Nate Washington

Buccaneers Audition Nate Washington

After losing wide receiver Vincent Jackson to a torn ACL last week, the Buccaneers are working out another veteran pass-catcher. According to Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter link), Tampa Bay took a look at WR Nate Washington today.Nate Washington (vertical)

[RELATED: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Depth Chart]

The 33-year-old Washington has been a member of three teams since going undrafted from Division III Tiffin University in 2005. He spent a productive 2015 as a member of the Texans, with whom he hauled in 47 passes for 658 yards and four touchdowns. Washington, who has also played three years in Pittsburgh and six seasons in Tennessee, has 458 receptions and 44 touchdowns to his name. In his most prolific campaign, 2011, the 6-foot-1, 185-pounder recorded career highs in catches (74), targets (121), yards (1,023) and scores (seven) with the Titans.

The Bucs can still rely on No. 1 wide receiver Mike Evans, who is second in the league with 75 targets, but are quite thin behind their top option. Cecil Shorts, coming off a hamstring injury, is joined by Adam Humphries, Freddie Martino, and Russell Shepard — who caught five passes for 77 yards and a score on Sunday — in the wide receiver corps. Tampa also re-signed WR Donteea Dye to its practice squad today.

In addition to Washington, the Buccaneers also worked out running backs Austin Johnson and Will Ratelle, reports Howard Balzer (Twitter link).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Nate Washington Worked Out For Lions

Free agent wide receiver Nate Washington had a workout with the Lions on Wednesday, according to Doug Kyed of NESN (Twitter link). Washington, whom the Patriots released Aug. 24, previously worked out for the Saints last week.

Nate Washington (vertical)

The 33-year-old Washington has been a member of three teams since going undrafted from Division III Tiffin University in 2005. He spent a productive 2015 as a member of the Texans, with whom he hauled in 47 passes for 658 yards and four touchdowns. Washington, who has also played three years in Pittsburgh and six seasons in Tennessee, has 458 receptions and 44 touchdowns to his name. In his most prolific campaign, 2011, the 6-foot-1, 185-pounder recorded career highs in catches (74), targets (121), yards (1,023) and scores (seven) with the Titans.

If Washington signs with Detroit, he’ll slide into a veteran-laden receiving corps that currently only has four options – Marvin Jones, Golden Tate, Anquan Boldin and Andre Roberts. That quartet combined for modest numbers, 15 receptions and 169 yards, in the Lions’ 39-35 win over the Colts on Sunday.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints Audition Rueben Randle, Others

The Saints auditioned a small army’s worth of players today. Among the notable players to work out for New Orleans were wide receivers Rueben Randle, Greg Little, and Andre Caldwell (Twitter links via Nick Underhill of The Advocate). Rueben Randle

Offensive lineman Khalif Barnes, long snapper Aaron Brewer, long snapper Andrew East, long snapper Thomas Gafford, offensive tackle Bryce Harris, tight end Nic Jacobs, tight end Jake Stoneburner, guard/center Mike Liedtke, cornerback Sterling Moore, cornerback Darrin Walls, cornerback B.W. Webb, and wide receiver Nate Washington also auditioned for the Saints. Liedtke’s visit “went well” and “there’s a good chance something may happen soon,” according to agent Brett Tessler (Twitter link).

Randle, 25, joined the Eagles this offseason after averaging 56 receptions, 782 yards, and six touchdowns over the past three seasons with the Giants. However, he was cut loose before the 75-man deadline. Randle is known to be a talented receiver but there were serious questions about his work ethic while he was in East Rutherford.

Caldwell, 31, appeared in 14 games for the Broncos last season, catching 10 passes (22 targets) for 72 yards. While he wasn’t one of the primary targets in Denver, he did also have two touchdowns on the year. In the spring he signed on with Detroit and before he was cut by the Lions in August, it was said that he suffered a “season-ending” hand injury. It seems that Caldwell’s injury might not be as bad as once feared.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots Release Nate Washington

The Patriots are set to release Nate Washington, according to Tom E. Curran of CSNNE (on Twitter). Washington, 33 on Sunday, signed on with the Patriots in late March. Nate Washington (featured)

In 2015, his first and only season as a Texan, Washington played in 14 games, grabbing 47 balls for 658 yards and four touchdowns. The veteran spent a season in Bill O’Brien‘s offense in Houston and it he was expected to have an easy time transitioning to the Pats, O’Brien’s old team.

Washington first entered the league with the Steelers as a UDFA from D-II Tiffin University. In his second year with the Steelers, Washington broke out in the flanker role, hauling in 35 catches for 624 yards and four touchdowns. A few years later, Washington signed a lucrative free agent deal with the Titans and played out the entire six-year contract.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Contract Details: Hill, Anger, Washington, Wheeler

Let’s round up several of the latest details on contracts that have been agreed upon or signed within the last week or two….

  • Josh Hill, TE (Saints): Matched Bears’ offer sheet. Three years, $7.051MM. $2.5MM signing bonus. No-trade clause for 2016 and 2017. $100K annual Pro Bowl incentive. $200K in per-game roster bonuses for 2017 and 2018. $750K escalator for 2018 for receptions and yards (link via Nick Underhill of The Advocate).
  • Bryan Anger, P (Buccaneers): One year, $1.75MM. $750K roster bonus (Twitter link via Tom Pelissero of USA Today).
  • Jeremy Kerley, WR (Lions): One-year, $760K base salary. $50K signing bonus. $40K workout bonus. $300K possible through incentives (Twitter link via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press).
  • Darrin Walls, CB (Lions): One-year, minimum salary benefit. $80K signing bonus guaranteed. Rest of deal non-guaranteed (Twitter link via Birkett).
  • Nate Washington, WR (Patriots): One year, minimum salary benefit. $478K split salary. $60K signing bonus. $20K workout bonus (Twitter link via Ben Volin of the Boston Globe).
  • Philip Wheeler, LB (Falcons): One year, minimum salary benefit (Twitter link via Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com).

Patriots Sign Nate Washington

7:06pm: It’s a one-year deal for Washington, according to Mark Berman of FOX 26 (on Twitter).

4:04pm: The Patriots officially announced the deal.

3:43pm: The Patriots are signing veteran free agent receiver Nate Washington, a source tells Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Terms of the agreement between Washington and the Pats aren’t yet known.Nate Washington (Vertical)

Washington, 32, had been one of the more intriguing wideouts still available on the free agent market. While he doesn’t necessarily have the big-name appeal of players like Roddy White, Andre Johnson, or Marques Colston, Washington hasn’t seen his production fall off in recent years, and continues to perform well as a complementary target.

In 2015, his first and only season as a Texan, Washington played in 14 games, grabbing 47 balls for 658 yards and four touchdowns. As Mike Reiss of ESPN.com notes (via Twitter), spending a season in Bill O’Brien‘s offense in Houston will likely help Washington make the transition to the Pats, O’Brien’s old team. Reiss adds that the veteran worked out for New England last week.

The Patriots have been active this month adding pass catchers for Tom Brady. In addition to striking a deal with Washington, the team has also signed wideout Chris Hogan and traded for tight end Martellus Bennett. With Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, and others already on the roster, it’s looking increasingly like there may not be room for Amendola and his $6.8MM+ cap charge, though that’s just my speculation.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Free Agent Rumors: Raji, Packers, Pats

The latest free agent rumors:

  • Tom Silverstein of the Journal Sentinel (on Twitter) heard that Packers lineman B.J. Raji had “five legit offers,” though as Silverstein notes, “legit” is in the eye of the beholder. Raji, he hears, had to weigh those offers versus wanting to spend time with his family plus his own health concerns.
  • Free agent receiver Nate Washington met with the Patriots on Monday, according to FOX 26’s Mark Berman (via Twitter). Washington was ranked as Pro Football Rumors’ No. 13 free agent wide receiver in early March.
  • Browns free agent linebacker Craig Robertson is on his way to visit the Saints, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Robertson just got done visiting with Seattle. As Schefter notes, the Browns have already lost five unrestricted free agents this month and they could be on their way to losing free agent No. 6 if Robertson signs elsewhere.
  • Cornerback Antwon Blake will visit the Patriots on Tuesday, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com tweets. Blake visited the Titans today and also has a visit scheduled with the Lions on Wednesday.
  • The Giants are looking for cornerbacks, particularly corners that can play in the slot, Jordan Raanan of the Star-Ledger tweets. He adds that Patrick Robinson and Jerraud Powers are two players to keep an eye on. The Eagles, Dolphins, and Bears have also been connected to Robinson.
  • Free agent defensive end Chris Clemons completed his visit with the Dolphins, as Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle tweets.

South Rumors: Foster, Falcons, Martin, Jags

Texans running back Arian Foster, entering the final year of his contract, is set to make a $6.5MM base salary, with an overall cap hit of nearly $9MM. Those figures make him a potential release candidate, but if general manager Rick Smith says Houston won’t cut the veteran back because of his salary.

“As it relates to all the free agent conversations, I’m never really going to tell you one way or the other what we are doing, but I will tell you this: his salary is not a reason why we would cut Arian,” Smith said.

That doesn’t necessarily close the door on the Texans releasing Foster, since the team could have concerns about his health or his production. But if they’re comfortable paying a healthy Foster $6.5MM, it increases the odds that he’ll be back in Houston for the 2016 season.

Let’s check in on a few other items from around the NFL’s South divisions….

  • Head coach Dan Quinn and the Falcons will be monitoring wide receivers closely in both free agency and the draft, writes Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com. According to McClure, the Falcons have “done their homework” on this year’s pending free agent wideouts, including Travis Benjamin, Mohamed Sanu, Jermaine Kearse, and Nate Washington.
  • Buccaneers GM Jason Licht confirmed that he met with Brian Murphy, the agent for Doug Martin, on Wednesday at the scouting combine. However, as Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets, no agreement between the two sides will be reached in Indianapolis.
  • The Jaguars will head into the free agent period armed with a ton of cap space, according to GM David Caldwell, who suggests that estimates of $75MM “might be a little low,” per Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union. In a separate piece, O’Halloran also passed along a few notable comments made by Jacksonville head coach Gus Bradley during his media availability.
  • Craig Stevens‘ new one-year contract with the Titans features a $1.15MM base salary, a $250K workout bonus, and per-game roster bonuses worth up to $500K, says Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com. A report last week indicated that the tight end’s deal could be worth up to $2.6MM via incentives.

Texans Sign Nate Washington

3:13pm: The Texans have signed Washington to a one-year, minimum salary benefit contract which includes a $30K signing bonus, tweets John McClain of the Houston Chronicle.

3:03pm: The Texans have added another free agent wide receiver to their roster, according to Albert Breer of the NFL Network, who reports (via Twitter) that veteran Nate Washington is signing with the team.

In the wake of releasing longtime Texan Andre Johnson, Houston has added a pair of free agent wideouts, signing Washington to go along with Cecil Shorts. Both players are familiar to the Texans, having come from AFC South rivals — Washington last played for the Titans, while Shorts came to Houston from Jacksonville.

Heading into his age-32 season, Washington won’t be expected to post big numbers for the Texans. However, he should bring veteran experience to the team’s receiving corps, and figures to play the role of a reliable possession target, while Shorts could see a few more deep balls.

Having spent six years with the Titans, Washington averaged over 50 catches per season in Tennessee. During the 2014 campaign, he saw just 72 targets, his lowest mark since joining the club, as Kendall Wright and Justin Hunter took on larger roles. Washington caught 40 balls for 647 yards and a pair of touchdowns during his final year in Tennessee.

Washington and Shorts will complement up-and-coming No. 1 wideout DeAndre Hopkins in Houston in 2015, providing plenty of receiving options for whichever quarterback wins the team’s starting job. Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett are expected to compete for the role, with Tom Savage also in the mix.

AFC South Notes: Washington, Ball, Savage

Titans‘ wide receiver Nate Washington was rumored to be available at the trading deadline, and he knows that he could be playing in the last eight games with the team, according to Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean“To be quite honest, I love Tennessee. I love the city, and I love the people. Would I love to retire here? Of course I would,” Washington said. “My family is here and we’ve kind of made this our home. But I can’t lie – some of those things run through your mind.” Washington is in the last year of a six year deal he signed with the Titans in 2009.

Here are some other notes from around the AFC South:

  • Cornerback Alan Ball has been the Jaguars best defensive back this season, but with his contract up at the end of the year, Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com does not see him coming back to the team next year.
  • While Ball may be leaving the Jaguars, DiRocco sees the team using the draft and free agency to address other parts of the defense. DiRocco believes the team will look to add a defensive lineman, a free safety, and a pair of linebackers this offseason.
  • The Texans will be starting Ryan Mallett when they come back from the bye week, but rookie quarterback Tom Savage could still see some game action this season. Tania Ganguli of ESPN addresses the chance that Savage takes over at some point, noting that if at some point the Texans decide Mallett is not the long-term answer, the logical move would be to see what they have in Savage this season.