David Johnson (TE)

NFC North Notes: Pack, Adams, Bears, Lions

Even after absorbing a violent hit from Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan last week, Packers wide receiver Davante Adams may be in line to play in Week 5, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Adams was taken to the hospital following the hit — which resulted in a two-game suspension for Trevathan — and thankfully escaped with only a concussion. If available, the 24-year-old Adams would be a boon to Green Bay’s offense against the Cowboys on Sunday, as he’s recorded 16 receptions, 219 yards, and two scores thus far in 2017.

Here’s more from the NFC North:

  • The Bearsdecision to start rookie Mitch Trubisky over Mike Glennon speaks to the No. 2 overall selection’s development this year, opines Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com. Trubisky, who started only 13 collegiate games before entering the NFL draft, was so raw that had to be taught how to take snaps under center in the spring, per Breer. But Trubisky has displayed so much improvement in the months since that Chicago formulated a plan to have the North Carolina product take starter’s practice reps in the fall. Of course, Glennon’s sub-par performance also made the Bears’ call a simple one, as the former Buccaneers ranks near the bottom of the league in nearly every quarterback metric.
  • The Lions took a look at tight ends Jace Amaro, Gavin Escobar, Cory Harkey, and David Johnson and linebackers Akeem Ayers, Andrew Gachkar, and Spencer Paysinger, today, reports veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer (Twitter link). Detroit’s linebacker auditions are particularly notable, as the club just lost base package starter Paul Worrilow to an MCL strain. All three of Ayers, Gachkar, and Paysinger appeared in at least 15 games a season ago, but were mostly relegated to special teams duty.
  • Offensive tackles Andrew Wylie, Stephen Evans, and Storm Norton, plus running back Joel Bouagnon, worked out for the Packers on Tuesday, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Wylie went undrafted out of Eastern Michigan earlier this year, but signed with the Colts shortly thereafter. He took a spot on Indy’s practice squad until being waived in September. Bouagnon, too, is a rookie UDFA (Northern Illinois) who spent eight weeks with the Bears this summer.
  • The Bears auditioned safety Jordan Moore yesterday, tweets Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. Moore, a rookie undrafted free agent out of the University of Texas at San Antonio, signed with the Falcons earlier this year but has been on the workout circuit since August.

Texans Work Out 8, Sign Cobi Hamilton

Fresh off their first win of the season, the Texans worked out a variety of offensive players on Friday, including the previously reported Gary Barnidge, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter links). Fellow tight ends Larry Donnell, Gavin Escobar, David Johnson and MyCole Pruitt joined Barnidge in auditioning, while wide receivers Cobi Hamilton and Jordan, offensive lineman Jah Reid and quarterback Garrett Grayson were also on hand. The Texans saw enough from Hamilton to sign him to their practice squad, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Houston has an obvious need at tight end, with C.J. Fiedorowicz, Ryan Griffin and Stephen Anderson dealing with the aftereffects of concussions. Fiedorowicz is on injured reserve, meaning he’ll miss a significant chunk of time, while neither Griffin nor Anderson dressed for the Texans’ 13-9 win over the Bengals on Thursday. As you’d expect, the tight end position was a non-factor for Houston against Cincinnati, as all 15 of quarterback Deshaun Watson‘s completions went to wide receivers and running backs.

Larry Donnell (vertical)

All of the tight ends the Texans looked at Friday come with NFL experience, though only Donnell and Escobar have extensive pro track records. Donnell had a 63-catch, six-touchdown season with the Giants in 2014, but his production has gone downhill since, thanks in part to injuries, and he hasn’t stuck anywhere since becoming a free agent in the offseason. The 28-year-old’s only employment since last season ended came in the form of a short stint in Baltimore, which signed him July 30 and released him Sept. 1.

Escobar, meanwhile, was a high pick in 2013, when Dallas took him in the second round, but he didn’t make much of a mark there behind all-time great Jason Witten. The 26-year-old, who caught 30 passes and eight TDs during his four-year Cowboys run, signed with the Chiefs as a free agent in March but didn’t crack their Week 1 roster.

Reid was a teammate of Escobar’s for a brief period in Kansas City, which released the tackle/guard on the final day of August. A veteran of 61 appearances and 18 starts, he’d provide depth along a Houston line that’s without its left tackle, holdout Duane Brown, and has already yielded 13 sacks in two weeks.

The other fairly notable player on this list is the Texans’ newest addition, Hamilton, who had been looking for work since the Steelers cut him Sept. 1. The Texans are already the sixth organization for the 26-year-old Hamilton, who’s coming off a career season (albeit a modest one) in Pittsburgh. Hamilton started in eight of 11 appearances and caught 17 passes for 234 yards and two touchdowns. He added another four receptions and a TD in three playoff games last January.

As is the case at tight end, Houston’s receivers aren’t the picture of health. Both Bruce Ellington and Will Fuller missed Thursday’s game with injuries (the latter will be out until the fall), leaving the Texans wanting at wideout. Believe it or not, DeAndre Hopkins and Braxton Miller are their only receivers who have caught passes this season. Hamilton could be a factor sometime this year, then.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steelers’ Roster Now At 53

The Steelers have reduced their roster to 53 players by making the following transactions:

Cut:

Waived/injured:

AFC Contract Details: Gilmore, Kirkpatrick

The latest contract details from the AFC (all Twitter links):

  • Cornerback Stephon Gilmore‘s five-year, $65MM accord with the Patriots includes an $18MM signing bonus, reports Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. The arrangement comes with a fully guaranteed $31MM through 2018 and $9MM guaranteed for injury only in 2019. It contains up to $500K in per-game roster bonuses each year, as well (via Ben Volin of the Boston Globe).
  • Fellow corner Dre Kirkpatrick‘s Bengals deal, worth $52.5MM over a five years, includes $15MM in 2017, according to Tom Pelissero of USA Today. The contract features another $2.5MM in incentives. It’s essentially a pay-as-you agreement after 2018, notes CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, who adds that Kirkpatrick got $7MM to sign, $12MM in guarantees, and will make $23.2MM during the first two years of the contract.
  • Guard Ronald Leary‘s pact with the Broncos is worth $36MM over four years and will receive $18.75MM guaranteed, writes Mike Klis of 9NEWS. Leary will collect a $3.5MM signing bonus.
  • Newly re-upped Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills landed a $7MM signing bonus, according to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald.
  • Fullback Patrick DiMarco‘s four-year deal with the Bills features $4.8MM in guarantees, more than the originally reported $4MM, per Wilson. It also comes with a $2MM bonus and an annual workout bonus worth $59K.
  • Safety Nate Allen‘s contract with the Dolphins is for one year and $3.4MM, relays Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald.
  • The Titans gave linebacker Nate Palmer $2.3MM over two years, writes Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com. He also received a signing bonus worth $850K.
  • Tight end David Johnson‘s agreement with the Steelers is worth $2.05MM over two years, per Wilson. It includes a $235K signing bonus and a $915K roster bonus.

Free Agency Rumors: Charles, Peterson

The latest free agent rumors:

  • NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that players in need of medical clearance (Jamaal Charles, Adrian Peterson, T.J. Lang) will take visits but won’t sign quickly. The reporter also notes that Peterson could ultimately stay with the Vikings.
  • When it comes to offensive lineman D.J. Fluker, the Saints, Lions, Seahawks, Colts, Vikings, Giants, Cardinals, and Falcons are among the potential teams to watch, according to Josina Anderson on Twitter.
  • The Jets have expressed interest in re-signing linebacker Josh Martin, a source tells Rich Cimini of ESPN.com (on Twitter), but he’s poised to hit the open market. Martin stands as the team’s top special teams player.
  • The Giants have expressed some initial interest in tight end Anthony Fasano, an NFL source tells Paul Schwartz of the New York Post (on Twitter). The Jets also have some interest in the blocking specialist.
  • The Steelers have interest in re-signing veteran tight end David Johnson, reports ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler. Johnson played in 16 games (five starts) during his first season in Pittsburgh, collecting seven receptions for 80 yards.

Minor NFL Transactions: 5/17/16

Here are today’s minor transactions from around the NFL:

  • The Steelers have brought back tight end David Johnson, who was with Pittsburgh from 2009-13 after it took him in the seventh round of the ’09 draft (Twitter link via Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). Johnson, who has 24 career receptions, spent the previous two seasons in San Diego. To make room for Johnson, the Steelers cut fellow tight end David Reeves, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter). Reeves, an undrafted free agent from Duke, signed with the Steelers last month.
  • Just days after signing with the Titans as an undrafted free agent, cornerback/kick returner Morgan Burns has retired, writes The Associated Press. Burns, a former Kansas State speedster, was the Big 12 special teams player of the year in 2015.
  • The Panthers have claimed tight end Marcus Lucas off waivers from the Bears, David Newton of ESPN reports. Lucas is familiar with Carolina, having spent the 2014 season on its practice squad. The former undrafted free agent from Missouri has yet to appear in an NFL game.
  • The Jaguars signed offensive lineman Jeff Linkenbach and cut kicker Jaden Oberkrom, according to ESPN’s Mike DiRocco. Linkenbach has 86 appearances and 36 starts to his name. Ten of those appearances came when Linkenbach was a member of both the Dolphins and Chargers last year. Oberkrom had a brief stint in Jacksonville, which signed the ex-TCU standout as an undrafted free agent earlier this month.

Earlier updates:

  • The Eagles announced that they have signed tight end M.J. McFarland and linebacker Ty Powell while waiving quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson and offensive lineman Brett Boyko, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com tweets. The addition of Powell means that the Eagles now have four players from the Buffalo’s 2014 defense on their roster. Jim Schwartz, of course, served as the defensive coordinator of that team.
  • The Buccaneers announced that they have signed A.J. Francis, as Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com writes. The defensive tackle now joins his fourth team after beginning his career in Miami and later seeing time in Seattle and New England. To make room, second-year defensive tackle Davon Coleman has been waived.
  • Former Texans first-round pick Amobi Okoye has signed with the Ottawa Redblacks of the Canadian Football League, as Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle writes. The defensive tackle was stricken with a rare illness, which seemingly ended his career in 2012. He hooked on with the Cowboys last season, but he was released before he could take the field.
  • Washington has signed tryout cornerback Mariel Cooper, Tarik El-Bashir of CSNWashington.com tweets.
  • The Ravens announced that cornerback Sheldon Price, an ERFA, has agreed to his one-year contract with the team. Price, who went undrafted out of UCLA in 2013, previously spent time on the Colts’ taxi squad.

Contract Details: Howard, Hawley, Carroll

As more signings become finalized, let’s check in on the specific terms for a few of them:

  • Rich Cimini of ESPN.com (Twitter link) has the financial details on Austin Howard‘s new five-year, $30MM contract with the Raiders, which includes a $5MM roster bonus due this weekend.
  • Joe Hawley‘s two-year contract with the Falcons includes a $2MM signing bonus, with base salaries of $1MM (2014) and $3MM (2015), tweets Tom Pelissero of USA Today.
  • While Nolan Carroll‘s deal with the Eagles is worth $5.25MM over two years, it can max out at around $7MM with playing time and performance bonuses, tweets Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com.
  • Tony McDaniel inked a two-year, $5.75MM contract with the Seahawks that includes a $1.25MM signing bonus and various other roster and incentives bonuses, says Pelissero (via Twitter).
  • Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter link) and Pelissero (Twitter link) pass on the details for a pair of Chiefs signings from yesterday. Joe Mays‘ deal apparently included a $2MM signing bonus, which is higher than initially reported, and $3MM in guaranteed money. Jeff Linkenbach‘s base salary is $900K, with $250K guaranteed and up to $600K in incentives.
  • Pelissero also has the details on Leger Douzable‘s one-year pact with the Jets (Twitter link). It’s worth $1MM, with a $150K signing bonus and a $100K bonus if he makes the team’s 53-man roster.
  • David Johnson‘s two-year deal with the Chargers is worth $1.7MM and features a $220K signing bonus, tweets Wilson.

Chargers Sign David Johnson

The Chargers announced via Twitter that they have signed tight end David Johnson. Johnson, who was previously a member of the Steelers, gets a two-year deal, according to Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego (on Twitter).

Johnson, 27 in August, is known primarily for his blocking and also has experience at fullback. With Antonio Gates and athletic freak Ladarius Green also in the fold, Johnson won’t be asked to do a whole lot of pass catching.