AFC East Notes: Graham, Dolphins, Jordan

Earlier this week, Bills cornerback Corey Graham went one-on-one with Peter King of The MMQB to discuss all things Buffalo, from the roster to the team staying in Western New York. The corner was born and raised in Buffalo, so he couldn’t be happier with his current situation. “To play for the team I grew up loving, that doesn’t really happen often. You rarely get those type of opportunities. I know for many people they may not feel Buffalo is the type of place you want to go play, but for me it was like a dream come true to have that opportunity,” Graham said. More out of the AFC East..

  • Wes Welker and others have had their suspensions reduced, but that won’t be the case for Dion Jordan of the Dolphins, a source tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk (on Twitter). Jordan’s positive test for stimulants came before March 11th, which means he still has to serve a four-game suspension.
  • The Dolphins tried out Jeff Mathews, according to Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post (on Twitter). The 23-year-old Cornell product joined the Colts’ practice squad on August 31st but is apparently keeping his options open. Mathews also worked out for the Packers before hooking on with Indianapolis.
  • The Jets worked out Michael Preston, according to Wilson (Twitter link). The Titans cut Preston loose in late August and while he auditioned for the Dolphins earlier this month, he didn’t find a home in the 305. The 25-year-old has spent the last three seasons with the Titans and has ten receptions to his credit over the last two campaigns.

Minor Moves: Wednesday

We’ll round up Wednesday’s minor transactions right here, with additional moves listed at the top of the page throughout the rest of the day:

  • Rams wideout Stedman Bailey has formally been reinstated to the team’s roster and practiced today, according to Howard Balzer of The SportsXchange (via Twitter). Bailey, whose penalty was reduced as part of the league’s new PED policy, takes the lone opening on St. Louis’ roster.
  • The Giants have officially received the roster exemption for Eric Herman that we made note of below. As Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News tweets, the club will have until Friday afternoon to either cut Herman or someone else in order to get down to 53 players.

Earlier updates:

  • The Broncos officially announced Wes Welker‘s reinstatement today, according to Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Denver had previously been carrying just 52 players, so no exemption or corresponding cut was necessary to slide Welker back onto the 53-man roster.
  • Chris Lewis-Harris‘ roster exemption has expired and the Bengals have re-added the cornerback to their active roster, tweets Coley Harvey of ESPN.com. Like Denver, Cincinnati also had an open spot on their 53-man squad, so now that Lewis-Harris is back on board, the roster is once again full.
  • Although his name wasn’t mentioned in the press release issued today by the NFL and NFLPA, the league’s new PED policy has allowed Giants guard Eric Herman to return early from his suspension, writes Conor Orr of NJ.com. The team has applied for a roster exemption for Herman in order to get him back on the practice field without immediately cutting anyone, and is waiting to hear back from the league.

Practice Squad Updates: Wednesday

In addition to today’s transactions involving 53-man rosters, several teams are also shuffling players on and off their practice squads. Here’s the latest news:

  • The Bears have filled the three openings on their practice squad by signing tight end Blake Annen, cornerback Jordan Sullen, and wide receiver Chris Williams, the team announced today (via Twitter).

Earlier updates:

  • Having been cut by the Raiders earlier this week, linebacker Bojay Filimoeatu has cleared waivers and rejoined the club’s practice squad, according to Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter). With the re-addition of Filimoeatu, the team is now back up to a full 10-man squad.
  • After clearing waivers, defensive tackle Matt Conrath has made the move from the Rams‘ 53-man roster back to their practice squad, says Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (via Twitter).
  • The Dolphins have signed cornerback Rod Sweeting to their practice squad, releasing linebacker Terrell Manning from the unit to clear a spot for the new addition, tweets Chris Perkins of the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

NFC West Notes: Harbaugh, Cards, Seahawks

Within his latest 10-Point Stance column for Bleacher Report, Mike Freeman includes an item on 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, writing that there’s “definitely a chill” between Harbaugh and a significant number of players on San Francisco’s roster. Freeman didn’t go so far as it say Harbaugh has lost the team or even that there’s a rift, but suggests that many players are somewhat worn out by Harbaugh’s approach.

“We listen to him, we respect him as a man, we all want to win. But he drives us crazy,” one player told Freeman. “Right now, we’re all on autopilot.”

Considering extension talks between Harbaugh and the Niners were postponed until after the season, the situation will be one worth watching, amidst increasing speculation that this will be the coach’s last year in San Francisco. Here’s more from out of the NFC West:

  • With Carson Palmer‘s health steadily improving, the Cardinals aren’t currently exploring any outside options at quarterback, reports Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).
  • Defensive ends Everette Brown, Israel Idonije, and Chidera Uzo-Diribe worked out for the Cardinals this week, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter). While John Abraham is working his way back to the field, the team is likely exploring ways to bolster its pass rush.
  • The Seahawks also auditioned a handful of players, according to Wilson, who tweets that tight ends Orson Charles and Weslye Saunders, as well as linebackers Todd Davis, Troy Davis, and Martez Wilson all worked out for the club.
  • Former Bears cornerback Demontre Hurst tried out for the 49ers this week, tweets Wilson.

Panthers Place Greg Hardy On Exempt List

3:27pm: Adam Schefter of ESPN.com and Albert Breer of the NFL Network (Twitter links) now each have a source saying that the decision has officially been made, with Hardy heading to the exempt/commissioner’s permission list. Like Peterson, Hardy will be on leave with pay until his legal proceedings have been resolved.

1:33pm: A source tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk (Twitter link) that Hardy has not yet agreed to be placed on the exempt list. I would guess that information is coming from the defensive end’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, so perhaps all the involved parties are still working something out.

1:25pm: Hardy has agreed to go on the exempt/commissioner’s permission list, reports Cole (via Twitter). According to Person (via Twitter), the Panthers and the NFL discussed several possible options for Hardy, but it appears they landed on the same solution that the Vikings did for Peterson. While there has been no official announcement yet on Hardy, he’ll likely remain on the exempt list until his legal process plays out.

9:39am: The Panthers took a cue from the Vikings last week, deactivating Greg Hardy for Sunday’s game after the Vikings did the same thing for Adrian Peterson. And now, it appears Carolina will follow Minnesota’s lead once again. According to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link), the Panthers are meeting with Hardy this morning and are expected to soon put him on the same exempt/commissioner’s permission list on which Peterson was placed.

Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer confirms (via Twitter) that the Panthers are in discussions with the league about placing Hardy on that exempt list. Of course, it’s worth noting that Hardy himself would have to accept the decision. The NFLPA issued a statement this morning classifying Peterson’s move to the exempt list as the running back taking “voluntarily leave” to take care of his personal and legal issues.

There’s some incentive for all involved parties to opt for this route. From the player’s perspective, he’ll still receive his full salary while he’s on the exempt list, which is preferable to being suspended without pay. From the league’s and teams’ perspectives, it allows them to remove the player from the field and the public spotlight immediately, while postponing further discipline until after the legal process plays out.

Extra Points: Green-Ellis, Rice, Bengals, Bucs

A few NFL teams are starting to see their backfields thin out a little as the season progresses, whether due to suspensions (Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson) or injuries (Mark Ingram, Jamaal Charles, Knowshon Moreno, and others). While most of those clubs have relied on in-house replacements so far, veteran free agent BenJarvus Green-Ellis has received some inquiries from teams, reports Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).

According to La Canfora (via Twitter), the former Bengal, who is coming off a preseason hip injury, continues to rehab and work toward full health. When he’s ready to play, Green-Ellis should be able to find a job, since there are plenty of potential suitors monitoring him now.

Here are a few more Wednesday odds and ends from around the NFL:

NFL Finance Committee Approves Pegulas

Prospective Bills owners Terry Pegula and Kim Pegula received unanimous approval from the NFL’s finance committee, the league’s executive VP Eric Grubman announced today, according to Tim Graham of the Buffalo News (via Twitter). The Pegulas and the Bills reached an agreement last week for the owners of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres to become the new owners of the city’s NFL franchise.

Being approved by the league’s finance committee was the next step for the Pegulas in the process of formally becoming the new owners of the Bills. After receiving approval today, Terry Pegula delivered a brief statement indicating that until the NFL’s 31 other owners give final approval next month, he doesn’t consider himself an NFL owner, according to Graham (via Twitter).

Still, while the other owners will be tasked with taking that vote at the league meetings on October 8, it’s viewed as a mere formality at this point. The Pegulas have been considered the best choice for the Bills throughout the process, and it would take a drastic development at this point to derail them from officially taking over ownership of the franchise next month.

NFC North Notes: Vikings, Lions, Packers

For now, the Vikings have placed Adrian Peterson on the exempt list, continuing to pay him while he stays away from the club and doesn’t count against the 53-man roster. However, sooner or later, Minnesota will have to make a more permanent decision on the running back, and Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com thinks terminating his contract – either later this year or next year – is the only route that really makes sense for the team.

Multiple sources who spoke to La Canfora believe the idea of a trade is a non-starter, and Peterson’s salaries and cap numbers are on the rise in coming seasons, making it unpalatable to keep him for the duration of his contract even if there were no off-field factors to consider.

Let’s check in on a few more updates from across the NFC North….

  • Don’t expect the Vikings to make a move to add a running back to their roster, tweets Alex Marvez of FOX Sports. According to Marvez, the team is comfortable moving forward with Matt Asiata, Jerick McKinnon, and Joe Banyard.
  • We’ve heard word of several players auditioning for the Lions in the past few days, and Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun adds a couple more. Per Wilson (via Twitter), offensive lineman Reid Fragel and defensive back Justin Rogers auditioned for the club.
  • The Packers tried out guard James Brown, defensive back Tay Glover-Wright, and defensive tackle Greg Hickman, according to Wilson (Twitter links).
  • Packers linebacker and special-teams ace Andy Mulumba confirmed today on Twitter that he has suffered a torn ACL. While Green Bay has yet to make an official announcement, it appears likely that Mulumba will land on the injured reserve list, ending his season.

Cowboy Activate Scandrick; Weems To IR

One of three players to be officially reinstated from suspension this morning, cornerback Orlando Scandrick has been re-added to the Cowboys’ 53-man roster today, according to Todd Archer of ESPNDallas.com (Twitter link). Archer reports the team has placed offensive tackle Darrion Weems on IR with a shoulder injury to clear a spot for Scandrick.

Scandrick, 27, was initially suspended four games after a positive drug test, but because that test came during the current league year and because it was related to amphetamines, he will no longer have to serve the final two games of the ban, after the NFL and NFLPA announced changes to the league’s PED policy. The Cowboys’ secondary has held up reasonably well in Scandrick’s absence, particularly against Jake Locker and the Titans in Week 2, but the team will still very much welcome his return.

As for Weems, he was buried on the team’s depth chart behind swing tackle Jermey Parnell, and hadn’t seen a regular-season snap yet for the club. His season will likely be over, unless he’s eventually cut from injured reserve with a settlement.

NFC East Notes: Jackson, Giants, Cowboys

With the Eagles and Redskins set to meet for the first time this season in Week 3, Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer revisits the Eagles’ decision to cut wideout DeSean Jackson in the offseason. As McLane writes, Jackson’s former Philadelphia teammates still aren’t entirely sure why the explosive receiver was cut.

“I didn’t see it coming at all,” linebacker Mychal Kendricks said last week. “It’s really none of my business, but I still ask the same question a lot – ‘Why? Why would that happen?’”

Here’s more from around the NFC East:

  • Several linebackers auditioned for the Giants this week, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter link), who identifies Stephen Nicholas, Kion Wilson, Moise Fokou, and James Davidson as free agents to work out for the club.
  • The Cowboys are also eyeing free agent options on the defensive side of the ball, having worked out linebacker Paul Hazel this week, along with defensive ends Steven Means and T.J. Fatinikun, tweets Wilson.
  • Offensive tackle Chris Faulk tried out for the Redskins this week, per Wilson (via Twitter).