Grant Haley

Colts Worked Out CB D.J. Hayden

The Colts are eyeing some cornerbacks. The team worked out D.J. Hayden and Grant Haley today, according to Aaron Wilson (via Twitter). Hayden hasn’t lived up to his 12th-overall selection in the 2013 draft, but to his credit, he’s put together an eight-year career. The veteran spent the past three seasons in Jacksonville, but he bounced on and off injured reserve in 2020 while dealing with a hamstring injury. The 31-year-old ultimately saw time in five games during his final season in Jacksonville, collecting 18 tackles. Hayden didn’t end up catching on with a team this offseason. He auditioned for the Bears last week, his first reported visit of the season. Haley went undrafted out of Penn State in 2018, but he still saw time in 25 games through his first two seasons in the NFL, collecting 76 tackles with the Giants. He spent much of the 2020 season with the Saints, although he only saw time in one game. He was cut by New Orleans in late August. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens CB Chris Westry Suffers Torn Meniscus

The injuries keep coming for the Ravens. Cornerback Chris Westry is expected to miss at least a month after suffering a torn lateral meniscus, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler (and passed along by ESPN’s Jamison Hensley). Westry, a former undrafted free agent, ended up playing the third-most snaps among Ravens cornerbacks on Sunday, collecting three tackles. The team was already relying on the bottom of their depth chart after losing cornerback Marcus Peters to a season-ending injury, and Westry’s latest injury is only going to make matters worse. Thanks to their depleted cornerbacks depth, the team is naturally looking for reinforcement at the position. Earlier this week, Hensley tweets that the Ravens worked out four cornerbacks, including Buster Skrine, Daryl Worley, Winston Rose, and Grant Haley. That’s a mix of experience and youth, and the team will presumably add one cornerback to their active roster sooner than later (the organization already added Kevon Seymour to their practice squad). While this latest injury is certainly frustrating, Ravens fans have probably come to expect it by now. Per Hensley, the Ravens have already placed 15 players on IR this year, including nine players over the past 24 days. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints Cut Chris Hogan, Kevin White, Get Down To 53

The Saints are down to 53. The team announced the following moves: Released Waived Placed on Reserve/PUP list Placed on Reserve/Suspended list We had previously heard about a number of these transactions, which you can find here (including full stories on Thomas, Siemian, and Freeman). Among the notable additions to the list of cut players is veteran wideout Chris Hogan, who delayed a professional lacrosse career to return to the NFL. The two-time Super Bowl champ signed with the Saints back in July. Kevin White is another notable name to earn his walking papers. The former seventh-overall pick has been unable to hold a steady gig since leaving the Bears in 2019. He got into three games for New Orleans last season but mostly appeared on special teams.

Extra Points: Murray, Njoku, Contracts

Before he was the first overall pick of the Cardinals in the 2019 NFL Draft, Kyler Murray was the ninth overall pick of the 2018 MLB Draft by the Oakland A’s. Then he went on to win the Heisman Trophy, causing him to rocket up NFL draft boards. Even after winning the Heisman Murray initially was reported to be pursuing baseball over football, but obviously that changed when it became clear just how high he’d be drafted. We haven’t heard a ton about his baseball passions since, but he made it clear he isn’t over the game in interviews this past week. “I would love to” play baseball again one day Murray said on The Pat McAfee Show, via Jeremy Cluff of the Arizona Republic. “I think it’s still there because I’ve been doing it my whole life. It wasn’t like I have to turn this off to be elite at football.” When asked if he could see himself playing football and baseball at the same time one day soon, Murray said “I hope so. I hope so. I mean, I would love to. I think that would be good for everybody … I think it is tough because I play quarterback.” He also added that walking away from Oakland was “definitely the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make.” The Cardinals likely aren’t as enthused about the possibility, and it’s specifically in his contract that he’s not allowed to play baseball. Maybe when it comes time for Murray to get a contract extension from Arizona, he’ll look to negotiate a clause that allows him to try his hand at baseball? It’s certainly fun to think about, and I think every fan would be hoping he can become the next Bo Jackson or Deion Sanders. Here’s more from around the league as we officially turn our attention toward the offseason:
  • David Njoku had a rocky season with the Browns, even as the team had their most success in decades. The drafting of Harrison Bryant and signing of Austin Hooper reduced his role on offense, and Njoku demanded to be traded this past summer, then changed his mind on that demand, then apparently changed his mind once again and wanted to be traded in October. Obviously Cleveland didn’t want to deal him, and it looked like everything had more or less been worked out, but Njoku fanned the flames again this past week. “That’s a good question,” Njoku said recently on the Jim Rome Show when asked if he’s in the right spot, per Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal. “I’m not going to answer that right now. I have no comment towards that at this moment,” Njoku said cryptically. The 29th overall pick of the 2017 draft added that everything would work itself out in the “near future.” Thanks to his fifth-year option the tight end is under contract for 2021 at a hair over $6MM, although that’s not guaranteed. If they choose to keep him at that number, it sounds like another trade request could be in the cards.
  • Reserve/futures deals are non-guaranteed pacts to keep unheralded players a part of a team’s offseason 90-man roster, so they usually don’t come with any bonuses or guaranteed money. When they do, that makes them a lot more notable, and Field Yates of ESPN.com recently tweeted out this cycle’s biggest. Cornerback Grant Haley got $35.7K from the Saints, safety Marqui Christian and cornerback Xavier Crawford got $35K and $31.3K respectively from the Bears, long snapper Dan Godsil got $27.4K from the Bengals, and tight end Tyree Jackson got $25.2K from the Eagles while punter Arryn Siposs got $25K from Philly. All these guys would seem to have a better than normal chance of cracking next year’s 53. Haley saw a lot of run his first two years in the league with the Giants, and was up and down from New Orleans’ practice squad in 2020. If Cincy is giving a reserve/futures long snapper $25K, you’ve gotta figure they think there’s a good chance he’s their guy next year. Jackson is a notable name since he’s the former University of Buffalo star quarterback who has since transitioned to tight end.
  • Speaking of relatively minor contracts, Yates also tweeted the details for the recent extensions for Raiders quarterback Nathan Peterman and 49ers long snapper Taybor Pepper. Peterman got a guaranteed $1MM base salary on his one-year deal, a $25K workout bonus, and a max value of $2.775MM with incentives. Pepper got two-years, $2.08MM with an $80K signing bonus and $220K of his $920K salary for 2021 guaranteed. It’s pretty eyebrow-raising to see Peterman get his $1MM guaranteed considering he’s thrown all of five passes the past two seasons, but Jon Gruden clearly loves the guy. This would suggest he’s got a good shot to hold the clipboard for Derek Carr, or whoever is the Raiders’ starter next year.

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/21/21

Today’s reserve/futures deals: Arizona Cardinals New Orleans Saints Tennessee Titans
  • WR Mason Kinsey

Minor NFL Transactions: 1/2/21

Saints Activate DT Sheldon Rankins

One of the NFL’s best defenses will feature more defensive line talent than it has in recent weeks. The Saints activated Sheldon Rankins from IR on Saturday. An MCL injury sidelined the contract-year defensive tackle since Week 8. While Rankins’ role has changed since his Achilles tear in the 2018 playoffs, he still represents a key depth piece for the Super Bowl-contending Saints. New Orleans has won eight straight games and now leads the league in total defense. The Saints have used Rankins as a backup behind David Onyemata and Malcom Brown this season, but the former first-round pick was a full-time starter prior in the two seasons prior to his Achilles malady. Rankins has seen various injuries, including a 2019 ankle setback, affect his NFL status. But he will have a chance to make a final push for a reasonable free agency deal in the weeks ahead. New Orleans placed wide receiver Marquez Callaway on IR to make room for Rankins. The team also promoted offensive lineman Will Clapp, cornerback Grant Haley, wideouts Juwan Johnson and Tommylee Lewis and defensive lineman Anthony Zettel from its practice squad.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 9/19/20

Recent practice squad notes from around the league: Buffalo Bills Carolina Panthers
  • Signed: WR Hakeem Butler
  • Released: S T.J. Green, T Aaron Monteiro
Chicago Bears Cleveland Browns Jacksonville Jaguars Las Vegas Raiders Los Angeles Chargers Miami Dolphins New Orleans Saints Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Signed: OL Brandon Walton
Of course, the big news here surrounds Callaway. Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports (via Twitter) that the wideout has earned an additional four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. This means he’ll be eligible to return to the field in Week 8. Callaway will continue to sit on the Dolphins’ practice squad suspended list, per Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com. The 23-year-old will still be allowed to attend meetings, but he can’t practice with the squad until his suspension ends. The talented wideout out of Florida fell to the Browns in the fourth round of the 2018 draft thanks in part to a 2016 four-game suspension from former head coach Jim McElwain. Callaway immediately contributed in Cleveland, hauling in 43 receptions for 586 and five scores during his rookie campaign. However, the receiver was suspended for the first four games of the 2019 season after violating the substance-abuse policy, and he underwhelmed in the four games following his return (eight receptions, 89 yards). He was slapped with a 10-game ban late last year, and the suspension was supposed to last through the third week of the 2020 season. Thanks to the latest suspension, Callaway won’t see the field through the first seven weeks of the season. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants Cut Jon Halapio, Slash Roster To 53

The Giants revealed the moves they made to pare their roster down to 53 players. Here are the cuts Big Blue made Saturday: Waived: Waived/injured:
The two quarterback cuts will leave Daniel Jones and Colt McCoy as the Giants’ only two quarterbacks to start their post-Eli Manning era, though Rush certainly would profile as a practice squad candidate. He played for new OC Jason Garrett in Dallas for three seasons.
Connelly’s cut is somewhat surprising, given the linebacker’s three starts last season. But an injury cut short his rookie season. The Giants can place 16 players on their practice squad this season. If Connelly clears waivers, it is likely he will be part of that group.
The Giants re-signed Halapio days ago. He has been Big Blue’s starting center in each of their past two Week 1 games, and the former Patriots draft pick started 15 games in 2019. The Giants did not tender Halapio as an RFA this offseason and kept Nick Gates, whom they extended this year, and Spencer Pulley on the roster over him.

Giants Place Cody Latimer On IR

The Giants made a slew of roster moves on Tuesday morning. The club signed wide receiver Bennie Fowler and promoted linebacker Ukeme Eligwe and cornerback Grant Haley from the practice squad. Spots were opened for them after the Giants placed wide receiver Cody Latimer (hamstring) and linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong (concussion) on IR and waived cornerback Donte Deayon As Latimer exits, another former Bronco takes his place. Fowler now has a chance to become the fourth player to catch passes from both Peyton and Eli Manning, following Latimer who achieved that milestone on Sept. 16. Fowler has 56 receptions for 598 yards and five touchdowns for his NFL career. He’s perhaps best known for the two-point conversion catch he had in the Broncos’ Super Bowl 50 victory. That play also went down as Peyton Manning’s final career pass attempt. The Giants, who are desperate for a spark, will look to improve upon their 1-5 record when they face the Falcons on Monday night.