Practice Squad Updates: Wednesday

We’ll keep tabs on Wednesday’s practice squad signings and cuts right here, as teams look to fill out their units and make sure they have insurance for positions hit hard by injuries. Here’s the latest:

  • Despite being in London for the week, the Lions have made a change to their practice squad, signing safety Jerome Couplin, per Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com (Twitter links). The unlucky roster casualty is running back William Powell, who will have to return stateside.
  • After being cut by the team and clearing waivers, defensive lineman Jacobbi McDaniel has returned to the Browns‘ practice squad, according to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal, who tweets that the club has also added wide receiver L’Damian Washington.
  • As anticipate, linebacker Shaquil Barrett has officially re-signed with the Broncos‘ practice squad, tweets Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com.

Cowboys Unlikely To Extend Murray In Season

Recent reports have suggested that the Cowboys are open to the idea of extending running back DeMarco Murray‘s contract during the 2014 season, and in fact have begun negotiating a potential deal with his representatives. However, according to Ed Werder of ESPN.com (Twitter link), the sense is that an in-season extension for Murray is unlikely, since the league’s leading rusher has too much leverage for the sort of team-friendly deal the Cowboys would be seeking.

It’s not hard to see why Murray’s leverage has increased significantly over the last two months. The 26-year-old has piled up 913 rushing yards during the season’s first seven weeks, surpassing the 100-yard barrier in each of Dallas’ first seven contests and averaging a touchdown per game. His current pace has him on track for 2,087 rushing yards, which would be one of the best seasons for a back in NFL history, particularly during an era when the game is more pass-heavy than ever.

Of course, in addition to leading the league in rushing yardage, Murray has also racked up the most carries by a wide margin, and there should be some concern about his long-term durability if he keeps getting the ball at this rate. He’s presently on pace for 427 carries, which would be an NFL record and is virtually unheard of for a modern-day running back. In 2013, LeSean McCoy and Marshawn Lynch were the only backs to crack 300 attempts, with McCoy leading the way at 314.

Considering Murray has had some health problems throughout his rookie contract, having never played more than 14 games in a season, it makes sense that the Cowboys would be wary of making a huge offer at this point. If Murray isn’t willing to accept a more team-friendly contract, which he probably shouldn’t, then it seems reasonable for the two sides to postpone serious negotiations until after the season. Assuming Murray continues on his MVP-caliber pace, he won’t come cheaply for Dallas at that point, but at least the team would know with more certainty what sort of state he’d be in for the 2015 season.

Patriots Acquire Akeem Ayers From Titans

WEDNESDAY, 8:08am: The Pats have officially announced the acquisition of Ayers, meaning he passed his physical. To make room on the roster, New England has waived linebacker Ja’Gared Davis (Twitter link).

TUESDAY, 3:43pm: La Canfora clarifies (via Twitter) that the Pats sent a sixth-round pick to Tennessee in the deal, and receive a seventh-round pick along with Ayers.

3:32pm: The Titans and Patriots have reached an agreement on a trade that will send linebacker Akeem Ayers to New England, reports Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean (via Twitter). According to Wyatt, Ayers will have to pass a physical before the deal becomes official. Meanwhile, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com reports (via Twitter) that only seventh-round picks are involved in the trade, so it sounds as if the price tag is minimal for the Pats.

Ayers, a former 39th overall pick, started 43 games for the Titans in his first three seasons with the club, but has seen his playing time significantly reduced this season under head coach Ken Whisenhunt and a new staff. Earlier this month, Ayers expressed some frustration with his new spot on the bench, as Wyatt detailed at the time.

“Just because I am not walking around here ticked off and tearing everything up doesn’t mean I am comfortable with my situation,” Ayers said. “I am not comfortable with not playing. I want to play. I am a competitor, and I want to compete. So just because I am not carrying myself a certain way doesn’t mean I don’t care. But there is a way to handle everything, and I’m trying to handle things the right way.”

While Ayers didn’t air his frustrations or ask for a trade publicly, it makes sense that both he and the team would have welcomed a deal. It’s not clear immediately how he’ll fit in with the Pats, but the team’s linebacking corps got a little thinner after Jerod Mayo suffered a season-ending injury in Week 6 against the Bills, so Ayers should provide some reliable veteran depth at the very least.

Assuming Ayers passes his physical, the Patriots will also need to make a corresponding move to clear room on their roster before the trade can be finalized.

Introducing The Trade Rumors App

After many months of hard work, we’re very excited to bring you the new Trade Rumors app for iOS and Android devices!

The Trade Rumors app brings together content from our three sites: MLB Trade Rumors, Hoops Rumors, and Pro Football Rumors. You can easily scroll left to right and click on the image of the article you want to read. You can also filter your feeds to show only the top stories within that category, if you prefer.

Once you’re within a feed, you can swipe to read older or newer articles without going back to the home screen. Each article can be easily shared via Twitter, Facebook, email, or text message.

The Trade Rumors app is highly customizable. You can add feeds for any of the 92 MLB, NBA, and NFL teams, as well as for any of the thousands of players in our archives, by using the settings icon up top for iOS and the pencil icon up top for Android. You can create a multi-sport experience tailored to your specific interests, or you can limit your app entirely to one sport by removing the others.

Best of all? The Trade Rumors app is free! Download it for iOS or Android and leave a review!

TradeRumors-Google-FeaturedImg

Extra Points: Bears, Rice, Sam, Rivers

Worried about potential unrest in Chicago? Brandon Marshall isn’t. “We’re great,” Marshall said of his relationship with quarterback Jay Cutler in an appearance on Showtime’s Inside The NFL (video link). Still, one has to wonder if the Bears offense can get back on the same page this season and make a run for the NFC North crown. More from around the NFL..

  • As expected, Ray Rice has filed a grievance against the Ravens, challenging the team’s decision to terminate his contract, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. If Rice is successful in his grievances against both the Ravens and the NFL, he would be eligible to receive $3.52MM from Baltimore.
  • Michael Sam figures to find another NFL opportunity thanks to his motor, writes Tom Pelissero of USA Today. The linebacker was released from the Cowboys‘ taxi squad earlier today.
  • Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is on his way to joining the $20MM quarterback club, writes Joel Corry of CBSSports.com. Since the start of the 2013 season, Rivers has enjoyed a career revival and has arguably been the league’s second-best quarterback behind Peyton Manning.
  • A source tells Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (on Twitter) that RB Alex Green had a “good workout” with the Giants today, but the team isn’t signing him at this time. Big Blue won’t be inking Felix Jones to a contract either, but he’ll be on the team’s “short list” if and when a tailback is needed (link).
  • Former Giants center Jim Cordle worked out for the Titans recently, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Cordle suffered a partially torn patella but Caplan says he’s been healthy for a while.
  • With Derrick Coleman hurt, the Seahawks worked out veteran fullbacks Tony Fiammetta, Greg Jones, and Will Tukuafu, tweets Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports.
  • The Titans got something for nothing when they sent Akeem Ayers and a seventh-round choice to the Patriots earlier today for a sixth-round pick, opines Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com. Ayers is in his contract year and wasn’t contributing much to the Titans. Of course, the Titans wish things worked out differently with their former second-round pick.
  • The NFL could wind up installing two personal conduct policies: one for players and one for all other NFL employees, including owners, writes Peter King of The MMQB. The policy for non-players could be hammered out by Thanksgiving and the players policy should be completed after that.

Patriots To Sign Alan Branch

The Patriots are expected to sign free agent defensive lineman Alan Branch to help fill the void left by Chandler Jones‘ injury, tweets Shalise Manza Young of The Boston Globe. Branch was released by the Bills after he was arrested for a DUI in August.

Branch, 29, was signed to a three-year, $9.1MM extension in December of last year, which included a $3.1MM signing bonus. The former Cardinals second-round pick was set to earn $1.85MM in base salary in 2014, $875K of which was guaranteed for injury only, but Buffalo decided to part ways with him after his incident. Branch started 13 games for the Bills last season, and has started 47 during his career, racking up 112 tackles and eight sacks in total.

New England also acquired defensive end Akeem Ayers from the Titans earlier today.

Pigskin Links: Harvin, Posluszny, Oakman

On this date in 1973, Los Angeles Rams defensive end Fred Dryer became the first player to record two safeties in one game in the Rams’ 24-7 victory over the Packers. After football, Dryer went on to enjoy a successful career as a film and television actor. He was best known as the lead role in Hunter, an NBC police drama that ran for seven seasons in the late 80s-early 90s.

While PFR is dedicated to player movement, Pigskin Links is open to pieces on all areas of the game and we’re looking for interesting reads on all things football from blogs of all sizes. If you would like to suggest your blog post (or someone else’s) for Pigskin Links, send Zach an email with the link and a brief synopsis at PigskinLinks@gmail.com. Here’s this week’s look around the football blogosphere..

 Got a great football blog post that you want to see featured in next week’s Pigskin Links? Email it to Zach or tweet it to him: @ZachLinks.

Practice Squad Updates: Tuesday

We’re keeping tabs on today’s minor moves that affect 53-man rosters right here, but we’ll use the space below to track transactions involving teams’ practice squads:

Earlier updates:

  • The Panthers have announced a pair of practice squad additions, confirming (via Twitter) that they’ve signed safety Robert Lester and offensive tackle Martin Wallace using their two open spots.
  • The Jaguars have signed cornerback Lou Young to their practice squad, filling the 10th and final opening on the unit, the club announced today (Twitter link).
  • The Cowboys have released edge defender Michael Sam from their practice squad, the team announced today in a press release. Although Sam spent several weeks on Dallas’ taxi squad, he never got the opportunity for a promotion to the 53-man unit, and figures to draw some attention around the NFL as he looks for a new job. Using the two openings on their practice squad, the Cowboys added linebacker Troy Davis and defensive tackle Ken Bishop, according to the team.

AFC East Notes: Jones, Kerley, Bills

Maybe this is why the Patriots traded for Akeem Ayers. Chandler Jones missed practice today due to a hip injury and a league source says it’s expected that he’ll be sidelined for about a month, according to Shalise Manza Young of The Boston Globe (on Twitter). Chandler is now the third member of the Jones family to be sidelined with a leg injury in 2014. Arthur Jones has been out of action with an ankle injury while brother Jon Jones, the UFC’s light heavyweight champion, had to postpone his August title defense against Daniel Cormier. On a positive note, Arthur could return on Sunday against the Steelers while Jon will return to the Octagon on January 3rd. More from the AFC East..

  • The timing of the Jets‘ extension for Jeremy Kerley is curious given his recent slump and the arrival of Percy Harvin, writes Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com. Still, it’s a good business move by the Jets, who are only on the hook for ~$5.4MM in guarantees. Cimini wouldn’t be surprised to see GM John Idzik extend other potential free agents like running back Bilal Powell and linebacker David Harris. The Jets would also like to lock up defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson, currently signed through 2015, for the long term.
  • Tom E. Curran of CSNNE.com looked at what Ayers can bring to the Patriots.
  • The Bills, who are without the services of Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller, made a play for Broncos running back Kapri Bibbs, leading to Denver promoting him to the active roster today, tweets Mike Klis of The Denver Post.

Workout Notes: Tuesday

Earlier today, the Giants looked at an eye-popping 15 players, including Felix Jones, Jonathan Baldwin, Terrelle Pryor, and Tony Moeaki. Here’s a look at other notable auditions from around the league..

  • The Colts worked out defensive back Chance Casey, wide receiver Mike Davis, quarterback Pat Devlin, and wide receiver Tramaine Thompson, according to ESPN.com’s Field Yates (via Mike Wells on Twitter). Running back Jeff Demps and Konrad Reuland were also part of the workout and earned spots on the Colts’ practice squad.
  • The Seahawks looked at free agent linebacker Paris Lenon, according to Yates (on Twitter). Lenon, 37 next month, has 12 years of NFL experience under his belt. Remarkably, he has missed a grand total of three regular season games during that span.
  • Before signing running back Phillip Tanner earlier today, the Bills also auditioned Evan Royster, Yates tweets. Royster was with the Redskins from 2011-2013. The Bills also auditioned wide receiver Kenny Shaw and quarterback Brad Sorensen today, according to Yates (via Mike Rodak of ESPN.com on Twitter).
  • The Packers auditioned four players today, according to ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky (on Twitter): wide receiver Jace Davis (Northern Colorado), running back David Fluellen (Toledo), guard Andrew Miller (Virginia Tech), and cornerback David Van Dyke (Tennessee State).