Fresh off their first win of the season, the Texans worked out a variety of offensive players on Friday, including the previously reported Gary Barnidge, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter links). Fellow tight ends Larry Donnell, Gavin Escobar, David Johnson and MyCole Pruitt joined Barnidge in auditioning, while wide receivers Cobi Hamilton and Jordan, offensive lineman Jah Reid and quarterback Garrett Grayson were also on hand. The Texans saw enough from Hamilton to sign him to their practice squad, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.
Houston has an obvious need at tight end, with C.J. Fiedorowicz, Ryan Griffin and Stephen Anderson dealing with the aftereffects of concussions. Fiedorowicz is on injured reserve, meaning he’ll miss a significant chunk of time, while neither Griffin nor Anderson dressed for the Texans’ 13-9 win over the Bengals on Thursday. As you’d expect, the tight end position was a non-factor for Houston against Cincinnati, as all 15 of quarterback Deshaun Watson‘s completions went to wide receivers and running backs.
All of the tight ends the Texans looked at Friday come with NFL experience, though only Donnell and Escobar have extensive pro track records. Donnell had a 63-catch, six-touchdown season with the Giants in 2014, but his production has gone downhill since, thanks in part to injuries, and he hasn’t stuck anywhere since becoming a free agent in the offseason. The 28-year-old’s only employment since last season ended came in the form of a short stint in Baltimore, which signed him July 30 and released him Sept. 1.
Escobar, meanwhile, was a high pick in 2013, when Dallas took him in the second round, but he didn’t make much of a mark there behind all-time great Jason Witten. The 26-year-old, who caught 30 passes and eight TDs during his four-year Cowboys run, signed with the Chiefs as a free agent in March but didn’t crack their Week 1 roster.
Reid was a teammate of Escobar’s for a brief period in Kansas City, which released the tackle/guard on the final day of August. A veteran of 61 appearances and 18 starts, he’d provide depth along a Houston line that’s without its left tackle, holdout Duane Brown, and has already yielded 13 sacks in two weeks.
The other fairly notable player on this list is the Texans’ newest addition, Hamilton, who had been looking for work since the Steelers cut him Sept. 1. The Texans are already the sixth organization for the 26-year-old Hamilton, who’s coming off a career season (albeit a modest one) in Pittsburgh. Hamilton started in eight of 11 appearances and caught 17 passes for 234 yards and two touchdowns. He added another four receptions and a TD in three playoff games last January.
As is the case at tight end, Houston’s receivers aren’t the picture of health. Both Bruce Ellington and Will Fuller missed Thursday’s game with injuries (the latter will be out until the fall), leaving the Texans wanting at wideout. Believe it or not, DeAndre Hopkins and Braxton Miller are their only receivers who have caught passes this season. Hamilton could be a factor sometime this year, then.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Today’s practice squad moves:
- Signed: K Harrison Butker
- Cut: DT Eric Crume
- Signed: DT Christian Ringo
- Cut: DT Daniel Ross
Los Angeles Rams
- Signed: DL Quinton Jefferson
New Orleans Saints
- Signed: LB Adam Bighill
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
NFL teams began forming their practice squads on Sunday, but they’re tinkering with them today as they will throughout the season. We’ll keep track of Monday’s practice squad moves here:
- Signed: LB B.J. Bello, OL Travis Averill
- Signed: DT Gabe Wright
- Signed: C Cornelius Edison, OT Cedrick Lang
New England Patriots
- Signed: WR Demarcus Ayers
New York Jets
- Signed: CB Terrell Sinkfield, DL Patrick Gamble, OLB Geoff Gray, WR JoJo Natson, OLB Freddie Bishop, RB Marcus Murphy
- Signed: WR Zach Pascal
The Bears took time to announce their 53-man roster, but they got it done before the deadline. Here’s how:
Officially Placed On IR:
- LB Jonathan Anderson
- WR Daniel Braverman
- DL Rashaad Coward
- WR Titus Davis
- WR Tanner Gentry
- OL Brandon Greene
- DB DeAndre Houston-Carson
- WR Alton Howard
- LB Isaiah Irving
- DB Harold Jones-Quartey
- OL Dieugot Joseph
- OL Mitchell Kirsch
- OL Will Poehls
- TE MyCole Pruitt
- DB Rashaad Reynolds
- OL Cyril Richardson
- RB Josh Rounds
- FB Freddie Stevenson
- LB John Timu
- QB Connor Shaw
Today’s minor moves:
- The Seahawks have made a series of roster moves, announcing that they’ve signed running back Kelvin Taylor and cornerback Ronald Powell to their 53-man roster while placing running back Troymaine Pope and fullback Will Tukuafu on IR. Tay is the son of former NFL great Fred Taylor.
- The Bears have signed tight end MyCole Pruitt off the Vikings‘ practice squad, tweets Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispacth, while Chicago announced that it has cleared a roster spot by waiving defensive back De’Vante Bausby. Pruitt, a 2015 fifth-round pick, has played in 18 games over the past two years.
- The Packers will sign linebacker Jordan Tripp, a source tells Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Tripp, primarily a special teamer, was recently waived off Seattle’s IR.
- John Hughes won’t be staying home alone any longer, as the Buccaneers announced that they’ve re-signed the veteran defensive tackle. Hughes, 28, has already played in three games for Tampa this season.
- The Ravens announced that they’ve placed running back Lorenzo Taliaferro on injured reserve and signed linebacker Lamar Louis to the active roster. Taliaferro, a 2014 fourth-round, hasn’t been able to get on the field in Baltimore, as he’s managed only 14 carries over the past two seasons. The Ravens are also promoting WR Michael Campanaro, tweets Jeff Zriebec of the Baltimore Sun.
- The Rams have signed cornerback Troy Hill from the practice squad and placed tight end Cory Harkey on injured reserve, the team announced today. Hill had been waived following a DUI arrest, but has now earned a second chance on the roster.
- The Bills signed safety Shamiel Gary and offensive lineman Michael Ola to the active roster, per a club announcement. Linebacker Bryson Albright has been waived in a corresponding transaction.
- The Redskins announced that they’ve promoted linebacker Nick Moody from the practice squad to the active roster and placed defensive end Anthony Lanier on injured reserve. Lanier, 26, has 25 games of NFL experience under his belt since entering the league as a San Francisco draft pick in 2013.
- The Cardinals have swapped out punters once again, announcing that they’ve waived Drew Butler in favor of Matt Wile, who was promoted from the practice squad. Arizona also signed quarterback Zac Dysert off the taxi squad.
- The Falcons have re-signed cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson, the team announced today. BWW had just been waived last week in order to clear a spot for wide receiver depth.
- The Browns announced that they’ve promoted DL Gabe Wright from the practice squad to active roster. Wright, a former Detroit draft pick, was claimed by Cleveland earlier this year.
Today’s practice squad moves:
- Signed: OL Cornelius Edison
- Cut: OL Colin Kelly
- Signed: S Ryan Murphy
- Signed: OL Jeff Adams
- Signed: WR Tevaun Smith
Kansas City Chiefs
- Signed: TE MyCole Pruitt
New Orleans Saints
- Signed: CB Brian Dixon
- Signed: WR George Farmer
To date, Heinicke has spent the season on the non-football injury list after foot injury in July. Heinicke, 23, returned to practice earlier this month, starting the clock on a three-week window during which the Vikings must place him on the 53-man roster. The deadline was tomorrow, but Minnesota has decided to put him on the roster a day early. After recently waiving quarterback Joel Stave from the taxi squad, Heinicke should now have plenty of opportunities to shake off the rust in practice.
Pruitt suffered a sprained MCL late in the preseason and has been largely hampered by injuries this year. The 24-year-old has been cut after appearing in just two games this year.
Heinicke will now slot in as the No. 3 quarterback on the depth chart behind starter Sam Bradford and primary backup Shaun Hill. Meanwhile, the Vikings will now move ahead with three tight ends: starter Kyle Rudolph, Rhett Ellison, and rookie David Morgan II.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Steelers are still considering free agent cornerback Keenan Lewis, but it will take him at least a month to recover from hip and groin injuries, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (Twitter link). That news jibes with at least one report earlier this month that indicated Lewis would need as much as six weeks to heal from his ailments. However, Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recently reported that the Steelers were troubled by the medicals on Lewis’ hip when he visited the team recently.
Here’s more on the injury front:
- Although tight end MyCole Pruitt looked to have suffered a serious injury during yesterday’s preseason games, the second-year Viking will only miss two-to-four weeks with a sprained MCL, tweets Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press. As such, Pruitt will likely miss at least the season opener, but he’ll return as Minnesota’s No. 2 tight end at some point early in the campaign.
- Rams rookie wide receiver Pharoh Cooper has a shoulder injury and will miss “a few weeks,” head coach Jeff Fisher yesterday told reporters, including Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.com. At minimum, Cooper will probably miss the season opener. Cooper, a fourth-round pick, had apparently been the favorite for the LA’s third receiver role (and could still be when he gets back to action).
- The Redskins will also lose a rookie for a short period of time, as seventh-round running back Keith Marshall will likely be out for three weeks, according to coach Jay Gruden (Twitter link via Mike Jones of the Washington Post). However, Gruden added that Marshall could be placed on injured reserve, which would likely allow Washington to stash Marshall until 2017.
- The Buccaneers are expected to place WR/KR Donteea Dye on the waived/injured list with a hamstring issue, according to Jenna Laine of ESPN.com. Dye will need roughly a month to recover, but there’s a possibility could bring Dye back into the fold, tweets Laine (though it’s unclear if that means the club would bring him back off IR, or re-sign him after releasing him with an injury settlement).
Justin Houston signed the richest contract in the history of the Chiefs organization, and his teammates are just as excited for the star pass rusher than he is for himself, writes Chris Bumbaca of the Kansas City Star. Receiver Junior Hemingway and safety Sanders Commings both had great things to say about their teammate’s new deal.
“To have Justin back, man, it’s a good move for us. We can keep pushing, keep doing what we’re doing as a team, keep building, keep grinding, and get going — and try and get this ring,” said Hemingway. “In my eyes, he’s the best. His work ethic, just the person who he is, just being around him, you can feed off of that.”
“That guy deserves every penny. He’s one of the hardest workers on the team — most vocal leader, also leads by example,” said Commings. “He makes it easy on the rest of the defense. He can make a play before it even gets started, getting to their quarterback so fast.”
- Another AFC West star with a new deal added more headlines at a Broncos press conference, where Demaryius Thomas boldly claimed he will be chasing 2,000 receiving yards, write Troy Renck of the Denver Post. He will take over for Andre Johnson and Steve Smith as the number one option in the Gary Kubiak offense.
- Kyle Rudolph should return to his place at the top of the Vikings depth chart after missing significant time with injury last season, but the roster behind him is up in the air. Rhett Ellison, Chase Ford, fifth-round pick MyCole Pruitt, and the onside kick pariah Brandon Bostick will all battle for spots on the roster. Master Tesfatsion of the Star Tribune posits that Pruitt is a lock to make the team, meaning last year’s blocking specialist Ellison and receiving specialist Ford will have to fight each other out for what is likely the third and final spot on the roster. Tesfatsion notes that Bostwick would need a strong showing to be in position for that last spot in the team.
- The Jaguars haven’t been good in what seems like forever, but general manager Dave Caldwell is rebuilding the team from the trenches out. Ryan O’Halloran of Jacksonville.com points out that the team has devoted 20.6% of the salary cap to the offensive line, and 27.7% to the defensive line. (There is also an excellent story about wide receivers coach Jerry Sullivan and his relationship to legendary defensive coordinator Bill Arnsparger, who passed away on Friday).