Month: September 2018

Rams Waive QB Brandon Allen

The Rams are waiving quarterback Brandon Allen, a source tells Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). Allen is a practice squad candidate for L.A. if he clears waivers, Pelissero adds.

The Rams would like to keep Allen under club control via the taxi squad, but that might not be an options. When Allen was waived by the Jaguars last September, three clubs put in claims on the QB, including the Redskins.

Allen spent all of 2017 on the Rams’ active roster after arriving in September, but the2016 sixth-round pick has yet to throw an NFL pass. After parting ways with Allen, the Rams are left with Jared Goff and Sean Mannion as their only active-roster quarterbacks.

Raiders Waive DT Brian Price

The Raiders are waiving defensive tackle Brian Price, a source tells Michael Gehlken of the Review Journal (on Twitter). Price was claimed off waivers from the Cowboys just a couple of weeks ago, but he has been displaced by the recent additions of Johnathan Hankins and Clinton McDonald

Price started on Sunday against the Broncos, but saw time on only 17 snaps. With accomplished veterans Hankins and McDonald in the fold, his release does not come as a shock.

Price went undrafted in 2016, but that was due largely to red flags, including the time he threw an official to the ground in college. Last year, he appeared in eight games for the Cowboys before being placed on IR.

The 24-year-old will likely find a new opportunity elsewhere and may be claimed on waivers by Wednesday afternoon.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Vikings To Sign DT Tom Johnson

Late last week, the Seahawks released defensive tackle Tom Johnson in order to free up a roster spot. The plan was to re-sign him this week, but the Vikings have spoiled their plans. 

The Vikings have agreed to bring Johnson back to Minnesota, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). When finalized, it’ll be a one-year deal with a base of $1MM that can be worth up to $1.5MM, Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press tweets. In conjunction with the $1.865MM that he already earned from the Seahawks, he has the potential to earn more than $3MM this year.

The 34-year-old spent four years with the Vikings before inking a one-year deal with Seattle in March. Johnson played in at least 40% of the team’s defensive snaps in each campaign and saw a career-high 68% playing time last season.

Pro Football Focus graded the veteran as roughly a league-average defensive tackle in 2017, as he ranked 60th among 122 qualifying interior defenders. He finished out with just 17 tackles and two sacks, but the stats did not reflect his total value to the Vikings’ defense.

The Seahawks did not want to lose Johnson, but they were in a pinch following an injury to safety Delano Hill. Seattle signed Shalom Luani for depth, but he did not play in Monday night’s contest against the Bears.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Agent: Brown Has Not Asked For Trade

On Tuesday morning, Mike Tomlin told reporters that Antonio Brown has not asked to be traded from the Steelers. Now, Brown’s agent has confirmed that the wide receiver is not looking to leave Pittsburgh. 

The tweet [on Monday] was not in reference to anything other than Antonio responding to a person he knows. It was not directed towards a trade, or wanting to be trading. Any idea he was asking for a trade is not accurate,” agent Drew Rosenhaus said in a statement to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter links).

Rosenhaus went on to explain that Brown’s surprising absence from Monday’s practice was not tied to any sort of dissatisfaction with the club.

Antonio had a personal matter. I talked to the team about it. His issue was unrelated to the tweet or his relationship with the team. Third, AB has an incredible drive to win. He just wants to win. That’s all that that is,” Rosenhaus said. “That’s not anything more than him encouraging his coaches and teammates to win. And that’s what his entire focus is on. Any notion, any speculation otherwise, can be put to bed. This is a non-story that has been blown out of proportion. We can end this right here and now.”

Brown was visibly upset with Steelers coaches during Sunday’s loss to the Chiefs, but it sounds like both sides are committed to smoothing things out. Brown is slated to talk with Tomlin on Tuesday and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on Wednesday to clear the air. Then, on Monday, Brown and the Steelers will look to capture their first win of the season against the Buccaneers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steelers HC: Brown Has Not Asked For Trade

Antonio Brown‘s absence from Monday’s practice raised some eyebrows, but the wide receiver is not looking to leave Pittsburgh, according to coach Mike Tomlin. At a Tuesday morning press conference, Tomlin said that Brown has not requested a trade. 

Brown, however, was visibly displeased with Steelers coaches during Sunday’s loss to the Chiefs and he dared the club to trade him on Twitter in an online spat with a former team employee. Although Tomlin says there’s no reason to panic, he did confirm that he will meet with Brown on Tuesday to smooth out any in-house issues.

Brown opened the season by catching nine passes for 93 yards including one tremendous third quarter touchdown against the Browns. This past weekend, he remained productive with nine grabs for 67 yards, but lost his cool in the fourth quarter when talking with offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner and wide receivers coach Darryl Drake. Pittsburgh lost the Week 2 contest against Kansas City, leaving the Steelers winless heading into their Monday night game against the Buccaneers.

We already saw one noteworthy wide receiver change teams this week, but Tomlin asserts that Brown is not looking to join Gordon on the transactions wire.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals Sign LB Joe Walker

The Cardinals are signing linebacker Joe Walker to their 53-man roster off of the Eagles’ practice squad, a source tells Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer (on Twitter). The Eagles, meanwhile, have filled Walker’s roster spot by promoting running back Josh Adams to the active roster. 

Walker, 25, appeared in 12 games for the Eagles last year and started in three games. He didn’t see a ton of action on defense, however, and finished out with eight total tackles.

The Cardinals can use all of the defensive help they can get after surrendering 34 unanswered points to the Rams on Sunday. Walker won’t be a starting option, but he could see some snaps behind middle linebacker Josh Bynes.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steelers’ Antonio Brown Misses Practice

Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown was a no-show for practice on Monday, team sources tell Ed Bouchette and Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The reason for his absence is unclear, but it may be cause for concern after Brown had an unusual Twitter exchange with a former Steelers employee. 

After an ex-Steelers PR man intimated that Brown would not be an elite receiver without teammate Ben Roethlisberger, Brown responded, “Trade me let’s find out.” Brown’s decision to skip practice isn’t necessarily related, however, and it’s even possible that his absence was excused by coach Mike Tomlin. At the moment, details are scarce, but Brown did appear to be upset on the field during the Steelers’ 42-37 loss to the Chiefs and reportedly left the locker room in a huff.

Brown, the league’s most talented wide receiver, was as fearsome as ever in 2017 as he caught 101 passes for a league-leading 1,533 yards with nine touchdowns. After yet another spectacular season, Brown earned his sixth career Pro Bowl selection and fourth consecutive First-Team All-Pro nod.

The star receiver inked an extension with Pittsburgh in February of 2017. At the time, the four-year, $68MM extension made him the highest-paid receiver of all-time on a yearly basis with an average annual value of $17MM. This offseason, the 30-year-old agreed to tweak his payout structure in order to give the Steelers some cap relief.

For what it’s worth, Roethlisberger believes that Brown’s sideline flare-up with offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner was “just frustration,” and doesn’t believe that the receiver wants to be traded (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler). Still, Big Ben says that he’ll talk with Brown on Wednesday.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Kenneth Dixon Could Return From IR

The Ravens placed running back Kenneth Dixon on injured reserve last week, but his season is not necessarily over. Dixon is a candidate to return from IR this season, according to head coach John Harbaugh (Twitter link via Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic). 

Per league rules, each team is permitted to bring two players back from IR each season, provided that they are sidelined for at least eight weeks. Therefore, Dixon could return as soon as Week 11, after the Ravens’ bye in Week 10.

For now, the Ravens will move ahead with Buck Allen as the team’s top backup to starter Alex Collins. They’ve also promoted running back De’Lance Turner from the practice squad in order to provide depth at the position.

After being selected in the fourth round of the 2016 draft, Dixon averaged 4.3 yards per carry as a rookie. Last year, however, he was set back by a torn meniscus and multiple suspensions.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys To Sign WR Brice Butler

The Cowboys have reunited with wide receiver Brice Butler. Saad Yousuf of The Athletic was the first to report the news on Monday (Twitter link). 

Butler, 28, began his career with the Raiders but spent the 2014-17 seasons with the Cowboys. He was never a focal point of the club’s offense, as he averaged just 16 receptions, 269 yards, and two touchdowns during those four campaigns, but he offers familiarity with offensive coordinator Scott Linehan‘s scheme. Butler inked a two-year deal with the Cardinals this offseason but failed to make it through final cutdowns.

Dallas currently fields one of the league’s worst receiving units, as its depth chart is filled with complementary options such as Cole Beasley, Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin, Terrance Williams, Deonte Thompson, and rookie Michael Gallup. Through two games, Beasley leads the club in receptions (nine) and yards (86), while Austin is the only Cowboys receiver to catch a touchdown pass.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Josh Gordon Fallout: Browns, Pats, Cowboys

While Josh Gordon reportedly went through an MRI that didn’t reveal substantial hamstring trouble, he did suffer an injury while filming a promotional video Friday night, Zac Jackson of The Athletic reports. The Browns lost patience with Gordon not because of an injury, per Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com but because of his off-field issues. The latest in that long line of incidents appears to have taken place in the Cleveland area Friday night. Gordon misled the Browns by saying he was participating in a photo shoot for his clothing line at the team’s facility, when in actuality he was doing drills for a hype video, Jackson reports.

Gordon participated in the filming of this video for up to 90 minutes, per Jackson, who adds a 40-yard dash was involved. But the final shoot was called off after he grabbed his hamstring while doing drills. This occurred just before midnight Friday. Gordon then missed a team meeting Saturday morning and after arriving 10 minutes late went into the training room, Jackson adds. He did participate in the portion of the Browns’ Saturday-morning workout open to the media, Cabot reports, running myriad routes, further complicating this saga. For what it’s worth, Yahoo’s Charles Robinson (via Elaine Benes GIF) expresses the prevailing league sentiment on Gordon’s recent injury (Twitter link).

Here’s the latest fallout from this major September trade:

  • The Patriots did this because they are “desperate” for another playmaker on offense, Robinson notes. Both Tom Brady and Josh McDaniels have become “acutely aware” the team lacks a viable deep threat, Robinson writes. New England has made 28 transactions at wide receiver since the start of this league year, the headliner being a trade of Brandin Cooks to the Rams for a first-round pick — which became a player (offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn) who can’t contribute until at least 2019. The Jaguars muzzled the Pats’ attack for much of the teams’ AFC championship game rematch Sunday.
  • Robinson also debunks the notion the Cowboys were pursuing Gordon. Both Robinson and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Clarence Hill (Twitter link) report the Cowboys had “no interest” in the 27-year-old receiver. Although Dallas is thinner at wide receiver (in terms of reliable producers) than just about any franchise, the team was not exploring a Gordon deal — contrary to a previous report that indicated it was. Perhaps brief conversations involved Gordon, per Clarence Hill of The Athletic (on Twitter), but the front office didn’t approach Jason Garrett about that prospect.
  • The 49ers did not bid what the Patriots did for Gordon, Kyle Shanahan said, via Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com (on Twitter). John Lynch confirmed the 49ers’ interest in Gordon, but the Browns — as they have with many trades in recent years — chose a Patriots offer instead.
  • Gordon is not believed to be doing especially well financially, per Cabot, who reports the wideout who is making $790K this season “owes people money.” Gordon’s involved in a child-support battle with the mother of his 3-year-old daughter and has not received much NFL money since the 2013 season. Cabot wondered if this turn of events was a way for Gordon to get to free agency early, but after the subsequent trade to the Patriots, he’s still attached to that 2012 rookie contract. She argued, prior to the trade, for the Browns to exercise more patience here unless a much better offer came along. But they cut the cord for a fifth-round pick.
  • Gordon’s contract being non-guaranteed breaks the Patriots’ payments down into $46K increments, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe notes. The Pats can cut Gordon free of any dead-money charges. A second-round RFA tender in 2019 would cost about $3MM, but Volin argues the team might be better served to give Gordon an original-round tender since the Patriots would still receive a second-round pick in return from a team that signs Gordon to an offer sheet (because he was a second-round pick). The low-end tender should be worth approximately $2MM in 2019.