Month: May 2017

Giants To Work Out Safety Shamiel Gary

Greatly in need of safety depth, the Giants plan to work out free agent Shamiel Gary on Sunday, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (Twitter link). Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported earlier today that New York will also take a look at veteran Donte Whitner this weekend.Shamiel Gary (Vertical)

[RELATED: Giants Re-Sign Michael Hunter]

Gary, 26, was an undrafted free agent out of Oklahoma State in 2014. He’s spent time with several clubs, with the Patriots and Bears among them, but his only regular season action came in 2015, when he appeared in six games for the Dolphins. Miami waived Gary at final cutdowns earlier this month, at which point he signed on with the Vikings’ practice squad. Minnesota then waived him two weeks ago.

Incumbent Giants safeties Nat Berhe (concussion) and Darian Thompson (concussion) are both unlikely to play on Monday night, and Leon Hall — who could shift to safety in a pinch — will be needed at corner given the injuries to Eli Apple and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. As Rapoport notes, New York is so banged up at safety that it’s been forced to use offensive players in the secondary during practice.

Gary also has two other workout sessions planned for next week, per Garafolo.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/30/16

Today’s minor moves:

  • The Dolphins announced that they’ve waived guard Jamil Douglas. Miami had promoted Douglas from its practice squad before last night’s game against the Bengals, but he’s already off the roster again. Douglas, 24, appeared in all 16 games (six starts) last year, his rookie campaign. If he clears waivers, it’s entirely possible that Douglas is moved to the Dolphins’ taxi squad.
  • The Panthers waived wide receiver Kevin Norwood off injured reserve, according to Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times (Twitter links). Norwood, a 2014 fourth-round pick of the Seahawks, was last year dealt to Carolina for a conditional 2017 seventh-round pick. Seattle will still receive the draft choice in return even though Norwood is no longer on the roster, per Condotta.

AFC East Notes: Patriots, Collins, Jets, McCain

The Patriots have seven defensive starters hitting the free agent market at once, but coach Bill Belichick claims he isn’t worried, as Doug Kyed of NESN.com writes.Bill Belichick (Vertical)

In general, there’s some team planning, you do what you can do,” Belichick said. “Sometimes if you can work out a contract, which we’ve done that during the season with various players — if you can work that out, you work that out. If you can’t, there’s been a number of players we’ve signed — our players that we’ve signed once free agency has started. Devin McCourty, to pick a name.

I don’t think you can be afraid of free agency. It’s not if a guy gets to free agency, you can’t resign him. You’re in a competitive market, but you’re in a competitive market anyway. These guys know that they have other options, depending on who the player is and what their situation is. They have other options. We know there’s only so much money to go around. If you can work it out, then you have the security, if you can’t then you have your options. They have their options, we have our options. That’s professional sports.”

Linebackers Jamie Collins and Dont’a Hightower, defensive ends Jabaal Sheard and Chris Long, cornerback Logan Ryan, safety Duron Harmon, and defensive tackle Alan Branch will all be unrestricted free agents while cornerback Malcolm Butler will be a restricted free agent . Meanwhile, offensive starters Martellus Bennett, LeGarrette Blount, Marcus Cannon, Sebastian Vollmer, and James Develin also will be UFAs.

As the Patriots gear up for an interesting offseason, here’s more from the AFC East:

  • On Monday, the Patriots are expected to activate quarterback Tom Brady and defensive lineman Rob Ninkovich. Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald expects tight end A.J. Derby and LaAdrian Waddle to be on the chopping block, though placing Eric Rowe on IR is also an option. Derby has been passed by Clay Harbor on the depth chart and likely could pass waivers and be placed on the practice squad. Waddle, meanwhile, is the fourth tackle on the depth chart and has been leapfrogged by Cameron Fleming.
  • The Jets auditioned free agent defensive end Chris McCain today, reports Rich Cimini of ESPN.com (Twitter link). McCain, 24, is entering his third season in the NFL, but hasn’t contributed much during his first two years in the league. He’s appeared in 19 games, but he’s been more of a special teams player than a defensive stalwart. McCain picked up a sack and a forced fumble in 2015, but only played on 113 total snaps (43 on defense) before being traded to the Saints this offseason.
  • The Bills placed wide receiver Sammy Watkins on injured reserve today, and replaced him by claiming fellow pass-catcher Justin Hunter off waivers. Watkins will be out for a minimum of eight weeks as he recovers from a foot injury.
  • In case you missed it, the Patriots worked out former Raiders fullback Marcel Reece today.

Lions Work Out Jonas Gray, Daniel Thomas

The Lions are thin at running back after placing Ameer Abdullah on injured reserve last week, so they’re taking a look at free agents that are available on the open market. Detroit worked out Jonas Gray, Daniel Thomas, and Mike James, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Jonas Gray (Vertical)

[RELATED: Lions Place Ameer Abdullah On IR]

Gray, 26, is most known for his brief tenure in New England, which featured a 201-yard, four-touchdown rushing performance against the Colts in November 2014. That showing represented a significant portion of Gray’s production as a rookie. All told, he amassed 89 carries (37 in the Indy game) for 412 yards and five scores in eight contests. Gray has also spent time with the Dolphins and, most recently, the Jaguars.

In four seasons with Miami, Thomas ran for 1,480 yards off of 409 attempts, good for just 3.6 yards per carry. In 2014, he saw time in 12 games, rushing for 168 yards off of 44 carries, and proceeded to sign with the Bears, but didn’t make the final roster. The 28-year-old Thomas was out of the league entirely in 2015 as he made the rounds on the workout circuit, but had a brief second stint with the Dolphins before being cut earlier this month.

Jame, like Gray, has one notable game under his belt, a 2013 contest against the Seahawks where he ran for 158 yards on 28 carries as a member of the Buccaneers. Those yards, however, represent nearly half of his career total, and James hasn’t been a key contributor since. After spending the 2015 campaign on Tampa’s practice squad, he was waived with an injury settlement earlier this month.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2017 NFL Free Agents

Pro Football Rumors’ up-to-date list of 2017 NFL free agents is below. These are players who are eligible for restricted or unrestricted free agency after the 2016 season. The player’s 2017 age is in parentheses. Players are generally sorted by the position at which they played most in ’16, or the position at which their most recent team listed them.

Players who are currently on an NFL roster but don’t have a contract for 2017 are listed below, along with a few other notable free agents who aren’t on a roster at the moment.

Players eligible for restricted free agency are marked with (R), while non-exclusive franchise and transition players will be marked with (F) and (T) respectively. Exclusive rights free agents are not included. All other free agents are assumed to be unrestricted.

If you have any corrections or omissions, please contact us. For instant free agent updates, be sure to follow us on Twitter @pfrumors.

Updated 5-24-17 (12:30pm CT)

Quarterbacks

Austin Davis (28)
Bruce Gradkowski (34)
Robert Griffin III (27)
Shaun Hill (37)
Colin Kaepernick (29)
Thaddeus Lewis (28)
Luke McCown (36)
Zach Mettenberger (26)
Dan Orlovsky (34)
Ryan Nassib (27)
Christian Ponder (29)
Sean Renfree (27)
Charlie Whitehurst (35)

Running Backs

Bralon Addison (23)
Antonio Andrews (26)
Dri Archer (26)
Matt Asiata (30)
Le’Veon Bell (25) (F)
Reggie Bush (32)
Benny Cunningham (27)
George Farmer (24)
Tyler Gaffney (26)
Johnathan Grimes (27)
DuJuan Harris (28)
Ronnie Hillman (26)
Rashad Jennings (32)
Chris Johnson (32)
Terrence Magee (24)
Tre Mason (24)
Dexter McCluster (29)
Christine Michael (26)
Bobby Rainey (30)
Chase Reynolds (30)
Denard Robinson (27)
Khiry Robinson (27)
James Starks (31)
Stepfan Taylor (26)
Jordan Todman (27)
Trey Watts (26)
Karlos Williams (24)
DeAngelo Williams (34)
Read more

Giants To Work Out Donte Whitner

The Giants will work out free agent safety on Donte Whitner on Sunday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Whitner has been sitting on the open market since April after being released by the Browns."<strong

[RELATED: Giants Place Shane Vereen On IR]

Whitner, who has drawn offseason interest from the Rams and Panthers, is still a productive player as he enters his age-31 season. In 2015, he started 14 games in Cleveland, defensing four passes, forcing one fumble, and posting 1.5 sacks. Whitner also graded out well via the advanced metrics at Pro Football Focus, which rated him as the league’s No. 24 safety among 89 qualifiers.

Incumbent Giants safeties Nat Berhe (concussion) and Darian Thompson (concussion) are both unlikely to play on Monday night, and Leon Hall — who could shift to safety in a pinch — will be needed at corner given the injuries to Eli Apple and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. As Rapoport notes, New York is so banged up at safety that it’s been forced to use offensive players in the secondary during practice.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots Audition Marcel Reece, Four Others

The Patriots brought in former Raiders fullback Marcel Reece for a workout today, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. Oakland released Reece earlier this week.Marcel Reece (vertical)

[RELATED: Latest On Patriots’ QBs]

Reece, 31, had been with Oakland since since 2009. He violated the league’s policy on performance enhancing drugs last December, and the ensuing multi-game ban cost him a trip to the Pro Bowl and, apparently, led the Raiders to finding his full-time replacement. Reece was scheduled to play out the 2016 season at a cap number of $3.53MM, but Oakland has opted against taking on that cap hit.

In 2015, Reece caught 30 passes for 269 yards and three touchdowns and also added 36 rushing yards. A versatile back who can play a variety of roles, Reece averaged 34 receptions per season from 2010-15, and he’d likely assume the role of pass-catching back in New England if signed. With Dion Lewis sidelined through at least Week 6, James White has been absorbing most of the running back looks in the Patriots’ passing game.

As Reiss notes, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has been extremely complementary of Reece in the past. “You put a big guy on him, he’s probably going to have a hard time matching up with Reece’s speed and quickness,” Belichick said in 2014. “Put a smaller guy on him, he might match up with his speed and quickness, but it would be hard to match up with his size. I’d say that’s a dilemma. Who do you have that has the same skill set as Reece?”

In addition to Reece, the Patriots also worked out guards Jake Bernstein and Chase Farris, center Robert Kugler, and tight end Greg Scruggs.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills Place Sammy Watkins On IR

This has been a rough season for the Bills so far. Today, Buffalo announced that star wide receiver Sammy Watkins has been placed on IR. Sammy Watkins (vertical)

[RELATED: Bills Claim Justin Hunter Off Waivers]

There is no surgery scheduled for Watkins, though he will visit Dr. Robert Anderson to be sure, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The plan for Watkins will consist of rest and rehab.

Watkins could potentially return after two months thanks to the league’s new IR rules, but it’s not immediately clear if that’s a possibility for the wide receiver. Of course, if the Bills’ season keeps going in the same direction, it’s unlikely that Watkins would be activated even if he’s healthy later on in the season. Buffalo is currently 1-2 heading into a tough matchup against the Patriots on Sunday. Meanwhile, they’re missing several starters on the other side of the ball.

The Bills went all-in on Watkins in the 2014 draft, trading the No. 9 overall pick, their first-round choice in 2015, and a 2015 fourth-rounder to acquire him. From a talent perspective, Watkins proved to be as good as the hype. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to stay healthy. Watkins bravely played through the pain in 2015 but his foot only got worse with time.

With Watkins sidelined for at least eight weeks (and possibly the full season), one has to wonder if coach Rex Ryan will be able to keep his job for 2017. It’s only Year 2 for Rex in Buffalo, but there have been rumblings about his job security for months. Ryan will have to get some Ws out of his team without some of their most important players this year, including the dynamic Watkins.

In two games this year, Watkins recorded six catches for 63 yards.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills Claim Justin Hunter Off Waivers

The Bills claimed wide receiver Justin Hunter off waivers from the Dolphins, as Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. The team has since confirmed the move while announcing that fellow wide receiver Sammy Watkins has been placed on IRJustin Hunter (vertical)

[RELATED: Bills Place Sammy Watkins On IR]

Hunter came into the league with a ton of hype behind him as a second-round pick in the 2013 draft. Unfortunately, Hunter was never able to put it all together at the NFL level. This year, the new regime in Tennessee bounced Hunter (and other notable players from GM Ruston Webster‘s watch), leading him to be picked up by the Dolphins. However, on Wednesday, Miami opted to waive the wide receiver.

Hunter has an uninspiring 68 receptions and eight touchdowns in 35 career games (13 starts). While Hunter has averaged an impressive 16.8 yards per catch, that number dropped to a career-worst 12.0 on 22 grabs last season. The 2015 campaign was a short one for Hunter, who only appeared in nine games as a result of a mid-November fractured ankle.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.