Jeron Johnson

Cowboys Announce Roster Cuts

In addition to releasing veteran kicker Dan Bailey, the Cowboys have made several other moves in order to move their roster to 53 players:

Cut:

Green, a former third-round pick, has struggled mightily in his effort to become Dallas’ third offensive tackle. Ward, for his part, was acquired in exchange for wide receiver Ryan Switzer earlier this year.

Cowboys Notes: Collins, Jones, Swaim, WRs

The Cowboys boast more defensive line depth than they have in the recent past, and they are expecting to have one of their starters back in time for the regular season. Executive VP Stephen Jones expects Maliek Collins to be ready to go by Week 1. Jones indicated during a Saturday radio interview with 105.3 KRLD-FM (via the Dallas Morning News) that Collins, who suffered another foot injury this offseason but was activated from the PUP list last week, may well be on a pitch count upon returning. He may no longer be a starter, however, with Tyrone Crawford having moved to defensive tackle. Crawford and Antwaun Woods are currently Dallas’ inside starters. Collins has started 30 of the 32 games he’s played since arriving as a third-round pick, so this would create some depth — something Jones said isn’t as prevalent at defensive tackle as it is at end — inside.

Here’s the latest out of Dallas:

  • Stephen Jones dismissed the prospect of Byron Jones returning to safety due to the team’s situation there. Byron Jones is now a cornerback, with new secondary coach Kris Richard preferring taller corners who can press, and Stephen Jones has praised the development the former first-round safety’s made at his new position.
  • Kavon Frazier is now working as Dallas’ starting strong safety, replacing the injured Xavier Woods for the time being, and that’s resulted in Jeff Heath moving to free safety, Calvin Watkins of The Athletic notes (subscription required). The Cowboys do not view the recently signed Jeron Johnson as a starter but instead more of a depth piece behind the current first-stringers. Watkins writes the Cowboys discussed George Iloka, who opted for the Vikings on a league-minimum agreement, but liked Johnson because of his positional flexibility. Stephen Jones hinted at (Twitter link, via the Morning News’ Jon Machota) another safety potentially being added after preseason cuts commence.
  • While the Cowboys discussed Earl Thomas with the Seahawks, they did not replace Jason Witten with a high- or medium-profile player. Geoff Swaim, a 2015 seventh-round pick with nine career catches, will replace the future Hall of Famer in the starting lineup, per Watkins, who adds 2017 UDFA Blake Jarwin is the No. 2 tight end. Rico Gathers may not have a way onto the roster, with Watkins expecting Dallas to carry three tight ends. The Cowboys drafted Dalton Schultz in the fourth round, and he almost certainly will be the No. 3 player here.
  • Stephen Jones dropped an interesting hint about what the Cowboys may be planning with their reconfigured wide receiver corps. The team may choose to carry more than six at this spot. “Traditionally we’ve kept five or six receivers. But if I’m a betting man, I think that ends up being more than five or six,” Jones said (Twitter link, via Machota) of how the Cowboys plan to handle their Week 1 roster. Watkins views Allen Hurns, Cole Beasley, Tavon Austin, Terrance Williams and third-round rookie Michael Gallup as locks. UFA addition Deonte Thompson and second-year man Noah Brown are currently dealing with injuries, but it doesn’t look like they’re out of the running as a result.

Cowboys Sign S Jeron Johnson

The Cowboys have reached a contract agreement with free agent safety Jeron Johnson, according to Todd Archer of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Dallas has waived quarterback Dalton Sturm in a corresponding roster move.

As Archer notes, Johnson is the second defensive back Dallas has signed in the past day, joining undrafted free agent Dominick Sanders. The Cowboys can use all the help they can get at safety, as Xavier Woods is expected to miss three-to-four weeks with a hamstring injury, while Jameill Showers was recently placed on injured reserve after tearing his ACL.

Johnson, 30, has spent the majority of his seven-year career with the Seahawks, so he has experience playing under new Cowboys defensive backs coach/passing game coordinator Kris Richard. Primarily a special-teamer, Johnson has topped 20% playtime just once (in 2015, with the Redskins). In 2017, Johnson signed with the Jaguars in August but was placed on injured reserve the following month, and never saw action on the field.

Dallas, of course, has and could continue to pursue safeties with larger name value than Johnson. The Seahawks’ Earl Thomas has been on the Cowboys’ radar for some time, while the club is also reportedly interested in George Iloka, whom the Bengals released on Sunday.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Brissett, Hackenberg, Cowboys, Seahawks, Bears

We heard yesterday that the Colts‘ had rejected the Seahawks offer of a second-round pick for quarterback Jacoby Brissett. However, Colts general manager Chris Ballard is saying the front office never talked trade with Seattle. The executive told ESPN’s Booger McFarland that the two sides had never discussed a trade for the 24-year-old (via Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com).

We learned back in March that the Colts had rejected a pair of trade offers for Brissett, who they acquired from the Patriots last year. Colts owner Jim Irsay recently said that his club wouldn’t trade Brissett for a first-round pick, so it sounds like the organization is content with the quarterback as their potential longterm backup to Andrew Luck. Brissett was solid as a starter last season, compiling 3,098 yards, 13 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. He also rushed for an additional 260 yards and four scores.

Let’s take a look at some more notes from around the NFL…

  • After being released by the Raiders and before joining the Eagles, we had heard quarterback Christian Hackenberg had worked out with the Patriots. Well, it sounds like another team expressed interest in the former second-rounder, as Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets that Hackenberg had worked out for the Texans. Houston’s interest in the quarterback could indicate that the team isn’t happy with the current backups to Deshaun Watson, a grouping that includes Brandon Weeden and Joe Webb.
  • The Cowboys added one safety today when they signed Dominick Sanders. However, it sounds like the team is still seeking some reinforcement at the position, as Calvin Watkins of The Athletic tweets that the team will audition Jeron Johnson tomorrow. The former undrafted free agent out of Boise State has managed to appear in 64 games since entering the league in 2011, but he’s only appeared in four games over the past two years. His best season came in 2015 with the Redskins, when he compiled 27 tackles.
  • While the Cowboys continue to seek safety help, there apparently hasn’t been any progress with the Seahawks in regards to an Earl Thomas trade. Watkins tweets that “nothing new is happening” with Seattle, meaning there may not be an end in sight when it comes to the ongoing Thomas saga. The veteran Pro Bowler has sat out the first part of the preseason, and he’s requested a new contract or a trade.
  • The Bears announced (via Twitter) that cornerback Deiondre’ Hall has been suspended for the first game of the upcoming season for violating the NFL’s Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. The 2016 fourth-rounder has appeared in 10 games through two seasons with Chicago, collecting nine tackles, three passes defended, and one interception. He was already on the roster bubble for the Bears, and his suspension might improve Doran Grant or Jonathon Mincy‘s chances of making the roster.

Jaguars Trim Roster To 75

The Jaguars have cut their roster from 90 players to 75, according to John Oehser of the team’s website:

Waived:

  • TE Caleb Bluitt
  • OL Malcolm Bunche
  • LB P.J. Davis
  • CB Charles James
  • DT Tueni Lupeamanu
  • WR Larry Pinkard
  • OL Demetrius Rhaney
  • WR Jamal Robinson
  • CB Dwayne Thomas
  • FB Marquez Williams (waived/injured)

Released outright (vested veterans who are not subject to waivers):

Placed on IR:

Jaguars Sign Jeron Johnson, Cut James Sample

The Jaguars have cut safety James Sample and signed safety Jeron Johnson to take his place on the roster, as John Oehser of Jaguars.com tweets. Jacksonville selected Sample in the fourth round of the 2015 draft, but he has struggled with shoulder and forearm injuries over his first two seasons in the league and has appeared in only four games as a result. All four of those games came in his rookie campaign, as he was placed on IR prior to the 2016 season.

Jeron Johnson (Vertical)

Johnson is entering his seventh season in the league and has suited up for the Seahawks and Redskins in his career. He has been deployed primarily as a reserve defensive back and special-teamer and has just two starts to his credit. He performed well enough for Seattle from 2011-14 to land a two-year pact with Washington in 2015, but the Redskins cut him loose after just one year. He returned to Seattle last December and was part of the club’s playoff push, but the Seahawks did not re-sign him this offseason. He worked out with the Giants in June but left without a contract.

Barry Church and Tashaun Gipson make up Jacksonville’s starting safety tandem, but Johnson will have a chance to compete for a reserve role with the likes of Peyton Thompson, Jarrod Wilson, and Jarrod Harper. It is more likely, however, that he was signed for the contributions he could make to the Jags’ special teams unit, which was sub-par in 2016.

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Cowboys, Giants, Cards, Lions

Free agent linebacker Daryl Washington says that he has been in conversations with a few clubs, though he hopes to land with his “hometown team,” the Cowboys (Twitter link via SiriusXM). In an interview on Wednesday, Washington made a case for why the Cowboys should sign him. It’s not clear if Dallas has real interest in the linebacker, particularly since he has not played a down of football since 2013. On the flipside, he was a Pro Bowl caliber player when he was at his best in Arizona.

More on Dallas and a few other NFC clubs:

  • The Giants regard Paul Perkins a three-down running back, per ESPN’s Jordan Raanan, who points out that their opinion of Perkins explains why they didn’t make a splash at the position in free agency. Perkins averaged 4.1 yards per carry on 112 attempts during his rookie year and is now the clear favorite to start over the likes of Shane Vereen, Orleans Darkwa, Shaun Draughn and Wayne Gallman. “I really like what Paul Perkins has been doing so far,” said RBs coach Craig Johnson. “He ended last season playing like a guy that is ready to take over the job. There is nothing so far in the offseason to show he’s not going to be able to handle that role. But that is today. It’s a long way from today to the opening game.”
  • Cardinals GM Steve Keim says he’s still looking to add a handful of veterans to the mix this summer, as Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com writes. “(Team president) Michael [Bidwill] and I talked about six to eight players, who are still on the street, who could potentially come in and help us,” Keim said in an appearance on Arizona Sports 98.7. Urban speculates that Arizona could look into reinforcements at cornerback or even guard if Evan Boehm doesn’t keep moving forward. A running back could also be in order if Andre Ellington and/or Eli Penny disappoint.
  • The Cowboys will not be signing any of the players that auditioned for them on Thursday, according to Clarence Hill Jr. of the Star Telegram (on Twitter). That group included quarterback Ryan Nassib and safety Jeron Johnson. The Cowboys will stick with Zac Dysert as a third-string QB for the time being.
  • Wide receiver Jared Abbrederis has emerged as a candidate to earn a roster spot with the Lions since signing a reserve/futures contract in January, according to Kyle Meinke of MLive.com. The former Packer has impressed during OTAs, and the Lions have open spots at receiver behind Golden Tate, Marvin Jones and third-round pick Kenny Golladay. “The guy’s a really good route runner — very, very good just in terms of his ability to find open areas,” coach Jim Caldwell said of Abbrederis. “He has good spatial awareness.” The 26-year-old Abbrederis was a return man during his time at Wisconsin, which could further help his cause in cracking Detroit’s roster, notes Meinke.

Cowboys To Audition QB Ryan Nassib

The Cowboys are auditioning four players today, including former Giants quarterback Ryan Nassib, as Todd Archer of ESPN.com tweets. Safeties Jeron Johnson and Duke Williams and wide receiver Lance Lenoir are also working out for the team. Ryan Nassib (vertical)

To date, Nassib has spent his professional career as a clipboard holder for Eli Manning. Since being selected in the fourth round of the 2013 draft, the Syracuse product hasn’t made a single start for the Giants. Nassib received praise from Giants coaches for his work in practice, but the team didn’t make much of an effort to retain him this offseason.

Nassib’s workout will be key for the Cowboys since they only have have preseason games and the occasional regular season cameo on film to evaluate him on. If signed, Nassib could compete for the No. 3 QB role behind Dak Prescott and Kellen Moore. Recently, the Cowboys claimed Zac Dysert off waivers from the Cardinals and he is also hoping to make the cut.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Seahawks Sign Jeron Johnson

The Seahawks have officially placed safety Earl Thomas on injured reserve, and filled his roster spot by signing fellow safety Jeron Johnson, the club announced today. Seattle also confirmed the previously-reported signing of fullback Marcel Reece, and announced that it has waived running back George Farmer to create a roster spot.Jeron Johnson (Vertical)

[RELATED: Seattle Seahawks Depth Chart]

Johnson, 28, is a familiar face in Seattle, as he spent the 2011-14 campaigns serving as a reserve defensive back and a special-teamer for the Seahawks. He signed with the Redskins last year with the hope of getting more playing time, but was ultimately released just one season into a two-year deal. After briefly hooking on with the Chiefs in August, Johnson was cut and had been roaming the workout circuit, meeting with the Giants, Ravens, and Bills.

Steven Terrell figures to take most of Thomas’ vacated snaps at free safety, meaning Johnson is likely to return to his special teams role for the Hawks. Johnson wasn’t the only safety Seattle worked out today, as Adam Caplan of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link) that the Seahawks also took a look at veterans Duke Williams and Rahim Moore.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Workout Notes: Bucs, Jags, Colts, Chargers

Before signing defensive back Major Wright earlier today, the Buccaneers also worked out fellow safeties Jeron Johnson and Duke Williams, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Johnson, a career special-teamer, signed a two-year deal to become a starter for the Redskins prior to the 2015 campaign, but flamed out after only one season. He signed on with the Chiefs but was cut this summer, and has been on the workout circuit ever since. Williams, meanwhile, had started 10 games over the past four years for Buffalo, but was waived to make room for Percy Harvin earlier this month.

Here’s more on today’s NFL auditions:

  • The Jaguars tried out three wide receivers on Monday, Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union tweets. DeAndre Carter (Sacramento State), Cayleb Jones (Arizona), and Mekale McKay (Cincinnati) all auditioned for Jacksonville. Jaguars receiver Allen Hurns left Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury and didn’t return, so Jacksonville could be looking to add a bit of depth in the meantime.
  • Linebacker Beniquez Brown, cornerback Trae Elston, tight end Gabe Hughes, and quarterback Keith Wenning worked out for the Colts today, reports Howard Balzer of BalzerFootball.com (Twitter link). Indianapolis has been hit with injuries all over its roster, and Wenning, in particular, could be a safety net in case Andrew Luck suffers a setback in his recovery from a concussion.
  • The Chargers auditioned defensive backs Randall Evans and Solomon Means, tweets Balzer. San Diego is currently missing cornerback Brandon Flowers (concussion), while safety Jahleel Addae just returned on Sunday after recovering from a broken collarbone.
  • The Packers tried out offensive tackle Ryker Matthews today, per Balzer (Twitter link).