Month: April 2024

NFC North Notes: Packers, Rodgers, Bears

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has recovered faster than expected, according to teammate and amateur doctor Clay Matthews.

This past week, being a part of that rehab group, to watch Aaron, what he’s been doing in there, I think we probably should have kept him off IR,” Matthews said (via Tom Silverstein of the Journal Sentinel). “The way he’s coming along, some of the balls he’s throwing, accuracy-wise, everything a quarterback has to do, is pretty remarkable. So, it would be really neat to see him out there, but unfortunately, he’ll have to wait two weeks prior to coming back.”

While we wait on a potential Rodgers return, here’s more from the NFC North:

  • Packers tight end Lance Kendricks says he was not cited for having marijuana and drug paraphernalia in his car during a traffic stop this fall, despite a report claiming that he was. Instead, Kendricks says he was actually given a warning for a speeding ticket (via Paul Srubas and Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press Gazette). Kendricks was also told by the NFLPA that he will not face suspension for the incident since there was no arrest or citation.
  • Some reports have indicated that wide receiver Tre McBride was waived by the Bears because of an argument with teammate Josh Bellamy. Coach John Fox didn’t directly confirm the rumblings about the rumble, but he hinted at that being the case. “I didn’t hear it, but I can just say that that happens on the sideline, that happens in meetings, that happens all the time,” Fox said, according to Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune. “I just think that [meeting] room is closer to y’all than I probably would have designed it. I think that’s par for the course in football. That’s not the first argument I’ve ever experienced.”
  • The Bears made some moves on Thursday morning. First, safety Chris Prosinski was re-signed. Then, the team brought safety Quintin Demps back off of IR.

Bears To Bring Quintin Demps Off Of IR

The Bears announced that safety Quintin Demps will return to practice on Thursday. This will trigger a three-week practice window for him to return from IR. Quintin Demps (Vertical)

Demps suffered a fractured left arm in the Bears’ Week 3 win over the Steelers. He’s returning at a good time for the Bears as third-year pro Adrian Amos deals with a hamstring injury that could be a season-ender. The 3-8 Bears aren’t playing for much, but Demps is probably eager to make good on the three year, $13.5MM contract he signed with the Bears in March.

Demps is set to carry cap numbers of $4.3MM and $4.83MM in each of the next two seasons. It seems likely that he’ll be back in 2018, but the Bears could theoretically save $3.66MM and eat just $667K if they release him. He’ll turn 33 in June.

Demps started 26 games in 2015 and 2016 and is coming off a season in which he graded as the league’s No. 12 safety, according to the numbers at Pro Football Focus.

The return of Demps officially ends the season of wide receiver Kevin White. However, at last check, the Bears were not optimistic about him being able to play.

Bears Sign S Chris Prosinski

The Bears have signed safety Chris Prosinski. To make room, linebacker Howard Jones has been released. "<strong

A fourth-round pick of the Jaguars in 2011, Prosinski spent 2015 and 2016 with the Bears. He saw action on 174 defensive snaps last season, operating mostly as a reserve. After a quiet couple of weeks on the open market this past offseason, Prosinski re-upped with the Bears on a one-year deal. Unfortunately, injuries kept him from the field. After tryouts with the Falcons, 49ers, and Bills, Prosinski has found his way back to Chicago.

On Twitter, the Bears indicated that they have “waived Jones and signed him to the practice squad.” However, per NFL rules, the Bears cannot re-sign Jones until he has cleared the waiver wire. If Jones does indeed clear waivers in the next 24 hours, you can expect to see him on the Bears’ taxi squad.

The addition of Prosinski could be a sign that safety Adrian Amos will miss time.

Extra Points: Hawks, Lions, Texans, Giants

The Seahawks had hoped to re-sign Dwight Freeney after cutting him last week, but the Lions claimed him off waivers before they could so, as Freeney explained to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter link). Seattle needed to reinforce its depth at linebacker, and waiving Freeney was simply the easiest move the club could make. That’s not to say there wasn’t a financial component to the Freeney’s release, as Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times noted last week. Nevertheless, Freeney now heads to Detroit, a team that had interest in signing him at several points earlier in the season, tweets Birkett.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Linebacker Brian Cushing is now eligible to return to the Texans after serving a 10-game PED suspension, as Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle writes. Houston has a one-week roster exemption for Cushing, whom Wilson reports is still in excellent shape. That exemption expires next Monday, and head coach Bill O’Brien didn’t commit to placing Cushing on the Texans’ active roster before the club’s Week 13 contest against the Titans. Cushing did not appeal his most recent PED ban, the second of his NFL career.
  • Giants running back Orleans Darkwa earned a $150K bonus by surpassing 500 yards rushing for the season on Sunday, tweets Field Yates of ESPN.com. While New York’s offense has been extremely poor as a unit, Darkwa has been surprisingly effective. In 10 games (seven starts), the 25-year-old Darkwa has averaged 4.6 yards per carry and ranks as a top-15 back in DVOA, DYAR, and success rate, all of which are Football Outsiders metrics. Darkwa is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in the spring after earning $1.1MM in base salary this year.
  • The Dolphins have designated offensive lineman Eric Smith to return from injured reserve, reports Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald (Twitter link). Smith, a rookie undrafted free agent out of Virginia, earned a spot on Miami’s 53-man roster before going down in October. If activated, he’ll earn something of a multi-game tryout over the rest of the regular season. The Dolphins have already placed three other offensive lineman on IR this year, so Smith could see playing time down the stretch.
  • The NFL has agreed in principle to a deal that would donate nearly $100MM to social causes put forth by the league’s players, according to Jim Trotter and Jason Reid of ESPN.com. However, several members of the Players Coalition — a group led by Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins that negotiates with owners — have since departed, citing a lack of communication on the unit’s proceedings. The agreement does not tackle the league’s ongoing debate regarding national anthem protests, per Mark Maske of the Washington Post.

NFL Workout Updates: 11/29/17

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

Arizona Cardinals

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Jacksonville Jaguars

New York Giants

San Francisco 49ers

Washington Redskins

Texans Place OT Chris Clark On IR

The Texans have placed left tackle Chris Clark and linebacker Ben Heeney on injured reserve, the club announced today. In related moves, Houston promoted LB Gimel President, LB LaTroy Lewis, and G Chad Slade from its practice squad to the active roster.Chris Clark (Vertical)

Clark, 32, had been serving as the Texans’ starting left tackle, a role he played while longtime starter Duane Brown was holding out and after Brown was traded to the Seahawks. Manning the blindside of a line that ranks in the bottom half of the league in both adjusted line yards and adjusted sack rate, Clark graded as a bottom-10 tackle, per Pro Football Focus.

Houston has several options to take over at left tackle: Kendall Lamm replaced Clark — who has a high ankle sprain and a bone bruise, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link) — but fourth-round rookie Julie’n Davenport could also be in the mix when he returns from his own injury (a shoulder issue that caused him to miss Week 12). Long-term, Clark probably isn’t in the Texans’ plans, as his contract expires after the 2017 campaign.

Heeney, meanwhile, is a former fifth-round pick whom Houston acquired off waivers earlier this year. Although Heeney barely played on the defensive side of the ball, he did manage 107 special teams snaps in only five games.

No Timetable For Eagles CB Sidney Jones

Sidney Jones was one of the 2017 draft’s most exciting cornerback prospects, but a torn Achilles tendon suffered during the predraft process pushed him to the second round, where the Eagles scooped him up with pick No. 43. Still on the non-football injury list with only five weeks left in the regular season, Philadelphia doesn’t have a timetable for when Jones may be able to see the field, according to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer.Sidney Jones (Vertical)

“Not right now,” Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said. “He’s obviously still doing well with his rehab. He’s getting better there, and again, don’t want to rush him back just yet.”

It’s not as if the Eagles need Jones at the moment — Philadelphia sits at 10-1 and boasts the No. 4 ranked pass defense DVOA. Free agent signee Patrick Robinson (who inked a one-year deal for the minimum salary) currently grades as Pro Football Focus’ No. 2 cornerback, young players such as Jalen Mills and Rasul Douglas are producing, and trade acquisition Ronald Darby is now back in the lineup after missing time with injury.

Of course, an argument could also be made that this — when the Eagles have greater than a 99% chance of earning a postseason berth, per FiveThirtyEight — is the best time to take a look at Jones. With the pressure off, Philadelphia could use the final weeks of the season to get reps for Jones and see exactly where its second-round pick stands.

If and when Jones returns to practice, the Eagles will have a 21-day window during which they can activate Jones to the 53-man roster. If they choose not to do so, Jones won’t earn a credited season for 2017, meaning Philadelphia would control his rights through 2021 instead of 2020.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 11/29/17

Today’s practice squad updates:

Arizona Cardinals

  • Signed: RB Darius Victor

Baltimore Ravens

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Read more

Dolphins Claim TE A.J. Derby

The Dolphins have claimed tight end A.J. Derby off of waivers, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Derby was cut by the Broncos on Tuesday, putting him on the waiver wire for the league’s other 31 teams. A.J. Derby (vertical)

Derby, 26, was traded from the Patriots to the Broncos last season in exchange for a fifth-round pick. He was in the midst of a quietly productive year and was leading Denver tight ends in receptions before he was released in November. In nine games (one start), Derby had 19 catches for 224 yards and two scores.

The Dolphins are effectively out of the playoff chase with a 4-7 record, but this will give them a chance to closely evaluate Derby for the 2018 roster. The former fifth-round pick is under contract through 2018 with a dirt cheap $705K cap number for next year.

Derby is the second ex-Broncos tight end to wind up in Miami, joining starter Julius Thomas.