Deon Lacey

Bills Re-Sign LB Deon Lacey

The Bills have re-signed linebacker Deon Lacey to a one-year contract, as Mike Rodak of ESPN.com tweets. The team also confirmed the move via press release. 

[RELATED: NFL Reinstates Karlos Williams]

Lacey was scheduled to become an exclusive-rights free agent, so the deal doesn’t mean a whole lot on its own. However, the Bills have made a concerted effort to re-sign their own free agents in recent weeks. After inking Lacey to a new deal for 2019, the Bills have only a handful of free agents left to address:

Earlier this month, the Bills signed Lorenzo Alexander to a new one-year deal, inked offensive lineman Jeremiah Sirles to a fresh one-year pact, and locked down long snapper Reid Ferguson. By the time March 13 rolls around, the Bills should have a simplified to-do list that will allow them to focus mostly on the open market and the April draft.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins Reach 53-Man Max

The Dolphins reached the 53-man roster maximum. Here’s how:

Waived:

Waived/injured:

Released:

Placed on IR:

PUP List:

Williams played in ten games between the Chiefs and Dolphins last season, finishing with eight tackles. He restructured his deal in March, but it wasn’t enough to keep his spot in Miami.

Young was slated to make $1.2MM in 2017 per the terms of the extension he signed in the winter.

Dolphins Notes: Tunsil, Albert, Stills, Lacey

As the Patriots play for the championship, here’s a look at one of their divisional rivals, courtesy of The Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson:

  • A prominent Dolphins front office executive has been telling people that the Dolphins have a future Hall of Fame tackle in Laremy Tunsil, a source tells Jackson. If Tunsil’s immediate future is at the tackle position, that could prompt the team to shuffle some things on the O-Line. The Dolphins have not indicated to left tackle Branden Albert that he will be released, but they have been non-committal about whether Tunsil will move to the outside in 2017. Albert would carry a $10.6MM cap hit if he’s on the team in 2017 but he’d only be on the books for $3.4MM if he’s cut or traded. Last year, Albert had a career-worst 42.2 score on Pro Football Focus. He also missed four games due to injury.
  • An “associate” of Kenny Stills says the wide receiver likes the West Coast and an offer from an AFC West or NFC West team could be attractive. At the same time, both Stills and the Fins have expressed interest in a reunion. Stills figures to be a popular guy if he reaches the open market in March and the Eagles reportedly are among the teams eyeing him.
  • The agent for linebacker Deon Lacey claims the Dolphins have such high regard for his client that they told him he can compete for a starting job. Of course, as a reserve/futures signee, he’ll first have to make the team. The agent said 12 teams, including the Patriots, made offers on the former CFL standout.

Minor NFL Transactions: 1/10/17

Today’s minor moves:

Reserve/Futures Contracts

Miami Dolphins

San Diego Chargers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Practice Squad

Dallas Cowboys

Extra Points: Bears, Colts, Dolphins

As we await the start of playoff football, let’s check out some assorted notes from around the NFL…

  • Bears coach John Fox has another hole to fill on his coaching staff. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reports that outside linebackers coach Clint Hurtt recently declined a contract extension. The former Louisville coach is leaving the organization to pursue opportunities elsewhere. Hurtt previously coached the Bears’ defensive line during Marc Trestman‘s tenure in Chicago.
  • 35-year-old Trent Cole recently indicated on Twitter that he wants to play in 2017. The veteran was solid in his seven games with the Colts this season, compiling 17 tackles and two sacks. The long-time Eagles standout is set to be a free agent this winter, and Kevin Bowen of Colts.com says the team’s desire to get younger may prevent Cole from returning to Indy.
  • Ohio State LB Raekwon McMillan announced that he is declaring for the NFL Draft, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). The junior finished the 2016 campaign with 102 tackles, two sacks, and five passes defended. A recent mock draft by Yahoo’s Eric Edholm had McMillan going 56th overall to the Raiders.
  • Players who are signed to reserve/future contracts rarely get any guaranteed money, but Deon Lacey is apparently an exception. ESPN’s Field Yates tweets that the Dolphins linebacker received a $200K signing bonus when inking his contract.

AFC Notes: Titans, Bills, Raiders, Texans, Fins

The Titans made wide receiver Kendall Wright a healthy scratch for their season finale last Sunday, and now the impending free agent is ready to leave Tennessee. “I saw the 2017 Tennessee Titans, and I am not a part of the 2017 Tennessee Titans,” Wright told TitansOnline.com on Monday (via Chris Wesseling of NFL.com). “It is what it is. I respect everybody in the building.” A first-round pick in 2012, Wright began his career with three straight seasons of at least 57 catches and 93 targets, but the Titans tamped down their reliance on him the past two years. In 21 games dating back to 2015, Wright has combined for just 65 receptions and 102 targets. Now, with a trip to the open market looming, Wright feels “free.”

While Wright looks like a lock to exit the organization, two of his coaches – Bob Bratkowski (receivers) and Jason Tucker (assistant WRs) – definitely won’t be back in 2017. The Titans parted ways with the duo Wednesday, tweets Jim Wyatt of the team’s website.

More from the AFC:

  • The Bills will interview their interim head coach, Anthony Lynn, on Thursday, according to John Wawrow of the Associated Press (Twitter link). There was a report Tuesday that Lynn might not want to take over on a permanent basis in Buffalo, though he’s at least keeping that option on the table. The 48-year-old is a popular candidate around the NFL, as PFR’s Head Coaching Search Tracker shows.
  • Raiders safety Karl Joseph says he’ll play in Saturday’s wild-card matchup in Houston, James Palmer of NFL.com tweets. The rookie missed the last four games of the regular season, and his return is big for Oakland with Nate Allen in the concussion protocol.
  • Unlike Joseph, Texans quarterback Tom Savage won’t be available this weekend, relays Palmer (Twitter link). Savage suffered a concussion last Sunday, thereby reopening the door for Brock Osweiler to start, but there was hope that Savage would be OK to serve as a backup. That won’t be the case, though, and the Texans will have to turn to Brandon Weeden as their No. 2 option.
  • The Dolphins worked out linebacker Ron Thompson, defensive end Arthur Miley and four defensive backs – L.J. McCray, Floyd Raven, Trent Matthews and Daniel Davie – according to ESPN’s Adam Caplan (Twitter link). Miami’s need for DBs is obvious, as its secondary is extremely banged up with the team’s weekend wild-card game in Pittsburgh approaching. Cornerback Byron Maxwell and safety Bacarri Rambo didn’t practice Wednesday, while safeties Reshad Jones and Isa Abdul-Quddus are on the shelf thanks to season-ending injuries.
  • In addition to the previously reported Elijah Shumate and Jeff Richards, the Chiefs auditioned receiver Tre Houston, kicker Devon Bell, defensive tackle Montori Hughes, linebacker Deon Lacey, defensive end Terrell Lathan, tight end Ryan Malleck, running back Will Ratelle and defensive back Julian Wilson last Friday, per Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star. All are candidates to sign reserve/futures deal with the Chiefs, writes Paylor, who notes that now-starting running back Spencer Ware joined the team on that type of contract in January 2015.
Zach Links contributed to this post.

NFC Notes: Saints, 49ers, Smith, Jackson

Drew Brees does not expect to be playing for a different Saints coach in 2017 despite Sean Payton‘s name again being a constant in the coaching rumors section of the NFL news cycle. The quarterback who signed a one-year extension just before this season “absolutely” expects Payton to stay in New Orleans for what would be his 12th year with the franchise.

I’ve heard some of the same stuff that I heard last year, and I felt like I had a pretty good feeling last year,” Brees said, via Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com. “And I don’t see why it would be any different this year.”

Payton has been connected with the Rams after a report emerged indicating the 52-year-old having “sincere interest” in acquiring the veteran coach in a trade. A report pegged the Saints as being open to exploring a Payton trade, with another denying the team was thinking of shopping him. The Saints have made the playoffs just once in the past five seasons, although the 2012 absence came without Payton due to the Bountygate suspension.

Here’s more from the NFC as teams make Week 17 preparations.

  • Saints outside linebacker Michael Mauti underwent surgery for a large intestine issue, leading to the Saints placing the fourth-year player on their NFI list in November. But the Penn State product revealed he hopes to play in 2017, Katzenstein reports.
  • The Saints tried out linebackers Frank Beltre and Deon Lacey, a source tells Nick Underhill of The Advocate (on Twitter). Earlier today, they signed linebacker Brian Blechen to their practice squad.
  • Carlos Hyde described the MCL sprain he sustained as being worse than the one that sidelined him at Ohio State in 2012, Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News reports. The 49ers‘ backfield starter will enter a contract year in 2017. He’s expected to return, injury problems notwithstanding, but Inman projects Trent Baalke and DC Jim O’Neil to be fired at season’s end. However, the reporter expects Chip Kelly and OC Curtis Modkins to stay, citing some sense of continuity is needed to avoid having four head coaches in four years. Inman also anticipates none of the 49ers’ three quarterbacks to be back but points to both Torrey Smith and Jeremy Kerley staying in what should be a turbulent offseason.
  • Tyron Smith expects to be ready to go by the time the Cowboys are due to play their divisional playoff game, Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. The cornerstone left tackle said he did not have knee problems before spraining an MCL on Monday night.
  • After drafting wideouts the past two years, the Redskins figure to let DeSean Jackson walk, Elliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com reports. This would open the door for the deep threat to reunite with former teammates on the receiver-starved Eagles. This would make sense from a need standpoint, and there have been multiple connections between D-Jax and his former team, but Philly is projected to be $800K-plus over the cap in 2017 after signing numerous players to extensions this offseason. The Eagles would need to shed salary to make room for Jackson. For his part, the 30-year-old wideout said he’s “intrigued” about being a free agent.

Workout Updates: Seahawks, Patriots, Ravens

The Seahawks, with a below-average rushing attack and Thomas Rawls nursing a shoulder injury, worked out five free agent running backs Tuesday, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). Stevan Ridley, Jonas Gray, Dan Herron, LaMichael James and Dominique Williams all auditioned for the club. The most established member of the group is Ridley, who has been available since Atlanta released him Nov. 23. The 27-year-old has just one appearance and three carries to his name this season and has seen his playing time sharply decline since a 1,263-yard campaign with New England in 2012. Gray, also an ex-Pat, has made little impact since averaging 4.6 yards per attempt on 89 carries in 2014, his rookie year. He hasn’t found an employer since the Jaguars waived him Aug. 17.

Along with those rushers, defensive back L.J. McCray visited the Seahawks, tweets Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. The Seahawks agreed to acquire McCray from the 49ers back in early September, but the deal fell through after he failed his physical. San Francisco then cut McCray, who hasn’t landed anywhere since.

More workouts from Tuesday:

  • The Patriots auditioned linebacker Arthur Brown, according to Doug Kyed of NESN (Twitter link). Both the Jaguars and Jets have cut Brown this month. He entered the league in 2013 as Baltimore’s second-round pick.
  • Cornerbacks Tharold Simon and Steve Williams tried out for the Ravens, per ESPN’s Adam Caplan (via Twitter). Simon made nine appearances earlier this season with the Cardinals, who cut him last week. He’s better known for his 11-appearance, five-start tenure with Seattle from 2014-15. Williams, meanwhile, moved on and off the Rams’ roster multiple times this year. He has totaled six appearances this season (five with San Diego) after playing in 14 games with the Chargers and intercepting two passes last year.
  • The Falcons worked out three tight ends – Orson Charles, Darion Griswold and Joel Ruiz – and defensive end Martin Ifedi, reports Howard Balzer of BalzerFootball.com (Twitter link). Griswold and Ifedi ended up signing with their practice squad.
  • The Dolphins also took a look at the aforementioned Tharold Simon, who joined fellow corner Demetrius McCray and two tight ends – Gabe Hughes and Chris Pantaletweets Caplan.
  • Tight end Rob Housler showcased himself to the Colts, relays Caplan (Twitter link). The five-year veteran has 109 catches, nearly all of which (105) came with Arizona from 2011-14.
  • The Eagles auditioned wide receiver Greg Ellingson, cornerback Tay Glover-Wright and Canadian Football League punter Richie Leone, according to Caplan (Twitter links).
  • Defensive ends Rufus Johnson and Rakim Cox worked out for the Lions (Twitter links via Caplan and Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle).
  • Linebackers Deon Lacey and Glenn Love tried out for the Cardinals, per Balzer (Twitter link).