Justin Ellis

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.

Raiders Activate DT Justin Ellis

Justin Ellis played in just one game this season before being placed on IR. He will return, however, for the final games of Jon Gruden‘s first year back.

The Raiders activated Ellis from IR on Saturday, and the fifth-year defensive tackle will be in line to play Sunday against the Chiefs. Oakland waived offensive lineman Denver Kirkland to clear a roster spot.

Re-signed this offseason, Ellis is one of the few Reggie McKenzie draft picks still around in Oakland. The 2014 fourth-round selection has started for most of his career, producing his best season in 2017 — 48 tackles, a half-sack. He’s signed through the 2020 season.

Following Ellis’ IR move, Oakland signed both Johnathan Hankins and Clinton McDonald. Both have served as role players at a defensive tackle spot now housing new Gruden draftees P.J. Hall and Maurice Hurst.

Kirkland played in six games for the Raiders in 2016 and ’18. He served as an extra offensive lineman in power sets during Oakland’s 12-4 2016 campaign but has only made one regular-season appearance since.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders DT Justin Ellis Designated For Return

Justin Ellis was back at practice yesterday, and the Raiders announced that they’ve designated the defensive lineman to return from the injured reserve. The team will now have 21 days to add the veteran to their active roster. We heard last week that the 27-year-old was nearing a return to practice.

“It was a great feeling [to get back on the field],” Ellis said. “I was smiling inside, I was working trying to knock the rust off. Inside, seeing my guys happy to have me back was a great feeling.”

Ellis originally suffered a foot injury during Oakland’s season-opener against the Rams, and the team subsequently placed him on the injured reserve. It was expected that the 27-year-old would return to practice in late October, but the defensive tackle apparently needed some extra time to recover.

“He looks good, it’ll be great to get him back,” said defensive coordinator Paul Guenther. “We haven’t had him since the first ball game, he’s a big part of what we’re doing here. He practiced yesterday, but he looks good. He feels good, and hopefully he’ll be up and running Sunday.”

The Raiders’ new regime will certainly want to see what they have in Ellis, especially after he inked a three-year, $15MM extension with the team during the offseason. Pro Football Focus graded him as one of the league’s better run stopping tackles last year, and he finished the 2017 campaign with 48 tackles and 0.5 sacks in 16 games (14 starts).

Ellis was one of three Raiders defensive tackles currently sitting on the injured reserve (along with Eddie Vanderdoes and Ahtyba Rubin). When he’s ultimately added to the active roster, he’ll be joining a healthy grouping that includes P.J. HallMaurice HurstJohnathan Hankins, and Clinton McDonald.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders DT Justin Ellis To Return To Practice

Justin Ellis is (almost) back. Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that the Raiders nose tackle is set to return to practice next week. The writer implies that the team will ultimately activate Ellis from the injured reserve once he’s ready to go.

It’s a lost season for the Raiders, but the team will surely appreciate the reinforcement along the defensive line. Ellis originally suffered a foot injury during Oakland’s season-opener against the Rams, and the team subsequently placed him on the injured reserve. It was expected that the 27-year-old would return to practice in late October, but the defensive tackle apparently needed some extra time to recover.

The Raiders’ new regime will certainly want to see what they have in Ellis, especially after he inked a three-year, $15MM extension with the team during the offseason. Pro Football Focus graded him as one of the league’s better run stopping tackles last year, and he finished the 2017 campaign with 48 tackles and 0.5 sacks in 16 games (14 starts).

Ellis is one of three Raiders defensive tackles currently sitting on the injured reserve (along with Eddie Vanderdoes and Ahtyba Rubin). When he’s ultimately activated from the IR, he’ll be joining a healthy grouping that includes P.J. HallMaurice HurstJohnathan Hankins, and Clinton McDonald.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Place Justin Ellis On Injured Reserve

The Raiders will be without defensive tackle Justin Ellis for a while, as they placed the veteran run-stuffer on injured reserve according to Michael Gehlken of the Las Veags Review-Journal (Twitter link).

The good news for Oakland is that Gehlken writes the “season [is] not considered over” for Ellis, posting in a follow-up tweet that Ellis is “expected to resume practice when first eligible in six weeks” and presumably return to the field when first eligible in eight weeks.

According to Gehlken, Ellis suffered a “foot strain” during the Raiders’ opener against the Rams. It’s a big blow to a defense that already saw its defensive front get dominated by the Rams’ offensive line on Monday night. Earlier this year, Ellis signed a three-year $15MM extension with the team, so the new regime led by Jon Gruden clearly thought highly of him.

Pro Football Focus graded him as one of the league’s better run stopping tackles last year, and the Raiders wasted no time in replacing him. They signed a pair of defensive tackles yesterday, adding Clinton McDonald as well as Johnathan Hankins.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Rumors: Prosise, Cards, Rams, Raiders

After a promising flash as a rookie, C.J. Prosise has not contributed much to the Seahawks‘ cause. He’s picked up 17 touches since December 2016 and is behind Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny and Mike Davis on the Seattle running back depth chart. However, the team is discussing a position change for the third-year back. Pete Carroll said (via Pro Football Talk) his coaching staff is examining a possible Prosise switch to wide receiver, citing his background at the position in college. Prosise was a wideout at Notre Dame before being switched to the backfield. He caught 29 passes for 516 yards in 2014. The Seahawks are down Doug Baldwin for perhaps multiple weeks, and they have just four healthy wide receivers.

Here’s the latest from the West divisions, shifting to a running back who is also quite adept at the receiver role.

  • David Johnson is now the NFL’s second-highest-paid running back, holding a substantial lead over the No. 3 player in this hierarchy, and ranks close to the top in terms of fully guaranteed money, too. Johnson’s three-year, $39MM Cardinals extension will come with $24.682MM fully guaranteed at signing, Joel Corry of CBS Sports tweets. Adding in the amount guaranteed for injury increases the deal’s guarantees to $31MM, per Corry, who adds offset language is included in this contract. Johnson’s $24MM-plus full guarantee leads all running backs on veteran contracts, surpassing Todd Gurley‘s $21.9MM in guarantees.
  • Martavis Bryant is indeed back with the Raiders, as Jon Gruden suggested he could be. An illness and general inconsistency during camp led to Bryant being a preseason cut, Gruden said (via Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic, on Twitter). Gruden said the perpetual suspension risk, who may or may not be facing another ban, is more focused and may suit up for the team on Sunday in Denver.
  • In addition to the Raiders’ interest in signing top free agent Johnathan Hankins, Gruden said they’re also interested in adding Clinton McDonald, per Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Hankins is visiting the Raiders on Wednesday. The Broncos released McDonald after the preseason slate. If signed, McDonald would add yet another 30-something to Gruden’s free agency haul. He’s 31.
  • The Raiders are in need of help at defensive tackle because of a Justin Ellis injury. The fifth-year veteran defensive tackle strained ligaments in his foot, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. He’s week-to-week, prompting Oakland to pursue outside help.
  • Adam Jones signed with the Broncos late in the preseason, appearing to represent an upgrade at punt returner and No. 4 cornerback. However, the 35-year-old defender appears to have usurped Tramaine Brock for the nickel job, Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com notes. Brock didn’t fare poorly in the preseason and graded as an upper-echelon corner during his last season of full-time work, with the 2016 49ers, but Jones has more experience in Vance Joseph‘s defense from their time together in Cincinnati. If he’s been demoted, it would mark a second straight season the 30-year-old defender’s resided out of a nickel picture. The Vikings carried Brock as a depth piece in 2017.
  • The Rams are going to need a new return man. Pharoh Cooper suffered an ankle injury and will be out for “some time,” Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com notes. Backup return man Michael Thomas is out for a few weeks, Sean McVay said, to prompt Los Angeles to seek alternative options. Cooper served as the Rams’ kick- and punt-return man last season, soaring to All-Pro honors.

Contract Details: CBs, McDougald, Ellis

Let’s take a look at the details from the latest contracts signed in the NFL, with all links going to Twitter unless otherwise noted: