David Nelson

Kellen Winslow, Ben Tate Join Spring League

The Spring League kicks off in April and it will feature some notable names looking to resurrect their football careers. Defensive end Greg Hardy, tight end Kellen Winslow Jr., cornerback Brandon Browner, and running back Ben Tate are among the players who have been confirmed as participants, according to a press release. Greg Hardy (vertical)

Winslow has not played in an NFL game since the 2013 season and we haven’t heard much from him since he worked out for the Packers last August. Tate, a former second-round pick, showed lots of promise in Houston but could not capitalize on a starting opportunity with the Browns in 2014. Hardy and Browner first committed to the league in early March.

The Spring League consists of four teams comprised of veteran free agents. The league will conduct practices and play six games from April 5 through April 26. Players who are currently on NFL rosters will not be eligible to participate.

The league has secured five quarterbacks thus far, including Chiefs 2011 fifth-round pick Ricky Stanzi and NFL practice squad journeyman McLeod Bethel-Thompson. At wide receiver, there’s former Ram Brandon Gibson, Jets 2014 fourth-round pick Jalen Saunders, and one-time Bills WR2 David Nelson. Former Jets defensive back Ellis Lankster and Texans 2013 third-round defensive tackle Sam Montgomery will also be suiting up for The Spring League next month.

The full list of players can be found below. In addition to those listed here, Pro Football Rumors has learned that another 30 players are expected to join prior to the start of training camp.


  • Hutson Mason
  • Ricky Stanzi
  • McLeod Bethel-Thompson
  • Zach Kline
  • Jeremy Cannon

Running backs

Wide receivers

  • Jalen Saunders
  • David Nelson
  • Kenzel Doe
  • Brandon Gibson
  • Daje’ Johnson
  • Gavin Lutman
  • Tyler McDonald
  • J.D. Woods
  • Sed Cunningham
  • Lawrence Smith
  • Terrance Lewis
  • Rashon Ceaser
  • Kendrick Wiggins

Read more

Minor NFL Transactions: 2/9/16

Today’s minor signings, cuts, and other moves:

  • The Steelers announced that they have signed offensive guard Cole Manhart to a reserve/future contract. Manhart originally signed with the Eagles as a UDFA out of Nebraska-Kearney in May 2015. After being released by the Eagles, he spent the 2015 training camp with the Saints, but he was cut in September of that year. Prior to his signing with Pittsburgh, his most recent stint was with the Raiders as a member of their taxi squad.
  • The Panthers inked safety Marcus Ball to a deal, per Evan Woodbery of The Times-Picayune (on Twitter). Ball ended the season on Carolina’s practice squad.
  • The Rams signed former Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter).
  • The Steelers cut wide receiver David Nelson, as Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle tweets.
  • The Eagles cut Matthew Tucker with a non-football injury designation, Wilson tweets.

Steelers Sign Doug Legursky, Place David Nelson On IR

With Maurkice Pouncey set to be sidelined for at least the first few weeks of the regular season, the Steelers are dealing with the loss of their starting center by adding one of their former starting linemen. According to Burt Lauten (Twitter link), the club has signed veteran free agent Doug Legursky. In a corresponding roster move, Pittsburgh placed wide receiver David Nelson on injured reserve.

Legursky, 29, spent parts of four seasons with the Steelers from 2009 to 2012, starting 17 games for the club during that stretch. In his first stint with Pittsburgh, Legursky saw significant action at guard, but he was the starting center for the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV, and was signed by the Chargers last season as a replacement at center. Legursky lasted only two games in San Diego before a knee injury landed him on injured reserve for the rest of the 2014 campaign.

With Pouncey sidelined, Cody Wallace appears poised to step into the starting center role for the Steelers, but Legursky could push for playing time at the position.

Nelson, meanwhile, just joined the Steelers less than two weeks ago. However, he didn’t appear in a preseason game with the team as he dealt with a shoulder injury. If that shoulder issue isn’t season-ending, he figures to be removed from Pittsburgh’s IR at some point, perhaps with an injury settlement.

Steelers Sign David Nelson, Put Suisham On IR

The Steelers have made a handful of roster moves, replacing two injured players with two healthy bodies. According to Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (via Twitter), the team has placed kicker Shaun Suisham on injured reserve and waived/injured running back Cameron Stingily. With the two openings, Pittsburgh signed veteran wide receiver David Nelson and Braylon Heard.

Nelson, 28, has spent the last several seasons with the Bills and Jets, recording 138 catches and 1,530 receiving yards over the course of his five-year career. His best season came in Buffalo in 2011, when he racked up 658 yards and five touchdowns on 61 receptions. Most recently, Nelson grabbed eight balls in part-time action for the Jets last year, but was cut in October when the club acquired Percy Harvin. The Florida product also tried out for the Bengals this summer.

As for Suisham, we heard earlier this week that the Steelers kicker suffered a torn ACL and was expected to miss the 2015 season — this transaction confirms it. The club signed free agent kicker Garrett Hartley yesterday to replace Suisham for the year.

Heard, meanwhile, replaces Stingily in the Steelers’ backfield this month, but will have an uphill battle to earn a spot on the team’s regular season roster, even with Le’Veon Bell suspended for the first two games. Stingily figures to land on Pittsburgh’s IR if he goes unclaimed on waivers.

According to Kaboly, wide receiver Jarrod West also worked out for the Steelers before they decided to sign Nelson.

Free Agent Rumors: Bengals, Cherilus, Long

The Bengals are considering adding a veteran receiver to compete in training camp for a roster spot and playing time, and they worked out a couple interesting names today, according to Rand Getlin of the NFL Network (Twitter link). Getlin reports that, in addition to Greg Little, Santonio Holmes and David Nelson also auditioned for Cincinnati. Holmes, a longtime Jet, played for the Bears in 2014, while Nelson has accumulated 138 receptions in five seasons with the Bills and Jets. So far, none of the three wideouts have signed with the Bengals.

Here are a few other notes, rumors, and updates on free agency around the NFL:

  • Having visited the Bills and Lions, offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus headed home today without a deal in place, and will assess his options, tweets Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports. If Cherilus is deciding between Buffalo and Detroit and doesn’t plan on making any more visits, I’d expect him to sign soon.
  • Another veteran offensive lineman who made some visits this week also remains on the market, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post, who writes that Jake Long‘s meeting with the Broncos ended without the club signing the former No. 1 pick. Long is also said to be drawing interest from the Falcons and Giants.
  • The Cowboys have been linked to free agent running backs most of the offseason, but executive VP Stephen Jones says the team doesn’t have any plans to bring in another one at this point. The team will, however, add a couple linebackers, according to Jones (Twitter link via Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram).
  • Free agent cornerback Josh Victorian, who last played a regular season game for Houston in 2013, tried out for the Titans, a source tells Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post (Twitter link).

Jets Release David Nelson

The Jets have cut their roster back down to 53 following yesterday’s acquisition of receiver Percy Harvin. Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports (via Twitter) that the victim of the corresponding move was Harvin’s former college teammate, David Nelson.

Nelson went undrafted out of Florida in 2010 and quickly caught on with the Bills. He compiled 1,011 yards and eight touchdowns in his first two seasons in Buffalo, but he hasn’t come close to matching that production since. He had a solid 2013 campaign with the Jets, catching 36 passes for 423 yards and two scores.

He hasn’t produced much in 2014 despite playing the second most snaps among Jets wide receivers. He’s caught only eight passes for 65 yards while fumbling twice, and Pro Football Focus (subscription required) ranks him as the worst wideout in the league among eligible players.

AFC East Notes: Decker, Ryan, Marrone

ESPN personality (and former Broncos offensive lineman) Mark Schlereth was critical of Jets acquisition Eric Decker, who Schlereth described as a “marginal No. 2 [receiver] at best” (via New York Post’s Brian Costello). The wide receiver commented on the remarks to the New York Post’s Brian Lewis

“Am I surprised? I guess, yeah. I mean, I don’t know how to answer that. We did interviews in Denver a couple times, and it always was good.”

“Like it was a little personal? Really, I’m just going to handle my business. I’ve got more things to worry about as far as getting ready for the Oakland Raiders.

“There was never anything that I could think of that’d give us to have beef. I’m not going to get into a battle of who-said-what or how-he-feels-about-what. He said what he said, and he’s obligated to his opinion. We’ll just move on. … I’m going to let my talking be on the field. That’s really what will in time prove itself.”

Teammate David Nelson also gave his take on the criticism:

“It sounded like jealousy to me. I don’t know why you’d ever come out and bash a guy, especially as a former player, why you’d come out and say something like that about somebody. That’s inaccurate, first of all. It’s unfortunate that someone like that has to come out and say those things.”

Let’s take a look at some more notes from the AFC East…

  • Considering the Jets’ lack of depth at cornerback, Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com thinks Kyle Wilson is primed for a big season. The fifth-year player is entering the final season of his contract, and the writer thinks it’s time for him “to step up and take charge.”
  • In the same article, Cimini opines that if the Jets endure another losing season, it will be tough for Rex Ryan to keep his job. The writer does note that it’s not necessarily “playoffs-or-bust” for Rex and the Jets.
  • Following a reported argument between Bills coach Doug Marrone and members of the team’s front office, CEO Russ Brandon attempted to defuse the situation. This is the best working relationship I have seen, to be honest, between a coach and a G.M.,” Brandon said (via ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio). “They’re great competitors and communicators.”

East Notes: Pats, Beckham, Beatty

There were a great deal of notes from the league’s east divisions today. Our Luke Adams and Dallas Robinson rounded up some of those notes earlier this evening, and we will close out the night by emptying out our east notebook.

  • The Patriots appear to be playing musical chairs with Kyle Auffray and Derrick Johnson. The team cut Auffray earlier today after signing him last week, and Johnson was the player the Pats released to make room for Auffray. Now, however, Johnson may be back in the fold. Mike Lowe of the Portland Press Herald reports that Johnson was told by the club that he would be re-signed once he recovered from a sprained left knee that caused him to miss a week of practices. The former University of Maine receiver hopes to be ready for New England’s three-day minicamp that opens tomorrow (or at least by training camp in July).
  • Brian Costello of the New York Post outlines the Jets‘ search for a No. 2 receiver to play opposite major free agent acquisition Eric Decker. Stephen Hill and David Nelson took the most reps at that spot during the portion of the team’s OTAs that were open to the media, and though Nelson is probably the favorite, wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal seems to believe Hill may finally begin to live up to his still-significant potential.
  • In the same piece, Costello looks at other major storylines surrounding the Jets this summer, including the injury status of Dee Milliner and Willie Colon and the progress of rookie tight end Jace Amaro.
  • Paul Schwartz of the New York Post examines the injury status of Giants left tackle Will Beatty. Although Beatty stills hopes to be ready for the start of training camp on July 21, there is no guarantee he will even be given clearance to play in the season opener on September 8. Even if he is ready, his poor play in 2013 and the fact that the team did not make any meaningful moves to address the left tackle position in the offseason leaves plenty of room for concern.
  • In the same piece, Schwartz writes that the Giants may hold first-round pick Odell Beckham Jr. out of minicamp as a result of his hamstring injury. Although Beckham insists the injury is minor, the team will undoubtedly want to play it safe with him.
  • Geoff Mosher of CSNPhilly.com shares some of his notes on what he has seen from the Eagles thus far this offseason. He writes that the struggles of Mark Sanchez and Matt Barkley have been overblown, as have the Jordan MatthewsTerrell Owens comparisons. He adds that, outside of kicker, there are no real position battles to watch out for at this point.
  • James Walker of ESPN.com gives a list of top storylines to look out for during the Dolphins‘ three-day mandatory minicamp that begins Tuesday, including the development of Bill Lazor‘s offense and the position battles at left guard, running back, slot receiver, and cornerback.

Jets Notes: Dowling, Sudfeld, Cunningham

It’s always more intriguing when a released player ends up with a division rival. Can the new team untap the talents that the old team couldn’t? Will he be that much more motivated, potentially facing his old team twice a year?

The already potent Jets/Patriots rivalry got even more compelling when three former Pats — cornerback Ras-I Dowling, tight end Zach Sudfeld and outside linebacker Jermaine Cunningham — signed with Gang Green this offseason. Dowling and Cunningham were both second-round picks originally by New England, but ESPNNewYork.com’s Rich Cimini says the undrafted Sudfeld has the best shot of making the 53-man roster based on the team’s lack of depth at the position.

  • Cimini envisions four running backs on the roster — including fullback Tommy Bohanon — with Daryl Richardson and Mike Goodson on the outside looking in.
  • Signing a veteran offensive lineman for insurance would be a sound move for the team, per Cimini, who notes that none of the backups have any meaningful professional experience.
  • Don’t be surprised if Stephen Hill emerges as the Jets’ No. 2 wide receiver opposite Eric Deckerwrites Cimini. Hill has struggled making the transition to professional from collegiate after a nice career at Georgia Tech, and he’s battling savvy veteran David Nelson for the coveted starting spot.
  • Neither Cunningham nor Dowling found success with the Patriots, but Jets‘ head coach Rex Ryan is not concerned with his rival’s opinion of those players, writes Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.

Rob DiRe contributed to this post.