Christian Braswell

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/28/23

Today’s minor moves:

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

  • Signed off 49ers practice squad: OT Ilm Manning

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Jacksonville Jaguars

New York Jets

Germain Ifedi‘s underwhelming stint with the Bills has come to an end. The veteran offensive lineman joined the Bills this past offseason and was expected to provide some experienced depth. Instead, Ifedi was inactive for every game this season, and the Bills have decided his roster spot could be put to better use. ESPN’s Alaina Getzenberg believes this move will likely open a spot for defensive tackle DaQuan Jones.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/7/23

Today’s minor moves:

Jacksonville Jaguars

New England Patriots

Pittsburgh Steelers

Elliss was waived by the Eagles yesterday following the team’s signing of Shaquille Leonard. The linebacker spent the better part of the past three seasons in Philadelphia, getting into 19 total games. He appeared in a career-high 12 games this season, collecting 21 tackles while appearing in about 15 percent of his team’s defensive snaps. Elliss also had a significant role on special teams.

Since the Patriots play tonight, the move will be deferred to tomorrow, per ESPN’s Field Yates.

Jaguars Activate DE Dawuane Smoot From PUP

After suffering an Achilles injury late during the 2022 season, Dawuane Smoot is ready to make his return to the field. The Jaguars announced that they’ve activated the defensive end from the physically unable to perform list. To make room on the roster, the Jaguars placed cornerback Christian Braswell on injured reserve.

While it took a few years for him to find his place on defense, Smoot has emerged as one of the Jaguars’ most consistent pass-rushers in recent years. The former third-round pick collected 22.5 sacks for Jacksonville between 2019 and 2022, including a 2021 campaign where he started a career-high 10 games en route to 36 tackles, six sacks, and 16 QB hits.

He continued his production in 2022, finishing with five sacks, six tackles for loss, and 12 QB hits. He suffered a torn Achilles last December, an injury that proved to be poor timing since Smoot was finishing up a two-year, $10MM deal he signed with the organization in 2021. It took the 28-year-old until July to re-sign with the Jaguars, and he was placed on PUP to begin the 2023 campaign. Smoot returned to practice earlier this month.

Josh Allen and Travon Walker are manning the edge spots, meaning Smoot will compete with K’Lavon Chaisson for any leftover pass-rush reps. For what it’s worth, coach Doug Pederson said this week that he doesn’t expect Smoot to be on a snap count when he returns to the field.

“He brings a veteran leadership and presence out there,” Pederson said (h/t Adam Stites of JagsWire). “You can play him in base defense, you can play him in nickel in pass rush situations. There’s his production that comes from being inside and all of that on third down and stuff.

“I don’t think you want to put him on a pitch count, but I think you have to monitor, and you don’t want to get his rep count too high. But at the same time, you want to let him get comfortable with the game and see how he is doing throughout the course of three hours or so that you’re out there.”

Smoot will be taking the roster spot held by Braswell, a rookie sixth-round pick. The Rutgers product appeared in each of Jacksonville’s first three games this season, but he’ll now be sidelined for at least the next four games while he recovers from a hamstring injury.

CB Rumors: Jackson, Lions, Jaguars, Apple

Adoree’ Jackson served as the Giants‘ No. 1 cornerback last season, his second with the team. Despite coming off injury, Jackson fared well against Justin Jefferson in the Giants’ wild-card win. But the team is experimenting on a potential shift in the veteran’s role during training camp. Jackson has seen extensive time in the slot in camp, and Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News notes the prospect of Jackson in the slot and Deonte Banks and Tre Hawkins outside is viable.

The Titans used Jackson as an outside corner during his Tennessee tenure, and the Giants stationed Darnay Holmes in the slot last year. They also drafted Cor’Dale Flott as a slot option in last year’s third round. But Holmes has struggled during camp, per Leonard. Hawkins, chosen in the sixth round out of Old Dominion, does not have slot experience. Jackson’s willingness as a tackler would benefit the Giants if they followed through on this, though the move is not set in stone. Holmes still operated as the team’s lead slot defender in a joint practice against the Lions on Wednesday, Dan Duggan of The Athletic tweets. Hawkins being in consideration for a regular role would be notable for a Giants team that struggled for CB depth last year.

Here is the latest from NFL secondaries:

  • Emmanuel Moseley‘s cleanup procedure on the ACL he tore last year has led to an unexpected delay in his return. Moseley reported to camp late due to the surgery, and the Lions placed the free agent signing on the active/PUP list. While Dan Campbell said last week the team expected Moseley back soon, the Detroit Free Press’ Dave Birkett notes no timetable exists for the ex-49er’s return, adding that he may not be a lock to start the season on time. This surgery has provided another delay for Moseley, who signed a one-year, $6MM deal that came with $2MM guaranteed. Campbell confirmed Moseley’s absence to start camp was excused.
  • Fellow UFA addition Cameron Sutton and Jerry Jacobs have worked as Detroit’s starting cornerbacks in camp, and while the return of Moseley will give the Lions another starter-level corner, rookie UDFA Starling Thomas has made enough of an impression that Birkett added he is a good bet to make the 53-man roster. He of a 4.28-second 40-yard dash at UAB’s pro day, Thomas has been running with the Lions’ second-stringers at corner alongside Will Harris.
  • Few battles for starting spots are transpiring in Jacksonville, but the Jaguars are holding one at nickel corner. Despite bringing back Tre Herndon on another one-year deal, the Jags are pitting the sixth-year veteran against several players for the slot role. Second-year players Gregory Junior (Round 6) and Montaric Brown (Round 7) join sixth- and seventh-round rookies Erick Hallett and Christian Braswell in vying for this job, per Michael DiRocco of Fifth-round safety Antonio Johnson has mixed in here as well. Herndon re-signed on a fully guaranteed $2.58MM deal. Formerly surpassing 900 defensive snaps in back-to-back years, Herndon finished with just 416 last season.
  • Eli Apple‘s Dolphins deal is worth $1.6MM over one season, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald notes. Incentives could take the veteran corner’s contract up to $2.28MM. While the $1.6MM is not entirely guaranteed, the former top-10 pick received a $250K signing bonus.

Jaguars Sign Round 2 TE Brenton Strange, Several Others

The Jaguars used their franchise tag on Evan Engram in March, and while the parties have until mid-July to finalize an extension agreement, the team added another tight end in the draft. Brenton Strange, Jacksonville’s second-round pick, agreed to terms on his rookie deal Friday, Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 tweets.

Strange will head to Florida after a career at Penn State. Scouts Inc. slotted the ex-Nittany Lions pass catcher as this draft class’ seventh-ranked tight end. He went to the Jags at No. 61 overall. Jacksonville moved down from its No. 56 overall slot, sliding five spots and picking up a fourth-round pick (No. 136) from Chicago to do so.

In Strange, the Jags will pick up a 253-pound pass catcher who totaled 32 receptions for 362 yards and five touchdowns last season. Strange earned third-team All-Big Ten honors for his senior-year work. This is the highest the Jaguars have drafted a tight end since taking Marcedes Lewis in the 2006 first round.

Prior to Engram’s promising 2022 season, the Jaguars had encountered steady trouble generating much production from the tight end spot. The former Giants first-rounder’s 766 receiving yards represent a franchise single-season record. Engram has said he wants to stay with the Jags on a long-term deal, but the sides were not believed to be close on terms yet. If Engram does not sign by July 17, he will play the 2023 season on the franchise tag.

In addition to Strange, the Jags also inked third-round running back Tank Bigsby (Auburn) to his four-year rookie contract. They also signed fourth-round linebacker Ventrell Miller (Florida), sixth-round cornerbacks Christian Braswell (Rutgers) and Erick Hallett (Pittsburgh), seventh-round offensive lineman Cooper Hodges (Appalachian State) and seventh-round defensive tackle Raymond Vohasek (North Carolina). The Jags began their rookie minicamp Friday.