Cory Littleton is back in Houston. The linebacker already got into six games with the Texans this season, mostly playing on special teams. After getting cut in late October, he caught on with the Saints practice squad and quickly earned a promotion on Sunday. This time around, Littleton should be sticking in Houston, at least temporarily. The Texans are required to keep the LB on their active roster for at least three weeks.
The veteran had a productive stint with the Rams to begin his career. He spent four years in Los Angeles, including a two-year stint between 2018 and 2019 where he averaged 129 tackles per season.
NOVEMBER 6: O’Connell confirmed on Monday that Akers has indeed suffered the second Achilles tear of his NFL career (which, as ESPN’s Kevin Seifert notes, affects the other tendon than the one severed in 2021). The injury will deal a blow to his free agent prospects, and leave a Vikings offense now resting on Josh Dobbsat quarterback without a key contributor in the ground game.
NOVEMBER : The Vikings appear to have suffered a season-ending injury on offense for the second straight week. Head coach Kevin O’Connell indicated (via Mike Garafolo of NFL Network) that running back Cam Akersis feared to have suffered an Achilles tear.
That would mark the second such injury to befall Minnesota in as many weeks, with Kirk Cousinsbeing lost for the year in Week 8. Of course, confirmation of the initial fear would mark the second time in Akers’ career that he tore his Achilles. As a result, today’s news marks a major blow to both team and player.
Akers tore his Achilles in the summer of 2021, an injury which derailed his second season with the Rams. Expectations were high for him entering that campaign, given the fact he had established himself as the team’s lead back. While the Florida State product later returned to full health and had stretches of strong play, his tenure in Los Angeles did not come to an end on good terms.
Mentioned in trade speculation in 2022, Akers was retained for the rest of that season and stayed in place as part of the Rams’ backfield to begin the current campaign. He found himself a healthy scratch and buried behind Kyren Williamson the depth chart, however, so it came as no surprise that a trade partner was found this time around. Akers was dealt to the Vikings in September.
That trade – which included a swap of Day 3 picks in 2026 – gave Akers an opportunity to see a more consistent workload in advance of reaching free agency for the first time. The 24-year-old saw only 11 carries in his first three games in Minnesota, as the team kept up its commitment to Alexander Mattisonatop the depth chart. However, Akers saw 27 carries in the past three games, carving out an RB2 role for himself along the way. He posted 113 rushing yards (at a rate of 3.8 per carry) and one touchdown during his brief time before going down with what is likely another massive injury.
Presuming further tests confirm the worst-case scenario, Akers’ free agent stock will take a hit. The former second-rounder was already in line for a less-than-stellar market for himself given his performances, injury history and the nature of the RB position. A second Achilles tear would hinder his earning power for 2024 and beyond even further, though, and threaten his availability for the start of next season.
September 22nd, 2023 at 8:52am CST by Adam La Rose
Cam Akers‘ time in Los Angeles came to an expected end earlier this week when he was dealt to Minnesota. The move has led to questions about the Vikings’ pecking order at the running back spot, but the team’s depth chart appears set to remain the same at the top.
Alexander Mattisontook over RB1 duties this offseason when the Vikings released Dalvin Cook, but that move has not yielded success on the ground to date. Minnesota has the league’s least productive run game through Week 2, having totaled just 69 rushing yards. Mattison’s inefficiency is among the causes for that figure, but he is safe in his role as starter even with Akers in the fold.
“We haven’t lost confidence in Alex Mattison,” Vikings offensive coordinator Wes Phillips said, via ESPN’s Kevin Seifert. “I will say that. Unfortunately we’ve had a couple turnovers in the run game where we obviously need to clean that up. Everyone’s aware of that. But we still feel very strongly in Alex and [backup Ty Chandler] and those guys being able to go in and produce. We know we have to be better in the run game. A lot of that starts with us, and the players fundamentally. All those things we’ve addressed, and… I think it will improve dramatically.”
Phillips and head coach Kevin O’Connell are among the Vikings staffers with ties to Akers dating back to their shared time with the Rams. That level of familiarity should help the latter’s acclimation period with his new team, one which figures to use him in a rotational capacity early on. Expectations will be tempered considering the fact Minnesota only needed to swap future Day 3 picks to acquire Akers, but a strong showing in the coming weeks would help his free agent stock considerably ahead of the offseason.
It would also give the team another option in the run game aside from Mattison, whom Seifert notes does not expect to see his role changed with Akers now in the picture. Improvement on the ground in any capacity would be welcomed for the 0-2 Vikings, but it will be interesting to see how the backfield is managed with a former second-round pick (who started 15 of his 30 Rams contests) in place. For now, at least, Mattison is safe atop the RB depth chart.
September 21st, 2023 at 12:33pm CST by Sam Robinson
SEPTEMBER 21: For the conditions to be met, Akers must combine for 500 yards from scrimmage with the Vikings, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets. In Akers’ two healthy seasons, he has hit 748 and 903 scrimmage yards, respectively.
SEPTEMBER 20: The off-and-on Rams-Cam Akers drama will come to an end Wednesday. The Rams found a taker for Akers, per NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero, who reports the Vikings will acquire the fourth-year running back.
Minnesota and Los Angeles will swap late-round 2026 draft choices, Pelissero adds. Given Akers’ inconsistent history, it was always unlikely the Rams would obtain much for him. But the Vikings will take a flier on the former second-round pick.
The Vikings will send Los Angeles a conditional sixth-round pick in 2026. In exchange, the Rams will send Minnesota Akers and a 2026 conditional seventh-rounder, ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets. Terms on the conditions of each pick have not yet been released, but with nearly three full seasons in between now and then, there are a vast number of possibilities for what might alter these picks.
For an in-season trade, this presents the opportunity for a smooth Akers transition. Kevin O’Connell served as the Rams’ offensive coordinator during Akers’ first two NFL seasons, and Vikings OC Wes Phillips was also in L.A. during that span. Akers will join a Vikings backfield transitioning from Dalvin Cook‘s six-year tenure, leaving the Rams with their now-Kyren Williams-fronted setup behind Matthew Stafford.
The tumultuous Rams-Akers relationship reached the point of no return Sunday, when the team deactivated the former starter for its Week 2 game. Akers, 24, expressed confusion at the move, but he and Sean McVay had not seen eye to eye for periods over the past year. McVay indicated a trade was likely.
Despite opening each of the past two Rams seasons as the starting running back, Akers found himself a healthy scratch each year. Los Angeles scratched Akers for Week 6 last season, as trade rumors swirled. While the team held onto Akers after negotiating with teams ahead of last year’s trade deadline, the Vikings are now responsible for the last year of his rookie deal.
It does not appear the Rams would have settled for his level of trade compensation last year, when they rejected trade offers, but the minimal return points to the Rams being prepared to accept just about anything to end this relationship. The Browns, Buccaneers, Raiders and Ravens were mentioned as interested parties. The Browns took themselves out of the running Wednesday morning, when they reunited withKareem Hunt. Although McVay disciples are in HC posts elsewhere — Matt LaFleur, Brandon Staley, Zac Taylor — the Vikings make the most sense from a familiarity standpoint due to O’Connell having coached Akers as OC.
While 2026 late-round draft choices effectively indicate how little trade value Akers brought, he has produced promising stretches during an inconsistent career. The Rams turned to the Florida State product late in the 2020 season, and the then-rookie ripped off a 171-yard showing against the Patriots. Akers then amassed 131 rushing yards to help the Rams upset the Seahawks in the 2020 wild-card round. After last year’s spate of hiccups, Akers regrouped to close the season with three straight 100-yard performances. While seldom used as a receiver, Akers has enjoyed productive periods as a ball-carrier.
Of course, Akers also suffered an Achilles tear in July 2021. This prompted the Rams to trade for Sony Michel. While Akers made a surprising return in time for Week 18 and suited up for the Rams in the playoffs, he did not regain his previous form. As the Rams’ O-line deteriorated last season, Akers struggled, leading to the disagreement with McVay. He opened this year with a wildly ineffective 22-carry, 29-yard showing in Seattle, ceding the key backfield touches to Williams, a 2022 fifth-round pick who has seized command for the retooling Rams.
The Vikings turned to longtime Cook backup Alexander Mattison this offseason, opting not to bring in another veteran to supplement the career-long RB2. Mattison, 25, is off to a slow start. The fifth-year back is averaging 3.3 yards per carry; in Week 2, he lost a fumble in what turned out to be a one-score loss to the Eagles. Overall, Minnesota has gained an NFL-low 69 rushing yards. Mattison should still be expected to lead the way in Minnesota, but Akers represents competition. The Vikes roster 2022 fifth-rounder Ty Chandler and late-summer pickup Myles Gaskin behind Mattison.
September 19th, 2023 at 3:25pm CST by Sam Robinson
3:25pm: This process is moving fast. The Browns are hosting Hunt on a Tuesday visit, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. This marks Hunt’s fourth known visit this offseason. He met with the Vikings, Saints and Colts. As of this past weekend, Indianapolis still had the six-year veteran on its radar.
In April, a report emerged indicating the Browns were not planning to bring back Hunt, who played out a two-year, $12MM extension with his hometown team last season. But Hunt has remained a free agent for the past six months. Having visited the Colts, Saints and Vikings, the former rushing champion looms as a natural fit for the Browns, seeing as he spent the past three seasons in Kevin Stefanski‘s system.
At 24, Akers is four years younger than Hunt, who turned 28 last month. The Cleveland-area native came up in trade talks before last year’s deadline, but after Hunt completed a down season, the running back market cratered. No substantial offers have likely come Hunt’s way, leading to the longtime Chubb complementary piece remaining unattached. An interesting opportunity could soon await, though it might depend on what the Rams are willing to accept for Akers. Hunt has logged 1,106 career touches; Akers’ NFL odometer sits at 387.
As Chubb led the NFL in Next Gen Stats’ rushing yards over expected metric last season, with 284, Hunt finished with minus-10. Hunt gained only 678 scrimmage yards in 17 games. The 2017 rushing champ had requested a trade during the 2022 offseason, and after the Browns refused to accommodate him at that point, they were open to an in-season move. A fourth-round pick emerged as a Cleveland ask, but the team ended up hanging onto Hunt during Deshaun Watson‘s suspension. A host of lower-profile backs found deals in March, and Dalvin Cook and Ezekiel Elliott wound up with teams during training camp. Hunt and Leonard Fournette, however, have been unattached for more than six months.
Calf and ankle injuries limited Hunt in 2021; he amassed just 560 scrimmage yards that year. The ex-Chief played a major role in the Browns snapping their near-two-decade playoff drought in 2020, producing 1,145 scrimmage yards and 11 touchdowns alongside Chubb. During the Chubb-Hunt partnership, the latter played a much bigger passing-game role. Akers has not done much as a receiver during his pro career.
Hunt complementing 2022 fifth-rounder Jerome Ford in a similar capacity makes sense for the Browns, who did acquire Pierre Strong from the Patriots in August. Ford played the lead role following Chubb’s season-ending injury Monday night.
Going through an up-and-down career with the Rams, Akers did close the 2022 season well after seeing a July 2021 Achilles tear sidetrack him. Akers produced three straight 100-yard games from Weeks 16-18 but has seen 2022 fifth-rounder Kyren Williams usurp him in L.A.’s backfield. Akers rushed for just 29 yards on 22 carries in Week 1, with most of those totes coming after the Rams had put the Seahawks matchup out of reach.
Hunt arrived back in Cleveland during John Dorsey‘s GM stretch, reuniting with the exec who drafted him with the Chiefs. But Hunt signed the above-referenced extension during Andrew Berry‘s first year at the helm. With this looming as a crucial year for Stefanski (and perhaps Berry as well), it is logical the Browns are looking for a veteran to team with Ford, who totaled just eight carries for 12 yards last season. Trey Sermon also landed on the Browns’ radar, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, but the ex-49ers and Eagles back signed with the Colts’ P-squad.
September 19th, 2023 at 11:45am CST by Adam La Rose
With Cam Akers‘ time with the Rams set to come to an end, multiple suitors appear to have emerged for his services as a mid-season rental. At least four teams have reached out regarding the contract-year back, reports Jordan Schultz of the Score.
Schultz names the Buccaneers, Ravens, Raiders and Browns as being among the clubs which have show interest in a deal for Akers. The 24-year-old was a healthy scratch in Week 2, and head coach Sean McVay has since confirmed that the Rams are once again interested in finding a trade partner to move on from their former second-rounder. Today’s update points further to a trade being the end to this situation.
Both Baltimore and Cleveland have seen their No. 1 backs go down with massive injuries early in the year. J.K. Dobbinssuffered an Achilles tear in Week 1, while Nick Chubbis likely to miss the remainder of the campaign after encountering multiple ligament tears in his knee last night. It thus comes as no surprise those squads would seek out short-term help in the backfield, though Ravens head coach John Harbaugh recently stated his confidence in the team’s incumbent RB options.
Kevin Stefanski confirmed, via Jeff Schudel of the News-Herald, the Browns are looking for backfield help in the wake of the Chubb injury. Akers would represent a low-cost addition (in terms of draft capital and finances) to help stabilize the team’s ground game while turning to Jerome Fordin a larger capacity. Even with Deshaun Watsonand a new-look receiving corps in place, Cleveland’s offense is still likely to depend in large part on the run game, particularly if a notable addition is made.
Ex-Browns backup Kareem Huntis still on the open market, and he would represent a logical candidate for a reunion if Cleveland does elect to add a veteran back. Given Ford’s skillset, though, adding Akers for early-down contributions would also come as little surprise. The Florida State alum has been used sparingly as a pass-catcher during his time with the Rams, one which has included serious trade talk for each of the past two seasons.
Both the Raiders and Bucs have their lead back in place at the moment (Josh Jacobsand Rachaad White, respectively), but each squad could use a depth addition. Jacobs – who like Akers is set to hit free agency at the end of the season – has averaged only 1.6 yards per carry through two weeks as Vegas has struggled to find success on the ground. White has likewise seen his efficiency (3.3 yards per attempt) drop compared to last season despite Tampa Bay’s 2-0 start.
Akers struggled in his lone game of the 2023 campaign, turning 22 carries into just 29 rushing yards (though he did find the endzone as well). That performance helped inform the Rams’ decision to turn to Kyren Williams as their new lead back, and no doubt hindered Akers’ trade value. Now far removed from his 2021 Achilles tear, however, the latter could prove to be an effective pickup for a team in need of healthy bodies in the backfield. A favorable new environment could produce a rebound performance for Akers, something which would boost his free agent value come the spring. With multiple interested parties, meanwhile, the Rams may be able to secure somewhat notable draft compensation in a swap.
September 18th, 2023 at 6:55pm CST by Adam La Rose
6:55pm: The Rams have spoken with a few teams on Akers, McVay said Monday (via The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue). The seventh-year HC confirmed a trade is where this process appears headed. The Rams made an effort to move Akers before last year’s deadline. This process might end up resolved well before this year’s Oct. 31 deadline. Considering the developments in the running back market between last year’s deadline and now, the Rams will not be in position to collect much for the trade-block mainstay.
9:50am: Cam Akersfound himself a healthy scratch in Week 2, and his tenure with the Rams is once again in question. When asked about the situation, head coach Sean McVay confirmed the team is still exploring all options with respect to keeping or trading its former lead running back.
A report from Sunday indicated the Rams are again looking to trade Akers, who was deactivated midway through the 2022 campaign amidst a dispute with the coaching staff related to his role. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network confirms that Los Angeles has indeed re-engaged in trade talks relating to the 24-year-old with his role of No. 1 back having been ceded to 2022 fifth-rounder Kyren Williams.
When speaking to the media following the Rams’ loss to the 49ers, McVay said this latest Akers situation is different from that of last year, with his benching simply being a coach’s decision based on practice and performance. He added that Williams, former UDFA Ronnie Riversand veteran Royce Freeman– the running back trio which handled backfield duties on Sunday – will retain their respective spots on the depth chart for the time being. That leaves Akers’ future with the team in question.
“I think there’s going to be an opportunity to see what that looks like moving forward, but it’s not going to be a back-and-forth thing,” McVay said of Akers, via Adam Caplan of Pro Football Network. “He and I have had great dialogue, and we’ll see what happens over the next couple of days.”
The Rams attempted to move on from the Florida State product in the lead-in to last year’s trade deadline, but no offer they deemed sufficient emerged. The uncertainty regarding Akers’ tenure with the team seemed to be put to rest with his lead role restored during Week 1, but his inefficiency led to Williams receiving a larger workload for the following contest. The latter saw 20 touches on Sunday, producing 100 scrimmage yards and a pair of touchdowns.
With Akers set to enter the final year of his rookie contract in 2023, the Rams attempted to add veteran depth in the backfield by reuniting with Sony Michelin the offseason. The 28-year-old wound up retiring in July, however, leaving the team thinner at the RB spot. That would become the case to an increased extent if an Akers trade were to be worked out in the future, though Williams’ success to date suggests he could handle RB1 duties on a full-time basis. Los Angeles also has sixth-round rookie Zach Evans in place as a depth option, though he has yet to see the field this season.
September 17th, 2023 at 10:05pm CST by Adam La Rose
After his tenure with the Rams seemed to be over in 2022, Cam Akerscould find himself on the move soon. The running back will be a healthy scratch in Week 2, as first reported by Jay Glazer during Fox Sports’ pregame show.
Glazer adds that the Rams are looking to trade the 24-year-old. Akers expressed his confusion regarding the situation on social media, but it appears as though his career could take him out of Los Angeles in the near future. He is thus in a similar circumstance to the one he found himself in last year.
The Rams deactivated Akers in Week 6 last year, and head coach Sean McVay confirmed not long after that the team was seeking a trade partner. That seemed to mark an end to his time in Los Angeles, with issues related to his role and communication with the coaching staff being cited as the cause for the apparent split between team and player. In the end, though, the Rams turned down trade offers in advance of the deadline.
That left the former second-rounder in place ahead of the final year of his rookie contract. Fully recovered from his 2021 Achilles tear, Akers was in line to serve in a notable early-down role to start the 2023 campaign. He handled 22 carries in Week 1, though he managed to turn those opportunities into just 29 rushing yards. For today at least, the Rams will likely to turn to 2022 fifth-rounder Kyren Williamsas their lead back.
With Akers set to hit free agency at the end of the season, it is doubtful the Rams would be able to land any signficant draft capital in the event they were to deal the Florida State product. Nevertheless, a parting of ways could be in the best interests of all parties involved in this situation. Akers’ status moving forward will remain worth watching closely as the Rams prepare to take on the 49ers later today.
The Rams have Cam Akersin place as their top running back for 2023, despite the team’s efforts to trade him last year. Recent comments from head coach Sean McVay indicate a heavy workload can be expected this season.
The former second-rounder had a falling out with the Rams in 2022 after his return from an Achilles tear led to underwhelming performances. Akers was believed to be on his way out of Los Angeles – as acknowledged by McVay himself – in what would have been a change-of-scenery trade near the deadline. The Rams declined offers on that front, setting up a return to the fold to close out the season.
Akers appeared to have regained his pre-injury form down the stretch, racking up 512 rushing yards and six touchdowns over the final six contests of what was a lost campaign for the Rams. Overall, he totaled 786 yards on the ground at a clip of 4.2 yards per carry, figures which should allow the 23-year-old to carry over that success into the upcoming season, the final one of his rookie contract. A lead role in the backfield and the team’s offense as a whole appears to be in McVay’s plans at this point.
“He’s really capitalized on a lot of the momentum he built up toward the latter part of the year. And he’s going to be a huge part of what we’re doing moving forward,” he said when asked about Akers. “He’s had a great offseason… Cam is going to be a central figure in this offense… He’s taking great care of himself physically, he’s in a good place mentally. Just continuing to mature and I’m really excited about what he’s going to do for us this year” (h/t Cameron DaSilva of RamsWire).
A strong season from Akers would mark a notable reunion of sorts with a franchise he seemed destined to depart not too long ago. It would also, of course, help the Rams take a needed step forward on offense in general and the ground game in particular. Remaining healthy and productive would boost his free agent value as well, and leave the team with an interesting decision regarding his future. Returnees Kyren Williamsand Ronnie Riversare also available at the RB spot for Los Angeles, and the team added further depth by selecting Zach Evans in the sixth round of the draft. Assuming he is in fact given a workhorse role, though, all eyes will no doubt be on Akers in 2023.
While nothing is certain yet, the Cardinals may be on the lookout for a new GM for the first time in 10 years. Steve Keim took a leave of absence earlier this month and, as of now, is not expected to be back. The Cardinals may be considering keeping their current setup — a dual-GM partnership between Adrian Wilson and Quentin Harris — on a permanent basis, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. Arizona has promoted from within to fill its GM post the past two times it opened, elevating Rod Graves in 2003 and then Keim in 2013. Bob Ferguson (1996) represents the franchise’s past outside hire for this post.
Wilson and Harris each played safety with the Cardinals, being teammates from 2002-05, and have worked in the front office for several years. Harris, the team’s VP of player personnel, has been on staff longer — since 2008, when he became a scout — while Wilson, the VP of pro personnel, enjoyed a much longer playing career. Wilson has been a Cards staffer since 2015. Harris interviewed for the Giants’ GM gig this year; Wilson interviewed with the Jaguars. Whomever lands the Arizona GM job will have some pieces to pick up after a turbulent year, and a coaching search could commence.
Here is the latest from the NFC West:
When the Seahawks acquired Drew Lock from the Broncos, the front office viewed him as the likely starter, Brady Henderson of ESPN.com notes. Believing they knew what they had in Geno Smith, Russell Wilson‘s backup for three seasons, the Seahawks were planning on Lock taking over. Smith’s contract — one year, $3.5MM — reflects this plan, but Pete Carroll consistently kept the former Jets second-rounder in front of Lock. While the Seahawks have faded since a surprising start, Smith made one the more unlikely Pro Bowl runs in recent QB history. The Seahawks want to re-sign him to a long-term deal.
Kliff Kingsbury said the Cardinals did not know about J.J. Watt‘s retirement decision beforehand. The Cardinals signed the three-time Defensive Player of the Year to a two-year, $28MM deal in 2021. Despite Watt suffering another significant injury last season, he rebounded to re-emerge as one of the league’s top D-linemen this year. Watt will pass on a chance to join a contender in free agency next year, and it appears a near-lock he will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2028.
Colt McCoy cleared concussion protocol and will start for the Cardinals in Week 17, Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com tweets. Arizona faces Atlanta and San Francisco to close out its season. McCoy is signed to a two-year, $7.5MM deal.
Brock Purdy has stepped in and kept the 49ers on course. Prior to Jimmy Garoppolo‘s injury, the team was open to re-signing him. Now, the prospect of Purdy keeping the gig over Trey Lance in 2023 is starting to surface. An anonymous exec told the Washington Post’s Jason La Canfora he is growing more convinced the 49ers will trade Lance and stick with this year’s Mr. Irrelevant. With Lance on a rookie contract through 2024, that would be a wild call — even given Purdy’s early form. But teams would figure to be interested in the former No. 3 overall pick — even if he has only played one full season in his five since high school.
Although the Rams tried to trade Cam Akers, they have turned back to him as their top running back. They should be expected to retain him in 2023, Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic notes (subscription required). Akers’ career path changed when he tore an Achilles’ tendon in July 2021, but he totaled 147 scrimmage yards and three touchdowns Sunday. Next season will be a contract year for the former second-round pick.
Weeks after the Cardinalsfired their offensive line coach, Sean Kugler, the dismissed assistant said he did not grope a female security guard in Mexico. Kugler is taking legal action against the Cardinals, whom he contends did not conduct a thorough investigation. The team released a statement (via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, on Twitter) conveying confidence the firing was for cause. Kugler worked for the Cardinals from 2019 until his November firing.