Jelani Jenkins

Bills To Sign LB Jelani Jenkins

Jelani Jenkins will return to the AFC East after an unsuccessful foray with the Raiders this offseason. The Bills are signing the former Dolphins linebacker, Joe Buscaglia of WKBW tweets.

The Raiders released Jenkins with an injury settlement earlier this month, and it looks like Buffalo feels confident the 4-3 outside linebacker has recovered sufficiently from the groin injury that sidelined him. The Bills cut rookie cornerback Greg Mabin to make room on the roster.

A 2013 fourth-round pick, Jenkins started for three seasons with the Dolphins. Although injuries marred his 2016 campaign, Jenkins stood out as a first-year starter two years prior in making 110 tackles and registering 3.5 sacks. The Bills did not have much experience on their linebacking corps behind starters Lorenzo Alexander and Ramon Humber, carrying fifth- and sixth-round rookies Matt Milano and Tanner Vallejo as second-stringers.

The Raiders signed Jenkins to a one-year, $1MM deal to compete for a starting job on a defense without much linebacker experience. He could not secure the outside linebacker position opposite Bruce Irvin and was released.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.

Raiders Release LB Jelani Jenkins

The Raiders have apparently parted ways with their lone defensive free agent signing. Linebacker Jelani Jenkins tweeted that he’s been released by the organization.

Jelani Jenkins (vertical)The 25-year-old inked a one-year deal with the Raiders back in March, and many expected him to serve as a top reserve for starting outside linebackers Bruce Irvin and Shilique Calhoun. Now, the team might be eyeing Tyrell Adams or James Cowser for that top backup role, or they could also turn to their trio of undrafted rookies (LaTroy LewisBrady Sheldon, and Nicholas Morrow).

Prior to his brief Raiders tenure, Jenkins spent four seasons in Miami. Selected in the fourth round of the 2013 draft, the linebacker had a breakout campaign in 2014, compiling 110 tackles and 3.5 sacks. Jenkins started another 13 games in 2015, but his role was reduced in 2016. The linebacker ultimately appeared in nine games (seven starts), compiling only 29 tackles.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Foster, Panthers, Cowboys

Two Alabama stalwarts are making the pre-draft visit rounds. Reuben Foster had dinner with Bears brass on Sunday night and visited the team’s facility today, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (on Twitter). Chicago holds the No. 3 pick in the draft. Although, the Bears spent upper-echelon inside linebacker money on Danny Trevathan and Jurrell Freeman last offseason.

Meanwhile, former Foster teammate Cam Robinson met with the Bills and Panthers. A Jaguars stop is next for the first-round tackle prospect, Rapoport reports. The Carolina visit occurred today. Robinson, Wisconsin’s Ryan Ramczyk and Utah’s Garrett Bolles headline the tackle class.

Here’s more from around the league.

  • Speaking of Panthers tackles, Matt Kalil‘s arrival in Charlotte will return Michael Oher to the right tackle position, should he be cleared to return to action. He and 2015 fourth-rounder Daryl Williams will compete for the right tackle job, David Newton of ESPN.com notes. Oher remains in the concussion protocol after suffering what turned out to be a severe head injury early last season. The 30-year-old Oher has two years remaining on the 2016 extension he signed. Oher started at left tackle for the Panthers beginning at the start of the 2015 season.
  • Zach Brown‘s Dolphins visit began tonight and will likely continue into Tuesday, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reports (on Twitter). Brown is arguably the best linebacker remaining on the UFA market. He worked with Fins linebackers coach Frank Bush while with the Titans.
  • Recently added Bengals linebacker Kevin Minter will begin his Cincinnati career as a middle ‘backer, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com tweets. Minter played as a 3-4 inside ‘backer with the Cardinals. However, it’s possible he could see time on the strong side in the Bengals’ 4-3 set. Vontaze Burfict and Vincent Rey are the likely incumbents set to flank Minter. Karlos Dansby returned to the Cardinals, beginning the teams’ indirect swap of non-rush ‘backers and leaving a bit of a hole on Cincinnati’s second level.
  • Jelani Jenkins figures to be Malcolm Smith‘s replacement as the Raiders‘ weakside linebacker, Scott Bair of CSNBayArea.com notes. Smith played as the Raiders’ weakside man for two seasons and was the team’s most utilized linebacker during that span, operating as a nickel player and a 3-4 inside man when Oakland shifted into those looks.
  • Kellen Moore‘s one-year Cowboys re-up is for $775K, Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports (on Twitter). Both Williams and the Telegram’s Clarence Hill report the Cowboys did not want to pay nearly what Josh McCown received from the Jets ($6MM fully guaranteed) to fill their impending backup quarterback vacancy. Dak Prescott will make $540K in base salary this season.
  • Damontre Moore signed a two-year, $1.66MM deal with the Cowboys, one that contains a $100K signing bonus, Todd Archer of ESPN.com reports.
  • Ray Rice remains focused on trying to re-enter the NFL. The former Ravens Pro Bowl running back said today his absence isn’t because he no longer has the ability. “The reason why I’m not playing football, you do the dots,” the now-30-year-old Rice said from Torrey Smith‘s charity basketball game in Baltimore, via Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com. “It ain’t because I’m a bad football player. That’s just keeping it real. I’m never giving up and never giving in.” Rice hasn’t played since the 2013 season. The video of him striking his then-fiancee, now-wife in an elevator that emerged in September of 2014 led to the Ravens cutting him. Rice’s incident figures to come up again as teams decide whether or not to take a chance on Joe Mixon, who was also seen punching a woman on camera.

Raiders Sign LB Jelani Jenkins

Jelani Jenkins has found a new home. The Raiders announced that they have signed the linebacker. Jenkins’ Raiders pact is for one year, Scott Bair of CSNBayArea.com tweets.Jelani Jenkins (vertical)

The Raiders have been in the market for support at both weakside linebacker and middle linebacker. Jenkins’ best fit may be on the weakside, but it’s possible he’ll see time at both spots.

Jenkins’ best season with the Dolphins came in 2014 when he had 110 combined tackles, 3.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, and one pass defensed. We haven’t seen him replicate those numbers in the last two years, however. In 2016, Pro Football Focus gave Jenkins the worst grade of any linebacker with enough snaps to qualify for ranking. His 31.4 score was hilariously bad, but he had good showings (76.9; 73.2) in the previous two campaigns.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders To Meet With LB Jelani Jenkins

Free agent linebacker Jelani Jenkins is expected to visit the Raiders this week, sources tell Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (on Twitter). This marks Jenkins’ first known free agent visit of the month. Jelani Jenkins (vertical)

[RELATED: Mark Davis “Dead Set” On Las Vegas]

The Raiders are looking for help at weakside linebacker and middle linebacker. Caplan hears from teams that Jenkins profiles more as a weakside ‘backer, which is the position he primarily played with the Dolphins.

Jenkins made some noise in 2014 when he had 110 total tackles, 3.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, and one pass defensed. From there, he saw his role gradually decrease. In 2015, he had 71 total tackles and three passes defensed. Last year, Jenkins appeared in nine games and accumulated 29 tackles.

In 2016, Pro Football Focus gave Jenkins the worst grade of any linebacker with enough snaps to qualify for a ranking. His 31.4 score was exceptionally bad, but he had much better showings (76.9; 73.2) in 2014 and 2015.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Major Roster Changes Looming For Dolphins?

At 1-4 with a minus-31 point differential, the Dolphins have been among the NFL’s worst teams this season. There are clearly weaknesses throughout the Dolphins’ roster, and Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald writes that the team has plenty of players it no longer wants. As a result, executive vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum, general manager Chris Grier and head coach Adam Gase are likely to oversee a significant makeover during the offseason.

[RELATED: Cameron Wake Won’t Request Trade]

The Dolphins already began moving on from players who aren’t part of the solution earlier this week, cutting offensive linemen Dallas Thomas and Billy Turner on Tuesday. Turner is now with the Ravens, who claimed him on waivers, but Salguero reports that the Dolphins couldn’t find any takers when they shopped him and Thomas.

With Turner and Thomas gone, there are a slew of other Dolphins with iffy futures, according to Salguero. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill and offensive lineman Branden Albert are among those with nebulous statuses beyond this year, though Salguero doesn’t expect Miami to move on from either. Running back Arian Foster, tight end Jordan Cameron and tackle Jermon Bushrod are all impending free agents who are doubtful to return in 2017 (Cameron could retire). Receiver Kenny Stills‘ deal also expires at season’s end, and Salguero notes that he has a fan in Gase, but the Dolphins haven’t been willing to commit a multiyear deal to him yet. Unless that changes prior to free agency, Stills could head elsewhere for a raise.

Mario Williams

Defensively, ends Mario Williams, Jason Jones and Andre Branch, linebackers Jelani Jenkins and Koa Misi, and cornerback Byron Maxwell might be in new uniforms next year. Williams and Maxwell, two high-profile offseason additions, look as though they’ll be one and done in Miami, per Salguero. The two have underwhelmed with the Dolphins, who would save $14MM (compared to $5MM in dead money) by releasing them prior to next season. The only other member of the group who’s signed past 2016 is Misi. However, Misi’s career could be in jeopardy, and releasing him would free up $4.2MM in spending room at the cost of just $578K in dead money next season – the final year of Misi’s contract.

Given that the Dolphins’ season isn’t even halfway over, at least some of these individuals could play their way out of the doghouse over the next 11 games. The Dolphins are currently on track for a sizable house cleaning, though, and with the 4-1 Steelers and 3-2 Bills next on their schedule, they could enter their Week 8 bye at 1-6.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Steelers, Colts, Dolphins, Patriots

Agent Drew Rosenhaus, in New Orleans as the Steelers prepared for tonight’s preseason game against the Saints, discussed wide receiver Antonio Brown‘s contract with Pittsburgh general manager Kevin Colbert, tweets Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Brown, who has two years left on his deal, has been requesting a new contract for some time, but the Steelers have been insistent that they won’t negotiate right now. Universally considered an elite pass-catcher, Brown is ranked 18th among wide receivers in terms of average annual compensation ($8.4MM/year).

Here’s more from the AFC:

  • The Colts are meeting with Stevan Ridley today, but don’t expect them to sign him or any other running back before the end of the day, according to Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star (Twitter link). If Ridley proves to be healthy, he could be a quality backup for starter Frank Gore. The Colts have spoken at length about their plan to preserve Gore and keep him on a pitch count. Last year, Gore wound up carrying the ball 260 times, and Indianapolis wants to dial that number down so that the veteran can be fresh late in the season.
  • Dolphins linebacker Jelani Jenkins underwent a “cleanup” procedure on his knee, reports Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald (Twitter link), and although Jackson doesn’t specify a timeline, it’s fair to assume the operation took place fairly recently. Defensive end Terrence Fede, meanwhile, has a sprained MCL, so Miami’s defensive depth could be getting a little thin. The Dolphins had interest in adding linebacker Stephen Tulloch before he signed with the Eagles, so the club could look to add some bodies to its defense during the next few weeks.
  • Linebacker Vince Williamsnew deal with the Steelers calls for him to earn $5MM in new money over the three-year span, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. His 2016 salary of $675K remains the same but he also gets a $1.5MM signing bonus with a $2MM salary in 2017 and 2018.
  • Barkevious Mingo‘s skillset is a solid fit for the Patriots‘ versatile defense, as the former Brown is comfortable both rushing and dropping into coverage from the linebacker position, explains Doug Kyed of NESN.com. Earlier today, I examined why New England might have shipped a fifth-round to Cleveland for Mingo (aside from on-field reasons).

2016 Proven Performance Escalators

According to the NFL’s contractual bargaining agreement, players drafted in rounds three though seven are entitled to raises during the fourth year of their respective rookie contracts. The pay bumps are tied to playing time — a player must have played in 35% of his team’s offensive or defensive snaps in two of his first three seasons, or averaged 35% playing time cumulatively during that period.

If one of these thresholds is met, the player’s salary is elevated to the level of that year’s lowest restricted free agent tender — that figure is projected to be $1.696MM in 2016. Players selected in the first or second round, undrafted free agents, and kickers/punters are ineligible for the proven performance escalator.

Here are the players who will see their salary rise in 2016 courtesy of the proven performance escalator:Keenan Allen (Vertical)

49ers: Gerald Hodges, LB

Bears: Marquess Wilson, WR

Buccaneers: William Gholston, DE; Mike Glennon, QB; Akeem Spence, DT

Cardinals: Andre Ellington, RB; Tyrann Mathieu, CB/S; Alex Okafor, LB

Chargers: Keenan Allen, WR

Colts: Sio Moore, LB; Hugh Thornton, G

Cowboys: J.J. Wilcox, S; Terrance Williams, WR

Dolphins: Jelani Jenkins, LB; Dallas Thomas, T; Dion Sims, TE; Kenny Stills, WR

Eagles: Bennie Logan, DT

Falcons: Kemal Ishmael, S; Levine Toilolo, TE

Jaguars: Josh Evans, S; Dwayne Gratz, CB

Jets: Brian Winters, G

Lions: Larry Warford, G

Packers: David Bakhtiari, T; Micah Hyde, S

Patriots: Duron Harmon, S; Chris Jones, DT; Logan Ryan, CB

Raiders: Mychal Rivera, TE

Rams: T.J. McDonald, S

Ravens: Ricky Wagner, T; Brandon Williams, DT

Saints: Terron Armstead, T; John Jenkins, DT

Seahawks: Luke Willson, TE

Steelers: Markus Wheaton, WR

Titans: Brian Schwenke, C

Washington: Jordan Reed, TE