Green Bay Packers

NFC Mailbags: Panthers, Peppers, Beatty, Reese

We took a look at ESPN’s AFC mailbags earlier today. Let’s check out what ESPN’s NFC writers had to say…

  • David Newton thinks it’s pretty clear that the Panthers will focus on their offensive line in the upcoming draft. Meanwhile, he doesn’t expect the team to consider a running back until at least the third or fourth round.
  • If Julius Peppers return to the Packers next season, it would have to be with a restructured contract, writes Rob Demovsky.
  • Todd Archer says that Jerry Jones certainly deserves some credit for the Cowboys‘ success this season.
  • Dan Graziano writes that the Giants will have an interesting decision to make this offseason with left tackle Will Beatty. If the team decides to part ways with the former second-rounder, they could target an offensive lineman in the draft or free agency.
  • Graziano clarifies that Giants general manager Jerry Reese is not on the hot seat and is not in any danger of losing his job.

NFC North Links: Johnson, Jennings, Kalil

Former Bears return man Devin Hester has lit up NFC North opponents throughout his career. Lions coach Jim Caldwell has witnessed the game-changing abilities the veteran possesses, and he believes the current Falcons speedster deserves a spot in Canton. Via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press…

“He’s made it an art form and cut a niche in there like no one else has in the game, I think,” Caldwell said. “There’s been some great returners in this game, there’s no question about that. Deion Sanders was one that was one of those guys that was dangerous, in that regard. This guy is equally so, and I think he will be one of the first guys to ever sort of carve that niche out.

“Anytime (Hester) gets the ball in his hand, obviously, he’s a threat to go all the way. A very difficult guy to handle. We’ve faced some very good ones prior to this weekend, and he’s no exception. He’s probably going into the Hall of Fame, so he’s a cut above, maybe, the rest.”

Lions punter Sam Martin echoes his coach’s sentiment.

“He’s undoubtedly the best to ever do it, so that’s definitely something you consider,” Martin said. “But just like I’ve said about every other guy we’ve faced, they’re all dangerous and you don’t want to give any of them an easy return … on kickoffs or punts. Our coverage teams are going to do what they do, and I’m going to try limiting his touches as much as possible. Hit high balls and, hopefully, we shut them down.”

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

NFC Notes: Cobb, Griffen, Orakpo, Coaches

Randall Cobb started the 2014 season a little slow, and he admits that his frame of mind may have played a role in his lackluster production during the first three games. “The mental side of things is very important,” Cobb told Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. “I think I was pressing a little bit too much early on this season, trying to do too much instead of just being myself and doing what I do. Just relaxing and playing ball.” Cobb, playing under the final year of his rookie deal with the Packers, also allowed that his contact situation played into his slow start. “I mean, it definitely had something to do with it,” Cobb said when asked about his contract status. “But I think I found peace mentally, and that’s the biggest thing, having that peace and being able to not worry about those things.” I profiled the 24-year-old Cobb as a extension candidate a few weeks ago, and projected that he could receive a contract in line with Golden Tate‘s, five-year, $31MM deal. Here’s more from the NFC.

  • Many NFL observers panned the Vikings’ decision to re-sign defensive end Everson Griffen to a five-year contract worth $42.5MM, but as Matt Vensel of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune writes, the 2007 fourth-round pick has been worth the money so far. Griffen has already registered seven sacks, and Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics (subscription required) say that he’s an excellent run defender.
  • In a piece for the Sporting News, Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap writes that Washington linebacker Brian Orakpo is the latest victim of the evolution of franchise tag use. Per Fitzgerald, clubs simply use the tag as a way to keep players to whom they don’t want to commit. When a player gets injured during his franchise tag season, as Orakpo did, the player is forced to sign a bargain basement deal the next offseason, à la Henry Melton and Anthony Spencer.
  • Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell are among the top head coaching candidates in the league, according to Greg Gabriel of the National Football Post.

Update On Traded 2015 Draft Picks

The trade that sent Percy Harvin from Seattle to the Jets this past week was the latest example of a swap in which the draft pick involved in the deal is tied to a condition which will affect the value of that pick. In the case of the Harvin deal, the pick Seattle acquired reportedly can become a fourth-rounder if the wideout remains on the Jets’ roster beyond this season, but if New York moves on from Harvin in the offseason, the 2015 pick will be a sixth-rounder.

Considering we haven’t even seen Harvin suit up for the Jets yet, we’re nowhere close to knowing whether he’ll remain in the team’s plans for 2015, so that conditional pick remains very much up in the air. However, there are a number of other conditional picks whose outlook is much clearer. Here’s an update on several of the picks that could change hands in 2015:

Conditions met, or likely to be met:

  • Dolphins acquired 49ers‘ seventh-round pick for Jonathan Martin: Martin had to make San Francisco’s opening day 53-man roster for this pick to change hands, which he did.
  • Giants acquired Broncos‘ seventh-round pick for Brandon McManus. The deal required McManus to remain the Broncos’ kicker even after Matt Prater‘s four-game suspension ended for the Giants to acquire the pick, which he did.
  • Ravens acquiring Cowboys‘ sixth-round pick for Rolando McClain: McClain needs to play in 50% of the Cowboys’ defensive snaps for Baltimore to land this pick, and so far, he has played in about 81%, per Pro Football Focus (subscription required). Assuming he meets the criteria, the Ravens would sent their seventh-round pick to Dallas in exchange for the Cowboys’ sixth-rounder.
  • Titans acquiring Cowboys‘ seventh-round pick for Lavar Edwards: Edwards must spend at least 10 games on the Cowboys’ roster for Tennessee to grab this pick, and so far he has been on the team for all but one contest. He’ll need four more games on the 53-man roster for the Titans to get the pick.

Conditions not met, or unlikely to be met:

  • Packers won’t acquire Patriots‘ seventh-round pick for Jerel Worthy: Worthy had to make the Pats’ opening day 53-man roster for Green Bay to get this pick, but he was waived during preseason cutdowns.
  • Panthers likely won’t acquire Eagles‘ seventh-round pick for Kenjon Barner: Barner must spend at least four games on Philadelphia’s 46-man game day roster for this pick to change hands. Considering Barner hasn’t even been on the team’s roster since the season began, this appears unlikely.
  • Jaguars likely won’t acquire pick from 49ers for Blaine Gabbert: The Jags would’ve landed a pick if Gabbert started eight or more games in 2014. Unless Colin Kaepernick goes down with a serious injury in the team’s next game, this won’t happen.

For details on all of 2015’s traded draft picks, be sure to check out our complete list.

Workout Notes: Tuesday

Earlier today, the Giants looked at an eye-popping 15 players, including Felix Jones, Jonathan Baldwin, Terrelle Pryor, and Tony Moeaki. Here’s a look at other notable auditions from around the league..

  • The Colts worked out defensive back Chance Casey, wide receiver Mike Davis, quarterback Pat Devlin, and wide receiver Tramaine Thompson, according to ESPN.com’s Field Yates (via Mike Wells on Twitter). Running back Jeff Demps and Konrad Reuland were also part of the workout and earned spots on the Colts’ practice squad.
  • The Seahawks looked at free agent linebacker Paris Lenon, according to Yates (on Twitter). Lenon, 37 next month, has 12 years of NFL experience under his belt. Remarkably, he has missed a grand total of three regular season games during that span.
  • Before signing running back Phillip Tanner earlier today, the Bills also auditioned Evan Royster, Yates tweets. Royster was with the Redskins from 2011-2013. The Bills also auditioned wide receiver Kenny Shaw and quarterback Brad Sorensen today, according to Yates (via Mike Rodak of ESPN.com on Twitter).
  • The Packers auditioned four players today, according to ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky (on Twitter): wide receiver Jace Davis (Northern Colorado), running back David Fluellen (Toledo), guard Andrew Miller (Virginia Tech), and cornerback David Van Dyke (Tennessee State).

North Notes: Hoyer, Rice, Lions, Packers

No team in the league has gotten more production out of less talent than this year’s Browns, writes Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. Starting quarterback Brian Hoyer, who continues to delay the full-time arrival of Johnny Manziel, was an undrafted free agent. Backup running back Isaiah Corwell was also a UDFA and the same goes for the team’s three top wide receivers Andrew Hawkins, Miles Austin, and Taylor Gabriel. The Browns will look to go to 4-2 when they take on the Jaguars on Sunday. More from the North divisions..

  • A source tells Rob Maaddi of The Associated Press that a neutral arbiter is expected to make a decision early next week on whether Roger Goodell should testify in the Ray Rice case. The NFLPA, of course, is going to bat for the former Ravens running back on his indefinite suspension.
  • The Lions tried out tight ends Kellen Davis and Richard Gordon today, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter, via Michael Rothstein). Detroit worked out a number of players on Tuesday, but none at the tight end position.
  • The Packers had former Mississippi State safety Nickoe Whitley in for a visit, but he didn’t work out for them, tweets Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Whitley signed with the Browns this year after going undrafted. The Packers were among the teams who scoped out Whitley at his school’s pro day, so they have some level of familiarity with him.

NFC Notes: Peppers, Hayne, House, Vikings

During a Sunday Night Football broadcast early last month, NBC’s Cris Collinsworth stated that Julius Peppers had been set to reunite with the Panthers over the offseason after being released by the Bears. While Carolina head coach Ron Rivera did acknowledge that his team was interested in signing the the 34-year-old, Peppers himself doesn’t seem to have viewed the Panthers as a serious suitor. “I was never over there for a visit,” Peppers said, according to David Newton of ESPN.com. “I never talked to any of the coaches. It didn’t get very far for me personally.” Of course, the North Carolina alum ended up inking a three-year deal with the Packers, and is playing quite well, grading out as the 10th-best 3-4 OLB among 46 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus (subscription required). Here’s more from the NFC:

  • We learned yesterday that rugby star Jarryd Hayne is attempting to make the jump to the NFL, and the Seahawks are one possible landing spot for the 26-year-old. Hayne took a visit with the team in September, and while head coach Pete Carroll was “coy” when asked about Hayne, it appears that the club does have some interest in signing him, according to Terry Blount of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
  • Packers fourth-year cornerback Davon House will be an unrestricted free agent come March of 2015, and he’s set himself up to earn a significant amount of money on his second contract, writes Rob Reishcel of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. As Reischel notes, fellow corner Tramon Williams will also be a free agent after the season, and given that Green Bay already signed Sam Shields to a gaudy extension, the club might have to choose only one of House or Williams.
  • The Vikings probably won’t make a deal before the October 28 trade deadline, writes Bo Mitchell of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, but the two most likeliest candidates to be sent out are probably Christian Ponder and Adrian Peterson. Ponder could appeal to teams in desperate need of a quarterback, and while Peterson probably won’t offer any value in 2014, he could be of interest to a club who hopes the star running back returns to the field in 2015.

Practice Squad Updates: Wednesday

We’ll keep track of today’s practice squad signings and cuts here..

  • The Seahawks announced that safety Steven Terrell has re-joined the practice squad (Twitter link via Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times). Terrell was waived yesterday when the Hawks re-signed defensive lineman Greg Scruggs. Seattle had only nine players on its taxi squad, so it won’t have to release anyone to make room for Terrell.

Earlier Updates:

  • The Chiefs announced that they have signed former Oklahoma State linebacker Orie Lemon to the practice squad.
  • The Broncos announced that they have added defensive end Gerald Rivers to the practice squad today, as the staff at The Denver Post writes. Rivers appear in two games for the Rams and Jaguars last season.
  • The Dolphins signed quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson to the practice squad, tweets Adam Caplan of ESPN.com.
  • The Packers signed tight end Ike Ariguzo to their practice squad and released guard Jordan McCray, according to Tom Silverstein of the Journal Sentinel. The 6’5″, 245-pound Ariguzo, a rookie who played at Eastern Kentucky, made an impression on Green Bay coaches when he auditioned for them in May.
  • The Titans have signed TE Brett Brackett back to their practice squad, tweets Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean.
  • The Steelers have signed defensive end Ethan Hemer, defensive back Jordan Sullen, and offensive lineman Adam Gettis to the practice squad, according to team PR director Burt Lauten (on Twitter). In related moves, the Steelers have released wide receiver Derek Moye and placed cornerback Shaq Richardson on the taxi squad’s injured reserve. Sullen recently auditioned for the Jets after he was let go in Chicago.
  • The Browns announced they signed wide receiver Kevin Cone to their practice squad, according to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal (on Twitter). Cone was previously with the Bucs’ practice squad.
  • The Buccaneers added fullback Lonnie Pryor and defensive end George Uko to their taxi squad while releasing Cone, according to Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com (on Twitter).

NFC Links: Sproles, Lions, Hardy, Packers

As we head to the second half of tonight’s game with the Rams leading the 49ers 14-10, let’s look at some notes from the NFC:

  • A source tells Geoff Mosher of CSNPhilly.com that Eagles running back Darren Sproles will miss a few weeks but he’ll be back this season after last night’s knee injury. The veteran injured his knee late in the third quarter and there was initially fear that he had torn his ACL. Considering that the injury could have been much worse and the Eagles are on bye this week, that’s fortunate news for the veteran.
  • New Lions kicker Matt Prater missed two field goal attempts on Sunday but coach Jim Caldwell isn’t thinking about moving on to his fourth kicker in 2014. “I think (with) wind like we had today, you’re going to have an issue,” Caldwell said, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “He kicked a 52-yarder, which was great. We have all the confidence in the world in him. I mean, the guy’s got a great track record. We feel good about him.”
  • Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy hasn’t been in contact with the team yet but he’ll be back in touch “at the right moment,” coach Ron Rivera told reporters, including David Newton of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
  • The Packers’ secondary took some hits on Sunday, as both Sam Shields and Tramon Williams left the game with injuries. Head coach Mike McCarthy didn’t offer any specifics on the duo’s ailments, or that of linebacker Jamari Lattimore, but did say that none of the three are facing a long-term absence, writes Weston Hodkiewicz of Press-Gazette Media.
  • Ndamukong Suh is among the players whom Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap says raised their stock with their performance yesterday. Suh, whose contract with the Lions expires after the season, is playing at a level that will allow him to ask for a enormous deal come free agency, writes Fitzgerald.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Injury Updates: Sunday

While we don’t cover every injury here at Pro Football Rumors, we will keep track of injuries to key players that could force teams to make important roster moves. We’ll update the following list throughout the day:

  • Giants nickel back Trumaine McBride told reporters tonight, including Kieran Darcy of ESPNNewYork.com (Twitter link), that he has a dislocated thumb, which figures to sideline him for multiple weeks.
  • Eagles running back Darren Sproles left tonight’s game against the Giants with a knee injury, and as Doug Farrar of SI.com tweets, NBC’s Michele Tafoya reported that the tests adminstered to Sproles’ MCL and ACL by the team left the running back “pretty unhappy.” We should have a clearer idea of the prognosis for Sproles on Monday.

Earlier updates:

  • The Jets fear that starting right guard Brian Winters will be sidelined for the season with a torn ACL, a sources tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk (Twitter link). The team will conduct tests tomorrow morning to determine whether or not that’s the case.
  • Sam Shields believes he avoided a major knee injury today, writes Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Losing Shields would’ve been a costly blow for the Packers, who re-signed the cornerback to a lucrative long-term deal during the offseason.
  • Milliner is believed to have torn his Achilles, tweets Rapoport; the second-year corner would obviously miss the remainder of the season if true.
  • The Browns believe Mack has suffered a significant leg injury, and expect him to “miss extended time,” reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Currently, the Browns have moved right guard John Greco to center, with Paul McQuistan taking over at RG. We’ll certainly have more on this situation as more news is relayed.
  • Patriots running back Stevan Ridley has been ruled out for the day with a knee injury. Per Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald (on Twitter), Ridley’s “ankle bent in a way no one wants their ankle to bend.”
  • The Bengals linebacking unit has taken another hit, as Rey Maualuga had to be carted off the field with a leg injury, according to Aditi Kinkhabwala of the the NFL Network (Twitter link).
  • Speaking on FOX, Jay Glazer provided an update on Broncos running Montee Ball, who will miss an additional 3-4 weeks with a groin injury.
  • The Browns excellent offensive line has taken a hit, as center Alex Mack had to be carted off the field with a left ankle injury, tweets Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal. ESPN.com’s Tony Grossi adds (on Twitter) that an air cast was applied to Mack’s ankle, an indication that the injury could be serious.
  • Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo is out for the day after suffering a knee injury that forced him to be carted off the field, according to John Clayton of ESPN (via Twitter).
  • After suffering two concussions already this season, Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict left today’s game after taking a hit to the head; another concussion could shelve Burfict for some time.
  • 2013 first-rounder Dee Milliner is out for the rest of the Jets’ game against the Broncos after suffering a non-contact injury to his ankle.