Jaylen Samuels

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/4/21

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Texans Work Out Two Running Backs

After trading off one running back yesterday, the Texans are eyeing some free agents at the position. According to Aaron Wilson (via Twitter), Houston auditioned Jaylen Samuels and Darius Jackson.

[RELATED: Texans Trading RB Mark Ingram To Saints]

Samuels was a fifth-round pick by the Steelers back in 2018, and he saw time in 42 games through three seasons with the organization. However, after collecting 935 yards from scrimmage and five touchdowns through his first two years in the NFL, he was limited to only 74 yards on 18 touches in 2020. The 25-year-old was cut by the Steelers at the end of the preseason and later landed on their practice squad, but he was released yesterday.

Jackson has bounced around the league since being selected in the sixth round of the 2016 draft. He’s had three stints with the Cowboys, two stints with the Colts, and cameos with the Browns, Packers, Buccaneers, Raiders, and Texans. The 27-year-old spent the 2021 preseason with Las Vegas and Houston. In total, he’s seen time in four games, getting six touches for 16 yards.

The Texans traded veteran Mark Ingram to the Saints yesterday, although the team still has plenty of depth at the position. At the moment, the team is rostering David Johnson, Rex Burkhead, Phillip Lindsay, and Scottie Phillips.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 10/27/21

Today’s practice squad moves:

Denver Broncos

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

New York Giants

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Wednesday NFL Transactions: AFC North

Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline Tuesday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters. In addition to waiver claims, teams can begin constructing their 16-man practice squads today. These BengalsBrownsRavens and Steelers moves are noted below.

Here are Wednesday’s AFC North transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day.

Baltimore Ravens

Signed to practice squad:

Cincinnati Bengals

Claimed:

Released:

Waived:

Signed to practice squad:

Cleveland Browns

Signed:

Placed on IR:

Signed to practice squad:

Pittsburgh Steelers

Signed to practice squad:

Steelers Cut Down To 53

The Steelers became the latest team to officially get their roster down to 53 players on Tuesday. More shuffling can be expected in the days to come, but the initial 53 is set. Here’s who didn’t make the cut:

Waived:

Placed on season-ending IR:

Some of these names will certainly be familiar, including Samuels. The 2018 fifth-round pick from N.C. State received a lot of run in his first two years as a hybrid player, and got 113 touches in 2019. He fell out of favor last year, playing sparingly and only getting 18 touches. With the team drafting Najee Harris in the first-round, there was no longer any need for him.

Finney was with the Steelers from 2015-19, and started at least two games in four straight years from 2016-19. But he wasn’t able to crack the 53-man roster in his return after spending last year with the Seahawks and Bengals. Notably, former first-round quarterback Dwayne Haskins has made the initial 53-man roster behind Ben Roethlisberger and Mason Rudolph. Dobbs will spend the whole year on IR after getting hurt in the preseason finale.

Extra Points: Dolphins, Samuels, USFL

Dolphins receivers Albert Wilson and Allen Hurns both opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19. Both are now back in Miami for 2021, and both say they don’t regret their decisions to opt out, via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. “There was never a time I second-guessed” the decision to opt out, Hurns said. Each player’s contract tolled, and each has a little over $1MM in guaranteed money for this season, but Jackson writes that they’re both fighting for roster spots. Wilson looked great after first joining the Dolphins in 2018, but a serious hip injury knocked him out after only seven games.

He came back in 2019, but wasn’t the same as he dealt with injuries. “I wasn’t comfortable doing things that [2019] year [but] I feel great right now — my whole body, including the hip,” Wilson said. Jackson writes that Wilson and Hurns have both looked sharp so far in practices after the time off. “They’re both in good shape,” said Dolphins coach Brian Flores.There’s always a little rust from any player after having some time off, but I think they look really good.” With DeVante Parker, Will Fuller, and rookie first-rounder Jaylen Waddle at the top of the depth chart, it won’t be easy to get their old playing time back.

Here’s more from around the NFL as the offseason chugs along:

  • Speaking of players unlikely to get their 2019 playing time back, things don’t appear to be going well for Jaylen Samuels in Pittsburgh. After the Steelers drafted running back Najee Harris in the first round, Mark Kaboly of The Athletic writes that it’s “difficult to envision a scenario” where Samuels makes the team. Kaboly thinks Kalen Ballage and Benny Snell are battling it out for the last running back spot. The Steelers drafted Samuels in the fifth-round back in 2018, and he started three games as a rookie then four in 2019. He played a sizable hybrid role in 2019 as Ben Roethlisberger was sidelined with an elbow injury, rushing 66 times, reeling in 47 receptions for 305 yards, and even attempting five passes. But the NC State product fell out of favor with Mike Tomlin last year, only carrying the ball nine times and getting nine catches. Now it sounds like Samuels, who will turn 25 next month, will need to jump-start his career elsewhere.
  • The AAF, the XFL, The Spring League. The list of attempted NFL offseason football leagues has grown seemingly endless in recent years, and a new one is trying to throw their hat in the ring. That’s right, the USFL is attempting a re-launch, via ESPN.com News Wire. Owners like Dwayne Johnson purchased the league out of bankruptcy in 2020. The ill-fated USFL, which originally ran from 1983-85, is hoping to start play again in 2022. Their press release claimed they’ll have a minimum of eight teams and will “deliver high-quality, innovative professional football to fans.” They apparently have a broadcasting partnership set up with Fox Sports. These leagues are always long-shots, but the original USFL did attract some big-name star players like Herschel Walker, and with names like Johnson now involved, it’s possible they could overcome the odds.
  • Speaking of non-NFL football leagues, a former high profile college passer is headed to the CFL. Former Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson has signed with the BC Lions of the CFL, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Patterson came to prominence when he became Ole Miss’ starter as a true freshman, and then later transferred to Michigan and had some tumultuous years under Jim Harbaugh. He signed with the Chiefs as an UDFA in 2020, but didn’t come particularly close to making the team.

Steelers Activate QB Ben Roethlisberger, Three Others

Following a brief stint on the COVID-19 reserve list, Ben Roethlisberger will be under center tomorrow against the Bengals. The Steelers announced that they’ve activated their quarterback from the COVID-19 list. The team also activated offensive lineman Jerald Hawkins, running back Jaylen Samuels, and linebacker Vince Williams.

The four players didn’t test positive, but they were close contacts of tight end Vance McDonald, who had a positive test earlier this week. As a result, these players had to isolate for several days and test negative before rejoining the squad.

“I’m doing good,” Roethlisberger said (via Gerry Dulac of the Post-Gazette on Twitter). “I feel great. If my body enjoyed the week off, my mind teaching pre-kindergarten did not enjoy the week off. It’s fun to be home, but I definitely missed the guys.”

Naturally, the team is now making up for lost time in their preparation for Cincinnati. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler tweets that Roethlisberger was expected to participate in the Steelers walkthrough this morning, with the team hoping to get their veteran quarterback some extra time on the practice field.

After being limited to only a pair of games in 2019, the 38-year-old has played a major role in the Steelers undefeated record in 2020. Roethlisberger has completed 68.1-percent of his passes (a mark that would be a career high) for 1,934 yards, 18 touchdowns, and four interceptions.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steelers Place Ben Roethlisberger On COVID-19 List

The Steelers have placed quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on the COVID-19 reserve list, per a club announcement. Running back Jaylen Samuels, offensive lineman Jerald Hawkins, and linebacker Vince Williams have also been added to the list. 

The news comes just hours after tight end Vance McDonald was parked with the same designation. Per league rules, each Steelers player will have to isolate for several days and test negative before rejoining the team.

Roethlisberger is not believed to have tested positive. Instead, he was deemed a high-risk, close contact, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). Depending on what happens from here, the QB may have a chance to start on Sunday against the Bengals.

Meanwhile, Big Ben is hoping to heal up from double knee injuries suffered against the Cowboys. Despite that setback, Roethlisberger and the Steelers won 24-19 and advanced to 8-0 on the year.

Draft Pick Signings: 5/9/18

Today’s draft pick signings:

  • The Falcons have agreed to terms with second-round cornerback Isaiah Oliver, fourth-round running back Ito Smith, sixth-round receiver Russell Gage, and sixth-round linebacker Foyesade Olukom. That leaves Atlanta with just two remaining unsigned draft picks, first-round wideout Calvin Ridley and third-round defensive tackle Deadrin Senat. None of the four selections signed by the Falcons today figure to have much of a 2018 role, but given the strength of Atlanta’s roster, the club was able to target future value. Oliver fits the Falcons’ size requirements for a defensive back and could help out down the line, while Smith is a hedge against Atlanta failing to sign Tevin Coleman, who will become a free agent at season’s end.
  • Fifth-round offensive lineman Tyrell Crosby has signed his rookie deal with the Lions. Crosby surprisingly fell to Day 3 of the draft after many analysts pegged him as at least a Day 2 selection. Although he played tackle at Oregon, Crosby could shift to guard in Detroit, especially given the presence of incumbent tackles Taylor Decker and Ricky Wagner. Crosby may compete to start at left guard, but with Graham Glasgow likely locking down that position, Crosby is probably looking at reserve duty for 2018.
  • The Steelers have inked their first rookie to a contract, as fifth-round rookie running back Jaylen Samuels is now signed. Samuels, a North Carolian State product, was something of a jack-of-all-trades during his collegiate days, and it won’t be surprising if he sees action at fullback, tight end, or receiver during his rookie season in Pittsburgh. Long-term, Samuels could be a candidate to replace Le’Veon Bell, who will once again play under the franchise tag in 2018.
  • Fifth-round wideout Justin Watson has singed his rookie pact with the Buccaneers, tweets Jenna Laine of ESPN.com. Watson posted excellent athletic testing results and put up outstanding production at Pennsylvania, but he’s coming from a small school and Lance Zierlein of NFL.com says Watson “doesn’t move with desired suddenness.” Watson likely won’t factor into Tampa Bay’s offense this season, but could carve out a role on special teams.
  • The Patriots didn’t land a first-round quarterback as many had projected, but they did pick LSU signal-caller Danny Etling in the seventh round, and he’s now under contract. New England doesn’t figure to keep three quarterbacks on its roster, so Etling will likely (at best) spend the 2018 season on the club’s practice squad. It’s possible he’s just a camp arm.