Devin Funchess

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/29/16

Thursday’s minor moves from around the NFL:

  • The Panthers placed wide receiver Devin Funchess on injured reserve and promoted wideout Damiere Byrd from their practice squad, according to Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. Funchess has a knee issue that won’t require surgery, but it will cut his second NFL season a bit short. With just 23 catches on 58 targets, the 2015 second-round pick from Michigan had an unspectacular year, but he did average 16.1 yards per reception and add four touchdowns.
  • The Cowboys cut receiver Vince Mayle, who went without a catch for the second year in a row. Most of Mayle’s work (94 of 130 snaps) came on special teams.

Panthers Sign Devin Funchess

The Panthers have signed second-round wide receiver Devin Funchess to his rookie contract, the team announced on Monday in a press release. The move ensures that all five of Carolina’s draft picks are now locked up.

Funchess, who played his college ball at Michigan, will be in line for a four-year worth about $5.521MM, including a signing bonus of about $2.275MM and a cap hit of just over $1MM for 2015. While it’s not clear yet if he’ll immediately earn a spot in the starting lineup, Funchess and 2014 first-rounder Kelvin Benjamin figure to head Cam Newton‘s new-look receiving corps in Carolina.

The Rams originally held the 41st overall pick, which was ultimately used by the Panthers on Funchess. St. Louis reportedly received plenty of action on the selection, getting trade inquiries from five or six teams in the moments leading up to the pick before ultimately deciding to accept Carolina’s offer.

NFC Notes: Lions, Giants, Panthers

Lions safety James Ihedigbo is seeking a new contract, and the 31-year-old will not be attending his team’s voluntary workouts as he presumably negotiates a new deal.

While Ihedigbo isn’t breaking any rules by not attending, that doesn’t mean he isn’t drawing the ire of his coach. On Friday, Jim Caldwell talked to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press about his desire to have a full team at workouts.

“What I try to do is to make certain that they understand that, in our business, it’s unique. They have things that they have to look at from their vantage point, what they think is best. My business is to make certain we’ve got the best team we possibly can. So my interest is getting him here, and getting him here pronto, right?

“I’d like to have every guy here. But the fact of the matter is it doesn’t always happen that way. Guys got to look at things. He’s been around long enough and make his own determination and make his own decisions in that regard. But he’s not mandated to be here at this point in time, so we’ll see when he is mandated, what happens.”

Let’s take a look at some more notes out of the NFC…

  • Birkett wonders if undrafted rookie quarterback Anthony Boone could make the Lions roster. While the Duke product would have to leapfrog veterans Dan Orlovsky and Kellen Moore for the backup gig, one of his former coaches is confident he’ll make the leap. “Anthony’s real smart,” David Cutcliffe said. “He’s going to pick the system up quickly. And I told Anthony: Odds are, you’re probably a backup quarterback, which means you’ve got to be able to know the system and perform well without a lot of snaps, period. That’s the National Football League. And I think he’s capable of being that. I really, really do.”
  • After missing most of last season with an injured knee, Giants defensive back Bennett Jackson is looking forward to competing for a roster spot. It appears that his coaching staff appreciates the player’s versatility, as Newsday’s Tom Rock writes that the cornerback has been asked to play safety in 2015. “I didn’t ask any questions,” Jackson said. “I was all for it.”
  • Panthers second round pick Devin Funchess tweaked a hamstring and was carted off the field yesterday, reports ESPN.com’s David Newton (via Twitter). The severity of the injury is not yet known.

Panthers Acquire 41st Pick From Rams

The Panthers have acquired the 41st pick from the Rams for a second-, third-, and sixth-rounder, tweets ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The selections the Rams will receive are the 57th, 89th, and 201st, respectively.

Carolina will take Michigan tight end/wide receiver Devin Funchess with the 41st choice, according to ESPN’s David Newton (Twitter link).

NFC Draft Notes: Winston, Bears, Rams

Having already met with Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, the Bears will get a closer look at the other top quarterback in this year’s draft class on Wednesday, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Schefter reports that Jameis Winston is set to meet with the Bears, who hold the seventh overall pick. Of course, the Florida State signal-caller is unlikely to make it past the No. 1 pick, so Chicago is likely just doing its due diligence.

Here are a few more draft-related updates from around the NFC:

  • Mississippi State’s Benardrick McKinney, widely considered the top inside linebacker in this year’s draft class, is in St. Louis today to visit the Rams, tweets Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net.
  • The Cowboys haven’t drafted a quarterback since 2009, but perhaps this is the year they buck that trend. A source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link), the team will work out Oregon State signal-caller Sean Mannion tomorrow.
  • Michigan pass catcher Devin Funchess, who has experience at both wide receiver and tight end, is set to visit the 49ers, a league source tells Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post. A report last week suggested that concerns about Funchess’ route-running was causing teams to drop him on their draft boards.
  • According to Mike Jones of the Washington Post (via Twitter), Kansas cornerback Dexter McDonald is among the prospects who will pay a pre-draft visit to Washington this week. McDonald projects as a likely late-round pick or an undrafted free agent.

La Canfora’s Latest: Patriots, Parker, Gregory

Their four Super Bowl wins in the past 14 seasons notwithstanding, the Patriots‘ track record for drafting wideouts high hasn’t been positive. This is an area they will likely attempt to take another shot at, according to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora.

Bill Belichick reportedly attended many pro days involving receivers this spring and grilled college coaches about various pass-catching prospects, which drew notice from other league staffs, reports La Canfora.

The Patriots have drafted six wideouts in the top three rounds since Belichick’s arrival in 2000 — although none in Round 1 — and mostly received little in return for their investments, with Aaron Dobson (second round, 2013), Taylor Price (third round, 2010) and Chad Jackson (second round, 2006) being notable examples in the past decade.

Although La Canfora mentions defensive line and cornerback as other options with the defections there this offseason, he notes the Patriots’ lack of consistency outside will lead to another early selection at the position. Mel Kiper and Todd McShay have the Patriots springing for defensive line and cornerback help, respectively, in the first round. Former prized recruit Dorial Green-Beckham could be a target, however, muses La Canfora.

Also from La Canfora …

  • DeVante Parker carries a similar buzz around the scouting community that Odell Beckham did last season, and La Canfora doesn’t expect the Louisville product to fall past No. 11 (Vikings). Minnesota scouted several of Parker’s games last season and happens to employ his former quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater. La Canfora said some teams have Parker rated higher than West Virginia’s Kevin White, who has commonly been tabbed the second-best wideout prospect behind Amari Cooper.
  • A name we haven’t heard as much on heading into the draft could surprise should an early run on wideouts take place. USC’s Nelson Agholor may creep into the late first round, La Canfora said.
  • Randy Gregory‘s failed drug test is raising teams’ eyebrows, but they’re not backing off the stance that the Nebraska talent’s a top-two or top-three pass-pursuer in this class and a potential top-five pick. Washington and Chicago are organizations La Canfora believes will be in the mix for Gregory. Conversely, various concerns envelop Dante Fowler Jr., Vic Beasley and Shane Ray, the CBS pundit hears from sources.
  • Tight ends Maxx Williams and Devin Funchess are reportedly receiving bad reviews on their route-running, causing them to fall down draft boards in an already-diminished class at the position.
  • Several executives also informed La Canfora they wouldn’t take top safety Landon Collins in the first round, viewing the Alabama prospect as an “in-the-box” performer.
  • League execs apparently rate this draft poorly compared to a good year when “22 to 24” players warrant first-round grades. Per La Canfora, less than 20 are grading that way this year.

Draft Notes: Gardner, Funchess, Irving

With teams beginning to set their draft boards in stone, many are meeting with prospects to try to learn as much as they can as they prepare for the 2015 NFL Draft.

Here are a few prospects that have visited with organizations, with new updates added to the top:

  • LSU offensive lineman La’el Collins will visit with the Ravens prior to the NFL draft, writes Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. Collins had already met with the team during both the NFL Combine and the Senior Bowl.
  • Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner says that between three and four teams are interested in him as a passer, while the rest of the league views him as a wide receiver, writes Michael Rothstein of ESPN (via Twitter). Gardner has already worked out with the Falcons and Bengals, and has visits with the Patriots and Chiefs coming up next week (via Twitter). He will also be meeting with the Steelers before the draft as well (via Twitter).
  • Rothstein also notes thats fellow Wolverine Devin Funchess worked out for the Falcons last week, at both wide receiver and H-back (via Twitter).
  • Former Iowa State defensive tackle David Irving will work out in San Jacinto, California on Monday morning. Despite being dismissed from the team due to an arrest and missing the 2014 season, at least two NFL teams are expected to attend, writes Gil Brandt of NFL.com (via Twitter).

Devin Funchess Declares For NFL Draft

4:31pm: Funchess will be represented by CAA agents Tom Condon and Patrick Collins, according to Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal (via Twitter).

2:45pm: University of Michigan wide receiver Devin Funchess has decided to forgo his senior season and enter the 2015 NFL draft, the school announced today in a press release.

“I would like to thank my family, coaches and teammates for their support,” said Funchess, who also thanked recently-fired Wolverines coach Brady Hoke in a statement. “It’s always been a dream of mine to play in the NFL, and I am prepared to take the next step in my journey.”

A second-team All-Big Ten selection, Funchess grabbed a team-leading 62 passes for 733 receiving yards and four touchdowns during the 2014 season, his first full year as a wide receiver. The Michigan junior currently ranks as the 19th-best prospect in the 2015 class, according to ESPN.com, whose rankings place him fourth among wideouts.