Austin Calitro

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/25/21

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here:

Arizona Cardinals 

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

  • Released from IR via injury settlement: LB Nate Hall

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Signed: LB Nate Evans
  • Waived: DL Frederick Smith Jr.

Los Angeles Rams

  • Waived: LS Steven Wirtel

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

  • Released from IR via injury settlement: WR Marvin Hall

New York Giants

San Francisco 49ers

Tennessee Titans

Bears Place Austin Calitro On IR

The Bears have gained a roster spot while losing a veteran linebacker. Austin Calitro has been placed on injured reserve with a hamstring injury, per a club announcement. 

Calitro suffered the injury in Saturday’s preseason loss to the Bills. Before that, Calitro was pushing to make the 80-man cut and pursue one of the final LB spots on the roster.

Calitro spent last season with the Broncos before joining up with the Bears in May. The 27-year-old is no stranger to changing teams — he even spent his first pro season (2017) with four different clubs (Jets, 49ers, Seahawks, and Browns). The Seahawks gave him another chance in 2018 and he established himself as a legitimate NFL ‘backer. He appeared in all 16 games during that 2018 season (with five starts), compiling 45 tackles, 0.5 sacks, and three tackles for loss.

He got into 13 games with the Jaguars in 2019, finishing with 40 tackles and one sack. His 2020 with the Broncos was less eventful — 13 games and just three tackles while playing exclusively on special teams. It’s not clear whether his injury is a true season-ender, but Calitro will be sidelined for an extended period.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bears Sign LB Austin Calitro

Austin Calitro is heading to Chicago. The free agent linebacker is signing with the Bears, the organization announced this evening (via the team’s Twitter).

Calitro bounced around the NFL a bit to begin his career; the 2017 undrafted free agent out of Villanova spent his rookie campaign with four different teams (Jets, 49ers, Seahawks, and Browns). Seattle gave the linebacker another chance in 2018, and Calitro established himself as a legitimate NFL linebacker. He appeared in all 16 games during that 2018 season (with five starts), compiling 45 tackles, 0.5 sacks, and three tackles for loss.

He got into 13 games with the Jaguars in 2019, finishing with 40 tackles and one sack. He caught on with Denver for the 2020 season, and while he appeared in 13 total games, he finished with only three tackles while playing exclusively on special teams.

The Bears will likely turn to Calitro on special teams, but the 27-year-old also has an opportunity to play on defense. Roquan Smith, Danny Trevathan, and backup Christian Jones seem set atop the depth chart, but Calitro will compete with the likes of Joel Iyiegbuniwe, Josh Woods, and Caleb Johnson for backup reps.

To make room on the roster, the Bears waived wideout Reggie Davis (via the team’s website). The Georgia product spent most of the 2020 campaign on Chicago’s practice squad.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/31/20

Here is the league’s avalanche of Halloween minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/28/20

Today’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Cleveland Browns

Cincinnati Bengals

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

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.