D.J. Williams

NFC East Notes: JPP, Cowboys, Washington

When Jason Pierre-Paul reported to the Giants shortly before the regular season got underway, he and his camp expressed confidence that he’d be ready to play soon, perhaps even as early as Week 1. The Giants, of course, didn’t see it that way, and JPP returned home to work on getting his injured hand healthy enough to play before the end of 2015.

So when do the Giants expect Pierre-Paul to be ready? According to Bob Glauber of Newsday, the club is hopeful that the veteran defensive end will be back for the final four games of the season, or perhaps even longer. However, the Giants are optimistic about seeing JPP back on the field down the stretch, a source tells Glauber that it’s “still possible he doesn’t come back [this year].”

As we wait to see how Pierre-Paul’s recovery progresses, let’s round up a few more items from out of the NFC East…

  • Lance Dunbar‘s season-ending injury will be a significant blow for the Cowboys‘ backfield, but Ed Werder of ESPN.com tweets that the team isn’t planning on bringing in another free agent running back. Werder hints that Christine Michael, acquired last month via trade, could take on a bigger role in Dunbar’s absence.
  • Former 49ers guard Joe Looney was among the players to work out for Washington this week, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post tweets that ex-Ravens wideout Daniel Brown and tight end D.J. Williams also tried out for the team. Washington let Williams go with an injury settlement about a month ago, so he wouldn’t be eligible to rejoin the team for at least a couple more weeks.
  • While Chip Kelly won’t admit it, the Eagles head coach has to recognize that the lack of talent on his offensive line is killing his run schemes, writes Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Having cut Evan Mathis in the offseason, Kelly insists that there’s no lesson to be learned there: “If we didn’t renegotiate [Mathis’ contract], we weren’t getting him back.” Still, it’s fair to be skeptical of that assertion, considering Mathis was under contract and likely wouldn’t have extended a holdout into the regular season like Kam Chancellor did.

Washington Trims Roster To 53 Players

Washington is now down to 53 players, having made a series of cuts in advance of this afternoon’s deadline. Here, according to a press release, are the club’s moves:


  • LB Houston Bates
  • WR Reggie Bell
  • RB Mack Brown
  • T Takoby Cofield
  • DE Corey Crawford
  • WR/CB Quinton Dunbar
  • TE Je’Ron Hamm
  • LB Sage Harold
  • C/G Tyler Larsen
  • WR Colin Lockett
  • LB Terrance Plummer
  • C Austin Reiter
  • DL Travian Robertson
  • DL Robert Thomas
  • RB Trey Williams

Waived with injury settlement:

  • DB Da’Mon Cromartie-Smith
  • S Akeem Davis
  • TE D.J. Williams


  • FB Jordan Campbell
  • WR Evan Spencer


  • NT Jerrell Powe

Washington Signs Tight End D.J. Williams

Washington has signed free agent tight end D.J. Williams, reports Mike Jones of the Washington Post (via Twitter). Terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed.

The Packers took Williams in the fifth round of the 2011 draft and parted ways with him after the 2012 season. The ex-Arkansas Razorback has since been a member of the Jaguars, Patriots and Buccaneers organizations. He has three career starts and just nine catches, the last of which came in 2012.

Williams’ less-than-decorated resume aside, Washington was in desperate need of tight end depth after losing Niles Paul and Logan Paulsen to season-ending injuries over the last week. Washington worked out Williams and two other tight ends, Ernest Brun and Jean Sifrin, on Sunday. The club agreed to a deal with Brun before inking Williams, though Jones tweeted that it chose not to sign Sifrin.

Extra Points: Chiefs, Berry, Brady, Ravens

Here’s a quick look around the NFL..

  • Chiefs coach Andy Reid told Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star (on Twitter) that he doesn’t anticipate adding any big-name guys with his remaining roster spot.
  • Reid gave reporters, including BJ Kissel of KCchiefs.com (on Twitter), an update on safety Eric Berry. “Eric is going through some tests right now. We’ll have more information in a day. Everything has been positive so far,” said Reid. The Chiefs safety has been battling Hodgkin lymphoma and it sounds like we may be getting close to hearing a timetable for his return.
  • Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap (on Twitter) believes that the Patriots will rework Tom Brady‘s contract to bring the suspension money down significantly.
  • The Ravens are expected to stick with reserve quarterbacks Bryn Renner and Jerry Lovelocke heading into camp, sources tell Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (on Twitter). Still, the Ravens tried out Doug Williams’ son, D.J. Williams, sources tell Wilson (on Twitter) as well as quarterback Austin Trainor and quarterback/wide receiver Trent Steelman (link).

Free Agent Notes: Welker, Rice, D.J. Williams

Wes Welker has said publicly that he wants to continue his NFL career, but former teammate Champ Bailey wouldn’t mind seeing the free agent wideout decide to retire instead, according to an ESPN.com report.

“I don’t want Wes to play for my own personal reasons. I’ve seen him get concussions. It scares me,” Bailey said during an appearance on FOX Sports 1. “I think he can still play, but I don’t want him to play because of these concussions. … This thing is no joke. It’s a serious thing when you start talking about your head. And for him to have to worry about that at a young age that he is now, he has to think about that for years to come, and I just hope he hangs it up and not strap it up again.”

As we wait to see whether Welker can find a job this summer, let’s check in on some other veteran free agents around the league….

  • Former Ravens running back Ray Rice and a group of his supporters – including ex-Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano – have been contacting NFL teams in an effort to land Rice a job, sources tell Ed Werder of ESPN.com. According to Werder, one club was seriously considering signing Rice, but team ownership “became uncomfortable” late in the process due to P.R. concerns.
  • Veteran linebacker D.J. Williams, who turned 33 on Monday, still hopes to play in 2015, tweets Alex Marvez of FOX Sports. It doesn’t look like Williams will return to the Bears, but he was unsatisfied with the way 2014 ended – he landed on the IR while the Bears plummeted to the NFC North cellar – and would like to catch on with an NFL team in the coming weeks.
  • Earlier this afternoon, we learned that the Bears have discussed the possibility of pursuing free agent tight end Jermaine Gresham.

North Rumors: Thomas, Williams, Parker

The Ravens‘ first choice at running back is to re-sign Justin Forsett, Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL.com tweets. But, if things don’t work, Pierre Thomas could be a plan B for them. More from the AFC and NFC North..

  • The Bears informed veteran middle linebacker D.J. Williams that the team is going in a different direction and he will not return to Chicago, a source tells Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com (on Twitter).
  • Chiefs free agent safety Ron Parker remains very much on the radar for the Bears, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune tweets. Many, many teams have been connected to Parker over the last week. The Bears and Falcons are the most involved when it comes to Parker, according to Biggs (on Twitter).
  • The Packers haven’t been moving much on their number with Tramon Williams, Tyler Dunne of the Journal Sentinel tweets. However, Dunne wonders if that changes with cornerback Davon House leaving.
  • The Vikings have inquired about San Francisco cornerback Chris Culliver, but they haven’t made an offer, so things are still preliminary there, Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press tweets.

Bears Put D.J. Williams On IR, Sign Montell Owens

In advance of Monday night’s game against the Saints, the Bears have made a change to their 53-man roster, placing veteran linebacker D.J. Williams on the injured reserve list and signing fullback Montell Owens to replace him, the team announced today (Twitter link).

Williams, whose season is over due to a neck injury, was the Bears’ primary middle linebacker this season, starting 12 games and appearing in 417 defensive snaps for the team. While he was solid for most of the year, he had his worst game of the season in Week 14, according to Pro Football Focus’ ratings (subscription required). Williams’ shaky run defense against the Cowboys earned him a -4.1 grade for the game, bringing his grade for the season down to -6.8.

As for Owens, the veteran fullback was released from the Lions’ injured reserve list earlier this week, having deemed fully healthy, and it didn’t take him long to find a new job. A two-time Pro Bowler as a special teamer with the Jaguars, Owens has 56 career carries for 292 yards and three touchdowns, but will likely play a complementary role on special teams – and perhaps offense – in Chicago.

Buccaneers Sign Solomon Patton

TUESDAY, 11:38am: The Bucs have officially signed Patton, waiving tight end D.J. Williams to accommodate the move, per Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com.

MONDAY, 2:54pm: The Buccaneers will sign punt returner/kick returner Solomon Patton off of the Cardinals’ practice squad, his agent tells Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune (via Twitter).

Patton, 24, has appeared in six games each for the Cardinals and Bucs this season. The wide receiver has mainly seen work as a kick returner in the NFL as he has just one reception to his credit this year. Patton has returned ten punts for 112 yards and 17 kicks for 393 yards. Pro Football Focus (sub. req’d) isn’t kind to Patton’s work as a kick returner, ranking him 160th out of 172 players.

Bucs Sign Two TEs, Cut Marcus Thigpen

The Buccaneers have announced a series of transactions today, making multiple changes to both their 53-man roster and their practice squad, per Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com. In a series of Twitter links, Smith reports the following moves:

Added to 53-man roster:


Placed on injured reserve:

Added to practice squad:

Released from practice squad:

It’s no surprise that Thigpen and Lane were removed from the 53-man roster, considering Thigpen has muffed multiple punts in recent weeks, and Lane is out for the season with a leg injury. It’s interesting though that the team added a pair of tight ends to the roster to replace the departed players — that suggests that the club may rely on an in-house option to return kicks, and that perhaps one of the tight ends will play fullback, if necessary.

Giants Worked Out Felix Jones, 14 Others

4:31pm: The Giants worked out 15 players in total, according to Jordan Raanan of NJ.com, who provides the full list of participants. Here are the 11 new names:

12:00pm: After losing back-to-back divisional matchups against the NFC-leading Cowboys and Eagles, the Giants are entering their bye week, and are taking the opportunity to look at a handful of free agents. According to Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (Twitter link), running backs Felix Jones and Alex Green are working out for the team.

Green, a former third-round pick who started his career with the Packers, was cut by the Jets in August and has auditioned for the Lions and Panthers since then. As for Jones, there haven’t been many reports on the former Cowboy this year, which is somewhat surprising — while he didn’t do much in limited action for the Steelers last season, he had recorded over 100 carries in each of his previous four seasons in Dallas, and is still just 27 years old.

The fact that the Giants are working out running backs shouldn’t necessarily be viewed as a sign that Rashad Jennings‘ recovery is moving slowly, or that the team is looking to add a player at the position. It’s more likely that New York is simply gauging the options in the market at several spots in case the club needs to dip into free agency later in the season.

In fact, Josina Anderson of ESPN reports (via Twitter) that quarterback Terrelle Pryor is also visiting the club today, while Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post adds tight end Tony Moeaki to the list of players auditioning. The Giants’ workout group this work is expected to be large, as Jordan Raanan of NJ.com tweets, so several more participants will likely be reported soon.