Justin Brown

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/13/15

Today’s minor signings, cuts, and other moves from around the NFL..

  • The Buccaneers announced today that they’ve waived punter Spencer Lanning, as Pat Yasinskas of ESPN.com tweets. In 2014, only two punters had more attempts than the 93 punts Lanning made for the Browns. However, Lanning’s performance wasn’t great, so Cleveland cut him after trading for Andy Lee in June, at which point he was claimed by the Bucs. Today’s move leaves Tampa Bay with two punters still on the roster.
  • The Falcons announced that they’ve waived rookie safety Damian Parms, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com tweets.
  • Defensive back Ryan White has re-signed with the Packers, as Weston Hodkiewicz of the Press Gazette tweets. White was in camp with Green Bay last summer.
  • The Bills removed Justin Brown from the injured reserve with an injury settlement, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. Wilson adds (via Twitter) that the Titans did the same thing with safety Cody Prewitt, removing him from their roster.
  • The 49ers have also waived a player with an injury settlement, cutting offensive lineman Ben Gottschalk from their IR, tweets Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com.
  • The following players landed on their respective teams’ injured reserve lists after clearing waivers, per Wilson (Twitter link): DT Ricky Havili-Heimuli (Falcons), TE Clay Burton (Bills), WR Caleb Holley (Bills), DT Chris Whaley (Cowboys), CB Jason Wilson (Cowboys), and RB Tyler Gaffney (Patriots).

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/9/15

Here are Sunday’s minor signings, cuts, and other transactions from around the NFL:

  • The Bills re-signed defensive Erik Williams and waived/injured receiver Justin Brown, ESPN’s Mike Rodak tweeted.
  • The Colts have signed former Ball State cornerback Eric Patterson, according to Indy PR man Matt Conti (Twitter link). Patterson, who went undrafted earlier this year, was cut by the Patriots in June.
  • The Browns signed CB Joe Rankin yesterday, and according to Nate Ulrich of The Akron Beacon Journal, the team has also signed TE Manasseh Garner. To make room for the new additions, Cleveland has cut LB Darius Eubanks and TE Kevin Haplea.

RFA Decisions: Thursday

Unrestricted free agency will get most of the publicity, but UFAs aren’t the only players impacted by the beginning of the new league year on March 10. By 3pm CT on that date, clubs must decide whether to tender offers to restricted free agents — players who have exactly three years of service time. We’ll round up those decisions here, with the latest updates being added to the top…

  • The Colts made several moves today, announcing they’ve tendered restricted free agent linebacker Jerrell Freeman, as well as three exclusive rights free agents: running back Dan Herron, and linebackers Daniel Adongo and Cam Johnson. Freeman and Herron are the biggest names here — despite missing four games, Freeman finished with the fifth-most snaps on Indy’s defense, while Herron took over as the club’s starting running back by the end of the season.
  • On the other hand, the Colts won’t tender an offer to RFA center A.Q. Shipley, writes Mike Wells of ESPN.com. Shipley was the club’s Week 1 starter at center, and received positive marks from Pro Football Focus (subscription required), so he should find some interest on the open market.
  • Following their trade of LeSean McCoy, the Eagles don’t have much depth at running back, and while they plan to offer an RFA tender to RB Chris Polk, it will only be at the “right of first refusal” level, per Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com. Therefore, Philadelphia will only commit about $1.5MM to Polk, and won’t receive any compensation if another club signs him away.
  • The Bills have decided to bring back three ERFAs, tendering offers to receivers Justin Brown and Chris Hogan, as well as defensive tackle Corbin Bryant, tweets Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. Hogan, who saw the most snaps of the three, was a prominent feature of the Dolphins’ Hard Knocks season on HBO in 2012. Additionally, Buffalo did not tender an offer to ERFA kicker Jordan Gay, per Rodak (Twitter link).
  • The Giants have tendered exclusive rights free agent corner Chandler Fenner, tweets Ebenezer Samuel of the New York Daily News. Fenner, 24, saw action in 11 games for New York last season.

Minor Moves: Tuesday

The NFL’s waiver period for 2015 officially opened this week after the Super Bowl, which means we should see an uptick in transactions over the next few weeks, even before free agency opens on March 10. Here are Tuesday’s minor moves from around the league:

  • The Colts announced today that they have agreed to terms with guard Ben Heenan. Heenan, 6’4″, 316 pounds, spent the last three seasons with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the CFL. In 2014, he started all 21 games for the Roughriders, released Heenan from his CFL deal this week to allow him to pursue NFL opportunities. Heenan had offers from five NFL teams, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter).
  • The Bills have claimed wide receiver Justin Brown off waivers from the Steelers, according to Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post (via Twitter). The Steelers waived Brown back in December to make room for the addition of Ben Tate. Brown, a sixth-round choice in 2013, caught 12 passes for 94 yards during his time in Pittsburgh.
  • While Brown didn’t clear waivers, several other players who were cut since the end of the regular season made it through, tweets Wilson. Safety Jakar Hamilton (Cowboys), offensive lineman Darren Keyton (Lions), and tight end Steve Maneri (Patriots) all went unclaimed.
  • After signing a reserve/futures contract with the Lions at the end of the regular season, tight end Ifeanyi Momah was cut today by the team due to a failure to disclose a physical condition, tweets Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com. Momah spent time on the Lions’ and Browns’ practice squads in 2014.
  • The Saints formally terminated the contract of linebacker Cheta Ozougwu today, says Evan Woodbery of the Times-Picayune (Twitter links). Ozougwu spent the entire 2014 season on New Orleans’ reserve-PUP list.
  • Fullback Greg Jones, who announced his retirement last month, has officially been moved to the reserve/retired list by the Jaguars, per Wilson (via Twitter).

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Steelers Sign Ben Tate

1:35pm: The Steelers have officially signed Tate, the team announced today in a press release. Pittsburgh cut wide receiver Justin Brown to create an opening on the 53-man roster for the incoming addition.

8:14am: With Le’Veon Bell‘s status for Saturday’s Wild Card game up in the air, the Steelers are hosting free agent running back Ben Tate for a visit today, reports Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter). According to Schefter, assuming the visit goes well, Pittsburgh is expected to sign Tate.

It’s been an underwhelming season for Tate, who was viewed as a breakout candidate heading into 2014 after leaving Houston, where he had backed up Arian Foster for the first few years of his NFL career. In Cleveland, Tate struggled and was hampered by injuries early in the season, and fell behind rookies Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West on the team’s depth chart. The Browns opted to release Tate, at which point the Vikings claimed him on waivers, but the 26-year-old didn’t impress in Minnesota either, and the team cut him last week.

For the season, Tate accumulated just 371 rushing yards on 119 carries, good for an average of 3.1 yards per rush. That’s a significant step down from the 4.7 mark he posted during the previous three seasons in Houston, over a span of 421 carries.

Bell suffered a hyperextended knee during the Steelers’ regular season finale against the Bengals, and is considered highly questionable for this weekend’s game against the Ravens. If Bell can’t go, and Pittsburgh does bring Tate aboard, the Auburn product may be thrown into the mix immediately — among the team’s other options, third-round pick Dri Archer likely isn’t ready for a featured role, while fellow rookie Josh Harris had just nine rushing attempts all season. In fact, with LeGarrette Blount now playing in New England, no current Steelers running back besides Bell had more than 10 carries in 2014.

Rookie Notes: 49ers, Bills, Steelers

While it could just be pure coincidence, former Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland had a handful of successful seventh-round draft selections. As ESPN.com’s James Walker explores on Twitter, linebacker Austin Spitler, wide receiver Rishard Matthews and defensive backs Don Jones and Jimmy Wilson were all solid finds. 

For all the criticism that Ireland has received, as least he can claim that he has a keen eye for under-the-radar talent.

Here are some more notes regarding some of the league’s youngest players…

  • The 49ers have filled their open roster spot by adding guard Al Netter, tweets Bill Williamson of ESPN.com. The team waived Netter about a month ago to clear room for Blake Costanzo. The team had an extra roster spot following Eric Wright‘s retirement.
  • Bills rookie linebacker Randell Johnson has signed with agents Drew Rosenhaus and Michael Katz of Rosenhaus Sports, tweets Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal.
  • Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review focuses on the young Steelers who could be “training camp phenoms” (via Twitter): Justin Brown, Dri Archer, Mike Mitchell, Brian Arnfelt, Tauren Poole.

AFC Mailbags: Jags, Colts, Steelers, Ravens

It’s Saturday, and that means ESPN.com’s NFL writers open up their mailbags and answer questions from readers. Here are some interesting notes out of the AFC…