Darrell Henderson

Colts Place RB Evan Hull On IR, Add G Ike Boettger; Team Worked Out RB Darrell Henderson

The Colts’ changes at running back continued Tuesday. Rookie Evan Hull is now on IR, and Jake Funk will replace him on the 53-man roster. Hull went down with a knee injury in Week 1.

In addition to the running back switch, the Colts added veteran guard Ike Boettger to their practice squad. The team worked out the ex-Bills blocker recently. Boettger spent the past five seasons in Buffalo.

At running back, this Colts operation continues to see hurdles form. Zack Moss missed most of training camp with a broken arm, and the team brought in Kenyan Drake. The seven-year veteran could not make Indianapolis’ 53-man roster. Funk played in Indy’s opener as a practice squad elevation. The former Rams UDFA is now on the Colts’ active roster.

Ex-Funk teammate Darrell Henderson also auditioned for the Colts on Tuesday, KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson tweets. A multiyear Rams starter, Henderson has resided in free agency since he cleared waivers following a Jaguars cut late last season. Henderson worked out for the Patriots last month, joining Leonard Fournette in that regard, but was not signed. The Pats ended up signing Ezekiel Elliott.

Henderson, 26, worked as the Super Bowl champion Rams’ primary starter in 2021, though Sony Michel ended up replacing him down the stretch. Making 21 starts between the 2020 and ’21 seasons, Henderson cleared 600 rushing yards in each and totaled 14 touchdowns in that span. The Rams used him a bit more than expected early in 2022, when the team tried to trade Cam Akers. After Akers returned to the fold, the Rams ultimately waived Henderson, who certainly hit free agency at a bad time for running backs.

Hull must miss at least four games due to this IR designation. The Colts can activate up to eight players from IR this season. The Northwestern product logged two touches in his first game. After producing an impressive 546 receiving yards in his final season with the Big Ten program, Hull will see his NFL career pause. Funk joins Deon Jackson as healthy options in Indy’s Jonathan Taylor-less backfield, with Moss finishing up a recovery from the arm break. Taylor is on the Colts’ reserve/PUP list but resides there in part because of a push to be traded. The 2021 rushing champion is believed to be healthy, and the Colts are likely to restart trade talks soon.

The Bills made some guard upgrades this offseason and released Boettger, who had started 17 games for the team during his career. Boettger, 28, made 17 of those starts between the 2020 and ’21 seasons. An Achilles tear in January 2022 sidelined Boettger for much of last season. The Bills moved on to new options this year, adding Connor McGovern, second-rounder O’Cyrus Torrence and ex-Rams starter David Edwards at guard.

Patriots Work Out RB Leonard Fournette, Darrell Henderson

3:56pm: Darrell Henderson also took part in this workout, Pelissero adds (on Twitter). The former Ram’s market has been just as quiet as Fournette’s this offseason. The Jaguars waived Henderson shortly after claiming him late last year. Henderson does have two 600-plus-yard rushing seasons on his resume and operated as the Rams’ starting back for much of their Super Bowl LVI-winning season.

But the former third-round pick is coming off a down contract year, one in which he gained just 385 scrimmage yards and did not see action after being claimed by the Jags.

11:54am: The Patriots met with Leonard Fournette during his 2022 free agency stay. Nearly 18 months later, the sides will huddle up again. Fournette is set to work out for the Pats on Wednesday, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.

New England has been kicking the tires on running back depth, per the Boston Herald’s Doug Kyed, and has been in the Dalvin Cook mix for a bit now. Fournette’s market is not expected to reach the Cook level, opening the door to a lower-cost Pats addition at the position.

Fournette, 28, met with the Patriots in March 2022 but ended up back with the Buccaneers on a three-year, $21MM deal. Fournette and the Bucs mutually parted ways in March of this year, but not much has come out regarding the former top-five pick’s market since. Fournette joins the likes of Cook, Ezekiel Elliott and Kareem Hunt as notable RBs in free agency.

A former No. 4 overall Jaguars pick, Fournette served as the centerpiece of an offense that faced the Patriots in the 2017 AFC championship game. Three years later, Fournette came on late to make major contributions in the Bucs’ Super Bowl LV-winning season. Tampa Bay rewarded Fournette with contracts in 2021 and ’22. The latter deal included $12MM guaranteed. That contract was in line with what the Cardinals gave James Conner last spring, but this offseason brought a market crash at running back. This market sits in a strange place after numerous cost-cutting measures — and Monday’s lack of extensions for three franchise-tagged players — reduced the position’s standing further.

Adding Fournette would seemingly remove the Pats from the Cook market. It is worth wondering if recent events will impact Cook offers as well. But Fournette will be in Foxborough today, exploring a possible partnership with a third NFL team.

The Bucs ranked last in rushing in 2022; Fournette’s yards per carry dropped by a full yard. The LSU product had averaged 4.5 per tote in 2021, but as just about everything on the Bucs’ offense worsened last year, the team’s starting back averaged a 3.5 yards per handoff. Fournette totaled 1,191 scrimmage yards, however, contributing a career-high 523 through the air. Earning the “Playoff Lenny” alias for his work during the Bucs’ Super Bowl march, Fournette finished with 448 scrimmage yards in the team’s four 2020 playoff games. Prior to a hamstring injury that shut Fournette down in Week 15 of the 2021 season, he totaled 1,266 scrimmage yards as the Bucs’ lead back.

Rhamondre Stevenson resides as the Pats’ starter, with Kyed adding Pierre Strong has a chance to solidify the No. 2 role. But the team being connected to multiple big-name backs could impede the second-year player’s RB2 quest. Stevenson’s status as the team’s starter, especially after Damien Harris‘ free agency exit, should not be considered in jeopardy at this point. But the team may be set to bring in a proven back to complement him soon.

Jaguars Waive RB Darrell Henderson

Darrell Henderson‘s time with the Jaguars will end up being brief. The former Rams starter is back on waivers, according to a Jaguars announcement. The Jags had claimed the fourth-year running back barely two weeks ago.

The former third-round pick did not play in a game with Jacksonville. Henderson has two 600-yard rushing seasons on his resume and would reach free agency for the first time if he clears waivers.

Travis Etienne suffered a foot injury during the Jags’ Week 12 win over the Ravens, but JaMycal Hasty became the main beneficiary of that setback. Claimed by the Jaguars following a 49ers cut in August, Hasty totaled 17 touches in the Jags’ upset of the Ravens. Etienne returned for Week 13 and resumed his usual workload. Rookie Snoop Conner is the other running back on Jacksonville’s 53-man roster. The fifth-round pick has four carries this season.

With Henderson playing out a rookie contract, it would not be too surprising if another team picked up the deal. Injuries change equations weekly at this position, and the Memphis product has enjoyed productive NFL stretches. This season has not represented one of those. The Rams’ battered offensive line has helped minimize their backfield’s impact, and Henderson arrived in Jacksonville with just 283 rushing yards — a Rams-high mark at the point — and three touchdowns.

Having put together a dominant final season at Memphis (2,204 scrimmage yards, 25 touchdowns; 8.9 yards per carry) in 2018, Henderson showed some of that form in Los Angeles. The Rams aimed to avoid relying on the 5-foot-8 back as their surefire starter, however, both drafting Cam Akers in the 2020 second round and trading for Sony Michel following Akers’ training camp Achilles tear last year. But Henderson still totaled 1,312 rushing yards from 2020-21. A COVID-19 contraction and an MCL injury led to Michel taking over the Rams’ lead role last season, but Henderson did return for Super Bowl LVI. He caught three passes for 43 yards in the Rams’ win.

This resume would point to a running back-needy team either adding Henderson via waivers or as a free agent soon after. Come 2023, however, there stand to be several backs available on a robust market. Henderson’s contract-year swoon will not help his cause, should he not have another chance this season.

Jaguars Claim RB Darrell Henderson

Darrell Henderson did not advance too far down the waiver priority list. The former third-round pick will head to Jacksonville after a successful Jaguars claim, Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL.com report (via Twitter).

The Rams waived Henderson on Tuesday, clearing the way for a contract-year relocation. The Jags will add Henderson to a backfield fronted by breakout starter Travis Etienne. Just more than $400K remains on Henderson’s rookie deal. As of Wednesday afternoon, the Jags held $3.5MM in cap space.

This stands to give Etienne a new backup. The Jags traded James Robinson, a two-year starter who had recovered from Achilles surgery to re-emerge in a prominent role, to the Jets earlier this season. Etienne’s quick development after his lost rookie season led to that move. Now, the team will take a look at Henderson, whom the Rams used frequently during his time in Los Angeles.

Although Henderson has not yet cleared 300 rushing yards this season, he was more productive — behind better Rams offensive lines — over the past two years. Henderson eclipsed 600 ground yards in 2020 and ’21, working as a starter for much of that span. Starting 21 games from 2020-21, Henderson combined for 1,312 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. He averaged at least 4.5 yards per carry in each season.

Henderson, 25, joined the Rams after posting one of the better college running back seasons in recent memory. With Memphis in 2018, the eventual third-round pick rushed for 1,909 yards (8.9 per carry) and totaled 25 touchdowns. A COVID-19 contraction and MCL injury led to Henderson losing his job to Sony Michel down the stretch last season, when Cam Akers made a quicker-than-expected return from offseason Achilles surgery. But Henderson, after returning from IR, still caught three passes for 43 yards in the Rams’ Super Bowl LVI triumph.

Despite the Rams dangling Akers in trades after a midseason dispute, the former second-round pick remains on their roster. He joins fifth-round rookie Kyren Williams as the team’s post-Henderson options. The Jaguars have ex-49er Jamycal Hasty and rookie Snoop Conner behind Etienne.

The Jags’ O-line is in better shape than the Rams’ battered front, but Etienne still figures to see most of the work going forward. Henderson could appears headed toward one of the most crowded running back free agent markets since full-fledged free agency’s 1993 debut. While Saquon Barkley may not hit the market, the many other backs from a list including Kareem Hunt, Josh Jacobs, Miles Sanders, Jamaal Williams, Devin Singletary, David Montgomery, Damien Harris and D’Onta Foreman will be available.

Rams Waive RB Darrell Henderson, OLB Justin Hollins

Another starter-caliber running back will join Melvin Gordon on the waiver wire. The Rams cut Darrell Henderson on Tuesday. They also waived outside linebacker Justin Hollins.

Henderson spent much of last season as Los Angeles’ starter, playing ahead of Sony Michel for an extended stretch to begin the team’s Super Bowl-winning slate. The former third-round pick is playing out the final season of his rookie contract. Just more than $412K remains on that deal.

With the Rams connected to cutting Cam Akers for weeks, this Henderson move surprises. But Akers remains with the team and has surpassed Henderson in carries (76-70). Henderson’s 283 yards, however, still lead the team. That is not a particularly notable distinction, with the Rams’ run game ranking 31st. The team had reduced Henderson’s workload in recent weeks. Despite starting each of the past two Rams games, Henderson logged just eight carries.

In 2021, Henderson totaled 688 rushing yards on 149 totes. He started 10 games for the Rams and rushed for at least 70 yards in four of those contests. A COVID-19 contraction and MCL sprain ended Henderson’s run as L.A.’s starter. The team pivoted to Michel following Henderson’s COVID bout, and the Memphis alum’s knee injury kept him out until Super Bowl LVI. Henderson was fairly productive for the Rams against the Bengals, catching three passes for 43 yards.

Henderson, 25, averaged 4.5 and 4.6 yards per carry, respectively, in 2020 and ’21. He is at 4.0 per rush this year. The former No. 70 overall pick, Henderson averaged a staggering 8.9 yards per tote as both a sophomore and junior at the AAC school. As a junior in 2018, Henderson rushed for 1,909 yards and totaled 25 touchdowns.

It would surprise if the former yards-per-carry college dynamo did not land with another team soon. The Broncos, following their Gordon separation, would seemingly be an interested party. If no one claims Henderson, he passes through to free agency. Regarding the Rams, they still have Akers and fifth-round rookie Kyren Williams, who recently came off IR after a multi-injury 2022. Akers and Williams are now the only two backs on the defending champions’ 53-man roster. Malcolm Brown and rookie UDFA Ronnie Rivers reside on L.A.’s practice squad.

A former Broncos draftee, Hollins has started five games this season. He has totaled just one sack. The Rams aggressively attempted to keep Von Miller in free agency and made a monster offer for Brian Burns at the deadline, attempting to give Leonard Floyd a proven edge-rushing partner. The team instead went into the season limited at the position. Hollins will wrap his L.A. stay with three sacks and four QB hits in 18 games with the team.

Injury Updates: 49ers, Rams, Browns, Bears

The 49ers have been dealing with a number of minor injuries in training camp lately, but one which is significant not only in its serenity but also its impact on the team is the one currently ailing free safety Jimmie WardHe has suffered a hamstring injury, and his Week 1 availability is now in question, per ESPN’s Nick Wagoner (Twitter link).

Ward has been a starter on the backend in San Francisco since his second season in 2015. He has been a consistent contributor throughout that time, including on the NFC-winning squad of 2019. His level of play that year earned him a three-year extension, giving him financial security for the first time in his career.

Ward is in line to start once again in 2022, the final season of that deal. He and 2021 fifth-rounder Talanoa Hufanga are the top safety options on the depth chart, so any extended absence from Ward would be a major blow to a 49ers team looking to repeat last season’s playoff run, and whose weakness on defense is generally viewed as being in the secondary. Tarvarius Moore and George Odum would be amongst the team’s options to fill in for Ward should he miss any time.

Here are some other injury notes from around the league, starting with another NFC West contender:

  • The Rams are facing some uncertainty in their offensive backfield. Head coach Sean McVay announced that running backs Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson are both dealing with “soft-tissue” injuries (Twitter link via ESPN’s Sarah Barshop). The pair are in line to occupy the top two spots on the depth chart, though injuries are nothing new to either player. McVay added that neither of them will return to practice until they have fully recovered, but didn’t provide a timeline regarding when that may take place.
  • The center position has become a sore spot for the Browns recently, given the season-ending injury to Nick Harris, who was the favorite to take over the starting role. The team’s depth at the pivot is being tested even further, as seventh-round rookie Dawson Deaton suffered a torn ACL, per Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (Twitter link). With him sidelined for the season as well, Cleveland is down to free agent signing Ethan Pocic and UDFA Brock Hoffman as their only remaining healthy options. Pocic has starting experience, but another addition would come as little surprise at this point.
  • Another team dealing with center injuries is the Bears. Sixth-round rookie Doug Kramer is believed to have suffered a Lisfranc injury, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune (Twitter link). In that case, his 2022 availability will be seriously in doubt, something which would be especially problematic if starter Lucas Patrick isn’t recovered from the hand surgery he had recently in time for the start of the regular season.

Rams Dealing With RB Injuries

The Rams are dealing with some injuries to their running backs corps. Head coach Sean McVay told reporters that running back Kyren Williams broke his foot and had surgery (via Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic on Twitter). Fortunately, it sounds like Williams will only miss the first few sessions of training camp, but it’s still a tough break for the rookie.

Meanwhile, Darrell Henderson isn’t participating in on-field work as he deals with a “soft-tissue injury.” As Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com writes, Henderson initially aggregated the injury during May OTAs. At the time, McVay indicated that Henderson dealt with the same ailment in 2021, but the RB still managed to appear in 12 games (although he was limited on only a single playoff contest).

While Henderson found himself in and out of the lineup in 2021, he still managed to finish with a career-high 864 yards from scrimmage. Williams was selected in the fifth-round of this year’s draft following a standout career at Notre Dame that saw him collect 31 touchdowns between the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

It’s obviously too early for the Rams to worry about their injury situation, but the team’s depth at RB will certainly be stressed for the time being. The team still has Cam Akers, who led the RB grouping during the Rams’ Super Bowl run, but they lack experienced depth behind him (Henderson and Williams were likely to slot in as the second and third RBs, respectively). As a result, the likes of Jake Funk, Xavier Jones, and Raymond Calais will see increased reps over the next few week, and the current absences could help one of the three snag a final roster spot.

Rams Move Tyler Higbee, Joe Noteboom To IR; Darrell Henderson, Sebastian Joseph-Day Back On Roster

The Rams are on track to see some familiar faces in uniform Sunday. The anticipated activations of Darrell Henderson and Sebastian Joseph-Day took place Friday.

But the NFC champions are now certain to be without Tyler Higbee and backup offensive lineman Joe Noteboom. The Rams placed both on IR to make room for Henderson and Joseph-Day. The sprained MCL Higbee suffered in the NFC championship game prevented him from practicing this week.

While the Bengals are likely to see C.J. Uzomah return to action after his championship-round injury, the Rams will be forced to use backups. Kendall Blanton and second-year cog Brycen Hopkins are the only other active-roster tight ends for Los Angeles. The former made key contributions against the 49ers, catching five passes for 57 yards. This came after Blanton scored a touchdown against the Buccaneers. Higbee’s absence will move Blanton into a key auxiliary role in the passing game.

This would have been Higbee’s second Super Bowl. He played against the Patriots in Super Bowl LIII but did not catch a pass. This season, the Rams turned to Higbee more frequently, having let Gerald Everett walk in free agency. Higbee finished with 61 receptions for 560 yards and five touchdowns this season.

Noteboom has served as Andrew Whitworth‘s backup for the past two seasons. He stepped in for the 40-year-old left tackle starter against the Bucs but did not play in the NFC championship game. A chest injury will wrap Noteboom’s season early. A 2018 third-round pick, Noteboom is set to be a free agent next month. Whitworth returned for the 49ers matchup and will make his Super Bowl debut Sunday.

Henderson also suffered an MCL sprain and has not played since Week 16. While the third-year running back started for most of this season, his role almost certainly will be minimized upon return. Sony Michel had begun to eat into Henderson’s workload late in the season, and Cam Akers has since made his return to action. Still, the Rams will soon have a deep backfield for Super Bowl LVI. It will be the first time Henderson, Akers and Michel will each be available.

Joseph-Day has not played since Week 7, having suffered a chest injury that required surgery. The third-year interior D-lineman has been a Rams starter for most of his career. Prior to going down in October, Joseph-Day had registered a career-high three sacks. This stands to bolster L.A.’s depth up front and present an embattled Bengals offensive line with another challenge.

Darrell Henderson, Sebastian Joseph-Day Likely To Return For Super Bowl?

Two Rams regulars are perhaps ready to re-emerge come Super Bowl Sunday. Sean McVay is optimistic both Darrell Henderson and Sebastian Joseph-Day will suit up against the Bengals.

Joseph-Day has been a Rams starter since his career began, but the third-year defensive lineman has been out since Week 7 because of a chest injury. Joseph-Day underwent surgery in November but returned to practice before the Rams’ divisional-round game.

Henderson, Joseph-Day and cornerback Robert Rochell returned to practice Jan. 21. The trio must be activated from IR by Friday in order to play in Super Bowl LVI.

Joseph-Day tallied a career-high three sacks in his seven-game season. The interior defensive lineman being in uniform Sunday would certainly be a bonus for a Rams team that is largely healthy going into the franchise’s fifth Super Bowl opportunity.

Los Angeles’ starting running back for much of this season, Henderson sustained an MCL sprain in Week 16 against the Vikings. Sony Michel had cut into Henderson’s workload, and Cam Akers made a quicker-than-expected return from his July Achilles tear. Still, the Rams having Henderson available would help their cause. The third-year back averaged a career-high 4.6 yards per carry this season, rushing for 688 yards and five touchdowns in 12 games.

Minor NFL Transactions: 1/22/22

Here are Saturday’s minor moves:

Buffalo Bills

Los Angeles Rams

Tampa Bay Buccaneers