Ahmad Dixon

North Notes: Ratliff, Schwartz, Bengals

In the wake of the Bearsrelease of defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff, details have trickled out about the circumstances surrounding the veteran’s departure, and they don’t paint Ratliff in a particularly positive light. According to Rich Campbell and Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune, coaches considered Ratliff one of the team’s best defensive lineman, if not the best, but team officials determined that he wasn’t in a condition to work when he arrived at Halas Hall on Wednesday. When the Bears sent Ratliff home from the facility, an argument took place.

Per the Tribune’s sources, Ratliff came back to Halas Hall twice and had an “intense vocal altercation” with GM Ryan Pace before he was sent home again. Lake Forest police were ultimately summoned as a safety measure, and Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times tweets that the club still operated “at a heightened state of security” on Thursday, a day after the incident took place.

Even at age 34, Ratliff can still be effective on the field, but his latest off-field run-in will surely make any team think twice before signing him. Here’s more from out of the NFL’s North divisions:

  • When asked if he wants to re-sign with Cleveland, Browns right tackle Mitchell Schwartz said, “That’s kind of out of my control. We’ll see what happens,” as Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal tweets. Matt Miller of Bleacher Report (on Twitter) opined that Schwartz is in line for a major payday this offseason.
  • Cornerback Al Louis-Jean, who appeared in nine games for Chicago during his rookie season in 2014, is working out for the Browns today, according to Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Louis-Jean was waived by the Bears in August.
  • Speaking of workouts, Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post passes along word on several players auditioning for the Bengals, tweeting that Cincinnati took a look at safeties Ahmad Dixon and Ryan Murphy, wide receivers Devin Gardner and Deontay Greenberry, linebackers Quayshawn Nealy and Ronald Powell, and center Reese Dismukes.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Workout Notes: Titans, Brown, Johnson, Dixon

Just over seven months after he announced his retirement from the NFL, cornerback Cortland Finnegan had a workout today with the Patriots. Finnegan, 31, was one of the league’s worst cornerbacks in 2013, according to Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics. PFF ranked Finnegan 109th out of 110 qualified corners, with a grade of -19.7 in just seven games. As such, it came as a bit of a surprise when Miami inked the former Ram to a two-year, $11MM deal in 2014. He might not be worthy of that kind of pay, but he could make for an intriguing depth option for the Pats or another team.

Here’s a rundown of today’s other workouts from around the NFL, with all links going to Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post on Twitter, unless noted otherwise..

Minor Moves: Thursday

Today’s minor moves..

Minor Moves: Wednesday

Here are Wednesday’s minor roster moves from around the league, with the latest transactions added to the top of the list throughout the day:

  • Cut yesterday by the Jets, defensive back Josh Thomas has already found a new home, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, who tweets that the Lions have claimed Thomas off waivers. Thomas will take the roster spot vacated by LaAdrian Waddle, who was placed on injured reserve today, as noted below.
  • Safety Josh Bush is receiving a promotion to the Broncos‘ active roster from the club’s practice squad, reports Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com adds (via Twitter) that the club is also re-signing tight end Dominique Jones, who was let go earlier in the week. Denver, after making multiple roster moves yesterday, had two roster spots available, so no corresponding move is required to clear room.

Earlier updates:

  • A pair of players will make the leap from the Jaguars‘ practice squad to their active roster, per Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union, who tweets that quarterback Stephen Morris and safety Matt Daniels have been promoted. The Jags had one opening, and created another by placing linebacker Khairi Fortt on injured reserve with a hamstring issue.
  • The Ravens are back up to 53 players on their roster after signing cornerback Chris Greenwood off the Vikings’ practice squad, tweets Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com. Greenwood is the latest player added to a secondary that has been decimated by injuries this season and lost Asa Jackson and Terrence Brooks in Week 15.
  • The Lions are placing offensive lineman LaAdrian Waddle on the injured reserve list due to his partially torn ACL, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (via Twitter).
  • After waiving tackle J’Marcus Webb yesterday, the Vikings will fill the open roster spot by signing safety Ahmad Dixon from off their practice squad, tweets Adam Caplan of ESPN.com. The well-traveled Dixon has already spent time with the Vikes, Dolphins, and Bears since being drafted by the Cowboys in May.
  • According to agent Howard Shatsky (Twitter link), his client, tight end Jerome Cunningham, has received a promotion from the Giants‘ practice squad to their active roster. The team has yet to officially confirm the call-up, but there’s an available roster spot at the moment, so it wouldn’t require a corresponding move.
  • The Buccaneers, another team with an open roster spot, have signed defensive end Lawrence Sidbury as their 53rd man, the team announced today in a press release. The ex-Falcon, who was released by the Texans in August, replaces cornerback Crezdon Butler, whom the Bucs cut yesterday.

Vikings Place Jerick McKinnon On IR

The Vikings have placed running back Jerick McKinnon on IR, ending his breakout rookie season with the team, reports Matt Vensel of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (via Twitter).

In 11 games this season, McKinnon amassed 538 yards at a clip of 4.8 yards per carry. A third-round pick out of Georgia Southern, he performed well in place of Adrian Peterson.

McKinnon will have a back procedure, with an eight-week recovery time, writes Adam Caplan of ESPN (via Twitter). He should be back in time for offseason workouts.

The team promoted defensive end Justin Trattou from the practice squad to the active roster. The Vikings added safety Ahmad Dixon to the practice squad, reports Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (via Twitter).

The void left by McKinnon could open up playing time for Ben Tate, who was claimed off waivers earlier this season, reports Albert Breer of NFL.com (via Twitter).

 

Practice Squad Updates: Wednesday

We’ll use this space to round up Wednesday’s practice squad signings and cuts from around the league. Here’s the latest:

  • Confirming the previously-reported signing of linebacker Jake Knott to their practice squad, the Dolphins also added wide receiver L’Damian Washington, parting ways with safety Ahmad Dixon and tight end Jake Stoneburner to make room, tweets Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald.

Earlier updates:

  • The Ravens‘ practice squad underwent some turnover today, with the team cutting tight end Allen Reisner and signing tight end Phillip Supernaw and wide receiver LaQuan Williams, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun.
  • With three spots open on their practice squad, the Patriots got the unit back up to 10 players by signing defensive back Justin Green, linebacker Deontae Skinner, and defensive back Daxton Swanson, the team announced today in a press release.
  • Tight end Kevin Greene, who worked out for the Panthers several weeks ago, has now signed with the team’s practice squad, according to Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer (via Twitter).
  • Having promoted tight end Anthony Denham from their practice squad to their 53-man roster, the Texans quickly filled the open spot on their taxi squad by adding wide receiver Jace Davis, tweets Mark Berman of FOX 26 Houston.
  • Former Notre Dame defensive lineman Kona Schwenke has signed with the Jets‘ practice squad, per Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com (via Twitter). No corresponding move was necessary, since New York had been carrying nine players.

Practice Squad Updates: Wednesday

As usual, we expect plenty of Wednesday practice squad moves, as teams around the NFL add and subtract from their respective units in preparation for Week 13 action. Here are the latest practice squad signings and cuts:

  • The Ravens signed tight end Emmanuel Ogbuehi to the practice squad while placing Konrad Reuland on practice squad-injured list, according to Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun (on Twitter).
  • The Seahawks re-signed defensive tackle Jimmy Staten to their practice squad today, cutting offensive lineman Andrew McDonald to make room, tweets Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. It’s a reversal of the move the team made over the weekend.
  • The Cardinals filled the two openings on their practice squad today, signing linebacker Kion Wilson and re-adding running back Kerwynn Williams, according to Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com (Twitter link).
  • Former Georgia defensive tackle Garrison Smith, who spent time in the summer with the Dolphins, has signed to the Saints‘ practice squad, per his agent David Canter (Twitter link). New Orleans had a full unit, so a corresponding move should be announced shortly.

Earlier updates:

  • Washington has added two defensive backs to its practice squad, announcing today that Trey Wolfe and Kenny Okoro have been added to the 10-man unit (Twitter link).
  • After promoting defensive tackle Ricky Lumpkin from their practice squad to the 53-man roster, the Raiders signed cornerback Jansen Watson to fill the newly-opened spot, according to a team release. Watson signed with Oakland as an undrafted free agent this spring and was cut during the preseason.
  • The Chargers have filled out their practice squad by adding center Jeff Baca, a 2013 sixth-rounder, the team announced today in a press release.
  • Former Florida State safety Terrance Parks has signed with the Texans‘ practice squad, according to the team.
  • The Dolphins have released defensive end Emmanuel Dieke from their practice squad, signing safety Ahmad Dixon to fill his spot, tweets Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald. Dixon, a seventh-round pick by the Cowboys in May, had spent most of the season with the Bears before being cut last week.
  • The Titans have agreed to terms with outside linebacker Chaz Sutton, adding him to their taxi squad, the team announced today (Twitter link). Sutton fills the lone opening on Tennessee’s unit.
  • Having already made one change to their practice squad (noted below), the Patriots announced several more, via a press release. Linebacker Deontae Skinner and defensive back Daxton Swanson have been cut, while tight end Xavier Grimble has joined the squad.
  • After bringing him in for an audition, the Giants have signed offensive lineman Michael Bamiro to their practice squad, a source tells Jordan Raanan of NJ.com. New York had an opening on its unit, so no players need to be cut to accommodate the addition.
  • Danny Aiken may have a little competition in New England, as the Patriots have brought back another long snapper, Charley Hughlett, re-adding him to their taxi squad, according to agent Brett Tessler (Twitter link). The team will have to announce a corresponding move to make the signing official.
  • Linebacker L.J. Fort has signed with the Bengals‘ practice squad, tweets Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Fort, who spent time with the Seahawks earlier this season, worked out for the Bengals and the Saints last week.

Minor Moves: Tuesday

In addition to making practice squad changes, teams around the league are also adding and subtracting players from their 53-man rosters today. We’ll round up some of those minor transactions in this space, with the latest moves added at the top of the list:

  • The Texans have released Ricky Sapp from injured reserve, according to Wilson (on Twitter). Sapp was placed on IR on October 7th to make room for the signing of linebacker John Simon to the 53-man roster.
  • The Titans have cut linebacker James Anderson, according to Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post (on Twitter). Anderson, 31, started all 16 games last season for the Bears. While Pro Football Focus’ metrics (subscription required) ranked Anderson 33rd out of 35 qualified 4-3 outside linebackers in 2013, his poor grade was due in large part to subpar performance against the run — he was one of the league’s more effective linebackers in pass coverage. This year he saw time in seven games as a reserve.
  • The Bears have added receiver and return man Marc Mariani to their roster on a two-year contract, waiving safety Ahmad Dixon to make room for the incoming player, the team announced today (Twitter link).

Earlier updates:

  • The Cardinals had hoped Troy Niklas‘ ankle injury wouldn’t be season-ending, but that optimism didn’t last long. As Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com writes, the team placed the rookie tight end on injured reserve today, ending his season. To replace Niklas, the Cards signed veteran tight end Matthew Mulligan, who was on the Bears’ roster earlier this season.
  • The Seahawks have officially confirmed the previously-reported signings of offensive lineman Lemuel Jeanpierre and defensive tackle Travian Robertson, cutting offensive tackle Andrew McDonald and defensive back Steven Terrell to accommodate the new additions. Jeanpierre and Robertson will get a chance to play at center and defensive tackle, respectively, with Max Unger and Brandon Mebane injured.
  • Chargers offensive lineman Jeromey Clary has been ruled out for the season and will remain on the reserve/PUP list, the team announced today in a press release. Clary needed to start practicing today if he hoped to play this season, but his hip injury will keep him sidelined until 2015.

Minor Moves: Monday

With the season’s first Sunday in the books, a handful of teams are shuffling their rosters in preparation for next week’s games. Here are the latest minor transactions from around the NFL, with the latest moves added to the top of the page throughout the day:

  • The Bears have added receiver Greg Herd to the practice squad, reports Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter). Herd spent time with the team during training camp before he was cut on August 23.
  • The Seahawks have signed cornerback Josh Thomas to take the place of the injured Jeremy Lane, reports ESPN’s Terry Blount (via Twitter). They’ve also made some changes to their practice squad, adding guard Nate Isles and safety Terrance Parks in place of guard David Arkin and safety Josh Aubrey, the club announced today (Twitter link).
  • With Dave Zastudil being bothered by a groin injury, the Cardinals have signed punter Drew Butler, according to Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com (via Twitter).
  • Defensive tackle Christo Bilukidi has been claimed off waivers by the Ravens, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Bilukidi was cut over the weekend by the Bengals.
  • When the Bengals cut Bilukidi, they signed Onterio McCalebb to their active roster, but he lasted just two days — he has been waived, according to Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer, who adds (via Twitter) that the club has also terminated wide receiver Cobi Hamilton from the exempt list of the practice squad.
  • To make room for Bilukidi, the Ravens waived running back Fitz Toussaint, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun.
  • The Broncos have cut long snapper Kevin McDermott from their practice squad, tweets Mike Klis of the Denver Post. His spot will be taken by tight end Dominique Davis, per Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter).
  • Tight end Emmanuel Ogbuehi has been replaced on the Browns‘ practice squad by defensive lineman Calvin Barnett, says Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal (Twitter link).

Earlier updates:

  • The Bears have signed safety Ahmad Dixon from the Vikings‘ practice squad, cutting cornerback Demontre Hurst to open up a spot on their roster, the team announced today (via Twitter). Dixon was drafted by the Cowboys but was waived by Dallas during preseason roster cutdowns.
  • Offensive tackle Andrew McDonald is also making the move from one team’s practice squad to another club’s 53-man roster, according to agent Brett Tessler, who tweets that his client has a deal with the Seahawks. McDonald had previously been one of the 10 players on the Panthers‘ practice squad.
  • The Bills have cut defensive end Jacquies Smith to make room for Nigel Bradham, who is returning this week from his one-game suspension, tweets ESPN.com’s Mike Rodak.
  • The Seahawks have placed cornerback Jeremy Lane, who is suffering from a groin injury, on their injured reserve list with the designation to return, reports Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter).
  • Defensive back Jamarca Sanford, who had been on the Vikings‘ injured reserve list, has been released with a settlement, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (Twitter link).
  • The Chiefs have signed wideout Armon Binns to their practice squad and removed cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke from their IR with an injury settlement, per Rand Getlin of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter links).

11 PS Players Earning More Than The Minimum

Players on NFL practice squads are eligible to receive a minimum salary of $6,300 per week, which works out to a 17-week salary of about $107K if a player remains on his team’s practice squad for the entire season. In most cases, teams don’t pay more than the minimum to fill those practice squad spots, since clubs have much more leverage than the players vying for those 320 total openings.

In some cases though, if a team really likes a player, or if he’s drawing interest from several teams for their practice squads, a club will increase that weekly rate. So far this year, with all 32 teams having filled up their 10-man squads, at least 11 players are known to be receiving salaries worth more than the minimum. NFL writer Brian McIntyre rounded up all those players and their salaries for us in a series of tweets, so let’s check out the full list, sorted by weekly salary:

Magee’s practice-squad salary is the most notable on this list — his weekly figure adds up to just below $495K for the full season, which is the minimum salary for a second-year player on an active roster. In other words, if he spends the entire season on the practice squad, Magee could still earn more money than some players on active rosters, which is a sign of how much the Bucs want to keep him around.