Today’s minor moves around the NFL:
- Released: CB JoeJuan Williams
- Placed on IR: RB Chris Brooks
New Orleans Saints
- Waived: G Tommy Kraemer
Today’s minor moves around the NFL:
New Orleans Saints
Today’s minor moves:
Green Bay Packers
Saturday’s gameday elevations and other minor moves ahead of tomorrow’s slate of Week 4 games:
Kansas City Chiefs
Las Vegas Raiders
Los Angeles Chargers
Los Angeles Rams
New England Patriots
New Orleans Saints
New York Jets
San Francisco 49ers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Walker’s elevation comes amidst a degree of uncertainty regarding Deshaun Watson‘s Sunday availability. The latter is dealing with a shoulder injury, but he has expressed confidence he will be able to suit up. In the event he is unable to play, though, Walker will provide insurance under center. NFL Network’s James Palmer reports Watson will be a game-time decision.
Chosen, formerly Robbie Anderson, made his Dolphins debut in Week 3, scoring a 68-yard touchdown on his only catch. His performance – along with other depth wideouts currently being sidelined for Miami – will give the 30-year-old a longer look with his new team.
Gore’s elevation will give him the chance to see regular season game action for the first time since 2021. The former UDFA recorded 361 scrimmage yards with the Chiefs that season, but a subsequent IR stint marked the end of his time in Kansas City. Gore has since spent time on the Saints’, and now Commanders’, taxi squads. Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post notes that fellow depth back Chris Rodriguez has bee ruled out with an illness, opening the door to Gore seeing limited snaps.
The former second-round pick was waived by the Broncos with a non-football illness designation back in August. It was revealed that Hamler was dealing with pericarditis, a heart condition which required medication rather than surgery. Per NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, the receiver took “some time away from football to get healthy,” and Hamler will land his next gig about two months after getting cut by Denver.
Hamler was expected to be a major part of a talented young receivers corps in Denver, but he could never gain the same traction as teammates Jerry Jeudy or Courtland Sutton. Hamler’s best season came during his rookie year, when he hauled in 30 catches for 381 yards and three touchdowns. His 2021 season was limited to only three games thanks to a torn ACL, and while the receive was able to return for the 2022 campaign, he finished with only seven catches for 165 yards before landing on IR with a hamstring injury.
The 24-year-old underwent offseason surgery to repair a partially torn pectoral muscle. Hamler has apparently fully recovered from that operation, and it sounds like he’ll be joining the Colts at full health.
The Colts seem to be set atop their WR depth chart for the foreseeable future with Michael Pittman Jr., Alec Pierce, and rookie third-round pick Josh Downs leading the way. The Colts have been eyeing a fifth receiver behind that trio and offseason acquisition Isaiah McKenzie. Juwann Winfree got the first shot at the gig, but Schefter notes that the team opted to promote wide receiver Amari Rodgers from the practice squad for Week 4.
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 Colts, Jaguars, Texans and Titans moves are noted below.
Signed to practice squad:
Placed on IR:
Signed to practice squad:
Signed to practice squad:
Signed to practice squad:
Released from IR via injury settlement:
Some higher-profile Colts news has overshadowed their roster construction, but the Jonathan Taylor drama factors into Indianapolis’ roster construction. Here is how the team moved down to 53:
While Funk could be a practice squad candidate, Indianapolis’ 53-man roster includes three running backs: Deon Jackson, Zack Moss and fifth-round rookie Evan Hull. Moss is rehabbing a broken arm and looms as a candidate for in-season IR. The Colts released late-summer pickup Kenyan Drake recently. The Taylor move sidelines the disgruntled All-Pro for the first four games.
Smith, Rodgers, Strachan and Winfree moving off the roster leaves only four receivers (Michael Pittman, Alec Pierce, Josh Downs and Isaiah McKenzie) on the active. It seems likely another will be added before Week 1. Even with Brown gone, Indy’s 53-man roster houses five tight ends. Jelani Woods, Mo Alie-Cox, Kylen Granson, fifth-round rookie Will Mallory and Drew Ogletree, a second-year sixth-rounder, comprise that group. This would seem to be a place the Colts would be willing to cut into, should they be awarded any players on waivers before Wednesday’s 11am CT deadline.
The Colts added Harrison this offseason, signing the former Browns safety after the Browns brought in 2022 Colts cog Rodney McLeod. It should be expected Harrison, who is going into his sixth season, lands somewhere soon. Teams can keep up to six vested veterans on their respective practice squads, leaving the door ajar for Harrison — who only signed with the Colts on Aug. 14 — to stay. The 26-year-old defender has 45 starts on his resume.
Two teams have cut Amari Rodgers in the past year. A third will give the former third-round pick a chance. Rodgers reached an agreement to join the Colts on Wednesday, the team announced. The team waived wideout Johnny King to clear a roster spot.
The Texans waived Rodgers last week, joining the Packers in doing so. The former Clemson wide receiver is no longer attached to his rookie deal, with no one claiming it after the Texans cut. Houston had claimed Rodgers midway through last season, using the No. 1 waiver priority to do so. Rodgers is believed to have requested the Texans waive him.
Rodgers has been unable to impress as a pro, working mostly as a return specialist. The Texans did give the ex-Trevor Lawrence college target some receiver run after claiming him last year. Rodgers caught 12 passes for 154 yards and a touchdown during six games with Houston. That reception count topped his 26-game total as a Packer; Rodgers caught just eight passes with Green Bay.
Catching the Packers’ attention as a slot option, Rodgers broke through for the ACC power as a senior in 2020. The 5-foot-9 pass catcher totaled 77 receptions for 1,020 yards and seven touchdowns during Lawrence’s finale. Rodgers surpassed 400 receiving yards during Lawrence’s two underclassman seasons but has not been able to turn that college production into a pro role of note.
Letting the injury-prone Parris Campbell walk in free agency, the Colts used a third-round pick on North Carolina slot option Josh Downs. They also signed veteran inside option Isaiah McKenzie. These two look to have Indianapolis’ slot responsibilities locked down, but a practice squad opportunity could also benefit Rodgers. Though, he will try to make Indy’s active roster before taxi squads enter the equation at month’s end.
The Texans have parted ways with a midseason addition to their receiving corps in a move which helps make room for the return of one of their top defensive free agent signings. Per a team announcement, wideout Amari Rodgers was waived while defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins was activated from the active/NFI list.
Rodgers had a disappointing spell in Green Bay to start his career, failing to carve out a significant role for himself in the team’s offense. Fumbling issues helped lead to the Packers’ decision to move on from him in November. The Texans claimed him to begin a brief audition period, one in which the former third-rounder was used exclusively on offense after seeing time as a returner in Green Bay.
Rodgers totaled 154 yards and his first career touchdown on 12 receptions while with the Texans. The team has been busy adding at the WR position this offseason, though, by signing Robert Woods and Noah Brown while also drafting Nathaniel Dell and Xavier Hutchinson. Those arrivals, coupled with incumbents Nico Collins and John Metchie, lessened Rodgers’ chances of making the 53-man roster. The 23-year-old and the team made a mutual decision to part ways, per Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 (Twitter link).
Rankins was one of several veterans to receive a deal from Houston this offseason, with the rebuilding outfit benefiting from signficant spending power. The former Saint and Jet inked a one-year, $9.75MM deal to join a new-look Texans defense and, potentially, boost his free agent market ahead of 2024. Rankins has started 51 games and will be counted on as a pass-rushing contributor.
The former first-rounder is four years removed from his career-best eight sacks with the Saints, but he has registered double-digit pressures each season since 2020. A continuation of that form will help the Texans’ re-tooled roster take a step forward under new head coach DeMeco Ryans, especially if he can remain healthy through training camp into the fall.
The Texans also announced that cornerback Kendall Sheffield has been activated from the PUP list. The 27-year-old signed in Houston before the start of the new league year in March after a brief spell on the Cowboys’ practice squad. Sheffield has started 20 of his 38 career games, all with the Falcons.
The Texans’ wide receiving corps was among the league’s worst last season, finishing 26th in combined receptions, 28th in receiving yards, and 28th in receiving touchdowns. Things aren’t looking any easier as the team’s top receivers from 2022, Brandin Cooks and Chris Moore, will find themselves in different uniforms next season. Still, according to DJ Bien-Aime of ESPN, new head coach DeMeco Ryans appears to be fairly comfortable with how the position is currently lined up.
With veteran leader Cooks just up north in Dallas, Houston will be looking for a former division rival to lead their young group. Playing in another room bereft of star talent last year, Robert Woods looked like a shell of his former self in Nashville. Part of that may have had more to do with the scheme and personnel around him, as he still led the Titans in both receptions and receiving yards, but in 17 games, Woods failed to surpass his total from his final year in Los Angeles, when his season ended after only nine games. Still, Woods is not far removed from some of the best football of his career. Just two years ago, a torn ACL prevented Woods from extending a streak of three consecutive seasons with over 900 receiving yards. From 2018-2020, Woods was dominant with the Rams combining for 3,289 receiving yards and 14 receiving touchdowns, even adding 427 yards and four more scores on the ground.
After the experience of Woods, the Texans will rely on the familiarity of third-year wideout Nico Collins. Collins was fourth on the team in receiving last year behind Cooks, Moore, and tight end Jordan Akins despite putting up similar numbers that had him ranked second on the team as a rookie the year prior. The team hopes he can progress past those numbers in Year 3. He doesn’t need to suddenly become a No. 1 receiver with Woods in town, but Houston will want him to surpass his careers-highs last year of 37 receptions, 481 yards, and two touchdowns.
Rounding out the potential starting three is last year’s second-round pick John Metchie III. Metchie is still waiting to make his NFL debut after sitting out his rookie year after being diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia. The young receiver is now over a year and a half removed from his last meaningful snap of football and has worked his way back from a torn ACL, leukemia, and now a hamstring strain in order to play in the NFL.
Beyond those three, the team’s depth fades quickly. Former Cowboys receiver Noah Brown joins the group after a breakout year in Dallas. Brown performed as a No. 2 receiver for Dallas last year, gaining career-highs in receptions (43), receiving yards (555), and touchdowns (3), after combining for 39 catches for 425 yards and no touchdowns in the four years prior.
After Brown, the team’s depth is unproven. Amari Rodgers returns after starting one game in six appearances last year. Two rookies join him as depth pieces in the receivers room. Nathaniel Dell was drafted in the third-round out of Houston. Dell was dominant for the Cougars as an undersized wide receiver, catching a combined 199 passes for 2,727 yards and 29 touchdowns in his final two collegiate seasons. In the sixth-round, the team added Iowa State’s Xavier Hutchinson, who delivered strong performances in all three years as a Cyclone before bringing his best football last year.
“I’m not concerned with where we are with our wide receivers,” Ryans claimed. “I like our group. I like where we are. We have a lot of talented guys and have a lot of different qualities.”
He’s certainly not wrong there. Collins provides the team with a big, 6-foot-4 body and strong hands. Brown and Hutchinson also bring the group ideal body-types for a wide receiver. Woods and Metchie both sit around six-foot and bring completely different playing styles to the offense. Finally, Dell and Rodgers bring explosiveness in smaller packages.
Ryans can certainly back up his claim of confidence in covering the gamut of receiver-types, but experience remains a concern. On paper, the Texans’ wide receiving corps is ready to provide rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud with an assortment of weapons. In reality, the team will need young players to step up into big roles quickly in 2023 if they’re going to prove wrong position rankings from ESPN’s Bill Barnwell and Pro Football Focus’s Trevor Sikkema, both of whom have the team’s group ranked last in the league.
Week 10’s Vikings–Bills thriller featured Stefon Diggs‘ first game against his former team. The 2020 trade that sent Diggs to Buffalo and a compensation package headlined by a first-round pick (Justin Jefferson) to Minnesota became one of the great win-win trades in modern NFL history. Diggs voicing his frustration about the Vikings’ run-heavy offense in 2019 led to Bills interest, laying the groundwork for the 2020 swap. Diggs requested a trade in October 2019, but after meetings with Vikings brass, the sides agreed to shelve the matter until 2020, Tim Graham of The Athletic reports (subscription required).
After a season in which Diggs drew just 94 targets in 15 games, the Vikings worked with the wideout’s agent to find a fit. The Jets and Patriots reached out, and Graham adds the Texans were in the mix as well. A Texans trade would have been interesting, considering they ended up trading DeAndre Hopkins on the same day Diggs was ultimately dealt. Houston ended up acquiring Brandin Cooks later that spring. Diggs did not ask for a new contract from the Bills immediately. His camp worried an extension request upon arrival would scuttle a potential deal, Graham adds, but the Bills understood money needed to be moved to accommodate the trade asset. Buffalo did so later that summer. Diggs ended up playing two years on his 2018 Vikings-constructed deal before inking a four-year, $96MM Bills pact this offseason.
Both Diggs and Jefferson are 2-for-2 in Pro Bowls since the trade, with both heading toward more accolades this year. Jefferson will be eligible for a monster extension in 2023. Here is the latest from the NFL’s receiver landscape: