Bill Murray

AFC East Notes: Newton, Dolphins, Jets

Cam Newton was reported Monday to be asymptomatic after his positive COVID-19 test, and with nothing changing on that front Tuesday, the Patriots quarterback could return to practice as soon as Thursday. While no other players on New England’s active roster tested positive, the team placed practice squad defensive tackle Bill Murray on its reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday. Murray did not make the trip to Kansas City, per NBC Sports Boston’s Tom Curran (on Twitter), but Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio notes the young defender did stay at the hotel near Gillette Stadium with teammates previously.

Here is the latest from the AFC East, moving first to the Dolphins’ quarterback situation:

  • Brian Flores did not commit to Ryan Fitzpatrick receiving a fifth start when asked earlier this week, but the Dolphins‘ second-year head coach did so Tuesday. Fitzpatrick will start against the 49ers. Flores said Tua Tagovailoa‘s 2019 hip injury remains a factor in the Dolphins’ decision-making. The former Alabama prodigy’s past injury issues have helped keep Fitzpatrick in the lineup. Fitz has thrown four touchdown passes, five interceptions and interestingly holds the league’s No. 9 QBR figure (75.3). But with questions about Fitzpatrick’s job status taking place before Week 5, Tagovailoa will surely make his debut this season.
  • Before ultimately deciding on the Giants, Logan Ryan was squarely on the Jets‘ radar. The most recent report indicated Jets GM Joe Douglas nixed a Ryan agreement because it leaked to the media, with contract demands almost certainly playing a role as well, but Ryan said during a radio interview with WFAN the Jets did not make an offer (Twitter link). Ryan estimated he talked to nearly every team this offseason, one in which he was a free agent for more than five months. Barring a Giants extension, the veteran defensive back is slated to be a free agent again in 2021.
  • The Jets did not plan on using injured left tackle Mekhi Becton last week, but replacement Chuma Edoga going down in the first quarter prompted them to reinsert their ailing starter into the lineup. Adam Gase said the nature of Becton’s injury would have prevented him from making it worse, calling it a pain-tolerance issue. The Louisville alum is said to be dealing with a capsule issue in his shoulder, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com notes. This pertains to the ligament surrounding the shoulder joint. Becton played just 17 snaps in Week 4. The first-round pick has played well when healthy but has seen this injury stall his development.
  • Gang Green may be without its left tackle and starting quarterback in Week 5. The Jets are not expected to play Sam Darnold against the Cardinals, with the team on track to proceed with caution after the quarterback was slammed to turf during the Jets’ loss to the Broncos.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/6/20

Here are Tuesday’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Cleveland Browns

Green Bay Packers

New England Patriots

  • Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list: DT Bill Murray; Murray was on Patriots’ practice squad

New York Giants

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Football Team

Patriots Sign 16 UDFAs

The Patriots have announced agreements with 16 undrafted free agents. Here is their full list:

This four-receiver group will join a Pats team that both did not draft a wideout and one that rosters a soon-to-be 34-year-old Julian Edelman and a soon-to-be 31-year-old Mohamed Sanu. The latter is entering a contract year.

None of the rookie quartet put up standout career numbers. Thomas, who is 5-foot-10 and 174 pounds, left school early. He surpassed 16 yards per catch in two Hurricane seasons. Zuber transferred from Kansas State but barely eclipsed 200 receiving yards at Mississippi State. The 5-8 Riley served as the Orange’s kick and punt returner. Hastings, who is 5-10 and averaged 20.2 yards per catch as a junior in 2018, will see $57.5K of his rookie deal guaranteed, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter).

Harris finished his Razorbacks career with three straight 100-plus-tackle seasons and will see a sizable portion of his rookie deal guaranteed. The Pats are guaranteeing $140K of Harris’ contract, per NESN.com’s Doug Kyed (on Twitter). Bryant will receive a $50K guarantee, Kyed adds (via Twitter).

Taylor goes only 5-6, but he surpassed 3,000 rushing yards with the Wildcats in four seasons. While he only topped 30 receptions in one of those (2019), his 2018 season featured 1,434 rushing yards. Berry and Burt bring New England’s rookie tight end total to four, coupling with the two third-round picks the Pats used at the position. The two combined for just 40 career receptions.