Leonard Hankerson

Coaching Notes: Kitchens, 49ers, Bucs

Freddie Kitchens will see his role expand in New York. The Giants are promoting the former Browns HC from tight ends coach to senior offensive assistant, according to ESPN.com’s Jordan Raanan (on Twitter). Earlier this month, we heard the Giants may be eyeing more responsibility for Kitchens. Derek Dooley, who received interest from other teams, will take over as the Giants’ tight ends coach, Raanan adds. Previously the Mizzou offensive coordinator, Dooley joined Joe Judge‘s staff last year. The Giants used Kitchens as their interim play-caller while Jason Garrett battled COVID-19 last season and will lean on him more in 2021.

Here is the latest from the coaching circuit:

  • To replace Antwaan Randle El on their coaching staff, the Buccaneers will also turn to a recently retired quarterback. Thad Lewis will rise from intern to offensive assistant on Bruce Arians‘ staff, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. Randle El left to become the Lions’ wide receivers coach. Lewis bounced around the NFL for nearly eight years; he was most recently with the Ravens in 2017.
  • A day after hiring Jay Valai as cornerbacks coach, the Eagles will lose him. Alabama will instead hire Valai, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Rittenberg (on Twitter). Announced as one of the Eagles’ hires earlier this week, Valai will join former Texans HC Bill O’Brien at Alabama. Valai will replace Karl Scott as the Crimson Tide’s cornerbacks coach. Scott joined the Vikings’ staff this week.
  • Hired recently after a one-year stint as Lions DC, Cory Undlin will serve as the 49ers‘ secondary coach and defensive passing-game specialist. Fellow former DC James Bettcher will be a senior defensive assistant and the team’s run-game overseer on that side of the ball. The 49ers are promoting Darryl Tapp to assistant defensive line coach and hiring former wide receiver Leonard Hankerson and Klay Kubiak as quality control assistants. Klay is one of Gary Kubiak‘s sons. Even after Gary’s retirement, there are still three Kubiaks in the NFL — Klay and brothers Klint (the new Vikings OC) and Klein (a Cowboys scout). Hankerson also has a history with Kyle Shanahan, having played with Washington from 2011-13.
  • The Bengals hired Justin Hill as running backs coach. Hill will come to Cincinnati from the college ranks, having spent the past six seasons as Tulsa’s running backs coach. This will be his first NFL job. The Bengals are also promoting former NFL wideout Troy Walters to receivers coach. Walters served as Cincy’s assistant wideouts coach last season, working under Bob Bicknell.
  • Robert Saleh made an interesting hire recently. The new Jets HC added Steve Scarnecchia as his chief of staff, per Brian Costello of the New York Daily News. The son of longtime Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia, Steve spent the past six years as the Falcons’ assistant to the head coach. Steve Scarnecchia was part of both the Patriots’ Spygate scandal, working in the team’s video department from 2001-04, and was the Broncos staffer whose filming of a 49ers walkthrough in 2010 led to Josh McDaniels‘ firing in Denver. The younger Scarnecchia will accompany new Jets DC Jeff Ulbrich in moving from Atlanta to New York.

Bills To Release Leonard Hankerson

7:30pm: In addition to Hankerson, the Bills have released defensive tackle T.J. Barnes and signed defensive linemen Brandon Deaderick and Alameda Ta’amu, reports Mike Rodak of ESPN.com.

6:10pm: The Bills have released veteran wide receiver Leonard Hankerson, according to Rand Getlin of NFL.com (Twitter link)."<strong

[RELATED: Bills sign DE Kroy Biermann]

Hankerson, 27, first joined the Bills in late December after they claimed him off waivers from the Patriots. The veteran was only active for one game with the Bills, just as he was only active for one game with the Pats. Hankerson then re-signed with Buffalo on a one-year deal in March.

Prior to his forgettable walk through the AFC East in 2015, Hankerson appeared in eight games for Atlanta before being waived, compiling 26 catches for 327 yards and three touchdowns in that span. Hankerson will look for a rebound year in 2016 with an eye on replicating his production from 2012 with Washington when he caught 38 passes for 543 yards and three touchdowns.

The Bills signed Hankerson to a minimum salary benefit deal with no guaranteed money, so they won’t carry any dead money on their 2016 cap.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills Sign Corey White

The Bills announced the signing of defensive back Corey White. White visited Buffalo earlier today along with linebacker Zach Brown, who has also officially inked his deal with the Bills. In related news, the Bills have also officially signed wide receiver Leonard HankersonCorey White (vertical)

From 2012 through 2014, White started 19 games with New Orleans, including 9 in 2014. The former fifth-round pick of the Saints started off the 2015 season with the Cowboys but was released in November. There were conflicting reports surrounding White’s exit from the team – one report indicted that White was cut for locker room reasons while another report asserted that he was released solely for football reasons. White, 26 in May, hooked on with the Cardinals in December of last year, taking the roster spot of Robert Nelson Jr.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Contract Details: P. Robinson, Robertson, Cook

Listed below are some specific details on several of the latest contracts recently agreed upon or signed by NFL free agents. All links courtesy of Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle unless otherwise indicated.

AFC:

  • Patrick Robinson, CB (Colts): Three years, $14MM. $6MM guaranteed. $1.5MM signing bonus. $2MM roster bonus due this Tuesday. $1MM roster bonus due on fifth day of 2017 league year — becomes fully guaranteed if on roster beyond this Friday (all Twitter links).
  • Chris Hairston, OL (Chargers): Two years, $2.9MM. $550K signing bonus (Twitter link).
  • Brandon Thompson, DT (Bengals): One year, $840K. $50K signing bonus. $30K workout bonus. $150K incentive for playing time (Twitter link).
  • Leonard Hankerson, WR (Bills): One year, minimum salary benefit. $40K workout bonus. $40K first-game 53-man roster bonus (Twitter link).
  • Steven Johnson, LB (Steelers): One year, minimum salary benefit. $25K signing bonus. $55K first-game 53-man roster bonus (Twitter link).

NFC:

  • Craig Robertson, LB (Saints): Three years, $5MM. $1.965MM guaranteed. $1.2MM signing bonus. $250K roster bonus due on fifth day of 2017 league year. $275K due on fifth day of 2018 league year. Up to $1.5MM in annual incentives (Twitter links).
  • Jared Cook, TE (Packers): One year, $2.75MM. Up to $900K in incentives for catches, TDs, and Pro Bowl (Twitter link via Tom Pelissero of USA Today).
  • Courtney Upshaw, OLB (Falcons): One year, $1.25MM. $390K signing bonus. $100K in per-game active roster bonuses. Up to $250K in incentives for playing time and playoffs (Twitter links).
  • Mike Morgan, LB (Seahawks): One year, $1MM. $200K signing bonus. $150K incentive for playing time (Twitter link).
  • Jamarca Sanford, S (Saints): One year, minimum salary benefit. $80K signing bonus. $130K of $885K salary is guaranteed (Twitter link).

Bills To Sign Leonard Hankerson

Wide receiver Leonard Hankerson took to Twitter to announce that he is signing with the Bills. It’s a one-year deal, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Leonard Hankerson

Earlier this week, Bills general manager Doug Whaley said that the team was “really close” to inking Hankerson to a new deal. Hankerson, 27, first joined the Bills in late December after they claimed him off waivers from the Patriots. The veteran was only active for one game with the Bills, just as he was only active for one game with the Pats.

Prior to his forgettable walk through the AFC East in 2015, Hankerson appeared in eight games for Atlanta before being waived, compiling 26 catches for 327 yards and three touchdowns in that span. Hankerson will look for a rebound year in 2016 with an eye on replicating his production from 2012 with Washington when he caught 38 passes for 543 yards and three touchdowns.

Thanks to the departure of Chris Hogan, Hankerson has a shot at weekly relevance once again. As it stands, he could find a nice role for himself behind top Buffalo receivers Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods. Last year’s No. 3 wideout Chris Hogan joined up with the Patriots in free agency this offseason and Percy Harvin is still toying with the idea of retirement.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills, Leonard Hankerson Nearing Deal

The Bills are “really close” to re-signing free agent wide receiver Leonard Hankerson, general manager Doug Whaley told the team’s official website (Twitter link via Mike Rodak of ESPN.com).

The 27-year-old Hankerson joined the Bills in late December after they claimed him off waivers from AFC East rival New Leonard HankersonEngland. Hankerson was active for one game apiece for both teams, but he didn’t catch a pass with either.

Prior to his 2015 stints with the Bills and Patriots, Hankerson appeared in eight games for the Falcons before they waived him on Dec. 15 and compiled 26 catches for 327 yards and three touchdowns. The receiver’s best season came with Washington in 2012, when he hauled in 38 passes for 543 yards and three scores.

If he remains with the Bills, the 2011 third-round pick from Miami could find playing time as part of a receiving corps that’s relatively barren aside from Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods. The Bills lost previous No. 3 wideout Chris Hogan to the Patriots in free agency, and Percy Harvin remains unsigned.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Mailbags: Jets, Patriots, Ravens

It’s Saturday morning, and that means ESPN.com’s NFL writers are opening their mailbags and answering questions from readers. We’ve compiled some of the more notable answers below…

Bills Claim WR Leonard Hankerson

The Bills have claimed former Falcons wide receiver Leonard Hankerson, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Hankerson was waived by the Patriots on December 26th, making his stay in New England a short one.

The five-year veteran joined the Patriots recently after being cut from the Falcons injured reserve list. The 26-year-old was active for the team’s victory over the Titans, but he didn’t earn a single target in the contest. In eight games for the Falcons this season, Hankerson compiled 26 catches for 327 yards and three touchdowns. The receiver’s best season came in 2012 with Washington, when he caught 38 passes for 543 yards and three touchdowns.

Hankerson is set to become a free agent at the end of the season. It remains to be seen what the former third-rounder can do for the 7-8 Bills in their season finale against the Jets, but the fact that the Falcons and Pats each cut him without an injury designation suggests that he is mostly healthy.

Patriots Waive Leonard Hankerson

4:10pm: Chris Harper will again claim a spot on the Patriots’ 53-man roster, doing so in Hankerson’s stead, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe tweets.

With Julian Edelman slapped with a doubtful designation again and Danny Amendola questionable after a Week 15 injury, the Patriots needed a receiver with better knowledge of their system than Hankerson currently possesses, Volin points out (on Twitter).

The 22-year-old wideout played in three games for the Pats in November, the latest of which featuring an ill-timed fumble that contributed to his release and eventual return to the practice squad.

10:15am: NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets that Hankerson is expected to rejoin the Patriots next week, assuming the wideout passes through waivers. Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com believes the Patriots may have just wanted a wideout who was a bit more familiar with the offensive system for this weekend’s contest against the Jets (Twitter link).

9:15am: Leonard Hankerson‘s stay in New England proved to be a short one, as Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com reports that the Patriots will waive the wideout this afternoon. The five-year veteran joined the Patriots last week after being cut from the Falcons injured reserve list. The 26-year-old was active for the team’s victory over the Titans, but he didn’t earn a single target in the contest.

In eight games for the Falcons this season, Hankerson compiled 26 catches for 327 yards and three touchdowns. The receiver’s best season came in 2012 with Washington, when he caught 38 passes for 543 yards and three touchdowns.

Hankerson will now be subject to waivers, just like he was last week. Since the Patriots managed to acquire the player despite being towards the end of the waiver order, Florio doesn’t expect the receiver to find another job this season.

Sunday Roundup: Cowboys, RGIII, Pagano

Let’s take a look at some links from around the league while waiting for the murky playoff picture to begin to sort itself out:

  • Although Kellen Moore did not exactly set the world ablaze in the Cowboys‘ loss to the Jets last night, he nearly helped his team to an upset victory and demonstrated that he is a better option than Matt Cassel moving forward. However, as ESPN’s Todd Archer writes, head coach Jason Garrett is as yet unwilling to name Moore the starter for the final two games of the season. The Cowboys will need to address the backup quarterback situation behind Tony Romo next year, and it makes sense for the club to at least see what it has in Moore.
  • Last night’s loss officially eliminated the Cowboys from playoff contention, so owner Jerry Jones expects the team to put Romo on injured reserve, according to Charen Williams of The Fort Worth Star-Telegram (via Twitter).
  • Washington has made it clear that it is ready to move on from Robert Griffin III, but Ian Rapoport (article via Conor Orr of NFL.com) identifies a number of teams that may be interested in RGIII. That list includes the Cowboys, Eagles, Texans, and Saints (or whichever team happens to employ Sean Payton).
  • While Chuck Pagano‘s future in Indianapolis is still very much up in the air, if the Colts do decide to part ways with him, Rapoport says that he would immediately become one of the most sought-after head coaching candidates in the league. Although Pagano has previously said the Colts job would be his last coaching gig, there will apparently be no shortage of teams trying to change his mind.
  • Although things could change in the next several weeks, Mark Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com suggests that Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is growing increasingly weary of his team’s performance and could be leaning towards a “clean sweep” that would see both head coach Mike Pettine and GM Ray Farmer lose their jobs. We had previously heard that one of Farmer or Pettine would be fired, but not both.
  • Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk says the NFL-to-Los Angeles process is getting uglier by the minute, with “members of the league’s Los Angeles committee making promises to St. Louis in an effort to keep the Rams there and publicly trashing San Diego in an effort to get the Chargers out.” Florio suggests one way to placate all parties involved may be to have Chargers owner Dean Spanos and Rams owner Stan Kroenke swap their franchises, much like the Baltimore Colts and Los Angeles Rams were swapped in 1972. The entire article is worth reading, and although Florio concedes it is something of an outlandish idea, he suggests it could gain traction as we get closer to the critical owners meetings in January. Jason Cole of Bleacher Report, however, was quick to throw cold water on that notion (via Twitter).
  • According to Rapoport (via Twitter) Leonard Hankerson, who was claimed by the Patriots this week, was released by the Falcons off the injured reserve list when he told Atlanta that he was healthy and wanted to be cut. The Falcons obliged, and now Hankerson is suited up for New England this afternoon.
  • Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com looks at the 2016 class of free agent cornerbacks.