Falcons Sign Sean Baker To Practice Squad

We’ll track today’s minor roster transactions, including practice squad signings and cuts, in this space. Here’s the latest:

  • After waiving him earlier this week to sign veteran safety Charles Godfrey, the Falcons have re-signed safety Sean Baker to their practice squad, the team announced today in a press release. Baker, who was on Atlanta’s taxi squad for nearly all of September, takes the spot vacated by safety Kimario McFadden, who has been cut.

Extra Points: Bradshaw, Brown, Cameron, Smith

Colts‘ running back Ahmad Bradshaw is in his second season with the team, but still feels the pain after being released from the Giants after the 2012 season, writes Jordan Raanan of NJ.com“It didn’t take me long to get over it,” said Bradshaw. “But it hurt me because I felt that was my family, that I was a big part of that time and I still felt I had a lot of football left.” Bradshaw, along with Hakeem Nicks, will return to MetLife Stadium for the first time since leaving the team.

  • The NFL has lifted the suspension of another former Giant, free agent running back Andre Brown, according to Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post (on Twitter). Brown received an eight-game ban prior to the season, so even though he hasn’t been on a roster since then, he has been reinstated after eight weeks.
  • The Browns are planning to be without star tight end Jordan Cameron for a while, writes Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com. With three concussions in a two-year span, the team expects him to miss at least two games.
  • Jets‘ quarterback Geno Smith might have lost his starting job, but he will not be content being regulated to the bench permanently, writes Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com“I don’t think this is the last of me playing,” Smith said. Cimini writes that the best way to salvage the season would be to salvage Smith.
  • Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com wrote that while Jeremy Maclin has already proven to teams he is worth a big contract in free agency, there are a number of players who need a strong second half to justify a high level deal. Among the players at the top of that list are Ravens‘ receiver Torrey Smith, 49ers‘ receiver Michael Crabtree, and Giants‘ defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Buccaneers Notes: McCoy, Smith, Barron

The Buccaneers signed defensive tackle Gerald McCoy to a big money extension earlier this week, with initial numbers reported to be $98MM over seven years, with $51MM guaranteed. While more information trickled out about the details of the contract, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports has more information on the specifics, which he released in a series of tweets. He reports that $20.3MM of that total will be earned in 2014, and the rest of the money is paid out on a pay-as-you-go system. It only becomes guaranteed in the event of injury.

La Canfora gives out how much money will be owed going forward. “McCoy will make $11.5M in 2015 ($5m base/$6.5 roster bons). $12.5M in 2016 ($6M/$6.5M). $13.75M in 2017 (all base salaries), $12.75M 2018, $13M in 2019.” He also notes that McCoy will have base salaries of $10MM in 2020 and 2021, with an additional $2.5MM in roster bonuses.

Overall, after the contract guarantees kick in on the third day of the 2015 league year, the contract becomes a three year, $44.3MM deal at its minimum.

Here are some other notes from around the Buccaneers:

  • Head coach Lovie Smith does not believe the team is bereft of talent after deadline deals saw a few key players move to new teams, writes Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times“The move we made gave us the best chance to win right now. … Yeah, we picked up draft picks on both of those players — moved up on one and picked up (picks) on the other,” said Smith. “But no, it’s not about the future. Yeah, it’s always about the future, but it’s about our current roster. As I said, you don’t trade players unless you feel pretty good about the other players you have.” Smith also noted that moving on from former first-round pick Mark Barron will give Major Wright and Bradley McDougald a chance to shine. Smith said Wright has been playing as well as any safety on the roster, and praised McDougald’s future as a star on the defense. He also mentioned his desire not to have any player who was one-dimensional, saying he wanted his safeties to be able to play both the pass and the run.
  • Speaking of Barron, the Rams should be very happy with the player they acquired, writes Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He considers the trade the first move of the 2015 offseason, and believes that the Rams will correctly use him as an in-the-box safety to strengthen the run defense. He writes that in 2012 Barron was the ninth ranked safety against the run in the box by Pro Football Focus.
  • With the exit of Barron, the Buccaneers are left with only three first round picks on the roster, the others being McCoy, this year’s pick Mike Evans, and Adrian Clayborn (who is on the IR), according to Pat Yasinskas of ESPN.com. (However, Doug Martin was also drafted in the first round, with the team trading back into the first round to grab him in 2012.) Guard Logan Mankins, defensive end Larry English, and cornerback Mike Jenkins are also first-rounders, although they were acquired via trade and free agency. Altogether, the first rounders have played 1,699 snaps, third worst in the NFL after the Jaguars and Raiders. Those three teams are a combined 2-20 this season.
  • The Buccaneers also made a big splash in free agency this offseason, but those investments have not paid dividends, writes Yasinskas. Anthony Collins, Evan Dietrich-Smith, Josh McCown, and Michael Johnson have all disappointed, while Alterraun Verner and Clinton McDonald have merely been solid.

AFC East Notes: Smith, Branch, Marino, Bills

The Jets have moved on from Geno Smith as the undisputed starter, but they need to close the book on the struggling quarterback altogether, writes Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. He writes that putting Smith back in the game this season will only cloud the quarterback situation further, and that the team needs to draft a new signal-caller in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

  • Defensive tackle Alan Branch is – finally – a member of the Patriots. Christopher Price of WEEI.com looked at what the former Seahawks notable can bring to New England.
  • Dolphins‘ Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino has been privately tutoring the team’s current quarterbacks, writes Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald. Ryan Tannehill and backup Matt Moore are both getting personal attention from the all-time great passer.
  • The Bills have been great on the road in 2014, writes Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. Even receiver Mike Williams, who has had his troubles with the organization, has bought in. “It’s more of the family atmosphere with us. On the road, we’ve all got to stay together. All the trips, you’ve got to be with your team,” said Williams. “I think that got us a lot closer. On the road, we hang with each other more, we in the hotel with each other, we go out to new places and chill with each other. I think us just being together more on the road is showing up.”

Zach Links contrributed to this post.

Pigskin Links: Seahawks, Kerley, Falcons

On this week in 1962, New York quarterback Y.A. Tittle completed 27 of 39 passes for 505 yards and a record-tying seven touchdown passes in the Giants’ 49-34 victory over Washington at Yankee Stadium.

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.

West Notes: Sutton, Chiefs, Rams

Let’s check in on a few Wednesday links from around the NFL’s two West divisions….

  • Jets head coach Rex Ryan told reporters, including Randy Covitz of the Kansas City Star (on Twitter), that he hopes Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton gets a head coaching job, but added, “I hope it’s not mine.”
  • The Chiefs took a look at a handful of free agent defenders this week, says Howard Balzer of The SportsXchange (via Twitter). Per Balzer, linebackers Brandon Denmark, Kevin Reddick, D.J. Smith, and Uani Unga, as well as defensive end Tim Fugger, all worked out for the club.
  • The Rams brought in offensive tackles Mitchell Van Dyk and Jason Weaver for tryouts this week, according to Balzer (via Twitter).
  • In an Insider-only piece for ESPN.com, Louis Riddick examines several extension candidates who should be in line for big contracts soon, either from their own teams or in free agency. Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas tops the list, with Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston and Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson among the other players earning mentions.
  • Earlier tonight, I asked if the Seahawks and 49ers, who entered the year as favorites to come out of the NFC, will even earn playoff spots this season.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Practice Squad Updates: Wednesday

Today’s practice squad moves:

  • One cornerback has replaced another on the Chargers‘ practice squad, as the team announced today that it has signed Kendall James and parted ways with Aaron Hester.
  • Offensive lineman Chris Barker, who was cut when the Patriots acquired Jonathan Casillas, has cleared waivers and will rejoin the club’s practice squad, tweets Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald. The Pats will have to make a corresponding move to make room for Barker.
  • One last update from Charean Williams (Twitter link) on Jeff Baca: the Cowboys have indeed signed the offensive lineman to their practice squad, releasing guard Rishaw Johnson to do so.

Earlier updates:

  • After being cut by the Rams to accommodate the addition of safety Mark Barron, quarterback Case Keenum has cleared waivers and re-signed with the team’s practice squad, tweets Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
  • Linebacker Justin Anderson is signing with the Giants‘ practice squad, per Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter). The team had been carrying just nine players on its squad, so no corresponding move was necessary to clear room for Anderson, who spent time with the Giants during the preseason.
  • The Seahawks appear to have filled one of their practice squad openings by adding offensive lineman Keavon Milton, says Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times (via Twitter).
  • Charean Williams had issued an addendum to her earlier report, tweeting that apparently Baca hasn’t signed with the Cowboys after all. Instead, the team has replaced Davis with another linebacker, Will Smith.
  • The Cowboys have signed offensive lineman Jeff Baca to the taxi squad, replacing linebacker Troy Davis, according to Charean Williams of the Star-Telegram (on Twitter).
  • Quarterback Mike Kafka has been signed to the Buccaneers‘ practice squad, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times (on Twitter). Kafka, 27, was released by the Bucs on Monday. He did not take a snap with the Bucs during his short stint on the active roster and his only NFL experience came in 2011 with the Eagles where he appeared in four games.

Poll: Will Seahawks, Niners Make Playoffs?

We’re approximately at the halfway point of the 2014 season, and while there have been plenty of surprises around the league, one of the most interesting subplots have surfaced in the NFC West, where the 6-1 Cardinals have a two-game lead over the 49ers and the Super Bowl champion Seahawks, both of whom are 4-3.

Because at least one club has to represent the underachieving NFC South, and the East and North each feature two strong contenders, the Seahawks and Niners would both be left on the outside looking in if the postseason were to begin today. Of course, with nine games still to come, including some against the Cardinals, each team will have a chance to go on a run and earn a postseason berth.

The Seahawks, who were viewed as the Super Bowl favorite coming into the season, have the opportunity to go on a winning streak over the next few weeks, with three of their next four games at home, including contests against the Raiders and Giants. But reports about locker room discontent have swirled around the team all season, even following the unexpected departure of Percy Harvin, and the club certainly isn’t playing like the team that blew out the Broncos nearly nine months ago.

As for the Niners, who have appeared in the last three NFC Championship games, the team is expected to welcome back key defenders like Aldon Smith and perhaps NaVorro Bowman within the next few weeks. However, San Francisco’s offense has struggled with its consistency, and the team has looming road games in New Orleans and Seattle, as well as tough home tests against the Seahawks, Cardinals, and Chargers.

What do you think? Will the Seahawks and/or Niners mount a second-half charge and make the playoffs? Will a current contender, whether it’s the Cardinals, Cowboys, Eagles, Lions, or Packers, fall off and let either Seattle or San Francisco sneak in? Weigh in below, and feel free to expand on your vote in the comments section.

Raiders Sign Larry Asante

The Raiders have filled the open spot on their 53-man roster, announcing today in a press release that they’ve signed defensive back Larry Asante. The safety replaces linebacker Bojay Filimoeatu, who was cut yesterday, cleared waivers, and has been re-signed to Oakland’s practice squad.

Asante, 26, was on the Raiders’ roster during the preseason, but was waived with an injured designation during the team’s cutdown to 75 players and was later released from IR with a settlement. The former fifth-round pick worked out for Oakland last week, and the club apparently liked what it saw during that audition.

Since being selected 160th overall in 2010, Asante has spent time with the Browns, Buccaneers, and Colts, seeing limited action on defense and special teams. For his career, Asante has compiled 11 tackles, an interception, and a forced fumble. He’s not expected to play a significant role for the Raiders.

NFC Notes: Eagles, Aldon Smith, Cards

The Eagles were cited as a potential suitor for a safety prior to Tuesday’s trade deadline, but they didn’t trade for anyone to replace Nate Allen because they have confidence in his ability to bounce back, as Zach Berman of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes.

I watch every play Nate had. Nate had a very good game. He had one bad play,” defensive coordinator Bill Davis said. “Over and over again, Nate was in the right spot, the right leverage, making the plays, and at the end of the game he had one bad play. The spotlight is on you, and that’s part of being in the secondary, but Nate has thick skin, and we as a defense, collectively, blew it at the end.”

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • Don’t expect an announcement on a reduced suspension for 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith today, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. The chances of Smith playing on Sunday are diminishing, but he could be in line for a return in the following week. That means the linebacker probably won’t be available for SF’s divisional game against the Rams but he could be back in action for the following week at New Orleans.
  • With lots of talk and little action before this year’s trade deadline, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians has a simple solution to make things more active. “It’s not like if it were four more weeks, you might be out of it, and you might trade a guy that’s in the last year of his contract and you’re not going to get anything for,” Arians said on SiriusXM, according to Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com. “But right now they’re still hoping in 25 cities or 28 cities that they’re going to the playoffs. I would like to see the trade deadline go back a little bit.
  • Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk checks in on Adrian Peterson, writing that the Vikings running back’s career outlook remains murky.
  • While Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley will get a second opinion on his knee injury on Friday or early next week, he’s not expected to undergo surgery and should be sidelined for about a month, tweets Rapoport.

Zach Links contributed to this post.