Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Buccaneers, Titans Will Draft In Top Two

With one week left in the regular season, the first half of the 2015 NFL Draft order is close to being set. The Buccaneers and Titans both lost in Week 16, clinching their place as the first two teams to reach the podium when the draft opens on April 30.

Last week, the top six teams in terms of potential draft position were the Buccaneers, Titans, Jaguars, Raiders, Washington, and Jets. Of those teams, Jacksonville, Washington, and Oakland all notched wins this past weekend. Those wins knocked all three teams out of the running for a top two pick, and the Jets were already out of that race due to strength of schedule.

Rivers McCown of Advanced Football Analytics put together odds of where each team will likely fall within the top five selections of the NFL Draft. According to their calculations, the Buccaneers have a 75% chance of landing the first overall pick, and could clinch that spot with a loss. The Titans would need to lose to the Colts and have the Buccaneers to beat the Saints in order to jump into the top spot.

Washington’s schedule would not allow them to gain the third overall pick after beating the Eagles, even if the Jets, Raiders, and Jaguars all win and end the season with four wins. The Jaguars and Raiders will play the Texans and Broncos respectively, and both teams will still need those wins in Week 17. The Jets might have an easier game, with the Dolphins already eliminated from playoff contention.

Minor Moves: Saturday

We will keep track of all of Saturday’s minor transactions here. As usual, newest moves will be added to the top as they come in:

  • The Seahawks have made a change to their 53-man roster, placing tight end Rashaun Allen on waivers and promoting offensive lineman Keavon Milton from their taxi squad, tweets Brian McIntyre. Milton will provide some depth on Seattle’s offensive line as the team prepares to be without Russell Okung and Max Unger this weekend in Arizona.

Earlier updates:

  • Earlier today, the Raiders placed Tarell Brown on injured reserve. The team has signed linebacker Spencer Hadley off of its practice squad to fill Brown’s roster spot, according to Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter).
  • The 49ers have placed rookie inside linebacker Chris Borland on the injured reserve, reports Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter). The team has promoted outside linebacker Chase Thomas from its practice squad.
  • The Buccaneers have placed safety Major Wright on injured reserve, reports Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com (via Twitter). The team has promoted cornerback C.J. Wilson from the practice squad to the active roster to fill his spot.
  • The Dolphins have signed wide receiver Matt Hazel off of the practice squad to the active roster, reports James Walker of ESPN (via Twitter). The team has released linebacker Jake Knott to make room for Hazel.

Extra Points: Marks, Cutler, Ponder, Bucs

With his sack tonight, Jaguars defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks earned a fat $600K bonus, as Vito Stellino of The Florida Times-Union writes. Marks would already have earned the bonus if the league didn’t take away a sack he was credited with against Houston’s Ryan Fitzpatrick two weeks ago when the quarterback tripped and fell down and he was the first to touch him. However, he claims that he wasn’t upset about the ruling. More from around the National Football League..

  • Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune looks at what might be next for Bears signal caller Jay Cutler. The Cardinals will probably bring back Carson Palmer in 2015, the Raiders have Derek Carr, and Rams tight ends coach Ron Turner would probably talk coach Jeff Fisher out of the idea. Ultimately, Biggs sees the Jets and Titans as the most likely destinations for the veteran.
  • Matt Vensel of the Star-Tribune (video link) wonders if there will be a spot in the NFL for former Vikings starting quarterback Christian Ponder.
  • Matt Bowen of the Chicago Tribune ran down the Bears‘ problems from top to bottom, from the front office to the locker room.
  • Former Buccaneers offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford has agreed in principle to become the new head coach of the CFL’s BC Lions, a source tells Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (on Twitter).
  • It seems likely that Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert will be staying on injured reserve for the rest of the year, according to Coley Harvey of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The athletic tight end has not practiced since Week 1.
  • Signing linebacker K.J. Wright to a contract extension shows the Seahawks‘ commitment to their core players, writes Terry Blount of ESPN.com.

NFC Notes: Glennon, Vick, Rolle, Austin

A pair of playoff hopefuls will square off in two NFC divisional matchup this weekend, but it’s hard to view Cardinals/Seahawks and Saints/Falcons as equally important games. While the winner of the West showdown will have the inside track on the No. 1 seed for the postseason, the winner of the South contest will inch slightly closer to .500, and move closer to becoming the league’s worst division winner.

While we look forward to those two games and others, let’s check out the latest links from around the conference….

  • In the offseason, head coach Lovie Smith repeatedly referred to Mike Glennon as the Buccaneers‘ “quarterback of the future,” but he wasn’t willing to continue bestowing that title on Glennon this week, writes Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune. “His future right now is, he’s on our football team,” Smith said of Glennon. “We’re not talking on the future right now. The future is about that last press conference — after the season.”
  • With his one-year Jets deal set to expire soon, Michael Vick has considered his 2015 destination, and is intrigued by the idea of joining his hometown team in Washington, as he tells Newsday’s Kimberley A. Martin. “I’m open to playing for anybody that wants to win. But obviously, going back home, I mean, that’ll be a dream come true,’‘ Vick said with a smile. “But I would hate to get my hopes up for something that wouldn’t happen. So I can’t even think about it right now.”
  • Nick Powell of NJ.com attempts to determine what a new contract for Antrel Rolle would look like as the Giants safety nears free agency.
  • Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, who is on the Fritz Pollard list of top minority head coaching candidates, indicated today that he’ll interview with any teams interested in him as a head coach this offseason, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter link).
  • Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright, whose new four-year extension with the team was announced earlier today, said sticking with Seattle was his preference all along, and the Seahawks’ offer exceeded the dollar number had had in his head (Twitter link via Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times).

Jay Cutler Notes: Thursday

Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was the subject of frequent criticism and trade speculation even before he was benched, and now that the team has decided to tab backup Jimmy Clausen as the starter this Sunday against the Lions, the Cutler rumor mill is busier than ever. Here are the latest whispers about what Cutler’s future may hold:

  • Both Cutler and Marc Trestman spoke to reporters today about the decision, with Cutler indicating that he could play for Trestman next season and would like to remain with the Bears (Twitter links). The veteran quarterback added that while the security his contract provides is nice, he’s disappointed with the season, and would trade that contract security for a better record and better play (Twitter link via ESPN’s Michael C. Wright).
  • As for Trestman, he indicated that this decision applies to this weekend only, and that Cutler will be the team’s No. 2 quarterback against the Lions (Twitter links). In other words, Clausen could start Week 17 as well, but nothing’s guaranteed yet.
  • Two “accomplished and respected” Bears players tell Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com that a number of players in the Chicago locker room feel “confused and uncomfortable” over how Trestman has handled Cutler’s benching — especially when compared to the light discipline received by offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer last week.
  • According to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link), Trestman is hoping that the change in quarterbacks will prove that his system can still be effective without Cutler at the helm.
  • Mike Sando of ESPN.com tweets that he has talked to several people around the league who wonder why any team would give up anything more than maybe a seventh-round pick for Cutler.
  • The Bears need to overhaul their franchise, and moving on from Cutler would be a start, writes Jon Greenberg of ESPNChicago.com.

Earlier updates:

  • Exploring potential trade suitors for Cutler, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes that many of the logical partners for Chicago are in the AFC, identifying the Bills, Jets, Browns, Texans, Titans, and Raiders as possibilities. Florio also writes that the Bears should be willing to essentially give Cutler away in a trade if necessary, rather than holding out for a higher draft pick, since the team could do a lot more with $15.5MM in cash and cap savings than it could with a mid- or late-round pick.
  • Dan Hanzus of NFL.com lists seven potential landing spots for Cutler, overlapping with Florio on the Bills, Browns, Titans, and Jets. Hanzus also singles out the Buccaneers, Rams, and Washington as possible suitors.
  • Appearing on CSN Chicago, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com took a shot at predicting what Cutler might be worth in a trade: “If they look to deal him, and my belief is that they will, then I think they can get something back for him. They’re not going to get what they gave up to get him. … Jay Cutler right now is on sale. He’s been devalued. My guess, just a guess today without speaking to personnel people around the NFL… I would guess that they could probably get back a fourth-round pick for Jay Cutler that could go to a third if he meets certain conditions such as taking a team to the playoffs. That’d be my guess. A mid-round conditional draft pick.”
  • Benching a quarterback with a massive contract is an irreversible decision in many ways, according to Adam L. Jahns of the Chicago Tribune, who weighs the pros and cons for the Bears cutting, trading, or keeping Cutler.
  • Albert Breer of the NFL Network points out (via Twitter) that Marc Trestman‘s reputation as a quarterback guru, which has taken a hit this year, could be rejuvenated if Clausen lights it up this weekend. We’ve heard that the team is likely to part ways with Trestman at season’s end, but perhaps a strong finish would change those plans.

Practice Squad Updates: Wednesday

A number of practice squad players have received promotions to their respective clubs’ 53-man rosters this week, or have been signed by a rival club. As such, we should expect plenty of signings today, as teams fill in their openings. Here’s the latest:

  • After his suspension was lifted by the league, fullback Nikita Whitlock signed on with the Giants‘ practice squad, according to Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post (via Twitter).
  • Chargers taxi squad guard Craig Watts has been suspended four games for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancing substances, according to Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego (via Twitter). To replace him, the Bolts signed former San Diego State offensive lineman Bryce Quigley (link).
  • Wide receiver and kick returner Greg Jenkins, who spent last season with the Raiders, has returned to the club, signing today with the taxi squad, per Scott Bair of CSNBayArea.com (Twitter link). The team has since confirmed the signing, tweeting that defensive back Vernon Kearney has joined the practice squad as well.
  • The Saints have filled the final opening on their practice squad by signing kicker Dustin Hopkins, head coach Sean Payton confirmed today to reporters (Twitter link via Chad Sabadie of FOX8).

Earlier updates:

  • The Vikings have signed rookie guard Jordan McCray to their practice squad to fill the spot vacated when Ahmad Dixon received a promotion, tweets Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Minnesota will have another spot to fill after losing cornerback Chris Greenwood to the Ravens.
  • In addition to making changes to their 53-man roster today, the Patriots also tweaked their practice squad, adding quarterback Garrett Gilbert, according to a team release.
  • The Packers have filled out their practice squad by signing safety Jean Fanor to the unit, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Fanor played for the Arena League’s Tampa Bay Storm this year, setting a team record for tackles in a season.
  • Former sixth-round guard Jon Halapio has signed with the Broncos‘ practice squad, per Ben Volin of the Boston Globe (via Twitter).
  • Having entered the day with three openings on their practice squad, the Dolphins added a pair of players to the unit, signing defensive end Emmanuel Dieke and guard Mark Asper, according to Chris Perkins of the South Florida Sun Sentinel (via Twitter).
  • The Falcons have filled the 10th and final spot on their practice squad by signing cornerback Jordan Mabin, the team announced today in a press release. The opening was created earlier in the week when the club promoted cornerback Ricardo Allen to the 53-man roster.
  • The Steelers have also filled out their taxi squad, signing former South Carolina offensive lineman Ronald Patrick, tweets Burt Lauten, the team’s PR rep.
  • Defensive back Varmah Sonie, who played this year for Portland’s Arena League team, has signed to the Buccaneers‘ practice squad, per Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com (Twitter link).
  • The Panthers have signed linebacker Horace Miller to their practice squad, giving them a full 10-man unit, tweets David Newton of ESPN.com. Miller was cut by Carolina over the weekend and has since cleared waivers.
  • Offensive tackle Tyler Hoover, who started the season with a brief stint on the Colts‘ practice squad and has since spent time with the Eagles as well, has rejoined Indianapolis’ squad, according to Mike Chappell of RTV6 (Twitter link).

Workout Notes: Wednesday

Today’s workouts, auditions, visits, pow-wows, get togethers, tryouts, and pop-ins..

  • The Raiders worked out former Saints wide receiver Joe Morgan, a source tells Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
  • The Saints worked out offensive lineman Will Simmons and Andre Miller, according to Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post (on Twitter).
  • The Buccaneers worked out linebacker Brandon Denmark, safety M.D. Jennings, and defensive back Jocquel Skinner , Wilson tweets. The Bucs also tried out defensive end Lawrence Sidbury, who wound up being signed to the active roster, and defensive back Varmah Sonie, who has joined their taxi squad.
  • Defensive end Sammy Brown visited the Buccaneers, according to Wilson (on Twitter).
  • The Seahawks worked out former Memphis defensive linemen Johnnie Farms, Marcus Forston, Rufus Johnson, Zach Minter, Brandon Moore, Will Pericak, Andru Pulu, and Jared Wheeler, according to Wilson (via Twitter).
  • The Cardinals tried out defensive end Shawn Lemon, wide receiver Jalil Carter, and defensive back Delvin Breaux, according to Wilson (on Twitter).

Minor Moves: Wednesday

Here are Wednesday’s minor roster moves from around the league, with the latest transactions added to the top of the list throughout the day:

  • Cut yesterday by the Jets, defensive back Josh Thomas has already found a new home, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, who tweets that the Lions have claimed Thomas off waivers. Thomas will take the roster spot vacated by LaAdrian Waddle, who was placed on injured reserve today, as noted below.
  • Safety Josh Bush is receiving a promotion to the Broncos‘ active roster from the club’s practice squad, reports Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com adds (via Twitter) that the club is also re-signing tight end Dominique Jones, who was let go earlier in the week. Denver, after making multiple roster moves yesterday, had two roster spots available, so no corresponding move is required to clear room.

Earlier updates:

  • A pair of players will make the leap from the Jaguars‘ practice squad to their active roster, per Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union, who tweets that quarterback Stephen Morris and safety Matt Daniels have been promoted. The Jags had one opening, and created another by placing linebacker Khairi Fortt on injured reserve with a hamstring issue.
  • The Ravens are back up to 53 players on their roster after signing cornerback Chris Greenwood off the Vikings’ practice squad, tweets Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com. Greenwood is the latest player added to a secondary that has been decimated by injuries this season and lost Asa Jackson and Terrence Brooks in Week 15.
  • The Lions are placing offensive lineman LaAdrian Waddle on the injured reserve list due to his partially torn ACL, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (via Twitter).
  • After waiving tackle J’Marcus Webb yesterday, the Vikings will fill the open roster spot by signing safety Ahmad Dixon from off their practice squad, tweets Adam Caplan of ESPN.com. The well-traveled Dixon has already spent time with the Vikes, Dolphins, and Bears since being drafted by the Cowboys in May.
  • According to agent Howard Shatsky (Twitter link), his client, tight end Jerome Cunningham, has received a promotion from the Giants‘ practice squad to their active roster. The team has yet to officially confirm the call-up, but there’s an available roster spot at the moment, so it wouldn’t require a corresponding move.
  • The Buccaneers, another team with an open roster spot, have signed defensive end Lawrence Sidbury as their 53rd man, the team announced today in a press release. The ex-Falcon, who was released by the Texans in August, replaces cornerback Crezdon Butler, whom the Bucs cut yesterday.

Minor Moves: Tuesday

With contending teams vying for playoff spots and fighting for higher seeds, and non-contenders perhaps taking a longer look at younger players down the stretch, we can expect teams to make plenty of minor tweaks to their 53-man rosters this week. Here are Tuesday’s minor transactions, with the latest moves added to the top of the list throughout the day:

  • According to the league transaction wire, quarterback Chandler Harnish has been released by the Vikings, tweets Matt Vensel of the Star Tribune. Harnish was under an injured designation with a foot injury.
  • The Browns have made room for the addition of Andrew McDonald (noted below) by waiving linebacker Zac Diles, the club announced today (Twitter link).
  • The Buccaneers have released cornerback Crezdon Butler, and will likely announce more moves on Wednesday, according to Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com (Twitter link). One possible replacement for Butler could be former safety Mistral Raymond — a source tells Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter link) that the former Viking worked out for Tampa Bay today.
  • The Raiders have plucked a player from across the bay, signing cornerback Chance Casey from off the 49ers’ practice squad, according to Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com (Twitter link).

Earlier updates:

  • A day after being cut by the Colts, offensive tackle Andrew McDonald has been claimed off waivers by the Browns, according to agent Brett Tessler (Twitter link). It’s not clear yet who is coming off Cleveland’s roster to make room for the new addition.
  • Cornerback Josh Thomas, who apparently lost his playbook recently, won’t be needing it back now — he was released by the Jets today, according to the team (Twitter link). New York called up safety Rontez Miles from the practice squad to take Thomas’ place on the roster.
  • Offensive tackle J’Marcus Webb has been cut by the Vikings, the team announced today (Twitter link). Webb’s release comes on the heels of his missed block that led to a blocked field goal during Sunday’s loss to the Lions.
  • Having already made multiple roster moves today, the Ravens completed a couple more, placing running back Lorenzo Taliaferro on the injured reserve list and signed former defensive tackle Casey Walker off the Patriots’ practice squad, the club announced in a press release. Baltimore still has an open spot on its 53-man roster.
  • The Titans have swapped tight ends on their active roster, signing Matthew Mulligan and placing Brett Brackett on injured reserve, says Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean (Twitter links). Brackett’s season comes to a premature end due to a knee issue.
  • The Cardinals have placed defensive tackle Ed Stinson on injured reserve, ending his season, per Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com (via Twitter). Taking Stinson’s place on the roster is wide receiver Brittan Golden, promoted from Arizona’s practice squad.
  • The Falcons cleared a roster spot by placing cornerback Robert Alford on injured reserve yesterday with a wrist issue, and will fill that spot today by promoting cornerback Ricardo Allen from their practice squad, a source tells Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The team has since confirmed the move (via Twitter).
  • Agent Mike McCartney indicated today (via Twitter) that his client, offensive lineman Ryan Jensen, has received a promotion from the Ravens‘ practice squad to the team’s 53-man roster. It’s not clear yet whose spot Jensen is taking, but defensive backs Asa Jackson and Terrence Brooks are both expected to be placed on IR this week.

Bucs Promote Three Players From PS

After placing three players, including standout defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, on injured reserve yesterday, the Buccaneers have now filled those three openings on their roster without adding an outside free agent. The team announced today in a press release that it has promoted three practice squad players to the active roster — wide receiver Tavarres King, tight end/fullback Evan Rodriguez, and defensive tackle George Uko got the call for Tampa Bay.

King, 24, spent five weeks on the Jaguars’ active roster this season, but has yet to see action in a regular-season NFL contest. Rodriguez, cut by the Bills in the preseason, has played for Buffalo and Chicago since entering the league in 2012. As for Uko, the undrafted rookie initially signed with the Saints as a free agent back in May, but didn’t survive roster cutdowns in August.

Having created three newly-opened spots on their practice squad due to the promotions, the Bucs filled one of those openings by signing wide receiver Chandler Jones, according to the team. Jones worked out for Tampa Bay a little over a month ago.