Stevie Brown To Work Out For Giants

A reunion between the Giants and now-free agent safety Stevie Brown makes plenty of sense now that Brown’s former employer is the most safety-starved team in the league and Brown needs a job.

The Giants will bring in Brown, whom they decided not to re-sign this offseason after the 2010 seventh-rounder played three seasons for the team from 2012-14, for a visit early next week, according to the New York Daily News’ Ralph Vacchiano.

Released by the Texans on Friday, Brown has several teams pursuing him, according to Vacchiano. Of course, that information comes from Brown’s agent, so that may be a market-stirring maneuver. Nevertheless, with Big Blue having lost Mykkele Thompson, Bennett Jackson and Justin Currie for the season and Nat Berhe for possibly a substantial portion of it after he underwent surgery Saturday, Brown’s release came at an ideal time for the Giants.

Brown signed a one-year, $3MM contract this offseason with the Texans, but the team released him early since the coaching staff determined he wouldn’t make Houston’s 53-man roster and wanted to give him a head start in finding a landing spot. The 28-year-old’s signature NFL span remains his eight-interception 2012 slate with the Giants, but a torn ACL a year later and a substandard season in 2014 upon returning from that injury led Big Blue to allow him to leave in free agency and seek younger replacements.

With those younger talents dropping at a rapid pace, with second-rounder Landon Collins also recovering from a sprained MCL that’s not expected to keep him out of debuting in Week 1, scrap-heap free agents Brandon Merriweather and Jeromy Miles are Big Blue’s healthy bodies at the position.

With Brown entering just his sixth year and reportedly healthy, this potential NFC East reunion is a lot more plausible than Chris Cooley‘s recent push at returning to Washington.

NFC Notes: RGIII, Packers, Saints

The Packers will have some work to do in the next couple of weeks as they look to reduce their current 88-man roster to 53. Even though they need to trim a third of their preseason roster, general manager Ted Thompson told Jason Wilde of ESPNWisconsin.com that he’ll still be eyeing the waiver wire prior to the regular season.

“We look, like everybody else,” Thompson said. “We do a lot of that work and we do it every week, so it’s non-stop because games are played on Monday and Thursday and Friday and Saturday, so it’s non-stop. We’re always trying to catch up.”

“It could be guys that you would potential consider trading for or putting in a claim for or that sort of thing. It runs the gamut because you’re kind of guessing what the home team, so to speak, wants to do with a player. The home team might love this player and you know you’re not going to get your hands on him, so you move on. At the same time, you find guys from time to time where the teams aren’t quite as attached to.”

Let’s check out some more notes from the NFC…

  • Washington general manager Scot McCloughan is “determined to change [the] team culture,” reports ESPN.com’s Ed Werder (via Twitter). Those changes would include moving on from quarterback Robert Griffin III.
  • Kirk Cousins may not only be starting this evening’s preseason game for Washington, as ESPN’s Dianna Marie Russini tweets that the plan is to have the former fourth-rounder start Week 1.
  • Evan Woodbury of NOLA.com writes that wideout Willie Snead‘s strong preseason has put the player in a position to make the Saints“I think he’s done well. He’s very competitive. He’s got some real good football instincts,” said coach Sean Payton. “He’s right there in the thick of it, competing for playing time, competing for a roster spot. He made a couple of plays tonight. He’s doing a good job.”
  • Drew Brees‘ role as the Saints number-one quarterback is obviously safe, and rookie Garrett Grayson seems to have a solid hold on the number-three spot. That leaves Luke McCown and Ryan Griffin competing for the backup spot, and Woodbury writes that McCown appears to be leading the competition.
  • Former Canisius power forward Chris Manhertz is trying to catch on with the Saints as a tight end, and Brett Martel of the Associated Press writes that the former Bills project is using Jimmy Graham (a former basketball player) as inspiration. “Absolutely,” Manhertz said. “It’s really amazing to see how smoothly (Graham) made the transition and where he’s at now, and playing at a high level.”

Jaguars Cut Tommie Campbell

The Jaguars have cut cornerback Tommie Campbell, reports Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter). The 27-year-old joined Jacksonville last October following a season-ending injury to Alan Ball.

The California University of Pennsylvania product was drafted in the seventh round of the 2011 draft by the Titans. He spent three seasons with Tennessee, compiling 24 tackles and a forced fumble in 37 games. He appeared in seven games for the Jags last season, primarily serving in a special teams role.

An assortment of teams auditioned Campbell last season, so there’s a chance that the defensive back could catch on with another team. The Seahawks, Dolphins, Lions, and Buccaneers were among the teams that had previously shown interest in Campbell.

James Develin Suffers Broken Leg

Patriots fullback James Develin suffered a broken right tibia during the Patriots’ preseason win over the Panthers on Friday evening, reports ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss (via Twitter). The injury was described as a “clean break,” and the hope is that the 27-year-old can recover in six to eight weeks.

Reiss wonders if the Patriots could place Develin on the short-term injured reserve, which would be an indication that the team is confident Develin could be ready to go in two months. That might be the most logical option, as the team doesn’t have another fullback on their roster.

The Patriots let go of Eric Kettani earlier this week, but Reiss is doubtful that he would have made the roster even with Develin’s injury. Another option would be to keep four tight ends, with the coaching staff attempting to convert either Michael Hoomanawanui or Michael Williams into a fullback.

Develin went undrafted out of Brown in 2010, and he hung around with the Bengals organization until 2011. Since then, he’s been with New England, where he’s made 33 appearances over three seasons. The fullback has compiled 15 rushing yards and a touchdown on seven attempts, and he’s also caught 10 passes for 105 yards.

ProFootballFocus’s advanced metrics (subscription required) were relatively fond of Develin’s performance last season, ranking him fourth among 23 fullback candidates.

Cardinals To Sign Chris Johnson

SATURDAY, AUG 29, 8:30am: Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com elaborates on the previously reported details of Johnson’s contract.

$400K of the veteran’s base salary will be guaranteed for skill, injury, and salary cap. That means Johnson would earn that chunk of change even if he’s cut, and it also means the Cardinals avoided using the “minimum salary benefit,” allowing the team to lower his cap hit even further.

There is also $1.13MM worth of incentive money in Johnson’s deal. The running back can earn that cash if he rushes for 1,300 yards. This is probably an unreachable number for Johnson, as Kent Somers of AZCentral.com notes that only one player in Cardinals history has surpassed that mark (Ottis Anderson, 1980/1981).

TUESDAY, AUG 18, 7:57am: While Johnson can earn up to $2MM on his new deal, he’s unlikely to do so. As Ed Werder of ESPN.com explains (via Twitter), the one-year deal has a base value worth the minimum salary, with no signing bonus — Johnson would have to make the Pro Bowl and rush for 1,300 yards to earn the full $2MM.

MONDAY, 5:20pm: The Cardinals and Chris Johnson have agreed to a one-year deal, according to Jay Glazer of FOX Sports (on Twitter). The deal is worth up to $2MM, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter).Chris Johnson (vertical)

We heard one week ago that Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians wasn’t overly thrilled with the play of his running backs so far this summer, and intended to discuss outside options with GM Steve Keim. The ground game was a weak spot in Arizona last season, as the team’s leading rusher, Andre Ellington, totaled just 660 yards, averaging 3.3 yards per carry. No other Cardinals back had more than 250 rushing yards.

Now, the Cardinals have Ellington poised to bounce back with Johnson, third-round rookie David Johnson, Stepfan Taylor, and Kerwynn Williams as potential complements to Ellington. Chris Johnson, who turns 30 in September, is now six years removed from his 2,000-yard season, which came back in 2009.

Last season for the Jets, Johnson ran for just 663 yards, the first time in his career he recorded fewer than 1,000 yards in a season. However, he averaged a respectable 4.3 yards per carry in 2014, and claims to be in great shape this year after being shot in a drive-by shooting during the offseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Poll: Will Robert Griffin III Be The Starter In Washington?

Despite suffering a concussion in his preseason game against the Lions, Robert Griffin III was back on the practice field earlier this week, prepping for an important third preseason game against the Ravens.

After being underwhelming so far this offseason, and frankly ever since his rookie season, this matchup against the Ravens was becoming increasingly important to his long-term future in Washington. If he continued to struggle, especially into the regular season, it would make it easier for the coaching staff to see what they have in Kirk Cousins, who has been as popular as a backup quarterback could be to the fans in the city.

In a surprising twist, today an independent neurologist Robert N. Kurtzke disagreed with the decision that Griffin was ready to play, and instead recommended that he be held out of this weekend’s preseason action, according to Lindsay Murphy Guyer of Fox (via Twitter).

This reversal was followed with a storm of speculation and discussion surrounding the status of Griffin in Washington. There had already been rumors of him alienating teammates, not getting along with his offensive linemen, and clashing with his coaching staff.

This might not be a big deal elsewhere, other than that a starting quarterback was missing preseason action, but it is magnified in Washington because of the path Griffin’s career has taken. Cousins has pushed Griffin in the past, and despite a poor track record of individual success as a starter, often seems like the best alternative on the team.

If Griffin indeed misses the rest of the preseason, he will be starting Week 1 coming off two weeks of inconsistent play followed by two weeks of inactivity. That alone could be enough for head coach Jay Gruden to push Cousins into the starting lineup. Even if Griffin starts, his leash might have shortened due to this most recent injury, even if it isn’t his fault. The drama seems to follow him, and owner Daniel Snyder can’t protect him forever.

Griffin is still the starter for the beginning of the season until something changes, but Cousins will get an opportunity to work with the starters for an extended period of time and likely one or both of the remaining preseason games. Griffin’s job wasn’t secure to begin with, and this only shakes things up even more.

At this juncture, Griffin’s future in Washington looks even more bleak. Beyond 2015, it was questionable whether the team would stay with him without a bounce back year. Now, even his status for 2015 is in doubt. Without valuable preseason reps, Cousins is closer than ever to winning the starting job outright, and Griffin’s injury history suggests Cousins will start eventually anyway.

The question is, whether by coach’s decision or by injury, who will start more games at quarterback in Washington this season? Cast your vote in the poll and feel free to weigh in below in the comments section to explain your reasoning.

(direct link here)

Extra Points: Brooks, Dead Money, Quarterbacks

Let’s take a look at a few stories from around the NFL as this Friday comes to a close:

  • Ahmad Brooks was accused of assault back in May, and was officially charged with sexual battery earlier this week. The 49ers have not made a decision yet on whether they will retain the embattled linebacker, and the NFL is dragging their feet on making a decision as well. The league could choose to place him on paid leave or the commissioner’s exempt list while his legal situation gets sorted out, writes Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com.
  • As teams continue to trim down their rosters on the way to coming up with the best 53 players, it is fun to remember all the players who have already been cut or traded during recent offseasons who are still a burden to the salary cap. The Saints pace the league in dead money with 20% of their cap tied up, led by Jimmy Graham, Ben Grubbs, Junior Galette, and Curtis Lofton, per Spotrac.com. The Bengals sit on the other side of the spectrum, only having .57% of their cap devoted to players no longer on the roster.
  • While teams like the Bills, Browns, and Jets might still have uncertain quarterback situations, the likelihood of finding a starter on the trade market in late August isn’t very high, writes Zac Jackson of Pro Football Talk. The precedent isn’t there, and even when players get traded this time of year, it is rarely for anything more than a backup. Brett Favre being traded to the Jets is the exception, but special circumstances surrounded that ordeal in Green Bay.

AFC Notes: Levitre, Brown, Raiders, Dolphins

Big money guard Andy Levitre isn’t starting for the Titans in the preseason for the second straight week, which doesn’t bode well for his chances of making the team, writes Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (via Twitter). Cole expects the team to release him, and picks the Dolphins and Eagles as possible landing spots.

Here are some other notes from around the AFC:

  • The Texans released Stevie Brown earlier today, and Tania Ganguli of ESPN writes that the timing is interesting because it was clear he wouldn’t make the team but the early release will help him find work elsewhere (via Twitter). Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle adds that there could be better opportunities for playing time elsewhere in the league (via Twitter).
  • Speaking of Brown, the Raiders could be in play for his services, according to Bill Williamson of ESPN (via Twitter). The Raiders were in play for him in free agency, and still have a need at the position.
  • The Dolphins went all in this offseason for Ndamukong Suh, and could sacrifice buying potential in future offseasons due to the amount of money they committed to the All-Pro defensive tackle. However, the future could still be bright if they can develop their young talent, as James Walker of ESPN notes that the team is rich with under-25 talent on the roster, ranking second in the NFL by Football Outsiders (subscription required). The Cowboys are the only team with better young talent.

NFC Notes: Dill, Brown, Bell, Saints

Backup Cowboys offensive tackle R.J. Dill has been suspended for the first four games of the regular season for violating the policy on performance-enhancing substances, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter).

Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram passed on a statement from Dill regarding the suspension (via Twitter). “My doctor suggested that I undergo testosterone replacement therapy, and I accepted the recommended treatment.”

Charles Robinson of Yahoo! notes that needing testosterone replacement for a 24-year-old professional athlete like Dill would be a rarity (via Twitter).

Here are some other notes from around the NFC:

  • The Texans just released Stevie Brown, and the Giants could be interested in bringing him back, given their current situation at safety, according to Dan Graziano of ESPN (via Twitter). Graziano adds that injury concerns led to the Giants passing on him in the spring, but as they have been saddled with injuries at safety (via Twitter).
  • Speaking of injured Giants safety, Jordan Raanan of NJ.com is skeptical the Giants will keep Nat Berhe on the roster this season if he will miss the first four games of the season, maybe more (via Twitter). It could be way more, as surgery could end his season.
  • Buccaneers’ fifth-round pick Kenny Bell will sit out of tomorrow’s preseason game against the Browns with a hamstring injury, and could miss the rest of the preseason, writes Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune. If he does miss the rest of the preseason, it could effect whether or not he makes the 53-man roster come Week 1.
  • As the regular season comes closer, the Evan Woodbery of NOLA.com opens his mailbag to discuss what the final roster will look like after the team is forced to cut it down first to 75 players and then 53 before Week 1. He is skeptical the Saints will keep more than four or five receivers, leaving Seantavious Jones and Willie Snead IV on the outside looking in. He also opines on which running back and defensive linemen on the bubble will find their way onto the roster for the regular season.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/28/15

Today’s minor signings, cuts, and other moves..

  • The Broncos have signed tight end Dan Light, who played college football at Fordham University in New York, writes Andrew Mason of DenverBroncos.com. The team has waived Solomon Patton to clear room on the roster.
  • The Steelers have cut injured skill position player Ross Scheurman, reports Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter). Scheurman played running back in college but might have also had value as a slot receiver, before injuring his Achilles during a drill in training camp early this month.
  • Tackle Quinterrius Eatmon has been cut by the Oakland Raiders, per Wilson (via Twitter). Eatmon was a rookie free agent out of the University of South Florida.
  • The Giants have reached an injury settlement with linebacker Tony Johnson, according to James Kratch of NJ Advance Media (via Twitter). Johnson was waived/injured earlier this week after suffering a knee injury.
  • The Texans have released safety Stevie Brown, reports Tania Ganguli of ESPN (via Twitter). The former Giant gained notoriety with an eight-interception campaign in 2012, but hadn’t picked off a pass before or since.

NFL News & NFL Rumors