Austin Calitro

Broncos Trade Christian Covington To Bengals

The Broncos have agreed to trade defensive tackle Christian Covington to the Bengals in exchange for linebacker Austin Calitro, as Dianna Marie Russini of ESPN.com tweets. The deal appears to be a one-for-one swap, with no additional draft capital attached. 

Covington joined the Broncos on a one-year, $1.75MM deal in April. Before that, he spent the 2019 season with the Cowboys and the previous four years with the Texans. With Dallas, he had one of his most productive seasons to date, posting a career-high 28 tackles to go with one sack and one pass defended in 16 games. For his career, he has 93 tackles, 8.5 sacks, and a forced fumble to his credit.

Calitro suited up in 13 games (including four starts) for the Jaguars last year, but they dropped him in late April to make room for their incoming class of draft picks and a host of undrafted free agents. The Bengals scooped him up off of waivers, using their higher priority to beat out the Broncos. The Browns, Jets, and Raiders also tried to claim Calitro, who registered 40 tackles and a sack while serving as a key special teams contributor in 2019.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Five Teams Tried To Claim Austin Calitro

Austin Calitro is a popular guy. The Broncos, Browns, Jets, and Raiders all tried to claim the linebacker after he was waived by the Jaguars, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Ultimately, they all lost out to the Bengals, who had the league’s worst record last year and top priority on the waiver wire.

[RELATED: Bengals Claim Samaje Perine]

The Bengals were happy to welcome Calitro, who suited up in 13 games (including four starts) for the Jaguars last year. He’s got a solid chance of making the roster, where he could see his time split between defense and special teams. If he doesn’t make the cut, it’s a safe bet that at least a couple of these clubs will come calling.

Last year, Calitro registered 40 tackles and a sack while serving as a key special teams contributor for Jacksonville. Over the last two years, he’s logged 432 snaps in the third facet of the game.

Bengals Claim RB Samaje Perine, LB Austin Calitro

The Bengals have claimed RB Samaje Perine and LB Austin Calitro off waivers, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Perine had been waived by the Dolphins, and Calitro had been waived by the Jaguars.

It will be a reunion between Cincinnati and Perine. The Bengals claimed the Oklahoma product off waivers from the Redskins last September, but he saw just five offensive snaps for the team before he was waived. He cleared waivers and was re-signed to the Bengals’ practice squad, but the Dolphins plucked him off the p-squad towards the end of the season.

Washington selected Perine in the fourth round of the 2017 draft, and he generated some buzz in his rookie campaign, compiling 603 yards and a score (albeit with a modest 3.4 YPC average). Since then, though, he has managed a grand total of 13 carries. But the Bengals did not pick up a running back in this year’s draft, and as Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic tweets, Cincinnati believes Perine has some untapped potential. He will compete for snaps behind former Sooner teammate Joe Mixon and current RB2 Giovani Bernard.

Calitro, meanwhile, played in 13 games (four starts) for Jacksonville last season. He put up 40 tackles and a sack and also served as a primary special teams contributor. The Bengals have made some investments at LB in free agency and the draft, but if he makes the team, Calitro could squeeze out some playing time on defense and on special teams.

Jaguars Sign 18 UDFAs; Cut 5 Players

The Jaguars made a slew of UDFA signings on Monday and released five players to make room for them. Here’s the full rundown, per the club’s press release.

Signed:

  • Luq Barcoo, CB (San Diego State)
  • Doug Cotsin, DL (Miami of Ohio)
  • Nathan Cottrell, RB (Georgia Tech)
  • Ben Ellefson, TE (North Dakota State)
  • Nate Evans, LB (Central Florida)
  • Josh Hammond, WR (Florida)
  • Amari Henderson, CB (Wake Forest)
  • Tavien Feaster, RB (South Carolina)
  • Ross Matiscik, LS (Baylor)
  • Steven Nielson, OL (Eastern Michigan)
  • Austen Pleasants, OL (Ohio)
  • J.R. Reed, S (Georgia)
  • James Robinson, RB (Illinois State)
  • Marvelle Ross, WR (Notre Dame College of Ohio)
  • Connor Slomka, FB (Army)
  • Tre’Vour Wallace-Simms, OL (Missouri)
  • Kobe Williams, CB (Arizona State)
  • Brandon Wright, K (Georgia State)

Feaster, who spent most of his collegiate career with Clemson before transferring to South Carolina, is one of the more notable names on their UDFA list. Last year, he led the Gamecocks in rushing with 672 yards and scored five touchdowns via the ground. Meanwhile, Barcoo scored a whopping $160K guarantee (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle), which may be the highest ever for an undrafted free agent in the NFL. Barcoo was one of four undrafted Aztecs to score deals this week. He’ll look to bulk up on his thin 175-pound frame as he pursues his lifelong dream.

Released:

Peake showed promise as a seventh-round rookie in 2016, catching 19 passes with Gang Green. After that, he wasn’t able to keep his footing with the Jets and he’ll have to find a new NFL home now that the Jaguars have dropped him.

 

AFC Notes: Colts, Pouncey, Marshall, Calitro

The Colts confirmed Jim Irsay received a $3.2 billion offer to sell the team, the Indianapolis Star’s Joel Erickson and Nat Newell report. A Colts spokesperson informed the newspaper’s duo the team is not for sale. Still, that reported offer came in far north of what it cost for David Tepper to acquire the Panthers last year ($2.3 billion). It would have been a record price for an NFL franchise. Forbes’ most recent valuation of NFL teams placed the Colts 20th at $2.65 billion — up 11% from last year’s figure. The Irsay family has owned the Colts since 1972.

Moving back to on-field matters, here is the latest out of the AFC:

  • Mike Pouncey asked his agent, Joel Segal, to pursue a new deal with the Chargers, Eric Williams of ESPN.com notes. The Pro Bowl center signed a one-year, $9MM re-up; the 30-year-old blocker wanted to stay with a team he felt had Super Bowl aspirations rather than try to maximize his value on the open market. “At this point of my career, this team gives me the best chance to win,” Pouncey said, via Williams. “For me to want to leave here in Year 10 and go somewhere else, it didn’t make any sense to me, no matter what the number was in salary. I felt like whenever we got done with training camp and the offer was there, we jumped on it.” Pouncey, who did not play in a playoff game in seven Dolphins seasons, started 16 games for the Bolts last year.
  • Brandon Marshall worked out for the Texans this week but was not signed. The former Super Bowl starter and recent Raiders cut mentioned to ESPN.com’s Josina Anderson the Texans informed him a signing could take place after Week 1 (Twitter link). Marshall spent much of the offseason rehabbing a knee injury that helped lead to his Broncos departure, mentioning on Hard Knocks he was in pain for much of that time. However, the soon-to-be 30-year-old off-ball linebacker said during the HBO series finale he has returned to full health — albeit too late to make the Raiders. The Texans feature Benardrick McKinney and Zach Cunningham as their starting inside ‘backers but are much less proven behind them.
  • The Jaguars claimed linebacker Austin Calitro off waivers from Seattle, but other AFC teams wanted to add the recently cut defender. Both the Broncos and Bengals submitted claims for Calitro, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. But the Jags’ higher waiver priority, No. 7, won out. Both Denver and Cincinnati are thin at inside ‘backer presently.
  • Myles Jack‘s recent Jags extension secured him the NFL’s second-highest guarantee figure.
  • The Dolphins’ inexperienced defensive line became even less seasoned, with the team cutting Nate Orchard.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/3/19

Here are today’s minor moves:

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Seahawks Release LB Austin Calitro

The unexpected cuts continue. On Monday, the Seahawks dropped linebacker Austin Calitro, as Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.

In 2018, Cailtro appeared in all 16 games and made five starts at multiple positions. All in all, he recorded 45 tackles while also serving as a key special teamer.

None of that was enough for him to keep his roster spot. At least, not right now. As we’ve seen multiple times this week, the Seahawks could circle back to the ‘backer in short order.

Seahawks OT George Fant Signs RFA Tender

Seahawks offensive tackle George Fant has signed his second-round restricted free agent tender, while defensive end Quinton Jefferson has signed his original round RFA tender, according to the NFL’s transaction wire.

A collegiate basketball player with only one year of NCAA football experience (which came as a tight end), Fant went undrafted in 2016 but still managed to start 10 games during his rookie campaign in Seattle. A torn ACL cost Fant the 2017 season, but he rebounded to appear in all 16 games and play 35% of the Seahawks’ offensive snaps in 2018.

Fant, who will now collect a $3.095MM base salary next year, graded out well in 2018, with Pro Football Focus ranking him as the No. 26 offensive tackle among 80 qualifiers. While he won’t be locked in as a starter heading into next season, Fant could compete with former fist-round pick Germain Ifedi for playing time at right tackle.

In addition to Fant and Jefferson, the Seahawks have also re-signed the following exclusive rights free agents:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

RFA/ERFA Tender Decisions: 3/13/19

Here is the latest news involving restricted free agents and exclusive-rights free agents, with updates coming throughout the day:

ERFA

Tendered:

Non-tendered:

RFA

Tendered at second-round level: 

Tendered at original-round level:

Non-tendered: 

West Rumors: Chiefs, Hawks, Rams, Tryouts

With Patrick Mahomes being arguably the NFL MVP through two weeks, the Chiefs are exiting a tough two-game stretch — road assignments against the Chargers and Steelers — at 2-0. They’ve done this without their defensive centerpiece. Eric Berry‘s been bothered by a nagging heel injury and hasn’t practice since early August. However, the three-time All-Pro safety is improving in his recovery and may be ready to practice this week, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The cancer survivor was already trying to surmount his second severe NFL injury, having also missed most of the 2011 season prior to tearing his Achilles’ tendon in Week 1 of last year, and is important for a Chiefs defense that’s struggled in shootout wins.

Here’s the latest out of the Wests entering the Seahawks-Bears Monday tilt.

  • Mychal Kendricks will play plenty in his Seahawks debut Monday night, John Schneider said (Twitter link via Stacy Jo Rost of ESPN 710). Austin Calitro will be Seattle’s middle linebacker in place of the injured Bobby Wagner, Schneider said, and Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times expects Kendricks to primarily play on the weak side (Twitter link). He’s working with the starters in warmups, per Condotta (on Twitter). Kendricks is facing an NFL suspension for his insider trading charge but is appealing and is thus allowed to play tonight.
  • Rams practice squad center Aaron Neary‘s run into trouble. He was arrested Sunday for suspicion of DUI and hit and run charges, Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com reports. Neary’s blood-alcohol level of .17 was more than twice the legal limit, and Thiry adds he was booked into the Ventura County Jail. Neary came to the Rams recently, after being waived by the Browns to create roster space for Anthony Zettel. He spent most of last season on the Rams’ practice squad, playing in one 2017 game, but may have trouble keeping that spot.
  • Clive Walford ventured to Kansas City for a Chiefs workout on Monday, Rapoport tweets. The former Raiders tight end was a Jets cut this summer. After being a regular in Oakland’s passing game in 2015-16, the one-time third-round pick only caught nine passes for 80 yards last season.
  • The Raiders‘ affinity for 30-somethings this offseason should be well known, and Jon Gruden said the team would have signed Clinton McDonald in March had a medical issue not intervened, per Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal (on Twitter). McDonald signed with the Broncos, but they reworked his contract because of an injury. He’s now with the Raiders, having made his Raider debut in Denver.
  • Joe Callahan was among a contingent that worked out for the Raiders on Monday, Gehlken tweets. The now-well-traveled backup quarterback was most recently with the Eagles during the preseason. Quarterback Kyle Allen, tight end Billy Brown, running back Orleans Darkwa, wide receivers Roger Lewis and Hunter Sharp also auditioned for the Silver and Black, per NFL reporter Howard Balzer (on Twitter). The Colts, Jets, Bills, Patriots (twice) and Redskins have brought in Darkwa for workouts this year.
  • Former Broncos backup inside linebacker Zaire Anderson will work out for the Cardinals on Tuesday, Mike Klis of 9News tweets. Anderson spent three years with the Broncos — 2015-17, being on Denver’s practice squad during its Super Bowl season — before being a post-preseason cut. Also working out for the Cardinals: linebacker Nigel Harris, per Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times (on Twitter).