Brad Kaaya

Colts Waive/Injured QB Brad Kaaya

The Colts announced that they’ve waived/injured quarterback Brad Kaaya and signed cornerback Juante Baldwin.

Kaaya, 22, was once viewed as the potential first overall pick in the 2017 draft, but ended up falling to the sixth round after an inconsistent final season at Miami. Since being selected by the Lions, Kaaya has bounced around the NFL via waiver claims and free agent deals, spending time with the Panthers, the Lions (again), and — most recently — the Colts. He’s yet to appear in an NFL game.

Despite his lack of production, Kaaya could still conceivably garner interest on the waiver wire. Any number of teams that expressed interest in Kaaya leading up to the 2017 draft — a list that includes the Bears, Giants, Dolphins, and Texans — could theoretically put in a claim. If Kaaya isn’t claimed on waivers, he’ll revert to Indianapolis’ injured reserve list.

Andrew Luck and Jacoby Brissett are locked in as the Colts’ top two quarterbacks, while Phillip Walker is the club’s No. 3 option. However, Indianapolis is only expected to keep two signal-callers on its 53-man roster, meaning Walker’s time on the squad will likely end soon.

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Colts Sign QB Brad Kaaya Off Lions Practice Squad

The Colts signed rookie quarterback Brad Kaaya off the Lions’ practice squad on Tuesday, ESPN’s Mike Garafolo reports (Twitter link). Brad Kaaya (vertical)

It’s yet another move for the Miami product, who was drafted by the Lions and cut entering the regular season. He was then claimed by the Panthers on Sept. 3 and then released on Oct. 17. Detroit swooped in to reclaim him on Oct. 18, but was cut yet again just five days later. He rejoined the team and was assigned to the practice squad just days later and served there until the Colts snagged him.

With the Hurricanes, Kaaya appeared in 38 games in his first three seasons and amassed 9,968 yards before declaring for the draft following his junior season. Though he was projected as a third- or fourth-round pick in 2017, Kaaya slipped all the way to the sixth round.

With Andrew Luck set to return in 2018 and current starter Jacoby Brissett under contract through 2019, it seems unlikely Kaaya will contribute with the Colts in the future.

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Lions Promote WR Jace Billingsley

The Lions have promoted wide receiver Jace Billingsley to the 53-man roster. To take his place on the practice squad, the team has added quarterback Brad KaayaJace Billingsley (vertical)

Billingsley, 24, first joined the Lions as an undrafted free agent in 2016. A product of NAIA school Eastern Oregon, Billingsley spent the bulk of 2016 on the Lions’ practice squad and earned a promotion to the 53-man team later in the year. He did not dress for a game, however.

Kaaya, a sixth-round pick, was in the same Lions rookie class as Billingsley. In September, the Lions opted against keeping Kaaya around as a third-string project. They forged ahead with Matthew Stafford and Jake Rudock as their only QBs on the varsity squad and missed their chance to stash Kaaya on the p-squad when the Panthers claimed him. On Oct. 18, they claimed him off of waivers from the Panthers, but released him on Monday in order to make room for the return of Khyri Thornton.

It appears that Kaaya’s stock has cooled since the spring of 2016 when evaluators were drooling over his football IQ. His reps likely could not find a 53-man roster spot for him elsewhere, leading him to the Lions’ taxi squad.

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Lions Activate Khyri Thornton

Khyri Thornton is back in action. The Lions are welcoming the defensive tackle back to the roster following his multi-game suspension. To make room, quarterback Brad Kaaya has been cut. Kaaya is a likely candidate for the practice squad if he clears waivers."<strong

Over the summer, Thornton was handed a six game suspension by the NFL for violating the league’s policy and program for substance abuse. Assuming he’s active, he’ll make his 2017 debut on Sunday against Pittsburgh.

Thornton, 28 next month, entered the league as a third-round pick of the Packers in 2014. However, it wasn’t until the next year when he finally saw live NFL action with the Lions. Last year, Thornton made 13 appearances for Detroit, including six starts. Thornton registered his first career sack and racked up 19 tackles, leading the Lions to re-sign him to a two-year, $3.3MM deal.

After appearing in 29.9 percent of the Lions’ defensive snaps last year, Thornton was being counted upon as depth for Detroit on the D-Line. His ban was a source of frustration in Detroit, but on the plus side Thornton will have fresh legs as he offers support for the front four.

In the wake of Haloti Ngata‘s biceps injury, the Lions are starting A’Shawn Robinson and Akeem Spence at defensive tackle.

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Lions Claim QB Brad Kaaya

The Lions have claimed quarterback Brad Kaaya off waivers and signed a pair of players – defensive end Jacquies Smith and offensive tackle Bryce Harris, per Field Yates of ESPN.com and Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com (Twitter links). To make room, the Lions have cut defensive linemen George Johnson, Datone Jones and Caraun Reid.Brad Kaaya (vertical)

Kaaya first broke into the league as a sixth-round pick of Detroit in 2016. Although he didn’t have the arm strength of others in his class, scouts were enamored with his football IQ and poise. When he was displaced from the Lions’ roster in early September, the Panthers were there waiting to grab him off of waivers. Now, he’s back where he started after the Panthers booted him in favor of Garrett Gilbert.

Smith, 27, was a serviceable edge rusher for the Buccaneers (13.5 sacks combined in 2014 and 2015) before a torn ACL shut him down just one game into the 2016 season. This fall, he was cut by Tampa Bay, freeing him up to try out for the Lions this week.

Johnson spent the 2014 season with the Lions and proved to be an effective edge rusher. They circled back to him this year and they were optimistic about what he could do.

He’s still the same guy that works extremely hard, heavy-handed guy that can make some things happen and the rest of it we’ll see,” coach Jim Caldwell said in September. “I mean, he had an outstanding year that year, and those are hard to duplicate, but he will contribute to our team.”

Johnson had six sacks for the Lions in 2014, but he recorded just two tackles in four games for them this year.

Jones signed with Detroit on October 10, but did not suit up for the Lions in their last game. He never got to actually play for the Lions, but on the plus side, he can say that he has been with three of the NFC North’s four teams.

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Panthers Cut QB Brad Kaaya

The Panthers are releasing quarterback Brad Kaaya, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The move will make room for the previously reported promotion of Garrett Gilbert from the practice squad. Brad Kaaya (vertical)

The 22-year-old was in the first-round discussion as recently as 2015, but a disappointing 2016 season at Miami caused him to drop to the sixth round. After the Lions opted to go in a different direction in early September, Carolina claimed Kaaya off waivers. Kaaya’s off the team now, but the Panthers may seek to stash him on the practice squad if he clears waivers.

Gilbert will now serve as the No. 3 quarterback behind Cam Newton and Derek Anderson. His promotion could be a sign that another team tried to sign him to a 53-man deal off of the Panthers’ taxi squad.

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Sunday NFL Transactions: NFC South

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four NFC South 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 Falcons, Panthers, Saints, and Buccaneers 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 South transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day:

Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers

New Orleans Saints

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Panthers Claim QB Brad Kaaya

The Panthers have claimed quarterback Brad Kaaya off waivers from the Lions, according to Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com (Twitter link).

Kaaya, 21, had been in the first-round discussion as recently as 2015, but a poor 2016 campaign at Miami caused him to fall to Round 6. Detroit waived him yesterday, opting to go forward with only Jake Rudock behind starter Matthew Stafford.

Carolina only has two signal-callers — Cam Newton and Derek Anderson — on its current roster. Kaaya could either serve as the club’s third quarterback, or the Panthers could attempt to sneak him through waivers again with the intention of placing him on their practice squad.

Lions Cut Brad Kaaya

The Lions informed rookie quarterback Brad Kaaya he did not make their 53-man roster, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

Detroit drafted Kaaya in the sixth round out of Miami, bringing him in to develop behind Matthew Stafford and Jake Rudock. But Kaaya’s Lions progression might end early. The former Hurricanes standout will be placed on waivers and could be a Lions practice squad option if he makes it through, but that’s not a given.

Kaaya loomed as a possible Day 2 or early-Day 3 pick during the pre-draft process, but he fell to the sixth round. This cut comes shortly after reports circulated Rudock was generating trade interest, but it appears the Lions will stick with the second-year backup — a 2016 sixth-round pick.

 

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Lions Rumors: Carter, Maclin, Golladay

The Lions are planning a position switch for a recent draft pick. Additions of D.J. Hayden, Teez Tabor and fifth-round pick Jamal Agnew at cornerback led the Lions to ask their 2015 third-rounder — Alex Carter — to relocate to safety, Kyle Meinke of MLive.com reports. This would stand to give Carter a better chance to make the roster and attempt to launch a career that hasn’t taken off yet. The former Stanford performer has only played in one NFL game in two years. A 2015 ankle injury put Carter on IR, and the team didn’t see enough from him in 2016 to activate him for more than one contest.

At safety, Detroit has starters Glover Quin — who is in a contract year — and Tavon Wilson, with backups Miles Killebrew and Don Carey behind them. It’s a thinner situation than cornerback looks, as Roster Resource details, but Meinke notes Carter is no lock to make the team. More is expected of Killebrew, a 2016 fourth-round selection, in Year 2, and Carey is a constant on special teams. Jim Caldwell identified Carter’s frame, at 6-foot and 205 pounds, as a reason for the move.

Here’s more out of the Motor City.

  • The Chiefs made one of the more surprising moves of the offseason by making Jeremy Maclin an old-school, June 2 cut. Maclin immediately vaults to the top of the UFA wide receiver contingent, and the Lions could still be in need of a third reliable wideout after Anquan Boldin‘s contract expired. Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com weighs the fit for Maclin in Detroit, noting the salary would have to be right. Maclin just saw the Chiefs move on from a five-year, $55MM contract. That said, Maclin, at 29, probably profiles as a player who will want a role more substantial than as a No. 3 behind Golden Tate and Marvin Jones. Tate earns $6.2MM per year, and Jones averages $8MM annually. A Maclin commitment may be untenable. Boldin fits that description better, but the sides haven’t talked a deal in a while.
  • June 1 passing means the Lions do, however, gain $5.99MM in cap space after the funds from DeAndre Levy‘s release became available, as Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap notes. The Lions now possess $8.638MM in cap space. Levy’s deal will saddle the team with $4.8MM in 2017 dead money.
  • Third-round wide receiver Kenny Golladay remains the only Lions draft choice unsigned. This is due to the CBA’s cloudier language regarding third-round picks, with Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press noting third-rounders’ base salaries in Years 2-4 of their contracts can fluctuate compared to players chosen in every other round of the draft. Golladay, though, is working out with the team and expected to be signed by training camp.
  • Jarrad Davis signed a fully guaranteed rookie deal worth $10.969MM, Birkett reports. Davis receives a $6.117MM signing bonus. Tabor, assigned to travel from Florida to the Motor City a round after Davis, saw the Lions fully guarantee the base salaries in his first two seasons. Tabor’s signing bonus came in at $1.647MM, per Birkett. Both ex-Gators will have $465K base salaries as rookies.
  • Sixth-round quarterback Brad Kaaya signed for four years and $2.523MM after being a one-time Day 2 prospect, Birkett reports, with a $123K signing bonus. None of the Lions’ draft choices received any additional bonuses beyond their signing bonus.