Jacquies Smith

Colts Try Out Keenan Lewis, Jacquies Smith

The Colts have eight tryout players on hand this week, including cornerback Keenan Lewis and defensive end Jacquies Smith (Twitter link via George Bremer of The Herald Bulletin). Wide receiver Paul McRoberts, cornerback Juante Baldwin, running back Jordan Huff, safety Tim Scott, defensive end Evan Panfil, and defensive end Christian French are also among those looking to hook on in Indy. 

Lewis, 32, has not played since the 2015 season when he suffered a leg injury. In 2016, the Saints released him as he was slow to recover from a hip malady. He nearly rejoined the Steelers in 2017, but a medical red flag kept him from signing. Pittsburgh doctors reportedly found that Lewis had undergone a “failed surgery” and he filed a grievance against the Saints this year to recoup some of his lost salary.

Lewis, a 2009 third-round pick of the Steelers, spent the first four seasons of his career in Pittsburgh. After serving as a reserve through his first few seasons, he started all 16 games for the Steelers in 2012, compiling 71 tackles and one forced fumble. He ended up signing a five-year, $26.3MM deal with New Orleans during the 2013 offseason, and he started all 32 games for the Saints in 2013 and 2014. However, he suited up just six times in 2015.

Smith, 28, established himself as a serviceable edge rusher for the Bucs (13.5 sacks from 2014-15) before a torn ACL ended his 2016 campaign after only one game. After working his way back to full health, Smith had played in his first contest of the year during Week 4 last year, but saw action on only seven snaps. Smith wound up signing with the Lions during their bye week in 2017, but did not play in any games for them. A second stint with Detroit later in the year resulted in two appearances for Smith, but he recorded only one tackle.

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Minor NFL Transactions: 11/14/17

Today’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Buffalo Bills

Cincinnati Bengals

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Jacksonville Jaguars

Philadelphia Eagles

Washington Redskins

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/30/17

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Detroit Lions

Minnesota Vikings

Oakland Raiders

Lions Activate Sam Martin From NFI List

The Lions will deploy a third punter this season, but this one is at least their preferred option. Sam Martin will return to his post as Detroit’s punter on Sunday night after the Lions activated him from the non-football injury list Saturday, Kyle Meinke of MLive.com reports.

To make room for Martin’s roster return, the Lions cut defensive end Jacquies Smith. The Lions signed Smith last week after the Buccaneers waived him earlier this month.

Martin will make his season debut after residing on Detroit’s NFI list since the preseason concluded. The fifth-year punter dealt with a foot injury sustained away from the team, but the Lions have not disclosed how it occurred. Detroit cut veteran punter Jeff Locke earlier this week. Locke held down the fort for the Lions, who lost previous Martin replacement Kasey Redfern to a season-ending injury suffered during Week 1.

The 27-year-old Martin, though, is coming off a season where he posted the second-best net punting average (44.2 yards) in league history. The one-time fifth-round pick — and recipient of a Lions extension in 2016 — played in 64 regular-season games from 2013-16 prior to suffering this summer setback.

Signed during the Lions’ bye week, Smith did not play in any games for the team. A two-year Tampa Bay starter, Smith suited up for one Bucs contest prior to being waived this season. The fourth-year player will head back onto the waiver wire.

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Lions Claim QB Brad Kaaya

The Lions have claimed quarterback Brad Kaaya off waivers and signed a pair of players – defensive end Jacquies Smith and offensive tackle Bryce Harris, per Field Yates of ESPN.com and Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com (Twitter links). To make room, the Lions have cut defensive linemen George Johnson, Datone Jones and Caraun Reid.Brad Kaaya (vertical)

Kaaya first broke into the league as a sixth-round pick of Detroit in 2016. Although he didn’t have the arm strength of others in his class, scouts were enamored with his football IQ and poise. When he was displaced from the Lions’ roster in early September, the Panthers were there waiting to grab him off of waivers. Now, he’s back where he started after the Panthers booted him in favor of Garrett Gilbert.

Smith, 27, was a serviceable edge rusher for the Buccaneers (13.5 sacks combined in 2014 and 2015) before a torn ACL shut him down just one game into the 2016 season. This fall, he was cut by Tampa Bay, freeing him up to try out for the Lions this week.

Johnson spent the 2014 season with the Lions and proved to be an effective edge rusher. They circled back to him this year and they were optimistic about what he could do.

He’s still the same guy that works extremely hard, heavy-handed guy that can make some things happen and the rest of it we’ll see,” coach Jim Caldwell said in September. “I mean, he had an outstanding year that year, and those are hard to duplicate, but he will contribute to our team.”

Johnson had six sacks for the Lions in 2014, but he recorded just two tackles in four games for them this year.

Jones signed with Detroit on October 10, but did not suit up for the Lions in their last game. He never got to actually play for the Lions, but on the plus side, he can say that he has been with three of the NFC North’s four teams.

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NFL Workout Updates: 10/17/17

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

Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions 

Houston Texans

  • QB Taylor Heinicke (link via Caplan)

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

San Francisco 49ers

Washington Redskins

Jets Working Out DE Jacquies Smith

The Jets worked out free agent defensive end Jacquies Smith today, according to Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link).Jacquies Smith (Vertical)

Smith, 27, had established himself as a serviceable edge rusher for the Buccaneers (13.5 sacks from 2014-15) before a torn ACL ended his 2016 campaign after only one game. After working his way back to full health, Smith had played in his first contest of the year during Week 4, but saw action on only seven snaps. Tampa Bay apparently didn’t like what it saw in that game, as it released Smith prior to its Thursday night contest against the Patriots.

Given that New York plays a 3-4 front under head coach Todd Bowles, Smith — who stands 6’2″, 250 pounds — would presumably play stand-up linebacker in the club’s base package. Smith could move to a two-point stance as a situational edge rusher, however, and that’s likely the role he’d play if signed. Kony Ealy, acquired off waivers from the Patriots earlier this year, has been used in that capacity for the Jets this season.

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Buccaneers Waive DE Jacquies Smith

The Buccaneers have waived defensive end Jacquies Smith, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link).Jacquies Smith (Vertical)

Smith, 27, had established himself as a serviceable edge rusher (13.5 sacks from 2014-15) before a torn ACL ended his 2016 campaign after only one game. After working his way back to full health, Smith had played in his first contest of the year during Week 4, but saw action on only seven snaps, as Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times tweets.

Because he’s not a vested veteran, Smith will now go through the NFL’s waiver system, allowing each club a chance to grab a young pass rusher. It shouldn’t be a surprise if Smith is claimed in the coming days, especially since he drew interest as a restricted free agent earlier this year. The only questions teams may have, of course, are in regards to Smith’s health.

By cutting ties with Smith, Tampa Bay could now use that empty roster spot to address other areas of need, and Auman speculates (Twitter link) the Buccaneers could potentially add reinforcements in the secondary.

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Minor NFL Transactions: 9/4/17

Here are today’s minor moves.

  • The Browns claimed offensive lineman Zach Banner off waivers from the Colts, who cut him despite drafting him in the fourth round this year. Cleveland made room for Banner by placing offensive lineman Rod Johnson on IR. Additionally, the Browns continued their busy offseason regarding secondary turnover by releasing former safety starter Ed Reynolds from IR.
  • The Steelers re-signed linebacker Steven Johnson and waived safety Jordan Dangerfield with an injury designation. Johnson initially saw his name appear on Pittsburgh’s cut list Saturday, but the backup will return. Pittsburgh also placed cornerback Cameron Sutton, a rookie third-rounder, on IR.
  • Jacquies Smith will move from the PUP list back to the Buccaneers‘ 53-man roster. The team reinstated the defensive end on Monday. A fourth-year player, Smith is expected to be a rotational player in Tampa Bay this season.
  • The Dolphins re-signed tackle Sam Young. Miami cut the offensive lineman on Saturday but will keep him around for now. Miami guaranteed Young’s salary, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald tweets, signing Young this week instead of next because an unspecified team wanted him. This will mark Young’s eighth NFL season. The Dolphins signed him to an extension in December.
  • Quarterback Jeff Driskel will land on the Bengals‘ IR list. The former 49ers sixth-rounder has yet to play in a game.
  • A starter in three games last season, linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin landed on the Jets‘ IR Monday. To replace the third-year player, Gang Green re-signed linebacker Bruce Carter. Now a seventh-year veteran, Carter played a depth role with the Jets last season.
  • Wide receiver Chris Matthews re-signed with the Ravens, who made room on their 53-man roster by placing cornerback Maurice Canady on IR.
  • The Falcons released defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman, who resides on the Commissioner’s Exempt list as a result of misdemeanor charges from 2016. While Hageman is on that list, the Falcons will not have to pay Hageman.
  • The Chargers claimed linebacker Hayes Pullard off waivers from the Jaguars. A former Browns seventh-rounder in 2015, Pullard started two games for the 2015 Jags and played in all 16 Jacksonville contests last season.
  • Jelani Jenkins was expected to start for the Raiders, but the former Dolphins linebacker found himself on the team’s cut list Saturday. The Raiders, though, reached an injury settlement with the fifth-year linebacker, Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports (on Twitter). Jenkins suffered a groin injury during the preseason. Oakland also reached an injury settlement with Jaydon Mickens, per Gehlken, who adds Mickens suffered an ankle injury.
  • The Seahawks waived cornerback Demetrius McCray with an injury settlement, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times tweets.
  • The Redskins reached an injury settlement with center Ronald Patrick, waiving the interior blocker from IR as a result.

Bucs DE Jacquies Smith Signs RFA Tender

Buccaneers defensive end Jacquies Smith has signed his restricted free agent tender, the club announced today.Jacquies Smith (Vertical)

Because Smith was tendered at the original round level, he’s scheduled to earn a non-guaranteed $1,797MM base salary for the 2017 season. Smith met with the 49ers earlier this offseason, and because he originally entered the league as an undrafted free agent, Tampa Bay wouldn’t have received any draft pick compensation had Smith signed with San Francisco (or any other club). However, the Buccaneers would have had the right to match any offer sheet Smith received.

Instead, Smith will head back to Tampa Bay and become part of a defensive end rotation that includes Robert Ayers, William Gholston, Noah Spence, and others. Smith, 27, registered 13.5 sacks between the 2014 and 2015 campaigns, but suffered a torn ACL in the 2016 season opener. But Smith is now reportedly well on his way to a full recovery, and should be able to contribute early in the upcoming season.

With Smith now under contract, Broncos kicker Brandon McManus is now the only restricted free agent yet to sign his tender.

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