The Broncos are adding another experienced linebacker. After bringing Micah Kiser in, the team is signing veteran Avery Williamson to its practice squad, Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post tweets.
Denver worked out Williamson and Dylan Cole on Tuesday, Mike Klis of 9News tweets, and will give the taxi squad spot to the former.
This has been a mostly quiet year for Williamson, whom the Jets traded to the Steelers just ahead of last year’s deadline. After not being connected to a team this offseason, Williamson did audition for the Jets’ new regime recently. He will join a Broncos team that is down starter Josey Jewell for the season.
Denver has used second-year linebacker Justin Strnad in place of Jewell alongside Alexander Johnson as a starter on the inside but has added Kiser and will now have Williamson in the fold. Williamson, 29, has started 85 games as a pro, doing so with the Titans, Jets and Steelers.
The Jets gave Williamson a nice contract in 2018, signing the former fifth-round pick for three years and $22.5MM. He has four 100-plus-tackle seasons, with the most recent coming last season (111) after a missed 2019 campaign due to an ACL tear. Although Williamson is an off-ball linebacker, he has also been fairly prolific in rushing the quarterback. Williamson has 15.5 career sacks, with the 2020 season being the only one in which he did not record multiple QB drops.
Should Williamson be elevated to the Broncos’ active roster ahead of Sunday’s game, he would face the Steelers, who used him as a four-game starter following last year’s trade. Kiser and rookie third-rounder Baron Browning, however, are currently the team’s second-string linebackers. But reinforcements have been necessary across Denver’s lineup, which is missing several starters after an injury-plagued stretch.
Acquired in one of the bigger offseason trades in recent memory, David Johnson has at least been available throughout this season — after injuries became commonplace for the former All-Pro in Arizona. The former Cardinals standout, however, has not rebounded to the point of justifying the three-year, $39MM extension or being a key part of a DeAndre Hopkins trade. Johnson is averaging 4.0 yards per carry and has only caught 16 passes (for 161 yards) this season.
After acquiring Kenyan Drake from the Dolphins, the Cardinals benched Johnson last season. He battled multiple injuries in 2019 and missed 15 games in 2017 because of a broken wrist. Johnson, 29 next month, has one season remaining on his Cardinals-constructed contract.
Additionally, Whitney Mercilus has been deemed a high-risk close contact and will go on the Texans’ reserve/COVID-19 list. The Texans placed Mercilus and linebacker Dylan Cole on their COVID list, where guard Max Scharping remains.
Romeo Crennel said Martin and Scharping have experienced mild symptoms, per the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson (on Twitter). Obtained in 2019’s Jadeveon Clowney trade, Martin has two sacks for the Texans this season. Given a recent extension, Mercilus is tied for the team lead with three midway through his ninth season in Houston. The Texans are down to two outside linebackers, with Kyle Emanuel in concussion protocol, and three inside ‘backers ahead of their Week 9 game.
The Texans join the Bears, Broncos, Cardinals, Packers, Ravens and 49ers as teams who have dealt with new COVID-19 developments this week. The U.S. documented more than 100,000 cases Wednesday, marking the first time the number entered six-figure territory since the pandemic began. As of 1:30pm CT, the NFL is proceeding with Green Bay’s Thursday game in San Francisco, despite both the Packers and 49ers having position groups decimated by the league’s coronavirus protocols. The Texans’ game in Jacksonville remains scheduled for noon CT Sunday.
DylanCole has signed his restricted free agent tender. The linebacker announced on Twitter that he’s inked his new deal with the Texans.
“Done deal,” Cole said. “Absolutely blessed to be in Houston another year! Time to earn it. Let’s make it out of 2020 healthy! That’s to all of us.”
Cole was tendered at an original-round level back in March. He’s set to earn $2.144MM next season.
The former undrafted free agent out of Missouri State has spend his entire career with the Texans organization. He actually put up his best numbers during his rookie year, compiling 32 tackles, three passes defended, and two interceptions in 12 games (one start).
This past year, Cole appeared in 11 games for the Texans, compiling 16 tackles and one pass defended. The 25-year-old landed on the injured reserve in late November after suffering a torn ACL. That injury will likely knock him out of part of the 2020 campaign.
The Texans have a number of notable players hitting free agency, but it sounds like the front office has made re-signing BradleyRoby a priority. Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports (via Twitter) that Houston will “do what they can” to keep many of their free agents, a grouping that’s “especially” led by the 28-year-old cornerback.
Roby inked a one-year, $10MM deal with the Texans last offseason, but he was limited to only 10 games (10 starts) during his first season in Houston. Roby finished the campaign having compiled 38 tackles, eight passes defended, two interceptions (including a pick-six), and one forced fumble.
On the other side of the ball, it sounds like the organization is hoping to retain veteran running back CarlosHyde. However, as Wilson passes along, Hyde declined a contract offer from the organization and is set to hit free agency. The 29-year-old started 14 games and had his first career 1,000-yard season in 2019. Fellow running back LamarMiller, who was sidelined with a torn ACL last year, will also be heading to free agency.
November 22nd, 2019 at 12:30pm CST by Marc Delucchi
With defensive lineman Myles Garrett and Larry Objunjobi suspended for this week’s matchup against the Bengals, the Browns were hoping to invite starting end Olivier Vernon back into the lineup after missing the team’s previous two games with a knee injury. However, according to Mary Kay Kabot of Cleveland.com, Vernon has been ruled out for Sunday’s contest, leaving Sheldon Richardson as the team’s only primary starter along the defensive front.
It has been a chaotic season for Cleveland, reaching a climax in last Thursday’s on-field fight with the Steelers. Hoping to put that in the rear-view mirror the Browns will have to rely heavily on their depth to build some positive momentum.
Here’s some more injury notes from around the NFL:
The Falcons will be without two of their primary offensive weapons this weekend. Running back Devonta Freeman and tight end Austin Hooper are both out for this Sunday’s game alongside rotational defensive back Kemal Ishmael, according to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitutional.
Texans linebacker Dylan Cole is out for the season with a torn ACL, according to Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle. Cole served as Houston’s primary backup at two linebacker positions and played a major role in the team’s special teams. He played in 11 games and recorded 16 tackles on the season. Going forward, the Texans will need to sure up their depth on special teams and on the second level of their defense.