Month: November 2017

Extra Points: Preseason, QBs, Goldson, Kruger

The NFL’s longtime format of four preseason games could be set to change as soon as next year, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com reports. A lot of talk’s occurred about altering the length of the preseason, with some in league circles wanting to ditch the fourth game. Pointing to the number of injuries to starter-level players that occur during meaningless contests and the public relations hits the NFL’s taken about the safety of its game, others see no reason more than two are necessary.

Additional practices, including joint workouts, are among the ways the league could bypass coaches’ concerns about not having enough evaluation time, La Canfora notes. The league remains committed to implementing a plan for a developmental league or an in-season academy that would help the lower-tier players hone their skills without having to do so for teams come August.

La Canfora believes the preseason could change as soon as next year, and be drastically different within five years, but doesn’t see a spring developmental league on the immediate horizon since the NFLPA would have to sign off on that.

Here’s more from around the league as teams get their backups ready for the final night of exhibition tilts.

  • Multiple quarterbacks being lost for either the season or a significant part of it has inflated the value of backups on the trade market. La Canfora notes the Buccaneers, Bengals and Browns are not likely to part with respective No. 2 signal-callers Mike Glennon, A.J. McCarron and Josh McCown for anything less than a Day 2 draft pick, with the possibility a team holds out for a first-round selection. Each team would prefer to keep their backups, La Canfora writes.
  • Mark Sanchez could qualify for this above discussion, though it’s highly unlikely the Broncos would receive a Day 2 pick for him with $4.5MM and just one season left on his contract. Troy Renck of Denver7 reports (on Twitter) a Sanchez resolution could come by Friday. The Broncos have engaged in efforts to try and trade Sanchez this week after naming Trevor Siemian the Week 1 starter.
  • Dashon Goldson‘s deal with the Falcons is a one-year, $1.5MM deal with $250K guaranteed, according to Tom Pelissero of USA Today (on Twitter). $500K of his money is tied to per-game active bonuses.
  • The Saints‘ deal with Paul Kruger is a one-year, $3MM pact worth up to $5MM with incentives, a league source told ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter. Before his release, he was under contract through next season at $6.5MM this year and $7MM next year with Cleveland. The Saints will have to carve out some cap space to make way for Kruger’s deal and they’ll likely do that through contract restructuring.

Zach Links contributed to this report

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/31/16

Here are today’s minor moves.

  • Wide receiver Mario Alford cleared waivers and will revert to the Bengals‘ IR, Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com tweets.
  • Recently cut tight end Ryan Malleck will revert to the Giants‘ IR after clearing waivers, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv reports (on Twitter).
  • Continuing a busy day for their secondary, the Saints waived/injured rookie DB Jimmy Pruitt, Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com reports (on Twitter).
  • The Saints also moved cornerback Damian Swann to IR, Nick Underhill of The Advocate reports. A second-year cornerback who played in seven games with New Orleans last season and started two, Swann went down with an undisclosed injury this month. Paul Kruger will take his roster spot after signing today. This strips another corner from the Saints’ depth chart due to injury; the team recently cut Keenan Lewis, who remains unsigned.
  • The Bills announced that they have signed linebacker Ramon Humber. To make room, the team relased kickoff specialist Jordan Gay. Humber, 29, was cut loose by New England on Tuesday. Humber was a favorite of Bills assistant head coach Rob Ryan when he served as the defensive coordinator in New Orleans.
  • The Bills also made a successful claim for third-year center Patrick Lewis on waivers, per Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports (on Twitter). To make room, the team waived offensive lineman Jamison Lalk, Joe Buscaglia of WKBW tweets. Seattle waived Lewis on Tuesday in trimming its roster down to 75 players. This comes two days after the Seahawks attempted to trade Lewis but evidently found no one willing to part with the kind of capital they preferred. The Bills, who occupied the 19th position in the waiver order, landed Lewis without parting with any draft picks and potentially added an interior-line backup for Eric Wood. Lewis started 13 games for the Seahawks over the past two seasons but saw Justin Britt‘s move to center push him out of a job. The Bills are the second team to claim the 2014 UDFA on waivers, doing so after the Seahawks added him by this measure when the Browns waived him.
  • The Falcons re-signed fullback Will Ratelle and placed wide receiver Devin Fuller on IR, as D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets. Fuller, a seventh-round pick, will undergo surgery after suffering a shoulder injury against the Dolphins on Thursday.
  • The Jaguars announce they have waived/injured wide receiver Tony Washington, Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com tweets.
  • The 49ers waived undrafted rookie DB Jered Bell from injured reserve with an injury settlement, Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com tweets.

Zach Links contributed to this report

Colin Kaepernick Draws Ire From Front Offices

Despite likely being set to begin a season without a starting quarterback job for the first time since 2012, Colin Kaepernick has dominated the NFL news cycle this week. The nature of his return to the spotlight angered many front office executives.

The majority of the league’s decision-making personnel do not support the 49ers quarterback’s decision to sit for the national anthem in protest, according to Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report.

A sampling of seven team executives revealed to Freeman they estimate 90-95% of NFL front offices shared their sentiments, which are not aligned with Kaepernick’s racially themed choice to sit during the anthem. Each of the surveyed septet believes the 49ers will release Kaepernick and he won’t play in the NFL again.

I don’t want him anywhere near my team,” one front office executive told Freeman. “He’s a traitor.”

A GM also told Freeman he’d never seen a player hated by front office members as much as Kaepernick is now. Another executive told the writer he’d consider resigning from his post if his team’s owner wanted to sign the now-polarizing 28-year-old quarterback.

Sources close to Kaepernick expect the 49ers to release him, per Freeman. The 49ers, though, won’t be doing so because they don’t feel he can be effective anymore, as previously reported, but the anonymous executives believe San Francisco will instead cut the quarterback because of public pressure surrounding Kaepernick’s lightning-rod status. So, two key factors appear to be working against the dual-threat player.

It would be interesting if Kaepernick wants to continue playing but can’t when considering his standout past and the fact players with checkered legal pasts have been allowed to continue their careers. Freeman cites the Vikings moving on from longtime punter Chris Kluwe in 2013 around the same time he voiced his support for gay rights as a precedent for what could soon happen.

The NFL does not require players to stand for the anthem, but the league encourages the practice. The 49ers and Chip Kelly voiced support for Kaepernick’s rights last week when the controversy spawned. Kelly said the coaching staff remained in the process of deciding between he and Blaine Gabbert for the Week 1 starting role and that his controversial protest will not affect his standing on the team.

Kaepernick is due to make $11.9MM via fully guaranteed base salary this season. He signed the team-friendly, pay-as-you-go-structured deal in 2014 after he’d come off two strong seasons that ended with the 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII and then in the 2013 NFC championship game. Kaepernick, though, has regressed from that high level that previously induced the Niners to trade Alex Smith to the Chiefs.

San Francisco benched Kaepernick last season before placing him on IR. During an offseason when he underwent three surgeries and lost weight as a result of being unable to train sufficiently, the 49ers and Broncos engaged in trade talks for the mercurial passer who’s led the 49ers to four playoff wins.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Karlos Williams Worked Out For Steelers

Karlos Williams‘ redemption tour recently stopped in Pittsburgh. The second-year running back worked out for the Steelers, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports, in addition to his Jets visit.

Williams, who went unclaimed on waivers, made his first post-cut stop to meet with the Jets, with whom he met with the franchise’s top decision-making personnel.

The Bills cut the embattled running back despite a standout rookie season supplementing LeSean McCoy off the bench and in the starting lineup when the starter missed time. Williams averaged 5.6 yards per carry while rushing for 517 yards and scoring nine total touchdowns as a rookie. Buffalo, though, lost patience with him after the league penalized him four games for substance-abuse issues and Williams struggled with his weight.

Schefter, who reported Williams’ weight ballooned to over 260 pounds this offseason, added the former fifth-round pick is working his way back into shape. He remains suspended for four games, so the Steelers wouldn’t be able to use the 23-year-old ball-carrier early in the season behind DeAngelo Williams were they to sign him.

Le’Veon Bell will miss the first three games of the season, and behind Williams Pittsburgh employs Fitzgerald Toussaint and former Ram Daryl Richardson. So, while the Steelers could use some help in the short-term, they’d only be getting Karlos Williams after Bell’s suspension concludes.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Redskins Sign Cullen Jenkins

WEDNESDAY, 5:56pm: As expected, Jenkins will earn the veteran minimum, which in the 35-year-old 13th-year veteran’s casCullen Jenkins (vertical)e will be $985K, Master Tefatsion of the Washington Post reports (on Twitter). Jenkins, who twice earned more than $6MM in a season earlier in his career, played for $1.4MM last season with the Giants.

MONDAY, 11:24am: Cullen Jenkins‘ tour of the NFC East continues. The Redskins have agreed to sign the veteran defensive end to a one-year deal, according to a source who spoke with Mike Jones of the Washington Post (on Twitter).

Jenkins worked out for the Redskins today and it didn’t take long for a deal to materialize. Jenkins will now join Stephen Paea, Ricky Jean-Francois, James Gayle, and Corey Crawford on the Redskins depth chart behind presumptive starters Chris Baker and Kendall Reyes. Jenkins will probably still have to prove himself to Redskins coaches in order to make the upcoming 53-man cut.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Mario Edwards To Miss First Six Games?

Mario Edwards resides as a key piece for the Raiders’ retooled defense but hasn’t practiced since suffering a hip injury during the team’s first preseason game. Initially believed to be in line to miss one or two regular-season games, Edwards could now be an IR list candidate.

Jack Del Rio told Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle the second-year defensive end may need to start the season with this distinction, which would shelve Edwards for a minimum of six games and deal a blow to the Raiders’ front.

The previous IR-DTR format has been altered, giving teams the option of removing one player from IR after he’s spent six weeks there and is again healthy enough to play.

This would allow Oakland to use an extra roster spot for a depth player while Edwards continues his rehabilitation but would also potentially stunt the development of a talented performer. Edwards functioned as a defensive end and and defensive tackle for the Raiders last season, rating as one of Pro Football Focus’ best run-stoppers among edge defenders. He only registered two sacks as a rookie but stood to benefit from the Raiders’ acquisition of Bruce Irvin, with the 2015 second-round pick being set to rush from the interior on passing downs.

Edwards, of course, needed extensive rehab time to make it back to the field in time for minicamp. A mysterious neck injury ended his rookie season in December, and the former Florida State talent wasn’t cleared medically to return until May. The Raiders are deciding whether or not to allow Edwards extra time to heal this latest setback and return by late October.

In Edwards’ place, Oakland has been running out third-year veteran Denico Autry, a third-year UDFA. The Raiders also drafted Jihad Ward in the second round, and the former Illinois cog lined up across the Fighting Illini’s defensive fronts. So, the team has more options than it did a season ago when Edwards went down.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints Re-Sign C.J. Wilson

A day after releasing him, the Saints moved to re-sign defensive tackle C.J. Wilson, Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com tweets. Wilson comprised part of New Orleans’ cuts to 75 on Tuesday, but for now the veteran will stay in Louisiana.

It might not be for long since the team still has to pare its roster down to 53 by Saturday afternoon.

The Saints signed Wilson earlier this summer during a busy transaction period for the team with regards to veteran-minimum-type players. Wilson suited up for both the Raiders and Lions in 2015. His most notable NFL contributions came with the Packers in the early part of this decade. The former Green Bay seventh-round pick started 11 games for the Packers from 2010-12, including a seven-start season in ’12.

The Lions released the 29-year-old Wilson in February.

Teddy Bridgewater Suffers Torn ACL

WEDNESDAY, 4:21pm: Minnesota placed Bridgewater on season-ending IR.

TUESDAY, 7:20pm: Vikings head trainer Eric Sugarman has released a statement indicating that quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has suffered a torn ACL. Although the statement did not confirm a timetable, Bridgewater is still expected to miss the 2016 season.Teddy Bridgewater (vertical)

“Teddy Bridgewater suffered a non-contact injury today at practice,” said Sugarman. “The injury was quickly identified as a dislocated knee. The injury was stabilized, and he was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment and evaluation. After undergoing an MRI, it was determined that Teddy suffered a complete tear to his ACL and other structural damage.

Fortunately, there appears to be no nerve or arterial damage. Surgical repair will be scheduled within the next few days. Although the recovery time will be significant, we expect Teddy to make a full recovery. I would like to thank all of the medical professionals and our athletic training staff for all of their help today. Teddy has already displayed the attitude needed to overcome this injury and attack his rehab.”

As it currently stands, the Vikings have veteran Shaun Hill on the depth chart. Hill offers experience, but he is an uninspiring starting option for a team with playoff aspirations. He also has never started more than 10 games in any given season. Other than Hill, the Vikings have Wisconsin product Joel Stave on the depth chart. Fellow signal-callerTaylor Heinicke has been placed on the NFI list with an injury.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steelers Claim Zach Mettenberger

4:16pm: The Steelers announced they placed Bruce Gradkowski on IR to clear a roster spot for Mettenberger. Gradkowski re-signed with Pittsburgh in May on a one-year, $965K deal with $80K guaranteed. The 33-year-old passer spent last season on IR as well, with a thumb injury derailing his season. This time, a torn hamstring will end his season early.

3:25pm: Zach Mettenberger is now with his third team of the 2016 offseason. The Steelers have claimed the quarterback off waivers from the Chargers, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com tweets.

Mettenberger now joins Landry Jones and Bryn Renner on the depth chart behind Ben Roethlisberger. It’s possible that the Steelers are looking at Mettenberger as a third-string option instead of Renner, a player who could probably be snuck through waivers and stashed on the taxi squad.

The 24-year-old was a sixth-round pick of the Titans in the 2014 draft. In his rookie season, Mettenberger saw time in seven games (six starts) and threw for eight touchdowns with seven interceptions. Early on this offseason, the Chargers claimed Mettenberger off waivers from the Titans. Days ago, the Bolts dropped him as they trimmed down to a 75-man roster.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys Could Sign Austin Davis Today

The Cowboys could sign Austin Davis today, according to Charean Williams of the Star-Telegram (on Twitter). However, they will continue to keep an eye on the waiver wire to see what quarterbacks may become available. Austin Davis (vertical)

Dallas flirted with the idea of trading for a quarterback after Kellen Moore broke his leg and the QB search went into high gear after Tony Romo suffered a serious back injury in the preseason. However, the Cowboys have found that the asking price for established quarterbacks is too high for their liking. Josh McCown was once a target for Dallas, for example, but they did not want to give up a fourth-round draft choice for him.

In Davis, the Cowboys see a much cheaper alternative to the McCowns and Glennons of the world. However, one has to wonder if he can be as effective on the field as those guys if called upon.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.