Gabe Ikard

Saints Rumors: Meredith, Coleman, Snead

Now that Cameron Meredith is in the fold with the Saints, he still must complete a lengthy rehab process. The wide receiver saw his 2017 season erased because of ACL and MCL tears in his left knee, and he’s not planning to partake in New Orleans’ offseason program. Meredith’s goal is to return by training camp.

I see myself being 100 percent for at least the season,” Meredith said during a radio interview on ESPN Chicago (via The Advocate’s Nick Underhill). “Training camp is my goal, and I don’t see any reason why I can’t accomplish that. I haven’t had any setbacks. I don’t think anyone had that as a major concern.”

Meredith received multiple offers in restricted free agency, so multiple medical staffs gave teams the go-ahead here. The now-25-year-old wideout fared well for the 2016 Bears, posting 888 receiving yards and four touchdowns. He’ll walk into what’s been the league’s most consistently productive aerial attack over the past 12 seasons and is in line to serve as an auxiliary option for Drew Brees.

Here’s the latest out of New Orleans.

  • Meredith opted for the Saints in part because they have former Bears wide receivers coach Curtis Johnson on staff. Now in his second stint as Saints wideouts instructor, Johnson served as the Bears’ WRs coach in 2016 before moving on to New Orleans last year. “C.J. was a big part of my success in Chicago,” Meredith said Friday, via Amos Morale III of NOLA.com. “And getting to rejoin him in New Orleans… (we’ll) get back right were we left off.”
  • The Meredith deal likely impacts other recent Brees weapons. A supporting-cast cog with the Saints the past three seasons, Brandon Coleman is now unlikely to return to the Saints and will have to find a gig elsewhere, Larry Holder of NOLA.com notes. New Orleans did not tender Coleman, now a UFA, but did offer an original-round tender to Willie Snead. A more consistent producer than Meredith after two 890-plus-yard seasons with the Saints, Snead saw his production dip dramatically last season (eight catches, 92 yards). Negotiating an extension last offseason, Snead has instead seen his stock drop. He worked out for the Ravens, who preferred Meredith, but has not been connected to another team yet in free agency. He has until April 20 to sign another team’s offer sheet. Holder wonders if the Saints retract their original-round tender ($1.9MM) now that Meredith’s under contract.
  • The Saints signed offensive lineman Gabe Ikard to a reserve/futures contract in January, but Ikard has opted to retire, per Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com. Ikard finished last season on the Saints’ practice squad. He last played in two games for the Bills in 2016. The 27-year-old Oklahoma alum is now hosting a drive-time radio show in Oklahoma City.
  • Andrus Peat is now under Saints control through the 2019 season. The team exercised the three-year starter’s fifth-year option.

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/16/18

Here are the latest reserve/futures contract signings from around the NFL. These deals will go into effect on the first day of the 2018 league year, with players joining their respective clubs’ offseason 90-man rosters:

Atlanta Falcons

New Orleans Saints

Pittsburgh Steelers

NFL Workout Updates: 12/21/17

Today’s workout updates, with all Twitter links via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle and veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer:

Arizona Cardinals

  • WRs Harvey Binford, Rashad Ross, Brandon Zylstra; DBs Jonathon Mincy, Kacy Rodgers (link)

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Kansas City Chiefs

New Orleans Saints

  • WR Diontae Spencer (link)

New York Giants

New York Jets

  • G Greg Pyke (link via Balzer)

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

  • TE Brandon Barnes; OL Erik Austell; DT Euclid Cummings; LB Chris Casher; CB Shaq Richardson (link)

Seattle Seahawks

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 12/5/17

Today’s practice squad updates:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

  • Signed: TE Robert Tonyan

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Chargers

New England Patriots

Oakland Raiders

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Redskins

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/28/17

Today’s minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

  • Signed: LS Taybor Pepper

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Signed: LB Akeem Dent
  • Waived from IR: CB Ezra Robinson

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Rams

New England Patriots

  • Signed: DL Michael Bart, LB Christian Kuntz, LB Nick Usher

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Browns Make Handful Of Moves

The Browns have claimed quarterback Joe Callahan off waivers from the Saints and center Gabe Ikard off waivers from the Bills, according to Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com. To make room for those two, the Browns have waived fullback Malcolm Johnson and defensive back Darius Hillary.

Joe Callahan

Callahan, an undrafted rookie from Division III Wesley, will now join his third team this month. The Packers previously cut Callahan on Oct. 13, paving the way for the Saints to add him for what amounted to a short-lived stint in New Orleans. The way things have gone under center this year for Cleveland, he could end up on the field at some point.

Injuries have forced the Browns to shuffle through five quarterbacks, the latest being fifth-round rookie Kevin Hogan. He debuted in the Browns’ 31-17 loss to the Bengals on Sunday after fellow rookie Cody Kessler departed with a concussion. Kessler is currently in the NFL’s concussion protocol, meaning it’s unclear whether he’ll be able to play against the Jets on Sunday. Josh McCown, who has missed most of the season with a broken collarbone, could return this week. However, if he and Kessler are out, Hogan and Callahan would be the Browns’ top two signal-callers.

Johnson, whom the Browns chose in the sixth round of last year’s draft, was active for their first seven games this season and picked up one start. He also notched five receptions.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Notes: Giants, Brown, Bills, Ryan, Jets

The NFLPA has issued the following statement on Giants kicker Josh Brown, who was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list today following more revelations about his purported domestic abuse: “The NFL has the ability to place a player on the exempt list and the player has the right to appeal that decision, if he chooses. The League office wanted unilateral control of this process and accordingly, their system lacks transparency.” Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Facebook link) also obtained a copy of the letter the league sent Brown today informing him that he has been placed on the exempt list.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two East divisions:

  • Conflicting reports emerged earlier this year as to whether Bills general manager Doug Whaley and head coach Rex Ryan faced playoffs-or-bust ultimatums — but team owner Terry Pegula says the rumors were unfounded. “No. We just hired the guys!” Pegula told Tom Pelissero of USA Today. “Doug’s a new GM basically (promoted in May 2013). And we just hired Rex. We’re talking about continuity, and the players need that.” The Bills are now 4-2 and back in the thick of the playoff race after winning four straight.
  • Offensive lineman Gabe Ikard was cut earlier today to make room for the return of Shaq Lawson, but the Bills plan to re-sign next week, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Ikard, a two-year NFL veteran, hasn’t played an offensive role for Buffalo this season, as he’s seen zero snaps. But he had managed to see the field for 11 special teams plays.
  • The Jets brought defensive end/outside linebacker Sadat Sulleyman in for a workout, Wilson tweets. Sulleyman, 23, is a UDFA out of Portland State who didn’t make Denver’s initial 53-man roster. He’s also tried out for the Bengals and Chiefs this season.

Bills Add Shaq Lawson To Active Roster

The Bills announced that rookie Shaq Lawson has been activated from the PUP list to the 53-man roster. Buffalo also promoted tight end Manasseh Garner up from the practice squad. To make room, the Bills cut guard Gabe Ikard and tight end Gerald ChristianShaq Lawson (vertical)

Lawson, the No. 19 overall pick in this year’s draft, will join the team’s outside linebacker rotation behind Jerry Hughes and Lorenzo Alexander. After the Miami game, it seems possible that Lawson could be in line for a larger role. Per the team website, Lawson could also be moved to inside linebacker on passing downs.

Initially, it looked like Lawson’s shoulder surgery would keep him out for longer, but he has beaten expectations on his recovery. Many also expected the Bills’ defense to wilt without Lawson and other key players, but Buffalo has shocked everyone by winning their last four games, putting them at 4-2.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.