Isaac Sopoaga

Patriots Notes: FA Tryouts, Worthy, Mallett

The Patriots were busy today trimming their roster down to 53 players. However, the team was still actively scouting the free agent market, and’s Mike Reiss reports that 12 players were actually in for tryouts:

Let’s check out some more notes out of New England…

  • Since Jerel Worthy failed to make the Patriots roster, the team doesn’t owe the Packers a draft pick, explains’s Rob Demovsky. The Patriots acquired Worthy from the Packers earlier this month for a conditional seventh-rounder.
  • The Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe tweets that the Cowboys could be a landing spot for quarterback Ryan Mallett. The writer also suggests that the Texans and Rams could get involved.
  • The Patriots won’t be provided with any additional cap relief since Isaac Sopoaga failed to make the Cardinals roster, tweets Howe.
  • Following the release of Danny Aiken, the Patriots don’t have a long snapper on the roster. As the Boston Globe’s Shalise Manza Young notes (via Twitter), if the team doesn’t carry a long snapper, it would be the first time they’ve gone without one during Bill Belichick‘s tenure.

Cardinals Cut Isaac Sopoaga, Marcus Benard

Two notable veterans are among the Cardinals’ latest wave of cuts, according to Rand Getlin of Yahoo! Sports, who reports (Twitter links) that defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga and linebacker Marcus Benard have been released by the team. The decisions suggest that new addition Tommy Kelly has impressed the Cardinals so far at defensive tackle, and that the club doesn’t feel like Benard has earned a spot on its linebacking corps even following Daryl Washington‘s year-long suspension.

Here are all of today’s Cardinals cuts, with any additional moves inserted into the list throughout the day:

AFC Notes: Burfict, Watt, Howell, Patriots

Typically, when contract agreements are first reported, it takes just a matter of hours before those deals become official. But linebacker Vontaze Burfict, whose extension with the Bengals was reported on Wednesday, has yet to finalize his new contract with the club and has been missing from practice for the last three days with a stomach virus. According to head coach Marvin Lewis, it’s probably just a matter of time until the deal gets formally announced (link via Richard Skinner of

“As you know how we believe it here, until the club and the player have signed off, it’s not signed off,” Lewis said. “I would guess we expect him to sign. Obviously the agent believes he has a deal, so, we didn’t release it.”

As we wait for official word on Burfict’s reported extension, let’s check in on a few other items from out of the AFC….

  • Joel Corry of the National Football Post breaks down the numbers on the Burfict extension, explaining why the Bengals had leverage in negotiations and why the linebacker made out pretty well.
  • In a separate piece for, Corry takes a look at another extension candidate, J.J. Watt, writing that if Watt and the Texans are going to reach an agreement before the season gets underway, it will probably require the star defender – rather than the team – to relent a little.
  • Colts safety Delano Howell has suffered another neck injury, but it shouldn’t be career-ending, according to’s Mike Wells, who says Howell spent part of the week in Minnesota meeting with a specialist.
  • The Patriots would benefit if Isaac Sopoaga earns a spot on the Cardinals’ regular season roster, tweets Field Yates of, noting that the offsets in Sopoaga’s contract would allow New England to free up $855K in cap space.
  • The NFL’s changes to practice squad eligibility criteria mean that a few more Titans are candidates for spots on the squad, writes Paul Kuharsky of I outlined the rules relating to practice squads earlier today.

Cardinals To Sign Isaac Sopoaga

The Cardinals are planning to sign defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga, reports Kent Somers of (via Twitter).

The team worked out Sopoaga earlier today, and could view him as a potential replacement for Darnell Dockett, who is lost for the season to a torn ACL.

Sopoaga started his career with the 49ers, before leaving in free agency to join the Eagles in 2013. Despite signing a three-year deal, he was traded to the Patriots midseason.

The Patriots released him earlier this offseason, as he failed to positively contribute to the team in limited action last year.

Cardinals To Work Out Isaac Sopoaga

Following Darnell Dockett‘s season-ending ACL injury, the Cardinals attempted to bring in Brett Keisel in order to bolster their depleted defensive line. But after Keisel declined Arizona’s offer and returned to the Steelers, the Cardinals have set their sights on another veteran lineman — defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga. According to Rand Getlin of Yahoo! Sports, Arizona has scheduled a workout for the 32-year-old, and if it goes well, plans on signing him.

Sopoaga entered the NFL as a 49ers fourth-round draft pick in 2002, and spent the next nine seasons in San Francisco. He signed a three-year, $12MM deal with the Eagles in March of 2013, but was traded to the Patriots just seven months later. New England released Sopoaga in March, and he’s been waiting for a team to express interest since.

It’s fair to wonder if Sopoaga will be able to fill the void on the Cardinals’ defensive line. Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, who covered Sopoaga during his time with the Patriots, tweets that the veteran “had nothing left last year,” a sentiment that meshes with Pro Football Focus’ advanced statistics. PFF (subscription required) gave Sopoaga a -9.4 grade on just 362 snaps in 2013, noting that he was especially poor against the run.

Still, Sopoaga could make for a nice fit along Arizona’s defensive front — he’s spent nearly all of his career working as a nose tackle in a 3-4 scheme, the role he would be expected to play with the Cardinals. Additionally, Arizona is in need of depth along it’s front three. While the triumvirate of Calais Campbell, Dan Williams, and Frostee Rucker is impressive, the options behind the Cardinals’ top three are uninspiring. If signed, Sopoaga probably wouldn’t be asked to do more than spell Williams for a handful of snaps per game.

NFC West Links: 49ers, Cooper, Bailey

The 49ers‘ running back depth took a hit this week when Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James both suffered injuries. As the team tries to keep starter Frank Gore fresh and healthy for the regular season, some other players have had a chance to shine. Rookie Carlos Hyde has particularly taken advantage of the opportunity and has drawn praise from the entire coaching staff. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman remarked on the second-round pick’s ability to pick up instruction (via Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee)…

I guess, you know, somebody that’s seven-years-old playing the piano and you kind of show them, they hear it, and then they start playing the piano,” Roman said. “It’s one of those things that if you can explain it to him, once it clicks with him – and that’s happened repeatedly on a lot of different things – he just makes that adjustment, and we keep moving.”

Coach Jim Harbaugh even went as far as to compare the rookie to the veteran he’s hoping to back up.

Carlos gets football, understands football; it’s natural for him to understand the game, similar to Frank Gore,” Harbaugh said. “And we’re seeing those things, and both are very good signs and bode well for us.”

Let’s check out some more notes from the NFC West…
  • 49ers defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey tore his bicep earlier today, and’s Bill Williamson tweets that Isaac Sopoaga could be an option to replace him. The 32-year-old split 2013 between the Eagles and the Patriots.
  • Cardinals guard Jonathan Cooper missed all of 2013 recovering from a broken fibula. The team was counting on their former first-rounder to contribute this season, but coach Bruce Arians doesn’t sound overly optimistic. I’m a little disappointed with where Coop is at right now,” Arians told Darren Urban of“I’d hope he come a little faster.” To perhaps make a bit of a statement, the team played Earl Watford with the first team during practice (via a tweet from’s Josh Weinfuss).
  • Even with his impending four-game suspension, Rams receiver Stedman Bailey has been impressive at camp, writes Mike Florio of This is leaving many, including coach Jeff Fisher, confident that the second-year player will make a big impact once he returns. He’s there,” Fisher said. “He knows how to get open, and knows how to make the plays. Yes, we’ll miss him, but he’s going to push right through camp and we’ll get through his ordeal and we’ll get him right back in the lineup.”

Patriots Release Isaac Sopoaga

4:43pm: The Pats have officially released Sopoaga, along with offensive lineman Markus Zusevics, the team announced today. Zusevics was on a minimum-salary deal and his release won’t affect the club’s cap, but New England should save $2.5MM with the release of Sopoaga.

2:46pm: The Patriots have informed defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga that he will be released, tweets’s Mike Reiss.

The Patriots acquired Sopoaga, 32, in October via a trade with the Eagles. It was a low-risk move for the Pats, who got the veteran and a sixth-round pick in exchange for a fifth-round selection. Statistically, it was Sopoaga’s weakest season in years as he registered just eight tackles and one sack.