Josh Uche

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/31/20

Here are the minor moves from 2020’s final day:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

  • Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list: C Alex Mack

Baltimore Ravens

Cincinnati Bengals

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

Philadelphia Eagles

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/31/20

Here is the league’s avalanche of Halloween minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Patriots Move C David Andrews To IR

David Andrews‘ return from a full-season absence will be on hold for the time being. The Patriots placed their starting center on IR Saturday.

The veteran snapper did not practice this week due to a thumb injury. New England is promoting center James Ferentz from its practice squad. The Pats also placed rookie linebacker Josh Uche on IR. The second-round pick is battling a foot injury.

A blood clot issue resulted in Andrews missing all of the 2019 season. But he was cleared to resume his career this offseason, and the sixth-year blocker reclaimed his spot as the Patriots’ starting center. He will be out until at least Week 6, however.

So will Uche, who has yet to make his NFL debut. The Pats made the Michigan alum a healthy scratch in Week 1, and he landed on their injury report soon after and missed the team’s Week 2 game.

Ferentz has been with the Patriots for more than three years now. The son of Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz — a Bill Belichick assistant with the Browns in the 1990s — James Ferentz signed with the Patriots in 2017. He played 15 games last season, starting two. The Pats let 2019 Andrews replacement Ted Karras defect to the Dolphins in free agency.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Patriots, Jets, Jones

The Patriots may have the top bargain at the quarterback position this season, with Cam Newton making league-minimum money (plus incentives) on his one-year deal. This reality would not be unfolding had Tom Brady come to terms with the Patriots on an extension ahead of the 2019 season. Prior to the Pats and Brady agreeing on an in-name-only extension that allowed him to become a free agent in 2020, the team made its legendary passer a two-year, $53MM extension offer, Jeff Howe of The Athletic notes (subscription required). The number here is notable, considering it would have represented a raise for Brady on a through-2021 commitment. While Brady was seeking an extension similar to the one Drew Brees had signed with the Saints in 2018, he almost certainly landed a better deal — two years, $50MM fully guaranteed — with the Buccaneers this March.

Although the Pats were prepared to consider Brady counteroffers in February and March of this year, Howe adds Brady’s camp did not make one. A previous report indicated, however, the Patriots did not make a strong effort to re-sign Brady this year — a strategy that rubbed the free agent passer the wrong way.

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • Following his 397-yard passing performance against the Seahawks, Newton has firmly re-established himself as an extension candidate. Given his injury history, however, the Patriots would probably like to see if their new QB1 can hold up for a full season or at least for most of it before beginning contract talks. Newton said during a recent radio interview an extension is “literally the last of my worries,” per WEEI.com’s Ryan Hannable. The 31-year-old quarterback also indicated he did not want to become mired in a back-and-forth negotiation with the Pats when he signed in June, leading to his incentive-laden deal. Were Newton to stay healthy this season, however, a negotiation would seemingly commence and end with the former MVP signed to a deal more lucrative than his 2015 Panthers extension.
  • The Dolphins will be without Byron Jones against the Jaguars. Miami ruled out its high-priced free agent acquisition, who landed on the injury report with Achilles and groin issues. Jones left the Dolphins’ Week 2 game against the Bills in the first quarter. This will only be his second missed game since arriving in the NFL in 2015.
  • More wideout injury trouble for the Jets. They will be without Breshad Perriman for a game or two with an ankle ailment, Adam Gase said this week. Gang Green is already down Jamison Crowder and Denzel Mims. Crowder is not certain to return in Week 3, and Mims must reside on IR through Week 4.
  • Le’Veon Bell dropped a considerable amount of weight this offseason, coming into this season at 210 pounds. With a CBS broadcast indicating Bell lost 24 pounds, this would have placed the former All-Pro at 234 last year — above his listed playing weight. Bell’s conditioning was a concern within the organization, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com notes. Bell is currently on IR and almost certainly in his final season as a Jet.
  • The Patriots have asked second-round rookie Josh Uche to morph from college pass rusher to all-around linebacker, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. Perhaps this developmental role resulted in Uche being a healthy scratch in Week 1, with the Pats having third-round linebacker Anfernee Jennings active over him. Uche has yet to play this season; he was inactive because of an ankle injury in Week 2. The ex-Michigan Wolverine, however, is off the Pats’ injury report ahead of their Week 3 game against the Raiders.

Patriots Sign Second-Round Pick Josh Uche

Josh Uche is now officially a member of the Patriots. On Wednesday, the second-round linebacker inked his rookie contract, as NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets

Uche notched 8.5 sacks in 2019 to lead the Wolverines in the category for yet another year. Pro Football Focus had him rated as one of the very best in the nation at generating pressure and that was further evidenced by his 11.5 tackles for loss.

Leading up to the draft, there was some concern about Uche’s size for the NFL level and some evaluators wondered whether he could last as a linebacker. That didn’t ward off the Patriots, who saw him power through blocks over and over in his highlight reel. Uche isn’t the biggest ‘backer out there, but he seems to find a way. Just ask first-round tackle Jedrick Wills:

It was Josh Uche,” said Wills when asked to name his toughest matchup in college (video link). “He was a really good pass rusher. Has some counter moves, some speed to him. So it was a good matchup that I went against.”

With the No. 60 overall pick signed, the Patriots have many more deals to go. Here’s the full rundown of the Patriots’ draft class, via PFR’s team-by-team tracker:

2-37: Kyle Dugger, S (Lenoir-Rhyne)
2-60: Josh Uche, LB (Michigan): Signed
3-87: Anfernee Jennings, OLB (Alabama)
3-91: Devin Asiasi, TE (UCLA)
3-101: Dalton Keene, TE (Virginia Tech)
5-159: Justin Rohrwasser, K (Marshall)
6-182: Michael Onwenu, G (Michigan)
6-195: Justin Herron, T (Wake Forest)
6-204: Cassh Maluia, LB (Wyoming)
7-230: Dustin Woodard, C (Memphis)

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens Trade No. 60 To Patriots

The Ravens dropped out of the No. 60 spot in the draft, dealing the pick to the Patriots. New England’s quarterback situation remains unchanged, with Michigan outside linebacker Josh Uche being the Pats’ pick.

New England traded up from No. 71 and gave Baltimore one of its four third-round picks (No. 98) to do so. The Ravens sent the Pats a fourth-rounder (No. 129) in the deal as well. The Patriots now have three third-rounders; the Ravens are up to four.

Uche functioned primarily as a pass rusher for the Wolverines, totaling 14.5 sacks over the past two seasons. He will follow former Michigan teammate Chase Winovich — a 2019 third-rounder — to Foxborough.

The Patriots lost both hybrid pass-rushing cogs Jamie Collins and Kyle Van Noy this offseason and will have a younger edge corps in 2020. Winovich is certain to be a big part of that crew; his former teammate in Ann Arbor may become an important piece soon as well.