Nikita Whitlock

Giants Re-Sign TE Will Tye

As expected, the Giants have re-signed tight end Will Tye, as Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com writes. Tye was an exclusive rights free agent, meaning that the Giants were able to retain him at a very low cost. He gets a one-year, $615K contract. Will Tye (vertical)

[RELATED: Giants Will Push To Re-Sign JPP]

As reported on Tuesday, the Giants also retained ERFA tight end Matt LaCosse and defensive tackle Robert Thomas. Meanwhile, fullback Nikita Whitlock and wide receiver Ben Edwards were told they would not be back after missing 2016 with injuries.

Tye, 25, made ten starts last season and had 48 catches for 395 yards and one touchdown. The Stony Brook is now one of three tight ends on the depth chart along with LaCosse and Jerell Adams. In theory, Tye would probably be the starter if the season began today, but you can expect the Giants to add at least one tight end via the draft or free agency.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants FB Nikita Whitlock Suspended

Giants fullback Nikita Whitlock has been suspended for the team’s next ten games, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Whitlock apparently committed a violation of the NFL policy on performance enhancing substances. Nikita Whitlock (vertical)

Whitlock, who is on IR after suffering a foot injury this offseason, will not be paid while serving his 10-game ban. Whitlock, 25, appeared in 14 games and started in five contests for the Giants last season. This year, he was expected to clear the way for tailbacks Rashad Jennings and Shane Vereen before being shut down for the year. Now, his Giants future is very much in question.

Whitlock was suspended for four games in November 2014 for a violation of the PED policy. As a repeat offender, he faces a much stiffer punishment this time.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants Trim Roster To 86

The Giants have begun whittling down their roster in advance of tomorrow’s 75-man deadline, and they’ve made four transactions today. New York still has 86 players on its roster, so it will need to make several more moves before Tuesday.

Waived:

Waived/Injured:

LaCosse, a 2015 UDFA will require knee surgery and will be sidelined indefinitely. If he and Whitlock clear waivers, they’ll revert to the Giants’ IR list.

Giants Re-Sign Brandon Meriweather

Less than a week after cutting him loose, the Giants have re-signed veteran safety Brandon Meriweather to their 53-man roster, the team announced today in a press release. In a corresponding move, the club officially placed fullback Nikita Whitlock on injured reserve, as was previously reported.

Meriweather, a starting safety for the Giants’ first 11 games, had been inactive during his last two weeks before his release, as he dealt with a knee issue. However, he should be healthy now, considering the Giants cut him without an injury designation, and have now re-signed him. The 31-year-old had 53 tackles and a pair of interceptions for New York this season.

Giants safety Cooper Taylor suffered a concussion during the club’s 38-35 loss to the Panthers on Sunday, leaving just two healthy safeties on the roster, so it makes sense that New York would want to add some depth at the position. And, of course, Meriweather is a logical fit, considering his familiarity with Steve Spagnuolo‘s system.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/22/15

Tuesdays are typically busy days for roster changes during the NFL regular season, and even with the holidays around the corner, this week is no different. Here are the latest minor transactions from around the league:

  • The Packers announced that they’ve placed long snapper Brett Goode on injured reserve, signing fellow snapper Rick Lovato to take his place. Per Wes Hodkiewicz of PackersNews.com (Twitter link), Goode tore his ACL during Sunday’s game against the Raiders.
  • The Bears announced (via Twitter) that they’ve promoted defensive tackle D’Anthony Smith from the practice squad, waiving running back Antone Smith to create a roster spot. D’Anthony has spent time with the Jaguars, Lions, and Seahawks, while Antone had seen just one carry for Chicago this year.
  • With Marcus Mariota ailing, the Titans have signed quarterback Alex Tanney off the Colts’ practice squad, reports Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com (Twitter link). Tanney, known for his “trick-shot” Youtube videos, will back up Zach Mettenberger on Sunday. Tennessee placed defensive tackle Mike Martin on injured reserve to create a roster spot.

Earlier updates:

  • The 49ers have signed running back DuJuan Harris from off the Ravens‘ practice squad, cutting running back Travaris Cadet to make room, tweets Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com noted this afternoon (via Twitter) that the knee injury sustained by Shaun Draughn didn’t appear to be serious, but the club wanted to add some insurance just in case. San Francisco may get some added insurance in the form of Mike Davis, who is currently on the IR-DTR list, and will begin practicing this week, per Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee (Twitter link).
  • After somehow playing through a fractured fibula for three quarters on Sunday, safety David Bruton will head to injured reserve, officially ending his season, the Broncos confirmed today in a press release. Safety Shaun Prater will take the open spot on the roster, with Bruton expected to require four to six weeks to recover from his injury.
  • As expected, the Browns formally placed starting right guard John Greco on injured reserve today, per a team release. Cleveland has re-signed wide receiver Darius Jennings to the roster, after waiving him last week.
  • The Buccaneers have filled the opening on their 53-man roster by promoting wide receiver Evan Spencer from their practice squad, the team announced today in a press release. Spencer was selected in the sixth round of this year’s draft by Washington.
  • The Bills are elevating wide receiver Walter Powell to their active roster from the practice squad, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Powell figures to replace Robert Woods, who is expected to land on IR.
  • Giants fullback Nikita Whitlock is headed to the injured reserve list, reports Jordan Raanan of NJ.com. Whitlock suffered a knee injury that isn’t expected to be a long-term issue, but it will keep him sidelined for the club’s last couple games of the season.

Giants Cut Henry Hynoski

As part of their cutdown to 53 players, the Giants have released veteran fullback Henry Hynoski, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter). The move would seem to indicate that fullback Nikita Whitlock will make the club’s 53-man squad, as Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News tweets.

Hynoski, 26, has spent the first four seasons of his NFL career with the Giants. While the big fullback only has 12 carries during that span, he’s considered one of the league’s better blocking fullbacks, ranking second in the category in 2014, according to Pro Football Focus’ grades (subscription required).

When Hynoski re-signed with the Giants back in March, his two-year deal with the team included a signing bonus worth $250K, along with a $250K guarantee on his 2015 salary. Since that contract also featured a $25K workout bonus, New York will have to carry a $400K dead money hit for 2015, with $125K in dead money on the 2016 books.

Practice Squad Updates: Wednesday

A number of practice squad players have received promotions to their respective clubs’ 53-man rosters this week, or have been signed by a rival club. As such, we should expect plenty of signings today, as teams fill in their openings. Here’s the latest:

  • After his suspension was lifted by the league, fullback Nikita Whitlock signed on with the Giants‘ practice squad, according to Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post (via Twitter).
  • Chargers taxi squad guard Craig Watts has been suspended four games for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancing substances, according to Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego (via Twitter). To replace him, the Bolts signed former San Diego State offensive lineman Bryce Quigley (link).
  • Wide receiver and kick returner Greg Jenkins, who spent last season with the Raiders, has returned to the club, signing today with the taxi squad, per Scott Bair of CSNBayArea.com (Twitter link). The team has since confirmed the signing, tweeting that defensive back Vernon Kearney has joined the practice squad as well.
  • The Saints have filled the final opening on their practice squad by signing kicker Dustin Hopkins, head coach Sean Payton confirmed today to reporters (Twitter link via Chad Sabadie of FOX8).

Earlier updates:

  • The Vikings have signed rookie guard Jordan McCray to their practice squad to fill the spot vacated when Ahmad Dixon received a promotion, tweets Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Minnesota will have another spot to fill after losing cornerback Chris Greenwood to the Ravens.
  • In addition to making changes to their 53-man roster today, the Patriots also tweaked their practice squad, adding quarterback Garrett Gilbert, according to a team release.
  • The Packers have filled out their practice squad by signing safety Jean Fanor to the unit, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Fanor played for the Arena League’s Tampa Bay Storm this year, setting a team record for tackles in a season.
  • Former sixth-round guard Jon Halapio has signed with the Broncos‘ practice squad, per Ben Volin of the Boston Globe (via Twitter).
  • Having entered the day with three openings on their practice squad, the Dolphins added a pair of players to the unit, signing defensive end Emmanuel Dieke and guard Mark Asper, according to Chris Perkins of the South Florida Sun Sentinel (via Twitter).
  • The Falcons have filled the 10th and final spot on their practice squad by signing cornerback Jordan Mabin, the team announced today in a press release. The opening was created earlier in the week when the club promoted cornerback Ricardo Allen to the 53-man roster.
  • The Steelers have also filled out their taxi squad, signing former South Carolina offensive lineman Ronald Patrick, tweets Burt Lauten, the team’s PR rep.
  • Defensive back Varmah Sonie, who played this year for Portland’s Arena League team, has signed to the Buccaneers‘ practice squad, per Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com (Twitter link).
  • The Panthers have signed linebacker Horace Miller to their practice squad, giving them a full 10-man unit, tweets David Newton of ESPN.com. Miller was cut by Carolina over the weekend and has since cleared waivers.
  • Offensive tackle Tyler Hoover, who started the season with a brief stint on the Colts‘ practice squad and has since spent time with the Eagles as well, has rejoined Indianapolis’ squad, according to Mike Chappell of RTV6 (Twitter link).

Extra Points: Draft, Rolle, Cobb, McCoy

We’re still about four and a half months away from the 2015 NFL draft, and a week and a half from even knowing what the draft order will look like, but that didn’t stop ESPN’s Todd McShay (Insider link) from publishing his first mock draft of the season today. McShay’s first ’15 mock has the top two quarterback prospects coming off the board first, with the Buccaneers selecting Marcus Mariota at No. 1 and the Titans nabbing Jameis Winston at No. 2. The Jets, meanwhile, picking sixth overall, land standout Alabama receiver Amari Cooper in McShay’s scenario, but would still need to find a quarterback to get him the ball.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Calling the Giants a “great fit” for him, safety Antrel Rolle indicated today that he’s hoping for a three-year offer from the team this offseason as he approaches free agency, writes ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano. According to Graziano, Rolle believes that if he doesn’t receive such an offer from the Giants, he could get it from another team.
  • In his weekly ESPN Milwaukee radio show, Aaron Rodgers suggested it’s “important” that the Packers lock up wide receiver – and prospective free agent – Randall Cobb (link via Chris Wesseling of NFL.com).
  • The Fritz Pollard Alliance has identified nine minority coaching candidates for NFL teams to consider this offseason, including Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin. Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press has the details.
  • Washington quarterback Colt McCoy says he wants to return to the team next season, but he’ll almost certainly be seeking a raise, writes Rich Tandler of CSNWashington.com. Tandler expects Washington to be McCoy’s first choice, but points out that he likely won’t give a “hometown discount” to a team he has only been with for a year.
  • The NFL has lifted the suspension of free agent fullback Nikita Whitlock, who received a four-game ban from the league last month, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun.

Free Agent Notes: Mesko, Whitlock

There are still plenty of former NFL players seeking a job for this season. Let’s check out what some of these free agents are up to…

  • The Lions brought in former Patriots punter Zoltan Mesko for a workout on Friday, tweets Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun. The 28-year-old split last season between the Steelers and Bengals.
  • Fullback Nikita Whitlock has been suspended by the NFL for four games, tweets Wilson. The former Wake Forest standout spent last season with the Bengals.

AFC North Notes: Rice, Peterson, Campbell

More than halfway through his first season as a head coach, Mike Pettine says he still hasn’t gotten the feeling that he has mastered the craft, writes George Thomas of the Akron Beacon Journal. “No, this is, very much so, a what-have-you-done-lately business,” the Browns coach said. “We go from the high of the Pittsburgh game to the low of Jacksonville, and I think the day you think that you have the answers or you’ve got it all figured out you’re very close to being humbled. It’s a challenge week to week. Each week is a fresh set, and you’re judged on that as you go. I’ll have a lot more time when the season’s over to sit down and go back and say, ‘What did we do right? What did we do wrong? What do we need to change moving forward?” More out of the AFC North..

  • Based on what he has been hearing, Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report expects Adrian Peterson to play again while former Ravens running back Ray Rice probably won’t. Both embattled running backs are viewed as pariahs, but Rice is the bigger pariah of the two. Rice will probably be reinstated sometime soon, but at the moment, team officials say there is almost no interest in the running back. One exec says that teams are weighing Rice’s ability versus the media storm that would rain down on any team that employs him. Very few teams, if any, want to take that on.
  • The Ravens worked out fullbacks Jordan Campbell and Nikita Whitlock, tight ends Tom Crabtree and Nathan Overbay, and quarterback Bryn Renner, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (on Twitter).
  • Vinnie Iyer of The Sporting News regraded the 2014 draft and gave Ravens rookie C.J. Mosley an A+, putting the No. 17 pick far ahead of Jadeveon Clowney (No. 1 overall), Greg Robinson (No. 2), and other highly-touted prospects.