Minor NFL Transactions: 9/27/23

Wednesday’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Kansas City Chiefs

Seattle Seahawks

Prince’s release is notable given his status as the Falcons’ swing tackle. The 26-year-old has seen only 10 special teams snaps to date with Jake Matthews and Kaleb McGary staying healthy early in the campaign. A 2019 Dolphins sixth-rounder, Prince has six NFL starts to his name (two in Miami and four in Cincinnati). He signed a reserve deal with the Broncos in February, but was released ahead of final roster cuts. That led to his Falcons deal, one which will have proven to be quite short-lived if he is not retained via the practice squad.

Panthers Expect QB Bryce Young To Return In Week 4

Two of the three rookies given starting roles right away in 2023 – Bryce Young and Anthony Richardson – missed Week 3 due to injuries. Both appear to be on track to limit their absences to a single game.

Young was a full participant in practice on Wednesday, signaling he should be available for Sunday’s contest against the Vikings. His ankle injury required Andy Dalton to start last week, but such a move will not be necessary as long as the No. 1 pick’s recovery proceeds as scheduled. More work is still to be done on that front, of course, but today’s news is an encouraging sign.

“The big thing right now is to see how he responds [Thursday],” head coach Frank Reich said, via ESPN’s David Newton“Just have to make sure there’s no major setbacks, no flare-ups. But if he stays on track, then I think things are headed in the right direction.”

Originally given a one-to-two week recovery timeline, it comes as little surprise that Young has a strong chance to suit up after only missing one contest. Dalton threw for 361 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the Panthers’ loss to the Seahawks, a game which dropped them to 0-3. In doing so, the veteran showcased a continued ability to produce as a spot-starter, something he has done with four teams in as many years since his Bengals tenure ended. Dalton guided Carolina to a more notable performance in the passing game than the team’s two contests with Young under center.

The latter has repeatedly been tapped as the starter when available, though, so he will be in the lineup as soon as possible. To that point, Reich added that the Panthers are prepared to play Young at less than 100% – a noteworthy stance given the Alabama product’s long-term importance to the franchise. Young was the target of the team’s trade-up to the first overall selection, and as such he has been entrusted with providing much-needed stability at the QB spot. Risking further injury so early in his career would need to be weighed against the possibility of dropping to 0-4 on the season.

The same holds true of the Vikings, making Sunday’s matchup one of importance for both teams involved. Presuming all goes well in the coming days, each squad will have their No. 1 quarterback available on Sunday.

Jaguars LB Devin Lloyd Undergoes Thumb Surgery

The Jaguars are set to play the first of back-to-back games in London in Week 4, but they will be without a defensive starter for at least one of them. Linebacker Devin Lloyd will be absent on Sunday as a result of thumb surgery.

Lloyd had a number of screws implanted in his right thumb on Wednesday, as noted by ESPN’s Michael DiRocco. As a result of the procedure, he will not travel with the Jaguars in advance of their game against the Falcons. The 2022 first-rounder’s absence will leave a notable vacancy at the second level of Jacksonville’s defense.

The second Jaguars Day 1 selection last April (after No. 1 pick Travon Walker), Lloyd saw immediate playing time with an 80% defensive snap share. The Utah alum racked up 115 tackles, three interceptions and a pair of fumble recoveries. Those stats failed to translate to a flattering PFF evaluation, however, with tackling issues and struggles in coverage leading to an overall grade of 48.3.

Lloyd has shouldered a heavier workload in the early going during the 2023 campaign, and his metrics have taken a positive turn. The 24-year-old has earned a 58.7 grade, a mark which leaves plenty of room for improvement down the road, but offers reason to expect he can remain a productive contributor in Jacksonville in the short- and long-term. Lloyd has helped the Jaguars rank seventh in the league against the run, allowing an average of 84 yards per game on the ground.

In his absence, leading tackler Foyesade Oluokun will likely be joined in the starting lineup by Chad Muma. The 2022 third-rounder has played primarily on special teams early in his career, though he has also logged over 300 defensive snaps. Fourth-year depth contributor Shaquille Quarterman could also be in line for an increased workload with Lloyd unavailable for the time being.

Since finding a rhythm offensively has been akin to pulling teeth for Jacksonville so far this season, the team’s defense will likely have a large role to play in helping rebound from a 1-2 start. Missing Lloyd will hurt their linebacking corps, but his absence should at least not be expected to last particularly long.

Ravens Sign LB Kyle Van Noy

SEPTEMBER 27: The Ravens finalized this agreement Wednesday. Van Noy is officially part of Baltimore’s 16-man practice squad. This will be the veteran defender’s fifth NFL destination, coming after stays with the Lions, Patriots, Dolphins and Chargers.

SEPTEMBER 26, 1:24pm: This visit will produce a quick agreement. Van Noy is signing a practice squad deal with the Ravens, CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson tweets. A two-time Super Bowl champion with the Patriots, Van Noy has excelled in a hybrid capacity for most of his career. The off-ball linebacker/pass rusher has notched at least five sacks in five of the past six seasons.

This P-squad agreement seems likely to precede Van Noy moving up to Baltimore’s active roster. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler adds the deal is not quite done but notes mutual interest exists.

11:49am: For the second time this year, Kyle Van Noy is set to head to Baltimore ahead of a potential deal. The veteran edge rusher is visiting the Ravens today, reports Mike Garafolo of NFL Network.

Van Not met with the Ravens in July, signaling that a contract could be on the horizon. That would have come as little surprise, given the team’s lack of experience in the pass-rushing department. Even with Jadeveon Clowney now in the picture, though, the team is in need of depth along the edge.

Tyus Bowser remains on the NFI list, leaving Baltimore without a full-time starter. His absence has since been compounded by injuries picked up by 2021 first-rounder Odafe Oweh, who missed Week 3, and 2022 second-rounder David Ojabo, who exited that contest due to an ankle ailment. Given the team’s lack of healthy bodies at the moment, Van Noy would likely be able to see notable playing time right away if he were to sign.

The 32-year-old remained a consistent producer during his stint with the Chargers last season. Van Noy posted five sacks, adding 14 pressures, eight tackles for loss and a forced fumble. Having logged a 70% snap share, he proved a continued ability to handle a large defensive workload split between inside and outside linebacker. The Ravens’ ILB tandem of Roquan Smith and Patrick Queen is intact, however, so any Van Noy addition would see the latter used strictly in a pass-rushing capacity.

Pending the status of Oweh and Ojabo, the Ravens’ list of healthy edge rushers currently consists of Clowney, fourth-round rookie Tavius Robinson and former UDFA Jeremiah Moon. Van Noy, who has yet to take a known visit since his last Baltimore trek, would add considerable experience to that group while providing at least a depth presence when the team is at full health. With roughly $7.8MM in cap space, the Ravens should be able to afford a deal with the veteran on what would no doubt be a low-cost flier for the remainder of the campaign.

QB Notes: Jets, Jackson, Commanders

Out of football since the 2016 season, Colin Kaepernick continues to pursue a comeback. The exiled quarterback wrote a letter to Jets GM Joe Douglas asking for an opportunity to join the team’s practice squad. The letter, as shared by rapper J. Cole (Instagram link), lays out a number of reasons Kaepernick could assist the Jets while making it clear he would be a Zach Wilson contingency plan. Kaepernick cites his ability to offer the Jets’ defense a look at a mobile QB, referencing the advantage that could provide the unit given the dual-threat starters on the team’s schedule. The letter also includes Jim Harbaugh, John Harbaugh and Mark Davis being listed as references. While it is unusual to see a document like this surface, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk confirms it is authentic.

Davis’ team gave the 35-year-old QB a workout last summer, and the former 49ers starter questioned the Raiders preferring Jarrett Stidham and Nick Mullens — the team’s backups at the time — to him. Even though Kaepernick indicated he still trains five days a week for a potential comeback, the book is almost definitely closed for his return to the NFL. He would have profiled as a more realistic option during the late 2010s, but since the 2019 workout snafu in Atlanta, connections to teams have been sparse. Shortly after Aaron Rodgers‘ injury, Kaepernick’s agent contacted the Jets, and a subsequent report indicated no interest existed on the team’s part. The Jets have since signed Trevor Siemian to their P-squad.

Here is the latest from the QB landscape:

  • Siemian could dress for the Jets as an emergency third QB, provided he is elevated to the active roster ahead of Saturday’s deadline, but Robert Saleh confirmed (via ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini) the journeyman passer will not be active for Week 4. Wilson and Tim Boyle will be the team’s only active QBs for a third straight game. Siemian has made 30 career starts, including one for the Jets (Week 2, 2019), but could not beat out Jake Browning for the Bengals’ backup job during training camp.
  • It took the Ravens nearly 2 1/2 years to extend Lamar Jackson, but when the Eagles’ Jalen Hurts contract surfaced, GM Eric DeCosta made an earnest effort to finish the process. “We had just signed Odell [Beckham Jr.] and the Hurts deal came out. I thought to myself, ‘Why not try again?’” DeCosta said, via The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec (subscription required). “We put some stuff together on paper. There were people who probably weren’t optimistic about our chances. How many players request a trade and then do a long-term deal with their team like a month later? It doesn’t happen very often, but I was optimistic, partly because I know Lamar. I had been with him in Florida. I know what he’s made of and I know what’s important to him.” DeCosta said he had not spoken to Jackson much this offseason, one in which the former MVP requested a trade. The Hurts deal continued to paint the Deshaun Watson fully guaranteed accord as an outlier. Long connected to seeking a fully guaranteed contract, Jackson accepted the Ravens’ offer and signed a five-year, $260MM deal — one that helped shape Justin Herbert and Joe Burrow‘s respective negotiations.
  • Eric Bieniemy going from Patrick Mahomes to a Commanders team planning to go with Sam Howell did not represent a deal-breaker for the five-year Chiefs OC. The new NFC East play-caller joined the Commanders in placing a second-round grade on the North Carolina prospect last year, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. A one-time first-round-level prospect prior to a statistical regression as a junior, Howell is off to an uneven start. QBR places the 2022 fifth-rounder 25th through three games, though he has shown some promise early in his QB1 run.

Steelers To Bring Back P Brad Wing

The Steelers held a punting competition this offseason, bringing in Braden Mann to challenge incumbent Pressley Harvin. The team went with the holdover option, becoming the second club to cut Mann this year. But Harvin is now battling an injury.

Harvin sustained a hamstring injury during a strong Week 3 outing in Las Vegas. The Steelers’ contingency plan will involve a blast from the past. Brad Wing, who last punted in an NFL game six years ago, is joining the Steelers on a practice squad deal, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.

Wing spent three seasons with the Giants but began his career with the Steelers, who used him as their primary punter in 2014. The Australian specialist punted in all 16 games for the Steelers during his 2014 rookie season, but the team went in a different direction in 2015. Wing, 32, re-emerged on Pittsburgh’s radar this month, however, working out for the Steelers before Week 2.

This year’s XFL reboot opened the door to Wing resuming his career. He caught on with the twice-relaunched league’s San Antonio Brahmas. He had previously punted in the short-lived Alliance of American Football in 2019. The Giants rostered Wing from 2015-17 but traded for Riley Dixon in 2018, a transaction that came after Wing’s release.

Harvin, who averaged 44.5 yards per punt in 2022, is off to a nice start. His three-game average checks in at 47.2. While Wing only cleared 45 yards per boot once during his four-year NFL run in the 2010s, he led the XFL with a 47.8-yard average this year. Harvin being unable to go would bring about an interesting chapter in Steelers special teams annals, with Wing now in position to suit up nine years after his previous Pittsburgh cameo.

Raiders To Sign OLB Malik Reed

The Raiders’ pass-rushing plan has changed since the beginning of the month. Chandler Jones is not presently in the picture, with concerning off-field issues leading the former All-Pro to the team’s reserve/NFI list. First-round pick Tyree Wilson has not started in Jones’ place yet.

A former AFC West sack artist will be part of Las Vegas’ equation as of Wednesday. The Raiders are adding Malik Reed, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. This is a practice squad agreement, but the increased P-squad flexibility in recent years has led to these deals often serving as bridges to the active roster.

Reed spent three years with the Broncos, working as a regular sub for a team that could not keep Von Miller and Bradley Chubb healthy at the same time for most of Vic Fangio‘s HC tenure. After signing Randy Gregory and drafting Nik Bonitto last year, the Broncos traded Reed to the Steelers, with whom he played a rotational role. Reed ended up a contract-year one-and-done with the Steelers and rejoined Fangio with the Dolphins this offseason, but Miami did not keep the former UDFA on its active roster after cutdown day last month.

This will mark a return to Nevada for Reed, who played collegiately at the University of Nevada-Reno. Reed, 27, posted 13 sacks between the 2020 and ’21 seasons. Although Chubb was invited to the 2020 Pro Bowl, Reed’s eight sacks paced the Broncos that season. Reid has worked exclusively as a 3-4 outside linebacker over the course of his career.

The Raiders have tallied five sacks thus far, with Maxx Crosby responsible for two of those. But no other edge rusher has contributed to the team’s sack total through three games. Viewed as a Jones successor opposite Crosby this offseason, Wilson has operated as an off-the-bench rusher thus far, playing 40% of Las Vegas’ defensive snaps.

Bears Add CB Joejuan Williams Off Vikings’ Practice Squad

Intra-divisional practice squad poaching has taken off this week. After two such transactions transpired in the NFC South on Tuesday, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport notes the Bears are adding a Vikings P-squad defender.

Cornerback Joejuan Williams will head from Minneapolis to Chicago, with the Bears signing the cornerback off the Vikings’ taxi squad Wednesday morning. This will help a Bears team depleted at corner. The Bears have since announced the move.

Chicago is down Kyler Gordon, who headed to IR with a broken hand, and saw fellow starters Jaylon Johnson and Tyrique Stevenson leave the team’s Week 3 matchup. Stevenson entered concussion protocol during the Chiefs’ runaway win, while Johnson left the game due to a hamstring injury.

Williams appears likely to see his first game action since 2021. The former Patriots second-rounder signed with the Vikings in April but could not make their 53-man roster. Minnesota did extend a P-squad invite shortly after waiving Williams, who was pushing for a roster spot during training camp. A desperate Bears team will take a look.

The Falcons added Storm Norton off the Saints’ P-squad, and the Saints signed quarterback Jake Luton off the Panthers’ 16-man unit. Like Norton and Luton, Williams must remain on his new team’s active roster for at least three weeks.

A 6-foot-3 cover man out of Vanderbilt, Williams went to the Patriots at No. 45 overall in 2019. Joining the then-defending Super Bowl champions, Williams could not carve out a notable role during his time in New England. He played a career-high 254 defensive snaps for the 2021 Pats but has just one start on his resume. Williams, 25, spent the 2022 season on IR due to a summer shoulder injury.

Colts’ Jonathan Taylor Still Aiming To Be Traded; Ravens Not Interested?

The Colts are coming close to the point when they will need to make a call on Jonathan Taylor. The former rushing champion can be activated from the reserve/PUP list next week, and he already could return to practice for the team.

While Taylor has shared a video of himself training at the Colts’ facility, ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano notes the fourth-year running back has not changed his stance on playing for the team again. Taylor has sought a trade since July, and although the Colts halted talks before the deadline to set their initial 53-man roster, they have until Oct. 31 to unload him this year.

Just as Taylor wants a deal that leads him out of Indianapolis, Graziano adds the Colts have not adjusted their stance on an extension. Indy is not budging on that front, either. The Colts, who have the option of franchise-tagging Taylor in 2024, have not offered him a deal.

Zack Moss has fared well since returning from a broken arm, playing 98% of the team’s RB snaps in Week 2 and totaling 122 yards (on a career-high 30 carries) in the overtime win over the Ravens. While Taylor is undeniably better than Moss, this has not helped his cause or dispelled the notion that RBs can largely be easily replaced.

When the Colts engaged in trade talks in late August, doubt emerged about their desire to complete a deal. Jaylen Waddle surfacing in talks with the Dolphins sent up a red flag about the Colts’ true interest in moving on, and a Taylor path to Miami may be closing. The Dolphins just rushed for 350 yards in a historic decimation of the Broncos, and Mike McDaniel‘s team has received quality play from Raheem Mostert. De’Von Achane‘s first crack at regular work also produced a monster outing — 203 rushing yards, four touchdowns. Miami also has Jeff Wilson eligible to come off the PUP list next week, though it is uncertain if the ex-49er will be ready to do so. Summer’s top Taylor suitor does not seem to feature a need, having three backs tied to low-cost contracts.

The Ravens and Browns have lost their starters for the season. Cleveland also recently reunited with Kareem Hunt, potentially applying some heat on Baltimore to improve its situation. Barring a dramatic shift in their approach, CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson notes the Ravens should not be considered an interested party. Injuries have forced Baltimore to add numerous veterans over the past few seasons — that list now includes Melvin Gordon and Kenyan Drake — but the team does not appear prepared to hand over a high draft choice and/or a lucrative extension for a running back. It no longer looks like the Colts are asking for a first-rounder to move Taylor, but there do not look to be many suitors.

Time may be running out for Taylor to continue his crusade. While the 2021 All-Pro has lobbied against playing for the Colts again, his options are limited. The Colts do not have to activate him from their PUP list next week, however, and the parties may continue to use the list as a way to keep trade talks alive. Taylor returning to a Colts team that has shown signs of life — after an abysmal 2022 — would be an important AFC South development, and an answer about his availability should be days away.

La’el Collins Passes Physical; Several Teams Monitoring Free Agent T

SEPTEMBER 27: The veteran starter is likely to have another opportunity in the near future. Around 12 teams have reached out to the high-profile free agent, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com notes, adding that free agency visits should be expected to follow. Collins collected $2.1MM in Bengals injury guarantees in 2023; it will be interesting to see which teams summon him for meetings.

SEPTEMBER 25: La’el Collins has gone from two-time Cowboys extension recipient to Bengals right tackle starter to free agency, becoming unattached after Cincinnati released him from its reserve/PUP list two weeks ago. But it should be expected the seasoned starter finds a new home soon.

ACL and MCL tears ended Collins’ 2022 season on Christmas Eve, and although he was not expected to begin the season on the Bengals’ active roster, the AFC North club made the surprising decision to axe him from the PUP list. While Collins’ readiness level was not known when the Bengals cut him, ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter reports he has since passed a physical.

Monday marks almost exactly nine months since Collins suffered his ligament tears, which would put him on a smooth track back to action. It would seemingly take the eight-year veteran more time to move back into game form, but Monday’s development should be of interest to teams in need to tackle help. Considering the injuries that pile up at this position annually, Collins could be an interesting piece to help a team in the near future or as a second-half hired gun.

The Bengals gave Collins a three-year, $21MM deal shortly after the Cowboys released him with in March 2022. Collins, 30, brought great value to Dallas, arriving as a first-round-level talent who fell out of the draft due to off-field matters. After a seven-year run as a Cowboys starter, Collins started all 15 games he played as a Bengal. The Bengals lost Collins, fellow 2022 signee Alex Cappa and veteran tackle Jonah Williams to injuries down the stretch, making a key impact on their push to defend their AFC title. This offseason, Cincy changed its tackle plans by signing Orlando Brown Jr. and moving Williams to the right side. That left Collins without a starting job, and the team was not particularly pleased with his pre-injury work.

Collins only has experience at right tackle, moving there from guard in 2017. But he would stand to be an upgrade for some teams at that post. The Patriots are playing without Riley Reiff, Collins’ Cincinnati RT predecessor, while the Jets chose to move Mekhi Becton back to left tackle (and Alijah Vera-Tucker to his emergency RT spot) after Duane Brown‘s injury. (The Patriots are believed to have Collins on their radar.) The Browns lost starter Jack Conklin for the season, while the Seahawks and Texans have their respective starters (Abraham Lucas, Tytus Howard) on IR. The Lions are down multiple tackles, with a potential season-ending Matt Nelson injury coming during Taylor Decker‘s second straight missed game.

Should Collins be ready to return to game action soon, he would represent an experienced option as contenders assemble their stretch-run rosters. While the LSU alum may be on the backend of his career, he has started 86 career games and worked as the primary right tackle for three playoff teams.

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