Alexander Johnson

Dolphins Place LB Jerome Baker On IR

Jerome Baker is heading to injured reserve. The Dolphins have placed their starting linebacker on IR, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

[RELATED: Dolphins To Host LB Reuben Foster]

Baker suffered an MCL injury last weekend that limited him to a season-low 22 defensive snaps. Fortunately, the injury wasn’t described as a season-ender, and while Baker will be forced to miss the next four weeks, there will still be plenty of time for him to get right before the postseason.

A 2018 third-round pick, Baker has turned into one of Miami’s most dependable defenders. Through his first five seasons in the NFL, the linebacker collected 509 tackles, 21 sacks, and 42 QB hits. It’s been more of the same in 2023, as the 26-year-old has compiled 69 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and two interceptions (including a pick-six) in 12 starts.

Duke Riley was inserted into the lineup last Sunday when Baker exited the game. The veteran ended up playing in a season-high 31 defensive snaps in the win over the Commanders, and he’ll likely be in line for more playing time on Monday night against the Titans.

After taking a look at Reuben Foster earlier this week, the Dolphins decided to move in a different direction as they look to temporarily replace Baker. Per Schefter, the Dolphins have signed linebacker Calvin Munson off the Patriots practice squad.

Munson has effectively split his career between Miami and New England; this latest transaction marks his third stint with the Dolphins and ends his third stint with the Patriots. The veteran has seen time in 46 career games, collecting 88 tackles. He’s been limited to four appearances with the Patriots over the past two seasons, with the majority of his playing time coming on special teams.

Additionally, the Dolphins placed linebacker Alexander Johnson on the practice squad/injured list.

Wednesday NFL Transactions: AFC East

Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline Tuesday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters. In addition to waiver claims, teams can begin constructing their 16-man practice squads today. These BillsDolphinsJets and Patriots moves are noted below.

Buffalo Bills




Signed to practice squad:

Placed on IR:

Miami Dolphins




Signed to practice squad:

New England Patriots



Signed to practice squad:

New York Jets




Signed to practice squad:

Placed on IR:

Dolphins Begin Roster Trimming, Cut 14

Monday saw the Dolphins take a signficant step toward reaching 53 players on the active roster in time for tomorrow’s deadline. Here are the team’s latest round of cuts, including three players who were released and 11 who were waived:

Coutee attempted to land a depth spot with the Saints this offseason, but his release put an end to that endeavor. He was quickly signed by the Dolphins, but he will remain with the team only via the practice squad ahead of Week 1. Johnson, like Woods, was signed very recently in depth moves which gave each player an opportunity to earn a roster spot at the conclusion of the preseason. In both of their cases, that has not happened.

Dolphins Sign LB Alexander Johnson

Coaching ex-Bronco defenders Bradley Chubb and Malik Reed once again, Vic Fangio will reunite with another of his former Denver cogs. Alexander Johnson signed with the Dolphins on Thursday.

Like Chubb and Reed, Johnson, 31, was a regular throughout Fangio’s Denver stay. Fangio’s arrival soon led to a regular role for Johnson, who played alongside Josey Jewell for three seasons in Denver. A 2021 pectoral injury, however, stalled the off-ball linebacker’s momentum.

[RELATED: Dolphins Meet With CB Bryce Callahan]

Coming into the NFL at 26 due to an off-field issue, Johnson played in just one game as a rookie in 2018. Early in the 2019 season, Fangio inserted the Tennessee alum into the starting lineup to spark the Broncos’ run defense. Pro Football Focus graded Johnson as that season’s third-best off-ball ‘backer. In 2020, Johnson totaled a career-high 124 tackles. Between those two years, Johnson forced four fumbles.

Prior to his October 2021 pectoral tear, Johnson received a second-round RFA tender to stay in Denver. However, this injury and having turned 30 just before his first free agency bid effectively scuttled Johnson’s market. The Seahawks signed the former UDFA late last year but only used him in one game. The Dolphins will provide a late-summer opportunity. Teams must finalize their 53-man rosters by 3pm CT on Tuesday; they can begin assembling their practice squads the following day. Clubs can keep up to six vested veterans on their 16-man taxi squad.

The Dolphins signed David Long to play alongside Jerome Baker at linebacker. Duke Riley and Andrew Van Ginkel are likely locked into backup jobs, per the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson. Channing Tindall, a third-rounder last year, has not enjoyed a quality training camp, per Jackson, though it is unlikely the Dolphins give up on him after two offseasons. Though, Tindall only played nine defensive snaps last year.

In addition to the Johnson signing, the team waived linebacker Mike Rose and waived safety Myles Dorn with an injury designation Thursday.

Minor NFL Transactions: 1/7/23

Today’s minor transactions heading into the final Sunday of the regular season:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

  • Promoted from practice squad: WR Josh Ali

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New York Giants

New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Seahawks Sign LB Alexander Johnson, Activate DE L.J. Collier From IR

A three-year starter with the Broncos, Alexander Johnson did not generate much free agency interest this offseason. Despite past production, the veteran defender lingered on the market for seven-plus months. The Seahawks will provide another opportunity.

Seattle is adding Johnson to its practice squad, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times tweets. The team also activated L.J. Collier from injured reserve. Wednesday marked the final day Collier could hold an IR-return designation. The former first-rounder remaining on IR after today would have meant his season was over. The Seahawks also signed wide receiver Kevin Kassis to their P-squad.

Only a four-year veteran, Johnson is nearing his 31st birthday. An off-field issue delayed the off-ball linebacker’s NFL entrance, but he produced once bumped into Denver’s starting lineup early in Vic Fangio‘s tenure. Pro Football Focus consistently graded Johnson as one of the league’s top off-ball ‘backers. The Tennessee alum posted 124 tackles in his most recent full season (2020), helping Fangio’s defense particularly against the run. Johnson joined offseason Seahawk trade acquisition Shelby Harris as key Fangio-era starters in Denver.

An injury also affected Johnson’s market. After placing a second-round RFA tender on Johnson last year, the Broncos moved on following the linebacker’s torn pec. Denver lost both its primary off-ball starters last season, but its new regime re-signed Josey Jewell over Johnson. With Seattle DC Clint Hurtt being a Fangio disciple, Johnson could prove a fit.

The Seahawks moved on from Bobby Wagner this offseason, giving Cody Barton a starting job alongside Jordyn Brooks. While Brooks continues to work as an every-down player, Barton has seen his role diminish somewhat in recent weeks. Tanner Muse, Nick Bellore and Cullen Gillaspia reside as the backup linebackers on Seattle’s 53-man roster.

Seattle also designated cornerback Tre Brown and running back Travis Homer to return from IR, Condotta adds (via Twitter). Each is back at practice Wednesday.

Brown has been out since November 2021 due to a knee injury. The 2021 fourth-round pick started three games as a rookie, but the Seahawks have made some changes at the position since Brown last played. They have used two 2022 draftees — Tariq Woolen and Coby Bryant — as regulars. Homer, who has been with the Seahawks since 2019, suffered a rib injury against the Falcons in Week 3. Kenneth Walker has taken over as Seattle’s lead back, but Homer has been a backup presence and special teams regular since 2019.

Broncos LB Jonas Griffith Dislocates Elbow

AUGUST 25: In a surprising yet encouraging update, head coach Nathaniel Hackett stated (via the team’s website) that the injury is not nearly as significant as originally thought. “Yeah, we’re definitely hoping for Jonas to be [ready for] Week 1, that’s kind of our aiming point ,” Hackett said. “We very much dodged a bullet on that one.” Griffith being ready in time to start the regular season (or at least miss less time than initially feared) would be a significant boost to the Broncos’ defense.

AUGUST 14: Broncos linebacker Jonas Griffith sustained a dislocated elbow during the team’s preseason victory over the Cowboys on Saturday, as Mike Klis of tweets. Griffith is expected to miss the next four to six weeks, so his availability for the first several games of the regular season is in doubt.

The 25-year-old ‘backer entered the league as a UDFA with the 49ers and joined the Broncos via minor trade last August. He saw his first professional defensive snap in Week 14 of the 2021 season and performed quite well down the stretch, compiling 45 tackles — including four for loss and 5.5 run “stuffs” — in the final five games of the year.

He carried that momentum into spring work in 2022, taking first-team reps during OTAs and training camp. He and Josey Jewell have been viewed as the starting ILB tandem for months.

GM George Paton did not do much to address his team’s inside linebacker position this offseason, aside from re-signing Jewell and signing former Eagles LB Alex Singleton to a modest contract. He did not draft an ILB, and he did not retain players like Alexander JohnsonKenny Young, and Micah Kiser (perhaps due to his confidence in Griffith).

Singleton, however, was Philadelphia’s leading tackler over the past two seasons, and he is the most likely Griffith replacement. While Singleton’s work in coverage is generally poor, he should be effective in Denver’s base packages, which is where Griffith is expected to see most of his action anyway.

Klis also names 2020 fifth-rounder Justin Strnad, who started fives games last year, as a candidate to see more snaps in Griffith’s absence, and he suggests that the Broncos could explore a reunion with Johnson (Twitter link). Singleton, whose contract includes a playtime incentive, may now have a better chance to cash in on that incentive.

Broncos To Re-Sign LB Josey Jewell

The Broncos continue to fill starting spots along their defense. They are bringing back multiyear linebacker starter Josey Jewell, Mike Klis of 9News reports.

Jewell is staying in Denver on a two-year deal worth $11MM. This comes a few weeks after the Broncos were connected to another Jewell contract. Denver had both its long-term linebacker starters — Jewell and Alexander Johnson — on track for free agency.

Both Jewell and Johnson missed most of last season; the former went down in Week 2 with a torn pectoral muscle. Denver selected Jewell in the 2018 fourth round and continued to use the Iowa product in a prominent role, giving him 30 starts in four seasons on his rookie deal. Jewell, 27, made 113 tackles in 16 starts during the 2020 season.

While Johnson was the slightly higher-regarded linebacker during the duo’s time together in Denver, he is three years older. Denver is not expected to re-sign Johnson, per Klis, who adds 2021 third-round pick Baron Browning is ticketed to play alongside Jewell as an off-ball linebacker starter. Jewell also stands to be a relatively low-cost signing, given his recent injury. The Broncos now have Jewell, D.J. Jones and Randy Gregory in the fold on their front seven.

Broncos LB Alexander Johnson Done For Year

Broncos linebacker Alexander Johnson will miss the rest of the year with a torn pectoral muscle, per a club announcement. He’ll be placed on injured reserve today, opening up a spot on the 53-man roster.

The Broncos are already without fellow starting ‘backer Josey Jewell, who also suffered a torn pec. It’s a bad blow to Vic Fangio‘s front seven and especially poor timing for Johnson. The middle linebacker is scheduled for unrestricted free agency in the spring, after he wraps his one-year, $3.384MM tender.

Johnson, 30 in December, joined the Broncos in 2018 and found his way to the starting lineup in October of 2019. He immediately improved the team’s run defense and kept his first-string gig throughout 2020. Johnson made 124 tackles and forced two fumbles last season while Pro Football Focus rated the 255-pound defender as a top-25 off-ball linebacker. In his six games this year, Johnson recorded 32 stops, two sacks, and three passes defensed.

Meanwhile, the Broncos also say that wide receiver Jerry Jeudy is unlikely to play on Thursday night when they face the Browns.

Alexander Johnson Signs RFA Tender

Days after Tim Patrick signed his restricted free agent tender, the other RFA the Broncos tendered at the second-round level followed suit. Alexander Johnson signed his tender Thursday.

Like Patrick, the middle linebacker is set to earn $3.384MM on the tender. Only one restricted free agent received a first-round tender this year — Rams cornerback Darious Williams — but several commanded the second-round price. Johnson is now signed for the 2021 season. Barring an extension, he will play for the tender amount. He is due to be an unrestricted free agent in 2022.

An unusual RFA, seeing as he will turn 30 later this year, Johnson has been a starter in Denver for most of Vic Fangio‘s two-season tenure. The Broncos signed the ex-Tennessee Volunteer in 2018 but did not deploy him as a starter until October 2019. Johnson immediately impacted the team’s run defense and kept the first-string gig throughout 2020 as well. Johnson made 124 tackles and forced two fumbles last season. Pro Football Focus viewed the 255-pound defender as a top-25 off-ball linebacker in 2020.

This figures to be a notable stretch for the Broncos at linebacker. After parting ways with Brandon Marshall in 2019, the Broncos have made Johnson and Josey Jewell their primary off-ball ‘backers. Both are going into contract years. The team also drafted Ohio State’s Baron Browning in Round 3 this year, but it would make sense if either Jewell or Johnson emerged on the team’s extension radar.

Johnson’s late NFL start may well work against him regarding earning potential, but a solid 2021 season would put him in line for at least a decent medium-length deal — be it via a Broncos extension or as an unrestricted free agent next year.