Kerry Hyder

Cowboys Sign Kerry Hyder

The Cowboys have been very busy visiting with free agents and lining up other visits today, but the club did make one transaction official. Per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, the Cowboys signed former Lions DL Kerry Hyder (Twitter link). It will be a one-year pact for Hyder, per David Moore of the Dallas Morning News (via Twitter).

Detroit opted to non-tender Hyder, a former UDFA, earlier this month. Now 27, Hyder missed the entire 2017 season due to a torn Achilles and only appeared in seven games last season. With just one sack last year and a limited sample of work, it’s not surprising the Lions didn’t want to give him the lowest tender.

On the other hand, he did post eight sacks in 2016, and as Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News tweets, Hyder is a good fit as a defense end in the Cowboys’ 4-3 scheme. He could be a low-cost boon to a pass rush that needs some reinforcements.

Lions Won’t Tender DL Kerry Hyder

The Lions will not tender defensive lineman Kerry Hyder, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Hyder had eight sacks two years ago, but the Lions will allow him to explore the open market as an unrestricted free agent. 

Hyder, 27, missed the entire 2017 season due to a torn Achilles and only appeared in seven games last season. With just one sack last year and a limited sample of work, it’s not surprising the Lions didn’t want to give him the lowest tender, which would’ve paid him $2.025MM next season. The Texas Tech product was an undrafted free agent back in 2014, and it took him a while to find his footing in the league.

He initially signed with the Jets, but was cut after his first preseason and signed to the practice squad. He then latched on with the Lions the following year, and spent most of the 2015 season on their practice squad. He made the 53-man roster in 2016, and came out of nowhere to rack up eight sacks. But the Achilles injury derailed what looked to be a promising career, and he fell out of favor with new coach Matt Patricia.

He was inactive most of the year, and recorded his only sack in Week 17. Fortunately for him he’s still relatively young, and thanks to the potential he showed in 2016, he should be able to find a new home relatively soon. With the Lions also unlikely to retain Ezekiel Ansah, their defensive line will look a lot different next year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

North Rumors: Bengals, Lions, Packers

Some more clarity regarding Tyler Eifert‘s incentive-laden Bengals contract emerged. The tight end’s deal contains some interesting benchmarks for financial rewards, ones that would seemingly be within reach should Eifert stay healthy. The sixth-year tight end has $3MM in possible performance incentives included in his one-year agreement. Additionally, $62.5K will come Eifert’s way for every game he plays.

As for the performance thresholds, Eifert will collect $250K for catching 50 passes in 2018. The former first-round pick getting to 55 receptions would bring another $250K his way, with the 60- and 65-catch barriers representing $250K triggers as well. Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports these catch incentives max out at $1MM, adding the yardage bonuses do as well. The 500-yard mark represents the first $250K trigger, with the next $250K bonus benchmarks coming at 550, 600 and 650 yards, per Owczarski. As for touchdown receptions, Eifert snaring five would bring him $250K. Each additional touchdown would bring him $250K apiece as well, and this incentive category also maxes out at $1MM.

Eifert scored a tight ends-best 13 TDs in 2015 but only has five since. He only exceeded 500 yards once (in ’15, with 615 yards) and caught a career-high 52 passes that year. He didn’t come close to 50 catches in a season in any other year, so describing these as “likely to be earned” incentives is pushing it.

Here’s the latest from some North-division franchises, continuing with news from the Cincinnati offensive front:

  • Cedric Ogbuehi may be shuttled back to right tackle, a position at which he previously said he wasn’t comfortable. The former first-round pick will compete with both Cordy Glenn and Jake Fisher for the starting tackle jobs, per Marvin Lewis (via Owczarski), but the 16th-year coach said the team expects Glenn to start on the left side. Ogbuehi has started 25 games over the past two years but has dealt with injuries in both, and each season involved him being in a rotation rather than being a full-time player throughout each campaign. Owczarski notes it’s unlikely the Bengals pick up his fifth-year option, which is expected to be for nearly $10MM.
  • Speaking of northern line movement, the Lions plan to try Graham Glasgow at center instead of guard, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reportsWesley Johnson could be set for a backup job. Birkett writes free agent Kenny Wiggins and 2016 fifth-rounder Joe Dahl will compete for at the guard spot opposite T.J. Lang. Wiggins started 16 games for the Chargers at right guard last season. However, Glasgow — who rated as Pro Football Focus’ No. 20 guard last season — may stay at guard if the Lions deem Johnson solid enough to start at center. Johnson is only making $880K this season, which would gibe with backup status.
  • Both Ziggy Ansah and wideout T.J. Jones underwent offseason surgeries, per Birkett, who describes Ansah’s as a “minor cleanup” on his knee. Jones had a shoulder operation. Birkett adds Kerry Hyder‘s return goal is training camp. The defensive lineman tore his Achilles’ tendon last season.
  • Ansah remains in Ghana for family reasons, but Justin Rogers of the Detroit News tweets the franchise-tagged defensive end has kept Matt Patricia and the organization in the loop and is expected to return to the team shortly. Birkett writes Ansah could sign his franchise tender as early as the spring rather than having this drag into July. The Lions are not expected to pursue a long-term extension with their top pass rusher at this point.
  • The Packers shook up their offensive coaching staff this offseason, and it sounds like their playbook will reflect that. While refusing to divulge specifics, Mike McCarthy said recently (via Pete Daugherty of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) the team will “go back to Page 1” of the playbook. Joe Philbin, Jim Hostler and Frank Cignetti are now key offensive assistants, so their input may well be reflected in these changes.

Lions Re-Sign DE Kerry Hyder

Kerry Hyder will be sticking around Detroit. ESPN’s Field Yates tweets that the Lions have re-signed the defensive end. The 26-year-old was set to become an exclusive rights free agent. Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press tweets that Hyder signed his ERFA tender, which is worth $630K.

Following a brief stint with the Jets, the 2014 undrafted free agent out of Texas Tech has spent the past three seasons with the Lions. The lineman had a breakout season in 2016, compiling 36 tackles and eight sacks in 16 games (two starts). Unfortunately, Hyder tore his Achilles during his team’s first 2017 preseason game, and he ultimately sat out for the entirety of this past campaign.

With Ezekiel Ansah and Anthony Zettel likely to start the season in Detroit, it’s unlikely that Hyder will automatically earn a starting gig. However, he figures to be the top reserve among a group that also includes Cornelius WashingtonJeremiah ValoagaAlex Barrett, and Christian Ringo (ERFA).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/15/17

Today’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers

Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

  • Waived: DL Shaneil Jenkins

Indianapolis Colts

  • Signed: WR Justice Liggins
  • Waived/injured: RB Dalton Crossan

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Signed LB Kyle Coleman
  • Waived/injured: LB Mike Moore

Miami Dolphins

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

  • Signed: CB Mitchell White

Lions’ Brandon Copeland Done For Season

For the second time in as many days, the Lions have lost a member of their front seven for the remainder of the season. After leaning Sunday that defensive end Kerry Hyder had suffered a torn Achilles, Detroit today lost edge rusher Brandon Copeland to a torn pectoral, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.Brandon Copeland (Vertical)

Copeland, 26, doesn’t represent quite the same magnitude of loss as does Hyder, as though Copeland appeared in all 16 games last season, he started only one contest and played fewer than 150 defensive snaps. His main contributions came on special teams, where he appeared on nearly three-quarters of Detroit’s snaps and helped the club finish with a No. 6 ranking in ST DVOA.

Copeland originally signed with the Lions in the spring of 2015 after impressing at the veteran’s combine. Prior to joining Detroit, he’d spent time with the Ravens, Titans, and the Orlando Predators of the Arena Football League. Copeland is scheduled to become a restricted free agent next spring, but this unfortunate injury could lead to him being non-tendered in 2018.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions DE Kerry Hyder Out For Season

Lions defensive end Kerry Hyder is out for 2017, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Hyder suffered an Achilles tear during Sunday’s preseason game against the Colts and doctors confirmed the injury on Monday morning.

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Losing Hyder represents an enormous blow to a Lions defense that was already thin on quality depth at the edge position. Hyder, 26, played 655 defensive snaps a year ago (second-most among Detroit defensive linemen), and posted eight sacks and 36 tackles during that time. Pro Football Focus graded Hyder as the No. 42 defensive end in the league in 2016, the highest rank among Lions edge defenders.

Even with Hyder on board, Detroit’s defense struggled last season. Overall, the unit ranked dead last in DVOA while finishing 21st in adjusted line yards and 25th in adjusted sack rate. If Hyder is sidelined for the year, free agent addition Cornelius Washington, draft picks Jeremiah Ledbetter and Pat O’Connor, plus incumbent Brandon Copeland, could be called on to play more snaps opposite Ezekiel Ansah. Veterans Armonty Bryant and Khyri Thornton, too, should play a larger role once they return from suspension.

If the Lions decide to scour the free agent market for a replacement, there are options available. Dwight Freeney, Eugene Sims, Trent Cole, Paul Kruger, and Mario Williams look like the best true edge rushers, while players such as Tyson Jackson and Jared Odrick are capable of playing both end and tackle.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 4/17/17

The latest minor moves…

  • Raiders defensive end Denico Autry has signed his RFA tender, reports ESPN’s Adam Caplan (Twitter link). The Raiders gave the 2014 undrafted free agent an original-round tender, leading to speculation that he could draw interest from elsewhere. Instead, Autry will return to the Raiders on the heels of back-to-back three-sack seasons. ERFAs Seth Roberts (WR) and Denver Kirkland (G) are also back in the fold, according to Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal (on Twitter).
  • The Seahawks have re-signed linebacker Kache Palacio, writes Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. Palacio, a former fullback who went undrafted out of Washington State last year, spent most of 2016 on Seattle’s practice squad.
  • Lions ERFAs Brandon Copeland (DE), Kerry Hyder (DT) and T.J. Jones (WR) have signed their tenders, tweets Birkett. Dolphins ERFAs Mike Hull (LB) and Anthony Steen (C) did the same earlier Monday, per Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald (Twitter link).

Earlier updates:

  • The Panthers have re-upped restricted free agent guard Andrew Norwell and a pair of exclusive rights free agents – center Tyler Larsen and punter Michael Palardy – writes Bryan Strickland of their website. Carolina used a second-round tender on Norwell, who will earn $2.746MM in 2017. Norwell combined for 29 starts over the previous two seasons and ranked 11th in performance among Pro Football Focus’ 72 qualified guards last year.
  • Steelers RFA cornerback Ross Cockrell has inked his original-round tender, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). Cockrell went in the fourth round of the 2014 draft, so the Steelers would have been entitled to a fourth-rounder had Cockrell signed elsewhere and they elected against matching the offer. The 25-year-old caught on with the Steelers in 2015 and has since totaled 31 appearances, 23 starts and two interceptions. Cockrell started in every Steelers game last year, and his performance ranked an improve 28th among 111 qualified corners at PFF.
  • Chiefs RFA kicker Cairo Santos has signed his tender, per Schefter (on Twitter). Santos, undrafted in 2014, received a low tender; as such, Kansas City wouldn’t have been entitled to compensation had he gone elsewhere. The three-year veteran has connected on 84.3 percent of field goal attempts, including 88.6 percent last season (good for fifth in the league).
  • Lions offensive tackle Cornelius Lucas has signed his RFA tender, tweets Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. The Lions assigned Lucas an original-rounder tender last month, so they wouldn’t have gotten a pick had the 2014 undrafted free agent signed elsewhere and they chose not to match. Lucas is now slated to make $1.797MM this year in Detroit, where he has started in six of 35 career appearances.
  • The Buccaneers have re-signed quarterback Ryan Griffin, cornerback Jude Adjei-Barimah, tight end Cameron Brate, linebacker Adarius Glanton, and wide receivers Adam Humphries and Freddie Martino, per Scott Smith of the team’s website. As a restricted free agent, Griffin is the only one of the bunch who could have potentially gone elsewhere (the rest were exclusive rights free agents). The Bucs tendered the 2013 undrafted free agent at an original-round level last month, and he’ll now try to win the No. 2 role behind Jameis Winston. Tampa Bay’s previous second-stringer, Mike Glennon, is now the Bears’ starter.
  • RFA defensive back Marcus Burley and ERFA running back George Atkinson III are returning to the Browns, per a team announcement. Burley, undrafted in 2013, received an original-round tender. The former Seahawk is coming off his first year in Cleveland, where he appeared in 12 games and played just under 40 percent of the Browns’ special teams snaps.
  • Fullback Tommy Bohanon and receiver Larry Pinkard have signed with the Jaguars, tweets the team’s account. Bohanon is the only with NFL experience, having logged 36 appearances and 14 starts as a Jet from 2013-15.
  • Speaking of the Jets, they have re-signed linebacker Julian Stanford (via Randy Lange of the team’s site). The Jets could Stanford on Friday, but both sides knew that was only a procedural move. Last season was the first as a Jet for the 26-year-old Stanford, who appeared in nine games (two starts) and played about a quarter of their defensive snaps and a third of their special teams snaps.

RFA/ERFA Tender Decisions: 3/8/17

Unrestricted free agent news will obviously dominate the day, but several clubs also had to make decisions on whether to offer tenders to restricted and exclusive rights free agents. All RFA tenders listed are original round/right of first refusal (worth $1.797MM), and all links go to Twitter:

RFAs:

Tendered:

Non-Tendered: 

ERFAs:

Tendered:

Extra Points: Chargers, Vikings, Lions, Giants

The Chargers will wait until after Thursday’s game against the Broncos before considering a head coaching change, a source tells Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link). Club ownership is thinking through all its options, and the most likely candidate to take over the team in the event that Mike McCoy is fired is offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt. Whisenhunt, in his second stint as San Diego’s play-caller, boasts seven-plus years of head coaching experience with the Cardinals and Titans.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Given that the club has $33MM worth of salaries on injured reserve at the moment, Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said he needed a “magic wand” in order to fit new signee Jake Long‘s cap figure, writes Andrew Krammer of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Spielman, who said Minnesota had less than $50K in cap space before adding Long, claimed he didn’t need to restructure any other contracts to squeeze in the veteran offensive lineman. It’s unclear exactly how the Vikes made financial room for Long (one possibility, from my vantage point, could be tweaking another player’s incentives to “not likely to be earned”), and Krammer reports that Spielman was “vague” about the subject.
  • Lions defensive lineman Kerry Hyder has made an agent change. The 25-year-old will now be represented by Select Sports Group (Twitter link). Hyder, who was previously repped by Rich Rosa and Tony Agone, appears to be in the midst a breakout season with five sacks through five games.
  • The NFL is now looking into Giants tackle Ereck Flowers after he pushed a reporter after Sunday night’s game, according to a league official who spoke with Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). After a poor showing against the Packers, Flowers shoved an ESPN scribe, but has since apologized for the incident.
  • With Dallas Thomas cut today, only three members of the Dolphins‘ nine-man 2013 draft class left are Dion Jordan, Jelani Jenkins, and Dion Sims, as Alex Marvez of The Sporting News tweets. Clearly, none of that trio has made a significant thus far in their Miami careers.