Month: July 2019

Extra Points: Browns, OBJ, Falcons, Hawks

If there was any doubt after he missed all but one day of OTAs, Odell Beckham confirmed on Friday he will report to minicamp on June 3, Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot writes.

Beckham confirmed the news replying to a comment on Instagram when one user told him to “cut out the crap and get to camp.” The star receiver responded, “I’ll be there on the 3rd, u coming?”

In his introductory press conference, Beckham said he wanted to set the tone by showing up the first day when asked how much he’d participate in OTAs. In all, the newly acquired pass catcher made one session and, when asked how much he missed, head coach Freddie Kitchens replied, ” A lot — the offense.”

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Another star player confirmed he will be showing up to mandatory minicamp, ESPN’s Vaughn McClure writes. That was Falcons defensive end Vic Beasley, who did not attend OTAs. Entering the final year of his deal, Beasley is set to earn $12.8MM after the Falcons picked up his fifth-year option this offseason.
  • K.J. Wright believes Bobby Wagner will remain with the Seahawks past 2019, Pro Football Talk’s Curtis Crabtree writes. “It’s going to be really exciting to see everything pan out. He’s going to be a Seahawk for life.” Acting as his own agent, Wagner said he plans to surpass the $85MM with $43MM guaranteed deal that C.J. Mosley just inked with the Jets.

Latest On LB Blair Brown Arrest

Earlier this week it was reported former Jaguars linebacker Blair Brown was arrested on charges of domestic violence. He is being accused of pointing a gun at a women and threatening to kill her, ESPN’s Michael DiRocco writes

In the report from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, the woman said Brown pushed her to the ground, kicked her in the abdomen and punched her in the face during an argument in late April. A warrant was issued on May 23 for his arrest and he turned himself into the sheriff’s office on Wednesday.

The argument reportedly started at a local bar and continued once they arrived home separately. After kicking and punching her, Brown, according to the report, removed two guns from a safe in the garage before she locked the door behind him. Brown later threatened to kill her and another person in the house.

The other person in the house said they did not see any physical altercation because they were in another room, but later saw the woman with blood on her mouth and a cut on Brown’s hand. The witness did not see Brown point the gun at the victor and did not hear him say he was going to kill her. That person did say, Brown responded with, “I wish I could,” when asked if he was going to kill her.

Earlier this month, the Jaguars released Brown, who was drafted by the team in the fifth round in 2017. In two years with the team, the Ohio University product appeared in 28 games, starting two, and registered 12 tackles and 0.5 sack.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: McCoy, Incognito, Packers

Another day, another Gerald McCoy update. The biggest name left available has been taking his time, taking several visits, but it sounds like he could be nearing a decision. So far, the veteran defensive tackle has visited the Browns, Ravens, and Panthers. Although McCoy left Cleveland without a contract, a source tells Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer that the Browns are still very “much in the running” for McCoy’s services (Twitter link).

What suggests he should be signing imminently is that Kay Cabot also writes that he wants to attend his new team’s voluntary minicamp. As she points out, the Browns’ camp starts June 4th, which is in just a few days. To that end, she writes that McCoy could sign on Monday or Tuesday. It sounds like we’ll still be on McCoy-watch this weekend.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Richie Incognito has become more well known for things not related to football than for what he’s done on the field. The Raiders raised a lot of eyebrows when they signed the veteran guard to a deal earlier this week. Incognito spent the entire 2018 season out of football before retiring and then quickly reversing his decision. His retirement came at a tumultuous time for him, and a source told Josh Dubow of the Associated Press that “security was stepped up at the Bills headquarters around the time Incognito announced his retirement,” and that “security personnel were placed on alert if Incognito arrived.” Clearly Buffalo was concerned about him, which isn’t too shocking. Raiders GM Mike Mayock recently said while defending the signing, that “at the end of the day, you can’t have all Boy Scouts.” Speaking of Incognito, he’s had some run-ins with the law that were heavily publicized, but one slipped under the radar. According to documents obtained by ESPN, Incognito plead guilty to “charges of criminal damage and disorderly conduct,” last month, stemming from an August argument at his grandmother’s house. Incognito reportedly blamed his grandmother for his father’s death, which had happened just prior to the argument.
  • The Packers’ 90-man roster just got trimmed by one. Tight end Davis Koppenhaver, an undrafted rookie from Duke, “has decided to step away from the game and pursue a career outside of football,” a source told Michael Cohen of The Athletic (Twitter link). Koppenhaver never topped 157 yards during his time at Duke, so this isn’t too big of a loss for Green Bay.
  • Charges against former Texans tight end Ryan Griffin were dismissed earlier today, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Griffin was arrested last month at the NFL Draft in Nashville, and charged with misdemeanor vandalism and public intoxication. A few weeks later, Houston released him. The 2013 sixth-round pick has spent his entire six-year career with the Texans, and has never played a huge role on offense. After a relatively strong 2016 season where he had 442 yards and two touchdowns, the Texan gave him a three-year, $9MM deal. The charges against him never seemed too serious, and he should resurface soon.

AFC Notes: Patriots, Harry, Dolphins, Mills, Ravens, Snead

There was a lot of talk this offseason about how the Patriots’ receiving corp was looking a little thin. Chris Hogan left in free agency and Rob Gronkowski retired, so Tom Brady‘s group of pass-catchers was a bit depleted. New England moved swiftly to address the issue, taking N’Keal Harry out of Arizona State in the first round of last month’s draft. They nabbed Harry at 32nd overall, but they apparently would’ve been willing to take him much higher.

Bill Belichick told Todd Graham, one of Harry’s former college coaches, that the team “had him graded a lot higher than where he was taken in the first round,” per Jeff Howe of The Athletic. Graham spoke to Belichick the night of the draft, and the Patriots coach told him they “were so fortunate that he was still there.” It’s the first time in Belichick’s 19 years at the helm in New England that they’ve taken a receiver in the first round, so they clearly had to be very high on him.

Here’s more from around the AFC:

  • The Dolphins are rebuilding, whether they want to admit it or not. We still don’t know whether Josh Rosen or Ryan Fitzpatrick will win the starting quarterback job, but we do have a bit more clarity as to who will be one of their starting tackles. Jordan Mills “has come on in the past week and the job is clearly his to lose,” at right tackle, per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. The Dolphins let Ja’Wuan James walk in free agency, meaning they need a new starter opposite Laremy Tunsil, and it looks like Mills is going to be the guy. Mills started all 16 games each of the last three seasons for the Bills, but Buffalo didn’t have much interest in retaining him. He had a poor season last year, grading out as Pro Football Focus’ 70th-best tackle. He signed a one-year, $3MM deal with Miami just a few weeks ago.
  • The Ravens’ receiving corp is going to look a lot different in 2019, as they made a lot of changes in preparation for Lamar Jackson‘s first full season as the starter. They let John Brown and Michael Crabtree walk in free agency, and drafted two new receivers in the first three rounds last month. They’ll need some veterans to provide some stability with all the young guys around, and one of the vets they’re reportedly counting on to step up this year is Willie Snead. Unfortunately Snead hasn’t been able to be a full-go this offseason, as he had surgery on his finger after the season ended, per Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic (Twitter link). Zrebiec writes that the Ravens are “taking it easy with him.” Snead had a productive year last season, finishing with 62 catches for 651 yards and a touchdown.

Ravens Sign Third Round DE Jaylon Ferguson

The Ravens locked up a key member of their draft class Friday. The team signed third round pick edge rusher Jaylon Ferguson to his rookie deal, they announced on Twitter.

Ferguson is more high profile than your typical third round pick. He was one of the most productive pass-rushers in recent college football history, and put up absurd numbers at Louisiana Tech. For a while there was talk that Ferguson would go as high as the first round, but he ended up tumbling to 85th overall. In his senior season with the Bulldogs Ferguson racked up an eye-popping 26.5 tackles for loss, including 17.5 sacks.

Ferguson was at the center of some controversy a few months back when he had his invitation to the combine rescinded. Ferguson was banned from the combine after a background check revealed he was convicted of simple battery during his freshman year. It was reported at the time that teams didn’t view his incident as particularly serious, and he was eventually allowed to participate in interviews at the combine, although he wasn’t allowed to do any drills or on-field work.

With Ferguson now in the fold, the Ravens now have only two unsigned draft picks left. First round pick Marquise Brown and third-rounder Miles Boykin still have yet to agree to terms. The Ravens lost Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith in free agency, so they have a lot of pass-rushing production to replace. They’ll be counting on Ferguson to help fill some of that void.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colts QB Chad Kelly Suspended Two Games

Chad Kelly is back in the NFL, but he won’t be eligible to play for a little bit. The recently signed Colts quarterback has been suspended for the first two games of the season, per Joel Erickson of the Indianapolis Star (Twitter link).

Kelly signed with the team a couple of weeks ago. We heard right after that he could be facing a suspension, so this isn’t too big of a surprise. As Ian Rapoport of NFL Network points out in a tweet, the suspension is the result of his infamous arrest while he was a member of the Broncos last year.

The Colts obviously weren’t planning on Kelly playing anytime soon anyway, so this suspension likely won’t have too big of an effect on his status with the team. They signed him as a developmental option, to potentially one day take over as Andrew Luck‘s backup. It’s been speculated for a while now that current Colts backup Jacoby Brissett, an impending free agent, could be a candidate for a starting job next offseason, so Indy might be in the market for a new clipboard holder soon.

Kelly has always been talented, but has never been able to keep it together in his personal life. He had numerous off-field incidents in college, which caused him to slip to the last pick in the draft in 2017. He missed his entire rookie season due to injury, but made the Broncos last year as Case Keenum‘s backup.

Things were going well for a while after he impressed in the preseason, and at one point it looked like he was about to be inserted for a slumping Keenum. Then he was arrested in a bizarre incident following Von Miller‘s Halloween party, where he wandered into a random family’s home and plopped down on the couch. It’ll be interesting to see if he ends up making the final 53 with the Colts.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Darren Sproles Eyeing Eagles, Saints, Chargers?

It was about two months ago that free agent running back Darren Sproles said he’d make a decision regarding his NFL future by May. Well, it sounds like the 35-year-old may need a bit more time making a decision.

During an appearance on 97.5 The Fanatic, ESPN’s Adam Schefter said Sproles would be willing to wait for the right offer, even if it comes during the latter part of the summer (via Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com). Furthermore, Schefter hinted that the running back would prefer to play for one of his former teams. Specifically, that’d mean the Eagles, Saints, or Chargers are atop Sproles’ list. Of course, Schefter also notes that the running back would be open to other opportunities.

After a broken arm and a torn ACL limited him to only three games during the Eagles’ Super Bowl-winning 2017 campaign, Sproles said the 2018 season would be his final year in the NFL. However, Sproles ended up being hampered by injuries once again, limiting him to only six regular season games. He was still relatively productive when he was on the field; he paired 120 rushing yards (and a rushing touchdown) with 15 receptions for 160 yards and two scores.

Of course, Sproles continues to get older; if he plays in 2019, he’d be the second-oldest player at his position (behind Frank Gore). While any team would take a chance on a savvy veteran who possesses some pass-catching prowess, it’s uncertain if any of Sproles’ former teams would have interest.

The Eagles have a crowded depth chart that features Jordan HowardCorey Clement, Josh Adams, and Wendell Smallwood. The Saints brought in Latavius Murray to serve as Alvin Kamara‘s backup, but the team lacks experience behind that duo. The Chargers’ trio of Melvin GordonAustin Ekeler, and Justin Jackson seem to have a solid hold on the top-three spots, but Sproles could theoretically play a return role alongside Desmond King in Los Angeles.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills Rookie LB Tyrel Dodson Arrested

Tyrel Dodson‘s NFL career hasn’t gotten off to the hottest start. ESPN’s Mike Rodak tweets that the undrafted Bills linebacker was arrested last weekend on charges of disorderly conduct, assault/domestic violence and damage to property. The news was first reported by TMZ Sports.

“We are aware of the incident involving Tyrel Dodson last weekend,” the Bills said in a statement (via Rodak). “We have been looking further into the matter and will continue to gather information as the legal process continues.”

Dodson’s pretrial conference is scheduled for June 18th. Dodson has continued to participate in Bills OTAs this week, so the team is apparently willing to let the court process unfold before they make any decisions. Dodson could also be subject to discipline from the NFL.

The Texas A&M product had another standout campaign in 2018, compiling 70 tackles, seven tackles-for-loss, and one interception. He had a team-high 105 tackles in 2017. Despite his collegiate production, Dodson still went undrafted during this past year’s draft.

As it always is with undrafted free agents, it was already an uphill battle for Dodson to make the 53-man roster. It doesn’t help that Buffalo drafted a linebacker (fifth-rounder Vosean Joseph) and added another undrafted linebacker (Juwan Foggie).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bears Sign OL T.J. Clemmings

T.J. Clemmings is heading to Chicago. The veteran offensive tackle has signed with the Bears, reports Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune (via Twitter).

As Biggs notes, the Bears have had interest in Clemmings dating back to his time in college, as the organization hosted the lineman on a top-30 visit. The Pittsburgh product was ultimately drafted in the fourth round by the Vikings, and he proceeded to spend the first two seasons of his career in Minnesota. During his stint with the Vikings, Clemmings started 30 of his 31 games.

He was waived prior to the 2017 season, and he caught on with the Redskins, where he’d appear in six games (two starts). Clemmings was then waived by Washington prior to last season, but he was quickly claimed by the Raiders. The 27-year-old appeared in four games before succumbing to a season-ending knee injury.

Clemmings will presumably be competing for a backup tackle job, although he has played some offensive guard during his career. The Bears have already added a pair of free agent linemen this offseason in Ted Larsen and Cornelius Lucas.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.