Dexter McCluster

NFL Workout Updates: 10/17/17

Today’s workout updates, with all links going to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter account unless otherwise noted:

Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions 

Houston Texans

  • QB Taylor Heinicke (link via Caplan)

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

San Francisco 49ers

Washington Redskins

Jets Working Out Bobby Rainey, Dexter McCluster

The Jets are continuing to look at free agent offensive players, as running back Bobby Rainey and RB/WR Dexter McCluster are working out for New York during the club’s minicamp session, according to Brian Costello of the New York Post (Twitter link). Rainey and McCluster will join Denard Robinson and Kenbrell Thompkins as notable Jets tryout players this week.Bobby Rainey (Vertical)

Rainey, 29, spent the 2016 campaign with the Giants, managing 17 carries and 20 receptions in a reserve role. He also played a role on special teams, averaging 6.5 yards per punt return and 25.5 yards per kick return. A five-year NFL veteran, Rainey’s most notable pro seasons came with the Buccaneers in 2013 and 2014, as he rushed for more than 400 yards in each year.

McCluster, meanwhile, signed with the Chargers last September after the club lost fellow back Danny Woodhead for the season. The 27-year-old McCluster appeared in six games before he went down with his own injury, a broken arm suffered during an in-home accident. McCluster didn’t contribute much to the Chargers’ offense, but did post 17 total returns during his short time with the team.

Clearly, the Jets are attempting to upgrade their special teams unit which ranked 31st in DVOA last season. Rainey, McCluster, Robinson, Thompkins, and recent signee Jordan Todman all have experience in the return game. Jalin Marshall, one of New York’s primary return men in 2016, is suspended for the first four games of the 2017 campaign.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dexter McCluster Breaks Arm During In-Home Accident

The Chargers’ injury woes are now no longer confined to playing surfaces, with in-season signing Dexter McCluster suffering one at his home.

One of the Bolts’ backup running backs, McCluster broke his forearm while moving luggage at his house, Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. He will miss the rest of the season as a result.

McCluster suffered the injury Friday night, and an X-ray this morning revealed a broken arm. The Chargers placed the scatback on the non-football injury list and promoted wideout Isaiah Burse from the practice squad.

San Diego signed McCluster because of Danny Woodhead‘s torn ACL injury and deployed him for the team’s subsequent game. After losing Woodhead, Branden Oliver and now McCluster, the Bolts are now down to Melvin Gordon and Kenneth Farrow as their only healthy ball-carriers. They do have Andre Williams on their practice squad but have yet to activate the former Giants occasional starter.

The Chargers have endured a rough run of injuries the past two seasons and are without several key pieces of their offense this season, with Keenan Allen and Woodhead being the biggest losses.

A former Chiefs second-round pick in 2010, McCluster has played in all six of the Bolts’ games since signing in late September. He caught seven passes for 36 yards in his seventh season. It looks to be the first slate where the diminutive back won’t haul in at least 20 receptions. The 28-year-old back twice recorded 50-plus-catch seasons with the Chiefs in 2012-13 en route to signing with the Titans, who cut him prior to the start of this season.

However, the Chargers have used their in-season signing on both kick and punt returns, where he replaced Travis Benjamin, so this wounds the embattled team more on special teams than it might offensively. Farrow, though, has no receptions this season, leaving Gordon as the only reliable pass-catcher out of the backfield.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chargers Sign Dexter McCluster

In need of help at running back, the Chargers will sign free agent Dexter McCluster, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. San Diego has been evaluating its options after losing Danny Woodhead for the season. Dexter McCluster (vertical)

McCluster was let go by the Titans on Sept. 2 as they trimmed down to a 53-man roster. He was one of several surprising cuts in Tennessee as the new regime cleaned house by cutting a number of high-profile names. McCluster averaged 4.5 yards per carry last season in Tennessee and averaged 8.4 yards per reception, but the Titans saw a better use for his roster spot.

The Chargers, meanwhile, need a pass-catching threat to partner up with sophomore Melvin Gordon and they see McCluster as a viable fill-in. . The 28-year-old logged 31 receptions last season and has finished with no fewer than 21 catches in any of his six NFL campaigns. As a special teamer, McCluster took back 24 punts in 2015 and finished 13th in the league in yards per return (9.0), so he can also offer help in the third facet of the game, if needed.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dobson, McCluster Worked Out For Jets

A pair of free agents – wide receiver Aaron Dobson and running back/returner Dexter McCluster – auditioned for the Jets on Friday, reports Field Yates of ESPN (Twitter links). Both players have been available since the Patriots and Titans, respectively, cut them last weekend.

Aaron Dobson (Vertical)

Dobson, 25, went in the second round of the 2013 draft, but he failed to live up to that selection in New England. In three seasons with the club, the Marshall product posted just 53 receptions and totaled fewer than 700 yards. Most of Dobson’s output came in his rookie season, during which he put up career highs in appearances (12), catches (37), targets (74), yards (519) and touchdowns (four). Dobson then participated in a combined 12 games over the previous two years and saw his production decline significantly.

Aside from starters Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, the Jets don’t have any established options at wideout, so Dobson could have a chance to make an impact if the club signs him.

With Matt Forte and Bilal Powell, the top of the Jets’ depth chart at running back appears set, which would make it difficult for McCluster to leave his mark on offense. The 28-year-old is fresh off a decent season, though, having registered an impressive 4.5 yards per carry during a 55-attempt, 11-game campaign. McCluster also logged 31 receptions, meaning the 5-foot-9, 165-pounder has finished with no fewer than 21 catches in any of his six NFL seasons. As a special teamer, McCluster took back 24 punts in 2015 and finished 13th in the league in yards per return (9.0).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Titans Cut Justin Hunter, Bishop Sankey

4:00pm: The Titans have made more cuts this afternoon, including another big name. Running back/wide receiver Dexter McCluster has been let go. McCluster averaged 4.5 yards per carry last season in Tennessee and averaged 8.4 yards per reception, but the Titans saw a better use for his roster spot. McCluster already pocketed a $350k roster bonus earlier this year, but the Titans will save $2.275MM in cash by cutting him.

Here is the full, updated list of Titans cuts so far:

11:07am: The Titans have jettisoned a pair of notable players from the old front office regime. Wide receiver Justin Hunter and running back Bishop Sankey have both been cut, as Terry McCormick of TitanInsider.com reports (Twitter links). "<strong

Hunter, an exceptionally talented receiver, was drafted 34th overall in 2013. Since then, the Titans have been frustrated with Hunter and there have been rumblings that his work ethic was not up to par. Days ago, the Titans shipped out another talented wide receiver with perceived motivation problems when they traded Dorial Green-Beckham to the Eagles.

“It is still going to be hard (to make the team) because we have a lot of talented receivers in the group. We are fighting for spots, and you have to keep up and progress at the same time,” said the 25-year-old Hunter last month, acknowledging that his spot on the roster was not guaranteed.

Hunter has an uninspiring 68 receptions and eight touchdowns in 35 career games (13 starts). While Hunter has averaged an impressive 16.8 yards per catch, that number dropped to a career-worst 12.0 on 22 grabs last season. The 2015 campaign was a short one for Hunter, who only appeared in nine games as a result of a mid-November fractured ankle.

Sankey was once viewed as the Titans’ best running back and was expected to break out as a rookie in 2014. Sankey, 24 later this month, appeared in all 16 games for the Titans as a rookie but amassed only 569 yards off of 152 carries. Last season, Sankey’s role was reduced even further has he had only 47 rushing attempts for 193 yards in 13 games.

The surprising cuts didn’t stop there. The Titans are going to waive guard Jeremiah Poutasi, a source tells Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Poutasi was an early third-round pick of the Titans last year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Titans Place Derrick Morgan On IR

THURSDAY, 4:32pm: The team placed Morgan on injured reserve, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets.

MONDAY, 3:42pm: Titans defensive end Derrick Morgan will have shoulder surgery and miss the remainder of the year, according to Terry McCormick of TitanInsider.com (on Twitter). Ditto for Dexter McCluster, who will undergo season-ending surgery on his wrist (link).

Back in March, the Titans re-signed Morgan to a four-year, $27MM deal with $10.5MM of that fully guaranteed. Morgan’s return to Tennessee was a little surprising, since he was widely considered a better fit as a 4-3 defensive end, and has never really lived up to his first-round billing in five seasons with the Titans. However, despite modest sack totals (his 6.5 in 2014 matched a career high), Morgan graded as a top-10 outside linebacker according to PFF, which ranked him eighth in 2014 and credited him with 49 total quarterback pressures. Morgan paid visits to the Falcons and Buccaneers in the spring and was reportedly scheduled to hit Dallas for a meeting with the Cowboys. Instead, he circled back to Tennessee.

In 10 games (9 starts) in 2015, Morgan has amassed 24 tackles and 4.5 sacks with two pass deflections and one forced fumble. The versatile McCluster, meanwhile, has tallied 507 catching and receiving yards for the Titans in 2015.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/16/15

Let’s round up Wednesday’s minor 53-man roster moves from around the NFL:

  • To make room for Mostert (see below), the Browns waived wideout Darius Jennings, tweets Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. The writer expects Jennings to return to the team’s practice squad.
  • After having claimed Davis (see below), the Colts released linebacker Edwin Jackson, reports Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter).
  • Following a busy day of transactions, the Patriots signed defensive lineman Ishmaa’ily Kitchen (via Wilson on Twitter).

Earlier updates:

  • The Colts have filled the 53rd spot on their roster by claiming safety and special-teamer Akeem Davis off waivers from the Seahawks (Twitter link via Kevin Bowen of Colts.com).
  • The Dolphins have elevated quarterback Logan Thomas from their practice squad to their active roster, cutting veteran offensive lineman Jeff Linkenbach to accommodate the move, the team announced today (via Twitter). Per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter), the move was motivated by a desire to protect Thomas from the Bengals, who attempted to sign him off Miami’s practice squad.
  • The Bengals have officially announced a move that was reported yesterday, confirming (via Twitter) that they’ve promoted quarterback Keith Wenning from their practice squad. Wenning will provide some insurance at the position while Andy Dalton remains on the shelf.
  • Former Colts cornerback Tony Carter is signing with the Saints, tweets Rand Getlin of the NFL Network. Meanwhile, Kristian Garic of WWL 870AM reports (via Twitter) that running back and kick returner Marcus Murphy will be placed on IR by New Orleans due to an ankle injury, so that may be the corresponding move for Carter’s signing.
  • A day after he was cut by the Ravens, RB/KR Raheem Mostert has been claimed off waivers by the division-rival Browns, according to agent Brett Tessler (via Twitter). It’s been an eventful season for Mostert, who was signed by the Dolphins off the Eagles’ practice squad, then claimed off waivers from Miami by Baltimore.
  • The Titans have officially placed injured running back Dexter McCluster on IR, using the open roster spot to sign safety Josh Aubrey from their practice squad, tweets Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com.
  • The Chargers have filled their two open roster spots by bringing back a pair of familiar faces, re-signing safety Adrian Phillips and quarterback Brad Sorensen, according to a team release.

AFC Notes: Palmer, McCluster, Hunter, Jackson

Carson Palmer threatening to retire if the Bengals didn’t trade him would have been one of the top stories on Pro Football Rumors in 2010, but it hasn’t been more relevant to look back on than it is now that the 8-1 Bengals are hosting the 7-2 Cardinals, with both teams in prime position to earn first-round byes in their respective conferences. As a lead up to the event, Jim Owczarski, Paul Dehner Jr. and C. Trent Rosecrans of Cincinnati.com have put together an oral history of the saga that led to Palmer leaving the team, and the Bengals to draft Andy Dalton and A.J. Green.

Here are some other notes from around the AFC:

  • According to GM Ruston Webster, Titans running back and return man Dexter McCluster sprained his MCL in last night’s loss to the Jaguars (Twitter link via Terry McCormick of TitanInsider.com). Head coach Mike Mularkey confirmed to reporters that McCluster will be sidelined for the next two or three weeks (Twitter link via Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com).
  • Running back Kendall Hunter, who has worked out for the Jaguars and Seahawks within the last week or so, had another audition this week, earning a look from the Patriots, writes Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. New England has tried out a handful of free agent backs, including Pierre Thomas, Robert Turbin, and Daryl Richardson, since Dion Lewis suffered a season-ending ACL injury, but the club appears content to stand pat for now.
  • The Ravens removed Asa Jackson from injured reserve with an injury settlement yesterday, and he has since gone unclaimed off waivers, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter).

AFC Links: Woodson, Titans, Pats, Skrine

Let’s check out some assorted notes from around the AFC…

  • Following his tenure with the Packers, veteran cornerback Charles Woodson inked a contract with the Raiders. Woodson admitted that his agent had reached out to the Lions during the 2012 offseason, but there was little interest from the franchise. “I was kind of throwing some lines out there to see where the interest was,” Woodson said (via ESPN.com’s Michael Rothstein). “Most teams, coming out of Green Bay, everybody thought I was pretty much done. Washed up. Couldn’t run anymore. I heard all of the adjectives to describe me…They were one of those teams that probably thought that.”
  • Michael Oher was just one of many offseason additions that didn’t work out for the Titans in 2014, writes ESPN.com’s Paul Kuharsky. Linebacker Wesley Woodyard lost his job to a rookie, running back Dexter McCluster made little impact offensively, defensive lineman Al Woods ultimately settled into a backup role and linebacker Shaun Phillips was cut in November.
  • In a series of tweets, Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap partially attributes the Patriots cap-conscious approach to the team’s inability to keep running back Curtis Martin. The franchise’s lack of cap flexibility during the 1998 offseason had a lasting impact on the organization, and the team vowed to never be in that kind of situation again.
  • Count Browns defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil among those who’d like to see defensive back Buster Skrine back with the team next season. “Buster is one of my favorite guys on the defense,” O’Neil previously said (via Kevin Jones of ClevelandBrowns.com). “He embodies ‘Play Like a Brown.’ I don’t ever want to let good players walk out the door.”