Obi Melifonwu

Minor NFL Transactions: 7/29/21

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here:

Arizona Cardinals

Houston Texans

  • Signed: WR Jordan Veasy

Indianapolis Colts

Las Vegas Raiders

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Signed: OT Chidi Okeke
  • Waived: OT Calvin Ashley

Tennessee Titans

  • Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list: LB Bud Dupree; Dupree remains on Tennessee’s active/PUP list as well

Washington Football Team

S Obi Melifonwu Worked Out For Jets

Obi Melifonwu could be heading back to the AFC East. The former second-round pick worked out for the Jets today, reports Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter).

The safety was a highly touted prospect coming out of UConn, and the Raiders ended up using a second-round pick (No. 56) to select the defensive back in 2017. Two stints on the IR limited Melifonwu to only five games during his rookie season, and he was ultimately released by the Raiders midway through his sophomore campaign. He appeared in a pair of games for the Patriots during the second half of that 2018 season, and he ended up spending much of the next year on New England’s practice squad.

Melifonwu was released last April, but he didn’t end up getting another gig during the 2020 season. He signed a futures contract with the 49ers back in January, but he was waived less than four months later.

In total, the 27-year-old has seen time in seven career games, having compiled 10 tackles. Melifonwu turned heads with his speed (4.4-second 40-yard dash time) and athleticism (44-inch vertical), so it isn’t a surprise that the Jets are kicking the tires on a safety with that skill set.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/5/21

We’ll keep track of the latest reserve/futures deals here:

Carolina Panthers 

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Patriots To Release Obi Melifonwu

The Patriots are cutting safety Obi Melifonwu, as Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. The former second-round pick of the Raiders will try to get his career back on track with another team in 2020.

[RELATED: Patriots Pass On Draft QBs, Sign UDFA Brian Lewerke]

Melifonwu didn’t see much playing time in his first year with Oakland due to injury. He finished out his rookie year with seven tackles in five games and two separate IR stints. After his release and injury settlement, he worked out for the Cowboys, Chiefs, Saints, and other clubs before hooking on with the Pats. Now that the Patriots are putting him back on the curb, those other clubs could revisit the safety as a low-cost and low-risk addition to the 90-man roster.

Melifonwu spent time on the Patriots’ taxi squad last year and re-upped with the team on a futures deal in January. After the Pats used a second-round pick to select Kyle Dugger out of D-II Lenoir-Rhyne University, they didn’t have a place for the 26-year-old.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/6/20

Here are Monday’s reserve/futures deals:

Green Bay Packers

  • WR Reggie Begelton, RB Elijah Wellman

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

Oakland Raiders

  • CB Dylan Mabin

Philadelphia Eagles

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 9/12/19

Today’s practice squad updates:

Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears

  • Signed: DL Abdullah Anderson
  • Released: LB James Vaughters

Cleveland Browns

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

Philadelphia Eagles

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Redskins

  • Signed: TE Donald Parham

Patriots To Cut Kendricks, Melifonwu

For the time being, the Patriots will have eight wide receivers on their roster. Their move to bring aboard Antonio Brown will not be cutting a wide receiver, but instead, one of their defensive backs received word he’s out.

The Patriots will waive safety Obi Melifonwu, according to ESPN.com’s Field Yates (on Twitter). Additionally, the Pats are releasing Lance Kendricks. The tight end was suspended for Week 1 and did not count against New England’s 53-man roster.

Melifonwu was also a former Raider, though the one-time second-round pick was with New England throughout the Brown debacle in Oakland. Jon Gruden jettisoned Melifonwu, a Reggie McKenzie draft choice, last year. Melifonwu, a UConn product, played in two games for the Patriots last season.

Kendricks was one of the many tight ends the Patriots added this offseason. The former Rams and Packers pass catcher/blocker drew a one-game suspension. While it shouldn’t be ruled out Kendricks could return, as the Patriots will be without Benjamin Watson until Week 5, the defending Super Bowl champions did not exactly miss him in their Week 1 romp over the Steelers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Notes: Dolphins, Patriots, Obi, Eagles

Although Ryan Tannehill won’t be available when the Dolphins face the Packers this weekend, he’s expected to return to action after Miami’s Week 11 bye, head coach Adam Gase told reporters today (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com). Tannehill hasn’t played since Week 5, as a shoulder injury has forced the Dolphins to turn to backup Brock Osweiler, who’s posted a 2-2 record with Tannehill on the shelf. Miami has been reticent to release any sort of timeline on Tannehill’s recovery to this point, so the mere fact that the club has highlighted a possible return date is seemingly good news.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two East divisions:

  • When the Patriots signed defensive back Obi Melifonwu earlier this week, they actually inked him to a two-year deal through 2019, reports Ben Volin of the Boston Globe. While Melifonwu will only earn minimum base salaries over the next two seasons, he did receive $100K guaranteed in 2019. Given his experience level, Melifonwu would have been an exclusive rights free agent next spring, meaning New England could have kept him at little cost. But as Volin notes, the fact that the Patriots added guarantees to Melifonwu’s deal indicates they had competition for the ex-Raider (the Cowboys, Chiefs, and Saints also worked out the former second-rounder). Melifonwu can collect a $25K workout bonus, a $30K Week 1 roster bonus, and $125K in per-game roster bonuses next season.
  • The XFL has hired former Bills general manager Doug Whaley as its senior vice president of football operations, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Whaley led Buffalo’s front office from 2013-17, but never the club never made a postseason appearance under his leadership. After interviewing for both the Browns and Packers general manager positions earlier this year, Whaley took on a gig as the director of scouting for the NFLPA’s Collegiate Bowl. For what it’s worth, the XFL isn’t scheduled to get under way until 2020, so Whaley could conceivably return to the NFL before then.
  • While the Eagles ultimately made only one trade (swinging a deal for Lions receiver Golden Tate), it sounds like the Birds may have targeted other positions before last week’s deadline. “You try to see if there’s a [defensive back] out there,” Philadelphia head coach Doug Pederson said today, per Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). “You maybe see if there’s another pass rusher out there and then what are you giving up as a team?” The Eagles recently lost 2017 first-round pick Derek Barnett for the rest of the year, so adding another edge defender certainly wouldn’t have been out of the question.

Patriots Sign S Obi Melifonwu

The Patriots have signed safety Obi Melifonwu, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Melifonwu, a 2017 second-round pick of the Raiders, was waived/injured by Oakland in August. Recently, the Raiders reached an injury settlement with the UConn product, allowing him to sign with another club. 

The 24-year-old Melifonwu played sparingly during his rookie campaign, compiling seven tackles in five games (one start). He was placed on IR twice during his first season and didn’t do a whole lot while on the field. Melifonwu also worked out for the Cowboys, Chiefs, and Saints, but he’ll join up with the Patriots instead.

Melifonwu is known for his freakish athleticism and could be a real asset down the stretch if he stays healthy. After Eric Rowe landed on IR with a groin injury, the Patriots could use the additional depth and special teams help that Melifonwu can provide.

Coming off of a 31-17 win over the Packers, the Patriots are now 7-2. On Sunday, they’ll be a heavy favorite when they travel to Nashville to face the Titans.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.