Saints Rumors

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 10/5/22

Today’s practice squad transactions:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Los Angeles Chargers

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

  • Signed: OT Sebastian Gutierrez

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Washington Commanders

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/5/22

Today’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

Philadelphia Eagles

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

QB Blake Bortles Announces Retirement

Blake Bortles is not planning to continue his efforts at returning to a team’s active roster. The former No. 3 overall pick announced his retirement during an appearance on Barstool Sports’ Pardon My Take podcast.

The longtime Jaguars starter has not played in a regular-season game since the 2019 season, when he appeared in three as Jared Goff‘s backup with the Rams. But he has bounced around the league in the years since, last being with a team in April. The Saints released Bortles at that point, and the former AFC championship game starter said during the podcast he has not touched a football since January.

Since his 2019 Rams signing, Bortles caught on with the Broncos and Packers and also circled back to the Rams. He finished his career as a Saints emergency roster option, amid the team’s COVID-19 surge during the Omicron variant’s height. Mostly from his rookie contract and the three-year, $54MM extension he signed with the Jaguars in 2018, Bortles walks away from the game having made more than $47MM. The Jags bailing on that deal after one season, however, abruptly ended the oft-scrutinized passer’s run as a starter.

The Central Florida product started 73 career games, and while he ended up being benched months after signing that extension, the former Doug Marrone pupil had Jacksonville on the cusp of a Super Bowl LII berth. Bortles threw for 293 yards in a narrow AFC championship game loss in New England, doing so after the Jaguars won a divisional-round shootout in Pittsburgh.

Despite having chosen Blaine Gabbert in the top 10 three years prior, the Jags went back to the Round 1 QB well with Bortles, who came off the 2014 board far earlier than his QB contemporaries — in a class that included Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater and Derek Carr. Numerous The Good Place references aside, Bortles frequently drew criticism during his rocky Jags tenure. Working with Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, Bortles finished the 2015 season with 35 touchdown passes. But the Jags went 5-11 that year; Bortles then struggled in 2016. He threw 51 interceptions from 2014-16, but the team nevertheless stuck with its starter — as Marrone replaced Gus Bradley as HC– leading to a 2017 outlier season that nearly produced one of the most unlikely Super Bowl entrants in the game’s history.

Jacksonville assembled a strong defense in 2017 — one that led the league in DVOA and lived up to its “Sacksonville” nickname — helping the team to a 10-6 record and the AFC title game. The Jags could not sustain that formula in 2018 and began a decline that led to their talented defense splintering and, eventually, the Urban Meyer year. The Jags released Bortles in March 2019, taking on $16.5MM in dead money as they pivoted to one-and-done option Nick Foles. Bortles concludes his career with 103 touchdown passes and 75 interceptions; his 17,646 passing yards are second-most (behind Mark Brunell) in Jags history.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 10/4/22

Today’s practice squad moves:

Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/4/22

Here are Tuesday’s minor moves:

Cleveland Browns

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Minnesota Vikings

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Designated for return from IR: WR Calvin Austin

San Francisco 49ers

Tennessee Titans

Cine has now undergone two surgeries in London to repair his leg fracture. The first-round pick underwent a preparatory procedure before his Tuesday operation to repair the compound fracture he sustained. The Georgia product will stay in England for the time being, with Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press noting (via Twitter) doctors want to ensure no infections develop. Cine could travel back to Minnesota as soon as this weekend.

Following Latavius Murray off the Saints’ practice squad this week, Wilson did not see any action for the team this season. The former multiyear Vikings starter signed a one-year, $2.75MM Eagles deal in 2021, but Philadelphia bailed on that contract during the season. Wilson, 28, finished last season with the Texans. In his lone full season as a Vikings starter (2020), Wilson made 122 tackles, registered three sacks and intercepted three passes.

Addison signed with the Texans shortly after the draft, joining fellow ex-Bills edge rusher Jerry Hughes in joining the rebuilding team on a two-year deal. The Texans placed Addison on IR with a groin injury; he is eligible to be activated to the 53-man roster this week. Teams can make eight activations from their injured lists — be it IR, PUP or NFI — this season.

Saints To Sign CB Chris Harris

The Saints’ experienced cornerback corps now includes one of this era’s most accomplished cover men. The team reached an agreement to bring in Chris Harris, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.

New Orleans is adding the All-Decade corner on a practice squad deal. This opens the door to Harris playing a 12th NFL season. Prior to Harris signing a two-year deal with the Chargers in 2020, the Saints were in on the ex-Broncos stalwart. New Orleans will now see what the veteran defender has left. The Saints are planning to bump Harris up to their 53-man roster after a short ramp-up period, Troy Renck of Denver7 tweets.

Harris, 33, said before training camp he was generating interest. It is unclear how many teams pursued him, but he will rejoin Denver teammate Bradley Roby in New Orleans’ Marshon Lattimore-fronted secondary. The Saints had Paulson Adebo on their injury report last week and placed rookie Alontae Taylor on IR late last month.

The 11-year veteran landed on the 2010s’ All-Decade team for his slot consistency, and although Harris regularly played outside in Denver as well, the former UDFA’s Chargers role would point to the Saints eyeing him for his specialty skill. The Bolts used Harris mostly as their slot defender during his two-year Los Angeles run, but the team added Bryce Callahan this offseason. Despite being on the downside of his career, Harris was still effective when healthy in L.A. He finished with the lowest completion percentage allowed when lined up in the slot last season. That said, the four-time Pro Bowler missed 10 games during his two-year Charger run.

The Saints traded their slot man of recent years to the Eagles, unloading C.J. Gardner-Johnson after a contract dispute led to a brief hold-in period. Adebo missed the first two games this season due to injury but returned to a full workload alongside Lattimore and Roby in Week 4.

Broncos Sign RB Latavius Murray Off Saints’ Practice Squad

As the Broncos deal with a season-ending knee injury to starting running back Javonte Williams, they’ve reached out for some help. Denver has reportedly signed running back Latavius Murray off of the Saints’ practice squad, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.

The Saints offered Murray a spot on their active roster, according to NewOrleans.football’s Nick Underhill (on Twitter). But Murray opted for Denver, which looks set to offer a more prominent role. The Broncos will be without their top running back for the rest of the season, and their primary off-the-bench option (Melvin Gordon) is leading all backs in fumbles this season.

After a similar situation brought Murray to Baltimore last season, the 32-year-old spent the offseason training on his own before signing to the practice squad in New Orleans just after Week 1, returning to the city he called home for two years. With star running back Alvin Kamara out for the Saints’ London matchup against the Vikings last weekend, Murray was called up as a gameday elevation from the practice squad. Splitting carries with Mark Ingram in the backfield, Murray led the team with 11 rush attempts for 57 yards and a touchdown.

Murray reverted back to the practice squad after the game, allowing for other teams in the NFL to pick him away from New Orleans. Enter the Broncos, sans Williams. Denver has similarly been running a two-headed rushing attack with Williams and Gordon. The former first-rounder had put himself in the doghouse on Sunday after his fourth fumble (a league-high for a running back) before Williams was injured and, after a few carries to third-string back Mike Boone, returned to play.

The veteran Murray likely won’t be able to replace the production of Williams, but his ability to function in a split backfield makes him a handsome fit in Denver. While some may not expect much out of Murray as soon as this weekend, one needs only look back to his tenure with the Ravens to change their mind. Murray was one of several veteran running backs to sign with Baltimore following the injuries to J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, and Justice Hill. He was signed just three days before the season began and still led the team in carries for two of the first three weeks of the year. He was eventually named the starting running back in Week 4.

In Denver, the Broncos have a legitimate starter in Gordon and an experienced backup in Boone, who has been with the team since last year. There will certainly be no need to rush Murray into action this week, but he certainly has the ability to contribute if needed.

Injury Notes: Taylor, Burks, Kamara, Gallup

Giants backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor exited today’s game with a concussion, according to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post. Taylor was put into action when starting quarterback Daniel Jones was sidelined with an ankle injury in the fourth quarter of today’s win over the Bears.

Taylor had a rough showing, throwing an interception on his first possession under center, and, in the very next possession, sustaining a helmet-to-helmet hit from Bears cornerback Kyler Gordon that would remove him from the game. With both quarterbacks hobbled, the Giants were temporarily forced to utilize their emergency quarterback, starting running back Saquon Barkley.

Following Taylor’s exit, the Giants ran a couple of plays with Barkley leading a wildcat-style offense, with Jones serving as a decoy out wide. Jones would eventually return behind center, solely to hand the ball off to Barkley for the remainder of the game.

Jones claimed after the game that he was OK, so there’s a chance that he will be able to return for New York’s Week 5 matchup with the Packers in London. If Taylor, who will now go through the league’s soon-changing concussion protocol, is unable to play, the Giants have quarterback Davis Webb on the practice squad.

Here are a few more injury notes from Week 4 of the NFL season, starting with the loss of an AFC South rookie:

  • Titans rookie wide receiver Treylon Burks left today’s contest with the Colts almost immediately after sustaining a foot injury in the fourth quarter. “Almost” because, perhaps being unaware of the injury protocol in the NFL, Burks got stuck on the field for one more play while injured before he went to the ground and was able to leave the game. Burks eventually found his way to the sideline and was carted off to the locker room, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. The first-round pick out of Arkansas was reportedly seen in a walking boot and on crutches after the game, according to Terry McCormick of TitanInsider.com, but the severity of his injury has yet to be reported. So far this season, Burks and trade-acquisition Robert Woods have led the team in receiving, but neither has extremely eye-popping numbers through three weeks of play. Any absence by Burks would mean more snaps for Nick Westbrook-Ikhine and Kyle Philips on offense.
  • Saints running back Alvin Kamara was officially ruled out early in the morning for most Americans before the team’s London matchup versus the Vikings. Kamara, who’s been dealing with rib issues, is reportedly “looking to get healthy for (the) long haul,” according to Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.football. In his absence, the Saints split carries between Mark Ingram and practice squad elevation Latavius Murray.
  • After tearing his ACL late in the 2021 season and having surgery in February, Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup made his season debut today against the Commanders. Gallup played sparingly but proved useful while available. On three targets, Gallup caught two balls for 24 yards and a touchdown.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/1/22

Today’s minor moves around the league, including practice squad elevations for tomorrow’s action:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

Saints WR Michael Thomas Out For Week 4; QB Andy Dalton To Start

OCTOBER 1: The Saints confirmed on Saturday that Winston is indeed out, meaning that Dalton will make his Saints debut Sunday morning.

SEPTEMBER 30: When they take on the Vikings in London on Sunday, the Saints will be without at least their top wide receiver, and, in all likelihood, their starting quarterback as well. Head coach Dennis Allen confirmed on Friday that Michael Thomas is out for the game due to a foot injury; Jameis Winston, meanwhile, did not practice for the third consecutive day and is listed as doubtful. 

Thomas had just returned to full health after missing most of the past two seasons with lingering ankle issues. His presence, along with that of free agent signing Jarvis Landry and first-round rookie Chris Olave, led to heightened expectations for the Saints’ offense. The former Offensive Player of the Year started all three of New Orleans’ games to start the year, recording 16 catches for 171 yards and three touchdowns.

Winston has been dealing with spinal fractures so far this season, but this would be the first game action he missed in the event he cannot suit up. That, too, would represent a notable setback given his season-ending ACL tear from last season. His absence, along with that of Thomas, greatly contributed to the Saints’ passing offense finishing as the league’s worst in 2021.

To guard against a repeat of that taking place, even if Winston were to miss time, New Orleans added Andy Dalton in free agency. Given the impression the 34-year-old made on the team during training camp, it would come as no surprise if he got the nod over a banged-up Winston on Sunday. Allen further indicated that the Saints are prepared to have Dalton make his New Orleans debut when speaking to the media.

“Our plan right now is to have Andy ready to go,” he said, via ESPN’s Katherine Terrell“We’ll see how things go overnight, but Andy will be ready to go if that’s the direction that we go.” 

Dalton spent one season with the Cowboys in 2020 and the Bears in 2021 as he has transitioned into a backup. He still saw a combined total of 19 appearances and 15 starts over that stretch, though, earning him a one-year deal with the Saints worth up to $6MM. It appears Sunday will be his first opportunity to demonstrate his value, albeit with a shorthanded group of pass-catchers available to him.

The Saints also ruled out guard Andrus Peat and safety Marcus Maye due to a concussion and rib injury, respectively. With that pair, along with Thomas and (probably) Winston sidelined, they will look to get to 2-2 on the year against Minnesota.