Austin Reiter

Saints Elevate WR Kenny Stills

Thin at wide receiver, the Saints are promoting a familiar player to help fill the void. The team elevated Kenny Stills from its practice squad Saturday.

Should the Saints dress Stills for their Week 3 game against the Patriots, it will mark his first game with the team since 2014. Like former teammate Brandin Cooks, Stills has been involved in multiple trades since his most recent game as a Saint. New Orleans traded Stills to Miami in 2015; the Dolphins sent him to the Texans in 2019.

Stills’ most recent Saints slate remains his best yardage total to date, with the former fifth-round pick accumulating 931 in his second season. The veteran deep threat has 37 touchdown catches and 4,843 receiving yards as a pro. Much has changed since Stills’ last stint on New Orleans’ active roster. Only Cameron Jordan and Terron Armstead remain from that period.

The 29-year-old target has, however, hit a bit of a rough patch since the Texans acquired Cooks and reconfigured their receiving corps last year. Stills has not played in a game since the Texans faced the Patriots in Week 10 of last season. Houston released Stills last November. While the Bills signed him to their practice squad late last season, Stills did not suit up for Buffalo.

The Saints reacquired Stills on a practice squad deal last week. He will join a receiving corps in need. The Saints are down Michael Thomas until at least Week 7, due to his belated ankle surgery, and also have Tre’Quan Smith stashed on IR. New Orleans also elevated center Austin Reiter for Sunday’s game. Starter Erik McCoy remains out with a calf injury.

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Minor NFL Transactions: 9/18/21

The customary Saturday minor moves avalanche:

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

  • Promoted: WR DeMichael Harris

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

San Francisco 49ers

Tennessee Titans

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 9/15/21

We’ll keep track of today’s taxi squad moves here:

Baltimore Ravens

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Los Angeles Chargers

Las Vegas Raiders

New Orleans Saints

Seattle Seahawks

Saints To Sign C Austin Reiter

After working out Austin Reiter on Tuesday, the Saints reached an agreement to add the veteran center, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Reiter will join a Saints team that lost starter Erik McCoy to a calf strain in Week 1.

The Saints are expected to sign Reiter to their practice squad and elevate him to their active roster before Sunday’s Week 2 game, per Pelissero. Reiter has been in free agency since March, though the former Super Bowl starter has been linked to multiple teams — the Bengals, Giants and Texans — this year.

Following McCoy’s injury, New Orleans shifted Cesar Ruiz from guard to center and summoned rookie UDFA Calvin Throckmorton to the starting lineup at guard in his first NFL game. Reiter will give the Saints considerable experience as a possible bench option or as a starting center. Such an arrangement would allow Ruiz to stay at guard, though the Michigan product did enter the 2020 draft with considerable center experience. Ruiz served as the Wolverines’ starting center from 2018-19.

Reiter, 29, served as Kansas City’s starting center over the past two seasons. The Chiefs, however, made wholesale changes on their offensive front this year. They replaced Reiter (and everyone else from their 2020 starting O-line) with second-round pick Creed Humphrey, while also adding ex-Rams starter Austin Blythe in free agency.

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Saints’ Erik McCoy To Miss Time

Saints center Erik McCoy will miss time due to a calf strain (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero). While the team awaits word on his timetable, they’ll work out former Chiefs center Austin Reiter, per Pelissero. 

The Saints drafted McCoy in Round 2 of the 2019 Draft and immediately installed him as the starting center. They flirted with moving him to right guard at one point in time to make room for Cesar Ruiz, but his leadership in the middle was too valuable to lose.

Including Sunday’s blowout win over the Packers, Ruiz has started in all 33 of his games for the Saints. Now, he’ll be shelved for the first time in his young pro career.

Reiter, a Washington seventh-round pick in 2016, could offer some interim support. He spent the last couple of seasons as Patrick Mahomes‘ snapper, but Kansas City let him hit the open market. Reiter met with multiple teams, including the Bengals, Giants, and Texans, but went unsigned all offseason.

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Giants Met With Austin Reiter

The Giants brought in a veteran O-lineman yesterday, signing 30-year-old blocker Joe Looney. Yesterday morning, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com reported that free agent center Austin Reiter was expected to visit with Big Blue “in the coming days” (Twitter link).

However, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports that Reiter has already met with the Giants, and that the Looney acquisition has closed the door on a Reiter signing, at least for the time being. Looney could supplant Nick Gates at the pivot, thereby shifting Gates to guard, or he could serve as guard depth himself. With Reiter having worked almost exclusively at center in his career, it would certainly seem that there is no room for him with the Giants at this point.

A seventh-round pick of the Washington Football Team in 2016, Reiter eventually caught on with the Chiefs and settled into a role as Patrick Mahomes‘ snapper over the past two seasons. But Kansas City let him hit the open market this offseason and then added Austin Blythe in free agency and Creed Humphrey in the draft. Reiter has recently met with the Bengals and Texans, so he could be on the verge of finding a new home even without the Giants in the picture.

In other Giants OL news, left guard Shane Lemieux recently sustained a knee injury that will sideline him for a couple of weeks. Luckily, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets, the second-year pro will not require surgery and should be on track for the start of the regular season. Given that Lemieux was carted off the field when he suffered the injury, that comes as a big relief for New York.

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C Austin Reiter On Texans’ Radar

Austin Reiter booked another workout, with the Texans, and the former Super Bowl starter may be on the verge of securing a landing spot.

Reiter and the Texans are expected to continue discussing a deal that would end his months-long free agency stay, per Sports Talk 790’s Aaron Wilson (on Twitter).

This comes after the Bengals worked out Reiter. While the Texans are in the early stages of a rebuild, this status has not deterred them from making numerous short-term additions in free agency. Reiter, whom the Chiefs have since replaced, would be in position to succeed since-departed center Nick Martin or at least represent strong competition to do so.

A former Washington seventh-round pick, Reiter settled into a role as Patrick Mahomes‘ snapper over the past two seasons. Reiter started 32 games for the Chiefs from 2018-20, taking over for Mitch Morse as Kansas City’s full-time starter in 2019. The Chiefs operated aggressively up front this offseason, signing Austin Blythe and drafting center Creed Humphrey in the second round. This left the 29-year-old Reiter needing to find a new team.

Houston added longtime Seattle center starter Justin Britt this offseason, but Britt has not played since the 2019 season. The Texans also signed interior O-lineman Lane Taylor, who joins a brigade of veterans to latch on with the retooling franchise this year.

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Bengals To Meet With Austin Reiter

The Bengals will meet with Austin Reiter on Monday (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero). Reiter, who started in back-to-back Super Bowls for the Chiefs, could help to improve the offensive line that did little to protect Joe Burrow in 2020.

The Chiefs tried to keep Reiter in the spring, but their offer wasn’t to his liking. When things stalled, they pivoted to former Rams center Austin Blythe.

Reiter, 30 in November, started 12 games in 2020 and played every single snap in the Super Bowl. The year prior, he saw time in all 16 games. A seventh-round pick of Washington back in 2015, he quickly ended up on the Browns. He only had one career start under his belt when he landed in Kansas City via a waiver claim in 2018. Now, he’s a seasoned vet with 33 starts to his credit.

The Bengals passed up Penei Sewell at No. 5 overall, choosing to fortify their O-Line later on in the draft instead. Now, armed with a new OL coach in Frank Pollack, they’re hoping right tackle Riley Reiff can be a big difference-maker. Reiter, meanwhile, could shore up the interior.

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Chiefs Have Made Offer To C Austin Reiter

Austin Reiter might end up back in Kansas City after all. Herbie Teope of the Kansas City Star reports (via Twitter) that the Chiefs have made an offer to the free agent center. Reiter is considering the organization’s offer.

We learned last week that the Chiefs were likely going to let Reiter hit the open market, and there was an expectation that he’d ultimately land elsewhere. However, the 29-year-old has yet to commit to an offer, so perhaps Kansas City changed their tune when they learned of the player’s adjusted asking price.

Reiter started 12 games this past year (and played every snap in the Super Bowl), and all 16 the season before. A seventh-round pick of Washington back in 2015, he quickly ended up on the Browns and only had one career start under his belt when he landed in Kansas City via a waiver claim in 2018.

He turned into a nice diamond in the rough find for the Chiefs as a serviceable player, but it sounded like the veteran could end up being a victim of the organization’s desire to revamp their offensive line in front of Patrick Mahomes. The team has already started with that makeover, inking Joe Thuney to a five-year deal and signing Kyle Long out of retirement.

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Chiefs C Austin Reiter Expected To Walk

The Chiefs really weren’t playing around about overhauling their offensive line. Hours after releasing both of their starting tackles, it looks like another starter on the O-line will be on the move shortly.

Center Austin Reiter will hit the open market and is expected to sign somewhere other than Kansas City, a source told Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link). Patrick Mahomes was running for his life in the Super Bowl, and the Chiefs are clearly making upgrading his protection their priority this offseason.

Reiter started 12 games this past year (and played every snap in the Super Bowl), and all 16 the season before. A seventh-round pick of Washington back in 2015, he quickly ended up on the Browns and only had one career start under his belt when he landed in Kansas City via a waiver claim in 2018.

He turned into a nice diamond in the rough find for the Chiefs as a serviceable player, but they’re now apparently looking for a player with more upside to man the pivot. Reiter turned 29 in November.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.