Connor Bozick

Giants Audition OL Orlando Franklin

The Giants auditioned or met with a host of free agents today, according to Field Yates and Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com (Twitter links), and the club specifically focused on the offensive line. Here’s the entire list:

Workouts

Visits

Franklin, 29, has already been released twice this calendar year, first by the Chargers — who employed Franklin for the past two seasons — and then by the Saints, with whom Franklin lasted less than a week. A knee injury reportedly led to New Orleans cutting ties, and though there was some thought that Franklin could re-sign with the Saints, a new deal never came to fruition.Orlando Franklin (vertical)

A guard by trade, Franklin has also played tackle (the area of most need on the Giants’ roster), but it’s not clear that he’d be an improvement over Ereck Flowers or Bobby Hart. To be sure, Flowers and Hart have struggled mightily this season, but Franklin graded as one of the seven worst guards in the NFL a year ago, per Pro Football Focus. As far as reserves go, however, New York could do worse, as Franklin boasts 89 starts worth of pro experience.

Kouandjio offers several intriguing traits, as well, and chief among them is his youth, as he’s still only 24 years old. The former second-round pick was waived by the Bills earlier this year following an odd off-field incident, and then failed to beat out draft bust Greg Robinson for the Lions’ fill-in left tackle job. He’s only started 12 games in three NFL seasons.

Lions Release RB Matt Asiata

The Lions have released veteran running back Matt Asiata, the club announced today.

Detroit signed Asiata away from the division rival Vikings in May, inking the 30-year-old to a minimum benefit contract. Always something of a plodder (3.5 yards per carry average for his career), Asiata had a chance to serve as the Lions’ power back if he performed well during the summer. However, Detroit will instead roll with Theo Riddick, Zach Zenner, and Dwayne Washington behind starter Ameer Abdullah.

The Lions also announced the following transactions:

Waived:

Waived/injured:

Lions Waive/Injured Brandon Copeland

The Lions waived/injured linebacker Brandon Copeland on Wednesday. Copeland will either land on the Lions’ injured reserve or head to free agency via an injury settlement if he goes through waivers unclaimed.

Brandon Copeland (Vertical)

Detroit lost the 26-year-old Copeland to a season-ending torn pectoral on Monday, just one day after defensive end Kerry Hyder saw his 2017 conclude prematurely on account of a torn Achilles. Copeland hasn’t been nearly as important to the Lions’ defense as Hyder has, having totaled a mere 13 tackles and one start in two seasons. However, Copeland led the Lions’ special teams unit in snaps in 2016 (305), pacing a group that Football Outsiders ranked No. 6 in the NFL. The year before, he piled up 313 ST snaps – good for third among Lions.

In less notable moves, Detroit signed offensive lineman Connor Bozick, tight end Andrew Price and defensive end Giorgio Newberry. No one from that trio has any NFL experience.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Levy, Freeman, Elliott

Free agent linebacker DeAndre Levy has filed an injury grievance against his former team, the Lions, but head coach Jim Caldwell told reporters on Wednesday that the club handled his March release properly. “We followed everything by the rules,” Caldwell said, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “We did exactly what we were supposed to do. That’s probably all I have to say on that. I don’t know the details of all these discussions and those kinds of things.” It was a no-brainer for the Lions to release Levy, whose career is in jeopardy after back-to-back injury-marred years, but his contention is that they acted in bad faith upon passing him on a physical when he wasn’t healthy. In doing so, the Lions avoided having to pay Levy the $1.75MM injury guarantee in his contract. By ridding themselves of Levy, the Lions jettisoned a player whose social justice work rubbed some in the organization the wrong way, per Birkett. It’s unclear what certain members of the franchise objected to specifically, but Levy did question the NFL on CTE and speak out in support of Colin Kaepernick‘s activism last year.

More from the NFC:

  • With the five-year, $41.25MM extension that the Falcons announced Tuesday, Devonta Freeman became the NFL’s highest-paid running back on a long-term deal. While it’s a nice contract for Freeman, it’s the latest sign that paydays aren’t what they used to be for backs, observes Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap. Contracts at the position have stagnated over the past several years, argues Fitzgerald, who notes that 12 pacts that RBs signed between 2003-07 were worth more than Freeman’s on a yearly basis when adjusting for inflation.
  • Speaking of running backs, the NFL won’t announce whether it’s going to suspend the Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott until at least Thursday, tweets Adam Schefter of ESPN. The league has been investigating Elliott for over a year on account of domestic violence allegations and other behavioral issues, and the slow process has frustrated both the reigning first-team All-Pro and the Cowboys.
  • The Giants worked out offensive lineman Connor Bozick on Wednesday, per Ralph Vacchiano of SNY. However, the signing of Corin Brooks means the Giants are likely to pass on Bozick, an undrafted rookie from Delaware. Bozick spent a little over a week with Detroit during the spring. He hasn’t caught on with another team since then.

Extra Points: Gilchrist, Titans, Kaepernick

Free agent safety Marcus Gilchrist has been cleared for action and is lining up visits for next week, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Gilchrist tore his patellar tendon while with the Jets last season and wound up on the injured reserve in mid-December. The six-year veteran has combined for 91 appearances and 69 starts with the Chargers and Jets since entering the NFL as a second-round pick in 2011. Gilchrist started in all 61 of his appearances from 2013-16, when he combined for eight interceptions. He picked off two passes in 13 games last season en route a passable 53rd-place ranking among Pro Football Focus’ 90 qualified safeties.

More from around the league:

  • Titans rookie wide receiver Corey Davis could be headed toward a holdout as the team gets ready to start training camp Friday, writes Jason Wolf of the Tennessean. Davis, the fifth overall pick, is one of three unsigned first-rounders, and it seems the ex-Western Michigan star is haggling with the Titans over offset language. The Titans have typically included offset language in rookie deals and “are reluctant to change precedent,” writes Wolf.
  • In a piece laying out the best fits for some of the top free agents remaining on the board, Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com names Seattle as the most logical destination for quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The 29-year-old met with the Seahawks in May, but they never exchanged offers and the club went on to sign the unproven Austin Davis instead. He and Trevone Boykin are all the Seahawks have behind Russell Wilson, leading Seifert to argue that they should circle back to Kaepernick. The former 49er is also better than all of the Jets’ signal-callers (Josh McCown, Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty), contends Seifert. Regardless of whether that’s true, the rebuilding outfit looks unlikely to add Kaepernick or any other experienced free agent to its current mix of passers.
  • Both the Kaepernick-less Seahawks and Jets rank toward the bottom of the league when it comes to the quality of their backup QBs, opines Field Yates of ESPN.com (Insider required and recommended). No one’s in worse shape than the Colts, though, observes Yates. Their fallback to Andrew Luck is Scott Tolzien, who has been horrid across nine career appearances with the Packers and Colts. He got into three contests last year and could see time this season if Luck’s shoulder continues to be an issue.
  • Along with the previously reported Kitt O’Brien, the Dolphins worked out fellow guards Connor Bozick and Isame Faciane on Wednesday, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. The Dolphins are content with their current choices at guard, per Jackson, which explains why they didn’t sign any of those unproven players or look at more established free agents.

Minor NFL Transactions: 6/8/17

Thursday’s minor moves:

  • The Jets have waived wide receiver Quinton Patton with an injury settlement, per Rich Cimini of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The 26-year-old offseason signing went on injured reserve earlier this week with an undisclosed ailment.
  • The Lions have added offensive tackle Tony Hills and waived guard Connor Bozick. Hills will add another body for a team whose starting left tackle, stalwart Taylor Decker, is dealing with a shoulder injury. However, Hills isn’t any kind of replacement for Decker, as he has totaled just 33 appearances and one start since 2010. Bozick didn’t last long in Detroit, where he signed last May as an undrafted free agent from Delaware.
  • The Dolphins have agreed to a contract with wide receiver Mitch Mathews, sources tell Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Mathews went undrafted out of BYU in 2016. In his collegiate career, he caught 152 passes for 2,083 yards and 24 touchdowns.
  • The Seahawks have signed tight end Steve Donatell and cut fellow TE Bryce Williams. Donatell, the brother of Seahawks quality control coach Tom Donatell, signed as an undrafted free agent from Wake Forest. Williams went undrafted last year out of East Carolina and spent some time with the Patriots and Rams.
  • The Chargers have signed cornerback Ryan Reid, an undrafted free agent from Baylor.

Minor NFL Transactions: 5/30/17

Today’s minor moves:

  • The Lions announced today that they have signed offensive guard Connor Bozick. The lineman didn’t catch on with a team following the conclusion of his four-year career at Delaware. The two-time All-Colonial Athletic Association recipient made 46 career appearance during his collegiate career. To make room on the roster, the team has waived-injured Brandon Chubb. The former Wake Forest standout has also had stints with the Rams and 49ers, although he’s yet to make an NFL appearance.
  • The Panthers announced that they swapped linebackers today, signing Zeek Bigger and waiving Alex Bazzie. Bigger, a 2016 undrafted free agent out of East Carolina, participated in the team’s rookie minicamp on a tryout basis. Bazzie joined the organization earlier this month following a brief stint with the Colts. The former undrafted free agent out of Marshall previously spent three seasons playing for the BC Lions of the CFL.
  • The Jets signed wideout Chris Harper today. The former Cal star appeared in nine games (two starts) for the 49ers last season, hauling in 13 receptions for 133 yards. He also spent time with the Patriots, spending time on their active roster and practice squad. To make room, tight end Braedon Bowman has been waived. The 23-year-old appeared in three games for the Jets last season. He was originally claimed off waivers by the organization in September.
  • The Bears have released wide receiver Jhajuan Seales, reports Alex Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter). The Oklahoma State product finished his senior season with 37 receptions for 615 yards and four touchdowns. He signed as an undrafted free agent earlier this month.