BenJarvus Green-Ellis

Extra Points: A. Davis, BJGE, J. Jones, Rice

When Anthony Davis announced his decision to step away from the 49ers, it wasn’t exactly classified as his retirement. Unlike Patrick Willis, Justin Smith, and Chris Borland, San Francisco’s former right tackle still plans to return to the NFL at some point, suggesting that he’ll probably take a year off before returning to the league.

“Yeah, I will come back,” Davis told Brian Dohn of “I want to rest. I feel like right now I could go into a camp and play, but I want to rest. … I’m getting my hands right, seeing specialists, foot specialists, making sure I’m on the right track to play another five or six years if I wanted to.”

According to Davis, it’s not accurate to say that he’s taking the 2015 season off to recover from a concussion — it’s more about getting his whole body right, and giving himself a rest.

Let’s round up the rest of today’s odds and ends from across the NFL….

  • BenJarvus Green-Ellis is looking for a new NFL home, and the free agent running back tells Dan Graziano of that he’s “optimistic” about getting that call. “Obviously, each team that’s in the market is in the market for a certain type of back,” Green-Ellis said. “But I know somebody out there has a need for what I can do. More than anything, I’m excited to get back out there and hit somebody.”
  • We haven’t heard much recently on Julio Jones’ contract talks, but Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff told Ian Rapoport of (on Twitter) that it’s the most “professional and team cognizant contract approach” to a contract negotiation he’s seen.
  • When asked about Ray Rice, Texans owner Bob McNair said that the veteran free agent probably wouldn’t fit in his locker room, adding that the four running backs already on the roster are better players, tweets Tania Ganguli of
  • Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown has a more legitimate gripe about his deal than Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor, opines Joel Corry of (on Twitter). Brown has outperformed his contract at wide receiver while there has been no real change in the strong safety market. Earlier today, a source told Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk that Chancellor was under the impression that he would have his contract reworked upon establishing himself as one of the best at his position.
  • Free agent wide receiver Da’Rick Rogers has been suspended for the first two weeks of the season, a source tells Ian Rapoport of (on Twitter). That could help to explain why Rogers remains unsigned in mid-August.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Texans Interested In Pierre Thomas, BJGE

9:00pm: The Texans have also internally discussed BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Rand Getlin of tweets. Mark Berman of FOX 26 (Twitter link) hears that Houston will look at Thomas, Ben Malena, and Joe McKnight with Thomas as the frontrunner for the job.

6:25pm: Pierre Thomas is on his way to Houston to take a physical and meet with the Texans, a source tells Ian Rapoport of (on Twitter). Houston hopes to sign him if all is well, Rapoport adds.

The Texans, of course, are looking a little bit thin at running back after it was learned that Arian Foster will require groin surgery. There’s no timetable for Foster’s return just yet, but there’s talk that his recovery will require a trip to the IR-DTR list. At present, Houston’s running back depth chart includes Alfred Blue towards the top with Chris Polk, Jonathan Grimes, and rookie Kenny Hilliard all behind him.

Despite playing in ten games in 2014, Thomas amassed only 45 carries all year with the Saints, the lowest for his career. Thomas did remain fairly involved in the passing game, however, grabbing 45 balls out of the backfield. He was pushed onto the backburner as former first-round pick Mark Ingram saw his workload and productivity increase. Ingram, who has also struggled with injuries, was given over 200 carries during his breakout year.


Extra Points: Green-Ellis, Rice, Bengals, Bucs

A few NFL teams are starting to see their backfields thin out a little as the season progresses, whether due to suspensions (Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson) or injuries (Mark Ingram, Jamaal Charles, Knowshon Moreno, and others). While most of those clubs have relied on in-house replacements so far, veteran free agent BenJarvus Green-Ellis has received some inquiries from teams, reports Jason La Canfora of (via Twitter).

According to La Canfora (via Twitter), the former Bengal, who is coming off a preseason hip injury, continues to rehab and work toward full health. When he’s ready to play, Green-Ellis should be able to find a job, since there are plenty of potential suitors monitoring him now.

Here are a few more Wednesday odds and ends from around the NFL:

Bengals Cut BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Others

2:28pm: In addition to releasing Green-Ellis, the Bengals have also cut three other players, as Ian Rapoport of and Coley Harvey of report (Twitter links). Quarterback Tyler Wilson, defensive tackle LaKendrick Ross, and linebacker Brandon Joiner have been waived by the team.

1:21pm: The Bengals have elected to part ways with the player who has been their primary running back for the last two seasons, according to Jason La Canfora of La Canfora reports (via Twitter) that the team will release veteran rusher BenJarvus Green-Ellis.

Green-Ellis, 29, averaged over 900 rushing yards during his last two seasons in Cincinnati, but he also posted just 3.7 yards per carry, and ceded touches to explosive playmaker Giovani Bernard in 2013. With Bernard poised to assume a larger role in the offense, and with rookie running back Jeremy Hill now in the mix as well, Green-Ellis had become expendable.

Green-Ellis’ $3MM cap hit for the 2014 season included $500K in prorated bonus money and a $200K workout bonus, but the team will create $2.3MM in cap savings by cutting the veteran.

AFC North Links: Ravens, Bengals, Browns, Steelers

When Anquan Boldin left the Ravens last offseason, it looked like former undrafted rookie Deonte Thompson could potentially step up and fill the void. However, the former Florida Gator struggled during his sophomore season. The wideout missed the first three games with a foot injury and was reportedly arrested in February (the case was dropped).

As a result, Thompson is trying to make up for lost time. With the odds stacked against him, the 25-year-old is hoping for a breakout season. Via Ryan Mink of

It’s a big year,” Thompson said. “I’m motivated, man. I’m so motivated. You can’t take anything for granted out here. You have to give it your all.

“It’s going to be a great competition, man. No doubt. The cream always rises to the top, so the best will definitely stick out.”

Thompson also touched on his disappointing 2013 season…

Everything was going good and I felt like the sky was going to be the limit, then bam, I get hurt.

“When I got back, just catching back up and trying to get back in, the season’s already rolling and guys are plugged in. That really set me back.”

Thompson certainly has some competition for a roster spot. Besides shoo-ins Torrey Smith, Steve Smith, Marlon Brown and Jacoby Jones, he’ll also have to compete with Jeremy Butler, Michael Campanaro and LaQuan Williams.

Let’s check out some more news from the AFC North…

AFC North Notes: Gilbert, Flowers, Green-Ellis

Steelers right tackle Marcus Gilbert will be a free agent at the end of the 2014 campaign, and, as Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes, Gilbert can expect to see a big payday in his near future. The only question is what team will be paying him.

Though the Steelers do have some cap room to work out an extension or two before the start of the season, key players like Ben Roethlisberger, Jason Worilds, and Cortez Allen are also extension candidates, and there may not be enough money to go around. Right tackles, even middle-of-the road ones, were paid pretty well this offseason, with Austin Howard setting the pace after landing a five-year, $30MM deal with the Raiders.

However, only one of the right tackles to get a lucrative free agent deal this year graded out as a better player than Gilbert, according to Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics. Breno Giacomini, who signed a four-year, $18MM contract with the Jets, was ranked by PFF as the 41st-ranked tackle in the league, with Gilbert checking in at No. 44, Howard at No. 47, and Michael Oher at No. 68.

It would be safe, then, to assume that Gilbert is in line for a pretty nice raise, and though he would like to remain in Pittsburgh, he stated that he is not focused on his contract situation at the moment. His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, has apparently approached the Steelers about a long-term deal, but those talks are in the preliminary stages.

Now some more AFC North notes:

  • Undrafted rookie Brendon Kay is a long-shot to make the Steelers‘ roster, but he believes he has a chance to unseat Landry Jones as the team’s third-string quarterback, writes Sean Hammond of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  • The Ravens may be a dark horse candidate for Brandon Flowers, writes Jamison Hensley of Cornerback is an area of need for the club after losing the steady Corey Graham in free agency, but before Flowers was cut, Hensley believed that the team would not sign a veteran free agent until after the final major cutdown following the preseason finale. But Flowers’ release represents one of those rare opportunities that GM Ozzie Newsome loves to exploit: the chance to grab an elite talent who unexpectedly shakes loose from his former club (see: Elvis Dumervil). Although the Ravens do not have a ton of cap space, they could potentially create more room by releasing someone like Sam Koch or Chris Canty, and the thought of teaming Flowers with Lardarius Webb and Jimmy Smith might be enough to make Newsome and company pull the trigger.
  • Coley Harvey of believes that Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis will be cut before the season begins. Harvey writes that it is a “mystery” as to why Green-Ellis is still on the roster, and he notes that the club would create $2.5MM of cap space by cutting him.
  • In the same piece, Harvey writes that if the Bengals want to keep Jermaine Gresham on the team beyond 2014–which may or may not be the case–any contract talks will probably not take place until after the season. Harvey also writes that the Bengals are one of the seemingly few teams who will not have interest in Flowers.
  • Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, in response to a reader’s question concerning the future of Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon, writes that the team will likely not release Gordon before giving him a chance to “turn things around.” Cabot also notes that the coaching staff is high on right tackle Mitchell Schwartz, who is a good fit in Kyle Shanahan‘s zone-blocking scheme.

AFC Mailbags: Bengals, Steelers, Colts, Jags

ESPN’s NFL writers answered questions from their readers this weekend. Let’s take a look at some interesting notes from the AFC…

AFC North Notes: Steelers, Miller, Hoyer

The Steelers are returning all of their offensive lineman, including Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey who was lost last season to a torn ACL. No one is more excited than Ben Roethlisberger, who believes that continuity on the offensive line could be the key to success, particularly in the no huddle offense, writes Kim Myers of “That’s a big part of being able to run the no-huddle because those guys are up there and they’re comfortable, they’re familiar. They’ve got another offseason in training of continuity and learning from each other,” said Roethlisberger. “I tell them before each game that they are what is going to drive this team and this offense. As long as they stay healthy and can play every game we’ll be good.”  Here are some other notes from around the AFC North:

  • Steelers‘ tight end Heath Miller bounced back well from a torn ACL in 2013, catching 58 passes for 593 yards and a touchdown, writes Matt Shetler of However, he had posted career highs in yards and touchdowns the previous season, and is looking to re-establish himself as one of the league’s top tight ends. Last year was about trying to find a new normal for myself and I’m a creature of habit, so that wasn’t easy for me,” said Miller. “I’m fully confident by the time the season rolls around I’m going to be feeling much better than the start of last year just from a confidence perspective.”
  • The Bengals have a deep bench at the running back position, and it is unclear how many the team will keep on the 53-man roster, writes Coley Harvey of Harvey says that both BenJarvus Green-Ellis and undrafted free agent Jeff Scott are on the bubble, with Giovani Bernard and second-round pick Jeremy Hill looking to take a bulk of the carries. However, Green-Ellis’ veteran presence and Scott’s versatility could keep them on the roster this season.
  • The Browns still plan to let first-round pick Johnny Manziel start as a backup, and if veteran Brian Hoyer plays well the team could extend him, writes Pat McManamon of With Manziel on his rookie contract for four years (with a fifth-year option), the team could afford to keep both players.

AFC Draft Notes: Steelers, Carr, Bengals, West

The Steelers first three picks — linebacker Ryan Shazier, defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt and receiver/running back/returner Dri Archer (he of the sub-4.3 speed) — have instant impact ability, writes Scott Brown of

Here’s a handful more AFC draft-related notes as we settle in for the completion of the draft:

  • The Raiders landed Derek Carr in the second round, and Bleacher Report draft analyst Matt Miller (video) calls the Fresno St. gunslinger a “nicer Jay Cutler.”
  • In the wake of the Bengals’ second-round selection of LSU running back Jeremy Hill, veteran BenJarvus Green-Ellis‘ days with the Bengals are officially numbered,” says’s Coley Harvey.
  • Did the Browns trade up to make sure they got Towson running back Terrance West, a Baltimore native, before the Ravens could? Tom Reed of seems to think so.
  • The Jets have nine picks today, writes’s Rich Cimini, who says the team could tab a quarterback in the fourth round. He also points out GM John Idzik’s “next in-draft trade (for picks) will be his first. Ever.”
  • Of the Bills‘ predraft visitors, eight players — includuing Baylor running back Lache Seastrunk and Clemson cornerback Bashaud Breeland — remain undrafted, according to Joe Buscaglia of WGR 550.