Packers S Josh Jones Seeking Trade

In 2017, the Packers selected safety Josh Jones in the second round of the draft. Two years later, the defensive back is seeking a trade. As ESPN’s Rob Demovsky reports, Jones is skipping the Packers’ OTAs with the hope of forcing a trade.

A source told Demovsky that Jones “believes it would be best for both him and the Packers if they parted ways.” The 24-year-old continues to work out with a trainer in Florida as he prepares for training camp. Jones had previously reported to the start of offseason workouts back in April.

“I have not talked to him,” said head coach Matt LaFleur (via the Associated Press). “I’m just going to focus on the guys that are here. That’s something that I know [general manager Brian Gutekunst] has a good handle on that situation.”

Jones has spent his entire brief career in Green Bay, although he’s yet to emerge as a full-time starter. The safety seemingly took a step back during his sophomore season, finishing with 55 tackles, one sack, and two passes defended in 13 games (five starts). Pro Football Focus ended up ranking Jones 70th among 93 eligible safeties.

The Packers invested heavily on the safety position this offseason. The team inked former Bears safety Adrian Amos to a four-year, $36MM deal. The Packers later traded up in the first round to select Maryland safety Darnell Savage Jr..

Minor NFL Transactions: 5/21/19

Here are Tuesday’s minor moves:

Indianapolis Colts

New York Jets

Raiders Sign TE Erik Swoope

Erik Swoope has made his decision. The free agent tight end has signed a one-year deal with the Raiders, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). We learned earlier today that Swoope had auditioned for the Raiders, Redskins, and Buccaneers.

Following a standout basketball career at Miami (FL), Swoope switched his focus to football following his senior season. The six-foot-five, 257-pound tight end ultimately joined the Colts as an undrafted free agent, and he proceeded to spend the next five seasons with the organization.

Swoope barely saw the field during his first two seasons in the NFL, but he eventually appeared in a career-high 16 games in 2016. The 27-year-old missed the 2017 campaign after undergoing knee surgery, but he returned and appeared in seven games (two starts) this past season. Swoope finished the campaign having hauled in eight receptions for 87 yards and three touchdowns.

The Raiders moved on from Lee Smith earlier this month, opening a spot on their tight ends depth chart. Free-agent addition Luke Willson is expected to be the team’s starter, but Swoope will have a chance to compete with Derek Carrier and rookie Foster Moreau for backup snaps.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints Sign DE Wes Horton

Wes Horton has found a new home. The veteran defensive end has signed with the Saints, reports ESPN’s Adam Caplan (via Twitter).

The former undrafted free agent out of USC had spent his entire six-year career with the Panthers. After starting 27 games through his first four years in the NFL, Horton transitioned to more of a backup role in 2017 and 2018. This past season, the 29-year-old compiled 24 tackles and 1.5 sacks in 16 games. Pro Football Focus wasn’t particularly fond of his performance, as they ranked Horton 102nd among 103 edge defenders.

In New Orleans, Horton will be joining a talented defensive end corps that includes All-Pro Cameron Jordan, All-Rookie Marcus Davenport, and free agent addition Mario Edwards Jr.. Horton will likely be competing with the likes of Trey Hendrickson for reserve snaps.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Kupp, Rudolph, Lions, Eagles

Rams wideout Cooper Kupp tore his ACL back in mid-November, and the team is eyeing a Week 1 return for the 25-year-old. Kupp participated in individual drills during the Rams’ organized team activities on Monday, and he told reporters that he feels better each week.

“It’s been a long process for sure,” Kupp told ESPN’s Lindsey Thiry. “I’ve been doing what I can to get back.

“I can’t predict how I’m going to feel even a week from now. But the way that things are going, I’m happy with the way that things are trending. Each week there’s progress.”

While Kupp wouldn’t give a definitive target date for his return, coach Sean McVay told reporters said the team is hopeful he’ll be ready to go for the season opener.

“He’s like a kid standing on the sidelines that just wants to grab a ball and go play,” McVay said. “He’s one of those guys that’s right on track with where we want him to be.”

The former third-rounder followed a standout rookie campaign with a solid 2018 season. Kupp finished the year with 40 receptions for 566 yards and six scores in eight games.

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

  • While there’s no guarantee that he’ll be with the Vikings come the start of the season, tight end Kyle Rudolph told NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero that he’d be attending his team’s OTAs (Twitter link). We learned last week that the organization had offered the veteran a five-year extension, although there hasn’t been a lot of progress with negotiations. There were rumblings that the team could even look to move on from Rudolph after selecting Irv Smith Jr. in the second round of last month’s draft.
  • A pair of veterans won’t be attending Lions OTAs. Coach Matt Patricia told Justin Rogers of The Detroit News that nose tackle Damon Harrison and cornerback Darius Slay wouldn’t be attending the voluntary workouts (Twitter link). “Right now we are – it’s voluntary as that part of the season is concerned,” Patricia said (via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press). “Those two guys are not here. You will not see them at the practice today, but we fully expect that this time of the year, guys that are here, guys that are not. That’s totally fine. We’re working with the guys that are out there.” Both Harrison and Slay have two years remaining on their current deals, and both players are represented by agent Drew Rosenhaus.
  • Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins isn’t attending his team’s OTAs, tweets NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo. As ESPN’s Adam Schefter points out on Twitter, the absence is notable because Jenkins is “one of the NFL’s most-respected players.” The defensive back is presumably seeking a new contract, although his current deal doesn’t expire until the end of the 2020 season. Jenkins’ $8.75MM average annual salary still ranks in the top-10 at the position. The 31-year-old earned his third Pro Bowl nod last season.
  • Chris Long played alongside a number of talented defensive linemen with the Eagles this past season, leading to him appearing in a modest 59.1% of the team’s defensive plays. The veteran acknowledged that his diminishing role played a part in his decision to retire. “Philadelphia is where I wanted to play a couple more years,” Long told Peter King of Football Morning in America. “I love Philadelphia. But as a player I learned the most important thing to me is Sunday, and having a chance to be a big part of it. It seemed like player-coach was kind of the role that was going to be carved out for me—maybe playing 10, 12, 15 plays a game. I’m a rhythm player. I need to set people up, I need to be in the flow of the game. If I sit on the bench for three series, I can’t get rhythm, and I’ll get cold and maybe I’ll hurt myself. Some people think that’s great—play less and you won’t get hurt. Man, I want to play ball. In Philadelphia, it didn’t seem there was much of a chance to compete there. But they were honest with me the whole time. I appreciate the honesty.”

Bucs Claim Jordan Leggett

On Tuesday, the Buccaneers claimed tight end Jordan Leggett off waivers. Leggett was cut loose by the Jets and newly minted interim GM Adam Gase earlier this week. 

[RELATED: Buccaneers To Sign Ndamukong Suh]

Although he hasn’t done much at the pro level, there was a real market for Leggett’s services. Four other teams besides the Bucs entered claims for the Clemson product, Manish Mehta of the Daily News (on Twitter) hears.

Leggett, a fifth-round pick in 2017, lost his rookie year to a preseason knee injury. In 2018, Leggett appeared in 15 games, but finished out with just 14 catches for 114 yards and a touchdown. All in all, he saw time on 326 offensive plays and 93 special teams plays.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Seahawks Sign First-Rounder L.J. Collier

The Seahawks have signed first-round pick L.J. Collier, according to Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle (on Twitter). The No. 29 overall selection will earn $10.8MM on the four-year pact with a $5.9MM signing bonus. 

Collier only spent one full season as a full-time starter at TCU, but he could be asked to take on a major role in the Seahawks’ defense as a rookie following the trade of Frank Clark to the Chiefs that brought the No. 29 pick to Seattle. The Seahawks also signed Ziggy Ansah to help on the edge, but his shoulder might prevent him from taking the field to start the season.

Collier profiles as a power rusher, though his 6’2″, 283-pound frame could put him at a disadvantage against larger tackles. His snap reaction time also needs some work, but the Seahawks believe they can get him up to speed between now and September.

With Collier under contract, the Seahawks have only two unsigned rookies left: second-round wide receiver D.K. Metcalf and third-round linebacker Cody Barton.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Buccaneers To Sign Ndamukong Suh

May’s biggest free agent is off the board. On Tuesday, the Buccaneers agreed to sign defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). 

When finalized, it’ll be a one-year deal to bring the terrifying lineman to Tampa. Suh’s arrival will give the Bucs a major stopper to replace six-time Pro Bowler Gerald McCoy, who was released on Monday.

Suh, 32, has five Pro Bowl nods and two First-Team All-Pro selections on his resume. Throughout his career, Suh has been one of the very best defensive tackles in the NFL with an impressive knack for finding the quarterback from the interior.

After five years with the Lions, Suh inked a six-year, $114MM with the Dolphins, making him the highest-paid defensive player in league history. Suh continued to play at a high level, but didn’t quite live up to the mammoth contract. Midway through, the Dolphins released him, paving the way for Suh to latch on with the Rams in 2018.

In L.A., Suh tallied 4.5 sacks and 59 tackles and graded out as the No. 20 ranked interior defender in the NFL. Those numbers aren’t in line with his best work, but it’s clear that the veteran still has a lot to offer for the Bucs.

Suh would have made sense for clubs like the Seahawks, Cowboys, Broncos, and Vikings, but the Bucs jumped at the opportunity to replace McCoy with the equally accomplished defender. Meanwhile, the deal brings Suh back to Florida, a no-income tax state.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns Sign Rookie Greedy Williams

It’s officially payday for Greedy Williams. On Tuesday, the Browns announced that they have signed the second-round cornerback to his rookie deal. 

Per the terms of Williams’ slot at No. 46 overall, he’ll earn $6.46MM over the course of his four-year deal. Because he was a second-round selection, the Browns will not be able to utilize the fifth-year option to automatically retain his rights following the 2022 season.

Heading into draft season, many pegged Williams as a potential first-round choice. However, the Giants were the only club to select a cornerback in the first-round, and that wasn’t until No. 30 when they tapped Georgia’s Deandre Baker. The cornerback run began in earnest with the second round, but Williams watched Byron Murphy, Rock Ya-Sin, Sean Murphy-Bunting, Trayvon Mullen, and Joejuan Williams all go off the board first.

The Browns, not wanting to let Williams get away, sacrificed a fifth-round choice to move up from No. 49 overall to get him. Williams says he plans to play with a chip on his shoulder and make the rest of the league regret passing on him.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colts QB Chad Kelly May Face Suspension

The Colts gave Chad Kelly another NFL opportunity, but it’s not a given that he’ll be on the roster for Week 1. For starters, Kelly is hardly guaranteed to make the Colts’ 53-man cut. And, even if he does, Kelly could still face suspension from the NFL, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears. 

The league office tells Rapoport that Kelly’s situation is still under review. The professional quarterback/amateur rapper has had several off-the-field missteps and his latest incident in 2018 resulted in a guilty plea to misdemeanor second-degree criminal trespassing and his release from the Broncos.

Before being cut by Denver, Kelly had an opportunity to leapfrog the struggling Case Keenum as the club’s starter. Now, Kelly is hoping to stick as a backup behind Andrew Luck and Jacoby Brissett while avoiding a ban to start the season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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