Month: June 2024

Latest On Dalvin Cook’s Jets Visit

By all accounts, Dalvin Cook‘s visit with the Jets went well. However, the free agent running back ended up leaving New York without a deal. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler (via Twitter), Cook is traveling home to Florida after spending all day Sunday visiting the Jets.

[RELATED: Jets To Meet With Dalvin Cook]

Per ESPN’s Rich Cimini (on Twitter), Cook “enjoyed” his visit with the Jets yesterday and “there’s still mutual interest” in adding the All-Pro running back to the roster. Cimini also cautions that Cook continues to mull his options before making a final decision. Cook previously mentioned that he didn’t have any other visits on his docket. Josina Anderson adds (on Twitter) that the Jets didn’t “sense an immediate rush from Cook’s side” to immediately agree to a contract.

Interestingly, we’ll soon get an extensive look at Cook’s visit with the Jets. Per NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (via Twitter), the Hard Knocks crew followed the free agent RB for the entirety of his visit. The first episode of the series is set to air next Tuesday on HBO.

While the Dolphins were initially considered the favorites in the Cook sweepstakes, the Jets have come on strong in recent weeks, with the running back hinting that New York could ultimately be his landing spot. Aaron Rodgersrecently restructured deal opened up a significant chunk of cash, and the Jets could immediately use those funds to lure the long-time Vikings RB.

After his rookie campaign ended with a torn ACL, the door remains open for Breece Hall to be ready to go to start the regular season. Still, the Jets haven’t been shy about adding depth at the skill positions, and a hypothetical Cook signing would likely result in a two-headed monster at the RB position (vs. one of the players emerging as a clear-cut bell cow).

Speaking of Hall, coach Robert Saleh said yesterday that he remains optimistic about the player’s availability for Week 1 (via Cimini on Twitter). The head coach added that Hall could be cleared for practice in a couple of weeks. Hall is currently stashed on the PUP as he continues to recover from his knee injury.

Injury Notes: Zylstra, Cowboys, Giants, Kancey

Shane Zylstra will likely miss the upcoming season thanks to a knee injury. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the Lions tight end suffered a “serious and significant” knee injury that will keep him off the field for six months.

Rapoport notes that Zylstra is set to undergo more tests “but there isn’t a lot of optimism.” As Justin Rogers of the Detroit News tweets, the tight end suffered the injury while taking a “low shot” during a red zone drill.

Zylstra emerged as one of Jared Goff‘s favorite red zone targets in 2022. The tight end finished the season with only 11 catches for 60 yards, but four of those receptions were touchdowns. The Minnesota State product had another three catches during his rookie campaign.

Fortunately for Detroit, the team has some depth at tight end. The organization used a second-round pick on Sam LaPorta, and the rookie is expected to slide right into the starting lineup. The team is also rostering the likes of Brock Wright, James Mitchell, and Derrick Deese.

More injury notes from around the NFL…

  • A bruised toe has kept Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs off the practice field, Mike McCarthy told reporters (via Jon Machota of The Athletic on Twitter). The injury isn’t serious, and it sounds like the coaching staff is simply playing it safe with the star defender. Elsewhere in Dallas, tight end Luke Schoonmaker revealed that he’s dealing with a partial tear of his plantar fascia (via Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News on Twitter). The rookie said the injury is more challenging to deal with than a complete tear, but the player is still hopeful he’ll be able to return to the practice field in a week or two.
  • It sounds like Giants backup offensive lineman J.C. Hassenauer is set to miss a significant chunk of the upcoming season, if not the entire campaign. Coach Brian Daboll told reporters that Hassenauer injured his triceps and will require surgery (via Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News on Twitter). The lineman is expected to be sidelined “long term.” Second-round rookie John Michael Schmitz is expected to lead the depth chart, but Hassenauer’s injury could open opportunities for Jack Anderson and Shane Lemieux.
  • There was a scare at Buccaneers practice today when first-round defensive tackle Calijah Kancey was carted off the field with a leg injury. Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets that an MRI showed nothing serious, but the Buccaneers may still take it easy on the rookie so he’s ready to go for the start of the season. Per ESPN’s Jenna Laine, the Buccaneers organization had been thrilled with Kancey’s preparation for his first professional season. “He’s adapting to the scheme mentally, and then he was adding his physical part to it,” coach Todd Bowles said (via Laine). “He’s putting it together quicker than normal rookies do. So hopefully it’s not that bad and he can get back.”
  • Texans fullback Troy Hairston was carted off the field today with an undisclosed injury, per Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2 in Houston (via Twitter). The former edge rusher went undrafted out of Central Michigan last year but caught on with the Texans. He changed positions to fullback and beat out Andy Janovich for the starting gig, resulting in Hairston getting into 16 games for the Texans last season.

Minor NFL Transactions: 7/31/23

Today’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

  • Signed: CB Lorenzo Burns

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Signed: CB Anthony Witherstone
  • Placed on IR: LB Isaiah Moore

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

New Orleans Saints

Seattle Seahawks

Washington Commanders

Derrick Gore is probably the most intriguing signee on the list, with the running back having seen time in 11 games for the Chiefs in 2021. He finished that season with 361 yards from scrimmage and a pair of touchdowns, but he didn’t have a chance for a followup performance in Kansas City. After landing on IR in late August last year, he was ultimately released by the Chiefs. Gore caught on with the Saints and spent the majority of the 2022 season on their practice squad.

Yasir Durant is another Chiefs product, with the lineman getting into 11 games for Kansas City in 2020. He appeared in seven games for the Patriots in 2021 before spending most of last season on the Saints practice squad. He’ll be taking the roster spot previously held by Christian DiLauro, who got into five games for the Titans and Broncos over the past two years.

Darius Harris will be joining the Raiders following a career year in Kansas City. After being limited to only 11 games through his first two seasons in the NFL, Harris got into all 17 games for the Chiefs last year, including four starts. The former UDFA finished the year with 43 tackles and 1.5 sacks, and he added another five tackles in three playoff games. One of Harris’s strongest performances of the 2022 season came against the Raiders when he had 10 tackles and a sack.

Broncos’ Tim Patrick Suffers Torn Achilles

5:55pm: Patrick has indeed suffered a complete tear of the Achilles, per Mike Klis of 9News in Denver (via Twitter). The injury will knock Patrick out for the entire 2023 campaign.

1:50pm: Tim Patrick was expected to play a significant role in the Broncos’ offense this year after missing all of last season. Instead, the veteran wideout appears to have suffered another massive injury.

The 29-year-old is believed to have suffered a torn Achilles, head coach Sean Payton said on Monday (Twitter link via NFL Network’s James Palmer). If that does turn out to be the case, it will mark a crushing blow for Patrick and the second consecutive year in which he loses a campaign to a major injury.

The former UDFA tore his ACL almost exactly one year ago, and he was sidelined for the 2022 season as a result. That injury occurred in his right leg, while this latest one affects his left. Patrick was carted off the field during practice, and he was seen on crutches when entering the locker room. At a minimum, he could be facing another extended absence to start the year, which would further delay his attempt to return to his pre-injury form.

Patrick put up almost identical statlines in 2020 and 2021, averaging 52 catches and 738 yards per season. He scored 11 touchdowns over that span, making him a full-time starter alongside Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton. Each of the latter two were mentioned frequently in trade talks this offseason, but the team has remained insistent that they will not be moved. Missing Patrick for, potentially, another full season would add to Jeudy and Sutton’s workloads in a passing attack which desperately needs improvement from last year.

The Broncos made a slight trade up the board to select Marvin Mims with their top pick in this year’s draft, giving them another young pass-catcher. Missing Patrick – along with KJ Hamler, who has battled injuries throughout his career and is currently on the NFI list – for any extended stretch could thrust Mims into an immediate starting role. Growing pains during his rookie season could hinder the effectiveness of Denver’s offense during Sean Payton‘s first year at the helm.

Further evaluation will be needed to determine if Patrick has been faced with another lengthy rehab process. If that does turn out to be the case, his future with the team could be put in doubt. The Utah product is due $5.5MM in guaranteed money this season, but none of his compensation in 2024 (the final year of his deal) is guaranteed. Patrick is set to count for just over $11MM in cap space this year, though an IR stay would obviously change the Broncos’ financial outlook at the receiver spot.

Cowboys RB Ronald Jones Issued Two-Game Suspension

The Cowboys’ running back depth chart will be thinned out to begin the season. Ronald Jones received a two-game suspension on Monday, as noted (on Twitter) by ESPN’s Field Yates.

The NFL announced that the ban was handed down due to a PED violation. That will cost Jones two weeks of pay, and make him ineligible to join Dallas’ active roster until Week 3. He is able to remain with the team during practices and the preseason, though today’s news will certainly not help his chances of surviving roster cuts in advance of the season.

The 25-year-old signed a one-year deal not long after Ezekiel Elliott was released. That opened the door to the former earning the backup role behind Tony Pollard, but Jones saw very limited usage in 2022. He spent the season with the Chiefs, receiving only 18 total carries. Despite dressing for Kansas City’s Super Bowl victory, he was not used during the title game. That hurt his value on the open market, one which has seen a number of experienced backs struggle to find long-term commitments.

The former second-rounder spent his first four seasons in Tampa Bay, but he never saw more than 192 carries in a single season. His largest workload came in 2020, when he posted career-highs in rushing yards (978), touchdowns (seven) and efficiency (5.1 yards per carry). His 309 receiving yards from the previous campaign demonstrated his abilities as a pass-catcher, but Leonard Fournette operated as the Buccaneers’ lead back for each of the past two seasons.

The (at least temporary) loss of Jones will test Dallas’ backfield depth. Pollard – who received the $10.1MM franchise tag after turning down at least one multi-year offer from the team – is in line to operate as the focal point of the Cowboys’ ground game. Not much experience is in place behind, him, though, and sixth-round rookie Deuce Vaughn could be in line for a notable role. Of course, a signing could come about as a result of today’s news.

A slew of veteran backs are still on the open market, including Elliott (with whom a Cowboys reunion has not been entirely ruled out), Fournette, Kareem Hunt and J.D. McKissic. How much interest Dallas shows in making a move at the RB spot will be worth watching in the coming days.

Dolphins Activate LT Terron Armstead From PUP List

Terron Armstead‘s stint on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list has been short-lived. The Dolphins left tackle was activated on Monday, as noted by a team announcement.

Head coach Mike McDaniel had expressed confidence that Armstead would be cleared to return to practice shortly after arriving at camp, and his activation will be a welcomed sign given his importance to the team’s offensive line. The former Saints mainstay delivered a strong season in 2022, his first with the Dolphins after signing a five-year, $75MM deal with Miami.

Injuries have been a mainstay in Armstead’s career, however, and that continued last season. A pectoral injury was one of many ailments the former third-rounder dealt with, and he was limited to 13 regular season games played. He was able to suit up for Miami’s playoff loss, though, and he earned a fourth career Pro Bowl nod. His health and performance will play a vital role in determining the Dolphins’ ability to repeat their success of last season.

Armstead underwent a cleanup procedure on his knee during the offseason, McDaniel noted. His recovery from that surgery led to his placement on the PUP list last week, and he did not take the field today. Still, his activation means he has been cleared to return, and he will have plenty of practice time in the build-up to his 11th NFL campaign and second in South Beach.

Miami restructured the contracts of many of their highest-paid players this offseason. That included re-working Armstead’s deal, and as a result his 2023 cap hit will be just over $9.2MM. His impact on the team’s capsheet will jump to $20.6MM in each of the three campaigns after that, however, so continued strong play will be vital for team and player for the foreseeable future. In the immediate term, though, the Dolphins’ top lineman is back in place on the blindside.

Panthers To Sign LB Deion Jones

2:28pm: Jones’ visit has produced an agreement. He will sign a one-year deal with the Panthers, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). Jones will return to the NFC South while attempting to remain healthy and boost his free agent value ahead of next offseason.

12:12pm: One of the top remaining free agent linebackers is set to meet with a potential new team. Deion Jones will visit the Panthers later today, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link).

Jones is quite familiar with the NFC South, having spent the first six-plus years of his career in Atlanta. He showcased his playmaking skills early in his career, earning his lone Pro Bowl nod in 2017 and remaining productive through most of his Falcons tenure. 2022 was a year in which the team looked to move on from many of its largest financial commitments, though, and an injured Jones was dealt to the Browns in October.

The 28-year-old agreed to remove the final year of his contract upon arrival in Cleveland, making his brief Browns stint an audition ahead of free agency. Jones joined a team which suffered numerous season-ending injuries at the LB spot, but he still saw the field for only 59% of defensive snaps – by far the lowest total of his career. He racked up 44 tackles, 2.5 sacks and an interception during 11 games in Cleveland.

To date, the only team other than the Panthers known to have hosted Jones was the Giants, having done so in April. The former second-rounder remains unsigned well into training camp, but he could serve in at least a rotational capacity in his next home while attempting to rebuild his value. Carolina could stand to add depth at the second level.

The Panthers have Shaq Thompson – who re-did his deal this offseason to keep him on the books through 2024 – and Frankie Luvu at the top of their LB depth chart. The latter is entering a contract year, and the team is lacking experienced depth options aside from Kamu Grugier-Hill. Jones, who has eclipsed 100 tackles five times in his career, could add a proven playmaker to the mix.

With more than $20.5MM in cap space, Carolina is in better financial shape than most teams with respect to adding free agents. Some of that total could be aimed at acquiring an edge rusher, something the team was connected to earlier in the offseason. The nature of Jones’ visit will influence the Panthers’ interest as he seeks a deal ahead of the 2023 campaign.

Colts RB Zack Moss Suffers Broken Arm

Much of the attention around the league is currently aimed at one Colts running back, but another has encountered a signficant setback. Zack Moss suffered a broken arm and is set to miss roughly six weeks (Twitter link via NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo).

The 25-year-old began his career in Buffalo, seeing a healthy workload in his two full seasons with the team. Operating behind starter Devin Singletary in particular, and on a team which does not rely heavily on running backs in general, Moss saw 208 carries between 2020 and 2021. He parlayed that into 826 yards (on an average of just under four per carry) and eight touchdowns, but his time with the Bills came to an end last season.

Moss was part of the trade which saw Nyheim Hines dealt from Indianapolis to Buffalo at the trade deadline, setting up the Utah product for a fresh start. His usage increased upon arrival with the Colts, a team which finished the year without former rushing champion Jonathan Taylor in the lineup. Moss averaged 4.8 yards per carry and scored one touchdown in eight Colts games to close out the campaign.

The 25-year-old is set to operate as Taylor’s primary backup this season, the final one of his rookie contract. Today’s news puts his Week 1 availability in doubt, however, so it will be interesting to see if the team aims to make a depth addition amidst the uncertainty surrounding Taylor’s future. The Colts’ other backs include former UDFA Deon Jackson, ex Rams seventh-rounder Jake Funk and fifth-round rookie Evan Hull.

Moss will now turn his attention to recovery, while the Colts attempt to ensure Taylor will be available to handle his standard workhorse role at the start of the season. Missing both backs for any length of time would deal a signficant blow to the team’s ground game, something which will be particularly important if rookie QB Anthony Richardson is handed the reins early in the campaign.

Saints To Sign DE Kyle Phillips

After spending the past season out of the NFL, Kyle Phillips has found a new home. The defensive end has agreed to a deal with the Saints, as noted (on Twitter) by Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football.

[RELATED: Saints DE Zuniga Retires]

Phillips joined the Jets as a UFDA in 2019, and he carved out a considerable role for himself as a rookie. He started four of 15 games played, logging a snap share of 53%. The Tennessee alum was credited with four sacks and 17 pressures by PFF that year, earning him an overall grade of 66. His follow-up campaigns were not as productive, however.

In both 2020 and 2021, Philips was limited to just seven games played. An ankle injury suffered in the former campaign shut him down for the remainder of the season, one in which his playing time dropped considerably. The 26-year-old’s snap share rose again in 2021, checking in at 47%, but he managed only one sack, along with 13 pressures and the same number of tackles for loss between his final two seasons in New York.

The Jets have invested heavily on the edge in recent years, signing Carl Lawson to a $45MM deal in 2021 and using first-round picks on pass rushers (Jermaine Johnson and Will McDonald) in each of the past two drafts. It thus comes as little surprise that Phillips’ return to the league will see him head elsewhere. In New Orleans, he will look to again earn a rotational role.

The Saints’ edge room is led by Cameron Jordan, who recently indicated he is not eyeing retirement any time soon. New Orleans lost former first-rounder Marcus Davenport in free agency, but the team still has another ex-Day 1 pick (Payton Turner) in the fold. Carl Granderson, Tanoh Kpassagnon and second-round rookie Isaiah Foskey represent the other pass-rushers Phillips will compete with in training camp. A return to the form of his rookie season could not only earn the latter a 53-man roster spot but also provide the Saints with an effective depth contributor.

Panthers Waive DT Bravvion Roy

A relatively recent Panthers draftee with connections to ex-head coach Matt Rhule has been let go. The team announced on Monday that defensive tackle Bravvion Roy has been waived.

Roy was drafted in 2020 as one of several players with a history of playing under Rhule at Baylor. He flashed considerable pass-rushing potential in his final college season in particular, with 5.5 sacks and 13 tackles for loss. That production did not translate to the NFL level, however.

The former third-rounder recorded only one sack and three TFLs across 45 games in Carolina, where he primarily played in a rotational capacity. Roy started nine games as a rookie, but only six contests after that, and his snap share in 2021 and ’22 (31% and 34%, respectively) was noticeably lower than his debut campaign. A hamstring injury led to an IR stint last season and limited him to 13 games played.

With Frank Reich having been installed as Rhule’s full-time replacement, it comes as little surprise that a player added in part for his connections to the latter is being let go. Derrick Brown is in place as the anchor of the Panthers’ defensive line, and the team inked Shy Tuttle to a three-year, $19.5MM deal in free agency. That will give Carolina a starting tandem at the DT spot similar to the Brown-Matthew Ioannidis duo which was used last year. The team has several candidates to assume Roy’s second-team snaps.

The 26-year-old will now hit the waiver wire, giving teams the chance to provide him with a fresh start. If he goes unclaimed, he will seek out an opening as training camps continue. With the roster spot opened up by Roy’s departure, fellow D-lineman LaBryan Ray was signed. The latter signed a futures deal with the Patriots in January, but was released soon after and played in the XFL. He will aim to see regular season NFL action for the first time this fall in Carolina.