David Fluellen

Titans Activate T Taylor Lewan

Taylor Lewan is back on the Titans’ 53-man roster. The team activated its left tackle starter on Friday, placing running back David Fluellen on IR in a corresponding move.

Tennessee’s sixth-year cornerstone blocker failed a PED test, causing him to miss his first games since the 2015 season. Going into this year, the former first-round pick had not missed more than one game in a season since his 2014 rookie year.

The Titans gave Lewan a five-year, $80MM extension in 2018. Because the Raiders moved Trent Brown back to right tackle, Lewan’s deal still tops the left tackle market. He has made the past three Pro Bowls and operates as a central piece of the Titans’ run-based offense. Dennis Kelly filled in for Lewan during the season’s first quarter.

Seeing Titans action for a third straight season, Fluellen has been limited by a knee injury. He played in Tennessee’s first and fourth games this season. While Fluellen could come back in December, his status as Tennessee’s third-string back may not make him a priority IR-return candidate.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC South Notes: Texans, Robinson, Colts

Rumblings about the Texans attempting a last-ditch Jadeveon Clowney trade have cooled down, with the team unlikely to recoup too much value for the three-time Pro Bowler after the franchise tag extension deadline passed (and with Clowney being able to effectively block a trade by virtue of not signing his tender). The last report on Clowney’s return indicated he was expected to report back between the start of next week and the end of the preseason. Clowney also has a grievance rumored, seeking to be tagged as a defensive end ($17.1MM) instead of as an outside linebacker ($15.9MM). But the former No. 1 overall pick should be fighting to ensure the Texans cannot tag him again in 2020, Joel Corry of CBS Sports writes. However, with this prohibition clause having not occurred since 2008 (Albert Haynesworth with the Titans), Corry predicts the sixth-year Texans edge defender will fail on this front and end up being tagged again in 2020.

Here is the latest news from the AFC South, shifting to a player who will draw Clowney blocking assignments this season:

  • Recently deemed iffy for Week 1, Cam Robinson appears a good bet to suit up against the Chiefs in two-plus weeks. The Jaguars‘ left tackle starter took snaps with the first unit in the team’s third preseason game, with Phillip Heilman of The Athletic tweeting Robinson joined the likely starting line of Andrew Norwell, Brandon Linder, Will Richardson and Jawaan Taylor on Thursday night. Robinson tore one of his ACLs in September of last year and spent the next several months rehabbing.
  • D’Onta Foreman will not have a chance to exact any revenge on the Texans this season, with the now-Colts running back set to miss the season. But the Colts still have him in their plans. A torn biceps will shelve Foreman, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets, but the team will not opt for an injury settlement. The Colts plan to stash the former third-round pick on IR and have him learn their system in time for a hopeful 2020 debut in Indianapolis.
  • While Matt Kalil was recently named the Texans‘ starting left tackle, Wilson adds that Roderick Johnson is “firmly” in the conversation to start against the Saints in Week 1. The Texans have held Kalil out of recent practices for conservation purposes, per Bill O’Brien. Kalil missed all of last season with a knee injury. Encouraging work in games and practices has allowed Johnson, a former Browns fifth-round pick and Texans waiver claim, to improve to the point of being a first-stringer. The Florida State product appears set to receive the first crack if Kalil cannot go, pointing to first-round rookie Tytus Howard staying at left guard.
  • Titans running back David Fluellen underwent knee surgery recently, but Paul Kuharsky (of PaulKuharsky.com) notes the backup is expected to be ready by Week 1. Fluellen is expected to keep his job as Tennessee’s No. 3 back.

Titans Place David Fluellen On IR

The Titans placed running back David Fluellen on injured reserve, according to a team announcement. To take his place on the roster, the club called up linebacker Nigel Harris from the practice squad. 

Fluellen has missed the past five gives with a knee injury and he didn’t recover as fast as the club had hoped. It’s not a huge blow to the Titans – Fluellen has just eight carries over the last two years – but it does impact their depth somewhat as they push for a playoff spot.

Harris, meanwhile, will join outside linebackers Derrick Morgan, Brian Orakpo, Harold Landry, Kamalei Correa, and Sharif Finch on the roster. He may have a chance to play this weekend since Orakpo and Finch have been ruled out for Saturday.

With wins over the Redskins and Colts in the next two weeks, the 8-6 Titans will be virtually assured a place in the postseason. There’s even hope of winning the division, though that would require two wins plus two Texans losses to close out the year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/2/17

Here are today’s reserve/futures contract signings from around the NFL. These deals will go into effect on the first day of the 2017 league year, with players joining their respective clubs’ offseason 90-man rosters.

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

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NFL Practice Squad Updates: 12/13/16

Today’s practice squad moves:

Arizona Cardinals

  • Signed: LB Reshard Cliett

Carolina Panthers

  • Signed: OL Blaine Clausell

Cleveland Browns

Indianpolis Colts

  • Signed: T Pierce Burton

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

  • Signed: DT Justin Zimmer

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Signed: LB Shaquille Riddick

San Francisco 49ers

  • Signed: OT Mitchell Van Dyk

Tennessee Titans

  • Signed: RB David Fluellen

Washington Redskins

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/12/16

Here are today’s minor moves.

  • Former Hard Knocks favorite Charles James has made his way to the Colts‘ 53-man roster after the team signed him, per Mike Chappell of IndySportsCentral.com (on Twitter), in the wake of placing three players — including starters Jack Mewhort and Clayton Geathers — on IR. James played in 12 games for the Texans this season, making 12 tackles. The team waived James last week after re-signing him as an exclusive-rights free agent in March.
  • The Falcons waived offensive lineman Kevin Graf, who had spent the season vacillating between the practice squad and Atlanta’s 53-man roster.
  • The Eagles plan to sign RB Byron Marshall to their 53 man roster from the practice squad this week, NJ.com’s Eliot Shorr-Parks reports (on Twitter). Marshall’s signing fills out Philly’s roster after the team made a host of moves today, including moving Wendell Smallwood to IR and signing Dwayne Gratz. Marshall will fill in behind Ryan Mathews and Kenjon Barner for now, with Darren Sproles residing in concussion protocol.
  • The Steelers promoted wide receiver Demarcus Ayers to the 53-man roster, as Gerry Dulac of the Post-Gazette tweets. To make room, kicker Randy Bullock has been cut. Ayers was a seventh-round pick in this year’s draft.
  • The Titans have promoted defensive lineman Mehdi Abdesmad to the 53-man roster and waived running back David Fluellen, Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com reports. Abdesmad caught on with Tennessee in May as a UDFA.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/7/16

Today’s minor moves:

  • The Titans announced that they’ve promoted running back David Fluellen from the practice squad and waived cornerback Cody Riggs. Fluellen’s signing could be an indication that Derrick Henry might miss multiple games with a calf injury, as head coach Mike Mularkey hinted at today. Henry tweaked his calf during warmups yesterday and didn’t play a single snap.
  • The Saints claimed tight end John Phillips off waivers from the Chargers, according to Christopher Dabe of NOLA.com. Phillips has 103 games under his belt, and has mostly served as a blocker throughout his career. New Orleans also waived cornerback Brian Dixon and defensive end Chris McCain, tweets Nick Underhill of the Advocate.
  • After placing veteran running back Antone Smith on injured reserve, the Buccaneers have promoted Russell Hansbrough from the practice squad, the team announced. Hansbrough has bounced on and off Tampa’s taxi squad this year.
  • The Packers announced that they’ve promoted fullback Joe Kerridge to the active roster and waived safety Jermaine Whitehead.
  • The Texans waived tackle Jeff Adams, the club announced today. Adams, 27, had spent portions of the past two seasons with Houston.
  • The Chiefs have waived cornerback Terrance Mitchell, according to Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star (Twitter link).

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.