Brian Hill

Saints Sign RB Devine Ozigbo Off Jaguars’ Practice Squad

The Saints will be down a running back for the new few weeks, so the team is bringing in reinforcement. New Orleans has signed running back Devine Ozigbo off the Jaguars’ practice squad, reports Aaron Wilson (via Twitter).

This is a bit of a homecoming for Ozigbo, as the Nebraska product joined the Saints as an undrafted free agent in 2019. He eventually moved on to Jacksonville, and he spent the next two-plus seasons with the Jaguars organization. He ultimately saw time in 18 games for the team, collecting 93 yards from scrimmage on 22 touches. The 25-year-old has also spent a significant amount of time on special teams.

The Saints needed some running back depth following news that Tony Jones Jr. would miss the next three to four weeks (per ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Twitter). The 23-year-old has seen time in all four games this season, collecting 87 yards from scrimmage on 23 carries. Other than Ozigbo and starter Alvin Kamara, the team’s only other healthy RB is Dwayne Washington (plus versatile wideout Ty Montgomery).

New Orleans might not be done adding to the position. Schefter reports that the team also auditioned a number of veteran RBs today, including Lamar Miller, Duke Johnson, Brian Hill, Ito Smith, and Ryquell Armstead.

Bears Work Out CB D.J. Hayden

The Bears worked out a trio of defensive backs today, including a former first-round pick. The team auditioned D.J. Hayden, Lafayette Pitts, and Kevon Seymour, per Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune (via Twitter).

While Hayden hasn’t necessarily lived up to his 12th-overall selection in the 2013 draft, he’s still managed to put together an eight-year career. The veteran had spent the past three seasons in Jacksonville, but he bounced on and off injured reserve in 2020 while dealing with a hamstring injury. The 31-year-old ultimately saw time in five games, collecting 18 tackles.

The Bears struggled during their loss to the Rams, with slot corner Marqui Christian getting his fair share of the blame. The cornerback finished the game having allowed five catches (including two touchdowns) on six targets.

The Bears were also busy working out running backs today, with Brian Hill, Wendell Smallwood, and Chris Thompson all in for tryouts. Biggs assumes (on Twitter) that the team is simply updating their RB free agent list, which makes sense considering the team’s depth (David Montgomery, Damien Williams, and (eventually) Tarik Cohen).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns Work Out Three RBs

The Browns have one of the best running back pairings in the NFL, but that didn’t stop the team from auditioning some backs this week. According to Aaron Wilson (via Twitter), the Browns worked out running backs Brian Hill, Ryquell Armstead, and Artavis Pierce. That trio was joined by five other players, including linebacker Reuben Foster.

[RELATED: Browns To Work Out Reuben Foster]

Hill, 25, has the most experience among that grouping of running backs. The veteran had spent most of his career in Atlanta, and he finished his stint with the Falcons by having a career year. Hill finished the 2020 campaign having collected a career-high 664 yards from scrimmage to go along with one touchdown. Hill signed with the Titans this past offseason but landed on IR before the conclusion of the preseason. He was released from IR earlier this month.

Armstead got into 16 games as a rookie with the Jaguars in 2019, finishing with 252 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns. He sat out the 2020 season while dealing with issues from COVID-19, and after getting claimed by the Giants in May, he was waived by his new team in June. Pierce, a 2020 undrafted free agent out of Oregon State, saw time in five games with the Bears last season, rushing for 34 yards and one touchdown on six carries.

The Browns also worked out safety Josh Shaw and guards Tristen Hoge, Sam Jones, and Chad Slade.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/2/21

Here are Thursday’s minor moves, with the list being updated throughout the day:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers

  • Placed on IR: WR Aaron Parker

Cincinnati Bengals

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Las Vegas Raiders

  • Released from IR with injury settlement: LB Asmar Bial

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Released from IR with injury settlement: DT Chris Okoye, OL Tyree St. Louis

Los Angeles Rams

New England Patriots

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

  • Released from IR with injury settlement: RB Brian Hill

Washington Football Team

  • Released from IR with injury settlement: OT Rick Leonard

Titans Cut John Simon

The Titans got an early jump on their housekeeping. On Sunday, the club released veteran defensive end John Simon, per a club announcement. They’ve also cut defensive back Clayton Geathers, waived linebacker Cassh Maluia, and placed running back Brian Hill on injured reserve. 

Simon joined the Titans in July, replacing fellow pass rusher Tuzar Skipper on the offseason roster. Before that, he spent three years with the Patriots. In 2020, he started in all 16 games and registered 53 stops with two sacks. All in all, he’s got 97 appearances and 52 career starts to his credit for the Ravens, Texans, Colts, and Patriots. Now, he could be en route to yet another NFL club.

Simon is perhaps best known for the three-year, $14MM deal he signed with the Colts in 2017. That deal didn’t make it to Year Two, but he’s quietly put together a solid career in the NFL. Few knew Simon’s ability better than Titans head coach Mike Vrabel, who has coached the veteran at multiple stops.

Geathers is another ex-Colt; he spent his entire career with Indy up until recently. He saw time in 56 games for the Colts and started 22 games combined in 2018 and 2019. During that stretch, he posted 101 tackles and four passes defended. He sat out the 2020 campaign and only just reemerged this month when he inked a deal with the Titans. As a vested veteran, he’ll be free to sign with any club straight away.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals Sign RB Ito Smith

A second member of the Falcons’ 2020 running back trio has found a home. The Cardinals agreed to a deal with Ito Smith, whom the Falcons waived in April.

Smith joins Brian Hill in securing a landing spot, with Hill catching on with the Titans in May. Todd Gurley remains a free agent. Smith will join a team transitioning in the backfield. A year after trading David Johnson to the Texans, the Cardinals allowed Kenyan Drake to defect to the Raiders in free agency.

Arizona has Chase Edmonds and James Conner in place as its top running backs. The team appears set to give each considerable work this year. With Conner having struggled with injuries throughout his career, Smith profiles as veteran insurance.

A 2018 fourth-round pick out of Southern Miss, Smith has accumulated just 175 career carries. Sixty-three of those came in 2020, when the Falcons diminished Gurley’s workload down the stretch. Smith averaged 4.3 yards per carry last season, totaling 268 rushing yards and a touchdown. He has six career TDs, with four of those coming as a rookie — a season that featured Devonta Freeman barely see the field due to injury. Smith finished his college career with back-to-back 1,400-yard rushing seasons.

Arizona waived running back Khalfani Muhammad and safety Lorenzo Burns as well. Burns spent most of the past two weeks on the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 5/6/21

Today’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

  • Signed: WR Juwan Green

Indianapolis Colts

  • Waived: CB Will Sunderland

Las Vegas Raiders

  • Signed: G Marquel Harrell

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Claimed (from Cowboys): DB Kemon Hall

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Seattle Seahawks

  • Claimed (from Cowboys): CB Saivion Smith
  • Signed: TE Nick Guggemos

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Claimed (from Cowboys): LB Ladarius Hamilton
  • Signed: CB Nate Brooks

Tennessee Titans

Falcons’ Brian Hill Signs RFA Tender

Falcons running back Brian Hill has signed his RFA tender, as D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. With that, Hill will return to the Falcons on a $2.13MM salary in 2020.

Atlanta originally selected Hill in the fifth round of the 2017 draft. He was waived by the team in October of that year and was signed to the practice squad, but the Bengals plucked him off the practice squad a month later. He ultimately appeared in six games for Cincinnati but was waived prior to the start of the 2018 season. The Falcons, who never really wanted to let him go in the first place, brought him back to their practice squad shortly thereafter.

Hill got just 20 carries in 2018 but saw that number increase to 78 in 2019, as he became the primary backup to Devonta Freeman after Ito Smith succumbed to injury. Freeman was released last month, and while the club brought in Todd Gurley to replace him, Gurley’s own medical history doesn’t inspire a great deal of confidence.

Hill, who has posted a very good 4.7 yards-per-carry average across an admittedly small sample size of 109 career totes, will have a good chance to be Gurley’s primary backup, and he could get even more burn if Gurley cannot shake his injury woes. The Falcons may very well select another RB in this week’s draft, but Hill will be in the mix.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

RFA/ERFA Tender Decisions: 3/17/20

Tuesday’s restricted free agent and exclusive rights free agent tender decisions will be posted below. Deals will be updated throughout the day.

RFAs

Tendered at second-round level: 

Tendered at original-round level:

ERFAs

Tendered:

Non-tendered:

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 9/3/18

We’ll keep track of today’s practice squad moves here:

Atlanta Falcons

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

  • Signed: DE Christian LaCouture

Chicago Bears

Signed:

Cleveland Browns

Signed:

Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Signed:

Los Angeles Chargers

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New York Jets

Signed:

New York Giants

Oakland Raiders

San Francisco 49ers

  • Signed: OL Zack Golditch

Seattle Seahawks

Signed:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Signed:

Tennessee Titans