Buddy Howell

Texans Re-Sign Two RFAs, Dismiss C.J. Leak

The Texans have re-signed two players that were eligible for restricted free agency. As Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports, Houston is bringing back RB Buddy Howell and CB Cornell Armstrong (Twitter links).

Howell’s one-year pact is worth less than the $2.133MM RFA tender, but it does come with some guaranteed money, so it makes sense from his vantage point. The former Dolphins UDFA was claimed by the Texans after Miami released him during final cutdowns in 2018, and he has been with Houston ever since. Though he has amassed just 21 carries over his three pro seasons, he has been a key member of the Texans’ special teams unit.

Armstrong is another former Dolphins castoff. The Southern Miss product was selected by Miami in the sixth round of the 2018 draft, and while he made it through his rookie season with the ‘Fins, he was jettisoned just before the 2019 regular season started. He saw just one defensive snap for the Texans last season after 53 the year before, but like Howell, he has managed to carve out a role on special teams. Also like Howell, Armstrong settled for less than the $2.133MM RFA value. As Wilson writes, Armstrong inked a one-year, $1.25MM pact that includes a $100K signing bonus.

In related news, the Texans have undergone more front office shakeups, dismissing assistant pro personnel director C.J. Leak as well as area scout Ryan Cavanaugh and pro scout Steven Price, per Wilson. While any news like this is going to get attention given the perception of Houston’s ownership and front office at the moment, these moves do not seem out of the ordinary for a team that has just hired a new GM and head coach.

Leak, who was hired by former GM Brian Gaine in 2018, is expected to draw interest from other clubs.

AFC East Rumors: Gronk, Dolphins, Jets

Rob Gronkowski‘s contract has come up in several news cycles in recent years, the all-world tight end still being attached to a deal he signed back in 2012. But the future Hall of Fame Patriots pass-catcher said he wasn’t agonizing over the team adjusting his deal, which it did for the second straight year via incentive package. Gronk did sit out the voluntary portion of New England’s offseason program and considered retirement, but he says the drama’s in the past as he prepares for his ninth NFL season.

It didn’t weigh on me at all,” Gronkowski said of his near-offseason-long negotiations with the Pats (via NESN.com). “Everything’s always in the works. Nothing’s just going to happen in a day, something like that. It’s in the past now. It happened last week, so it’s go time now.”

Gronkowski also said had he not been satisfied with his situation, he would have followed Aaron Donald and Khalil Mack‘s footsteps.

I’m super satisfied with my situation,” Gronkowski said. “If I wasn’t, I would try to pull a move like they did. It works out. You get rewarded for holding out. But I’m not frustrated at all or anything. I’m super satisfied and just ready to go.”

The Patriots will need Gronkowski plenty while Julian Edelman sits and a thin receiving corps attempts to become a reliable source for Tom Brady targets. Here’s the latest from the Pats’ rivals:

  • The Dolphins submitted an unsuccessful waiver claim for a Bills cut, linebacker Tanner Vallejo, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald notes. Vallejo ended up in Cleveland because of the Browns’ top waiver priority position, one they’ve used frequently over the past week. Miami also wanted to keep two of their own cuts — running back Buddy Howell and tackle Eric Smith — but saw the former land with the Texans via waiver claim and the latter end up choosing to sign with the Patriots’ practice squad instead of the Dolphins’.
  • Dolphins skepticism is rampant around the NFL-following world going into this season, with Miami sitting as one of Las Vegas’ longest-odds Super Bowl propositions, but one reason the team believes it will improve from a disappointing 2017 is its offensive line. The Dolphins believe Laremy Tunsil is set for a “monster” season and that Daniel Kilgore has filled in nicely for Mike Pouncey — as both a leader and a player, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald notes. Kilgore and Josh Sitton are now in place on a Miami front that’s endured questions about its interior line — be it Pouncey’s health or guards’ underwhelming performance — for years.
  • Shifting back to practice squad gets, the Jets paid a premium for two of their 10 taxi-squadders. Defensive end Bronson Kaufusi and running back De’Angelo Henderson will make four times as much as league-minimum practice squad players will, with NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero reporting (via Twitter) Kaufusi will earn $32K per week and Henderson will receive $30K per week. The practice squad minimum for 2018 is just less than $8K weekly. The Broncos liked what they saw from Henderson in the 2017 preseason, but the 2017 sixth-round pick did not see much game action behind C.J. Anderson, Jamaal Charles and Devontae Booker. Additions of Royce Freeman and UDFA Phillip Lindsay routed Henderson out of Denver this year.
  • The Jets have one of the league’s least established tight end situations, but the team is high on rookie Chris Herndon, Albert Breer of SI.com writes. A fourth-round pick, Herndon’s caught the Jets’ eye as both a receiver and blocker and is a player the team believes will be a long-term cog. Jordan Leggett, a 2017 fifth-rounder, resides as the Jets’ other primary tight end candidate after Austin Seferian-Jenkins‘ defection to the Jaguars.

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

Claimed:

Cut:

Placed on injured reserve:

Practice squad:

Indianapolis Colts

Claimed:

Cut:

Placed on injured reserve:

Practice squad:

Jacksonville Jaguars

Practice squad:

Tennessee Titans

Practice squad:

* = practice squad exception

Dolphins Cut Roster To 53

The Miami Dolphins are the latest team to cut their roster all the way down to the required 53 players. Here are their latest moves:

Waived:

Waived/Injured

Terminated vested veteran

Overall, not too many surprises. It looks like the Dolphins will be keeping three quarterbacks, with both Brock Osweiler and David Fales making the team.

Dolphins Add 13 UDFAs

With several teams yet to hold their rookie minicamps, more undrafted free agent classes are being finalized. Here is the latest one, coming out of Miami:

Davis earned All-American acclaim for his 2017 season — five interceptions and 20 passes defensed — and set the Aggies’ school record with 48 passes defensed. In addition to the two Florida Atlantic-honed talents, the Dolphins brought in two players from Division II’s Mountain East Conference in Mathieu and Redmon.

Joseph and Gravelle figure to be competition for seventh-round rookie kicker Jason Sanders and longtime long snapper John Denney, respectively. Denney has been Miami’s specialty snapper for 13 seasons. Joseph has more experience kicking in higher-stakes games than Sanders, with the UDFA being a four-year kicker for the Owls. Sanders was New Mexico’s kicker for two seasons, so this could be a fairly even competition at its outset. Joseph finished as Florida Atlantic’s all-time scoring leader.