Will Sutton

49ers Sign DTs Cedric Thornton, Will Sutton

The 49ers have signed defensive tackles Cedric Thornton and Will Sutton, as well as offensive lineman J.P. Flynn, the club announced today. In corresponding moves, San Francisco has cut defensive back Don Jones, offensive lineman Jamar McGloster, and defensive lineman Blaine Woodson.

Of the players involved in today’s transactions, Thornton boasts the longest NFL track record. A former three-year starter for the Eagles, Thornton signed a four-year deal with the Cowboys prior to the 2016 campaign but lasted only a single season. He latched on with the Bills just before the 2017 season got underway and ultimately appeared in 15 games, playing on roughly a third of Buffalo’s defensive snaps.

Sutton, meanwhile, is a former third-round pick of the Bears who flamed out after three seasons. Although he inked a deal with the Vikings last summer, Sutton didn’t make Minnesota’s initial 53-man roster and spent the rest of the year on the workout circuit. While he never did land a deal last year, Sutton is still only 26 years old.

The 49ers aren’t hurting for depth along their interior defense, as starters DeForest Buckner and Earl Mitchell are backed up by Chris Jones, Sheldon Day, and others, while end Arik Armstead can also play inside. Still, Thornton and/or Sutton could have an outside chance to make San Francisco’s roster if they perform well during training camp.

NFL Workout Updates: 12/21/17

Today’s workout updates, with all Twitter links via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle and veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer:

Arizona Cardinals

  • WRs Harvey Binford, Rashad Ross, Brandon Zylstra; DBs Jonathon Mincy, Kacy Rodgers (link)

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Kansas City Chiefs

New Orleans Saints

  • WR Diontae Spencer (link)

New York Giants

New York Jets

  • G Greg Pyke (link via Balzer)

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

  • TE Brandon Barnes; OL Erik Austell; DT Euclid Cummings; LB Chris Casher; CB Shaq Richardson (link)

Seattle Seahawks

NFL Workout Updates: 11/9/17

Today’s workout updates, with all links going to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter account:

New England Patriots

Los Angeles Rams

  • LB Zach Vigil (Friday) (link via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle)

San Francisco 49ers

Washington Redskins

NFL Workout Updates: 10/10/17

Today’s workout updates, with all links going to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter account unless otherwise noted:

Arizona Cardinals

Buffalo Bills

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Oakland Raiders

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Vikings’ 53-Man Roster Set

The Vikings made their mandatory cuts to pare their roster down to the 53-man ceiling. Here are the rearrangements Minnesota made to set its regular-season roster.


Placed on IR:

Placed on Reserve/PUP list:

Placed on Reserve/NFI list:

Placed on Reserve/Suspended list:

Vikings Cut DT Will Sutton

Will Sutton has been released by the Vikings, Andrew Krammer of the Star Tribune tweets. Sutton was signed to the roster in May.

The 25-year-old, a third round pick of the Bears in the 2014 draft, was cut loose by Chicago this May. In the last three years, he started in half of his games and the advanced metrics at Pro Football Focus indicate that he had his best season to date in 2016. Still, GM Ryan Pace shopped him before last year’s season opener and pushed him out the door this year.

For one reason or another, he wasn’t up to the Vikings’ standards either.

NFC Notes: Eagles, Mariota, Vikings

The latest on a pair of NFC franchises:

  • Philadelphia was reportedly aggressive in trying to trade up to No. 2 in the 2015 draft to land quarterback Marcus Mariota, who played under then-Eagles head coach Chip Kelly at Oregon in 2012. But Kelly shot that down in a discussion with ESPN’s Adam Schefter, revealing that talks didn’t go anywhere because Tennessee wasn’t interested in moving the pick (via Matt Lombardo of NJ.com). “That’s all speculation that’s out there, you hear stories that ‘we offered this, we offered that,” said Kelly. “We didn’t offer anything because they weren’t taking any offers for it.” Unable to move up 18 spots to land Mariota, the Eagles ultimately stayed at No. 20 and selecting wide receiver Nelson Agholor, who has disappointed in the NFL. Kelly didn’t even finish out the 2015 season with the Eagles, who fired him prior to Week 17 and then went on to select a different potential franchise signal-caller, Carson Wentz, after moving up to No. 2 overall (by way of a trade with the Browns) in 2016.
  • Just over a month after signing running back Latavius Murray in free agency, presumably to start, the Vikings selected ex-Florida State rusher Dalvin Cook in the second round of the draft. Murray addressed that Wednesday, telling NFL Network (per Kevin Patra of NFL.com): “I was home, watching the draft — I try to keep up regardless, just with the game itself. So they draft him. It wasn’t a surprise. When you see a guy, again, first-round potential sitting there in the second round, they snatch him up, you can’t be surprised. It motivates me regardless, because they’re always going to bring in somebody to take over for your position.” Even with Cook in the fold, Murray expects to rack up the lion’s share of the Vikings’ rushing attempts in 2017, and the ex-Raider plans to mentor the younger back. “As I said, MJD [Maurice Jones-Drew], Darren McFadden, Marcel Reece, those guys did everything they could to try and help me be a better player, and I’m going to do the same for Dalvin,” Murray noted. “Again, it’s going to come down to who is going to be the best player that can play. Because I give Dalvin knowledge and try to help him, doesn’t mean, OK, that I shouldn’t go out there and outperform him and outcompete.”
  • The Vikings believe they may have a steal on their hands in another newcomer, defensive tackle Will Sutton, suggests Andrew Krammer of the Star Tribune. Sutton, whom the NFC North rival Bears cut in May and who signed with the Vikings a week later, wasn’t playing in an ideal scheme in Chicago, according to Minnesota’s brass. “We felt like when [the Bears] went to a 3-4, it was probably not a real good fit for him,” said Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer. “His game is based on quickness and acceleration and penetration, so we’ve kind of had our eye on him for a while.” Pro Football Focus disagrees with Zimmer, for what it’s worth, as the outlet gave Sutton easily the best grade of his three-year career last season. He posted poor marks over the two prior seasons, though, including a rookie campaign (2014) spent in a 4-3.

Vikings Sign Former Bears DT Will Sutton

The Vikings signed defensive tackle Will Sutton, per a team announcement. Sutton was cut by the rival Bears last week. Will Sutton (vertical)

Sutton, 25, was selected in the third round by Chicago in the 2014 draft. In the last three years, he started in half of his games and the advanced metrics at Pro Football Focus indicate that he had his best season to date in 2016. Still, GM Ryan Pace wasn’t terribly interested in keeping this holdover from the previous regime, as evidenced by his effort to trade him before last year’s season opener.

In his eight games last year (six starts), Sutton had only 15 total tackles but he earned a decent 74.8 overall score from PFF. His 174 snaps weren’t enough to qualify to be ranked, but if he had a larger sample, he would have been ranked as the 44th best interior defender in the league, ahead of notables like Ricky Jean-Francois, Corey Peters, and Cullen Jenkins.

The Vikings project to start Linval Joseph and Sharrif Floyd at the defensive tackle spots in a 4-3 scheme. If Sutton sticks, he could be one of the first DTs off of the bench along with fourth-round rookie Jaleel Johnson.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bears Release WR Eddie Royal

The Bears announced that they have released wide receiver Eddie Royal. In related news, the team has also waived offensive lineman Cornelius Edison, fullback Paul Lasike, and defensive lineman Will Sutton"<strong

[RELATED: Bears Willing To Trade TE Zach Miller?]

Royal, 31 later this month, was an expected cap casualty after the March signing of Kendall Wright. The veteran had one year remaining on his contract, but his $5MM salary was completely non-guaranteed. Royal underwent surgery in late December to fix his turf toe issue and the fact that his release was formalized today could be an indication that he is able to pass a physical and suit up for a team.

Royal appeared in nine games last season for the Bears until he was placed on IR. In his injury-shortened season, he hauled in 33 catches for 369 yards and two touchdowns. The receiver first made a name for himself in Denver where he caught passes from Jay Cutler in the 2008 season. Now, both men are out of Chicago.

The Bears are projected to have Cameron Meredith, Wright, Kevin White, and Markus Wheaton as their top four receivers this year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2017 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.Donte Moncrief (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 $1.8MM in 2017. 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 2017 courtesy of the proven performance escalator:

49ers: Aaron Lynch, LB; Marcus Martin, OL

Bears: Charles Leno, T; Will Sutton, DT

Bengals: Russell Bodine, C

Bills: Preston Brown, LB; Seantrel Henderson, T

Broncos: Michael Schofield, OL

Browns: Christian Kirksey, LB

Buccaneers: Kevin Pamphile, G

Cardinals: John Brown, WR

Chiefs: Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, G; Zach Fulton, G; Phillip Gaines, CB

Colts: Donte Moncrief, WR

Cowboys: Anthony Hitchens, LB

Falcons: Devonta Freeman, RB

Giants: Devon Kennard, LB

Jaguars: Aaron Colvin, CB; Brandon Linder, G; Telvin Smith, LB

Lions: Nevin Lawson, CB; Travis Swanson, C

Packers: Corey Linsley, C; Richard Rodgers, TE

Panthers: Tre Boston, S; Trai Turner, G

Raiders: T.J. Carrie, CB; Justin Ellis, DT; Gabe Jackson, G

Rams: Maurice Alexander, S; E.J. Gaines, CB

Redskins: Bashaud Breeland, CB; Spencer Long, G; Morgan Moses, T

Texans: C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE; Andre Hal, S

Titans: DaQuan Jones, DL; Avery Williamson, LB

Vikings: Shamar Stephen, DT

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.