Nate Byham

Minor Moves: Pats, 49ers, Titans, Panthers

Here are a few of today’s minor transactions from around the NFL:

  • The Rams have added defensive end Kourtnei Brown, reports Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (via Twitter). Brown will replace wideout Jamaine Sherman, who was waived/injured.
  • Just five days after signing him, the Patriots have parted ways with tight end Nate Byham, per Brian McIntyre (Twitter link).
  • After having been waived by the Redskins earlier this week, long snapper Kyle Nelson has caught on with the 49ers, tweets Jayson Braddock of
  • The Titans have cut tight end Adam Schiltz and used the newly-freed roster spot to sign guard Kevin Danser, according to Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean (via Twitter).
  • The Panthers have waived UDFA defensive tackle Shaq Rowell, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun.

Earlier updates:

  • Armed with an open roster spot, the Cardinals have signed former Utah wideout Reggie Dunn, making him their 90th man, tweets Darren Urban of Dunn went undrafted in 2013, but spent some time on the Packers’ practice squad last season.
  • A pair of wide receivers signed contracts with the Vikings today, with Andy Cruse and Ty Walker coming aboard, according to a team release. To make room for the new additions, the Vikings have cut former Browns wideout Josh Cooper and tackle Matt Hall.
  • The Bills have signed cornerback Bobby Felder and waived defensive tackle Colby Way, the club announced today in a press release. Felder has spent time on the practice squads of the Vikings and Buccaneers.

AFC East Notes: Vick, Wilkerson, Idzik, Pats

Michael Vick has said repeatedly that he expects Geno Smith to be the Jets‘ starting quarterback in 2014, but that doesn’t mean he’s ready to wind down his career, writes Rich Cimini of “I still feel like I’m a premier quarterback in this league,” Vick said today after reporting to training camp. Vick, entering his 12th season, acknowledged this situation feels different because he’s entering camp as the presumed backup. Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said recently that Smith will get 70- to 75-percent of the first-team reps, a clear indication that it’s Smith’s job to lose. Here’s more on the Jets and other notes from the AFC East..

  • The honeymoon is over for Jets GM John Idzik, writes Rich Cimini of Idzik is only entering year two with Gang Green but his predecessors, Terry Bradway in 2001 and Mike Tannenbaum in 2006, reached the postseason in their first seasons as GMs. Cimini notes that Idzik has been around long enough to put his stamp on the team as there are only seven starters that can be considered true holdovers from the previous administration: D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Nick Mangold, Muhammad Wilkerson, David Harris, Damon Harrison, Quinton Coples, and Demario Davis.
  • Muhammad Wilkerson said he never considered holding out because he sees himself as the leader of the Jets, tweets Brian Costello of the New York Post. The defensive lineman will earn just $1.2MM this season and has been pushing for a new deal.
  • Tight end Nate Byham‘s deal with the Patriots is for one year, $645K and includes no bonuses, tweets MIke Reiss of He’s expected to compete for a backup spot in a role similar to the one Matthew Mulligan used to occupy. Byham has 11 career catches for 83 yards and one touchdown but has a reputation as a solid blocker. Interestingly enough, the stats from Pro Football Focus don’t grade him as a tremendous run-blocker.

Patriots Sign Nate Byham

SUNDAY, 2:19pm: The Patriots have announced the transaction.

SATURDAY, 11:26pm: The Patriots have filled their 90th and final roster spot. Sources tell’s Mike Reiss that the team has signed tight end Nate Byham. The 26-year-old will likely compete with Michael Hoomanawanui and D.J. Williams for a chance to back up Rob Gronkowski.

Byham was taken by the 49ers in the sixth round of the 2010 draft. He appeared in 14 games as a rookie before joining the Buccaneers, where he spent the last two seasons. As Reiss points out, the tight end played under former Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano, who has a very good relationship with Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

The 6-4, 264-pounder is better known for his blocking skills, although Pro Football Focus (subscription required) rates him as a below-average run-blocker. Offensively, Byham has 11 career catches for 83 yards and one touchdown.

Byham had previously worked out for the Patriots, along with fellow tight ends Dustin Keller and Ben Hartsock.

Sunday Roundup: Pats, Jags, Browns

With the increasing importance of tight ends in today’s game–the current average for tight ends on a roster is 5.5–it is not surprising that the Patriots have brought in veteran free agent TEs Dustin Keller, Ben Hartsock, and Nate Byham for tryouts over the past couple of weeks, writes Mike Reiss of The team has two open spots on its 90-man roster, and would like to add more depth to the tight end position with Rob Gronkowski currently unavailable to practice. If the Patriots do decide to pull the trigger on any of those players, Reiss expects it will be after June 1, so they can protect their compensatory picks.

Now for some more notes around the league on this Sunday morning:

  • In the same piece, Reiss says that if the Patriots are looking to add a veteran linebacker, James Anderson might be their guy. He was in for a tryout last week, and he offers solid coverage abilities. Again, if New England were to sign him, it would be after June 1.
  • Finally, Reiss takes a look at the players the Dolphins drafted with the picks they received in the Brandon Marshall trade and comes to an obvious conclusion: the Bears got the better end of the deal.
  • Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union examines UDFA Allen Hurns‘ path to the Jaguars‘ roster and what attracted the team to Toby Gerhart, who currently tops the Jacksonville’s depth chart at running back.
  • Chris Boden of offers his early projections as to how the Bears‘ final roster might shake out, with the caveat that injuries and veteran additions will inevitably happen.
  • Tony Grossi of looks at a number of Browns-related topics in his weekly mailbag, including several clarifications on the Josh Gordon saga and an early look at the right tackle position battle.
  • Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee offers an early take on the 49ers‘ roster battle at inside linebacker.

Pats Work Out Ronnie Brown, Three Others

While most NFL teams are taking an extended look at undrafted free agents and other young players, the Patriots have an eye on a handful of veterans. According to Howard Balzer of The SportsXchange (via Twitter), New England recently worked out runnings backs Ronnie Brown and Brian Leonard, as well as tight ends Ben Hartsock and Nate Byham.

The Patriots haven’t carried many big-play receivers on their roster in recent years, but the club’s variety of options at running back and tight end give Tom Brady a number of weapons with which to work. Although New England didn’t select a tight end in this month’s draft, the team added Wisconsin running back James White to join Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen in the backfield.

Brown will turn 33 later this year, but contributed in a reserve role last season, accumulating 45 carries for 157 yards and a touchdown for the Chargers. Leonard also continues to earn touches, having totaled 47 rushes and 29 receptions for the Buccaneers in 2013. As for Hartsock and Byham, the two tight ends are primarily blockers — between them, they’ve hauled in just 42 passes in 160 combined games during their careers.

For now, it seems the Patriots have opted not to sign any of the players they auditioned, though that could change. It’s also possible that the club is keeping its eye on veteran free agents in the event of injuries later this summer.