Will Parks

AFC West Notes: Mahomes, Broncos, Raiders

Patrick MahomesMRI did not slam the door on the Chiefs quarterback returning this season, but the parties are still gathering information. Mahomes will seek a second opinion on the dislocated kneecap he suffered, Terez Paylor of Yahoo.com tweets. A Mahomes return this season may be a dicey process, however. This injury carries a significant risk of re-dislocation, former Chargers team physician David Chao writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune. Mahomes will likely need surgery after the season, should he decide to put it off until then, putting him out for most of Kansas City’s 2020 offseason program. But for now, a potential return — likely after K.C.’s Week 12 bye, though Albert Breer of SI.com tweets a return before then is not out of the question — is on the table.

Here’s the latest from the Mahomes front, along with more from the West divisions:

  • Chad Henne‘s preseason ankle surgery, which prompted the Chiefs to place him on IR and sign Matt Moore, was not a season-ending operation. Henne is a few weeks away from being ready to return, per Paylor. With Henne having been with the Chiefs for two seasons now, this would seemingly be a superior option to Moore. The 35-year-old ex-Dolphin was working as a Dolphins scout earlier this year after spending 2018 out of football. Moore was helping the Dolphins’ scouting department and serving as an assistant coach at his former high school, William S. Hart High in California, Adam Teicher of ESPN.com notes. Henne becomes eligible to return from IR in Week 9.
  • While the Chiefs lost the highest-profile player in Thursday’s game, the Broncos lost another defensive starter. Safety Will Parks left Thursday’s game with a thumb injury, and Mike Klis of 9News notes the fourth-year defender has already undergone surgery. Parks is expected to miss at least two games. The 2-5 team is now down Parks, Bradley Chubb and Bryce Callahan on defense.
  • In addition to three IR-stationed Broncos set to return to practice next week, Jake Butt will do so as well, per Klis. The injury-prone tight end saw another knee malady sideline him during preseason play. The Broncos stashed him on IR but have not ruled out redeploying him. However, with Drew Lock seeming certain to be brought back from IR, the team can only summon one of the Butt-Theo RiddickTim Patrick trio.
  • Tyrell Williams will miss his second straight game. The Raiders‘ No. 1 wide receiver is out for Week 7. The Raiders are largely down to rookies (Hunter Renfrow, Keelan Doss) and in-season trade acquisitions (Zay Jones, ex-Packer Trevor Davis) in Green Bay.

2019 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.

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 $2MM in 2019. 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 2019 courtesy of the proven performance escalator:

Bears: RB Jordan Howard, LB Nick Kwiatkoski

Bengals: LB Nick Vigil

Broncos: G Connor McGovern, S Will Parks, S Justin Simmons

Browns: S Derrick Kindred, LB Joe Schobert

Buccaneers: G Caleb Benenoch, DE Carl Nassib, CB Ryan Smith

Chargers: LB Jatavis Brown

Chiefs: CB Kendall Fuller, WR Tyreek Hill, S Eric Murray, WR Demarcus Robinson

Colts: QB Jacoby Brissett, T Joe Haeg

Cowboys: CB Anthony Brown, DT Maliek Collins, QB Dak Prescott

Dolphins: RB Kenyan Drake

Eagles: CB Jalen Mills, T Halapoulivaati Vaitai

Falcons: LB De’Vondre Campbell, TE Austin Hooper, G Wes Schweitzer

Jaguars: DE Yannick Ngakoue

Jets: LB Jordan Jenkins, CB Rashard Robinson, T Brandon Shell

Lions: C Graham Glasgow

Packers: LB Kyler Fackrell, DE Dean Lowry, LB Blake Martinez, LB Antonio Morrison

Patriots: G Joe Thuney, LB Elandon Roberts

Rams: G Austin Blythe, TE Tyler Higbee

Ravens: DE Matt Judon, OL Alex Lewis, CB Tavon Young

Saints: DT David Onyemata

Steelers: DT Javon Hargrave

Texans: DT D.J. Reader

Titans: S Kevin Byard, WR Tajae Sharpe

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

West Notes: Ward, Donald, Hawks, Schofield

John Elway spoke with T.J. Ward‘s agent earlier this summer and informed him the team did not intend to sign the veteran safety to an extension, with the GM telling media (including Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post) a Ward re-up was not in the team’s plans “at that point of time.” The Broncos made Ward one of the highest-profile cuts of the roster-slashing weekend, but Jhabvala reports the team did not come to a decision on Ward until last week. The rise of second-year safeties Justin Simmons and Will Parks, along with Ward’s injury history, played a role in the departure.

Citing a lack of clarity during the process, Ward on Monday called the Broncos “completely unprofessional” regarding the separation. The divorce came with one season remaining on the 30-year-old defender’s four-year contract. The eighth-year safety will earn up to $5MM with the Buccaneers this season. Ward missed all of Denver’s preseason games with a hamstring injury and missed six games due to injury in three Broncos campaigns — two of which producing Pro Bowls. Mike Klis of 9News described the process as Simmons — a 2016 third-round pick who served as Denver’s third safety last season — Wally Pipp’ing Ward (Twitter link). Klis notes Elway gave Ward “every chance” to make this year’s team.

Here’s the latest from the West divisions, shifting to Seattle, which just made the biggest trade in a week full of them.

  • The injury to rookie Malik McDowell prompted the Seahawks to trade for Sheldon Richardson, Pete Carroll said, via the Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta (on Twitter). Currently on the NFI list, McDowell does not have a timetable for a return, Condotta adds (via Twitter). Carroll said the team could still look to add another defensive tackle (Twitter link, via Condotta).
  • Richardson will play the three-technique position in the Seahawks’ 4-3 scheme, the fifth-year defensive lineman said Monday (via Condotta, on Twitter). He will line up inside of Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril, giving the Seahawks one of the most talented defensive fronts in football. Richardson primarily played 3-4 defensive end with the Jets but also saw time at outside linebacker. He played 4-3 defensive tackle at the University of Missouri, though.
  • Aaron Donald remains a holdout as the Rams begin their Week 1 preparations, but Sean McVay won’t impose a deadline on how late the All-Pro defensive lineman can report to the team and still play Sunday, Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.com reports. Rams reps flew to Atlanta to meet with Donald, but the sides reportedly aren’t close to a deal. Gonzalez adds McVay nonetheless remains “optimistic” about a solution.
  • A two-position starter for the Broncos during the past two seasons, Michael Schofield attracted widespread interest on the waiver wire. The Chargers won out due to their position in the waiver hierarchy, but the Lions, Redskins, Vikings and Saints also put in claims on the fourth-year guard/tackle, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. A 2014 third-rounder, Schofield started for the Broncos at right tackle during their Super Bowl season and lined up at right guard throughout 2016. While Denver didn’t sport particularly effective O-lines during those seasons, Schofield clearly has believers out there.
  • Speaking of waivers, the Seahawks hoped they’d have a chance to stash wide receiver Kasen Williams on their practice squad, Carroll said (via Condotta, on Twitter), but the Browns swooped in with a claim. The Seahawks will move on without Williams and Jermaine Kearse, traded to the Jets in the Richardson deal. Paul Richardson and Tyler Lockett are now Seattle’s top complementary wideouts, and Lockett (per Condotta, on Twitter) is expected to play in Week 1 after breaking his fibula late last season.

Extra Points: Broncos, Ward, Dorsett

The Broncos did not discuss a pay cut with safety T.J. Ward before releasing him on Saturday, Nicki Jhabvala of The Denver Post tweets. “It was a football decision,” a team source tells her, adding that the motivation was to give more playing time to Justin Simmons and Will Parks. Meanwhile, Broncos players are upset about losing Ward and his locker room presence, James Palmer of NFL.com tweets.

While Ward searches for a new home, here’s more from around the NFL:

  • The Colts had offers for Phillip Dorsett from other teams, but those proposed swaps involved draft choices instead of netting a young player at a positional need, Mike Lombardi of The Ringer tweets. Lombardi doesn’t name teams, but Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (Twitter link) says the 49ers, Jets and Cardinals were among the teams that showed preliminary interest in him.
  • The Jets are expected to be interested in running back Travaris Cadet now that he has been released by New Orleans, Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle tweets. The Jets showed interest in Cadet during free agency but ultimately lost out.
  • T.J. McDonald‘s new deal with the Dolphins has built in protections for the team that will override his guarantees if he has another suspension issue, Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald tweets. The pact includes $10MM in “guarantees,” but McDonald can’t slip up if he wants to collect on all of it.
  • Wide receiver Victor Cruz says that he got a “clean bill of health” on his MRI this week, Josina Anderson of ESPN.com tweets. He’s now a free agent after being released by Chicago.
  • Chiefs GM Brett Veach says veteran running back C.J. Spiller could still end up on the Chiefs’ roster (Twitter link via BJ Kissel of Chiefs.com). Spiller was among the Chiefs’ mass cuts on Saturday as they trimmed down to 53.

AFC Notes: Broncos, Browns, Fins, Jets

Broncos second-year safety Will Parks is facing two misdemeanor charges stemming from a March 31 arrest, reports Mike Klis of 9News. Parks, charged with harassment and non-violent domestic violence, has a court date in Brighton, Colo., on June 30. His ex-girlfriend told police that Parks started making threats against her because he believed she stole his social security card, birth certificate, football rings and football jerseys. Parks claims he never threatened her, but she nonetheless filed a restraining order against him. The Broncos knew about Parks’ arrest before it became public knowledge, the team informed Klis. “We became aware of the issue involving Will Parks immediately after it occurred in April,” stated the club. “It was promptly reported to the league office and we are continuing to monitor the matter.” The NFL is currently determining whether Parks violated its personal conduct policy, tweets Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post.

More from the AFC:

  • Browns quarterback Brock Osweiler has emerged as a serious candidate to start Week 1 because he has exceeded head coach Hue Jackson‘s expectations since joining the team via trade in March, relays Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com. Osweiler’s performance last year in Houston was ugly, and he even came with behind-the-scenes concerns that led to wariness from Jackson. But Osweiler “has been outstanding in our building, and that’s what’s most important,” noted Jackson, who has teamed with quarterbacks coach David Lee to help tighten up the 6-foot-8, 235-pounder’s delivery. “I told him this yesterday — I went back and watched a little bit of film of him from last year, and he looks much better right now,” said Jackson. “He’s more compact. He’s throwing the ball with a lot more velocity. He’s doing a lot of good things.”
  • The Dolphins and wide receiver Jarvis Landry have discussed a contract extension, but the talks haven’t gotten serious, writes James Walker of ESPN.com. “We’ve talked back and forth but there’s nothing really going on,” said Landry. “We’re just really focusing on right now today.” Landry has no plans to hold out as he enters the last year of his rookie contract, per the Miami Herald’s Adam H. Beasley, who expects him to sign a deal worth upward of $12MM per annum at some point. As Beasley notes, no NFLer has caught more passes in his first three years in the league than Landry, who hauled in 288 from 2014-16.
  • The Jets traded safety Calvin Pryor to Cleveland on Thursday in part because they wanted him out of their locker room, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. There was a belief within the organization that Pryor “had an inflated opinion of himself” and didn’t buy into head coach Todd Bowles program, per Cimini.