Clayton Geathers

Titans Cut John Simon

The Titans got an early jump on their housekeeping. On Sunday, the club released veteran defensive end John Simon, per a club announcement. They’ve also cut defensive back Clayton Geathers, waived linebacker Cassh Maluia, and placed running back Brian Hill on injured reserve. 

Simon joined the Titans in July, replacing fellow pass rusher Tuzar Skipper on the offseason roster. Before that, he spent three years with the Patriots. In 2020, he started in all 16 games and registered 53 stops with two sacks. All in all, he’s got 97 appearances and 52 career starts to his credit for the Ravens, Texans, Colts, and Patriots. Now, he could be en route to yet another NFL club.

Simon is perhaps best known for the three-year, $14MM deal he signed with the Colts in 2017. That deal didn’t make it to Year Two, but he’s quietly put together a solid career in the NFL. Few knew Simon’s ability better than Titans head coach Mike Vrabel, who has coached the veteran at multiple stops.

Geathers is another ex-Colt; he spent his entire career with Indy up until recently. He saw time in 56 games for the Colts and started 22 games combined in 2018 and 2019. During that stretch, he posted 101 tackles and four passes defended. He sat out the 2020 campaign and only just reemerged this month when he inked a deal with the Titans. As a vested veteran, he’ll be free to sign with any club straight away.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Titans Sign S Bradley McDougald

While most teams were subtracting from their rosters today, the Titans were adding to theirs. The team signed three players today, including linebacker Nick Dzubnar (re-signed) and safeties Bradley McDougald and Clayton Geathers.

McDougald, a former undrafted free agent, started 70 games for the Buccaneers and Seahawks between 2015 and 2019. The veteran has seen time in 105 career games (82 starts), collecting 487 tackles, 10 interceptions, and 43 passes defended. He got into seven games for the Jets in 2020, finishing with 36 tackles, his lowest total since his rookie season. His 2020 campaign was cut short thanks to a shoulder injury.

Geathers had previously spent his entire career with the Colts, seeing time in 56 games. He started 22 games for Indy between 2018 and 2019, collecting 101 tackles and four passes defended. He sat out the 2020 campaign, and he found himself unsigned through most of this offseason.

Dzubnar spent the 2020 season in Tennessee, where he emerged as one of the team’s top special teams players, leading the Titans with 13 special teams tackles. He spent the first six years of his career with the Chargers, where he appeared in 65 games.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers Working Out Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Bradley McDougald, Others

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix‘s visit schedule continued Tuesday. The former Pro Bowl safety made his way to San Francisco for a 49ers visit, joining a few others at the position at this audition.

The 49ers also worked out safeties Bradley McDougald, Andrew Sendejo and Clayton Geathers, according to ESPN.com’s Field Yates (on Twitter). Kyle Shanahan said starter Jaquiski Tartt is not expected to come off the team’s active/PUP list for a while, opening a door for a possible veteran addition.

Clinton-Dix’s 2021 itinerary has included trips to Indianapolis, Charlotte, Houston and Las Vegas. Clinton-Dix, 28, has not played since the 2019 season, when he played out a one-year contract with the Bears. The Cowboys signed the ex-first-round pick in 2020, but he did not make their 53-man roster.

The Seahawks used McDougald as a three-season starter but included him in last year’s Jamal Adams trade. With the Jets, McDougald started seven games before an injury shut him down. This Bay Area trek marks the first news involving the 30-year-old safety this year.

Like Clinton-Dix, Geathers did not play in 2020. The former Colts second-round pick has not been connected to a team in a while, despite being a 34-game starter in Indianapolis. The 29-year-old defender will need to catch on with a team at some point soon in order to stay on the NFL radar. Sendejo played the 2020 season in Cleveland, working as a full-time starter for a Browns team that lost Grant Delpit in training camp. Sendejo is an 11-year veteran who will turn 34 next month.

San Francisco is set to redeploy Tartt and Jimmie Ward as its starting safeties. Tartt, however, is battling a toe injury Shanahan confirmed is not rapidly improving. The veteran starter has been dealing with this toe problem since November of last year, which certainly presents a problem for the 49ers. They signed Tony Jefferson earlier this summer, but he is dealing with an injury as well. It would seem likely at least one of the veterans at Tuesday’s workout will be called upon to stick around.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Darius Leonard Clears Concussion Protocol

Reigning defensive rookie of the year Darius Leonard has missed the past three Colts games, but the standout linebacker is on his way back. Frank Reich announced he cleared concussion protocol.

The Colts, who also announced starting safety Clayton Geathers is out of the protocol, had a Week 6 bye and will face the Texans in a pivotal AFC South matchup Sunday. Leonard suffered his concussion in Indianapolis’ Week 2 win against Tennessee.

Although Indianapolis managed to win two of its three games without Leonard, including a smash-mouth performance in Kansas City that featured a few key Colts absences, its defense will obviously be a more formidable unit with the burgeoning-star linebacker healthy. Leonard earned first-team All-Pro recognition as a rookie.

The Division I-FCS product dominated as a rookie, registering 163 tackles, seven sacks and four forced fumbles in 2018. He’s one of many Chris Ballard-era second-round picks to make an impact. A Ryan Grigson-era fourth-rounder, Geathers has struggled with injuries in his career but was one of a few Colts starters to re-sign this offseason. He only missed the Chiefs game due to his concussion.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Rumors: Chiefs, Colts, Burfict, Allen

Although Tyreek Hill returned to practice this week, the Chiefs‘ offense will continue to operate without its premier wide receiver Sunday. The Chiefs ruled out Hill, but Damien Williams is expected to return to action, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Kansas City’s starting running back missed the past two games with a knee injury, leading to LeSean McCoy and second-year back Darrel Williams splitting time in the backfield. Damien Williams amassed 154 scrimmage yards and scored in the Chiefs’ divisional-round win over the Colts last season. Signs point to Hill returning in Week 6.

Shifting first to the team traveling to Missouri for this week’s Sunday-nighter, here’s the AFC’s latest:

  • Darius Leonard will miss his third consecutive game due to a concussion. Both Colts starting safeties will be out, with Clayton Geathers (concussion) joining Malik Hooker on the mend. Hooker is recovering from a knee injury. T.Y. Hilton got in a second straight limited practice, putting Indianapolis’ top wideout in line to return, but rookie receiver Parris Campbell underwent a procedure on his knee and will be out for an unknown time period, Mike Wells of ESPN.com notes. Campbell has played in each Colts game this season but missed preseason time with a hamstring malady.
  • The Bengals were expected to take their lumps this season. The Broncos‘ 0-4 start has surprised. But executives around the league are not anticipating a firesale for either franchise. “I agree they absolutely should be shopping players (ahead of the Oct. 29 trade deadline), but I have my doubts,” an NFL exec told CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora. “We’re applying reason and logic, but I’m not sure those teams will fully embrace what needs to be done.” Denver, which did trade Demaryius Thomas before last season’s deadline, has standouts from its previous Super Bowl team on expiring contracts — Chris Harris and Emmanuel Sanders. The Bengals house veterans A.J. Green, Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap. But Green is still recovering from injury and the latter two are early into 2018 extensions.
  • Josh Allen logged a full practice Friday, putting the Bills‘ starter on a path toward returning Sunday against the Titans. Allen suffered a concussion against the Patriots. Matt Barkley would start if the Bills, who have a Week 6 bye, play it safe with their offensive centerpiece.
  • Vontaze Burfict faces a rest-of-the-season suspension that could well end his career. The polarizing Raiders linebacker’s appeal is scheduled for Tuesday, and ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler tweets his argument will be based around the lack of precedent for a 13-week suspension ensuing because of one hit. However, the NFL said in its letter to the oft-suspended linebacker this ban was issued for a pattern of on-field decisions, rather than merely his collision with Jack Doyle. This considered, Burfict’s argument may not be successful.

Injury Updates: McDonald, Smith, Cichy

The Steelers faced the Bengals on Monday night without the services of tight end Vance McDonald, who was ruled inactive due to a shoulder injury. On the plus side – the Steelers have already safeguarded for this with the acquisition of Seahawks TE Nick Vannett and they are not expecting a prolonged absence for McDonald.

Also, as of this writing, the Steelers are handling the Bengals with ease, so they are getting by just fine without McDonald in the interim.

Here’s the latest on some notable injuries around the NFL:

  • Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith received good news after his MRI and a return against the Jets in Week 6 is thought to be possible, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com hears. He’ll miss the club’s next game against the Packers, but it appears that this is not the typical 4-6 week high-ankle sprain – the Cowboys may get Smith back on the field sooner than expected.
  • Colts safety Clayton Geathers suffered a concussion against the Raiders and finds himself in the concussion protocol, according to coach Frank Reich (Twitter link via Mike Wells of ESPN.com). There’s no word on his timetable just yet, but the Colts may need to bolster the position, particularly as Malik Hooker continues to recover from a meniscus injury.
  • Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians says linebacker Jack Cichy “could [miss] 2 to 4 weeks,” though his diagnosis is pending an MRI (Twitter link via the Bucs’ team website). That would be a welcome bit of news for Cichy, whose arm was twisted badly in Sunday’s win over the Rams.

AFC Notes: Colts, Jets, Browns, Titans

After two offseasons featuring extensive injury rehab, Malik Hooker has been a full-fledged participant in the Colts‘ latest program. Surgeries to repair hernia and hip issues delayed Hooker’s Colts work after the franchise used a first-round pick on him in 2017, and rehab from the ACL and MCL tears Hooker suffered that season sidetracked him last year. Nothing is impeding the third-year safety at the moment.

This is probably the best I’ve felt since I left college,” Hooker said, via Joel Erickson of the Indianapolis Star. “Probably even better than that. For me to finally be able to have a whole offseason to work my body, it’s been great.”

Hooker dealt with nagging hip and foot injuries, the former sidelining him for two regular-season games and the latter keeping him off the field for Indianapolis’ divisional-round loss in Kansas City. Hooker graded as Pro Football Focus’ No. 14 overall safety last season, a marketed improvement from his seven-game rookie slate. A full offseason of work figures to benefit the ascending talent.

Here is the latest from the AFC, shifting first to the other Colts safety starter:

  • While Hooker is having a rare stretch free of injury talk, Clayton Geathers is resting after an offseason knee surgery. The fifth-year safety, who recently re-signed with the Colts, said (via Erickson) he underwent a “cleanup” procedure this year. Knee trouble plagued Geathers for much of last season, the defender categorizing it as “a battle” to make it to game days weekly. This marks the second straight offseason Geathers underwent knee surgery. Foot and neck problems have severely constrained the former second-round pick as well during his career. Geathers has not played more than 12 games in a season since 2015, but he said he is feeling better after this latest surgery.
  • The Jets wrapped up their Joe Douglas interview Sunday and, despite the Eagles executive being the favorite to land the vacant GM job, the team will follow through with its Champ Kelly meeting. The Bears’ assistant director of player personnel began his interview process by dining with Jets brass Sunday night, Albert Breer of SI.com tweets, before interviewing Monday. Kelly marks the last of the scheduled interviews, following Douglas, Seahawks co-player personnel director Scott Fitterer and Saints director of pro scouting Terry Fontenot in doing so.
  • If the Browns do end up trading Duke Johnson, they appear to have found a successor in second-year UDFA Dontrell Hilliard. Browns running backs coach Stump Mitchell praised Hilliard’s ability as a passing-down back and potential slot receiver — essentially Johnson’s role — and Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com believes the Browns are confident Hilliard could replace the veteran incumbent. She suggests the team could fetch a fifth-round pick for Johnson, long the subject of trade rumors, but notes Browns brass likely deems that too low a return. Hilliard played in 11 games last season, catching nine passes for 105 yards.
  • The left side of the Titans‘ offensive line appears set, with Rodger Saffold set to play in between Taylor Lewan and Ben Jones. As for the guard who lines up next to right tackle Jack Conklin, Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com tabs Kevin Pamphile as the favorite at this point. Pamphile started 35 Buccaneers games from 2014-17 and was a full-time first-stringer in ’16 and ’17. The former fifth-round pick started two Titans games last year. The Titans did use a Day 2 pick on a guard, No. 82 overall choice Nate Davis out of Charlotte.

Colts To Re-Sign Clayton Geathers

Clayton Geathers is finalizing a deal to return to the Colts, according to a source who spoke with Joel A. Erickson of the Indy Star (on Twitter). Terms of the deal are not yet known for the 27-year-old. 

Geathers has dealt with multiple injuries throughout his four-year career in Indianapolis, but has been featured as a starter for three of those seasons. The Colts managed to reel him back in, despite interest from the Cowboys and Bucs.

Geathers played 853 snaps for the Colts last season, his most significant work sample, and ranked as Pro Football Focus’ No. 51 safety in the NFL. Prior to that, injuries limited the Central Florida product to 14 total games between the 2016-17 seasons.

The Colts have re-signed multiple 2018 starters — cornerback Pierre Desir, defensive lineman Margus Hunt, and guard Mark Glowinski — but each of those players was brought in by the Chris Ballard regime. Those guys may have been prioritized, but the Colts still found room for Geathers, a holdover from the Ryan Grigson era.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bucs Meeting With S Clayton Geathers

Clayton Geathers is going through his second free agent meeting of the week, traveling from Dallas to Tampa. The Buccaneers met with the UFA safety on Tuesday, according to ESPN.com’s Field Yates (on Twitter).

Limited by injuries during his four-year career with the Colts, Geathers was a starter for most of his time in Indianapolis. While the Colts expressed interest in re-signing the former fourth-round pick, he is being allowed to test the second-wave market.

Geathers played 853 snaps for the Colts last season, his most significant work sample. Injuries limited the Central Florida product to 14 total games between the 2016-17 seasons. Pro Football Focus graded Geathers as the No. 51 safety last season. Geathers, 26, has yet to record an NFL interception.

The Colts have re-signed multiple 2018 starters — cornerback Pierre Desir, defensive lineman Margus Hunt and guard Mark Glowinski — but each of those players was brought in by the Chris Ballard regime. Ryan Grigson drafted Geathers, perhaps impacting the team’s decision to let him test free agency.

Tampa Bay is coming off another poor coverage season, ranking 26th in pass defense — a year after a last-place showing. The Bucs have already signed former Packers safety Kentrell Brice, potentially impacting their decision to add Geathers. Recent draftees Justin Evans and Jordan Whitehead comprise Tampa Bay’s top safeties presently.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys To Meet With Clayton Geathers

Free agent safety Clayton Geathers will visit the Cowboys on Monday, a source tells ESPN.com’s Field Yates (on Twitter). Geathers isn’t a household name – like one-time Cowboys target Earl Thomas – but he could be a quality addition to the team’s secondary. 

Geathers, 27 in June, started in all 12 of his games for the Colts last season. Over the course of four seasons with Indianpolis, Geathers appeared in 41 games (24 starts) and spent time at both safety spots. Last year, Geathers held down the strong safety position and recorded 89 tackles plus a forced fumble. Last year, Geathers graded out as the No. 51 safety in the NFL out of 93 qualified players, positioning him as a starting-caliber safety, albeit a lower-tier one.

Last year’s safety market was depressed, but high-priced deals for Thomas, Tyrann Mathieu, and others indicate that second-tier options such as Geathers could find decent short-term deals. At minimum, guys like Geathers shouldn’t have to wait around until the fall like Eric Reid, Kenny Vaccaro, and others did in 2018.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.