Curtis Riley

New York Notes: Darnold, Breeland, OBJ, Apple

In the wake of Elijah McGuire‘s broken foot, the Jets signed RB George Atkinson III earlier today. However, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that the team’s first choice was Alfred Morris, who obviously comes with considerably more experience than Atkinson (Gang Green brought Morris in for a visit yesterday). Rapoport says the two sides could not come together on contract terms, so Morris remains a free agent and Atkinson is now a Jet.

Now for more notes from the two clubs who call the Meadowlands home:

  • The Jets still have interest in free agent CB Bashaud Breeland, per ESPN’s Josina Anderson (via Twitter). There’s still no word on whether Breeland will visit with Gang Green, but a number of clubs are interested in his services. Breeland remains undecided for the time being.
  • Just yesterday, we heard that offset language was no longer the issue holding up contract negotiations between the Jets and rookie QB Sam Darnold. Instead, the latest reports suggested that how and when the guarantees in Darnold’s contract could void is the real sticking point. But Rich Cimini of ESPN.com says offset language and the guaranteed money issue are still matters that need to be resolved. Cimini does not think that the holdout will get as bad as the infamous Joey Bosa/Chargers standoff several years ago, but Darnold is in a different situation because he is a quarterback, not a defensive lineman. Every practice he misses is critical, and while there are not enough details to know which party is in the “right” in this case — though Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News opines that Darnold’s agent’s stance with respect to the offset language is ridiculous and selfish — this is fast becoming a lose-lose situation for player and team.
  • Odell Beckham Jr. has excelled in Giants training camp thus far, and he looks committed and healthy, per Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Raanan ends his tweet with an emphatic, “pay the man.”
  • Though it’s obviously still early in training camp, the Giants‘ offensive line has left much to be desired in summer practices thus far, as Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com writes. Dunleavy lists a few OL free agents that Big Blue might consider bringing in, and he also names Denzelle Good, who is currently fighting for a starting job with the Colts, as an interesting trade candidate.
  • After two seasons as a backup cornerback with the Titans, Curtis Riley saw an opportunity to start at free safety with the Giants, which encouraged him to sign with Big Blue in March. Thus far, his conversion to safety is going swimmingly, and Greg Joyce of the New York Post writes that Riley has a legitimate chance to win the starting FS job.
  • Giants CB Eli Apple‘s maturity issues and lack of effort have gotten him into plenty of hot water with his teammates and coaches during his first two seasons in the pros, but new head coach Pat Shurmur is impressed with Apple’s attitude and his play thus far. Shurmur said, via Paul Schwartz of the New York Post, “I’m seeing a guy that’s all about his business. He’s very businesslike. And he’s covering really well, a really good attribute for a corner. I like the way he’s working. He’s out there challenging, but he’s also being smart. And I like the way he’s functioning in the building. Very attentive in meetings. In my mind, and based on what I’ve seen, he’s acting like a pro.”

Giants Notes: Beckham, Webb, Hill, Riley

The next several weeks could be crucial in the Giants/Odell Beckham Jr. relationship. The superstar wideout said he intends to show up to camp on time, but this may not be a full-on pledge. Instead, it could be contingent on how extension talks — currently not going well — proceed. In an expansive piece attempting to gauge this situation, ESPN.com’s Bill Barnwell writes the presence of Dave Gettleman could make a significant difference in this process.

Famously known as a hard-line negotiator, alienating Steve Smith and rescinding Josh Norman‘s franchise tag in Carolina, Gettleman has repeatedly said he wants the Giants to be geared around their ground game more than they have been in the past. He authorized the highest running back draft pick since Reggie Bush and could have four new starting offensive linemen come Week 1. Barnwell suggests the Giants could use this season to see how Saquon Barkley impacts their offense rather than authorizing a wide receiver-record contract for Beckham before the season. This strategy certainly wouldn’t go over well with Beckham, and it could run the risk of a lengthy holdout, but the Giants would also have the franchise tag as a short-term option in 2019.

Here’s the latest on Big Blue coming out of minicamp.

  • After minicamp, Davis Webb has a big lead on Kyle Lauletta for the backup job, Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com notes. This would mark the 2017 third-rounder’s first time as the backup, with Geno Smith having held that job last season (save for Big Blue’s rough PR week in early December). However, Lauletta has impressed new OC Mike Shula. “He has a nice calmness about him,” Shula said of the rookie fourth-rounder. “If things don’t go exactly how they are drawn out on the board, his mind works pretty fast, so far, and he finds the next guy, gets through his progressions. He has a good feel for anticipation and touch, so I think he’s off to a good start.”
  • While Barkley and second-round pick Will Hernandez have moved into the Giants’ starting lineup, third-round pick B.J. Hill may be ready to join them. The rookie lined up alongside Damon Harrison and Dalvin Tomlinson in the Giants’ new 3-4 scheme at minicamp, according to Dan Duggan of The Athletic (subscription required). The Giants don’t have a surefire competitor that would deprive the N.C. State-developed rookie of a viable path to a Week 1 start, so this will be an interesting situation once training camp begins.
  • Another surprise starter could come in New York’s secondary. The Giants are preparing to give Eli Apple another chance at cornerback opposite Janoris Jenkins and aren’t as talented at this spot as they were with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie also in the picture last season, but Duggan writes Landon Collins could have an interesting sidekick as well. Low-level UFA addition (and converted corner) Curtis Riley has a legitimate shot to start alongside Collins, per Duggan, after working extensively with the first unit in the offseason. Darian Thompson and Michael Thomas are among the others vying for that job with Riley, who played 11 games (no starts) with the Titans the past two seasons after entering the league as a UDFA in 2016.

Minor NFL Transactions: 3/15/18

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here:

Arizona Cardinals

Houston Texans

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

New York Giants

Pittsburgh Steelers

RFA/ERFA Tender Decisions: 3/14/18

Here are today’s restricted free agent and exclusive-rights free agent tender decisions, with the list being updated throughout the day. All links go to Twitter unless otherwise noted:

RFAs

Tendered at the second-round level ($2.914MM):

Tendered at original round level ($1.907MM):

Non-tendered:

ERFAs

Tendered:

Non-tendered:

Titans Promote Curtis Riley To Active Roster

The Titans announced that they have promoted cornerback Curtis Riley to the active roster. Riley takes the place of guard Chance Warmack, who was placed on injured reserve yesterday. Curtis Riley (vertical)

Riley first joined the Titans as an undrafted free agent after the 2015 NFL Draft. Since then, he has practiced as both a cornerback and a safety. Now on the 53-man roster, he’ll be expected to provide the Titans with depth in the secondary along with help on special teams. After spending his entire rookie season on IR, he’s hoping to get his first taste of NFL action this fall.

In a related move, guard Karim Barton has been added to the practice squad. Barton, a Morgan State product, previously spent time with Houston, Philadelphia, and Cleveland.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Sunday NFL Transactions: AFC South

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four AFC South teams. Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline yesterday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters, claiming players off waivers or signing guys who clear waivers. Those transactions for the Texans, Colts, Jaguars, and Titans are noted below.

Additionally, as of 12:00pm CT today, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads. You can check out our glossary entry on practice squads to brush up on those changes, as well as all the other guidelines that govern the 10-man units, whose players practice with the team but aren’t eligible to suit up on Sundays.

Here are Sunday’s AFC South transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day. All links go to Twitter unless otherwise noted:

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Tennessee Titans

Titans Cut Justin Hunter, Bishop Sankey

4:00pm: The Titans have made more cuts this afternoon, including another big name. Running back/wide receiver Dexter McCluster has been let go. McCluster averaged 4.5 yards per carry last season in Tennessee and averaged 8.4 yards per reception, but the Titans saw a better use for his roster spot. McCluster already pocketed a $350k roster bonus earlier this year, but the Titans will save $2.275MM in cash by cutting him.

Here is the full, updated list of Titans cuts so far:

11:07am: The Titans have jettisoned a pair of notable players from the old front office regime. Wide receiver Justin Hunter and running back Bishop Sankey have both been cut, as Terry McCormick of TitanInsider.com reports (Twitter links). "<strong

Hunter, an exceptionally talented receiver, was drafted 34th overall in 2013. Since then, the Titans have been frustrated with Hunter and there have been rumblings that his work ethic was not up to par. Days ago, the Titans shipped out another talented wide receiver with perceived motivation problems when they traded Dorial Green-Beckham to the Eagles.

“It is still going to be hard (to make the team) because we have a lot of talented receivers in the group. We are fighting for spots, and you have to keep up and progress at the same time,” said the 25-year-old Hunter last month, acknowledging that his spot on the roster was not guaranteed.

Hunter has an uninspiring 68 receptions and eight touchdowns in 35 career games (13 starts). While Hunter has averaged an impressive 16.8 yards per catch, that number dropped to a career-worst 12.0 on 22 grabs last season. The 2015 campaign was a short one for Hunter, who only appeared in nine games as a result of a mid-November fractured ankle.

Sankey was once viewed as the Titans’ best running back and was expected to break out as a rookie in 2014. Sankey, 24 later this month, appeared in all 16 games for the Titans as a rookie but amassed only 569 yards off of 152 carries. Last season, Sankey’s role was reduced even further has he had only 47 rushing attempts for 193 yards in 13 games.

The surprising cuts didn’t stop there. The Titans are going to waive guard Jeremiah Poutasi, a source tells Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Poutasi was an early third-round pick of the Titans last year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/10/15

The latest minor moves and signings from around the NFL..

  • The Dolphins signed running back Demitrius Bronson and safety Phillip Thomas, Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald tweets. To make room, Miami waived/injured safety Shamiel Gary and waived receiver Tyler McDonald.
  • The Colts re-signed guard Kitt O’Brien and waived guard Dionte Savage, Mike Chappell of the Indy Star tweets. Just days ago, the Colts cut O’Brien and signed Savage.
  • The Broncos claimed Matt Hall off waivers from the Colts, Wilson tweets.
  • The Saints waived UDFA wide receiver Malcome Kennedy from their IR, Mike Triplett of ESPN.com tweets.
  • The Seahawks signed safety Tyrequek Zimmerman, Wilson tweets.
  • The Patriots signed Tony Creecy and Logan Stokes while cutting Chris White and Mason Brodine, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets.
  • The Lions signed tight end Jacob Maxwell, who was briefly with the team as a UDFA, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press tweets.
  • The Titans waived-injured cornerback Curtis Riley and picked up fellow corner Will Brown, Terry McCormick of TitanInsider.com tweets.
  • The Jaguars signed defensive end Camaron Beard and waived/injured linebacker Matt Robinson, John Oehser of Jaguars.com tweets.
  • The Eagles signed ex-Falcons wide receiver Freddie Martino and released fellow wideout John Harris, Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. Defensive end Frances Mays has also been waived/injured.

Earlier updates:

  • The Packers announced that they have released punter Cody Mandell, as Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com tweets. Mandell was in competition with fellow punter Tim Masthay, but that showdown didn’t even make it until the preseason opener.
  • The Browns worked out and signed linebacker Moise Fokou, according to a source who spoke with Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (on Twitter). To make room for Smith, the Browns have cut Rodney Smith, Wilson tweets.
  • The Seahawks cut Robert Smith with a failed physical designation, Wilson tweets. The safety was claimed off waivers from the Colts late last week.

Titans, 13 UDFAs Agree To Deals

SUNDAY, 4:19pm: The Titans have also signed Middle Tennessee State University running back Reggie Whatley, per Wyatt (Twitter link).

SATURDAY, 9:09pm: The Titans have reached agreements with a dozen undrafted free agents, according to Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean. Here’s the full list:

  • Toby Johnson, DL, Georgia
  • Deon Long, WR, Maryland
  • Derrick Lott, DL, Chattanooga
  • Connor Neighbors, FB, LSU
  • Josue Matias, OG, Florida State
  • Cody Prewitt, S, Mississippi
  • Cody Riggs, CB, Notre Dame
  • Curtis Riley, CB, Florida State
  • Quinton Spain, OG, West Virginia
  • J.R. Tavai, DL, USC
  • Andrew Turzilli, WR, Rutgers
  • Lucas Vincent, DL, Missouri