Nat Berhe

Extra Points: Steelers, Lions, Broncos, Jets

Nat Berhe had a disappointing season in Pittsburgh last year. The safety signed with the Steelers last April, was released at final cuts, and then re-signed before Week 1. He was a minor contributor on defense and special teams for a few weeks, before landing on injured reserve with a pec injury. Berhe remains a free agent now, and he recently told Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com that he had “some early contact” with the Steelers this offseason (Twitter link).

Berhe also told Fowler that he’s open to returning to the Steelers in 2019, but for now he’s “focused on adding size” before landing in a training camp. A San Diego State product, Berhe originally entered the league as a fifth round pick of the Giants back in 2014. He spent the first four years of his career in New York before signing a one-year, $790K deal with the Steelers. It’s not shocking that teams haven’t exactly been beating down his door to sign him.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • 2019 is going to be a very key season for Lions receiver Marvin Jones. After Detroit traded away Golden Tate, Jones was supposed to take over as the clear top receiver. Unfortunately, Jones’ season was ended in late November by a knee injury. According to Dake Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, there was some drama between Jones and the team after Jones criticized Matt Patricia’s policy of having injured players watch games from the press box on social media. Interestingly, Birkett writes that Jones “doesn’t seem long for a Patricia-coached team that has moved on from other players who aren’t yes-sir-I’ll-do-whatever-you-say types.” That being said, Birkett would be shocked if anything were to happen before the end of the season, as they’re counting on Jones to be a large part of the offense. Still it sounds like Jones, who didn’t participate in OTAs or minicamp due to his injury, might not be in the team’s longterm plans.
  • Heading into last season, the Broncos had one of the most stable kicking situations in the league. They had recently given a huge extension to Brandon McManus, but then McManus struggled last season. He wasn’t himself, and then Denver added former AAF kicker Taylor Bertolet this offseason. Despite the addition of competition, it “doesn’t appear McManus’ job is in any jeopardy,” writes Kyle Fredrickson of the Denver Post. Per Fredrickson, Broncos coach Vic Fangio recently said McManus is the “obvious incumbent,” and that Bertolet “would have to knock him out like in a heavyweight battle” to win the job.
  • The Jets made a splashy move this offseason by bringing in Le’Veon Bell, but he wasn’t the only running back they added. New York also signed Ty Montgomery, who has apparently been making an impression. Montgomery started his career with the Packers, and was traded to the Ravens at the deadline last season before inking a one-year deal with the Jets in April. Montgomery so far has “been the beneficiary of Le’Veon Bell staying away for much of the voluntary portion of the offseason program,” as he’s “gotten a ton of reps,” according to Brian Costello of the New York Post. Costello writes that he’s also the “current favorite to be the kick returner” in 2019. Montgomery was a starter at times for the Packers in 2016 and 2017, but fell out of favor in Green Bay. Playing for only $895K with just $90K of it guaranteed, it sounds like he’s got a decent shot to re-establish himself with the Jets.

Steelers Place S Nat Berhe On IR

The Steelers have placed safety Nat Berhe on injured reserve with a pectoral injury, according to a team announcement. To fill his spot on the roster, the Steelers have promoted cornerback Brian Allen from the practice squad. 

[RELATED: Le’Veon Bell To Return To Steelers]

Berhe joined the Steelers as a free agent in April after spending the early part of his career with the Giants. At the time, the move was something of a head-scratcher since big-name safeties like Eric Reid, Kenny Vaccaro, Tre Boston, T.J. Ward, Tyvon Branch, Darius Butler, and former Steeler Mike Mitchell were still available, but the Steelers valued his special teams play and likely saw him as a value add. After four games and two total tackles, Berhe’s 2018 season is likely over.

Allen, the team’s fifth-round draft pick in the 2017 draft, played in ten games last season and had two special teams tackles. He also played in the Steelers postseason game against the Jaguars.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steelers Re-Sign Nat Berhe

The Steelers are re-signing safety Nat Berhe after cutting him yesterday, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN (Twitter link).

The San Diego State product was drafted in the fifth round by the Giants back in 2014, and spent the first four years of his career in New York. He signed with Pittsburgh back in April, but failed to make the initial 53. Fowler writes that Berhe is “a valuable special teamer.”

Fowler notes the Steelers must now make a corresponding roster move, and that sending someone to injured reserve is a strong possibility. The Steelers have a few guys that are banged up, and now that rosters have been set players can be sent to injured reserve and later re-activated.

Berhe never played a ton on defense for the Giants, but did start two games back in 2016 and could fill in at safety in a pinch. For his career he has 26 tackles across 38 games.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steelers Cut QB Landry Jones, Others

The Steelers have reached the 53-man roster limit by cutting a number of players, including quarterback Landry Jones.

Jones, 29, hasn’t played much during his six-year NFL career, as he’s attempted just 169 passes in relief of Roethlisberger. In that span, Jones has been a middling option, completing 63.9% of his passes for 1,310 yards, eight touchdowns, and seven interceptions.

The Steelers also placed wide receiver Eli Rogers on the Reserve/PUP List, which will keep him off of the field for at least the first six weeks of the season.

Here’s the full rundown of the Steelers’ moves:

Released:

  • QB Landry Jones
  • S Nat Berhe

Waived:

In addition to those moves, the Steelers designated the following players waived/injured:

Steelers Sign S Nat Berhe

Nat Berhe announced on Twitter that he has signed with the Steelers. It took Berhe a little while to find his new NFL home, but he’s hardly the only safety in that predicament this offseason. 

Here in April, the free agent safety market is still rife with big names including Eric Reid, Kenny Vaccaro, Tre Boston, T.J. Ward, Tyvon Branch, Darius Butler, and former Steeler Mike Mitchell. Plenty of top cornerbacks cashed in this year, but big name safeties are struggling to find suitable deals.

Berhe is not of the same caliber as Reid, Vaccaro, and others, but he did provide depth and solid special teams play for the Giants in 2017. The 26-year-old (27 in July) led the G-Men with ten special teams tackles in 2017 and only two Steelers totaled more last season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steelers To Host S Nat Berhe

Although the safety market resides at an odd standstill, the Steelers made their move early by signing Morgan Burnett. They’re now on the lookout for depth.

Former Giants safety Nat Berhe will visit the Steelers, according to Art Stapleton of NorthJersey.com (via Twitter).

Berhe served as depth for the Giants and a special teams presence. Although the San Diego State alum played just 39 defensive snaps last season, he led Big Blue with 10 special teams stops last season. Only two Steelers had more in 2017. Berhe missed the entire 2015 season with a calf injury and played in only seven games, starting two, in 2016. But the former fifth-round pick bounced back to suit up for 15 Giants games last season.

The Steelers still have former second-round pick Sean Davis, but he’s hoping to bounce back after a season Pro Football Focus deemed the worst among full-time safeties. Pittsburgh cut Mike Mitchell earlier this offseason, and he remains a free agent.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants’ Nat Berhe Done For Season

SEPTEMBER 5: Berhe has confirmed on Twitter that his season is over and that he’ll be heading to injured reserve.

AUGUST 27: The Giants’ secondary just can’t catch a break. Nat Berhe is expected to become the fourth Giants safety to have his season end prematurely when he undergoes calf surgery on Friday, two sources tell Jordan Raanan of the Star-Ledger. Berhe took to Twitter earlier this evening to add that the procedure will remove a hardened blood clot from his calf.

Berhe joins Bennett Jackson, Mykkele Thompson, and Justin Currie as Giants safeties whose seasons have ended before they really started. Cooper Taylor now stands as the lone holdover from last season. The Giants added veteran Jeromy Miles before the start of camp and Brandon Meriweather, Justin Halley and C.J. Conway in the past few weeks to beef up the safety position alongside rookie Landon Collins.

Unfortunately for the Giants, there are not a lot of quality outside options at safety. However, safety Jeremy Deering is on the workout trail and one has to wonder if the Giants could schedule an audition with the Rutgers product.

Giants Waive Robert Malone, Others

The Giants made a score of moves at the 3pm CT deadline for 75-man rosters. The Giants’ cuts include Brandon Mosley, Eric Herman, Robert Malone, and Jordan Stanton, as Jordan Raanan of the Star-Ledger tweets. The Giants also released running back Akeem Hunt, offensive lineman Michael Bamiro, wide receiver Juron Criner, fullback Justin Halley, offensive lineman Derrick Johnson, defensive tackle Jummy Staten, and tight end Will Tye, as James Kratch of NJ Advance Media tweets.

Bennett Jackson and Josh Gordy have also been placed on season-ending IR, Paul Schwartz of the New York Post tweets.

The release of Malone means that Steve Weatherford has won the battle for the punter job. Safety Nat Berhe is noticeably absent from the IR list and that means his status for 2015 is still up in the air.

NFC Notes: Dill, Brown, Bell, Saints

Backup Cowboys offensive tackle R.J. Dill has been suspended for the first four games of the regular season for violating the policy on performance-enhancing substances, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter).

Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram passed on a statement from Dill regarding the suspension (via Twitter). “My doctor suggested that I undergo testosterone replacement therapy, and I accepted the recommended treatment.”

Charles Robinson of Yahoo! notes that needing testosterone replacement for a 24-year-old professional athlete like Dill would be a rarity (via Twitter).

Here are some other notes from around the NFC:

  • The Texans just released Stevie Brown, and the Giants could be interested in bringing him back, given their current situation at safety, according to Dan Graziano of ESPN (via Twitter). Graziano adds that injury concerns led to the Giants passing on him in the spring, but as they have been saddled with injuries at safety (via Twitter).
  • Speaking of injured Giants safety, Jordan Raanan of NJ.com is skeptical the Giants will keep Nat Berhe on the roster this season if he will miss the first four games of the season, maybe more (via Twitter). It could be way more, as surgery could end his season.
  • Buccaneers’ fifth-round pick Kenny Bell will sit out of tomorrow’s preseason game against the Browns with a hamstring injury, and could miss the rest of the preseason, writes Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune. If he does miss the rest of the preseason, it could effect whether or not he makes the 53-man roster come Week 1.
  • As the regular season comes closer, the Evan Woodbery of NOLA.com opens his mailbag to discuss what the final roster will look like after the team is forced to cut it down first to 75 players and then 53 before Week 1. He is skeptical the Saints will keep more than four or five receivers, leaving Seantavious Jones and Willie Snead IV on the outside looking in. He also opines on which running back and defensive linemen on the bubble will find their way onto the roster for the regular season.

Bennett Jackson Suffers Knee Injury

2:50pm: Jackson tore his ACL, a source tells Jordan Raanan of NJ.com, meaning that Jackson is likely to miss the 2015 season.

8:51am: The Giants‘ secondary, already ravaged by injury, suffered another major blow in last night’s preseason victory over Jacksonville. In addition to losing rookie safety Justin Currie for the season, Jordan Raanan of NJ.com writes that second-year safety Bennett Jackson sustained a knee injury on a defensive play in the fourth quarter. Raanan reports that Jackson, who enjoyed an excellent training camp and who appeared poised to land a starting role, left the team locker room limping badly and with his right knee in a brace. The extent of Jackson’s injury is unclear at this time, and he will get an MRI today, but as Raanan tweeted last night, there are concerns that it could be serious.

Of course, given the state of the Giants’ secondary–by the time the game ended, six of the nine safeties on the roster were unavailable due to injury–it is fair to wonder why Jackson was even on the field in the fourth quarter, having played 56 snaps already. At the moment, Brandon Meriweather, Jeromy Miles, and Justin Halley, all of whom have been signed in the past five weeks, are the only safeties left standing. Dan Graziano of ESPN.com tweets that Nat Berhe is expected to return to practice this week, but that will do little to assuage the team’s concerns at safety.

Unfortunately for the Giants, there are just not a ton of outside options to fortify the position, which is well-illustrated by a tweet from Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle this morning. Wilson notes that former Rutgers safety Jeremy Deering, who signed with New England as an undrafted free agent last year and who will be auditioning with the Eagles today, will next visit the Colts and Jets if he is not signed by Philadelphia. As PFR’s Ben Levine wrote yesterday, at least six teams are currently interested in Deering, which bespeaks the lack of quality safety options available at this point in the year. Graziano tweeted that Big Blue will likely “poke around” the free agent market again this week–it is unknown whether the Giants have interest in Deering–but it’s not as if the the team expects to find the answer to its prayers in the process. As head coach Tom Coughlin said of the mounting injuries, “It’s amazing with the way that’s going. It’s just hard to even comment on.”

We will pass along an update on Jackson’s injury as soon as it becomes available.