Alfred Morris

Cardinals Cut Alfred Morris

The Cardinals have informed running back Alfred Morris of his release (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). It was a super short stay in Arizona for the veteran, who was only just signed to the roster. 

Morris was squeezed out by the arrival of Kenyan Drake, who came over via trade with the Dolphins. In Drake’s Thursday night debut, he rattled off 110 yards on 15 carries, good for a 7.33 ypc average. Suddenly, the Cardinals no longer feel the need to have the safety net of Morris.

Morris’ 2019 Cardinals run ends after three snaps and one carry for four yards. He’ll look to new work and playing time elsewhere, but not before hitting the NFL’s waiver wire. Morris has the service time of a veteran, but all players released after the trade deadline are subject to the wire. If Morris clears, he’ll be free to sign with any club of his choosing.

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Cardinals Sign Alfred Morris, Zach Zenner

The Cardinals signed running backs Alfred Morris and Zach Zenner this morning. The signings were first reported by Adam Caplan of ESPN.com and have since been confirmed by the team. In the team’s press release, the organization announced they released cornerback Trevor Williams to accommodate the signings.

Morris, in his ninth NFL season, burst onto the scene as a rookie in 2012 with Washington rushing for over 1,600 yards. He started every Washington game (64) over his time with the organization and accrued 5,078 yards from scrimmage in his four seasons with the team. Morris has not been a primary back elsewhere, but he has been a spot starter for both the Cowboys and 49ers in the past two seasons.

Zenner is another multi-year veteran, but has never had more than a rotational role. After spending the first four seasons of his career with the Lions, Zenner was released in August. He joined the Saints on October 16th and only received one carry before he was released yesterday.

Adding two veteran backs raises concerns that star running back David Johnson will be out for the Cardinals upcoming games. Johnson has been limited by knee problems over the past week and while he was active against the Giants, it was clear the team wanted to limit his workload. Backup Chase Edmonds was exceptional filling in as the primary back and appears Morris and Zenner will be expected to spell Edmonds in the coming weeks while they wait for Johnson to heal.

Williams was claimed on waivers from the Chargers on October 8th. He hasn’t played a large role for Arizona this season, but over the previous three seasons between San Diego and Los Angeles, Williams made 27 starts accruing 100 tackles and three interceptions.

Cardinals To Sign RB Alfred Morris

The Cardinals have agreed to sign running back Alfred Morris, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. To make room, they’ve dropped linebacker Ramik Wilson

Morris is on hand to help man the running back position while David Johnson nurses an ankle injury. He edged out Thomas Rawls and Zach Zenner in a recent audition as he looks to get his career back in track.

Morris, 30, played 12 games with the 49ers last season. This offseason, Morris reunited with the Cowboys, but Ezekiel Elliott‘s early September return left A-Mo without a job.

Morris did his best work early on with the Redskins, including a stellar 1,600-yard rookie season. In 2013 and 2014, he earned back-to-back Pro Bowl nods and eclipsed 1,000 yards each time. There have been signs of life more recently than that, however. In 2017, Morris managed 4.8 yards per carry in a small-but-not-that-small sample of 115 totes.

The Cardinals, who have a 3-3-1 record, will face the Saints on Sunday.

Cardinals Audition Alfred Morris

David Johnson suffered a wrist injury in the Cardinals’ Week 2 loss, and although the standout running back returned to action, the Cards are gathering some intel for a possible in-case-of-emergency scenario.

Arizona worked out Alfred Morris, Thomas Rawls and Zach Zenner on Tuesday, ESPN.com’s Field Yates and veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer report (Twitter links). The team also auditioned tight end Luke Willson.

Morris reunited with the Cowboys, but Ezekiel Elliott‘s holdout coming to an end prompted them to part ways with the veteran back. Morris, 30, played 12 games with the 49ers last season. Rawls last held a notable role with the 2016 Seahawks; he’s since bounced around. Zenner averaged 4.8 yards per carry last season and re-signed with the Lions in March. However, he did not make their 53-man roster.

Kliff Kingsbury‘s Cardinals have lapped the field in terms of 10 personnel usage — four wideouts, one running back — and have not used tight ends Charles Clay or Maxx Williams much. But the team auditioned Willson, Thomas Duarte and Jason Vander Laan anyway. Willson played 14 games for the 2018 Lions but did not make the Raiders’ roster this summer.

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Cowboys Release RB Alfred Morris

Ezekiel Elliott is back on the Cowboys active roster, but it cost one of his fellow running backs a job. NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero reports (via Twitter) that Dallas has released veteran running back Alfred Morris.

Morris had three-straight 1,000-yard seasons to start his career with the Redskins before struggling mightily during the 2015 campaign. He ended up catching on with the Cowboys prior to the 2016 season, and he quickly became one of the most dependable backups in the game. The veteran appeared in 28 games (five starts) during his two years in Dallas, including a 2017 campaign where he finished with 547 rushing yards and one touchdown on 115 carries.

That performance ended up earning him a one-year deal with the 49ers, where he was briefly thrust to the top of the depth chart following the season-ending injury to Jerick McKinnon. Morris saw his yards-per-carry average drop below four during his stint in San Francisco, and he finished last season with 428 rushing yards and two scores in 12 games (one start).

With Elliott holding out, the Cowboys re-signed Morris back in July. However, it was clear that Morris didn’t have a clear-cut role on the team, and this was before Elliott inked his recent extension. Ultimately, the organization decided to roll with rookie Tony Pollard and former undrafted free agent Jordan Chunn behind their All-Pro starter.

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NFC East Notes: Cowboys, Morris, Giants, Eagles

After signing Alfred Morris earlier this week, Cowboys executive Stephen Jones admitted his club likely wouldn’t have brought in an established running back if Ezekiel Elliott were not holding out. “We were going to look at something no matter what but probably not as much,” Jones said, via Clarence Hill of the Star Telegram. “Every time you are missing a guy you need to have a guy in here and it made sense for us to get a guy we were comfortable with.” Morris, who served as Elliott’s backup in 2016 and 2017, says he’s been given no assurances that he’ll stick on Dallas’ roster if/when Elliott returns to the team.

Here’s more from the NFC East:

Cowboys To Sign Alfred Morris

As Ezekiel Elliott stays away from Cowboys camp, the team will bring back one of his former backups. Alfred Morris has agreed to rejoin the Cowboys, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Morris was scheduled to visit the Saints, but it looks like he found a more enticing offer with one of his former teams. Morris, 30, played in 28 games for the Cowboys from 2016-17. He closed his first Dallas stint by averaging 4.8 yards per carry for the 2017 Cowboys.

The Cowboys have exchanged proposals with their holdout back, but Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News notes (via Twitter) the last such numbers were discussed July 25. In the meantime, Morris will serve as by far the most experienced backfield option the Cowboys have.

They lost recent Elliott backup Rod Smith to the Giants and drafted both Tony Pollard (Round 4) and Mike Weber (Round 7) this year. Both Pollard and third-year back Darius Jackson (six career carries since being a sixth-round 2016 Cowboys pick) took reps with Dallas’ first-string offense Monday.

Last season, Morris was a late-summer 49ers addition, heading west after Jerick McKinnon tore an ACL. Morris rushed for 428 yards (3.9 per carry) as a 49er. He was the Cowboys’ primary runner during Elliott’s 2017 suspension. While Morris is far removed from his best seasons, two Pro Bowls with the Redskins from 2013-14, he should be relatively fresh. He has taken just 295 handoffs over the past three seasons. And this deal represents some Elliott insurance, with the Cowboys unlikely to carry five tailbacks on their Week 1 53-man roster.

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Saints To Meet With Alfred Morris

Free agent running back Alfred Morris is set to meet with the Saints, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). Rapoport also hears that Morris has received interest from two other NFL teams. 

The Saints have been in the market for a running back and Morris would bring experience to their already talented group. At present, they have Latavius Murray, Dwayne Washington, one-time Ravens standout Buck Allen, and a couple of other RBs behind star Alvin Kamara.

Morris, 30, signed with SF last year for the veteran’s minimum. He went on to appear in 12 games and averaged 3.9 yards per carry in a limited sample of 111 totes. For his career, Morris has averaged 4.3 yards per attempt, including three high-usage years with the Redskins in which he topped 1,000 yards rushing.

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West Notes: M. Gordon, Broncos, Noteboom

Chargers running back Melvin Gordon will not be eligible for unrestricted free agency until after the 2019 season, as the Bolts picked up his fifth-year option for 2019 back in May. He cracked the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his career last season, and he continues to be a force as a receiver out of the backfield. Nonetheless, as Jack Wang of the Orange County Register writes, Gordon still has a long way to go before he can command the type of contract that fellow 2015 first-rounder Todd Gurley recently pulled down (Gordon, after all, has yet to average four yards per carry in his three seasons in the league).

But while Gordon is not focused on his next contract at the moment, he fully expects to be in Gurley territory when that time comes. He said, “[Gurley] definitely changed the market for us…When that time comes for us backs to get paid, I’m sure it’ll be around the same number.” Gordon did play a full 16-game season for the first time in his career in 2017, and there are plenty of reasons to think his YPC average might look a little better in 2018, which could add up to a lucrative extension in another year or so.

Now let’s round up a few more notes from the league’s west divisions:

  • Broncos head coach Vance Joseph was noncommittal when asked after last night’s preseason loss to the Bears if the team would pursue a veteran to back up starting QB Case Keenum. Per Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com (Twitter link), Joseph said, “Right now (Chad Kelly) is our guy. I can’t speak for two weeks down the road here. But right now he’s our backup quarterback.” Troy Renck of Denver 7 ABC says Kelly has been impressive in the preseason, but he would still be surprised if the Broncos do not add a veteran signal-caller (Twitter link).
  • In a separate tweet, Renck passes along Joseph’s statement that the Broncos‘ running back competition is still open. Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post, however, reports (unsurprisingly) that rookie Royce Freeman appears to be the winner of the competition, as Denver clearly wants him to be the team’s lead back. Kiszla also points out that UDFA Phillip Lindsay has been sensational in the Broncos’ first two preseason games, and given Lindsay’s abilities on special teams, both Kiszla and Legwold (Twitter link) believe he has a real chance of making the roster.
  • Alfred Morris‘ new contract with the 49ers is for the veteran minimum of $790K, per ESPN’s Field Yates (via Twitter). As expected, Morris will need to play his way onto San Francisco’s Week 1 roster. He will count for $630K against the team’s cap.
  • Rams rookie Joseph Noteboom, a third-round choice in this year’s draft — and the Rams’ first draft pick in 2018 — has a chance to see immediate playing time along the team’s offensive line this season. And, given the age and contract situation of Los Angeles’ current starting O-linemen, Vincent Bonsignore of The Athletic writes that Noteboom — an ice hockey standout in high school — could become a fixture at guard or tackle in the very near future. The team has been very impressed with the TCU product thus far, and he acquitted himself nicely during last night’s preseason game, when he played both tackle positions and left guard.
  • The Chiefs signed veteran cornerback Orlando Scandrick earlier today.

49ers To Sign Alfred Morris

The 49ers plan to sign running back Alfred Morris, coach Kyle Shanahan announced on Monday. Morris’ deal is pending a physical. 

Morris, at the very minimum, will provide the Niners an extra body in camp as Jerick McKinnon heals up from a calf strain and Matt Brieda deals with a shoulder injury. If Morris can show some of his old form, then he could have a new home for the 2018 season.

Alf did a great job for us for the two years I was with him,” Shanahan said of their time together in Washington, via 95.7 The Game (on Twitter). “It’s not flashy, but he runs extremely hard. He’s very reliable. You block him for zero, usually he can get at least one. He’s a hard-nosed runner you can keep handing the ball off to.

Morris led the Redskins in rushing for four straight seasons, including his rookie season in which he topped 1,600 yards on the ground. Last year, he averaged 4.8 yards per carry as the Cowboys’ primary starter during Ezekiel Elliott‘s suspension.

The Niners are also rostering 2017 fourth-round pick Joe Williams, Raheem Mostert, and Jeremy McNichols at running back.

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