Coty Sensabaugh

Redskins Cut Nicholson, Four Other DBs

Despite Montae Nicholson having one more season on his rookie contract, the Redskins will waive the fourth-year safety, Mike Garafolo of tweets.

Nicholson worked as a full-time starter for last season’s Redskins team, being a first-stringer in 13 games. His departure will create more than $2MM in cap space for Washington, which also cut veteran cornerback Kayvon Webster (Twitter link via ESPN’s Adam Schefter). The latter is a vested veteran and will go straight to free agency, while Nicholson will hit the waiver wire.

As it turns out, this was part of an interesting position-specific purge. The Redskins cut three other defensive backs as well, dropping cornerbacks Coty Sensabaugh, Dee Delaney and Breon Borders.

In his full-time role, however, Nicholson did not fare especially well. Pro Football Focus graded the former fourth-round pick as its third-worst safety in 2019. PFF also graded Nicholson as one of the league’s worst safeties in 2018. The Michigan State alum did intercept two passes in his third season and, due to his experience, profiles as an interesting waiver claim for a team in need of safety help.

Both Sensabaugh, 31, and Webster, 29, played in just two games with Washington last season. They joined the team as late-season injury replacements.

Redskins Place Brandon Scherff On IR

Brandon Scherff has played the final game of his Redskins rookie contract. The team placed its top offensive lineman on IR Tuesday, per Adam Schefter of (on Twitter).

The fifth-year guard is in line to be one of the top free agents on the 2020 market. Washington has the option of the franchise tag. Teams have not been big on tagging guards this decade, with the Patriots’ 2011 tag for Logan Mankins being the most recent such move. But with the team expected to move on from Trent Williams, it might place a greater emphasis on retaining Scherff. An offensive line franchise tag is expected to cost just more than $15MM.

The Redskins and their Pro Bowl blocker did not progress far in contract talks previously. With the guard market recently spiking past $14MM AAV, via Zack Martin and Brandon Brooks extensions, a two-time Pro Bowler who will be set for an age-28 season will be a threat to eclipse that on the open market. It would likely take a massive commitment to keep Scherff from hitting free agency.

A 2015 top-five pick, Scherff missed time because of elbow and shoulder injuries this season. His 2018 slate came to an end early because of a pectoral injury. He’s started 65 games for the Redskins, making the Pro Bowl in 2017 and ’18.

Washington also placed wideout Trey Quinn and cornerback Jimmy Moreland on IR and signed cornerbacks Kayvon Webster and Coty Sensabaugh.

Broncos Claim CB Cyrus Jones, Waive CB Coty Sensabaugh

The Broncos have claimed cornerback Cyrus Jones off waivers from the Ravens and are waiving fellow defensive back Coty Sensabaugh, tweets Field Yates of

Selected by the Patriots in the second round of the 2016 draft, Jones has now completed two separate stints with both New England and Baltimore. Nominally a corner, Jones has only played nine total defensive snaps this year. Instead, he spends most of his time on special times — he was the Ravens’ primary punt returner this season, averaging 9.4 yards per return on 12 attempts. Jones could take over for Diontae Spencer as Denver’s return man, and may also add depth in the secondary.

Sensabaugh, 30, appeared in four games for Denver after signing off the street in October. While he’s probably not a household name, Sensabaugh was a fairly regular starter for the Steelers over the past two seasons, starting four games at the tail of end the 2017 campaign and 10 more last year. Football Outsiders was a fan of Sensabaugh’s work in 2018, charting him as ninth among qualified corners in yards allowed per pass and 26th with a 56% success rate (meaning he was effective at stopping opposing wide receivers short of the sticks).

Broncos Sign Coty Sensabaugh, Place De’Vante Bausby On IR

The Broncos are making a move to bolster their ailing defense. Denver is signing veteran cornerback Coty Sensabaugh, sources told Mike Klis of Denver 9 News (Twitter link).

Klis notes that the Broncos worked out several corners this morning, and Sensabaugh apparently won the competition. De’Vante Bausby, who was just recently inserted into the starting lineup, suffered a scary spine injury in their Week 5 win over the Chargers, and Klis reports in a separate tweet that he’s headed to injured reserve. Sensabaugh was a fourth-round pick of the Titans back in 2012, and he brings a lot of starting experience.

For his career, the Clemson product has appeared in 101 games while making 43 starts. After playing out his initial rookie deal in Tennessee, he landed a three-year, $15MM deal from the Rams. He started a couple of games early on, but was surprisingly released after just a month in Los Angeles. He spent the past two seasons in Pittsburgh, and started ten games for them last season.

Bausby was ultimately diagnosed with a cervical sprain, and thankfully was back in the locker room today moving around well and speaking to reporters. He shared some frightening details, including that he was partially paralyzed for the first 30 minutes after taking a friendly-fire hit, via Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic (Twitter link). Hopefully Bausby continues to make a full recovery, and it sounds like that’s what is expected.

Raiders Audition T.J. McDonald, Other DBs

One of the many veterans the Dolphins either traded, released or let walk in free agency this year, T.J. McDonald has drawn interest from another AFC team. The Raiders put McDonald through a Thursday workout, Field Yates of tweets.

McDonald and fellow defensive backs Kentrell Brice, Briean Boddy-Calhoun and Juston Burris participated in the audition. Additionally, Marcus Cooper and Coty Sensabaugh were part of this extensive audition, per Tom Pelissero of (on Twitter).

The Raiders lost first-round safety Johnathan Abram to a severe shoulder injury, which is expected to end his rookie season after one game, and saw cornerback Gareon Conley stretchered off the field in a scary scene Monday. Conley, however, avoided a serious injury and may have a chance to play in Week 2.

A 28-year-old safety who came into the league with the 2013 Rams, McDonald has started all 75 games in which he’s played. This included 14 starts for the 2018 Dolphins. The Dolphins ate nearly $5MM in dead money by cutting McDonald in August.

The Buccaneers signed Brice in March but cut him earlier this month. Brice started 10 games at safety for the Packers last season. A three-year cornerback veteran, Boddy-Calhoun played in 43 games (22 starts) for the Browns from 2016-18. Burris suited up for 38 with the Jets and Browns from 2016-18. Sensabaugh and Cooper are much older, having begun their careers in 2012 and ’13, respectively. Sensabaugh started in 10 Steelers games last season; Cooper was buried on the Bears’ 2018 depth chart and didn’t see too much action later that season as a Lion.

Saints Meet With Coty Sensabaugh

Free agent cornerback Coty Sensabaugh will visit the Saints on Wednesday, a source tells Tom Pelissero of (on Twitter). The seven-year veteran started ten games last season for the Steelers. 

Sensabaugh will meet with New Orleans brass on the same day as Kayvon Webster. Apparently, the Saints are looking for veteran depth at cornerback to support starters Marshon Lattimore and Eli Apple.

Sensabaugh, 30, has 43 career starts to his credit, including ten starts with the Steelers last season. He earned a decent 65.7 overall score from Pro Football Focus last season, positioning him among the top 65 players at the position. And, for what it’s worth, Sensabaugh shined in the Steelers’ regular season finale against the Bengals.

North Notes: Tate, Packers, Browns, Burns

The Lions are only one game out of the NFC North lead, but they nonetheless made the decision to trade their most productive wide receiver since Calvin Johnson to the Eagles. Golden Tate is now in Philadelphia, and some Lions staffers are “very surprised” about that transaction, Albert Breer of notes. This led Breer to wonder if there was a conflict between Tate and the Lions, and a team source informed him that wasn’t the case. Instead, the Eagles’ offer of a third-round pick for a player who was likely on his way out after 2018 was too good to pass up. Tate would have netted the Lions a compensatory pick had he left in free agency, but that selection would’ve come in the 2020 draft. Now, Detroit has an additional Day 2 pick in 2019. Tate’s departure, though, makes any Lions playoff hopes less likely.

Several of the North divisions’ teams made moves before the trade deadline. Here’s more fallout from some others, along with the latest from some other North franchises:

  • Ty Montgomery‘s fumble on Sunday in Los Angeles didn’t just prompt non-essential Packers to anonymously gripe about the mistake. Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel notes respected veterans called out the since-traded running back/return man. That, coupled with Montgomery not accepting full responsibility for his mistake and publicly expressing trust issues with teammates, signaled the Packers had to move on from the former third-round pick, per Silverstein. Montgomery stands to finish out his contract year with the Ravens.
  • The Packers were not happy about the way Ha Ha Clinton-Dix‘s 2017 season ended, with Silverstein writing Green Bay brass believed the 2014 first-round pick avoided tackles in the season finale against the Lions. This helped influence the Packers’ decision to not enter contract talks with Clinton-Dix prior to the 2018 season. While this tactic isn’t uncommon for the Packers, who let established starters Randall Cobb, Bryan Bulaga, Sam Shields and others play out their contract years before re-signing them, it led Clinton-Dix to believe he wasn’t going to be back next season. Hence, the trade to Washington. GM Brian Gutekunst, however, said (via’s Rob Demovsky) these trades weren’t meant as a message for the locker room.
  • As far as replacing Clinton-Dix, the Packers have some interesting options. One NFC scout told Silverstein their best choice might be to move recently added cornerback Bashaud Breeland to safety and play him in tandem with Jermaine Whitehead. Kentrell Brice served as Clinton-Dix’s safety running mate this season. A four-year Redskins starter, Breeland has not played a snap for the Packers yet. Another option, as Demovsky details, would be to play 2017 second-rounder Josh Jones. He’s worked as a special-teamer thus far. Tramon Williams could be an option as well, so Green Bay is not lacking in possible solutions.
  • The Browns named former Cardinals quarterback Ryan Lindley as their running backs coach today. This is interesting on multiple levels. The 29-year-old now-coach’s highest level of experience came as a San Diego State graduate assistant. Lindley, though, played under new Browns OC Freddie Kitchens with the Cardinals when Kitchens was their QBs coach.
  • Artie Burns did not play a snap in the Steelers‘ win over the Browns on Sunday. Mike Tomlin said he benched the former first-round cornerback because he was late for a walkthrough, but Burns said Wednesday (via Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) he was back with the starters at practice. Coty Sensabaugh started in place of Burns in Week 8.

Contract Details: Folk, Hawley, Sensabaugh

Let’s take a look at the details of a few recently-signed contracts:

Steelers Sign CB Coty Sensabaugh

The Steelers have signed cornerback Coty Sensabaugh to a two-year deal, the team announced. He’ll likely compete for nickel corner job. Coty Sensabaugh (vertical)

The Steelers hosted Sensabaugh on a visit on Monday and it didn’t take long for the two sides to come to an agreement. The incumbent Giants had interest in retaining him, but they’ll have to find cornerback support elsewhere.

The Steelers now have five corners on the roster: William Gay, Artie Burns, Senquez Golson, Al-Hajj Shabazz, and Sensabaugh. We’re a long way away from September, of course, and his spot on the roster is not a certainty. It’s not immediately clear whether Sensabaugh has guaranteed money included in his deal.

Last year, Sensabaugh appeared in 13 games for the Rams and Giants and Pro Football Focus gave him an abysmal score for that limited sample. Then again, he’s only one year removed from signing a lucrative multi-season deal with the Rams. He could prove to be a valuable supporting piece for the Steelers.

Steelers Hosting CB Coty Sensabaugh

UPDATE – Steelers Sign Sensabaugh

The Steelers are hosting cornerback Coty Sensabaugh on a visit today, Mark Kaboly of tweets. Meanwhile, the Giants also have interest in retaining him, according to Dan Duggan of NJ.comCoty Sensabaugh (vertical)

[RELATED: Steelers To Sign RB Knile Davis]

Sensabaugh, 28, joined the Rams last offseason on a three-year, $14.5MM deal. Unfortunately, they dropped him just three games into the season, bringing him to the Giants. All in all, he had 24 tackles in 13 games for the two teams. Pro Football Focus gave him a poor 48.4 overall score, his third consecutive year with a poor showing. The Steelers presently have four corners on the roster: William Gay, Artie Burns, Senquez Golson, and Al-Hajj Shabazz.

Sensabaugh, Leon Hall, and Trevin Wade are all free agents and the Giants still need to add cornerback depth behind Janoris Jenkins, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and Eli Apple.