Mike Scifres

Panthers Make Cuts, Down To 74

The Panthers have made some roster moves on Tuesday and they are now under the 75-man limit with about four hours to go. Cornerback Leonard Johnson has been placed on the PUP list while the following players have been released:

Scifres became a likely roster casualty yesterday when the Panthers acquired fellow punter Andy Lee from the Browns. Scifres has been dealing with a knee injury this offseason, putting his status in question for the coming season.

Robinson joined Carolina on a one-year deal in March. The safety started a career-high seven games in 2015 before his season was cut short due to a hamstring injury. In December, Washington waived Robinson and later released him from IR with an injury settlement. In total, Robinson has played in 38 career games and recorded 88 tackles, two interceptions, and four passes defensed for the 49ers and Washington.

NFC South Notes: Saints, Payton, Bucs

The Saints are considering several scenarios with fullback Austin Johnson, according to Nick Underhill of the Advocate. Johnson recently suffered a knee injury in camp, and New Orleans is hoping that he’ll be able to return in a few weeks and continue to work towards a roster spot. But while they wait for more information, the Saints have signed veteran John Kuhn to compete with incumbent fullback Sione Huma.

Here’s more from the NFC South:

  • Although rumors persisted that Sean Payton would leave the Saints for a new team, it doesn’t as though the New Orleans head coach ever seriously considered defecting. “I understand how that began to build steam, and yet [GM] Mickey [Loomis] and I have a great relationship,” Payton told Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com. “That took basically a day-and-a-half of us sitting down and outlining the next five years and what our goals are and where we see this team going.” Payton is now locked up through the 2020 campaign.
  • Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht took some flak for firing Lovie Smith after only two seasons, especially given that Licht didn’t exactly shake up the coaching staff, promoting offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter to the top job. But as Licht tells Peter King of TheMMQB.com, his choice of Koetter will likely be the defining moment of his Tampa tenure. “My career’s probably on the line with this pick,” said Licht. “That was the thing I thought about right away: We’ve got to find the guy who’s going to have success and eventually leave on his own terms.”
  • Locked in a battle with rookie Swayze Waters, veteran punter Mike Scifres has not had a productive camp with the Panthers, writes King in the same piece. Scifres signed a minimum salary benefit contract with no guaranteed money, so Carolina could easily move on if they so choose. Head coach Ron Rivera didn’t dismiss the possibility of signing another punter, according to King.
  • Just days after signing with the Falcons, wide receiver Lance Moore announced his retirement from the NFL.

Panthers Sign Mike Scifres

Veteran punter Mike Scifres has found a new NFL home, as he’s agreed to a contract with the Panthers, the club announced. Carolina has waived fellow punter Michael Palardy in a corresponding move.Mike Scifres (Vertical)

Scifres sat on the free agent market for a little over a month before landing a new deal, having been released by the Chargers at the end of April. The 35-year-old had been with the Chargers since 2004, having spent his entire 13-year career with San Diego, but after the Chargers selected punter Drew Kaser in the sixth round of this year’s draft, Scifres’ release appeared imminent. Scifres suffered a down year in 2015, ranking just 29th in net punting average, but he has a track record of consistency, and should be the favorite for the to handle the Panthers’ punting duties.

“What I did for 13 years in San Diego I still feel that I’m capable of doing here,” Scifres said. “I still feel I can play. Going into the draft, I knew there was a possibility I would end up getting released by San Diego. This is a new chapter, and it’s about the player I can be for this team.”

“I was extremely excited when I got the call, because this was a situation that I had followed, knowing some of the players and coaches and seeing (former Panthers punter) Brad Nortman go to Jacksonville,” Scifres said. “This was a definitely a team I wanted to play for.”

Palardy, 23, was signed to the Panthers’ roster in April. He spent time with the Raiders in 2014, and has spent the better part of two years working out for various NFL teams, but he has yet to actually see game action.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Goff, Rams, Hardy, Cowboys

We’re only a few days into rookie minicamp, but it sounds like Jared Goff might be setting himself up for the Rams‘ starting job already.

He’s doing a great job picking up our offense,” coach Jeff Fisher told the team’s website. “We’ve given him a lot more information than we did at the private workout and then that we did here at our meeting, and he’s handled it without any problem. And that’s the impressive thing…I passed him last night walking to the room and he was leaving the meeting room at 10 o’clock. He’s that kind of guy. He’ll spend the time. It’s important to him.”

Here’s more from the NFC:

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Chargers To Release Mike Scifres

After selecting a punter in the sixth round of the draft, Chargers general manager Tom Telesco says he called veteran punter Mike Scifres to tell him that he’s being released, according to Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune (Twitter link).Mike Scifres (Vertical)

“He’s a true pro,” said Chargers head coach Mike McCoy. “When people ask what it means to be a Charger, I’ll point to Mike Scifres. Thank you Mike. We’re going to miss you.”

San Diego drafted Texas A&M punter Drew Kaser in the sixth round earlier tonight, so it’s no surprise that Scifres is being cut, given that a club that invests any draft pick in a specialist is likely doing so with the intent of said player making the 53-man roster. Scifres, 35, had been with the Chargers since 2004, having spent his entire 13-year career with San Diego. He suffered a down year in 2015, ranking just 29th in net punting average, but with his record of consistency, Scifres should be able to find a new home before or during training camp.

Scifres was entering the final year of his deal with the Chargers, and was set count for $4.163MM on their 2016 cap. By releasing him, San Diego will clear Scifres’ base salary off its books, leaving the club with just $600k in dead money.

Scifres’ agent said last fall that his client does not plan on retiring any time soon, so unless his plans have changed since that time, Scifres should be on the lookout for a new punting gig.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Notes: Rams, Manning, Scifres

The latest from the NFL’s two West divisions:

  • On Friday, the Board of Aldermen in St. Louis will approve a financing package for a $1.1 billion riverfront stadium for the Rams, according to David Hunn of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.. The package counts on $300MM coming from the NFL, which is a problem: Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote in a letter to Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and his stadium task force that the league only funds up to $200MM on new stadiums. Goodell referred to the notion of the league putting $300MM toward a stadium in St. Louis as “fundamentally inconsistent with the NFL’s program of stadium financing.” In response, downtown Alderman Jack Coatar said, “We are not changing this bill. “We are passing the bill as is tomorrow. We have the votes and we’re moving forward.” Coatar added that the proposed amount is “what we’re willing to spend.”
  • Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning has been out since mid-November with a plantar fascia injury, but his father, Archie, told WDSU-TV in New Orleans that Manning has been dealing with it “for five or six months,” per Lionel Bienvenu of KMGH ABC-7 in Denver. Archie also stated that Peyton is unsure whether he’ll return in 2016, his age-40 campaign, and will decide after this season ends.
  • Unlike Manning, Chargers punter Mike Scifres expects to play again next year. “Mike doesn’t plan on retiring for many more years. … I hope when he does retire, it’ll be as a Charger,” his agent, Harold Lewis, said, per Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Scifres, who currently ranks 20th in the league in yards per punt and 30th in net yardage, has been with the Chargers since they drafted him in 2003. He’s set to count over $4MM against their cap next season, though, and cutting him would save the Bolts upward of $3.5MM.

Minor Moves: Saturday

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves right here, with the most recent transactions added to the top of the list…

Earlier updates:

  • The Jets have placed safety Rontez Miles on the injured reserve, tweets Aaron Wilson. The team will promote wideout Quincy Enunwa to take his place.
  • Connor Shaw will start at quarterback for the Browns this weekend, and the team promoted him to the active roster this morning, tweets Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal. The team also promoted rookie offensive lineman Jamie Meder. To make room on the roster, the Browns waived linebacker Eric Martin and tight end Ryan Taylor.
  • The Lions have promoted center Darren Keyton to the active roster, reports Tim Twentyman (via Twitter). The lineman will replace Dominic Raiola, who was suspended for this weekend’s game.
  • As expected, the Chargers finally placed punter Mike Scifres on the injured reserve, according to U-T San Diego’s Michael Gehlken (via Twitter). Center Jeff Baca was promoted from the practice squad to take the open roster spot.

Chargers To Place Mike Scifres On IR

Nearly three weeks after breaking his clavicle, Chargers punter Mike Scifres is expected to be placed on injured reserve, according to Alex Marvez of Fox Sports (Twitter link). Scifres is reportedly progressing well from surgery, but San Diego is facing a roster crunch, forcing them to make a move now (link).

The Chargers will likely use their newly-created to roster spot to add a center, per Marvez. San Diego has used five different players at center so far this season, with Nick Hardwick, Rich Ohrnberger, Doug Legursky, Chris Watt, and Trevor Robinson all seeing time at the position. Watt went down after suffering a leg injury in last Saturday’s game against the 49ers, forcing the club to turn to Robinson, who was signed in October. He’ll presumably continue to start, while the Chargers look to add a backup. Jeff Baca, currently on SD’s practice squad, is probably an option to be promoted to the 53-man roster.

According to Marvez, the Chargers want to create roster space without moving either Keenan Allen or Ryan Mathews to injured reserve. Neither Allen, who, like Scifres, is dealing with a collarbone injury, or Mathews, who’s working through an ankle problem, is expected to play in Week 17, but San Diego likely wants to keep its two primary playmakers active in case the team makes the postseason. The Chargers can earn a wild card berth with a win over the Chiefs on Sunday.

With Scifres out, veteran Mat McBriar, signed immediately after Scifres’ injury, will continue to act as San Diego’s punter, and will continue to do so if the team enjoys a playoff run.

Injury Updates: Monday

In our Sunday roundup of the latest notable injury news from around the NFL, we passed along postgame items on a number of players, including several who will miss the rest of the season. Today, we’ll continue to provide updates on those players and others, as diagnoses are modified or confirmed. We don’t cover every single injury at PFR, but we’ll keep tabs on the ones that may require a roster move, with the latest notes added to the top of the list throughout the day:

  • While it’s less an injury update than a health update, the Chiefs provided some news on safety Eric Berry today, announcing that the Pro Bowler has been diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma. “This is a diagnosis that is very treatable and potentially curable with standard chemotherapy approaches,” said Dr. Christopher R. Flowers in a statement. “The goal of Mr. Berry’s treatment is to cure his lymphoma and we are beginning that treatment now.” We wish Berry and his family our well-wishes and support as he begins his treatment.
  • The Ravens confirmed a Sunday report today, indicating that cornerback Danny Gorrer will miss the rest of the season after tearing his MCL and PCL, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. The club will place Gorrer on injured reserve.

Earlier updates:

  • As expected, Titans quarterback Zach Mettenberger will be out for the rest of the year with an AC joint separation, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. The rookie signal-caller may be placed on IR this week to make room for a new addition.
  • While Cardinals running back Andre Ellington is expected to miss the rest of the season, cornerback Antonio Cromartie’s injury doesn’t appear as serious as initially feared, GM Steve Keim confirmed today (link via Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com). Cromartie is day-to-day with the injury, which affects the peroneal tendon rather than the Achilles, and will undergo more testing today.
  • As first reported by Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter), the Chargers have diagnosed punter Mike Scifres with a fractured clavicle. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that Scifres is undergoing surgery today, and should be okay to return for the playoffs, assuming San Diego makes it.

Chargers To Sign Punter This Week

With Mike Scifres expected to be sidelined for the remainder of the regular season, and perhaps longer, after suffering a fractured clavicle on Sunday, the Chargers are bringing in punters for workouts this week, says Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune (Twitter links). While kicker Nick Novak was an adequate emergency fill-in for Scifres against the Patriots, the team will sign a punter, likely a veteran, this week, per Gehlken.

It’s not clear yet which punters will be invited to tomorrow’s audition, but as Gehlken points out, Robert Malone, who worked behind Scifres during the Chargers’ 2012 training camp, is one option. Veterans Mat McBriar and Saverio Rocca are also “a short drive away,” if San Diego has interest in them. Adam Caplan of ESPN.com notes (via Twitter) that Chris Kluwe, Brian Moorman, and Adam Podlesh are among the other notable free agents currently on the market.

Scifres was reportedly set to undergo surgery this morning on his fractured clavicle, at which point the timetable for his recovery would be determined. There was optimism that he’d be able to return for the postseason, should the Chargers qualify. If that’s the case, San Diego would have to keep him on its 53-man roster — if the procedure is considered season-ending, Scifres could be moved to IR in order to accommodate the addition of a new punter.