J.J. Nelson

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/6/20

Here are Sunday’s minor moves. The players who landed on injured reserve are eligible to come off teams’ respective lists after three weeks. For 2020, teams can also activate an unlimited number of IR players — as opposed to the two-man max of 2019.

Atlanta Falcons

  • Claimed (from Washington): T Timon Paris

Cincinnati Bengals

  • Claimed (from Dolphins): G Deion Calhoun
  • Signed: CB Torry McTyer

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Las Vegas Raiders

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

49ers To Sign Tavon Austin

The 49ers have signed wide receivers Tavon Austin and J.J. Nelson, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). Both players will look to make the final cut as insurance for Deebo Samuel. Terms of the deals are not yet known, but they’re likely for the veteran minimum with little in the way of guarantees. 

Austin was the No. 9 overall pick in the 2013, but he has yet to justify his draft status. At the age of 30, it seems unlikely to happen now. Still, coaches continue to be tantalized by his speed. Austin, in theory, could contribute as a receiver, rusher, and returner.

Over seven injury-laden years in the NFL, Austin has caught 215 passes while averaging less than yards per catch. He did average more than 15 yards per grab over the last two seasons with the Cowboys, but that was in a super small sample size of 21 receptions. 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan could get creative with Austin – as Sean McVay did in L.A. – and try him in a variety of spots.

Nelson posted back-to-back 500-yard seasons with the Cardinals in 2016 and 2017, but his offensive role has dwindled since then. In 2019, he had four grabs in 15 games for the Raiders.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers Host WR Donte Moncrief

Tavon Austin isn’t the only free agent wide receiver working out for the 49ers. San Francisco also hosted veteran pass-catchers Donte Moncrief and J.J. Nelson, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

While the 49ers still have ample receiver depth, including first-round pick Brandon Aiyuk, Dante Pettis, and Trent Taylor, the club has lost several options during the offseason. 2019 breakout star Deebo Samuel could miss time after breaking his foot earlier this year, veteran Marquise Goodwin was traded to the Eagles, and Travis Benjamin opted out of the season due to COVID-19.

Moncrief was once a budding star in Indianapolis, and while he’s still only 27 years old, his stock has fallen considerably over the past few years. He inked a two-year deal with the Steelers in advance of the 2019 campaign, but was released midway through the season after posting just four catches. Moncrief latched on with the Panthers for three games, but didn’t record any statistics.

Nelson, meanwhile, put up consecutive 500+-yard seasons with the Cardinals in 2016-17, but his offensive role has dwindled since then. In 2019, the former fifth-round selection appeared in 15 games for the Raiders but managed only four receptions.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Workout Updates: 11/11/19

Here’s the latest from around the league’s workout circuit:

Cleveland Browns

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

New York Giants

Oakland Raiders

Philadelphia Eagles

Buccaneers Audition RB Spencer Ware

The Buccaneers were busy this afternoon, as SiriusXM’s Adam Caplan reports (via Twitter) that the team worked out eight players. Among that grouping was a trio of offensive weapons: wide receiver Maurice Harris, wide receiver J.J. Nelson, and running back Spencer Ware.

The Buccaneers receiver depth chart is topped by Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, but the team could be looking for a veteran to fill out the squad. The coaching staff could also be hunting for a return man, as they’ve had to use punt returner T.J. Logan in double duty following the release of Bobo Wilson.

Neither Harris nor Nelson have much experience in the return game, but the two have plenty of experience on offense. Nelson, 27, was a 500-yard receiver as recently as 2017, but he’s fallen off over the past two seasons. He hauled in four catches in two games for the Raiders before getting released in early October. Harris, 26, had his first productive NFL season in 2018, but he hasn’t had a gig since getting cut by the Patriots back in August.

Similar to the Bucs’ receivers, the team’s running backs corps are pretty much set. In fact, earlier this week, coach Bruce Arians revealed that Ronald Jones had secured the starting running back gig, with Peyton Barber, T.J.Logan and Dare Ogunbowale also contributing to the running game. Ware would provide a veteran option, although the soon-to-be 28-year-old hasn’t seen the field in 2019. He had ankle surgery back in August, so it’s encouraging that he’s already working out for teams. The veteran had 470 yards on offense in 13 games for the Chiefs last season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Workout Updates: 10/22/19

Here is Tuesday’s summary from the workout circuit:

Atlanta Falcons

Chicago Bears

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Chargers

New England Patriots

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

Seattle Seahawks

Raiders To Release WR J.J. Nelson

The Raiders are planning to release J.J. Nelson, but this is not to make room for Zay Jones. The team will retain its seven-wideout roster arrangement, with Field Yates of ESPN.com reporting (via Twitter) the team is bringing back recently cut pass catcher Marcell Ateman.

Oakland signed Nelson this offseason but has not seen much from the former Arizona deep threat. A vested veteran who will become a free agent, Nelson played in just two games and has four receptions for 36 yards this season. Nelson did score a touchdown in Week 3 against the Vikings, but he’s battled a leg injury in recent weeks.

Ateman went unclaimed on waivers earlier this week. The 2018 seventh-round pick played 28 snaps in the Raiders’ win over the Bears in London. He will return to a Raiders receiver room that still houses Tyrell Williams, Hunter Renfrow, Keelan Doss, Dwayne Harris, Trevor Davis and Jones.

Nelson signed a one-year, $1MM deal as a free agent. He has not been especially productive since Bruce Arians’ departure from Arizona, having totaled 100 yards since the start of the 2018 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Contract Details: Foles, Tate, Crowder, Desir

Let’s take a look at the details of a few recently-signed NFL contracts:

Raiders Add WR J.J. Nelson

A third new wide receiver will join the Raiders’ corps. Following the additions of Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams, J.J. Nelson is joining the fold.

The four-year Cardinals auxiliary weapon figures to compete for a similar role in Oakland. Based on how Nelson played during the Bruce Arians era, the Raiders may have brought in another key contributor. The 5-foot-10, 160-pound receiver is one of the league’s top deep threats, despite having been used in a niche capacity.

Nelson totaled more than 1,000 yards between the 2016 and ’17 seasons, the latter coming when the Cardinals had to turn to mostly backup quarterbacks. Nelson’s 17.8 yards per catch leads all NFL receivers since 2015.

In 2016, Nelson hauled in six touchdown receptions, and he followed that up by posting 508 yards on just 29 receptions while working mostly with Drew Stanton and Blaine Gabbert in 2017. But last season, Nelson was a non-factor. Working in the NFL’s worst offense, the former fifth-round pick caught just seven passes for 64 yards.

Oakland has released Jordy Nelson, and beyond Brown and Williams, this seems to be a wide-open competition.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2018 Proven Performance Escalators

According to the NFL’s contractual bargaining agreement, players drafted in rounds three though seven are entitled to raises during the fourth year of their respective rookie contracts. The pay bumps are tied to playing time — a player must have played in 35% of his team’s offensive or defensive snaps in two of his first three seasons, or averaged 35% playing time cumulatively during that period.Jay Ajayi (Vertical)

If one of these thresholds is met, the player’s salary is elevated to the level of that year’s lowest restricted free agent tender — that figure should be around $1.908MM in 2018. Players selected in the first or second round, undrafted free agents, and kickers/punters are ineligible for the proven performance escalator.

Here are the players who will see their salary rise in 2018 courtesy of the proven performance escalator:

49ers: Trent Brown, T; Eli Harold, LB

Bears: Adrian Amos, S

Bengals: Tyler Kroft, TE; Josh Shaw, DB

Bills: John Miller, G

Broncos: Max Garcia, G; Trevor Siemian, QB

Browns: Duke Johnson, RB

Buccaneers: Kwon Alexander, LB

Cardinals: David Johnson, RB; J.J. Nelson, WR

Chargers: Kyle Emanuel, LB

Chiefs: Chris Conley, WR; Steven Nelson, CB

Colts: Henry Anderson, DE; Mark Glowinski, G; Denzelle Good, OL

Dolphins: Bobby McCain, CB

Eagles: Jay Ajayi, RB; Jordan Hicks, LB

Falcons: Grady Jarrett, DT

Jaguars: A.J. Cann, OL

Lions: Quandre Diggs, CB

Packers: Jake Ryan, LB

Panthers: Daryl Williams, T

Patriots: Trey Flowers, DE; Shaq Mason, G

Raiders: Clive Walford, TE

Rams: Jamon Brown, G

Ravens: Za’Darius Smith, LB

Redskins: T.J. Clemmings, OL; Jamison Crowder, WR

Saints: Tyeler Davison, DT

Seahawks: Tyler Lockett, WR

Steelers: Jesse James, TE

Vikings: Stefon Diggs, WR; Danielle Hunter, DE

OverTheCap.com was essential in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.