Here's a look at the top rumors for Wednesday, August 26:
New Washington Redskins linebacker Junior Galette went down with a lower leg injury during practice on Wednesday and the news doesn't look good. ESPN's Dianna Marie Russini hears that the team thinks Galette tore his Achilles. We'll provide any updates as they are available. UPDATE: Mike Jones of the Washington Post hears from a source close to Galette that the linebacker's Achilles is indeed torn, which would rule Galette out for the season. It's not a crushing blow to the pass rush -- second-round picks Trent Murphy (drafted in 2014) and Preston Smith (2015) are both options opposite Pro Bowler Ryan Kerrigan -- but there's plenty of disappointment in Washington. NFL.com's Albert Breer reports that Galette had been extremely impressive in camp and that the team's front seven felt like they "had a pretty loaded group with a motivated Galette." Breer also pointed out that Washington got the right of first refusal when they signed Galette to a one-year deal, meaning they have the leverage to bring him back next season.
We've been following the status of guard Evan Mathis for a while, and the former Philadelphia Eagle has now landed, signing a one-year deal with the Denver Broncos on Tuesday. The news came abruptly, especially considering the Broncos hadn't been connected to Mathis through any reports despite their obvious need for proven veterans up front. Mathis told Mike Klis of 9News.com that Denver was "kind of the darkhorse in the race" and that he could have taken an offer of $5.5 million elsewhere instead of signing with the Broncos for up to $4 million with incentives. Klis noted that while Mathis probably won't practice or play this week against the San Francisco 49ers as he gets conditioned and adapts to the altitude, he's a lock to start at left guard in Week 1. With the importance of continuity in the trenches, Mathis' progress will bear watching over the next few weeks as he works between 2015 second-round left tackle Ty Sambrailo and 2014 sixth-round center Matt Paradis. It will be interesting to see if the 33-year-old Mathis plays in Denver's final preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals, a contest for which starters rarely suit up. Barring injury, Mathis should ultimately make a huge impact this season, as his skill set is an excellent fit in Gary Kubiak's offense.
To make room for Mathis on the roster, the Broncos released kicker Connor Barth, revealing Brandon McManus as the winner of the kicking battle in Denver. That's a bit of an upset, especially considering the Broncos signed Barth midseason in 2014 after releasing McManus due to inconsistency. No one questions the 24-year-old McManus' leg strength -- he kicked a 70-yarder in practice last week -- but Barth appeared to be more accurate and reliable. Keep an eye on this situation fantasy owners, as some shuffling could be in store midseason for a team that puts up a lot of points.
A long-rumored suitor for Mathis, the Miami Dolphins appear unhappy with their situation at right guard. Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports that there is "some disappointment internally" with Billy Turner, a third-round pick in 2014 who has worked with the starting unit in camp. Jackson adds that the team is giving Jamil Douglas, a 2015 fourth-round pick out of Arizona State, a chance to unseat Turner, who "will need to show more to keep the job all season." As long as Branden Albert can make it back healthy from last year's ACL tear, the Dolphins' guards are the only thing holding back what could be a quality O-line, with 2014 first-rounder Ju'Waun James at right tackle and two-time Pro Bowler Mike Pouncey back at center. Dallas Thomas appears to be settled in at left guard, making Turner the man to watch moving forward.
We examined the possibility last week that Tennessee Titans guard Andy Levitre could be released before the third year of his mammoth five-year deal. With Byron Bell starting in Levitre's place last week against the Rams and likely to do so again this week against the Chiefs, Levitre seems to be aware of his unsteady footing in Tennessee. "I am on the team, so I’d love to stay," Levitre told Jim Wyatt of the team's official site."But it’s above my pay grade. (My mindset) is to do the best that I can and see how things shake out from there." It seems very much in play that Levitre doesn't make the team out of training camp. Perhaps teams that missed out on Mathis could be interested in signing Levitre for cheap and trying to incorporate him into a scheme more like the one he thrived in with the Buffalo Bills.
Another recent free-agent signee who appears to be on the roster bubble is Chicago Bears linebacker Willie Young, according to the Chicago Tribune's Rich Campbell. Young signed a three-year, $9 million deal with Chicago in 2014 and promptly led the team in sacks with 10, but he's still recovering from a torn Achilles suffered in December and isn't an ideal fit in new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio's 3-4 scheme. If Young is cut before the regular season, he could quickly latch on with a 4-3 team that needs a situational pass rusher.
The Carolina Panthers appear pleased with the progress of fourth-round rookie Daryl Williams. Williams has worked as the starter at right tackle for most of training camp, but Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer notes that Williams is earning left-tackle reps as well, and he isn't disappointing. Head coach Ron Rivera told Person that Williams is "progressing very nicely" and that the team wants to rep him more on the left side. The current starter at left tackle is Michael Oher, who was released in February, just one season into a four-year, $20 million contract. Preseason performances can be fickle, but so far, Williams has been Pro Football Focus' top-ranked tackle on either side. For a ragged line that has struggled in recent years, the Panthers would be thrilled if Williams can eventually take over on Cam Newton's blind side.