Carter O’Donnell

Evan Brown Favorite For Cardinals’ LG Job; Latest On Paris Johnson Jr.’s Position Change

Although the Cardinals swapped out D.J. Humphries‘ veteran contract for new right tackle Jonah Williams‘, the team is keeping costs low along its offensive front. Only one player — Williams — is tied to a deal worth more than $7.5MM per year.

Paris Johnson Jr.‘s first-round salary checks in behind Williams’ $15MM-per-year pact at this Cardinals position group. Among Arizona’s interior O-line, backup-level salaries are present. One of those is allocated to Evan Brown, who signed a one-year, $2.35MM contract with the team in March. Brown spent last season as the Seahawks’ starting center, but he will shift positions once again.

The Cardinals have installed Brown at guard, and the Arizona Republic’s Bob McManaman notes the veteran is in the lead to win the team’s left guard post. While a host of competitors are vying with Brown for the only undecided spot along Arizona’s offensive front, Brown came to the desert after three seasons as an O-line regular.

The Seahawks used Brown as a 16-game center starter last season. That came after Brown worked as a fill-in starter in back-to-back seasons in Detroit. The Lions plugged Brown in as a Frank Ragnow injury replacement in 2021; that season brought 12 starts for the former UDFA. He operated as Halapoulivaati Vaitai‘s RG fill-in during the 2022 season. All 40 of Brown’s career starts came over the past three seasons, as he bounced around between four teams from 2018-20.

Brown, 27, played for similar terms in Seattle (one year, $2.25MM) to plug a hole created by Austin Blythe‘s retirement. Pro Football Focus graded Brown as a bottom-tier center in 2023, slotting him 27th last season. The advanced metrics site viewed Brown’s pass protection as an issue in 2022 as well, though it graded the former UDFA as much better in that department as a center in 2021. As the Cardinals continue to rebuild, Brown will attempt to hold off some competitors — including last season’s Week 1 starter at the position — on an inexpensive front featuring another journeyman starter.

Hjalte Froholdt, a 2019 fourth-rounder who played for three teams from 2019-21, is entrenched as the team’s center. Will Hernandez is locked in as the team’s right guard, McManaman adds. Brown will battle LG incumbent Elijah Wilkinson (nine starts last season), Trystan Castillo-Colon, Carter O’Donnell and third-rounder Isaiah Adams in the primary competition for the job. Adams’ presence figures to be important here, though the Cardinals appear to be planning to ease the Day 2 draftee into the mix slowly. Brown is a stopgap guard option, and Jonathan Gannon said he is also seeing time at center — perhaps in preparation for a swing role if Adams becomes the LG starter.

Johnson and Williams, of course, are locked in as starters as well. Johnson is making the switch from full-time right tackle as a rookie to the left side. This aligns with D.J. Humphries‘ trajectory, as the former first-rounder moved from RT to LT after one season as a starter. Johnson is now replacing Humphries, and McManaman adds the 2023 No. 6 overall pick began preparing for the position switch before officially receiving word it was a go. Noting he and Humphries still communicate regularly, Johnson — an All-American left tackle at Ohio State in 2022 — said the Cardinals informed him a switch could happen depending on how free agency unfolded.

I got a text one day and it said, ‘Hey, can you play left?’” Johnson said. “I’ve been training both. I asked after the season and they were like, ‘Honestly, we’ll talk to you at some point in the season,’ and I got a text, and it was like, ‘Depending on what happens in free agency.

I had a whole season at right tackle, so if I get the word I’m staying at right tackle, I’ll just do what I did before. But I thought I might as well train at left tackle now as if I’m going to be left tackle. I’d rather do that than train all at right tackle and get the call, ‘Hey you’re at left tackle now.’ … I was just preparing in advance.”

Humphries, the Cardinals’ LT starter for seven seasons, remains a free agent. Johnson is under contract through the 2026 season. Kelvin Beachum remains in place as a swingman behind Johnson and Williams, who is staying at the position he played — following a trade request based on a left tackle role — in his Bengals contract year.

Minor NFL Transactions: 1/31/24

Wednesday’s minor transactions from around the league:

Arizona Cardinals

Both Luketa and O’Donnell were on their way to becoming exclusive rights free agents in the offseason. Arizona gets ahead of things with one-year extensions for each player.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/31/23

Following a busy roster deadline day on Tuesday, teams continue to reshuffle their rosters. Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

  • Placed on IR: TE Stephen Sullivan

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Los Angeles Chargers

New York Giants

New York Jets

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

The Ravens brought back a trio of veterans to their 53-man roster. Brent Urban is probably destined for the biggest role, with the veteran lineman serving as the top backup to Broderick Washington at defensive end. Urban got into 16 games for Baltimore last season, collecting 21 tackles and one sack. Veteran QB Josh Johnson will slide behind Lamar Jackson and Tyler Huntley on the depth chart, and Kevon Seymour will continue his role as a key special teamer.

The Cardinals are temporarily losing some production with offensive lineman Dennis Daley and linebacker Myjai Sanders being placed on IR. Daley joined the Cardinals on a two-year deal this offseason after starting 15 of his 17 appearances for the Titans in 2022. Sanders had a productive rookie campaign, with the third-round pick collecting 23 tackles, three sacks, and one forced fumble.

Julian Okwara has turned into a productive pass-rushing option in Detroit. The former third-round pick has collected seven sacks over the past two seasons, but he’ll now be sidelined for the start of the season while recovering from a knee injury suffered during in the preseason finale.

Colts Re-Sign WR Isaiah McKenzie, Place TE Jelani Woods On IR

5:23pm: McKenzie’s release has proven to be a paper transaction. The Colts announced he has been re-signed, so his time with the team will continue. To open a roster spot to make the McKenzie reunion possible, second-year tight end Jelani Woods was placed on IR. The latter – who has been named by some as a breakout candidate for 2023 – will thus be sidelined for at least the first four weeks of the season.

1:50pm: Making three waiver claims Wednesday, the Colts needed to clear roster space. Isaiah McKenzie will be one of the players moved off Indianapolis’ 53-man squad.

The Colts claimed tackle Ryan Hayes (from the Dolphins), defensive end Isaiah Land (from the Cowboys) and guard Josh Sills (from the Eagles). D-tackle McTelvin Agim and offensive lineman Carter O’Donnell join McKenzie in being cut to make room.

This is the second time a team has cut McKenzie this year. The Colts gave the 5-foot-8 slot receiver a one-year deal worth $1.32MM. The only dead money that will come via this release will be the $403K guarantee Indy authorized. The Colts picked up McKenzie not long after the Bills dropped him this offseason.

As a result of this release, the Colts have just three wide receivers — Michael Pittman Jr., Alec Pierce, third-round rookie Josh Downs — on their active roster. Indy also moved on from veterans Amari Rodgers, James Washington and Breshad Perriman this week. Though, Rodgers and former seventh-round pick Mike Strachan are back on the practice squad. The Colts will need to make some adjustments before Week 1, as teams do not go with three-wideout gameday configurations.

Downs is on track to work in the slot alongside Pittman and Pierce, while the Bills picked up Deonte Harty from the Saints shortly after cutting McKenzie. The Bills had given McKenzie a two-year, $4.4MM deal in 2022, keeping his Buffalo resurgence going. McKenzie scored 15 touchdowns with the Bills, including five in 2021, and posted a career-high 423 receiving yards last season. Despite the Bills also using him as a gadget weapon, they did not opt to keep the 28-year-old playmaker around after an inconsistent receiving campaign.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/2/22

Today’s minor NFL transactions:

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

  • Reverted to IR: WR Isaiah Weston

Indianapolis Colts

  • Signed: C Alex Mollette
  • Placed on IR: WR John Hurst, G/T Carter O’Donnell

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Waived: OL Chris Glaser

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/11/21

A long list of reserve/futures contracts to pass along:

Chicago Bears

Indianapolis Colts

New York Giants

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Colts Place DT Sheldon Day On IR, Set Practice Squad

The other 49ers starting defensive tackle from Super Bowl LIV the Colts added this offseason, Sheldon Day will miss time to start the season.

Day, who came to Indianapolis after the Colts’ DeForest Buckner game, underwent a knee surgery this offseason and will begin the 2020 campaign on IR. However, he will not have to miss the customary eight games required for IR-return players.

Teams can activate players off IR after three weeks this year, thanks to the COVID-19-related rule adjustments for this season. There is no limit to how many players can return from IR. The new CBA will allow for three in future years, assuming the NFL nixes the pandemic-induced rule changes in 2021, but this year the league will permit maximum roster flexibility to aid teams in this unusual landscape.

Day started each of the 49ers’ three playoff games last year but mostly worked in a reserve capacity in San Francisco. The former fourth-round pick will join Kemoko Turay as Colt D-linemen unavailable to start the season. Turay will begin the year on the Colts’ reserve/PUP list, which still requires a six-game absence.

The Colts signed tackle Chaz Green to take Day’s roster spot. They also added 14 players to their practice squad Sunday. Longtime Steelers tight end Xavier Grimble agreed to join the Colts’ P-squad, after the team made him one of its Saturday cuts.

Here is the full list: