Auden Tate

AFC North Notes: Harbaugh, Flacco, Green

We learned last week that Ravens HC John Harbaugh is on the hot seat, and the team’s Week 9 loss to the division-rival Steelers did not do him any favors. Today, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes that Baltimore and Harbaugh are indeed heading for a “mutual parting of the ways.” While it is highly unlikely that Harbaugh will be fired before the end of the season — there is, after all, no dysfunction in the locker room and there are no obvious in-house candidates to replace Harbaugh — La Canfora says that 2018 is likely to be Harbaugh’s last on the Ravens’ sidelines. With the team transitioning to a new GM and facing a potential roster overhaul, both parties appear prepared to move on amicably.

Now for more from the AFC North:

  • One name who could be part of the Ravens‘ above-referenced overhaul, of course, is quarterback Joe Flacco. Flacco is battling a hip injury and has been spotted on crutches, though Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network describes the injury as more of a day-to-day malady than a week-to-week one (video link). So if Flacco can practice when the Ravens return to the field in a couple of days — they are on a bye this week — he will likely play. But Rapoport says Baltimore is “relishing” the uncertainty that the situation is creating for the team’s next opponent, the Bengals, and he expects first-round pick Lamar Jackson to get increased snaps whether Flacco plays or not.
  • As Adam Schefter of ESPN.com observes, Flacco’s injury does have a silver lining for the Ravens. If he is unable to suit up for next week’s game or for the next several games, Baltimore would have a better idea of where Jackson is at the moment — he is reportedly still struggling in practice — which would allow the club to better determine whether to retain Flacco in 2019 or move on.
  • Rapoport tweets that Bengals WR A.J. Green is “likely” to miss next week’s game against the Ravens, though there is a chance he will be able to suit up. That is a rosier outlook than the one presented by Schefter, who said earlier this week that Green will definitely miss the Ravens game and could miss multiple games after that. Schefter doubled down on that report today, saying that a December return is looking increasingly likely (Twitter link). Rapoport says 2018 seventh-rounder Auden Tate, who was waived last month but who was signed to the practice squad just one day later, has impressed and will see plenty of snaps in Green’s absence. Tate was promoted from the practice squad on Monday.
  • Although reports have suggested that the Browns will take a different approach to their head coach hiring process this time around, their are plenty of people in the coaching community who are still concerned about how the search will play out. La Canfora writes that team owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam do not have a good reputation in coaching circles, and they have been increasingly hands-on during their ownership, so it is fair to wonder whether GM John Dorsey will truly be running the show. There is even skepticism within the Browns’ organization that Dorsey will be given full autonomy, as the Haslams hired Hue Jackson over the protestations of almost all of their football operations staff, which wanted to hire Sean McDermott instead.
  • We learned earlier today that the Steelers are likely to put the transition tag on Le’Veon Bell, and we took another look at Bell’s future in the league.

Bengals Sign LS Clark Harris To Extension

The Bengals have signed long snapper Clark Harris to a two-year-contract extension, according to a team announcement. In other Bengals news, the club promoted wide receiver Auden Tate from the practice squad to the 53-man roster and formally placed linebacker Carl Lawson on injured reserve.

Harris, 34, earned his first Pro Bowl nod last season. He has been with the club since 2009 and boasts a nearly perfect attendance record over the last ten decade.

Tate’s promotion will provide the Bengals with insurance as they await word on A.J. Green‘s toe. Green is relying on the advice of foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson and the club is waiting to find out whether he’ll require surgery. Even if he doesn’t go under the knife, it’s expected that Green will miss some time.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 10/19/18

Here are today’s practice squad moves, with a trio of wide receivers on the move:

Buffalo Bills

Cincinatti Bengals 

  • Signed: WR Auden Tate

Indianapolis Colts

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/18/18

Today’s minor moves:

Buffalo Bills

Cincinnati Bengals

Washington Redskins

AFC North Notes: Gordon, Browns, Bengals

Browns wide receivers have been perhaps the most discussed position group in the NFL this month, with Josh Gordon, Dez Bryant and Corey Coleman commandeering news cycles. The most talented of these players is on his way to being ready for the regular season. While Gordon has not resumed practicing with the Browns since returning to Berea, Ohio, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com believes his treatment program was geared around getting ready for the regular season. While it’s possible Gordon will miss the entire preseason slate, Cabot sees the seventh-year pass-catcher not only being ready to play in Week 1 but starting alongside Jarvis Landry against the Steelers on Sept. 9. Hue Jackson also is of the belief his embattled playmaker will be out there in Week 1. Although, it’s not out of the question the NFL could have some say in Gordon’s return.

Here’s the latest out of Cleveland, along with other North-division cities.

  • The Browns’ Bryant interest was genuine, per Cabot, and not a protection against another prolonged Gordon absence. As was the case when he turned down the Ravens’ three-year offer this spring, Bryant wants a one-year deal that will help him return to free agency in a better spot than he was when the Cowboys cut him. Cabot adds both sides were impressed during Bryant’s visit, but Bryant’s price tag was probably too high for the Browns. Though, Cleveland obviously could afford to sign Bryant to whatever one-year deal he wants due to its league-leading amount of cap space. The Browns are going to continue to examine the receiver market, via trade or free agency, per Cabot.
  • Coleman was not happy with how Hard Knocks handled the sequences that led him being shipped to the Bills. The HBO show only showed the third-year receiver’s frustration in Jackson’s office, and sort-of-serious trade request, and a series of drops or other on-field work Browns coaches deemed unsatisfactory. No discussions about what went into the team’s trade decision were shown, which irked the new Buffalo resident. “With all of that, I’m going to take the high road,” Coleman said after Friday night’s Bills-Browns game (via the Buffalo News). “You all can see for yourself how all that stuff worked out. I just laugh at it because it’s kind of funny. They should have shown the whole thing if they were going to show it.”
  • Only six of the past 25 players the Bengals have selected in drafts’ final three rounds have failed to make the 53-man roster as rookies, but Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer notes some Bengals 2018 picks are on the bubble. The Bengals have combined to make 11 fifth-, sixth-, or seventh-round picks over the past two years, making some of these talents’ paths to the roster more difficult than they would be under normal circumstances. The team’s trio of 2018 fifth-rounders — cornerbacks Darius Phillips and Davontae Harris, and defensive lineman Andrew Brown — are potential roster cuts, per Dehner. The Bengals cut two rookie fifth-rounders last year, with one of those (Jake Elliott) resurfacing as the Eagles’ new kicker after opening the season on Cincy’s practice squad.
  • Additionally, rookie seventh-round wide receiver Auden Tate has a legitimate shot to make the Bengals’ roster, Jim Owczarski of the Inquirer writes. A slow 40-yard dash time (4.68 seconds) diminished Tate’s draft stock, making him one of the April event’s final picks, but the 6-foot-5 Florida State alum has emerged as a possible depth piece after a strong training camp. UDFA linebackers Chris Worley and Junior Joseph are also pushing to make Cincinnati’s roster, per Dehner.

Draft Pick Signings: 5/14/18

Here are Monday’s draft pick agreements.

  • Two Chiefs Day 3 draftees agreed to terms on Monday. Kansas City signed Texas safety Armani Watts (Round 4, pick 124) and Tennessee lineman Kahlil McKenzie (Round 6, pick 198), Adam Teicher of ESPN.com reports (Twitter links). The son of Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie, Kahlil most recently played defensive tackle for the Volunteers. But the Chiefs are beginning his NFL career as a guard. Watts figures to push for a starting job for a Chiefs team that released Ron Parker.
  • The Bengals signed their final pick of the draft in Florida State wide receiver Auden Tate, whom Cincinnati selected in the seventh round (No. 253 overall).
  • Ohio’s other team signed a fifth-round pick Monday, with the Browns agreeing to terms with Memphis linebacker Genard Avery (Round 5, pick 150).
  • Jon Gruden‘s presumptive Marquette King replacement also signed today. Florida punter Johnny Townsend (Round 5, pick 173) signed his four-year Raiders deal.
  • The 49ers signed a fellow former Gator — No. 184 overall pick — in sixth-rounder Marcell Harris, Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com tweets. San Francisco now has six of its nine selections under contract.