Alex Austin

Patriots CB Alex Austin On Track For Increased Role?

Christian Gonzalez should be able to start the 2024 season at full health, something which would be a welcomed development in the Patriots’ secondary. The team’s top pick in last year’s draft is set to handle a starting role, and the same should be the case for veteran Jonathan Jones.

Plenty of uncertainty is currently present elsewhere on New England’s cornerback depth chart, though, leaving plenty of playing time up for grabs. One name to watch during training camp could be Alex Austin based on his Patriots stint last year and his usage in the spring. The 2023 Bills seventh-rounder did not survive roster cuts, and he was claimed off waivers by the Texans in August.

Austin made three appearances with Houston before ultimately being let go in November. The 23-year-old immediately caught on with the Patriots, and he saw time in five games to close out the campaign. With the team struggling on the injury front in the secondary, Austin logged a defensive snap share of at least 57% for four straight contests. The Oregon State alum registered two pass breakups and allowed five completions on 16 targets in coverage. He re-signed in March, allowing him to compete for notable playing time this offseason.

As noted by team writer Paul Perillo, Austin logged a number of first-team reps during the spring while playing opposite Gonzalez on the perimeter. The latter played almost exclusively on the boundary during his rookie season, and that has also been true of Jones over the past two seasons. Jones – a veteran of 115 games with the Patriots – also has experience in the slot, however, and a strong summer showing from Austin could push him to the inside.

Perillo adds that Marcus Jones and Shaun Wade are also in contention for increased workloads, particularly in the slot. How they fare during training camp will play a role in determining the team’s overall secondary plans. If Austin can continue to impress, though, he could find himself handling first-team duties or at least seeing rotational defensive snaps during his first full New England campaign.

Minor NFL Transactions: 3/7/24

Here are Thursday’s minor moves:

Detroit Lions

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

Campbell was set to be a restricted free agent; this deal will bypass the tender process and keep the young defender on the team. The former UDFA has primarily been a Dolphins special-teamer, though he started one game apiece over the past two seasons. Campbell has logged at least a 69% snap share on special teams in each of the past three seasons.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/2/23

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Cleveland Browns

  • Signed to active roster: OT Leroy Watson

Detroit Lions

  • Signed to active roster: LB Trevor Nowaske
  • Waived: RB Devine Ozigbo

Las Vegas Raiders

New England Patriots

Tennessee Titans

With the trade deadline behind us, all veterans are now subject to waivers, meaning some of the players cut today could land on new teams without even hitting free agency. David Long is probably the most intriguing of the bunch, with the cornerback having started 11 of his 60 appearances through five seasons in the NFL. The 25-year-old started one of his eight appearances for the Raiders this season, compiling 12 tackles.

Kevon Seymour is another potential target for those who need some help in the secondary or on special teams. After bouncing around the NFL to begin his career, Seymour found a home in Baltimore in recent years, seeing time in 30 games (two starts) across two-plus seasons with the organization. The former sixth-round pick has mostly played special teams over the past year-plus, collecting six total tackles.

Texans Place S Eric Murray On IR

The Texans saw a hit to their depth in the secondary this past weekend when primary backup safety Eric Murray suffered a torn meniscus in the team’s win over the Saints. The severity of the injury was confirmed by MRI on Monday, leading to Houston’s decision today to put Murray on injured reserve after undergoing knee surgery, according to Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2.

Murray took a backseat in Houston last year after nearly two years as the team’s starting free safety. With Jalen Pitre and Jonathan Owens starting in the defensive outfield, Murray found himself coming off the bench and playing special teams. The Texans have replaced Owens with Jimmie Ward this year, but Murray has been able to increase his role a bit due to injuries. With Ward missing the first two games of the year and Pitre missing two himself, Murray has logged four starts as the team’s first choice off the bench.

Unfortunately, now Houston will see injury force Murray’s absence. Knee surgery is enough to force a long-term absence, hence Murray’s placement on IR. Fortunately for both sides, though, the Texans aren’t yet calling the injury season-ending, holding out hope that Murray may be able to return late in the year.

In the meantime, Ward and Pitre will continue to start. If anything were to keep either of them off the field, the Texans would need M.J. Stewart to step up. The veteran out of North Carolina has 10 starts in his career, including one this season, when both Pitre and Ward were out. Houston also has versatile defensive back Grayland Arnold, who has filled in some at cornerback this season, as well, due to an injury to Tavierre Thomas.

To fill Murray’s roster spot, the Texans called up cornerback D’Angelo Ross from the practice squad. Ross has played in two games so far this year, solely appearing on special teams. Ross’s spot on the practice squad will be filled by cornerback Alex Austin, who was waived from the team’s active roster earlier this week to make room for wide receiver Noah Brown coming off IR.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/14/23

Here are today’s minor transactions heading into the Week 6 weekend:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Dean took the starting role the Eagles had in store for him in Week 1, but a foot injury interrupted his second NFL campaign. The 22-year-old was poised to return ahead of Sunday’s game by returning to practice earlier this week, though, and a first-team role is expected to await him upon suiting up. Dean taking on a heavy workload will relegate Nicholas Morrow (who was promoted from the practice squad) to backup duty despite the latter’s strong performances so far.

Seattle has seen fellow corners Devon Witherspoon and Riq Woolen enjoy considerable success, but the team’s secondary will be shorthanded without Bryant. The latter will miss at least the next four weeks as a result of the IR move as he recovers from a toe injury. The 2022 fourth-rounder, who has seen his defensive snap share jump from 65% to 77% this year, has not played since Week 2.

Wednesday NFL Transactions: AFC South

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 ColtsJaguarsTexans and Titans moves are noted below.

Houston Texans

Claimed:

Waived:

Signed to practice squad:

Indianapolis Colts

Placed on IR:

Signed:

Claimed:

Waived:

Signed to practice squad: 

Jacksonville Jaguars

Claimed:

Waived:

Signed to practice squad:

Tennessee Titans

Claimed:

Waived:

Signed to practice squad:

Released:

Released from IR via injury settlement:

Bills Reduce Roster To 53 Players

The Bills have been busy today, releasing a pair of offensive linemen, trading defensive end Boogie Basham to the Giants, and shifting Von Miller to the reserve/PUP list. The team eventually finalized their roster, cutting down their squad to 53 players:

Released:

Waived:

Placed on IR:

Dean Marlowe was traded to the Bills last November, and the safety began his second stint with the organization after spending three-plus seasons with the organization between 2017 and 2020. The veteran ended up starting a pair of playoff games for Buffalo, collecting seven tackles and an interception. The 31-year-old re-signed with the Bills back in May.

A.J. Klein was another former Bills player added midway through the 2022 season. It was a whirlwind season for the veteran LB. Klein was released by Buffalo in March, and he ended up spending time with the Giants, Ravens, and Bears before returning to the Bills in November. He collected 11 tackles in six games before putting up zeros in a pair of playoff games.

Bills Sign Second-Round G O’Cyrus Torrence

The Bills have just about finished signing their entire draft class. The team announced the signing of five rookies today, including second-round offensive lineman O’Cyrus Torrence.

After three seasons at Louisiana, Torrence followed coach Billy Napier to Florida for the 2022 campaign. The move ended up working out; the lineman earned a consensus All-American nod and a first-team All-SEC selection.

Torrence was considered one of the top guard prospects in the draft, but he was ultimately the fifth player at his position to hear his name called (behind Steve Avila, Matthew Bergeron, Cody Mauch, and Keeanu Benton). His lack of athleticism may have contributed to his drop, but he’s been lauded for his size and know-how at the position. In Buffalo, he’ll see competition from Ryan Bates, Connor McGovern, and David Edwards for the two starting guard spots.

The Bills also announced that they’ve officially signed third-round linebacker Dorian Williams, fifth-round wideout Justin Shorter, seventh-round guard Nick Broeker, and seventh-round cornerback Alex Austin.

As our 2023 NFL Team-by-Team Draft Results show, the Bills have signed all but one rookie: first-round tight end Dalton Kincaid.