Maurice Harris

AFC East Notes: Jets, CBs, Bell, Patriots

Despite their wealth of cap space this offseason, the Jets still have some apparent needs. One of those is cornerback. Trumaine Johnson leads the Jets’ corner group. Although the team appears to, at least to some extent, regret signing him to a five-year, $72.5MM contract, he is by far the surest thing Gang Green has here. After Johnson, the Jets have Darryl Roberts and slot signee Brian Poole. Both are former part-time starters, and Rich Cimini of ESPN.com notes the Jets are indeed gauging the trade market for possible solutions. The Jets have thus far tried to address this issue with minor signings (Mark Myers and Montreal Meander) but still have $28MM-plus in cap space, so they could take on a veteran contract if need be. This will be an interesting situation to monitor, but the team does have an outside option in Morris Claiborne. A Jets starter over the past two seasons, Claiborne was not in the team’s initial offseason plans but remains in free agency.

Here is the latest out of the AFC East:

  • Another Jets issue does not yet appear to have subsided. Some in the building were upset Le’Veon Bell did not show for OTAs, Cimini adds. While the two-time All-Pro running back reported for minicamp, there will surely be some learning to do when training camp commences. Bell has only played in one offensive system, Todd Haley‘s, in his career. This is the latest in what’s been another complicated Bell offseason, one that included previous reports of Jets dissatisfaction at his absences and Adam Gase not wanting him at the price Mike Maccagnan paid.
  • Gang Green has not decided on an Andre Roberts successor at kick returner yet, but Trenton Cannon looks to be in the early lead, Ethan Sears of the New York Post writes. Jets special teams coordinator Brant Boyer praised the running back’s work in this department this offseason, but he has one career kick return as an NFLer. That won’t make replacing an All-Pro easy.
  • The Patriots have not featured much in the way of consistency at wide receiver over the past two years, with numerous players — including Julian Edelman, who did not play in 2017 — shuttling in and out of the lineup and on and off the roster. One low-level signee who has a chance to stick as a role player is former Redskins cog Maurice Harris, per Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. Given a one-year, $1MM deal, the 6-foot-3 Harris has been used at multiple positions thus far, Reiss adds, and profiles as a Tom Brady auxiliary target.
  • The pick the Pats were going to send to the Lions for Michael Roberts was the one they acquired from the Falcons in trading them safety Jordan Richards last year, Reiss notes. The Falcons gave the Patriots a 2020 seventh-round pick, so Roberts’ chances of making New England’s roster may have been slim.
  • Both the Bills and Dolphins now have all of their rookies under contract.

Patriots To Sign WR Maurice Harris

On Thursday morning, the Patriots met with Redskins free agent Maurice Harris and fellow free agent wide receiver Bruce Ellington. After agreeing to sign Ellington, they said, “Why choose?” 

The Patriots have agreed to sign Harris, a source tells Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). Terms of the deal are not yet known.

Harris had 28 catches for 304 yards last season, but the Redskins opted against tendering him as a restricted free agent. The Patriots, in need of wide receiver help, have moved to add two solid options in one day. Of course, they aimed higher earlier in the week, but pursuits of Golden Tate, Cole Beasley, and Adam Humphries came up short.

Currently, the Patriots’ wide receiver depth chart is topped by Julian Edelman, Ellington, and Harris. With the draft and the second wave of free agency still ahead, you can expect that to change.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots Host Ellington, Harris, LaCosse

The Patriots will meet with wide receivers Bruce Ellington and Maurice Harris on Thursday, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The club will also meet with tight end Matt LaCosse, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link).

Ellington and Harris aren’t exactly start players, but they both profile as quality depth options. Last year, Ellington had 23 catches for 132 yards in just four games for the Lions, showing what he could do when healthy. Earlier in the season he caught eight balls for 92 yards and a touchdown in less than three full games with the Texans, before Houston waived him with an injury settlement.

He latched on in Detroit, but unfortunately the hamstring injury that hampered him in Houston re-emerged while he was with the Lions, landing Ellington on IR in December. Harris, meanwhile, had 28 grabs for 304 yards in 12 games for the Redskins.

The Patriots are clearly focused on filling out their receiving corp, re-signing Phillip Dorsett on a one-year deal last night. LaCosse had 24 catches and 250 yards while filling in as the Broncos’ starting tight end for a period last year, but Denver non-tendered him this offseason. With Rob Gronkowski‘s status for next year still up in the air, it makes sense why New England is digging into the free agent tight ends. LaCaosse appears to have legit interest on the open market.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

RFA/ERFA Tender Decisions: 3/13/19

Here is the latest news involving restricted free agents and exclusive-rights free agents, with updates coming throughout the day:

ERFA

Tendered:

Non-tendered:

RFA

Tendered at second-round level: 

Tendered at original-round level:

Non-tendered: 

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/28/18

Here are Friday’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Carolina Panthers

  • Promoted from practice squad: G Dorian Johnson
  • Placed on IR: RB Kenjon Barner

Cleveland Browns

  • Promoted from practice squad: WR Blake Jackson
  • Placed on IR: LB Tanner Vallejo

Detroit Lions

Indianapolis Colts

  • Waived: S Rolan Milligan

Jacksonville Jaguars

Washington Redskins

East Notes: Cowboys, Manning, Wake, Jets

Terrance Williams landed on IR after not being listed on the Cowboys‘ injury report going into Week 4. The veteran wide receiver appeared on Dallas’ Week 5 injury list, however, after a personal issue kept him out of the Cowboys-Lions game. Now, both he and Travis Frederick — also placed on IR Saturday — are out until at least the Dec. 9 game against the Eagles. As for Williams’ status with the Cowboys, it’s possible he’s played his last game with the team considering his diminished role (39 snaps in three games). For now, the team is sticking by the embattled receiver, who may face a suspension for his offseason car accident. Williams is under contract through the 2020 season. It would cost the Cowboys ($2.5MM in dead money) more to cut him than it would save them by shedding that contract in 2019, however.

With him, there’s a suspension looming out there that might or might not happen,” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said Friday during an appearance on 105.3 The Fan (via Pro Football Talk). “He does have some things after coming off that foot injury, which happens. When you have a foot injury, sometimes you rush it back, and you’re not quite there. And then just personal and general, some things that maybe are holding him back right now. I just think it’s a work in progress with him. We think a lot of him. He’s a fighter and competitor, we just got to get him right.”

Here’s the latest from the East divisions, shifting to a Dallas rival:

  • Eli Manning‘s play has apparently drawn scrutiny from Giants decision-makers. The 15th-year starter has not had much success down the field this season, frequently checking the ball down. “Growing frustration” has emerged with Manning’s issues in this area, Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News notes. Odell Beckham Jr., during a recent interview with ESPN’s Josina Anderson (via Leonard), also questioned why Manning isn’t making more downfield throws. “How come we can’t throw the ball for more than 20 yards?” Beckham asked Anderson, rhetorically. “How come we don’t attempt or try to throw the ball for more than 20 yards? Those are questions that we have to figure out.” Manning’s only completed nine 20-plus-yard passes this season, and just six of those traveled 20-plus yards through the air. Manning is completing 74 percent of his passes.
  • Josh Doctson suffered a heel injury during practice earlier in the week and is questionable for the Redskins‘ game against the Saints, per ESPN.com’s John Keim (on Twitter). He did not practice Saturday, which doesn’t bode well for the third-year wideout’s status for Monday night. Maurice Harris will start in Doctson’s place if he’s unable to go, Jay Gruden said.
  • Trumaine Johnson managed a limited practice on Thursday but did not participate Friday because of a quadriceps injury. The Jets‘ top cornerback is out for their Week 5 tilt against the Broncos. Johnson was available and in the starting lineup for each of Gang Green’s first four games, so this will be an adjustment for the 1-3 Jets.
  • The Dolphins will be without Cameron Wake on Sunday. Wake’s knee-related absence will bring second-year defensive end Charles Harris into the lineup opposite Robert Quinn, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald writes. Miami entered the season quite deep at end but will be without Wake, William Hayes (IR) and Andre Branch this week. Wake did not travel with the team to Cincinnati.

Redskins WR Robert Davis Has Broken Leg, Out For Season

It’s now official. Redskins wide receiver Robert Davis will miss the entire 2018 season, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). It was reported earlier that the team was concerned Davis may have torn his ACL during their preseason opener. As it turns out, Davis broke his leg and tore his LCL, per Rapoport. Head coach Jay Gruden said that Davis will require major surgery and will be sidelined for nine to 12 months (Twitter link via John Keim of ESPN.com).

Mike Garafolo of NFL Network tweeted that the “slight silver lining here is no ACL, as they’d feared, and no nerve damage,” adding it “could’ve been worse for him.” Davis, a 2017 sixth-round pick, had reportedly been turning heads at training camp and was pushing for a spot on the team’s 53-man roster.

Davis was extremely productive in college, having played a major role during his four years at Georgia State. In his senior season, he caught 67 passes for 968 yards and five touchdowns. He finished his collegiate career with 222 catches, 3,391 yards, and 17 touchdowns. Given how impressive he was looking before going down, Davis could be back next year to compete for a job with the Redskins.

The injury is a blow to the Redskins’ depth, but it shouldn’t be too devastating. The team will move forward with Jamison Crowder, Paul Richardson, and Josh Doctson as its top three receivers. It was, though, the second brutal injury from the preseason opener, as Derrius Guice was revealed to have torn his ACL.

On the plus side, Gruden had high praise for 2016 UDFA Maurice Harris, who has seen limited action in his first two years in the league but who could be in for an increased role in 2018. Gruden said, “Mo is a great all-around receiver for us. We’re confident he can line up anywhere” (Twitter link via Keim).

Redskins Place Arthur Jones On IR

After joining the Redskins several weeks ago, Arthur Jones‘ season is over. According to ESPN.com’s John Keim (via Twitter), the team has placed the veteran defensive lineman on the injured reserve. The team has also promoted wideout Maurice Harris and defensive lineman Brandon Banks to the active roster.

Arthur Jones (vertical)Jones, 31, was released by the Colts earlier this year following several uninspiring seasons with the organization. Between 2014 and 2016, the former fifth-rounder ultimately saw the field for only 17 games (11 starts) with Indy, compiling 53 tackles and 1.5 sacks. Jones has previously battled nagging injuries (he underwent hernia surgery earlier this year), and he’s also been suspended for PED use. Pro Football Focus ultimately rated him as a bottom-10 interior defender in 2016, a far cry from his 4.5 sack campaign with the Ravens in 2012. After joining the Redskins in late October, Jones went on to make a single appearance with the team.

Banks, 23, will presumably inherit Jones’ spot on the depth chart behind Ziggy Hood and Terrell McClain. The 23-year-old joined the organization as an undrafted free agent out of Charlotte earlier this year. Harris, a 2016 undrafted free agent, has spent the past two seasons with the Redskins. He appeared in 10 games as a rookie, hauling in eight receptions for 66 yards. He also contributed on special teams, returning three kicks for 47 yards.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

Washington Redskins

Redskins Reach 53-Man Max

The Redskins are now at the 53-man roster maximum. Here’s how they trimmed down:

Released:

Waived: