Garrett Hartley

Rams Worked Out 10 Kickers To Replace Greg Zuerlein

The Rams will be without Greg Zuerlein for the rest of the season. Their Pro Bowl kicker, since placed on IR, will undergo back surgery on Thursday, Sean McVay said (via Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.com).

Zuerlein has been playing through a back injury all season, and McVay labeled it a herniated disk. The 29-year-old kicker aggravated the injury while sleeping the night before the Rams’ Week 15 game in Seattle. McVay said his kicker could barely stand on Sunday, and it affected his performance and Los Angeles’ game plan against the Seahawks.

Up next for Zuerlein will be a 12-week recovery timetable.

As for the replacement effort, Sam Ficken won quite the derby despite having no NFL kicking experience. A 2015 UDFA out of Penn State, Ficken took part in a 10-man kicker audition on Wednesday.

Veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer reports (on Twitter) the Rams worked out Roberto Aguayo, Dan Carpenter, Travis Coons, Andrew Franks, Garrett Hartley, Marshall Koehn, Younghoe Koo, Mike Meyer and Jason Myers. Two long snappers — Jeff Overbaugh and Drew Farris — and two punters-as-holders (Matt Wile and Austin Rehkow) were also on hand for this unique specialty showcase, per Balzer (on Twitter).

Carpenter and Hartley have extensive NFL experience — a combined 16 seasons’ worth — while Aguayo was selected in the second round only to become a workout journeyman by his second year. He auditioned for the Browns earlier this week and also could not procure the Rams’ kicker job, one that will feature playoff opportunities. Hartley has not kicked in a game since 2014, and Carpenter hasn’t kicked this season.

The Chargers cut Coons earlier this week, but he’s been in Los Angeles for a few weeks now after being the initial Nick Novak replacement for the Bolts. Myers hasn’t kicked since losing his Jaguars job to ex-Charger Josh Lambo, and Franks — a former Dolphin — hasn’t suited up for a 2017 contest either.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Workout Updates: 11/30/17

Here are the latest workout and visit updates, courtesy of veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer unless otherwise noted.

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Green Bay Packers

Kansas City Chiefs

Miami Dolphins

New Orleans Saints

Oakland Raiders

San Francisco 49ers

Chiefs Auditioning Garrett Hartley

There will be more than 70 players attending the Chiefs’ rookie camp, including several intriguing veterans. According to Terez A. Paylor of The Kansas City Star (via Twitter), the organization will be auditioning kicker Garrett Hartley and cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste.

Garrett Hartley (Vertical)Hartley is presumably being brought in to provide some competition for incumbent Cairo Santos. The free agent kicker hasn’t appeared in an NFL contest since 2014, when he played in a pair of games for the Browns. The 30-year-old was a mainstay on the Saints special teams unit from 2010 through 2013. His best season came in 2012, when he converted 81.8-percent of his field goal attempts and 100-percent of his extra point attempts.

While the Chiefs still haven’t committed to Santos longterm, it’s probably a long shot that the 25-year-old will end up losing his gig. The former Tulane product has served as Kansas City’s kicker for the past three seasons, and he had his best campaign in 2016. Santos finished the year having converted 88.6-percent of his field goals and 92-percent of his extra point attempts.

The Saints were hoping that Jean-Baptiste would be a consistent presence in their secondary when they selected him in the second round of the 2014 draft. However, the cornerback has had difficulty finding a role in the NFL, as he’s only appeared in four games over three seasons. If he does catch on with the Chiefs, he’ll be competing with a number of cornerbacks (including Phillip Gaines, Kenneth Acker, D.J. White, Terrance Mitchell, and Vernon Harris) for a top reserve role.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants To Audition Kickers

MONDAY, 12:02pm: The Giants are also scheduled to work out punter/kicker Randy Bullock, a source tells Josina Anderson of ESPN.com tweets. Bullock is not a vested veteran, so he could be a viable one-game fill-in for Brown, Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com tweets.

Veteran Josh Scobee was also invited to the Giants‘ kicker workout, but had to turn down an invitation because of another commitment at the same time, a source tells Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com (on Twitter).

SUNDAY, 8:18pm: Giants head coach Ben McAdoo said “never say never” when asked earlier today about the possibility of his club signing another kicker, and New York will in fact work out several kickers tomorrow, including Garrett Hartley, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (Twitter link).Garrett Hartley (Vertical)

[RELATED: Giants among 10 potential suitors for Karlos Williams]

Incumbent kicker Josh Brown is suspended for the season opener following a 2015 domestic violence arrest, and it’s unclear if the Giants are considering moving on from him, especially given that more serious details have emerged about Brown’s history of violence against his ex-wife. Fellow kicker Tom Obarski, meanwhile was given a “golden opportunity” — McAdoo’s words — to scratch out a role with New York, but he missed a 28-yard field goal attempt in the club’s most recent preseason game.

Hartley, 30, spent five season with the Saints and last kicked for the Browns during a short stint in 2014. He was out of the league in 2015, but he was a part of workouts with the Lions, Jets, and Patriots after spending the preseason with the Steelers, and owns a 81.7% career accuracy rate. La Canfora’s report didn’t list the other kickers who will be involved in Monday’s tryout, but Josh Scobee and Randy Bullock are among the other free agent specialists available.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Hawley, Lions, Cassel, Saints

Buccaneers center Joe Hawley feels like he got a raw deal from his former team, the Falcons. On a conference call, D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution asked Hawley if he felt that he was given enough time coming back from the injuries to win the starting job.

“Uh, honestly, no. I think they kind of used it as an excuse,” Hawley said. “When I got here I wasn’t 100 percent yet. But they gave me a chance. Now, I’m feeling like the knee is back to new. But it just took four or five more weeks that I thought it would. Yeah, I think they kind of cut me short of that.”

The Bucs (5-6) are set to host the Falcons (6-5) on Sunday.

  • With Matt Prater battling an illness, the Lions tried out free agent kickers Kyle Brindza, Billy Cundiff, and Garrett Hartley, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter links). However, Prater will be able to play tonight against the Packers after all, so the team didn’t sign anyone.
  • If Matt Cassel plays the final five games of the Cowboys‘ season, that extra playing time could earn him $1.2MM in incentives, as Todd Archer of ESPNDallas.com explains. Cassel’s deal includes incentives for playing a certain percentage of the team’s snaps, and he’s projected to play over 55% ($1.2MM), but not up to 65% ($1.6MM).
  • The performance of certain players over the course of the Saints‘ final five games this year could help dictate some of the salary cap decisions the club makes in the offseason, writes Larry Holder of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. I examined the Saints’ cap outlook for 2016 earlier this fall.
  • Edge defender Willie Jefferson, a former Texan who spent the last two seasons with the CFL’s Edmonto Eskimos, will work out for two NFC teams next month, and is drawing a lot of interest, according to Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post (Twitter link). Jefferson had six sacks this season for the Grey Cup champions.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Jets Audition Bullock, Hartley, Other Kickers

4:21pm: Coach Todd Bowles told reporters that Folk is expected to be sidelined for 4-6 weeks (via Brian Costello of the New York Post on Twitter).

3:49pm: With Nick Folk expected to be sidelined for Thursday’s game against the Bills due to a quad injury, the Jets brought in four kickers to work out for them today, tweets Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports.

Connor Hughes of the Journal Inquirer tweeted earlier today that Billy Cundiff was among that group of free agent kickers getting a look from the Jets, and Brian Costello of the New York Post fills out the rest of the list, tweeting that Randy Bullock, Garrett Hartley, and Kyle Brindza also auditioned. In Garafolo’s view, Bullock is the favorite to sign with New York to replace Folk.

As for how long Bullock – or another new kicker – would stick with the team, Costello (Twitter link) hears from a source that Folk is expected to be sidelined for at least four weeks due to his leg injury. If that’s the case, it appears IR would be a possibility for him, since the club may be hesitant to carry multiple kickers on its roster for upwards of a month.

Three of the four kickers who tried out for the Jets today spent time with another team this season, with Bullock losing the job in Houston, Brindza being replaced in Tampa Bay, and Cundiff briefly handling kickoffs in Buffalo. Hartley last served as the Browns’ kicker to close out the 2014 campaign.

Workout Notes: Patriots, Texans, Chargers

The latest workouts from around the NFL:

Extra Points: Relocation, Mariota, Hartley

With the race to Los Angeles heating up, the NFL announced today that the league will conduct public hearings later this month in St. Louis, San Diego, and Oakland to discuss possible relocation (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com). The town hall meetings are meant to provide fans and community members in those cities an opportunity to ask questions and express views directly to the NFL before any decisions on relocation are made, according to the league’s press release.

As we wait to see how those meetings play out, let’s round up a few Monday odds and ends from across the NFL….

  • Speaking to reporters, Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt confirmed today that quarterback Marcus Mariota suffered a sprained MCL on Sunday. However, Whisenhunt said that Mariota is walking fine, and the team will determine later this week whether or not he’ll have to miss any games (Twitter links via Terry McCormick of TitanInsider.com).
  • Former Saints and Steelers kicker Garrett Hartley is fully recovered from his hamstring injury and is receiving some interest, tweets Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. New Orleans made a kicking change, but the team opted for another free agent – Kai Forbath – rather than Hartley.
  • If Colts owner Jim Irsay decides he wants to replace head coach Chuck Pagano, Peter King of TheMMQB.com expects Irsay to have interest in Sean Payton in the offseason, and adds that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with Jim Harbaugh as well. King doesn’t expect Harbaugh to leave Michigan, but thinks it would be worth seeing what his price would be.
  • Per ESPN’s Darren Rovell, Browns cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu received $3MM today from his loss-of-value insurance policy. It’s the largest amount of money that a player has ever been paid on such a policy, which the former Oregon defensive back was able to collect because his draft stock was significantly hurt by an ACL injury he suffered in college.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/13/15

Today’s minor signings, cuts, and other moves from around the NFL..

  • The Dolphins released RB/KR Raheem Mostert off their roster, according to agent Brett Tessler (Twitter links). Mostert led the entire NFL in yardage this preseason while with the Eagles. If he passes through waivers, Tessler adds that he’ll be added to Miami’s taxi squad.
  • The Texans signed defensive tackle Brandon Dunn to active roster off the Bears‘ practice squad, a source tells Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle (on Twitter). In a related move, the Texans cut wide receiver Chandler Worthy from active roster (Twitter links). If Worthy clears waivers, Houston would like to sign him to the taxi squad.
  • The Saints re-signed wide receiver Joe Morgan, as Evan Woodbery of The Times-Picayune tweets. To make room, the defensive backs waived defensive back Don Jones (link).
  • The Eagles (via Twitter) announced that they signed offensive lineman Tanner Hawkinson off the 49ers‘ practice squad and released center/guard Julian Vandervelde.
  • The Chiefs signed running back Darrin Reaves to their practice squad, as Adam Teicher of ESPN.com writes. The former Panthers tailback was in camp with Kansas City this past offseason.
  • The Steelers released kicker Garrett Hartley off of IR, as Adam Caplan of ESPN.com tweets.
  • The Lions released cornerback Chris Owens off of the IR, Caplan tweets.
  • The Cowboys waived wide receiver Vince Mayle, Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweets. The Washington State product was moved from the practice squad to the active roster last week to give Dallas additional depth at the position.
  • The Bears waived quarterback David Fales, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune tweets.
  • The Cardinals placed defensive back Chris Clemons on injured reserve, Wilson tweets.
  • The Dolphins cut Damarr Aultman, Wilson tweets.
  • The Colts cut Jalil Brown from injured reserve with an injury settlement, Wilson tweets.
  • The Seahawks waived UDFA running back Rod Smith and quarterback B.J. Daniels, Caplan tweets.
  • The Lions waived linebacker Kevin Snyder from the IR, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press tweets.

Steelers Reduce Roster To 75 Players

The Steelers added one player to their roster today, acquiring Josh Scobee in a trade with the Jaguars, but most of the day’s transactions for the team involve removing players onto reserve lists, or cutting them from the team entirely.

Here are the rest of the moves completed today by Pittsburgh in order to get the roster down to 75 players, according to the club’s transactions log:

Placed on reserve/PUP list:

  • T Mike Adams

Placed on injured reserve:

  • CB Senquez Golson
  • K Garrett Hartley

Waived/injured:

  • TE Cameron Clear
  • DE Niko Davis
  • TE Ray Hamilton

Cut:

  • G Miles Dieffenbach
  • WR Kenzel Doe
  • WR C.J. Goodwin
  • RB Braylon Heard
  • DE Joe Kruger
  • DT Joe Okafor
  • OL Collin Rahrig
  • CB Jordan Sullen
  • T Kevin Whimpey
  • S Ian Wild