Michael Campanaro

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/23/18

Today’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Oakland Raiders

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Titans Activate WR Rishard Matthews

The Titans have activated receiver Rishard Matthews from the physically unable to perform list and placed fellow pass-catcher Michael Campanaro on injured reserve, the club announced today.

Matthews reportedly underwent a meniscus operation earlier this month, but was expected to be removed from Tennessee’s PUP list at some point this week. The 28-year-old agreed to an odd one-year extension last week, a self-negotiated deal that will tack on what is essentially a 2019 option onto his current pact. Matthews can earn $7.75MM next season, but there’s no guaranteed money associated with that year.

In 2017 (his second season with the Titans), Matthews posted 53 receptions for 795 yards and four touchdowns, all of which were tops among Tennessee’s receivers. This year, Matthews is projected to start alongside 2017 first-rounder Corey Davis, while another 2017 rookie — third-round pick Taywan Taylor — should enter in three-wideout looks.

Campanaro, meanwhile, inked a one-year, minimum salary benefit deal with the Titans in April, but rarely participated in either camp or Tennessee’s preseason contests. Primarily a return man, Campanaro could conceivably be released from injured reserve in the coming weeks if he works out a settlement with the Titans.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

South Rumors: Conklin, Colts, Panthers

As expected, the Titans placed Jack Conklin on the PUP list at the outset of training camp. The third-year right tackle tore an ACL in Tennessee’s divisional-round loss to New England in mid-January. Given that barely six months have passed, this could be expected. Mike Vrabel said this was a possibility as his team concluded minicamp, and Conklin confirmed this was a methodical process.

Here’s the latest from the Titans, along with some of their top rivals.

  • Tennessee also placed tight end Phillip Supernaw on the PUP list while also slotting second-round pick Rashaan Evans and free agent wideout addition Michael Campanaro on the non-football illness list. The Titans’ rookies and quarterbacks opened camp Sunday, and each of these players is eligible to be reinstated for full work by the time full practices begin Thursday.
  • Titans linebacker Kevin Dodd wound up on the reserve/did not report list.
  • The Colts added multiple veterans up front this offseason, with Matt Slauson and Austin Howard now in the mix for starting roles as stopgaps. Indianapolis boasts some depth at guard now with Slauson, the recently re-signed Jack Mewhort and No. 6 overall pick Quenton Nelson on the roster. Mewhort’s re-up and the Slauson addition, though, did not deter the Colts from selecting Braden Smith in the second round. The franchise’s goal is for Smith, an Auburn alum, to be the long-term starter at right guard opposite Nelson, Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star notes. Though, Holder cautions his development figures to take longer than Nelson’s. Once entrenched as a Colts guard starter and a candidate for a long-term extension, Mewhort suffered significant injury setbacks in 2016 and ’17 to limit him to a one-year, $1.5MM deal with just $300K guaranteed. Slauson is signed for one year and $2.5MM. One member of this tandem could begin the season in an unfamiliar backup role.
  • It looks like Denico Autry has a path toward either a full-time starting role or a prominent backup job with the Colts. Chris Ballard raved about the defensive end/tackle’s skill set this weekend. “Let me tell you the one you need to watch: It’s Autry,” Ballard said. “Denico Autry is legitimate. He’s long; he’s strong; he’s passionate. I am really excited to watch him play. He’s made up of all the right stuff.” Autry (career-high five sacks last season) served as a rotational player with the Raiders, lining up as an end and a tackle during his four-year run in Oakland.
  • A host of players are vying to replace Andrew Norwell on the Panthers‘ starting line. Amini Silatolu, Taylor Moton and former Viking Jeremiah Sirles are among them, with Jordan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer noting Ron Rivera has expressed optimism about the prospect Silatolu can man the first-string post opposite Trai Turner. Silatolu started 15 Panthers games as a rookie in 2012 but hasn’t been a first-stringer on more than three occasions in a season since 2014. Rodrigue adds that Moton may be the top challenger but may also be used as a tackle and be in line to succeed Daryl Williams in the event he follows Norwell’s path as a UFA defection in 2019.

Titans To Sign WR Michael Campanaro

The Titans have agreed to terms on a one-year deal with free agent wide receiver Michael Campanaro, reports Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter link).

Tennessee had been searching for a new slot receiver, as 2017 slot man Eric Decker is currently a free agent. The Titans also hosted Jordan Matthews before he signed with the Patriots, and while he and Campanaro are very different receivers, they’ve both spent most of their time inside. At present, Tennessee’s wideout depth chart is topped by Rishard Matthews and 2017 first-rounder Corey Davis, with Taywan TaylorTajae SharpeDarius Jennings, and Zach Pascal in reserve.

Campanaro, 27, had managed only 12 total receptions during his first three years in the league, but topped that total alone with the Ravens in 2017. Not only did Campanaro post 19 receptions for 173 yards, but he served as Baltimore’s primary punt returner, averaging 10.8 yards per return while adding one touchdown. The Titans, for their part, used first-round rookie Adoree’ Jackson as a punt returner last season, but it’s possible Campanaro could take over that role if Tennessee wants to give Jackson a breather.

The Titans hosted Campanaro on a visit last week and had reportedly been discussing a deal for weeks. Other clubs, including the incumbent Ravens, also expressed interest in Campanaro, but he never met with any team besides Tennessee.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Titans To Host WR Michael Campanaro

The Titans are expected to meet with free agent wide receiver Michael Campanaro, according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter link).

Tennessee is searching for a new slot receiver, as 2017 slot man Eric Decker is currently a free agent. The Titans are also expected to host Jordan Matthews, and while he and Campanaro are very different receivers, they’ve both spent most of their time inside. At present, Tennessee’s wideout depth chart is topped by Rishard Matthews and 2017 first-rounder Corey Davis, with Taywan Taylor, Tajae Sharpe, Darius Jennings, and Zach Pascal in reserve.

Campanaro, 27, had managed only 12 total receptions during his first three years in the league, but topped that total alone with the Ravens in 2017. Not only did Campanaro post 19 receptions for 173 yards, but he served as Baltimore’s primary punt returner, averaging 10.8 yards per return while adding one touchdown. The Titans, for their part, used first-round rookie Adoree’ Jackson as a punt returner last season, but it’s possible Campanaro could take over that role if Tennessee wants to give Jackson a breather.

The Titans have been speaking with Campanaro’s agent for several weeks, but they aren’t the only club with interest in the wideout, per Zrebiec (Twitter link). The Ravens are still open to re-signing Campanaro, while “a few” other unidentified teams have also checked in, according to the Baltimore Sun scribe.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens Notes: Crabtree, Ryan Grant, Free Agency

Baltimore made a big splash in free agency on Friday, signing veteran receiver Michael Crabtree a day after his release from the Raiders. The move potentially gives the team a go-to, possession receiver that it hasn’t had in a number of years.

Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said as much after the completion of the three-year deal worth up to $21MM. According to the Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec (Twitter link): “Michael has played very well against the Ravens, so we know firsthand the attributes he brings to the game. He is a smart, tough, physical receiver who battles for the ball.”

Newsome remembers well, as Crabtree has topped 80 yards in three out of four regular-season meetings with the Ravens and has posted five touchdowns. That included a three-score outing vs. the typically stingy defense in 2016.

Known for utilizing his big arm early in his career, quarterback Joe Flacco has worked closer to the line of scrimmage in recent years and has posted at least a 64% completion rate in each season in 2015. That is likely to continue with a reliable option like Crabtree joining the hold.

Here’s more from Baltimore:

  • Despite signing both John Brown and Crabtree, Newsome hasn’t ruled out a return to the fold for Mike Wallace and Michael Campanaro, ESPN’s Jamison Hensley tweets. According to Hensley, the team has been in contact with both receivers.
  • Newsome said the team would have pursued Crabtree regardless if the team signed Ryan Grant or not,” Zrebiec tweets. The team voided a contract with the former Redskins wideout after he failed a physical.
  • Sticking with Grant, Newsome said via Zrebiec on Twitter: “I did not get the results of Ryan’s physical until about 4 o’clock yesterday.” He said the team consulted with many doctors around the country. “It’s not a football decision. It’s a medical decision that I had no control over.”
  • Before news of the Crabtree signing hit, Newsome said the team could add two or three more quality football players, Zrebiec tweets. Recently, Pro Football Rumors listed Baltimore’s top three offseason needs and named adding receiver help, beefing up the pass rush and fortifying the secondary as the team’s top goals. It checked No. 1 off the board with the Crabtree move.

Extra Points: Lions, Ebron, Ravens, Bailey

The Lions met with tight end Eric Ebron on Thursday to discuss his future, Dianna Marie Russini of ESPN.com (on Twitter) hears. Team officials let him know that they are are open to dealing him and didn’t not guarantee that he’ll be back with the team for 2018.

Ebron, the No. 10 overall pick in the 2014 draft, has had an up-and-down career in Detroit. On the plus side, he had less issues with dropped passes in 2017 than in years past.

There’s reason to believe that Ebron, who doesn’t turn 25 until April, can grow from here. Over the last two seasons, he has averaged 57 catches for 642 yards and it’s possible that a change of scenery can help him reach the next level.

Here’s more from around the NFL on a busy Friday:

AFC North Notes: Bengals, Ravens, Steelers

Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert has missed 41 of 80 potential regular season games due to concussions, stingers, an elbow injury, a torn labrum, ankle surgery, disc repairs, and a knee issue. As he approaches free agency, he tells Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer that “everything is fixed.” Teams, of course, will be taking a thorough medical look at Eifert before extending him any offers. The 27-year-old Eifert is arguably the most talented free agent tight end available, but his injury history will put a ceiling on his market. PFR’s Zach Links recently ranked Eifert as the third-best available tight end, behind Trey Burton and Jimmy Graham.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two North divisions:

  • Pending Colts free agent wide receiver Donte Moncrief could be a fit for the Ravens, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Baltimore could certainly use help at wideout, as the club ranked 26th in passing DVOA a season ago and could be poised to lose several contributors over the coming weeks. Mike Wallace is scheduled to hit free agency next Wednesday, while fellow veteran pass-catcher Jeremy Maclin has been mentioned as a candidate for release. Moncrief, meanwhile, has been limited by injuries over the past two seasons, but is only 24 years old and managed a 64/733/6 line as recently as 2015. Per Rapoport, Moncrief is likely to sign a one-year deal, which makes sense given his limited record of recent production.
  • Speaking of the Ravens, center Ryan Jensen is expected to garner a “nice” deal in free agency, and it’s unclear if Baltimore will be able to re-sign him, as Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun writes. Jensen is one of the top free agent centers on the market, but he only has one full season of starting experience. Still, his youth (age 26) should allow him to land a multi-year pact in a free agent market short on interior lineman. Meanwhile, receiver Michael Campanaro has already generated interest around the NFL based on his route-running and special teams prowess, per Zrebiec.
  • Given that Le’Veon Bell doesn’t seem amenable to a long-term contract that pays less than $15MM annually, the Steelers are now forced to plan for life after Bell, opines Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com. Bell was assigned the franchise tag for the second consecutive season, but Pittsburgh should look at running backs in the 2018 draft as a hedge against Bell returning to Pittsburgh in 2019. Of course, the Steelers did use a third-round pick on running back James Conner in last year’s draft, but he handled only 32 carries on the season before going down with a knee injury.

AFC Notes: Brady, Maclin, Bowman, Jets

Tom Brady suffered a “painful” thumb injury during a practice that took place at the beginning of the week, reports Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston. According to Curran, the 40-year-old quarterback cut his thumb badly when a running back smashed it while the team was running a play at practice. However, Curran notes that Brady can throw, but doesn’t know exactly just how much it will affect the Patriots gameplan this Sunday.

As always, Curran notes that the team is not letting much information out to the press or public at this time. It’s highly unlikely that Brady will not play in the AFC Championship game, but it is a story that people should keep track of as the game time approaches over the weekend. Perhaps the biggest development that Curran has to offer is that Brady is “not taking snaps from under center”.

The team has listed Brady as questionable on the most recent injury report, but the impact of the injury could have a major effect on Bill Belichick‘s gameplan even though nobody expects the five-time Super Bowl winner to miss such a big game.

Here are more stories coming out of the AFC:

  • The Ravens have a few players that could be cut in order to create some more cap space for potential offseason moves. Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun listed some of the veterans that could be on their way out. These names included: Lardarius Webb, Danny Woodhead, Brandon Carr, Austin Howard, Breshad Perriman and Albert McClellan. However, the most interesting player on his list could be wide receiver Jeremy Maclin. The Ravens thought Maclin would be a key addition after he has cut by the Chiefs last offseason, but it was mostly a pedestrian year for 29-year-old pass catcher. Baltimore needs a makeover at the receiver position and could make room for new targets for Joe Flacco by cutting Maclin and letting the likes of Mike Wallace and Michael Campanaro walk in free agency.
  • While the addition of NaVorro Bowman could not stop the bleeding of a disappointing 2017 Raiders season, that doesn’t necessarily mean that new defensive coordinator Paul Guenther doesn’t want the veteran linebacker back in the fold in 2018, reports Scott Bair of NBC Sports“NaVorro is a prototype middle linebacker, really,” said Guenther. “The thing that impressed me most with NaVorro is that they got him here midseason and by the end of the year, it appeared to me that he was kind of the leader of the unit, making a lot of calls. You can see that on tape. It looks like he is a smart guy that understands the game. I love smart guys that love playing football. Hopefully we can get him back in the fold and keep him a Raider.”
  • Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson was arrested on a number of charges earlier this morning. Connor Hughes of NJ.com has more details about what occurred to bring this type of discipline. According to a police report that NJ.com obtained, Hughes reports that Anderson”rapidly accelerated” past cops at 105 mph after he saw them on the side of the road. As the cops followed behind Anderson, the report states that Anderson was “all over the road”, and seemingly “failed to maintain a single lane on numerous occasions.” Anderson did eventually stop the car and was arrested, but not until make a number of threats to the police officer’s wife. These details spell more bad news for Anderson who already was arrested back in May while he was at a festival in Miami. The wideout may face discipline from the NFL, but the league still must do their due diligence investigating the incidents until any punishments will be handed down to the 24-year-old.

North Notes: Bridgewater, Steelers, Ravens

Mike Zimmer shed some light on Teddy Bridgewater‘s progress recently, revealing (via Jay Glazer of Fox Sports; Twitter link) there is a “possibility” the fourth-year quarterback returns for the Vikings this season. Zimmer reiterates Bridgewater has not been able to practice yet, further pointing to an uncertain future for the former starting quarterback.

CBA language is murky regarding what could happen if Bridgewater begins the season the Reserve/PUP list, with Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk noting this, as written, would cause the passer’s contract to toll and keep him on the Vikings in 2018 as part of his rookie deal. While this subject has been broached a few times this offseason, Florio adds that this contract rule as applied would suggest Bridgewater would need to miss the entire season for his deal to be carried over onto Minnesota’s 2018 books. So, the former Louisville star returning from the PUP list this season could be pivotal for his career, even if Sam Bradford has a firm grip on the starting job.

This could be a drawn-out process for Bridgewater and the Vikings without a near-future resolution, but it’s definitely a worthwhile subplot to their season. Here’s the latest in relevant North-divisions subplots.

  • Several backups complemented Antonio Brown for the Steelers in the AFC championship game last season as injuries and unavailability mounted, and they’re almost all on the roster bubble now. Sammie Coates and Darrius Heyward-Bey are not locks to make the Steelers’ 53-man roster, Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette notes. Coates, Heyward-Bey, Justin Hunter, Cobi Hamilton and Demarcus Ayers are fighting for the final two spots — behind Brown, Martavis Bryant, Eli Rogers and JuJu Smith-Schuster, per Fittipaldo. The Steelers started Ayers, Hamilton and Heyward-Bey at least once apiece in their three-game playoff sojourn last season, but now that they are deeper, won’t need some of these players to return. Coates not being given a third year would be notable for the 2015 third-round pick, who’s been inconsistent, but the remainder of these players mostly saw action due to higher-level performers’ unavailability in 2016.
  • The Ravens aren’t as deep as their rivals at wideout, and injuries have limited the competition behind locks Jeremy Maclin, Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman, Jeff Zreibec of the Baltimore Sun writes. Michael Campanaro, Chris Moore and Chris Matthews and rookie UDFA Quincy Adeboyejo lead the competition for the final spots, per Zreibec. This would stand to put Griff Whalen and Keenan Reynolds on the outside looking in. Zreibec calls the recently re-signed Campanaro close to a roster lock but assigns slipping stock to Moore. Adeboyejo may see a knee injury dash his hopes at making the team.
  • Bengals DC Paul Guenther discussed the prospect of acquiring defensive end Chris Smith with player personnel director Duke Tobin, expressing support for a move that eventually came April 11 via trade from the Jaguars, Paul Dehner Jr. of cincinnati.com reports. Smith participated in only 311 defensive plays in three Jacksonville seasons, and did not suit up in 10 games last season, but looks to have made a good case for more playing time in Cincinnati, Dehner Jr. writes.
  • Kyle Long not set to play in the Bears‘ third preseason game — and likely not Chicago’s fourth exhibition tilt — makes the guard’s Week 1 status uncertain, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune tweets. The Bears are being cautious with their top guard after he suffered a season-ending ankle injury in November 2016.