Jason Croom

AFC East Notes: Newton, Tua, Fins, Bills

The Patriots made a big splash last night when they signed former league MVP Cam Newton to a one-year contract. The assumption is that Newton will be the team’s starting signal-caller, but Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network says the Pats made no promises in that regard. Still, while there is technically an open competition between Newton and second-year pro Jarrett Stidham, it would be stunning if Newton did not win the job (video link). Garafolo also points out that Newton still has to pass a physical, but the Patriots are confident he will do so.

Garafolo also passes along a fun fact (via Twitter): New England is the third team in NFL history to lose one MVP and sign another in the same offseason. The 2000 Dolphins parted ways with Dan Marino and brought in Thurman Thomas, and the 2005 Cardinals bid farewell to Emmitt Smith and signed Kurt Warner.

Now for more from the AFC East:

  • The Dolphins drafted Tua Tagovailoa with the belief that he will be the franchise signal-caller the team has been seeking for the past 20 years. He may not start right away, but Albert Breer of SI.com believes the southpaw will be put into the starting lineup at some point this season. While the 2020 Dolphins should be an improved squad over last year’s iteration, Miami is still probably at least a year away from playoff contention, so the team will have no reason to keep Tagovailoa on the sidelines for the entire campaign.
  • Miami is set at the LG and C spots with Ereck Flowers and Ted Karras, respectively. Beyond that, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald says the Dolphins are still undecided as to whether second-round rookie Robert Hunt would be a better fit at RG or RT in 2020. If Hunt gets a shot at RT and performs well, that could bump 2019 starter Jesse Davis back to the interior or to the bench. Meanwhile, Michael Deiter will compete for the starting RG and backup C slots.
  • In the same piece linked above, Jackson notes that the Dolphins are working out WR Gary Jennings in the slot — where he thrived in college — and on the outside. Jennings was a fourth-round pick of the Seahawks in 2019, but Seattle waived him in November and Miami scooped him up. He played in just one game for the ‘Fins before getting hurt, but his draft pedigree and upside will give him a good chance to make the club as the fifth or sixth WR.
  • In a minor trade last summer, the Bills acquired OL Ryan Bates from the Eagles in exchange for DE Eli Harold. Philadelphia subsequently cut Harold, but Buffalo hung on to Bates, who was active for nine games. Per Adam Caplan of InsideTheBirds.com, the Bills view Bates, a 2019 UDFA, as a viable right tackle, guard, and center, so they expect him to be a key backup in 2020 who may take on a bigger role down the road.
  • Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic, meanwhile, views Bates as a potential trade candidate. Buscaglia also looks at a few other players that the Bills could put on the trade market, a list headed by WR Robert Foster and TE Jason Croom.

Bills Re-Sign TE Jason Croom

Jason Croom is re-signing with the Bills. ESPN’s Field Yates reports (via Twitter) that the tight end is inking a new one-year deal with Buffalo. Croom was an exclusive rights free agent.

Croom joined the Bills as an undrafted free agent out of Tennessee in 2017. After bouncing between the practice squad and active roster during his rookie campaign, Croom finally had a chance to contribute in 2018. He ultimately led all Bills tight ends with 22 receptions, 259 yards, and one touchdown (he also had a pair of fumbles).

Croom dealt with a hamstring injury for much of last year’s offseason workouts, and the injury ultimately forced him to be placed on the injured reserve. As a result, the 26-year-old didn’t end up getting into a single game last season.

Croom will be re-joining a relatively deep tight ends corps in Buffalo. The current depth chart is led by the likes of Dawson Knox, Tyler Kroft, and Lee Smith.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills To Re-Sign S Kurt Coleman

One Bills cutdown day casualty is about to find himself back with the team. Buffalo is going to re-sign safety Kurt Coleman, according to Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic (Twitter link).

To make room on the roster, the team will place tight end Jason Croom on inured reserve. The Bills signed Coleman back on July 19th in the wake of fellow safety Rafael Bush’s retirement. Coleman was one of the bigger names that got cut by the Bills yesterday, but his release was apparently only for roster maneuvering purposes. As a vested veteran Coleman wasn’t subjected to waivers, so the Bills could easily add him right back.

The deal Coleman originally signed was for one-year and a little over $1MM but could be worth up to $2MM, and it’s unclear if he’ll get those same terms now. Coleman spent a couple years playing under Bills head coach Sean McDermott when both of them were with the Panthers, so there’s familiarity here. He’ll likely serve as the team’s third safety behind Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer. In his nine-year career, Coleman has made 132 appearances and 83 starts.

Croom signed with the Bills as an undrafted free agent in 2017. He didn’t make any appearances as a rookie, but played a real role last year. In 15 games and three starts, he finished with 22 catches for 259 yards and a touchdown.

NFL Reserve/Future Contracts: 1/8/18

Here are the latest reserve/futures contract signings from around the NFL. These deals will go into effect on the first day of the 2018 league year, with players joining their respective clubs’ offseason 90-man rosters:

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

  • WR Rasheed Bailey

Detroit Lions

Los Angeles Rams 

NFL Workout Updates: 10/24/17

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

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Dallas Cowboys

  • LS Trent Gow (link)

Detroit Lions

  • WR Jake Kumerow (link)

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

New Orleans Saints

Oakland Raiders

NFL Workout Updates: 10/19/17

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

Buffalo Bills

Detroit Lions

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Washington Redskins

NFL Workout Updates: 10/18/17

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

Atlanta Falcons

  • DE Ricky Ali’ifua; TE Anthony Firkser; DT Nigel Williams, FB Malcolm Johnson; LB Kevin Snyder (link)

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

  • CB Josh Thornton; RB Marquez Williams (link)

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Los Angeles Chargers

  • S Malik Smith (link)

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

  • T Storm Norton (link)

NFL Workout Updates: 10/16/17

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

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Detroit Lions

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

San Francisco 49ers

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/20/17

Today’s minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Minnesota Vikings

Seattle Seahawks

  • Signed: T Tyrus Thompson (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers