Cornelius Washington

NFL Workout Updates: 9/6/18

Today’s workout updates, with all links going to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter account:

Cleveland Browns

Indianapolis Colts

New York Jets

Lions Release DL Cornelius Washington

The Lions cut defensive lineman Cornelius Washington, according to a team announcement. Washington was set to enter the second year of a two-year, $6MM deal, so his release comes as a surprise. 

Washington played 488 snaps last season at defensive end with the Lions and registered 2.5 sacks. The Lions, though, drafted Da’Shawn Hand in the fourth round this year, which put him on the chopping block.

Prior to joining the Lions, Washington spent four years with the Bears. He has 46 career games to his credit, but he’s registered only four starts across five NFL seasons. Washington will likely find a new home before the season opener, but it will almost certainly be as a reserve.

In related moves, the Lions signed cornerbacks Dexter McDougle and Sterling Moore and offensive lineman Beau Nunn. To help make room, the Lions placed linebacker Steve Longa on IR and waived cornerback Antwuan Davis.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Sanders, Eagles, Lions

Emmanuel Sanders became one of the NFL’s upper-echelon wide receivers since signing with the Broncos, stringing together three straight 1,000-yard seasons and being Peyton Manning‘s top postseason target en route to Denver’s Super Bowl 50 title. But the 31-year-old pass-catcher saw the Broncos change the equation this offseason. After three seasons featuring scant production behind Sanders and Demaryius Thomas, Denver drafted two wideouts — second-rounder Courtland Sutton and fourth-rounder DaeSean Hamilton — to try and build depth behind its experienced duo. Considering Sanders has a $12.94MM cap number in 2019, one that would cost the Broncos barely $2MM to shed, he may see the writing on the wall heading into his fifth year with the team.

Even prior to them signing those young guys, even when I signed the contract … only two years are guaranteed and after that it’s year-to-year,” Sanders said, via Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic (subscription required) of his September 2016 extension. “You play long enough and you start understanding these contracts are not guaranteed. And, truthfully, for everybody, including Von Miller, it’s year-to-year, because who knows what might happen? Who knows what situation might play out?

I always play like that, like it’s always year-to-year. I got something to prove this year and if I don’t prove it to the Broncos, then I’ll be proving it to some other team.”

Denver has both Thomas and Sanders signed through 2019, the former with a cap number slated to climb to $17.53MM next year. So, the team will have some big decisions to make a year from now regarding one of the top receiving duos in franchise history.

Here’s the latest from around the league:

  • After receiving his initial OTA reps at left guard, Lions first-rounder Frank Ragnow is expected to start his career there, per Nate Atkins of MLive.com. This would likely mean using improving talent Graham Glasgow at center. Glasgow lined up at center at times during both of his first two seasons but spent more time at guard in a breakout 2017. The Lions were planning to try Glasgow at center at the offseason’s outset, and that experiment may continue into training camp. Ragnow was Pro Football Focus’ top-rated center in each of the past two years while at Arkansas. Newly acquired Wesley Johnson, the Jets’ starting center for the past 1 1/2 years, would then represent a depth piece.
  • Sixth-year defensive lineman Cornelius Washington resides on the Lions’ roster bubble, Atkins notes. The former Bears defender is entering the second season of a two-year, $6MM deal. Washington played 488 snaps last season at defensive end with Detroit, registering 2.5 sacks. The Lions, though, drafted Da’Shawn Hand in the fourth round this year, and Atkins envisions Washington being close to the chopping block as a result.
  • The Eagles are planning to use Jay Ajayi as their unquestioned starter, and Darren Sproles will join emerging second-year back Corey Clement after missing most of last season. The defending Super Bowl champions are likely to keep a No. 4 back on the active roster, per Dave Zangaro of NBC Sports Philadelphia, who doesn’t expect that to be 2017 draftee Donnel Pumphrey. Despite Pumphrey being yet to show what he can do after an injury wiped out his entire rookie season, the former fourth-round pick is battling one-time Redskins starter-turned-castoff Matt Jones. Zangaro expects Jones to win that battle. The Eagles also have Wendell Smallwood and paid a premium to add UDFA Josh Adams this year, creating an intriguing competition for this back-end roster spot.

Extra Points: Bell, Elway, Bears, Lions

Le’Veon Bell would stand to make $12.1MM guaranteed if he and the Steelers weren’t able to come to terms by Monday afternoon. While Bell’s camp is surely asking for a deal north of the $10MM-per-year range due to this tag number, NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks could see LeSean McCoy‘s $8MM-per-year agreement could remain the standard for backs. The damage players incur at this position limiting their shelf lives, along with the marginalization that’s impacted this job, makes Brooks wonder if any back is worth that much money under the current cap. An AFC executive, though, mentioned Bell, David Johnson and possibly Ezekiel Elliott as backs worth a major second contract.

In today’s game, the running back has to be able to contribute as a runner, receiver and blocker to be a viewed as a marquee player,” the exec said, via Brooks. “Johnson, Bell and maybe (Ezekiel) Elliott are the ideal guys to man the RB1 spot because they are big backs with the size and speed to run between the tackles or on the edges, but they are also capable of being a big part of the game from anywhere in the formation (backfield, slot or out wide).”

Johnson is coming off a meniscus injury, while Bell tore his MCL in 2015 to further illustrate how tenuous these players’ windows for dominance can be. Johnson is also two months older than Bell but two NFL seasons behind him, so Bell might have a better chance of cashing in since Johnson will turn 27 at the end of his rookie deal. But Bruce Arians recently said his breakout running back doesn’t have a ceiling, indicating the Cardinals might opt to keep him long-term once he’s extension-eligible after this season.

Here’s the latest from around the league.

  • The Broncos and GM John Elway‘s negotiations heated up this week, and Mark Kizsla of the Denver Post notes the team wants to richly reward the exec for his contributions during what’s been one of the franchise’s best stretches in its 57-season history. But the longtime columnist writes the unfortunate battle with Alzheimer’s Pat Bowlen’s encountered makes the Broncos harder to assess from a longer-term perspective, attempting to explain the slowed process for an Elway re-up.
  • A decision-making presence the Broncos once extended (before firing him), John Fox is on a hot seat at his most recent job, Michael Rothstein and Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com write. Fox having gone 9-23 in two Bears seasons puts the veteran sideline bastion in danger of being fired for a third time, provided the Bears don’t push for the playoffs, per Dickerson. The writer notes chairman George McCaskey’s lack of patience might lead to another change. Dickerson adds third-year GM Ryan Pace should join Fox on the hot seat, but he’s likely to be safer than the coach is.
  • Cornelius Washington ventured from the Bears to the Lions in part because of Detroit’s attacking 4-3 scheme as opposed to the 3-4 currently being deployed in Chicago, Tim Twentyman of Lions.com notes. Washington will be a part of the Lions’ rotation up front, with Twentyman predicting the former Bears backup will have a good chance to rush from the tackle spot on passing downs.

Contract Details: Campbell, Demps, Wheaton

Let’s take a look the financial details of some recently-signed contracts:

  • Mike Adams, S (Panthers): Two years, $4.2MM. $1.15MM guaranteed. $650K signing bonus. $00K available annually via Pro Bowl and interception incentives (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle).
  • Calais Campbell, DL (Jaguars): Four years, $60MM. $30MM guaranteed. $6MM signing bonus. Base salaries $9MM (guaranteed), $15MM (guaranteed), $12MM, $15MM. $3MM option bonus for 2019 (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Marcus Cooper, CB (Bears): Three years, $16MM. $8MM guaranteed. $1.5MM signing bonus. $1MM available annually in Pro Bowl and interception incentives (Twitter links via Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune).
  • Quintin Demps, S (Bears): Three years, $13.5MM. $5MM guaranteed. $1MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Ryan Griffin, TE (Texans): Three years, $9MM. $3.225MM guaranteed. Annual $100K workout base de-escalator (Twitter links via Wilson).
  • D.J. Hayden, CB (Lions): One year, $3.75MM. $2.25MM guaranteed. $1MM signing bonus. $250K workout bonus. $1.5MM available via incentives (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Ted Larsen, OL (Dolphins): Three years, $5.65MM. $1.75MM guaranteed. $1.25MM signing bonus. $500K escalator in 2018. $1MM escalator in 2019 (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Josh Robinson, CB (Buccaneers): Two years, $5M. $2MM guaranteed. $1MM roster bonus due on eighth day of 2017 league year. $1.75MM team option in 2018. $750K available via incentives (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Cornelius Washington, DL (Lions): Two years, $5.825MM. $1.5MM signing bonus. $1.5MM guaranteed (link via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press).
  • Markus Wheaton, WR (Bears): Two years, $11MM. $5MM guaranteed (Twitter link via Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times)
  • Terrance Williams, WR (Cowboys): Four years, $17MM. $9.5MM guaranteed. $5MM signing bonus. 2020 option season. Annual $200K workout base salary de-escalator (Twitter links via Wilson).

Lions To Sign Akeem Spence, Cornelius Washington

The Lions have agreed to sign defensive lineman Akeem Spence to a three-year, $10.5MM deal, tweets Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Detroit has also inked fellow DL Cornelius Washington, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). It’s a two-year, $6MM deal for Washington, with a max value of $8MM, reports Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Spence, 25, has spent the past four seasons in Tampa Bay after being selected in the fourth round of the 2013 draft. He’s started 30 games during that time, but most of those starts came during his rookie campaign. Since then, Spence has become more of a rotational piece. In 2016, Spence appeared in all 16 games, managing 10 tackles and a half sack.

Washington, meanwhile, has been with the Bears for four years. The former sixth-round pick has followed a career path similar to that of Spence, as Washington has mostly served as a depth option in Chicago. Last year, he appeared in 15 games (two starts), and posted 14 tackles and two sacks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/14/15

Today’s minor signings, cuts, and other moves…

  • The Packers have removed wide receiver Larry Pinkard from their IR with an injury settlement, and the Chiefs have done the same with tight end Richard Gordon, per Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post (Twitter links).

Earlier updates:

  • Not long after claiming him off waivers from the Bears, the Cowboys have cut offensive tackle Jordan Mills, according to Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (via Twitter). Per Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter link), taking Mills’ spot on the roster is another offensive tackle, Charles Brown, who worked out for Dallas last week.
  • The Bears have made a change on defense, re-signing outside linebacker Sam Acho and placing defensive end Cornelius Washington on injured reserve, according to Caplan (Twitter links). Acho was cut by Chicago on Saturday with a non-football illness designation, but it didn’t take him long to make his way back to the roster.
  • The Saints are signing safety Kenny Phillips, according to Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Phillips was with New Orleans all summer before being released last week as a late cut. After free safety Rafael Bush suffered a chest injury on Sunday, Phillips will help provide New Orleans with additional depth.
  • The Saints have also re-signed two players they cut on Saturday, adding running back Tim Hightower and offensive lineman Mike McGlynn back to their roster, tweets Evan Woodbery of the Times-Picayune. New Orleans waived fullback Toben Opurum and wide receiver Seantavius Jones to accommodate the returning players.
  • In a reversal of the team’s weekend transactions, Washington signed defensive end Frank Kearse and cut linebacker Houston Bates, as John Keim of ESPN.com writes.
  • The Jets have officially activated backup offensive lineman Oday Aboushi from their reserve/suspended list after he missed Week 1 due to a substance abuse violation, tweets Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com. For now, the Jets have a roster exemption for Aboushi, but they’ll have to decide this week whether to cut him or to move him to their 53-man roster, removing someone else.
  • According to Caplan (Twitter links), the Raiders have released safety Brandian Ross off their injured reserve list, and the Lions have done the same with wide receiver Greg Salas, giving him an injury settlement.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

NFC Mailbags: Saints, Lions, Bears, Vikings

We took a look at ESPN.com’s AFC mailbags earlier this morning. Let’s now shift our focus to the NFC…

  • Mike Triplett believes the only way the Saints move on from Drew Brees is if they are confident in their backup plan. While the quarterback’s production has dropped, Triplett is still confident Brees will be one of the best at his position in 2015.
  • While the Lions could fill the majority of their roster holes via the draft, Michael Rothstein focuses on a couple of positions that could be fixed in free agency. The writer points to left guard, suggesting free agents Justin Blalock or Rob Sims.
  • 2015 will be a big season for Bears defensive end Cornelius Washington, writes Michael C. Wright. The player still has two years left on his contract, but he hasn’t shown much during his brief time in the NFL. With all the veteran defenders on the roster, there’s a chance that Washington could be on the outside looking in.
  • Ben Goessling points to safety Harrison Smith as being the Vikings player most likely to receive an extension prior to the season. The writer suggests the organization also explore an extension for kicker Blair Walsh.
  • Rob Demovsky says the Packers should now focus their attention on locking up defensive tackle Mike Daniels and cornerback Casey Hayward. However, considering the money thrown around this offseason, Demovsky says it may be in the players’ best interests to explore free agency.

NFC Notes: Giants, Durant, Washington, Floyd

“It seems everyone in the free world with an interest in football wants to know why the Giants didn’t draft a tight end and what they’re going to do to shore up the position,” writes Giants.com Senior Writer/Editor Michael Eisen. However, Eisen says GM Jerry Reese likes his two young, developmental tight ends (Adrien Robinson and Larry Donnell) and wants to see what the team has in veterans Kellen Davis and Daniel Fells and rookie free agent Xavier Grimble before addressing the position.

In other NFC news and notes…