Phillip Walker

Extra Points: Broncos, XFL, Vikings, Hawks

Derek Wolfe has made it clear for months he would like to return to the Broncos, but the eight-year veteran does not want to take a pay cut to do so, Mike Klis of 9News notes. Both Wolfe and Shelby Harris are free agents, and Klis adds the Broncos will not bring back both players. It will be an either/or setup, or the Broncos will let both walk and essentially remake their defensive line. Both were starters over the past three seasons. Wolfe has been a Denver starter since his 2012 rookie slate and joins Chris Harris in being first-stringers from the team’s Super Bowl champion defense set to hit the market. Shelby Harris, 28, joined the Broncos in 2017, after being out of football in 2016, and will be in demand on the market. The Broncos met with Wolfe’s agent at the Combine.

Denver extended Wolfe, now 29, on a four-year, $36.75MM deal in January 2016. With John Elway indicating defensive line doubles as this free agent class’ deepest position, it is certainly possible the team moves on from Wolfe rather than give him a third contract — north of that $9MM-per-year rate — as he enters his 30s.

Here is the latest from around the league:

  • Vikings tight end David Morgan missed all of last season because of a knee injury, and Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press notes his contract will toll to 2020. Morgan’s contract was set to expire after the 2019 season, making him a first-time free agent this year. But after spending last season on Minnesota’s PUP list, Morgan will again be tethered to the Vikings this year. The rate will depend on the CBA. If the players reject the owners’ proposal, Morgan will make $735K again. If the CBA is ratified this week, Morgan’s salary would spike to $825K. A sixth-round pick in 2016, Morgan has 16 receptions for 135 yards and a touchdown in his three seasons with the Vikings.
  • One of the XFL’s top players has drawn interest from the Seahawks. Seattle scouts were on hand at Saturday’s Seattle Dragons-Houston Roughnecks game, with Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk noting they were looking into Roughnecks quarterback Phillip Walker. The former NFL practice squad passer has Houston as the XFL’s lone unbeaten, at 5-0. His last NFL connection came in a Buccaneers workout in September 2019. Walker, 24, bounced on and off the Colts’ practice squad in 2018. The Seahawks used Geno Smith as Russell Wilson‘s backup last year; he is now a free agent. XFLers cannot sign NFL deals until the XFL season ends in April.
  • Speaking of the XFL, their kickoff setup has drawn some notable praise. Packers president Mark Murphy is a fan of the league’s kickoffs and its post-touchdown format, Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com tweets. The XFL placing 10 members of the kickoff and kick-return teams five yards across from each other naturally stands to reduce high-speed collisions the NFL has sought to minimize for years. The XFL replaced extra-point kicks with one-, two- or three-point conversions — from the 2-, 5- and 10-yard lines — in its second go-round.

XFL Commissioner On Manziel, Kaepernick

The XFL is still weeks away from its relaunch, but Vince McMahon’s second try at professional football has already come under fire for its refusal to allow players to leave for the NFL. In an interview with Thomas Bassinger of the Tampa Bay Times, commissioner Oliver Luck made it clear that the policy won’t change anytime soon. 

If there’s one thing we learned from watching the Alliance it was that quarterback play is critical,” Luck said. “In the game of football today — whether it’s pro, college or even high school arguably — your quarterback play is determinative. So we made an effort to sign guys, some of whom played in the AAF but the vast majority didn’t.”

The league’s policy already prevented Josh Johnson from joining the Lions back in November. Critics felt that the XFL should have allowed the veteran to go to Detroit, but Luck & Co. held him to his commitment with the Los Angeles Wildcats.

We said, ‘No, we’re keeping him. He ours. He signed a contract. He’s committed to us,’” Luck said. “Once a player signs a contract — once he passes his physical and signs a contract — then he’s under contract with us. We won’t release that player to the NFL until after our season. We need certainty. We can’t just have guys peeling off.”

Luck also disclosed that the Steelers inquired on Landry Jones and Phillip Walker after Ben Roethlisberger‘s injury. The XFL, of course, turned down both requests.

While the XFL protects its own signal callers, they won’t go chasing the two biggest names on the open market. Luck sounded less than enthusiastic about the possibility of Johnny Manziel and Colin Kaepernick joining the fledgling league.

“Johnny has his own history, and we have coaches from the CFL who have seen him close up,” Luck said when asked about Johnny Football. “He was in the draft pool. Coaches and scouts looked at him and didn’t think he was going to help their team. I think the guys we have on our teams are the best 560 that aren’t playing in the National Football League.”

As for Kaepernick, Luck characterized his “salary demands” as being “way out of [the XFL’s] ballpark.” As a result, he was “never really a viable option,” for the league.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

XFL Assigns QBs To Teams

The XFL draft gets underway on Tuesday, but the league’s eight teams already have their starting quarterbacks penciled in. Here’s the breakdown: 

[RELATED: XFL Projects $55K Salary For Players]

The rest of the 71-man rosters will be filled by the two-day draft, which will include the selection of other quarterbacks. Interestingly, Zach Mettenberger and Joe Callahan are in the draft pool, but were not in this initial group.

The XFL season will open on February 8, 2020, shortly after the Super Bowl.

NFL Workout Updates: 9/24/19

Here is the latest from the workout circuit:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Buffalo Bills

Detroit Lions

Indianapolis Colts

Miami Dolphins

New York Jets

Oakland Raiders

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

NFL Workout Updates: 9/17/19

Here are Tuesday’s updates from the workout circuit, all links going to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter unless otherwise noted.

Atlanta Falcons

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

  • T Gerhard deBeer, Christian DiLauro, Brandon Hitner, C James Murray (link)

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Oakland Raiders

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Washington Redskins

NFL Workout Updates: 9/9/19

A handful of workout notes from around the NFL:

Chicago Bears

Green Bay Packers

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 9/4/19

We’ll keep track of today’s practice squad moves here:

Detroit Lions

Indianapolis Colts

  • Signed: S Rolan Milligan
  • Cut: QB Phillip Walker

New York Jets

  • Signed: WR Josh Malone

Sunday NFL Transactions: AFC South

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four AFC South teams. Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline yesterday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters, claiming players off waivers or signing guys who clear waivers. Those transactions for the Colts, Jaguars, Texans and Titans are noted below.

Additionally, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads today. You can check out our glossary entry on practice squads to brush up on those changes, as well as all the other guidelines that govern the 10-man units, whose players practice with the team but aren’t eligible to suit up on Sundays.

Here are Sunday’s AFC South transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day.

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Tennessee Titans

Colts Reach Roster Max

The Colts reached the 53-man limit on Saturday by cutting a number of players, including running back Charcandrick West. West, who has been toggled on and off of the Chiefs’ roster in recent years, hooked on with the Colts less than two weeks ago. Despite the season-ending injury suffered by D’Onta Foreman, he wasn’t able to make the final cut.

Also among the cuts – J’Marcus Webb, one of the club’s Week 1 starting tackles in 2018. Webb’s season was mostly lost to injury, and he’ll have to hook on elsewhere for 2019.

Here’s the rest of the Colts’ moves:

Waived:

– S Micah Abernathy
– T Jackson Barton
– CB Jalen Collins
– WR Ashton Dulin
– G Jake Eldrenkam
– T Antonio Garcia
– DE Gerri Green
– DE Obum Gwacha
– K Cole Hedlund
– WR Krishawn Hogan
– CB Isaiah Langley
– WR Roger Lewis
– LB Skai Moore
– C Daniel Munyer
– DE Carroll Phillips
– DT Johnny Robinson
– DT Sterling Shippy
– G Nate Theaker
– S Jacob Thieneman
– WR Jordan Veasy
– QB Phillip Walker
– RB Aca’Cedric Ware
– RB Marquis Young

Waived/Injured:

– WR Penny Hart
– S Isaiah Johnson
– WR Marcus Johnson
– S Kai Nacu
– CB Shakial Taylor
– LB Ahmad Thomas

Released:

– TE Gabe Holmes
– DT Caraun Reid
– TE Ross Travis

Colts Sign Nine To Reserve/Futures Contracts, Including CB Jalen Collins

After being eliminated from the playoffs, the Colts have made a handful of moves with an eye toward 2019. They signed nine players to reserve/futures contracts today, the team announced on Twitter. These deals will go into effect on the first day of the 2019 league year, with players joining the team’s offseason 90-man roster:

The most notable name of the bunch is cornerback Jalen Collins. Collins was a highly regarded 2015 second round pick of the Falcons, but his career flamed out due to a series of off-field issues that led to four suspensions. He was released by the Falcons in late 2017, and signed to the Colts’ practice squad this past November. If he can get everything sorted out, it could prove to be a great pickup for Indianapolis. Walker is the former Temple quarterback who has been on Indy’s practice squad the past couple of seasons.