Mike Mitchell

NFL Workout Updates: 10/9/18

Here’s the latest from the workout circuit, courtesy of veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer:

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

New Orleans Saints

Oakland Raiders

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Colts Sign S Mike Mitchell

The Colts are signing safety Mike Mitchell, a league source tells Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). Terms of the deal are not yet known, but it’s likely a low-cost one-year pact. 

Mitchell was one of several veteran safeties who were victimized by an uncharacteristically slow market for the position this offseason. The Steelers cut him loose in early March and nothing came of his multiple workouts. Mitchell tried out for the Cardinals in July, showed his stuff for the Titans before they signed Kenny Vaccaro, and worked out for the Bears and Bengals in September. Finally, Mitchell has an NFL deal, and it’s with the Colts.

Mitchell, 31, spent the past four seasons in Pittsburgh, where he started each of his 61 games. In 13 games last season, Michell finished with 53 tackles and two passes defended. Pro Football Focus ultimately ranked him 62nd among 87 safety candidates.

The Colts expect to have starting corners Quincy Wilson and Kenny Moore back from their concussion layoffs when they face the Jets on Sunday. Mitchell, meanwhile, will be on hand to provide depth in the middle of the field.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Workout Updates: 9/17/18

Today’s workout updates, with all links going to NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s of Twitter account unless otherwise noted:

Baltimore Ravens

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • TE Nick O’Leary (link)

Tennessee Titans

Washington Redskins

Bears Audition S Mike Mitchell

It’s been a quiet offseason for safety Mike Mitchell, but it sounds like the safety got a workout on Monday. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that Michell auditioned for the Bears today. The reporter adds that the work out “sounded like it went pretty well.”

After being released by the Steelers in early March, the 31-year-old only had a pair of reported workouts during the offseason and preseason. Michell met with the Cardinals back in July, and the Titans gave him a look before signing Kenny Vaccaro.

Mitchell, 31, had spent the past four seasons in Pittsburgh, where he started each of his 61 games. In 13 games last season, Michell finished with 53 tackles and two passes defended. Pro Football Focus ultimately ranked him 62nd among 87 safety candidates.

With DeAndre Houston-Carson dealing with an arm injury, the Bears are only rostering three healthy safeties in Eddie JacksonAdrian Amos, and Deon Bush. At the very least, Mitchell could help provide some experience to a relatively inexperienced bunch.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Titans To Meet With S Mike Mitchell

The Titans are looking to evaluate all possible options in the wake of Johnathan Cyprien’s season-ending ACL tear. Former Steelers safety Mike Mitchell will be among the safeties to meet with the Titans and his visit is set for Friday, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). 

Mitchell’s visit will coincide with Kenny Vaccaro‘s meeting with the Titans. The club is also considering 49ers free agent Eric Reid, according to head coach Mike Vrabel.

Mitchell, 31, has spent the past four seasons in Pittsburgh, where he’s started each of his 61 games. Mitchell appeared in 13 games this past season, finishing with 53 tackles and two passes defended. Pro Football Focus ultimately ranked him 62nd among 87 safety candidates. He’s not a world-beater, per se, but he does offer a great deal of experience and could be a fit for the Titans’ defensive scheme.

It has been a quiet offseason for Mitchell on the whole, but he did meet with the Cardinals in late July.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals To Meet With Mike Mitchell

Former Steelers and Panthers safety Mike Mitchell is scheduled to visit with and take a physical for the Cardinals on Wednesday, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). If he signs, the deal would reunite Mitchell with Steve Wilks, who was the Panthers’ defensive backs coach during his best career season in 2013. 

The 31-year-old has spent the past four seasons in Pittsburgh, where he’s started each of his 61 games. Mitchell appeared in 13 games this past season, finishing with 53 tackles and two passes defended. Pro Football Focus ultimately ranked him 62nd among 87 safety candidates.

Mitchell was slated to carry a $5MM salary in 2018, which was not workable for the Steelers given their limited room. Given the nature of the free agent safety market this offseason, a deal with the Cardinals would be for considerably less.

The Cardinals’ secondary will look quite different this year without Tyrann Mathieu moving between safety and cornerback. Mitchell, if signed, would serve as a backup behind Antoine Bethea and Budda Baker.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steelers Interested In Bringing Back Mike Mitchell

While Mike Mitchell is set to test the open market, a return to Pittsburgh is still in the cards. Tom Pelissero of NFL.com reports (via Twitter) that coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert spoke to the veteran safety today and expressed interesting in bring him back in 2018. While Mitchell is planning on hitting free agency, Pelissero notes that the “door remains open.” The veteran was released by the Steelers earlier this week.

The 30-year-old has spent the past four seasons in Pittsburgh, where he’s started each of his 61 games. Mitchell appeared in 13 games this past season, finishing with 53 tackles and two passes defended. Pro Football Focus ultimately ranked him 62nd among 87 safety candidates.

Mitchell was slated to carry a $5MM salary in 2018, which was not workable for the Steelers given their limited room. The safety will have to compete with a deep free agent class and declining skills in pursuit of a new deal, but he should be able to find work as a veteran presence in the secondary. The Steelers could apparently be that team, as Mitchell would realistically be an upgrade over some of their current options, including Robert Golden and J.J. Wilcox.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steelers To Release Mike Mitchell

The Steelers are expected to release Mike Mitchell next week, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). They remain open to bringing him back a reduced salary, however. 

Mitchell was slated to carry a $5MM salary in 2018 which was not workable for the Steelers given their limited room. His so-so season at free safety didn’t help matters either. Mitchell missed three games last season and ranked as just the No. 62 safety in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. At the same time, he was Pittsburgh’s highest-rated safety, per PFF, which underscores their need in the secondary.

Mitchell has been a starter for Pittsburgh over the last four years and, up until last year, he had never missed a game in black and yellow. He’ll attract interest from other teams, but his age (31 in June) and the depth of the free agent safety market may work against him.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

North Notes: Vikings, Browns, McCarron

Now that’s been declared an unrestricted free agent, Bengals quarterback A.J. McCarron says he’s “open to everything,” according to Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “It’s just awesome just to be free now and to hopefully get that opportunity and be able to compete somewhere,” said McCarron. “That’s all I’ve ever wanted. I’m just super excited.” McCarron, who won a grievance against the Bengals, will now join a free agent signal-caller class that includes Kirk Cousins, Case Keenum, and Sam Bradford, among others. In what sounds like speculation, the Browns (who nearly traded for McCarron last year) and the Vikings are two team to “keep an eye on” as McCarron hits the open market, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link).

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

  • The Steelers rank as a bottom-three NFL club in terms of 2018 cap space, and they’ll likely clear more room by releasing defensive backs Mike Mitchell and J.J. Wilcox over the coming weeks, as Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes. Pittsburgh can clear $5MM by cutting the 30-year-old Mitchell, and Dulac says it’s “become apparent” to the Steelers coaching staff that Mitchell can’t run as well as he used to. Wilcox, meanwhile, was a preseason trade acquisition who ended up playing only 14% of the Pittsburgh’s defensive snaps a year ago. If the Steelers do end up altering their defensive backfield, former second-round pick Sean Davis will likely transition from strong to free safety.
  • While Mitchell and Wilcox could be forced off the Steelers‘ roster, offensive tackle Chris Hubbard is likely to leave of his own accord, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com. Hubbard, 26, had only started four games during the first three years of his career, but was inserted into Pittsburgh’s lineup for 10 games in 2017. During that time, Hubbard offered league-average production, grading as the No. 40 tackle among 81 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus. Per Fowler, Hubbard is going to “get paid elsewhere, and the Steelers know it.”
  • Bears linebacker Jerrell Freeman is expected to retire or be released, writes Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. Freeman, 31, inked a three-year, $12MM contract with Chicago prior to the 2016 season, but injuries and two performance-enhancing drug suspensions have limited him to just 13 games over the past two years. Without Freeman, the Bears will likely field Danny Trevathan and Nick Kwiatkowski at inside linebacker.
  • Updating a previous report, former Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan is indeed still running his scouting service and has not been hired full-time by the Browns, per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. McCloughan is providing consulting work for multiple NFL clubs.

Rookie Notes: 49ers, Bills, Steelers

While it could just be pure coincidence, former Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland had a handful of successful seventh-round draft selections. As ESPN.com’s James Walker explores on Twitter, linebacker Austin Spitler, wide receiver Rishard Matthews and defensive backs Don Jones and Jimmy Wilson were all solid finds. 

For all the criticism that Ireland has received, as least he can claim that he has a keen eye for under-the-radar talent.

Here are some more notes regarding some of the league’s youngest players…

  • The 49ers have filled their open roster spot by adding guard Al Netter, tweets Bill Williamson of ESPN.com. The team waived Netter about a month ago to clear room for Blake Costanzo. The team had an extra roster spot following Eric Wright‘s retirement.
  • Bills rookie linebacker Randell Johnson has signed with agents Drew Rosenhaus and Michael Katz of Rosenhaus Sports, tweets Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal.
  • Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review focuses on the young Steelers who could be “training camp phenoms” (via Twitter): Justin Brown, Dri Archer, Mike Mitchell, Brian Arnfelt, Tauren Poole.