MarQueis Gray

Dolphins Re-Sign TE Gavin Escobar

After he was released by the team at final cuts, the Dolphins are bringing back tight end Gavin Escobar according to Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald (Twitter link).

To make room on the roster, the team is placing MarQueis Gray on injured reserve. Beasley posted a follow-up tweet noting that it’s “big news” as Gray “was on track to be a Week 1 starter.” It’s a big blow for Miami just days before the season gets underway.

Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald followed up with a tweet of his own, noting that it’s an Achilles injury for Gray. Although he’ll be eligible to return after eight weeks, if it’s an Achilles tear he’ll be done for the whole season. Escobar, a second round pick of the Cowboys back in 2013 was brought in on a one-year deal this offseason but let go as the Dolphins trimmed their roster to 53.

Escobar never lived up to his draft status, catching just 30 passes for 333 yards and eight touchdowns across his four seasons in Dallas. The injury to Gray likely means more snaps and potentially an every down role for rookie second round pick Mike Gesicki.

 

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins Extend TE MarQueis Gray

A day after awarding offensive lineman Sam Young a short-term extension, the Dolphins have re-upped tight end MarQueis Gray to a two-year deal, tweets Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Gray is now under the Dolphins’ control through the 2018 season.

MarQueis Gray

The Dolphins are the fifth NFL organization for the 27-year-old Gray, who entered the league with the 49ers as an undrafted free agent in 2013. The former Minnesota Golden Gopher debuted that year with the Browns and then spent parts of the 2014 and ’15 campaigns with the Vikings and Bills. All told, he appeared in 29 games, made seven starts and caught 12 passes in that span.

In Miami, which he joined on a one-year deal in March, Gray has given the team a useful option behind Dion Sims by setting career highs in appearances (15), starts (seven), targets (17) and receptions (14). In terms of overall performance, Gray ranks a respectable 28th among Pro Football Focus’ 64 qualifying tight ends.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins To Sign MarQueis Gray

The Dolphins have agreed to sign tight end MarQueis Gray, according to Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald (on Twitter). Terms of the deal are not immediately known.

Gray was eligible for restricted free agency this offseason, but the Bills elected to let him go without tendering him an offer. The 26-year-old has been on the market now for weeks without much buzz attached to his name, but he has potentially found his new home for 2016.

Gray, a Minnesota product, first broke into the league in 2013 with the Browns. In 2014, he landed in Minnesota before being cut loose mid-season and getting picked up by the Bills. Gray broke out somewhat in his five games with the Bills that year, catching eight passes for 118 yards. Last year, however, Gray saw time in only four games with one reception.

Bills Cut Anthony Dixon, Won’t Re-Sign MarQueis Gray

It’s a busy Tuesday for the Bills, who have already placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on tackle Cordy Glenn and released defensive end Mario Williams along with guard Kraig Urbik. The team is apparently staying busy this afternoon, with two more Bills players announcing on Twitter that they won’t be on the roster going forward.Anthony Boobie Dixon

[RELATED: PFR previews the Bills’ offseason]

Running back Anthony Dixon tweeted a thank you message to the Bills and their fans, adding that his “time is up” in Buffalo. Dixon, who has been a Bill for the last two seasons, had a career-high 432 rushing yards on 105 carries in 2014, but wasn’t as big a part of the offense in 2015 with newcomers LeSean McCoy and Karlos Williams carrying the rushing load.

Having been set to enter a contract year, Dixon had just $167K in dead money left on his contract, so the Bills will clear most of his $1.317MM cap hit from their books, creating $1.15MM in cap savings. As for the man known as “Boobie,” he’ll immediately become an unrestricted free agent without having to pass through waivers.

In other Bills news, tight end MarQueis Gray also tweeted a farewell message today. Gray technically wasn’t under contract with the club for the 2016 season, so his departure won’t create any immediate cap savings. However, he had been eligible for restricted free agency, and his tweet today signals that Buffalo won’t be offering him an RFA tender. Without that tender in hand, Gray will become an unrestricted free agent when the new league year begins on March 9th.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills Sign Boom Herron

After working out a handful of running backs today, the Bills have signed veteran free agent Boom Herron, the team announced in a press release. Trent Richardson and Alfonso Smith were among the other backs that auditioned for Buffalo.

Herron, who suffered a sprained AC joint in the Colts’ final preseason game, was waived by the team in September. The 26-year-old had been competing for a role as one of Frank Gore‘s backups after spending the last two years with Indianapolis. Herron played in all 16 of the Colts’ regular-season contests in 2014 and rushed for 351 yards and a touchdown, adding 21 catches.

Prior to the signing of Herron, Boobie Dixon and Cierre Wood, who was recently promoted from the team’s practice squad, were the only healthy backs on the Bills’ 53-man roster. Starter LeSean McCoy is dealing with a hamstring injury and is expected to be sidelined for at least one more week, while rookie Karlos Williams suffered a concussion in Sunday’s loss to the Giants.

In order to make room on the roster for Herron, the Bills placed tight end MarQueis Gray on injured reserve. Gray sustained a fractured forearm on Sunday, which will end his season.

Bills Notes: Enemkpali, Taylor, Gray, McCoy

Earlier today, we identified several notable players returning from four-game suspensions who could be active for their respective teams in Week 5. One player we didn’t mention? Bills edge defender IK Enemkpali, who may qualify more as “notorious” than “notable.”

Enemkpali, who was picked up by the Bills after the Jets cut him for punching Geno Smith, was briefly moved to Buffalo’s 53-man roster so that the team could store him on its reserve/suspended list while he served his four-game ban. Now that he’s eligible to return, it’ll be interesting to see whether the Bills put him on the 53-man roster or cut him and try to get him back on their practice squad, as Mike Rodak of ESPN.com details.

For now, the Bills will have a roster exemption for Enemkpali, and won’t have to make an immediate decision. As the team decides what to do with the young defensive end, let’s check in on some other Bills-related items….

  • While Tyrod Taylor‘s base salary for this season is just $750K, he could earn up to another $3MM in playing-time and performance incentives if the Bills make the postseason, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. According to Rapoport, Taylor chose the Bills’ offer over one from the Broncos during the offseason, and was hoping he’d get one from the Eagles, but Philadelphia chose not to pursue him.
  • Bills head coach Rex Ryan said today that tight end MarQueis Gray may have a broken bone in his forearm, which would sideline him for a while, tweets Tyler Dunne of the Buffalo News. We’ll see what Buffalo decides to do with Gray, if anything, after the club gets an official diagnosis.
  • Speaking of injuries, a weekend report indicated that running back LeSean McCoy would miss three to four weeks due to his hamstring issue. However, a source tells Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News (Twitter link) that McCoy’s recovery timetable isn’t set in stone: “[Hamstrings] are tricky. Could be less, could be more.”

Minor Moves: Thursday

We’ll keep tabs on Thursday’s minor transactions, including practice squad signings and cuts, in this post, with the latest updates added to the top of the list throughout the day:

  • The Bills have made a change to their 53-man roster, claiming tight end MarQueis Gray off waivers and cutting running back Phillip Tanner to make room, tweets Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. Gray was cut yesterday by the Vikings to accommodate the team’s waiver claim of Ben Tate.

Earlier updates:

  • A pair of players recently cut from their respective teams’ active rosters have re-signed to those clubs’ practice squads. Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times reports (via Twitter) that safety Steven Terrell is back with the Seahawks‘ taxi squad, while Mike Triplett of ESPN.com tweets that running back Edwin Baker has rejoined the Saints‘ unit. Tauren Poole was cut from the Saints’ practice squad in a corresponding move.
  • After carrying an empty spot on their 53-man roster for a couple days, the Titans have filled it by promoting linebacker Justin Staples from their practice squad, the team announced today (Twitter link). Staples, who was cut by the Browns prior to Week 1, had been on the Titans’ practice squad since mid-September. The team has signed linebacker Yawin Smallwood, who was selected by the Falcons in May’s draft, to replace Staples on the taxi squad.

Vikings Claim Ben Tate Off Waivers

4:06pm: The Vikings have officially confirmed their claim of Tate, announcing that they’ve waived tight end MarQueis Gray to accommodate the move (Twitter link).

3:10pm: A day after receiving word that starting running back Adrian Peterson has been suspended the rest of the 2014 season, the Vikings have added another back to their roster, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com, who reports (via Twitter) that Minnesota has claimed Ben Tate off waivers from the Browns.

Tate, 26, signed with the Browns in the offseason in the hopes of taking over as the team’s No. 1 back, but was surpassed on the depth chart by rookie Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West. In eight games for Cleveland this season, Tate carried the ball for just 333 yards on 106 attempts, a 3.1 yards per carry average. After griping publicly about his lack of playing time and losing nine yards on two carries on Sunday, Tate was cut by the Browns on Tuesday.

Without Peterson for the majority of the season, the Vikings have relied primarily on Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata as their ball-carriers, but both players missed practice today with injuries, as Ben Goessling of ESPN.com notes (via Twitter). Given the banged-up state of their backfield, and the fact that Peterson almost certainly won’t see the field this season, it makes sense that the Vikings could use some depth at the running back position.

There had been speculation that the Colts, who saw Ahmad Bradshaw go down with a season-ending ankle injury on Sunday night, may submit a claim for Tate, but Indianapolis would’ve been behind Minnesota in waiver priority — the order is determined by record, with the league’s worst teams getting the first crack at players who have been released.

By claiming Tate rather than signing him as a free agent, the Vikings will assume the contract that the ex-Texan signed with the Browns back in March. That means that if Tate’s stint in Minnesota during the final six weeks of this season is a success, the team would have the option of keeping him on the roster next season for a base salary of $2.2MM.

Extra Points: Packers, Vikings, Chiefs, Raiders

Packers coach Mike McCarthy has seen his fair share of players succumb to injuries, including offensive lineman Bryan Bulaga. When asked whether it would be a good idea to be cautious and sit out the former first-rounder, McCarthy acknowledged that the organization may have done that too much in the past.

“I think sometimes we may have done that in the past,” McCarthy said. “I think our medical department tilts that way, but the reality is you’re only given 16 games and I know from a player’s perspective, they want to play in every single game.

“If Bryan Bulaga feels that he can go in this game, that’ll be a part of the decision. But we’re not saving anybody for next week or so forth. If Bryan cannot go, it will be clearly from a medical standpoint that we don’t feel it’s in his best interest.

“I just think medically people are a lot more conservative today. I think the landscape is a challenge for every medical group. I think it’s only natural. But at the end of the day, that’s why you have the process. That’s why it’s set up the way it is on who makes those decisions.

“At the end of the day, and I know I’ve said this numerous times in here, from (general manager) Ted Thompson and myself as far as you look at our players, we’re never going to jeopardize a player’s future for one game. But the importance of playing in every game is important.”

Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFL…

  • Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press predicts that Vikings offensive lineman Mike Harris is the most likely player on the roster to be cut (via Twitter), but he clarifies in another tweet that Harris could easily be re-signed next week. He also suggests tight end/fullback MarQueis Gray as a potential cut (via Twitter).
  • Chiefs safety Eric Berry is so impressed by Travis Kelce, he refuses to compare his teammate to any other tight end in the league. “Nah, he’s a different breed. For real,” Berry told Tom Pelissero of USA Today Sports. “He’s big, he’s got speed and he’s got moves. He’s got a lot of swag about his play. He doesn’t do it like how it says in the book.”
  • Vincent Brown would be a good fit for the Raiders, writes ESPN.com’s Bill Williamson. The former Chargers receiver was waived by the team at the end of August, and Williamson believes Oakland could use his consistency.

Sunday/Monday Transactions: NFC North

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four NFC North 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 are noted below.

Additionally, as of 11:00am CT today, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads. For the 2014 and 2015 seasons, changes were made to practice squad rules that allow teams to carry eight players instead of 10, and the eligibility requirements for those extra two spots were also loosened. 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 North transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day:

Chicago Bears:

Detroit Lions:

Green Bay Packers:

Minnesota Vikings: