Alexander Johnson

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 12/3/18

Here are Monday’s practice squad decisions:

Denver Broncos

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Broncos Waive LB A.J. Johnson

The Broncos waived linebacker Alexander Johnson, as Mike Klis of 9News tweets. To take his place, the club promoted outside linebacker Jeff Holland from the practice squad to active roster. 

Johnson, a Tennessee product, signed with the Broncos as an undrafted free agent in the offseason. The talented ‘backer hadn’t played football in more than four years before landing signing with Denver, thanks to a rape charge of which he was later acquitted. Despite his potential and the $50K guarantee on his contract, he was active for just one game this year.

The soon-to-be 27-year-old recently plead guilty to simple possession and failure to exercise due care while driving, but prosecutors dropped the DUI charge stemming from his 2017 arrest. With no present legal troubles, it’s possible that another team will claim him on waivers, but it’s more likely that he’ll hit the workout circuit as a free agent next week.

Holland, meanwhile, will serve as a pass rusher while Shaquil Barrett is out with a hip flexor issue. Holland received a $15K signing bonus on his UDFA deal, just like standout running back Phillip Lindsay, so the Broncos are excited to see what he can do.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Falcons, Giants, Eagles, Bucs

The 1-4 Falcons could face the Buccaneers without running back Devonta Freeman, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Freeman, who missed three games with an MCL sprain, is actually dealing with a new injury, as Rapoport indicates it’s a bone bruise that’s threatening to keep Freeman out of Sunday’s action. While Freeman didn’t practice today, he did work on the side, although his status for Week 6 is “in doubt, per Rapoport. Without Freeman, Atlanta would deploy a Tevin Coleman/Ito Smith combination that was used in Weeks 2-5.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Speaking of injury news, the Giants have already ruled out tight end Evan Engram for Thursday night’s game against the Eagles, meaning Rhett Ellison, who has shouldered the load since Week 3, will take over at tight end once again. Edge rusher Oliver Vernon, who’s missed the entire season to this point with an ankle issue, will make his 2018 debut. On the other side of the field, the Eagles have listed defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, safety Corey Graham, and running back Darren Sproles as out. The latter two are especially concerning, as Philadelphia recent placed defensive back Rodney McLeod and running back Jay Ajayi on injured reserve.
  • Although Broncos head coach Vance Joseph said he’d make changes following a loss to the Jets on Sunday, defensive coordinator Joe Woods will not be relieved of his play-calling duties, tweets Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link). Denver gave up 512 yards of offense against New York, including a whopping 334 on the ground. Joseph, a former defensive coordinator himself, could potentially take over play-calling, but that’s not a move that will happen this week. Joseph also indicated that cornerback Bradley Roby, who was burned by Jets receiver Robby Anderson in Week 5, is still a starter “for now.” Adam Jones, who’s played on roughly a third of the Broncos’ defensive snaps thus far, could see more snaps if Roby is benched.
  • Under the terms of his five-year extension with the Buccaneers, guard Ali Marpet will earn $12.365MM through one year, $23.25MM through two years, and $33.5MM through three years, reports Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Among left guards, Marpet’s $11MM annual average now ranks third, behind only Andrew Norwell and Kelechi Osemele, while his $27.125MM in guarantees ranks second. Marpet, who has started 44 games during his time in the NFL, has displayed exceptional versatility, as he’s played both guard spots and center in his career.
  • Broncos linebacker Alexander Johnson pleaded guilty to simple possession and failure to exercise due care while driving but subsequently had a DUI charge against him dismissed, per a report from the Associated Press. Johnson’s original arrest occurred in the summer of 2017, more than a year before Denver gave him $50K in guaranteed money to sign as an undrafted free agent. A Tennessee product, Johnson hadn’t played football in more than four years before landing with the Broncos, in part due to a rape charge of which he was later acquitted. He’s been inactive for every game in 2018.

Extra Points: Packers, Collins, Broncos

The Packers selected Washington State offensive guard Cole Madison in the fifth round of this past year’s draft. However, the rookie has sat on the did not report list and hasn’t attended training camp. While his absence isn’t encouraging, general manager Brian Gutekunst is confident that he’ll be able to contribute eventually.

“We’re fully supportive of what’s going on,” Gutekunst told ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. “He’s dealing with a [personal] issue, when that issue is resolved we’ll get back to the football part of it.”

Gutekunst added that he believes Madison wants to continue playing, and he even hinted that the rookie could end up returning to the team at some point during the preseason.

Let’s take a look at some more notes from around the NFL…

  • The Cowboys received some good news today. Howard Balzer tweets that Maliek Collins has passed his physical and been activated from the physically unable to perform list. The 23-year-old has undergone a pair of surgeries over the past four months to repair a fractured fifth metatarsal in his left foot. With several weeks to go before the end of the preseason, the Cowboys are confident Collins can return for the start of the regular season. “He’s just progressing,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said earlier this week (via Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com). “He’s done a really good job with his rehab, and we’re taking him day-by-day, we’ll see if he’s available at some point to come practice here in the next week or so.” Collins finished last season with 22 tackles and 2.5 sacks.
  • The Broncos signed Alexander Johnson earlier today, and it sounds like the organization has high hopes for the embattled linebacker. Ben Volin of the Boston Globe tweets that the organization is giving the rookie $50K in guaranteed money, more than they gave to any of their other undrafted rookies. The former Tennessee star, who has dealt with his share of off-field issues, hasn’t played organized football in more than four years.
  • Denver wasn’t the only suitor for Johnson. Volin tweets that the Dolphins (along with a “couple other teams”) had expressed interest in the rookie linebacker before he joined the Broncos.
  • The Cowboys worked out a number of players today (via Jon Machota of the Dallas News on Twitter): receiver Darren Carrington, offensive linemen Jacob Alsadek and Daronte Bouldin, and safeties Dominick Sanders, Ryan Murphy, and Deron Washington. The team ended up signing Alsadek and Carrington later in the day.
  • Former Southern Miss wide receiver Allenzae Staggers worked out for the Redskins today, reports Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter). Following a breakout 2016 campaign where he hauled in 63 receptions for 1,165 yards and seven touchdowns, the wideout took a step back in 2017, finishing with 44 catches for 471 yards.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/13/18

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Cincinnati Bengals

  • Signed: DT Simeyon Robinson

Denver Broncos

  • Signed: S Shamarko Thomas, LB Alexander Johnson
  • Released: LB Stansly Maponga

Houston Texans 

Kansas City Chiefs

Minnesota Vikings

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Signed: C Oni Omoile
  • Waived/Injured: OL Parker Collins

Washington Redskins

  • Signed: WR Dan Williams III