Minor Moves: Wednesday Night

Here are tonight’s minor moves..

  • Journeyman defensive tackle Corvey Irvin has signed with the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders, tweets Adam Caplan of ESPN.
  • The Redskins claimed punter Tress Way after he was cut loose by the Bears, according to John Keim of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Way is now the second punter on the Redskins’ roster alongside Robert Malone. Washington bid farewell to punter Blake Clingan earlier today.
  • The Colts announced that they have signed linebacker Robert Ruggiero and waived-injured fellow linebacker Shawn Loiseau, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter). Loiseau, who has previously spent time on the Colts’ practice squad and offseason roster, last played for the Arena Football League’s L.A. Kiss. Ruggiero, an undrafted free agent out Bridgewater State University, tried out for the Colts during their rookie mini-camp back in May.
  • For a look at the minor moves from earlier today, you can get caught up here.

Rams Waive Isaiah Pead

The Rams have waived-injured running back Isaiah Pead, according to Tom Pelissero of USA Today (on Twitter). Pead will land on St. Louis’ injured reserve if no one claims him.

Pead suffered a torn ACL late last week which ended his 2014 season before it even began. Pead, who was drafted in the second round of the 2012 draft to be an heir apparent to Steven Jackson, was said to be on the roster bubble this offseason after Rams used this year’s second round pick to grab Auburn tailback Tre Mason. With Benny Cunningham also on the depth chart to support starter Zac Stacy, Pead was rendered expendable.

AFC North Notes: Burfict, Bengals, Keisel

Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton took to Twitter to congratulate teammate Vontaze Burfict on his new contract. “Congrats to @King55Tez on the extension! Well deserved! #whodey #letsroar.” The linebacker tacked another three years on his contract, keeping him in Cincy through 2017. Here’s more from the #AFCNorth..

  • Burfict is now in the “show me” phase of his career after agreeing to a four-year, $20MM extension earlier today with the Bengals, writes Coley Harvey of ESPN.com. Once this deal ends for Burfict at the ripe age of 28, he’ll have more leverage when negotiating his third contract. Combine that with the steady increase in salary-cap money teams will soon have, and Burfict could really cash in on his next pact.
  • In a piece for ESPN Insider (subscription required), Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders turned in his top ten impact rookies for 2014. While big names like Johnny Manziel and Jadeveon Clowney are on the list, day three offensive lineman Russell Bodine of the Bengals also made the cut. The former UNC center will be starting and must learn the intricate system of audible calls and line checks in Hue Jackson’s offense.
  • Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review looks at what the signing of Brett Keisel really means for the Steelers.

49ers Not Interested In Trading Alex Boone

The 49ers have received inquiries from teams regarding the availability of holdout guard Alex Boone but are not interested in dealing him, a source told Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com. Another source said the 49ers have told teams that they would be willing to part with Boone for a first- or second-round draft pick, which is unreasonably high for an offensive guard.

Boone, who is under contract for two more seasons, has skipped the first four weeks of training camp and is subject to fines of $30K daily. The 49ers tried to bring him back with a contract offer earlier this week but he turned it down. The value of the deal is quite uncertain. Some reports indicate that it would have made him one of the top 12 highest-paid guards in the league, but Bill Williamson of ESPN.com reported that it wouldn’t have even put him in the top-25. Reportedly, if the team offers Boone a deal that pays him $15MM over the next three years, he’d likely sign it.

Boone, the Niners’ starting right guard in each of the last two seasons, is in line for a $2MM base salary this season and just $1.2MM in 2015, but is now subject to about $900K in fines. While San Francisco’s offensive line could certainly use Boone, the team has other players that they can turn to and other extensions they may have to prioritize over him.

Le’Veon Bell, LeGarrette Blount Arrested

Steelers running backs Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount were arrested earlier today for marijuana possession, according to Colin Dunlap of CBS Pittsburgh (on Twitter). Things are a little more serious for Bell, who was also charged with driving under the influence.

According to Will Graves of The Associated Press (on Twitter), a traffic officer detected smoke coming from the car and police found about 20 grams of marijuana in the vehicle. According to NORML.org, a pro-legalization website, a possession charge for carrying 30 grams or less of marijuana can result in a misdemeanor and up to 30 days of incarceration. A DUI charge, of course, carries additional consequences. Both players could face punishment from the league office but that likely won’t be discussed until the case is resolved.

Bell, last year’s No. 48 overall pick, won the starting job as a rookie in 2013 and finished with 860 yards and eight touchdowns. Blount spent last year with the Pats and tallied 772 yards and seven touchdowns. While there won’t be an NFL suspension anytime soon, the Steelers could be on the lookout for reinforcement if punishment does come down from Commissioner Roger Goodell. There’s also the possibility that the Steelers will levy a suspension of their own.

Nick Fairley Wants To Stay With Lions

Even though the Lions declined his fifth-year option and demoted him to a reserve role, defensive tackle Nick Fairley says he still wants to stay with the Lions beyond this season, as Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press writes. Even though he’s bummed about not being a part of the first unit, he says that this offseason hasn’t made him question his future with the organization.

What it means, I couldn’t tell you to be honest,” the the 6’5″, 291 pound lineman said. “I want to be here. I want to stay here in Detroit.”

General Manager Martin Mayhew had the option to exercise Fairley’s fifth-year option for just $5.5MM, but he opted against it due to Fairley’s inconsistency. That means that a strong 2014 season will make it difficult for the Lions to retain Fairley, but Mayhew said that he is hopeful the 26-year-old will use it as motivation. The former No. 13 overall pick has had his work ethic called into question throughout his NFL career, and a fat new contract could be the carrot on a stick that gets him to realize his potential.

Fairley has also struggled with weight issues in the past. He played as heavy as 322 pounds in 2013 and reported to camp last month at 308. After undergoing sleep apnea surgery this offseason, he dropped down to 295 pounds but poor eating habits spiked his weight once again. Currently, he’s weighing in at 315 pounds and sees that as a comfortable playing weight.

A starter when healthy his first three seasons, Fairley might not be more than a rotational two-down lineman in the Lions’ new defensive scheme, Birkett writes. The Lions have used Jason Jones as an inside rusher in sub packages this summer and Pro Bowl defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh rarely comes off the field.

In 15 games last season, Fairley recorded a career-high 6.0 sacks, 22 tackles, and a safety.

Colts Waive Phillip Tanner

The Colts have waived running back Phillip Tanner, according to Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star (on Twitter). It was a short stay in Indianapolis for Tanner as the Colts signed him late last month.

Tanner, 26, spent his first three seasons in Dallas, recording 149 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 56 carries during that stretch, along with 93 receiving yards on nine catches. The Middle Tennessee State product, who worked out for the Seahawks last week, also contributed on special teams in 2013.

Tanner was picked up after the Colts lost Vick Ballard to a season-ending Achilles injury and dropped Chris Rainey due to a violation of team rules. However, with Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw occupying the top two running back spots on the depth chart, Dan Herron in support, and the newly-acquired David Fluellen now in the mix, Tanner was expendable.

Vikings Notes: Ponder, Turner, Greenway

While Christian Ponder is reportedly open to a trade, he has not asked the Vikings’ management or coaching staff for one, reports Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press (via Twitter).

Ponder was in the running to be the team’s starter earlier this offseason, sharing first-team reps, writes Chris Wesseling of NFL.com. More recently, he has been relegated to the third string as Matt Cassel and first-round pick Teddy Bridgewater continue to compete for the starting spot.

While he would like a chance to start, he is saying the right things as he has accepted his current role with the team, according to Tomasson.

“I’m learning so much right now. I do feel like it’s beneficial for me to be right here right now,” said Ponder. “As a competitor, though, you want to be the guy that’s out there playing. But I do feel like in the situation I’m in right now, I am getting better though I’m not playing.”

Here are some other notes from around Vikings organization:

  • Ponder may no longer be in contention in Minnesota, but the team has yet to announce an official depth chart at quarterback. However, offensive coordinator Norv Turner may have revealed a bit about his selection process, writes Jim Souhan of the Minnesota Star-Tribune. Cassel will start the season opener, and will remain the start if he is healthy and performing well. Bridgewater will be inserted into the lineup only when he is ready. “I know Teddy’s getting himself ready to play,” said Turner. “And he’s got to be ready to play, because this league is tough on quarterbacks. You can be in there real fast.’’
  • New head coach Mike Zimmer is enjoying his new chess pieces on defense, trying to balance his versatile players while installing his fundamental system, writes Ben Goessling of ESPN.com“It’s a little bit of, ‘What can the guy do and still be effective?’” Zimmer said. “Once I feel like we have the fundamentals down and the techniques down, then you can worry about tricking somebody else or disguising. You don’t always have guys like Everson Griffen, Anthony Barr, Brian Robison that can do a number of different things. Those three guys can stand up and drop, play outside linebacker and rush.” 
  • Linebacker Chad Greenway missed practice with a wrist injury, allowing second-year player Michael Mauti to get some extra reps, writes Matt Vensel of the Minnesota Star-Tribune. Mauti is still on the bubble, but a strong performance in Greenway’s absence could go a long way to help him make the team.
  • While Mauti fights to make the team, and Zimmer tries to find ways to use his other defensive players, the Vikings are still looking for a third linebacker to step up and take the middle linebacker spot, writes Derek Wetmore of 1500ESPN.com. Jasper Brinkley and Audie Cole are fighting to earn that spot. “Jasper seems to be a little bit more communicative and Audie seems to have a little more range. As far as the running game they’re very close and the passing game they’re similar,” Zimmer said. “You have to look at all the different things: how it affects the rest of the guys on the team; you have to look at their blitz ability; their communication on different formations that you get. There’s so many variables with that position that goes into it that you just kind of overall look at it.”
  • Griffen is not letting any of the scheme and roster uncertainty get in the way of the basics, writes Brian Murphy of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press. After signing a huge contract to remain with the team, he knows the basic philosophy of the defense will be to get after the football. “We’re going to be in attack mode and we’re going to be able to play,” Griffen said. “Just go out there and have fun. Football’s fun.”

Bengals, Vontaze Burfict Agree To Extension

The Bengals have agreed to a contract extension with Vontaze Burfict, reports Adam Caplan of ESPN (via Twitter).

According to Caplan, Burfict will earn $9.75MM in salary and bonuses by March of 2015, and is set to take in $11MM over the first two years of the deal (via Twitter).

Caplan’s colleague at ESPN, Adam Schefter, reports that that contract is a three-year extension, keeping Burfict with the team through 2017. His total contract is now a four-year, $20MM deal that will pay him a salary of $7.6MM in 2014 (via Twitter).

Burfict was once considered an early first-round talent, but issues on and off the field contributed to a drop in his stock prior to the 2012 NFL Draft. He ran poorly at the combine and tested positive for marijuana, which contributed to him going undrafted and signing with the Bengals as a rookie-free agent.

The troubled linebacker has since turned his career around, becoming the star player he was once thought of. He led the NFL in tackles in 2013, and was the only member of the vaunted Bengal defense selected to the Pro Bowl.

Cardinals To Sign Isaac Sopoaga

The Cardinals are planning to sign defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga, reports Kent Somers of AZCentral.com (via Twitter).

The team worked out Sopoaga earlier today, and could view him as a potential replacement for Darnell Dockett, who is lost for the season to a torn ACL.

Sopoaga started his career with the 49ers, before leaving in free agency to join the Eagles in 2013. Despite signing a three-year deal, he was traded to the Patriots midseason.

The Patriots released him earlier this offseason, as he failed to positively contribute to the team in limited action last year.