Josh Harris

Falcons Sign Josh Harris To Extension

The Falcons have locked up their long snapper for years to come. On Friday, Josh Harris signed a three-year extension that will keep him in Atlanta through the 2021 season. 

[RELATED: 2019 NFL Free Agents]

Harris joined the Falcons in 2012 and has been the club’s featured long snapper in every game since except for one. The Georgia native also has seven special teams tackles to his credit.

Harris wasn’t at the top of the team’s offseason to-do list and there are several pending free agents left to be addressed. That group includes running back Tevin Coleman, defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, left guard Andy Levitre, backup quarterback Matt Schaub, defensive end Derrick Shelby, and defensive tackle Terrell McClain.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steelers Trim Roster To 53 Players

The Steelers have become the NFL’s first team to formally announce its roster moves to get down to 53 players in advance of this afternoon’s deadline. According to a team release, Pittsburgh has made the following moves:

Cut:

  • RB Jawon Chisholm
  • DL Matt Conrath
  • S Jordan Dangerfield
  • S Alden Darby
  • OL Reese Dismukes
  • OL B.J. Finney
  • CB Kevin Fogg
  • LB L.J. Fort
  • LB Shayon Green
  • RB Josh Harris
  • DL Ethan Hemer
  • S Gerod Holliman
  • LB Howard Jones
  • OL Doug Legursky
  • WR Shakim Phillips
  • DL Mike Thornton
  • CB B.W. Webb
  • WR Jarrod West

Waived/injured:

  • OL Kelvin Palmer
  • OL Mitchell Van Dyk

Those 20 cuts would get the Steelers down to 54 players from 75, since the team also traded punter Brad Wing yesterday. The club has also officially signed cornerback Ross Cockrell, bringing the roster count to 55. The final two moves will be to add running back Le’Veon Bell and wide receiver Martavis Bryant to the reserve/suspended list to start the year.

Steelers Release LeGarrette Blount

1:52pm: The Steelers have officially promoted Harris from the practice squad to replace Blount, tweets PR man Burt Lauten.

12:32pm: The Steelers have released running back LeGarrette Blount, opening up a spot on the 53-man roster, the team announced today (Twitter link). Pittsburgh becomes the second AFC North team today to cut ties with a notable recently-signed running back, with the Browns waiving Ben Tate earlier in the day.NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Pittsburgh Steelers

Blount, who signed with the Steelers in March after a successful postseason reason with the Patriots, came into the season expecting to share the workload with Le’Veon Bell. However, Bell has emerged as one of the top backs in the NFL, relegating Blount to backup duty — the former Buccaneer and Patriot has carried the ball just 65 times this year for 266 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Things came to a head in Tennessee last night, when Blount left the field before the end of the Steelers’ win over the Titans, as Bell was in the midst of racking up more than 200 yards on the ground. The display didn’t sit well with other players on the roster, as Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette details. Gerry Dulac of the Post-Gazette (Twitter links) suggested this afternoon that some from of discipline – at least a suspension – would be handed down by head coach Mike Tomlin, but the club elected to go ahead and cut Blount instead.

Like Tate and other players cut after the trade deadline, Blount will have to pass through waivers before becoming a free agent. For teams in need of a running back, Blount will have appeal because of his talent and his inexpensive price tag, but after Monday’s incident, his impact on the clubhouse may be a concern.

As for the Steelers, Dulac (Twitter link) indicated that releasing Blount would likely open up the door for the team to give Dri Archer a larger workload and to sign Josh Harris from off the practice squad.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports.

Falcons Extend Matt Bosher, Josh Harris

The Falcons have locked up a pair of key pieces on their special teams unit to long-term contracts, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter links), who reports that the team has inked punter Matt Bosher to an extension through the 2019 season and long snapper Josh Harris to a contract through 2018.

Bosher, who turns 27 next month, has been the Falcons’ full-time punter since being selected by the team in the sixth round of the 2011 draft. According to Pro Football Focus’ advanced grades (subscription required), he has steadily improved in each of his first three NFL seasons, ranking 25th in his rookie season, 16th in 2012, and fifth last year. Yates reports that Bosher’s new deal, which keeps him under team control for the next five seasons after this one, includes a $2.5MM signing bonus and $5.95MM in total guaranteed money.

As for Harris, this is his third season as Atlanta’s regular long snapper. Terms of his new deal aren’t known, but I’d imagine he’ll be earning something close to the minimum salary, perhaps with a modest signing bonus on his four-year contract extension.

Sunday Transactions: AFC North

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four AFC North 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 are noted below.

Additionally, as of 11:00am CT 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 North transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day:

Baltimore Ravens:

Cincinnati Bengals:

Cleveland Browns:

Pittsburgh Steelers:

Steelers Reduce Roster To 53 Players

The Steelers have become the latest team to reduce their roster count to 53 players in advance of this afternoon’s deadline. Here are the 22 players cut from the club’s active roster today, per a press release:

Sunday Roundup: Bon Jovi, Orton, Browns

Let’s round up some links from around the league as Sunday morning turns into Sunday afternoon:

  • In order to stem concerns from Bills‘ fans that the Toronto-based group led by rocker Jon Bon Jovi would like to ultimately move the team to Toronto if its ownership bid is successful, Bon Jovi himself wrote a letter published in the Buffalo News on Sunday morning stating that he hopes to make the Bills successful “in Buffalo.” As John Wawrow of the Associated Press writes, however, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz told the AP several weeks ago that he has no doubts regarding Bon Jovi’s group’s long-term intentions to move the team to Toronto.
  • Bears‘ GM Phil Emery is open to a reunion with Kyle Orton if Orton wants to play in 2014, writes Michael C. Wright of ESPN.com. Orton, who was released by the Cowboys last month, began his career in Chicago and the Bears have twice tried to re-sign him since trading him to Denver in the Jay Cutler deal five years ago. Orton would represent an upgrade at backup quarterback over Jimmy Clausen and Jordan Palmer.
  • Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer thinks that it is a “good sign” that Browns‘ receiver Josh Gordon and his attorneys are heading back to New York on Monday to resume Gordon’s appeal hearing. Cabot believes that Gordon will still be suspended, but perhaps not indefinitely.
  • In the same piece, Cabot opines that Browns‘ second-year pro Barkevious Mingo could produce double-digit sacks in 2014. George M. Thomas and Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal similarly believe that Mingo looks poised for a breakout campaign.
  • In a separate piece, Ulrich writes that Browns‘ rookie QB Johnny Manziel could be gaining ground on presumed starter Brian Hoyer.
  • Scott Brown of ESPN.com writes that Steelers‘ head coach Mike Tomlin is paying particularly close attention to the unheralded running backs fighting to make the team’s 53-man roster, including Tauren Poole, Miguel Maysonet, and Josh Harris.
  • I posted an article earlier today regarding a potential contract extension for 49ers‘ head coach Jim Harbaugh, and Eric Branch of the San Fransisco Chronicle adds to that discussion. He writes that CEO Jed York believes he and Harbaugh are “on the same page” in their contract talks and that both parties will assess where they are after the 2014 season.
  • Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune writes that Buccaneers wide receiver Tommy Streeter has been the pleasant surprise of training camp thus far.
  • Herbie Teope of ChiefsSpin.com tweets that Chiefs‘ star safety Eric Berry returned to practice today.
  • ESPN.com has created a chart detailing the first impressions that the first-round picks of 2014 have made.

Minor Moves: Tuesday

As August approaches, teams continue to shuffle around their 90-man rosters, making minor signings and cuts. We’ll round up Tuesday’s minor transactions right here, with the latest moves added to the top of the page throughout the day:

  • The Bears signed wide receiver Dale Moss to fill out their roster, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune (on Twitter). Moss spent part of 2012 on the Bears’ practice squad and the early part of the 2013 offseason on Chicago’s roster.
  • Brian McIntyre (Twitter links) passes along word of a pair of waiver claims, reporting that the 49ers claimed offensive tackle Michael Philipp from the Dolphins, while the Lions were awarded wideout Quintin Payton from the Bucs. Detroit had an open roster spot, so no corresponding move was necessary to claim Payton — San Francisco has waived quarterback Kory Faulkner to make room for Philipp.
  • The Steelers have waived-injured offensive lineman David Snow, replacing him on the roster with running back Josh Harris, the team announced today (Twitter link via PR man Burt Lauten).

Earlier updates:

  • After suffering a couple injuries in the secondary recently, the Ravens have brought in a free agent defensive back, signing former Arena Leaguer Marrio Norman to a contract, the team announced today. To make room on the roster, Baltimore has cut wide receiver Gerrard Sheppard, who spent most of last season on the club’s practice squad.
  • In order to make room for the newly-signed Alfonso Smith, the 49ers have waived-injured rookie guard Fouimalo Fonoti, according to Brian McIntyre (via Twitter).
  • The Dolphins have made a series of moves this morning, signing tight end Brett Brackett, quarterback Seth Lobato and defensive end D’Aundre Reed, and waiving quarterback Brock Jensen and linebacker Derrell Johnson. Miami also waived-injured guard Davonte Wallace, according to the team (TwitLonger link). Of the six players, only Reed has seen regular-season NFL action, and his experience is limited to six active games in 2012. The release of Jensen is also notable, since he was one of the club’s more highly-touted undrafted free agents this spring.
  • Former Jets linebacker Ricky Sapp has been cut by the Texans, according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, who tweets that the team signed running back Tim Cornett and offensive tackle Mike Farrell. Sapp, a former fifth-round pick who was active in 10 total games last year for the Jets and Texans, will have to clear waivers before he becomes an unrestricted free agent.