Brandon Allen

NFC East Notes: Redskins, Eagles, Giants

Su’a Cravens‘ decision to retire (and then reverse his course of action) stunned both the Redskins‘ front office and many of the club’s players, according to Mike Jones of the Washington Post and Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (Twitter link), although Jones report that Cravens had discussed his intentions with some Washington coaches. Cravens, who’s now on the exempt/left squad list, took to Snapchat on Monday to express that while he doesn’t feel the need to “explain” his reasons for leaving the Redskins, he will attempt to be more open, as Master Tesfatsion of the Washington Post writes. Walking away could cost Cravens more than $1MM, as Washington could force the second-year safety to pay back a portion of his signing bonus, per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.

Here’s more from the NFC East:

  • Offensive guard Chance Warmack‘s one-year extension with the Eagles has a base value of $2.5MM and can be worth as much as $5MM, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Given that Warmack, a former top-10 draft pick, is scheduled to earn roughly $1.3MM in 2017, his new deal could allow him to take a leap in terms of salary in 2018. Warmack isn’t projected to start for Philadelphia during the upcoming season, but he’ll be the club’s top backup guard behind Brandon Brooks and Isaac Seumalo. Speculatively, the Eagles could view Warmack as a future starter if they part ways with Jason Kelce and shift Seumalo to center.
  • The Redskins put in a waiver claim for former Jaguars quarterback Brandon Allen but lost out to the Rams, who had the higher waiver priority, tweets Master Tesfatsion of the Washington Post. Allen, a sixth-round pick in 2016, would have become Washington’s third quarterback behind Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy. Instead, the Redskins — who waived signal-caller Nate Sudfeld over the weekend — signed 2017 undrafted free agent Alek Torgersen to their practice squad.
  • Similarly, the Giants attempted to claim offensive tackle Zach Banner off waivers from the Colts, but lost out to the Browns, reports Dan Duggan of NJ.com (Twitter link). Currently, New York boasts Chad Wheeler and D.J. Fluker as tackle depth, while guard Justin Pugh can also move outside. Banner, who stands a gargantuan 6’9″, 350 pounds, was a fourth-round selection in this year’s draft.
  • After acquiring Ross Cockrell from the Steelers in exchange for a conditional 2018 pick over the weekend, the Giants have now reduced the cornerback’s pay from $1.797MM to $1.1MM, tweets cap guru Ian Whetstone. Cockrell will now earn a base salary of $1MM, while that extra $1MM is available via bonuses, per James Kratch of NJ.com. A restricted free agent during the spring, Cockrell was tendered at the original round level by Pittsburgh, but RFA salaries aren’t guaranteed. Cockrell is expected to serve as depth for a stacked New York secondary that includes Janoris Jenkins, Eli Apple, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

Rams Claim QB Brandon Allen

The Rams have claimed quarterback Brandon Allen off waivers, as Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. Allen was cut loose by the Jaguars over the weekend. Brandon Allen (vertical)

The 2016 sixth-round pick now becomes the Rams’ third quarterback behind starter Jared Goff and backup Sean Mannion, assuming Mannion remains on board. The Rams will have to make a corresponding move to make room for Allen on the roster.

After going 4-12 last season, the Rams had top five waiver priority. It’s likely that other teams in need of quarterback depth also made a claim on Allen but were trumped by L.A. The 24-year-old made some impressive plays in the preseason, though he did throw three picks in the team’s final exhibition game.

The Rams open up their season with a home game against the Colts on Sunday.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Sunday NFL Transactions: AFC South

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four AFC 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 Texans, Colts, Jaguars, and Titans 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 AFC South transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day:

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Tennessee Titans

Jaguars Waive Brandon Allen

The Jaguars have waived quarterback Brandon Allen, Mark Long of the Associated Press tweets. Allen had been the third QB on the team’s depth chart behind starter Blake Bortles and backup Chad Henne.

The club does plan to keep Allen around, however. Per Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network (via Twitter), the Jags may have waited until today to waive Allen (instead of including him in the mass cuts that took place over the past several days) to give themselves a better chance of sneaking him through waivers. If he does clear, Garafolo reports that Allen would be signed to Jacksonville’s practice squad.

There was some chatter earlier this summer that Allen, whom the Jaguars selected in the sixth round of last year’s draft, could unseat Henne as Bortles’ backup, and then when Henne had the opportunity to replace Bortles as the starter, it was rumored that Allen could serve as Henne’s backup if the club were to cut Bortles.

It is therefore clear that the Jaguars are fairly high on the former Razorback, they just wanted to use his roster spot for depth elsewhere.

Latest On Blake Bortles

The Jaguars will consider jettisoning quarterback Blake Bortles if he doesn’t win the starting job over the favorite, Chad Henne, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com says (video link). Jacksonville may attempt to trade Bortles, though Rapoport notes that he’d likely need to rework his contract to make that a possibility, or simply cut him. If they do get rid of Bortles, the Jaguars could turn to 2016 sixth-round pick Brandon Allen as Henne’s backup, Rapoport suggests.

Blake Bortles

Jacksonville would be averse to retaining Bortles as a reserve because of his non-guaranteed fifth-year option for 2018. That option, worth upward of $19MM, will trigger if Bortles suffers a serious injury this season and is unable to pass a physical next March. The Redskins were in a similar situation when they kept the beleaguered Robert Griffin III around during his fifth-year option season in 2015, but that was at the insistence of owner Daniel Snyder, per Rapoport, who reports that Bortles doesn’t have that type of backing from the Jaguars’ Shad Khan.

The 25-year-old Bortles, like Griffin, joined his team as an extremely high pick. The Jaguars invested the third selection in 2014 on Bortles, who showed flashes during a 35-touchdown second season, but he underwhelmed in his other two years and has been especially woeful this summer. He’s therefore likely to lose the starting job to the 32-year-old Henne, who has a lackluster resume of his own across nine seasons, and perhaps his roster spot.

Cutting Bortles would cost Jacksonville $6.57MM and save the team no money this year, but at least the Jags would escape the potentially catastrophic scenario of having to dedicate $19MM-plus in cap space to him in 2018.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Patriots, Luck, Henne

The Patriots‘ best chance to replace the bruising and punishing running of LeGarrette Blount, who was a key part of the team’s success over the past few seasons, could come from a surprising source. In his first attempt to predict the Patriots’ 53-man roster, Jim McBride of the Boston Globe says that UDFA LeShun Daniels, Jr. might be the best-equipped of New England’s stacked running back group to fill Blount’s void. McBride does not believe Daniels will make the team out of camp, writing that he is more likely a practice squad candidate at the moment, but the future is bright for the 6-foot, 225-pounder, who excelled in his senior season at Iowa.

Now for more from the AFC:

  • Patriots wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell was kept on the sideline during spring practices, but Mike Reiss of ESPN.com says there is nothing to worry about. Mitchell has a more extensive injury history than many second-year players, and New England is handling his workload accordingly to ensure they can keep him healthy for the long haul.
  • We heard earlier this week that Andrew Luck may not be ready for training camp, leading some to wonder if he is also in danger of missing the start of the regular season. Kevin Bowen of Colts.com, however, does not believe that’s the case. Bowen says that if the team was really concerned about Luck’s availability for Week 1, the team would have brought in a veteran QB to compete with backup Scott Tolzien.
  • Alex Marvez of NFL.com tweets that Chargers linebacker Nick Dzubnar is completely healed from the ACL tear that prematurely ended his 2016 season. Dzubnar has primarily served as a special teams contributor during his first two years in the league, but he has performed very well in that role.
  • Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union takes his first crack at predicting the Jaguars‘ 53-man roster, and there do not seem to be any major surprises there. One point of intrigue is the quarterback position, as O’Halloran speculates that second-year signal-caller Brandon Allen, who was good enough in camp and the preseason last year to convince Jacksonville to keep a third QB for the first time since 2013, could unseat longtime backup Chad Henne.
  • Earlier today we took a look at a few notes on the Steelers and Browns.

AFC Draft Signings: Chiefs, Texans, Jaguars

The Chiefs have signed second-round pick Chris Jones, a source tells PFT (Twitter link). The defensive lineman out of Mississippi State becomes KC’s first rookie to sign. Jones’ stock rose in the weeks leading up to the draft as more and more teams zeroed in on interior pass rushers.

Here are the rest of today’s draft signings from the AFC:

  • The Texans signed fifth-round nose tackle D.J. Reader, according to Mark Berman of FOX 26 (via Twitter).
  • The Jaguars sign sixth-round quarterback Brandon Allen, as Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union tweets.
  • The Jaguars signed sixth-round linebacker/defensive end Tyrone Holmes, as Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle tweets.
  • Linebacker Jatavis Brown inked his rookie contract with the Chargers, Rand Getlin of NFL.com tweets. The Akron product was taken in the fifth-round.
  • The Jets signed seventh-round punter Lachlan Edwards, according to his agency on Twitter.
  • The Patriots signed sixth-round linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill to a $2.44MM deal, including a $100K signing bonus, as his slot dictates, Wilson tweets.
  • The Steelers announced the signing of seventh round draft picks Demarcus Ayers and Tyler Matakevich. Ayers, a wide receiver/returner from the University of Houston, and Matakevich, a linebacker from Temple, are now the first two Pittsburgh rookies to sign from this year’s class.
  • The Ravens signed fifth-round defensive end Matt Judon, Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun tweets.
  • The Texans signed fifth-round safety K.J. Dillon, as Mark Berman of FOX 26 tweets.

Draft Rumors: Elliott, Titans, Cook, Butler

Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott is expected to be the first player off the board at his position, and is receiving attention from several teams picking in the first half of the first round. As Albert Breer of the NFL Network tweets, Elliott said during an appearance on NFL Total Access that he has visits lined up with the Eagles (No. 8), Bears (No. 11), and Dolphins (No. 13). He has also previously met with Dallas.

With NFL teams focused on working out and meeting with players who may end up on their rosters about three weeks from now, let’s round up a few more draft updates….

  • Deadlines typically spur action in the NFL, which means the best trade offer for the No. 1 pick may not be on the table for the Titans until draft night. Still, as Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com details, GM Jon Robinson isn’t opposed to the idea of making a deal in advance, suggesting it would give his team the opportunity to make plans accordingly. In the meantime, Tennessee continues to take a close look at top prospects, and will bring in Oregon defensive end DeForest Buckner on Monday, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).
  • ESPN’s Jon Gruden believes that Michigan State’s Connor Cook “is gonna be perhaps the best quarterback in this draft” (Twitter link from Adam Schefter of ESPN.com).
  • Gil Brandt of NFL.com (Twitter link) adds the Lions and Patriots to the list of clubs that have worked out Louisiana Tech defensive tackle Vernon Butler. The Lions have also met with Jordan Jenkins, as the Georgia linebacker confirmed on SiriusXM NFL Radio (Twitter link via Alex Marvez of FOX Sports).
  • Marvez also passes along an update from a SiriusXM NFL Radio appearance by Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen, who said he has had workouts or meetings with the Buccaneers, Panthers, Falcons, and Cowboys (Twitter link).
  • In addition to attending local workouts for the Jets and Giants, Rutgers wideout Leonte Carroo is paying visits to the Dolphins and Patriots, a source tells Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post. Carroo had an explosive college career, averaging 19.5 yards per reception and racking up 29 touchdowns over the last three seasons.