Cardale Jones

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

Sunday NFL Transactions: AFC West

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four AFC West 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 Broncos, Chiefs, Chargers, and Raiders 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 West transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day:

Denver Broncos

Placed on injured reserve:

Re-signed:

Claimed:

Cut:

Practice squad:

Kansas City Chiefs

Claimed:

Placed on injured reserve:

Cut:

Practice squad:

Los Angeles Chargers

Claimed:

Cut:

Practice squad:

Oakland Raiders

Claimed:

Cut:

Signed to practice squad:

* = suspended

AFC West Notes: Broncos, Bolts, Washington

Paxton Lynch joins the likes of Ameer Abdullah, Breshad Perriman, Stephone Anthony and Mike Gillislee on a roster bubble, per ESPN.com’s Field Yates (on Twitter), and the Broncos may choose to cut ties with their disappointing 2016 first-rounder. Lynch would prefer to stay in Denver, Mike Klis of 9News tweets, despite his rocky tenure there to date. A fresh start might be best for the former Memphis prodigy, but the Broncos may elect to keep him as their No. 3 quarterback. Chad Kelly‘s performance in Denver’s Thursday-night finale could determine Lynch’s fate, with Troy Renck of Denver7 writing that a strong showing from the 2017 seventh-rounder may convince the Broncos he’s ready to be Case Keenum‘s regular-season backup rather than forcing the Broncos to acquire a veteran to serve in that role. That would seemingly free up a roster spot for Lynch as the third-stringer. It would cost the Broncos $4.9MM to cut Lynch. They already absorbed a $5.5MM dead-money hit upon releasing Menelik Watson.

Here’s the latest from the AFC West, shifting to another quarterback battle.

  • The Chargers are likely to keep just two quarterbacks, which makes sense given Philip Rivers‘ historic durability. Los Angeles’ starter has taken first-string snaps in every game since succeeding Drew Brees in 2006. As a result, Yates adds that either Cardale Jones or Geno Smith is a cut candidate. The Bolts, though, aren’t certain which one will be given his walking papers. Smith is a vested veteran and would head into free agency if released, while Jones would be subject to waivers. Neither is attached to a contract worth more than $1MM.
  • Su’a Cravens will make his Broncos debut Thursday night after missing most of August due to a knee injury, Renck notes. The former Redskins safety/linebacker has a clearer path to the Broncos’ roster, despite missing most of training camp, due to Jamal Carter‘s season-ending injury.
  • With UDFA Phillip Lindsay almost certainly having earned his way onto the team as Denver’s No. 3 running back, De’Angelo Henderson has drawn trade interest. Former Broncos tackle Tyler Polumbus, writing for The Athletic (subscription required) believes that would be the best scenario for the second-year player, noting that Denver will likely keep four backs — Devontae Booker, Royce Freeman, Lindsay and fullback Andy Janovich — on its 53-man roster. This would leave both Henderson, who likely wouldn’t pass through waivers, and seventh-round rookie David Williams, who might, off the team.
  • Although he returned a punt for a touchdown in the preseason, Isaiah McKenzie probably won’t make the Broncos, per Polumbus. The diminutive return man has fumbled several kicks in his short Broncos stay, losing another one during preseason play. Lindsay and the recent addition of Adam Jones look to have forced the second-year player off the roster.
  • The Raiders will likely waive DeAndre Washington and allow recent camp pickup Chris Warren to take his place, Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com notes. Washington recently underwent arthroscopic knee surgery and is an IR candidate, per Gutierrez, who has the Raiders keeping four running backs — Marshawn Lynch, Doug Martin, Jalen Richard and Warren. Washington and Richard served as backups for Lynch and Latavius Murray the past two years. Washington averaged 5.4 yards per carry as a rookie but struggled last season (2.7 YPC).

Chargers Notes: Gates, Jones, Smith, Nwosu

After Hunter Henry was lost for the season with a torn ACL, it was immediately speculated that the Chargers might look to bring back Antonio Gates. Gates’ NFL career appeared to be over after the Chargers indicated they were moving on, but Henry’s injury threw him a lifeline.

Gates isn’t interested in playing for any other team, and the two sides had talks right after Henry went down. Despite there still being no deal in place with the preseason already underway, Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said “we’re still talking with him” after the Chargers’ game against the Cardinals, according to Eric D. Williams of ESPN. Williams points out that the Chargers tight ends accounted for five drops in the preseason opener, and Lynn said “we need to make more plays at the tight end position.” It all sounds like eventually something will get done with Gates.

Here’s more from Los Angeles:

  • In the race to be Philip Rivers‘ backup between Geno Smith and Cardale Jones, Smith “appeared to seize control of the competition” with his strong performance in the first week of the preseason, Williams writes. Smith threw for over 200 yards while Jones, who started the game, threw for only 50 on 12 attempts.
  • Williams writes that rookie linebacker Uchenna Nwosu could start right away for the team. Nwosu, the 48th overall pick in this year’s draft from USC, had a sack and two quarterback hits in his professional debut.
  • In case you missed it, we took a look at the Chargers’ situation at guard as Forrest Lamp continues to rehab from a knee injury.

Extra Points: Jones, Lions, Bengals

The Chargers acquired quarterback Cardale Jones from the Bills earlier this week, giving them another signal-caller to backup Philip Rivers. However, if the organization had had their way, they would have had Jones on their squad last season.

General manager Tom Telesco admitted this week that the Chargers had been eyeing Jones since the 2016 draft, when they had the prospect in for a private workout. The organization was seemingly infatuated with the quarterback, but he was ultimately selected by the Bills in the fourth round.

“Obviously we’re looking for competition at that spot,” Telesco told ESPN.com’s Eric D. Williams. “And with Cardale, he’s a quarterback with some developmental traits that are hard to find.

“Our scouts had really high grades on him when he came out in the draft. And then the fact that Anthony had him in Buffalo for a year — that way he knew him — so it was a good blend for us and a good combination for that. Since Brad Sorensen, we haven’t had a young quarterback in our system that we could work with, so he’s going to be one of those guys.”

Let’s take a look at some other notes from around the NFL…

  • About a month ago, the Lions had free agent Zach Orr in for a workout, but the linebacker ultimately left the audition without a contract. Today, coach Jim Caldwell told reporters to “never say never” when asked if Orr could still join the team, but Justin Rogers of the Detroit News notes (via Twitter) that the sentiment “isn’t the most optimistic take.” Orr met with the Texans earlier this week, and he’s also worked out with the Jets and Colts.
  • The Bengals worked out safety DeJuan Rogers today, according to ESPN’s Katherine Terrell (via Twitter). The undrafted rookie out of Toledo finished his senior season with 87 tackles, one interception, and six passes defended. Behind their starters, the Bengals are currently only rostering a pair of safeties in Clayton Fejedelem and Derron Smith.
  • Alabama defensive lineman Da’Shawn Hand, a projected top prospect in next year’s draft, was charged with DUI earlier this morning, according to Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com. In 24 games over three seasons with the Crimson Tide, Hand has compiled six sacks and 11 tackles for loss. “This type of behavior is not acceptable and we are disappointed in Da’Shawn’s actions,” said coach Nick Saban. “We are still gathering information and will evaluate what we need to do in terms of appropriate discipline as we move forward, so better choices and decisions can be made in the future.”

Chargers Acquire Cardale Jones

The Bills announced that they have traded quarterback Cardale Jones to the Chargers for a conditional draft pick. It’s a seventh-rounder in either 2018 or ’19, reports Albert Breer of The MMQB (on Twitter).

Cardale Jones (Vertical)

The Chargers had been in the market to acquire another quarterback to compete for a spot behind starter Philip Rivers, having worked out veteran Robert Griffin III on Tuesday. While the Bolts’ meeting with RG3 went well, they’ve elected to go with Jones, who’s only a year removed from joining the Bills as a fourth-round pick. As a rookie, the former Ohio State star worked with Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn, who was the Bills’ offensive coordinator last year. On the heels of Rex Ryan‘s firing, Lynn served as the Bills’ interim head coach in Week 17 – a 30-10 loss to the Jets in which Jones saw his first pro action. The 24-year-old completed 6 of 11 passes for 96 yards and an interception.

The offseason regime change in Buffalo clearly helped lead to Jones’ demise with the club. The general manager who selected Jones, Doug Whaley, lost his job after the draft this year. Before that, the Bills, led by new head coach Sean McDermott, used a fifth-round pick on ex-Pitt standout Nathan Peterman. With Tyrod Taylor entrenched as the starter and veteran T.J. Yates also in the fold, there was no longer room for Jones in Buffalo. He’ll now push for a place behind Rivers, whose primary backup is Kellen Clemens. The Chargers also have developmental QBs Mike Bercovici and Eli Jenkins on hand.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Bills, Dolphins, Patriots

With free agent signee T.J. Yates the favorite to act as the Bills‘ backup quarterback behind Tyrod Taylor, and fifth-round pick Nathan Peterman now in tow, Cardale Jones — a fourth-round selection just a year ago — is not a lock to make the Buffalo roster, as Mike Rodak of ESPN.com writes. The Bills are unlikely to keep four signal-callers in 2017, meaning Jones could be the odd man out. “You kind of sit around all day, try to go in there. You wait on your opportunity all day,” Jones said. “Your number is called, and you kind of didn’t take advantage of it.” Jones, 24, appeared in only one game in 2016 (the season finale), during which he completed six of 11 attempts for 96 yards and one interception. For what it’s worth, Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott said Thursday that Jones is “absolutely in the mix” for a roster spot, tweets Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • Searching for versatility in their defensive backfield, the Dolphins haven’t yet decided whether Walt Aikens will play cornerback or safety, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald details. “[Aikens] is a big athlete,” said defensive coordinator Matt Burke. “He’s obviously a huge asset to us on (special) teams. We like having a versatile player in that role on the roster, so Walt has done a good job. Again, we’re trying to put him maybe in a spot that he’s not as comfortable and see how he responds, and he’s done a good job working for us so far.” No matter where the 25-year-old Aikens lands position-wise, he’s likely to act as a reserve, as he saw only 15 defensive snaps in 2016. But as Burke suggested, Aikens is a key special teams player, as he played on nearly 80% of the Dolphins’ ST snaps last year.
  • The Patriots auditioned a number of special teams players last week, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.com, who reports punters Spencer Lanning and Drew Butler, kicker Adam Griffith, and long snapper Cole Mazza recently worked out for New England. Lanning hasn’t seen an NFL field since 2015, but does offer experience, as he was the Browns’ regular punter from 2013-14. He worked out for the Saints last summer. Butler, meanwhile, appeared in 54 games over four seasons with the Cardinals, but was waived on two separate occasions last year.
  • Former Dolphins executive Dawn Aponte has been hired as the NFL’s chief administrator of football operations, reports Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal (Twitter link). Aponte, who had also spent time with the Browns and Jets, left Miami’s front office in September to work for Dolphins owner Stephen Ross‘ Drone Racing League. Per Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk, Aponte will now report to vice president of football operations Troy Vincent in the league office.

Bills GM Wants QB Cardale Jones To Start?

The Bills are still working through the idea of retaining quarterback Tyrod Taylor, but general manager Doug Whaley is thought to be in favor of starting 2016 fourth-round pick Cardale Jones next season, according to Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News.Cardale Jones (Vertical)

[RELATED: Tyrod Taylor On Browns’ Radar]

Buffalo’s front office has been smitten with Jones for some time, as reports before last year’s draft indicated the club was “enamored” with the then-Ohio State quarterback, while Whaley & Co. were reportedly pushing for Jones to play at the tail end of last season. Jones eventually did see some action during Week 17, completing six of 11 passes for 96 yards and an interception, but the most notable thing he did during his rookie campaign was knock a phone out of a reporter’s hand during training camp with a pass that was overthrown by 20 yards.

But unless the Bills come to an agreement with Taylor, Jones may be their only option under center. The club could pursue a veteran in free agency, but most of the signal-callers on the open market are less than inspiring. One recent report claimed Buffalo has “significant” interest in Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, but Carucci shoots down that notion, observing that Romo likely will target a team with a clearer path to contention.

Meanwhile, while Taylor is not open to accepting a paycut in order to remain with the Bills, a “very real possibility” exists that Taylor would be amenable to some sort of contract restructure that lowers his 2017 cap charge but doesn’t amount to a pay reduction, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Of course, a restructure that doesn’t involve a paycut is essentially a cosmetic change that often allows a player to receive money even earlier, so theoretically any player should be receptive to such a move.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Rex, Taylor, Stills, Williams

After a resurgence in October and November, the Bills again are dealing with turmoil. A report earlier today placed Rex Ryan‘s job in jeopardy, with CBSSports.com’s Jason La Canfora saying the second-year Buffalo coach could be fired as soon as Monday if the Steelers easily handled the Bills.

Today’s 27-20 home defeat probably doesn’t quite qualify as such — Le’Veon Bell‘s 238 rushing yards that doubled as the most ever ceded by a Bills team notwithstanding — but Ryan fielded plenty of questions about his job status postgame. Predictably, the embattled coach said he hasn’t had any conversations with ownership about his job status and that he remains unaware of potential tenuous nature of his position, Mike Rodak of ESPN.com notes. Ryan also said the narrow defeat to the Steelers should allow him to remain in his current position, Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL.com reports (on Twitter).

Also addressing the issue of a potential schism between he and GM Doug Whaley, Ryan insists the two are indeed on the same page and committed to winning in western New York, per Rodak. The Bills dropped to 6-7 and are likely set to miss the playoffs for the 17th straight season, which remains the NFL’s longest postseason drought.

Here’s more from Buffalo and other locales in the AFC East.

  • Tyrod Taylor‘s stock is also plummeting after Whaley did not commit to him as the team’s surefire quarterback next season. Ryan told media “we’ll see” if Taylor will remain the starter in the Bills’ final three games, per Rodak. The organization is also not pressuring Ryan to play rookie Cardale Jones, via Rodak. Taylor sees the organization as still being behind him. By sticking with Taylor — who entered the day commanding the worst pass offense in the league — next season, the Bills would kickstart an $80MM+ contract that still stands as a wait-and-see-type deal as of this season.
  • The Dolphins managed to move to 8-5 and stand in reasonable position to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2008, although Ryan Tannehill‘s possible ACL tear obviously throws cold water on this, and the team wants to retain multiple members of its core. Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald notes the team would like to extend Kiko Alonso, tight end Dion Sims, and potentially Kenny Stills after the season. Stills is the only member of the Dolphins’ receiving corps who is not under contract after the season. He caught six passes for 97 yards and a touchdown against the Cardinals today to bring his season total to over 600. Proving to be a solid fit for Adam Gase‘s offense, Stills unlikely to match the 931 yards he amassed in 2014 with the Saints but could approach it and command a nice payday. Miami also wants to extend Jarvis Landry, whose contract is up after the ’17 season.
  • Jackson estimates the Fins will possess more than $50MM in cap space if they cut Mario Williams and Koa Misi, as he expects them to. Cutting Williams would save the team $8.5MM, with a Misi release adding $4.2MM to that figure. These moves would cost less than $3MM in terms of dead money.
  • Now on the heels of leading the Jets to their fourth victory this season, Todd Bowles’ job is likely safe.

Bills Head Coach Rex Ryan’s Job In Jeopardy

Rex Ryan is exceedingly unlikely to return as the Bills’ head coach in 2017, and if the club suffers an embarrassing loss to the Steelers later today, Ryan could be fired as soon as Monday, a source tells Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com. If Ryan is let go, Buffalo would likely promote offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn to interim head coach, according to Tim Graham of the Buffalo News.Rex Ryan (Featured)

[RELATED: Bills GM Refuses To Commit To Tyrod Taylor]

The Bills could still finish the 2016 campaign strong, and with four winnable games remaining on the schedule (Buffalo is set to face Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Miami, and New York), the club could win out, finish with a record of 10-6, and compete for an AFC wild card slot. Such a scenario remains unlikely, however — Football Outsiders gives the Bills just a 9.9% chance of making the playoffs — and Ryan’s crumbling status in Buffalo appears to have deeper roots than simply the team’s win-loss record.

Per La Canfora, the relationship between Ryan and general manager Doug Whaley is heavily strained, and Whaley may hold the upper hand given that he’s developed a “strong bond” with team ownership. Whaley and the Buffalo front office have repeatedly indicated that the Bills’ roster is better than its record, laying blame for this season’s results at the feet of Ryan, and have shared that belief with owner Terry Pegula. The Bills have seemingly decided against the idea of hiring a “football czar” to oversee operations — a role that Bill Polian and Tom Coughlin have been considered for in the past — meaning Whaley’s job should be safe.

Other personnel and coaching staff problems abound, such as the poor reaction to Ryan’s decision to hire his brother — longtime NFL defensive coordinator Rob Ryan — as a defensive assistant. Additionally, the Buffalo front office would like to see fourth-round quarterback Cardale Jones take the field at some point this season, as the club is highly unlikely to exercise its option on incumbent signal-caller Tyrod Taylor.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.