A Raiders spring signee, Shelley did not make Las Vegas’ 53-man roster. The Rams picked him up before the season and have used him mostly on special teams. Shelley, who Bears and Vikings prior to this two-team 2023, has logged 76 defensive snaps this season. But the veteran cornerback has been on the field for 65% of Los Angeles’ special teams plays.
For the second straight week, Vikings fans will come away disappointed as star wide receiver Justin Jefferson will once again not be activated from injured reserve in time for Sunday’s game, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Jefferson returned to practice this week but clearly doesn’t quite feel ready to return to the active roster.
The All-Pro receiver’s 21-day practice window was opened on November 8, meaning Jefferson can miss this week’s contest and potentially even the one after that before returning from IR. He will have to be activated in the week after the team’s Week 12 game against the Bears in order to avoid losing the ability to be activated off IR, but if he still needs time to get healthy, the Vikings have a Week 13 bye that will grant Jefferson another two weeks after the Chicago matchup to get right.
That’s not to say that Jefferson will miss next week, as well, necessarily. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that Minnesota has noted good progress for Jefferson this week and are getting very close to activating him. He just wasn’t quite ready to be activated by today’s 4pm deadline.
The Vikings will make an addition to their active roster, though, activating quarterback Nick Mullens from IR today. Following the loss of Kirk Cousins for the year, the addition of Mullens certainly becomes more meaningful, but Mullens won’t be asked to take over the offense in Cousins’ absence as trade acquisitionJoshua Dobbs has assumed the starting position under center. Still, Mullens provides Minnesota with a stronger option at backup quarterback. Jaren Hall remains unavailable as he deals with a concussion, and Mullens should be an upgrade over practice squad passer Sean Mannion.
In addition to the activation of Mullens, the Vikings announced that two more players would be added to the active roster for tomorrow’s contest. The team has promoted veteran linebacker Anthony Barr and cornerback Joejuan Williams from the practice squad in time for tomorrow’s Mile High matchup.
Hicks was injured during yesterday’s win over the Saints, and he was taken to hospital due to compartment syndrome, head coach Kevin O’Connell said on Monday. The veteran remained in the hospital overnight and will be sidelined for at least one game, he added, via Schefter’s colleague Kevin Seifert.
With a hole at the LB position, Minnesota will bring back Barr after he spent his first eight years in the league as a Viking. The former first-round pick earned four Pro Bowl nods during his stay in Minnesota, and he sits 15th on the franchise’s all-time tackles leaderboard.
Barr was limited to two games in 2020 thanks to a torn pectoral muscle, and knee surgery the following offseason played a role in him appearing in only 11 games in 2021. That led to the end of his tenure with the Vikings, and he ended up signing with the Cowboys prior to the 2022 campaign. He was productive during his lone season in Dallas, finishing with 58 tackles in 14 games (10 starts).
Barr was connected to the Giants and Saints during the offseason but didn’t end up signing with either team. His market was apparently heating back up, as NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported earlier today that the linebacker worked out for the Eagles.
AUGUST 17: Schoen’s previous comments notwithstanding, the Giants indeed circled back to a Barr visit. The nine-year veteran met with the Giants on Thursday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. No deal is imminent, but as the Giants hold a competition to see who will start alongside Okereke, they are still looking into veteran help. As of now, however, ESPN’s Jordan Raanan notes McFadden remains on track start (Twitter link).
AUGUST 9: This meeting does not look like it will happen — at least, not right now. The Giants will not bring in Barr for a visit, GM Joe Schoen said (via NJ.com’s Darryl Slater).
AUGUST 8: Anthony Barr left his Saints visit without a deal in place, and a report indicated other teams are on the radar. One of those suitors emerged hours later. The Giants look to be interested in the veteran linebacker.
The Giants and Barr are arranging a visit, according to CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson (on Twitter). The Giants have two young linebackers attempting to fill in alongside Bobby Okereke, but Barr would certainly bring an experience edge for a team that lost Jarrad Davisto a season-ending injury.
A Giants-Barr connection exists through defensive line coach Andre Patterson, who was in Minnesota throughout Barr’s time with the team (as a part of Mike Zimmer‘s staff). Having fired Zimmer and GM Rick Spielman, the Vikings did not bring Barr back last year. He spent the 2022 season with the Cowboys.
Despite signing with Dallas near the start of last year’s training camp, Barr moved into a regular role with the Cowboys. The 2014 first-rounder started 10 games and added two more postseason starts, playing at least 65% of the Cowboys’ defensive snaps in each postseason contest. For the season, Barr finished with 58 tackles, two fumble recoveries and a sack. The veteran off-ball linebacker’s best years obviously came in Minnesota, but the UCLA alum is still generating interest as a role player.
Okereke signed a four-year, $40MM contract with the Giants in March, joining a team desperate for ILB help. Okereke’s deal trailed only Tremaine Edmunds for linebacker value this offseason, being well north of the other non-rush backers on this year’s market. The Giants did not spend to upgrade at the other ILB starting spot, going with Davis on a league-minimum pact. But Davis suffered a major knee injury during offseason workouts. The Giants have 2022 fifth-round pick Micah McFadden (seven starts) and 2022 sixth-rounder Darrian Beavers, who is coming off an ACL tear that wiped out his rookie year. Beavers is believed to have a leg up on McFadden for the starting job, but the Giants checking in on Barr points to the team exploring a veteran upgrade.
Barr, 31, passed his Saints physical, per Anderson, but wants to explore this late-summer market. A four-time Pro Bowler with the Vikings, Barr transitioned from college edge rusher to NFL off-ball presence. Zimmer deployed Barr as a 4-3 outside linebacker, but he has spent time as a sporadic rusher as well. Barr has 18.5 sacks and 48 QB hits over the course of his nine-year career.
2:59pm: Not so fast. Both players departed their New Orleans visits without deals in place. The Saints remain interested in the nine-year vet, but Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets other teams have emerged as potential options as well. It is unclear which teams are in on Barr, who could still end up with the Saints. For now, however, no agreement has been reached. Ditto Hunt, who is set for a Colts visit Wednesday.
11:17am: One day after news of their workouts was learned, both Kareem Huntand Anthony Barrare set to head to New Orleans. The Saints are expected to sign both veterans pending a physical, reports ESPN’s Dianna Russini (Twitter link).
Barr met with the Saints yesterday, while Hunt’s visit was scheduled for today. To little surprise, the interest shown by the team has quickly resulted in agreements being reached. Neither player had generated much of a market for their services during the offseason, but they will now have plenty of time to acclimate to their new team.
Hunt will look to serve in a similar capacity to his Browns tenure during his Saints stint. The 28-year-old operated as a consistent pass-catching back while Nick Chubbhandled much of the team’s carries. Hunt still logged 442 carries in his 49 games in Cleveland, though, averaging 4.2 yards per rush in the process. If needed, he could handle a notable workload in his new home.
The Browns looked likely to move Hunt at the trade deadline, but he instead needed to wait until August to join a new team. In addition to Kamara, though, New Orleans boasts free agent signing Jamaal Williamsand third-round rookie Kendre Millerin its new-look backfield. It will be interesting to watch how Hunt fits in during Kamara’s absence and how much of a role he is able to carve out upon the latter’s return.
Barr, meanwhile, is set to be on the move for the second time in as many years. His eight-year Vikings tenure ended last offseason, and the former first-rounder played in Dallas in 2022. Barr saw his playing time cut significantly compared to most of his Minnesota campaigns, and his lowered production helped keep him on the market deep into the summer.
The Saints have a number of options at the linebacker spot as is, with Demario Davisin place as an anchor of the team’s defense. 2021 second-rounder Pete Werner saw a sizeable jump in playing time last season, and he can be expected to remain a full-time starter moving forward. Recent draftees Zack Baunand D’Marco Jackson (the latter of whom missed his entire rookie season due to injury) are also in the mix for significant snaps. Barr will look to prove himself to be at least a quality rotational member of the unit.
The Saints entered today with just under $13MM in cap space, which should be enough to comfortably afford Hunt and Barr on what will no doubt be short-term, low-cost deals. Both players will add considerable experience to what is already one of the most veteran-laden teams in the league as the they aim to rebuild their free agent stock in a new setting.
In the wake of being shorthanded in the backfield, the Saints could soon be making a running back addition. Kareem Huntis set to meet with New Orleans, reports ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler (Twitter link). His colleague Diana Russini tweets that veteran linebacker Anthony Barrwill also work out with the team.
The Saints already have a veteran presence in the form of Jamaal Williams, along with third-round rookie Kendre Miller as fill-in options for Kamara while he is sidelined and depth when he returns. That would leave Hunt in a rotational role after Week 4 in particular if he were to sign in New Orleans, something he experienced during his time in Cleveland. Hunt saw a career-low 42% snap share last season while serving as Nick Chubb‘s pass-catching backup, and by the end of the season it was clear he would be heading elsewhere in free agency.
Hunt was mentioned in trade talk leading up to the deadline, but the Browns elected to retain him to close out his fourth season in Cleveland. The former Chiefs third-rounder has not received as much attention as the likes of Dalvin Cookor Ezekiel Elliottfrom potential suitors, but he has remained confident a deal will come to fruition. Hunt, like most remaining backs, is likely facing a low-cost deal which will allow him boost his market in a new environment.
Like many Vikings veterans this offseason, Barr saw a lengthy Minnesota tenure come to an end last year. The four-time Pro Bowler spent the 2022 campaign in Dallas, but the Cowboys made it clear in March that he would not be retained. Barr posted 58 tackles and one sack across 14 games last year, numbers which fall short of his production during his peak Vikings seasons.
Barr, 31, would provide experienced depth to a Saints’ linebacking corps which is set to once again be led by Demario Davis. The former only logged a 63% snap share in Dallas last season, by far the lowest of any of his healthy campaigns in the league. Like Hunt, he could be at least a rotational contributor with a veteran-laden team seeking to return to the postseason. Strong seasons from Hunt and Barr, should they join the Saints, could benefit both player and team on low-cost, short-term agreements.
The Cowboys have made a number of moves so far this offseason, including the trade acquisition of wideout Brandin Cooks. While that gave the team a new, accomplished pass-catcher, the departure of tight endDalton Schultzhas created a vacancy at that position.
Conflicting reports have emerged on whether or not the Cowboys attempted to retain the 26-year-old, who played on the franchise tag in 2022. Confirming his earlier offering that Schultz turned down a multi-year offer from Dallas, Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer notes that Schultz declined a three-year, $36MM deal. That far outpaces the one-year, $9MM pact he signed last week to join a Texans team facing far more uncertainty at the quarterback position than the situation he departed.
Schultz established himself as a highly dependable target for Dak Prescottduring their time together in Dallas. The former recorded exactly 2,000 yards and 17 touchdowns over the past three seasons, production which he will look to replicate with the Texans and their new-look offense in 2023. A standout campaign would go a long way to earning him a new free agent deal similar to the one he chose not to take from the Cowboys.
Here are some other notes out of Dallas:
The Cowboys have retained a number of in-house free agents on defense this year, but the team’s linebacking corps will still look different in 2023. ESPN’s Todd Archer notes that veteran Anthony Barrwill not be back in Dallas next year. The 31-year-old joined the Cowboys last season after eight years with the Vikings; he saw a notable role with 10 starts and a 63% snap share. After making 58 tackles and putting up underwhelming numbers in coverage, though, he will be headed elsewhere this year. Dallas has the recently-retainedLeighton Vander Esch, along with the likes of Damone Clark, Jabril Coxand Devin Harperin their middle linebacker room, one which only sparingly includes dynamic edge rusher Micah Parsons.
With Schultz no longer in the fold, tight end is a position of need for the Cowboys heading into the draft. This year’s class is said to be extremely deep, and Jon Machota of The Athletic writes that Dallas is “intrigued” by it (subscription required). The door is open to the Cowboys using their first-round pick (No. 26) on a tight end, which would put them in play to add a prospect like Michael Mayer, Luke Musgrave, Darnell Washingtonor Dalton Kincaid.
Isaac Alarcon has spent the past three seasons on Dallas’ practice squad as an offensive lineman after joining the team through the International Player Pathway program. He will be making a position switch to defensive line this offseason, however (Twitter link via Archer). The 24-year-old will look to find a 53-man roster spot along the d-line as a depth option.