Demetrius Taylor

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/9/23

18 teams had their seasons come to an end yesterday, and their front offices have already turned the page to the 2023 NFL seaon. This started today, as a number of players were signed to reserve/futures contracts, which allows organizations to retain (routinely) young, practice squad players throughout the offseason. Here are today’s reserve/futures contracts:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

  • WR Ty Fryfogle

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Washington Commanders

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/27/22

Today’s minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Signed to active roster: S Nolan Turner
  • Promoted: CB Don Gardner, LB J.J. Russell

Edge Notes: Ravens, Lions, Browning, Hawks

After letting both Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue walk during the 2021 free agency period, the Ravens acquired a first-round pick in the Orlando Brown Jr. trade. The team entered the draft determined to use one of its two first-round choices on an edge defender, but strategy played a role in the team ending up with Odafe Oweh. The Ravens would have been happy with either Oweh or Greg Rousseau, Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic notes, but also wanted to leave last year’s first round with a wide receiver.

We heard previously the Ravens expected the Packers to select Bateman, whom several execs viewed as the team most likely to draft the Big Ten prospect. That played into Baltimore’s edge defender blueprint as well. The team had Oweh and Rousseau ranked similarly on its 2021 draft board, Zrebiec adds, leading to Bateman being prioritized with the No. 27 pick. Waiting for No. 31 to make its edge rusher selection paid off, as Oweh remained on the board. The Bills took Rousseau at 30. (The Packers took cornerback Eric Stokes at 29.) Through 1 1/4 seasons, Oweh has six sacks, four forced fumbles and 17 quarterback hits. Rousseau checks in with similar production, having tallied eight sacks — four already this season — along with one strip and 16 QB hits.

Here is the latest from the NFL’s edge defender landscape:

  • The Ravens used Jason Pierre-Paul extensively alongside Oweh in Week 4, playing the recently signed veteran on 55 defensive snaps. Their one-year Pierre-Paul deal is worth $1.35MM, according to OverTheCap. The contract includes a $150K signing bonus and playing time- and sack-based incentives that could take the price north of $5MM, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. This is a lower-priced deal than JPP is accustomed to signing, but he has a chance to be the rare free agent to sign in-season and earn potentially far more than the veteran minimum.
  • The Lions will be waiting a bit longer to deploy their two-Okwara edge-rushing attack. Eligible to return from the Lions’ PUP list this week, Romeo Okwara will likely need more time to recover from his 2021 injury, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press notes. Okwara, who suffered an Achilles tear just more than a year ago, did not return to practice this week when first eligible.
  • Detroit’s pass rush, when at full strength, is set to include Romeo and Julian Okwara, Charles Harris and first- and second-round picks Aidan Hutchinson and Josh Paschal. That said, the Lions are adding another edge rusher to the equation. Rookie UDFA Demetrius Taylor is going to play defensive end in his debut this week, Birkett notes. Signed as a UDFA defensive tackle, Taylor will shift to a big D-end role as the Lions attempt to pick up the pieces on defense. This will likely lead to Hutchinson, who had previously played the team’s “big end” spot, rushing from around the formation, per Birkett. Taylor saw some time at D-end at Appalachian State.
  • It will not be second-round pick Nik Bonitto getting the call to replace Randy Gregory; Baron Browning will play that role for the Broncos beginning Thursday night, Troy Renck of Denver7 tweets. This will be an interesting stretch for Browning, whom the Broncos used as an inside linebacker during his 2021 rookie season. The third-round pick moved to the outside this offseason, helping lead to the late-August Malik Reed trade, and has impressed the coaching staff. Bonitto, who began the season as a healthy scratch despite being Denver’s top 2022 draftee, will see more time as a rotational cog behind Browning and Bradley Chubb.
  • The Seahawks will give second-rounder Boye Mafe more playing time, Pete Carroll said this week. This will be interesting considering the rookie logged a season-high 32 defensive snaps against the Lions. Mafe, who has one sack thus far this season, registered 10 in his final college campaign.

Lions Finalize Initial 53-Man Roster

Detroit got an early start on reducing its roster size Monday, but the team made the final moves toward 53 players Tuesday. Here are the moves from today that got the Lions there:

Released:

Waived:

Waived/injured:

Placed on reserve/physically unable to perform:

Houston was the only member of the Lions’ 2022 rookie class that failed to make the initial 53-man roster. The young linebacker should have a good chance to land on the team’s 16-man practice squad Wednesday, if he can clear waivers. On the other hand, undrafted defensive lineman Demetrius Taylor found his way onto the roster after a disruptive preseason. Another undrafted rookie, running back Greg Bell, didn’t make the roster, but will remain with the team on Detroit’s injured reserve.

There were a number of surprising, but necessary, cuts today. Igwebuike had a decent chance to make the roster due to his experience and ability returning kicks. Kennedy led the team in catches, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns during the preseason. His lack of effective use on special teams likely lost him his spot on the final roster. Parker started much of last year at nickel for the Lions. Unfortunately he was expendable after the offseason additions of veteran JuJu Hughes and rookie Chase Lucas.

The winner of the kicking battle has been crowned as Austin Seibert made the final roster over Patterson. Patterson showed plenty of ability during the last couple of weeks and it would be no surprise if he was to be claimed by another team off waivers by tomorrow.

Finally, it appears the backup quarterback battle was won by David Blough, who outperformed Boyle in preseason. Still, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Detroit peruse the mass of recently waived players for a new quarterback. They have the second-highest priority on the waiver wire and should have their pick of the litter if they think they can improve on Blough.