Kasen Williams

Colts Cut Austin Howard, Reach 53-Man Roster

The Colts are at the 53-man roster max after making a bundle of transactions, including the release of offensive tackle Austin Howard.

[RELATED: Colts Cut John Simon]

The Colts invested $1.3MM guaranteed in Howard, but he was medically cleared until late July and struggled in camp and during the preseason. The Colts dangled him in trade talks this week, but there were no takers for him.

Despite his issues this summer, Howard had a solid 2017 with the Ravens and graded as Pro Football Focus’ No. 36 offensive tackle. If healthy, he could draw interest from other teams.

The Colts also placed defensive end Chris McCain, linebacker Jeremiah George, defensive end Anthony Johnson, and tight end Ross Travis on injured reserve.

Here’s a look at the rest of the Colts’ moves:

Waived:

Last year, Bond ascended to the starting center job when Ryan Kelly broke his foot late in training camp. Unfortunately, a torn quad landed him on IR in October. This year, he’ll be looking for work elsewhere.

Alie-Cox was a former basketball player looking to transition to tight end. Although Antonio Gates and others have successfully made the jump, Alie-Cox has yet to find similar success.

In addition to the aforementioned moves, the Colts also waived the following players with an injury designation. If they clear waivers, then they revert to the Colts’ Injured Reserve list:

Colts To Sign WR Kasen Williams

Former Seahawks and Browns wide receiver Kasen Williams will sign with the Colts, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. They will waive fellow wideout DeAndre Smelter to make roster room, per Schefter.

The Browns waived Williams shortly after the draft despite signing him to a reserve/futures contract in January. He’ll make his way to the Colts, who’ve been interested in the former UDFA for a bit now.

Indianapolis placed a waiver claim on Williams following a strong showing during the 2017 preseason, but Cleveland held higher waiver priority and won his rights after Seattle waived him. Now, the fourth-year wideout will attempt to make the Colts’ 53-man roster.

The Browns waived Williams last season but retained him for their practice squad. The University of Washington product caught nine passes for 84 yards in 2017. A 2015 49ers fourth-round pick out of Georgia Tech, Smelter has only seen action in two NFL games — both during the 2016 season. Smelter tore an ACL during his final season with the Yellowjackets and missed his rookie year. He finished 2016 on IR and despite not playing last season wound up with the Colts on a futures deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns Sign QB Joel Stave

The Browns signed quarterback Joel Stave on Monday, per a team announcement. To make room for Stave and other signings to come, they waived wide receivers Matt Hazel and Kasen Williams and free safety Kai Nacua.

Stave, a 6’5″ QB, first entered the league with the Vikings in 2016 as an undrafted free agent. Since then, he’s made stops with the Vikings, Seahawks, Chiefs, Redskins, and the Jets. GM John Dorsey was at the helm in Kansas City two years ago when the Chiefs signed Stave, so he’s curious enough to check in on him. Stave finished his career Wisconsin’s all-time winningest quarterback (31-10 record), but he remains untested at the pro level. He also faces long odds of making the final cut in Cleveland with Tyrod Taylor, Baker Mayfield, and Drew Stanton ahead of him.

Williams was one of the standouts of the 2017 preseason when he reeled in nine catches, 208 yards, and one touchdown for the Seahawks. Seattle tried to sneak him through waivers in order to sign him to the practice squad, but the Browns jumped at the chance to sign him to the active roster.

Kasen Williams became one of the preseason’s success stories. The Seahawks wanted to pass the wide receiver through to their practice squad then, but the Browns swooped in and signed him to their active roster. Williams had nine catches for 84 yards in seven games for Cleveland, but spent the rest of the year on the taxi squad. The old regime had some interest in Williams, but Dorsey no longer sees a spot for him on the expanded roster.

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/1/18

Here are the latest reserve/futures contract signings from around the NFL. These deals will go into effect on the first day of the 2018 league year, with players joining their respective clubs’ offseason 90-man rosters:

Baltimore Ravens

  • QB Josh Woodrum
  • RB John Crockett
  • FB Ricky Ortiz
  • OT Steven Moore

Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

  • LB Carl Bradford
  • K Jon Brown
  • LB Connor Harris
  • OT Javarius Leamon
  • OG Oni Omoile
  • TE Scott Orndoff
  • CB Sojourn Shelton
  • SS Robenson Therezie
  • WR Kermit Whitfield

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Indianapolis Colts

  • TE Mo Alie-Cox
  • WR Dres Anderson
  • DT Johnathan Calvin
  • WR Kolby Listenbee
  • LB Arthur Miley
  • LB Josh Perry
  • QB Phillip Walker
  • G Isaiah Williams

New York Giants

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Redskins

 

Browns Sign Kasen Williams To P-Squad

Kasen Williams became one of the preseason’s success stories. The Seahawks wanted to pass the wide receiver through to their practice squad then, but the Browns swooped in and signed him to their active roster.

However, after the Browns waived Williams earlier this week, no one claimed him. He will now reside on Cleveland’s practice squad, Nate Ulrich of Ohio.com reports (on Twitter).

The 24-year-old wideout has played in seven games for the Browns this season, twice catching four passes in a game. On the year, he has nine receptions for 84 yards.

The Browns remain in search of pass-catching consistency, or general passing-game promise, but they chose to cut Williams to activate Corey Coleman. Recovering from a broken hand for a second straight season, Coleman is one of three 2016 draft picks among the Browns’ receiving corps. Kenny Britt and Sammie Coates have not excelled as first-year Browns, and the team also stands to get Josh Gordon back after what will be a three-year absence.

So, the Browns could have more depth than they did recently.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Jets, Darnold, Rosen, Fuller, Broncos TE’s, Williams

While the game probably will not effect the College Football Playoff, USC vs. UCLA will certainly have a ton of NFL Draft implications. Both starting quarterbacks, Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen, are considered two of the best QB draft prospects eligible for the 2018 NFL Draft, and will try to outshine each other during Saturday’s contest. The hyped matchup will be attended by 20 teams in some form, including the QB needy Jets, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The Jets were most recently connected to Wyoming signal caller Josh Allen, although Allen’s draft status has taken a big hit because of some early season struggles vs. top level collegiate defenses. New York’s season has gone a bit better than many expected, but they still have a long-term need at the QB position with Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty not looking like the long-term answer. The Jets, along with many other scouting departments will definitely get a good comparison of two of the top signal callers in all of college football in Los Angeles this weekend.

  • The Texans have faced a number of injuries to key players including J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus and most recently quarterback Deshaun Watson. Now another playmaker who missed time early in the season will be forced to the sidelines again. Big play receiver Will Fuller will miss Sunday’s game with a rib injury, according Houston’s official injury report released on Friday afternoon. This leaves the team without another weapon for now starter Tom Savage and puts added pressure on DeAndre Hopkins to make contested plays due to increased attention from the defensive backs. Fuller missed the Texans first three games with a broken collarbone, but has since caught an impressive seven touchdowns in the past six games. Bruce Ellington is the next man up on the depth chart to try and replace Fuller’s downfield threat ability.
  • The Broncos have just one tight end on the roster entering the weekend for this Sunday’s game against the Bengals. Both A.J. Derby and Jeff Heuerman have been ruled out, which leaves Virgil Green as the lone name left on the depth chart, according to Mike Klis of 9news.com. Derby is recovering from a shoulder injury that he suffered this past Sunday night and Heuerman is dealing with a knee injury. It should be noted that no Broncos tight end has been a huge factor in the team’s offense, with Denver mostly relying on the receiving combo of Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders to move the football through the air. Klis does note that the team is expected to call up practice squad tight end Austin Traylor to take snaps as the team’s number two, adding that interestingly an unknown offensive lineman could work as the Broncos number three option if need be.
  • In order for the Browns to activate wide receiver Corey Coleman, they opted to waive fellow wideout Kasen Williams. The team has learned that Williams has passed through waivers and is free to sign with any practice squad he chooses, tweets Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times. The 25 year-old receiver first latched on with the Seattle back in 2015, but appeared in seven games with Cleveland so far this season.

Browns Activate Coleman, Cut Williams

The Browns are releasing wide receiver Kasen Williams in order to make room for Corey Coleman on the active roster (Twitter link via Tony Grossi of ESPN.com). Williams will be subject to waivers, meaning that the league’s 31 other teams will have a chance to add him in the next 24 hours. Corey Coleman (vertical)

Williams, 25 in December, appeared in just three games for the Seahawks between 2015 and 2016. However, he broke out during the preseason with nine catches, 208 yards and one touchdown. That performance caught the attention of executives around the league and the Browns pounced on the chance to claim him off waivers when he missed the Week 1 cut in September. Now that he’s back on the wire, it wouldn’t be surprising to see multiple teams put in claims on him.

Waiver wire priority, of course, goes by the inverse order of the NFL standings. The Browns are the league’s worst team at 0-9, so the 1-9 49ers will have the first chance to add him to the roster. The 6-3 Seahawks may also have some interest in a reunion, but most teams are ahead of them in the queue.

In his time with Cleveland, Williams appeared in seven games and pulled down nine grabs for 84 yards.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Colts, Browns, McGill, Patriots

The Colts placed a waiver claim on wide receiver Kasen Williams after he was cut by the Seahawks on Saturday, but the Browns held waiver priority and landed the preseason standout, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Ultimately, Indianapolis ended up keeping six wideouts: T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief, Kamar Aiken, Chester Rogers, Matt Hazel, and Quan Bray. A Williams addition likely would have led to the release of either Hazel or Bray. The Colts, of course, also traded away a wideout over the weekend, shipping former first-rounder Phillip Dorsett to the Patriots in exchange for quarterback Jacoby Brissett.

  • Another Browns waiver claim — defensive tackle T.Y. McGill — is in legal hot water after being charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana early Saturday morning, reports Katherine Peralta of the Charlotte Observer. Cleveland picked up McGill, who’s appeared in 25 career games, from the Colts just hours after the charge. While it’s an minor episode (McGill wasn’t arrested and was cooperative when cited, per Peralta), but the NFL could still hand down some sort of suspension down the road.
  • After being waived by the Patriots on Saturday, tight end James O’Shaughnessy was claimed by a league-high six NFL clubs, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). The Bills, Colts, Chargers, Jets, Saints, and Jaguars (who ultimately landed him) all put in claims on O’Shaughnessy, whom New England originally acquired in a draft-day trade with Kansas City. O’Shaughnessy, 25, appeared in all 16 games for the Chiefs in 2016 and spent most of his time on special teams. He’ll be Jacksonville’s third tight end behind Marcedes Lewis and Ben Koyack.
  • The 49ers, Browns, and Jaguars will enter the 2017 regular season with the most cap space in the league, although San Francisco ($64.2MM) and Cleveland ($61.8MM) are in a different tier than the rest of the NFL, as Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. While some of those reserves can be spent during the season on additional signings and extensions, most of that space will be carried over to the 2018 campaign. The Dolphins, Rams, and Chargers, meanwhile, sit at the bottom of the league in cap space.
  • Defensive backs Jarrell Carter, Cody Riggs, Channing Stribling, and Jamal Wiltz, plus tight end Alex Ellis, all worked out for the Patriots on Tuesday, per Mike Reiss of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Only Riggs (14 games) and Ellis (six) have appeared in an NFL contest thus far in their careers.

West Notes: Ward, Donald, Hawks, Schofield

John Elway spoke with T.J. Ward‘s agent earlier this summer and informed him the team did not intend to sign the veteran safety to an extension, with the GM telling media (including Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post) a Ward re-up was not in the team’s plans “at that point of time.” The Broncos made Ward one of the highest-profile cuts of the roster-slashing weekend, but Jhabvala reports the team did not come to a decision on Ward until last week. The rise of second-year safeties Justin Simmons and Will Parks, along with Ward’s injury history, played a role in the departure.

Citing a lack of clarity during the process, Ward on Monday called the Broncos “completely unprofessional” regarding the separation. The divorce came with one season remaining on the 30-year-old defender’s four-year contract. The eighth-year safety will earn up to $5MM with the Buccaneers this season. Ward missed all of Denver’s preseason games with a hamstring injury and missed six games due to injury in three Broncos campaigns — two of which producing Pro Bowls. Mike Klis of 9News described the process as Simmons — a 2016 third-round pick who served as Denver’s third safety last season — Wally Pipp’ing Ward (Twitter link). Klis notes Elway gave Ward “every chance” to make this year’s team.

Here’s the latest from the West divisions, shifting to Seattle, which just made the biggest trade in a week full of them.

  • The injury to rookie Malik McDowell prompted the Seahawks to trade for Sheldon Richardson, Pete Carroll said, via the Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta (on Twitter). Currently on the NFI list, McDowell does not have a timetable for a return, Condotta adds (via Twitter). Carroll said the team could still look to add another defensive tackle (Twitter link, via Condotta).
  • Richardson will play the three-technique position in the Seahawks’ 4-3 scheme, the fifth-year defensive lineman said Monday (via Condotta, on Twitter). He will line up inside of Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril, giving the Seahawks one of the most talented defensive fronts in football. Richardson primarily played 3-4 defensive end with the Jets but also saw time at outside linebacker. He played 4-3 defensive tackle at the University of Missouri, though.
  • Aaron Donald remains a holdout as the Rams begin their Week 1 preparations, but Sean McVay won’t impose a deadline on how late the All-Pro defensive lineman can report to the team and still play Sunday, Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.com reports. Rams reps flew to Atlanta to meet with Donald, but the sides reportedly aren’t close to a deal. Gonzalez adds McVay nonetheless remains “optimistic” about a solution.
  • A two-position starter for the Broncos during the past two seasons, Michael Schofield attracted widespread interest on the waiver wire. The Chargers won out due to their position in the waiver hierarchy, but the Lions, Redskins, Vikings and Saints also put in claims on the fourth-year guard/tackle, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. A 2014 third-rounder, Schofield started for the Broncos at right tackle during their Super Bowl season and lined up at right guard throughout 2016. While Denver didn’t sport particularly effective O-lines during those seasons, Schofield clearly has believers out there.
  • Speaking of waivers, the Seahawks hoped they’d have a chance to stash wide receiver Kasen Williams on their practice squad, Carroll said (via Condotta, on Twitter), but the Browns swooped in with a claim. The Seahawks will move on without Williams and Jermaine Kearse, traded to the Jets in the Richardson deal. Paul Richardson and Tyler Lockett are now Seattle’s top complementary wideouts, and Lockett (per Condotta, on Twitter) is expected to play in Week 1 after breaking his fibula late last season.

Sunday NFL Transactions: AFC North

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four AFC North teams. Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline yesterday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters, claiming players off waivers or signing guys who clear waivers. Those transactions for the Ravens, Bengals, Browns, and Steelers are noted below.

Additionally, as of 12:00pm CT today, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads. You can check out our glossary entry on practice squads to brush up on those changes, as well as all the other guidelines that govern the 10-man units, whose players practice with the team but aren’t eligible to suit up on Sundays.

Here are Sunday’s AFC North transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day:

Baltimore Ravens

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Pittsburgh Steelers