Kai Forbath

NFL Workout Updates: 9/29/20

Here are some of the key developments from the NFL’s workout circuit as of Tuesday:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Miami Dolphins

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Washington Football Team

Panthers Cut Trumaine Johnson

Trumaine Johnson‘s time with the Panthers is already over. On Friday, the Panthers dropped Trumaine Johnson from the practice squad, just days after signing him. His spot will be filled by Kai Forbath, who returns to the team as their backup leg.

Johnson, 30, has made 77 NFL starts. At one point in time, he was regarded as one of the league’s better starting cornerbacks. But, things changed when he went from the Rams to the Jets. His five-year, $72.5MM deal was a monumental flop, and, ultimately, it proved to be one of the misguided moves that ended Mike Maccagan‘s tenure as the team’s GM.

In his first year with Gang Green, Johnson missed significant time with a quad injury that some Jets staffers believe he could have played through. He did come away with four interceptions in 2018, but that stat doesn’t tell the whole story – Johnson struggled in coverage and looked like a shell of his former self. Things deteriorated even further in 2019 – Johnson appeared in only seven games before landing on IR. He was also benched for performance reasons and, unsurprisingly, they were unable to find any takers for him at the trade deadline.

Now, Johnson has gone from NFL notable, to practice squader, to off the Panthers’ expanded 16-man practice squad. Forbath, meanwhile, will wait for his next opportunity while he backstops Joey Slye.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 9/21/20

Today’s practice squad moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Houston Texans

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

Tennessee Titans

Johnson, Forbath Join Panthers’ P-Squad

Trumaine Johnson‘s Panthers visit earlier this week will produce another opportunity for the former Rams and Jets cornerback. The Panthers are adding Johnson to their practice squad, Brian Costello of the New York Post tweets.

Carolina also added kicker Kai Forbath to its practice squad. An eight-year veteran, Forbath worked out for the team earlier this week.

The Jets made Johnson a rather expensive cap casualty in March, doing so after his lucrative 2018 free agent deal backfired. But the 30-year-old corner will attempt to work his way back onto the field with Carolina.

The Panthers, who let James Bradberry walk in free agency, are currently down Eli Apple and did not possess a particularly imposing cornerback crew before Apple’s move to IR.

Teams can stash up to six players with unlimited NFL service time on their practice squads this year — up from two in 2019. They may also promote two players from their P-squads each week without making a corresponding roster move.

Johnson has gone from the Forbes List to agreeing to make $12K per week as a practice squad cog. But he has missed extensive time over the past two seasons due to injury, and his on-field work did not impress with the Jets either. However, the Rams used the former UDFA as a starter for five seasons and twice used their franchise tag to keep him. Johnson graded as a higher-end player in St. Louis and Los Angeles. Considering Carolina’s issues at corner, Johnson has a good chance of returning to game action soon.

Forbath kicked in four games last season — three with Dallas, one with New England — and just three in 2018 (with Jacksonville). But he was the Vikings’ full-time kicker in 2017 and spent three seasons as Washington’s primary kicker earlier in the 2010s. He made 10 of 10 field goal tries and was 10-for-10 on PATs with the Cowboys last season. The Panthers have Joey Slye as their kicker for a second straight season. They released Graham Gano this offseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC South Notes: Bucs, Forbath, Saints

Currently in the Buccaneers‘ concussion protocol, Chris Godwin may miss their Week 2 game against the Panthers. But the 2019 breakout wide receiver still looms as a candidate to sign a lucrative extension. The fourth-year wideout is willing to be patient ahead of his next contract, with Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com noting (Insider link) the former third-round pick is willing to negotiate with the Bucs through the franchise tag or ahead of free agency. In April, Jason Licht said the team wants Godwin around for the long haul.

The Bucs already authorized a $16.5MM-per-year deal for Mike Evans — one of just two players ever to start a career with six straight 1,000-yard seasons (along with Randy Moss) — and the receiver market has ballooned since. A Godwin deal could come in north of $20MM annually, which would put Evans in a bit of a strange spot. With Godwin and Evans a big part of Tom Brady‘s two-year Tampa Bay commitment, the younger of the two Pro Bowl Bucs wideouts stands in good position as his contract season begins.

Here is the latest from Tampa and other NFC South cities:

  • Lavonte David began negotiating with the Bucs on another extension nearly three weeks ago. The sides have not made much progress, but Fowler notes David wants to retire as a Buccaneer. The 2012 second-round pick signed a five-year, $50.25MM deal in 2015. David joins Godwin as a contract-year Buccaneer, so the team will need to address one of these deals before free agency — in order to keep the franchise tag free for the other. David, 30, led all linebackers with 724 solo tackles during the 2010s and can conceivably push for a deal in the Bobby Wagner neighborhood ($18MM AAV).
  • Godwin and Evans represent a key reason why Leonard Fournette opted for a Tampa stay. The former Jaguars running back said the weapons the Bucs possess played a role in him agreeing to head to south Florida, James Palmer of NFL.com tweets. As the centerpiece of the Jaguars’ offense for a while, Fournette faced stacked boxes on 39% of his carries from 2017-19, Palmer notes. Fournette received six touches in his Bucs debut but figures to become a bigger part of the offense in the games to come.
  • In addition to trading for Rob Gronkowski, the Bucs made another move to accommodate their new quarterback. They have given Brady’s trainer, Alex Guerrero, an office at their facility, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports notes. The Patriots did this at one point too but removed the TB12 co-architect’s office later. Guerrero is working with Brady, Gronk and several other Bucs, per La Canfora, who adds that some believe the Pats souring on Guerrero helped lead Brady out of New England.
  • The Panthers worked out Kai Forbath on Thursday. Second-year kicker Joey Slye, whom the team went with over former Pro Bowler Graham Gano, made all three of his field goal tries in Week 1 but missed a PAT. Slye missed four extra points last season. Carolina does not have a kicker on its practice squad.
  • Panthers rookie UDFA Sam Franklin has moved from linebacker to safety, according to defensive coordinator Phil Snow (via The Athletic’s Joe Person, on Twitter). Franklin’s primary role still figures to be special teams this season. He played 18 special teams snaps against the Raiders compared to just two on defense.
  • The Saints worked out defensive lineman Anthony Zettel on Thursday. The journeyman D-lineman signed a one-year Vikings deal earlier this year but did not stick on their roster.

Browns Work Out Folk, Parkey, Others

The Browns may be holding a kicker competition. They brought in Nick Folk, Kai Forbath, Cody Parkey and Matthew McCrane for workouts Wednesday, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.

Austin Seibert resides as Cleveland’s incumbent kicker. He kicked for the Browns last season, going 25-for-29. The ex-Oklahoma Sooner did miss five extra points, however, and may be on the verge of a training camp battle.

Cleveland has not seen much continuity at kicker lately. The team has changed kickers in each of the past four years, with Zane Gonzalez and Greg Joseph enjoying one-season stays. Seibert beat out Joseph last summer.

Folk has the most experience of the tryout legs, having kicked in the NFL since 2007. The 35-year-old specialist kicked in seven Patriots games last season. Parkey, whose “double doink” miss in a 2018 wild-card game set off rampant Bears kicker uncertainty, resurfaced in three Titans games last season. He made 3 of 3 field goals during that stay. Both Folk and Parkey made Pro Bowls as rookies — in 2007 and ’14, respectively.

Forbath was also part of the Pats’ post-Stephen Gostkowski kicker shuffle; he also kicked in three Cowboys games in 2019. McCrane did not play last season but kicked in four games as a rookie in 2018.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys To Release Kai Forbath

A veteran of six NFL teams, Kai Forbath will return to free agency. The Cowboys cut their incumbent kicker, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. This will clear a path for free agent addition Greg Zuerlein.

Given Zuerlein’s pedigree, it was not expected he would have to battle Forbath throughout training camp for the job. The Cowboys gave the longtime Rams kicker a three-year, $7.5MM deal.

Brett Maher‘s struggles prompted the Cowboys to change kickers last season. They added Forbath in December. Interestingly, they re-signed him in March but gave him a one-year contract worth the league minimum. The Cowboys will incur barely $130K in dead money by cutting the soon-to-be 33-year-old kicker.

Forbath has played for three teams — the Cowboys, Patriots and Jaguars — since the 2018 season. Forbath was one of several kickers the Pats used after Stephen Gostkowski‘s injury, though he only kicked in one game with New England. Forbath went 11-for-11 on field goals last season, including a 10-for-10 stretch with the Cowboys. Forbath, who made 15 of 15 field goals for the Vikings in 2016, should be on the radar for future kicking gigs.

Although he also kicked for the Vikings and Saints, the eight-year veteran is most known for his work in Washington. He began his career as Washington’s kicker in 2012 and held that job for nearly four seasons.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys To Re-Sign Kai Forbath

The Cowboys are keeping things steady at kicker. The team is re-signing Kai Forbath, a source told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link).

We heard on Monday that Dallas was interested in bringing back Forbath, but that they were also exploring reuniting free agent kicker Greg Zuerlein with their new special teams coordinator John Fassel. It’s unclear if that pursuit didn’t work out because Zuerlein will be headed back to the Rams or elsewhere, or if they simply decided to go with Forbath.

The journeyman kicker spent three games with the Cowboys down the stretch, making all ten of his field goal attempts and all ten of his extra points. Dallas got rid of their longtime kicker Dan Bailey two seasons ago to go with Brett Maher, but Maher struggled mightily last year. Eventually they cut Maher after a couple of meltdowns and went with Forbath, who also kicked for the Patriots in two games last year.

Cowboys Eyeing Greg Zuerlein, Kai Forbath

The Cowboys are reportedly eyeing free agent kickers. Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News reports (via Twitter) that the organization has expressed interest in re-signing Kai Forbath. More notably, the reporter notes that Greg Zuerlein is on the team’s radar.

Greg The Leg has spent his entire seven-year career with the Rams, including a 2017 campaign where he earned a Pro Bowl nod and first-team All-Pro recognition. While the veteran has connected on 82-percent of his field goal attempts during his career, that number dropped to only 72.7-percent in 2019.

Forbath had a three-game stint with the Cowboys last season, connecting on all 10 of his field goal attempts (including seven from the 40-49-yard range). He also spent two games with New England during the 2019 campaign.

The veteran has had stints with seven different organizations during his career, appearing in 81 career games.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys Waive Brett Maher, Sign Kai Forbath

The Cowboys are making a change at kicker. Dallas has waived Brett Maher and is signing Kai Forbath, per a team announcement.

In the wake of Maher’s struggles in 2019, the Cowboys worked out three kickers last week, but they elected to give Maher another shot. Unfortunately, Maher missed a field goal attempt in the team’s loss to the Bears on Thursday, so Dallas hosted another workout today. Forbath was obviously one of the three kickers the team brought in, along with Nick Rose and Tristan Vizcaino (Rose and Vizcaino were also part of last week’s audition).

Forbath has much more experience than his fellow tryout candidates, which obviously appeals to the Cowboys. Over parts of seven seasons with five different clubs, Forbath has a strong 85.8% success rate on field goal attempts. He kicked for the Patriots last week as a one-game fill-in for Nick Folk, making a 23-yard field goal attempt and going 1-2 on extra points.

Maher, meanwhile, hits the waiver wire after he was unable to replicate his solid 2018 performance. He converted just 66.7% of his field goal tries in 2019, and he missed all but one of his five tries from 40-49 yards. The Cowboys, in the thick of a division title race, exercised as much patience as they could but ultimately were compelled to move on.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.