Brandon Fields

AFC Notes: Pats, Browns, Raiders, Dolphins

Dont’a Hightower is expected to return to action for the Patriots on Sunday after missing each of the club’s past two games with a knee sprain, a source tells Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald. New England, notably, ranks dead last in the NFL in points allowed, yards allowed, and defensive DVOA. With the Patriots’ defense clearly missing its leader, Hightower’s return can’t come too soon. As Howe writes, New England had been using Hightower as an edge defender, but several defensive mistakes could lead the Pats to shift Hightower back to his natural off-ball linebacker position. Elandon Roberts, and possibly Kyle Van Noy, will likely see his snaps reduced as a result of Hightower’s return.

Here’s more from the AFC:

  • While Hightower will be back on the field in New England, the same can’t be said for Browns defensive end Myles Garrett, who is expected to miss Sunday’s game against the Bengals, reports Mary Kay Cabot of Garrett, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 draft, hasn’t played a regular season down this year as he deals with a high ankle sprain. Browns head coach Hue Jackson has hinted on multiple occasions that Garrett is “close” to returning, but the Texas A&M product will have to wait until at least Week 5 to make his NFL debut. Without Garrett in tow, Cleveland ranks just 23rd in adjusted sack rate.
  • Raiders cornerback Sean Smith pleaded not guilty on charges of assault and battery stemming from an alleged July altercation, as Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal writes. The details of the incident are rather sordid, but Oakland head coach Jack Del Rio indicated the club would stand behind Smith until the legal process runs its course. On the field, Smith is no longer starting just one year after agreeing to a four-year, $38MM free agent contract. Thus far, he’s played only a quarter of the Raiders’ defensive snaps, fourth among Oakland corners.
  • Punter Brandon Fields has announced his retirement from the NFL following a nine-year career, his agent announced on Twitter. Fields, 33, last played for the Saints in 2015, but is most well-known for his eight-season run with the Dolphins from 2007-14. The former seventh-round pick appeared in 130 career games and maintained a yards per punt average of 46.7.

Extra Points: Trades, Falcons, Bills, Bouye, Pats

With the league’s trading deadline less than 24 hours away, Mike Sando of ESPN Insider and Jason La Canfora of try to guess where certain players might end up in the coming days. The Seahawks would make a perfect fit for Browns left tackle Joe Thomas, opines Sando, who also suggests the Packers try to acquire Torrey Smith and the Bears attempt to find a taker for Alshon Jeffery. Meanwhile, La Canfora focuses solely on Thomas, laying out the case for clubs such as the Cardinals, Broncos, and Colts to go after the future Hall of Famer.

Let’s take a quick spin around the league on this Halloween night:

  • Speaking of the deadline, two head coaches broached the subject today while speaking with reporters. The FalconsDan Quinn told D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that while there are some “behind-the-scenes whispers about stuff” happening over the next day or so, Atlanta is unlikely to make a move. Bills head coach Rex Ryan, meanwhile, said he “doesn’t necessarily see” Buffalo working out a trade before tomorrow, per Mike Rodak of (Twitter link).
  • Looking ahead to 2017 free agency, Peter King of identifies Texans cornerback A.J. Bouye as one underrated player who could potentially score a hefty contract next spring. Bouye, whose role with Houston will grow even larger given that Kevin Johnson is now on IR, grades as Pro Football Focus’ No. 1 corner, leading King to speculate that Bouye could be worth $8MM on the open market.
  • The Patriots worked out punter Brandon Fields, kicker Matt Wile, long snappers Tyler Ott and John DePalma, and wide receivers Wendall Williams and Bralon Addison, according to Adam Caplan of (Twitter link).
  • The Giants tried out rookie undrafted free agent linebacker Myke Tavarres , per Caplan (Twitter link). This marks the second time they have worked him out.
  • The Cowboys auditioned guard Kadeem Edwards, Caplan tweets. Edwards, who was cut by Jacksonville at the end of the summer, worked out for Kansas City last week.

NFC Notes: Saints, Lions, Falcons

With the Friday release of Keenan Lewis, the Saints have now severed ties with all but one cornerback who made their roster two years ago, observes Joel Erickson of the New Orleans Advocate. That corner is Brian Dixon, who has begun his career with 32 straight appearances since the Saints signed him as an undrafted free agent from Northwest Missouri State. Of New Orleans’ current group of corners, P.J. Williams stands to benefit the most from Lewis’ exit, writes Erickson, who adds that the 2015 third-round pick has impressed this summer. Williams missed his rookie season with a torn hamstring, but the Florida State product is now set to start opposite Delvin Breaux.

Elsewhere in the NFC…

  • While the Lions value backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky’s veteran leadership, that might not be enough for the 11th-year man to fend off Jake Rudock for the backup role or – depending on how many signal-callers the team keeps – a roster spot, writes Kyle Meinke of Rudock, a sixth-round rookie out of Michigan, has outplayed the 33-year-old Orlovsky through the Lions’ first two preseason matchups. In Detroit’s game Thursday against Cincinnati, Orlovsky tossed his second pick-six of the exhibition season. Overall, in addition to the two interceptions, he has thrown a touchdown while completing 24 of 39 passes for 247 yards. Rudock has hit on 16 of 22 attempts for 162 yards, adding both a score and a pick.
  • Falcons punter Matt Bosher suffered a chest injury in the team’s game against the Browns on Thursday, so Atlanta will work out free agent Brandon Fields, according to Vaughn McClure of Fields might only be a temporary solution if he signs, however, as McClure notes that Bosher is likely to be fine. A Dolphin from 2007-14, Fields played two games last season with the Saints and averaged 41.2 yards (35.1 net) on 10 punts.
  • In case you missed it, the NFL released a statement Friday explaining why it only suspended Giants kicker Josh Brown for one game after past domestic violence allegations surfaced.

NFL Workouts/Visits: 1/8/16

As teams look ahead to formulating their offseason rosters, they’ve begun to bring in free agents for both workouts and visits. Let’s look at the latest:


Chargers (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle)

  • Freddie Bishop, DL
  • Euclid Cummings, DE
  • Cleyon Laing, DL

Chiefs (Twitter link via Wilson)

Jaguars (Twitter link via Wilson)

Ravens (Twitter link via Wilson)

Steelers (Twitter link via Wilson)

  • Freddie Bishop, DL
  • Dexter McCoil, LB
  • Eric Rogers, WR
  • Dustin Vaughan, QB

Washington (Twitter link via Wilson)

  • Cleyon Laing, DL
  • Eric Rogers, WR


Cardinals (Twitter link via Wilson)

  • Toby Johnson, DT (prior to signing with Vikings’ practice squad)

Chiefs (Twitter links via Wilson)

Giants (Twitter link via Wilson)

Steelers (Twitter link via Wilson)

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.

Saints To Cut Brandon Fields

After spending two games with the Saints, punter Brandon Fields will return to the free agent market. According to Mike Triplett of (via Twitter), New Orleans is releasing Fields today, a hint that veteran punter Thomas Morstead may be ready to return.

Fields is only two years removed from a Pro Bowl season for Miami in 2013. However, despite restructuring his contract to make his 2015 cap hit more palatable, the 31-year-old was beaten out by Matt Darr for the Dolphins’ punting job. Fields served as the Dolphins’ punter for eight seasons before being let go earlier this year.

The Saints signed Fields to fill in for Morstead as he battled a strained quad, and the ex-Dolphins punter had 10 attempts over the last weeks — he averaged 41.2 yards per punt, which would’ve easily been the lowest mark of his career over the course of a full season.

Because he’s a vested veteran, Fields won’t have to pass through waivers before becoming a free agent.

Saints To Sign Brandon Fields

With incumbent punter Thomas Morstead battling a strained quad, the Saints brought in free agents for a look this week, and have decided to sign former Dolphin Brandon Fields, according to Alex Marvez of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Fields’ agent, Ian Greengross, confirmed the agreement, tweeting a congratulatory message to his client.

Fields, 31, is only two years removed from a Pro Bowl season for Miami in 2013. The veteran served as the Dolphins’ punter for eight seasons before being let go earlier this year. Despite restructuring his contract to make his 2015 cap hit more palatable, Fields was beaten out by Matt Darr for the Dolphins’ punting job.

With Morstead only expected to be sidelined for a week or two, Fields may not stick around on New Orleans’ roster for long, but he’ll play until Morstead is ready to return, tweets Marvez.

Joel A. Erickson of The Advocate first reported earlier today that Fields was among the punters to work out for the Saints.

NFC East Notes: Dez, Washington, Eagles

The Cowboys are hoping Dez Bryant returns in four to six week after undergoing foot surgery, but ESPN’s Dr. Mark Adickes thinks eight to 12 weeks might be a more realistic recovery time frame for the star wideout (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of For now, the Cowboys have no plans to use their IR/designated to return slot on Bryant — such a move would sideline him for at least eight weeks.

Let’s round up a few more items from around the NFC East….

  • With starting cornerback Chris Culliver set to miss Washington‘s Week 2 contest due to a one-game suspension, the club is bringing in free agent corner Will Blackmon for a visit today, according to Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Blackmon, who was cut by the Jaguars earlier in 2015, signed with the Seahawks in March but was released by Seattle during the cutdown to 53 players.
  • Before Washington signed free agent kicker Dustin Hopkins yesterday, the team also worked out former Dolphins kicker Caleb Sturgis, along with punter Brandon Fields, tweets Adam Caplan of
  • The Eagles auditioned tight ends Connor Hamlett, Brian Leonhardt, and Jacob Maxwell, per Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post (via Twitter). Presumably, those workouts took place before the club was certain that Zach Ertz – coming off groin surgery – would be ready for such a significant role on Monday night.
  • Cornerback Byron Maxwell, the Eagles‘ biggest free agent addition of the winter, was also the team’s biggest disappointment in Week 1, writes Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer. McLane also notes that the offensive line – featuring Allen Barbre and Andrew Gardner in starting roles – was overmatched by Atlanta’s defensive front, which could raise questions about Philadelphia’s decision to cut both Evan Mathis and Todd Herremans in the offseason.

Workout Notes: Eagles, Giants, Jets, Saints

The Eagles, who parted ways with the polarizing Tim Tebow last week, auditioned a pair of quarterbacks on Tuesday, according to’s Field Yates (on Twitter). Josh Johnson and Thad Lewis, who were both let go by their respective teams on September 5th, both worked out for Chip Kelly & Co. Johnson, 29, made an appearance during the Jets’ final preseason game, passing for 82 yards while adding 76 yards on the ground. Lewis, a 27-year-old signal caller recently released by the Browns, didn’t appear in a game with the Texans in 2014, but he did start in five games for the Bills in 2013.

Here are the latest auditions from around the NFL..

  • The Giants worked out former Eagles quarterback/wide receiver/running back G.J. Kinne on Tuesday, according to Jordan Raanan of the Star-Ledger. The Giants also worked out punters Brandon Fields and Kasey Redfern.
  • The Jets had former Giants safety Stevie Brown in for a tryout today, according to Brian Costello of the New York Post (on Twitter).
  • Field Yates of reports that the Saints worked out tight ends Bear Pascoe and Gerell Robinson and wide receiver Austin Pettis (via Evan Woodbery of The Times-Picayune on Twitter).
  • Ross Scheuerman worked out for Buccaneers today, according to a league source who spoke with Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (on Twitter).
  • The Patriots auditioned two players today: defensive back Floyd Raven (formerly of Texas A&M and the Bengals) and linebacker Alex Singleton (formerly of Montana State and the Seahawks), according to’s Mike Reiss (on Twitter).

Dolphins Release Brandon Fields

After spending the last eight seasons acting as the Dolphins’ punter, Brandon Fields will be looking for a new NFL home this week. According to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald (via Twitter), Fields has been released by the team, having lost the job to rookie Matt Darr.

Fields, the Dolphins’ second-longest-tenured player, earned a Pro Bowl nod in 2013, but wasn’t as effective for the Dolphins last season. Appearing in all 16 games for the team, the 31-year-old ranked 23rd out of 32 qualified NFL punters, according to the advanced metrics at Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

Back in March, Fields agreed to restructure his contract, reducing his 2015 base salary to $1.65MM. At the time, reports indicated that the veteran punter’s only hope of remaining with the team was to rework his deal, but it turns out that even that didn’t save his roster spot. By releasing Fields, the Dolphins will create some cap savings, but will still carry dead-money hits of $870K in 2015 and $770K in 2016.

According to Salguero (via Twitter), the Dolphins made the decision on their starting punter based on performance, not based on Fields’ higher cap figure.