Alfred Blue

Texans Re-Sign RB Alfred Blue

Alfred Blue is officially back with the Texans. Houston has re-signed the running back to a one-year deal, Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle tweets.

The Texans will start Lamar Miller at running back, but Blue will help to provide support further down the depth chart, particularly with D’Onta Foreman recovering from a torn Achilles. As a No. 3 or No. 4 RB, Blue would offer occasional relief for both players while also pitching in on special teams.

Blue, 27, did his best work in 2015 when he rushed for 698 yards in nine starts for Houston. The addition of Miller reduced his role, however, and he was decidedly less effective last year. In 2017, Blue played on 21% of the Texans’ offensive snaps but managed only 3.7 yards per carry.

Things were pretty quiet for Blue this offseason, though he reportedly did hear from multiple teams, including the Steelers. Ultimately, the Texans circled back to him after they did not select an RB in the draft. It’s still possible that they could sign veterans or UDFAs to compete with Blue for a spot as a backup running back, however.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans Could Still Re-Sign RB Alfred Blue

Alfred Blue remains on the free agent market, but the Texans remain open to a return. The door is not closed on the running back, Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle tweets, as the team looks to improve its depth in the backfield. 

The Texans will start Lamar Miller at running back, but there are question marks further down on the depth chart, particularly with rising sophomore D’Onta Foreman recovering from a torn Achilles. As a No. 3 or No. 4 RB, Blue would offer occasional relief for both players while also pitching in on special teams.

Blue, 27 in April, did his best work in 2015 when he rushed for 698 yards in nine starts for Houston. The addition of Miller reduced his role, however, and he was decidedly less effective last year. In 2017, Blue played on 21% of the Texans’ offensive snaps but managed only 3.7 yards per carry.

Things have been fairly quiet for Blue in recent months, though he has reportedly heard from multiple teams, including the Steelers. At this stage, Blue probably won’t sign with the Texans or any other club until after the draft when teams have a better idea of what they already have in-house.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Panthers, Steelers, Giants

The Panthers are for sale, and the price has reportedly risen to more than $2.5 billion, according to Scott Soshnick of Bloomberg. For reference, the last NFL team to change hands — the Bills — reportedly went for $1.1 billion. The excessive price tag has caused at least one potential bidder, sports apparel mogul Michael Rubin, to drop out of the running, per Soshnick. However, a new suitor has emerged, as Alan Kestenbaum, CEO of private equity firm Bedrock Industries, has expressed interest in the Panther franchise, per Rick Rothacker and Katherine Peralta of the Charlotte Observer.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • The Los Angeles district attorney does not plan to file vandalism charges against Bills wide receiver Zay Jones following a bizarre incident which was caught on video earlier this week, reports Mike Rodak of ESPN.com (Twitter link), who adds insufficient evidence is available to press charges. Jones was arrested following a troubling entanglement in which he struggled with his brother — the Vikings’ Cayleb Jones — before kicking through a glass window. Buffalo selected Jones out of East Carolina in the second round of the 2017 draft. In his rookie campaign, Jones started 10 games and posted 27 receptions for 316 yards and two touchdowns.
  • Several teams have been in contact with free agent running back Alfred Blue, per Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The Steelers, presumably in the market for a veteran backup to Le’Veon Bell, are one of those clubs, but it doesn’t appear as though Blue will be signing with Pittsburgh. Blue, 26, hit his high-water mark in 2015 by rushing for 698 yards in nine starts for the Texans, but the addition of Lamar Miller has forced Houston to scale back Blue’s role since then. In 2017, Blue played on 21% of the Texans’ offensive snaps but managed only 3.7 yards per carry.
  • The Giants are still searching for cornerback help after cutting Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie earlier this month, and they’re assessing the market for internal free agent Ross Cockrell, as Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com writes. Cockrell, whom New York acquired from Pittsburgh last September, started nine games for Big Blue in 2017. He finished first in Football Outsiders’ success rate, which measures cornerbacks on their ability to consistently stop opposing wideouts short of the sticks. Thus far, the Giants have agreed to terms with lower-tier defensive backs such as B.W. Webb, Teddy Williams, and Curtis Riley.
  • Although John Bowlen — son of Broncos owner Pat Bowlen — recently announced his intention to sell his minority stake in the club, he’s since agreed to sell a portion of his total ownership (which is roughly 30-35%) back to the team, according to Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post. John Bowlen’s decision to sell wouldn’t have necessarily affected day-to-day operations of the Broncos, as Pat Bowlen — who stepped down as principal owner in 2014 due to Alzheimer’s disease — would have still held the majority of the club and be entitled to designate one of his other children as his successor.

Extra Points: Bowe, Bortles, Blue

Chiefs receiver Dwayne Bowe will be suspended for the season opener as a result of his marijuana possession arrest last November, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). Meanwhile, Bowe is dealing with a “shot” finger, as Andy Reid told the KC Star’s Terez Paylor.

Here’s some more miscellaneous links from around the league:

      • Jaguars rookie quarterback Blake Bortles’ second preseason game was televised nationally last night, and praise is pouring in. “It was against the second- and third-team defenders for the Bears, but there was no question Blake Bortles looked the part of a viable NFL quarterback on Thursday night in Chicago,” said CBS’ Will Brinson. Bortles “showed why he’s the future of the franchise, and why the future just might be now,” said Bleacher Reports Ty Schalter. “Bortles has looked to be every bit of the future Pro Bowl quarterback a team expects to get with a top three draft pick,” said USA Today’s Chris Strauss, who calls for the Jags to name Bortles the starter immediately. And ESPN’s Michael DiRocco says Bortles needs first-team reps this week.
      • Could the Ravens be trying to sneak sixth-round quarterback Keith Wenning onto the practice squad? Backup Tyrod Taylor is scheduled for most of the work in tomorrow’s preseason game, and ESPN’s Jamison Hensley makes an “educated guess” the team will limit Wenning’s exposure to other teams who might want to poach him. “The presumed plan is to develop Wenning into the primary backup by next season, when Taylor is a free agent,” says Hensley.
      • Another rookie making waves is Texans sixth-round running back Alfred Blue. ESPN’s Tania Ganguli relayed praise for Blue from Bill O’Brien, who assessed the rookie’s skill set: “Good teammate, hardworking guy, football smart, three-down back — he’s got to continue to improve catching the football. But good runner, good vision, good on special teams, understands football, asks good questions. I see some good things from Alfred.” An ACL injury and crowded LSU backfield limited Blue’s college exposure — he carried just 209 times in 40 games — but scouts took notice of his physical ability once he declared for the draft, forgoing another year of eligibility. In his NFL Draft Preview book, Nolan Nawrocki described Blue as “A physically gifted runner who would have been the No. 1 back at most schools given his combination of size, speed, power and competitiveness.” Nawrocki added that Blue is a prime candidate to be a “far more productive pro than college player if he proves he can stay healthy.”
      • ESPN’s staff spotlighted each team’s most intriguing skill-position battle. Among the most notable capsules, Mike Reiss talks about the Patriots’ trio of running backs, saying Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen or James White could be featured any given week.
      • Greg Toler and Donte Moncrief are among four standouts in Colts camp identified by IndyStar.com’s Stephen Holder. On Toler, Holder says, “Toler has been all over the field during camp, showing his superior ball skills and ability to play man coverage in the Colts defense. If he continues to perform like this heading into the regular season, the Colts won’t see much of a dropoff from franchise cornerback Vontae Davis to Toler.”
      • The Packers are deeper this season in the eyes of Journal Sentinel writer Bob McGinn, who analyzes the team’s projected roster position by position.

Draft Signings: Chargers, Colts, Packers, Jets

Here’s a recap of the latest 2014 draft picks reaching contract agreements with their respective teams:

  • The Chargers have agreed to terms with third-round guard Chris Watt on a deal that includes a $419K bonus and a $2.691MM overall value, says Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter). Both of those contract figures are lower than what Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap projected for Watt’s draft slot.
  • The Colts have signed their fifth-round pick, Ball State’s Jonathan Newsome, according to Craig Kelley of Colts.com (via Twitter).
  • Fifth-round receiver Jared Abbrederis has signed a contract with the Packers that includes a signing bonus of about $145K, reports Wilson (via Twitter).
  • The Jets have signed a pair of draftees, according to the team, who announced today that fourth-round pick Dakota Dozier and seventh-rounder Trevor Reilly have both been locked up.
  • Seventh-rounder Michael Campanaro has signed his contract with the Ravens, which includes a $67.5K signing bonus tweets Wilson.
  • Running back Lache Seastrunk, a sixth-round pick, has agreed to sign with the Redskins on a deal that features a $110.5K signing bonus, says Wilson (via Twitter).
  • Field Yates of ESPN.com has a couple more draft pick signings, reporting that the Texans have locked up sixth-round running back Alfred Blue and seventh-round safety Lonnie Ballentine (Twitter links).