Carl Nassib

Buccaneers Claim DL Carl Nassib

One of the stars of this year’s Hard Knocks has found a home. Carl Nassib was claimed by the Buccaneers off waivers, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN (Twitter link). 

Nassib made the Browns’ initial 53-man roster, but was waived the next day to make room for the Browns’ waiver claims. Nassib was a third round pick in 2016, and never was terrible with the Browns, but the team decided to move on because of their increased depth at the position.

Last year Nassib, appeared in all 16 games for Cleveland, making 12 starts. He had 19 tackles with three sacks and five passes defended. He finished his career in Cleveland with 34 tackles, 5.5 sacks, and nine passes defended total.

He’ll now join a unit in Tampa Bay where he should have the opportunity to make an immediate impact. The Bucs’ pass-rushing group isn’t nearly as deep as Cleveland’s is, so it’s a great landing spot for Nassib. The former Penn State Nittany Lion, who set a school record with 15.5 sacks his senior season, should get a chance to re-invent himself.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link), the Bucs are releasing veteran defensive end Will Clarke to make room for Nassib on the roster.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Sunday NFL Transactions: AFC North

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four AFC North 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 Ravens, Bengals, Browns, and Steelers 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 North transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day:

Baltimore Ravens

Practice squad:

Cincinnati Bengals

Signed:

Practice squad:

Cleveland Browns

Claimed:

Cut:

Pittsburgh Steelers

Practice squad:

* = international player
** = practice squad exception

AFC North Notes: Browns, Shazier, Harrison

Myles Garrett‘s recent trouble with left leg maladies returned this week, with the Browns announcing the No. 1 overall pick sprained his left foot. Although he’s expected to be ready for training camp in just more than five weeks, the fact that Garrett’s junior season at Texas A&M was interrupted by left ankle trouble is not a good sign. But the Browns have invested heavily in their edge rushers over the past few years.

The Browns have some additional options at defensive end this season to supplement Garrett, with recent draft picks now firmly stationed there. Whereas the team moved Emmanuel Ogbah from outside linebacker to end in the team’s previous 3-4 scheme last season, the 2016 second-round pick is a more natural 4-3 end, Terry Pluto of cleveland.com notes. This applies to 2016 third-rounder Carl Nassib as well, with Nate Orchard now lining up there too. Prior to becoming a 3-4 outside ‘backer with the Browns after being taken in the 2015 second round, Orchard registered 18.5 sacks at Utah as a senior while at end.

Cleveland’s defensive end contingent also features Desmond Bryant, who is returning from a torn pectoral muscle that erased his 2016 season. Bryant has not played 4-3 end since he was with the Raiders, and he also saw time as a defensive tackle with the Silver and Black. The 31-year-old Bryant would be a good bet to be one of the players the Browns could shift to tackle in sub-packages.

Here’s the latest from the North divisions.

  • Had Ryan Shazier been a second-round pick in 2014 instead of going in the first, he would be entering a contract year. But the Steelers picked up the inside linebacker’s fifth-year option in April to tie him to the team through 2018. Shazier is not on board with this setup. “Yeah, that kind of sucks,” Shazier said, via Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com, of the system that can tie first-rounders to their rookie deals for five years. “Sometimes guys have to wait five years. Other guys don’t. But that’s what they agreed on in the past. Next time (during CBA negotiations) we’ve just got to do a better job of structuring what we want to do.” Also weighing in on the positions 2014 draft class mates Odell Beckham and Aaron Donald are in, Shazier said rookies should have the opportunity to renegotiate their deals before they accrue three years of service time. “At the end of the day, that’s between you and the team. If the team wants to do that, it’s great,” Shazier said. “… If you play at that level, you should be able to re-up whenever you want to.” Shazier is signed through 2018, with a guaranteed-against-injury ’18 salary of $8.78MM set.
  • It doesn’t sound like James Harrison will be going through a regular training camp. The Steelers know what they have in the 39-year-old veteran, and he knows the team’s system. In minicamp, Pittsburgh gave the league’s oldest defender freedom to prepare on his own, giving his reps to first-rounder T.J. Watt, per Fowler. Notorious for conducting unusual workouts in the offseason, Harrison enters his 14th Steelers season. Fowler notes Harrison will work participate in 11-on-11 drills on some days but will be excused during others. “It’s good for the young guys to get the reps,” linebackers coach Joey Porter said at minicamp. “Right now, we’re not going to ask him to do a whole lot. The defense is learning, getting comfortable.”
  • It’s looking more like the latest hip injury Dennis Pitta suffered, one that led to the Ravens releasing the longtime tight end, will end his career.

Injuries For Browns’ Nassib, Erving

This has been a rough Monday morning for the Browns. Browns defensive end Carl Nassib suffered a broken hand yesterday and will undergo surgery, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Meanwhile, starting center Cameron Erving suffered a bruised lung (Twitter link via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com). Meanwhile, as we learned earlier, the Browns fear that they will be without quarterback Josh McCown for quite some time. Carl Nassib (vertical)

Nassib, a Penn State product, put himself on the NFL map in 2015 when he racked up 15.5 sacks, 46 tackles, and 19.5 tackles for a loss. Cleveland had high hopes for the defensive end after snagging him in the third round of this year’s draft, but this latest setback could keep him out for a while. Nassib suffered the injury during the second half of Browns’ 25-20 loss to the Ravens on Sunday.

There’s currently no timetable for Erving, but the expectation is that he’ll be out for at least a month. Thankfully, the center was released from the hospital earlier today. Erving was selected with the No. 19 overall pick in the 2015 draft. As a rookie, Erving appeared in all 16 regular season games with four starts.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles Notes: Johnson, Wentz, Fullbacks

The Eagles are entering their Week 1 matchup with the Browns in an interesting position on their offensive line. Since the NFL has yet to announce the expected suspension for Lane Johnson, the team shelved a plan that included an alternate route at right tackle and will instead start Johnson on Sunday, Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Getting ready to play, man,” Johnson told media after Friday’s practice. “I didn’t think this day would come. This has been the biggest mental hurdle of my career.”

Johnson faces a 10-game suspension after his A sample tested positive for a banned substance. The delay for the league appears to stem from the results of his B sample not being retrieved. The fourth-year tackle intends to appeal any suspension, and with that process taking as many as several weeks, he may be available longer than expected this season. However, the loss of an appeal could sideline Johnson during more second-half games than anticipated since the ban won’t be starting Week 1 as he anticipated.

Here’s the latest coming out of Philly.

  • Hours before the Eagles’ third preseason game, wide receiver Jordan Matthews told Howie Roseman that Carson Wentz was ready to see play now instead of being a quarterback-in-waiting, Zach Berman of the Inquirer reports. The rookie was then relegated to personal throwing sessions while recovering from injury, and while the third-year pass-catcher’s statement probably wouldn’t have proved as significant for the purposes of Week 1 had Teddy Bridgewater not gone down, the comment looks somewhat prescient now that Wentz is the starter and Sam Bradford‘s in Minnesota.
  • Some in the Eagles’ organization are surprised by the Browns’ comments regarding Wentz, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. Paul DePodesta recently revealed the Browns’ brass did not consider the North Dakota State product a potential top-20 NFL quarterback, and young defenders Carl Nassib and Ibraheim Campbell respectively called Wentz’s delivery and inexperience into question this week after it became known he would start the season for the Eagles. Wentz had read DePodesta’s comments before he was named the Eagles’ starter, Cabot writes.
  • It doesn’t look like Doug Pederson‘s offense will be housing a pure fullback for a while, Dave Zangaro of CSNPhilly.com writes. The team cut potential options Ryan Mueller and Chris Pantale. Many teams obviously go without pure fullbacks in today’s NFL, but the Andy Reid– and Pederson-run Chiefs employed one in Anthony Sherman during the three seasons that duo coordinated Kansas City’s attack. The Eagles have Andrew Bonnet on their practice squad and could use third tight end Trey Burton there, per new OC Frank Reich.
  • Earlier today, former Eagles running back Brian Westbrook said some Philadelphia veterans aren’t on board with the Bradford trade.

Impact Rookies: Cleveland Browns

The old adage that defense wins championships may or may not be true, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a title-winning team that didn’t build heavily through the draft. Rookie classes, naturally, are evaluated on the perceived upside of the NFL newcomers, but which rookies are ready to contribute right out of the gate? And, how do they fit in with their new team schematically?

To help us forecast the immediate future of these NFL neophytes, we enlisted the help of draft guru Dave-Te Thomas who has served as a scouting personnel consultant to NFL teams for multiple decades.

Today, we continue PFR’s Impact Rookie series with his insight on the Cleveland Browns’ draft class:

Whether the formula works, or not, Cleveland came out of the draft after making a flurry of trades with fourteen youngsters to vie for roster spots. By trading down from the second overall spot, the Browns definitely added quantity, but you can see that they still have a primary need – quarterback. The Eagles packaged a deal with the Browns and went home happy with their quarterback catch in North Dakota’s Carson Wentz. Meanwhile, Cleveland invested $15MM in a quarterback who could go down as one of the biggest draft day mistakes ever, Washington castoff Robert Griffin III.

For a sum of $15,072,000 in 2016, Cleveland enters training camp with a quarterback stable that includes Griffin (7.5 mil), Josh McCown (4.7 mil), Austin Davis ($2.025 mil) and Cody Kessler (847K). While the coaches are saying all nice things about Griffin coming out of mini camp, one has to wonder if they’re not sold on him since they also kept McCown.

By the time the team was able to pick in the first round, they were not in love with the quarterback left behind (Paxton Lynch) and went after filling their second-biggest need at wide receiver, bringing in the electrifying Corey Coleman. The Browns stepped away from the usual “best available athlete” draft mode used by most teams, as they went for needs with their first four selections. Checking off the big need at receiver with Coleman, UCLA’s Jordan Payton and Colorado State’s Rashard Higgins, the team turned their attention to the defensive line that featured one of the worst sack units in the league.

In fact, they doubled down at the defensive end position, first, taking Oklahoma State’s Emmanuel Ogbah in the second round, followed by Penn State sack artist Carl Nassib in the next phase. There is talk of turning Ogbah into an outside linebacker, rather than playing him on the front wall, but the team should look back at their recent draft history to see how they utterly failed in their attempts to convert Barkevious Mingo, the team’s first pick in the 2013 draft, into a stand-up second level performer.

That plan could change by training camp, as recent pectoral muscle surgery by Desmond Bryant will sideline the starting left end for four-to-six months. That could give both their second and third round selections great opportunities to join the first unit. Early money says it will be Nassib, who rocked the backfield to the tune of 15.5 sacks during his breakout 2015 season. Ogbah chipped in with thirteen sacks and nineteen quarterback pressures. Last year, Cleveland finished with 29 sacks, which ranked 28th in the NFL.

When you look at the Browns’ entire draft picture, unless the first four players contribute immediately, if could be a head scratcher by the end of the season and yet another front office blow up. They invested a fourth round pick in Princeton tight end Seth DeValve, who was rated no better than the 47th-best tight end in the draft on most war room boards. He enters camp listed fourth on the depth chart and will battle five other tight ends for what will likely be three spots on the roster. The rest of their draft picks might be the perfect formula to put an insomniac to sleep.

There are plenty of question marks in this group, but these players could put exclamation points on their frosh seasons in the NFL:

First Round – Corey Coleman, WR (Baylor University, No. 15 overall)

Whether it is a fellow former Baylor Bear at quarterback or the aging veteran (perhaps the rookie from USC can make some noise later in the year, if all else fails), the Browns knew they could not go into the season with their obvious lack of depth at the wide receiver position. Knowing they needed a playmaker who could replace the 68 receptions recorded by Travis Benjamin, who left via free agency, their logical choice was Coleman, preferring the little speedster over other blue chip first round talent like Will Fuller, Josh Doctson, and Laquon Treadwell. Corey Coleman

Sports hernia surgery prevented the Bears prospect from playing past the 2015 regular season schedule, but despite missing bowl action, he pulled in 74-of-127 targeted passes (58.27%), as he had twelve passes batted away from him and dropped four others. Even though Baylor quarterbacks often misfired (37 targeted passes to Coleman failed to reach him), his 74 grabs rank fifth on the school season-record list. He finished ninth in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision ranks with 1,363 receiving yards and he led the nation with a school-record 20 touchdown catches, shattering the previous mark of fourteen by Kendall Wright in 2011.

Among Coleman’s 74 receptions, he recorded 47 first downs (63.51%), converting 9-of-17 third-down opportunities. He gained at least ten yards on 38 grabs, including going distances of 20 yards or longer on 20 of those receptions. In addition to his 20 touchdowns, he had key catches to set up five other touchdown drives.

[RELATED: Browns Have No Plans To Cut Isaiah Crowell]

After he generated 216 yards behind eleven receptions in the Kansas State contest, Coleman started to feel the effects from a nagging groin injury. During the course of his next four appearances, he failed to reach the end zone and averaged 46.25 yards per game on a total of sixteen catches. The sports hernia discovery would keep him out of action vs. North Carolina in the Russell Athletic Bowl. Soon after, Coleman announced that he would not be returning to school in 2016 and had entered the draft.

Coleman’s best asset is his timed speed, as he has more than enough quickness to elude in the open field, with adequate strength to fight for the ball in a crowd. He is the type of player that teams covet – one with the rare playing speed to stretch the defense, showing the burst needed to beat angles. He demonstrates excellent athleticism for his position, as few opposing defenders can mirror him on deep routes due to his speed. He not only has the speed to threaten the deep secondary – he also has the body control, lateral quickness, and change of direction agility to make the underneath catches.

The former Baylor star he has good eyes for locating the soft areas to settle in and shows good awareness for the comebacks. He is quick to recognize coverage and adjust to what the secondary gives him. He also is alert enough to know when he has to work back to the ball, especially when dealing with an erratic quarterback. Coleman is a classic deep threat, used mostly to stretch the field. He gives good effort working underneath, but there are still times when he will short arm when going for the ball over the middle or when facing the quarterback.

He can make some noise in 2016, particularly if Gordon is not reinstated.

Continue reading about the Browns’ rookie class..

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Browns Sign Carl Nassib, Wrap Up Draft Class

The Browns have signed third-round pick Carl Nassib, Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer tweets. With Nassib in the fold, the Browns have now locked up all 14 members of their massive rookie class.

Nassib – the 65th overall selection and brother of Giants quarterback Ryan Nassib – had a breakout season last year at Penn State, where he piled up 15.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss en route to All-America honors. He’ll now try to transfer that pass-rushing prowess to Cleveland, which finished 28th in the NFL in sacks last season. Carl Nassib (vertical)

Fifty picks before they took Nassib, the Browns grabbed the headliner of their class – former Baylor receiver Corey Coleman – at No. 15. Coleman, who figures to catch passes from either Robert Griffin III or Josh McCown in his rookie season, received a four-year deal worth roughly $11.655MM, with a signing bonus of $6.676MM and a first-year cap hit of $2.119MM. Coleman’s contract also features a fifth-year option for 2020, allowing Cleveland to control him for an extra season. The Browns’ selection of Coleman last month was the result of multiple trades down, first from No. 2, then from No. 8.

Here’s a full rundown of the Browns’ rookie class:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Seven Rookies Remain Unsigned

Updated on June 25th, 2016 3:32pm CT

The overwhelming majority of the rookies in the 2016 draft class have officially signed. However, as we approach July, we still have a small group of stragglers. Seven rookies have yet to put pen to paper with their respective teams and that group includes three first-rounders: Joey Bosa (Chargers, No. 3), Darron Lee (Jets, No. 20) and Joshua Garnett (49ers, No. 28). Joey Bosa (vertical)

[RELATED: Download The Must-Have Trade Rumors App Today]

Bosa, of course, stands as the most high-profile player yet to sign his rookie pact and his negotiations are also the most public of the bunch. This week, agent Todd France and team president of football operations John Spanos both discussed the negotiations in radio interviews and it appears that the two sides aren’t even in agreement as to what the disagreement is all about. Spanos says the two sides are hung up on the idea of offset language. France, meanwhile, says there are other reasons behind the protracted talks, including cash flow.

The latest Collective Bargaining Agreement has made rookie contracts much simpler than they used to be. Every rookie from No. 1 through (roughly) No. 256 receives a four-year deal with varying salary amounts based on where they are selected. However, offset language is among the key clauses which may be discussed. If a player with offset language in his contract his released midway through the deal, the original team is only on the hook for the difference in salary between the two contracts. Without offset language, the player can effectively double dip and collect two paychecks. Naturally, there are many player agents who are disinclined to forfeit that potential earning power.

Of the seven players without signed deals, four of those players are third-round picks. That’s because contracts in the third round are, for some reason, far less regulated than the rest of the draft. While third round picks have slotted signing bonuses like everyone else, the base salaries can be brokered and that’s probably at least part of the holdup for these four rookies. However, one pattern to note is that first-rounders Bosa, Lee, Fuller, and Garnett are all represented by powerhouse agency CAA.

Here is the complete list of 2016 rookies who have yet to complete their contracts with signatures and initials:

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

New York Jets

San Diego Chargers

San Francisco 49ers

Tennessee Titans

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns Rumors: RG3, McCown, Nassib, Trades

Although the Browns paid a high-end backup price for Robert Griffin III at two years and $15MM, the team signed the wayward quarterback with the intention he could be their long-term option.

Our plan would be for Robert, if it carries out, to come in, solidify himself and then, if we felt like he’s our answer longer-term, to begin working on a longer-term deal,” GM Sashi Brown told media — including Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal. “... He’s just 26 years old and he wants to play for a long time. He provides that upside, if he’s able to come in and do what’s first, which is establish himself as a starter and a capable starter for us.”

Cleveland’s brass is not ready to hand the starting job to Griffin right now, with Josh McCown still in the mix and third-round pick Cody Kessler likely a developmental option. But the Browns are at least paying lip service to the fact the 2012 offensive rookie of the year can resurrect his career for a team that’s had the worst run at quarterback since re-spawning in 1999.

Here’s more coming out of Cleveland.

  • Despite Griffin’s signing cosmetically looking like it leaves McCown without a place on a rebuilding team, the 36-year-old passer remains a threat to keep his starting job, per Ulrich. The Browns would also consider keeping him if he doesn’t. “[We want to] have him come in and compete to be our starter,” Brown said. “Josh has been a great presence for our young guys in the locker room, and that QB room is enhanced by his presence. I think [keeping him even if he doesn’t win the starting job will] be a consideration.” Amid the disastrous Johnny Manziel experiment that cycled in and out of the huddle last season, McCown completed 63.7% of his passes and threw 12 touchdown passes compared to four interceptions despite being saddled with one of the league’s worst pass-catching contingents. McCown is owed just more than $5MM this season, the last year of his contract, and the Browns would carry $2.33MM in dead money if they cut him. Of course, with more than $41MM in cap space right now, the Browns aren’t exactly geared toward 2016 contention.
  • One of the Browns’ Day 2 picks, Carl Nassib, caused the new GM to make a lofty comparison. Brown said the 6-foot-7 former Penn State pass-rusher has “as good of a motor, if not better, than Joey Bosa,” per Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (on Twitter). The Vince Lombardi Award winner after registering a Division I-FBS-best 15.5 sacks for the Nittany Lions last year, Nassib out-produced Bosa last season. But the Ohio State pass-rusher collected 26 sacks in three seasons and recorded 51 tackles for loss in that span, giving the former Buckeye a much more consistent resume.
  • Although there isn’t much of a way to disprove this, Brown said Emmanuel Ogbah was the top player the Browns hoped would still be there when they picked at No. 32 (via Ulrich, on Twitter). As a junior at Oklahoma State, Ogbah finished tied for fourth nationally last season with 13 sacks.
  • Brown also challenged those who questioned the team’s pick of Princeton tight end Seth DeValve in the fourth round, telling media (including Ulrich, on Twitter) that they won’t be second-guessing the selection for long.

South Rumors: Titans, Ramsey, Jack

The Titans will meet with Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey on Monday, as John Glennon of The Tennessean writes. Ramsey, who can play both corner and safety, is widely considered to be one of the top talents in this year’s class and the Titans are giving real thought to taking him first overall. The Titans’ secondary could certainly use the help after a rough showing last season.

Here’s more from the AFC and NFC South: