Demetrius Harris

Chiefs Cut Down To Final 53

In addition to David Amerson, the Chiefs will release longtime depth cog Frank Zombo.

The outside linebacker’s been in Kansas City since the Andy Reid regime began in 2013. He started 11 games in 2016, when Justin Houston missed most of the season with knee trouble, but will not be part of the 2018 team. The Chiefs drafted Breeland Speaks in the second round and plan to use 2017 second-rounder Tanoh Kpassagnon more extensively than they did last season.

Here’s the full list of players who won’t be on Kansas City’s initial 53-man roster.

Released:

Waived:

Placed on IR:

Suspended:

AFC West Notes: Chiefs, Ingram, Raiders

Having funneled their pass offense through Travis Kelce for several seasons and having not invested much in their No. 2 wide receiver job in many years, the Chiefs surprised most observers by authorizing a monster contract for Sammy Watkins. The fifth-year wideout’s three-year, $48MM deal — with $30MM guaranteed — is having a league-wide effect, Joel Corry of CBS Sports writes. Julio Jones, who is signed to a $14.25MM-per-year deal, is now seeking additional dollars. And Corry adds Odell Beckham Jr.‘s hopes to become the league’s first $20MM-AAV wide receiver is not a crazy demand anymore now that Watkins has signed a top-five contract without supplying production to justify it. Corry adds that Watkins’ $16MM-AAV contract will become Brandin Cooks‘ floor, assuming he fares well in Los Angeles this season.

As for the Chiefs, Watkins justifying the contract could be difficult, as Corry writes, since the newcomer may be the No. 4 option in his next offense. Kelce and Kareem Hunt are entrenched as the top components of Kansas City’s attack, and Tyreek Hill put together a strong 2017 featuring 1,183 air yards and seven touchdowns. Watkins caught 39 passes for 583 yards last season, and his career-best numbers were 1,047 and nine with the 2015 Bills. Hill becomes extension-eligible after this season and his contract expires after 2019. Those talks could be tricky if he outproduces Watkins this season. Only two teams — the Packers and Broncos — are paying two wideouts eight figures annually, and the Chiefs could be set to encounter an interesting dilemma once Hill talks begin.

Here’s the latest from the AFC West:

  • Melvin Ingram may not be attending the Chargers‘ OTA sessions. The star pass rusher missed Tuesday’s session and is training in Florida, Eric Williams of ESPN.com reports, adding that Ingram cleared his absence with Anthony Lynn. Ingram skipped the start of these workouts last year, but he was not under contract because he had yet to sign his franchise tender. He’s now signed a long-term Bolts deal.
  • Bruce Irvin played as a 4-3 outside linebacker the past two seasons with the Raiders, but new DC Paul Guenther is moving him to defensive end, Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com notes (on Twitter). Irvin often played end during his first two seasons in Oakland, but did so in sub-packages while lining up as a stand-up ‘backer in most base sets, similar to the Broncos’ usage of Von Miller from 2011-14. Irvin began his career as a defensive end before the Seahawks relocated him. Now that Irvin is at end, Gutierrez notes Tahir Whitehead and Emmanuel Lamur lined up as outside linebackers with the Raiders’ first-stringers at Tuesday’s OTA session.
  • Also at Raiders OTAs, Gareon Conley participated fully, per Gutierrez. A shin injury wiped out most of the 2017 first-rounder’s rookie season, and only recently did the former Ohio State standout receive full clearance.
  • Donald Penn will be limited during these workouts, with Gutierrez noting the longtime Oakland left tackle is still recovering from Lisfranc surgery. Penn is not expected to be ready to participate fully until training camp. For now, second-year player David Sharpe took the reps in 11-on-11 work while Breno Giacomini opened with the starters at right tackle. The Raiders are planning to have Kolton Miller train as a left tackle to start his career.
  • The Chiefs will be without their backup tight end in Week 1. Demetrius Harris received a one-game suspension for a 2017 marijuana arrest that induced a multi-day jail stay, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Harris established new career-high marks last season with 18 receptions for 224 yards. The Chiefs added former Jets second-rounder Jace Amaro this offseason, but Harris has been with the team for the past four seasons. Amaro hasn’t played since 2016.
  • Clinton McDonald did not participate in Broncos OTAs on Tuesday, and Mike Klis of 9News notes the veteran defensive lineman is still recovering from a March shoulder operation. The Broncos knew of this procedure when they signed him in March, per Klis. He adds McDonald is expected to be ready for camp.

Extra Points: Bouye, Landry, Marshall, Mixon

A.J. Bouye‘s staggering rise from unknown RFA to one of the most coveted UFAs on this year’s market did not come completely unbeknownst to the Texans. Houston offered its undrafted gem a multiyear contract in 2016 at a “significant raise,” but Bouye opted to bet on himself, Peter King of TheMMQB.com reports. Bouye signed the low-end RFA tender last March, worth $1.67MM, setting up his dominant breakout campaign. His market is set to be north of $12MM per year as Day 2 of the legal tampering period gets underway, and while the Texans are in on it, they could lose him to a division rival.

Here’s more from around the league with free agency barely a day away.

  • The Dolphins have received trade inquiries on wide receiver Jarvis Landry, Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald writes. However, the team has no real interest in trading him. Late in their 2016 season, the Dolphins were working on an extension plan for their slot target, so it’s a good bet the team’s most consistent weapon stays in Miami. The two-time Pro Bowl wideout has posted back-to-back 1,100-yard seasons, doing so in two different schemes.
  • The prospect of staying in New York would on the surface allow Brandon Marshall to continue being a rare in-season media regular, but Judy Battista of NFL.com notes (on Twitter) the Giants and Jets’ schedules aren’t structured equally. Inside the NFL tapes on Tuesdays, when many teams give their players off days, but Battista points out the Giants work on Tuesdays. This might not be a deal-breaker, though, with Marshall having established himself on the long-running weekly show the past two years and signing with the only other team that would keep him in the city.
  • Between Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon is set to meet with 24 teams in total as a part of his pro day gauntlet, Albert Breer of The MMQB tweets. Mixon met with the Bengals, Browns, Lions and Saints on Tuesday night, per Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL.com (via Twitter), in advance of what will be a critical showcase for the controversial running back.
  • Chiefs tight end Demetrius Harris was arrested for felony possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star tweets. A converted basketball player, Harris saw his role increase last season. The third-year pass-catcher saw 476 snaps and caught 17 passes for 123 yards and a touchdown, but Pro Football Focus graded him as its worst full-time tight end.
  • Chris Banjo‘s two-year deal with the Saints will pay him $2.6MM with another $500K available through incentives, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Sam Robinson contributed to this report.

Chiefs Sign TE Demetrius Harris To Extension

5:33pm: Harris is getting a three-year extension that can be worth up to $6.3MM, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. The base value figures to be lower than that, and the guaranteed money will likely be modest, but it still looks like a nice deal for a player who had been in line to make the minimum again in 2016.

1:12pm: The Chiefs and tight end Demetrius Harris have agreed to a contract extension that will keep Harris in Kansas City for at least another season,Demetrius Harris (Featured) according to agent Buddy Baker (Twitter link). Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com first reported (via Twitter) that the two sides were nearing a deal.

Kansas City’s second tight end behind Travis Kelce, Harris caught seven balls for 74 yards and his first career touchdown in 2015. The 24-year-old took an unlikely path to the NFL, having focused on playing basketball, rather than football, in college. The Chiefs nonetheless took a flier on him as an undrafted free agent in 2013, and after spending a season on the club’s practice squad, Harris made Kansas City’s active roster in 2014.

Harris had been on track to become an exclusive-rights free agent this offseason, so it’s possible the Chiefs just added one more year at the minimum salary to his contract. Details of the deal aren’t known yet, but if that’s the case, the tight end would be eligible for restricted free agency a year from now.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Tender Updates: Saturday

As teams prepare for free agency, they have to figure out a plan for their restricted free agents. Teams will often slap these players with a mid-round tender, at least assuring some kind of compensation should they sign elsewhere. The second-round tender is popular, and this year’s value is worth $2.356MM. The value of a minimum-level tender is worth $1.542MM.

With that said, we’ll pass along any tender updates throughout the day, with the most recent updates added to the top of the list…

  • Defensive end Ryan Davis has signed his exclusive rights free agent tender with the Jaguars, reports Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter).
  • The Chiefs have tendered outside linebacker Josh Martin to a one-year deal, reports Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star (via Twitter). Martin is an exclusive-rights free agent. The team has also tendered tight end Demetrius Harris (via Twitter).
  • The Dolphins have re-signed A.J. Sanders and Jordan Kovacs to their tenders, reports Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel (via Twitter). He notes that the team has not yet been able to re-sign Derrick Shelby or Michael Thomas.
  • The Broncos notified linebacker/special teams ace Steven Johnson that he would not be tendered, making him an unrestricted free agent, reports Mike Klis of The Denver Post. The 26-year-old started seven games for the Broncos last season, compiling a career-high in tackles (32). Klis notes that the organization could bring Johnson back on a cheaper contract, but their unwillingness to offer the one-year, $1.542MM contract indicates they won’t overspend.
  • Washington tendered kicker Kai Forbath, tweets ESPN’s John Keim. Citing Mike Jones of The Washington Post, Keim says the two sides haven’t discussed a longterm deal. The 27-year-old finished 2014 with career-highs in field goals made (24) and total points (103), while his 88.9 field goal percentage ranked in the top-10 in the NFL.
  • ESPN’s Field Yates passes along a pair of second-round tenders (via Twitter): Raiders wideout Rod Streater and Eagles defensive tackle Cedric Thornton. Streater didn’t have the best 2014 season, finishing with career-lows across the board. However, his performance in 2013 (60 catches, 888 yards, four touchdowns) showed that he can contribute in the NFL. Meanwhile, Thornton has continued improving during his three years in the league, and he finished last season with 52 tackles.
  • Streater’s teammate, receiver Andre Holmes, received the low tender from the Raiders, tweets Fox Sports’ Mike Garafolo. The former undrafted free agent followed an impressive 2013 season with a better 2014, compiling 47 catches for 693 yards and four touchdowns.

Minor Moves: Tuesday

Tuesday is typically the busiest day of the week during the NFL season for transactions, so we’ll round up several of the day’s less notable 53-man roster changes in this space, adding the latest moves to the top of the list throughout the day:

  • After placing defensive tackle Brandon Mebane on injured reserve, ending his season, the Seahawks signed tight end Rashaun Allen to take his spot on the 53-man roster, tweets Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. Allen had been on the Vikings’ practice squad.
  • The Saints have reinstated wide receiver Joe Morgan from his suspension and have a roster exemption for him that expires tomorrow, tweets Howard Balzer of The SportsXchange.

Earlier updates:

  • A week after claiming him off waivers, the Bills have let go of safety Jerome Couplin, the team announced today in a press release. As Mike Rodak of ESPN.com tweets, the team could replace Couplin with a defensive end, since Jarius Wynn wasn’t able to practice today.
  • Linebacker Zac Diles has been cut by the Texans, according to Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter). Diles had been signed when Houston was dealing with several injuries at the linebacker position, and it seems he’s no longer needed now that the club is getting a little healthier.
  • The Buccaneers have placed rookie guard Kadeem Edwards on their injured reserve list due to a season-ending foot injury, per Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com (via Twitter). The team has yet to announce an addition to the roster, so for now there’s an open spot on the squad.
  • The Chiefs have signed tight end Phillip Supernaw to their active roster from the Ravens’ practice squad, reports Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter). Demetrius Harris broke his foot during the team’s Sunday win over Buffalo, and Anthony Fasano was banged up as well, so more depth at the tight end position was necessary.
  • In addition to signing Supernaw, the Chiefs also announced several more roster moves, promoting running back Charcandrick West from their practice squad and placing Harris and running back Cyrus Gray on injured reserve.
  • The Browns have reversed a roster move they made a few weeks ago, re-signing fullback Ray Agnew to their active roster and waiving fullback Kiero Small (Twitter link). The team had previously promoted Small to replace Agnew, who was the starting fullback earlier this season.

West Notes: Cards, Chiefs, Seahawks, 49ers

Carson Palmer is expected to miss the remainder of the season after tearing his ACL on Sunday, and while the Cardinals wait for the official word on his injury, the club is assessing its options at quarterback. Drew Stanton will be handed the starting reins, but Arizona will likely want to add some depth behind him, and the team could look to bring in Dennis Dixon, who spent one week on the Cardinals’ practice squad before being cut in mid-October, writes Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com. Dixon, a Steelers fifth-round draft choice in 2008, has also spent time with the Ravens and Eagles. Currently, the only quarterback on the roster other than Stanton is 2014 fourth-rounder Logan Thomas. Here’s more from the West divisions.

  • The Chiefs will probably need to make a few roster moves this week to shore up their offense after a pair of players suffered long-term injuries on Sunday, tweets Adam Teicher of ESPN.com. Third-string running back Cyrus Gray tore his ACL, while reserve tight end Demetrius Harris broke his foot, so Kansas City will likely bring in a couple replacements before next week’s game against the Seahawks.
  • The Seahawks’ defense was dealt a blow on Sunday, as head coach Pete Carroll told reporters, including Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times, that defensive tackle Brandon Mebane will “be out for awhile” after pulling his hamstring. Carroll noted the the club will try to get by with players already on the roster, so Tony McDaniel, Kevin Williams, and Jordan Hill could see more playing time.
  • NaVorro Bowman has been on the physically unable to perform list for the duration of the season, and the rules of said list state that if he doesn’t begin practicing the day after the Week 11 games, he’ll be ineligible for the rest of 2014. 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh told reports, including Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com, that Bowman would return to practice as soon as this week; if so, the club will have a three-week window during which it can activate the 26-year-old linebacker.
  • As the only winless team in the league, the Raiders have a lot of work to do in order to turn their franchise around. Matt Williamson of ESPN.com offers a blueprint for Oakland to reverse its fortunes, which includes re-signing defensive tackle Pat Sims and offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski and adding a big-name receiver via free agency.

La Canfora On Chiefs, 2011 Draftees, Smith

In his latest edition of training camp notes, CBS’ Jason La Canfora provided an update on negotiations between the Chiefs and Alex Smith, saying talks “are ongoing, with the dialogue maintaining on a regular basis and the team looking for creative ways to secure him for the future, according to several sources. To this point, however, they haven’t been able to bridge a few gaps, but the Chiefs are willing to cut into their considerable cap space to strike a deal, and there are no plans to stop exchanging proposals.”

La Canfora adds talks have “remained cordial” and there is mutual desire to find common ground. Common ground would seem to be a “middle-tier” deal that would place Smith’s contract somewhere between the elite passers and the lower-paid, “bridge starters” group. From the team perspective, the Chiefs don’t want to overpay for Smith in the event a younger QB is ready to vie for the job, especially given Andy Reid‘s ability to develop quarterbacks.

More tidbits from La Canfora:

  • The Chiefs have revived talks with Justin Houston, who is also a priority. La Canfora does not expect a deal to get hammered out before the season, however, since the sides are far apart financially playing out the season could make the most sense for Houston.
  • La Canfora publicized first-year tight end Demetrius Harris as a “deep sleeper” and potentially “the next college basketball player to make the jump to tight end.”
  • Do not expect many more 2011 first-rounders to be extended for a while. This group includes Cam Newton, J.J. Watt, Robert Quinn, Cameron Jordan and Muhammad Wilkerson, among others. La Canfora quoted an agent for one prominent pass rusher, who said, “The money is going to be so high, these teams don’t really have an incentive to do it now. I’m not sure any of these guys get new deals this year. If there’s any movement going on I’m not aware of it.”
  • Some agents are outraged over the Cowboys’ eight-year extension to Tyron Smith because “he essentially gave the Cowboys two contracts for the price of one, locked up until age 32.” Those agents believe Jerry Jones might have used his “father figure” relationship with the young Smith to take advantage of him in negotiations.

 

AFC Notes: Raiders, Mosley, Gordon

The Raiders are looking to turnaround their fortunes as part of their rebuilding process, and Vic Tafur of SFGate.com has picked out five positions that could be up for grabs this offseason. The team will have competition at tight end, left guard, running back, second receiver, and defensive tackle, according to Tafur. They have a mix of veterans and young players who will be in the mix for those spots, more than one of which will most likely be platooned during the season anyway.

Here are some other notes from around the AFC:

  • Ravens‘ first-round pick C.J. Mosley has been trying to assimilate to the NFL life, writes Preston Brown of the Baltimore Sun“The biggest adjustment is adjusting to football all day,” Mosley said. “You’re here at 6 in the morning. Back in college, I was just getting ready for class at 8 or doing a workout or something. But now, it’s all football from 6 to 6.”
  • Browns‘ star receiver Josh Gordon has added to his infamy this offseason, writes Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. Gordon reportedly was pulled over by the police for speeding with four people in the car, one of which was cited for a marijuana-related offense.
  • Former basketball player Demetrius Harris is looking to land a spot on the Chiefs‘ roster, writes Terez Paylor of KansasCity.com. Harris was a 6’7″ power forward for the University of Milwaukee-Wisconsin, and is trying to catch on at tight end in the NFL.

OTA Previews: Panthers, Bears, Seahawks

It’s the calm before the storm tonight, as most teams are set to begin OTAs either tomorrow or Wednesday. Given that, let’s take a quick look at some of the main storylines to follow as we inch ever closer to training camp: