Isaiah McKenzie

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/5/18

Here are Monday’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

  • Signed off Colts’ practice squad: OL Zack Golditch

Buffalo Bills

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Oakland Raiders

Philadelphia Eagles

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/2/18

Here are today’s minor moves:

Dallas Cowboys

  • Designated to return to practice from IR: TE Noah Brown

Denver Broncos

  • Promoted from practice squad: WR River Cracraft
  • Waived: WR Isaiah McKenzie

Miami Dolphins

New York Jets

Oakland Raiders

 

Broncos Promote Isaiah McKenzie

The Broncos announced the promotion of wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie from the practice squad to active roster. McKenzie will fill the roster spot vacated by Wednesday’s release of Chad Kelly

The Broncos had good reason to promote McKenzie to the varsity squad. The Bills were trying to sign the Georgia product recently, and the Broncos did not want to let McKenzie leave.

McKenzie, 23, was a fifth-round pick of the Broncos last year. He appeared in eleven games with the majority of his work coming on special teams. McKenzie returned 21 punts for 183 yards (8.7 yards per attempt) and three kickoffs for 50 yards.

For now, the Broncos are moving forward with Case Keenum and Kevin Hogan as their only quarterbacks on the roster. The Broncos may want to consider adding another QB to the mix soon, particularly given Keenum’s struggles this year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 9/12/18

Today’s practice squad updates:

Atlanta Falcons

Buffalo Bills

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

New England Patriots

San Francisco 49ers

  • Signed: WR Frank Stephens

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/10/18

Here are today’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

Sunday NFL Transactions: AFC West

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four AFC West teams. Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline yesterday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters, claiming players off waivers or signing guys who clear waivers. Those transactions for the Broncos, Chiefs, Chargers, and Raiders are noted below.

Additionally, as of 12:00pm CT today, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads. You can check out our glossary entry on practice squads to brush up on those changes, as well as all the other guidelines that govern the 10-man units, whose players practice with the team but aren’t eligible to suit up on Sundays.

Here are Sunday’s AFC West transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day:

Denver Broncos

Placed on injured reserve:

Re-signed:

Claimed:

Cut:

Practice squad:

Kansas City Chiefs

Claimed:

Placed on injured reserve:

Cut:

Practice squad:

Los Angeles Chargers

Claimed:

Cut:

Practice squad:

Oakland Raiders

Claimed:

Cut:

Signed to practice squad:

* = suspended

Broncos Make Roster Moves

The Broncos have trimmed their roster to 53 players by making the following moves:

Waived:

Waived/injured:

Released:

Placed on injured reserve:

Placed on PUP:

Injury Notes: Tate, Jameis, Sanders, Texans

After suffering an AC joint sprain on Sunday, Lions wide receiver Golden Tate is expected to miss a few weeks, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter links). Luckily for Detroit, the club is heading into a bye week before taking on the Steelers in Week 8, so Tate will get a bit of extra time to recover. If he is forced to miss time, Tate will be a large absence for the Lions’ 21st-ranked DVOA offense, as he’s posted 36 receptions for 363 yards and two touchdowns so far this season. Detroit would turn to T.J. Jones, Jared Abbrederis, and — if he’s healthy following a hamstring injury — Kenny Golladay to play more snaps alongside Marvin Jones.

Here’s more from the injury front:

  • Like Tate, Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston is also dealing with an AC joint sprain, and his is all the more serious given that it’s in his throwing shoulder, per Rapoport (Twitter link). Winston attempted only 10 passes before going down with injury in a game Tampa Bay ultimately lost to Arizona. The Buccaneers are set to face the Bills in Week 7, and though Winston has vowed to play through the sprain, it’s not certain that he’ll be available on Sunday. If Winston can’t go, backup Ryan Fitzpatrick will start after throwing for 290 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions yesterday.
  • Broncos wideouts Emmanuel Sanders and Isaiah McKenzie will each miss at least Week 7 with sprained ankles, reports Mike Klis of 9News (Twitter link). While McKenzie, a fifth-round rookie, has barely contributed on offense, the loss of Sanders will undoubtedly hurt the Broncos, as the club has little depth behind its starting wide receivers. Bennie Fowler and Jordan Taylor are candidates to see increased usage alongside Demaryius Thomas, as is Cody Latimer if he can return from a knee injury. Denver is also discussing whether to add more bodies at the wideout position, tweets Troy Renck of Denver7.
  • Cornerback Kevin Johnson is expected to return to action following the Texans‘ Week 7 bye, head coach Bill O’Brien told reporters, including Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Johnson went down with a sprained MCL in mid-September, but Houston’s depth in the secondary has managed to keep its defense afloat, and the team currently ranks 11th in pass defense DVOA. Injuries have ruined each of Johnson’s past two seasons (he managed only six games in 2016), but the former first-round pick has been extremely effective when on the field.

West Notes: Raiders, Garnett, Broncos

Donald Penn appears to be dug in on his holdout from Raiders camp. The Pro Bowl left tackle has scheduled some workouts in St. Louis with Hall of Fame tackle Orlando Pace, Steve Wyche of NFL.com reports, perhaps an indication Penn doesn’t expect to report to Napa, Calif., anytime soon. Penn spent recent time working out with another Rams Hall of Fame tackle in Jackie Slater but did so in southern California. The 34-year-old left tackle wants to be paid top-10 money at his position and has been absent from Raiders camp for over a week. Reggie McKenzie refused to address his left tackle’s contract publicly, but Oakland is now working with two new tackle starters — Marshall Newhouse and Vadal Alexander — after cutting Austin Howard and observing Penn hold out. The 11th-year player has never missed a regular-season game but will continue to push for more money. Penn signed a two-year, $14MM deal — one that will pay him $5.8MM in base salary this season — last year.

Here’s more from Oakland and other Western-division camps.

  • Malcolm Smith‘s pectoral injury dealt a significant blow to the 49ers defense, but their offense won’t have the services of Joshua Garnett for a while. The second-year guard is expected to miss a “period of time” because of a knee injury Kyle Shanahan said could require surgery. Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com reports the 2016 first-round guard is not believed to have damaged his ACL, but his chances of competing for a starting job appear to be over during camp. Brandon Fusco and Zane Beadles are now working as San Francisco’s first-team guards. Shanahan described the uncertainty around Garnett by saying he “hoped” the interior lineman could help the team this season, via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle (on Twitter).
  • Raiders backup safety Keith McGill suffered a Jones fracture in his right foot Saturday and will have surgery, Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. McGill’s status for Week 1 is uncertain, but he will miss the rest of training camp, Gehlken writes. A former cornerback, McGill is entering his fourth season and is a consistent special teams presence for Oakland. He and Obi Melifonwu are expected to be the second-string safeties.
  • Broncos camp still has a ways to go, but Vance Joseph has identified his punt returner already. Five-foot-7 Isaiah McKenzie won the job, the first-year coach said, via Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com. Although Joseph views McKenzie as too small for kick-return responsibilities, the Broncos drafted him with a punt-return role in mind. They remain hopeful he can have an impact on offense as well. McKenzie returned five punts for touchdowns during three seasons at Georgia.
  • The Cardinals lost running back and return man T.J. Logan to a dislocated wrist. The rookie will be placed on IR.

West Rumors: Conley, Broncos, Cardinals

It took the Raiders until their training camp eve to reach an agreement with first-round pick Gareon Conley. Although no legal clarity has come after a woman accused the cornerback of sexual assault in April, the Raiders did not design Conley’s contract with that alleged incident in mind. Conley’s deal contains 90 percent guaranteed money, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets, adding the language in the four-year contract is standard despite the legal cloud surrounding the ex-Ohio State defender presently. The Raiders also agreed to terms with second-rounder Obi Melifonwu this week. Titans first-rounder Corey Davis is the only unsigned pick remaining.

Here’s the latest from the West divisions on opening camp weekend.

  • The Broncos opened 2016 with a dominant outside linebacker corps, with DeMarcus Ware, Shane Ray and Shaquil Barrett joining Von Miller in the fold. Miller has none of those sidekicks available for the time; Ray and Barrett may both be out throughout the preseason. Vance Joseph discussed the early replacement hierarchy here Saturday, calling recent UFA signing Kasim Edebali the top edge rusher alongside Miller (via Mike Klis of 9News, on Twitter). Edebali played three years with the Saints but wasn’t offered an RFA tender in March, leading to his one-year deal with the Broncos.
  • Bruce Arians said Justin Bethel and Brandon Williams could be battling for the Cardinals‘ No. 2 cornerback job until the final week of the preseason, but Williams and others will have some additional opportunities to build a case early. Bethel suffered a hyperextended knee and will be out for the coming days, Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com reports. Arians did not believe this injury was serious, but given this position duel likely coming down to the wire, it stands to raise Bethel’s degree of difficulty here.
  • Regarding Williams, the second-year man has evidently been usurped on the depth chart by Ronald Zamort — a 2016 UDFA who spent last season on Arizona’s practice squad — according to Kent Somers of AZCentral.com (on Twitter). The Cardinals have been connected to Brandon Flowers and Tramon Williams this week, and Arians’ status on his own corners looks to have changed. Somers notes he now wants to add a veteran.
  • The Raiders‘ handling of Donald Penn‘s holdout will be key to how future free agents view the team, Jerry McDonald of the San Jose Mercury News writes. The Raiders relied immensely on free agency in recent years, Penn being one of the key signings. On a two-year deal worth $6.25MM AAV, the 34-year-old Penn is now by far the fourth-highest-paid offensive lineman on his own team, after the Raiders made Gabe Jackson an $11MM-per-year man in June. Penn saw a host of less proven tackles sign for more than him this offseason, and he’s seeking top-10 left tackle money. His per-year wages rank 20th presently. The Raiders have just more than $14MM in cap space. Oakland lined up Marshall Newhouse at Penn’s left tackle spot and second-year man Vadal Alexander at right tackle on Saturday.
  • Menelik Watson has missed 37 of a possible 64 regular-season games due to various injuries through four seasons, and the Broncos‘ projected right tackle starter dropped a lot of weight in an attempt to stay on the field. The former Raiders right tackle is close to 315 pounds after playing in the 340s earlier in his career, per Troy Renck of Denver7 (Twitter links), noting Watson told him the reduction is because of the slew of setbacks he encountered.
  • Joseph won’t have 5-foot-7 rookie Isaiah McKenzie return kicks due to his slight frame, Klis tweets. Carlos Henderson and Cody Latimer are vying to handle those duties for the Broncos while McKenzie has the inside track to return punts. This is a deviation of sorts for a Broncos team who received high-end kick-return production from 5-5 Trindon Holliday in 2012-13. The team has not had much success in this area since, leading to the selection of McKenzie in the fifth round.