Donte Moncrief

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/21/20

Here is Saturday’s usual flood of minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Washington Football Team

Patriots To Sign Donte Moncrief

The Patriots have signed wide receiver Donte Moncrief to the practice squad, per a club announcement. This was the expected move after the former third-rounder auditioned for the Pats earlier this week. 

[RELATED: Patriots Trade For Dolphins’ Ford]

Moncrief was recently released off the Jets’ practice squad, despite their own glaring need for offensive help. That wasn’t promising for Moncrief’s prospects, but the talent is still mostly there.

Moncrief first made his name with the Colts, playing as a featured regular in Andrew Luck‘s offense. The veteran totaled 13 touchdown receptions between the 2015-16 seasons for Indy and set a career-high in ’15 with 733 receiving yards. Since then, things have been a bit rocky — he appeared a grand total of eight games for the Panthers and Steelers in 2019, yielding four catches for 18 yards.

Now, the 27-year-old will await his next opportunity while showing his stuff on the practice field. Thanks to Tuesday’s trade for Dolphins receiver Isaiah Ford, he won’t be the only newcomer to the group.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots Notes: Gilmore, Newton, Edelman

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is usually tight-lipped when it comes to, well, just about everything, but he was quite candid in discussing his team’s struggles this season. The 2-4 Pats are in the midst of their first three-game losing streak since 2002, and Belichick suggested that one of his club’s goals in 2020 was to get right with the salary cap after years of heavy investments.

“This is kind of the year that we’ve taken to, I would say, adjust our cap from the spending that we’ve had in accumulation of prior years,” Belichick said (via Mike Reiss of ESPN.com). “We just haven’t been able to have the kind of depth on our roster that we’ve had in some other years.”

In addition to their league-leading eight COVID-19 opt-outs, the Pats are carrying about $26MM of dead cap charges this season, and as Reiss indicated back in March, the club’s financial picture in 2021 is much brighter. New England may be taking its lumps in 2020, but it is still lurking in the AFC East and is eyeing a major rebound next year.

Now for more out of Foxborough:

  • Stephon Gilmore‘s name has come up in trade rumors, but Reiss says the Pats are not actively shopping their star corner, which is consistent with what we heard several days ago. However, the ESPN scribe suggests that Belichick could be willing to listen if a rival club were to offer a first- or second-round draft choice. Assuming that does not happen, then Gilmore is likely to finish out the season with New England. The two sides would need to address his contract situation at that point, as Gilmore is under club control through 2021 and will be seeking a healthy extension.
  • As of this writing, the Patriots have not done much to suggest that they will be sellers at this week’s trade deadline, but if they fall to the division-rival Bills today, that could change, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com confirms.
  • QB Cam Newton was benched in a blowout loss to the 49ers last week, and though the time he missed due to COVID-19 certainly could explain his recent struggles, the Pats are still alarmed by the number of mistakes he’s making, per Jay Glazer of FOX Sports (video link). While Newton’s job is not in imminent danger, he could lose the starting gig if he does not turn it around soon.
  • New England’s WR depth chart, which is already quite thin, took another hit when Julian Edelman was placed on IR with a knee injury. Belichick said he expects the veteran pass catcher to be back this season, but several people close to Edelman have their doubts, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link). Edelman’s knee has been bothering him for awhile, and although his recent surgery helped alleviate some discomfort, the knee is still bone-on-bone. The Pats could save $4MM against the cap by moving on from the 34-year-old at season’s end, and one wonders if he might have played his last game for New England.
  • In an effort to bolster their WR group, the Pats plan to have veteran wideout Donte Moncrief come in for a workout, per Reiss (via Twitter). The former third-rounder has generally struggled to live up to expectations in his career, and he was recently released off the Jets’ practice squad. Given Gang Green’s own receiver issues, that’s not a good sign, but Moncrief is only 27 and still possesses plenty of physical tools.
  • In addition to Moncrief, the Pats are also bringing in fellow WR Darius Jennings and DT Ryan Glasgow, according to Reiss. Albert Breer of SI.com says the team recently hosted FB Roosevelt Nix (Twitter link).

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 10/7/20

Here are Wednesday’s practice squad moves, with the list being updated throughout the day:

Arizona Cardinals

Detroit Lions

Indianapolis Colts

  • Signed: LB Jonas Griffith

New York Jets

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Jets To Sign Donte Moncrief

The Jets are set to sign Donte Moncrief (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). The deal, pending a physical and COVID-19 testing, will give the Jets some sorely needed depth at wide receiver. 

[RELATED: Dolphins Trade Kalen Ballage To Jets]

Moncrief made his name with the Colts, playing as a featured regular in Andrew Luck‘s offense. The former third-round pick totaled 13 touchdown receptions between the 2015-16 season and set a career-high in ’15 with 733 yards. Since then, things have been a bit rocky for the 27-year-old. Last year, he appeared a grand total of eight games for the Panthers and Steelers, resulting in four catches for 18 yards.

The Jets are curious to see what Moncrief can offer at this stage, especially since they’re dealing with a rash of injuries at WR. Newcomer Breshad Perriman and highly-touted rookie Denzel Mims are both banged up; ditto for reserves Vyncint Smith, Jeff Smith, and Lawrence Cager. That’s left the Jets with only a handful of recognizable receivers, including Jamison Crowder, Braxton Berrios, and Chris Hogan. Moncrief will look to show a bit of his old form and make the fast-approaching final cut.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Rumors: Williams, Jets, Dolphins

The Patriots appear to be putting their cornerback depth to good use. One of the Pats’ corners, Joejuan Williams, is now attending meetings exclusively as a safety, Michael Giardi of NFL.com tweets. New England’s 2019 second-round pick, Williams only played 80 defensive snaps as a rookie. But the Vanderbilt product was stuck behind the likes of Stephon Gilmore, Jason McCourty and Jonathan Jones. Those three are back in 2020, but the Pats’ safety group looks considerably different.

The team’s longtime Devin McCourtyPatrick ChungDuron Harmon trio is down to just McCourty, though the Pats did sign former Charger Adrian Phillips and drafted Kyle Dugger in Round 2. Dugger, however, played at a Division II school and has not had much time this offseason for on-field work. At 6-foot-3, 212 pounds, Williams has the size to transition to safety. The Pats frequently used three safeties in coverage over the past several years.

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • Le’Veon Bell has not enjoyed a quality training camp, with Brian Costello of the New York Post rating the Jets‘ starting running back as the team’s third-most impressive back in camp — behind Frank Gore and rookie fourth-rounder La’Mical Perine. Bell enjoyed his worst season in 2019, but the Jets featured a bottom-tier offensive line. They have since made several upgrade attempts. The Jets have Bell under contract for three more seasons, but just one of them features guaranteed money. Bell, 28, is set to count $15.5MM against the Jets’ cap this season.
  • More than a week after bringing Donte Moncrief in for a workout, the Jets again summoned the wideout to their facility. Moncrief visited the Jets on Friday. This comes after the former third-round pick and veteran auxiliary wide receiver met with the 49ers. San Francisco went in a different direction, however. The 6-4 target amassed 668 receiving yards with the 2018 Jaguars but did not make an impact with the Steelers or Panthers last season.
  • The Jets’ wideout interest stems partially from being without Denzel Mims. The second-round rookie has missed all of the team’s work in pads, with The Athletic’s Connor Hughes noting Mims is not yet doing individual drills (subscription required). Mims suffered the injury during the team’s ramp-up period earlier this month. With 2020 already presenting unfavorable circumstances for rookies, Mims may well face an uphill battle to be an early-season contributor.
  • Dolphins first-round pick Noah Igbinoghene is competing with Jakeem Grant and recent addition Chester Rogers for return jobs, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald notes. A cornerback out of Auburn, Igbinoghene notched two kick-return touchdowns in college. He did not return any punts at Auburn, however, so this would seemingly leave the punt-return competition to the two veterans. The elusive Grant has four NFL return TDs, including two on punt returns.
  • Fellow Dolphins rookie Solomon Kindley still has a chance to be one of the team’s starting guards, with Jackson noting that the fourth-round rookie may be a bit ahead of second-round O-lineman Robert Hunt. The Dolphins still view Hunt as a player who could contribute at both guard and tackle, while Kindley — the No. 111 overall pick out of Georgia — is showing well at right guard. The Dolphins signed Ereck Flowers to play left guard this offseason, and guard-tackle hybrid Jesse Davis may be set to again open as the team’s right tackle.

Jets To Audition WR Donte Moncrief

Donte Moncrief continues to draw interest during training camp. After the 49ers brought him in last week, the Jets are hosting the veteran wideout, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News notes.

The Jets will put the seventh-year receiver through a workout. Moncrief, who just turned 27, is coming off a down season — spent with the Steelers and Panthers. But the 6-foot-4 target has shown intermittent promise in the past and has drawn interest since becoming a free agent in 2018.

While Moncrief was a major disappointment in Pittsburgh, being buried on the Steelers’ depth chart after a drop-filled September, he produced a 48-catch, 668-yard season with Jacksonville in 2018. His best years came when Andrew Luck operated as the Colts’ quarterback. The former third-round pick totaled 13 touchdown receptions between the 2015-16 seasons. He posted a career-high 733 yards for the ’15 Colts but has experienced an inconsistent career.

Already housing a thin receiving corps, the Jets are currently down Denzel Mims. The second-round rookie is dealing with a hamstring injury. Mims, Jamison Crowder and Breshad Perriman are in line to work as Gang Green’s primary receivers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers Host WR Donte Moncrief

Tavon Austin isn’t the only free agent wide receiver working out for the 49ers. San Francisco also hosted veteran pass-catchers Donte Moncrief and J.J. Nelson, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

While the 49ers still have ample receiver depth, including first-round pick Brandon Aiyuk, Dante Pettis, and Trent Taylor, the club has lost several options during the offseason. 2019 breakout star Deebo Samuel could miss time after breaking his foot earlier this year, veteran Marquise Goodwin was traded to the Eagles, and Travis Benjamin opted out of the season due to COVID-19.

Moncrief was once a budding star in Indianapolis, and while he’s still only 27 years old, his stock has fallen considerably over the past few years. He inked a two-year deal with the Steelers in advance of the 2019 campaign, but was released midway through the season after posting just four catches. Moncrief latched on with the Panthers for three games, but didn’t record any statistics.

Nelson, meanwhile, put up consecutive 500+-yard seasons with the Cardinals in 2016-17, but his offensive role has dwindled since then. In 2019, the former fifth-round selection appeared in 15 games for the Raiders but managed only four receptions.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.