Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Minor Moves: Friday

As teams prepare to set their rosters for the weekend, the backs of 53-man rosters and practice squads will be tweaked. We’ll cover those minor transactions from around the NFL for Friday right here, with the latest updates added to the top of the list:

  • Wideout Marcus Thigpen will slide into one of several open spots on the Buccaneers‘ 53-man roster, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter), who hears from a source that Thigpen is being promoted from the club’s practice squad.
  • After cutting him from the active roster earlier in the week, the Panthers have re-signed running back Darrin Reaves to their practice squad, cutting running back Tauren Poole from the unit, according to the team (Twitter link). Carolina also signed former UNC linebacker Kevin Reddick to fill out the squad.

Earlier updates:

  • The Patriots have re-added linebacker Deontae Skinner to their practice squad after he cleared waivers, tweets Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. Skinner, an undrafted free agent out of Mississippi State, had been on the active roster, but was cut to make room for new signee Alan Branch. Wideout Jonathan Krause has been released from the practice squad to make room for Skinner.

NFC Notes: Vikes, McDonald, Sims, Schwartz

As we wait to see whether or not Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo will be available this weekend for a showdown between two of the NFC’s top teams – Dallas and Arizona – let’s check out a few Friday afternoon items from across the conference….

  • Since Vikings practice squad Chandler Harnish was injured in practice this week, the team has been on the lookout for a replacement. According to head coach Mike Zimmer, three signal-callers worked out for the club today, though he didn’t identify the players by name, per Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (Twitter links).
  • Tracey Kaplan of the San Jose Mercury News was among those reporting that Santa Clara County prosecutors are leaning against charging 49ers defensive lineman Ray McDonald with domestic violence. However, while the District Attorney’s office may be leaning that way, the DA announced today that no decision has been made yet, according to Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com.
  • Players who went on the IR list with the designation to return prior to Week 1 are eligible to be activated for this weekend’s contests, and while Adam Caplan of ESPN.com tweets that Buccaneers running back Charles Sims figures to come off IR tomorrow, Giants guard Geoff Schwartz won’t be activated for at least one more week, according to Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News (Twitter link). Caplan adds (via Twitter) that the Bucs appear likely to promote defensive tackle Matthew Masifilo from their practice squad as well.
  • While it doesn’t appear likely to happen, head coach Ron Rivera believes Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy should be reinstated by the NFL if his trial is postponed until after the season, as ESPN.com’s David Newton details.
  • Given the multiple ACL injuries suffered by quarterback Sam Bradford and tackle Jake Long, Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wonders whether the Rams will be able to count on either player for the 2015 season.

Buccaneers To Cut Trindon Holliday

The Buccaneers will waive receiver and kick returner Trindon Holliday with an injured designation, according to Rand Getlin of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter). Assuming Holliday clears waivers, he’ll revert to the team’s injured reserve list.

Holliday, 28, signed with the Bucs just 10 days ago, and handled kick and punt return duties for the team on Sunday against Minnesota. However, he injured his hamstring during practice this week, and had been ruled out for Tampa Bay’s Week 9 contest against the Browns.

This will be the second time this season that Holliday is waived and placed on injured reserve with a hamstring issue — the Giants made that same move in August. Holliday, who is known for his explosiveness on special teams, returned 81 punts for 752 yards and two touchdowns during the 2012 and 2013 seasons. The ex-Bronco also averaged a healthy 27.1 yards per kick return in those seasons and took two of those to the house as well.

Having traded away two players earlier this week, the Bucs already had multiple openings on their roster, so waiving Holliday will allow the team to make one additional move. I’d expect Tampa Bay to promote a player or two from its practice squad tomorrow, and perhaps activate running back Charles Sims too.

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.

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.

Audition Notes: Wednesday

The Cowboys scheduled a visit for linebacker Will Smith, a source tells Charean Williams of the Star-Telegram. However, there might not be a spot for Smith after Tim Dobbins was picked up earlier today. The Cowboys have needs at offensive guard and at linebacker with injuries to starting left guard Ron Leary and starting weakside linebacker Justin Durant. Durant is done for the year while Leary is out with a groin strain. A look at today’s auditions from around the NFL..

Jets Notes: Smith, Idzik, Ballard, Revis

Geno Smith‘s former teammate and current FOX broadcaster Brady Quinn came to his defense in a chat with Chris Strauss of USA Today. While Smith has struggled mightily, Quinn pointed to the lack of consistency in his receiving corps and the media’s focus on the quarterback competition training camp as factors that have held him back. Something tells me that most Jets fans aren’t quite as sympathetic. More on Gang Green…

  • Smith says he can “without a doubt” be a franchise quarterback in the NFL, but in a sit down with SNY earlier this week, Jets GM John Idzik wasn’t quite as confident, Kimberley A. Martin of Newsday writes. “I don’t know that. Don’t know that. That’s still to be determined. You don’t want to try to answer that question too prematurely, especially when you’re dealing with a younger quarterback in Geno,” Idzik said of Smith, whom the organization drafted 39th overall in 2013.
  • If the Jets are in the market for a GM, they might look into Chiefs director of player personnel Chris Ballard, who will be the hottest GM candidate after the season, two sources tell Gary Myers of the New York Daily News. Ballard was a candidate at Tampa Bay last offseason but bowed out because coach Lovie Smith would have had final say over him in personnel matters. Myers, meanwhile, thinks former Jets exec and current Falcons assistant GM Scott Pioli would be a strong fit for Gang Green.
  • Myers also hears from a source that Jets owner Woody Johnson began his interviews with GM candidates by saying that cornerback Darrelle Revis had to go. If a candidate disagreed and made a point that it might be in the Jets’ best interest to keep their best player, even if he was coming off ACL surgery with contract issues ahead, “Woody didn’t want to hear it,” the source said. Idzik, who traded Revis to the Bucs three months into his tenure, likely agreed with Johnson during the interview.
  • Idzik may have talked his way out of town with his bizarre press conference earlier this week, writes Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News.

Extra Points: Romo, Rams, Keenum, Broncos

Tony Romo left last night’s game against the Redskins during the third quarter with a back injury, but ultimately returned to play the fourth quarter and overtime. Per Ian Fitzsimmons of ESPN Radio in Dallas (via Twitter), Romo’s season is not in jeopardy. However, the Cowboys’ quarterback’s short-term health could be a concern, and he will be labeled “questionable,” at best, for Sunday’s contest against the Cardinals. Here’s more from around the league.

  • The Rams took on about $902K in 2014 cap charges when they acquired Mark Barron from the Bucs earlier today, and as Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap notes, St. Louis only had roughly $540K in cap room, meaning the club likely had to restructure another player’s contract in order to fit Barron on the roster. Fitzgerald also writes that the new CBA was central to this trade — though Barron was a first-round pick, his guarantees are still relatively low, enabling Tampa Bay to take on his dead money without causing much financial discomfort.
  • Quarterback Case Keenum was waived by the Rams in order to clear a spot for Barron, but it’s fair to wonder if he could soon find another job with the Ravens. As Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com points out (Twitter link), Keenum has a familiarity with Baltimore offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak from the duo’s time in Houston. The Ravens were rumored to be looking for an upgrade over backup QB Tyrod Taylor during the offseason.
  • Sources tell Mike Klis and Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post that although several teams were interested in trading for Broncos cornerback Tony Carter, no club was willing to part a “significant draft pick” in order to acquire the defensive back. We first heard last Friday that carter was drawing interest around the league, but the 28-year-old will finish out the season with Denver.
  • A torn biceps is a season-ending injury for most players, but Eagles offensive lineman Todd Herremans will attempt to play through the ailment, write Jeff McLane and Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Evan Mathis and Jason Kelce should return to the Birds’ line soon, so if Herremans can manage his health concern, Philadelphia should have its Week 1 starting offensive line together again soon.
  • Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News wasn’t impressed with Jets general manager John Idzik’s Monday state-of-the-franchise press conference, and doesn’t believe Idzik should be allowed to hire a new coach if Rex Ryan is let go.

Practice Squad Updates: Tuesday

They may not be the sort of deadline-day transactions we’re hoping for, but some teams around the league are making roster moves, adding and subtracting players from their respective practice squads. We’ll track the latest updates below:

  • The Broncos have added receiver Douglas McNeil to their practice squad, reports Troy Renck of the Denver Post. An Arena League standout, the 26-year-old McNeil caught 66 balls for 858 yards and 18 touchdowns in 11 games for the Portland Thunder. He takes the practice squad spot of John Boyett, who was released last week following his arrest for assault.
  • The Colts announced receiver Chandler Jones was signed to their practice squad at the expense of running back Jeff Demps. This will be Jones’ second stint with the Colts this season, while Demps’ stay with the team lasted just a week. Jones is an undrafted free agent out of San Jose State, where he is the school’s all-time leading receiver.
  • The Giants have cut linebacker Carlos Fields from their practice squad, according to NJ.com’s Jordan Raanan (via Twitter).
  • Running back Ben Malena has replaced cornerback Kendall James on the Texans‘ practice squad, according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter).
  • The Rams have signed offensive tackle Steven Baker to their taxi squad, per Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter). The club had plenty of space to add Baker without cutting a player, but released quarterback Garrett Gilbert from the practice squad nonetheless, tweets Adam Caplan of ESPN.com.
  • Wideout Tavarres King has signed to the Buccaneers‘ practice squad, says Caplan (via Twitter). The team doesn’t have any openings on its PS, but after today’s trades, there are two spots available on the active roster, so I imagine at least one player is in line for a promotion.

Earlier updates:

  • The Dolphins performed a bit of an overhaul on their practice squad today, adding tight end Evan Wilson, tight end Gerell Robinson, and cornerback Rashaan Melvin to replace quarterback Seth Lobato, tight end Jake Murphy, and defensive back Rod Sweeting, per Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald (Twitter links).
  • With backup running back Stepfan Taylor expected to be sidelined for the near future, the Cardinals have added some backfield insurance via their practice squad, signing running back Zach Bauman, writes Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com. Cornerback Anthony Gaitor has been waived to make room for the new addition.
  • Wide receiver Jace Davis, who was with the Ravens during training camp and the preseason, has re-signed with the team’s practice squad, according to a press release. Davis takes the 10th and final spot, which had been vacated after tight end Phillip Supernaw was promoted to the active roster on the weekend.

Pats Acquire Jonathan Casillas From Bucs

3:59pm: The Bucs are getting a 2015 fifth-round pick in the deal in exchange for Casillas and a 2015 sixth-rounder, reports Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times (via Twitter). Meanwhile, the Pats have waived offensive lineman Chris Barker to make room on the roster for Casillas, says Field Yates of ESPN Boston (via Twitter).

3:02pm: After acquiring one linebacker (Akeem Ayers) from the Titans last week, the Patriots are finalizing a deal for another, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, who reports (via Twitter) that the Buccaneers are sending Jonathan Casillas to New England. The move is being completed in advanced of today’s 3:00pm CT trade deadline.

Casillas, 27, began his NFL career with the Saints in 2009 after going undrafted out of Wisconsin. He joined the Bucs in 2013 and has played for the team since then, starting seven of his 17 games with the club. In parts of five seasons, Casillas has accumulated 127 tackles in 55 contests, defending five passes and recovering a pair of fumbles. While he has played 109 defensive snaps so far this season, the Wisconsin product’s playing time has been on the decline since 2011.

Several Buccaneers had been cited as potential trade candidates, but according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk (via Twitter), running back Doug Martin isn’t going anywhere, and it sounds as if Vincent Jackson will stay put as well.