Colts Sign Jalil Brown, Cut Loucheiz Purifoy

In advance of this weekend’s game against Washington, the Colts have made a change to their 53-man roster, agreeing to terms with one cornerback and cutting another. The team is signing Jalil Brown and placing Loucheiz Purifoy on waivers to clear a roster spot, according to a press release.

Brown, 27, was with the Colts earlier this season, but was cut several weeks ago when safety LaRon Landry returned from his suspension. In the interim, the former fourth-round pick spent some time with the Dolphins, but found himself on the market again this week after being released by Miami on Tuesday.

As Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star and Mike Chappell of RTV6 note (via Twitter), the Colts’ decision to cut Purifoy seems a little strange, since the team seemed to like him, and he was contributing on special teams. Even if Indianapolis wanted to make sure to get Brown back into the fold, the release of Purifoy doesn’t appear to be a football-based decision, according to Holder (via Twitter).

AFC East Notes: Jets, Patriots, Bills

Happy Thanksgiving to our American readers! While today’s slate of NFL action doesn’t include any AFC teams, there’s still some news coming out of the conference, so let’s check in on the AFC East to start the day….

  • It came as a bit of a surprise that Geno Smith was named the Jets‘ starting quarterback this week over Michael Vick, since the team’s coaching staff was believed to prefer the veteran. Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News confirms that offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg was among several people in the organization, including many players, who wanted to continue playing Vick.
  • Head coach Rex Ryan also would have preferred to stick with Vick, but acquiesced with Jets management to avoid rocking the boat during what will likely be his last few weeks with the organization, according to Mehta. Sources tell the Daily News scribe that Ryan “wants to take the high road” before looking for his next job.
  • Kevin Kernan of the New York Post outlines why, in his view, the Jets had to give Smith a second chance to run the offense.
  • Sunday afternoon’s Packers/Patriots showdown looks like the best game of Week 13 and a potential Super Bowl preview. As Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald writes, the Pats are built for such a matchup with the pass-happy Packers after adding cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner in the offseason.
  • A healthy inactive on Monday against the Jets, Bills wideout Marquise Goodwin now faces more competition from recent waiver pickup Marcus Thigpen, but tells Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News that he’s “just going to prepare and work hard and that’s it.” A third-round pick in 2013, Goodwin’s days in Buffalo may be numbered.

Extra Points: Ryan, Holliday, Allen, Chiefs

Bad news for Eagles quarterback Nick Foles has his return may come later than once expected, according to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Foles’ left clavicle has to be strong enough for the Eagles quarterback to sustain contact, otherwise another blow could cause further harm. Because of that, he might not be healed enough to return in late December. Here’s tonight’s look around the NFL..

  • Most people around the league never thought Jets coach Rex Ryan and GM John Idzik would be able to co-exist, Adam Schefter told Michael Kay of ESPN Radio (audio link).
  • Kick returner Trindon Holliday, who is now healthy, worked out for the Bills today, a source tells Rand Getlin of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter).
  • Over the past 48 hours, several sources have told Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net (on Twitter) that the chances range from very likely to an absolute that USC running back Javorius Allen will enter the 2015 draft. Allen has garnered comparisons to Titans tailback Bishop Sankey, the first running back taken in the 2014 draft.
  • Free agent cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke worked out for the Chiefs today, a source tells Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star (on Twitter). Paylor (link) wouldn’t be surprised to see him come back to KC at some point. The speedy defensive back had a great preseason with the Chiefs before suffering a high ankle sprain.
  • The Raiders worked out Brandon Denmark, Cam Henderson, Keith Lewis, Keon Lyn, Kona Schwenke, Jansen Watson, and Nickoe Whitley, according to Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post (via Twitter).

NFC East Notes: RGIII, Washington, Giants

Tight end Gavin Escobar was a notorious reach by the Cowboys in the second round of the 2013 draft and has done little to prove those naysayers wrong, writes Kevin Sherrington of The Dallas Morning News. Escobar has had a few moments this season, but he hasn’t taken any tremendous strides from his underwhelming rookie year. In 2013, Escobar was expected to see lots of targets in two tight end sets for Dallas. Instead, he was hardly used at all and finished that season with nine catches and two TDs. This year, Escobar has eight receptions and three TDs. More from the NFC East..

  • The benching of Robert Griffin III is just another example of Washington‘s self-inflicted woes, writes Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com. The RGIII era, he writes, was a bad idea from the beginning. A study from the Harvard Sports Analysis Collective back in 2012 concluded that in order for Washington “to get the equivalent value from RGIII as they spent acquiring him, he must produce at least as much as Tom Brady.” Suffice to say, Washington would have been much better off had they kept their valuable draft choices. Now, Griffin will probably be tossed aside for good this offseason, with the Redskins lucky to get a late-round pick.
  • Washington worked out linebackers Uani’ Unga and Quandon Christian, defensive backs Kevin Fogg, Kenny Horsley, Kenny Okoro, and Bryan McCann, wide receiver Douglas McNeil, guard John Sullen, according to Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post (via Twitter).
  • The Giants worked out guard Rishaw Johnson, according to Wilson (on Twitter). Big Blue also had tackle Michael Bamiro in for an audition, which led to him being signed to the practice squad soon after.

North Notes: Suh, Lions, Browns, Bengals

In terms of tiebreakers, a loss to an NFC team like the Saints wouldn’t be devastating, but Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger doesn’t want to hear any of that heading into Sunday’s game, writes Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I absolutely think it is a must-win,” he said. “We feel that this is a very important game and we have to put together a stretch of football like we never played before.” Tonight’s look at the North divisions..

  • Lions coach Jim Caldwell said he supports Ndamukong Suh‘s business interests, but he wouldn’t speculate on how Suh’s quest to be a billionaire would impact contract negotiations. “I’m not going to talk about that particular area,” Caldwell said, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “That’s one that we’ve always said that will be dealt with after the season’s over with.” Suh is likely looking to be one of – if not the – highest paid defensive players in the game. It stands to reason that he could trump Gerald McCoy‘s deal but he might not clear J.J. Watt‘s extension with the Texans.
  • The Browns worked out offensive lineman Maurice Hurt, tight end A.C. Leonard, and defensive end Zach Thompson, according to Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post (via Twitter).
  • The Bengals worked out tackle Charles Brown, according to Wilson (on Twitter). Of course, the Bengals also signed Jamon Meredith, so there might not be a position open for Brown at this time.

AFC East Notes: Ryan, Tannehill, Goodwin

Rex Ryan‘s days are numbered as the head coach of the Jets and Ian O’Connor of ESPNNewYork.com wants to give him some advice on what to do next. Rather than go for a defensive coordinator’s job, he suggests that Ryan should go to TV and present himself as someone who can talk authoritatively about offense. And, when those head coaching offers come rolling in, O’Connor says that he should wait for a team with an established winning quarterback. More from the AFC East..

  • The Dolphins have to decide on Ryan Tannehill‘s fifth-year option this spring and it won’t be an easy call, writes Adam H. Beasley of the Miami Herald. Miami can skirt the hefty $15MM cap hit with a long-term deal, but they have to figure out first if he deserves one. Statistically, in 2014, he has graded out as a top-15 quarterback and coach Joe Philbin has been full of praise for the young signal caller.
  • Mike Rodak of ESPN.com wonders what’s next for Marquise Goodwin after the Bills claimed Marcus Thigpen, a return specialist, off waivers. Goodwin has struggled to emerge with the team since being drafted in the third round last season. On Monday night against the Jets, Goodwin was a healthy scratch for the first time in his career.
  • The Dolphins worked out cornerbacks Dominique Franks and Marc Anthony and linebacker Jake Knott, according to Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post (via Twitter).
  • Jets owner Woody Johnson needs to replace John Idzik with a competent GM, opines Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. Mehta outlines some of Idzik’s biggest gaffes and says that the team needs to address its issues at quarterback, cornerback, wide receiver, outside linebacker, and on the offensive line.

Minor Moves: Wednesday

In addition to tracking Wednesday’s practice squad signings and cuts, we’ll also be keeping tabs on minor transactions involving teams’ 53-man rosters. Here’s the latest:

  • The Saints have promoted defensive tackle Lawrence Virgil to the 53-man roster in the wake of Brodrick Bunkley‘s injury, according to Ramon Antonio Vargas of The Advocate (via Twitter).
  • A day after being cut by the Buccaneers, wide receiver and kick returner Marcus Thigpen has been claimed off waivers by the Bills, says Mike Rodak of ESPN.com, adding that Buffalo has released defensive end Bryan Johnson in the corresponding move (Twitter links). Presumably the Bills are eyeing Thigpen as a return specialist, despite the fact that he muffed a couple punts in recent weeks for the Bucs.
  • After injuring his foot more than a month ago, tight end David Ausberry has finally been moved to the injured reserve list by the Raiders, with the team promoting defensive tackle Ricky Lumpkin from the practice squad to take Ausberry’s place on the roster. Oakland announced the pair of transactions today in a press release.

Earlier updates:

  • The Bears have placed veteran offensive lineman Brian De La Puente on their injured reserve list due to an ankle injury, the team announced today (Twitter link). The former Saint played both center and guard for Chicago this season, earning more than 500 overall snaps. He’ll be replaced on the 53-man roster by defensive tackle Brandon Dunn, who was promoted from the practice squad.
  • Calvin Watkins of ESPN.com (Twitter link) confirms that the Cowboys have indeed placed Jack Crawford on season-ending IR, as was speculated below.
  • The Titans have plucked a player from their head coach’s old team, signing outside linebacker Kaelin Burnett from off the Cardinals‘ practice squad, the club announced today (via Twitter). Tight end Richard Gordon has been cut from Tennessee’s active roster to make room for Burnett.
  • In advance of tomorrow’s game against the Eagles, the Cowboys will call up linebacker Keith Smith from their practice squad to the 53-man roster, tweets Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas. Archer doesn’t have the corresponding move for us yet, but speculates that defensive end Jack Crawford could be placed on injured reserve due to a broken thumb.
  • Defensive lineman Nick Williams has signed with the Chiefs, taking the active roster spot vacated by Eric Berry, who is on the non-football illness list.

Practice Squad Updates: Wednesday

As usual, we expect plenty of Wednesday practice squad moves, as teams around the NFL add and subtract from their respective units in preparation for Week 13 action. Here are the latest practice squad signings and cuts:

  • The Ravens signed tight end Emmanuel Ogbuehi to the practice squad while placing Konrad Reuland on practice squad-injured list, according to Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun (on Twitter).
  • The Seahawks re-signed defensive tackle Jimmy Staten to their practice squad today, cutting offensive lineman Andrew McDonald to make room, tweets Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. It’s a reversal of the move the team made over the weekend.
  • The Cardinals filled the two openings on their practice squad today, signing linebacker Kion Wilson and re-adding running back Kerwynn Williams, according to Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com (Twitter link).
  • Former Georgia defensive tackle Garrison Smith, who spent time in the summer with the Dolphins, has signed to the Saints‘ practice squad, per his agent David Canter (Twitter link). New Orleans had a full unit, so a corresponding move should be announced shortly.

Earlier updates:

  • Washington has added two defensive backs to its practice squad, announcing today that Trey Wolfe and Kenny Okoro have been added to the 10-man unit (Twitter link).
  • After promoting defensive tackle Ricky Lumpkin from their practice squad to the 53-man roster, the Raiders signed cornerback Jansen Watson to fill the newly-opened spot, according to a team release. Watson signed with Oakland as an undrafted free agent this spring and was cut during the preseason.
  • The Chargers have filled out their practice squad by adding center Jeff Baca, a 2013 sixth-rounder, the team announced today in a press release.
  • Former Florida State safety Terrance Parks has signed with the Texans‘ practice squad, according to the team.
  • The Dolphins have released defensive end Emmanuel Dieke from their practice squad, signing safety Ahmad Dixon to fill his spot, tweets Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald. Dixon, a seventh-round pick by the Cowboys in May, had spent most of the season with the Bears before being cut last week.
  • The Titans have agreed to terms with outside linebacker Chaz Sutton, adding him to their taxi squad, the team announced today (Twitter link). Sutton fills the lone opening on Tennessee’s unit.
  • Having already made one change to their practice squad (noted below), the Patriots announced several more, via a press release. Linebacker Deontae Skinner and defensive back Daxton Swanson have been cut, while tight end Xavier Grimble has joined the squad.
  • After bringing him in for an audition, the Giants have signed offensive lineman Michael Bamiro to their practice squad, a source tells Jordan Raanan of NJ.com. New York had an opening on its unit, so no players need to be cut to accommodate the addition.
  • Danny Aiken may have a little competition in New England, as the Patriots have brought back another long snapper, Charley Hughlett, re-adding him to their taxi squad, according to agent Brett Tessler (Twitter link). The team will have to announce a corresponding move to make the signing official.
  • Linebacker L.J. Fort has signed with the Bengals‘ practice squad, tweets Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Fort, who spent time with the Seahawks earlier this season, worked out for the Bengals and the Saints last week.

Dumervil Triggers Contract Escalators

Every time Elvis Dumervil slams an opposing quarterback to the ground, he must hear cash registers going off in his head. As former agent Joel Corry explains in a piece for the National Football Post, Dumervil is cashing in this season thanks to incentives in his contract and there could be more bonus bucks on the way.

Dumervil signed a five-year deal with the Ravens in 2013 with a base value of $26MM and $11MM in guarantees. However, the deal carried the potential worth of $35MM thanks to $9MM in base salary escalators and incentives. Much of that money was tied to contract mechanisms classified as “Not Likely To Be Earned (NLTBE)” – incentives with higher thresholds than his previous career highs. With the NLTBE classification, the Ravens were able to give Dumervil a satisfactory deal while keeping that extra money off the books in that league year.

Since Dumervil had 11 sacks with the Broncos in 2012, his NLTBE escalators or incentives required him to exceed that sack total. With two sacks against the Saints in Week 12, Dumervil triggered $3MM in base salary escalators and earned $1MM in incentives. As Corry outlines in full, there will be more opportunities to rake it in for the former Bronco thanks to four contract clauses. The value of the linebacker’s contract has increased to $30MM over five years. He can’t earn the maximum of $35MM because he didn’t have 12 sacks in 2013, but he can earn up to $33MM if he hits his thresholds again in 2015.

Still, as Corry rightly notes, triggering these incentives doesn’t fully ensure that Dumervil will collect on them. The incentives are rarely guaranteed, so Baltimore can still ask Dumervil to take a pay cut or release him without any financial obligation.

Forsett Hoping For Long-Term Deal With Ravens

Former Ravens running back Ray Rice, who entered the season as the team’s lead runner, has dominated off-field NFL headlines around the league this season, but it’s another running back whose play on the field has been the big story in Baltimore recently. Justin Forsett is having a career year as the No. 1 back in Baltimore, and he tells Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun that he hopes to stick around beyond the 2014 season.

“This is a great place, a great organization,” Forsett said. “It’s hard not to want to be here. Definitely, I’m sure after the season sometime they’ll get something done. I would love to sign here. I’ve been waiting my whole career to find a home somewhere to not have to move every offseason. So, that would be nice.”

Forsett, 29, played for the Colts, Seahawks, Texans, and Jaguars before signing with the Ravens this past offseason, and was typically used as a backup or change-of-pace back, occasionally contributing in the return game as well. This season, he’s already blown past his previous career-high in carries, rushing 155 times for 903 yards, for an impressive 5.8 yards per carry. He’s also added seven touchdowns, and has been at his best in recent weeks — in Baltimore’s last two games, the former seventh-round pick has nearly 300 rushing yards and four TDs.

Playing on a minimum contract this year, with a base salary of $730K and a cap hit of just $570K, Forsett will certainly be in line for a raise this winter. While it’s not clear yet if the Ravens will aggressively try to lock him up, it appears as if Forsett is at least interested in giving them first dibs, prior to hitting the open market.