Anthony Dixon

Fred Jackson To Participate In July Showcase

Fred Jackson is still looking for an NFL job and he’s hoping that a mass audition next month will help make that happen. Today, the Spring League announced that it will host a special showcase game in California on July 15 featuring the former Bills running back (via PFT). Fred Jackson

In addition to Jackson’s debut, controversial defensive end Greg Hardy will also be making his return to the upstart league. Anthony “Boobie” Dixon, who was in Buffalo with Jackson in 2014 and 2015, will also be on hand at Napa Memorial Stadium in Napa, California. The game will be contested between the “Spring League California” and “Spring League East” teams. Terry Shea will coach the California team while Donnie Henderson will coach the East squad.

The Spring League Showcase will provide the NFL with additional opportunities to evaluate players just before the start of training camps,” Spring League CEO Brian Woods said in the press release.

Jackson spent the 2015 season with the Seahawks and had just 26 carries for 100 yards and 32 receptions for 257 yards and two touchdowns. Last year, he was out of football. Still, at the age of 36, Jackson is out to prove that he can perform at a high level. Jackson’s last quality season as a runner was arguably back in 2013 when he ran for 890 yards off of 206 carries (4.3 yards per carry average) with nine scores. In 2014, he had a career-high 66 catches for 501 yards but didn’t fare as well carrying the ball.

Between 2011 and 2013, Hardy averaged 56 tackles and 10 sacks per season season. Even in a down year with Dallas in 2015, he ranked as the league’s 28th-best edge defender out of 110 qualified players, according to Pro Football Focus. However, NFL teams have stayed away from Hardy due to all of his baggage.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

The Spring League Announces Camp Roster

Since we learned last year that there’d be a spring football league in 2017, several former NFL stars have committed to the endeavor. Today, The Spring League announced (via Twitter) their full training camp roster.

Ahmad BradshawAs was previously reported, defensive end Greg Hardy, tight end Kellen Winslow Jr., and running back Ben Tate were among the major names to have committed to the league. Former cornerback Brandon Browner was reportedly involved, but he was curiously omitted from the training camp roster. Former Giants and Colts running back Ahmad Bradshaw is seemingly the biggest addition to the roster since the last update.

The Spring League is composed of four teams, with the rosters comprised of veteran free agents. Ultimately, six games will be played between April 5 through April 26. Players who are currently on NFL rosters are not eligible to participate.

The full training camp roster can be found below:

Quarterbacks

Running backs

Fullbacks

  • Adam Cox
  • Jonathan Amosa

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Bills Cut Anthony Dixon, Won’t Re-Sign MarQueis Gray

It’s a busy Tuesday for the Bills, who have already placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on tackle Cordy Glenn and released defensive end Mario Williams along with guard Kraig Urbik. The team is apparently staying busy this afternoon, with two more Bills players announcing on Twitter that they won’t be on the roster going forward.Anthony Boobie Dixon

[RELATED: PFR previews the Bills’ offseason]

Running back Anthony Dixon tweeted a thank you message to the Bills and their fans, adding that his “time is up” in Buffalo. Dixon, who has been a Bill for the last two seasons, had a career-high 432 rushing yards on 105 carries in 2014, but wasn’t as big a part of the offense in 2015 with newcomers LeSean McCoy and Karlos Williams carrying the rushing load.

Having been set to enter a contract year, Dixon had just $167K in dead money left on his contract, so the Bills will clear most of his $1.317MM cap hit from their books, creating $1.15MM in cap savings. As for the man known as “Boobie,” he’ll immediately become an unrestricted free agent without having to pass through waivers.

In other Bills news, tight end MarQueis Gray also tweeted a farewell message today. Gray technically wasn’t under contract with the club for the 2016 season, so his departure won’t create any immediate cap savings. However, he had been eligible for restricted free agency, and his tweet today signals that Buffalo won’t be offering him an RFA tender. Without that tender in hand, Gray will become an unrestricted free agent when the new league year begins on March 9th.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Rumors: Bills, Dolphins, Jets

Three of the AFC East’s four teams are in the news. Here’s the latest:

  • As free agency approaches, the Bills are working to retain their two best offensive linemen – left tackle Cordy Glenn and left guard Richie Incognitowrites CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora. We learned this afternoon that the Bills intend to place the franchise tag on Glenn if he hasn’t agreed to a long-term deal by the March 1 deadline. Contrary to a report from earlier this week, the Bills aren’t currently looking to extend contract-year quarterback Tyrod Taylor, per La Canfora, who adds that they’re instead focusing on locking up cornerback Stephon Gilmore. Moreover, they’ll release defensive end Mario Williams and running back Anthony Dixon, and could restructure the contracts of safety Corey Graham, corner Leodis McKelvin, and possibly defensive lineman Kyle Williams. With some of the cap space those moves would create, La Canfora expects the Bills to pursue free agent-to-be Bilal Powell. The 27-year-old running back played under Bills head coach Rex Ryan as a member of the Jets from 2011-14. Powell averaged a career-high 4.5 yards per carry on 70 attempts last season and added a personal-best 47 receptions.
  • The Dolphins want to rework the contract of defensive end Cameron Wake, according to La Canfora. The problem, he notes, is that Wake would likely match or exceed the $8.4MM he’s scheduled to make as a Dolphin next season if they release him and he reaches the open market. Thus, the 34-year-old lacks incentive to take a pay cut. Not surprisingly, then, talks between the Dolphins and Wake’s agent made no progress at the combine.
  • With two ex-Jets bigwigs in Buffalo (Ryan) and Miami (executive vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum), representatives of pending Jets free agents said at the combine that the Bills and Dolphins could be landing spots for their clients, according to Brian Costello of the New York Post. That seems to corroborate La Canfora’s report that the Bills will try to reel in Powell in free agency. Further, the Bills and Dolphins could go after Jets run-stuffing defensive tackle Damon Harrison if he hits the market, per Costello, though he notes that the teams’ lack of cap space might serve as roadblocks. Even so, Harrison could use those clubs as leverage to scare the Jets into meeting his demands.

AFC Notes: Foster, Hilton, Bills, Raiders

Texans running back Arian Foster is headed to Philadelphia to get a second opinion on his groin injury, according to Tania Ganguli of ESPN.com (Twitter link), and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that the second opinion will come on Friday from Dr. William Myers, an expert on sports hernias. Adam Schefter of ESPN.com goes one step further, tweeting that Foster won’t just be in Philadelphia for Myers’ assessment — he’ll also undergo surgery on Friday.

With Foster expected to miss the start of the regular season, the Texans wanted to sign Pierre Thomas, but the two sides couldn’t agree to terms today after the ex-Saint worked out for Houston. Now that they failed to lock up Thomas, the Texans may not sign a veteran, since they like their young backs and want to get them reps, tweets Rapoport.

Even if the Texans do continue to explore the free agent market, Ray Rice probably won’t be considered, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, who says owner Bob McNair likely wouldn’t approve such a move. Rice may not be an appealing on-field option anyway — one GM tells Ed Werder of ESPN.com (Twitter link) that his most recent game tape “isn’t get enough to get excited about.”

Let’s check in on a few more items from around the AFC….

  • Agent Drew Rosenhaus left Indianapolis today, despite the fact that he and the Colts have yet to work out an extension for wideout T.Y. Hilton. However, talks are ongoing, tweets Albert Breer of the NFL Network.
  • Appearing on WGR 550 in Buffalo today (Twitter link), GM Doug Whaley admitted that the Bills are in “quarterback purgatory,” since the team doesn’t have a clear long-term answer at the position, and doesn’t expect to pick near the top of the draft within the next couple years.
  • The Raiders have likely made contract with defensive tackle Tony McDaniel, who was released on the weekend by the Seahawks, writes Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group. GM Reggie McKenzie said “there’s a chance” Oakland could bring in the veteran, who has a history with new Raiders defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr.
  • In the wake of reports suggesting they tipped off the Colts about the Patriots deflating footballs, the Ravens issued a strong denial of their involvement today, via a team release.
  • Bills running back Boobie Dixon, who isn’t considered a lock to make the team’s roster, is expected to miss several weeks with a calf injury, writes Mike Rodak of ESPN.com.

Bills Sign Anthony Dixon

TUESDAY, 8:35am: It’s a three-year, $3.5MM deal for Dixon, according to ESPN.com’s Mike Rodak. Rodak has the full details on the contract, which includes a $500K signing bonus and a first-year cap hit of about $1.017MM.

FRIDAY, 8:23pm: Anthony Dixon is set to become the newest member of the Buffalo Bills, tweeted the former 49ers running back. Dixon, who totaled just 148 carries in his four seasons in San Francisco, will sign his contract tomorrow.

PFR’s Luke Adams passed along a link this morning which noted that Dixon and linebacker Brandon Spikes were visiting the team today. Dixon had previously visited the Titans.

The No. 1 and No. 2 running backs in Buffalo are C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson, so Dixon will likely take the No. 3 spot away from the inexperienced Ronnie Wingo, says Tim Graham of The Buffalo News.

FA Rumors: 49ers, Tate, Rams, Melton, Bills

News of signings and visits is gradually slowing down as we approach the 72-hour mark of free agency, but there are plenty of players still seeking contracts, and it wouldn’t be surprising if a number of those free agents find deals today. Here’s the latest on a few available players:

  • The 49ers are comfortable heading into 2014 with Chris Culliver and Tramaine Brock as their starting cornerbacks, but are willing to offer Tarell Brown a three-year, $10MM deal to return, tweets Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com.
  • Free agent running back Ben Tate‘s visit with the Browns is continuing into today, reports Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com (Twitter link).
  • The Rams “aren’t quite done” in free agency, according to head coach Jeff Fisher (Twitter link). Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com notes that the team remains interested in free agent guards Daryn Colledge and Davin Joseph.
  • Speaking of Fisher, the Rams will host one of his former players from Tennessee, as wide receiver Kenny Britt is scheduled to visit St. Louis, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.
  • Earlier today, we heard that Henry Melton was en route to Seattle to visit the Seahawks after spending the night in Minnesota. After his Seattle meeting, Melton will visit the Cowboys, tweets Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
  • The Bills have confirmed that free agent running back Anthony Dixon and linebacker Brandon Spikes are visiting the team today, according to Chris Brown of BuffaloBills.com.
  • Chris Russell of ESPN Radio (Twitter link) hears that cornerback Walter Thurmond is no longer scheduled to visit the Redskins.
  • Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star explores the Colts‘ signing of Phil Costa and their rumored interest in Alex Mack, suggesting that Costa represents a solid fallback starting option at center if the team is unable to land Mack.

FA Rumors: Clark, Browner, Finnegan

Ryan Clark‘s visit with the Redskins went well, but there’s no deal yet, tweets Mike Jones of the Washington Post. However, Washington is still talking with the former Steelers safety. More from around the league..

  • The Saints are among teams looking at cornerback Brandon Browner, according to ESPN’s John Clayton (via Mike Triplett’s Twitter). The recently reinstated cornerback is also reportedly visiting with the Redskins and Patriots.
  • Former Rams and Titans cornerback Cortland Finnegan will visit with the Dolphins tomorrow, tweets Albert Breer of NFL Network.
  • Bears GM Phil Emery planned to speak with Henry Melton‘s agent after the defensive end met with teams and gauged his market, tweets Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com. However, the clock is ticking for Chicago as their cap room is dwindling.
  • The Redskins have had talks with Reed Doughty, but it doesn’t sound like anything is imminent, tweets Mike Jones of the Washington Post. It’s still a “work in progress,” a source tells Jones.
  • 49ers free agent running back Anthony Dixon tweets that he’s on his way to Buffalo to visit the Bills.
  • It sounds like Antonio Cromartie‘s meeting with the Cardinals was more of a feeling out than anything, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
  • The door isn’t shut on Alex Mack and the Colts, but the odds have gone down drastically, tweets Mike Wells of ESPN.

Titans Rumors: FA Visits, Hatcher, Woodley

Several of the Titans’ early free agent visits have been reported already, but Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean now provides a specific schedule for the first few. According to Wyatt (Twitter links), defensive lineman Al Woods and running back Anthony Dixon will be in town today, while the team will host defensive lineman Antonio Smith and linebacker Wesley Woodyard on Thursday, assuming neither player has agreed to sign with another club by then.

Here’s more from Wyatt:

FA Rumors: McCown, Allen, Mack, Hatcher

Josh McCown‘s first free agent visit, which is already underway, is with the Buccaneers, and the free agent quarterback and also meetings scheduled with the Texans and Jets, tweets Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com. However, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he doesn’t make it to all his scheduled visits, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News (via Twitter). Both La Canfora and Mehta suggest that a deal with the Bucs looks very possible for McCown. Here’s more on free agency:

  • Defensive end Jared Allen has narrowed down his free agent options, but may not sign all that quickly, says Tom Pelissero of USA Today (via Twitter). Meanwhile, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports that the Broncos are interested in Allen, but perhaps not at his current asking price. There also may not be any other serious suitors involved at that price, says Florio.
  • The transition tag hasn’t stopped teams from contacting center Alex Mack, according to Mike Garafolo of USA Today (via Twitter). However, Garafalo adds that the Browns free agent center has yet to set up any visits with clubs.
  • Defensive end Antonio Smith would like to stay with the Texans, but has visits lined up with the Redskins, Titans, Rams, and Raiders, tweets John McClain of the Houston Chronicle.
  • Jason Hatcher‘s visit with the Seahawks is the first of five meetings he has scheduled, tweets Calvin Watkins of ESPNDallas.com.
  • Offensive lineman Rich Ohrnberger is drawing interest as a potential starting guard or center, says Rand Getlin of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter).
  • Free agent running back Anthony Dixon will visit with the Titans, says Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle.