Brandon Williams (DB)

Texans Cut DBs Brandon Williams, Mark Fields

The Texans managed to open a chunk of cap space today. ESPN’s Field Yates reports (via Twitter) that the team has released defensive back Brandon Williams and waived defensive back Mark Fields. The move will save the organization around $1.5MM.

Williams was a highly-touted third-round pick out of Texas A&M back in 2016. He spent the first four seasons of his career with the Cardinals, including a rookie campaign where he compiled 26 tackles and three passes defended in 13 games (three starts). He appeared in 32 games for Arizona between the 2018 and 2019 seasons, but he was limited to only 12 total tackles. He spent his entire final seasons with the Cardinals sitting on injured reserve.

The 28-year-old caught on with the Giants last offseason, and he spent much of the 2020 campaign jumping on and off their active roster. He compiled one tackle in six games for New York before getting waived one final time in December. He later joined the Texans practice squad, and he was inked to a reserve/future contract following the regular season.

Fields, a former Clemson standout, started the 2020 season with the Vikings, getting into a pair of games. He was cut by Minnesota in December, but he was quickly claimed by the Texans. He saw time in two games for Houston, compiling a single tackle.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 12/22/20

Here are Tuesday’s practice squad decisions:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

  • Placed on practice squad reserve/COVID-19 list: DE Anthony Edwards

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

  • Activated off practice squad reserve/COVID-19 list: WR Ishmael Hyman

Chicago Bears

  • Signed: RB Spencer Ware
  • Activated off practice squad injured list: WR Thomas Ives

Cleveland Browns

  • Placed on practice squad reserve/COVID-19 list: DB Elijah Benton

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

  • Placed on practice squad reserve/COVID-19 list: DE David Irving

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

  • Released: OL Andrew Jones

Washington Football Team

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/15/20

Here are Tuesday’s minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list: S Derwin James; James remains on IR

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

  • Waived: CB Brandon Williams

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Tennessee Titans

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/26/20

Today’s minor moves:

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Indianapolis Colts

  • Signed: TE Dominique Dafney
  • Released: RB Bruce Anderson III

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

Philadephia Eagles

  • Waived: LB Dante Olson
  • Placed on IR: TE Josh Perkins

Tennessee Titans

NFL Workout Updates: 8/21/20

Here are the notable workouts teams conducted recently:

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Miami Dolphins

New York Jets

Cardinals Reach 53-Man Max

Arizona has officially announced their cuts. Notably, the Cardinals trimmed their roster all the way down to 51 players, which they said was in preparation for waiver claims on Sunday. Arizona has first priority in the waiver order, so they’ll almost certainly be claiming some players.

The biggest name on this list is probably tight end Ricky Seals-Jones. He showed a lot of promise as an undrafted rookie in 2017, and was a favorite of Bruce Arians. He fell out of favor when Arians retired, and the new staff didn’t take as kindly to him. Seals-Jones has flashed serious potential, so he should land on his feet soon. Pharoh Cooper was a 2017 All-Pro selection for his return prowess, and the Cardinals claimed him off waivers from the Rams late last season. Three other teams also put in claims for Cooper at the time, so maybe one of them will scoop him up now. Receiver Chad Williams was the team’s third-round pick in 2017, but he barely got on the field during his two seasons in the desert.

QB Drew Anderson

QB Charles Kanoff

RB Wes Hills (injury settlement)

RB Dontae Strickland

WR Pharoh Cooper

WR Chad Williams

WR A.J. Richardson

WR Isaac Zico

OL Rees Odhiambo (waived/injured)

OL Colby Gossett

OL Coleman Shelton

OL William Sweet (waived/injured)

OL Parker Ehinger

OL Patrick Lawrence

OL Jacob Ohnesorge

TE Ricky Seals-Jones

TE Darrell Daniels

TE Caleb Wilson

TE Drew Belcher

DL Bruce Hector

DL Pasoni Tasini

DL Siupeli Anau

DL Sterling Bailey

S Jonathan Owens

S Tyler Sigler

CB Brandon Williams (waived/injured)

CB Nate Brooks

CB Deatrick Nichols

NFC Notes: Elliott, Cards, Redskins, Giants

Adding some additional spice to the Ezekiel ElliottCowboys situation, the running back may be making plans to be unavailable when his team convenes for training camp. While it is still uncertain if Elliott will indeed hold out, a source informed Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk the two-time rushing champion plans to leave the country in the coming days. Extension-eligible since January, Elliott is considering staying away from Cowboys camp due to his contract. The coming days were expected to be key for the Cowboys and Elliott, but the running back’s travel plans may affect these proceedings.

The Cowboys have prioritized extensions for Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper, both entering contract years, and have been rumored to be considering a future without an Elliott extension. The 24-year-old star has until August 6 to report to camp in order to accrue a fourth year toward free agency, so any holdout past that date would be quite bold. But withholding services from a team whose offense revolves around him could be a game plan for Elliott, regardless of the free agency-related date.

Here is the latest out of the NFC:

  • The Cardinals will begin camp without some notable veterans. Robert Nkemdiche, Charles Clay, Brooks Reed, Max Garcia and Brandon Williams on their active/PUP list, the team announced. Clay and Nkemdiche have been battling knee injuries, the latter’s stemming from a December torn ACL. A four-year Broncos guard, Garcia tore his ACL last season as well. Hip and back problems currently limit Reed and Williams, respectively. All players placed on the active/PUP list can return at any point in camp.
  • The Redskins tabbed Reuben Foster to be a three-down linebacker for them, but following his ACL tear, the team does not have a surefire full-time linebacker. While J.P. Finlay of NBC Sports Washington notes Mason Foster will reprise his role as a starter, it is not certain if he will play consistently in nickel sets. Pro Football Focus did not grade Foster as a solid coverage ‘backer last season. However, the Redskins may have a nickel answer in third-year man Josh Harvey-Clemons. The team plans to use the former Louisville safety as a passing-downs linebacker, Finlay adds. A former seventh-round pick, Harvey-Clemons played just 196 snaps last season.
  • Despite the minicamp Darius Slayton buzz, Corey Coleman may still have the inside track on the Giants‘ No. 3 wide receiver job. Coleman’s first-round pedigree and his progress as a Giant gives him the edge over the likes of Slayton, Cody Latimer and Bennie Fowler, Paul Schwartz of the New York Post writes. During games, Coleman has not shown much since early in his rookie year. He caught five passes for 71 yards with the 2018 Giants.

Extra Points: Chiefs, Jaguars, Williams

Andy Reid said the Chiefs might not have to choose between Charcandrick West or C.J. Spiller. The team might retain all four of its top running backs, Reid said (via Adam Teicher of ESPN.com).

If we only keep three, then somebody’s going to get a heck of a player,” Reid said of a running back competition fronted by Spencer Ware and rookie Kareem Hunt. “… If we can keep all four, then that’s great.”

This may not be an automatic indication Kansas City plans keep both West and Spiller, and one could well be trade bait since both smaller backs might not make sense as Nos. 3-4 options. The Chiefs signed Ware and West to identical contracts during the 2016 offseason, and West has two years and barely $3MM remaining on his deal. He received the initial crack at replacing Jamaal Charles in 2015 and led the Chiefs in rushing that season with 634 yards (4.0 per carry). He operated as Ware’s backup last season but possesses top-end straight-line speed that could be useful on a team with less backfield depth.

Spiller caught on with the Chiefs in February after being cut by several teams. The former first-round pick is making the league minimum. Kansas City also has veteran fullback Anthony Sherman in line to occupy a roster spot.

The Jaguars’ quarterback situation has become a key topic this week; here’s the latest on that and other key stories as preseason Week 2 winds down.

  • Doug Marrone opened up the Jaguars‘ quarterback competition after Blake Bortles continued to struggle. But Chad Henne looks like he will be the only in-house challenger, with Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union noting Brandon Allen‘s inexperience (zero regular-season snaps) won’t be ideal in Week 1 against a Texans defense that ranked No. 1 last season. O’Halloran anticipates Henne receiving the nod. The Jags are not currently looking at outside options for this job. Allen is a second-year player out of Arkansas.
  • Aaron Colvin has come off the Jags’ Active/PUP list and resumed practicing in team drills for the first time since December 2011, and O’Halloran notes he’s still expected to be the team’s top nickel option. The fourth-year player is slated to line up in the slot inside of Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye. Colvin confirmed he experienced a rehab setback this offseason while recovering from an ankle injury that took more than seven months to heal sufficiently.
  • Brandon Williams is playing like he will come out ahead of recent UFA addition Tramon Williams, although he’s now unlikely to usurp Justin Bethel in the Cardinals‘ competition to see who starts opposite Patrick Peterson this season. Bruce Arians said (via Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com) Williams played “really well” in the Cards’ game against the Bears on Saturday.
  • The Giants will work out offensive lineman Matt Rotheram on Monday, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets. Rotheram has bounced around the league for the past two seasons, residing on the Packers and Lions’ practice squads in 2015 and ’16, respectively. The Lions signed him to a reserve/futures contract in January but cut him earlier this week.
  • Before signing linebacker Kelvin Sheppard to a deal, the Bears worked out fellow ‘backer Michael Scherer, Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch tweets.

West Rumors: Conley, Broncos, Cardinals

It took the Raiders until their training camp eve to reach an agreement with first-round pick Gareon Conley. Although no legal clarity has come after a woman accused the cornerback of sexual assault in April, the Raiders did not design Conley’s contract with that alleged incident in mind. Conley’s deal contains 90 percent guaranteed money, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets, adding the language in the four-year contract is standard despite the legal cloud surrounding the ex-Ohio State defender presently. The Raiders also agreed to terms with second-rounder Obi Melifonwu this week. Titans first-rounder Corey Davis is the only unsigned pick remaining.

Here’s the latest from the West divisions on opening camp weekend.

  • The Broncos opened 2016 with a dominant outside linebacker corps, with DeMarcus Ware, Shane Ray and Shaquil Barrett joining Von Miller in the fold. Miller has none of those sidekicks available for the time; Ray and Barrett may both be out throughout the preseason. Vance Joseph discussed the early replacement hierarchy here Saturday, calling recent UFA signing Kasim Edebali the top edge rusher alongside Miller (via Mike Klis of 9News, on Twitter). Edebali played three years with the Saints but wasn’t offered an RFA tender in March, leading to his one-year deal with the Broncos.
  • Bruce Arians said Justin Bethel and Brandon Williams could be battling for the Cardinals‘ No. 2 cornerback job until the final week of the preseason, but Williams and others will have some additional opportunities to build a case early. Bethel suffered a hyperextended knee and will be out for the coming days, Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com reports. Arians did not believe this injury was serious, but given this position duel likely coming down to the wire, it stands to raise Bethel’s degree of difficulty here.
  • Regarding Williams, the second-year man has evidently been usurped on the depth chart by Ronald Zamort — a 2016 UDFA who spent last season on Arizona’s practice squad — according to Kent Somers of AZCentral.com (on Twitter). The Cardinals have been connected to Brandon Flowers and Tramon Williams this week, and Arians’ status on his own corners looks to have changed. Somers notes he now wants to add a veteran.
  • The Raiders‘ handling of Donald Penn‘s holdout will be key to how future free agents view the team, Jerry McDonald of the San Jose Mercury News writes. The Raiders relied immensely on free agency in recent years, Penn being one of the key signings. On a two-year deal worth $6.25MM AAV, the 34-year-old Penn is now by far the fourth-highest-paid offensive lineman on his own team, after the Raiders made Gabe Jackson an $11MM-per-year man in June. Penn saw a host of less proven tackles sign for more than him this offseason, and he’s seeking top-10 left tackle money. His per-year wages rank 20th presently. The Raiders have just more than $14MM in cap space. Oakland lined up Marshall Newhouse at Penn’s left tackle spot and second-year man Vadal Alexander at right tackle on Saturday.
  • Menelik Watson has missed 37 of a possible 64 regular-season games due to various injuries through four seasons, and the Broncos‘ projected right tackle starter dropped a lot of weight in an attempt to stay on the field. The former Raiders right tackle is close to 315 pounds after playing in the 340s earlier in his career, per Troy Renck of Denver7 (Twitter links), noting Watson told him the reduction is because of the slew of setbacks he encountered.
  • Joseph won’t have 5-foot-7 rookie Isaiah McKenzie return kicks due to his slight frame, Klis tweets. Carlos Henderson and Cody Latimer are vying to handle those duties for the Broncos while McKenzie has the inside track to return punts. This is a deviation of sorts for a Broncos team who received high-end kick-return production from 5-5 Trindon Holliday in 2012-13. The team has not had much success in this area since, leading to the selection of McKenzie in the fifth round.

NFC Notes: Packers, Vikings, Falcons, Cards

After taking a swing around the AFC earlier today, let’s take a look at a few NFC notes:

  • Teddy Bridgewater is likely to begin camp on the Active/PUP list, but Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter) the rehabbing quarterback has enjoyed some productive training sessions in Florida recently. The 24-year-old passer has not been cleared to practice but did do some throwing while at Vikings OTAs in May. Apparently, Bridgewater’s progressed further in between minicamp and training camp. But he’s still less than a year removed from the gruesome knee injury that changed the course of his career.
  • The Packers added defensive tackle Ricky Jean-Francois earlier this year to bolster a defensive line that badly needed reinforcements, and as Ryan Wood of PackersNews.com writes, Green Bay has been interested in the LSU product for years. The club wanted to sign him after the 2012 season, but Jean-Francois joined the Colts instead before moving on to Washington. The Redskins released him in March, clearing the way for his one-year pact with the Packers.
  • Patrick Peterson‘s running mate at corner has served as one of the main discussion items of the Cardinals‘ offseason. Bruce Arians said Sunday (via Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com) the position remains open and likely won’t be decided until the regular season begins. Arians, though, praised the work of Justin Bethel (Twitter link, via Urban) — less than a year after the coach labeled the corner a “failure in progress.” The Cardinals could still be in the market for a veteran corner, Urban writes, but as of now the battle is between Bethel and second-year man Brandon Williams.
  • Falcons head coach Dan Quinn and assistant head coach/offensive pass game coordinator Raheem Morris have been close for years, and Quinn believes Morris will get another head coaching job in the NFL, as Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com writes. Morris, of course, coached the division-rival Buccaneers from 2009-11 and compiled a disappointing 17-31 record. Nonetheless, Quinn said Morris is more than equipped to handle a head coaching position and hopes he will get his next chance in the near future. Morris declined to talk about his head coaching ambitions out of respect for Quinn and the team.

Sam Robinson contributed to this report