Hau'oli Kikaha

AFC East Notes: Jets, Gase, Bills

The Jets have been widely planned for their lack of improvement at the cornerback position, but head coach Adam Gase doesn’t agree with the critics and doesn’t feel the need to upgrade before the season starts (via PFT).

I guess I don’t look at it like that,” Gase said. “I look at it as Trumaine [Johnson] is down right now, this is a great opportunity for a lot of guys. Like somebody has a chance to step up and make a name for themselves. Somebody has a chance to get in with that first defense, go against our wide receivers, go against our offense and Sam [Darnold] and those guys and see if a guy can play at that high level. I mean it’s a great opportunity.”

To recap: Johnson is week-to-week with a hamstring injury, and so is undrafted rookie Kyron Brown. At present, Darryl Roberts, Arthur Maulet, and Brian Poole represent the Jets’ three best healthy cornerbacks. Gase might not view it as a thin unit, but this week, safety Jamal Adams was moved to volunteer himself to play CB.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • More roster insight Gase – The Jets do not plan to add a second kicker to compete with Taylor Bertolet, who was signed this week after Chandler Catanzaro retired (via the NY Daily News).
  • Before the Bills signed defensive end Sam Acho, they also worked out former Saints second-round outside linebacker Hau’oli Kikaha, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Kikaha, the 44th overall selection in the 2015 draft, has been beset by injuries and ineffectiveness throughout his career. After playing on 62% of the Saints’ snaps during his rookie campaign, Kikaha missed the 2016 season with a torn ACL (the third of his football career) and subsequently saw action on only 209 defensive snaps the following year. New Orleans shopped Kikaha ahead of the 2017 trade deadline, and waived him during final cutdowns. Last year, he worked out for a number of clubs, but did not land a deal.
  • The Dolphins have inquired on Redskins tackle Trent Williams.

NFL Workout Updates: 12/24/18

Today’s workouts, all courtesy of veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer (on Twitter):

Cincinnati Bengals:

  • K’s Ty Long (BC CFL), Tristan Vizcaino

Detroit Lions:

Indianapolis Colts:

Kansas City Chiefs:

New York Giants:

  • DEs Tobi Antigha (SASK), Jake Ceresna (EDM); QB Bo Levi Mitchell (CALG); WRs Bryant Mitchell (EDM), Jordan Williams-Lambert (SASK); RB Terry Williams

Philadelphia Eagles:

  • WRs Carlton Agudosi, Marken Michel (CALG), Devin Smith; DB Mercy Maston (EDM); LBs Alex Singleton (CALG), Jameer Thurman (CALG)

Pittsburgh Steelers:

  • QB Max Browne; LB Sam Eguavoen (SASK); DE Avery Ellis (OTT); WR Dominique Rhymes (OTT

Tennessee Titans:

Washington Redskins:

This time of year, a lot of teams are auditioning guys for potential reserve/futures deals to be a part of their 90-man rosters for 2019. It’s also common to see a lot of CFL guys getting looks this time of year, because players participating in the 2018 CFL season aren’t eligible to sign NFL contracts until after the regular season is over.

NFL Workout Updates: 11/8/18

Today’s workout updates, all courtesy of veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter account:

Atlanta Falcons

San Francisco 49ers

NFL Workout Updates: 10/2/18

Today’s workout updates, with all links going to veteran Howard Balzer’s Twitter account unless otherwise noted:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

  • T Andrew Nelson (link)

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Oakland Raiders

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

NFL Workout Updates: 9/12/18

Today’s workout updates, with all links going to Adam Caplan of SiriusXM’s Twitter account:

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Oakland Raiders

San Francisco 49ers

Tennessee Titans

49ers Hosting LBs Erik Walden, Hau’oli Kikaha

Free agent linebackers Erik Walden and Hau’oli Kikaha is visiting the 49ers today, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter links).

Walden, 33, signed a one-year deal with the Seahawks earlier this year, but didn’t make the final cut and was released from injured reserve last week. The veteran pass rusher spent the 2017 campaign with the Titans, appearing in all 16 games while managing four sacks and 36 tackles. Walden posted 11 sacks as recently as the 2016 season, but he’s struggled to find contracts in recent years despite that production.

Kikaha, meanwhile, was the 44th overall selection in the 2015 draft, but he’s been beset by injuries and ineffectiveness during his three-year tenure. After playing on 62% of the Saints’ snaps during his rookie campaign, Kikaha missed the 2016 season with a torn ACL (the third of his football career) and subsequently saw action on only 209 defensive snaps the following year. New Orleans shopped Kikaha ahead of the 2017 trade deadline, and waived him during final cutdowns.

Both Walden and Kikaha could conceivably play either outside linebacker or defensive end in the 49ers’ 4-3 scheme. At present, San Francisco is deploying former first-round picks Solomon Thomas and Arik Armstead as its starting edge rushers, with Cassius Marsh, Ronald Blair, and Julian Taylor in reserve.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets Work Out Hau’oli Kikaha, Charles Tapper

The Jets worked out edge rushers Hau’oli Kikaha and Charles Tapper and cornerback Josh Robinson on Wednesday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link) and Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News (Twitter link).

Kikaha was the 44th overall selection in the 2015 draft, but he’s been beset by injuries and ineffectiveness during his three-year tenure. After playing on 62% of the Saints’ snaps during his rookie campaign, Kikaha missed the 2016 season with a torn ACL (the third of his football career) and subsequently saw action on only 209 defensive snaps the following year. New Orleans shopped Kikaha ahead of the 2017 trade deadline, and waived him over the weekend.

Like Kikaha, Tapper has been affected by injuries during his NFL career, as a pre-existing back condition caused him to miss his entire rookie year in 2016. He suited up for the Cowboys’ first two games in 2017, but a broken foot landed him on injured reserve in October. A former fourth-round pick, Tapper could conceivably help the Jets as a rusher off the edge, an area of weakness for Gang Green.

The Buccaneers exercised their 2018 option on Robinson in March, but released him on Sunday during final cutdowns. A seven-year veteran who’s also spent time with the Vikings, Robinson has essentially become solely a special-teamer. Robinson played on at least 50% of Tampa Bay’s special team snaps in each of the past three seasons, and saw just nine total defensive snaps during that snap. He auditioned for the Lions earlier this week.

After looking at Kikaha, Tapper, and Robinson today, the Jets are scheduled to work out free agent linebacker Zaire Anderson on Thursday, according to Herbie Teope of NFL.com (Twitter link).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints’ Kikaha Switches To Drew Rosenhaus

On the cusp of his contract year, Saints outside linebacker Hau’oli Kikaha has switched agencies. Kikaha is now represented by power agent Drew Rosenhaus (Twitter link). 

Injuries have held Kikaha back over the course of his three-year NFL tenure. The second-round pick out of Washington missed all of 2016 with a torn ACL. Then, last year, he missed four games due to injury, including the final two weeks after suffering an ankle injury. An ankle malady also interrupted his otherwise productive rookie season.

The Saints shopped Kikaha before the 2017 trade deadline, likely in an effort to recoup the draft capital spent on moving up for running back Alvin Kamara. We haven’t heard much on that front this offseason, but Kikaha is thinking about his future beyond 2018 either way.

Last year, Kikaha had four sacks and ten total tackles as a reserve. He saw time on just 209 snaps in total and is likely itching to show what he can do in a larger sample. The Saints project to start Craig Robertson and free agent addition Demario Davis on the strongside and weakside, respectively, putting Kikaha and Manti Te’o in line for bench roles.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints Claim LB Kasim Edebali

The Saints have added a familiar face as the team gets ready for its first postseason appearance since 2013. The team has claimed linebacker Kasim Edebali off waivers from the Rams, according to Josh Katzenstein of the The Times-Picayune. To free up a roster spot, New Orleans has placed linebacker Hau’oli Kikaha on injured reserve.

Kasim Edebali (Vertical)

Edebali, 28, had previously been employed by the Saints from 2014-16. His best year in New Orleans came in 2015 when he racked up five sacks in a full season of work. Edebali has bounced around a bit this season, having started the year with the Broncos, before making stops with the Lions, Rams and now the Saints after being cut on three different occasions.

The Saints likely made this move to help replace Kikaha as a reserve pass rusher for the remainder of the season. The third-year player out of Washington University had appeared in 12 games with the Saints, collecting four sacks behind the likes Manti Te’o and Michael Mauti on the depth chart. The former 2015 third-round pick had suffered an ankle injury in last week’s win over the Falcons, which surely prompted his move to the IR.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints Shopping LB/DE Hau’oli Kikaha

With only a single day remaining before the NFL’s trade deadline hits, the Saints are shopping edge defender Hau’oli Kikaha, according to Doug Kyed of NESN (Twitter link). Ian Rapoport of NFL.com first indicated earlier this month Kikaha could become a trade candidate.Hau'oli Kikaha (vertical)

New Orleans’ defense has shown tremendous improvement in 2017 — the unit ranked 15th in DVOA through Week 7 — but Kikaha hasn’t been part of that turnaround, as the former second-round pick has played only 82 snaps this season. Kikaha, who tore his ACL for third time last year and missed the entirety of the 2016 campaign, has been surpassed on the Saints’ depth chart by A.J. Klein and Gerald Hodges, and hasn’t been able to see action even with rookie ‘backer Alex Anzalone on injured reserve.

That’s not to say that another club wouldn’t be interested in acquiring a player of Kikaha’s pedigree. He was a second-rounder for a reason, after all, and Lance Zierlein of NFL.com called Kikaha the “most accomplished pure edge rusher” in the 2015 draft class. He’s cheap, too — an acquiring team would only take on the rest of Kikaha’s $913K base salary in 2017 and his non-guaranteed $1.153MM salary in 2018.

If they are able to trade Kikaha, the Saints could begin to recoup some of the draft capital they’ve dealt away in recent months. General manager Mickey Loomis sent a 2018 second-round pick to the 49ers in order to land Alvin Kamara in the draft, and a Kikaha trade — plus the haul acquired for linebacker Stephone Anthony and running back Adrian Peterson — could help defray the costs of the Kamara package.