Nate Orchard

Seahawks Sign DE Nate Orchard

The Seahawks have agreed to sign defensive end Nate Orchard, according to Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times (Twitter link).

Orchard was part of an early-week workout session that also included defensive lineman Courtney Upshaw and cornerback Davon House, but — so far — he’s the only member of that group to land a contract. He’s the second defensive end Seattle has signed today, joining former 49er Cassius Marsh.

Orchard comes with pedigree, as the Browns selected him 51st overall in the 2015 draft. An 11-game starter during his rookie campaign, Orchard has started only two contests since 2015. His last significant action came in 2017, when he played on 40% of Cleveland’s defensive snaps while grading as the NFL’s No. 68 edge defender among 123 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus. Last year, despite a valiant effort on HBO’s Hard Knocks, Orchard was waived by the Browns and final cutdowns, and subsequently spent time with the Bills and Chiefs.

Seattle has a history of taking chances on former early-round defenders (Barkevious Mingo, Dion Jordan), and Orchard probably didn’t receive much — if any — guaranteed money. He’ll have to fight for special teams snaps in order to make the Seahawks’ roster.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: AAF, Seahawks, Marshall

The Seahawks carried a decent amount of cap space into free agency but, other than the K.J. Wright re-signing, have been fairly quiet. Compensatory picks are partially at the root of this patience. While this free agency period will produce 2020 comp picks, John Schneider also has his eye on more 2019 draft choices. The Seahawks hold just four 2019 picks, the fewest any team currently has. That is a number their GM would like to increase.

This year, we’re trying to be a little bit more selective with the cap casualty guys that don’t count toward your compensatory picks,” Schneider said during an appearance 710 ESPN Seattle (via Seahawks.com). “Right now we’re looking at 11 picks in 2020, but we have four right now and I just spent the weekend looking at our board like, ‘That’s not cool.’”

The Seahawks have not used their originally slotted first-round pick since selecting James Carpenter in the 2011 first round. Recently, they traded back in 2018, 2017 and 2016 and in 2015 sent their first-rounder to the Saints in the Jimmy Graham deal.

It’s safe to say, but it’s a darn good draft, so I could see a very good player being there for us at 21,” Schneider said on the prospect of his team accumulating more 2019 draft capital. “Then the other part of it is everybody’s like, ‘Well, (the Seahawks) always like to go back,’ but you have to find a partner, you have to negotiate within a specific amount of time, so it’s not like an easy thing just to move back. We’d love to pick more than four times, though.”

Here is the latest from around the football universe:

  • Another ominous sign for the AAF: the league sent out an email to its employees, announcing only a small staff will be retained going forward with the goal of securing additional funding. The email (via NFL.com’s Aditi Kinkhabwala, on Twitter) includes the phrase, “Should these efforts prove successful, we look forward to working with many of you in season two.” So, it almost certainly appears the AAF’s operations suspension will mean its 2019 season — which had two regular-season weeks remaining — will end.
  • Shifting back to the Seahawks, they will bring in three more veterans for visits. Davon House, Nate Orchard and Courtney Upshaw have Seahawks summits scheduled, Curtis Crabtree of Pro Football Talk tweets. Following Orchard’s Hard Knocks close-up, he played in four games for the Chiefs and Bills in 2018. House saw an injury end his ’18 season after three games. After the Jets released Upshaw last July, he did not catch on anywhere else. However, the former Ravens and Falcons front-seven starter is still just 29.
  • Prior to the Raiders signing Brandon Marshall, the Ravens expressed interest. However, they did not want to sign the free agent linebacker until after the May 7 date when UFAs no longer factor into the compensatory formula, Marshall said during an appearance on Orange and Blue 760 (via The Athletic’s Nicki Jhabvala, on Twitter). The Ravens, who said they would have been interested in a multiyear Marshall pact post-draft, are one of the NFL’s premier comp pick-seeking conscious franchises. Marshall said he did not want to wait until after the draft. Both the Chargers and Cardinals also showed more initial interest than the Raiders, Marshall said (Twitter link), but those teams’ respective signings of Thomas Davis and Jordan Hicks pointed him elsewhere.

NFL Workout Updates: 11/13/18

Here’s the latest from the workout circuit. All links go to NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter account, unless otherwise noted.

Arizona Cardinals

Detroit Lions

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Oakland Raiders

Tennessee Titans

Chiefs Activate S Daniel Sorensen

The Chiefs activated safety Daniel Sorensen from injured reserve, the team announced. To make room on the roster, the Chiefs waived linebacker Nate Orchard

The Chiefs have been waiting on safety help and Sorensen’s return should go a long way towards fortifying the secondary. Of course, the bigger upgrade will come when/if Eric Berry is able to make his return. There’s no definitive word yet, but the Chiefs are hopeful that Berry will be able to suit up for the final stretch of the season.

Sorensen started 14 games for the Chiefs last year, but was knocked off course this year by a tibial plateau fracture and MCL damage. Before that, the Chiefs were looking to Sorensen, a contributor on the past four Kansas City defenses and Berry’s replacement throughout last season, to take over as a starter for Ron Parker. A few weeks after the full scope of Sorensen’s injury was disclosed, Parker was brought back, but the Chiefs could still use the extra ammo in the secondary.

Upon his return, Sorensen could help Parker and Jordan Lucas at safety and also pitch in at linebacker in the wake of Terrance Smith‘s season-ending injury. With 56 games under his belt and experience at both spots, he could contribute in a variety of packages starting on Sunday against the Cardinals.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chiefs Sign Nate Orchard

The Chiefs signed free agent linebacker Nate Orchard, according to a team announcement. Orchard will help to fill in for Justin Hosuton, who may miss multiple games with a hamstring injury

At minimum, it sounds like the Chiefs will be without Houston on Sunday night when they face the Patriots. Houston is one of the club’s defensive leaders and has has three sacks and two forced fumbles so far this year. The Chiefs will be hurting without him, but the injury could pave the way for Orchard to see the field.

After spending three seasons with the Browns, the 2015 second-round pick was released by the team in September. Orchard was plenty productive during his rookie campaign, compiling 36 tackles and three sacks in 15 games (11 starts). Unfortunately, the Utah product was limited to only three games in 2016 after suffering an ankle injury, and he settled into more of a reserve role in 2017. He ultimately finished last season with 25 tackles and two sacks in 16 games (one start).

Orchard, a darling of this year’s “Hard Knocks,” hooked on with the Bills after being cut by Cleveland, but lasted only three weeks. He’ll try to make it a longer stay in Kansas City.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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

Bills Sign CB Dontae Johnson

The Bills have signed cornerback Dontae Johnson, according to a press release. To make room, they’ve released defensive end Nate Orchard

After spending the first four seasons of his career with the 49ers, Johnson joined the Seahawks and was projected to start. An offseason injury derailed those plans, however, and he was freed from his contract in late September. Johnson probably won’t get an opportunity to match his 2017 career-highs in tackles (77) and passes defended (seven), but he should see some playing time in Buffalo as the Bills deal with injuries in the secondary.

Orchard, a darling of this year’s “Hard Knocks” while with the Browns, possesses great speed but has yet to put it all together at the pro level. After roughly three weeks in Buffalo, Orchard will look to hook on elsewhere and realize his potential.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills Sign DE Nate Orchard

The Bills have already filled Adolphus Washington‘s roster spot. ESPN’s Mike Rodak tweets that the team has signed defensive end Nate Orchard. It’s a one-year deal for the 25-year-old.

After spending three seasons with the Browns, the 2015 second-round pick was released by the team earlier this month. The Utah product was plenty productive during his rookie campaign, compiling 36 tackles and three sacks in 15 games (11 starts). Orchard was limited to only three games in 2016 after suffering an ankle injury, and he settled into more of a reserve role in 2017. He ultimately finished last season with 25 tackles and two sacks in 16 games (one start).

The Bills are relatively thin at defensive end, but it’s uncertain if Orchard will be able to crack the top-three. It’s more likely that he competes with Eddie Yarbrough for snaps behind Trent Murphy, Jerry Hughes, and Shaq Lawson (who suffered a hamstring injury during yesterday’s loss).

The Bills opened up a roster spot earlier this evening by waiving Washington, a former third-rounder.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions Work Out CB David Amerson

The Lions auditioned a host of free agents including cornerback David Amerson last week, according to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer (Twitter links).

Amerson inked a one-year deal with the Chiefs after being cut by the Raiders, but he essentially played himself out of a roster spot on a club that needed all the help it could get in the secondary. The 26-year-old defensive back made 42 starts with Washington and Oakland from 2014-16, but injuries and ineffectiveness have limited his production since that time.

Detroit currently has five cornerbacks on its roster in Darius Slay, Nevin Lawson, Teez Tabor, Jamal Agnew, and Dee Virgin, while safety Quandre Diggs also moonlights as a slot corner. Amerson could give the Lions more depth in the back end, but he hasn’t historically contributed on special teams, a problem for a reserve player.

Here’s the full list of players Detroit worked out, per Balzer:

NFL Workout Updates: 9/4/18

Today’s workout updates:

Buffalo Bills

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

New York Jets