Colts Rumors

Adam Vinatieri To Remain Colts’ Kicker

Adam Vinatieri has struggled to start his 24th NFL season, missing three extra points and two field goals in the Colts’ two games. Rumors of a possible Monday retirement announcement surfaced, but that will not take place.

The 46-year-old kicking icon will remain the Colts’ kicker for Week 3, Frank Reich confirmed. “Adam’s our kicker. … He’s an instrumental leader on our team,” Reich said, per the Indianapolis Star’s Joel Erickson (on Twitter).

Reich and Vinatieri met Monday, and the future Hall of Famer will be given another chance. Jim Irsay expressed concern about Vinatieri on Sunday, but the Colts are standing by their kicker of the past 14 seasons. The Colts lost 30-24 in overtime to the Chargers in Week 1, after Vinatieri’s three misses, and narrowly edged the Titans 19-17 after Vinatieri’s two PAT misfires.

Last season, Vinatieri hit 23 of 27 field goals and 44 of 47 extra points. He will need to bounce back quickly to head toward those benchmarks (or finish the season as a Colt). Reich said Chris Ballard will decide whether or not additional kickers are brought in to work out, per Erickson (on Twitter).

Latest On Adam Vinatieri, Colts

Following an uncharacteristically-poor performance in Week 1, Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri struggled again during today’s win over the Titans. Following the game, owner Jim Irsay acknowledged that the team’s struggles at kicker are a concern.

“Breaks my heart to see it because I know how hard (Vinatieri) works,” Irsay said (via ESPN’s Mike Wells). “Of course it’s a concern. I can’t lie to you guys. Anyone would tell you it’s a concern. Adam, coach (Frank Reich), (general manager) Chris (Ballard), me. Yeah, I mean, in this league, it’s professional football. We all have to produce.

“The expectation is to win when you’re a professional. So we have to figure out where we’re at there and see what coach and Chris think is the best direction. And I know Adam will be the most self-honest person of all, so we’ll see where we’re at.”

Meanwhile, while Vinatieri didn’t say much following the victory, he did indicate that we’d hear from him on Monday. When told by reporters that tomorrow was a day off, the veteran had the same response: “Yeah, you will (hear from me).”

We’re all familiar with the future Hall of Famer’s accolades. Vinatieri made a name for himself by converting game-winning field goals during Super Bowls XXXVI and XXXVIII, and he’s earned another two rings during his career with the Patriots and Colts. He currently holds NFL records for most points scored (2,600) and most field goals made (582). He also holds the distinction of being the oldest active NFL player at 46 years old.

While Vinatieri’s field goal percentage dropped each year between 2015 and 2018, he was still more-than-reliable. However, the 24-year veteran has struggled mightily in 2019. He missed a pair of field goal attempts and one extra point attempt in Week 1, and he followed that up by missing a pair of extra point attempts today.

While Reich seemed to place Vinatieri’s struggles on the “snap and hold,” there’s no denying that the veteran may simply be ready to call it a career.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Ownership, Draft, QBs, Cap

As we move closer to Week 2 Sunday, plenty of storylines have surfaced — much of them out of the AFC East. Antonio Brown is on track to make his Patriots debut, Minkah Fitzpatrick may or may not be on the trade block, and a mono-stricken Sam Darnold will miss the Jets’ Monday-nighter against the Browns. But let’s shift to a few items on the league’s periphery.

  • The NFL recently discussed some changes to its ownership policy. With franchise values skyrocketing, the league’s rule requires prospective owners to put up at least 30% of the price. This has produced limited buyers, at least it did with during the Panthers sale. (Current franchise valuations would force bidders to put up at least $600MM.) Seeking input from a quartet of firms involved in franchise sales, NFL owners discussed several matters on the topic of acquiring teams but made only one change recently. Owners of non-NFL teams in NFL markets — such as Steve Ballmer, Mark Cuban, etc. — can now make bids to acquire NFL franchises, Scott Soshnick of Bloomburg.com reports.
  • Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm regularly appears in 2020 mock drafts as a first-round pic, but various NFL personnel are now not so sure he will be part of that class. Executives and scouts polled by Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller expect Fromm to return to school for what would be his senior season in 2020. Operating a run-first offense, Fromm has displayed improved accuracy since being handed the Bulldogs’ reins as a true freshman. However, he’s viewed as perhaps a cut below the likes of Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert on the 2020 prospect spectrum.
  • Were Fromm to postpone his NFL entrance, he would likely be joining one of the more hyped quarterbacks in modern draft history. Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence has begun to generate more buzz than Tagovailoa or Herbert, leaving NFL brass to question the Dolphins’ strategy of using this season to tank for a possible franchise quarterback. “Next year, though? Oh, yeah. Let me get [Ohio State’s] Justin Fields or Trevor Lawrence, and our fans won’t care how many games we lose,” an NFL GM told Miller.
  • Projected first-round tackle Walker Little, a junior at Stanford, underwent knee surgery and will miss the rest of the season, per Miller. The 6-foot-7 blocker will then have to determine whether or not to enter the NFL off a lost season or return to school to rebuild his stock.
  • Despite the Dolphins‘ run of moves to jettison higher-profile talent, they are not projected to possess the most cap space in 2020. As of now, that’s the Colts, who are in line to hold $138MM, Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap tweets. Miami sits second at $113MM, with no other teams over $100MM. These figures are imprecise with the 2020 cap not yet set, but the Colts’ caution this year in free agency — despite holding more than $100MM in space — stands to again equip the franchise with plenty to spend come March.
  • Free agent wide receiver Cayleb Jones is serving a six-game suspension, according to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer (on Twitter). The younger brother of Zay Jones, Cayleb Jones was charged with domestic assault as a member of the Vikings during the summer of 2018. He did not make Minnesota’s 53-man roster.

Notable NFL Practice Squad Salaries

Playing on an NFL practice squad isn’t a bad gig. You work with a club’s 53-man roster every week, have a good chance to get called up if/when injuries strike, and collect a solid paycheck ($8K per week minimum). And for some practice squaders, the pay can get even better.

While all practice squad salaries count towards the salary cap, there’s no restriction on how much a team can pay a practice squad player. When a club desperately wants to retain a player but can’t fit him on its 53, they’ll often bump up his salary in an effort to keep him around. Here’s a look at several players who are earning much more than the NFL’s $8K per week standard, via Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link):

The 49ers clearly have no problem with spending a little extra on practice squad players, as both Lee and Harris are earning at least $22K more than the league PS minimum. Lee’s been with San Francisco since 2017 and started five games for the club last season, but the 49ers’ front seven depth is keeping him on the taxi squad for now. Harris, too, was a part-time starter for San Francisco in 2018.

The quarterbacks on the list are also interesting. Rypien has been deemed Broncos’ offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello‘s “project” and could be called up to the active roster at some point given that Denver is only carrying two quarterbacks in Joe Flacco and Brandon Allen (rookie second-rounder Drew Lock is on injured reserve). And the rebuilding Dolphins seem intent on hanging onto Rudock, who spent the first three seasons of his career with the Lions.

Colts Work Out DL Datone Jones

  • Former Packers first-round pick Datone Jones remains on teams’ radars. The Colts worked out the defensive lineman this week. Jones has been on the in-week workout circuit for a bit now. He played in one Cowboys game last season and caught on with the Jaguars before camp. The 2013 first-rounder did not make the team but has now worked out for the Colts and Redskins this week.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/11/19

Here are Wednesday’s minor moves:

Chicago Bears

  • Released from IR via injury settlement: TE Dax Raymond

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

  • Released from IR via injury settlement: OL Kyle Kalis

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Indianapolis Colts

  • Promoted from practice squad: S Rolan Milligan
  • Released from IR via injury settlement: LB Ahmad Thomas

New York Giants

  • Released from IR via injury settlement: WR Alex Wesley

Philadelphia Eagles

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 9/11/19

Here are Wednesday’s practice squad decisions:

Arizona Cardinals

Dallas Cowboys

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

  • Signed: RB Bruce Anderson

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

Philadelphia Eagles

NFL Workout Updates: 9/10/19

We’ve got another busy day of workouts, with many teams across the league hosting players.

Arizona Cardinals

Buffalo Bills

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Indianapolis Colts

Miami Dolphins

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Redskins

Colts To Place Devin Funchess On IR

From a clavicle perspective, Sunday was a rough day for multiple key players. The Colts will place Devin Funchess on IR because of a broken clavicle, Frank Reich said.

Like the maladies Nick Foles and Tyreek Hill suffered, Funchess’ will likely not end his season. Reich added (via The Athletic’s Stephen Holder, on Twitter) the Colts do not view Funchess’ setback as one that will limit his 2019 season to one game. Funchess will miss at least the next seven, however. The former Panthers wideout has already undergone surgery.

This will almost certainly mean Funchess’ 2019 earnings will be capped at $10MM. The Colts gave the former Panthers auxiliary weapon $10MM guaranteed, but included an additional $3MM in incentives. Funchess will be out until at least Week 10.

The Colts were set to use Funchess as part of their revamped cast of T.Y. Hilton sidekicks. More work will now be left to Deon Cain, who missed all of 2018, and Parris Campbell, who dealt with an injury during camp.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colts To Work Out De’Angelo Henderson

The Colts will work out running back De’Angelo Henderson on Monday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Henderson remains a free agent after missing the Vikings’ cut over Labor Day weekend.

Henderson was a Broncos sixth-round draft choice in 2017 and spent last year with the Jets. All in all, he has eight career appearances across two seasons and a grand total of nine carries.

There was a lot of talk about Marlon Mack not being able to mesh with Jacoby Brissett as the Colts’ starter, but he was stellar on Sunday. It goes without saying – after Mack’s career day, the Colts are looking at Henderson as a potential supplement for Mack, not a replacement.