Mario Edwards Jr.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/8/20

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Denver Broncos

New England Patriots

Seattle Seahawks

Bears To Sign DE Mario Edwards

It didn’t take long for Mario Edwards to find a new home. One day after being released by the Saints, the veteran defensive end has agreed to sign with the Bears, as Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network reports (via Twitter).

New Orleans was reportedly interested in re-signing Edwards to its practice squad, but the Bears were quick to pounce in an effort to bolster their defensive line depth. Though Chicago’s LB corps looks pretty stout, the club is a bit thin along the D-line in the wake of Eddie Goldman‘s decision to opt out of the 2020 season.

Edwards is not a replacement for Goldman, a nose tackle, but he will provide a more experienced DE to bookend with Akiem Hicks. He will likely push 2018 fifth-rounder Bilal Nichols for playing time.

Now 26, Edwards has never lived up to his status as a second-round draft choice. The Raiders selected the Florida State product in the 2015 draft, but he was waived after three seasons with Oakland. The Giants claimed him off waivers, and he parlayed his one year with Big Blue into a two-year, $5MM pact with the Saints last offseason. New Orleans liked him enough to keep him on this year’s practice squad but did not consider him good enough to be a part of its deep D-line rotation.

The Bears, however, don’t have as much depth, so they will give Edwards a spot on the 53-man roster.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints Cut DE Mario Edwards, LB Anthony Chickillo

The Saints are cutting a pair of notable veteran defensive players as they trim the roster down to 53. They’ll be letting go of defensive end Mario Edwards (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL Network), and linebacker Anthony Chickillo (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com).

Rapoport notes that Edwards could come back on the practice squad, and also that the Saints had tried moving him in trade talks this week. A second round pick of the Raiders back in 2015, he never lived up to his draft status. He was waived after three seasons in Oakland and signed a two-year, $5MM deal with the Saints last offseason after spending 2018 with the Giants. He had three sacks with New Orleans last year.

Chickillo was drafted by the Steelers in the sixth-round in 2015, and spent the first five years of his career with Pittsburgh. He signed a two-year, $8MM extension in March of 2019, but was released earlier this offseason. He signed with the Saints in May, but couldn’t make it out of camp. The Miami product was mostly a reserve and special teams guy with the Steelers.

 

Saints Expected To Sign DE Mario Edwards Jr.

The Saints are adding a defensive end. Nick Underhill of The New Orleans Advocate tweets that the team is expected to sign Mario Edwards Jr. today. It will be a two-year, $5MM deal with $1.5MM “upside for sacks,” according to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com (via Twitter).

The 25-year-old was claimed off waivers by the Giants in September after having spent the first three seasons of his career with the Raiders. The former second-rounder proceeded to play in 15 games for the Giants, compiling 14 tackles, two sacks, and one forced fumble.

While Edwards didn’t play enough snaps (232) to earn a spot on Pro Football Focus‘ interior defender rankings, his grade indicates that he performed as an above-average lineman in 2018.

We heard earlier this week that the Saints had interest in Edwards. The lineman would likely play a backup role behind Cameron Jordan and Marcus Davenport. Edwards would also be competing with Trey Hendrickson and Tomasi Laulile for reps.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: WRs, Steelers, Edwards, Cook

Some assorted notes from around the NFL:

  • The Saints, Seahawks, and Patriots are continuing to monitor the wide receiver market, per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports (via Twitter). Golden Tate is the best receiver still unsigned, but there are a number of other notable names available. New Orleans is reportedly interested in bringing back Dez Bryant, and veterans like Michael Crabtree and Randall Cobb still have some value.
  • The Steelers are working to re-sign linebacker L.J. Fort, as Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. Fort was primarily deployed on passing downs in 2018 and was an underrated part of Pittsburgh’s defense last season, racking up 48 tackles and a sack. Fowler notes that Fort has generated interest from other clubs.
  • Defensive lineman Mario Edwards is set to visit with the Saints tonight, tweets Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com. The 25-year-old was claimed off waivers by the Giants in September after having spent the first three seasons of his career with the Raiders. The former second-rounder proceeded to play in 15 games for the Giants, compiling 14 tackles, two sacks, and one forced fumble.
  • The Raiders continue to monitor free agent tight end Jared Cook, writes Scott Bair of NBCSports Bay Area. The writer cautions that it’s “hard to imagine” the veteran returning, as he’s visited with the Saints and received interest from the Patriots. The 31-year-old started 14 of his 16 games last season, hauling in 68 receptions for 896 yards and six scores.
  • Trent Brown isn’t all that concerned about his role with the Raiders, tweets Bair. After playing left tackle for the Patriots in 2018, Brown said he’d be receptive to a switch to right tackle. As of right now, Kolton Miller is expected to start on the opposite side of the offensive line.

Sunday NFL Transactions: NFC East

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four NFC East teams. Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline yesterday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters, claiming players off waivers or signing guys who clear waivers. Those transactions for the Cowboys, Giants, Eagles, and Redskins are noted below.

Additionally, as of 12:00pm CT today, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads. You can check out our glossary entry on practice squads to brush up on those changes, as well as all the other guidelines that govern the 10-man units, whose players practice with the team but aren’t eligible to suit up on Sundays.

Here are Sunday’s NFC East transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day:

Dallas Cowboys

Claimed:

Cut:

Practice squad:

New York Giants

Claimed:

Cut:

Practice squad:

Philadelphia Eagles

Claimed:

Cut:

Practice squad:

Washington Redskins

Practice squad:

Giants Claim Mario Edwards

The Giants have claimed DE Mario Edwards off waivers from the Raiders, per Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network (via Twitter). The Raiders had been shopping Edwards, whom they selected in the second round of the 2015 draft, but they could not find any takers. Edwards has not lived up to his draft status yet, but he will get a fresh start in the Big Apple.

Edwards entered the league very young as a 21-year-old rookie and missed most of his second season with a hip injury. Edwards bounced back a bit last year, as he started in each of his 14 appearances and set a new career high with 3.5 sacks. However, he never impressed new Oakland head coach Jon Gruden, and the team was reportedly frustrated with him.

In New York, Edwards will certainly have a chance to show off the pass rushing ability that made him a second-round draft choice, as rookie B.J. Hill and second-year player Dalvin Tomlinson are currently penciled in as the team’s starting defensive ends.

In addition to Edwards, the Giants have also claimed the following players, per Albert Breer of TheMMQB (via Twitter):

Raiders Cut DE Mario Edwards Jr.

The Raiders have cut defensive end Mario Edwards Jr., according to Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area (Twitter link). The 2015 second round pick lasted just three years in Oakland. 

It was reported yesterday that the Raiders were shopping Edwards, but obviously found no takers. Edwards has battled injuries and never shown the pass-rushing prowess he did in college that made him such a high draft pick.

Edwards entered the league very young as a 21-year-old rookie and missed most of his second season with a hip injury. Edwards bounced back last year as he started in each of his 14 appearances, and he set a new career high with 3.5 sacks. Apparently, he never impressed new head coach Jon Gruden this offseason and the team has now cut ties.

Due to his draft status and his age, Edwards should get another shot relatively quickly. While it’s not the end of the road for the former 35th overall pick, he’ll definitely need to start producing soon. The former Florida State Seminole will likely go unclaimed on waivers, as he carries a $1.255MM salary for this season under his current contract.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Shopping Mario Edwards

The Raiders are shopping former second-round pick Mario Edwards, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com hears (on Twitter). The Raiders have been frustrated by him, Rapoport hears, and he may be on the roster bubble heading into Saturday’s deadline. 

The Raiders had high hopes for Edwards when they selected him with the No. 35 overall pick in 2015. However, he struggled to get going as a 21-year-old rookie and a hip injury set him back as an NFL sophomore.

Edwards bounced back last year as he started in each of his 14 games, and he set a new career high with 3.5 sacks. Apparently, he hasn’t impressed new head coach Jon Gruden in camp, so he could be on his way out of Oakland.

If another team acquires Edwards, they’ll have him under contract for one more season with a base salary of $1.255MM. That would be a fairly low-risk move, and Edwards will surely cost a lot less than a second rounder.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Activate Mario Edwards

The Raiders exchanged edge defenders on their active roster in advance of their Week 16 game against the Colts, activating Mario Edwards and placing Shilique Calhoun on IR, Scott Bair of CSNBayArea.com tweets.

Edwards appears ready at long last to make his 2016 debut after an arduous road back from a preseason hip injury initially thought to be closer to minor in nature than a four-month-negating malady. The second-year defensive end played in the Raiders’ first preseason game but has not seen regular-season time since Week 15 of the 2015 season.

Oakland carried Edwards on its IR list all season, seeing Edwards return to practice earlier this month, and will potentially receive a boost for a 30th-ranked defense.

An edge player in Oakland’s 4-3 but an interior presence on passing downs, the former second-round pick graded as a top-10 run-stopper, per Pro Football Focus, last season among edge defenders. But he’s been a non-factor for more than a year due to this slow-progressing hip ailment and the neck injury from last December that caused him to miss several months. Edwards wasn’t cleared until May to participate in Raiders OTAs.

Edwards registered 41 tackles, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble as a rookie and figures to, if able to contribute on a part-time basis in all likelihood, factor into the Raiders’ defensive line mix. Denico Autry, Stacy McGee and Jihad Ward have done the bulk of the work in this role opposite Khalil Mack. With Mack and Bruce Irvin being the edge players on passing downs, it’s been on the aforementioned trio to rush from the inside — something Edwards did fairly effectively last season.

A third-round rookie, Calhoun played in 10 games for the Silver and Black this season but did not contribute much statistically, registering five tackles and a pass deflection as a reserve pass-rusher.

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.