Jordan Kovacs

Bengals Hire Ex-Bucs DC Mark Duffner

The Bengals have hired former Buccaneers interim defensive coordinator Mark Duffner as a senior defensive assistant, tweets Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com. 

Duffner, 65, has worked in Cincinnati before, serving as the club’s linebackers coach from 1997-2000 before taking over as defensive coordinator from 2001-02. After coaching LBs in Green Bay, Jacksonville, and Miami in the following years, Duffner joined Tampa Bay as linebackers coach in 2016. He was promoted to interim DC in October after the Bucs fired incumbent Mike Smith. For what it’s worth, Tampa Bay’s defense finished dead last in Football Outsiders’ DVOA but 29th in weighted DVOA, meaning the unit improved as the season progressed.

Duffner will fill two voids on the Bengals’ defensive staff. The first is familiarity, as Duffner worked with both new head coach Zac Taylor and new defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo on the 2014-15 Dolphins staff. Second, Duffner is now the most experienced coach on Cincinnati’s staff, on either side of the ball. Aside from quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt, Duffner is the only coach on the team that has been a full-time (non-interim) coordinator.

In addition to hiring Duffner, the Bengals also finalized their roster by hiring four other coaches: Nick Eason (defensive line), Tem Lukabu (linebackers), Brad Kragthorpe (offensive assistant), Jordan Kovacs (defensive quality control).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams Cut Akeem Ayers, Move To 53

The Rams have announced the following moves as part of moving their roster to 53 players:

Cut:

Placed On IR:

Ayers is perhaps the most surprising release, given that the 2015 free agent signee started 11 games for the club last season. Los Angeles will clear all $3.3MM of his cap charge by parting ways.

Chiefs Sign Four Players, Cut Four

In the wake of their three-day rookie minicamp, the Chiefs have made some changes to their 90-man roster, announcing today (in a pair of Twitter links) that they’ve four players and cut four others.Drew Nowak

The Chiefs have signed defensive back Shannon Edwards and offensive linemen Garrick Mayweather, Drew Nowak, and Zach Sterup, cutting defensive back Jordan Kovacs and offensive linemen Jake Bernstein, Ben Clarke, and Laurence Gibson to open up the necessary roster spots.

Of the incoming players, Nowak is the most notable name. Having been waived last week by the Seahawks, the 26-year-old entered the 2015 season as Seattle’s center, starting seven games at the position before being replaced.

Among the four players cut by Kansas City, Kovacs is the only one with real NFL experience. The ex-Dolphin, who turns 26 next month, appeared in 28 games during his three seasons in Miami, recording 10 total tackles and a sack. When Kovacs saw the field with the Dolphins, it was almost exclusively as a special-teamer.

Outside of Gibson, the rest of the players involved in today’s Chiefs transactions are undrafted free agents. Bernstein and Clarke signed with the club last week, but lost their spots on the 90-man roster to new UDFAs following the rookie minicamp. Edwards, Mayweather, and Sterup played their college ball at Fresno State, Fordham, and Nebraska, respectively.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Workouts/Visits: 1/8/16

As teams look ahead to formulating their offseason rosters, they’ve begun to bring in free agents for both workouts and visits. Let’s look at the latest:

Workouts

Chargers (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle)

  • Freddie Bishop, DL
  • Euclid Cummings, DE
  • Cleyon Laing, DL

Chiefs (Twitter link via Wilson)

Jaguars (Twitter link via Wilson)

Ravens (Twitter link via Wilson)

Steelers (Twitter link via Wilson)

  • Freddie Bishop, DL
  • Dexter McCoil, LB
  • Eric Rogers, WR
  • Dustin Vaughan, QB

Washington (Twitter link via Wilson)

  • Cleyon Laing, DL
  • Eric Rogers, WR

Visits

Cardinals (Twitter link via Wilson)

  • Toby Johnson, DT (prior to signing with Vikings’ practice squad)

Chiefs (Twitter links via Wilson)

Giants (Twitter link via Wilson)

Steelers (Twitter link via Wilson)

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/5/16

Here are today’s reserve/futures contract signings from around the league. These deals will go into effect on the first day of the 2016 league year, with players joining their respective clubs’ 90-man rosters.

Arizona Cardinals

  • Taylor Boggs, C (Twitter link via Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com)
  • Valerian Ume-Ezeoke, C
  • Mike Reilly, OLB
  • Tyrequek Zimmerman, S

Baltimore Ravens

  • Jerod Johnson, QB (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle)

Cincinnati Bengals

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

  • Burton Pierce, OT
  • Ben Heenan, G
  • Edwin Jackson, LB
  • Kitt O’Brien, G
  • Dezmen Southward, DB
  • Joshua Stangby. WR

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Miami Dolphins

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Oakland Raiders

  • Garrett Gilbert, QB (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle)
  • Giorgio Tavecchio, K

San Diego Chargers

San Francisco 49ers

  • Corey Acosta, K (link via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle)

St. Louis Rams

Workout Notes: 12/30/15

Here are Wednesday’s workouts from around the NFL:

  • The Jets worked out defensive lineman Devon Still, receivers Marcus Thigpen and Eric Rogers, linebacker Willie Jefferson and defensive end/LB Tristan Okpalaugo (Twitter links via ESPN’s Rich Cimini).
  • The Cardinals tried out center Taylor Boggs, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter).
  • The Bills worked out defensive end/linebacker Xzavier Dickson, Wilson tweeted. Dickson ended up joining Atlanta’s practice squad.
  • The Bengals worked out quarterback Mike Kafka and tight end John Peters, per Wilson (on Twitter).
  • The Browns tried out quarterback Dustin Vaughan, running back Timothy Flanders, receivers Eric Rogers, Ricky Collins and Levi Norwood, and safety Jordan Kovacs (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Quarterback Ryan Lindley, defensive linemen Warren Herring and Eze Obiora, and linebacker Ryan Mueller worked out for the Colts, according to Wilson (Twitter link). They signed Lindley afterward.
  • The Giants worked out linebackers Cole Farrand and Glenn Carson – the latter of whom they signed to their practice squad – quarterback Pete Thomas, safety Ty Zimmerman, punter Spencer Roth and kicker Quinn Sharp (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • The Steelers tried out two safeties, Ray Vinopal and Jake Hagen, and linebacker Marquis Spruill (via Wilson on Twitter).
  • The Chargers worked out receiver Jeff Fuller, defensive end DeAngelo Tyson and linebacker Dexter McCoil, Wilson tweeted.
  • The Titans worked out receiver Kenny Stafford, defensive end Freddie Bishop, defensive backs Aaron Grymes, Steven Clarke and Emanuel Davis, long snapper Dax Dellenbach and kicker Swayze Waters (Twitter link via Wilson).

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/8/15

We’ll track all of Tuesday’s minor transactions from around the NFL in this space, with the latest moves added to the top of the list throughout the day:

  • The Dolphins have re-signed tight end Brandon Williams to their active roster, waiving safety Jordan Kovacs in a corresponding move, the team announced today (Twitter links). Miami also opened up another roster spot by placing defensive tackle Robert Thomas on the injured reserve list.
  • Jets defensive end Mike Catapano has landed on IR due to a foot injury, with safety Ronald Martin getting the promotion from the practice squad to take his spot on the roster, the Jets announced today (via Twitter).
  • The Chiefs are signing offensive lineman Jarrod Pughsley from their practice squad to their 53-man roster, tweets Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star. The corresponding move to make room for Pughsley isn’t yet known.
  • The Falcons have released defensive tackle Ricky Havili-Heimuli from their injured reserve list, the team announced today (via Twitter). He’ll become a free agent if he clears waivers.

Earlier updates:

  • In the wake of Nick Boyle‘s suspension, and with Crockett Gillmore and Maxx Williams both battling injuries, the Ravens have added two tight ends to their roster. According to a press release, the club has promoted Konrad Reuland from its practice squad and signed veteran free agent Richard Gordon. Boyle was moved to the reserve/suspended list and cornerback Cassius Vaughn was cut to create space on the roster.
  • The Bills have also made a change at the tight end position, promoting Nick O’Leary from the practice squad and cutting veteran Matthew Mulligan, the team announced today. Mulligan had played a role this season for the Bills as a blocker and special-teamer, making the move a little surprising. Joe Buscaglia of WKBW wonders (via Twitter) if another team – perhaps the Ravens? – showed interest in O’Leary, prompting Buffalo to protect him.
  • The Eagles have signed outside linebacker Steven Means from the Texans‘ practice squad, the club announced today (via Twitter). Means will take over the roster spot vacated by Miles Austin, who was released on Monday.
  • With a Thursday night showdown against Arizona around the corner, the Vikings have made a handful of roster moves, announcing in a press release that they’ve signed safety Shaun Prater and elevated safety Anthony Harris from the practice squad. To make room for the incoming defensive backs, Minnesota placed safety Antone Exum on injured reserve and waived defensive end Justin Trattou.
  • The Colts are adding some depth at the linebacker spot by promoting linebacker Amarlo Herrera to their active roster, a source tells Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star (Twitter link). Jerrell Freeman and Nate Irving are banged up for Indianapolis.
  • The Browns have re-signed offensive lineman Darrian Miller to their 53-man roster just three days after cutting him, placing fullback Malcolm Johnson on injured reserve in a corresponding move, per a team release.

Minor Moves: Saturday

With free agency fast approaching, teams are doing their best to take care of the small but necessary moves as they prepare for a hectic market. Here are a number of minor moves and updates from around the league:

  • The Chiefs have also come to terms on a new one-year deal with outside linebacker Dezman Moses, who was set to be a restricted free agent, according to Paylor (via Twitter).
  • Packers linebacker Josh Francis signed a three-year contract for the league minimum, writes Wes Hodkiewicz of PackersNews.com (via Twitter).
  • The Buccaneers have agreed to terms with tight end Luke Stocker, writes Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times (via Twitter). Stocker was expected to reach unrestricted free agency before this deal.
  • Details from Australian rugby star Jarryd Hayne’s contract with the 49ers have come out, and it is a three-year deal worth $1.583MM and $115,100 in guaranteed money, writes Tom Pelissero of USA Today (via Twitter).
  • The Titans are working on signing long snapper Beau Brinkley to a multi-year contract, reports Jim Wyatt of the Tennesseean (via Twitter). Brinkley was set to be a restricted free agent.

Tender Updates: Saturday

As teams prepare for free agency, they have to figure out a plan for their restricted free agents. Teams will often slap these players with a mid-round tender, at least assuring some kind of compensation should they sign elsewhere. The second-round tender is popular, and this year’s value is worth $2.356MM. The value of a minimum-level tender is worth $1.542MM.

With that said, we’ll pass along any tender updates throughout the day, with the most recent updates added to the top of the list…

  • Defensive end Ryan Davis has signed his exclusive rights free agent tender with the Jaguars, reports Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter).
  • The Chiefs have tendered outside linebacker Josh Martin to a one-year deal, reports Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star (via Twitter). Martin is an exclusive-rights free agent. The team has also tendered tight end Demetrius Harris (via Twitter).
  • The Dolphins have re-signed A.J. Sanders and Jordan Kovacs to their tenders, reports Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel (via Twitter). He notes that the team has not yet been able to re-sign Derrick Shelby or Michael Thomas.
  • The Broncos notified linebacker/special teams ace Steven Johnson that he would not be tendered, making him an unrestricted free agent, reports Mike Klis of The Denver Post. The 26-year-old started seven games for the Broncos last season, compiling a career-high in tackles (32). Klis notes that the organization could bring Johnson back on a cheaper contract, but their unwillingness to offer the one-year, $1.542MM contract indicates they won’t overspend.
  • Washington tendered kicker Kai Forbath, tweets ESPN’s John Keim. Citing Mike Jones of The Washington Post, Keim says the two sides haven’t discussed a longterm deal. The 27-year-old finished 2014 with career-highs in field goals made (24) and total points (103), while his 88.9 field goal percentage ranked in the top-10 in the NFL.
  • ESPN’s Field Yates passes along a pair of second-round tenders (via Twitter): Raiders wideout Rod Streater and Eagles defensive tackle Cedric Thornton. Streater didn’t have the best 2014 season, finishing with career-lows across the board. However, his performance in 2013 (60 catches, 888 yards, four touchdowns) showed that he can contribute in the NFL. Meanwhile, Thornton has continued improving during his three years in the league, and he finished last season with 52 tackles.
  • Streater’s teammate, receiver Andre Holmes, received the low tender from the Raiders, tweets Fox Sports’ Mike Garafolo. The former undrafted free agent followed an impressive 2013 season with a better 2014, compiling 47 catches for 693 yards and four touchdowns.

Minor Moves: Thursday

We’ve already covered today’s restricted free agency decisions, so let’s take a look at the other minor moves happening around the league…

  • Via an Instagram post, defensive lineman Greg Scruggs says he’s been re-signed by the Seahawks. Scruggs, 24, appeared in three games for Seattle last season.

Earlier updates:

  • The Broncos have agreed to a four-year, $4MM extension with long-snapper Aaron Brewer, according to Mike Klis of the Denver Post. The 24-year-old Brewer was set to become an unrestricted free agent, where the lowest tender is $1.59MM; instead, he’ll earn a $1MM AAV.
  • The Dolphins have re-signed safety Jordan Kovacs, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. Signed off the Eagles’ practice squad in November, Kovacs went on to appear in eight games for Miami.
  • CFL linebacker Josh Francis has agreed to a deal with the Packers, reports Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Francis went undrafted out of West Virginia in 2012, and spent 2014 with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.