Month: April 2024

AFC Notes: Barrett, Cassel, Browns, Texans

Shaquil Barrett won’t be participating in any further Broncos offseason workouts after suffering a hip injury away from the team’s facility recently, but the outside linebacker won’t need surgery, Mike Klis of 9News reports (on Twitter). The third-year outside linebacker contributor will still be out “a while,” per Klis, who notes (via Twitter) this injury could keep him out of some training camp time. Barrett is expected to be the Broncos’ No. 3 outside ‘backer behind Von Miller and Shane Ray, with the group thinning out after DeMarcus Ware‘s retirement. The Broncos signed Kasim Edebali after the Saints didn’t extend him an RFA tender this offseason but didn’t further address the position. A lengthy Barrett absence could lead the team to explore potential edge defenders in free agency.

Here’s the latest from the AFC.

  • The Titans have a slightly more prominent player in the same boat, with Matt Cassel expected to be out six weeks after injuring his throwing thumb, Jim Wyatt of Titans.com tweets. The 13th-year veteran will have surgery on the thumb, according to Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com. Cassel is signed for another year as Marcus Mariota‘s backup. This timetable puts him in line to be able to rejoin the team come training camp, per Mike Mularkey. Alex Tanney resides as Tennessee’s third-stringer.
  • Isaiah Crowell addressed his contract situation from Browns OTAs, saying “both sides are trying to get something done,” Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal tweets. Crowell reported late to Cleveland’s voluntary workouts. He signed his RFA second-round tender earlier this month and is entering a contract year. The 24-year-old managed to gain nearly 1,000 yards last season despite being a 1-15 team’s primary running back. After the Browns beefed up their line this offseason, Crowell is in better position to play well in a possible audition season for other teams, should the sides be unable to get a deal done before this season. The Browns have $57MM in cap space and signed Christian Kirksey to an extension earlier this week.
  • Corey Coleman will be held out of remaining Browns offseason practices after the second-year wideout fell on the ball while making a catch last week, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. Hue Jackson steadfastly denied Coleman broke a bone during the tumble, but it looks like the 2016 first-rounder won’t re-emerge on the practice field until camp. Coleman missed six games last season because of a broken hand.
  • Duane Brown is again a no-show as the Texans continue their voluntary workouts, and John McClain of the Houston Chronicle confirms (Twitter link) this absence is contract-related. The Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson reported last week the longtime left tackle wants a new contract and is staying away for the time being. McClain wonders if the 31-year-old Brown will show for mandatory minicamp next month. Two years remain on Brown’s six-year, $53.4MM extension. He has non-guaranteed base salaries of $9.65MM and $9.75MM on tap for 2017 and ’18.

49ers Would Have Cut Colin Kaepernick If He Didn’t Opt Out

John Lynch confirmed today the 49ers would have released Colin Kaepernick if he didn’t opt out of his contract, the first-year GM said (via Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk). The 49ers would have had to carry a $14.9MM cap charge if Kaepernick had stayed on the team.

A meeting occurred between Kaepernick and the Lynch/Kyle Shanahan power structure where Shanahan said he wanted to run his same offense that thrived with the Falcons. The dual-threat quarterback wasn’t a classic fit for that scheme. The team soon brought in Brian Hoyer, with whom Shanahan worked with the 2014 Browns, and didn’t see Kaepernick making sense as his backup.

We both sat down and under that current construct of his deal, it was a big [cap] number,” Lynch said. “Kyle had a vision for what he wanted to do, and one thing I think Kyle was very clear and I think Colin appreciated, is that Kyle has an idea of how he’d play with Colin Kaepernick. But he preferred to run the exact offense that he ran in Atlanta last year that was record-breaking in this league. And if you change it for the quarterback, you change it for everybody on that offense.

“Once we pursued [Hoyer], we didn’t see Kaep as a backup that would really fit in that scheme and we communicated that to him. So I think we’ve been very up front with it. But I think that is a fair characterization. Yes, he was not going to be here under the construct of his contract. We gave him the option, ‘You can opt out, we can release you, whatever.’ And he chose to opt out, but that was just a formality.”

Kaepernick remains without a team but has visited the Seahawks, with some league insiders believing he will end up being Russell Wilson‘s backup. Lynch also squashed the notion that the 29-year-old doesn’t want to return to football, one that came from 49ers sources earlier this month.

I feel like that’s part of my job is controlling what comes out of this building, and to the extent that there was a perception that we were contributing to that Colin didn’t want to play football, we wanted to put an end to that,” Lynch said, via Florio. “… We had a great discussion that stuck out with me that this is a guy who is really interested in getting back in this league and playing at the highest level. And I’ve talked to him since, and that very much is the case.”

Sexual Misconduct Ruling Against Texans WR Keith Mumphery Surfaces

The Houston Texans have deployed Keith Mumphery as a return man since he joined the team as a fifth-round pick in 2015, but his career could be on shakier ground after revelations from the wideout’s past surfaced Wednesday.

Mumphery was expelled from his graduate studies program at Michigan State in 2016 for sexual misconduct. The alleged incident occurred in March of 2015, according to Chris Solari of the Detroit Free Press. The university banned Mumphery from campus. This information surfacing today, the Texans are still “gathering information,” Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

A woman accused Mumphery of sexual assault on St. Patrick’s Day 2015, a day before the Spartans’ pro day when he worked out for teams. Mumphery’s Michigan State career concluded after the 2014 season. The Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office declined to press charges in August of 2015 after the case couldn’t be proven “beyond a reasonable doubt” and the accuser could not be reached, Solari reports.

The case proceeded through Michigan State’s Title IX process and punishment phase, Solari reports, leading to the 2016 ruling. The university emailed Mumphery a letter last June indicating he violated its policy on “relationship violence and sexual misconduct,” according to a police report obtained by the Free Press. Mumphery is barred from re-enrolling at Michigan State and banned from campus until December 31, 2018. Mumphery graduated in 2014 but was planning to take graduate courses in 2016, a police report indicated.

The university’s punishment following a lack of a legal case clouds this situation somewhat. The Texans have used Mumphery as a return specialist and backup receiver. He was the team’s primary punt returner in 2015 while also being one of Houston’s kick returners as a rookie. The 24-year-old Mumphery did not return any kicks last season but was still used as a reserve pass-catcher. As a receiver, the 6-foot, 215-pound performer has 24 career receptions for 198 yards.

Jaguars Sign Rookie OL Cam Robinson

The Jaguars have agreed to terms with second-round offensive tackle Cam Robinson, the club announced today."<strong

In need of offensive line help, Jacksonville moved up in the second round in order to acquire Robinson. Having already drafted LSU running back Leonard Fournette fourth overall, the Jaguars shipped the No. 187 pick to the Seahawks for the right to move up one spot, shifting their selection from No. 35 to No. 34.

For now, Robinson is Jacksonville’s starting left tackle while veteran Branden Albert sits out team activities. The Jaguars acquired Albert from Miami in March, but he’s not attending practice session as he holds out for a new contract. As such, Robinson would likely line up on Blake Bortles‘ blindside if the season began today. If Albert does report, Robinson could see time at right tackle or guard.

The Jaguars have now inked six members of their seven-man draft class, with only third-round cornerback Dawuane Smoot remaining unsigned.

Free Agent Devon Still Nearing Full Health

Free agent defensive lineman Devon Still is nearing full health as he recovers from an October Lisfranc operation, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link), who suggests Still “will have options” once he’s medically cleared.Devon Still (Vertical)

Still, 27, only played 25 defensive snaps for the Texans in 2016 before going down with injury. A former second-round pick, Still has never lived up to his draft billing, as he’s never started a game during his career due to health issues and lack of effectiveness. Of course, Still has dealt with plenty in his off-field life, as his daughter Leah battled cancer until announcing in 2015 she was cancer-free.

Capable of playing in a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme, Still is part of a free agent defensive interior group that also includes Sen’Derrick Marks, Jared Odrick, Dan Williams, Arthur Jones, and Vance Walker, among others.

Chiefs Worked Out LB Jamari Lattimore

The Chiefs worked out free agent linebacker Jamari Lattimore today, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link).Jamari Lattimore (vertical)

[RELATED: Chiefs Sign Marcus Rush]

Kansas City is searching for inside linebacker depth, as veteran Derrick Johnson is coming off the second torn Achilles of his career, while Ramik Wilson, who fared well in 11 starts a year ago, is still relatively inexperienced. Other options on the Chiefs’ roster currently include Justin March-Lillard, Terrance Smith, and D.J. Alexander. Earlier this year, Kansas City took a look at free agent Rey Maualuga, but no deal came out of the meeting.

Lattimore, 28, has spent time with three clubs — the Packers, Jets, and Bills — since entering the league as an undrafted free agent in 2011. Although he’s appeared in 64 career games, Lattimore has largely served as depth and a special-teamer, as his only starts (9) came with Green Bay from 2013-14. Lattimore didn’t make Buffalo’s final roster after signing with the club last March, and never landed another deal during the 2016 campaign.

Jaguars Release WR Bryan Walters

Bryan Walters‘ tenure with the Jaguars has apparently come to an end. ESPN’s Michael DiRocco reports (via Twitter) that the organization has released the wide receiver from the injured reserve with an injury settlement.

Bryan WaltersWalters was placed on the Jaguars’ injured reserve last week after suffering a foot injury. While full details on the receiver’s injury haven’t emerged, it was assumed that the 29-year-old would end up missing the entire 2017 season.

The 2010 undrafted free agent out of Cornell spent the past two seasons with Jacksonville, appearing in 24 total games (with four starts). After hauling in 32 catches during his first year with the team, Walters finished the 2016 season with 24 receptions for 231 yards and two touchdowns. The wideout previously spent time with the Seahawks and Chargers, where he proved to be a capable punt and kick returner.

This offseason, the team re-signed the receiver to a one-year deal that was worth up to $2.3MM. The contract also contained a second-year option.

Walters would have provided some wide receiver depth behind starters Allen RobinsonMarqise LeeAllen Hurns. The team will now eye Dede WestbrookArrelious BennRashad Greene, and Shane Wynn as candidates for the fourth receiver spot.

49ers Working Out Cornerback Leon Hall

The 49ers are bringing in a pair of veteran defensive backs for work outs today. According to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter), the team will be auditioning cornerback Leon Hall. We learned yesterday that the team was also bringing in safety Jairus Byrd for a work out.

Leon Hall (vertical)Following nine seasons with the Bengals, Hall spent the 2016 campaign with the Giants. The 32-year-old ended up appearing in 12 games (two starts), compiling 2o tackles, one forced fumble, and one interception. Hall is clearly a reserve cornerback at this stage of his career, as he’s only started 21 total games since tearing his ACL in 2013.

Hall was ranked as the 14th-best available cornerback in PFR’s positional free agent rankings. However, the veteran has garnered little to no interest this offseason.

The 49ers could certainly use some reinforcement at cornerback. Behind starters Keith Reaser and Dontae Johnson, the team is rostering a number of rookies and journeymen. If Hall is ultimately signed by the team, he’ll be competing with Ahkello WitherspoonWill RedmondRashard RobinsonK’Waun WilliamsPrince Charles Iworah, and Adrian Colbert for backup reps.

Vikings Sign Tommy Armstrong

It looks like Tommy Armstrong has finally received that long-awaited contract from the Vikings. According to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (via Twitter), the team has added the former Nebraska quarterback to their roster. To make room, the team has waived receiver Mitch Mathews.

Nov 25, 2016; Iowa City, IA, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. (4) throws a pass during the first quarter against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Kinnick Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The undrafted free agent participated in the Vikings’ rookie minicamp, although the organization wasn’t eyeing Armstrong as a quarterback. Rather, the coaching staff auditioned the 23-year-old as a running back, and they later shifted him to safety. Despite the apparent versatility, the team didn’t sign Armstrong following the conclusion of minicamp.

Armstrong had a successful collegiate career at quarterback. In 45 games, the four-year player converted 53.3-percent of his passes for 8,871 yards, 67 touchdowns, and 44 interceptions. Armstrong also showed talents in the running game, collecting 1,819 yards and 23 touchdowns on 423 attempts (good for a 4.3-yard average).

Mathews has bounced around the league since going undrafted out of Brigham Young in 2016. Besides Minnesota, the 6-foot-6 receiver also spent time with the Chiefs and Browns. In 41 career collegiate games, Mathews hauled in 152 receptions for 2,083 yards and 24 touchdowns.

Extra Points: Carr, Barrett, Cowboys

Derek Carr emphasized today that he has no interest in discussing a contract extension with the Raiders once training camp starts.

“I wouldn’t even answer my phone,” Carr said (via ESPN.com’s Paul Gutierrez). “The money isn’t the thing that drives me. … What drives me is making sure I’m giving everything that I have with my abilities, and making sure that we win. And I don’t want anything distracting my thought process at all.

“Now, that’s not a jab, or anything like that. That’s just me saying I’m not going to deal with anything that’s not helping me just focus on winning.”

The former second-round pick is entering the final year of his rookie contract, and he’s certainly in line for a significant raise on the $1.15MM he’s set to make this year. Last season, the quarterback completed 63.8-percent of his passes for 3,937 yards, 28 touchdowns and six interceptions.

Let’s check out some additional notes from around the NFL…

  • Broncos outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett is expected to miss the rest of the offseason after suffering a hip injury, reports Nicki Jhabvala of The Denver Post (via Twitter). The 24-year-old hasn’t missed a game over the past two seasons, compiling 86 tackles, seven sacks, and five forced fumbles. While the defender will presumably be ready for the regular season, Cameron Wolfe of The Denver Post wonders (on Twitter) if the team might pursue a replacement, citing the team’s lack of linebacker depth.
  • The Cowboys learned last week that defensive end David Irving is facing a four-game ban after failing a test for performance enhancing drugs. That was followed by yesterday’s news that cornerback Nolan Carroll was arrested for driving while intoxicated. Predictably, executive vice president Stephen Jones wasn’t particularly happy with these developments. “We just have to continue to try to educate these young men that there’s consequences and there’s accountability that you have to have for the bad decisions you make,” Jones said during an interview on the team’s website (via Jon Machota of the Dallas News). “Then we have to move forward and do the very best we can. We know it’s frustrating and disappointing to our fans and all the people who support us…At the same time, they have to know that we’re dealing with young people who aren’t going to be perfect, and we’ll obviously try to continue to draft the right kind of guys, but the right type of guy can make a bad decision every now and then as well.”
  • The Cowboys lost a pair of team leaders this offseason in safety Barry Church and cornerback Brandon Carr. Following the news of Irving’s potential suspension and Carroll’s arrest, David Moore of the Dallas News writes that the team isn’t “off to a good start replacing” those veterans’ positive locker room presence.