Josh Brent

NFC Notes: Collins, J. Smith, Giants, Davis

In a piece for TheMMQB.com, Robert Klemko details La’el Collins‘ unusual draft journey, from the death of his former romantic partner Brittany Mills to his decision to sign with the Cowboys. Klemko’s story is full of interesting details, including a reveal that, despite telling teams their client would refuse to sign and would re-enter the 2016 draft if he was selected on Day 3, Collins’ agents were probably bluffing.

“We can put it on the record now: We were never going back in the draft,” Rick Smith of Priority Sports said of waiting for the 2016 draft. “If someone had drafted him, we would’ve had a long, long discussion about it, but at the end of the day you can’t go back in the draft. He could get injured, gain weight, or 10 great tackles could come out. Too many risks.”

Smith also revealed that a team – one that had already drafted four offensive lineman – told Collins’ camp it planned to select him in the seventh round, but ultimately decided against it after being informed again by Smith that it would be a waste of a pick. As Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk notes, the only team that drafted four offensive linemen was the Rams.

Here’s more on Collins, along with a few more items from around the NFC:

  • Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter link) has the specific details on Collins’ three-year, $1.599MM contract with the Cowboys, which includes a $21K signing bonus.
  • Speaking on Thursday to Pro Football Talk, 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said he should have “more of a feel” for defensive end Justin Smith‘s future today, per Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. Smith has been mulling either returning for another season or retiring, and is expected to make his decision soon.
  • Jordan Raanan of NJ.com passes along signing bonus and salary info for the Giants‘ undrafted free agent class. The team’s biggest UDFA investment was Tulane offensive lineman Sean Donnelly, who received $15K in guaranteed salary, along with a $15K signing bonus.
  • Asked again about his contract negotiations with the Panthers, linebacker Thomas Davis referred to those talks as “a work in progress,” though he expressed optimism that “it’ll eventually get done.” Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer has the full quotes and details.
  • Defensive tackle Josh Brent has decided to end his playing career, but that doesn’t mean his ties to the Cowboys will be severed, according to David Moore of the Dallas Morning News, who writes that owner Jerry Jones plans to continue to support Brent in different ways.

Cowboys Place Josh Brent On Retired List

1:21pm: Brent has released a statement officially announcing his retirement from the NFL, via Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports (Twitter link). Within the statement, Brent remarks that he has “made the decision that football isn’t as much of a priority in [his] life as other things at this time.”

11:25am: Although he hasn’t made a formal announcement on the matter, defensive tackle Josh Brent has been placed on the reserve/retired list by the Cowboys, signaling that he has decided to end his playing career, according to Nick Eaton of DallasCowboys.com (via Twitter).

Brent, 27, returned to the Cowboys in November after serving a 10-game suspension which stemmed from a car accident that resulted in the death of his teammate Jerry Brown in December of 2012 — Brent, who voluntarily took the 2013 season off as well, was driving under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident.

Although Brent didn’t see much action during his return in 2014, he played a little for the Cowboys down the stretch. Having signed an extension that kept him under team control through the 2015 season, the defensive lineman had been expected to return to Dallas this year. Instead, it appears he has elected not to continue playing football.

In addition to placing Brent on the reserve/retired list, the Cowboys also made a few more roster moves, according to Todd Archer of ESPNDallas.com, who tweets that the team cut linebacker Dekoda Watson, linebacker Troy Davis, and offensive tackle Donald Hawkins.

Cowboys Activate Josh Brent, Waive Dobbins

3:38pm: The Cowboys have officially activated Brent and waived veteran linebacker Tim Dobbins, according to the club (Twitter link).

3:07pm: As they head into their bye week, the Cowboys will welcome back a player who hasn’t seen the field in a regular season game for nearly two years. According to head coach Jason Garrett (Twitter link via Tim McMahon of ESPNDallas.com), the team will activate defensive tackle Josh Brent to its 53-man roster today.

Brent, 26, has finished serving a 10-game suspension which stemmed from a car accident that resulted in the death of his teammate Jerry Brown in December of 2012 — Brent, who voluntarily took the 2013 season off as well, was driving under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident.

While Garrett cautioned that Brent will need to lose weight and get into football shape, it appears as if the team has confidence that the Illinois product can contribute. Earlier this month, the Cowboys signed Brent to an extension that keeps him under control through the 2015 season.

As is the case with other players returning from suspension, the Cowboys should get a week-long exemption to carry Brent on the roster without waiving anyone, but considering this is the club’s bye week, the team will have to create a spot for the defensive tackle at some point before its next game.

Joseph Randle Staying A Cowboy “For Now”

Tensions have been high in the Cowboys’ locker room since video emerged showing Joseph Randle talking to Frisco police, in which he mentioned legal problems of both Dez Bryant and Josh Brent, reports Ed Werder of ESPN. Bryant and Brent were reportedly furious, and an argument ensued that spilled onto the practice field. Head coach Jason Garrett had a meeting with the players involved to try to smooth things over.

The video stems from Randle’s shoplifting arrest earlier this season. Randle’s future with the team is in doubt, following the arrest and the current unrest between him and his teammates. Werder writes that he has been ostracized by his teammates, but will still play Sunday against the Cardinals as of right now.

One source Werder spoke to was far from definitive about the team’s stance on the second-year back. “Randle is staying for now,” according to the source.

The team fined Randle roughly the equivalent to a game check in response to his shoplifting arrest.

Starting running back DeMarco Murray has had a heavy workload, carrying the team to a hot start. Randle provides a spark when spelling Murray, and also stands as insurance in case of an injury to Murray, who has struggled to stay healthy his first three seasons in Dallas. Randle, Lance Dunbar, and Ryan Williams are the other backs on the roster.

Randle would probably be released if backup Williams was able to contribute more on special teams, writes Calvin Watkins of ESPNDallas.com (via Twitter).

Watkins also writes that the meeting was called because a majority of players want him off the team (via Twitter). “Garrett is trying to get a hold of the situation,” according to Watkins.

The team will need to resolve the situation quickly, with a need for talent as they try to hold on in the NFC East. Their urgency is only heightened with the uncertainty surrounding Tony Romo‘s back injury.

Josh Brent Signs Extension With Cowboys

Cowboys defensive lineman Josh Brent has signed an extension that will keep him with the team through 2015, reports Field Yates of ESPN.com.

The extension does not include any guaranteed money, but carries a base salary of $745,000.

Brent returned to practice today, while serving a ten-game suspension stemming from a car accident in which he was driving under the influence of alcohol that resulted in the death of his teammate Jerry Brown in December of 2012. Brent will be eligible to return to the field on November 23rd, when the Cowboys play the Giants.

Brent could have played out the season with Dallas and entered free agency, but possibly could have signed this extension out of loyalty to Dallas after sticking with him through this ordeal, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter).

Cowboys Notes: Murray, Claiborne, Brent

With 534 yards on the ground through the first four weeks of the season, Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray is racking up an average of more than 133 yards per game, giving him a huge early-season lead for the rushing title — Pittsburgh’s Le’Veon Bell is second in the NFL with 378 rushing yards. Predictably, Murray earns a spot atop Jason Fitzgerald’s list of players whose Week 4 performances improved their values in advance of approaching contract negotiations. As Fitzgerald writes in his piece at Over The Cap, a big year for Murray could allow him to land a deal that averages $7-8MM annually, which would help stabilize the declining running back market a little.

Here’s more on the 3-1 Cowboys:

  • After going through a little drama last week relating to his spot on the Cowboys’ depth chart, defensive back Morris Claiborne saw his season take a more unfortunate turn on Sunday night. According to Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com (via Twitter), the team fears that Claiborne has a torn ACL and will be lost for the season. An MRI today is expected to confirm that diagnosis.
  • Linebacker Bruce Carter will also undergo an MRI today after injuring his quad last night, but his injury isn’t viewed as serious, says Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I’ve got good strength and everything, so we’ll see,” Carter said. “It’s sore, but I’m moving around good.”
  • While Josh Brent will still miss the first 10 games of this season due to his suspension, the terms of that ban have been modified to allow him to return to the team’s facilities this week, Davison writes in a separate Star-Telegram piece. Brent still won’t be able to practice yet, but he’ll be permitted to work out and attend team meetings.

Josh Brent Reinstated, Can Return Week 11

WEDNESDAY, 3:45pm: Brent has filed an appeal on the decision to delay his reinstatement, though it’s not clear what the procedure for resolving that appeal is, tweets Florio.

TUESDAY, 7:32pm: Brent’s agent, Peter Schaffer, tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk (on Twitter) that Brent will appeal the decision.

5:05pm: Josh Brent will be reinstated to the Cowboys but won’t be eligible to return until at least Week 11, according to Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report (on Twitter). The reinstatement is conditional, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network (on Twitter), so it will presumably be contingent on good behavior. Brent has five days to appeal the decision, as Ed Werder of ESPN (on Twitter) notes. Any prohibited alcohol-related conduct will likely result in immediate suspension for the defensive tackle and, potentially, NFL banishment.

Dallas was said to be bracing for a four-game suspension just days ago, but Brent has been hit with a heavier punishment than that. Still, given the circumstances surrounding Brent’s case, it would be a surprise to see him put up a major battle to get back on the field sooner. Brent, who was charged with intoxication manslaughter, served a six-month jail sentence and already voluntarily taken a full season off, so he might have a case to make for himself. By the same token, the league has come under fire for its discipline as of late. Ravens running back Ray Rice was given a two-game suspension, viewed as far too lenient by the public, for his domestic abuse incident. Meanwhile, Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon has been suspended for all of 2014 for a positive marijuana test.

Brent played in 39 games for the Cowboys between 2010 and 2012, recording 44 tackles and 1.5 sacks.

NFC East Notes: Brent, Hynoski, Eagles

Eagles linebacker Brandon Graham was unsure about his future just a few months ago, but it looks like the former first-round pick will make the roster and remain in Philadelphia, writes Paul Domowitch of the Philadelphia Daily News. “When we first came back for the minicamps, I kept hearing all this talk about being traded,” he said. “I thought I was going to get traded before I got back [for the start of training camp]. But they stuck with me, and I feel I owe the team and the fans a lot because I know things haven’t gone the way they’re supposed to for a first-rounder. But I know I can play. It’s time to take off.” More from the NFC East..

  • The Cowboys are expecting a decision from the NFL on defensive tackle Josh Brent, maybe as soon as today, tweets Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. Dallas is bracing for a four-game suspension.
  • Henry Hynoski‘s shoulder injury could mean that John Conner – the man known as The Terminator for the other Meadowlands team – will make the Giants‘ roster at fullback, writes Paul Schwartz of the New York Post. “I don’t wish that on anybody,’’ Conner said. “He’s a tough guy, he’s having a great camp and hopefully comes back all right.’’
  • Giants wide receiver Preston Parker was once again the team’s first punt returner in Thursday night’s preseason finale, which indicates to Ralph Vacchiano of the Daily News (on Twitter) that he’ll be one of the receivers on the final 53-man roster.
  • Cody Parkey made a strong case to be the Eagles‘ kicker after connecting on three field goals, including a 53-yarder and a 54-yarder, writes Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Alex Henery, who did not attempt a field goal, entered the game 1 of 3 in the preseason with a career long of 51 yards.
  • The competition for the Eagles‘ final wide receiver spot comes down to a three-man race between Damaris Johnson, Arrelious Benn and Jeff Maehl, writes Sheil Kapadia of Philadelphia Magazine. His pick is Maehl, a fomer Oregon Duck.

Cowboys Notes: Hamilton, Brent, Bryant

Let’s round up the latest items out of Dallas, as the Cowboys gear up for their final preseason game against the Broncos….

  • The Cowboys’ defense hadn’t expected to be an elite unit this season by any means, but suspensions may further diminish its effectiveness. As ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter and Todd Archer report, second-year defensive back Jakar Hamilton is facing a four-game ban for violating the league’s policy on substances of abuse. Hamilton becomes the second member of Dallas’ secondary this month to be hit with a four-game suspension, as Orlando Scandrick will also miss the season’s first month. Of course, unlike Scandrick, Hamilton isn’t necessarily guaranteed a spot on the Cowboys’ 53-man roster.
  • Now that the Josh Gordon situation has been resolved, one player still awaiting a decision from the NFL is Cowboys defensive lineman Josh Brent. Brent, who was charged with intoxication manslaughter, and served a six-month jail sentence, has already voluntarily taken a full season off. So, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes, it’ll be interesting to see whether the NFL suspends him upon reinstating him or whether the league determines that by voluntarily – and temporarily – retiring, Brent has already served his penalty.
  • Kevin Sherrington of The Dallas Morning News doesn’t think it’d be a bad idea for the Cowboys to let Dez Bryant play for his money. Bryant and owner Jerry Jones met yesterday to discuss a possible contract extension, but the talks did not advance.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

NFC Notes: Cassel, Brent, Packers, Garrard

Even after the Vikings traded back into the first round of May’s draft to select Louisville product Teddy Bridgewater, the prevailing wisdom was that Matt Cassel would be the Week 1 starter at quarterback in Minnesota. Per Jay Glazer of Fox Sports 1 (Twitter link), that notion has held, as head coach Mike Zimmer has informed the Vikings’ players that Cassel will indeed open the season as the team’s No. 1 QB.

Zimmer himself confirmed the news to reporters, including Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press (on Twitter), saying that Cassel was the favorite in the competition from the start. “Matt did not do anything to lose the job this preseason,” said Zimmer. “I think he’s played great. The team has a lot of confidence in him.” Through three preseason games, Cassel has completed 26 of 39 passes for 367 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception, while Bridgewater has completed 26 of 40 pass attempts for 266 yards, four scores, and no picks.

On a macro level, this news means that no rookie quarterback will be his team’s Week 1 starter (unless Matt Schaub‘s injury lingers and David Carr is forced to take the reins for the Raiders). Chad Henne was chosen to start over Blake Bortles in Jacksonville, and Johnny Manziel lost out out Brian Hoyer in Cleveland. Still, I’d be surprised if two or three (or perhaps all four) of said rookies aren’t starting games by season’s end.

More notes from the NFC:

  • While Cowboys owner Jerry Jones appears ready to save a roster spot for Josh Brent, the defensive tackle likely won’t require an active roster spot when the NFL reinstates him. According to Ed Werder of ESPN.com, the league is expected to suspend Brent if and when he’s reinstated. “He’s not just going to walk back onto the field,” a source tells Werder.
  • Even after B.J. Raji‘s season-ending biceps injury, Green Bay has enough depth along the defensive line that it won’t be signing ex-Packer Ryan Pickett, writes Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
  • Unhappy with incumbent Alex Henery, the Eagles had been scouting teams with a surplus of kickers, tweets Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Berman points to Dustin Hopkins, released by the Bills this morning, as one option for the Birds.
  • It’s unclear if he was simply being humorous, but David Garrard lobbied the Rams (via Twitter) to give him a call following Sam Bradford‘s season-ending injury. Garrard is 36 and has dealt with numerous injuries in the last few years — it’s highly doubtful St. Louis would be interested.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.