Xavier Su'a-Filo

Bengals Activate Ricardo Allen

The Bengals have activated safety Ricardo Allen from the injured reserve list. To make room on the roster, they’ve placed guard Xavier Su’a-Filo on IR.

Allen signed with the Bengals in March. Before that, he operated as a first-string safety for the Falcons from 2015-2020, including a start in Super Bowl LI. Despite losing his 2018 season to injury, the 29-year-old was mostly healthy between ’19 and ’20. A hamstring strain coupled with a broken hand forced him to IR in September, but he’s bounced back in time for this week’s game against the Packers. In his 12 games last season, Allen registered 25 stops and a pair of interceptions.

This is familiar territory for Su’a-Filo, who missed ten regular season games last year. Injuries have limited the lineman for years now — from 2018-2020, he’s played in just 25 total contests. This time around, he’s dealing with a knee injury.

Meanwhile, the Bengals have received some good news on Joe Mixon. The running back is trending towards playing in “some capacity” against Green Bay, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC North Notes: Bengals, JuJu, Ravens

The Bengals may be beginning the process of moving away from their all-time sack leader. For the first time since the 2012 season, Carlos Dunlap did not start. Cincinnati used younger defensive ends Sam Hubbard and Carl Lawson as its first-stringers in Baltimore, playing Dunlap on a season-low 46% of the defensive snaps. Dunlap, who signed an extension to stay in Cincinnati in 2018, said the Bengals did not inform him directly about a demotion ahead of the game but merely listed his new non-starter status on an updated depth chart.

That’s crazy, right? I mean, you would think common decency would be something like that,” Dunlap said (via ESPN.com’s Ben Baby) of the coaching staff not discussing his new role beforehand. “I mean, it’s not like I’m injured or anything. I’m not nursing anything. I’ve been blessed. Eleven years in the game. But I understand business, and evidently, this is the business they want to do.”

Dunlap now looms as a 2021 cap casualty. The Bengals would save $11.25MM by cutting him next year, and Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic (subscription required) expects a release to commence. He could be a trade chip this year, with the rebuilding Bengals sitting last in a stacked division. Dunlap, 31, is due more than $5MM in remaining 2020 base salary. Dunlap’s 82.5 sacks are seven more than anyone else has accumulated in Bengals history, but Pro Football Focus rates both Lawson and Hubbard above him through five games.

Here is the latest from the AFC North:

  • Dunlap will not be the only longtime Bengal out of the picture next year. The team spending $18MM-plus to tag A.J. Green has not worked out, and John Ross has been a healthy scratch the past three weeks. Perennial Pro Bowl defensive tackle Geno Atkins made his season debut last week, but Dehner notes in the same piece the $9.6MM the team could save by moving on him puts that on the table. Atkins’ 75.5 sacks are second in Bengals history, holding that spot by more than 25 sacks. A fellow 11th-year vet, Atkins signed an extension along with Dunlap in 2018. Two years remain on his deal, whereas 2021 would be a Dunlap contract year.
  • On the subject of big-picture separations, the Steelers will have a decision to make fairly soon. They appear to have unearthed their latest Day 2 wide receiver success story, with Chase Claypool dominating the Eagles in a four-touchdown performance. With Claypool signed through 2023 and both Diontae Johnson and James Washington signed beyond this season, JuJu Smith-Schuster‘s future with the team could be cloudy. The Steelers should be expected to let the former Pro Bowler walk in free agency, per Ed Bouchette of The Athletic. Art Rooney II was vague on this subject this offseason. Ahead of the curve at identifying receiver talent, the Steelers have only signed Hines Ward and Antonio Brown to notable extensions in the Ben Roethlisberger era. Smith-Schuster is averaging just 9.0 yards per catch this season (21/188). That said, his 1,400-yard 2018 season would make the 23-year-old slot receiver a hot commodity on the 2021 market.
  • Although injured reserve stays only require three-week absences this season, the Bengals are not planning on having one of their starting O-linemen back soon. Guard Xavier Su’a-Filo is not expected to return until after Cincinnati’s Week 9 bye. Zac Taylor said the veteran blocker may be out beyond that point, per Dehner (on Twitter). The Bengals signed Su’a-Filo this offseason and used him as a Week 1 starter but placed him on IR because of an injured ankle soon after.
  • Prior to the Ravens promoting center Trystan Colon-Castillo, multiple teams expressed interest in poaching him from Baltimore’s practice squad, Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic tweets. The Ravens signed the University of Missouri product as a UDFA this year; they made him a game-day inactive in Week 5.

Bengals Place G Xavier Su’a-Filo On IR

The Bengals have placed starting right guard Xavier Su’a-Filo on IR, the team announced. The 29-year-old suffered an ankle injury during Sunday’s loss to the Chargers.

As you probably know by now, Su’a-Filo will only be required to miss three weeks before becoming eligible to return to action under this year’s modified IR rules. He was replaced by Billy Price following his injury, and Price will remain at RG until Su’a-Filo is ready to return.

Cincinnati signed the UCLA product to a three-year, $10MM contract this offseason. He was drafted by the Texans in the second round of the 2014 draft and finished out his four-year rookie contract in Houston before hooking on with the Cowboys for two seasons. He has started 54 of the 76 games in which he has appeared, and though he is not one of the league’s better guards, clubs value O-lineman with significant starting experience.

Bengals Sign Xavier Su’a-Filo

The Bengals have agreed to a three-year deal worth up to $10MM with guard Xavier Su’a-Filo, according to Ben Baby of ESPN. Filo has spent the previous two seasons with the Cowboys. Tyler Dragon of the Cincinnati Enquirer adds that he is expected to replace John Miller at right guard.

In 2014, the Texans selected Su’a-Filo with the first pick in the second round of the draft out of UCLA with the hope he would become a long-term option at guard. While he served as the team’s starter at left guard from 2015-2017, Su’a-Filo never seemed to reach the upper echelon of players at his position.

Following his tenure in Houston, Dallas signed him to a two-year contract where he served as a rotational guard, starting 12 of the 19 games he appeared in. The Bengals have been uncommonly aggressive this free-agency cycle and it appears they added another player they plan to slot into their starting lineup.

Cowboys Make Four Roster Moves

As Dallas’ disappointing season winds down, they made a few roster moves Tuesday. The team has placed linebacker Leighton Vander Esch and guard Xavier Su’a-Filo on injured reserve, while signing linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong and offensive tackle Wyatt Miller to the active roster to take their places.

We heard yesterday that Vander Esch would undergo season-ending neck surgery, so this move was just a formality for him. Su’a-Filo had been starting at guard for the past month, meaning the Cowboys will be making an offensive line change for their Week 17 date with the Redskins. Dallas can still sneak into the playoffs as the NFC East champ, but they’ll need the Eagles to lose to the Giants for that to happen. Su’a-Filo was the 33rd overall pick of the 2014 draft by the Texans. He started for a while in Houston, but was mostly a disappointment.

He came to the Cowboys early on last season on a two-year deal, and ended up starting eight games. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent this spring. Armstrong is a journeyman who has bounced around the league a lot over the past handful of years, appearing in five games for the Saints earlier this season. Miller is a rookie UDFA from UCF who had been on the Bengals’ practice squad.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys Notes: Irving, Gregory, Su’a-Filo

Suspended defensive tackle David Irving is back in the Cowboys’ facility, according to Todd Archer of ESPN.com. Irving was banned four games under the NFL’s substance abuse policy, so he’s allowed to be with the club for workouts and meetings, but not practices. Conversely, Irving wasn’t granted any access with Dallas when he was suspended for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy in 2017. After posting seven sacks in only eight games last season, Irving wasn’t present for Cowboys training camp as he dealt with personal issues. He’s scheduled to return to the field in Week 5 when the Cowboys face the Texans on the road.

Here’s more from Dallas:

  • Cowboys owner Jerry Jones pushed back on recent reports that defensive end Randy Gregory could be facing yet another substance abuse suspension, per Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News (Twitter link). “I don’t think these reports have any substance at all, if you really want to know the truth about it,” Jones said Tuesday. Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reported earlier this week that Gregory had suffered a relapse in August and could be banned from the league again, but the NFL has yet to make any formal announcement to that effect. Gregory, of course, has missed 30 of the Cowboys’ past 32 regular season games, including the entire 2017 season, as a result of his violations.
  • Guard Xavier Su’a-Filo‘s deal with the Cowboys is actually a two-year pact and contains a $50K signing bonus, tweets Archer. The fact that Dallas gave Su’a-Filo a multi-year deal could be an indication the club is relatively high on the former second-round pick, and may believe he can factor into its 2019 plans. Su’a-Filo likely received league minimum base salaries, but his contract won’t be classified as a minimum salary benefit deal given that it covers multiple years. Now 27 years old, Su’a-Filo gives the Cowboys a bit of interior offensive line depth as they wait for center Travis Frederick to return.
  • Speaking of Frederick, he reportedly continues to experience numbness in both arms as he deals with the effects of Guillain Barre syndrome, and it’s unclear when he’ll be able to get back on the field.

Cowboys Sign G Xavier Su’a-Filo

The Cowboys have agreed to sign free agent guard Xavier Su’a-Filo, according to his agents at Schwartz and Feinsod (Twitter link).

Su’a-Filo, 27, worked out for Dallas last week, so the Cowboys know what they’re getting in the former second-round pick. The UCLA product started 40 games for the Texans from 2015-17, but Houston made little effort to re-sign him this offseason. Su’a-Filo landed a one-year deal with the Titans in March, but didn’t survive final cutdowns.

The Cowboys are currently without starting center Travis Frederick as he deals with the effects of Guillain Barre syndrome, and while Su’a-Filo hasn’t played center in his NFL career, he will give Dallas more depth along the interior offensive line. Other reserve lineman on the Cowboys’ roster include Cameron Fleming, Kadeem Edwards, and Adam Redmond.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys Notes: Jones, Lawrence, Gathers

As he enters his mid-seventies, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is slowly handing over control of the franchise to his son, Stephen Jones, according to David Moore of the Dallas Morning News. The younger Jones is currently Dallas’ executive vice president, CEO, and director of player personnel, so he’s more than prepared to take on a larger role. Stephen Jones takes a more conservative financial stance than his father, per Moore, which could indicate the Cowboys will have their cap in better order when he eventually takes over. Notably, Stephen pushed the Cowboys to eschew drafting Johnny Manziel in 2014, and lobbied instead to select guard Zack Martin, a win for the club.

  • Free agent guard Xavier Su’a-Filo worked out for the Cowboys on Thursday, tweets Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News. A former second-round pick Su’a-Filo spent four years with the Texans before inking a deal with the Titans earlier this year. He didn’t make it through final roster cuts, which is perhaps unsurprising given that he finished as a bottom-three guard in 2017, per Pro Football Focus. Dallas, though, needs depth along the interior of its offensive line given injuries to Zack Martin and Travis Frederick, so Su’a-Filo could be an option for the club.
  • Defensive end Demarcus Lawrence is paying attention to the recent extensions signed by fellow defenders Aaron Donald and Khalil Mack, and said his free agent price is rising correspondingly, per Calvin Watkins of The Athletic (Twitter link). Lawrence will earn $17.143MM under the franchise tender in 2018, but has already said he’s not open to playing on the tag in 2019 (not that he’ll have much of a choice if the Cowboys opt to deploy it again). Now that both Donald and Mack have crossed the $22MM/year threshold, the sky is the limit for Lawrence, who will aim to build on an excellent 2018 campaign that included 14.5 sacks.
  • Further details have emerged regarding tight end Rico Gathers‘ recent arrest for marijuana, as Kate Hairopaulos of the Dallas Morning News details. Gathers was arrested after he and a female companion were discovered smoking in Central Park in Frisco, Texas, and police found 0.078 ounces of marijuana on the former collegiate basketball player. Gathers’ arrest became public on Saturday just prior to roster cutdowns, but Dallas decided to keep him around nevertheless. He could potentially serve a brief league-imposed suspension down the line.

Titans Sign Xavier Su’a-Filo

The Titans announced they have signed free agent offensive guard Xavier Su’a-Filo. Sua’-Filo spent the previous four years of his NFL career with the Texans. 

[RELATED: Titans Extend GM Jon Robinson’s Contract]

Over the last two seasons, the 27-year-old has started in 31 of 32 regular seasons games for Houston. The advanced metrics have never been high on him, however, as Pro Football Focus has routinely rated him as one of the league’s lesser guards. In 2017, he was PFF’s third-worst qualified guard and ranked ahead of only Ethan Pocic (Seahawks) and Jeremy Vujnovich (Colts).

The Titans also built their offensive line depth this week by signing former Bucs lineman Kevin Pamphile. Josh Kline, Quinton Spain, Su’a-Filo, and Pamphile will all jockey for time, though Kline and Spain are the presumptive starters at guard.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans Sign Second-Rounder Xavier Su’a-Filo

1:23pm: Su’a-Filo’s deal includes $3.96MM in guaranteed money, out of a $5.55MM total, tweets John McClain of the Houston Chronicle.

12:29pm: The Texans have officially signed second-round offensive lineman Xavier Su’a-Filo to his rookie contract, tweets ESPN.com’s Adam Caplan. Because he was the first selection of the second round, Su’a-Filo won’t have a fifth-year team option on his four-year rookie deal.

As the 33rd overall pick, Su’a-Filo will still make out nicely in the agreement, earning a signing bonus of about $2.358MM, according to Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap. The 23-year-old out of UCLA figures to compete for a starting job on the Texans’ offensive line in camp this summer.

By securing Su’a-Filo, the Texans have now ensured that their entire 2014 draft class is under contract, making Houston the 24th team to sign all of its picks. You can follow all the signings using our tracker.