Jake Rudock

Notable NFL Practice Squad Salaries

Playing on an NFL practice squad isn’t a bad gig. You work with a club’s 53-man roster every week, have a good chance to get called up if/when injuries strike, and collect a solid paycheck ($8K per week minimum). And for some practice squaders, the pay can get even better.

While all practice squad salaries count towards the salary cap, there’s no restriction on how much a team can pay a practice squad player. When a club desperately wants to retain a player but can’t fit him on its 53, they’ll often bump up his salary in an effort to keep him around. Here’s a look at several players who are earning much more than the NFL’s $8K per week standard, via Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link):

The 49ers clearly have no problem with spending a little extra on practice squad players, as both Lee and Harris are earning at least $22K more than the league PS minimum. Lee’s been with San Francisco since 2017 and started five games for the club last season, but the 49ers’ front seven depth is keeping him on the taxi squad for now. Harris, too, was a part-time starter for San Francisco in 2018.

The quarterbacks on the list are also interesting. Rypien has been deemed Broncos’ offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello‘s “project” and could be called up to the active roster at some point given that Denver is only carrying two quarterbacks in Joe Flacco and Brandon Allen (rookie second-rounder Drew Lock is on injured reserve). And the rebuilding Dolphins seem intent on hanging onto Rudock, who spent the first three seasons of his career with the Lions.

Dolphins Cut Kiko Alonso

The Dolphins cut Kiko Alonso en route to reaching the 53-man max. Both moves were rumored this week, but the Fins were waiting to see if they could arrange a trade for the linebackers before letting them go.

Alonso requested a trade during training camp when he realized that he would be squeezed out of the Dolphins’ plans in one fashion or another. New coach Brian Flores is overseeing a defensive overhaul and he didn’t have much use for the veteran, despite his three years of starting experience in Miami. Originally drafted by the Bills in the second-round back in 2013, Alonso won’t play out the two years left on his four-year, $28.9MM deal.

Here are the other moves made by Miami to make their roster kosher by Week 1:

Dolphins Sign QB Jake Rudock To Futures Deal

Jake Rudock has found a new gig. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (via Twitter) that the Dolphins have signed the quarterback to a reserve/futures contract.

Rudock split his collegiate career between Iowa and Michigan, winning the 2016 Citrus Bowl MVP after the Wolverines topped Florida. Following a 2015 campaign that saw him complete 64-percent of his passes and throw 20 touchdowns, Rudock ended up being selected by the Lions in the sixth round of the 2016 draft.

Playing behind Matthew Stafford, the 25-year-old predictably hasn’t seen the field a whole lot during his brief career. Rudock made three appearances in 2017, completing three of his five passes for 24 yards and one interception. The Lions waived the signal-caller at the end of the 2018 preseason, as the team decided to roll with only Stafford and veteran Matt Cassel. Rudock ended up spending the entire season on Detroit’s practice squad.

Now, he’ll have a chance to compete for a spot on the Dolphins’ roster in 2019. There have been plenty of rumblings that Miami could end up moving on from Ryan Tannehill this offseason. If the team moves on from the veteran, they’ll be left with only Rudock and rookie Luke Falk. While the organization would surely bring in a replacement for Tannehill, Rudock could still have a chance at a backup gig.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Sunday NFL Transactions: NFC North

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four NFC North 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 Bears, Lions, Packers, and Vikings 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 NFC North transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day:

Chicago Bears

Signed:

Cut:

Placed on injured reserve:

Detroit Lions

Claimed:

Cut:

Practice squad:

Green Bay Packers

Practice squad:

Minnesota Vikings

Claimed:

Cut:

Practice squad:

Lions Announce Roster Cuts

In addition to trading offensive tackle Corey Robinson to the Panthers, the Lions have also reduced their roster to 53 players.

Released:

Waived:

Placed on injured reserve:

Placed on PUP:

Waived from injured reserve:

With Rudock out of the picture, Matt Cassel will serve as the backup to quarterback Matthew Stafford. Freeny conceivably could have made the roster based on his familiarity with head coach Matt Patricia, but the Lions went in another direction.

Lions To Cut QB Jake Rudock

It appears Matt Cassel will be Matthew Stafford‘s backup. The Lions are cutting the player who previously filled that role.

Jake Rudock did not make Detroit’s 53-man roster, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. But the Lions are interested in bringing him through to their practice squad if he’s unclaimed on waivers.

The 2016 draft choice generated trade interest last year, but the Lions ultimately kept him. He was rumored to have fallen behind the 36-year-old Cassel during training camp, and the Lions will go with the well-traveled veteran behind Stafford instead of a third-year incumbent.

Rudock did pass through waivers in 2016 when waived, but there’s obviously a chance the Lions won’t get to retain him.

NFC North Notes: Blount, Lions, Rudock

When LeGarette Blount starts the 2018 season with the Lions, it will be his third team in as many years. Blount has won the past two Super Bowls, first with the Patriots then with the Eagles. Blount rushed 766 yards and two touchdowns last season in Philadelphia, but wasn’t offered a contract by the team after the season.

When asked if he carried a grudge due to the snub, Blount replied “I’m past that”, according to Matt Lombardo of NJ.com. Blount emphasized that he’s looking forward to playing for the Lions and coach Matt Patricia, saying “fortunately, it worked out for me to wind up here with somebody that I’m familiar with, and like a lot.” Although the move means Blount is unlikely to win a third straight Super Bowl, it doesn’t sound like he’s losing too much sleep over the divorce.

Here’s more from the NFC North:

 

NFC Notes: Donald, Giants, Cash, Lions

The Aaron Donald saga may finally be nearing a conclusion. Rams GM Les Snead indicated earlier this week that team and player were progressing towards a new deal, and head coach Sean McVay echoed those sentiments last night. Per Vincent Bonsignore of The Athletic (Twitter link), McVay said, “there’s increased dialogue. There’s more…we feel positive about the direction that these things are going. I think there’s a level of urgency that’s being displayed from us.” That probably sounds like music to the ears of Rams fans, who have legitimate championship dreams this season.

Now let’s take a quick look at a few more notes from the NFC:

  • Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com tweets that Giants quarterback Kyle Lauletta is getting reps with the second team today, which is the first time Dunleavy can recall that happening. 2017 third-rounder Davis Webb was said to have a big lead on Lauletta for Big Blue’s backup job coming out of minicamp, but this could be a sign that Lauletta, a 2018 fourth-round pick, is closing the gap. Webb, of course, was selected by New York’s prior regime, while Lauletta has the benefit of being chosen by the team’s new crop of decision-makers.
  • Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (via Twitter) that Cardinals LB Jeremy Cash sustained a knee injury during last night’s preseason game that is believed to be season-ending. That is a tough blow for the Duke product, who has bounced around a few different teams since entering the league but who had a real chance of cracking Arizona’s 53-man roster this season. The Cardinals claimed him off waivers in March.
  • Good news for 49ers fans, as right guard Joshua Garnett has returned to practice after missing two weeks to deal with his right knee issue, per Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group (via Twitter). Matt Barrows of The Athletic tweets that Garnett’s primary competitor for San Francisco’s right guard job, Jonathan Cooper, is also on hand, so perhaps the competition can finally begin in earnest. This comes just a week after a report that the 49ers were growing increasingly concerned about Garnett’s knee problems.
  • Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press offers his take on the prospects of a few different Lions after the team’s first preseason game several nights ago. He says it is only a matter of time before rookie Kerryon Johnson becomes Detroit’s starting tailback, though Ameer Abdullah also looked good and was the first man up on kick and punt returns. Birkett adds that Jake Rudock‘s rough night, combined with Matt Cassel‘s ties to head coach Matt Patricia, have increased Cassel’s chances of opening the season as the club’s backup QB.
  • The Bears signed running back/return specialist Knile Davis earlier today.

Extra Points: Cowboys, Rams, Brockers, Lions, Dunlap

After much speculation, Cowboys defender Byron Jones confirmed on Monday that he will be switching from safety to cornerback in 2018, the Dallas Morning News’ Jon Machota writes.

Viewed as a versatile defender coming out of college, Jones played cornerback as a rookie in 2015 and a safety the past two seasons. New defensive backs coach Kris Richard preferred him at the former.

“I think it will be a good move for me and the team. I’m always open to making position changes, as long as I’m in the best position to succeed. If [Richard] believes my best position is corner, then I’m down.”

Richard knows a thing or two about getting the best from bigger cornerbacks. With the Seahawks, Richard oversaw Richard Sherman’s ascent to one of the premier corners in the league. What remains to be seen is if the team prefers him on the boundary or in the slot. In 2017, rookies Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis showed plenty of promise on the outside.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • In a press conference on Monday, Rams defensive lineman Michael Brockers told reporters he tore his MCL in the team’s playoff loss to the Falcons in January, ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez tweets. During that game, the sixth-year defender sat out the second half. The good news for Los Angeles is that Brockers took part in team activities on Monday, but they’re not in pads until training camp.
  • If any Lions players are moved in draft-day deals, some of the names that make sense include Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick and Jake Rudock, ESPN’s Michael Rothstein writes. Those names all come to mind after the team added veterans in LeGarrette Blount and Matt Cassel in the offseason.
  • The goal is for the Bengals to sign both Carlos Dunlap and get a new deal with Geno AtkinsBengals.com writer Geoff Hobson notes in a mailbag. Both Dunlap’s and Atkins’ deals run through the 2018 campaign.
  • NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is expected to be deposed in the next two weeks in Colin Kaeperncik‘s collusion case against the league, USA Today’s A.J. Perez writes. Seahawks general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll are also on the docket to be deposed.

RFA/ERFA Tender Decisions: 3/14/18

Here are today’s restricted free agent and exclusive-rights free agent tender decisions, with the list being updated throughout the day. All links go to Twitter unless otherwise noted:

RFAs

Tendered at the second-round level ($2.914MM):

Tendered at original round level ($1.907MM):

Non-tendered:

ERFAs

Tendered:

Non-tendered: