Bene Benwikere

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/4/18

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

Carolina Panthers

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Oakland Raiders

San Francisco 49ers

NFL Workout Updates: 12/4/18

Here is the latest from the workout circuit. All links to NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter account, unless otherwise noted.

Arizona Cardinals

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

Miami Dolphins

New York Jets

Oakland Raiders

Pittsburgh Steelers

Washington Redskins

NFL Workout Updates: 12/3/18

Here is the latest from the workout circuit. All links to NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter account, unless otherwise noted.

Buffalo Bills

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

  • G Salesi Uhatafe (link)

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

Oakland Raiders

Seattle Seahawks

Washington Redskins

Cardinals Cut Andre Smith, Bene Benwikere

The Cardinals made a host of moves Monday afternoon. Another of Patrick Peterson‘s top sidekicks is now out of the picture, with Arizona making the decision to waive cornerback Bene Benwikere.

Additionally, the Cards are cutting veteran tackle Andre Smith. They also placed Phil Dawson and linebacker Josh Bynes on IR and are elevating kicker Zane Gonzalez from the practice squad. The team announced the moves.

Smith’s inconsistency will end his Arizona tenure, per Steve Wilks (via ESPN.com’s Josh Weinfuss, on Twitter). He started eight games at right tackle for the Cardinals, including Sunday’s 45-10 loss to the Chargers, but has not played to the level he displayed during his earlier Bengals days. The 31-year-old edge blocker will head to the waiver wire, joining the less experienced Benwikere.

The Cards already parted ways with Jamar Taylor, acquired in hopes he could fill the Peterson-sidekick role the team has long had issues with, after Benwikere beat him out for that job. The young journeyman started eight Arizona games this season, intercepting one pass and making 51 tackles. Benwikere’s eight starts represent a career high in his five-season NFL run.

Dawson’s been dealing with a hip injury this season. It forced the 43-year-old kicker to miss a game earlier this month. The Cardinals’ kicker over the past two seasons, the 20-year veteran is a free agent after this season. He’s attempted a career-low eight field goals, making five. This will end Dawson’s least accurate season.

Previously going with rookie Matthew McCrane to fill in for Dawson, the Cardinals will now turn to Gonzalez. The Browns waived Gonzalez after a rough Week 2. The 2017 seventh-round pick has not kicked in a game since.

Despite being retained on a low-level deal, Bynes was playing ahead of both Deone Bucannon and Haason Reddick this season. He made 75 tackles, registered two sacks and returned a fumble for a touchdown in a standout season. Bynes is signed through the 2020 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Bryant, Bell, Cards, ASJ, Harris

Perhaps a “stop us if you’ve heard this before” tagline is appropriate, but Dez Bryant said he intends to sign with a team soon. The former Cowboys wide receiver tweeted “soon” in response to a question about when he planned to end his stay in free agency. This is obviously not the first, second or third time Bryant has discussed his employment plans or hopes, but it’s the latest. Sunday will mark the fourth set of games elapsed without Bryant on a roster. He will turn 30 this season and will be tasked with learning a new offense quickly. It’s not a great situation for the Pro Bowler as October approaches.

Week 4 Sunday is nearly upon us. Here’s what’s going on around the league leading up to it:

  • Another year’s bringing uncertainty opposite Patrick Peterson in Arizona. The Cardinals have struggled for several seasons to fill their No. 2 cornerback job, and the player they acquired to be the latest solution is now in a competition with Bene Benwikere. The Cards benched Jamar Taylor in Week 3 and now have he and Benwikere competing for the other starting job, Bob McManamon of the Arizona Republic notes. These two follow the likes of Brandon Williams and Justin Bethel in the Cardinals’ continuous search to find a reliable starter opposite Peterson. While both players will still play against the Seahawks, per Steve Wilks, this being a competition again is notable given the team’s recent history here.
  • The Jets offered Austin Seferian-Jenkins $8MM over two years, but he chose to depart for Jacksonville for a two-year, $10MM agreement. Nevertheless, Todd Bowles doesn’t begrudge his former tight end for departing for a bit more cash. “Nothing personal,” Bowles said, via John Rowe of NorthJersey.com. “The timing wasn’t right. He got away and that’s just part of free agency every year. We lose some and we keep some. But the guys have done a good job filling in right now.” Eric Tomlinson leads Jets tight ends with three receptions for 45 yards. Seferian-Jenkins’ 50-reception season was the most among Gang Green tight ends since Dustin Keller caught 65 passes for 815 yards in 2011. ASJ, though, only turned his 50 grabs into 357 yards. The new Jags pass-catcher has nine receptions for 66 yards entering Week 4.
  • Gang Green resides as a possible landing spot for Le’Veon Bell, in the view of ESPN’s Josina Anderson (Instagram link). She lists the Jets, Eagles and Packers as being possible fits for the disgruntled running back. The Jets lead this trio with $16MM-plus in cap space. The Eagles hold less than $5MM. Bell is attached to a $10MM-plus prorated version of his franchise tag salary.
  • The Broncos have not found a replacement for Aqib Talib, and Bradley Roby is struggling going into a key game against the Chiefs. This has left Denver’s once-vaunted secondary in trouble, and it continues to force Chris Harris — arguably this decade’s premier slot defender — to play the slot on passing downs. “I like being on the outside because that’s where I can get more picks,’’ Harris said, via 9News’ Mike Klis. “I can read the quarterback more; I can use my coverage skills a lot more. I just think I can make more plays. In the slot, I’m always with my back to the quarterback; I’m man to man most of the time; I can’t see where the ball’s going. So, it’s hard to make those plays.” Late last season, the All-Pro corner expressed a desire to be used on the outside in more than just base sets, but that hasn’t come to pass this season. Denver, which has vacillated between using Adam Jones and Tramaine Brock as its No. 3 corner, ranks 21st against the pass through three games. The team hasn’t finished outside the top five in aerial deterrence in five seasons.

Cardinals Sign CB Bene Benwikere To 1-Year Deal

The Cardinals added a bit of depth to their secondary Friday by signing cornerback Bene Benwikere to a one-year deal, per the team’s official website. Benwikere is familiar with new Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks. The Panthers selected him in the fifth round of the 2014 draft and he spent the first three seasons of his career in Carolina. 

Benwikere, 26, appeared in 12 games for the Cowboys last season. He also spent time on the practice squads for the Bengals, Dolphins and Packers after the Panthers released him early in the 2016 season.

The Cardinals have plenty of holes to fill in their secondary this offseason, with Tramon Williams and Tyrann Mathieu off the roster and Tyvon Branch and Justin Bethel still unsigned as unrestricted free agents. The team also still has interest in free-agent cornerback Marcus Cooper, according to Mike Jurecki of Arizona Sports Station 98.7 FM (on Twitter). Cooper played with the Cardinals in 2016 and was cut by the Bears last week.

In three seasons with the Panthers, Benwikere appeared in 27 games and made 14 starts, along with two starts in the 2014 postseason. The Panthers cut ties with Benwikere after Julio Jones collected 300 receiving yards in a game against the Panthers in October 2016.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Cowboys, Benwikere, Vikings

A quick look around the NFL:

Bengals Trade Bene Benwikere To Cowboys

Bene Benwikere will find himself on a fifth team in the past 11 months after the Bengals and Cowboys agreed to a trade. Dallas will acquire the fourth-year cornerback for a late-round pick, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

The Bengals signed Benwikere on a league-minimum deal in February. The former Panthers contributor hasn’t played in a game since Carolina cut him after a rough outing against the Falcons early last season.

Benwikere spent time as a UFA after stints with the Dolphins and Packers last season. The former Carolina starter received interest when on waivers last season, but the Cowboys were not one of the teams who put in a claim for the corner. Benwikere started 14 games with the Panthers from 2014-16 but was not part of their Super Bowl 50 effort, suffering an injury late in the 2015 season.

The Cowboys drafted three corners — Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis and Marquez White — and signed Nolan Carroll. Benwikere could provide some experience as a reserve to a Dallas roster that lost Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne in free agency.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

North Notes: Bengals, Smith, Ravens, Vikes

With Cincinnati’s offensive line facing offseason uncertainty, a reunion with former Bengal/current Viking right tackle Andre Smith could make sense for both parties, as Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer opines (Twitter links). Smith, whom the Bengals made the sixth overall pick in 2009, played seven seasons in the Queen City before inking a one-year deal with Minnesota last year. If he did rejoin Cincinnati, Smith would slot back in at right tackle, where 2015 first-round pick Cedric Ogbuehi recently struggled. One problem with such a scenario, per Dehner, would be forcing 2015 second-round pick Jake Fisher — who played well at right tackle last year — to guard, a position he hasn’t played much of in the NFL.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two North divisions:

  • Although Kyle Juszczyk would view a return to the Ravens as “phenomenal,” the veteran fullback would consider other any offers that might be proposed this spring, he tells SiriusXM NFL Radio (Twitter link). The 25-year-old Juszczyk led all NFL fullbacks in both offensive snaps (465) and receptions (37) in 2016, although the lack of fullback usage in the league figures to drive down his market. In terms of positional spending, the Chiefs’ Anthony Sherman currently leads all fullbacks with a $2.1MM annual salary. Juszczyk, a former fourth-round pick out of Harvard, will join a free agent fullback class that includes Patrick DiMarco (Falcons), Marcel Reece (Seahawks), and Jerome Felton (Bills).
  • Former Vikings quarterbacks coach Scott Turner has joined the University of Michigan as an offensive analyst, tweets Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com. Turner’s father, Norv, resigned as Minnesota’s offensive coordinator midway through last season, and while Scott was retained to finish out the campaign, he was fired by the Vikings last month. Although Turner had coached in the NFL since 2011, he didn’t have many options around the league if he wanted to continue leading quarterback rooms — the only QB coaching job still available is in Kansas City, per Dan Hatman of The Scouting Academy (Twitter link).
  • Cornerback Bene Benwikere‘s one-year deal with the Bengals is worth $690K, the minimum for a player with three years experience, according to Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Still only 25 years old, Benwikere took visits with four other clubs (including the Jets) before signing with Cincinnati. He’ll compete for a spot in the Bengals’ secondary that includes Adam Jones, Darqueze Dennard, William Jackson III, Josh Shaw, and pending free agent Dre Kirkpatrick.

Bengals To Sign Bene Benwikere

Try saying this five times fast: the Bengals have agreed to sign cornerback Bene Benwikere. The deal was first reported by Tom Pelissero of USA Today (on Twitter). It’s a one-year pact, agent Bardia Ghahremani tells ESPN.com’s Katherine Terrell (on Twitter). Bene Benwikere (Vertical)

Before signing with Cincinnati, the corner visited with four other teams, according to Pelissero. As previously reported, the Jets also showed interest in Benwikere and hosted him on a visit in early February.

Still only 25 (26 in September), Big Play Bene is hoping to put a trying 2016 in the rear view mirror. Benwikere was released by Carolina early in the 2016 season after one particularly bad game against the Falcons. In that contest, Julio Jones hauled in 12 catches for 300 yards and a touchdown with the majority of the damage coming against the San Jose State product. After the game, Benwikere admitted that he was gassed and that apparently didn’t sit right with Carolina brass.

After Benwikere was cut, the Dolphins claimed him on waivers, beating out the Titans and Redskins thanks to their higher priority. After finishing the regular season on Miami’s taxi squad, he joined the Packers’ p-squad during the playoffs.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.