Kenny Stills

Bills Elevate Kenny Stills From Practice Squad

The Bills made a high-profile wide receiver addition late in the season, signing Kenny Stills. Ahead of its first AFC championship game in 27 years, the team may be set to deploy Stills in a game for the first time.

The Bills promoted Stills from the practice squad Saturday. With Gabriel Davis questionable to face the Chiefs, Stills profiles as overqualified insurance. Davis is battling an ankle injury, one that prevented him from practicing until Friday. The rookie managed only a limited session then.

Stills languished as a seldom-used Texans cog this season, with Bill O’Brien reshuffling Houston’s receiving corps and leaving the veteran deep threat behind the likes of Will Fuller and newcomers Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb. After playing a key role last season, Stills caught just 11 passes during the 2020 slate. The Texans waived him in November, though they could have used him soon after. Fuller’s subsequent PED ban and a Cooks injury left Deshaun Watson with a skeleton-crew wideout corps for a time in December.

No team claimed Stills, leading him to Buffalo ahead of the Bills’ Week 17 game. The twice-traded wideout has resided on Buffalo’s practice squad since. Prior to this season, the 28-year-old wideout contributed consistently as an auxiliary target. Stills posted at least 550 receiving yards in each season from 2016-19, scoring 25 touchdowns in that span.

With Davis’ status murky, Stills could be called upon to join fellow vets Stefon Diggs, Cole Beasley and John Brown in action Sunday in Kansas City.

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WR Kenny Stills Expected To Sign With Bills

After auditioning for the Bills earlier this week, veteran wideout Kenny Stills will be joining the team. Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports that Stills is planning to sign with Buffalo. The receiver will start undergoing COVID-19 testing, and “the team hopes he can start practicing as soon as next week.”

A part of the Laremy Tunsil/Dolphins trade, Stills was solid during his first season in Houston, and he appeared in both of the Texans playoff contests. However, the 28-year-old was cut by the Texans back in November after hauling in only 11 receptions in his 10 appearances. Between the 2016 and 2019 campaigns, Stills averaged 44 receptions for 672 yards and six touchdowns per season, so there’s a good chance he still has something left in the tank.

While John Brown is set to return to the lineup following a lengthy absence, fellow Bills wideout Cole Beasley suffered a knee injury during the Bills’ Week 16 win over the Patriots. Head coach Sean McDermott described the injury as “week-to-week” (per ESPN’s Marcel Louis-Jacques), and the wideout has already been ruled out for tomorrow’s regular season finale.

McDermott also said the team’s interest in Stills wasn’t related to the Beasley injury, meaning the veteran addition could end up playing a role alongside Brown, Beasley, and top receiver Stefon Diggs. Wideout Gabriel Davis and return man Andre Roberts seem to also have secure roles in Buffalo, but the Stills signing could end up pushing the likes of Isaiah McKenzie off the roster.

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Bills Hosting Kenny Stills On Visit

A liability for many years coming into 2020, Buffalo’s passing attack broke through this season. And the unit may be on the verge of having another weapon for the playoffs.

The Bills are hosting Kenny Stills on Wednesday, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). While Stills must navigate COVID-19 protocols, Schefter notes there is optimism this will be the free agent deep threat’s only visit.

This marks Stills’ first known meeting since the Texans waived him in late November. He did not play much of a role in Houston this season, but the 28-year-old wideout was an auxiliary part of several Saints and Dolphins passing attacks previously. The twice-traded receiver has two 800-plus-yard seasons on his resume and finished the 2019 Texans season with 561 and four touchdown catches in 13 games.

A potential Bills-Stills partnership would seemingly be tied to the statuses of Stefon Diggs‘ supporting cast. The Bills were prepared to have John Brown back in action Monday, but the veteran speedster instead landed on the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list. While Brown is off IR and has not been reported to have tested positive for the coronavirus, the 30-year-old pass catcher has a history of injuries. Slot receiver Cole Beasley also suffered an injury during the Bills’ blowout win over the Patriots, and Sean McDermott called the veteran “week to week” following the game. The Bills will enter their Week 17 against the Dolphins as the NFL’s second-ranked pass attack.

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Texans To Cut WR Kenny Stills

The waiver wire will soon feature a proven pass catcher. The Texans are cutting Kenny Stills, Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter).

Despite Houston trading for the former New Orleans and Miami wide receiver last year, the team has not featured him much this season. The eighth-year veteran has just 11 catches for 144 yards, having taken a backseat to other veteran targets Will Fuller, Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb. Even with Cobb on IR now, Stills played just four snaps on Thanksgiving.

With the trade deadline having passed, Stills will head to the wire. A 28-year-old deep threat, he profiles as an interesting late-season piece for a contender. Stills’ contract expires at season’s end. In 117 career games (77 starts), Stills has 310 receptions for 4,843 yards and 37 touchdowns.

Stills enjoyed a bigger role last season, playing alongside Fuller and DeAndre Hopkins. He caught 40 passes for 561 yards and four touchdowns. The former fifth-round pick produced two 700-plus-yard seasons with the Dolphins, earning a four-year, $32MM extension in 2017. Barely $1MM remains on that deal. With the Saints, Stills led the NFL with 20.0 yards per catch in 2013 and posted a career-high 931 yards in ’14. The Saints traded him to the Dolphins in 2015.

The Texans, who acquired Stills in 2019’s Laremy Tunsil blockbuster deal, tried to trade Stills prior to this year’s deadline. But they ended up hanging onto each member of their veteran receiving quartet. Now, Houston will have just Fuller and Cooks from that crew down the stretch. Keke Coutee has resurfaced as an auxiliary cog.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Trade Rumors: Thomas, Njoku, Watt, Jets

Saints head coach Sean Payton has said his team has no interest in trading star receiver Michael Thomas, though Thomas’ camp was recently said to be looking for potential deals. There has been no movement towards a Thomas trade, and whether that’s because New Orleans has no interest in dealing him or because the club has not received an offer it likes, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com says Thomas will stay put.

With the trade deadline two days away, let’s round up a few more rumors on players who could be on the move:

  • The Browns don’t want to trade tight end David Njoku, but Njoku has renewed his request to be dealt, and Rapoport says Cleveland has been fielding calls on the former first-rounder. It may take at least a fourth-round pick to get a deal done, but with Austin Hooper set to return and with the emergence of rookie Harrison Bryant, the Browns may elect to move Njoku.
  • Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes that the Texans are at the center of the trade market, with one executive saying Houston could move as many as five players if it wants to. Rapoport expects the Packersinterest in Will Fuller — which dates back to the summer — to ramp up, but it will likely take a high pick to convince the Texans to move Fuller. Fellow WR Kenny Stills has also drawn some interest, though rival clubs see the contracts for Stills and Randall Cobb as prohibitive. DE J.J. Watt may be receptive to a trade, but considering his contract and age, other teams probably don’t value him like the Texans do.
  • The Jets have received calls on LB Avery Williamson, OTs George Fant and Chuma Edoga, and CB Quincy Wilson, per Albert Breer of SI.com. Rich Cimini of ESPN.com says the Steelers — who recently lost Devin Bush for the season — could be in the market for Williamson, and Edoga also seems like a good bet to be dealt since he does not look like a fit with the current regime.
  • La Canfora says teams have also called the Jets about WR Breshad Perriman and TE Chris Herndon, though Breer notes that safety Marcus Maye has not drawn much interest.
  • Rapoport names Dolphins RB Jordan Howard and Seahawks TE Jacob Hollister as two other players who could be moved. And though the Bengals are shopping disgruntled wideout John Ross, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com says there hasn’t been interest in Ross (Twitter link).

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/17/20

Today’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Miami Dolphins

  • Waived: OT Nick Kaltmayer (Sunday)

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New York Jets

  • Signed: TE Connor Davis
  • Waived: S Anthony Cioffi

New York Giants

Tennessee Titans

  • Signed: LB/DE Jamal Davis II (Sunday)

Injury Updates: Packers, Adams, Cardinals

No surprise here, but Davante Adams will miss another game this week, per the Packers‘ final injury report. This marks the wide receiver’s third-straight missed contest as he rehabs from a toe ailment.

Adams had a strong start to the season with 25 receptions for 378 yards before going down and seemed on his way to matching last year’s 111/1,386 posting. The Packers were able to get past the Lions without him and they’ll aim to do the same against the Raiders.

Here’s the latest on other bumps and bruises from around the NFL:

  • Uh oh – Cardinals running back David Johnson is dealing with a new injury. After tweaking his back against Atlanta, Johnson will be a game time decision thanks to a sore ankle, head coach Kliff Kingsbury told reporters.
  • The Cowboys will have offensive tackles Tyron Smith and La’el Collins, wide receivers Amari Cooper and Randall Cobb, and cornerback Byron Jones are set to play on Sunday against the Eagles, as Todd Archer of ESPN.com tweets. All five are listed as questionable for the game, but they took the practice field and Friday and should be good to go.
  • The Eagles, on the other hand, will try to fly without: linebacker Nigel Bradham (ankle), wide receiver DeSean Jackson (abdomen), defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan (foot), cornerback Avonte Maddox (concussion/neck), tackle Jason Peters (knee), and running back Darren Sproles (quadricep).
  • Wide receiver Kenny Stills is set to return on Sunday against the Colts, per the club’s injury report.

Injury Updates: Trubisky, Smith, Hockenson, Allen, Ingram, Mack, Stills

Perhaps the most significant injury of Week 4 afternoon games was Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky going down. Trubisky went down hard on his left shoulder, and was quickly ruled out before returning to the sideline with his arm in a sling. Bears coach Matt Nagy didn’t offer many details after the game, but he said he didn’t expect the injury to be season-ending, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link). While it certainly could be worse, that does seem to suggest that the Bears expect Trubisky to miss at least a little time. Chase Daniel will fill in under center.

Here are more injury updates from around the league:

  • Bears linebacker Roquan Smith was surprisingly inactive for the team’s win over the Vikings, and Nagy said after the game Smith’s absence was for personal reasons, Pelissero tweets. Nagy wouldn’t elaborate and wouldn’t say whether Smith’s personal issue would extend beyond this week. This will be something to monitor, as Smith is a key part of Chicago’s defense.
  • Lions rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson took a hard hit in Detroit’s loss to the Chiefs, and was ruled out with a concussion. The Lions drafted Hockenson eighth overall back in April, and he’s shown a lot of promise in the first few games. He had three catches and a touchdown before going down against Kansas City, and is a big part of Detroit’s passing game. Hopefully he’ll be able to get cleared in time for Week 5.
  • Speaking of concussions, Bills quarterback Josh Allen suffered one on a brutal hit in Buffalo’s loss to the Patriots. He was ruled out for the remainder of the game and if he can’t get cleared by next week, Matt Barkley will be under center. Allen was struggling before getting hurt and had thrown three interceptions, but Barkley wasn’t much better in relief.
  • The Chargers’ injuries continued to pile up, as star pass-rusher Melvin Ingram left their game against the Dolphins and was quickly ruled out with a hamstring injury. Los Angeles was already one of the most banged up teams in the league, so this was the last thing they needed. Head coach Anthony Lynn said after the game that Ingram pulled a hamstring and they didn’t know how long he’d be out, according to a tweet from Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com.
  • Colts running back Marlon Mack tweaked his ankle, but it doesn’t seem serious. Mack only had two carries in the second half, but he said after the game it was just “coach’s decision” to hold him out and that he expects to be fine for Indy’s Week 5 game against the Chiefs, according to Charlie Clifford of WISH 8 (Twitter link).
  • Texans receiver Kenny Stills left his team’s loss to the Panthers with a hamstring injury, but it’s unclear how severe it is. After the game, head coach Bill O’Brien said the team would have to wait until Monday to determine the severity, per a tweet from Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. Stills would be a big loss, but Houston would still have a very solid receiving corp in Will Fuller, DeAndre Hopkins, and Keke Coutee without him.

Texans Acquire Laremy Tunsil, Kenny Stills From Dolphins

The Texans are going full edge makeover on Saturday. Despite the Dolphins not being the team to land Jadeveon Clowney, they are finalizing a deal to send Laremy Tunsil to Houston, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

This is a blockbuster. Kenny Stills will also head to Houston for a package of picks, and NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, Tom Pelissero and Mike Garafolo report (on Twitter) one of those will be a first-rounder. In fact, two of those picks will be first-rounders. The Texans are sending two first-rounders and a second-rounder to the Dolphins for Tunsil and Stills, the NFL.com trio adds (on Twitter). This is a massive return for the Dolphins’ now-Chris Grier-led front office.

The full details of the picks changing hands are as follows, courtesy of Albert Breer of SI.com (Twitter link). Miami will get first-round picks in 2020 and 2021 from Houston, and a second-rounder in 2021. The Texans will get a 2020 fourth-rounder as well as a 2021 sixth-rounder back from the Dolphins.

Additionally, the Dolphins will receive two players from the Texans as well. Tackle Julie’n Davenport and special-teamer Johnson Bademosi will head to Miami, Rapoport tweets. Davenport, a 2017 fourth-round pick, started 15 games for the Texans last season.

To recap, the Texans dealt Jadeveon Clowney to the Seahawks, acquired Carlos Hyde from the Chiefs, landed cornerback Keion Crossen from the Patriots and are now receiving Tunsil and Stills from the Dolphins. The Texans are operating without a GM. De facto GM Bill O’Brien has now given up a Khalil Mack-level haul for the Tunsil-headlined package.

With the Colts losing Andrew Luck, the Texans became the Las Vegas favorites to win the AFC South. The division champions in three of the past four seasons, the Texans are using Saturday as a springboard to solidify their position. This comes despite Houston drafting linemen in the first two rounds this year — Tytus Howard and Max Scharping — and signing Matt Kalil. The Texans were set to play Howard at guard and Kalil at tackle. Tunsil will now protect Deshaun Watson‘s blind side.

No quarterback since Jon Kitna in 2006 took more sacks than Watson did in 2018, 62. As a result, the Texans will have a nearly remade offensive front. Tunsil started 30 games for the Dolphins at left tackle since 2017. He played left guard in 2016. He was expected to be 2016’s No. 1 overall pick before a leaked video damaged his draft stock, dropping him to Miami at No. 13.

Tunsil became extension-eligible in January, and it’s a good bet the Texans — who just cleared Clowney’s $15.9MM tag price off their books — will begin discussions soon. Two years remain on Tunsil’s rookie contract. Unlike the Mack trade, there is no extension coming immediately, but Rapoport adds (via Twitter) that is in the Texans’ plans.

Stills functioned as Miami’s deep threat for four seasons. While he never matched his career-best yardage total for the 2014 Saints, Stills twice surpassed 700 yards and has scored 21 touchdowns over the past three years. He makes for an interesting fit alongside DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller. The latter is one of the NFL’s better deep threats. Stills, 27, is under contract through 2020. Nearly $15MM remains on his deal.

The Dolphins resisted dealing Tunsil in a Clowney swap, but the rebuilding team will now have an additional first-round pick with which to work. This accelerates the Dolphins’ rebuild project and obviously weakens their 2019 roster. They will be perhaps the top contender for the 2020 No. 1 overall pick, which could well be a quarterback. Miami was the first team reported to be eyeing the 2020 signal-caller crop.

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Dolphins Shopping LB Kiko Alonso, S Reshad Jones

In the midst of a rebuild, the Dolphins are shopping some of their older players. Barry Jackson and Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald report that Miami has dangled several of their veterans in trade talks.

However, one of the players who hasn’t been shopped is offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil. Earlier today, Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network reported (via Twitter) that the Dolphins were shopping the 25-year-old, but Jackson and Beasley write that the organization has “assured the Tunsil camp that there is no truth to that.”

Jackson and Beasley note that the front office has received calls about Tunsil, but the team hasn’t acted on any of the inquiries. Further, the reporters write that they personally received a call from a credible source who said “Tunsil’s name had come up in trade discussions,” but it was uncertain whether the Dolphins initiated the calls.

It wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense for the Dolphins to move on from Tunsil. The former first-rounder has established himself as an up-and-coming lineman, and he’s under team control for another two seasons. Plus, the team is looking to build their offensive line as they prepare for the future with either Josh Rosen or a 2020 rookie under center. Moving on from one of their assets would contradict that logic.

While Tunsil might not be on the block, the Dolphins have been shopping safety Reshad Jones and linebacker Kiko Alonso. Jackson and Beasley write that rival organizations are expecting Alonso and wideout Kenny Stills to be cut, limiting Miami’s trade flexibility. The Dolphins would also consider offers for linebacker Raekwon McMillan, who could be pushed for playing time by Sam Eguavoen.

The organization kicked off their rebuild this past offseason by moving on from a number of veteran players, including quarterback Ryan Tannehill and linebacker Cameron Wake. The team currently owns 13 draft picks in the 2020 draft.

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