Month: May 2018

East Notes: Patriots, Bills, Dolphins, Eagles

Chris Hogan won’t require surgery for the shoulder injury he suffered on Sunday, but his need for rest and recovery means the Patriots wideout could miss a few weeks, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). New England heads into a bye in Week 9, so Hogan will be re-evaluated before the Pats face the Broncos in Week 10. In his second season in New England, Hogan ranks second among Patriots receives in catches (33) and yards (438), and is tied for the team lead in receiving touchdowns with five.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two East divisions:

  • Bills general manager Brandon Beane expects veteran wide receiver Anquan Boldin to stay retired now that he wasn’t traded at the deadline, tweets Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News. Beane & Co. allowed Boldin — who expressed interest in returning from a brief retirement — to seek a trade, but he presumably wasn’t able to find a suitable landing spot. Buffalo had already expressed that it wouldn’t consider releasing Boldin, who inked a one-year deal with the club earlier this season. The 37-year-old Boldin could still return to the Bills, although Beane’s comments suggest that isn’t a likely outcome.
  • Offensive lineman Ted Larsen has been designated to return by the Dolphins, reports veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer (Twitter link). This was the expected outcome for Larsen (who is dealing with a torn biceps), as reports as early as September indicated Larsen was a candidate to play again in 2017. Miami placed starting guard Anthony Steen on injured reserve earlier today, so Larsen — who is eligible to return as soon as this weekend — could be immediately inserted into the Dolphins’ lineup.
  • Eagles left tackle Jason Peters is done for the season after suffering a torn ACL, but the veteran blindside protector is financially protected for the 2018 campaign, as Tom Pelissero of NFL.com notes (Twitter link). Under the terms of the one-year extension Peters inked in June, he has a $4.5MM injury guarantee that becomes fully guaranteed in March. Because Peters likely won’t be able to pass a physical before the 2018 league year begins, he’ll be able to collect his salary, whether he’s on the Philadelphia roster or not.

NFL Workout Updates: 10/31/17

Today’s workout updates, with all links going to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter account unless otherwise noted:

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

New England Patriots

New York Giants

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Redskins

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 10/31/17

Today’s practice squad updates:

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Detroit Lions

  • Released: T Storm Norton

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

Washington Redskins

Deadline Fallout: Browns, Bills, Pats, Cards

The Browns made “small offers” for ex-Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo this season, but weren’t involved in talks for the New England backup before Bill Belichick & Co. traded him to the 49ers, tweets Michael Lombardi of the Ringer. Cleveland head coach Hue Jackson reportedly “pushed hard” for a quarterback addition during the offseason, but the Browns never offered anything close to the (likely early) second-round pick San Francisco sent to the Patriots, per Lombardi. Meanwhile, Belichick may have been reticent to “help” the Browns given his history with the club, sources tell Daniel Jerermiah of NFL.com (Twitter link).

Here’s more fallout from the extremely active trade deadline:

  • Before acquiring wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin from the Panthers, the Bills had interest in fellow pass-catcher Martavis Bryant, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (Twitter link). However, the Steelers never seemed to express any serious interest in dealing Bryant despite his off-field question marks. Ultimately, Buffalo shipped third- and seventh-round picks to Carolina for Benjamin, whom Bills general manager Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott are familiar with given the pair’s time with the Panthers.
  • The Patriots made and received calls on offensive tackle Cameron Fleming prior to today’s deadline, tweets Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald. New England was known to be “open for business,” so it come as no surprise that the club would entertain offers for Fleming, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2018. Given the dearth of offensive line talent around the league, the Patriots may have believed they could wrangle a pick package for their swing tackle. Fleming, 25, has played only seven snaps in 2017.
  • Every Cardinals defensive back aside from rookie Budda Baker was available today, per Lombardi (Twitter link), who is presumably referring to safeties given that Arizona isn’t going to trade cornerback Patrick Peterson. Veterans Antoine Bethea and Tyvon Branch — each of whom are over the age of 30 — would have made sense as trade candidates, while the Cardinals may have also attempted to rid themselves of Tyrann Mathieu‘s contract, although that’s entirely speculation.

Eagles, Seahawks Had Interest In Frank Gore

Both the Eagles and Seahawks expressed some level of interest in Colts running back Frank Gore prior to the trade deadline, according to Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star.Frank Gore

The Colts had reportedly been gauging interest in the 34-year-old Gore this week, and two mystery teams had engaged in talks. Philadelphia and Seattle appear to be those two clubs, although no deal ever came to fruition. Gore — and the rest of his $3.5MM base salary — will remain on Indianapolis’ roster, although he’ll presumably lose time to rookie Marlon Mack as the season progresses.

The Eagles were clearly eyeing running backs in advance of the trade deadline, and ultimately shipped a 2018 fourth-round pick to the Dolphins in exchange for Jay Ajayi. But before acquiring Ajayi — who is a decade younger than Gore — Philadelphia spoke about picking up the veteran Indy back. This isn’t the first time Gore has been linked to the Eagles in recent years, as he nearly signed with the Birds as a free agent in 2015.

Seattle, meanwhile, has four running backs on its current roster, but none of Thomas Rawls, Eddie Lacy, C.J. Prosise, or J.D. McKissic has been successful this season. The Seahawks rank 19th in rushing DVOA and 24th in yards per attempt, and the club’s backs finished with negative yards rushing in Sunday’s victory over the Texans. But Seattle will hope that its acquisition of left tackle Duane Brown will aid its lackluster run game more than a Gore addition would have.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Redskins To Sign DL Arthur Jones

The Redskins have agreed to sign free agent defensive lineman Arthur Jones, as the veteran himself indicated on Twitter. John Keim of ESPN.com confirms the pending transaction, noting Washington will make the move official once it decides whom to release in order to create a roster spot.Arthur Jones (vertical)

Jones hasn’t drawn a lick of interest since being released by the Colts earlier this year, and while that could be health-related (Jones underwent hernia surgery in June), Jones’ play in 2016 didn’t do him any favors. After agreeing to a pay cut and serving a four-game PED ban, Jones appeared in eight games for Indianapolis and graded as a bottom-10 interior defender, per Pro Football Focus.

That’s not to say the Redskins can’t use the 31-year-old Jones, especially against the run (Washington ranks 27th in adjusted line yards). First-round rookie Jonathan Allen is now on injured reserve, and while he could return later this year, he’s out for at least another six weeks. Jones will play alongside Stacy McGee, Terrell McClain, Ziggy Hood, Matt Ioannidis, and Anthony Lanier in the Redskins’ 3-4 front.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jeremy Lane Fails Texans Physical

Cornerback Jeremy Lane — who was one piece of the Texans’ return for offensive tackle Duane Brown — has failed his physical with Houston, according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). As such, the 2018 fifth-round pick that was originally sent from the Seahawks to the Texans will become a 2018 third-rounder, while Seattle will also acquire a 2018 fifth-round pick, per McClain.

In sum, the trade now breaks down as follows:

Seahawks acquire:

Texans acquire:

  • 2018 third-round pick
  • 2019 second-round pick

Lane, who is dealing with a leg injury, will head back to Seattle, where he recently lost his starting role to rookie Shaquill Griffin. He’ll presumably continue to rehab and work to regain playing time, as there’s no chance of him being shipped elsewhere now that the trade deadline has passed.

Seattle will re-assume the remainder of Lane’s $4MM base salary, a problem given the club’s lack of cap space. Dealing Lane was theoretically centered around the idea of ridding his salary, so the Seahawks’ decision to restructure quarterback Russell Wilson‘s contract in order to create financial breathing room appears even more necessary.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott Files Appeal

Judge Katherine Failla — the same judge who on Monday dissolved Ezekiel Elliott‘s restraining order against the NFL — has denied the Cowboys running back’s request for a stay, which would have allowed him to stay on the field while his case is sorted out, according to Kate Hairopoulos of the Dallas Morning News (Twitter link).Ezekiel Elliott (vertical)

The decision was entirely expected, and Failla indicated as such in her ruling: “For the Court to grant the NFLPA’s motion for a stay at this stage would in effect be to reverse its decision of last night,” wrote Failla, per legal analyst Daniel Wallach (Twitter link). Elliot’s motion requested an answer from Failla by 7pm Eastern, and noted he and his team would “have no choice but to seek relief from the Second Circuit,” and that’s exactly what they’ve done.

Elliott’s appeal is already on the second circuit’s docket, tweets Hairopoulos, and he’s requested an “expedited” process, per Wallach (Twitter link). Essentially, Elliott wants his appeal paused for a third time while the case plays out, reports Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link).

Still, there’s little to no chance that Elliott will be available in Week 9, meaning the Cowboys will turn to a combination of Alfred Morris, Darren McFadden, and Rod Smith in the backfield. Dallas was reportedly considering running back additions prior to today’s trade deadline.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/31/17

Today’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

  • Promoted to active roster: OL Maurquice Shakir
  • Released: WR Griff Whalen

Buffalo Bills

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Miami Dolphins

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Cardinals’ David Johnson Done For Year?

At one point in time, the Cardinals hoped to have David Johnson back on the field by Thanksgiving or Christmas. Now, it sounds like he’ll miss the whole holiday season. Coach Bruce Arians “doubts” that Johnson will return this year (Twitter link via Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic).David Johnson (vertical)

[RELATED: David Johnson Says He Has Yet To Start Rehab]

Johnson recently admitted that he was unsure of his recovery timetable, so Arians’ comments do not come as a total shock. The Cardinals do not want to rush one of the game’s most talented ball carriers back on the field, and it’s certainly not worth the gamble given the way the season has gone.

The Cardinals are currently 3-4 and without starting quarterback Carson Palmer, so their playoff chances are looking pretty remote. Football Outsiders gives Arizona just a 0.7% chance of reaching the postseason with Johnson on the shelf and Drew Stanton filling in for Palmer.

Johnson, 25, was arguably the league’s best offensive player in 2016 as he posted more than 2,100 yards from scrimmage and scored 20 total touchdowns. With Johnson sidelined, the Cardinals first turned to a committee of Kerwynn Williams, Andre Ellington, and Chris Johnson, but have since acquired veteran running back Adrian Peterson from the Saints.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.