Minor Moves: Thursday

Since Thursday is typically a quieter day for transactions during the NFL season, we’ll round up today’s minor 53-man roster and practice squad moves right here, rather than splitting them into separate posts. Here’s the latest:

  • The Broncos announced today (via Twitter) that they’ve released safety John Boyett from their practice squad following his arrest earlier this week on a misdemeanor third-degree assault charge.

Earlier updates:

  • The Chiefs have signed linebacker Darin Drakeford to their practice squad, according to Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star (via Twitter). Paylor adds that Drakeford takes the practice squad spot vacated by linebacker Orie Lemon, who has signed to the Buccaneers‘ 53-man roster. Tampa Bay had an opening on its roster after Da’Quan Bowers was moved to the reserve/suspended list for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
  • After clearing waivers, tight end Rashaun Allen has returned to the Seahawks, signing to the club’s practice squad, tweets Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times.

NFC Notes: Jackson, Murray, Seahawks

Here’s a round-up of a few Thursday notes from around the NFC:

  • Vincent Jackson has been cited frequently as one of the trade candidates to watch as Tuesday’s deadline approaches, but if it were up the Buccaneers wideout, he wouldn’t be going anywhere, as he tells Pat Yasinskas of ESPN.com. “I think bringing Lovie in and the staff that he’s brought and his mentality and his goals are aligned with mine and I think a lot of guys in this locker room,” Jackson said. “I hope for us to start the tradition here of winning football in Tampa Bay. I hope to stay in this uniform and this jersey and help bring that.”
  • While having a monster season in a contract year typically bodes well for a player’s future earnings, former Packers executive Andrew Brandt of TheMMQB.com examines whether DeMarco Murray‘s big numbers, buoyed by a huge workload, may actually be hurting him financially.
  • Before he signed with the Titans’ practice squad, linebacker Nate Askew was one of a handful of players to work out for the Seahawks, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter link). In addition to Askew and players previously reported, the club also auditioned defensive end Sammy Brown and tight end Michael Egnew, as well as bringing in defensive end Austen Lane for a visit (Twitter links).
  • A few more tryouts, via Wilson: The Buccaneers are working out punter Brock Miller (Twitter link), the Cowboys took a look at offensive lineman Keavon Milton (Twitter link), and Washington auditioned defensive end Lawrence Sidbury (Twitter link).

Lions Unlikely To Make Trade At Deadline

Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh has been the subject of some trade speculation this year, but general manager Martin Mayhew doesn’t anticipate moving the star defender, or anyone else for that matter, as he told reporters today in London, including Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com (Twitter link). With Tuesday’s deadline just five days away, the Lions don’t expect to be active, according to Mayhew.

“We kind of talk to everybody around the league, getting calls from different teams and things like that,” Mayhew said, per Mike O’Hara of DetroitLions.com. “I don’t anticipate us making any moves at the trade deadline.”

The Lions are one of the NFL’s pleasant surprises so far, having jumped out to a 5-2 record and a share of the NFC North lead, despite kicking issues that cost the team at least one win. For a team with playoff – and even Super Bowl – aspirations, a modest addition or two could help solidify the roster, but Mayhew indicated he’s confident in the club’s current makeup.

“There’s no magic formula, schemes. There’s no magic trade I’m going to do that all of a sudden is going to bring some guy in here and we’re going to start winning,” the GM said. “It’s about how far our players are going to take us. I think they understand it.”

South Notes: Panthers, Griffin, Titans, Bucs

Plenty of Panthers players were caught off guard by the team’s release of veteran defensive back Charles Godfrey, according to Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer, who says words like “shocking” and “surprising” were used to describe the move.

“With a guy of his stature who’s been here for as long as he had, and all of a sudden you wake up and he’s not here, it’s definitely got to be a shock. It’s shocking to me,” said fellow defensive back Roman Harper. “But it’s a job. We’ve got to take it seriously and understand that nobody’s job is safe from top to bottom. They’ll always fire you before you get them fired. That’s just what I’ve always been taught.”

As the Panthers’ defense adjusts to life without Godfrey and one of the newest additions to the free agent market looks for work, let’s check out a few more items from around the NFL’s two South divisions….

  • We heard yesterday that the Titans had been entertaining trade discussions involving wide receiver Nate Washington, and it sounds like he’s not the only veteran the team is mulling moving. In addition to confirming the Washington report, Terry McCormick of TitanInsider.com says he has heard defensive back Michael Griffin may be on the block as well (Twitter link). The Titans, who announced last night that Zach Mettenberger will start at quarterback this weekend, seem to be “embracing” a rebuild, notes McCormick.
  • Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter link) adds several new names to the list of players to audition for the Panthers this week. According to Wilson, the club took a look at cornerbacks Trevin Wade, Robert Steeples, Ellis Lankster, and Josh Victorian, as well as offensive linemen Ryan Miller and Matt Patchan.
  • Besides the players they signed to their 53-man roster or practice squad, the Buccaneers also worked out linebackers Erin Henderson and Lawrence Wilson this week, tweets Wilson. Per Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (via Twitter), Henderson had a tryout with the Titans too.
  • Cornerback Deveron Carr auditioned for the Jaguars this week, according to Wilson (via Twitter).

Broncos Don’t Expect In-Season Deals For Demaryius, Julius Thomas

A pair of Peyton Manning‘s top weapons face free agency this winter, but the Broncos don’t anticipate working out contract extensions with either Demaryius Thomas or Julius Thomas during the season, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter. Instead, the team will table discussions for now and resume negotiations with both players once the season is over, Schefter reports.

The Broncos reportedly initiated talks with their top receiver and top tight end back in June, and GM John Elway provided an update just before training camp got underway, indicating that the club expected to remain in contact with both players about their contracts during camp and the preseason. So far, however, it seems as if Denver hasn’t been able to reach a compromise with either player’s camp, so it makes sense to postpone discussions as the team focuses on making a Super Bowl run.

Buoyed by a 17.0 yards per catch average, Demaryius Thomas ranks fifth in the NFL with 662 receiving yards in just six games, putting him on pace to obliterate his career high of 1,434 yards. As for Julius Thomas, no one at any position has grabbed more touchdowns than the tight end’s nine so far this season. In other words, both Thomases are on track to have monster seasons, meaning it won’t be easy for the Broncos to keep both players, even if the club uses the franchise tag on one of them.

Complicating matters further is the fact that wideout Wes Welker is also eligible for free agency at season’s end. Welker doesn’t put up the same sort of huge numbers that the Thomases do, and likely won’t be as high a priority when the team starts addressing contracts, but he’s still a significant part of the Broncos’ passing attack. Having to let go of him or one of the Thomases for the 2015 season would be a notable loss for Manning and company.

Over the summer, I looked at both Demaryius and Julius as potential extension candidates for the Broncos.

Extra Points: Mariota, Goodell, Peterson

Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich sees his star quarterback Marcus Mariota stealing the show at this year’s scouting combine, writes NFL.com’s Bryan Fischer. “He’s a competitive perfectionist. Every single thing he does, he wants to do great,” Helfrich said. “He competes in period four just like he does in a BCS bowl game. To him, (the combine) is right in his wheelhouse, and he’ll do great.” Helfrich might be a bit biased, but Mariota is widely projected to be a top choice in the 2015 Draft. More NFL news..

  • A judge has ruled that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will be forced to testify at the Ray Rice hearing, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The ruling was expected by many since Goodell played an active role in all facets of Rice’s suspension.
  • A prosecution request to remove the judge handling the felony child abuse case against Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has been denied, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The judge made some less-than-kind remarks about Peterson’s defense team earlier this month. As Rochelle Olson of the Star-Tribune writes, the trial is still on track for December 1st.
  • Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy hasn’t showed up at Bank of America Stadium since being placed on the commissioner’s exempt list, but that’s not because he’s not welcome, as David Newton of ESPN.com writes. “We haven’t asked him to stay away,” coach Ron Rivera said. “At the same time, we’re letting him take care of his business.”
  • Former Seahawks wide receiver Sidney Rice thinks Seattle made the right move by trading Percy Harvin, writes Terry Blount of ESPN.com. “I was surprised, but at the same time, it may have been the best thing for the team,” Rice said. “It’s tough losing a guy like Percy. He’s one of a kind. The league has never seen a player like Percy Harvin.”
  • The Rams auditioned wide receivers Skye Dawson and Derek Moye yesterday, tweets Howard Balzer of USA Today Sports. Dawson, who was cut by the Bucs in late August, worked out for the Lions last week. Moye, meanwhile, was scooped up by the Titans earlier today.

AFC East Notes: Jets, Harvin, Marshall

Some are skeptical about how the newly-extended Jeremy Kerley will fit in after the Jets‘ acquisition of Percy Harvin, but Kerley isn’t concerned, as Kieran Darcy of ESPNNewYork.com writes. Meanwhile, Kerley says that he’s glad to have the extension finalized after a good deal of back and forth between the two sides. As the Jets figure out the best way to utilize their newest toy, let’s check out more from the AFC East..

  • Brandon Marshall was mic’d up for Sunday’s game against the Dolphins and he shared some thoughts on the trade that sent him from Miami to Chicago, as Ben Volin of The Boston Globe tweets. “Man, they didn’t trade me. That was a cut,” the wide receiver said. We wouldn’t go that far, but Marshall has certainly been worth more than a pair of third-round picks to the Bears.
  • Jets quarterback Geno Smith is being cautiously optimistic about Harvin’s arrival, writes Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com. “This isn’t video games,” Smith said.
  • Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News joined Jonas Schwartz and Marc Malusis of SNY (video link) to discuss Kerley’s new deal and GM John Idzik‘s recently spending.
  • Dolphins defensive end Olivier Vernon has signed with DEC Management, according to Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal (on Twitter). He’ll be represented by agent David Canter. Vernon, 24, is under contract through 2015.

LaMarr Woodley Likely Done For Year

Raiders defensive end LaMarr Woodley suffered a torn bicep on Sunday and his season is likely over, a source tells Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network (on Twitter). Even though the 0-6 Raiders probably aren’t playing for much this season, it’s still disheartening news for a team that has been down on its luck.

Oakland signed the soon-to-be 30-year-old to a two-year deal worth a potential $12MM over the offseason. The longtime Steeler was asked to adjust to a 4-3 scheme after playing in a 3-4 defense in Pittsburgh and seemed excited about the challenge.

Woodley is no stranger to the disabled list as he missed a total of 14 games from 2011-2013 but still amassed 18 sacks during that span. The three years prior to that were Woodley’s absolute best as he recorded 34.5 sacks and established himself as one of the most nightmare-inducing players for NFL quarterbacks.

Once the Raiders place Woodley on injured reserve, they’ll probably look to make an addition at defensive end. Woodley’s $3.85MM base salary for 2015 is guaranteed and he’ll earn an additional $1.5MM in roster bonuses if he remains with the team.

Nate Washington Drawing Trade Interest

The 2-5 Titans are considering all options as the trade deadline closes in and they could be poised to make a move. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link) hears that the Titans are open to moving some of their higher-priced veterans and they’re getting calls on wide receiver Nate Washington.

Washington, 31, broke into the league with the Steelers as a UDFA before leaving for Tennessee following the 2008 season. In a league where players usually don’t get to finish out their contracts, Washington is in the final year of his six-year, $26.8MM deal. The backloaded contract has Washington earning $4.8MM this season, a little more than the deal’s average annual value.

The Titans probably had higher hopes for the 6’1″ receiver upon signing him. His best season came in 2011 when he hauled in 74 catches for 1,023 yards and seven touchdowns, but he hasn’t been quite as productive in the last two years and change. Still, Washington is a proven commodity and a regular starter that has eight consecutive 16-game seasons to his credit and could be on his way to a ninth.

Rapoport doesn’t mention specific clubs with interest in Washington but it sounds like there are multiple suitors out there for him. So far this year, Washington has 169 yards off of 13 receptions.

Mike Pettine On Carr, Manziel, Hoyer

This Sunday, the Browns will take on the Raiders who are led by promising rookie quarterback Derek Carr. While the Browns drafted the most talked about QB this year, Carr is making the biggest impact of any rookie signal caller this year. Cleveland coach Mike Pettine can’t help but be impressed by what he’s seen out of Carr. “For a rookie quarterback, the kid’s playing.. pretty well,” Pettine said, according to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal. “You use a coaching cliché, ‘He can make all the throws.’ This is a kid that can legitimately make all the throws. You could tell he’s got a firm grasp of what they’re doing.” In an alternate universe somewhere, the Browns resisted the urge to draft Johnny Manziel and instead selected Carr. While you ponder that, here are more highlights from today’s presser, courtesy of Ulrich:

On what his discussions were like with Carr before the draft

Positive. We had a good visit with him – ran out to Fresno (State University), spent some time with him and his brother. It was good. He’s very mature. If you’re around him you wouldn’t think that he’s a kid just coming out of college. The fact that he’s so close with his brother and what his brother has been through in the NFL, I think prepared him that much more. It’s showing up in his play. You can tell he’s very much a student of the game just by how he plays. You can tell he knows certain defenses, where to go with the ball, when to get out of a run and throw it on the outside and based on coverage where to attack a defense. I think his football IQ is well ahead of the game because of his background.

On if his brother David Carr’s lack of success in the NFL ever came up when evaluating Derek Carr

No, to me, you look at it as a positive because the mistakes that his brother made or what happened to his brother can only make Derek better. Like I said, here’s a guy that’s only been sacked four times. He can make plays with his feet and get out of the pocket. He’s got a quick release, and he’s decisive with the ball and they’re blocking well in front of him.

On if the Browns had Carr rated close to Manziel on their draft board

I don’t know where he finally fell in that cluster of guys, but this year – just going back looking at the draft – you just had so many varying opinions on players. It wasn’t that there was a clear consensus on it, but when you watched the Fresno tape he was guy that you knew this kid’s an NFL quarterback.

On what makes him think that pending free agent quarterback Brian Hoyer can come back from last week’s loss to the Jaguars

Number one, I think his confidence, his preparation, his ability to compartmentalize and put something behind him, then also just confidence in the guys around him. I think all the guys know on offense that they didn’t play well enough for the offense to be successful, which was a big part in making his performance look the way that it did starts up front. That goes to the backs, to the receivers, to the tight end. It’s the whole group, and it’s a subtle effect. When you have issues in the run game that puts you in second-and-9. It’s hard for your quarterback to look good at times – second-and-9, third-and-9 than it is second-and-5, third-and-4. To me, it’s a ripple effect throughout when you’re not playing at a high level around him