Blake Countess

Eagles Extend S Blake Countess

Days after reacquiring Blake Countess, the Eagles added a year to his contract. The Eagles submitted a successful waiver claim for Countess last week, bringing their 2016 draft choice back to Philadelphia, and they redid his deal.

Countess’ contract now runs through 2020, Reuben Frank of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. The recent Rams mainstay was entering a contract year. While Countess’ new salaries are not known, Frank adds that the Eagles lowered his 2019 price with this new deal.

Entering the offseason as a restricted free agent, Countess was tethered to a $2.025MM salary via original-round tender. The 25-year-old safety refused a Rams pay cut and ended up back with the Eagles, who initially waived him months after drafting him.

The Eagles did not draft a safety, but their post-draft Countess claim has them in good position on the back line. Countess and former Vikings starter Andrew Sendejo appear in line to back up Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod. Jenkins, though, is away from the team and McLeod accepted a substantial pay decrease after missing most of last season. Cornerback Avonte Maddox also played some safety last season, giving the Eagles plenty of options at this spot.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles Claim S Blake Countess

The Rams waived Blake Countess on Thursday but left the door open to a possible return. That will not happen, at least for the time being.

Countess will instead head east, with the Eagles submitting a successful waiver claim for the fourth-year safety, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. This is interesting, considering the Eagles drafted him in the 2016 sixth round.

Deployed as a reserve safety during his time with the Rams, though he did make two starts over the past two years, the former Day 3 selection will attempt to make a better impression on Doug Pederson‘s staff.

Countess refused to take a pay cut, leading to his Los Angeles exit. It appears he was correct in assessing his value, with the the Eagles set to see if he can stick on their roster in his contract year. The Rams tendered Countess, an RFA, at the original-round level. He will bring a $2.025MM salary onto the Eagles’ payroll.

The Eagles cut Countess after the 2016 preseason, and the Jeff Fisher-led Rams added him to their practice squad. He received more playing time with Sean McVay‘s Rams, suiting up for all of Los Angeles’ 36 games (counting the playoffs) over the past two seasons. The Eagles did not use a draft choice on a safety but did add Andrew Sendejo this offseason. Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod, the latter coming off a season-ending injury that induced a substantial pay cut, as their first-string safeties.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams To Release Blake Countess

The Rams will release defensive back Blake Countess, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The Rams asked Countess to take a pay cut from his $2MM tender, but the two sides could not come to terms on a revised deal. Instead, he’ll hit the waiver wire. 

The door remains open to a return, Rapoport hears, provided that Countess clears waivers. Still, it’s unlikely that the Rams will give him an offer that he’s enthused about. The Rams drafted two safeties this year in Washington’s Taylor Rapp (second round) and Penn State’s Nick Scott (seventh round), so there’s not necessarily a huge need for the veteran in Los Angeles.

Countess, 26 in August, has spent the last three seasons with the Rams and has appeared in every possible game over the last two years. For his career, he’s got four total starts, two interceptions, and one sack to his credit.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 4/17/19

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

  • Signed: OL Brant Weiss (Alliance of American Football)

Chicago Bears

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

New York Giants

Oakland Raiders

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

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 ESPN.com.

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 ESPN.com.
  • 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 DraftInsider.net (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.