Alex Carter

NFL Workout Updates: 9/18/17

Today’s workout update notes:

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

Seattle Seahawks

NFL Workout Updates: 9/13/17

Today’s workout updates, with nearly all links going to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter account:

Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Tennessee Titans

Washington Redskins

NFC Notes: Rams, Donald, Falcons

No surprise here, but Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald is expected to miss Sunday’s season opener against Indianapolis as he continues his holdout, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Donald is presently at home with his family on the east coast and the two sides are not close to an agreement.

Holdouts typically do not drag into the regular season, but Donald has less to lose by staying home than other players fighting for a better contract. Le’Veon Bell, in theory, could have tried to drum up leverage by taking his holdout into mid-September, but that would have meant forfeiting game checks on a $12.12MM salary. Donald, meanwhile, is slated to earn only a fraction of that – $3.225MM – in 2017.

While we wait to see how things shake out between Donald and the Rams, let’s take a look at more news from the NFC:

  • The Falcons converted $1MM of center Alex Mack‘s $6.75MM base salary into a signing bonus, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. The move creates $750K of cap space for the current season. The Falcons are near the bottom of the league in terms of cap space this year, so every bit of flexibility will help them.
  • Cardinals punter Andy Lee‘s new contract calls for base salaries of $1MM per year in 2017 and 2018, Mike Jurecki of 98.7 FM tweets. Arizona is hoping that Lee, 35, will help to turn around one of the league’s poorest punting units from 2016.
  • The Bears auditioned eight players on Wednesday, reports Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune: wide receivers Mario Alford, Montay Crockett, Frankie Hammond, and Darreus Rogers were joined by defensive backs Dante Blackmon, Alex Carter, Brian Dixon, and Damian Swann. While Hammond and Dixon have played in the most NFL games, Carter might the most notable name on the list. A third-round pick of Detroit only two years ago, Carter has been limited by injuries and poor play and has only appeared in one pro contest.
  • The Cardinals worked out running back Darius Victor on Wednesday, according to Herbie Teope of the Times-Picayune (Twitter link), who reports Victor has another audition on Monday for an unidentified team. Victor, an undrafted rookie free agent out of Towson, spent a month on New Orleans’ roster earlier this summer but was waived during final cutdowns. He’s likely a candidate for Arizona’s practice squad.

Sam Robinson contributed to this post.

Lions Set 53-Man Roster

The Lions have met the NFL’s 53-man maximum requirement by making the following transactions:

Traded:

Released:

Waived:

Suspended:

Placed on non-football injury list:

Placed physically unable to perform list:

Lions Rumors: Carter, Maclin, Golladay

The Lions are planning a position switch for a recent draft pick. Additions of D.J. Hayden, Teez Tabor and fifth-round pick Jamal Agnew at cornerback led the Lions to ask their 2015 third-rounder — Alex Carter — to relocate to safety, Kyle Meinke of MLive.com reports. This would stand to give Carter a better chance to make the roster and attempt to launch a career that hasn’t taken off yet. The former Stanford performer has only played in one NFL game in two years. A 2015 ankle injury put Carter on IR, and the team didn’t see enough from him in 2016 to activate him for more than one contest.

At safety, Detroit has starters Glover Quin — who is in a contract year — and Tavon Wilson, with backups Miles Killebrew and Don Carey behind them. It’s a thinner situation than cornerback looks, as Roster Resource details, but Meinke notes Carter is no lock to make the team. More is expected of Killebrew, a 2016 fourth-round selection, in Year 2, and Carey is a constant on special teams. Jim Caldwell identified Carter’s frame, at 6-foot and 205 pounds, as a reason for the move.

Here’s more out of the Motor City.

  • The Chiefs made one of the more surprising moves of the offseason by making Jeremy Maclin an old-school, June 2 cut. Maclin immediately vaults to the top of the UFA wide receiver contingent, and the Lions could still be in need of a third reliable wideout after Anquan Boldin‘s contract expired. Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com weighs the fit for Maclin in Detroit, noting the salary would have to be right. Maclin just saw the Chiefs move on from a five-year, $55MM contract. That said, Maclin, at 29, probably profiles as a player who will want a role more substantial than as a No. 3 behind Golden Tate and Marvin Jones. Tate earns $6.2MM per year, and Jones averages $8MM annually. A Maclin commitment may be untenable. Boldin fits that description better, but the sides haven’t talked a deal in a while.
  • June 1 passing means the Lions do, however, gain $5.99MM in cap space after the funds from DeAndre Levy‘s release became available, as Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap notes. The Lions now possess $8.638MM in cap space. Levy’s deal will saddle the team with $4.8MM in 2017 dead money.
  • Third-round wide receiver Kenny Golladay remains the only Lions draft choice unsigned. This is due to the CBA’s cloudier language regarding third-round picks, with Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press noting third-rounders’ base salaries in Years 2-4 of their contracts can fluctuate compared to players chosen in every other round of the draft. Golladay, though, is working out with the team and expected to be signed by training camp.
  • Jarrad Davis signed a fully guaranteed rookie deal worth $10.969MM, Birkett reports. Davis receives a $6.117MM signing bonus. Tabor, assigned to travel from Florida to the Motor City a round after Davis, saw the Lions fully guarantee the base salaries in his first two seasons. Tabor’s signing bonus came in at $1.647MM, per Birkett. Both ex-Gators will have $465K base salaries as rookies.
  • Sixth-round quarterback Brad Kaaya signed for four years and $2.523MM after being a one-time Day 2 prospect, Birkett reports, with a $123K signing bonus. None of the Lions’ draft choices received any additional bonuses beyond their signing bonus.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/24/16

Here are the minor moves coming on Christmas Eve.

  • The Steelers made several moves in advance of their Week 16 clash with the Ravens, signing defensive lineman Johnny Maxey and cornerback Al-Hajj Shabazz, Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette tweets. To make room, Pittsburgh cut running back Daryl Richardson and moved cornerback Shamarko Thomas to IR.
  • With Darius Slay‘s status murky for Monday night’s Lions-Cowboys game, Detroit promoted second-year cornerback Alex Carter from its practice squad, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports (on Twitter). Carter came to the Motor City as a third-round pick in 2015 but saw an injury scrap his rookie season and did not make the 2016 team out of training camp. Carter, who will take Corey Lemonier‘s roster spot, has yet to play in an NFL game despite the Day 2 draft pedigree.
  • The Ravens placed second-round rookie Kamalei Correa on IR with a rib injury and promoted Brennen Beyer from their practice squad to take his place, Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com reports. Correa finishes the season with three tackles and a fumble forced in nine games (one start).

Sunday NFL Transactions: NFC North

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four NFC North teams. Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline yesterday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters, claiming players off waivers or signing guys who clear waivers. Those transactions for the Bears, Lions, Packers, and Vikings are noted below.

Additionally, as of 12:00pm CT today, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads. You can check out our glossary entry on practice squads to brush up on those changes, as well as all the other guidelines that govern the 10-man units, whose players practice with the team but aren’t eligible to suit up on Sundays.

Here are Sunday’s NFC North transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day. All links go to Twitter unless otherwise noted:

Chicago Bears

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Minnesota Vikings

Lions Trim Roster To 53

The Lions have released offensive lineman Brandon Thomas, as Rand Getlin of NFL.com tweets. Thomas came to Detroit in the Jeremy Kerley trade earlier this weekBrandon Thomas (vertical)

Thomas, a former third-round pick, has never taken a snap in the NFL. He missed his entire rookie season in 2014 while recovering from a torn ACL suffered in college, and didn’t appear in a game during his sophomore campaign. Thomas wasn’t need in the Bay Area given that Anthony Davis has come out of retirement and shifted to guard and he apparently wasn’t wanted in Detroit either.

Thomas obviously wasn’t the Lions’ only victim of cut day. Cuts include:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Kelly, Kaepernick, Carter, Packers

Responding to a Monday report that suggested he met recently with USC officials, Eagles head coach Chip Kelly adamantly denied that such a meeting took place, telling reporters he has had “no contact” with USC or other colleges, as Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets.

Kelly had made a habit in the past of shooting down this sort of report, even when it’s hard not to believe that the report is true — for instance, he claimed this spring that he hadn’t had trade talks involving any of his players during the first day of the draft. In this case though, I’m inclined to believe that the details of today’s story – that Kelly met with USC officials in Philadelphia on Friday – are off. Still, it seems unlikely that Kelly or his agent have never spoken to anyone from USC at all, even if it was just to politely turn down an inquiry.

In any case, Kelly isn’t going anywhere for now. As we wait to see if he can get the Eagles back on track after a disastrous Thanksgiving loss, let’s check out some others notes out of Philadelphia and the rest of the NFC….

  • We’ve heard recently that the Eagles‘ struggles this year actually reflect relatively well on former GM Howie Roseman, who lost control of personnel decisions after the 2014 season. According to Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports, perception is shifting outside the Eagles’ building as well, with talk around the league suggesting that Roseman could draw interest elsewhere this winter. As Garafolo writes, it’ll be a delicate situation for owner Jeffrey Lurie, who has a good relationship with Roseman and will likely make an effort to keep him if other clubs come calling.
  • According to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link), the 49ers were able to track how much time players spent studying game plans and plays on tablets assigned by the team, and found that Blaine Gabbert studied about four to five times more than Colin Kaepernick did. While Kaepernick’s lack of preparation was an area of concern for the team, players aren’t thrilled with teams’ ability to track their studies, arguing that it may take some players less time than others to learn the same things. According to Cole, there’s a chance the NFLPA could take up the issue with the league.
  • Having been placed on IR with the designation to return in September, Lions cornerback Alex Carter won’t be activated to the 53-man roster and will remain on IR for the rest of the year, tweets Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com. Carter, selected in the third round by Detroit back in May, will have to wait until 2016 to make his NFL debut.
  • Quarterback Aaron Rodgers admits the Packers need to improve their preparation on offense after losing four of five games, but denied that the club has reached the point where a players-only meeting is required, writes Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. During NBC’s Thanksgiving telecast, Cris Collinsworth alluded to the club holding a players-only meeting, but Rodgers said no such meeting happened.

Update On IR-DTR Players

We’re now through eight weeks of the NFL season, which means we’re approaching the year’s halfway point. It also means that players who were placed on the injured reserve list with the designation to return prior to the regular season are eligible to be activated and play in their respective teams’ next games.

Players placed on IR with the designation to return are eligible to begin practicing after six weeks, and can return to game action after eight weeks, so there are some IR-DTR players who have begun practicing already, and some of them could be activated for Week 9. Not every player will be healthy enough to return immediately now that they’ve become eligible to do so, but we should see at least a handful of the 10 players who have been on IR-DTR all year be activated to 53-man rosters in the coming days.

Here’s a breakdown of the 10 IR-DTR players eligible to be activated for Week 9:

  • Jay Ajayi, RB (Dolphins): Ajayi recently said that he’s back to full health, though the Dolphins may have a decision to make in their backfield if they decide to activate the rookie runner.
  • Alex Carter, CB (Lions): Carter is on track to begin practicing after the Lions’ Week 9 bye, and likely won’t be activated right away.
  • David Cobb, RB (Titans): Cobb is expected to be activated this week, and at least one Titans beat reporter believes the rookie is capable of earning a high percentage of the team’s carries.
  • Demar Dotson, T (Buccaneers): When he began practicing, Dotson admitted his injured knee wasn’t where he wanted it to be, but it sounds like he’s made enough progress to be activated this week.
  • Charles Gaines, CB (Browns): Gaines returned to practice when he was eligible to do so, and sounds like he’s eager to get back on Cleveland’s roster. If the Browns want him active for Week 9, they’ll have to make a move soon, since the team plays on Thursday this week.
  • Dee Milliner, CB (Jets): Head coach Todd Bowles said last week that he believes Milliner will be ready to play as soon as he becomes eligible, though he cautioned that the team will need to find room on the active roster.
  • Maurkice Pouncey, C (Steelers): There has been some speculation that Pouncey could be sidelined for the entire season, but head coach Mike Tomlin still expects his veteran center back this year. That likely won’t happen for a few more weeks though, since the initial diagnosis put Pouncey on track to be out until at least Week 12.
  • Bryan Stork, C (Patriots): The Patriots’ offensive line has been hit hard by injuries this season, so having to decide between Stork and David Andrews at center will be a welcome problem for the team. Stork appears on track to return in Week 9.
  • John Sullivan, C (Vikings): After suffering a setback and undergoing another surgical procedure, Sullivan won’t be back anytime soon, and may not play at all this season.
  • Brent Urban, DE (Ravens): Asked two weeks ago about Urban, head coach John Harbaugh said that the defensive end wasn’t practicing, adding that his recovery would probably take “a few more weeks.”

While these 10 players are the only ones on IR-DTR eligible to return in Week 9, there are 12 more who will gain eligibility in the coming weeks. The full list can be found right here.

Among those 12 other IR-DTR players, the most notable name is Tony Romo, who can’t play until Week 11. The Cowboys quarterback is eligible to begin practicing this week, but Rand Getlin of the NFL Network (Twitter link) hears that won’t happen quite yet. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter), Romo is still on track to return to the field when he’s eligible for game action, but it makes sense to keep getting Matt Cassel first-team practice reps in the meantime.