. He may very well start to attract more interest once camp gets underway.
  5. Markus Golden: No one other than the incumbent Giants has expressed interest in Golden since free agency began, and it seems like the 29-year-old will be back with Big Blue in 2020. The Giants put the rarely-used UFA tender on him, which means that he will only be eligible to play for New York if he does not sign another offer prior to the start of training camp (presently scheduled for July 28). Though Golden posted 10 sacks in 2019, he did so off of just 26 pressures, which teams likely see as an unsustainable conversion rate. The UFA tender would pay Golden $4.125MM this season.
  6. Jabaal Sheard: Sheard has never quite lived up to his potential as a game-changing pass rusher, and the 8.5 sacks he totaled in his rookie season in 2011 remain a career high. But he has averaged over five sacks per season over the course of a mostly-durable nine-year career, and he still looks the part of a starting DE. Fresh off a reasonably productive three-year stint with the Colts, Sheard has not yet been connected to any club this offseason.
  7. Clay Matthews: Matthews opened the 2019 campaign with his hair on fire, posting six sacks in the first five games of the season. It appeared that the two-year, $16.75MM contract the Rams gave to the longtime Packer in March 2019 was going to pay off in a big way, but Matthews suffered a broken jaw in October that derailed his season. He picked up two more sacks the rest of the way, and LA cut ties with him earlier this year. There have been no public reports of interest in the 34-year-old, but he could be a valuable veteran presence if deployed in the right way.
  8. Vinny Curry: Curry has always been a situational pass rusher. Even when he started all 16 regular-season games for the Eagles in 2017, he played in just over half of the club’s defensive snaps. His one year in Tampa Bay in 2018 was not a smashing success, but he returned to Philadelphia in 2019 to reprise his role as a player who can come in on passing downs and who represents a legitimate threat to get to the quarterback. The Jets were said to be interested in him in March, and Gang Green could still use pass rushing help, but the two sides have not yet come together on an agreement.
  9. Terrell Suggs: Suggs’ career accomplishments stand head and shoulders above those of most everyone else on this list. The former Defensive Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and seven-time Pro Bowler has 139 career sacks to his credit, but he finally started to slow down in 2018, his final year in Baltimore, and he looked the part of an aging defender during his 13-game stint with the Cardinals in 2019. Arizona cut him late last season and he was scooped up by the Chiefs, which allowed him to collect his second Super Bowl ring. It’s unclear if T-Sizzle has any interest in continuing his playing career, but he has nothing left to prove.
  10. Cameron Wake: Another player that would be higher on this list if not for his age, Wake was released by the Titans in March. The 38-year-old has said he wants to keep playing, but after a terrific run with the Dolphins from 2009-18, Wake’s one year with Tennessee did not go according to plan. He registered just two sacks in nine games and missed the final stretch of the season with a back injury. He might well be healthy now, but we are unaware of any teams with interest at this point.

Jets Interested In Vinny Curry

The Jets have “significant interest” in signing Vinny Curry, according to Manish Mehta of the Daily News (on Twitter). The Eagles free agent defensive end has history with GM Joe Douglas, who knows how effective Curry can be. 

[RELATED: Latest On Jets, Trent Williams]

Curry spent his entire career with the Eagles, up until 2018 when he signed a three-year deal with the Bucs. That pact turned into a one-year arrangement when Tampa dropped him before the 2019 season. The Eagles brought him back in the fold last March, when Douglas was still with the organization. While on the market last year, Curry picked up interest from a number of teams, including the Giants. Now, he might join New Jersey’s other football club.

Last year, Curry did well as a situational pass rusher for the Eagles. Playing in all 16 regular season games, Curry notched five sacks and 27 total tackles. Four of those sacks came after Week 12, helping him to finish with one of the highest pressure rates in the league among edge rushers.

Curry might not be a game changer, but the Jets will take their Ws where they can. Thus far in free agency, they’ve missed on several of their top targets.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

FA Rumors: Colts, Ajayi, Giants, Lions, Chiefs

Although the Colts met with free agent running back Jay Ajayi this week, there’s no deal imminent between the two parties, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). However, Indianapolis does plan to continue talking with Ajayi, which suggests it could look to sign the ex-Eagle down the line. Ajayi, 25, is arguably the best back still available on the open market after Le’Veon Bell, Tevin Coleman, and Mark Ingram came off the board during the first week of free agency. The Colts don’t necessarily need another running back given their depth chart already includes Marlon Mack, Jordan Wilkins, and Nyheim Hines, but Ajayi could give the club another dimension in the backfield.

Here’s more from the free agent rumor mill:

  • The Giants had interest in defensive end Vinny Curry before he signed with the division-rival Eagles, and in fact offered Curry more money than Philadelphia, reports Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Aside from last season, Curry had spent his entire career with the Eagles, and it sounds like he simply preferred to return to Philadelphia rather than consider other destinations. Indeed, Curry only landed a one-year deal with a base value of $2.25MM from the Eagles, although the pact does contain $1.25MM in incentives. Before landing with the Eagles, Curry also took a visit with the Bengals.
  • Free agent Jake Fisher will work out as a tight end for the Bills on Thursday, tweets John Keim of ESPN.com. A second-round pick of the Bengals as an offensive tackle in 2015, Fisher is now attempting to convert to a skill position, and is reportedly down to 285 pounds. Fisher, who played tight end in high school, has been limited by injuries and ineffectiveness throughout his career, and has started just 12 games in four years. He’s also auditioned for the Texans and Redskins.
  • The Lions hosted defensive tackle Al Woods on Wednesday, according to NFL reporter Howard Balzer (Twitter link). Woods is now entering his age-32 season and didn’t perform well in 2018 (bottom-20 DT among 112 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus), so he likely won’t command much guaranteed money. Detroit is already well-stocked in the middle of its defensive line with Damon Harrison, A’Shawn Robinson, and Da’Shawn Hand in tow.
  • Although he recently announced his retirement and took a collegiate coaching position, former Buccaneers tight end/fullback Alan Cross took a visit with the Chiefs this week, tweets Greg Auman of The Athletic. Cross, who posted 13 receptions over three seasons in Tampa Bay, would give Kansas City an option as they seek to replace former No. 2 tight end Demetrius Harris. The Chiefs also met with former Jets tight end Neal Sterling this week.

Eagles To Sign Vinny Curry

Vinny Curry is on his way back to Philadelphia. The Eagles are nearing a deal with the defensive end, as Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. It’s a one-year deal worth $2.25M with an additional $1.25M of upside based on incentives, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com hears (via Twitter).

Up until last year, Curry spent his whole career (2012-2017) with the Eagles. Last year, he joined the Bucs on three-year deal, but that contract was terminated when he became a cap casualty in February.

Last year, Curry tallied 21 tackles, 2.5 sacks, seven quarterback hits, and five tackles for a loss, numbers that don’t exactly jump off of the page. However, he was effective at generating pressure with the Eagles in 2017 and started in every game, including the team’s Super Bowl victory, so he could be a difference-maker in Philly.

This time around, Curry projects to come off of the bench in support of starters Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett. He’ll be especially important to the rotation if Chris Long opts to retire.

Before agreeing to sign with the Eagles, Curry visited the Bengals and drew interest from the Giants.

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Giants Interested In Vinny Curry

The Giants are on the lookout for defensive line help after losing Josh Mauro to the Raiders. With that in mind, the Giants are in the mix for defensive end Vinny Curry (Twitter link via Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com). 

Curry, a pass-rushing veteran, hit the open market in February when he was released by the Buccaneers. Last year, Curry tallied 21 tackles, 2.5 sacks, seven quarterback hits, and five tackles for a loss, numbers that don’t exactly jump off of the page. However, pass rushers are continually in demand, and his 2017 season with the Eagles showed promise, so Curry could still be in line for a nice payday from the G-Men or another club.

Recently, Curry took his first visit of this free agent cycle when he met with the Bengals. The Bengals have Carlos Dunlap and Sam Hubbard slotted in as starters, but Curry could compete with Carl Lawson and Jordan Willis for reserve time. There’s also opportunity in New York for Curry after the trade of Olivier Vernon to the Browns.

The Giants still have interest in bringing back Kerry Wynn, though Raanan notes that Wynn also has some other options.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.