Josh Wells

AFC Notes: Stidham, Jags, Browns, Bolts

Although Tom Brady continuing to play at a high level into his early 40s has allowed the Patriots to table their need to identify a long-term successor for many years, their recent extension/2019 pay raise brings this issue back to the forefront. The Pats, however, are pleased with their latest quarterback draft pick. Fourth-round rookie Jarrett Stidham has “blown away expectations” this offseason, Jeff Howe of The Athletic notes (subscription required), adding that he is ahead of where Jimmy Garoppolo was at this point during his first NFL summer. Stidham has taken first-team reps in camp and moved the Patriots to move Danny Etling to wide receiver. He finished 14-for-24 for 179 yards and a touchdown in New England’s preseason opener Thursday. While the Auburn alum does not profile as a classic Brady successor type, the Patriots certainly appear encouraged by their developmental prospect.

As we wind down preseason Week 1, here is the latest from the AFC:

  • A.J. Cann has served as the Jaguars‘ starting right guard since his rookie season in 2015. He is not a lock to reprise his role in 2019. Cann is battling converted tackle Will Richardson for the spot, with Doug Marrone indicating (via Hays Carlyon of 1010 XL, on Twitter) Brandon Thomas is also in the mix here. A 2018 fourth-rounder, Richardson looks like the favorite to win this job thus far, Carlyon adds (via Twitter). Richardson has yet to play an NFL down; he hit IR in October of his rookie year. Thomas has hung around for six NFL summers, with the 2014 third-round 49ers pick having never played in a regular-season game. He’s bounced on and off the Jaguars’ roster and practice squad since 2017. Cann has three years remaining on a contract he signed in 2018.
  • With Cam Robinson potentially set to have a delayed start to the season, Marrone said the Jaguars are considering free agent additions Cedric Ogbuehi and Leonard Wester at left tackle. Longtime Jags backup Josh Wells is vying for that temp job as well. Second-round rookie Jawaan Taylor is set to start at right tackle.
  • Had Antonio Callaway not received a four-game suspension, the second-year Browns wideout might not have been able to go in Week 1 anyway. Callaway suffered a high ankle sprain in Cleveland’s preseason opener, per Freddie Kitchens (via’s Nate Ulrich, on Twitter). The Browns will now be without two of their 2018 pass catchers, with Duke Johnson having been traded and Callaway out until at least October. Fortunately, they acquired Odell Beckham Jr. this offseason.
  • Chargers tight end Andrew Vollert suffered ACL damage in the team’s preseason opener, and Anthony Lynn said (via’s Eric Williams, on Twitter) the second-year UDFA will miss the season. The Bolts signed Vollert in May.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/28/18

Here are Friday’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Carolina Panthers

  • Promoted from practice squad: G Dorian Johnson
  • Placed on IR: RB Kenjon Barner

Cleveland Browns

  • Promoted from practice squad: WR Blake Jackson
  • Placed on IR: LB Tanner Vallejo

Detroit Lions

Indianapolis Colts

  • Waived: S Rolan Milligan

Jacksonville Jaguars

Washington Redskins

Jaguars To Waive S Barry Church

The Jaguars will waive safety Barry Church, according to Ian Rapoport of (on Twitter). In related moves, the Jags also waived tight end Niles Paul from the NFI list and activated offensive lineman Josh Wells from injured reserve. 

[RELATED: Jaguars’ Malik Jackson Expects To Be Cut]

Church, 30, joined the Jaguars prior to the 2017 offseason on a four-year, $21.6MM deal. His guarantees have already been paid out, so the move will have no impact on the Jaguars’ 2019 cap. Church’s release will free up $6.25MM in 2019 and its expected that there will be more cap-clearing cuts in the coming months.

The veteran was a healthy scratch last week, but the move to release him before the end of the season is a tad surprising. In any case, Church will hit the waiver wire, giving teams 24 hours to claim him.

In theory, a team could be on board with paying him game checks of $368K for the rest of the year before releasing him from his deal in the offseason. However, the more likely scenario is that Church will go unclaimed and then sign with a contender for the rest of the way.

In eleven games this year (all starts), Church has tallied 38 tackles, one sack, and one interception. However, he has been generally poor in coverage and ranks as Pro Football Focus’ No. 79 safety out of 83 qualified players. He was far sharper in 2016, his final year with the Cowboys, and 2017, his first with the Jags.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jaguars To Sign Ereck Flowers

Ereck Flowers has a new home. The Jaguars have signed the offensive tackle to a one-year deal, according to a team announcement. 

The Giants cut ties with the former first-round pick earlier this week, and it didn’t take him long to find work. The deal reunites Flowers with his one-time head coach, Tom Coughlin, who now serves as Jacksonville’s football czar. The Miami product also returns to the same state in which he played college football, albeit several hours away from Coral Gables.

The Giants made Flowers the No. 9 overall pick in 2015 for a reason – he has the right build for an NFL tackle and above-average athleticism for the position. Unfortunately, he hasn’t done much with those tools at the pro level. This year, the Giants tried to use Flowers at right tackle with new acquisition Nate Solder on the left side, but they got the same results.

To make room for Flowers, the Jaguars have placed tackle Josh Wells on injured reserve. Wells was starting at left tackle in place of Cam Robinson, who is out for the season. Just five weeks into the year, the Jaguars are primed to trot out their Plan C, Josh Walker, at left tackle. In time, Flowers could become the next player to get a shot at the job.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jaguars Exercise TE Marcedes Lewis’ Option

The Jaguars have exercised their 2018 options for tight end Marcedes Lewis, tackle Josh Wells, and guard/center Tyler Shatley, according to Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union.Marcedes Lewis

Lewis, 33, has been with the Jaguars ever since entering the league as a first-round pick in 2006, but the 2017 campaign marked just the second winning campaign he’s experienced during his 12-year career. While he stopped being a prolific receiving threat roughly a half-dozen seasons ago, Lewis is still perhaps the best blocking tight end in the league — indeed, Pro Football Focus graded Lewis first overall in run-blocking with a 87.1 mark, just ahead of Rob Gronkowski.

Given the importance of the run game in Jacksonville (and Lewis’ contributions to that aspect of the Jaguars’ offense), the veteran tight end’s $3.5MM base salary and $500K bonus for 2018 is eminently affordable. The Jaguars could even choose to tack on an extra year to Lewis’ contract later this offseason, as he’s expressed a desire to remain in Jacksonville for the entirety of his career, tweets O’Halloran.

Wells and Shatley, meanwhile, acted as reserves along Jacksonville’s offensive line last season. Both started four games a year ago, with Wells filling in at both tackle spots and Shatley taking over at center for an injured Brandon Linder. Wells will now earn $705K in base salary for the 2018 campaign, while Shatley will collect $790K.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Bouye, Texans, Tannehill, Kelly

The Texans are unlikely to place the ~$14.297MM franchise tag on pending free agent A.J. Bouye, which the cornerback understands. “Like my agent told me, it’s about the market value. If you’re not set to make that amount in the franchise tag, then the Texans have to do what they have to do,” Bouye told Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. “We made some moves last offseason and spent some money. We have guys, other corners, No. 25 [Kareem Jackson], No. 24 [Johnathan Joseph] and No. 30 [Kevin Johnson]. On top of trying to bring me back, they also have to take care of Hopkins, take care of Clowney when his deal is up.” If the Texans don’t tag Bouye, the 25-year-old could price himself off the team on a long-term deal once he reaches the open market. Even though he only has 19 starts to his name, Bouye’s “going to get paid a lot of money” because “everybody in the league knows how good he is,” an NFL personnel department executive informed Wilson.

More from around football (and a relevant baseball note):

  • As expected, the knee injury that sidelined Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill for the tail end of last season, including the team’s wild-card round loss to the Steelers, won’t be a problem going forward. Tannehill is now fully healed from his partially torn ACL/Grade 2 MCL sprain and will be able to participate in the Dolphins’ entire offseason program, reports Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald.
  • Because he pleaded guilty to a non-criminal charge of disorderly conduct in January 2015, former Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly isn’t allowed to participate in next week’s scouting combine in Indianapolis. However, Kelly’s agent, Vance McAlister, is still working to land an invitation for his client, details Lorenzo Reyes of USA Today. If that doesn’t happen, Kelly and McAlister might travel to Indy anyway. “We are talking with all the teams that have already expressed interest to see what their thoughts are to make a decision,” said McAlister, who believes Kelly deserves an opportunity to meet with each team and let the clubs decide if he’s worth drafting. “I’ll be the first to tell you, Chad has had to grow up and has made some mistakes because of his immaturity. No question about that,” continued McAlister. “But for me, it’s up to the 32 teams to decide whether he has learned from his mistakes or grown. Nobody would be writing a story or talking about this if Chad didn’t have the talent. And by no means are we trying to justify any of his behavior of what he has done in the past. But that’s for teams to talk to him, ask him the questions and decide.”
  • Onetime NFL defensive back Sanders Commings will attempt to break into Major League Baseball as an outfielder, having agreed to join the Atlanta Braves on a minor league contract, writes Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors. The soon-to-be 27-year-old could have taken a shot at a baseball career much earlier, as the Arizona Diamondbacks selected him in the 37th round of the 2008 MLB draft, but he instead chose to play football at Georgia. After his time with the Bulldogs ended, Commings went to Kansas City in the fifth round of the NFL draft in 2013. Commings appeared in the only two games of his pro football career that year with the Chiefs, who waived him in December 2015.
  • Jaguars offensive tackle Josh Wellsnew deal is a two-year, $1.52MM pact featuring $75K in guarantees, tweets Adam Caplan of ESPN.

Jaguars Re-Sign OL Josh Wells

The Jaguars announced that they’ve re-signed offensive lineman Josh Wells, who was set to become a restricted free agent this offseason. Terms of the deal were not announced.Josh Wells (Vertical)

[RELATED: Jaguars Nearing Trade For Branden Albert]

Given that he that he hasn’t accrued four NFL seasons, Wells could have simply been retained via an RFA tender, which means the Jaguars likely signed Wells for a cost cheaper than the original round level value (worth roughly $1.75MM). Hindered by thumb injuries during the past two seasons, Wells has only managed to appear in only five games since 2015. Last year, the 26-year-old played on just 26 total snaps — 11 on offense, 15 on special teams.

Jacksonville has been relatively active this week, as they’ve re-signed defensive tackle Abry Jones and wide receiver Arrelious Benn, restructured the contract of quarterback Chad Henne, declined left tackle Kelvin Beachum‘s option, and are close to a trade for veteran offensive lineman Branden Albert.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/21/16

Here are today’s minor moves.

  • To fill out their 53-man roster after Jason Jonestwo-game suspension, the Dolphins claimed tackle Bryce Harris off waivers from the Jaguars, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports (on Twitter). Harris has appeared in 35 games, with the Saints and Falcons, since catching in with New Orleans as a UDFA in 2012. He did not play in a game for the Jags.
  • The Jaguars activated offensive lineman Josh Wells to their 53-man roster from IR/designated to return and placed Patrick Omameh on injured reserve. Wells has been bothered by rampant thumb trouble since last making an appearance in a game, doing so for the 2014 Jaguars. The 25-year-old played in 12 games for the Jags that season but saw thumb injuries prevent the former UDFA from following up in 2015 and for most of this season. Omameh has seen his share of starts since coming into the league as a UDFA in 2013. He functioned as the Jags’ left guard after Luke Joeckel was lost for the season, starting in seven games. He started in 16 for the 2014 Buccaneers and nine for the Bears last season.
  • The Bears waived defensive lineman Jimmy Staten after promoting him from their practice squad on Saturday, Doug Kyed of tweets. He did not suit up on Sunday and has yet to play in a game since being drafted by the Seahawks in the fifth round in 2014.
  • The Eagles are promoting wide receiver Paul Turner to the 53-man roster, coach Doug Pederson told reporters. To make room, cornerback Aaron Grymes is being released.

Jaguars’ Josh Wells To Return From IR

The Jaguars have designated offensive tackle Josh Wells as their player to return from injured reserve, the club announced today. Wells returned to practice on Monday, and Jacksonville now has a three-week window to decide whether to activate him.Josh Wells (Vertical)

[RELATED: Jaguars Fire Greg Olson]

Wells, 25, appeared in 12 games in 2014 after signing as an undrafted free agent out of James Madison. Injuries bit him last season, though, as a left thumb issue caused him to miss the entire year. In 2016, it’s again been a thumb injury — albeit to the right thumb — that’s kept him out. If he can get back on the field, Wells will serve as a backup to tackles Kelvin Beachum and Jermey Parnell.

Because each NFL club can only designate one player to return from IR, the other Jaguars on the reserve list are now officially out for the season. That means fellow offensive lineman Luke Joeckel, safety James Sample, defensive tackle Roy Miller, and others have no hope of returning this year. Center/guard Luke Bowanko, meanwhile, was placed on PUP before the season started and still has a shot to see the field in 2016.