Lorenzo Mauldin

NFL Workout Updates: 10/30/18

Here’s the latest from the workout circuit. All links to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter account, unless otherwise specified.

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Lions Work Out CB David Amerson

The Lions auditioned a host of free agents including cornerback David Amerson last week, according to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer (Twitter links).

Amerson inked a one-year deal with the Chiefs after being cut by the Raiders, but he essentially played himself out of a roster spot on a club that needed all the help it could get in the secondary. The 26-year-old defensive back made 42 starts with Washington and Oakland from 2014-16, but injuries and ineffectiveness have limited his production since that time.

Detroit currently has five cornerbacks on its roster in Darius Slay, Nevin Lawson, Teez Tabor, Jamal Agnew, and Dee Virgin, while safety Quandre Diggs also moonlights as a slot corner. Amerson could give the Lions more depth in the back end, but he hasn’t historically contributed on special teams, a problem for a reserve player.

Here’s the full list of players Detroit worked out, per Balzer:

Jets Cut Thomas Rawls, Charcandick West

The Jets have become the latest team to move to 53 players, and did so by making the following transactions:

Waived:

Released:

Placed on suspended list:

Placed on PUP:

Rawls, 25, first entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2015 with the Seahawks and broke out immediately when Marshawn Lynch was sidelined with an abdomen injury. In his very first start for Seattle, Rawls amassed 104 yards off of 16 carries and later turned in a 209-yard game. Things trailed off after that, however. He missed significant time in 2016 with a fractured fibula and became an afterthought in 2017. Rawls initially seemed to have a good chance at making the Jets’ roster in 2018, but he was unable to find a place behind top RBs Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell.

West was also fighting for a supporting RB job, and his limited highlight reel with the Chiefs suggested that he had a puncher’s chance to make the roster. West missed most of KC’s camp this year with a concussion and hooked on with the Jets a little over one week ago. Crowell also missed time with a concussion and reserve Elijah McGuire was dealing with a broken foot, but West still couldn’t make enough of an impression on coaches in such a short period of time.

AFC Notes: Jaguars, Ramsey, Jets, Decker

The Jaguars suspended cornerback Jalen Ramsey for a week of preseason action, but the ban won’t void his guarantees, according to Mike Florio of PFT (on Twitter). That’s because the Jags suspended Ramsey for “violating team rules and conduct unbecoming of a Jaguars football player,” rather than “conduct detrimental.” The small difference in language made a huge difference in the outcome for Ramsey, and probably kept the team on good terms with one of its defensive stars.

Unfortunately, there’s no loophole to help defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. Thanks to a previous suspension under the personal conduct policy, Fowler’s future guarantees have already been eliminated.

Here’s more from the AFC:

AFC East Rumors: Mack, Brady, Hughes

The Raiders and star defender Khalil Mack are embroiled in contract negotiations that could result in Mack being traded. If that happens, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com suggests that the Jets should pounce. Gang Green has little pass rushing talent at the moment, and the club has $82MM of projected cap room in 2019, with only one big contract (Leonard Williams) on the horizon. Oakland would demand at least a first-round pick in return, and in addition to negotiating a high-level trade, the Jets would also need to work out a long-term deal with Mack. Those types of deals are difficult to pull off, and it is still unlikely that the Raiders part with Mack, whom they can keep under club control through three more seasons if they so choose. However, if Oakland does begin entertaining offers, Cimini would not be surprised if the Jets are one of the first teams to jump on the phone.

Let’s take a look at a few more rumors from the AFC East:

  • Jets OLB Lorenzo Mauldin is still around because of New York’s aforementioned dearth of pass rushers, but Mauldin, a 2015 third-round pick, has been dogged by injuries throughout his brief career, and he hasn’t been particularly effective even when he’s gotten on the field. As such, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News tweets that Mauldin could be cut sooner rather than later, and that New York could let him go with an injury settlement (Mauldin is currently dealing with a leg issue that kept him out of the team’s preseason opener).
  • In a full-length piece, Mehta says that Brandon Copeland, a former UDFA out of UPenn who signed a one-year deal with the Jets this offseason after missing all of 2017, has been very impressive in camp and has been taking first-team reps over the past few days. Given the Jets’ pass rushing needs, Copeland has a real chance to get plenty of playing time this season.
  • We have written extensively on Tom Brady‘s new contract with the Patriots in recent days, and the moral of the story is that it looks as if Brady will continue playing through at least the 2019 season, and that the two sides could come to terms on another new deal next year in order to push some of Brady’s increased 2019 cap number into 2020. However, as Ben Volin of the Boston Globe tweets, since Brady and the Pats officially put pen to paper on August 9, 2018, they can’t renegotiate his contract again until August 9, 2019.
  • Trent Brown, whom the Patriots acquired via trade with the 49ers earlier this offseason, is the favorite to replace Nate Solder as New England’s starting left tackle, per Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. Brown is eligible for unrestricted free agency next year, so he will have plenty of incentive to perform at a high level.
  • Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News calls 2018 the most critical season of Bills DE Jerry Hughes‘ career. Hughes’ volatile on-field personality could be overlooked when he was posting double-digit sack totals earlier in his career, but his sack numbers have slumped since he signed a five-year, $45MM in 2015, so the unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties are a little harder to stomach. His $10.4MM salary in 2018 is the highest on the Bills, and while Buffalo could have cut him this offseason and saved a little cap room, the team could save $7.5MM by releasing him after the 2018 campaign, so he may need to show a return to his early-career form to stay in Buffalo and earn another $10.4MM next year. For what it’s worth, the Bills think Hughes’ sack numbers will be improved with the addition of Trent Murphy and (hopefully) some growth out of Shaq Lawson. Plus, Hughes did grade as a top-10 run defender (among edge players) last season, in Pro Football Focus’ view.
  • The Bills shook up their defensive line rotation earlier today.
  • The Dolphins are visiting with the increasingly-popular Bashaud Breeland today.

Spring Practice Notes: Jets, Darby, Ebron

Now that mandatory minicamps have wrapped up around the league and players have returned home for a few weeks, the NFL will experience something of a lull until we get closer to the start of training camp in July. In the past couple of days, however, beat writers have shared some lessons learned during spring practices, offered some insight as to what OTAs and minicamp revealed about the upcoming season, and discussed some questions that remain unanswered. So let’s dive right in:

  • Terrelle Pryor‘s injury concerns have been well-documented, but as Darryl Slater of NJ.com observes, the Jets are also dealing with injuries to CB Morris Claiborne and OLB Jordan Jenkins. Both Claiborne and Jenkins are expected to be ready for the start of training camp, while the status of Pryor and starting free safety Marcus Maye is still up in the air. Slater also wonders who will start at OLB alongside Jenkins. David Bass and Josh Martin are candidates, as is Lorenzo Mauldin, though Slater suggests Mauldin is on the roster bubble.
  • Slater also indicates that Henry Anderson may have the leg up in the battle for the Jets‘ starting defensive end position opposite Leonard Williams — New York desperately needs someone to take double teams away from Williams — and that Andre Roberts appears to be leading the competition for Gang Green’s punt returner job. He adds that wideout Chad Hansen has impressed this spring after being a non-factor in his rookie campaign last year.
  • Rich Cimini of ESPN.com also likes what he sees from Hansen, and he says TE Neal Sterling and RB Elijah McGuire are other under-the-radar players to impress for the Jets this spring. Sam Darnold, meanwhile, is very much on the radar, and Cimini says Darnold has done nothing to suggest he cannot be a quality starter in the NFL.
  • The most important lesson learned during the Eagles‘ spring practices, per Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer, is that Carson Wentz is progressing in his recovery from an ACL tear and could be ready to go in Week 1. However, as Berman points out, the defending champs have plenty of injury concerns outside of Wentz, though no key players appear at risk of missing any regular season time at this point.
  • Berman also writes that Jay Ajayi is the Eagles’ unquestioned No. 1 running back — in stark contrast to the summer of 2017, when the team was emphasizing a committee approach to the offensive backfield — and he names De’vante Bausby, Nate Gerry, and Dallas Goedert as young talents who have stood out in the spring. Gerry, a 2017 fifth-rounder who converted from collegiate safety to professional linebacker, could compete for a starting LB job this year, Berman says.
  • Speaking of Bausby, Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com is also impressed with the 25-year-old’s work this spring, which may be enough to allow the Eagles to trade Ronald Darby.
  • Seahawks‘ 2018 seventh-round pick Alex McGough stood out this spring and has a legitimate chance to be Russell Wilson‘s backup this year, per Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. Condotta also notes that Seattle’s first-round choice, Rashaad Penny, has looked the part and has also shown improvement in his pass-blocking technique, which will help him see more of the field this year.
  • TE Eric Ebron has been perhaps the most impressive newcomer for the Colts this spring, per Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star, who also says 2018 fourth-rounder Nyheim Hines was the most exciting rookie to watch. Hines, a running back from NC State, has the explosiveness and versatility to thrive in new head coach Frank Reich‘s scheme.
  • Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com says Harold Landry, the Titans‘ second-round draft choice this year, is living up to his draft pedigree and that, while he may have a hard time unseating veterans Derrick Morgan and Brian Orakpo as a starting OLB, he should see plenty of action as a situational pass rusher to begin his career. Wyatt also says Tennessee’s cornerbacks have been the most impressive position group of the spring.

East Rumors: Redskins, Jets, Collins, Pats

One of the candidates to work as the Redskins‘ starting left guard may not be able to factor into that competition. Arie Kouandjio is believed to have suffered a torn quadriceps muscle, JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington reports. Kouandjio’s season is now in jeopardy, per Finlay, who notes this injury could sideline him for the rest of 2018. Despite not making the Redskins’ 53-man roster out of camp, Kouandjio started the final six games for Washington at guard after the Redskins signed him off the Ravens’ practice squad. The 2015 Washington fourth-round pick made two starts in 2016 as well. Washington re-signed Shawn Lauvao, and Finlay notes it’s uncertain if Kouandjio suffered this significant malady before or after that agreement occurred. The 30-year-old Lauvao’s been the Redskins’ primary left guard since the 2014 season. The team also drafted Louisville tackle Geron Christian and still has Ty Nsekhe in the backup mix.

Here’s the latest from the East divisions:

  • Cowboys third-year starter Maliek Collins underwent foot surgery on Monday, Todd Archer of ESPN.com reports. He broke a bone in his foot last week. Dallas’ goal is for its first-unit defensive tackle to be ready by the end of training camp and hopefully be in line to play in Week 1, per Archer. Collins underwent a similar foot operation in January and underwent a foot procedure in the 2016 offseason as well.
  • Lorenzo Mauldin missed all of the 2017 season because of a back injury, and Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News notes there’s an increasing feeling at Jets headquarters the outside linebacker will be a training camp cut. The 2015 third-round pick has made four starts since entering the league. That said, the Jets are thin at edge rusher post-draft. They re-signed David Bass this offseason and added other possible depth pieces in Kevin Pierre-Louis and Brandon Copeland.
  • Sean McVay‘s departure appears to have helped influence the Redskins to protect another young decision-maker. The franchise recently jettisoned longtime scout Scott Campbell, and Rich Tandler of NBC Sports Washington notes that 34-year-old exec Kyle Smith ran this year’s draft after Campbell held that responsibility in 2017. The Redskins are envisioning Smith playing a big role for the franchise in the coming years, per Tandler. Smith is the son of former Chargers GM A.J. Smith.
  • The Patriots will bring in martial arts expert Joe Kim to help as a pass-rushing consultant, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe reports. Kim’s consulted with 10 teams in the past, most recently with the 2016 Browns, but his first NFL job was with Bill Belichick when he was the original Browns’ head coach in 1992.

New York Notes: Jets, Giants, Darnold

The misdemeanor assault charge against Jets outside linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin has been dropped, as Darryl Slater of NJ.com writes. Mauldin was said to have punched a 22-year-old man in the face, but New York authorities did not find enough evidence to move forward with the case. Still, Mauldin faces a civil suit and league discipline is still possible even though he is in the clear, legally speaking.

Mauldin, a third-round pick in 2015, was in the mix for a starting job this season. Instead, he lost the entire season to a back injury. Next season is slated to be his final year with the Jets and that may mark his final opportunity to make a good impression on a regime that did not draft him.

Here’s more out of the Meadowlands:

  • Who will be the Jets‘ starting quarterback in 2018? Ralph Vacchiano of SNY profiled some candidates, including incumbent Josh McCown and top draft prospects Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen. The Gang Green beat writer gives top odds to McCown (5-1) while dismissing chances of middling prospects Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, or Baker Mayfield being the guy (500-1). At 25-1, he’s perhaps more bullish on the Jets landing Kirk Cousins than anyone else.
  • Speaking of Jackson, Manish Mehta of the Daily News hears that the Jets do not believe that Jackson can thrive as an NFL quarterback. Other teams may be higher on the Louisville product, but Mehta cannot envision the Jets investing a Round 2 or 3 pick in him.
  • In the interest of equal time, Vacchiano looks at the candidates for the Giants‘ starting job. The odds remain strong that Eli Manning will be the Week 1 starter, but Vacchiano does not completely rule out Rosen, Darnold, or in-house options Geno Smith and Davis Webb. In related news, Vacchiano hears from multiple team sources that there are no plans to play Webb the rest of the way.

Jets’ Lorenzo Mauldin Likely Done For Year

Lorenzo Mauldin‘s season has likely ended before it could even start. The linebacker was informed today that he will likely need back surgery, coach Todd Bowles told reporters. Lorenzo Mauldin (Vertical)

Mauldin was placed on injured reserve before the season opener and, at the time, there was some hope that he could return from IR. Unfortunately, that won’t be possible after he undergoes a major operation.

The Jets selected Mauldin in the third round of the 2015 draft. Although he has been a regular on defense, nagging injuries limited his production over the last two seasons. He was on the field for 34% of the Jets’ defensive plays last year, a step up from his playing time as a rookie, but he missed five games and appeared to regress. He drew subpar ranking from Pro Football Focus for the second straight year, as the outlet placed him 80th in performance among 110 qualified edge defenders.

When Mauldin returns to action in 2018, he may face league discipline for an off-the-field incident.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/4/17

Here are today’s minor moves.

  • The Browns claimed offensive lineman Zach Banner off waivers from the Colts, who cut him despite drafting him in the fourth round this year. Cleveland made room for Banner by placing offensive lineman Rod Johnson on IR. Additionally, the Browns continued their busy offseason regarding secondary turnover by releasing former safety starter Ed Reynolds from IR.
  • The Steelers re-signed linebacker Steven Johnson and waived safety Jordan Dangerfield with an injury designation. Johnson initially saw his name appear on Pittsburgh’s cut list Saturday, but the backup will return. Pittsburgh also placed cornerback Cameron Sutton, a rookie third-rounder, on IR.
  • Jacquies Smith will move from the PUP list back to the Buccaneers‘ 53-man roster. The team reinstated the defensive end on Monday. A fourth-year player, Smith is expected to be a rotational player in Tampa Bay this season.
  • The Dolphins re-signed tackle Sam Young. Miami cut the offensive lineman on Saturday but will keep him around for now. Miami guaranteed Young’s salary, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald tweets, signing Young this week instead of next because an unspecified team wanted him. This will mark Young’s eighth NFL season. The Dolphins signed him to an extension in December.
  • Quarterback Jeff Driskel will land on the Bengals‘ IR list. The former 49ers sixth-rounder has yet to play in a game.
  • A starter in three games last season, linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin landed on the Jets‘ IR Monday. To replace the third-year player, Gang Green re-signed linebacker Bruce Carter. Now a seventh-year veteran, Carter played a depth role with the Jets last season.
  • Wide receiver Chris Matthews re-signed with the Ravens, who made room on their 53-man roster by placing cornerback Maurice Canady on IR.
  • The Falcons released defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman, who resides on the Commissioner’s Exempt list as a result of misdemeanor charges from 2016. While Hageman is on that list, the Falcons will not have to pay Hageman.
  • The Chargers claimed linebacker Hayes Pullard off waivers from the Jaguars. A former Browns seventh-rounder in 2015, Pullard started two games for the 2015 Jags and played in all 16 Jacksonville contests last season.
  • Jelani Jenkins was expected to start for the Raiders, but the former Dolphins linebacker found himself on the team’s cut list Saturday. The Raiders, though, reached an injury settlement with the fifth-year linebacker, Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports (on Twitter). Jenkins suffered a groin injury during the preseason. Oakland also reached an injury settlement with Jaydon Mickens, per Gehlken, who adds Mickens suffered an ankle injury.
  • The Seahawks waived cornerback Demetrius McCray with an injury settlement, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times tweets.
  • The Redskins reached an injury settlement with center Ronald Patrick, waiving the interior blocker from IR as a result.