Month: April 2024

Cardinals Waive TE Zach Ertz

Entering Thursday on the Cardinals’ injured reserve, Zach Ertz will see his three-season tenure with the team come to a surprising end. The veteran tight end asked for his release, and CBS Sports’ J.J. Watt reports the Cardinals will grant the request.

A two-year Ertz Cardinals teammate, Watt indicates the 11th-year pass catcher hopes to sign with a contender. The Cardinals had given Ertz a three-year, $31.65MM deal in 2022, but the Steve Keim regime authorized that pact. GM Monti Ossenfort will sign off on a separation. The Cardinals have since announced the move.

Although Ertz is a vested veteran, the trade deadline passing mandates he must clear waivers before becoming a free agent. Though, given his quad injury and $8.8MM salary, he would stand to have a decent chance of reaching free agency once again. Ertz, 33, has missed the past five games due to the quad issue. The Cardinals designated guard Elijah Wilkinson for return this week, but Ertz remained on IR. It is unclear if he is ready to return, but now that he is off Arizona’s IR, teams will be able to check on this matter.

A team considering an Ertz claim would be responsible for just more than $2.5MM in remaining base salary. Teams can certainly afford this claim, and Ertz’s productive past should at least prompt some to consider it. Ertz is due a $7.96MM base salary in 2024, but that amount is nonguaranteed. But the accomplished tight end has missed significant time in each of the past two seasons.

The Cardinals will be hit with a few million in dead money, but the team has shifted to a rebuilding direction since hiring Ossenfort. In exchange for this release,’s Ian Rapoport adds Ertz agreed to give up a game check. He earns more than $517K per game.

Since re-signing Ertz, the Cardinals chose Trey McBride in the 2022 second round. The Colorado State product has shown improvement during his stretch of full-time usage, which came about because of Ertz’s October injury. McBride has 48 receptions for 521 yards. Since moving to Arizona in 1988, the Cardinals have struggled for decades to find tight end production. Illustrating this, McBride — who has only started seven games this season — is 53 yards from breaking the franchise’s Arizona-years record for receiving yards in a season by a tight end.

Ertz holds that modest mark presently, but it came during an abbreviated 2021 season — one that saw the Eagles send the former Pro Bowler to the Cardinals. Ertz rolled to 574 yards in 11 Cards games that year, helping the NFC West franchise snap a playoff drought. The Cardinals sent the Eagles a fifth-round pick and cornerback Tay Gowan for Ertz in October 2021, and the partnership paid off for both parties for a bit. But Ertz suffered a season-ending knee injury last year, missing a messy stretch run that ended with Kyler Murray tearing an ACL and the Keim-Kliff Kingsbury duo dismissed. In seven games this season, Ertz totaled just 187 yards (a career-low 6.9 per catch).

While Ertz recovered in time for Week 1, the Cardinals had made major changes during his rehab odyssey. Watt retired, and veterans Zach Allen, Byron Murphy and Markus Golden ventured elsewhere this offseason. After trying to trade DeAndre Hopkins for weeks, the Cardinals moved on via release in May. James Conner and Marquise Brown remain as veteran skill-position presences under Jonathan Gannon, but the Cards are in a clear rebuild mode.

Prior to being traded two years ago, Ertz had angled for an Eagles raise. The Eagles balked and then extended Dallas Goedert. Ertz ended up getting his money in Arizona and has signed two lucrative deals over the course of his career. Ertz made the Pro Bowl from 2017-19, eclipsing 800 yards in five straight seasons (2015-19) and topping out with a 1,163-yard 2018 showing.

The Ravens would seemingly profile as an interested party, having lost Mark Andrews to what is likely a season-ending ankle injury. The Broncos have placed Greg Dulcich on IR four times over his first two seasons; they have not designated their top receiving TE for return yet. The Dolphins did not re-sign Mike Gesicki this offseason. A Stanford product, Ertz also grew up in the Bay Area. The 49ers’ George Kittle employment notwithstanding, they lead the NFL in cap space.

As far as familiarity goes, Doug Pederson coached Ertz from 2016-20, while Shane Steichen was the Eagles’ OC during the tight end’s partial 2021 season in Philly. Though, Pederson’s Jaguars are well situated at tight end after the Evan Engram extension. Would a return to the Eagles make sense? Goedert is on his way back from his forearm fracture, but he has missed time in each of the past two years. The Eagles do not have a viable backup, either.

Bills HC Sean McDermott Not On Hot Seat

Since their 2022 season ended, the Bills have moved on from both DC Leslie Frazier and OC Ken Dorsey. Coordinator dismissals have been known to precede head coach firings, but the Bills look set to give Sean McDermott more time.

A driver in the Bills going from holding major North American sports’ longest playoff drought (from 2000-16) to the team becoming an AFC power, McDermott is in his seventh season as the Bills’ HC. The team has qualified for the playoffs five times in McDermott’s six seasons. Between Buffalo’s fourth consecutive Super Bowl loss to close the 1993 season and McDermott’s 2017 hire, the team had booked a postseason berth four times. While McDermott’s 2023 squad may be underachieving, it appears ownership is taking a big-picture view here.

McDermott is not in danger of being fired, according to The Athletic’s Tim Graham (subscription required). One of the sources informed Graham there is “zero” chance Terry Pegula will fire McDermott, who was hired before GM Brandon Beane came to town. This follows a report that suggested both McDermott and Beane are safe for 2024. While perhaps not on the hot seat, McDermott’s stock has dropped a bit over the past two seasons.

The Super Bowl LVII favorites to start last season, the Bills went 13-3 and beat the three-loss Chiefs. Because of Damar Hamlin‘s life-threatening injury, the NFL canceled the Week 17 Bills-Bengals game. This led to Buffalo being the AFC’s No. 2 seed, but the Bills — who had lost multiple key defensive starters as the season progressed — underwhelmed in the postseason, narrowly clipping the Skylar Thompson-quarterbacked Dolphins and dropping a one-sided divisional-round game to the Bengals. Still facing high expectations this season, the Bills have stumbled to a 6-6 record.

While Buffalo’s point differential (plus-101, fourth in the NFL) does not depict a team sitting on the “In the Hunt” line in playoff graphics, the Bills have endured several letdown losses. Most recently, the Eagles eclipsed a dominant Josh Allen performance by driving for an overtime touchdown, dropping McDermott to 1-6 in career OT games. This followed Buffalo having 12 men on the field to give Denver a second-chance try at a game-winning field goal. ESPN’s FPI gives the Bills, who have again seen core defenders go down with major injuries, a 21% chance to make the playoffs.

The Bills, however, announced through-2027 extensions for McDermott and Beane in June. McDermott’s .624 win percentage remains the highest in franchise history. The recent stumbles aside, Buffalo has won three AFC East titles under the “McBeane” duo’s leadership. The Bills’ two-trade effort in the 2018 first round secured Allen, and the team’s 2020 trade for Stefon Diggs helped turn their quarterback into a superstar. With the Chiefs redoing Patrick Mahomes‘ deal in September, Allen’s $43MM-per-year pact that runs through 2028 may be the team-friendliest of the current QB extensions.

That said, both the Titans and Cardinals bailed on staffers’ extensions recently. Tennessee axed GM Jon Robinson months after extending him through 2027; the Cardinals did the same with Kliff Kingsbury and Steve Keim. Teams have fired HCs after repeated playoff trips and experienced immediate success as a result, as evidenced by the Broncos moving on from John Fox in 2015 and the Buccaneers firing Tony Dungy in 2002. Both teams won the Super Bowl the following year. McDermott has also been fired after a playoff season, when Andy Reid dismissed him as Eagles DC despite the team winning the NFC East in 2010. That move led McDermott to Carolina. As it stands now, however, the Bills are not planning to shake up their operation.

Pegula is believed to still hold McDermott, 49, in high regard, Graham adds. Pegula has only fired one coach since buying the Bills in 2014. He axed Rex Ryan during the 2016 campaign. The team aimed to keep Ryan’s predecessor, Doug Marrone, but he exercised a $4MM payout clause that freed him from his contract in the event an ownership change occurred during his tenure. Marrone made the unusual move to leave an HC job for a position coach gig (in Jacksonville, though he later became HC). Pegula fired GM Doug Whaley following the 2017 draft, however, hiring ex-McDermott Panthers coworker Beane soon after.

Eagles LB Zach Cunningham Could Be Sidelined Multiple Weeks

Zach Cunningham could be sidelined multiple weeks while dealing with a hamstring strain. According to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Eagles linebacker is expected to miss Sunday’s game against the 49ers, and Cunningham could be sidelined beyond that game.

[RELATED: Eagles Meet With Shaquille Leonard]

Cunningham’s two-year stint with the Titans came to an end in February when he was released by the team. He waited until early August to ink his next deal, as the linebacker joined the Eagles. The 29-year-old has been a productive member of Philly’s defense in 2023, collecting 71 tackles in 11 games (nine starts). Pro Football Focus graded him 41st among 79 qualifying linebackers, and the site gave him a top-25 positional grade in pass coverage.

Cunningham suffered his injury in the second half of the Eagles’ overtime win over the Bills last Sunday. The veteran ended up appearing in a season-low 58 percent of his team’s defensive snaps.

Christian Elliss ended up replacing Cunningham on Sunday, with the journeyman garnering his most defensive snaps since Week 1. With Nakobe Dean also recently going down with an injury, the Eagles are left with Nicholas Morrow as their only remaining full-time linebacker.

That probably explains why the Eagles hosted veteran Shaquille Leonard the other day. The linebacker underwent a physical and left Philadelphia without signing a contract, and he’s reportedly taking the next few days to weigh his options.

Commanders, Patriots Pursued QB Tommy DeVito

Undrafted rookie quarterback Tommy DeVito has guided the Giants to two-straight victories, tossing four touchdowns vs. no interceptions in wins over the Commanders and Patriots. While the sudden breakout has shocked many, it probably wasn’t much of a surprise to the two teams he beat.

NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported last weekend that after DeVito went undrafted in this past year’s draft, he received an offer from Washington. In fact, that offer featured more guaranteed money than the contract that DeVito ultimately signed with the Giants. However, the rookie quarterback grew up in New Jersey and wanted to play for Brian Daboll, two factors that played major roles in him taking the lesser deal.

Then, when DeVito was cut by the Giants at the end of the preseason, the Patriots approached the rookie quarterback about joining their practice squad. Instead, DeVito stuck with the Giants’ taxi squad, and he earned a promotion to the active roster in October after backup Tyrod Taylor went down with an injury.

After entering Week 9 in place of the injured Daniel Jones, DeVito has started every game for the Giants. In total, the rookie has completed 62.9 percent of his passes for 697 yards, seven touchdowns, and three interceptions. He’s also added 83 yards and one touchdown on the ground.

Bills’ Von Miller Arrested On Domestic Violence Charge

6:34pm: Miller has turned himself in to the Glenn Heights Police and has already departed after posting a $5K bond, according to Josina Anderson.

10:34am: The Dallas Police Department has issued an arrest warrant for Bills defensive end Von Miller, according to WFAA’s Rebecca Lopez. This is in connection with alleged domestic violence.

Miller’s longtime girlfriend accused the 34-year-old pass rusher of assaulting her in their Dallas home Wednesday. Miller has not been arrested, but police are prepared to charge him with assault of a pregnant person, which Lopez notes is a third-degree felony in Texas. A Dallas-area native, Miller is in his second season with the Bills.

This incident occurred around 11am Wednesday, according to Spectrum News 1’s Jon Scott, and a preliminary investigation indicates Miller and his girlfriend engaged in a verbal argument before the accused player “assaulted the victim.” Miller left the scene before officers’ arrival. The woman was not transported to a hospital but received treatment for minor injuries, per Scott.

The Dallas Morning News has released additional details. During an argument between Miller and his girlfriend, the woman slamming the door made Miller “visibly angry,” according to a police report (via the Morning News’ Jamie Landers and Kelli Smith). Once Miller told the woman to leave, he is alleged to have pushed her and stomped on her laptop. Miller then allegedly pulled out a chunk of the woman’s hair and put his hands on her neck, applying pressure, according to Landers and Smith.

The affidavit indicates the woman had “minor abrasions” on her left hand, along with bruising on her abdomen, neck and left bicep. The indication by the woman she was calling the police prompted Miller to leave the couple’s apartment, per the Morning News. Miller’s girlfriend told police she is six weeks pregnant.

In 2021, a Colorado police department’s unspecified investigation into Miller did not produce charges. No details emerged surrounding that offseason issue, and Miller was not suspended. The details here are obviously problematic, and past NFL decisions have shown the league’s personal conduct policy does not require a conviction for a suspension to take place.

Miller signed a six-year, $120MM deal with the Bills in 2022, picking Buffalo over pursuits from the Rams and Cowboys. The future Hall of Famer has attempted to move past the ACL tear sustained on Thanksgiving 2022, but he has struggled in an effort to do so. In eight games, the 13th-year veteran does not have a sack. He has totaled just two tackles, working strictly as a backup for the Bills.

The Bills released a statement confirming they are aware of the arrest warrant. The team is currently in its bye week. In a statement, the NFL declined to comment about Miller’s potential placement on the commissioner’s exempt list, which would move him off the roster — with pay — while this matter is sorted out.

Following Miller’s second Super Bowl win, he prioritized a deal that guaranteed money into the third season of a contract. Neither the Cowboys nor Rams were willing to do so, but the Bills signing off on this aim finished off what was viewed at the time as a free agency win. Miller started off well in Buffalo, recording eight sacks in 11 games. But he has not recaptured the form he showed before his second ACL tear. Miller successfully bounced back from his first tear — in December 2013 — to become the best pass rusher in Broncos history and drive the team to a Super Bowl 50 win. Denver extended him at a defender-record rate the following offseason.

A suspension in connection with this alleged incident would put the veteran’s 2024 guaranteed money in jeopardy. Miller’s $17.1MM 2024 base salary is guaranteed for injury, and $10.71MM of that is fully guaranteed. A suspension would threaten to void those guarantees. Given Miller’s current form, a suspension would make it easier for the Bills to cut their losses. But it is too early to tell how this situation will play out.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 11/30/23

Today’s practice squad transactions:

Arizona Cardinals

Carolina Panthers

Houston Texans

Kansas City Chiefs

New England Patriots

  • Released: WR Mathew Sexton

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/30/23

Today’s minor moves:

Carolina Panthers

Dallas Cowboys

  • Promoted: TE Princeton Fant

Philadelphia Eagles

Laviska Shenault Jr. missed a handful of games earlier this season thanks to a high ankle sprain, but he was able to avoid an IR stint. He wasn’t as lucky this time around, as a new ankle injury will keep him off the field for at least the next four games. Shenault has hauled in 10 receptions this season for 60 yards, and he’s added another 55 yards on 12 carries. The former Jaguars second-round pick has also returned six kickoffs.

Panthers Claim CB Shaquill Griffin

Shaquill Griffin did not make it past team No. 1 on the waiver wire. Despite the veteran cornerback sitting in free agency for nearly two months between his Jaguars and Texans stays, he generated immediate interest after Houston waived him Wednesday.

The Panthers will use their top waiver priority to claim Griffin, the team announced Thursday. This will mark a return to the NFC for the former Seahawks starter. This is Griffin’s third team this year. In 10 Texans games, the seventh-year defender made six starts. But Houston’s depth improving led the resurgent team to cut bait.

This year has brought an undeniable fall for Griffin, who was one of the top defensive free agents in 2021. The Jaguars gave him a three-year, $40MM contract. A back injury in 2022 led to Griffin being a cap casualty after the season, as no guaranteed money remained on the deal for 2023. It took until May for Griffin to find another home, via a one-year deal worth $3.5MM in Houston, but he made some notable contributions during the Texans’ 6-5 start. The Panthers will be responsible for the remaining $529K of Griffin’s base salary.

Pro Football Focus ranks Griffin 52nd among corners, a middle-of-the-pack placement after his injury-marred 2022. With Derek Stingley Jr. and multiple slot cornerbacks suffering injuries early in the season, the Texans turned to their mid-offseason pickup as a starter. Griffin intercepted a Joe Burrow pass to help the Texans complete an upset victory. With Stingley activated from IR following that game, the Texans demoted Griffin to a special-teamer. He has not played a defensive snap since that Week 10 win over the Bengals.

For his career, Griffin has made 78 starts. Most of them came in Seattle, where the former third-round pick became a regular as the NFC West squad moved on from Richard Sherman. The Seahawks have not shown a penchant, aside from Sherman’s 2014 extension, to give cornerbacks second contracts. Many Pete Carroll-era cogs have moved on; Griffin did so after earning a Pro Bowl invite in 2019 and intercepting three passes in 2020. The 28-year-old defender will have another chance this season — albeit on the NFL’s worst team.

Centering their corner situation on Jaycee Horn, the Panthers are still waiting for the former No. 8 overall pick to break through. Injuries have hounded the South Carolina alum, who has been out since Week 1 with a severe hamstring injury. The Panthers designated Horn for return recently and have until Monday to activate him. The team could activate Horn and keep him inactive, in order to keep the door open for a late-season return. But Griffin will provide some veteran insurance alongside Donte Jackson and C.J. Henderson.

NFC East Notes: Neal, Cowboys, Commanders

While the Giants have seen Andrew Thomas become one of the NFL’s better tackles — en route to a $23.5MM-per-year extension — they have not observed their right tackle make a second-year leap. Evan Neal has missed time with injuries and struggled when on the field. Thomas was a Dave Gettleman draft choice, while Neal went in Joe Schoen‘s first draft in charge. Pro Football Focus has assigned this season’s third-worst tackle grade to Neal. The Alabama product was seen as a player who could potentially slide to guard at some point, having played there at times in college. For the time being, Schoen is not entertaining such a switch.

No, I don’t think so,” Schoen said, via the New York Post’s Ryan Dunleavy. “We are looking forward to getting him back, but he knows there are some things he can do better — and that’s what we expect from him. … I went back and watched the Alabama stuff: The kid can play. We just have to get him to be more consistent. I have a lot of confidence in Evan.”

In 20 starts over two seasons, PFF charges Neal with 10 sacks allowed. Just two of those have come this year, but the former No. 7 overall pick has missed five games. Neal has missed five of the Giants’ past six contests; the team has not placed him on IR. The Giants will certainly hope to see signs of promise from Neal down the stretch.

Here is the latest from the NFC East:

  • DaRon Bland has morphed from a 2022 fifth-round pick into an NFL record holder, via the fifth pick-six he notched on Thanksgiving. The Cowboys could see two cornerbacks become first-team All-Pros in three seasons, after Trevon Diggs‘ 11-INT season landed him on the 2021 top team. Diggs’ 2023 replacement played at Division I-FCS Sacramento State and then spent a year at Fresno State. Cowboys scout Ross Wuensche identified Bland as a target,’s Ian Rapoport notes (video link), and the team brought him in for a visit. Describing Bland as a late-blooming prospect, Rapoport adds interest came in late enough he could not turn all his invitations for “30” into meetings before the 2022 deadline. With Stephon Gilmore‘s contract up after this season, the Cowboys extended Diggs and have Bland signed through 2025.
  • Recent Cowboys pickup Martavis Bryant remains in redevelopment mode. The team has not elevated its practice squad stash for a game yet, making it now more than five years since the former Steelers starter has played in an NFL game. No timetable is in place for a Bryant move to the active roster, but executive VP Stephen Jones said (via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Clarence Hill) the team sought the recent XFL wideout for his size-speed combo. The Cowboys are fairly well stocked at receiver, but Bryant’s 6-foot-4 frame would be a new dimension for this particular Dallas receiving cadre. It remains to be seen if the soon-to-be 32-year-old pass catcher still has NFL-viable form left.
  • Having fired DC Jack Del Rio after a Cowboys Thanksgiving romp, Ron Rivera is set to call the Commanders‘ defensive plays. The team also fired multi-stop Del Rio lieutenant Brent Vieselmeyer, who was Washington’s DBs coach this season. To help manage the workload, Rivera hired Jimmy Salgado as an interim staffer,’s Adam Schefter tweets. Salgado had spent six seasons on Sean McDermott‘s Bills staff, but the team fired him this offseason. Salgado spent the 2023 season at Michigan State, working as the Spartans’ cornerbacks coach.

Seahawks Activate T Abraham Lucas

Having lost three of their past four games, the Seahawks are in the middle of their toughest schedule sector. After a one-sided loss to the 49ers, the Seahawks face the Cowboys tonight and then match up against the Eagles before their San Francisco trip. With wild-card hopes hinging on this stretch, Seattle will have a key player back for Week 13.

The team activated right tackle Abraham Lucas from IR on Thursday,’s Adam Schefter tweets. The 2022 third-round pick has been out since going down with a knee injury in Week 1. Two games have passed since Seattle opened his practice window, but a third will not. Lucas will be in position opposite Charles Cross against Dallas.

[RELATED: Week 13 Injured Reserve Return Tracker]

One of the only two-rookie tackle setups in NFL history, the Cross-Lucas tandem played a key role in Geno Smith‘s Comeback Player of the Year campaign and the Seahawks’ surprising playoff appearance. With the team having dropped to 6-5 and Smith’s production dipping from his stunning 2022 run, the Seahawks will need all the help they can get as they face the NFC’s best teams.

Lucas’ return gives the Seahawks some options, and’s Ed Werder notes the team is considering moving Jason Peters to guard. A career-long tackle until last season, Peters helped the Cowboys at guard at points in 2022. The 20th-year veteran has mixed in regularly at right tackle in recent weeks. Seahawks right guard Phil Haynes is set to miss tonight’s game with a toe injury. Haynes did not practice this week, while Lucas logged back-to-back full efforts as he moved into position to build on his rookie-year success.

Chosen 72nd overall out of Washington State, Lucas moved into Seattle’s starting lineup to begin his rookie season. He and Cross, last year’s ninth overall pick, started 16 games together; this partnership covered 94% of the 2022 Seahawks iteration’s offensive plays. Pro Football Focus graded Lucas just inside the top 40 at tackle last season. With Lucas out of the mix since going down in Week 1, the Seahawks have used Peters and young backup Stone Forsythe on the right edge.

As a whole, PFF ranks the Seahawks’ O-line 29th. Lucas’ return would not stand to solve every issue Seattle’s front has encountered, but the prospect of he and Peters on the right side provides some intrigue ahead of a game in which a team that recently made a buyer’s trade — sending the Giants second- and fifth-round picks for Leonard Williams — is a two-score underdog.

Seattle also moved Haynes to IR. Haynes had been a Seahawks backup for four seasons, but after the team released two-year starter Gabe Jackson this offseason, an in-house promotion occurred. The former fourth-round pick’s eight starts already surpass his pre-2023 total (five). This transaction will sideline Haynes until at least Week 17, however. PFF ranks the new starter outside the top 60 at guard, but this injury could force a creative replacement attempt — if Peters ends up being kicked inside.