Green Bay Packers

Extra Points: Packers, Vikings, Chiefs, Raiders

Packers coach Mike McCarthy has seen his fair share of players succumb to injuries, including offensive lineman Bryan Bulaga. When asked whether it would be a good idea to be cautious and sit out the former first-rounder, McCarthy acknowledged that the organization may have done that too much in the past.

“I think sometimes we may have done that in the past,” McCarthy said. “I think our medical department tilts that way, but the reality is you’re only given 16 games and I know from a player’s perspective, they want to play in every single game.

“If Bryan Bulaga feels that he can go in this game, that’ll be a part of the decision. But we’re not saving anybody for next week or so forth. If Bryan cannot go, it will be clearly from a medical standpoint that we don’t feel it’s in his best interest.

“I just think medically people are a lot more conservative today. I think the landscape is a challenge for every medical group. I think it’s only natural. But at the end of the day, that’s why you have the process. That’s why it’s set up the way it is on who makes those decisions.

“At the end of the day, and I know I’ve said this numerous times in here, from (general manager) Ted Thompson and myself as far as you look at our players, we’re never going to jeopardize a player’s future for one game. But the importance of playing in every game is important.”

Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFL…

  • Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press predicts that Vikings offensive lineman Mike Harris is the most likely player on the roster to be cut (via Twitter), but he clarifies in another tweet that Harris could easily be re-signed next week. He also suggests tight end/fullback MarQueis Gray as a potential cut (via Twitter).
  • Chiefs safety Eric Berry is so impressed by Travis Kelce, he refuses to compare his teammate to any other tight end in the league. “Nah, he’s a different breed. For real,” Berry told Tom Pelissero of USA Today Sports. “He’s big, he’s got speed and he’s got moves. He’s got a lot of swag about his play. He doesn’t do it like how it says in the book.”
  • Vincent Brown would be a good fit for the Raiders, writes ESPN.com’s Bill Williamson. The former Chargers receiver was waived by the team at the end of August, and Williamson believes Oakland could use his consistency.

Extra Points: Rice, Bills Ownership, Injuries

The NFL has informed teams that any contract with Ray Rice will not be approved until further direction is provided from Roger Goodell, tweets ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Additionally, Rice will not be eligible to play north of the border, either, as the CFL will honor the NFL’s suspension, according to Sportsnet’s Arash Madani (via Twitter).

Here’s some more miscellaneous news and notes:

  • Bids to buy the Bills are in from Terry Pegula, Donald Trump and Jon Bon Jovi’s Toronto-based group, reports the Buffalo News’ Tim Graham (via Twitter). He adds multiple sources believe the process could be wrapped up as soon as Wednesday. As of yesterday, Pegula, who also owns the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres, appears to be the favorite to land the winning bid.
  • Titans linebacker Zach Brown will miss the rest of the season because of a torn pectoral, reports Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean. Zaviar Gooden, another athletic linebacker, is expected to replace Brown in the starting lineup.
  • Bears center Roberto Garza sustained a high ankle sprain yesterday, reports Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune (via Twitter). With Garza sidelined for an undetermined period of time, the Bears will turn to free-agent acquisition Brian De La Puente at center.
  • Redskins defensive tackle Barry Cofield will also be sidelined by a high ankle sprain, says Ian Rapoport (via Twitter).
  • The Patriots worked out running back Daniel Thomas, quarterback Brock Jensen and tight ends Evan Wilson and Brian Wozniak, according to ESPN’s Field Yates (Twitter link).
  • Yates also reports a couple more running back tryouts: Chris Rainey (Cardinals) and Lache Seastrunk (Packers).
  • Jason Fitzgerald at OverTheCap.com identifies players entering crucial stages of their contract who helped or hurt their stock on Sunday. Fitzgerald highlights Broncos tight end Julian Thomas, who recorded 7-103-3 in a win over the Colts, noting Thomas or teammate and free agent-to-be Demaryius Thomas “should be able to jump into a new offer” since the team can only franchise one of their pass-catching stars. At the other end of the spectrum, Fitzgerald says Redskins pass rusher Brian Orakpo was “non-existent “on Sunday. Furthermore, Orakpo’s reputation as someone who disappears in games could prevent him from getting the type of mega deal he seeks in free agency.

NFC Notes: Bulaga, Winston, Rams, Panthers

The Packers’ offensive line didn’t fare too well after right tackle Bryan Bulaga went down last night, and Green Bay’s front five will be without the 2010 first-rounder for a while longer. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN (via Twitter), Bulaga has suffered a torn MCL. While the Packers are lucky Bulaga didn’t re-tear his ACL, Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com tweets that the 25-year-old will miss two-to-four weeks while recovering from the injury. Derek Sherrod, whom Pro Football Focus (subscription required) handed a -6.4 grade on just 42 snaps in last night’s contest, will fill in at RT.

Meanwhile, Demovsky adds (on Twitter) that while Green Bay might consider adding free agent tackle Eric Winston, there’s “nothing concrete” on that front as of yet. Winston, 30, signed with the Seahawks on July 29 but was released just a month later.

Let’s look at some more news items from the NFC:

  • The Rams tried out veteran linebackers Pat Angerer and Kelvin Sheppard today, according to Field Yates of ESPN (Twitter link). Angerer spent most of his career with the Colts before latching on with the Falcons for the summer, while Sheppard was cut by Indianapolis last week.
  • Panthers tight end D.C. Jefferson, a second-year player out of Rutgers, has been suspended four games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, writes Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. Jefferson is currently on Carolina’s injured reserve after being waived-injured late last month.
  • Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap breaks down the details of Junior Galette‘s extension with the Saints, which includes a roster bonus and escalators which come into play if Galette notches 12 sacks in 2014. Fitzgerald also notes that New Orleans will likely have to restructure the pass-rusher’s deal as soon as next offseason due to its cap management woes.
  • Most teams carry only one fullback and some don’t even bother to have one at all. So why do the Vikings have two in Jerome Felton and Zach Line? “In college, no one has them anymore. They don’t have any fullbacks in college football,” coach Mike Zimmer said, according to Matt Vensel of the Star Tribune. “So typically you’re taking a tight end — if they have those. There’s hardly any blocking tight ends anymore. So you’re taking them and making them fullbacks or taking linebackers and making them fullbacks. When you find one, if you have a fullback offense, you keep them.”

Zach Links contributed to this post.

NFC Notes: Tate, Ellington, Boone

New Lions receiver Golden Tate is enjoying the offense in Detroit, writes Robert Klemko of the MMQB. “The offense is kind of a feel offense. You feel your way around. Obviously there are rules and depths, but at the end of the day you’ve got to play football and just be an athlete…Coach Lombardi’s thing is to just put guys in different places and let them make plays. In Seattle we might have thrown 15-20 times a game so it made it hard to get off there. I prefer what we have in Detroit,” Tate said.

  • Good news for Cardinals fans: the first prognosis on running back Andre Ellington‘s foot injury is that it’s a muscle injury, tweets Jay Glazer of FOX Sports. The team is still waiting on MRI results and a diagnosis from a foot specialist, however. If Ellington is sidelined, Jonathan Dwyer will presumably take the starting role with Stepfan Taylor and Robert Hughes in support.
  • During last night’s pregame show, NBC’s Cris Collinsworth said that Julius Peppers was prepared to return to the Panthers before Packers came along with an offer he couldn’t refuse, writes Darin Gantt of Pro Football Talk. “He was getting ready to go to Carolina, thinking he’d just go home and finish his career there,” Collinsworth said. “Then the Green Bay Packers called and said, ‘How’d you like to be a stand-up, 3-4 outside linebacker?’ And he said, ‘I’ve been waiting my whole life to do that.’” Retaining Peppers became quite the longshot for Carolina once Green Bay offered up a three-year, $26MM deal.
  • Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap has the specifics on Alex Boone‘s new deal with the 49ers. The total contract value is $6MM over two years with another $2MM available in incentives. Those incentives are tied to being selected to the Pro Bowl and named first team All-NFL.

NFC Links: Sam, Bradford, Suh, Bailey

Let’s look at the latest news from the NFC…

  • After Michael Sam failed to land with a team via waivers after being cut by the Rams, the NFL discreetly contact clubs around the league and asked them to evaluate him as a practice squad candidate, reported Peter King on NBC’s pregame coverage earlier tonight. Sam eventually joined the Cowboys’ PS.
  • In the wake of his second ACL tear in as many seasons, Rams quarterback Sam Bradford says he hasn’t yet coped with the future of his NFL career. “I haven’t even thought that far ahead,” Bradford told reporters, including Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com. “It’s still pretty hard to comprehend right now. I think it will be good once I have the surgery because the rehab process will give me something to focus on and something to put my attention towards.”
  • Ndamukong Suh was complementary of J.J. Watt following the latter’s extension with the Texans, but wouldn’t comment on what Watt’s deal would mean for him, Suh. “I have no clue,” Suh said, per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free-Press. “It’s not up to me. Talk to my agent.” The defensive tackle is entering the final year of his contract with the Lions, during which he will count a league-high $22.413MM against the cap.
  • Lions head coach Jim Caldwell was coy about his team’s interest in adding Champ Bailey following the veteran’s workout today, but Detroit corner Rashean Mathis hopes Bailey will be joining him in the secondary, writes Birkett in a separate piece. “You can substitute for a lot of things, but knowledge is not one of them,” said Mathis. “[Bailey] knows the game, he knows football. When you have that much playing experience, the coaches know you know just as much as them when it comes to on-the-field stuff.”
  • In a piece for TheMMQB.com, former Packers employee Andrew Brandt details the contrasting personalities of two of his former colleagues — Green Bay general manager Ted Thompson, and Seahawks GM (and former Packers personnel man) John Schneider.

Minor Moves: Thursday

We’ll keep track of the day’s minor transactions here, with the latest moves being added to the top of the page:

  • The Miami-New England waiver wire saga continues, as the Dolphins have claimed defensive tackle Bruce Gaston from the Patriots, who waived him yesterday, according to Field Yates of ESPN (via Twitter). Gaston, 22, was a 2014 undrafted free agent out of Purdue. In order to clear a roster spot, the Dolphins waived defensive back Brandian Ross, who started 13 games for the Raiders last season, tweets Yates.
  • Jake Stoneburner, a second-year tight end out of Ohio State, has been removed from the Packers’ injured reserve list with an injury settlement, per Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (Twitter link).

Extra Points: HGH, Thompson, Raiders

Reports today, including one from ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen, have suggested that talks between the NFL and the NFLPA have intensified, as the two sides attempt to implement HGH testing and revamp the league’s current drug policy. However, NFLPA president Eric Winston has issued a statement cautioning that there’s still work to be done.

“Players who have been to any collective bargaining negotiation understand that we never describe them as ‘very close,’” Winston said. “We look at every issue we can to improve the rights and benefits of players. This process takes time, it takes creativity and it is never easy. We want to get a new agreement in place but we understand the responsibility we have to the players and to the game. It is critical that we get this right.”

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter), Ted Thompson’s new contract with the Packers should keep him with the team well into his mid-60s. Rapoport reports that the deal, which was signed in July, is a three-year pact that runs through 2018.
  • Meanwhile, Peter King takes an in-depth look at Thompson in a piece for TheMMQB.com, which includes the Packers GM discussing the team’s signing of Julius Peppers.
  • Although a report on Wednesday suggested that the City of Oakland is closing in on an agreement for a new stadium for the Raiders, San Antonio is “still in conversations” to move the Raiders to Texas, city manager Sheryl Sculley tells Josh Baugh and Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News.
  • During the 48-hour window between when the Saints cut him and re-signed him, Robert Meachem received inquiries from other teams, but he says he knew the call from New Orleans was coming, tweets Sean Fazende of FOX 8 Sports.
  • Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com explains why the 49ers saw $8MM in cap space disappear this week, as the cap calculations for the 2014 season started taking into account teams’ full rosters rather than just their top 51 highest-paid players.

Practice Squad Updates: Wednesday

It’s hard to imagine any practice squad updates today will be more notable than the news that Michael Sam has joined the Cowboys’ unit, but there figure to be plenty other teams tweaking their squads. We’ll round up all those items right here:

  • Undrafted rookie center Josh Allen, who was cut by the Bucs, has signed to the Packers‘ practice squad, according to Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times (on Twitter).
  • The Saints re-signed quarterback Ryan Griffin to their practice squad, a source tells Mike Triplett of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
  • The Bengals have filled out their practice squad by adding ex-Chargers wideout Tevin Reese, the team announced today (via Twitter).
  • Safety Matt Daniels has been replaced on the Rams’ practice squad by tight end Brad Smelley, according to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (via Twitter).

Earlier updates:

  • The Vikings have confirmed the previously-reported signing of Ahmad Dixon to their practice squad, announcing that tackle Mike Remmers has been cut to make room (Twitter link).
  • When they added Sam to their practice squad, the Cowboys dropped seventh-round linebacker Will Smith, according to a team release.
  • As first reported by Doug Kyed of NESN (via Twitter), linebacker Colton Underwood has signed with the Eagles‘ practice squad, filling the 10th and final opening.
  • The Patriots made a few changes to their practice squad, bringing in guard Chris Barker, running back Marcus Thigpen, and tight end Allen Reisner, according to Kyed (via Twitter). Quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson, safety Kanorris Davis and defensive back Daxton Swanson appear to no longer be on the squad, writes Lee Schechter of ESPNBoston.com.
  • After working out several players yesterday, the Giants signed one of those players – defensive tackle Dominique Hamilton – to their practice squad today, tweets Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News.
  • The Ravens brought in former third-round cornerback Jamell Fleming for a visit and added him to their practice squad, per Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. Wilson’s Sun colleague Jeff Zrebiec adds (via Twitter) that cornerback Deji Olatoye has been cut to make room.
  • Safety Ahmad Dixon, who was drafted by the Cowboys in the seventh round this year, is expected to sign with the Vikings‘ practice squad, tweets Adam Caplan of ESPN.com. Minnesota currently has 10 players on board, so a corresponding move will be required.

Packers Promote Garth Gerhart To Roster

The Packers have made a pair of transactions involving centers, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com, who reports (via Twitter) that the team has placed J.C. Tretter on injured reserve with the designation to return. In his place, Green Bay has promoted Garth Gerhart from the practice squad to the active roster.

Tretter, who missed his rookie season last year, with leg and ankle injuries, was sidelined during the preseason with a knee injury, and had been viewed for the last week or so as the top candidate for Green Bay’s IR-DTR spot. In his absence, rookie Corey Linsley is expected to start for the Packers at center.

The Packers now have an opening on their practice squad, which they’ll likely fill in the near future. Additionally, Green Bay becomes the 10th NFL team to use its IR-DTR spot.

NFC North Notes: Suh, Bennett, Packers

J.J. Watt‘s new contract could affect their Lions and their plans regarding Ndamukong Suh, writes Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. Watt arguably has been the NFL’s most destructive player the last two seasons. He had 20.5 sacks and 16 pass deflections in 2012, 10.5 sacks last year, and is two years younger than Suh. Still, Suh has the threat of free agency as leverage for a new deal. Here’s tonight’s look at the NFC North..

  • When asked why free agent wide receiver Earl Bennett wasn’t called to replace the injured Marquess Wilson, Bears GM Phil Emery said, “Don’t assume that Earl was not called,” according to Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times (on Twitter).
  • The Packers have worked out offensive linemen Michael BamiroManase Foketi, and Adam Gettis, as well as cornerback Robert Steeples, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (on Twitter). Earlier today Green Bay worked out quarterbacks Jeff Mathews, Pat Devlin, and Jon Jennings.
  • The Bears auditioned linebacker Nate Askew and defensive backs Shamiel Gary and Josh Thomas, tweets Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.