Chris Watt

Minor NFL Transactions: 7/26/17

Wednesday’s minor moves:

  • The Saints have waived running back Marcus Murphy and moved offensive lineman Chris Watt to the reserved/retired list, tweets Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com. Murphy, whom the Saints chose in the seventh round of the 2015 draft, served almost exclusively as a return man over his first two years, but he became superfluous to the team thanks to its offseason additions of Ted Ginn Jr. and Alvin Kamara. Watt signed with the Saints just over a month ago and looked like a candidate to function as interior O-line depth. That won’t be the case, though. The 26-year-old entered the NFL as a third-rounder of the Chargers in 2014 and started in eight of 17 appearances with them through last season.
  • The Jets have cut wide receiver Devin Street, per Clarence Hill Jr. of the Star-Telegram (on Twitter). New York will use Street’s old roster spot on Lucky Whitehead, whom it claimed off waivers from Dallas on Wednesday. A three-year veteran, Street was teammates with Whitehead when the two were on the Cowboys in 2015. Street was a member of the Colts last season, when he totaled five appearances and one catch. Indianapolis cut Street after the season, and both the Patriots and Jets have since waived him after short stints.
  • Safety Ricardo Allen has signed his exclusive rights free agent tender with the Falcons, who have waived undrafted offensive lineman Cam Keizer. Allen, a fifth-rounder in 2014, has emerged as an integral cog in Atlanta, having started in 30 of 31 appearances and picking off five passes since debuting in 2015. He racked up 90 tackles and two picks across 16 starts and a team-high 1,101 defensive snaps last year.
  • The Vikings have signed cornerback Sam Brown and waived offensive tackle Arturo Uzdavinis. Brown spent some time last year with the Ravens, who signed him as an undrafted free agent from Missouri Western State, but didn’t see any action. Uzdavinis just signed with the Vikings on Monday. They quickly became the fifth former team for the 2016 undrafted free agent from Tulane, who previously spent time with the Texans, Bears, Jaguars and Lions.
  • The Patriots have added defensive end Caleb Kidder, an undrafted rookie from Montana. Kidder previously had a brief stint with Minnesota, which cut him last week.

Saints Sign Chris Watt

The Saints have signed center Chris Watt, Larry Holder of NOLA.com was among those to report (on Twitter).

Chris Watt

Watt, whom the Saints auditioned last week, didn’t play anywhere last season after the Chargers placed him on the physically unable to perform list in late August. The then-San Diego franchise ended up waiving Watt with a failed physical designation in November.

Prior to last season, Watt played in 17 games and started eight for the Chargers between 2014-15. Most of those appearances (12) and starts (five) came during Watt’s rookie year, after the Chargers selected the ex-Notre Dame standout in the third round of the draft.

There’s an outside chance Saints center Max Unger will miss the start of the season, so the 26-year-old Watt could crack their Week 1 lineup if he impresses over the summer. For now, Watt joins Senio Kelemete and Jack Allen as the Saints’ center-capable options behind Unger.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints Working Out LB Mike Morgan, DT Tony McDaniel

The Saints are are auditioning linebacker Mike Morgan and defensive tackle Tony McDaniel during their minicamp, according to Herbie Teope of NOLA.com and Joel Erickson of the Advocate (Twitter link).Mike Morgan

Morgan, 29, was nominally the Seahawks’ starting strongside linebacker in 2016, but because Seattle spent so much time in nickel, Morgan’s defensive snaps were limited. Morgan’s contributions were further restricted by injury last year, as he spent eight weeks on injured reserve while dealing with a sports hernia. All told, Morgan played only 138 defensive snaps and posted just 10 tackles. His only other known interest this offseason came from the Jaguars, for whom he auditioned last month.

New Orleans has already augmented its linebacking corps this offseason, as the club signed free agents Manti Te’o and A.J. Klein while using a third-round pick on Florida’s Alex Anzalone. Those three ‘backers will add to an already crowded unit that also includes Craig Robertson, Dannell Ellerbe, Stephone Anthony, and Nathan Stupar.

Like Morgan, McDaniel also spent the 2016 campaign with Seattle, and has in fact played for the Seahawks in three of the past four years. The 32-year-old McDaniel played on 45% of Seattle’s defensive snaps a season ago, racking up 43 tackles and grading as the league’s No. 52 interior defender in the process, per Pro Football Focus. McDaniel could have a path to playing time in New Orleans alongside Sheldon Rankins, especially if Nick Fairley‘s heart condition restricts his ability.

Other notable players working out for the Saints this week include offensive lineman Chris Watt, kicker Patrick Murray, and long snapper Thomas Gafford, per Teope.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Workout Updates: 12/6/2016

The Broncos worked out a dozen players today, including quarterbacks Sean Renfree and T.J. Yates, running backs Bernard Pierce and Zac Brooks, and wide receivers Keshawn Martin and Corey Washington, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter links). Yates, 29, has only started seven games during his regular season career, but has somewhat miraculously managed two playoff starts, both for Houston. Each of the tryouts conducted by Denver today were for futures contract consideration, tweets Mike Klis of 9NEWS.

Here’s more from the workout front:

  • Searching for emergency interior line options, the Patriots tried out OL James Stone and Chris Watt today, reports Mike Reiss of ESPN.com (Twitter links), who adds that New England also took a look at wide receiver Dez Stewart. As Reiss wrote earlier today, the Pats could be forced to make a move at WR following an injury to Danny Amendola, and Stewart could potentially fill that void.
  • The Chiefs, dealing with injuries to Dontari Poe and Jaye Howard (placed on IR), auditioned veteran defensive lineman Kenrick Ellis and Montori Hughes, per Caplan (Twitter link). Kansas City also worked out inside linebackers James Burgess and Darnell Sankey on Saturday, Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star tweets.
  • The Packers tried out tight end Kennard Backman, quarterback Mike Bercovici, wide receiver Mitch Mathews, and running back Daryl Virgies, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Backman is familiar with Green Bay, as the Packers chose him in the sixth round of the 2015 draft.
  • Defensive back Dezmen Southward, defensive end Josh Boyd, and linebacker Ron Thompson all worked out for the Raiders today, per Caplan (Twitter link). Southward was a third-round pick by the Falcons in 2014.
  • The Buccaneers are working out 6’4″, 220-pound wide receiver Joe Hills, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. He was the 2016 Arena League offensive Player of the Year for the Jacksonville Sharks.
  • Defensive lineman Frank Beltre and defensive back Tony Burnett were among the players that tried out for the Vikings today, according to Andrew Krammer of the Minneapolis Star Tribune (Twitter link).
  • The Jets worked out long snappers Zac Triner, Rick Lovato, Daniel Dillon, and Kameron Canaday, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link) and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. New York’s current long snapper is veteran Tanner Purdum.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/15/16

  • The Cardinals announced re-signed punter Drew Butler and cut Ryan Quigley. Butler was previously released with an injury settlement by Arizona on October 4 following a calf issue, but now he’s back in the fold.
  • The Chargers have waived center Chris Watt with a failed physical designation, a source tells Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union Tribune (Twitter link). Injuries limited the former third-round pick to 17 games in his first two years and prevented him from taking the field so far in 2016. Watt, who had been on the PUP list, will revert to IR if he clears waivers.
  • The Vikings signed offensive tackle Rashod Hill to the 53-man roster off of the Jaguars‘ practice squad, as agent Brett Tessler tweets. Hill will help provide depth in the wake of Jake Long‘s season-ending injury, which has landed him on injured reserve.
  • The Bears announced that they’ve promoted offensive lineman Cornelius Edison from the practice squad. He’ll take the place of OL Kyle Long, who was officially placed on IR.
  • The Cowboys are promoting wide receiver Vince Mayle from the practice squad to the active roster, according to a tweet from his agents at Reign Sports. Mayle is a former fourth-round selection of the Browns.
  • The Colts announced that they have claimed linebacker Deon King off waivers from the Chargers and waived wide receiver Marcus Leak.

Chargers Move Roster To 83

The Chargers have dropped their roster to 83 players, as the club announced several roster moves on top of the already-reported release of James Jones and waiver claim of running back Gus Johnson. San Diego will still need to make eight cuts before 3pm Tuesday.

Placed on reserve/PUP:

Waived:

Watt, a former third-round pick, will miss the first six weeks of the season before being eligible to return to the field. The 26-year-old has started eight games during his first two years in the league, but with free agent signee Matt Slauson poised to start at center, Watt will merely serve as depth unless an injury strikes.

FA Rumors: Chargers, Jeffery, Steelers, Bears

Chargers general manager Tom Telesco says that he views Chris Watt as the team’s starting center, but he will not rule out making a move to improve at the position, ESPN.com’s Eric D. Williams writes. Although Telesco didn’t mention them by name, it sounds possible that the Bolts could consider free agent centers Stefen Wisniewski or Manny Ramirez. As of this writing, the Chargers have less than $14MM in cap space for 2016, per ESPN and OverTheCap.com.

Here’s more on free agency from around the league:

  • Bears head coach John Fox and Jets owner Woody Johnson each discussed their franchised players on Monday, and the differences in their comments were noticeable. As Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com details, Fox said on ESPN’s NFL Live that the Bears are actively working on a longer-term deal for wide receiver Alshon Jeffery.
  • Meanwhile, Johnson said he won’t be “disappointed” if defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson remains in New York going forward, and was evasive when asked whether the Jets have made him a fair extension offer. “I’m not going to characterize the offer,” Johnson said, per Newsday’s Kimberley A. Martin. “If we made him an offer, he didn’t accept it. Fair is a subjective thing. It’s got to be acceptable to him and to us.” While Wilkerson technically remains a free agent, Jeffery recently signed his franchise tender, taking him off the market.
  • Could the Steelers add a cornerback in free agency? Coach Mike Tomlin doesn’t sound optimistic about the idea, as Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com writes. “I don’t know that there is one that’s viable at this juncture in free agency,” the Steelers coach said. “We are comfortable with the guys that we have from that perspective.”
  • The Broncos continue to have interest in re-signing receiver and return man Jordan Norwood, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post. Renck adds that free agent special-teamer Omar Bolden is set to visit John Fox and the Bears this week.
  • The Giants were the biggest spenders of this year’s free agent period, signing Olivier Vernon, Janoris Jenkins, and Damon Harrison to mega-deals early in the new league year. Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com examines New York’s free agent decisions and wonders whether the club will come to regret its big moves.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/9/15

Today’s minor signings, cuts, and other moves from around the NFL:

  • The Buccaneers activated Demar Dotson from IR-DTR, as Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle tweets. He’ll be taking the place of cornerback Tim Jennings, who has been waived, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.
  • The Lions were awarded defensive end C.J. Wilson off waivers from Raiders, as Wilson tweets. He’ll have a place on the roster now that the Lions have placed Andre Fluellen on injured reserve, Wilson tweets.
  • The Eagles (on Twitter) announced that they have officially re-signed linebacker Emmanuel Acho.
  • The Browns waived linebacker Jayson DiManche and defensive back De’Ante Saunders, Wilson Post tweets. DiManche, 25, was signed by Cleveland off of the Chiefs’ taxi squad in October. For his career, DiManche has appeared in 29 total games, mostly with the Bengals.
  • In need of a third reserve offensive lineman for Monday night, the Chargers placed center Chris Watt (shoulder) on IR while promoting guard Craig Watts from the taxi squad, as Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego tweets. Watt, a third-round pick in 2014, has yet to really produce at the NFL level thanks to various injuries.
  • The Chiefs cut wide receiver Frankie Hammond, Wilson tweets.

AFC West Notes: Hillman, Allen, Jackson

Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman ended last season fourth on the depth chart, but he’s rebounded with an impressive, encouraging offseason, reports NFL.com’s Chris Wesseling. Hillman’s position coach Eric Studesville praised the third-year back, saying, “From when we started this spring in April forward, he has been unbelievable. He’s a completely different guy in the best possible way and I’m just excited about what he’s doing, how he’s approaching it, how he’s making plays on the field.”

Here’s a few more AFC West links:

      • The Broncos need to improve in the punt return game, writes the Denver Post’s Troy Renck, who takes a look at the players vying for the role, including Isaiah Burse and Jordan Norwood. The team can also use veteran Wes Welker if the “safe” option is the best option.
      • Donnie Avery had just 40 catches and two touchdowns in his first season with the Chiefs last year, but he remains the team’s best option to be the No. 2 receiver opposite Dwayne Bowe, says ESPN’s Adam Teicher.
      • The Chiefs’ offensive line is the focus of team reporter BJ Kissel, who writes about the impressive camp third-year blocker Jeff Allen is having. Allen is proving versatile and effective, and his teammates are noticing. Says Pro-Bowl pass rusher Tamba Hali: “I’m very impressed with [Allen]. He’s able to play guard and he’s able to play tackle and I’m going against him and he’s stoned me a couple times. I’m very impressed with him.”
      • There’s no more ambiguity about the type of offensive line the Raiders want to field, writes InsideBayArea.com’s Jerry McDonald, who says rookie guard Gabe Jacksonrepresents a changing of the guard for the Raiders in ways that go beyond inserting the rookie third-round draft pick into the starting lineup.” Jackson has work to do in pass protection, but the Raiders envision the third-rounder as a powerful road grader with long-term starter potential.
      • The Chargers’ depth chart for their first preseason game looks like this. Notre Dame rookie Chris Watt will start at right guard, while free-agent acquisition Donald Brown is listed as the primary kick returner.

AFC Notes: Clary, Johnson, Archer, Pats

During Chargers rookie minicap, third-rounder Chris Watt was working at right guard, “the same position of Jeromey Clary, who is to make $4.55 million in total compensation in 2014,” writes ESPN’s Eric D. Williams. “Watt lining up at right guard probably is not a coincidence.”

This comes on after an ESPN Insider piece (subscription required) about veterans whose jobs are in jeopardy in which Nathan Jahnke put the magnifying glass on Clary: “Thanks to the drafting of D.J. Fluker in 2013, Clary was moved from right tackle to right guard last year. The move didn’t work out well for Clary, who had the third-lowest run-block rating for all guards per PFF. In addition, the Chargers’ running backs averaged 4.6 yards per carry when running to the left compared to 3.6 yards per carry when running to the right, and it wouldn’t be surprising if Clary had something to do with that large difference.”

Here’s a few more AFC news and notes:

  • Any rumors of Andre Johnson being reunited via trade with Gary Kubiak in Baltimore were quashed by ESPN’s Jamison Hensley.
  • Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com passed along a few Patriots tidbits: The team will carry three quarterbacks (Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo and Ryan Mallett), but Mallett is expected to depart via free agency at year’s end; Shane Vereen could earn a contract extension with a healthy, productive season; and 2013 fourth-rounder Josh Boyce, who struggled with the “mental aspect” as a rookie, will “compete for the kickoff return job while also vying for a role as a No. 3-5 option on the depth chart.”
  • Free agent linebacker James Anderson, who started all 16 games for the Bears last season, tried out for the Patriots, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune (via Twitter).
  • On third-rounder Dri Archer, Steelers GM Kevin Colbert told Post-Tribune writer Alan Robinson, “We think we got the fastest player in the draft.” The Steelers hope to take advantage of Archer’s versatility, according to Colbert, who says the rookie could be used as a kick returner, in the slot, in the backfield and maybe as an H-back.
  • When asked about potential surprise cuts depending on how many rookies/young players make the Jaguars, ESPN’s Michael DiRocco mentioned Tyson Alualu, Denard Robinson and Ricky Stanzi as bubble players.
  • With the Jets adding Daryl Richardson via waivers, Mike Goodson is not expected to be with the team, reports Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News (via Twitter).