Bud Sasser

Extra Points: McCourty, Levitre, Broncos

The Rams announced today that they have hired Bud Sasser as their External Football Affairs Coordinator. The wide receiver, as you might recall, was the team’s sixth-round pick in this year’s draft. However, the Rams learned that he would be unable to take the field due to a previously unknown pre-existing heart condition. Despite that, the team signed him to a contract that paid him a signing bonus of more than $113K before releasing him with the non-football related illness designation in June. Now, he’ll work for the organization in a different capacity.

Here’s tonight’s look around the NFL..

  • After undergoing groin surgery, Titans cornerback Jason McCourty could be out for the first three games of the season and return after the team’s bye week, sources tell Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
  • Andy Levitre, who signed a blockbuster six-year, $46.8MM free-agent contract in 2013 with the Titans, is openly wondering if there is a spot for him on the team’s roster, David Climer of The Tennessean writes. “If it doesn’t work out here, there’s other places,” Levitre said. Levitre has started all 32 games since joining the Titans but has not lived up to expectations.
  • The Broncos‘ signing of Evan Mathis could hurt Ben Garland‘s chances of making the roster, Troy Renck of the Denver Post tweets.

Minor Moves: Tuesday

Today’s minor moves..

  • The Colts cut kicker Taylor Pontius, according to Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun (on Twitter). Pontius was a member of the Colts’ rookie minicamp as a tryout player in May and signed a contract soon after.
  • The Patriots announced that they have released rookie defensive back Eric Patterson. Patterson, 22, was signed by the Pats as a UDFA back in May. The Ball State product started in 28 of 41 games during his collegiate career and finished with 135 total tackles and six interceptions.
  • The Vikings announced that they have signed free agent defensive tackle Chrishon Rose. Rose, who comes out of East Carolina, played in 13 games as a senior, posting 41 total tackles including 14 solo stops. Rose’s defensive unit held 18 opponents to 100 or less rushing yards in his four seasons at ECU.
  • The Packers have signed tackle Vince Kowalski, a UDFA from Villanova, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The signing brings Green Bay to the full 90-man roster limit. Kowalski started all four seasons at Villanova and was named first-team in his conference last season.
  • Rams sixth-round pick Bud Sasser went unclaimed off waivers and is now a free agent, Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun tweets.
  • Washington has signed tackle Bryce Quigley and cut quarterback Hutson Mason, according to Mike Jones of the Washington Post (on Twitter). Mason was serving as an extra arm behind Robert Griffin III, Colt McCoy, and Kirk Cousins in camp.
  • Former Northern Arizona punter Andy Wilder, who went undrafted last spring, has been cut by the Buccaneers, according to Wilson (on Twitter).
  • The Panthers will sign former Raiders tight end Scott Simonson to a one-year deal, a source tells Wilson (on Twitter).

Minor Moves: Monday Night

The latest minor moves..

  • The Bears signed wide receiver Ify Umodu, who was a tryout player at the team’s rookie minicamp in May, as Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune tweets. Umodu takes the place of linebacker Jamil Merrell, who was placed on waivers. Umodu, an undrafted rookie free agent from Northern Arizona, had 47 catches for 692 yards and 5 touchdowns last season.
  • The Rams removed Bud Sasser from the non-football illness list, making him a free agent, as Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post tweets. The sixth-round wide receiver was signed to a deal but waived just two days later to ensure that he would still receive his signing bonus despite his heart condition.
  • The Dolphins reached an injury settlement with Jake Knott, Wilson tweets.

Extra Points: Spikes, Carroll, Steelers, Rams

Just weeks after signing a one-year deal with the Patriots, linebacker Brandon Spikes may soon find himself in legal trouble.

A car registered to Spikes was found abandoned on I-495 in Foxborough, Mass., early Sunday morning, according to FOX 25. An OnStar representative told Massachusetts State Police that the driver reported hitting a deer, but no deer was found in the vicinity and the car had front-end damage. Shortly after, police responded to a hit-and-run report nearby. The occupants, who said they were rear-ended by a car they didn’t see, were treated for minor injuries at an area hospital.

Per Massachusetts law, fleeing a hit-and-run scene in which human injuries occurred carries up to two years in jail, tweeted Sports Illustrated’s Michael McCann.

When asked for comment, Patriots spokesman Stacey James said, “We are aware of the report and are looking into the matter, but I don’t have any additional comment at this time.”

Whether this will lead to serious ramifications for Spikes remains to be seen, but it’s an inauspicious start to his second stint with the Pats. The 27-year-old left the team in an acrimonious manner last offseason after four seasons and subsequently signed with AFC East rival Buffalo. Upon returning to New England, Spikes said of head coach Bill Belichick,“I just want to show him I’ve changed as an individual, as a player, as a man. I’m going to just show him; better than just saying it, I’m going to show him.”

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • The Eagles are looking for a cornerback to start opposite the newly acquired Byron Maxwell, and they have a strong contender in five-year veteran Nolan Carroll, writes Jeff McLane of Philly.com. Carroll has fared well during spring workouts and drawn praise from head coach Chip Kelly and defensive backs coach Cory Undilin. “He’s not satisfied with where he was yesterday,” said Undilin. “So every time he comes into the building his mind-set is telling him, ‘Listen, I’m going to find a away to get better than I was yesterday.’ I believe he’s done that every single day he’s been here.” Carroll, whom Philly signed as a free agent last year, appeared in 16 games in 2014 and made 31 tackles. He has five career interceptions, including three in 2013.
  • Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant spent the first six games of 2014, his rookie season, on the inactive list and then impressed when finally given a chance, averaging over 21 yards per catch and racking up eight touchdowns in 10 games. The 23-year-old spent the offseason working hard in hopes of making an impact immediately in his second year, he told the Associated Press. “I am more prepared,” the former fourth-round pick said. “I have more confidence. I just trained and did karate and ran routes the whole offseason to get better. I worked on the whole route tree that we run so people can see that I can do more than just catch the deep ball.”
  • The Rams waived sixth-round receiver Bud Sasser earlier this week because of a heart condition that, in the team’s opinion, will prevent Sasser from playing. Sasser went unclaimed on waivers and is now on the Rams’ non-football illness list for 2015. Teams don’t have to pay players who are on the NFI list, and the Rams will take advantage of that, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Sasser will, however, keep the $113k signing bonus the Rams gave him when they signed him. There is no word on whether the team will relinquish Sasser’s rights, which would give him the opportunity to catch on with another club. Sasser would want that, it seems, given that he believes he’s physically well enough to play.

Minor Moves: Friday

Here are Friday’s minor transactions from around the NFL:

  • The Browns have cut outside linebacker Keith Pough, tweets Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal. Pough had been cut with an injured designation last month, so today’s move removes him from the roster entirely.
  • Having signed him to their roster in April, the Giants have waived/injured linebacker Ryan Jones less than two months later, per Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News (Twitter link).
  • After being waived with an injury designation by the Raiders yesterday, linebacker Jacoby Hale has reverted to the team’s IR list, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun.

Earlier updates:

  • Offensive lineman Jon Halapio, drafted by the Patriots in the sixth round in 2014, has signed with the Cardinals, per Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com (Twitter link). To make room for the guard, the Cards parted ways with another offensive lineman, tackle Tavon Rooks.
  • As expected, sixth-round wide receiver Bud Sasser, who wasn’t cleared physically due to a heart condition, went unclaimed on waivers and has been placed on the Rams‘ non-football illness list, tweets Howard Balzer of TheSportsXchange. For what it’s worth, Sasser’s agent, Scott Thiel, tells David Morrison of the Columbia Daily Tribune that doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota said the young wideout is “at little to no risk,” and should be able to play football. For now though, he’ll remain on St. Louis’ NFI list.
  • The Cowboys have waived former Fresno State linebacker Kyle Knox, just a few days after signing him, tweets Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News. According to Todd Archer of ESPNDallas.com (Twitter link), the club will add another linebacker to its roster next week.
  • The Dolphins have waived linebacker Jake Knott, the team announced today (via Twitter). The 24-year-old, who played his college ball at Iowa State, has had stints with the Eagles and Dolphins over the last couple seasons.

Rams To Waive Bud Sasser

The Rams typically announce the signings of their entire draft class at the same time, generally at the end of the team’s OTAs, so it was a bit of a surprise when the club locked up sixth-round wideout Bud Sasser this week. Two days after word broke of Sasser’s signing, we have an explanation for why the Rams completed the deal early.

According to Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com, the Rams will waive Sasser later today after he was unable to get cleared physically, due to a heart condition. By signing him this week, the Rams ensure that Sasser, the No. 201 pick in the draft, still receives his signing bonus, worth just under $114K. However, it appears the former Missouri receiver won’t play a game for the club that drafted him.

As Wagoner notes (via Twitter), Sasser wasn’t invited to this year’s scouting combine, where prospects typically undergo extensive physical examinations. Had Sasser’s condition been identified at that point, it would’ve saved the Rams a draft pick, but it also would’ve cost the wideout his NFL signing bonus.

We saw a situation similar to Sasser’s play out a year ago, with a player selected at nearly the same spot in the draft. Offensive lineman Garrett Scott, picked 199th overall by the Seahawks, signed his rookie contract and was cut a day later due to a heart condition. Scott landed on Seattle’s non-football injury/illness list for the 2014 season, and Sasser will get a similar designation when his release becomes official.

Minor Moves: Tuesday Night

This afternoon, Luke Adams rounded up the minor transactions of the day. Here’s a look at the latest moves to come to light this evening..

  • Nose tackle Brandon Deaderick, a former member of the Saints, was signed by the Texans, according to Howard Balzer of USA Today Sports (via Twitter). The Texans also signed defensive end Jasper Coleman and waived running back Mack Brown, according to Mark Berman of FOX 26 (on Twitter).
  • The Browns were awarded defensive lineman Tory Slater off waivers from the Seahawks, according to a source that spoke with Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post (on Twitter). To make room, linebacker Rodman Noel has been waived, according to Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer (on Twitter).
  • The Lions will re-sign UDFA running back Rasheed Williams, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (on Twitter). Williams, who was released not long ago, will be back at OTAs on Wednesday with Detroit.
  • Washington announced that it has re-signed tackle Willie Smith. Smith, 28, originally entered the NFL as a college free agent July 28, 2011, and has since appeared in 29 career games with 11 starts with the Raiders, Chargers, and Washington. To make room, fellow tackle Tovar Allen was let go.
  • The Rams signed sixth-round wide receiver Bud Sasser, according to Wilson (on Twitter).
  • No surprise here, but Prince Shembo went unclaimed off waivers from the Falcons, as Wilson tweets. Wilson is facing animal cruelty chargers for allegedly killing a dog.
  • The Cowboys cut safety Keelan Johnson, according to Wilson (on Twitter).
  • Former Chiefs tight end Sean McGrath, who recently un-retired, has signed with the Colts, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (on Twitter). To make room on the roster, former tight end Jean Sifrin was waived, according to Wilson (link).
  • Former Missouri defensive tackle Lucas Vincent was waived by the Titans today, according to Howard Balzer of USA Today Sports (on Twitter).

NFC West Notes: Wilson, Irvin, Lee, Gunter

Contract talks between the Seahawks and Russell Wilson are going “a little slow,” according to head coach Pete Carroll, reports Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times (via Twitter). They are talking, but are not progressing as fast as the two sides would like. Condotta writes that Adam Schefter of ESPN followed that news up by reporting that Wilson is looking for guaranteed money of a quarterback while the Seahawks are trying to sign him for less (via Twitter).

Here are some other notes from around the NFC West:

  • Condotta also points out that while Carroll says nothing is final about a possible extension for former first-round pick Bruce Irvin, but also says nothing to a report that the Seahawks would like to trade the young linebacker (via Twitter).
  • The 49ers have not asked punter Andy Lee to take a pay cut, but drafting Clemson punter Bradley Pinion in the fifth-round certainly puts his future with the team in question, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (via Twitter). Cole notes that Lee is scheduled to make $2.05MM in base salary in 2015, suggesting the team could look to save some money at that position on the roster.
  • The Cardinals felt forced to trade up in the fourth round to select Delaware State’s Rodney Gunter, as they were convinced that another team drafting in that area was going to take their coveted defensive line prospect, according to Kent Somers of AZCentral.com (via Twitter).
  • After drafting Missouri receiver Bud Sasser in the sixth round, Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch notes Rams have now gone with an offensive player in all six of their selections in the 2015 NFL Draft (via Twitter). They have taken three offensive linemen, a quarterback, and a running back to go along with Sasser so far, in hopes of building up an offense that has been far behind their stout defense the past few seasons. The last defensive player they have chosen was Michael Sam in the seventh round last year.

Draft Visits: Jets, Jags, Steelers, Lions

Draft day is only a week and a half away, but teams are still bringing in prospects for visits and working them out, as they try to compile as much information as possible on this year’s draft class. Here are a few Monday updates on the latest visits and workouts:

  • Leonard Williams, DL (USC); Dante Fowler Jr., DE/OLB (Florida): Making their previously-reported visits to the Jets this week, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).
  • Denzel Perryman, LB (Miami): Visiting the Jaguars today, according to Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post.
  • Darryl Roberts, CB (Marshall); Bryce Callahan, CB (Rice); Steven Nelson, CB (Oregon State): All visiting the Steelers today, according to Wilson (Twitter link).
  • Jamison Crowder, WR (Duke): Has had private workouts with Panthers, Buccaneers, and Texans, per Wilson.
  • Carl Davis, DT (Iowa): Visiting the Lions today, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (via Twitter).
  • David Johnson, RB (Northern Iowa): Visiting the Falcons today, according to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
  • Marcus Hardison, DL (Arizona State): Visiting the Bengals today and generating a lot of interest around the league, per Gil Brandt of NFL.com (Twitter link).
  • Bud Sasser, WR (Missouri): Visiting the Broncos today, according to Mike Klis of the Denver Post.