Deante' Gray

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/1/17

Today’s minor moves:

  • The Jaguars announced that they’ve signed cornerback Charles Gaines and waived/injured fellow cornerback Taurean Nixon. A sixth-round draft choice in 2015, Gaines appeared in six games for the Browns during his rookie campaign, starting four contests while playing on a quarter of Cleveland’s defensive snaps. Despite seeing that level of playing time in his first NFL season, Gaines was subsequently waived, and spent time with the Bills’ practice squad in 2016. Nixon, meanwhile, came to Jacksonville via waivers last month.
  • The Texans have signed wide receiver DeAndrew White and waived/injured wideout Deante’ Gray, the cub announced today. White, 25, signed with the 49ers in 2015 after going undrafted out of Alabama. He spent his rookie season solely as a return man, appearing in four games while returning six kickoffs and one punt. White spent the majority of the 2016 campaign on New England’s practice squad, but was waived by the Patriots in June. Gray, meanwhile, suffered a torn ACL last week and will miss the 2017 season.
  • The Saints are signing running back Darius Victor, per his representatives at Players First Sports Agency (Twitter link). Victor, a Towson product, left the collegiate ranks early in order to enter the NFL draft but ultimately wasn’t selected. Although he played in only four games in 2016, Victor had topped 200 carries in the each the prior two years, averaging five yards per carry from 2014-15. In order to create a roster spot, New Orleans waived/injured linebacker Sae Tautu, who has a sprained MCL, per Nick Underhill of the Advocate (Twitter link).
  • The Cardinals have signed defensive tackle David Moala, tweets Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. Moala, 24, signed with Denver in 2016 as an undrafted free agent out of Utah State. After being cut last August, Moala — the brother of former NFL defender Fili Moala — spent the season on the workout circuit but failed to land a contract. Arizona also signed defensive tackle Peli Anau and waived cornerback Elie Bouka, the club announced.
  • The Bengals have waived wide receiver Monty Madaris off the physically unable to perform list with an injury settlement, according to Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer (Twitter link). Madaris, an undrafted rookie out of Michigan State, signed with Cincinnati in May but had been on PUP for the duration of his stint in the Queen City.

AFC Notes: Broncos, Bolts, Fins, Ravens

Broncos quarterback Chad Kelly will likely spend his rookie season on injured reserve, per Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post (Twitter link), who indicates 2017 will be something of a redshirt campaign for Kelly. This year’s Mr. Irrelevant, Kelly is currently on the non-football injury list after undergoing wrist surgery in April. With Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch set to act as Denver’s top two quarterbacks, Kelly wouldn’t have played a role this season anyway, so the Broncos would rather not waste a roster spot. Denver will have to wait until final cutdowns to move Kelly to IR, or else risk losing him to waivers.

More from the AFC:

  • Chargers first-round wide receiver Mike Williams said last weekend that he expects to avoid surgery on his ailing back. The Bolts are also optimistic that will be the case, according to Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com, who notes that Mike Williams will likely begin training camp on the physically unable to perform list. That wouldn’t necessarily rule out the ex-Clemson star for regular-season action, however, as the team’s hope is that he’ll be able to return during camp to work his way back in time for Week 1. General manager Tom Telesco revealed that the wideout has “been responding well” to treatment.
  • Alterraun Verner‘s one-year deal with the Dolphins is a minimum salary benefit pact and doesn’t contain any guaranteed money, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. As such, Verner will earn $900K if earns a spot on Miami’s roster, but will only count for $615K against the club’s salary cap. The veteran defensive back is expected to be given “every opportunity” to displace Bobby McCain as the Dolphins’ slot corner, per Jackson, but it’s also possible that Verner will fail to make the squad at all. In 2016, Verner appeared in all 16 games for Tampa Bay but played on only 22.8% of the team’s defensive snaps.
  • Even after signing veteran Bobby Rainey earlier this week, the Ravens may not be done adding running back help, opines Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com. Baltimore’s running game was already among the league’s worst in 2016, ranking 24th in DVOA and 25th in yards, and is now without Kenneth Dixon, who will miss the season after undergoing meniscus surgery. Terrance West, Danny Woodhead, Lorenzo Taliaferro, and Rainey are still on the roster, but the Ravens could consider free agent signings or trades as search for another back, per Hensley, who tosses out Ryan Mathews, Alfred Morris, Matt Jones, and Carlos Hyde as potential options.
  • Texans receiver Deante’ Gray has suffered a torn ACL, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. It has been a short but injury-marred career for Gray, an undrafted rookie who suffered a torn hamstring in the spring. Although he’s a Houston native, the ex-TCU Horned Frog was already facing long odds of making the Texans’ roster before his injury issues arose, given that he joined the team on a paltry $2K bonus.

Connor Byrne contributed to this post.

AFC Rumors: Steelers, Jets, C. Kelly

Steelers star RB Le’Veon Bell has yet to sign his franchise tender, and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk wonders if the club would consider rescinding the tender, just as the Panthers did with Josh Norman last year. The closer we get to training camp, the more difficult it would be for Bell land a contract on the open market that pays him even $10MM in 2017, much less the $12.1MM he stands to receive under the franchise tender, and if Pittsburgh were to rescind the tender late in the summer, Bell’s financial prospects would only worsen. In the meantime, the Steelers’ other backs will get ample opportunity to prove their worth, and Florio speculates that Pittsburgh could decide to save millions by severing ties with Bell if its other options could combine to approximate Bell’s production.

But given that the rest of the Steelers’ RB corps features the likes of Knile Davis, Fitzgerald Toussaint, and rookie James Conner, that notion seems almost laughable. Even if the Steelers were considering rescinding the tender, it’s not surprising that there have been no reports about it, as such decisions are made and executed swiftly to avoid the possibility that the player will catch wind of it and pounce on the tender. Nonetheless, if Bell is not lined up behind Ben Roethlisberger on Week 1 (assuming he’s not injured or suspended), it would be the surprise of the season.

Now for more from the AFC:

  • Speaking of Davis, Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes that the Arkansas product, whom the Steelers signed as a free agent this offseason, has a good chance of landing the team’s No. 3 RB spot behind Bell and Conner. Third-string backs have been important players for Pittsburgh in recent years, and Davis’ experience returning kickoffs could give him the edge over Toussaint.
  • New Jets OC John Morton, unlike his predecessor, Chan Gailey, utilizes two-back sets, and the only fullbacks currently on New York’s roster are the unproven Julian Howsare and undrafted rookie Anthony Firkser. As such, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com believes the team could add a fullback like Zach Line, whom the team expressed interest in earlier this offseason, in the near future.
  • Darryl Slater of NJ.com says Jets QB Christian Hackenberg has shown some progress in OTAs, though he is still struggling with accuracy and turnovers. If the team can get him some game action, and if he flashes some potential, Slater believes the Jets may refrain from drafting a QB in 2018. If not, look for Gang Green to use another early selection on a signal-caller next year.
  • Broncos rookie QB Chad Kelly, this year’s Mr. Irrelevant, is close to getting back on the field, as Mike Klis of 9News.com writes. Kelly is coming off an injury to his right throwing wrist and his second ACL operation on his right knee, and while the Ole Miss product likely wouldn’t have been a factor in Denver’s QB competition this year anyway, he could have a legitimate chance at the job in 2018 or 2019.
  • Texans rookie Deante’ Gray, who signed with the club as a UDFA last month and who has a chance of cracking the back end of Houston’s WR corps, is expected to be out until training camp with a Grade 2 partially torn hamstring, as Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle writes.
  • Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union compares the career trajectory of Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith, who is entering his contract year, with that of Browns linebacker Christian Kirksey, who recently signed a four-year, $38MM extension with Cleveland. The two players, who were both drafted in 2014, have similar numbers through this point in their careers, so O’Halloran suggests that Kirksey’s deal will be a good foundation for a new Smith contract if the Jags are open to extending Smith before the season starts.

Texans Sign 20 UDFAs

The Texans have announced their UDFA contingent. Here are 20 post-draft talents the two-time reigning AFC South champions have added.