49ers’ D.J. Reed Out For Season

D.J. Reed won’t have to wrestle his opt out decision between now and Thursday. Unfortunately, his torn pectoral muscle has made the call for him. The Niners have ruled Reed out for the season by placing him the reserve/non-football injury list, as Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports tweets

[RELATED: 49ers To Sign Jordan Reed]

Reed, 23, has appeared in 31 games for the Niners over the last two seasons. His playing time dipped in 2019, but, at minimum, he was set to serve as a versatile reserve in the secondary and a valuable special teams player.

Kwon Alexander suffered a torn pectoral muscle last year and miraculously returned to practice two months later. That’s not the typical timetable, of course, so it’s not a surprise to hear that Reed is done for the season. 49ers GM John Lynch considered keeping Reed on the roster, but it wasn’t feasible for the team to tie up a spot for several months.

By parking Reed for the year, the Niners will clear a roster spot for tight end Jordan Reed, who agreed to join the club on Monday.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Seahawks Interested In Antonio Brown, Josh Gordon

The Seahawks are monitoring Antonio Brown‘s situation and they’re “very open” to re-signing Josh Gordon, head coach Pete Carroll says (via Geoffrey C. Arnold of The Oregonian). Brown was recently hit with an eight-game suspension from the NFL, meaning that he wouldn’t be able to play until November. Gordon, meanwhile, is waiting for word on his bid for reinstatement. 

[RELATED: Seahawks OL Warmack To Opt Out]

The Seahawks are set to go into the season with Tyler Lockett, D.K. Metcalf, Phillip Dorsett, and David Moore as their top receivers. From a pure talent perspective, Gordon or Brown would provide Russell Wilson with some serious offensive firepower.

What I’d say to you is what we always say because it’s what we always do and who we are,” Carroll said, in reference to Brown. “[Seahawks GM] John [Schneider] is competing at every turn. There’s never been a process, unless we just missed it, that we weren’t involved with to understand what the chances were of helping our club. He’s all over it. He understands what’s going on right now, as much as you can. It’s a very complex situation. We just need to see where it fits somewhere down the road. That’s all I got for you.”

Brown, 32, comes with some very obvious complications. He could also face even more NFL discipline. His eight-game ban covered only some of his personal conduct policy violations; the league could consider another suspension for an alleged sexual assault.

Carroll seemed to indicate that a Gordon reunion was more likely to happen. Of course, the Seahawks will have to wait for Roger Goodell‘s verdict before making a move.

It’s not in our hands,” Carroll said. “Josh did a really good job with us last year. He fit in really well. He was part of this team by the way we opened and embraced his coming to us but also by the way he adapted. So we are very open to that thought, and we’ll see what happens. I don’t know. I can’t tell you what’s going to happen on that.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Opt Out Window Closes On Thursday

After weeks of back-and-forth, the side agreement between the NFL and the NFLPA has been executed. After the deal was signed, players were told that they’ll have until 4pm ET/3pm CT on Thursday to opt out (Twitter link via Tom Pelissero of NFL.com).

[RELATED: 2020 NFL Opt Out Tracker]

The two sides first agreed to terms on July 24th, but it took ten days for the lawyers to update the recently-signed CBA. The opt out deadline was supposed to be scheduled for seven days after the final execution of the deal. Now, they’ve got two days.

Already, upwards of 45 players have passed on the 2020 season. That number could grow even larger in the next couple of days – deadlines spur action, and many of the league’s linemen can be categorized as “high-risk” due to their body mass. Nearly every other position has been represented as well. C.J. Mosley, Dont’a Hightower, Nate Solder and Damien Williams are among the players who will skip the season. Free agent Pro Bowler Larry Warford also decided to sit out in 2020. The Patriots have been hit the hardest – eight of their players have opted out, including Hightower, safety Patrick Chung, right tackle Marcus Cannon, and wide receiver Marqise Lee.

With COVID-19 threatening the health and availability of players throughout the year, the two parties agreed to a special provision that will allow teams to activate a player off the practice squad up to 90 minutes before kickoff (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com). Meanwhile, any player who refuses a COVID-19 test will be fined $50K.

Saints Sign WR Bennie Fowler

Bennie Fowler has found a new home. SiriusXM’s Adam Caplan reports (via Twitter) that the veteran wideout has signed with the Saints.

The Michigan State product spent the first four seasons of his career with the Broncos, and while he averaged 15 games per season between 2015 and 2017, he didn’t put up big numbers. His best season came in 2017, when he hauled in 29 receptions for 350 receiving yards and three scores.

The 29-year-old has bounced around the NFL a bit since that time. He signed with the Bears prior to the 2018 campaign, but he was cut at the end of the preseason. His subsequent stint with the Patriots lasted less than a week, but Fowler eventually found a new home with the Giants. In two-ish seasons with New York, the wideout averaged 19.5 receptions and 196 receiving yards per years.

Fowler is now joining one of the NFL’s top offenses in New Orleans. While the top of the Saints depth chart is highlighted by Michael Thomas and newcomer Emmanuel Sanders, Fowler could emerge from a grouping that includes the likes of Tre’Quan Smith, Deonte Harris, Austin Carr, and Lil’Jordan Humphrey.

Bills Sign OL Brian Winters

It didn’t take long for Brian Winters to find a new gig. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the veteran offensive lineman has signed with the Bills.

Winters joins Buffalo after getting surprisingly cut by the rival Jets yesterday. The veteran had been the Jets’ starting right guard since 2013, but it was clear that Greg Van Roten had the inside track at the starting job. In an act of good faith, the Jets let go of Winters so he could find a starting gig elsewhere (as ESPN’s Rich Cimini passed along yesterday). Of course, the move also cleared more than $7MM on the Jets’ books.

Winters will have a good chance to start in Buffalo, especially following news that Jon Feliciano has been sidelined with a pectoral tear. Winters was limited to only nine games last season after suffering a shoulder injury, but he averaged 14.5 games per season between 2015 and 2018. While Buffalo could turn to the likes of Spencer Long or Daryl Williams to fill in for Feliciano, Winters’ experience and dependability will likely earn him the bulk of playing time.

Feliciano suffered a torn pectoral muscle and underwent surgery Friday, the team announced. Feliciano started in all 17 Bills games for the Bills last season. The former fourth-round pick will be a free agent in 2021.

Rapoport notes that Winters had a number of suitors, but the Bills moved quickly to sign the 29-year-old.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Titans Sign First-Round OL Isaiah Wilson

The final unsigned first-rounder has officially inked his deal. The Titans have signed Isaiah Wilson to his rookie contract, according to Jim Wyatt of the team website.

NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the rookie offensive tackle received a four-year, $11.57MM contract with a $5.974MM signing bonus. As Rapoport observes, picks No. 25-32 all ended up getting paid more guaranteed money than previous rookies drafted in that range, with each of those 2020 rooks earning at least 90% fully guaranteed deals.

Before he was selected with the 29th overall pick in this past year’s draft, Wilson was a standout at Georgia. The 6-foot-6, 350-pound lineman earned All-SEC second team honors in 2019 after starting 10 of his 11 games. He was previously named to the Football Writers Association of America freshman All-America Team.

In Tennessee, Wilson is expected to fill the hole left by Jack Conklin, who left for the Browns in free agency. The rookie will likely compete with Dennis Kelly for the starting right tackle spot, and he’s already looking forward to blocking for the likes of Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry.

“I am sure I am going to learn a lot of great things from Derrick Henry about run blocking, about where he expects his holes to be as a back who has been in the league for years,” Wilson told Wyatt. “Ryan Tannehill can definitely teach me certain things about protection and things of that nature. I definitely plan on learning from those guys and bettering my game off of those guys and polishing up what I do and try and be the best player for the team.”

Jets Cut Quincy Enunwa

The Jets have released Quincy Enunwa with a failed physical designation, per the league’s transactions wire. The Jets previously ruled out for the 2020 season, but he intends on returning to the field at some point. 

After signing a four-year, $36MM extension with the Jets in late 2018, Enunwa was expected to be a primary target for quarterback Sam Darnold. Sadly, those plans came to a halt when Enunwa suffered the second neck injury of his career in the 2019 season opener against the Bills. Later on, the Jets restructured his deal, keeping him in the fold as he works his way back. Thankfully, Enunwa’s extension gave him financial security, including $10MM in fully guaranteed money.

Injuries have plagued Enunwa throughout his career, but he showed serious promise when he was healthy. In 2016, he played in all 16 games and tallied 58 catches for 857 yards. After missing the ’17 campaign, he looked like his old self in ’18. Hopefully, he’ll be able to resume his career sometime soon with another club.

If I’m capable of playing, then that’s what I’ll do,” Enunwa said recently. “If it comes down to the fact that the doctors say I can’t, there’s not much I can do. There’s really nothing I can do there, but if I have the ability to [play], the passion will always be there, the want-to will always be there.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Vikings Extend GM Rick Spielman

Vikings GM Rick Spielman has a new deal to match head coach Mike Zimmer. On Monday, the Vikings officially announced a brand new deal for their top football exec to take him through the 2023 season. 

Rick has been outstanding in his role as Vikings general manager,” Vikings owner Mark Wilf said in a statement. “We are excited and honored to have him continue to lead our efforts to build a championship roster and first-class organization. With Rick’s and Coach Zimmer’s leadership in place, we are in a great position to continue to compete for a Super Bowl.”

Spielman has been with the Vikings since 2006 and has served as their GM since 2012. Since his big promotion, the Vikings have made the playoffs four times including an appearance in the NFC Championship Game (2017). And, with Zimmer as his head coach, the club has posted a record of 57-38-1.

Spielman was set to enter his walk year. Now, he has some extra security heading into his 15th season with the organization.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/3/20

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here. For the running list of opt out decisions, check out PFR’s 2020 Opt Out Tracker.

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

  • Released: QB Jalen Morton, FB Elijah Wellman

Las Vegas Raiders

Miami Dolphins

  • Claimed off waivers (from Colts): CB Picasso Nelson

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Raiders Trade P.J. Hall To Vikings

The Raiders are trading defensive tackle P.J. Hall to the Vikings, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. In exchange, the Vikings will send a conditional seventh-round choice to the Raiders.

Hall was supposed to be waived before the end of the business day. Instead, the Vikings swooped in with a trade offer. Instead of crossing their fingers and waiting to see if Hall slipped on the waiver wire, they pulled off a deal. The pick will only change hands if Hall is on the roster for a certain number of games, so it’s essentially a low-cost, no-risk pickup for the Vikes.

Hall, a 2018 second-round pick, was pushed out of the starting lineup by the addition of Maliek Collins. Then, he lost his spot on the team, despite his reasonable rookie contract.

Hall started in 12 of his 16 games last year, finishing out with 26 tackles and 1.5 sacks from the interior. The Vikings will assume the remainder of his contract and have him under club control through 2021.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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