Aldrick Rosas

Giants Release K Mike Nugent

The Giants’ kicker competition has seemingly come to an end. According to Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (via Twitter), the team is releasing veteran Mike Nugent. That means 2016 undrafted rookie Aldrick Rosas has earned the starting gig.

Mike Nugent (Vertical)Following seven seasons with the Bengals, Nugent signed with the Giants this offseason to provide competition for Rosas. While the veteran has never been confused for an All-Pro kicker, he has been relatively consistent during his career, connecting on 80.8-percent of his field goal attempts and 96.9-percent of his extra points. However, the 35-year-old seemingly took a step back in 2016, connecting on only 79.3-percent of field goals and a career-low 79.3-percent of his extra point attempts.

After joining the Titans as an undrafted free agent in 2016, Rosas signed a reserve/future contract with the Giants back in January. The 22-year-old has proven to be more than capable during the preseason, connecting on all eight of his field goal attempts and each of his six extra point attempts.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants Sign K Mike Nugent

The Giants signed veteran kicker Mike Nugent, according to a team announcement. Nugent will duke it out with Aldrick Rosas for the team’s kicking job. Mike Nugent (Vertical)

The Giants have been talking up Rosas all offseason, so it’s a bit of a surprise to see them sign a kicker just days into training camp. Rosas has no regular season experience whereas Nugent is a 13-year vet who has appeared in 158 regular season and postseason games. The 35-year-old has the rare distinction of being a kicker who was chosen with a second round pick. Although he was not able to justify his placement in the draft, Nugent has been a reliable leg, by and large.

Nugent, the owner of 22 school records at Ohio State, will now square off with a second-year player for the right to serve as the Giants’ kicker.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Notes: Revis, Jets, Giants

The Cowboys have a fair amount of cap space, but they are reportedly uninterested in adding Darrelle Revis to their defensive backfield. That doesn’t mean, however, that certain Dallas players don’t want to see Revis in silver-and-blue in the fall. Star wideout Dez Bryant tweeted Revis yesterday afternoon, saying, “Dallas?…I promise you are going to love what we got going on around here..your attitude fits our culture…waiting…..” While the Cowboys are doubtlessly pleased to see that Bryant is happy in Dallas, Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk confirms the earlier report that the team is unlikely to sign Revis. The Cowboys signed Nolan Carroll and drafted three corners this offseason, and they have chosen to build through the draft in recent years rather than sign expensive free agents.

Now for more from the league’s east divisions:

  • Rich Cimini of ESPN.com has a number of Jets-related notes this morning, and he observes that, outside of this year’s No. 6 overall selection, Jamal Adams, the player who has really stood out in the team’s OTAs is fellow rookie safety Marcus Maye. Maye, a second-round choice, impressed the organization with his ability to digest the defense and limit his mental mistakes on the practice field, leading New York to believe it could have an excellent safety tandem on its hands.
  • Cimini also believes that the Jets are making a mistake by parting ways with Eric Decker. He says young quarterbacks like Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty need a reliable wide receiver to help their development, and without Decker, New York really does not have such a player. Cimini also says that, if Jeremy Maclin signs somewhere other than Baltimore, the Jets’ leverage in Decker trade talks with the Ravens would of course increase, though he does not expect the Jets to get anything higher than a late-round draft choice for Decker regardless of what happens with Maclin.
  • Cimini also notes that there is “nothing cooking” on the Sheldon Richardson trade front, and that the Jets are prepared to go into the season with him and are hoping he can boost his value in advance of the trade deadline.
  • We have heard a lot about a potential long-term deal for Giants receiver Odell Beckham lately, but James Kratch of NJ.com, like many other writers, believes the most likely outcome is that OBJ plays out the 2017 season on his modest $1.8MM salary and that the two sides begin discussing a multi-year extension after the season.
  • In the same piece, Kratch says the Giants really like second-year kicker Aldrick Rosas, who has been exceedingly impressive in offseason practices, and that it is unlikely Big Blue adds a veteran kicker at this point.
  • Eagles rookie Nate Gerry‘s conversion to linebacker is going well, as Dave Zangaro of CSNPhilly.com writes. The Nebraska product has put on about 16 pounds over the past month in his effort to go from hard-hitting collegiate safety to professional linebacker, and he will have the opportunity to get significant playing time in an unsettled linebacker unit in Philadelphia.

East Rumors: Brady, Patriots, Bills, Taylor

Recently, Tom Brady was asked if he is annoyed that Bill Belichick hasn’t traded Jimmy Garoppolo and his non-answer might raise some eyebrows.

When you’re a member of a team sport, the best guy plays,” the Patriots quarterback told Ian O’Connor of ESPN.com. “So I always want to make sure I’m the best guy, and I give our team a great chance to win. But if you’re ever not [the best guy], part of being a great teammate is letting the other guy do that, as well. Competition is what has always driven me. I’ve never been one that was hand selected, to be this particular player. … In high school, college, professionally, I think the greater the competition, the more that it really allows me to dig deep and bring the best out of me.”

Of course, this is a far cry from Brady saying that he’s peeved at the team for not trading the backup QB, but he didn’t shoot the notion down when given the opportunity either. The Patriots were at least mulling a Garoppolo trade at some point this offseason, but it seems that they set an extremely high asking price because they ultimately did not want to part with him.

Here’s more from the AFC and NFC East:

  • In an interview on Monday, Bills GM Brandon Beane said Tyrod Taylor will probably be the team’s starting QB, but he cautioned that he’s “not in business of handing out jobs on May the 15th,” (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Mike Rodak).
  • Giants kicker Aldrick Rosas cleared a giant hurdle this weekend when the team declined to sign veteran Travis Coons after a weekend tryout. “I try not to focus on the competition,” Rosas told James Kratch of NJ.com. “I just try to focus on how I can improve myself and be the best specialist I can be.” For now, Rosas stands as the only kicker on the team’s roster.
  • The Jets auditioned running back Stevan Ridley last week.

NFC East: Giants, Rosas, Cowboys, Eagles

The fact that Aldrick Rosas is the only kicker on the Giants roster is an indication that the organization is willing to roll with the 22-year-old next season. Despite the former undrafted free agent having no NFL experience, special teams coordinator Tom Quinn is confident that his kicker will be prepared.

“We will try and simulate (games for) him and then you have the preseason to go with that,” Quinn told Ralph Vacchiano SNY.tv. “We’ve had a couple of nice young kickers in here with (Chris) Boswell (in 2015) and Brandon McManus (in 2014). They’ve gone on to do well. It’s not always perfect with the young guys. Sometimes there’s going to be a little bit of hiccups. We’ll see where we go with that.”

As Vacchiano points out, the Giants could easily sign a veteran free agent kicker to compete with Rosas. The team also has Travis Coons participating at the rookie minicamp this weekend. Quinn noted that with “no more two-a-days and limited practice,” the team would struggle to find “kicks” for multiple players.

Let’s take a look at some other notes from around the NFC East…

  • The Giants gave undrafted offensive lineman Chad Wheeler a $20,000 signing bonus, the highest among the team’s undrafted rookies. The Giants also have a need for an offensive tackle, which is why Dan Duggan of NJ.com believes Wheeler has a shot of making the team. The writer also lists defensive tackle Jarron Jones, offensive lineman Jessamen Dunker, wideout Travis Rudolph, linebacker Calvin Munson, cornerback Nigel Tribune, fullback Shane Smith, and safety Jadar Johnson among undrafted rooks who might have a shot at making the final roster.
  • Cowboys tight end Rico Gathers earned an incredible $499,990 to play on the team’s practice squad last season. With Jason Witten‘s career winding down, the former sixth-round pick will have an opportunity to play a significant role in the team’s offense this season. “It’s night and day for [Gathers] in a good way from last year,” offensive coordinator Scott Linehan told Matthew Martinez of the Star-Telegram. “When you know what you’re doing and you’ve got your body in football shape, it’s amazing what you can do, and that’s the biggest difference from where he was a year ago until now.”
  • We learned yesterday that the Eagles agreed to pay second-round cornerback Sidney Jones his full 2017 base salary even if he spends the season on the NFI list.

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/19/17

Here are the latest reserve/futures contract signings from around the NFL. These deals will go into effect on the first day of the 2017 league year, with players joining their respective clubs’ offseason 90-man rosters:

New England Patriots

New York Giants

  • K Aldrick Rosas

San Diego Chargers

  • WR Da’Ron Brown
  • WR Jamaal Jones

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Workout Notes: Pack, Vikes, Chiefs, Giants

In addition to the previously reported Joique Bell, the running back-needy Packers worked out fellow rushers James Wilder Jr. and Brandon Wegher on Tuesday, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Defensive end Arthur Miley and defensive back Brandon Dixon also tried out.

More of the latest workouts (courtesy of Howard Balzer, unless otherwise noted):

Extra Points: 49ers, Bengals, Jets, Cowboys

49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman is done for the season with a torn Achilles, but the 28-year-old doesn’t expect the injury to have long-term effects. “It’s just a minor setback for a major comeback,” he said Thursday (via Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com). It’s the second catastrophic injury over the past three years for Bowman, who previously tore both his ACL and MCL in the 49ers’ NFC title game loss to Seattle in January 2014. Bowman returned last year to improbably earn first-team All-Pro honors for the fourth time on the strength of an NFL-best 154-tackle campaign.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Tight end Tyler Eifert‘s health (or lack thereof) for the rest of the year will determine how extension talks between him and the Bengals go during the offseason, writes Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Eifert missed the Bengals’ first four games of the season because of an ankle injury, and just as he was set to return this Sunday, a back problem came to the fore Wednesday to put his status in question. Various injuries have limited Eifert to just 28 of the Bengals’ 52 regular-season games since they drafted him 21st overall in 2013. The ex-Notre Dame star broke out last season with 52 catches and 13 touchdowns, making a case for big money in the process, but Eifert’s injury history could give Cincinnati pause. Luckily for the Bengals, Eifert’s still under their control next season by way of his fifth-year option, so they still have time to decide whether to make a long-term commitment.
  • Contrary to a Wednesday report, the Jets are not considering placing wide receiver Eric Decker on injured reserve, head coach Todd Bowles said Thursday (via Brian Costello of the New York Post). However, Bowles and Decker disagree on whether the wideout is progressing from the partially torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder. Bowles told Costello that he hasn’t seen any progress, while Decker said he’s improving each day. Either way, Decker is likely to miss time – albeit an undetermined amount – and may eventually need surgery. “It has been a discussion,” Decker said. “Again, that’s something that, down the road, we’ll have the conversation again and look at it again. They’ll let me know the right thing to do.”
  • Aldrick Rosas will be among the kickers auditioning for the Cowboys on Friday, Charean Williams of the Star Telegram tweets. Rosas, formerly of Southern Oregon, signed with the Titans after this year’s draft. They cut him Sept. 2.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

NFL Workout Updates: 9/6/16

A couple NFC South teams held large tryout sessions today, and the Saints ended up signing a player — veteran corner Sterling Moore — after he auditioned for them earlier today. Let’s take a look at some more news from the workout front:

  • Facing a kicker crisis, the Giants worked out placekickers Cody Parkey, Shayne Graham, and Aldrick Rosas today, reports Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com, though New York is unlikely to sign anyone from the group, according to Ralph Vacchiano of SNY (Twitter link). Per Raanan, the Giants also worked out a large group of offensive lineman that included Vlad Ducasse, Mackenzy Bernadeau.
  • The Patriots worked out the following defensive backs today (via Doug Kyed of NESN on Twitter): Mike Hilton, Trae Elston, Stefan McClure, JaCorey Shepherd, Kevin Short. New England was trying out players for the final spot on its practice squad, and Hilton ultimately earned the job.
  • The Jaguars worked out former Houston inside linebacker Reshard Cliett today, according to a source who spoke with Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (on Twitter). The fast former South Florida standout was let go by Houston prior to the 53-man cut. Jacksonville also worked out linebacker Luke Rhodes today, but they didn’t offer him a deal right away, Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times tweets.
  • Former Cincinnati receiver Mekale McKay was part of a Buccaneers’ workout earlier today, and he’ll next try out for the Patriots on Wednesday, according to Auman (Twitter link).
  • The Packers auditioned defensive tackle Rodney Coe today, per Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Coe participated in training camp with the Cowboys.

Titans Cut Justin Hunter, Bishop Sankey

4:00pm: The Titans have made more cuts this afternoon, including another big name. Running back/wide receiver Dexter McCluster has been let go. McCluster averaged 4.5 yards per carry last season in Tennessee and averaged 8.4 yards per reception, but the Titans saw a better use for his roster spot. McCluster already pocketed a $350k roster bonus earlier this year, but the Titans will save $2.275MM in cash by cutting him.

Here is the full, updated list of Titans cuts so far:

11:07am: The Titans have jettisoned a pair of notable players from the old front office regime. Wide receiver Justin Hunter and running back Bishop Sankey have both been cut, as Terry McCormick of TitanInsider.com reports (Twitter links). "<strong

Hunter, an exceptionally talented receiver, was drafted 34th overall in 2013. Since then, the Titans have been frustrated with Hunter and there have been rumblings that his work ethic was not up to par. Days ago, the Titans shipped out another talented wide receiver with perceived motivation problems when they traded Dorial Green-Beckham to the Eagles.

“It is still going to be hard (to make the team) because we have a lot of talented receivers in the group. We are fighting for spots, and you have to keep up and progress at the same time,” said the 25-year-old Hunter last month, acknowledging that his spot on the roster was not guaranteed.

Hunter has an uninspiring 68 receptions and eight touchdowns in 35 career games (13 starts). While Hunter has averaged an impressive 16.8 yards per catch, that number dropped to a career-worst 12.0 on 22 grabs last season. The 2015 campaign was a short one for Hunter, who only appeared in nine games as a result of a mid-November fractured ankle.

Sankey was once viewed as the Titans’ best running back and was expected to break out as a rookie in 2014. Sankey, 24 later this month, appeared in all 16 games for the Titans as a rookie but amassed only 569 yards off of 152 carries. Last season, Sankey’s role was reduced even further has he had only 47 rushing attempts for 193 yards in 13 games.

The surprising cuts didn’t stop there. The Titans are going to waive guard Jeremiah Poutasi, a source tells Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Poutasi was an early third-round pick of the Titans last year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.