Month: July 2021

Saints To Host Prince Amukamara

The Saints just agreed to terms with running back Devonta Freeman, and he might not be the only big name veteran they add. New Orleans is also hosting cornerback Prince Amukamara for a visit on Saturday, a source told Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football (Twitter link).

The 19th overall pick of the 2011 draft, Amukamara was on the Cardinals’ practice squad last year but didn’t appear in a game. He had spent the previous three seasons as a full-time starter in Chicago. Amukamara was originally drafted by the Giants, and he won Super Bowl XLVI with the team as a rookie. After his first five years in New York he signed a one-year deal with Jacksonville.

After that one season with the Jaguars he signed with the Bears, who gave him a three-year, $27MM extension in March of 2018. In February of 2020, he was cut. He’s never been a top-tier talent but has been a pretty solid starter at times, and he had double digit passes defended in both 2018 and 2019.

New Orleans is also bringing in fellow corner KeiVarae Russell for a workout, as Dan Graziano of ESPN.com tweets. Russell, a third-round pick of the Chiefs in the 2016 draft, has appeared in just 21 games (one start) since he entered the league, so he does not offer nearly the same level of experience as Amukamara. The Packers signed Russell to a reserve/futures deal in January but cut him loose in May.

The Saints have been linked to free agent cornerback help all offseason after releasing Janoris Jenkins back in March, so it wouldn’t be shocking if they made a move here. After top corner Marshon Lattimore, New Orleans also has longtime vet Patrick Robinson and youngster Chauncey Gardner-Johnson. The club also signed veteran slot man Brian Poole last week.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants Sign Todd Davis

The Giants signed interior offensive lineman Joe Looney to a contract on Saturday, and they also added another longtime vet. New York inked free agent linebacker Todd Davis to a contract, the team announced in a release.

Davis worked out for the Giants earlier this week, and they apparently liked what they saw. The unheralded Sacramento State product started out as an UDFA in 2014, and carved out a heck of a career for himself. After starting his career with the Saints he was claimed off waivers by the Broncos midway through his rookie season, and quickly established himself in Denver.

He played a real role on the Broncos team that won Super Bowl 50, and became a full-time starter the following year in 2016. From 2016-19, he started at least 14 games at inside linebacker in four straight seasons. Davis was released two years into the three-year $15MM deal that he signed in March of 2018.

He latched on with the Vikings last September, and appeared in 11 games with six starts for Minnesota. Always a run defender first and foremost, Davis turned 29 in May. The Giants currently have a pretty young linebacking group, so Davis will provide some veteran leadership right off the bat.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 7/31/21

We’ve got a bunch of minor moves to report from what turned out to be a pretty busy Saturday in the NFL:

Atlanta Falcons

Cleveland Browns

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

New England Patriots

New York Giants

New York Jets

Seattle Seahawks

Washington Football Team

  • Claimed off waivers from Dolphins: OL Ross Reynolds

Hundley is the biggest signing on this list. The Colts adding him is a pretty good sign they expect Carson Wentz to miss some significant time. Assuming Wentz misses games, Hundley will battle it out with second-year pro Jacob Eason.

A couple of kickers who have started a bunch of games both found themselves sent packing in Ficken and Rosas. Mannion latched on with the Seahawks. He’s familiar with new Seattle OC Shane Waldron from their time together with the Rams, explaining why the Seahawks added him as an option behind Russell Wilson.

Vikings WR Olabisi Johnson Tears ACL

Tough news out of Minnesota. Vikings receiver Olabisi Johnson tore an ACL during practice on Friday, a source told Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link).

Also known as ‘Bisi,’ Johnson was drafted in the seventh-round in 2019, and he’s made pretty solid contributions for a 247th overall pick. He started six games as a rookie, finishing with 31 catches for 294 yards and three touchdowns. This past year he made three starts, racking up 14 catches for 189 yards. Needless to say, the Colorado State product will now spend his entire third season on injured reserve.

It’s awful news for the 24-year-old, and for a Vikings offense that doesn’t have a ton of receiver depth. Minnesota will now be extra glad that they decided to sign Dede Westbrook last week. They obviously Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson at the top, but things are pretty thin beyond them and Westbrook.

Chad Beebe could stand to get some extra looks as a result of the injury. Here’s to hoping Johnson makes a full and smooth recovery in time for the 2022 season, which will be the last of his rookie deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants To Sign Joe Looney

Joe Looney and Jason Garrett are getting back together. The Giants are signing the veteran offensive lineman, a source told Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (Twitter link).

Garrett, now the Giants’ offensive coordinator, was Looney’s head coach for several years in Dallas. As Garafolo points out, Looney almost signed with New York last offseason before he ended up back with the Cowboys on a one-year deal. He ended up starting 12 games in Dallas last season. Originally a fourth-round pick of the 49ers in 2012, Looney spent his first three seasons in San Francisco.

Cut before 2015 he latched on with the Titans before signing with the Cowboys in 2016, with whom he would spend the next five years. He was a reserve in 2016 and 2017, then a 16-game starter in 2018, then hit the bench again in 2019.

It’s unclear what exact role the Giants envision for him. New York currently has Nick Gates slated to start at center, although Dan Duggan of The Athletic tweets that he thinks it’s possible the team could switch Gates to guard if they think Looney will give them a better starting five in the trenches. Looney also has played a lot of guard in the past. Either way, it’s a decent depth signing this late in the process as Looney has a good amount of starting experience and familiarity with Garrett’s offense.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns, Nick Chubb Agree On $36MM Extension

We’ve heard a lot about a potential Nick Chubb extension this offseason, and now it’s officially happening. The Browns and the running back have agreed to terms on an extension, a source told Mike Jones of USA Today (Twitter link).

Jones said four years, but it’s actually a three-year extension worth $36MM with $20MM guaranteed, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets. Veteran NFL reporter Josina Anderson was first to tweet that a deal was close. It had always been up in the air whether something would get done before the season started, but they managed to get it done with plenty of time to spare.

As a second-round pick in 2018, Chubb was previously set to enter the final year of his rookie deal. He’s been one of the best running backs in the NFL since entering the league, and has made the Pro Bowl each of the last two seasons.

The Georgia product led the league in rushing in 2019 and led the league in rushing touchdowns last year with 12 despite playing only 12 games. Impressively, Chubb has averaged at least five yards per carry in each of his three pro seasons.

Chubb is now one of the league’s highest-paid running backs, and he should have at least another opportunity to break the bank. As a result of this relatively short-term deal, Chubb will get to re-enter free agency in the spring of 2025 when he’ll still only be 29.

Head coach Kevin Stefanski loves to run the ball, and he wasn’t about to let the engine of his offense go anywhere. The deal will keep Chubb tied to the Browns through the 2024 campaign. Cleveland also has Kareem Hunt in their backfield, but that didn’t appear to make them at all hesitant about paying Chubb.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints To Sign Devonta Freeman

Devonta Freeman will have multiple chances to stick it to his old team in 2021. The veteran running back and former Falcons star has agreed to terms on a one-year deal with the Saints, according to his agent Drew Rosenhaus.

Financial terms weren’t immediately available, although it’s fairly safe to assume it was pretty cheap. The Florida State product became a starter for the Falcons in 2015, earning second-team All-Pro honors that year. In both 2015 and 2016 he made the Pro Bowl while having at least 1,500 all-purpose yards and 13 total touchdowns. It wasn’t too long ago that he was considered one of the league’s best backs, and a legit weapon in both the ground and passing games.

Multiple injuries limited him to only two contests in 2018, and despite regaining his starting job in 2019 he was cut the following offseason. He signed a $3MM deal with the Giants for 2020, but injuries limited him to five games for New York before he was cut in January. He was then added to Buffalo’s practice squad for their playoff run.

This was the first known interest he’d received this cycle. The 2014 fourth-rounder will now slot in as the third back on a running back depth chart that already features Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray in New Orleans. It’ll likely take a injury to one of those guys for the 29-year-old to get significant playing time.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers Re-Sign WR/TE Jordan Matthews, Waive WR Bennie Fowler

Jordan Matthews has found his next team. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reports (via Twitter) that the veteran wideout (and hopeful tight end) is signing with the 49ers. The team has waived wideout Bennie Fowler to make room on the roster (via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle on Twitter).

Matthews has bounced on and off the 49ers roster since 2019, although that’s only resulted in three appearances with the organization. Now, the veteran is hoping to reinvent himself as a tight end; the 6-foot-3 target has added 30 pounds this offseason, which should give him the weight to play the position. Matthews also worked out with teammate (and fellow tight end) George Kittle.

Matthews, a former second-round pick, had at least 800 receiving yards in each of his first three NFL seasons, but he’s struggled to match that production over the past few years. Since 2017, Matthews has hauled in only 49 receptions for 615 yards and three scores. The 29-year-old is hoping the position change will help jump start his career.

We heard that a handful of teams had their eye on the veteran, but the only squad that had been definitively connected to Matthews were the Titans and Jets. Instead of joining the AFC, Matthews will be sticking in San Francisco, and he’ll have a good opportunity to make the roster behind Kittle. The veteran will be competing with Charlie Woerner, Ross Dwelley, MyCole Pruitt, and Josh Pederson for snaps.

Fowler, 30, joined the 49ers back in May. The wideout has appeared in 68 career games, hauling in 97 receptions for 1,101 yards and six touchdowns. He saw time in five games for the Saints in 2020, catching two passes for 11 yards.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Titans Sign TE Luke Stocker

Luke Stocker is heading back to Tennessee. The Titans have signed the veteran tight end, reports Jim Wyatt of the team’s website (via Twitter). The team also waived defensive back Quenton Meeks and placed offensive lineman Brandon Kemp on injured reserve.

This is a bit of a homecoming for Stocker; the tight end went to college at Tennessee and played for the Titans for two seasons. The veteran has managed to put together a 10-year NFL career, including the past two with the Falcons. Known more for his blocking prowess (Stocker also has experience playing fullback), the veteran has hauled in 83 receptions for 693 yards and five touchdowns during his career.

After losing Jonnu Smith in free agency, the Titans have been looking for some extra depth behind presumed starter Anthony Firkser. Stocker will compete with the likes of Geoff Swaim, Jared Pinkney, Tommy Hudson, and Miller Forristall for a roster spot.

Meeks, a 2018 undrafted free agent out of Stanford, has collected eight tackles in 14 career games. After getting waived by the Jaguars earlier this offseason, he signed with the Titans. Kemp joined the Titans as an undrafted free agent out of Valdosta State in 2020. The offensive lineman reportedly suffered a shoulder injury during practice this week.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens Sign DE Justin Houston

9:52am: Houston has indeed joined the Ravens. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (via Twitter) that the veteran pass rusher is signing with Baltimore. It will be a one-year deal worth up to $4MM for the veteran, and Schefter reiterates that Houston turned down higher-paying offers from rival teams. Meanwhile, Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic tweets that Houston will earn a $1.075MM base salary and a $1MM signing bonus, and there’s an opportunity to ear another ~$2MM via Pro Bowl and sack incentives.

9:24am: Justin Houston is zeroing in on a suitor. Jason La Canfora reports (via Twitter) that the veteran defensive lineman recently reached out to Ravens head coach John Harbaugh “to convey a willingness to come to Baltimore.”

As La Canfora notes, the Ravens are Houston’s top choice, and it sounds like he’s willing to take a discount to make it happen. Houston is willing to sign for “considerably less than market,” and the player’s camp is ready to work with the organization with the understanding that the front office is dealing with cap constraints. As La Canfora tweets, the player had more lucrative offers on the table, but he ultimately turned down contracts from his many suitors.

We learned earlier this week that the pass rusher had a long list of potential suitors, with the Colts and Steelers mentioned as potential landing spots. Given Houston’s track record and newfound ability to stay healthy, it makes sense that he still has a market. The 32-year-old totaled 19 sacks in two Colts seasons, playing out a two-year, $23MM deal. His history with knee trouble notwithstanding, Houston did not miss a game as a Colt. Houston missed 26 games during his eight years with the Chiefs, but he was still plenty productive, collecting 78.5 sacks (including a 22-sack campaign in 2014).

The Ravens certainly have a need for a veteran pass rusher. The team lost Matt Judon, who led the 2020 squad with six sacks, in free agency, and the organization also lost the likes of Yannick Ngakoue and Jihad Ward.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.