Michael Burton

More Minor NFL Transactions: 5/13/19

Here’s the latest round of minor moves from around the NFL (for this morning’s minor moves, click here):

Carolina Panthers

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

  • Claimed off waivers: DB Mike Tyson (from Texans)

New England Patriots

New York Giants

Pittsburgh Steelers

New Orleans Saints

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Redskins

Saints To Work Out Sam Young, Ulrick John

Although the Saints only had one pick in the first three rounds of last week’s draft, they used it on an offensive lineman, Erik McCoy. The team is still exploring veteran front-five depth, however.

The Saints will audition both Sam Young and Ulrick John, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk report (Twitter links). John’s workout is slated for May 10, when New Orleans will hold its rookie minicamp.

While Derek Newton is the most experienced Saints backup offensive lineman, he has played in one game since October 2016 due to the two patellar tendon tears he suffered in his Texans finale. Michael Ola also resides on New Orleans’ roster.

Young, 31, served as a swing option for the Dolphins the past three years. The 6-foot-8 tackle started eight games in that span and was a nine-game starter in Jacksonville between the 2014 and ’15 seasons. Also a tackle, John has not played since the 2017 season and has not seen action with the same franchise in consecutive years. His most relevant NFL work came in three starts for the 2016 Cardinals.

Additionally, the Saints will work out former Lions and Bears fullback Michael Burton, Herbie Teope of NFL.com tweets. That audition will also take place at next weekend’s rookie camp. Like Young and John, Burton is a former Day 3 pick. He played four seasons combined with the NFC North franchises. Burton played just 49 snaps last season in Chicago but graded out well, per Pro Football Focus.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Dolphins, Patriots, Jets

Having ended their veteran quarterback search with a Ryan Fitzpatrick agreement, after pursuing Teddy Bridgewater and Tyrod Taylor, the Dolphins continue to embark on a rebuilding track. In fact, the word “tanking” came up during one of the team’s head coach interviews, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald notes. Chris Grier, as could be expected, denied the team will use 2019 to tank.

Often one of the most active teams during free agency, the Dolphins this year have parted ways with starters Ryan Tannehill, Josh Sitton, Ted Larsen, Andre Branch and Danny Amendola. They let Ja’Wuan James and Cameron Wake walk. This leads Salguero to the notion the Dolphins are indeed tanking with the prospect of being in best position to land a high 2020 draft pick and have cap space when that league year begins. As of now, early projections have the Dolphins at $107MM in 2020 cap space — second in the league behind the Cowboys. And with Dallas set to extend several young talents, Miami looks poised to lead that pack. Fitzpatrick has made at least eight starts in a season nine times; his teams finished with a winning record in one of those seasons. Sunday’s move lends further credence the Dolphins are targeting the 2020 quarterback class.

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • Rob Gronkowski has not given the Patriots his decision on if he will continue his career in 2019, but if the future Hall of Famer wants an extension, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe notes this cannot happen until August 30 — a year after his previous contract adjustment, per an NFL rule. Long dissatisfied with a contract he agreed to in 2012, Gronkowski would be entering the final year of that deal if he returned for 2019. The Patriots could approach Gronk about a pay cut, however, at any point this offseason, per Volin. Gronkowski is due a $10MM salary and to count $11.86MM on the Patriots’ cap. The latest word on Gronk’s status is a return for a 10th season is more likely than a retirement.
  • Conversely, a Tom Brady extension can happen at any point this offseason. Since the Patriots did not adjust their quarterback’s cap number via the unmet incentives last year, Volin notes they can extend his contract before the 12-month mark from when the team included those incentives. Brady’s deal appears likely to be adjusted, with the 41-year-old passer’s contract-year cap figure sitting at $27MM.
  • Dialogue about the trade that moved the Jets up to last year’s No. 3 overall pick began at the 2018 Senior Bowl, with Jets VP of player personnel Brian Heimerdinger approaching Colts assistant GM Ed Dodds that January about a possible trade, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com notes. Christopher Johnson emphasized the Jets focus on quarterback scouting in 2017, primarily Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen. The Jets targeted No. 3 overall because their sources indicated to them the Giants were zeroing in on Saquon Barkley, Cimini adds. Gang Green put its plan B into action a year ago today after Kirk Cousins spurned them.
  • The Dolphins are interested in acquiring a fullback, which marks a change from recent years. Specifically, they are exploring the addition of Michael Burton, per Salguero. Burton was Pro Football Focus’ No. 2-rated fullback last season but only played 49 snaps, not enough to qualify for full-time status. Only five fullbacks did meet those standards, illustrating this position’s scarcity on most teams. If not Burton, a four-year veteran who has played in Detroit and Chicago, Miami may target another UFA blocking back.
  • Prior to LaAdrian Waddle signing with the Bills, the Patriots conveyed interest in bringing him back, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com notes. The Pats kept an open dialogue with their swing tackle but were not willing to match the Bills’ offer, Reiss adds.

Bears Claim FB Michael Burton Off Waivers

Michael Burton will remain employed by an NFC North franchise after the Bears claimed him on waivers, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. The Lions waived Burton on Tuesday to make room for Matt Asiata.

This NFC North carousel concludes with two running backs changing teams within the division. Burton will join a Bears team that has a fullback vacancy after the team made the decision to waive Paul Lasike earlier this month.

Burton started seven games for the Lions as a rookie in 2015, but once Jim Bob Cooter took over the offensive reins midway through that season, a fullback was no longer a necessity. Burton played only 95 snaps last season and did not touch the ball on offense. The Bears figure to use him on special teams as well. They didn’t feature much work from an official fullback themselves in 2016.

The 25-year-old Rutgers product is under team control for two more years, per the terms of his rookie contract that the Bears are picking up.

Lions To Waive FB Michael Burton

The Lions are waiving fullback Michael Burton in order to create roster space for newly-signed running back Matt Asiata, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter link).Michael Burton (Vertical)

Burton, 25, had essentially been Detroit’s starting fullback since being selected in the fifth round of the 2015 draft, but Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter reduced the use of a traditional fullback after taking over as the club’s play-caller midway through that ’15 campaign. As such, Burton appeared in 15 games a season ago, but didn’t record any starts and played only 95 offensive snaps. He’s earned positive grades from Pro Football Focus during his career, however, and also contributes on special teams.

Because he’s not a vested veteran, Burton will go through the waiver process, and could be claimed by a club more apt to deploy a fullback in its offense. If he’s not claimed, Burton will become a free agent.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Lions, Taliaferro, Chancellor

Linebacker Kyle Van Noy, the Lions‘ second-round pick in 2014, had half of his rookie season wiped out by a stint on injured reserve, and he never got fully healthy after he returned, contributing just six tackles for the year. After undergoing hip surgery earlier this year, Van Noy had higher hopes for the 2015 campaign, but the 24-year-old continues to be nagged by injury issues with the season approaching.

According to head coach Jim Caldwell, the first opinion Van Noy received on his latest injury suggested more surgery isn’t necessary at this point, but the team is seeking a second opinion (Twitter link via Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com). While it’s possible that Van Noy lands in Detroit’s IR-DTR spot again, the timetable on his return isn’t clear yet, and the club may want to save that designation this time around.

Let’s check in on several more items from around the NFL…

  • Caldwell also said today that he hasn’t ruled out the possibility of two fullbacks – Michael Burton and Emil Igwenagu – making the Lions‘ roster (Twitter link via Rothstein).
  • Phones are lighting up across the league as teams look to make trades before the roster cutdown to 75 players next week, tweets Dianna Marie Russini of ESPN.com. Russini adds that, despite all the chatter, it’s not clear how many deals will actually go down.
  • Ravens coach John Harbaugh says running back Lorenzo Taliaferro will miss a “few weeks” with an MCL sprain, writes Garrett Downing of BaltimoreRavens.com. Taliaferro was listed as the Ravens No. 2 running back behind Justin Forsett, but now rookie fourth-round pick Buck Allen figures to see an increased workload for the rest of the preseason — and potentially early in the regular season.
  • Drawing on his past experience as an NFL executive, Jeff Diamond of The Sporting News takes a closer look at Kam Chancellor‘s holdout, suggesting that GM John Schneider and the Seahawks will have to consider the possibility of trading Chancellor if his holdout extends into September.
  • Speaking today to reporters, including Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link), Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks said that his new extension came together within the last two weeks or so.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Lions Sign Five Rookies

The Lions announced that they have signed draft picks Alex Carter, Gabe Wright, Michael Burton, Quandre Diggs, and Corey Robinson, Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com tweets.

Carter, a third round choice, was the highest draft pick of any of the players that signed today. The former Stanford standout was ranked as the third-best safety prospect of his class coming out of high school. Carter hit the ground running as a true frosh and after a solid 2014 season, he decided to enter his name in the draft early.

First-round choice Laken Tomlinson and second-round pick Ameer Abdullah remain unsigned.

Draft Notes: Packers, Pats, Dolphins

Here’s the latest draft news..

  • Maryland nose tackle Darius Kilgo told Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post (on Twitter) that he has visited the Packers, Patriots, and Dolphins. He’ll also visit the Bengals and attend the Panthers‘ local prospect day.
  • Maryland wide receiver Deon Long told Wilson (Twitter links) he’ll attend the Ravens‘ local prospect day on April 21st. He added that he has drawn interest from the Bears and Panthers. Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com wrote about the intriguing prospect earlier today and noted that he has drawn the interest of the Patriots.
  • The Patriots met with Maryland wide receiver Stefon Diggs, according to Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net (via Twitter).
  • Rutgers fullback Michael Burton worked out for the Buccaneers this morning at RU, according to Dan Duggan of the Star-Ledger (via Twitter). Next up is a visit with the Browns on Friday.