Jaylen Watkins

Eagles Won’t Tender Jaylen Watkins

The Eagles do not plan to tender defensive back Jaylen Watkins as a restricted free agent, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears. Watkins was a candidate for the original round tender, but instead it sounds like he’lll be allowed to explore the open market in March. Jaylen Watkins (vertical)

Watkins first joined the Eagles a fourth-round pick in the 2014 draft. The Florida product didn’t see a ton of time on the field in his first two seasons, but he got his chance to be a regular contributor starting in 2016. Watkins has appeared in 28 regular season games over the last two years and recorded 51 total tackles.

This past season, Watkins saw most of his playing time on special teams with only 170 defensive snaps to his credit. He was not a star for the defending champs, but he still played a vital role.

He’s Mr. Do-It-All,” Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills recently said of Watkins (via the News-Press). “Whatever spot, if anybody happens to bust a shoelace, equipment issue, you can plug him in, and you know he’s going to go out there and do the job.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 3/4/17

Here are today’s minor moves:

  • Former Utah quarterback Travis Wilson signed with the Rams, Howard Balzer of BalzerFootball.com reports (on Twitter). The 23-year-old Wilson, though, will switch positions upon going to Los Angeles. The Rams added the four-year Utes contributor as a tight end.
  • The Bears have re-signed quarterback Connor Shaw as well as long snapper Patrick Scales, as Patrick Finley and Adam L. Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times write. Shaw was doing quite well in preseason last year before suffering a broken left leg in the team’s third exhibition contest. Recently, GM Ryan Pace said Shaw is doing “very well” in his rehab.
  • The Eagles announced they’ve agreed to terms on a one-year deal with safety Jaylen Watkins.

Eagles Sign Jaylen Watkins; Nolan Carroll To IR

Today is Jaylen Watkins‘ 23rd birthday, and he’s on the receiving end of a generous gift from his old club — the Eagles are bringing him back. As first reported by Dave Zangaro of CSNPhilly.com (Twitter link) and confirmed by the club (via Twitter), the Eagles have signed Watkins off the Bills’ practice squad, placing Nolan Carroll on injured reserve in a corresponding move.

Watkins, who was selected in the fourth round of the 2014 draft by the Eagles, played just four games for the team last year before being cut and finding his way to the Bills’ practice squad. It made sense for Watkins to land in Buffalo, where his brother Sammy Watkins plays, but given the opportunity to return to a 53-man roster, the young cornerback will head back to Philadelphia.

That opportunity in Philadelphia opened up when Carroll left Thursday’s game against the Lions with an injury that the team later confirmed was a broken ankle. As he heads to injured reserve, Carroll may have played his last game for the Eagles, who signed him to a two-year deal prior to the 2014 season. The 28-year-old figures to reach the open market this March.

Sunday NFL Transactions: AFC East

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four AFC East 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 Bills, Dolphins, Patriots, and Jets are noted below.

Additionally, as of 11:00am today, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads. For the 2014 and 2015 seasons, changes were made to practice squad rules that allow teams to carry eight players instead of 10, and the eligibility requirements for those extra two spots were also loosened. 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 AFC East transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day:

Buffalo Bills

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

  • Claimed off waivers:
  • Cut:
  • Signed to practice squad:

New York Jets

  • Signed:
  • Claimed off waivers:
  • Cut:
  • Signed to practice squad (press release):
    • LB Deion Barnes
    • FB Julian Howsare
    • LB Taiwan Jones
    • CB Keon Lyn
    • WR Walter Powell
    • TE Wes Saxton
    • T Wesley Johnson (Twitter link via Adam Caplan)
    • DL Jordan Williams

Eagles Reduce Roster To 52 Players

Their decision to cut Tim Tebow will make the biggest headlines today, but the Eagles have made many more roster moves, and have not only reduced their roster to the maximum 53 — they’ve gone one further, getting down to 52 players.

As Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets, there’s a good chance that 53rd spot will be filled in the coming days with a quarterback. After having cut Tebow and traded Matt Barkley, the club is carrying just two signal-callers, and wouldn’t mind adding some insurance for the oft-injured Sam Bradford.

Here are the rest of the Eagles’ cuts, per a press release:

  • WR Rasheed Bailey
  • G Brett Boyko
  • G Malcolm Bunche
  • CB Randall Evans
  • TE Andrew Gleichert
  • LB Najee Goode
  • WR Jeff Maehl
  • WR Freddie Martino
  • DE Brian Mihalik
  • G John Moffitt
  • RB Raheem Mostert
  • WR Quron Pratt
  • S Chris Prosinski
  • DE Travis Raciti
  • S Ed Reynolds
  • LB Deontae Skinner
  • P Kip Smith
  • TE Eric Tomlinson
  • C/G Julian Vandervelde
  • LB Diaheem Watkins
  • CB Jaylen Watkins

Extra Points: Brady, Orton, Seahawks

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady issued a Facebook statement Friday in response to Judge Richard Berman’s decision on Thursday to overturn the four-game suspension the NFL handed him for his role in DeflateGate. Here are a couple snippets from the full statement, which can be found here (courtesy of ESPN’s Josina Anderson):

“While I am pleased to be eligible to play, I am sorry our league had to endure this. I don’t think it has been good for our sport – to a large degree, we have all lost.”

“I love the NFL. It is a privilege to be a member of the NFL community and I will always try to do my best in representing my team and the league in a way that would make all members of this community proud.”

More from around the league as Saturday’s 53-man roster deadline draws closer:

  • Multiple teams – including the Jets – reached out to retired quarterback Kyle Orton this summer about a possible comeback, but he spurned their advances. Orton told Chris Trapasso of NFL.com that retirement had been on his mind for the past couple seasons, so he finally walked away from the game for good (Twitter link). Buffalo coaxed Orton out of a brief retirement last year and he proceeded to throw 18 touchdowns against 10 interceptions, giving him 101 and 69, respectively, for his career. The former fourth-round pick played for five different franchises after entering the NFL in 2005.
  • With Marshawn Lynch, the newly added Fred Jackson and Robert Turbin on the Seahawks’ running back depth chart, Christine Michael could be the odd man out. The team is exploring trade options for him, reports Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (Twitter link).
  • The Eagles are shopping second-year cornerback Jaylen Watkins, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.
  • The Texans are mulling signing another quarterback after third-stringer Tom Savage suffered a severely sprained throwing shoulder Thursday, Wilson writes. “It’s a discussion that we’re having, whether to go out and possibly get a third quarterback or maybe have a quarterback on the practice squad, something like that,” head coach Bill O’Brien said. “We haven’t made a final decision on that.”

NFC East Notes: Watkins, Linehan, Orton

The Eagles have concluded their OTA period, and Jimmy Kempski of Philly.com has highlighted five players who impressed during spring practices. Among those who left a good impression were Arrelious Benn and Darren Sproles. Benn has an uphill battle for one of the roster spots at receiver, and his injury history hurts has chances, but he looks to have recovered from the ACL injury that caused him to miss all of 2013. Sproles however looks custom fit for the Chip Kelly offense, and could be dangerous in the passing game.

Here are some other notes from around the NFC East:

  • Fourth-round pick Jaylen Watkins has wowed the Eagles‘ coaching staff with his football IQ, especially defensive backs coach John Lovett, reports Jake Kaplan of Philly.com. Watkins, who played corner and safety at Florida, has been tasked with learning both cornerback and nickelback in the new defense, even though he is only a rookie. “When you talk to him about his defense at Florida, he knew what everybody did,” Lovett said. “I talked to the defensive coordinator [D.J. Durkin] down there. They put him in at positions that he hadn’t even practiced that week because he knew what everybody was doing. He’s really got a great football IQ.”
  • Scott Linehan will be running the show for the Cowboys‘ offense in 2013, and that should mean a lot of throwing the football, writes Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk. In three years with the Lions, Matthew Stafford averaged 42 pass attempts per game under Linehan. Tony Romo averaged only 36 last year.
  • Although Cowboys backup Kyle Orton has already accrued over $150,000 in fines and de-escalators for the time he has missed, but Todd Archer of ESPNDallas.com still believes the veteran quarterback will return to the team and play out the season. Archer predicts Orton could skip the first week of training camp, before reporting around July 27th of 28th.
  • Redskins‘ outside linebacker coach Brian Baker has been working hard to teach fundamentals to his position group, writes John Keim of ESPN.com. He also worked on tackling drills during special teams, and the teams has put a special emphasis on that phase of the game, using all their coaches’ skills to benefit their special teams.
  • The Giants have also concluded their OTAs, so Jordan Raanan and Connor Orr of NJ.com have put together their best guess at the depth chart. A lot can happen during training camp and the preseason, but they have penciled in a presumed lineup for the upcoming season.

NFC East Notes: Cowboys, Eagles, Giants

Cowboys’ owner and general manager Jerry Jones spoke to Kimberly Jones of the NFL Network about the possibility of the NFL expanding their playoff format, and he liked the idea of more playoff teams, reports Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network (via Twitter). Jones noted that it would help his team get into the tournament, as the Cowboys have barely missed the playoffs in each of the past three seasons.

Here are some other notes from around the NFC East:

  • The Eagles have signed fourth-round pick Jaylen Watkins, fifth-round pick Taylor Hart, and undrafted free agent Devan Morgan, reports Jeff McClane of the Philadelphia Inquirer (via Twitter). Hart is a defensive end out of Oregon, while Watkins and Morgan are both defensive backs. The team released defensive back John Fulton to make room on the roster.
  • Eagles’ head coach Chip Kelly drafted two Oregon players this year, and both have found the transition from college to the pros smooth because of the connection, writes Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

    “There’s things in the offense I know already,” receiver Josh Huff said. “It’s just getting things separated from the Oregon offense to the Philly offense. The play calls are different. The hand signals are different. So I have to reboot my whole system and get it in order.”

    Hart also has some familiarity with the system.

  • The Giants have just enough cap room to sign all their draft picks without making any roster move, writes Jordan Ranaan of NJ.com (via Twitter). Ranaan still expects the team to free up about $5MM by cutting David Baas in the near future..

Draft Visits: Bradford, Vereen, Shembo, Tripp

2014’s period of pre-draft visits for prospects and NFL teams came to an end yesterday. Players will no longer be permitted to visit clubs between now and the draft on May 8, though teams are still allowed to work out players. Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post and Adam Caplan of ESPN.com have some details on some players who made visits prior to yesterday’s deadline, so let’s round up the highlights….

  • Arizona State outside linebacker Carl Bradford worked out for the Falcons and visited the Steelers, 49ers, and Chargers, reports Wilson. The Jaguars and Dolphins were among the other clubs to meet with Bradford, who is viewed as a potential second-round target.
  • The Giants hosted Richmond wide receiver Ben Edwards for a visit, according to Wilson. Edwards, who caught more than 200 passes during his college career, had his Pro Day attended by 20 NFL teams. Wilson adds that Minnesota safety Brock Vereen also visited the Giants.
  • Notre Dame outside linebacker Prince Shembo visited the Packers and also privately worked out for the Patriots, Jaguars, and Falcons, league sources tell Wilson.
  • Wilson also has the latest on Florida cornerback Jaylen Watkins, the brother of Sammy Watkins. According to Wilson, the former Gators DB has visited the Redskins, Falcons, and Eagles, and worked out for the Panthers and Patriots. Watkins met with the Colts and Lions as well.
  • In addition to his previously reported visits with the Falcons and Eagles, Montana linebacker Jordan Tripp also had workouts for the Patriots and Panthers, tweets Caplan.
  • In a separate tweet, Caplan adds North Carolina State defensive back Dontae Johnson to the list of prospects who visited the Eagles.

North Notes: Coleman, Vikings, Lions, Steelers

After hosting Kurt Coleman for a visit this week, the Vikings offered the free agent safety a contract, but it wasn’t enough to get him to pull the trigger, according to Ben Goessling of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Although the two sides may revisit talks at a later time, Coleman appears to still be exploring all his options.

Here are a few more notes from the NFL’s two North divisions, with a focus on pre-draft visits:

  • The Vikings are conducting a private workout today with Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, tweets ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter.
  • We know the Lions have real interest in receiver Sammy Watkins, but apparently he’s not the only member of the family drawing attention from the club. Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports (via Twitter) that the Lions also had a private workout for Florida defensive back Jaylen Watkins, Sammy’s brother.
  • Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby, Boston College linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis, and Arizona State linebacker Carl Bradford are visiting the Steelers today, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun.
  • The Ravens recently met with Virginia Tech signal-caller Logan Thomas, who has also met with the Bengals, according to Wilson. As Wilson details, in addition to those AFC North teams, Thomas has also worked out for or met with the Patriots, Cardinals, and Texans.