Blake Countess

Rams Tender LB Cory Littleton, Others

Cory Littleton established himself as a surefire Rams starter last season. He figures to be a key component of Los Angeles’ 2019 defense.

The Rams placed a second-round tender on Littleton. That will come out to a $3.1MM salary for 2019, should no extension be reached before June’s RFA signing deadline.

A fourth-year UDFA, Littleton broke out for a 125-tackle, four-sack season in 2018 — his first as a full-time starter. With so many big contracts on the Rams’ roster, it helps they can get quality production from players with rookie-deal salaries. While the $3.1MM will take Littleton to a slightly higher tax bracket, that is a manageable figure for the Rams.

In addition to Littleton, the Rams made the following moves with other restricted and exclusive-rights free agents:

RFAs tendered at original-round level: DB Blake Countess, RB Malcolm Brown, CB Troy Hill

ERFAs tendered: DE Morgan Fox, CB Dominique Hatfield, WR KhaDarel Hodge, CB Kevin Peterson, WR JoJo Natson

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/18/16

Today’s minor moves:

  • The Jaguars announced today that they’ve promoted offensive lineman Jeremiah Poutasi from the practice squad to the active roster. In a corresponding move, the club waived fellow OL Bryce Harris. Poutasi, 22, was selected by the Titans in the third round of the 2015 draft, but Tennessee’s new regime cut ties with him after only a single season. Harris, meanwhile, has bounced around the league since entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2012.
  • The Cardinals have placed linebacker Gabe Martin on injured reserve with a knee injury and promoted LB Zaviar Gooden from the practice squad, according to a team announcement. Martin had only played 19 defensive snaps on the season, but had been a force on special teams, where he’d played on 64% of Arizona’s plays. Like Poutasi, Gooden is a former Titans third-round pick, having been drafted in 2013.
  • The Rams announced that they’ve placed rookie wide receiver Nelson Spruce on injured reserve after he suffered calf injury. To fill his roster spot, Los Angles has promoted defensive back Blake Countess from the practice squad. Additionally, the Rams signed defensive end Lenny Jones to the taxi squad, according to Alden Gonzalez of

Sunday NFL Transactions: NFC West

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four NFC West teams. Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline yesterday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters, claiming players off waivers or signing guys who clear waivers. Those transactions for the Cardinals, Rams, 49ers, and Seahawks are noted below.

Additionally, as of 12:00pm CT today, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads. You can check out our glossary entry on practice squads to brush up on those changes, as well as all the other guidelines that govern the 10-man units, whose players practice with the team but aren’t eligible to suit up on Sundays.

Here are Sunday’s NFC West transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day. All links go to Twitter unless otherwise noted:

Arizona Cardinals

Los Angeles Rams

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Eagles’ Roster At 53

The Eagles have cut the following four players in advance of today’s deadline:

Philadelphia just signed Metz, a former Arena League standout, several days ago. Bethel-Thompson, meanwhile, will seek to continue what has been a nomadic professional career.

As Shorr-Parks observes, Gause’s release indicates that the club is prepared to open the season with only five linebackers, unless a trade is in the works.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Eagles Sign Five Rookies

The Eagles announced that they have agreed to terms with five members of their draft class. Running back Wendell Smallwood (fifth round; pick No. 153), defensive back Blake Countess (sixth-round, pick No. 196), defensive back Jalen Mills (seventh-round; pick No. 233), defensive end Alex McCalister (seventh-round; pick No. 240), and linebacker Joe Walker (seventh-round; pick No. 251) are now officially members of the Eagles after inking four-year pacts. Wendell Smallwood (vertical)

[RELATED: Eagles Likely To Hire Joe Douglas As Personnel Chief]

Smallwood, a West Virginia product, declared early for the draft after enjoying his best season to date. In 2015, Smallwood ran for 1,519 yards off of 238 carries with nine touchdowns. The 5’11”, 201-pound tailback also added 26 catches for 160 yards. In 2014, Smallwood was arrested after allegedly intimidating a witness in a murder case implicating his longtime friend, as Les Bowen of The Inquirer details. Since then, the tailback says that he has grown as a person and the Eagles ostensibly agree.

I was just in a wrong situation,” Smallwood said. “I was young, hanging out with the wrong people. I was never around whatever happened. I wasn’t involved. There was no evidence, no witness against me. “I’ve just been learning from it and letting everybody know the truth. I’ve been completely honest with the guys here and the guys at every team I spoke to. They were well aware of it . . . I think they have confidence in me, that that’s not me, and that was a one-time thing, and it won’t happen again.”

With five rookies signed, the Eagles have only three players from this class left to take care of: quarterback Carson Wentz, guard Isaac Seumalo, and tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai. Earlier today, new Falcons safety Keanu Neal became the first-round pick to ink his a rookie deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Washington, Artis-Payne, Saints

Josh Norman‘s signing with Washington will likely lead to Will Blackmon making the move to safety, Mike Jones and Master Tefatsion of the Washington Post write. Blackmon started 10 games at corner last season. Although Washington signed David Bruton to compete for a starting safety job this offseason, the team has questions on the back line. Kyshoen Jarrett‘s status is unknown after a season-ending injury, and career-long corner DeAngelo Hall‘s full-time transition to the position will come in a season where he turns 33.

Jones and Tefatsion also point out that Bashaud Breeland looks like the favorite to start alongside Norman for Washington this season, since 2015 free agent acquisition Chris Culliver‘s $8MM base salary is non-guaranteed. Washington would take on $3.75MM in dead money if the club decides to release Culliver, Pro Football Focus’ second-worst full-time corner last season.

Here’s more from around the NFC, including a couple more notes on how Norman’s signing affects Washington:

  • Speaking of Breeland, when he first heard the news that Norman was heading to Washington, he “took it as disrespect,” he admitted during an appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio (SoundCloud link). However, he came to view the signing as a “chess move” that will not only improve the team, but could also allow Breeland himself to improve by working with one of the league’s best corners.
  • Landing Norman shouldn’t negatively impact Washington‘s chances of getting a long-term deal done with quarterback Kirk Cousins or any of the club’s other key contributors, writes John Keim of
  • Panthers running back Cameron Artis-Payne was arrested after police recorded him driving 102 mph in a 65-mph zone, per WSOCTV (on Twitter).
  • The Eagles brought in Auburn cornerback Blake Countess for a pre-draft visit last week while clubs were still permitted to host prospects, according to Tony Pauline of (Twitter link).
  • The Saints held pre-draft visits with Washington linebacker Travis Feeney and Nebraska offensive lineman Alex Lewis, reports Joel Erickson of the Advocate. Both prospects project as Day 3 picks, and Lewis is particularly interesting as the college tackle could be moved inside to guard at the pro level.

Dallas Robinson contributed to this post.

Draft Rumors: Jack, No. 3 Overall, Spence, Conklin

The notion that Myles Jack‘s surgically repaired knee is a “time bomb” is greatly exaggerated, sources tell CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, who writes that the torn meniscus the UCLA linebacker suffered last year should not meaningfully alter his draft stock. “This kid is a great player. His change of direction is awesome. This is getting totally blown out of proportion,” said an executive. All the teams La Canfora spoke with indicated that Jack won’t last beyond the top 15. The Jaguars, who hold the fifth selection, “seem locked into” Jack, says ESPN’s Mel Kiper (Twitter link via Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union).

More of the latest draft rumors:

  • The Chargers are generating plenty of interest in regards to the third overall selection, reports Ian Rapoport of (Twitter link). On the possibility of trading the pick, Chargers general manager Tom Telesco said last month, “It’s certainly an option. We’ll just follow it through and see where it goes.”
  • Eastern Kentucky defensive end Noah Spence is arguably the best pass rusher in this year’s draft class, but he’s likely to last until the second round because of off-field issues in college, Jason Cole of Bleacher Report offers (video link). Teams view Spence as a good kid, but there’s concern that the drug problems which got him dismissed from Ohio State will resurface in the NFL, per Cole.
  • Michigan State offensive tackle and prospective first-rounder Jack Conklin has met with or worked out for the Titans, Bills, Chargers, Steelers, Falcons, Jets, Colts, Buccaneers and Lions, he told SiriusXM NFL Radio (Twitter link).
  • Ohio State tight end Nick Vannett worked out for and/or visited the Panthers, Titans, Falcons, Patriots, Chargers, Packers and previously reported Jets, according to Rand Getlin of (on Twitter).
  • Arizona State receiver Devin Lucien visited the Bengals on Tuesday, per Getlin, who notes that he has also visited with/and or worked out for the Cardinals, Patriots and Rams (via Twitter).
  • Bowling Green receiver Roger Lewis has visited with or worked out for the Bengals, Cowboys, Patriots, Seahawks, Vikings and Chargers, tweets Adam Caplan of ESPN. Lewis is a potential third- or fourth-round pick, notes Caplan.
  • Auburn cornerback Blake Countess has drawn interest from 13 teams, including Washington, the Ravens and Giants, writes Aaron Wilson of

NFC Notes: Baker, Washington, Panthers

Washington defensive end Chris Baker is entering the final year of his contract and is extension-eligible, but he’s not clamoring for a new deal, as he tells John Keim of As Keim details, Baker also hopes to stick at left end rather than sliding over to nose tackle for just 10 plays per game.

“I’ve solidified myself as a good left end,” Baker said. “So I’d like to stay at my position and use my athleticism to make plays. I’m willing to do what it takes to make sure the team wins, but hopefully they leave me at left end and use the other noses we have or some of the younger guys we’re going to draft.”

Washington saw last year’s starting nose tackle, Terrance Knighton, depart in free agency, signing a new deal with the Patriots, so the club will likely look to address the position in the draft.

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • Even though they hold the 30th overall pick in this year’s draft, the Panthers are more likely to move out of the first round than they are to trade up, writes David Newton of
  • Oklahoma cornerback Zack Sanchez visited with the Panthers on Monday, a league source tells Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post. Sanchez, a two-time All-Big 12 selection, has started 37 games over the past three seasons. In 2015, Sanchez hauled in seven interceptions, 45 tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss, and seven pass breakups. Last month it was reported that Sanchez was moving up draft boards around the league, potentially putting him in position to be a late first-round pick.
  • Florida State linebacker Reggie Northrup traveled to D.C. to meet with Washington on Monday, per Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link).
  • Defensive back Blake Countess, who played his final college season at Auburn after several years at Michigan, has a visit on tap with the Giants, tweets Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
  • The 49ers have done their homework on defensive lineman Vernon Butler, Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. The former Louisiana Tech standout measured in with the fourth-highest arm length and hand size of any defensive lineman in this year’s class. Branch notes that head coach Chip Kelly and GM Trent Baalke are both fans of bigger defensive linemen, and Butler fits the bill at 323 pounds.

Zach Links contributed to this post.