North Notes: Steelers, Burnett, Lions

If you’ve missed the latest Thursday-night game, injuries have limited the Steelers. Pittsburgh lost JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Conner; the former suffered a concussion and the latter re-injured the AC joint that sidelined him for the past two games. Both are out for the rest of the Browns game, as are cornerback Artie Burns and wideout Diontae Johnson (due to a knee injury and a concussion, respectively). This is Smith-Schuster’s third known concussion since coming into the league. He suffered two as a rookie in 2017.

Here is the latest from the North divisions:

  • Both of the Browns‘ starting safeties are out of tonight’s game. Shortly before Damarious Randall was ejected for a helmet-to-helmet hit, the Browns lost Morgan Burnett. The ex-Packers and Steelers defender suffered what the Browns fear is a significant Achilles injury, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). After being relegated to a part-time role in his one Pittsburgh season, Burnett has been a full-time starter in Cleveland.
  • The NFL is looking into the Lions‘ handling of Matthew Stafford‘s back injury, Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com notes. Multiple Lions players were informed Saturday that Stafford would not play, but Detroit had called the quarterback a game-time decision. Stafford has been playing through back pain all season. The league requires teams to update their injury reports if it has been decided, prior to a team’s stadium arrival, a player will not play.
  • With Michael Pierce battling an injury, the Ravens bolstered their defensive tackle corps with two veteransDomata Peko and Justin Ellis.

Eagles To Host Jay Ajayi On Visit

After workouts with the Cardinals and Lions did not produce a landing spot, Jay Ajayi will visit one of his former teams. The ex-Dolphins and Eagles running back will head to Philadelphia on Friday for a visit, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter).

Ajayi’s ACL tear has forced him to miss much of this season, but the four-year veteran was productive in Miami and Philly prior to the injury. The Eagles have revamped their backfield since Ajayi’s tenure, going with a Jordan HowardMiles Sanders tandem this season. Both are averaging 4.4 yards per carry.

Howard is listed as questionable to face the Patriots this week, having been limited in practice by a shoulder injury. The offsason trade acquisition has not missed a game this season.

After his 1,272-yard 2016 season with the Dolphins, Ajayi became a key part of the Eagles’ Super Bowl run the following year. He averaged 5.8 yards per carry with the Eagles in 2017. He did not fare as well with the ’18 Eagles, who lacked consistency on the ground. But the team will see how the 26-year-old back looks for a possible late-season addition.

Broncos Expected To Place Callahan On IR

Bryce Callahan‘s foot injury has kept him off the field throughout this season, and the cornerback’s Broncos debut is now expected to be tabled until 2020. Vic Fangio said Callahan is likely to go on IR, per Troy Renck of Denver7 (on Twitter).

Fangio said Monday that Callahan was expected to make an attempt to practice this week. That occurred, but Callahan’s injured foot was sore afterward. While the free agent addition may be healthy enough to return at some point this season, upcoming activations of Drew Lock and wide receiver Tim Patrick will force the Broncos to remove two players from their active roster.

The Broncos gave Callahan a three-year, $21MM deal with $10MM guaranteed. The former Bears slot standout ended last season on IR with a fractured foot, and he aggravated that injury in training camp. Callahan was one of three high-profile Broncos free agent additions, joining Kareem Jackson and Ja’Wuan James. While Jackson has delivered in his first full season as a safety, James has missed most of this season.

Callahan is the top Broncos corner under contract next season, with four-time Pro Bowler Chris Harris set to test free agency. While Harris has not ruled out a return to Denver, and support exists in the building for another re-up, Callahan’s situation could make this a major offseason need.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Colin Kaepernick’s NFL Workout

On Thursday, the NFL confirmed eleven teams that will attend Colin Kaepernick‘s weekend workout. The Broncos, Browns, Buccaneers, Cardinals, Dolphins, Falcons, Giants, Jets, Lions, Patriots, and Redskins will all have representatives in Atlanta to scout the quarterback, but many more teams are expected to take part. 

Kaepernick’s old friends, the 49ers, will be on hand, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports hears. Ditto for the Seahawks, the only organization to audition Kaepernick since he became a free agent (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Brady Henderson).

It would be a shock to see Kaepernick reunite with the 49ers, but stranger things have happened in sports. At minimum, they’re willing to take a look at Kaep to see what kind of shape he is in after a long hiatus from football. It’s worth noting that the Niners did not consider Kaepernick last season when Jimmy Garoppolo went down with a season-ending knee injury. Instead, they tried out the likes of Tom Savage, Kellen Clemens, and T.J. Yates.

The NFL still hasn’t disclosed why they’ve decided to hold this one-man combine for Kaepernick, nor have they explained the reasoning behind the timing. It has been speculated that the league office set up the audition in response to interest from NFL clubs, though those mystery teams are reportedly eyeing Kaepernick as an potential 2020 pickup rather than for the current season.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/14/19

Today’s minor moves:

Minnesota Vikings

Pittsburgh Steelers

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 11/14/19

Today’s practice squad updates:

Baltimore Ravens

Indianapolis Colts

  • Waived from PS-IR: RB Bruce Anderson

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

  • Signed: C John Keenoy

Chargers Designate Adrian Phillips For Return

Adrian Phillips is on his way back to the Bolts. On Thursday, the Chargers designated the safety for return from the injured reserve list. 

Phillips suffered a broken forearm in a September loss to the Lions, knocking him out of action. The Chargers have remained optimistic about his chances to return this year, however, and he’s primed to do just that. The sixth-year pro now has a three-week window to practice and get ready to play. If the Chargers do not activate him within that timeframe, he will not be eligible to play this year.

Phillips earned his first career Pro Bowl nod last year, and the Bolts were excited to see what the hybrid safety/linebacker could do in 2019. Instead, they’ve had to get by without him and other key defenders which has led to some mixed results. The Chargers managed back-to-back wins against the Bears and Packers recently, but Thursday night’s loss to the Raiders has them at 4-6 and on the verge of falling out of the playoff chase.

Things won’t get much easier for the Chargers – they’ll face the Chiefs on Monday night in Mexico City and quarterback Patrick Mahomes says he’s feeling better than he has all season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns Release WR Antonio Callaway

The Browns have released wide receiver Antonio Callaway, per a club announcement. Meanwhile, Callaway is facing, and appealing, a ten-game suspension for another violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy, sources tell NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). While that’s a major factor in the team’s decision to cut him, Rapoport hears that it is not the only reason the team waived him.

The Browns drafted Callaway in the fourth round of the 2018 draft, opting to roll the dice on an extremely talented player who had multiple red flags off the field. At times, that talent has shown. Last year, he clicked with Baker Mayfield and finished out with 43 catches for 586 yards and five touchdowns. This year, however, his off-the-field problems reappeared – the NFL suspended Callaway for the first four games of the year after violating the substance abuse policy and he’s now looking at an additional ten-game ban.

The Browns benched Callaway against the Bills on Sunday for reasons that head coach Freddie Kitchens did not disclose. Days later, Callaway is out of a job. Per league rules, he’ll hit the waiver wire as a post-trade deadline cut. In his four games this year, Callaway registered eight catches off of 15 targets for 89 yards and zero TDs.

In a related move, the Browns have activated offensive lineman Drew Forbes. Forbes, a sixth-round pick, is now set to debut after recovering from a knee injury suffered late in the offseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC West Notes: Seahawks, Lockett, 49ers

Despite suffering a leg contusion against the 49ers on Monday night, Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett is expected to be available when Seattle returns from its bye in Week 12, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Lockett spent time at the hospital after injuring his leg (in what was called a “pretty severe situation” by head coach Pete Carroll), but he’s since flown back to Seattle. In the midst of a second consecutive excellent campaign, the 27-year-old Lockett has posted 62 receptions for 793 yards and six touchdowns through 10 games.

Here’s more from the NFC West:

  • While Lockett doesn’t figure to miss any time, 49ers running back Matt Breida isn’t so lucky. Breida aggravated a low ankle sprain against Seattle and will likely miss a week or two, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Breida is getting a second opinion on his injury, so the timeline could certainly change, but at this point it doesn’t appear he’ll be sidelined for too long. While he’s often banged up, Breida is typically able to produce at a high level when on the field. 2019 has been no different, as he’s managed five yards per carry on 109 attempts. San Francisco will now deploy Raheem Mostert alongside Tevin Coleman in Breida’s absence.
  • Breida’s loss won’t the only hit to the 49ers‘ running game — left tackle Joe Staley will also miss a few weeks after undergoing surgery on a dislocated/fractured finger, per Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area (Twitter link). Staley, of course, broke his fibula in Week 2 and had been sidelined until Week 9. San Francisco has been able to succeed on the ground even without Staley around, and the club will now turn back to Justin Skule — who’s played 451 offensive snaps this year — at left tackle.
  • In case you missed it, Rams center Brian Allen will miss the remainder of the season after suffering an MCL injury in Week 10.

Current 2020 NFL Draft Order

With 10 full weeks of the NFL season in the books, the 2020 draft order is beginning to take shape. Here’s the rundown of where things would stand if the 2018 season ended today:

1. Bengals (0-9)

2. Redskins (1-8)

3. Giants (2-8)

4. Jets (2-7)

5. Dolphins (2-7)

6. Falcons (2-7)

7. Broncos (3-6)

8. Buccaneers (3-6)

9. Browns (3-6)

10. Cardinals (3-6-1)

11. Lions (3-5-1)

12. Chargers (4-6)

13. Jaguars (4-5)

14. Raiders (via Bears) (4-5)

15. Titans (5-5)

16. Colts (5-4)

17. Eagles (5-4)

18. Jaguars (via Rams) (5-4)

19. Panthers (5-4)

20. Raiders (5-4)

NFL News & NFL Rumors