Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline Tuesday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters. In addition to waiver claims, teams can begin constructing their 16-man practice squads today. These Colts, Jaguars, Texans and Titans moves are noted below.
Here are Wednesday’s AFC South transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day.
September 1st, 2021 at 12:54pm CST by Zachary Links
The Texans are signing offensive guard Lane Taylor to the taxi squad, according to Aaron Wilson of Sports Talk 790 (on Twitter). Taylor missed the big cut on Tuesday, but he’ll have a chance to crack the roster in Houston.
Taylor, 32 in November, joined the Texans on a one-year deal earlier this year. Reunited with his old Green Bay OL coach, James Campen, he’s hoping to reignite his injury-derailed career.
Taylor has missed 29 games over the past two seasons due to bicep tears and knee trouble. He’s now several months removed from ACL surgery and ready to provide support for Houston’s front five.
Taylor took over as the Packers’ starting left guard when Josh Sitton was released years ago. In 2016, he graded out as the league’s No. 41 guard out of 72 qualifiers. Then, in the fall of 2017, the Packers rewarded him with a three-year, $16.5MM extension. He’s earning a lot less these days, but he has a clear path for playing time if everything goes well.
To date, Taylor has 79 games and 50 starts under his belt. However, he’s only suited up three times in the last two years.
There’s a number of notable names on this list, including wideout Keke Coutee, who has started 10 of his 23 games over the past three years for the Texans. Perhaps the most important move is the activation of Cannon, who was acquired from the Patriots earlier this offseason. The 33-year-old is expected to provide the Texans offense with a veteran presence, and his return to practice may have bumped another veteran from the roster. The team released lineman Lane Taylor, who sat on PUP for all of the preseason while recovering from a torn ACL. The veteran has only appeared in two games since the 2019 season, and his return to the NFL will now have to take place elsewhere.
DeMarcus Walker, DL (Texans): One year, $1.5MM. The ex-Broncos D-lineman will receive $500K guaranteed and can earn up to $200K in per-game roster bonuses, per veteran NFL reporter Aaron Wilson (on Twitter). Walker’s deal will count $1.45MM against the Texans’ cap.
Roderick Johnson, T (Texans): One year, $1.15MM. Johnson will receive $350K guaranteed. He will be attached to a $920K base salary and can collect $130K in per-game roster bonuses, Wilson tweets.
Aldon Smith, DE (Seahawks): One year, $1.13MM. Smith agreed to a deal that includes a nonguaranteed $990K base salary, Brady Henderson of ESPN.com tweets. He will collect a $137K signing bonus, with the contract counting at $988K on Seattle’s cap sheet.
Former Packers guard Lane Taylor will join the Texans on a one-year deal (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). Taylor will reunite with his old offensive line coach in Green Bay James Campen as he works his way back from a torn ACL.
Taylor, 31, has missed 29 games over the past two seasons due to bicep tears and knee trouble. He’s now seven months removed from ACL surgery though, and RapSheet hears that he should be ready in time for training camp this summer. The 49ers, who hosted Taylor in March, and Texans are looking into his status late in the rehab process.
Before all of that, Taylor became the Packers’ starting left guard, following the release of Josh Sitton. In 2016, he grading out as the league’s No. 41 guard out of 72 qualifiers. Then, in the fall of 2017, the Packers rewarded him with a three-year, $16.5MM extension.
Taylor will take the roster spot of offensive lineman Beau Benzschawel, who was dropped earlier this week and quickly claimed by the Washington Football Team.
Despite coming off back-to-back injury-marred seasons, Lane Taylor continues to draw interest as a free agent. The Texans brought the veteran offensive lineman in for a visit Monday, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets.
The Texans also summoned former Vikings defensive line starter Jaleel Johnson for a meeting. Under new GM Nick Caserio, Houston has made several modest investments in starters or depth pieces this offseason. These two would qualify as such, though the Texans may be merely monitoring Taylor’s rehab progress.
Taylor, 31, missed 29 games over the past two seasons. Biceps and knee maladies altered the former Packers guard’s NFL path; he is currently recovering from an ACL tear. However, Taylor’s latest injury occurred in nearly seven months ago. That would give the eight-year vet a reasonable chance to be ready for a training camp. The 49ers, who hosted Taylor in March, and Texans are looking into his status late in the rehab process.
The Packers gave Taylor an extension and used him as a full-time starter from 2016-18. He missed just two games during that stretch. Green Bay penciled in Taylor as a Week 1 starter in 2019 and ’20 as well. However, the two major injuries will limit the former UDFA’s value on this year’s market.
A 2017 fourth-round pick, Johnson started 16 games for the Vikings last season. The defensive tackle also recorded 3.5 sacks as a rotational player during the 2019 slate. The Vikings moved on from Linval Joseph and saw Michael Pierce opt out last year, opening a door for Johnson to start. Pro Football Focus did not view Johnson’s starter season in a positive light, rating him as one of the worst interior defenders in 2020. Johnson and Texans Ross Blacklock and Maliek Collins each ranked in PFF’s bottom five among interior D-linemen last season. Johnson received higher marks as a backup in previous years.
Injuries have thrown Lane Taylor‘s career off course, but he spent several seasons as a Packers starter and is aiming to bounce back in 2021. The 49ers are looking into the veteran blocker, hosting him on a visit Friday.
Taylor’s 49ers meeting does not sound like it will produce an immediate offer, with Ian Rapoport of NFL.com indicating the team is curious about the 31-year-old lineman’s knee rehab remained on schedule (Twitter link). But the 49ers have the eight-year veteran on their radar about a possible gig for next season.
Previously signed to a Packers extension, Taylor suffered season-ending biceps and knee maladies in the past two Septembers, respectively, and has played in just three games over the past two seasons. The latter injury was an ACL tear, and Taylor is still recovering from that setback. He worked as a guard starter for the Packers from 2016-18, however, and only missed two games in that span.
The former UDFA success story would certainly not be a costly addition for San Francisco, which has made some moves on its O-line this week. In addition to re-signing Trent Williams, the 49ers added Pro Bowl center Alex Mack. Top guards Laken Tomlinson and Daniel Brunskill remain on the roster, however, making Taylor more of a higher-end depth addition.
It’s especially unfortunate for Taylor, who lost his 2019 season to a biceps tear. This year, he reclaimed his starting RG job, only to exit midway through the season opener. Taylor was playing on a reworked contract — originally set to earn a non-guaranteed base salary of $3.8MM, he agreed to earn just $1.5MM, with a $100K signing bonus. Before the revision, Taylor was viewed as a likely release candidate.
The former undrafted free agent out of Oklahoma State started 45 games for the Packers between 2016 and 2018. After this year, he’ll be eligible for free agency.
After their 43-34 win over the Vikings, the Packers will turn their attention to the Lions on Sunday afternoon. Interior swingman Lucas Patrick is next in line to start and the club will likely add another blocker in support.