Coming back to the Saints after spending the offseason and training camp with the Broncos, Jones scored two touchdowns in New Orleans’ Monday-night win over Carolina. But the Saints had used a gameday elevation transaction to bump the veteran backup to the active roster. Wednesday’s move makes Jones an official part of the Saints’ 53-man unit.
Schultz notes that Edmonds suffered a grade 2 sprain, and will miss between four and six weeks as a result. That timeline would open the door to a stint on injured reserve for the 27-year-old. Players placed on IR are required to miss at least four weeks.
Edmonds joined the Buccaneers on a one-year deal worth the league minimum following his release from the Broncos. Denver acquired him at the trade deadline from the Dolphins, as he was part of the package Miami sent in the Bradley Chubbdeal. That move marked an end to Edmonds’ time in South Beach, one which began on a two-year, $12MM contract in free agency. The former fourth-rounder earned that pact in free agency following his time with the Cardinals.
Edmonds saw an incremental uptick in playing time during each of his seasons in Arizona, recording a career-best 592 rushing yards (on an average of 5.1 per carry) in 2021. His performances with the Dolphins and Broncos after that failed to match that production, making it little surprise that he was a Broncos cap casualty this offseason. His Tampa Bay deal allowed him the opportunity to take on a backup role in the aftermath of Leonard Fournette‘s release request being granted, something which paved the way for 2022 third-rounder Rachaad Whiteto take on starting duties from the outset of the 2023 season.
Tampa Bay has White, as well as undrafted rookie Sean Tuckerand former third-rounder Ke’Shawn Vaughnin place as healthy options in the backfield. The latter has yet to suit up this year, but that could change in the wake of Edmonds’ injury. Head coach Todd Bowles said, via Fox Sports’ Greg Auman, the team currently plans to rely on its in-house options at the RB spot. That group of backs will look to carry on the Buccaneers’ early success while Edmonds is sidelined for an extended stretch.
The Saints made a key tweak to their front office Tuesday, announcing Khai Harley will move into the assistant GM role. Harley has been with the Saints for 16 years, most recently serving as the team’s VP of football administration. Mickey Loomis has credited Harley as being one of the chief architects behind the franchise’s aggressive strategy with regards to the salary cap. Omar Khan used this background to become the Steelers’ GM, and Harley rising to this post may put him on the radar for interviews.
New Orleans also Scott Kuhn as director of football administration, Zach Stuart as director of analytics and Rishi Desai as a scouting assistant. Gaining extensive experience on the analytics front, Kuhn spent 16 years with the Vikings. Stuart spent the past three years as the Jets’ analytics coordinator. Additionally, former safety Matt Giordano is now an assistant on Dennis Allen‘s staff. Giordano, 40, spent one season with the Saints (2010); the 30-game starter also played for the Colts, Packers, Raiders and Rams from 2005-13. Giordano had spent six seasons as head coach of Buchanan High School in his native Fresno, concluding that tenure after the 2021 season.
Here is the latest from the NFC South:
Although Payton Turner carries a first-round pedigree, he is unlikely to beat out Carl Granderson for the starting role Marcus Davenport vacated this offseason. The Saints are more likely to turn to Granderson — a former UDFA — than Turner opposite Cameron Jordan, Jeff Duncan of NOLA.com notes. Granderson, 26, has stood out in training camp and has two five-plus-sack seasons over the past three years. Turner entered camp after two iffy years, and while the Saints are likely to give the 2021 first-rounder another shot, a rotational role looks to be how this will play out.
Jordan’s two-year, $27.5MM Saints extension is fully guaranteed, and it will also include sack incentives. Jordan can pick up an extra $500K with a 10-sack season this year, Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.football tweets. The 34-year-old defensive end can add $250K by reaching $250K in 2024 and 2025. Sitting 23rd on the official sack list (115.5), Jordan has six double-digit sack slates on his resume — including a 12.5-sack showing in 2021.
Frank Reich is in place as the Panthers‘ play-caller to start his HC tenure, but OC Thomas Brown continues to loom as a future option for the post. The first-year Carolina HC said the long-term goal remains to make Brown the play-caller, Darin Gantt of Panthers.com tweets. This is Brown’s first OC post, but he has already booked HC interviews and received interest from other teams regarding their respective OC jobs. A former Rams assistant, Brown earning play-calling responsibilities this year would enhance his case for a top coaching job.
Deion Jones‘ one-year Panthers agreement is worth $1.17MM, KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson tweets. That doubles as the veteran minimum, though Wilson adds the former Falcons mainstay will receive a $75K bonus for making the Panthers’ 53-man roster. The Falcons gave Jones a four-year, $57MM extension before the 2019 season, but the team cut bait on that deal before the 2022 trade deadline. The Browns also removed a year from Jones’ contract, and scant interest came his way this offseason. This will be a key year for the 29-year-old linebacker.
The Panthers included four void years in Justin Houston‘s contract, dropping his cap hit to $2.13MM, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Houston signed a fully guaranteed one-year, $6MM deal earlier this month. The contract will include sack incentives, with Wilson adding Houston will receive $500K by reaching 11 sacks and could earn another $500K by hitting 12 (Twitter link). These are classified as not likely to be earned; Houston has one 11-sack season since 2015.
The running back market continues to move, and a recently released ball-carrier now has a new home. Chase Edmonds is heading back to Florida, with Adam Schefter of ESPN.com noting the Buccaneers are signing him.
Edmonds, whom the Broncos cut months after acquiring him from the Dolphins, agreed to terms on a one-year Bucs deal Thursday morning (Twitter link). Following Leonard Fournette‘s release, Edmonds is now in line to pair with second-year back Rachaad White in Tampa.
This will be a fit-based signing, as Fox Sports’ Greg Auman tweets Edmonds is joining the Bucs on a league-minimum deal. This comes a year after the Dolphins signed him to a two-year, $12MM contract. The Broncos saved nearly $6MM in cap space by cutting Edmonds, adding to Denver’s funds ahead of a busy free agency week. They acquired him in the Bradley Chubb trade, picking up the running back’s salary after the Dolphins needed to shed it from their payroll to clear space for the edge rusher’s fifth-year option money.
Edmonds will turn 27 in May but is coming off a low-workload season; he logged just 84 touches in 2022. The Dolphins did not end up receiving much in the way of production from the ex-Cardinals starter; Edmonds averaged 2.9 yards per carry with Miami. The Fordham product fared better in Denver, sporting a 4.8-yard average for a team that by that point was starting a few backups along the offensive line.
The Cardinals started Edmonds over James Conner for most of the 2021 season, when the former fourth-round pick totaled a career-high 903 yards from scrimmage. Edmonds teamed with transition-tagged Kenyan Drake in 2020 and reached 850 scrimmage yards, scoring a career-most five touchdowns. Twice averaging 5.1 yards per carry in a season — the second such instance (2021) coming on 116 totes — Edmonds should still have some tread on his tires. He has only taken 401 handoffs in five pro seasons.
The Bucs ranked last on the ground in 2022, so White and Edmonds may face an uphill battle. Tampa Bay has not made any significant augmentations up front just yet, though it did re-sign guard Aaron Stinnie, who was lost for the 2022 season. The team cut eight-year left tackle Donovan Smith, viewing Tristan Wirfs as a candidate to switch sides. Ryan Jensen staying healthy also stands to improve the Bucs’ rushing attack.
Broncos cost-clearing moves are commencing. They are cutting Chase Edmonds, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Part of the Bradley Chubb trade last year, Edmonds will head straight to free agency as a vested veteran.
This has long been one of the expected moves the team can make to create cap space, and $5.9MM in savings will emerge as a result. A former Cardinals regular, Edmonds did not have a chance to make much of an impact in Denver.
The Broncos are also releasing Ronald Darby, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (on Twitter). The Darby transaction will lead to more savings for the AFC West franchise. Darby was set to earn $12.7MM in base salary next season; Denver will save $9.6MM by releasing the veteran cornerback.
The Dolphins sent over Edmonds in the Chubb deal for salary purposes, offloading the two-year, $12.1MM contract they authorized in free agency last year. That deal brought the Broncos a first-round pick, which the team ended up sending to the Saints in exchange for Sean Payton‘s rights. During an injury-abbreviated stint, Edmonds ended up totaling just 26 carries as a Bronco. He did perform better in Denver compared to his Miami work (2.9 yards per carry on 42 totes), but the former Cardinal starter will hit free agency at a bad time. Several starter-caliber backs join Edmonds on the market this year, creating a buyer’s environment at a position in which not too many teams figure to allocate notable resources.
Denver made a more notable investment in Darby back in 2021, giving him a three-year deal worth $30MM. This was one of GM George Paton‘s first signings. While Darby played well when available, the 30-year-old cover man could not shake the injury issues that plagued him prior to his Colorado trip. Darby missed six games for the Broncos in 2021 and suffered a torn ACL five games into the ’22 season.
Dealing with injuries to numerous starters last season, the Broncos encountered a brutal stretch during a four-day October stretch. They lost Darby, Garett Bolles and Javonte Williams to season-ending injuries between a Week 4 loss to the Raiders and an ugly Week 5 loss to the Colts. That created a need in the backfield, with Latavius Murray pitching in to fill it as well.
Despite being 32 and on a free agent market with a number of younger backs, Murray may have a path back to Denver. Payton coached him in New Orleans and spoke fondly of the veteran during interviews recently. Murray returning on a low-cost deal as a backup/Williams insurance option may end up coming to pass, though the Broncos will probably seek out a better insurance option alongside Murray in the event their starter is not ready to return from his ACL tear to start the season.
Following Darby’s injury, the Broncos turned to fourth-round rookie Damarri Mathis opposite All-Pro Patrick Surtain II. While cornerback may end up being a need area in Denver, the team does have slot man K’Waun Williams under contract as well. A new defensive coordinator — Vance Joseph — being in place, however, will probably lead to the Broncos looking around at the position this offseason. With no picks in the first or second rounds, the Broncos figure to be active in free agency.
Darren Waller came up in trade talks last year, generating Packers interest ahead of the deadline, and the veteran tight end missed a big chunk of the Raiders‘ season due to a nagging hamstring injury that may or may not have irked some with the team. This came after the Raiders reached a three-year, $51MM extension with the former Pro Bowler just before the season. Despite Waller’s disappointing slate and the team moving on from Derek Carr, Jeff Howe of The Athletic notes the Silver and Black are not looking to move on from the talented tight end (subscription required).
Waller’s $12MM cap number checks in considerably lower than Chandler Jones‘ ($19.3MM), but Howe adds the latter is also unlikely to be moved. The Raiders did not receive what they had hoped from Jones, who totaled just 4.5 sacks and seven QB hits in his Las Vegas debut. The Raiders would save $9MM-plus by trading Jones, 33, but the ex-Cardinals All-Pro’s trade value may not be especially high right now. Jones still has $16MM in guarantees remaining on his three-year, $51MM deal.
Here is the latest from the AFC West:
The Chiefs had once eyed Mike Kafka to succeed Eric Bieniemy as OC, per SI.com’s Albert Breer, but they had envisioned the latter landing a head coaching job. Bieniemy famously failed to do so and ended up leaving for a play-calling role in Washington after five years. This proved too long for Kafka to wait; he is now the Giants’ play-caller and joined this year’s HC carousel. Benefiting from the past two offseasons’ events, Matt Nagy replaced Kafka as QBs coach and has since replaced Bieniemy. Nagy’s Bears HC shortcomings notwithstanding, Breer adds he is seen as a possible Andy Reid heir apparent in Kansas City. Reid shot down retirement rumors after Super Bowl LVII, but the future Hall of Famer will turn 65 this month and is going into his 25th season as a head coach.
Graham Glasgow, Ronald Darby and Chase Edmonds loom as cut candidates for the Broncos, who have some needs to fill in free agency. It is possible the Broncos release all three, Troy Renck of Denver7 tweets. Denver restructured Glasgow’s contract in 2022 and saw him become needed after injuries to guard Quinn Meinerz and center Lloyd Cushenberry. But the team can save $11MM by releasing Glasgow. The team can add $9.6MM by cutting Darby, who suffered a torn ACL in October. Rookie Damarri Mathis fared decently replacing the veteran opposite Patrick Surtain II. The Broncos picked up Edmonds at the deadline from the Dolphins; they can save $5.9MM by releasing the ex-Cardinals starter. Denver should be able to add a veteran for cheaper, given this year’s crowded running back market, and Sean Payton favorite Latavius Murray is likely a candidate to be re-signed.
For what it’s worth, Russell Wilson‘s office is no longer in use. The space that drew considerable attention as the former Seahawks star struggled in Denver has been cleaned out, Mike Klis of 9News notes. While Broncos players did not necessarily voice issues about Wilson’s office, it attracted scrutiny during a 5-12 season. Wilson previously agreed to stop using it during the season’s final two weeks.
Kyle Van Noy wants to stay with the Chargers, per The Athletic’s Daniel Popper, who notes the versatile linebacker should have a chance to return. The Bolts signed Van Noy to a low-cost deal late in the 2022 offseason. His role expanded after Joey Bosa‘s groin injury, and the 13-game starter hit the five-sack mark for the fifth time in the past six seasons. Conversely, Morgan Fox will probably depart in free agency, Popper adds. Fox registered 6.5 sacks and likely will price himself out of Los Angeles, as the Bolts want to re-sign right tackle Trey Pipkinsand linebackerDrue Tranquill.
Mecole Hardman recently underwent groin surgery, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. The November injury kept the contract-year wide receiver out of Super Bowl LVII. Hardman will attempt to get healthy ahead of a free agency bid, with Howe adding he will need around two months to recover (Twitter link). The Chiefs have Hardman and JuJu Smith-Schuster set to hit the market. Mutual interest exists between the Chiefs and Smith-Schuster.
Murphy has missed the last five games for the Cardinals while dealing with a back issue, so while it’s not necessarily a further setback for Arizona, the transaction indicates that Murphy will miss the rest of the season before going into free agency. With Murphy absent, the Cardinals have started veteran Antonio Hamilton across from Marco Wilson.
The Bengals both designated Prince for return from IR and activated him Monday. This marks the second time this year the defending AFC champions have used one of their injury activations on a player only to waive him a day later. This first happened with Kareem, who then moved to the Bengals’ practice squad ahead of this Colts poaching. A former Dolphins sixth-rounder, Prince played in 15 Bengals games last season and started four. He has not played this year. It will be somewhat interesting if the Bengals keep Prince via a P-squad agreement, provided no waiver claims emerge.
Eifler, Rhattigan and Shudak have three weeks from Tuesday to be activated. The Seahawks, Titans and Commanders had seen their number of activation-eligible players pile up in recent weeks. Each of these teams have five injury activations remaining.
The Titans waived Week 11 kicker fill-in Josh Lamboon Monday. Primary Tennessee kicker Randy Bullock missed the game but is not on IR. Bullock suffered a calf injury during pregame warmups in Week 10. Shudak, a rookie UDFA out of Iowa who has spent the season on the Titans’ reserve/PUP list, would stand to represent insurance this week.
The Broncos thinned their running backs room by choice earlier today, but they will be even more shorthanded at the position unintentionally for the short-term future. Chase Edmondsis dealing with a high ankle sprain, and will miss at least “a few weeks,” per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link).
The 26-year-old had a career-year in 2021, operating in a timeshare with James Connerin Arizona. He racked up 592 yards on the ground (at a average of 5.1 yards per carry), adding 311 yards through the air. That earned him a two-year, $12.6MM deal with the Dolphins in free agency. Miami made a number of moves aimed at improving their ground game relative to the previous season.
Edmonds played a small role in that feat, however; the former fourth-rounder received just 42 carries with the Dolphins, producing 120 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He found himself on the move at the start of the month when he was included in the package Miami sent to Denver for edge rusher Bradley Chubb. That left him in another crowded backfield for the back half of the season.
The Broncos have made several moves in the wake of Javonte Williams‘ ACL tear. With the promising young back sidelined for the remainder of the season, veteran backup Melvin Gordonwas expected to take over the lead role. His fumbling issues have continued, however, leading to today’s decision to move on from him. That could have resulted in a larger workload for Edmonds, but he is now facing a relatively lengthy absence.
In light of today’s news, the Broncos will likely turn to Latavius Murrayas their No. 1 tailback this week against the Panthers. He signed to Denver’s active roster from New Orleans’ taxi squad, and has carved out a significant role since making his Broncos debut in Week 6. Fellow veteran Marlon Mack– who arrived in October after a brief stay on the 49ers’ practice squad – will likely serve as the backup, with Devine Ozigborepresenting a potential elevation before gameday.