Billy Cundiff

NFC Notes: Hawley, Lions, Cassel, Saints

Buccaneers center Joe Hawley feels like he got a raw deal from his former team, the Falcons. On a conference call, D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution asked Hawley if he felt that he was given enough time coming back from the injuries to win the starting job.

“Uh, honestly, no. I think they kind of used it as an excuse,” Hawley said. “When I got here I wasn’t 100 percent yet. But they gave me a chance. Now, I’m feeling like the knee is back to new. But it just took four or five more weeks that I thought it would. Yeah, I think they kind of cut me short of that.”

The Bucs (5-6) are set to host the Falcons (6-5) on Sunday.

  • With Matt Prater battling an illness, the Lions tried out free agent kickers Kyle Brindza, Billy Cundiff, and Garrett Hartley, according to Ian Rapoport of (Twitter links). However, Prater will be able to play tonight against the Packers after all, so the team didn’t sign anyone.
  • If Matt Cassel plays the final five games of the Cowboys‘ season, that extra playing time could earn him $1.2MM in incentives, as Todd Archer of explains. Cassel’s deal includes incentives for playing a certain percentage of the team’s snaps, and he’s projected to play over 55% ($1.2MM), but not up to 65% ($1.6MM).
  • The performance of certain players over the course of the Saints‘ final five games this year could help dictate some of the salary cap decisions the club makes in the offseason, writes Larry Holder of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. I examined the Saints’ cap outlook for 2016 earlier this fall.
  • Edge defender Willie Jefferson, a former Texan who spent the last two seasons with the CFL’s Edmonto Eskimos, will work out for two NFC teams next month, and is drawing a lot of interest, according to Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post (Twitter link). Jefferson had six sacks this season for the Grey Cup champions.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Workout Notes: Patriots, Saints, Packers

Here are the latest workouts from around the NFL:

  • The Patriots had free agent wide receivers Julian Talley (UMass), Alan Bonner (Jacksonville State), and Austin Willis (Emporia State) in for workouts, Mike Reiss of tweets.
  • The Saints auditioned cornerback Tony Carter, as Adam Caplan of tweets.
  • Before signing Shayne Graham, the Falcons also worked out kicker Billy Cundiff, Vaughn McClure of tweets.
  • Washington will work out safety Brian Suite, according to a source who spoke with Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle (on Twitter).
  • The Packers will audition wide receiver Emughedi Umodu, Wilson tweets.

Jets Audition Bullock, Hartley, Other Kickers

4:21pm: Coach Todd Bowles told reporters that Folk is expected to be sidelined for 4-6 weeks (via Brian Costello of the New York Post on Twitter).

3:49pm: With Nick Folk expected to be sidelined for Thursday’s game against the Bills due to a quad injury, the Jets brought in four kickers to work out for them today, tweets Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports.

Connor Hughes of the Journal Inquirer tweeted earlier today that Billy Cundiff was among that group of free agent kickers getting a look from the Jets, and Brian Costello of the New York Post fills out the rest of the list, tweeting that Randy Bullock, Garrett Hartley, and Kyle Brindza also auditioned. In Garafolo’s view, Bullock is the favorite to sign with New York to replace Folk.

As for how long Bullock – or another new kicker – would stick with the team, Costello (Twitter link) hears from a source that Folk is expected to be sidelined for at least four weeks due to his leg injury. If that’s the case, it appears IR would be a possibility for him, since the club may be hesitant to carry multiple kickers on its roster for upwards of a month.

Three of the four kickers who tried out for the Jets today spent time with another team this season, with Bullock losing the job in Houston, Brindza being replaced in Tampa Bay, and Cundiff briefly handling kickoffs in Buffalo. Hartley last served as the Browns’ kicker to close out the 2014 campaign.

Injury Updates: Hankins, Folk, Hicks, Ware

As is often the case on Mondays during the NFL season, there have already been multiple reports of season-ending injuries to key players for contending teams, with the Patriots losing running back Dion Lewis to a torn ACL, and the Colts placing defensive lineman Henry Anderson on IR due to the same injury. Here are a few more of Monday’s latest noteworthy injury updates from around the NFL:

  • Giants head coach Tom Coughlin confirmed today that defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins will undergo surgery for a torn pectoral, ending his season, per Dan Graziano of (Twitter link). While New York’s defensive line got a boost this weekend with the return of Jason Pierre-Paul, Hankins’ season-ending injury is another step back.
  • Jets kicker Nick Folk has a quadriceps strain, and isn’t expected to play this Thursday against the Bills, a league source tells Adam Caplan of (Twitter link). Connor Hughes of the Journal Inquirer tweets that Billy Cundiff will be among the kickers getting a workout from the Jets as they seek a short-term replacement for Folk.
  • The Eagles‘ preliminary diagnosis of the pectoral injury suffered by Jordan Hicks suggests the linebacker should only miss two to four weeks, tweets Ian Rapoport of The team is awaiting the MRI results to confirm that diagnosis.
  • The Falcons also got good news regarding defensive tackle Tyson Jackson, whose rib injury is a contusion, rather than a fracture, according to Rapoport (via Twitter).
  • After re-aggravating his back injury, Broncos pass rusher DeMarcus Ware is expected to miss the next two to four weeks or so, tweets Rapoport.
  • Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams is expected to miss the team’s next two games, a league source tells Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News (Twitter link).
  • The Ravens announced today that second-year defensive end Brent Urban has been cleared to return to practice. Urban, who began the season on injured reserve with the designation to return, can now be activated within the next three weeks to avoid landing on season-ending IR.

NFC West Notes: Lockette, Goff, 49ers

Seahawks wide receiver Ricardo Lockette was released from the hospital on Thursday and took to Instagram to share the good news. “Thanks for all the support. I’ve just been released from the hospital and the road to recovery has started!!! God did it,” Lockette wrote. After taking a scary hit on Sunday that knocked him out of the Seahawks’ game against the Cowboys, Lockette underwent surgery to stabilize ligament damage in his neck. Fortunately, Lockette now has some positive news after what could have been a much worse situation.

Here’s more from the NFC West..

  • Cal’s Jared Goff should be the 49ers‘ quarterback of the future, Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group opines. Under general manager Trent Baalke, the 49ers have drafted 48 players since taking Colin Kaepernick in the second round in 2011 and only one – B.J. Daniels, who now plays wide receiver – was a quarterback, but 2016 might change that. Still, there’s no guarantee that Goff, a junior, will go pro. He also operates out of a spread, no-huddle offense and there are questions as to whether he’ll be able to adapt quickly to the NFL.
  • 49ers fans aren’t too optimistic about what Blaine Gabbert can do at quarterback but offensive coordinator Geep Chryst sees some potential in the former first-round overall pick. “When we got Blaine on board here, there were some similarities to what Alex Smith went through,” Chryst said, as Cam Inman of the Mercury News writes. “Alex came here, was very young and played, and had to slug out a lot of tough situations. We felt like Blaine had all this talent, and as a young player, maybe all this change of scenery would be good for him. He’s really applied himself well in the classroom. He’s engaged and active. He’s a really bright guy.”
  • The Cardinals worked out kicker Randy Bullock, kicker Billy Cundiff, punter Brandon Fields, and punter Spencer Lanning during their bye week, as Field Yates of tweets.

Bills Sign Josh Johnson, Cut Billy Cundiff

A day after he was released once again by the Colts, quarterback Josh Johnson has found a new NFL home. The Bills have signed the veteran signal-caller, cutting kicker Billy Cundiff to create room on the roster, the team announced today in a press release.

Johnson served as the Colts’ backup quarterback for the team’s last two games, with Andrew Luck sidelined due to a shoulder injury, and it’s fair to wonder if he’ll play the same role in Buffalo. Head coach Rex Ryan acknowledged after his team’s game this past weekend that Tyrod Taylor was banged up — E.J. Manuel had been the only other QB on the roster, so if Taylor is unable to play in Week 6, Johnson could back up Manuel for the Bills.

As for Cundiff, he’ll become a free agent again, just a week after joining the Bills. As Mike Rodak of wrote this morning, Cundiff appeared to do a good job in his role as a kickoff specialist this week, though Ryan didn’t exactly shower him with praise.

“He did OK, but he probably wishes he had worked on his kickoffs maybe a little more,” Ryan said. “But he did a … it wasn’t probably his best effort. But he was out there.”

Cundiff had been somewhat expendable, since he wasn’t the only kicker on the Bills’ roster — if the club doesn’t re-add Cundiff or sign another kicker before its next game, Dan Carpenter figures to handle kickoffs, along with his field goal and extra point duties.

AFC East Notes: Brady, Campbell, Wilkerson

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday he had no regrets about the way he acted throughout the Deflategate drama, as Christopher Price of writes. Goodell was complimentary of Brady but also made it clear that he was never interested in giving him special treatment.

I have a lot of respect and admiration for Tom. I know him personally,” Goodell said. “As I say, I admire him tremendously. He is a future Hall of Fame player. But our rules apply to everybody. They apply to every single player. And every single player expects those rules to apply to everybody. Every coach does, every fan does, every partner, every team does.

Here’s more from the AFC East..

  • It sounds like the Dolphins are going to give interim coach Dan Campbell a chance to win the permanent job in Miami, as Ed Werder of tweets. “That’s why we did this with 12 games left, not two,” a source told Werder. Presumably, the Dolphins will consider outside options at season’s end, but a strong finish for Campbell would give him a leg up on his competition.
  • New Bills kicker Billy Cundiff told reporters, including’s Mike Rodak (on Twitter), “I’m here to kick off. Everything else is on a need-to-know basis.” Of course, after kicker Dan Carpenter missed a 30-yard try on Sunday, many are wondering if that plan might change.
  • Muhammad Wilkerson has been an “absolute beast” so far this season for the Jets, and Brian Costello of the New York Post suggests that the team has to find a way to lock up one of its best defensive players to a long-term deal.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Bills Sign Billy Cundiff, Denarius Moore

The Bills have signed a pair of noteworthy players to their 53-man roster, the team announced today in a press release, confirming deals for kicker Billy Cundiff and wide receiver Denarius Moore. To make room for the incoming players, Buffalo has cut kicker Jordan Gay and wide receiver and return man Marcus Thigpen.

Swapping Gay for Cundiff is an interesting move for the Bills, who have seen their regular kicker, Dan Carpenter, struggle a little with his accuracy in the early going — Carpenter has missed an extra point and two field goals in four games. However, the fact that he remains on the roster, while the team cuts Gay, the kickoff specialist, suggests that Cundiff will only be taking over kickoff duties for the time being.

Of course, if Carpenter continues to struggle, I imagine his job will be in danger, especially since having Cundiff handle all the team’s kicking duties would free up a roster spot to add depth to another part of the roster. Cundiff has seen regular season action for five different teams in his NFL career, most recently converting 22 of 29 field goal attempts (75.9%) last season for the Browns.

As for Moore, the 26-year-old had a couple promising seasons with the Raiders early in his NFL career, notably racking up 741 yards and seven touchdowns on 51 receptions in 2012. He has been inconsistent since then, however, catching just 12 balls in 2014, and being released by the Bengals in August.

Thigpen had been handling the Bills’ punt return duties, so it’ll be interesting to see whether Moore gets a shot at that role, with 42 career punt returns on his résumé. Percy Harvin and Robert Woods would also be candidates for the job.

Barth Among Kickers Working Out For Bucs

Just over a month after they released him, the Buccaneers will be working out Connor Barth this week as they search for a new kicker, according to Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Barth, who lost the starting job to Kyle Brindza prior to the season, will be one of a handful of veteran kickers trying out for Tampa Bay.

Along with Barth, Randy Bullock, Kai Forbath, and Billy Cundiff will also be auditioning for the Buccaneers, says Garafolo.

Bullock recent lost the job in Houston, missing a 43-yard field goal and a pair of extra points through the Texans’ first three games. Forbath nearly replaced Bullock in Houston, having been the team’s second choice, as he was in Philadelphia when he auditioned for the Eagles. Cundiff was also part of that tryout with the Eagles, but hasn’t seen regular season action since he was with the Browns last season.

The most interesting name of the bunch is Barth, however — Brindza beat him out for the Bucs’ kicking job this season, but the rookie missed seven kicks (five field goals and two extra points) in Tampa Bay’s last two games, forcing the team to make a change. The veteran Barth was the Bucs’ kicker from 2009 to 2012, and looked poised to regain the job this year before Brindza surpassed him in the preseason.

The Bucs figure to decide on a new kicker and get him locked up within the next couple days.

Nick Novak, Others Auditioning For Eagles

12:07pm: Today’s tryouts are simply precautionary, according to head coach Chip Kelly (Twitter link). I speculated as much below, noting that the team could simply be attempting to identify a Plan B in case Parkey has to miss a game or two.

10:31am: Kai Forbath, Shayne Graham, and Carey Spear are also part of today’s workout for the Eagles, per Albert Breer of the NFL Network (Twitter link).

10:13am: Alex Marvez of FOX Sports reported earlier today that the Eagles would be auditioning kickers today after Cody Parkey re-aggravated a preseason groin injury during Sunday’s game, and Ian Rapoport of has provided some additional details, tweeting that ex-Changers kicker Nick Novak is working out for Philadelphia.

After Marvez tweeted that there are at least two other free agents in attendance, Rapoport reported those names as well, tweeting that Caleb Sturgis and Billy Cundiff are getting a look from the Eagles. Connor Barth, Jay Feely, and ex-Eagle Alex Henery are among the other notable veteran kickers who are currently without NFL jobs, but it doesn’t sound like they’re being considered by Philadelphia.

Novak, 34, had been the Chargers’ full-time kicker from 2011 to 2014, making 101 of his 117 field goal attempts (86.3%) during his time in San Diego, including 11 of 17 from 50+ yards. However, he was beaten out in camp this year by the younger, cheaper Josh Lambo, and was released by the Chargers earlier this month.

Sturgis, meanwhile, was the Dolphins’ kicker for the last two seasons, but his performance was a little shakier, as he missed eight field goal attempts in each of his two seasons with the team, for an overall mark of 77.5%. He lost his job to Andrew Franks this year. As for Cundiff, he kicked for the Browns in 2013 and 2014, converting 78.2% of his field goal tries.

If Novak, Sturgis, or Cundiff impresses the Eagles, it won’t necessarily result in a deal — according to Marvez, it’s unclear whether Parkey will be healthy enough to kick for Philadelphia in the club’s Week 4 game against Washington. Today’s workout may just be a fact-finding mission to identify the best alternative in case Parkey’s groin ultimately keeps him out of action.