Chris Maikranz

Bears To Sign Thomas Gafford

The Bears are currently the only team in the NFL without a long snapper on their roster, but it appears that will soon change. According to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune (via Twitter) the team is set to sign Thomas Gafford, who has spent the last seven seasons with the Chiefs.

Gaffold, 32, had served as Kansas City’s long snapper since the 2008 campaign, but with his contract expiring this offseason, the Chiefs have elected to go in a different direction, bringing in James Winchester, Brandon Hartson, and Jorgen Hus to compete for their job.

As for the Bears, they’re moving on from Jeremy Cain, and worked out Trevor Gillette, Dax Dellenbach, Chris Maikranz, and Drew Howell before deciding to sign Gafford, according to Biggs. Gafford is expected to sign a one-year contract with Chicago on Wednesday after taking a physical with the club.

AFC Notes: Harrison, Tannehill, Texans, Jags

The Steelers brought back veteran linebacker James Harrison this week after suffering a rash of injuries on the defensive side of the ball, but while the sight of Harrison in black and gold will look familiar, we shouldn’t expect him to play a major role immediately. Harrison started all 87 games he played for Pittsburgh from 2007 to 2012, but former Bucs GM Mark Domenik thinks it’s unrealistic to expect significant contributions from the linebacker at age 36.

“I think you could see him play five to 10 snaps [in Week 4] in that limited pass-rush role,” Dominik said, according to Scott Brown of “I think at the end of the day you’ll be lucky if James Harrison become a 20- to 25-snap guy. He knows what to do in the system, and that’s the No. 1 thing, it’s just that can he get his body to do it? That’s going to take a little bit of time.”

Here’s more from out of the AFC:

  • After being ambiguous earlier this week when he was asked about Ryan Tannehill‘s job security as the Dolphins‘ No. 1 quarterback, head coach Joe Philbin has expressed remorse about having created a distraction and given his starting signal-caller a vote of confidence, writes Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. As I noted earlier in the week, Tannehill will be extension-eligible starting this offseason and the Dolphins will also have to decide on his fifth-year option in the spring, so 2014 is a big year for the young QB.
  • We had already heard about the Texans auditioning a handful of punters this week in case Shane Lechler is unable to play this week, but Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter link) adds a couple more names to the list of players the team tried out. According to Wilson, Houston also took a look at long snappers Brandon Hartson and Chris Maikranz.
  • The Jaguars auditioned linebacker L.J. Fort this week, tweets Wilson. Fort, waived by the Broncos during the preseason, also worked out for the Titans earlier in September.
  • Cornerback Vernon Kearney, who was cut by the Chiefs a month ago, was among the defensive backs who worked out for the Jets this week, per Wilson (via Twitter).