Justin Ellis

Ravens Sign Justin Ellis, Domata Peko

The Ravens have signed veteran defensive tackle Justin Ellis, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (via Twitter). Ellis was a regular member of the Raiders’ D-line since Oakland selected him in the fourth round of the 2014 draft, and he even landed a three-year, $15MM contract with the Silver-and-Black in March 2018. But his 2018 season was marred by injury, and he was released with an injury settlement in October.

And while Baltimore scored its fifth straight win on Sunday, its defensive front was noticeably shaky, perhaps because starting DT Michael Pierce played just three snaps. Pierce exited the game against the Bengals with an ankle injury, and head coach John Harbaugh said that an MRI didn’t reveal any long-term concerns. But as Jeff Zrebic of The Athletic writes, Harbaugh was non-committal as to whether Pierce would be available for this Sunday’s crucial matchup with the Texans, instead calling Pierce’s status “day-to-day.”

In addition to Ellis, the Ravens are adding another free agent DT, Domata Peko, as Zrebiec tweets. The Ravens, who are intimately familiar with the long-time Bengal’s work, attempted to sign him earlier this season, but the two sides were unable to agree on terms at the time. Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network reports that Baltimore will pay Peko $1MM for the remainder of the season (Twitter link).

Neither Ellis nor Peko are likely to create much of a pass rush in the interior of the line — which Baltimore could really use — but like the Ravens’ earlier additions of linebackers Josh Bynes and L.J. Fort, both are experienced veterans who understand their assignments and who should, if nothing else, solidify the run defense. That will be essential given Pierce’s uncertain health and the fact that the Ravens are putting rookie DT Daylon Mack on injured reserve, per Zrebiec.

Baltimore, at 7-2 and in first place in AFC North, is doing everything it can to keep the second-place Steelers at bay while pushing for a postseason bye. Zrebiec says the club is expected to add rookie CB Iman Marshall to the active roster this week, and given that the Ravens’ kickoff and punt coverage teams have been uncharacteristically unsteady, Marshall may be asked to bolster those units.

In a corresponding move, the Ravens have waived return man Cyrus Jones, per Zrebiec. Jones muffed a punt in the team’s win over the Patriots in Week 9, and Baltimore signed De’Anthony Thomas shortly thereafter. Thomas operated as the kickoff and punt returner on Sunday and will presumably remain in that role moving forward.

The team also waived DE Ufomba Kamalu, per Zrebiec.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Workout Updates: 11/11/19

Here’s the latest from around the league’s workout circuit:

Cleveland Browns

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

New York Giants

Oakland Raiders

Philadelphia Eagles

NFL Workout Updates: 10/23/19

Today’s workout updates:

Detroit Lions

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Miami Dolphins

New Orleans Saints

Chargers To Sign DT Sylvester Williams

Sylvester Williams will head back to an AFC West team. The former Broncos first-round pick agreed to terms with the Chargers, according to his agency (Twitter link). Williams worked out for the Chargers this week, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (on Twitter).

While the 2013 No. 28 overall selection has not quite lived up to that billing, he has continued to receive calls from defensive tackle-seeking teams. Williams has played for the Titans, Lions and Dolphins since leaving Denver. The Saints rostered him briefly this summer.

Williams worked out for the Bears this week, according to Sirius XM Radio’s Adam Caplan (on Twitter), but the Chargers ended up adding him. The Chargers worked out defensive lineman Adolphus Washington, ex-Raider starter Justin Ellis and P.J. Johnson but are going with Williams.

The 30-year-old lineman started four games for the Lions last season and 11 for the 2017 Titans. In Denver, Williams started 48 games and was a first-stringer in two Super Bowls.

Both starting defensive tackles, Brandon Mebane and Justin Jones, missed Sunday’s game due to injuries — two of many maladies to affect the Chargers’ starting lineup this season. The Bolts now have seven defensive tackles on their 53-man roster, including two rookies and recently signed T.Y. McGill. It’s possible the Williams move will precede another at this position.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Workout Updates: 10/16/19

Today’s NFL workout updates, all courtesy of Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle:

Baltimore Ravens

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Jacksonville Jaguars

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Redskins

NFL Workout Updates: 10/16/19

Here is the latest from the workout circuit:

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Redskins

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/8/19

Here are today’s minor moves:

Buffalo Bills

Oakland Raiders

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Raiders Get Down To 53 Players

The Raiders have made their slew of cuts. They placed defensive tackle Justin Ellis on injured reserve, meaning he’ll miss the entire season. After starting 14 games in 2017, Oakland signed Ellis to a three-year, $15MM extension. Injuries limited him to just six games last season, so he’ll have barely played through the first two years of that extension.

Former Rams defensive lineman Ethan Westbrooks also got the boot. He started nine games for Los Angeles in 2017 and racked up four sacks. Last year he had a smaller role, although he did appear in all 16 games for the Rams. ‘Hard Knocks’ star Keelan Doss unfortunately failed to make the roster. He’s an undrafted rookie receiver from UC Davis. Additionally Keith Smith, who served as the team’s fullback last season, was released.

Waived:

WR Marcell Ateman
DE Quinton Bell
RB James Butler
LB Jason Cabinda
LB Te’von Coney
G Lester Cotton Sr.
WR Keelan Doss
LB Koa Farmer
WR Rico Gafford
WR Keon Hatcher
G/T Denver Kirkland
CB Dylan Mabin
T Justin Murray
CB Nick Nelson
WR De’Mornay Pierson-El
T Tyler Roemer
DT Anthony Rush

Released:

FB Keith Smith
DE Ethan Westbrooks
LB Kyle Wilber

Waived/injured:

TE Paul Butler

Placed on season-ending injured reserve:

DT Justin Ellis

Raiders Notes: Brown, Peterman, Good

We’ve got a new twist in the seemingly never-ending Antonio Brown saga. The last we had heard, the NFL had given the Raiders receiver the go-ahead to find a helmet of his usual model that was less than ten years old. The league had told him he would be able to play in it if he could find one less than ten years old, but they apparently changed course and told him the new helmet would still need to be tested, a source told Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com. Brown was able to find “several” of the Schutt AiR Advantage helmets made in the last ten years, but “earlier today, Brown was informed that the helmet failed the test,” Florio writes.

Brown has already reported back to the Raiders, so hopefully this doesn’t cause too much new drama. He had appeared to have gotten over the helmet issue, before this potential loophole came to light. Unfortunately, this doesn’t appear to be the final word on the helmet. The same source told Florio that “we haven’t heard the last of Brown on this issue,” so we should all buckle up. It’s hard to see what his next move would be, although he apparently has at least one more trick up his sleeve. We’ll keep you posted when we find out what it is.

Here’s more from Oakland:

  • Speaking of Brown, he at least seems to be headed in the right direction health-wise. Brown appears to be almost over his foot issue, and Raiders coach Jon Gruden said “I think so, yeah,” when asked earlier today if Brown would be a full participant in practice soon, per Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com. Gruden added that “he took all the reps today in our walkthrough.” Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said “you can tell Antonio’s been studying because he came out and didn’t miss a beat,” and that Brown “was a part of everything we did today.” While the helmet issue doesn’t seem to be going away, it looks like Brown’s frostbitten feet won’t be a story moving forward.
  • There’s been a lot of talk about Oakland’s backup quarterbacks this offseason, mostly due to the infamy of Nathan Peterman. Gruden caused quite the uproar a few weeks ago when he heaped praise on Peterman, leading many to believe he had a legitimate shot to become Carr’s primary clipboard holder. That being said, Vic Tafur of The Athletic predicts he’ll end up getting cut in his new 53-man roster projection. Mike Glennon has been impressive during the preseason, so this isn’t too surprising. There’s also a chance the Raiders decide to keep three quarterbacks because of Gruden’s affinity for Peterman. Notably, Tafur also projects veteran receiver Ryan Grant and defensive tackle Justin Ellis, who just got a $15MM extension last offseason, to miss the cut.
  • More good injury news for the Raiders, as guard Denzelle Good has been activated off the PUP list and will return to practice, Tafur tweets. “That’s huge for us,” Gruden said. He’s not wrong, as the Raiders are very thin at guard at the moment. Gabe Jackson is currently sidelined with a knee injury and Richie Incognito is suspended for the first two games of the season, so Oakland will be without both of their starting guards in Week 1. Good started three games at guard for the Raiders last season after being claimed off waivers from the Colts. He’ll now presumably join the competition to fill in for Jackson and Incognito. The Raiders are also said to be exploring the trade market for veteran guards.

Trade Rumors: Cardinals, Armstead, Haskins

The Seahawks and Chiefs agreed to a blockbuster trade earlier today that will send Frank Clark to Kansas City. And as Albert Breer of SI.com writes, the veteran trade market is expected to remain hot this week. Breer says that rival clubs are “keeping an eye” on Cardinals‘ DL Robert Nkemdiche, and given that Nkemdiche suffered a torn ACL in December, it’s possible that he could be had for minimal compensation. He has battled injuries throughout his career and has not really lived up to his potential when on the field, but as a former first-round pick who won’t turn 25 until the regular season starts, it makes sense that he would draw some interest. He did post 4.5 sacks in 10 games (six starts) last year.

Now for more trade rumblings from around the league:

  • Assuming the Cardinals draft Kyler Murray with the No. 1 overall pick, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen expects the club to be patient with a Josh Rosen trade (Twitter link). If they cannot get fair value for Rosen prior to the draft, the Cards could wait until after a few signal-callers come off the board and QB-needy teams start to get a little anxious. We heard earlier today that Arizona is still undecided as to what it will do with the first pick in the draft, but if the Cardinals don’t nab Murray, it would be a major surprise.
  • Breer writes that 49ers‘ DE Arik Armstead is also expected to draw some trade interest, though he remains in San Francisco’s plans. Raiders‘ DT Justin Ellis is also said to be available, while Cowboys WR Allen Hurns is the best wideout that could be had via trade [SOURCE LINK].
  • In a separate piece, Breer writes that rival clubs are monitoring Jaguars LB Telvin Smith and Broncos CB Chris Harris Jr. as potential trade targets, though neither player is on the trade block just yet.
  • Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports continues to hear that the Lions and Jets are interested in trading down from their current first-round slots, and he sees the Falcons as a potential partner for Detroit (Twitter link). Interestingly, Breer hears the same [SOURCE LINK]. Clemson DT Christian Wilkins could be the target if Atlanta wants to move up, though Breer says the team has been “nosing around” offensive linemen as well as defensive linemen.
  • As La Canfora writes in a separate piece, the Redskins could be the Jets‘ trade partner if Washington feels it needs to trade up to land Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins. One way or another, JLC believes the Redskins will come away from the draft with Haskins in tow. This is at least the second time La Canfora has written about a potential deal between Washington and New York.
  • The Chargers are open to trading down from the No. 28 overall pick in Thursday’s draft, per the team’s official website. But given that there is a lot of depth in this draft and not many obvious first-round talents, GM Tom Telesco could find it difficult to execute such a deal.