Dee Delaney

Bills Sign S Dee Delaney, Release WR Quintez Cephus

The Bills have added depth to their secondary while giving their special teams a boost. The team announced on Thursday that safety Dee Delaney has been signed.

The 29-year-old began his career with one-year stints in Jacksonville and Washington. During that span, Delaney appeared in only three games, and he was all-but exclusively used on special teams. After seeing sparse defensive playing time with those teams (and spending brief tenures on the Dolphins’ practice squad and the Jets’ offseason roster in between), though, he found a home in Tampa Bay.

Delaney joined the Buccaneers in 2021, and in his first campaign with the team he played over 200 defensive snaps – a notable increase from the four he had previously logged. The former UDFA again saw most of his action come in the third phase, and that continued the following season. Last year, though, Delaney took on a rotational role in the Bucs’ secondary, seeing two starts. He notched career highs in interceptions (two) and pass deflections (five) while making 25 tackles.

Buffalo released Jordan Poyer as part of the team’s cost-cutting moves this offseason. His longtime running mate at the safety spot (Micah Hyde) is unsigned, and his playing future remains in doubt. The Bills brought in Mike Edwards during free agency and re-signed Taylor Rapp before selecting Cole Bishop in the second round of the draft. Delaney will therefore have plenty of competition for playing time in his latest home.

In a corresponding move, wideout Quintez Cephus has been released. The former Lion was signed last month in a deal which followed his reinstatement from a gambling suspension. That seemed to put Cephus on track for a rotational spot in the team’s receiver room, but Buffalo signed Marquez Valdes-Scantling earlier this week. Cephus, 26, will now return to free agency and attempt to find a new opportunity elsewhere.

NFC Rumors: Bucs, Lions, Panthers, Packers

The Buccaneers may be considered as a rebuilding squad, but that doesn’t matter much to the players fighting for roster spots in the late preseason. As the regular season inches nearer and nearer, two starting positions are starting to come into focus, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times.

On offense, center Ryan Jensen has not returned to practice as he continues to recover from three knee ligament tears that he opted not to have surgery on. In his absence, Robert Hainsey and Nick Leverett have been competing for the starting job. Hainsey likely has a bit of an edge after playing the position in college and starting all 17 games last season for Tampa Bay, but Leverett has meshed well in new offensive coordinator Dave Canales‘ new zone-blocking scheme. Even if Hainsey can’t hold onto the job, Leverett may keep the position competitive.

On defense, Dee Delaney has really stepped up at nickelback after the team opted to move Antoine Winfield Jr. back to free safety full-time. Delaney, who spent four years at The Citadel before transferring to Miami (FL) and going undrafted, has stuck in Tampa Bay, playing 32 games over the past two seasons while starting three of them. Delaney has had a great camp as reflected in a stellar performance in last week’s preseason game against the Jets. Undrafted rookie Christian Izien has also impressed with physical play throughout the preseason, while rookie sixth-round pick Josh Hayes has fallen a bit behind in the position battle.

Here are a few more roster battles to watch heading into the final weekend of preseason games this season:

  • Nate Sudfeld was viewed as a solid backup option at quarterback for the Lions last season. Coming into 2023, though, he may be struggling to retain a roster spot, according to Justin Rogers of The Detroit News. Obviously, Jared Goff has the starting job locked up, but recently signed veteran Teddy Bridgewater has made a strong case for the QB2 role behind him. Sudfeld still has value to the team, but head coach Dan Campbell made it clear that his roster status depends on if he adds more value to the team than depth at other positions on the roster. If CB5 or CB6 end up adding more value than Sudfeld as QB3, he may find himself missing out on the initial 53-man roster.
  • As starting guard Austin Corbett waits to be cleared following ACL surgery, the Panthers‘ situation at guard is feeling a bit precarious. A tweet from Joseph Person of The Athletic tells that a decision on the starting right guard job in Corbett’s absence has been delayed until the returns from injury of rookie fourth-round pick Chandler Zavala and undrafted rookie Nash Jensen. Head coach Frank Reich wanted both rookies to have a chance for the spot before making the decision. Zavala was recently activated from the physically unable to perform list and hasn’t seen much action. Jensen was impressing early in the offseason before a back injury slowed his progress. They’ll compete with Cade Mays and Justin McCray for the position, but Person believes that Carolina may pursue some added competition at roster cutdowns.
  • Last week, the Packers‘ seventh-round pick from last year, Rasheed Walker, got the starting call at left tackle ahead of usual backup Yosh Nijman, according to Matt Schneidman of The Athletic. Nijman has been the usual go-to at tackle when starter David Bakhtiari isn’t available, but Schneidman thinks that Walker may have worked his way past Nijman on the depth chart as of late.

DB Rumors: Elam, Panthers, Bolts, Bucs

The Bills have hoped to plug Kaiir Elam into their starting lineup opposite Tre’Davious White, but the 2022 first-rounder remains in a position battle. Elam is battling 2022 sixth-rounder Christian Benford and veteran Dane Jackson for the boundary job opposite White, Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic notes (subscription required). Elam played 477 defensive snaps as a rookie, but even as White did not debut until Thanksgiving, the younger Buffalo Round 1 corner only started six games. Benford started five of the nine he played, while Jackson led Bills corners with 14 first-string appearances in 2022. The Bills would clearly prefer Elam seize the role, but for now, the Washington product has not distinguished himself as a surefire starter.

Here is the latest from NFL secondaries:

  • Asante Samuel Jr. resides in a similar boat, needing to fend off a lower-profile challenger. Thus far, it appears Samuel has fallen behind Ja’Sir Taylor for the Chargers‘ slot cornerback role. As it appeared in June, Taylor looks to be the favorite to open the season as the Bolts’ slot player, Daniel Popper of The Athletic notes. Samuel’s shaky run defense has concerned the Bolts, per Popper, with Taylor — a 2022 sixth-round pick — seeing time ahead of the second-generation pro as an outside corner last year due to tackling ability. With primary 2022 slot defender Bryce Callahan unsigned, Taylor and Samuel are battling for the position. Despite Samuel’s experience (27 starts) and draft pedigree (Round 2), he may well open the season as the top backup behind a Taylor-J.C. JacksonMichael Davis trio. Having Samuel as a depth piece would certainly benefit the Chargers, with Jackson attempting to come back from a ruptured patellar tendon.
  • The Panthers have played without first-round pick Jaycee Horn for extended stretches, and the 2021 top-10 pick spent time rehabbing another injury this offseason. Horn did not say how he injured his foot this spring, but he is 100% early in Panthers camp. Ditto Donte Jackson, who missed eight games last season due to an Achilles tear. Both starting corners have received full clearance, GM Scott Fitterer said recently.
  • Although the Buccaneers have re-signed Carlton Davis and Jamel Dean in free agency over the past two years, they let Sean Murphy-Bunting leave in March. Murphy-Bunting, who had spent time in the slot in Tampa Bay, left for Tennessee. The Bucs are holding an expansive slot competition in training camp. Zyon McCollum, Dee Delaney, Josh Hayes, Christian Izien and Anthony Chesley are all vying for the gig, Todd Bowles said (via’s Brianna Dix and Scott Smith). Delaney and Chesley have both bounced around the league, while Hayes and Izien are rookies. Some of these players will not end up on the Bucs’ 53-man roster, but it is interesting to see a five-man competition for this role. A 2022 fifth-round pick who played 277 defensive snaps last year, McCollum may have the lead here. Bowles expects the second-year cover man to play a big role in the nickel spot, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets.

Minor NFL Transactions: 4/19/23

Here are the minor moves for today from around the league:

Baltimore Ravens

Tampa Bay Buccaneers


Delaney, an undrafted free agent out of Miami (FL) in 2018, has appeared in all but two games for the Buccaneers since signing with the team in 2021, starting three. With Logan Ryan and Sean Murphy-Bunting departing in free agency, bringing Delaney back adds some much-needed experienced depth in the cornerbacks room. Delaney is a strong contributor on special teams, as well.

RFA/ERFA Tender Decisions: 3/15/23

Today’s tender decisions from around the NFL:






Latest On Tampa Bay’s Cornerbacks Room

The Buccaneers allowed depth players Richard Sherman and Pierre Desir to walk in free agency this offseason, but held onto their most important free agent cornerback when they re-signed Carlton Davis to a three-year, $45MM contract. Besides the departures of Sherman and Desir, and the rookie depth additions that counteract them, the room looks quite the same as it did last season. If the position group can stay healthy, how does the depth chart play out with most of last year’s contributors returning? Let’s take a look. 

Davis is the only for sure starter at cornerback for Tampa Bay. He’s been a consistent starter since getting drafted in the second round in 2018, but really broke out in his second year of NFL football. After a rookie season that saw him break up only 4 passes, Davis exploded in coverage recording 19, 18, and 11 passes defensed in each year after. Davis has six interceptions in his first four seasons (four in 2020, alone), but his 52 total passes defensed says plenty about his ability to make plays on the ball. He’ll enter the season as the team’s No. 1 cornerback, with questions surrounding who will be No. 2.

Jamel Dean is likely the top prospect to start opposite Davis in base formations. He or his competition for that second spot, Sean Murphy-Bunting, would still see plenty of the field as the third cornerback, as the Buccaneers primarily utilize a nickel defense, but, when utilizing only four defensive backs, Dean is currently the favorite to be on the field. Not only are they competing for a spot atop the depth chart, but, considering both were members of Tampa Bay’s 2019 draft class, they will also be striving to earn a new payday like Davis’ in their contract years.

Dean didn’t enter the 2021 NFL season as a starter, but, after an elbow injury sent Murphy-Bunting to injured reserve, Dean took over and made the most of his opportunity. Dean has consistently missed at least two games every season with injury, but, considering the extended time Davis and Murphy-Bunting missed last season, two games doesn’t seem so bad. With 33 passes defensed, Dean has shown the ability in coverage to stay close and make plays on the ball. The biggest downside to his game is that Dean hasn’t quite been able to convert those plays into turnovers, only totaling five interceptions over three seasons. Dean possesses ideal size and speed for the position and was even graded one slot above Davis last season according to Pro Football Focus’ position rankings (subscription required).

Murphy-Bunting was drafted one round earlier than Dean and, so far, his opportunities have reflected that. Last year was the first that saw Murphy-Bunting miss time due to injury, but that doesn’t make Dean’s impressive showing in his absence any less inimical to Murphy-Bunting’s starting role. The injury last season really limited Murphy-Bunting, as PFF graded him out as the 90th cornerback in the NFL, compared to Dean and Davis’s 20th and 21st, respectively. Murphy-Bunting has shown the player he can be when healthy, though, and if that version of him shows up for competition, he may find his way back into a solidified starting role. As a rookie, Murphy-Bunting showed off his ball skills with three interceptions. While he only has one pick in the next two regular seasons, he was able to reel in an interception in three-straight playoff games in 2020. Which version of Murphy-Bunting the Buccaneers get this season will largely affect the starting roles, but, as mentioned above, Tampa Bay’s nickel defense should allow plenty of snaps for both Dean and Murphy-Bunting.

Now Tampa Bay does have another option. If either Dean or Murphy-Bunting struggle coming into the season, the Buccaneers could move Logan Ryan, whom they signed in the offseason to fill in the free safety role left vacant by Jordan Whitehead‘s departure, back to his natural position of cornerback. Ryan hasn’t played cornerback since 2019, but he serves as a more-than-qualified “break glass in case of emergency” option.

Behind the top three corners, Tampa Bay returns Ross Cockrell, Dee Delaney, and Rashard Robinson. Cockrell is a journeyman cornerback with plenty of starting experience with his past teams. He and Delaney filled in a bit as starters when Davis and Murphy-Bunting were out last year, but, over the course of the season, Cockrell proved the most effective backup cornerback. Delaney made the most of his defensive opportunities getting an interception and two passes defensed in five games of extended action on defense. Delaney is a core special teamer, though, and really only serves as a depth piece on defense. Similarly, though Robinson has starting experience from his time in San Francisco, he mainly served as a reserve cornerback last year in Tampa Bay.

Rookie fifth-round pick Zyon McCollum and undrafted rookies Kyler McMichael and Don Gardner round out the roster for Tampa Bay at cornerback. They may be able to fight their way onto the 53-man roster by proving their worth on special teams, but McCollum is probably the only rookie here who may find his way into the cornerback rotation as a depth piece.

Tampa Bay’s nickel look should field, essentially, four cornerbacks, with Davis, Dean, Murphy-Bunting, and Ryan all surrounding starting strong safety Antoine Winfield Jr. Dean and Murphy-Bunting will compete throughout the preseason to determine who stays on the field in base formations. Cockrell and Delaney will likely continue their role as key backups. Robinson may find himself competing with McCollum for a roster spot, with McMichael and Gardner attempting to beat the odds. The Buccaneers know they can achieve success with this roster of cornerbacks, based on its similarities to last season, but just how they choose to employ their corners will determine how much success they can achieve.

Minor NFL Transactions: 5/25/21

We’ll keep tabs on today’s minor moves here:

Arizona Cardinals

Las Vegas Raiders

  • Waived: Kamaal Seymour

Philadelphia Eagles

Seattle Seahawks

  • Signed: TE Cam Sutton

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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 Make Flurry Of CB Moves

The Redskins are going to be pretty shorthanded in Week 17 as they seek to officially eliminate the Cowboys from the playoffs. After already shutting down starting quarterback Dwayne Haskins, the team is now placing cornerbacks Quinton Dunbar and Danny Johnson on inured reserve. In corresponding roster moves, they signed Dee Delaney and added Breon Borders off the Jaguars’ practice squad.

Dunbar had missed the last two weeks with a hamstring injury. He’ll finish the year with four interceptions and eight passes defended in 11 games, all starts. This is the second straight campaign that he’ll finish the year on IR, as a shin issue limited him to only seven games last season. Back in January of 2018, he inked a three-year extension worth $10.25MM. The 2015 UDFA from Florida has one more year left on his deal.

Johnson is a 2018 UDFA from FCS school Southern. He signed with Washington and made the 53 as a rookie, appearing in 14 games while playing a limited role. He started this season on the reserve/PUP list, and was activated a couple of weeks ago. He immediately slid into the starting lineup, starting each of the past two games.

Delaney is a 2018 UDFA from Miami, who has bounced around and appeared in two games for Jacksonville as a rookie. Borders is a 2017 UDFA from Duke who has spent the past few years going on and off various teams’ practice squads. With veteran Josh Norman still in the doghouse, it’s possible both see the field in Week 17.

NFL Workout Updates: 12/17/19

Here are Tuesday’s notable workout updates:

Chicago Bears

Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Los Angeles Chargers

  • LB Cameron Judge*, LB Nick Usher*

Washington Redskins


* = CFL player