Nate Orchard

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.

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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

East Notes: Cowboys, Bills, Jets, Giants

The biggest surprise of cut-down day may have been kicking related. There was a collective shock around the league when out of nowhere the Cowboys released longtime kicker Dan Bailey. Bailey, who appears to possibly be on the verge of signing with the Jets, is the second most accurate kicker in NFL history in terms of field goal percentage.

At a press conference today Cowboys coach Jason Garrett opened up about the decision to move on from Bailey. Garrett indicated that the decision was primarily financially related, according to Clarence Hill Jr. (Twitter link). Bailey was set to make $3.4MM this year, and Garrett also said that injuries played a role. Garrett reportedly spent the first six minutes of his presser talking about the kicking situation, as there were a ton of questions about Bailey.

While we await word on where Bailey will sign, here’s more from the league’s eastern divisions:

  • Former second round pick Nate Orchard was cut by the Browns on Saturday, and is wasting no time setting up visits. The defensive lineman will visit with the Bills and Jets this week, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link).
  • It had previously been announced that former first round pick Breshad Perriman would be visiting the Jets, and if he doesn’t sign with them he’ll then visit other teams including the nearby Giants and Bills, Rapoport tweets. Wherever the pass-catcher lands, it seems likely he’ll be heading east.
  • The Giants kept four quarterbacks initially, then waived Davis Webb, and still might not be done addressing their quarterback room. Rapsheet also tweets that Matt McGloin will work out for the Giants tomorrow. Giants coach Pat Shurmur has said he wants to have a veteran backup, and it’s possible the team will see him as an upgrade over Alex Tanney.

Browns Make Minor Trade With Saints

The Browns have reached the 53-man roster maximum by making a whole lot of cuts and acquiring one player just before the bell.

On Saturday, the Browns announced that they acquired defensive lineman Devaroe Lawrence from the Saints in exchange for a 2019 seventh-round pick. Lawrence, 26 in October, overcame legal trouble as a youngster to achieve his dream of making it to the NFL. Injuries have held him back in the pros, but the Saints stuck by him even after ACL surgery in December of 2016.

We felt he was athletic, explosive and we felt like he could recover,” said Saints coach Sean Payton (via Luke Johnson of The Times-Picayune). “In other words, he was battling an injury and we saw traits that are hard to find sometimes for defensive tackles, and it’s hard to find that position, especially after the draft.”

So, with Lawrence in the fold, the Browns waived the following 19 players to get down to the limit:

AFC North Notes: Browns, Shazier, Harrison

Myles Garrett‘s recent trouble with left leg maladies returned this week, with the Browns announcing the No. 1 overall pick sprained his left foot. Although he’s expected to be ready for training camp in just more than five weeks, the fact that Garrett’s junior season at Texas A&M was interrupted by left ankle trouble is not a good sign. But the Browns have invested heavily in their edge rushers over the past few years.

The Browns have some additional options at defensive end this season to supplement Garrett, with recent draft picks now firmly stationed there. Whereas the team moved Emmanuel Ogbah from outside linebacker to end in the team’s previous 3-4 scheme last season, the 2016 second-round pick is a more natural 4-3 end, Terry Pluto of cleveland.com notes. This applies to 2016 third-rounder Carl Nassib as well, with Nate Orchard now lining up there too. Prior to becoming a 3-4 outside ‘backer with the Browns after being taken in the 2015 second round, Orchard registered 18.5 sacks at Utah as a senior while at end.

Cleveland’s defensive end contingent also features Desmond Bryant, who is returning from a torn pectoral muscle that erased his 2016 season. Bryant has not played 4-3 end since he was with the Raiders, and he also saw time as a defensive tackle with the Silver and Black. The 31-year-old Bryant would be a good bet to be one of the players the Browns could shift to tackle in sub-packages.

Here’s the latest from the North divisions.

  • Had Ryan Shazier been a second-round pick in 2014 instead of going in the first, he would be entering a contract year. But the Steelers picked up the inside linebacker’s fifth-year option in April to tie him to the team through 2018. Shazier is not on board with this setup. “Yeah, that kind of sucks,” Shazier said, via Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com, of the system that can tie first-rounders to their rookie deals for five years. “Sometimes guys have to wait five years. Other guys don’t. But that’s what they agreed on in the past. Next time (during CBA negotiations) we’ve just got to do a better job of structuring what we want to do.” Also weighing in on the positions 2014 draft class mates Odell Beckham and Aaron Donald are in, Shazier said rookies should have the opportunity to renegotiate their deals before they accrue three years of service time. “At the end of the day, that’s between you and the team. If the team wants to do that, it’s great,” Shazier said. “… If you play at that level, you should be able to re-up whenever you want to.” Shazier is signed through 2018, with a guaranteed-against-injury ’18 salary of $8.78MM set.
  • It doesn’t sound like James Harrison will be going through a regular training camp. The Steelers know what they have in the 39-year-old veteran, and he knows the team’s system. In minicamp, Pittsburgh gave the league’s oldest defender freedom to prepare on his own, giving his reps to first-rounder T.J. Watt, per Fowler. Notorious for conducting unusual workouts in the offseason, Harrison enters his 14th Steelers season. Fowler notes Harrison will work participate in 11-on-11 drills on some days but will be excused during others. “It’s good for the young guys to get the reps,” linebackers coach Joey Porter said at minicamp. “Right now, we’re not going to ask him to do a whole lot. The defense is learning, getting comfortable.”
  • It’s looking more like the latest hip injury Dennis Pitta suffered, one that led to the Ravens releasing the longtime tight end, will end his career.

Browns Place Nate Orchard On IR

The Browns placed outside linebacker Nate Orchard on IR and signed linebacker Cam Johnson off the Cardinals’ practice squad to replace him on the roster.

Orchard suffered an ankle injury on the final play of the Browns’ overtime loss to the Dolphins in Miami. Due to the new IR rule, he could return this season, But given teams can only reactivate one player from IR, that’s far from certain. He couldn’t come back to practice until mid-November and would be out of any Cleveland games until December.

The second-year player arrived as a second-round draft choice. Orchard, 23, started one game this season for the Browns and played in all three. Orchard’s registered four tackles this season after making 36 as a rookie.

In addition to Orchard’s extensive absence, the Browns look to be without fellow rotational outside ‘backer Corey Lemonier, who is listed as doubtful for Sunday’s tilt in Washington. This leaves Emmanuel Ogbah and fellow rookie Joe Schobert, a fourth-rounder, as the starers for a Browns team that suddenly doesn’t have much depth outside in its 3-4 look.

Despite having resided on Arizona’s taxi squad, the 26-year-old Johnson has four years of NFL experience, seeing action in 15 games. Twelve of those came for the Colts in 2013. Johnson, though, played in one game for the Browns last season, but the former 49ers seventh-rounder has never started a game since entering the league in 2012.

The Cardinals signed Johnson to their practice squad earlier this week, nearly a month after the Browns initially released him out of training camp. Johnson spent most of the 2015 season on Cleveland’s taxi squad.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.