Tuesday's NFL: Foot injury sidelines Jets' Quinnen Williams 8-10 weeks

Associated Press

New York — New York Jets standout defensive lineman Quinnen Williams broke a bone in a foot and is expected to have surgery and be sidelined eight to 10 weeks, according to a person with knowledge of the injury.

Williams was hurt last week during on-field workouts at the team’s facility in Florham Park, New Jersey, the person told The Associated Press on Tuesday on condition of anonymity because the Jets didn’t announce the injury.

Jets standout defensive lineman Quinnen Williams broke a bone in a foot and is expected to have surgery.

NFL Network first reported Williams’ injury. He is expected to miss organized team activities and minicamp, but should be healthy in time for the start of training camp in late July.

The 23-year-old Williams had a breakout second NFL season as one of the team’s few standouts during a miserable 2-14 campaign. The No. 3 overall draft pick in 2019 led the Jets with seven sacks, 14 quarterback hits and 10 tackles for losses to go along with 55 total tackles and two forced fumbles. He missed the final two games with a concussion and neck injury.

The news about Williams slightly dampens the mood of Jets fans, who were excited about the team’s 10-player haul last weekend in the draft that included quarterback Zach Wilson and guard Alijah Vera-Tucker in the first round.

But the fact Williams was hurt so early in the offseason program should leave him plenty of time to heal and not be restricted for training camp. Williams is one of new coach Robert Saleh’s key pieces on defense as the leader on a line that is expected to be a strength for New York.

The Jets signed Carl Lawson, Sheldon Rankins and Vinny Curry in free agency last month, and also have Folorunso Fatakasi, John Franklin-Myers, Nathan Shepherd, Bruce Huff, Kyle Phillips, Jabari Zuniga and Jonathan Marshall — taken in the sixth round out of Arkansas — on the D-line.

“It’s a cool group,” Saleh said recently. “It’s a really good start and it’s got a chance to be pretty, pretty disruptive. And we’re excited to get on the grass and work with them.”

Ratings are in

NFL Draft ratings were flat compared to 2019, but it was still enough to make it the third- most-watched draft on record.

The April 29-May 1 draft in Cleveland averaged 6.1 million viewers on television and digital sources according to the NFL and Nielsen. That is nearly even compared to the 2019 draft, which was held in Nashville with an average of 6.2 million.

Last year’s draft remains the most watched, averaging 8.3 million.

The digital average of 261,000 is up 36% compared to two years ago (192,000).

Extra points

A person with knowledge of the injury tells the AP that right tackle Ja’Wuan James sustained a torn Achilles tendon while working out away from the Broncos’ facilities.

The person, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, said James’ $10 million salary for 2021 is in jeopardy because the injury occurred off-site.

ESPN first reported James’ injury, which is expected to sideline him for the entire 2021 season.

… Each of the four NFC West teams will carry an additional international player on its practice squad next season as part of the International Player Pathway program.

Now in its fifth season, the program aims to provide international athletes an opportunity to compete and learn at the NFL level.

The players are linebacker Aaron Donkor of Germany, who will join the Seahawks; offensive lineman Alfredo Gutierrez of Mexico, headed to the 49ers; offensive lineman Max Pircher of Italy, going to the L.A. Rams; and tight end Bernhard Seikovits of Austria, headed to the Cardinals.

… The Ravens signed two-time Pro Bowl tackle Alejandro Villanueva to a two-year deal. The longtime starter for the division-rival Steelers was not re-signed by Pittsburgh.

Villanueva spent six seasons with the Steelers, playing in 96 games with 90 starts. He has the second-longest active streak among NFL tackles with 96 consecutive games players and has started every game over the past five seasons.

… The Raiders signed free agent cornerback Casey Hayward to a one-year deal, adding needed experience to a young secondary that has struggled in recent years.

… The Browns bulked up their defensive line by signing veteran tackle Damion Square, who spent the past seven seasons with the L.A. Chargers and hasn’t missed a game the past four years.